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Can a pop song become traditional?

Larry The Radio Guy 24 Aug 12 - 05:51 PM
Stanron 24 Aug 12 - 05:59 PM
GUEST,999 24 Aug 12 - 06:27 PM
Don Firth 24 Aug 12 - 06:30 PM
Joe Offer 24 Aug 12 - 06:34 PM
Ole Juul 24 Aug 12 - 06:36 PM
GUEST,999 24 Aug 12 - 06:42 PM
GUEST,999 24 Aug 12 - 06:52 PM
Leadfingers 24 Aug 12 - 06:57 PM
Henry Krinkle 24 Aug 12 - 07:01 PM
pdq 24 Aug 12 - 07:02 PM
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GUEST,Stim 24 Aug 12 - 07:14 PM
Bee-dubya-ell 24 Aug 12 - 08:53 PM
JohnInKansas 24 Aug 12 - 09:06 PM
Larry The Radio Guy 24 Aug 12 - 09:10 PM
Ole Juul 24 Aug 12 - 10:02 PM
Ole Juul 24 Aug 12 - 10:16 PM
Joe Offer 24 Aug 12 - 10:20 PM
Charley Noble 24 Aug 12 - 10:24 PM
Stewie 24 Aug 12 - 10:29 PM
Joe Offer 24 Aug 12 - 10:30 PM
GUEST,Stim 24 Aug 12 - 11:31 PM
Elmore 25 Aug 12 - 01:00 AM
Ole Juul 25 Aug 12 - 02:24 AM
Jim Carroll 25 Aug 12 - 02:52 AM
DMcG 25 Aug 12 - 03:05 AM
Acme 25 Aug 12 - 03:42 AM
GUEST,Blandiver 25 Aug 12 - 04:29 AM
GUEST,Stim 25 Aug 12 - 04:40 AM
Jim Carroll 25 Aug 12 - 05:10 AM
GUEST,Blandiver 25 Aug 12 - 05:46 AM
Ole Juul 25 Aug 12 - 05:59 AM
Brian Peters 25 Aug 12 - 06:16 AM
GUEST,Blandiver 25 Aug 12 - 06:49 AM
Ole Juul 25 Aug 12 - 07:42 AM
Jim Carroll 25 Aug 12 - 07:43 AM
GUEST,Don Wise 25 Aug 12 - 08:32 AM
Brian Peters 25 Aug 12 - 09:47 AM
GUEST,Tunesmith 25 Aug 12 - 11:06 AM
Jim Carroll 25 Aug 12 - 01:25 PM
The Sandman 25 Aug 12 - 01:34 PM
Acme 25 Aug 12 - 02:13 PM
Acme 25 Aug 12 - 02:17 PM
John P 25 Aug 12 - 02:23 PM
GUEST,Stim 25 Aug 12 - 02:27 PM
John P 25 Aug 12 - 02:34 PM
Acme 25 Aug 12 - 02:39 PM
Brian Peters 25 Aug 12 - 03:16 PM
JHW 25 Aug 12 - 03:33 PM
Acme 25 Aug 12 - 03:56 PM
Lonesome EJ 25 Aug 12 - 04:22 PM
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Acme 25 Aug 12 - 05:14 PM
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The Sandman 25 Aug 12 - 05:36 PM
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GUEST,Stim 25 Aug 12 - 05:49 PM
Bettynh 25 Aug 12 - 05:49 PM
The Sandman 25 Aug 12 - 06:03 PM
Lonesome EJ 25 Aug 12 - 06:21 PM
Bee-dubya-ell 25 Aug 12 - 07:03 PM
GUEST,Stim 25 Aug 12 - 07:17 PM
Acme 25 Aug 12 - 07:19 PM
MorwenEdhelwen1 25 Aug 12 - 07:30 PM
GUEST,Stim 25 Aug 12 - 09:30 PM
Acme 25 Aug 12 - 11:35 PM
GUEST,Stim 26 Aug 12 - 02:02 AM
Larry The Radio Guy 26 Aug 12 - 03:00 AM
Henry Krinkle 26 Aug 12 - 06:23 AM
The Sandman 26 Aug 12 - 07:40 AM
GUEST,Blandiver 26 Aug 12 - 07:59 AM
GUEST,Blandiver 26 Aug 12 - 08:37 AM
GUEST,SteveT 26 Aug 12 - 09:17 AM
GUEST,Don Wise 26 Aug 12 - 09:57 AM
GUEST,Blandiver 26 Aug 12 - 10:02 AM
Steve Gardham 26 Aug 12 - 10:16 AM
The Sandman 26 Aug 12 - 12:48 PM
Jim Carroll 26 Aug 12 - 01:00 PM
Don Firth 26 Aug 12 - 01:44 PM
Larry The Radio Guy 26 Aug 12 - 01:52 PM
The Sandman 26 Aug 12 - 02:43 PM
Bettynh 26 Aug 12 - 03:02 PM
Larry The Radio Guy 26 Aug 12 - 03:21 PM
GUEST 26 Aug 12 - 05:33 PM
Steve Gardham 26 Aug 12 - 05:54 PM
Larry The Radio Guy 26 Aug 12 - 05:59 PM
Steve Gardham 26 Aug 12 - 06:21 PM
GUEST,Stim 26 Aug 12 - 09:08 PM
The Sandman 27 Aug 12 - 02:10 AM
Jim Carroll 27 Aug 12 - 03:28 AM
Jim Carroll 27 Aug 12 - 03:31 AM
banksie 27 Aug 12 - 03:53 AM
Larry The Radio Guy 27 Aug 12 - 04:17 AM
Jim Carroll 27 Aug 12 - 05:11 AM
GUEST,Blandiver 27 Aug 12 - 05:28 AM
Jim Carroll 27 Aug 12 - 05:47 AM
theleveller 27 Aug 12 - 06:55 AM
GUEST,Blandiver 27 Aug 12 - 07:07 AM
MGM·Lion 27 Aug 12 - 07:16 AM
MGM·Lion 27 Aug 12 - 07:18 AM
Jim Carroll 27 Aug 12 - 07:31 AM
GUEST,Blandiver 27 Aug 12 - 07:47 AM
johncharles 27 Aug 12 - 08:03 AM
johncharles 27 Aug 12 - 08:07 AM
GUEST,Brian Peters 27 Aug 12 - 08:13 AM
theleveller 27 Aug 12 - 08:36 AM
GUEST,Ripov (not at home) 27 Aug 12 - 09:17 AM
Uncle_DaveO 27 Aug 12 - 09:19 AM
GUEST,Blandiver 27 Aug 12 - 09:50 AM
theleveller 27 Aug 12 - 10:05 AM
GUEST 27 Aug 12 - 10:34 AM
Brian Peters 27 Aug 12 - 10:36 AM
theleveller 27 Aug 12 - 11:10 AM
GUEST,Stim 27 Aug 12 - 12:21 PM
Bettynh 27 Aug 12 - 12:22 PM
Brian Peters 27 Aug 12 - 12:35 PM
GUEST,Blandiver 27 Aug 12 - 01:43 PM
GUEST,Stim 27 Aug 12 - 01:44 PM
Brian Peters 27 Aug 12 - 02:40 PM
Steve Gardham 27 Aug 12 - 03:03 PM
Larry The Radio Guy 27 Aug 12 - 03:04 PM
Steve Gardham 27 Aug 12 - 03:05 PM
Jim Carroll 27 Aug 12 - 03:09 PM
Larry The Radio Guy 27 Aug 12 - 03:17 PM
Steve Gardham 27 Aug 12 - 03:27 PM
Bettynh 27 Aug 12 - 03:29 PM
GUEST,Stim 27 Aug 12 - 03:55 PM
Brian Peters 27 Aug 12 - 03:59 PM
Lonesome EJ 27 Aug 12 - 04:44 PM
Steve Gardham 27 Aug 12 - 05:22 PM
MGM·Lion 27 Aug 12 - 05:30 PM
Bill D 27 Aug 12 - 05:36 PM
Steve Gardham 27 Aug 12 - 05:49 PM
Bill D 27 Aug 12 - 07:04 PM
Rob Naylor 27 Aug 12 - 07:18 PM
johncharles 28 Aug 12 - 12:07 AM
GUEST,Stim 28 Aug 12 - 02:11 AM
theleveller 28 Aug 12 - 04:12 AM
GUEST,Blandiver 28 Aug 12 - 04:54 AM
Brian Peters 28 Aug 12 - 05:33 AM
GUEST,Blandiver 28 Aug 12 - 07:05 AM
johncharles 28 Aug 12 - 07:13 AM
Jim Carroll 28 Aug 12 - 08:12 AM
GUEST,Blandiver 28 Aug 12 - 09:37 AM
Tootler 28 Aug 12 - 10:07 AM
GUEST,Blandiver 28 Aug 12 - 10:23 AM
Brian Peters 28 Aug 12 - 10:52 AM
johncharles 28 Aug 12 - 10:52 AM
Steve Gardham 28 Aug 12 - 11:14 AM
Jim Carroll 28 Aug 12 - 11:18 AM
Steve Gardham 28 Aug 12 - 11:46 AM
GUEST,Blandiver 28 Aug 12 - 11:54 AM
Jim Carroll 28 Aug 12 - 12:39 PM
Steve Gardham 28 Aug 12 - 01:46 PM
Jim Carroll 28 Aug 12 - 02:38 PM
johncharles 28 Aug 12 - 03:15 PM
Jim Carroll 28 Aug 12 - 04:06 PM
Rob Naylor 28 Aug 12 - 06:20 PM
GUEST,Blandiver 28 Aug 12 - 06:27 PM
Steve Gardham 28 Aug 12 - 06:35 PM
Rob Naylor 28 Aug 12 - 07:29 PM
MorwenEdhelwen1 28 Aug 12 - 07:35 PM
banksie 29 Aug 12 - 03:13 AM
Jim Carroll 29 Aug 12 - 04:05 AM
theleveller 29 Aug 12 - 04:11 AM
MartinRyan 29 Aug 12 - 04:16 AM
MGM·Lion 29 Aug 12 - 04:42 AM
GUEST,Blandiver 29 Aug 12 - 05:35 AM
Jim Carroll 29 Aug 12 - 10:32 AM
GUEST,leeneia 29 Aug 12 - 10:49 AM
GUEST,Blandiver 29 Aug 12 - 11:07 AM
GUEST,Blandiver 29 Aug 12 - 11:20 AM
GUEST,leeneia 29 Aug 12 - 11:34 AM
GUEST,CS 29 Aug 12 - 11:53 AM
GUEST,Blandiver 29 Aug 12 - 12:02 PM
Larry The Radio Guy 29 Aug 12 - 12:19 PM
Jim Carroll 29 Aug 12 - 01:05 PM
Brian Peters 29 Aug 12 - 02:10 PM
GUEST,Blandiver 29 Aug 12 - 02:57 PM
Brian Peters 29 Aug 12 - 03:29 PM
GUEST,Blandiver 29 Aug 12 - 04:25 PM
GUEST,Blandiver 29 Aug 12 - 06:46 PM
Steve Gardham 29 Aug 12 - 07:02 PM
Rob Naylor 29 Aug 12 - 08:09 PM
The Sandman 29 Aug 12 - 10:29 PM
GUEST 29 Aug 12 - 10:39 PM
GUEST,CS 30 Aug 12 - 04:27 AM
theleveller 30 Aug 12 - 04:30 AM
Will Fly 30 Aug 12 - 04:30 AM
GUEST,d 30 Aug 12 - 06:03 AM
johncharles 30 Aug 12 - 06:05 AM
GUEST 30 Aug 12 - 06:22 AM
Brian Peters 30 Aug 12 - 07:19 AM
Mr Happy 30 Aug 12 - 08:28 AM
GUEST,Iains 30 Aug 12 - 05:11 PM
GUEST 30 Aug 12 - 05:45 PM
GUEST 30 Aug 12 - 06:33 PM
Rob Naylor 30 Aug 12 - 06:59 PM
MGM·Lion 31 Aug 12 - 01:21 AM
Mr Happy 31 Aug 12 - 04:19 AM
GUEST,Jim Bainbridge 31 Aug 12 - 12:57 PM
The Sandman 31 Aug 12 - 01:49 PM
GUEST,Blandiver 31 Aug 12 - 03:38 PM
Steve Gardham 31 Aug 12 - 04:09 PM
GUEST,Blandiver 01 Sep 12 - 03:43 AM
theleveller 01 Sep 12 - 05:02 AM
Musket 01 Sep 12 - 06:29 AM
Henry Krinkle 01 Sep 12 - 10:06 PM
dick greenhaus 01 Sep 12 - 11:56 PM
Ole Juul 02 Sep 12 - 04:37 AM
Steve Gardham 02 Sep 12 - 05:47 AM
GUEST,raymond greenoaken 02 Sep 12 - 02:42 PM
Brian Peters 02 Sep 12 - 03:24 PM
GUEST,raymond greenoaken 02 Sep 12 - 06:11 PM
Brian Peters 02 Sep 12 - 06:45 PM
theleveller 03 Sep 12 - 03:14 AM
MGM·Lion 03 Sep 12 - 03:53 AM
theleveller 03 Sep 12 - 07:43 AM
Steve Gardham 03 Sep 12 - 02:44 PM
GUEST,Blandiver 04 Sep 12 - 06:35 AM
GUEST 04 Sep 12 - 08:15 AM
MGM·Lion 04 Sep 12 - 08:18 AM
GUEST,matt milton 04 Sep 12 - 08:28 AM
GUEST,Ed 04 Sep 12 - 08:56 AM
GUEST,Blandiver 04 Sep 12 - 10:20 AM
theleveller 04 Sep 12 - 10:40 AM
GUEST,Ed 04 Sep 12 - 10:59 AM
GUEST,matt milton 04 Sep 12 - 11:01 AM
theleveller 04 Sep 12 - 11:20 AM
GUEST,matt milton 04 Sep 12 - 11:45 AM
GUEST,raymond greenoaken 04 Sep 12 - 12:48 PM
Brian Peters 04 Sep 12 - 01:04 PM
GUEST,Stim 04 Sep 12 - 03:25 PM
Steve Gardham 04 Sep 12 - 03:29 PM
Henry Krinkle 04 Sep 12 - 03:41 PM
Steve Gardham 04 Sep 12 - 03:45 PM
GUEST 04 Sep 12 - 05:48 PM
GUEST,leeneia 04 Sep 12 - 11:08 PM
MGM·Lion 05 Sep 12 - 12:56 AM
theleveller 05 Sep 12 - 02:48 AM
GUEST,Guest 05 Sep 12 - 04:35 AM
theleveller 05 Sep 12 - 05:19 AM
Ole Juul 05 Sep 12 - 05:25 AM
Henry Krinkle 05 Sep 12 - 05:28 AM
Ole Juul 05 Sep 12 - 05:42 AM
Steve Gardham 05 Sep 12 - 03:31 PM
The Sandman 05 Sep 12 - 03:46 PM
Steve Gardham 05 Sep 12 - 05:26 PM
johncharles 05 Sep 12 - 06:52 PM
theleveller 06 Sep 12 - 03:04 AM
theleveller 06 Sep 12 - 03:27 AM
theleveller 06 Sep 12 - 03:51 AM
GUEST,Don Wise 06 Sep 12 - 04:41 AM
Stringsinger 06 Sep 12 - 11:54 AM
MGM·Lion 06 Sep 12 - 12:26 PM
johncharles 06 Sep 12 - 12:56 PM
dick greenhaus 06 Sep 12 - 01:09 PM
MGM·Lion 06 Sep 12 - 01:12 PM
PoppaGator 06 Sep 12 - 01:31 PM
dick greenhaus 06 Sep 12 - 08:22 PM
GUEST,Stim 06 Sep 12 - 09:13 PM
GUEST,Don Wise 07 Sep 12 - 04:33 AM
Will Fly 07 Sep 12 - 04:46 AM
MGM·Lion 07 Sep 12 - 05:15 AM
GUEST,CS 07 Sep 12 - 05:30 AM
MGM·Lion 07 Sep 12 - 05:32 AM
GUEST,Blandiver 07 Sep 12 - 06:03 AM
MGM·Lion 07 Sep 12 - 06:19 AM
Will Fly 07 Sep 12 - 06:22 AM
GUEST,Blandiver 07 Sep 12 - 07:41 AM
Stringsinger 07 Sep 12 - 11:00 AM
GUEST,CS 07 Sep 12 - 11:09 AM
Stringsinger 07 Sep 12 - 11:10 AM
GUEST,Blandiver 07 Sep 12 - 11:21 AM
MGM·Lion 07 Sep 12 - 11:52 AM
johncharles 07 Sep 12 - 12:35 PM
GUEST,Blandiver 07 Sep 12 - 01:01 PM
Steve Gardham 08 Sep 12 - 01:10 PM
GUEST,Brian Peters 08 Sep 12 - 02:48 PM
GUEST 09 Sep 12 - 01:42 AM
Stringsinger 09 Sep 12 - 10:40 AM
GUEST,jim bainbridge 09 Sep 12 - 04:54 PM
GUEST,jim bainbridge 09 Sep 12 - 04:56 PM
Phil Edwards 09 Sep 12 - 05:41 PM
GUEST,Stim 09 Sep 12 - 10:46 PM
Spleen Cringe 10 Sep 12 - 02:52 AM
theleveller 10 Sep 12 - 04:20 AM
GUEST 10 Sep 12 - 06:08 AM
MGM·Lion 10 Sep 12 - 06:52 AM
GUEST,Stim 10 Sep 12 - 03:51 PM
GUEST,raymond greenoaken 11 Sep 12 - 04:34 AM
MGM·Lion 11 Sep 12 - 05:02 AM
GUEST 11 Sep 12 - 03:01 PM
GUEST,Stim 11 Sep 12 - 03:02 PM
MGM·Lion 12 Sep 12 - 02:01 AM
Phil Edwards 12 Sep 12 - 02:35 AM
GUEST,Don Wise 12 Sep 12 - 04:43 AM
GUEST,CS 12 Sep 12 - 05:12 AM
Don(Wyziwyg)T 12 Sep 12 - 06:39 AM
Don(Wyziwyg)T 12 Sep 12 - 06:42 AM
GUEST,veteran 17 Nov 14 - 01:20 PM
GUEST,Joseph Scott 17 Nov 14 - 01:45 PM
GUEST 17 Nov 14 - 01:55 PM
GUEST,Desi C 18 Nov 14 - 05:48 AM
cptsnapper 18 Nov 14 - 08:32 AM
ripov 18 Nov 14 - 05:16 PM
GUEST,Phil 18 Nov 14 - 06:59 PM
GUEST,jim bainbridge 15 Nov 15 - 06:00 AM
Jim Carroll 15 Nov 15 - 07:08 AM
Jim Carroll 15 Nov 15 - 07:11 AM
Brian Peters 15 Nov 15 - 07:29 AM
Larry The Radio Guy 15 Nov 15 - 08:49 AM
Jim Carroll 15 Nov 15 - 09:14 AM
Lighter 15 Nov 15 - 09:56 AM
Jim Carroll 15 Nov 15 - 10:14 AM
GUEST,jim bainbridge 15 Nov 15 - 11:18 AM
Lighter 15 Nov 15 - 12:31 PM
Jim Carroll 15 Nov 15 - 01:23 PM
Steve Gardham 15 Nov 15 - 01:32 PM
GUEST 15 Nov 15 - 04:46 PM
GUEST,Guest 15 Nov 15 - 05:46 PM
Jim Carroll 15 Nov 15 - 07:22 PM
Larry The Radio Guy 15 Nov 15 - 08:01 PM
GUEST,Ripov 15 Nov 15 - 08:17 PM
GUEST,ripov 15 Nov 15 - 08:23 PM
GUEST 16 Nov 15 - 03:12 AM
Jim Carroll 16 Nov 15 - 03:53 AM
GUEST,guest 16 Nov 15 - 04:02 AM
Jim Carroll 16 Nov 15 - 05:37 AM
GUEST,Phil 16 Nov 15 - 08:02 AM
Jim Carroll 16 Nov 15 - 08:20 AM
Steve Gardham 16 Nov 15 - 09:43 AM
Lighter 16 Nov 15 - 09:59 AM
GUEST,jim bainbridge 16 Nov 15 - 11:03 AM
GUEST,jim bainbridge 16 Nov 15 - 11:17 AM
MGM·Lion 16 Nov 15 - 11:19 AM
Jim Carroll 16 Nov 15 - 11:38 AM
GUEST 16 Nov 15 - 11:50 AM
Lighter 16 Nov 15 - 11:59 AM
Brian Peters 16 Nov 15 - 12:10 PM
Steve Gardham 16 Nov 15 - 02:37 PM
Jim Carroll 16 Nov 15 - 03:23 PM
Lighter 16 Nov 15 - 03:35 PM
Steve Gardham 16 Nov 15 - 03:46 PM
Jim Carroll 16 Nov 15 - 08:31 PM
GUEST 17 Nov 15 - 02:56 AM
Bonzo3legs 17 Nov 15 - 03:06 AM
Jim Carroll 17 Nov 15 - 03:34 AM
GUEST 17 Nov 15 - 03:47 AM
The Sandman 17 Nov 15 - 03:58 AM
Brian Peters 17 Nov 15 - 04:20 AM
Jim Carroll 17 Nov 15 - 05:37 AM
GUEST 17 Nov 15 - 06:55 AM
Lighter 17 Nov 15 - 07:03 AM
Jim Carroll 17 Nov 15 - 07:16 AM
Lighter 17 Nov 15 - 08:47 AM
GUEST,Desi C 17 Nov 15 - 08:57 AM
Steve Gardham 17 Nov 15 - 09:08 AM
GUEST,jim bainbridge 17 Nov 15 - 09:40 AM
Brian Peters 17 Nov 15 - 11:11 AM
GUEST 17 Nov 15 - 12:13 PM
MGM·Lion 17 Nov 15 - 12:38 PM
GUEST,punkfolkrocker 17 Nov 15 - 12:58 PM
Jim Carroll 17 Nov 15 - 01:21 PM
Steve Gardham 17 Nov 15 - 01:32 PM
Jim Carroll 17 Nov 15 - 02:48 PM
GUEST 17 Nov 15 - 05:30 PM
Jim Carroll 18 Nov 15 - 04:11 AM
GUEST,jim bainbridge 18 Nov 15 - 09:29 AM
Jim Carroll 18 Nov 15 - 11:13 AM
Jim Carroll 18 Nov 15 - 11:18 AM
Brian Peters 18 Nov 15 - 11:19 AM
The Sandman 18 Nov 15 - 01:58 PM
Bonzo3legs 18 Nov 15 - 02:28 PM
Jim Carroll 18 Nov 15 - 02:56 PM
The Sandman 18 Nov 15 - 03:38 PM
Steve Gardham 18 Nov 15 - 04:09 PM
The Sandman 18 Nov 15 - 04:33 PM
Brakn 18 Nov 15 - 05:21 PM
Jim Carroll 18 Nov 15 - 06:46 PM
The Sandman 19 Nov 15 - 03:17 AM
GUEST,Allan Conn 19 Nov 15 - 03:54 AM
The Sandman 19 Nov 15 - 04:19 AM
GUEST,Phil 19 Nov 15 - 04:32 AM
The Sandman 19 Nov 15 - 04:33 AM
GUEST,Raggytash 19 Nov 15 - 04:55 AM
GUEST,Dave 19 Nov 15 - 05:19 AM
GUEST,Colin 19 Nov 15 - 05:26 AM
GUEST,CJ 19 Nov 15 - 06:02 AM
Brian Peters 19 Nov 15 - 08:00 AM
The Sandman 19 Nov 15 - 09:38 AM
Brian Peters 19 Nov 15 - 11:10 AM
Jim Carroll 19 Nov 15 - 12:11 PM
The Sandman 19 Nov 15 - 12:33 PM
GUEST,jim bainbridge 19 Nov 15 - 01:30 PM
The Sandman 19 Nov 15 - 01:49 PM
Jim Carroll 19 Nov 15 - 02:58 PM
Brian Peters 19 Nov 15 - 03:07 PM
GUEST,CJ 19 Nov 15 - 03:09 PM
The Sandman 19 Nov 15 - 03:11 PM
GUEST,Phil 19 Nov 15 - 03:40 PM
Lighter 19 Nov 15 - 06:13 PM
GUEST,jim bainbridge 20 Nov 15 - 02:10 PM
MGM·Lion 20 Nov 15 - 06:00 PM
MGM·Lion 20 Nov 15 - 06:09 PM
GUEST 20 Nov 15 - 11:58 PM
GUEST,punkfolkrocker 21 Nov 15 - 12:03 AM
GUEST 21 Nov 15 - 02:14 AM
Jim Carroll 21 Nov 15 - 04:45 AM
Bonzo3legs 21 Nov 15 - 09:20 AM
The Sandman 21 Nov 15 - 12:48 PM
keberoxu 21 Nov 15 - 01:25 PM
GUEST,punkfolkrocker 21 Nov 15 - 02:37 PM
GUEST,Allan Conn 21 Nov 15 - 04:04 PM
The Sandman 21 Nov 15 - 04:20 PM
The Sandman 21 Nov 15 - 04:34 PM
The Sandman 21 Nov 15 - 04:36 PM
The Sandman 21 Nov 15 - 04:37 PM
The Sandman 21 Nov 15 - 06:38 PM
The Sandman 21 Nov 15 - 06:41 PM
GUEST,Allan Conn 22 Nov 15 - 02:02 AM
The Sandman 22 Nov 15 - 03:33 AM
Jim Carroll 22 Nov 15 - 04:40 AM
Jim Carroll 22 Nov 15 - 05:14 AM
The Sandman 22 Nov 15 - 07:10 AM
GUEST 22 Nov 15 - 07:39 AM
Jim Carroll 22 Nov 15 - 07:48 AM
Bonzo3legs 22 Nov 15 - 11:27 AM
The Sandman 22 Nov 15 - 12:39 PM
The Sandman 22 Nov 15 - 12:46 PM
MGM·Lion 22 Nov 15 - 01:11 PM
GUEST 22 Nov 15 - 01:18 PM
MGM·Lion 22 Nov 15 - 01:36 PM
GUEST,punkfolkrocker 22 Nov 15 - 01:53 PM
Jim Carroll 22 Nov 15 - 02:17 PM
The Sandman 22 Nov 15 - 03:29 PM
The Sandman 22 Nov 15 - 06:04 PM
Larry The Radio Guy 22 Nov 15 - 07:23 PM
MGM·Lion 22 Nov 15 - 11:38 PM
MGM·Lion 23 Nov 15 - 12:43 AM
Bert 23 Nov 15 - 12:52 AM
MGM·Lion 23 Nov 15 - 01:11 AM
The Sandman 23 Nov 15 - 01:23 AM
GUEST 23 Nov 15 - 03:13 AM
MGM·Lion 23 Nov 15 - 04:04 AM
Jim Carroll 23 Nov 15 - 04:18 AM
Bonzo3legs 23 Nov 15 - 04:53 AM
MGM·Lion 23 Nov 15 - 05:23 AM
The Sandman 23 Nov 15 - 06:34 AM
GUEST,Punkfolkrocker 23 Nov 15 - 07:19 AM
GUEST 23 Nov 15 - 07:55 AM
Jim Carroll 23 Nov 15 - 08:27 AM
Teribus 23 Nov 15 - 09:55 AM
Jim Carroll 23 Nov 15 - 11:06 AM
GUEST,punkfolkrocker 23 Nov 15 - 11:39 AM
The Sandman 23 Nov 15 - 12:24 PM
Jim Carroll 23 Nov 15 - 12:57 PM
GUEST,punkfolkrocker 23 Nov 15 - 01:07 PM
GUEST,Raggytash 23 Nov 15 - 01:17 PM
Jim Carroll 23 Nov 15 - 01:25 PM
GUEST,keith price 23 Nov 15 - 01:41 PM
keberoxu 23 Nov 15 - 02:14 PM
GUEST,punkfolkrocker 23 Nov 15 - 02:19 PM
Jim Carroll 23 Nov 15 - 02:51 PM
GUEST 23 Nov 15 - 02:54 PM
GUEST,punkfolkrocker 23 Nov 15 - 03:04 PM
keberoxu 23 Nov 15 - 05:21 PM
MGM·Lion 24 Nov 15 - 12:57 AM
GUEST 24 Nov 15 - 02:52 AM
Jim Carroll 24 Nov 15 - 03:35 AM
GUEST,keith price 24 Nov 15 - 04:13 AM
GUEST,Guest from Sanity 24 Nov 15 - 04:16 AM
MGM·Lion 24 Nov 15 - 04:48 AM
Will Fly 24 Nov 15 - 05:10 AM
Will Fly 24 Nov 15 - 05:12 AM
GUEST 24 Nov 15 - 05:24 AM
The Sandman 24 Nov 15 - 01:02 PM
GUEST 24 Nov 15 - 04:18 PM
MGM·Lion 25 Nov 15 - 06:02 AM
Will Fly 25 Nov 15 - 11:42 AM
GUEST,Allan Conn 25 Nov 15 - 12:29 PM
Lighter 25 Nov 15 - 02:38 PM
MGM·Lion 25 Nov 15 - 02:50 PM
Lighter 25 Nov 15 - 04:58 PM
GUEST,guest 26 Nov 15 - 03:12 PM
GUEST 26 Nov 15 - 07:57 PM
GUEST,jim bainbridge 27 Nov 15 - 08:20 AM
Jim Carroll 27 Nov 15 - 08:37 AM
GUEST,punkfolkrocker 27 Nov 15 - 08:40 AM
GUEST,Raggytash 27 Nov 15 - 08:43 AM
Vic Smith 27 Nov 15 - 09:08 AM
MGM·Lion 27 Nov 15 - 11:56 AM
The Sandman 27 Nov 15 - 12:05 PM
GUEST 27 Nov 15 - 12:19 PM
Brian Peters 27 Nov 15 - 01:23 PM
Jim Carroll 27 Nov 15 - 01:33 PM
MGM·Lion 27 Nov 15 - 01:50 PM
MGM·Lion 28 Nov 15 - 02:11 AM
Will Fly 28 Nov 15 - 04:17 AM
Bonzo3legs 28 Nov 15 - 04:56 AM
MGM·Lion 28 Nov 15 - 05:09 AM
GUEST,jim bainbridge 28 Nov 15 - 06:03 AM
Jim Carroll 28 Nov 15 - 06:36 AM
The Sandman 28 Nov 15 - 08:22 AM
The Sandman 28 Nov 15 - 08:47 AM
The Sandman 28 Nov 15 - 08:55 AM
The Sandman 28 Nov 15 - 09:01 AM
Jim Carroll 28 Nov 15 - 09:41 AM
GUEST,Raggytash 28 Nov 15 - 09:49 AM
Jim Carroll 28 Nov 15 - 10:29 AM
The Sandman 28 Nov 15 - 01:31 PM
Jim Carroll 28 Nov 15 - 01:36 PM
The Sandman 28 Nov 15 - 02:27 PM
Jim Carroll 28 Nov 15 - 02:38 PM
The Sandman 28 Nov 15 - 02:51 PM
Jim Carroll 28 Nov 15 - 03:08 PM
The Sandman 28 Nov 15 - 04:12 PM
Jim Carroll 28 Nov 15 - 08:42 PM
Jim Carroll 28 Nov 15 - 08:42 PM
The Sandman 29 Nov 15 - 03:16 AM
The Sandman 29 Nov 15 - 03:29 AM
The Sandman 29 Nov 15 - 03:44 AM
GUEST,jim bainbridge 29 Nov 15 - 06:53 AM
Brian Peters 29 Nov 15 - 07:01 AM
Jim Carroll 29 Nov 15 - 09:34 AM
Bonzo3legs 29 Nov 15 - 11:55 AM
The Sandman 29 Nov 15 - 12:49 PM
The Sandman 29 Nov 15 - 12:59 PM
The Sandman 29 Nov 15 - 01:02 PM
Jim Carroll 29 Nov 15 - 01:23 PM
Jim Carroll 29 Nov 15 - 01:29 PM
Bonzo3legs 29 Nov 15 - 01:49 PM
Brian Peters 29 Nov 15 - 02:09 PM
The Sandman 29 Nov 15 - 02:25 PM
Steve Gardham 29 Nov 15 - 04:16 PM
Jim Carroll 30 Nov 15 - 03:07 AM
MGM·Lion 30 Nov 15 - 04:46 AM
Jim Carroll 30 Nov 15 - 05:11 AM
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Subject: Folklore: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: Larry The Radio Guy
Date: 24 Aug 12 - 05:51 PM

The recent hot debate on "folk" music ended with a suggestion that Johnny B. Goode was becoming a 'folksong'.....with someone else saying 'absolutely not...it's rock 'n 'roll.

I had started a thread a couple years ago entitled Nominations for 'new' traditional song"---and got some great response.   Many of the suggestions, though, were for songs that were always considered in the 'folk' genre....songs by Pete Seeger, Ewan McColl, etc.

Many years ago at the first Mariposa Folk Festival I ever went to (early 70's, I think), there was at one stage a panel discussion with John Cohen, Michael Cooney,and Murray McLaughlin called something like "when does it stop being folk".   It was fascinating, with Murray having the "it's all folk" philosophy, Michael Cooney on the opposite side of the fence, and John Cohen sort of being in the middle.   

One thing that haunted me that John Cohen spoke about was how a song like "Six Days on the Road" truly was entering the oral tradition and could probably be considered to be somewhere on the folk-song continuum.   

I know that this topic, for many of you, has been done to death and some of you are sick of it. But......I still feel if we're going to talk about traditional or folk music, it's important to know where the boundary is.

So.......can a song that was written and defined as a pop song or 'rock 'n roll' ever become considered traditional. And, if so, what would it take? And finally.....any examples of songs that have met this (or are meeting this) criteria?


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: Stanron
Date: 24 Aug 12 - 05:59 PM

1 yes. Johnny B Good may not be the best example but it has been subject to the folk process. It has changed in different ways in different places.
2. See above.
3. Over to you. I'm sure lots of examples will appear.


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: GUEST,999
Date: 24 Aug 12 - 06:27 PM

It could happen. It was first a pop song.


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: Don Firth
Date: 24 Aug 12 - 06:30 PM

Well, the whole thing is a can of worms of course, but in my opinion at least, "Johnny B. Good" is not a folk song. I don't ever hear the song other than on the radio, and even at that, not lately.

Nor do I consider some song that someone at an open mike says, "This is a folk song I wrote the other day when I was on the bus." Or any song that some singer-songwriter insists is a folk song, but nobody ever sings it except them.

Ever watch that series on PBS, "Antiques Road Show?" I tend to liken folk songs to antiques. A genuine antique has a "provenance." It has a history. It's been around long enough to qualify as a genuine antique
.From Wikipedia:

Antique (Latin: antiquus; old) is an old collectable item. It is collected or desirable because of its age, beauty, rarity, condition, utility, personal emotional connection, and/or other unique features. It is an object that represents a previous era or time period in human society. It is common practice to define "antique", as applying to objects at least 100 years old. Collectibles are, generally speaking, the possible antiques of the future and generally less than 100 years old.
It's proven that it's valuable because many people have possessed it and used it, and it may show certain signs of wear (Folk processed? Appearing in a number of slightly, or very, different versions?). Whereas the song written on the bus last week that only the writer sings so far may be a collectible, depending on whether others find it appealing enough to want to sing it themselves. But it is not yet an "antique."

Or a folk song.

I think that comparison holds up pretty well, no?

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: Joe Offer
Date: 24 Aug 12 - 06:34 PM

999, I was about to say you must be kidding to suggest that "I'd Like to Teach the World to Sing" could become a folk song, since it started life as a commercial. But hey, maybe commercials have a certain commonality, and they're the modern roots of folk culture. I've been singing the same beer advertising jingles for fifty years or more. If I live long enough, maybe they'll become folk songs.


I still have to say there's a huge element of futility in these discussions, since it's mostly a matter of semantics and definitions. There is no divinely-revealed definition of folk song (and some folkies would argue that there is no "divine"), so there are many different definitions. Songs may fit some definitions, but not others.

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: Ole Juul
Date: 24 Aug 12 - 06:36 PM

I'm curious about what "the folk process" is. Where I come from we had books of songs called folk songs and they were sung universally by the people. Many of them were written by well know composers specifically for this purpose. Composers such as Weyse, Gruntvig, and Nielsen, wrote these songs, and along with older anonymous songs, are all called traditional. As far as I know the ones from these composers have not undergone any process. I know my great grand parents sung these folk songs, and as a kid in the 50's have sung them with my parents and grandparents. Everyone sings them as written. This is the Danish view. Am I to believe that the "folk process" is peculiar to English?


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: GUEST,999
Date: 24 Aug 12 - 06:42 PM

Good eye, Joe. It was a 'pop' song first: Coca Cola.


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: GUEST,999
Date: 24 Aug 12 - 06:52 PM

Just to add my two cents, suppose a trad song does become a pop hit. Can it then still be considered a folk song?


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: Leadfingers
Date: 24 Aug 12 - 06:57 PM

The Rose Of Allendale has been accepted as a 'Traditional' Folk song despite the fact that it was Victorian Parlour Ballad (Thats a Pop Song for the period) . I see no reason why a number of well crafted modern songs shouldnt go the same way !


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: Henry Krinkle
Date: 24 Aug 12 - 07:01 PM

They were all pop songs in the beginning. Now they're old, antique pop songs.
(:-( 0)=


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: pdq
Date: 24 Aug 12 - 07:02 PM

The song "Fox on the Run" was written in the 1960s in England and was made popular (as a Rock song) by a Jewish guy from South Africa.

It is widely played by Bluegrass groups who are, for the most part, Folk.


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: GUEST,Blandiver
Date: 24 Aug 12 - 07:11 PM

Pop music is Traditional Music. If you look at the website of The International Society for Traditional Music it says: Its aims are to further the study, practice, documentation, preservation and dissemination of traditional music —including folk, popular, classical and urban music— and dance of all countries.

If you're asking can Pop music become Folk, well that depends on whatever your personal prescriptions of Folk are. If you define Folk Music in terms of context rather than content, then I'd pretty much ALL music has the potential be considered Folk Music if played & discussed by Folkies in a Designated Folk Context (Folk Club, Festival, Mudcat etc.). This is an empirical definition: it states not all music is Folk Music, but all music can be Folk Music if played by Folkies in the name of Folk.

So Folk Music = Music Played by Folkies. If a Folkie plays Johnny B. Goode, then, chances are, it'll be Folk Music. Certainly if Jim Eldon played it (which he probably has done at some point) it'll be Folk in the best sense of the word. If a Rock 'n' Roll musician plays it, then it'll be Rock 'n' Roll - a Traditional popular musical idiom. Simples!


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: GUEST,Stim
Date: 24 Aug 12 - 07:14 PM

No, Old Juul, the folk process is a universal thing. It is an ongoing phenomena that shapes the music we sing in much the same way that the waves of the ocean shape the stones and drift wood along the shore.

We have to start with something important, though, and that is that the phrase "Folk Songs" on a book cover and the phrase "Folk Songs" as it is used by ethnomusicologists.

If the way that you sang the songs in the book, what ever songs they were called, is the way that the music teacher taught, it probably doesn't have much to do with the folk process (but maybe still some)

If you sang a slightly different melody than was in the book, or left out or added some verses, or, especially, if you used different names in the song and made jokes out of some of the lines or verses, then the folk process comes into play.


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: Bee-dubya-ell
Date: 24 Aug 12 - 08:53 PM

Sure, pop songs can become traditional. So can mom songs.


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 24 Aug 12 - 09:06 PM

If somebody remembers the song, especially but not exclusively after they forget who sang it first, it's part of "folk memory" and probably qualifies to be at least "potential folk."

If two people remember a song, especially after the original singer isn't around, it is almost a fact that they will sing it differently, hence it will already have been subject to what some call "the folk process" (but the composers just call "song mangling") and certainly has begun the process of "becoming folk."

The claim that "it can't be folk because it's pop" doesn't hold up against the fact that more than one of the current "originators" of songs/tunes now considered hard-core folk were, when alive, conductors of or players in their city symphonies and based many of their tunes on plagiarizations of (how revoltin') "classical" composers. (The classical composers retaliated by using "folk tunes" for their themes in some compositions, tit-for-tat.)

The valid question is only "is it folk yet?

John


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: Larry The Radio Guy
Date: 24 Aug 12 - 09:10 PM

I definitely agree with Don that the modern 'self-written' song not being a folk song....unless it's adapted by 'the folk'.

I also think that Don's analogy of 'antiques' is an interesting one. But with 'folk' there are always exceptions....I don't know if there are with antiques. Don't they have to meet all the criteria to be antiques?

And I've heard Johnny B. Goode played by many a bar/jam band....and most of the time it's awful.   Never know how they'll do it.

Re the 100 yr. old criteria: There are a lot of commercial songs that were influenced by traditional sources....the songs aren't particularly old, but the sources or 'fragments' they took it from are.

Blandiver's criteria is also interesting. Folk music is "music played by folkies". It could get pretty circular. If a folkie brought his or her computerized equipment that s/he just bought, and started demonstrating it at a 'folk' open stage.....would it be folk music?


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: Ole Juul
Date: 24 Aug 12 - 10:02 PM

Stim: If the way that you sang the songs in the book, what ever songs they were called, is the way that the music teacher taught, it probably doesn't have much to do with the folk process (but maybe still some)

If you sang a slightly different melody than was in the book, or left out or added some verses, or, especially, if you used different names in the song and made jokes out of some of the lines or verses, then the folk process comes into play.


Thanks for answering that Stim. The songs in the books were indeed what we called folk music and it was pretty universal. Music teachers would not teach this stuff in those days - this was folk music. It is what was sung in the schools and at parties and get-togethers - often organized for the purpose. Any process here would be a matter of cultural development and not really effecting the music.

In one sense, there was actually process. The melodic content and harmonic structure was a direct development of Germanic musical traditions as it had come to fruition in the Baroque.

That said, these songs (because of their universality during those generations) were much used as the basis for made-up songs at weddings and similar events. Perhaps this could be better described as popular music even though it is what was called folk. It is also noteworthy that there was almost never any accompaniment - except occasionally piano at public gatherings.

Perhaps Denmark doesn't actually have a folk music in the sense that it is being discussed here. Perhaps Denmark (outside of art music) only has historical, and popular. A Wikipedial entry on the Danish cultural canon doesn't even mention "folk" music and only lists that to which I am referring. (see here)

I don't mean to derail Larry's query, but it seems to me that there is something here which is specific to English and American culture which would be useful to pinpoint if any discussion of what is, or can become, "folk" is to have any meaning.


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: Ole Juul
Date: 24 Aug 12 - 10:16 PM

Larry Saidman: I definitely agree with Don that the modern 'self-written' song not being a folk song....unless it's adapted by 'the folk'.

It is adapted by 'the folk'. The modern 'self-written' song is a culmination of a cultural journey. People "write" songs using popular chord progressions (which are changing all the time) and melodic ideas which are popular and people identify with. If that isn't the music of the folk then I can't imagine what is. :)

Note too the word "write". This is not generally what is happening in that genre. People compose these songs in a very non-academic way - far away from paper. The very process is a popular tradition. I think it speaks of a time and a culture. Whether a large number of people listen to, or take up, the song is irrelevant to my way of thinking. It is the culture and the process which makes it "folk".


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: Joe Offer
Date: 24 Aug 12 - 10:20 PM

Woody Guthrie's songs have certainly gone through the folk process. If you look at some of Woody's early versions of This Land Is Your Land, you'll find a lot that you wouldn't sing. I sing the "Communist verses," but I sing a revised version that just seems to work better than the original.
And some of the original words of Union Maid are downright sexist, and I'd never sing them.

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: Charley Noble
Date: 24 Aug 12 - 10:24 PM

I seriously doubt if there is any folk song which was not first a popular composed song. In this modern age it probably takes less time to process a popular song into a folk song. But even in the 19th century a minstrel song would make the rounds of the world in less than a year. Lord knows, "Fiddlers Green" has been collected in ireland as a traditional folk song and no doubt "Mary Ellen Carter Rise Again" is considered a folk song somewhere in Canada. But I still like to think that a real folk song has marinated for some period of time, as it's passed from person to person, dropping a verse here or there, changing a word or line, and generally improving in quality.

But not every pop song goes through that process. Some rise to the top and then sink to the bottom, never to rise again.

Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: Stewie
Date: 24 Aug 12 - 10:29 PM

'I Got Your Ice Cold Nugrape' was a sort of commercial. I reckon it is as much a folk song as any other 'blues' from that period. It fulfils quite a few of Don Firth's criteria set out above.

Nu Grape.

--Stewie.


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: Joe Offer
Date: 24 Aug 12 - 10:30 PM

Oh, I gotta say something about 999's comment about "I'd Like to Teach the World to Sing" being a "pop" song because it was first used to advertise Coca Cola....

Bad pun.
Really, really bad pun.

But I like it.

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: GUEST,Stim
Date: 24 Aug 12 - 11:31 PM

Ole Juul, I was in a band that played a suite of traditional Danish dance tunes. Traditional Danish songs and dances were collected by some of the people that you mentioned above. Other than playing the tunes, I don't know too much about them, but here is a link
Danish Traditional Music. I do know that, like here in the US and in the UK, the music has been preserved and revived.

For those of us who care to bicker about it, here and in the UK, at least, it has created a question about whether the people who play this revived music are part of "the tradition" or whether "the tradition" ended long ago and they are merely re-creationists. Added to that is a question about whether there are other contemporary "living traditions"( and, if so, what they might be).

This question is tirelessly rephrased and debated, mostly in online forums like this one. Perhaps "tirelessly" is not completely accurate, some of us do get tired of it:-)


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: Elmore
Date: 25 Aug 12 - 01:00 AM

Perhaps a pop song can become a really bad traditional song.


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: Ole Juul
Date: 25 Aug 12 - 02:24 AM

Stim: . . . the music has been preserved and revived.   . . .it has created a question about whether the people who play this revived music are part of "the tradition" or whether "the tradition" ended long ago and they are merely re-creationists.

So you've experienced the music. Would you call that folk? I wouldn't, because it isn't (and perhaps never was) popular. I think music has to be popular to be folk. Regardless of the past situation with this music I understand why you can get tired of debating whether that kind of thing was or is traditional. I don't even understand the question. Is Bach traditional? In Denmark, probably a lot more than the local historical music is.

Re-creationist? What's that supposed to mean? I can imagine it would refer to music that was lost for a while, such as authentic early music. I wouldn't call that "merely" though. It serves us well, regardless of whether we want to listen to it or not. I suppose another meaning of "re-creationist" could be someone who plays the same thing twice. hehe

- Ole
       (fairly, but not too, old)


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 25 Aug 12 - 02:52 AM

" If you look at the website of The International Society for Traditional Music it says......"
Having your cake and eating it Bland?
You have made a career of sneering at the findings of the ISTM and at trying to show that they have no right to define folk music; now, it appears, you are citing their present policy as proof that pop songs can be Traditional - "Pop music is Traditional Music".
I trust your recent (between yesteday's thread and now) trip down the Road to Damascus was a pleasant one - or is it a case of manipulating the world from your armchair?
Definitions are never a matter of waiting for pronouncements from above and then carving them in stone.
The 1954 definition worked (to a degree) because it became universaly accepted both by performers and researchers, for long enough for it to take root; it became recognised as a guide to an understanding what made up folk music, and, because nobody has come up with a suitable alternative to day, it remains just that.
It not only stood the test of time and acted as a unifying means of communication between interested people and groups across the world but it stood the litmus test of making sense to what many of us found in the field - it worked.
The present offerings of the ISTM have undergone no such process, have not been widely and openly discussed and have not stood any particular test of time - they are one opinionion among a group of others.
You have persistantly accused other of accepting the '54 definition as a set of rules, which is exactly what you are doing here because this particular "rule book" happens to fit your somewhat bizarre (if sedentary) pronouncements.      
"I seriously doubt if there is any folk song which was not first a popular composed song"
Depends what you mean by "popular" Charlie.
My particular 'Road to Damascus' was finding the existance of several hundred songs that never left the Traveller sites or the rural communities in which they were made, yet they served those communities, in some cases for generations, in the mouths of tiny handfuls of people - not part of the national 'traditional' repertoir and not really widely popular enough to be described as 'popularly composed', but certainly traditional.
It's complicated
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: DMcG
Date: 25 Aug 12 - 03:05 AM

"It's complicated."


Wise words indeed. I think part of the problem is that 'traditional' is really an umbrella terms covering a whole complex of situations. For example, it's worth thinking about back-of-the-bus songs, by which I mean the sort of song that a moderately random group of people on a social outing might start singing to pass the time on a journey, and perhaps the prime example of this is "Yellow Submarine". I think it wouldn't be too misleading that to say that is a traditional song to sing in that scenario, without claiming the song itself is traditional.


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: Acme
Date: 25 Aug 12 - 03:42 AM

The old English broadsides of popular songs were a booming business for printers from around 1500 through the 1700s - and they're in the folk tradition now, if they are still sung at all (because while they were liberally borrowed and printed they were rarely attributed to an author, is my understanding). People go back to the Bodlean and many other sources to find the original sheets.

I first learned about some of this from a lecture by Lucie Skeaping of the BBC "Early Music Show" back in 2007. Here is the notice I posted at Mudcat about her lecture. That link suggests several good sources.

Johnny B. Goode (a poor choice to begin with) doesn't have the filter of time and the folk process of different printers taking the same words and putting them in a different tune, or vice versa, as occurred with those early printed songs. It hasn't gone through different performers passing it on as they remember it, building in changes along the way. There may be different arrangements, yes, but it is essentially still the same song: the copyright laws certainly play a role in how much a modern song can be changed. Let alone the many forms of recording and record keeping of words and music that make gradual change less likely. Intentional change yes, but is that the same as the "folk process" as I've heard Barre Toelken and Michael Cooney describe it? No.

You'd be better off starting this discussion with something like Sloop John B or looking at songs by John Jacob Niles that almost sound like folk songs from the start, or songs collected and arranged by Percy Grainger. Then you'd have some real meat to fight over!

SRS


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: GUEST,Blandiver
Date: 25 Aug 12 - 04:29 AM

JC : Having your cake and eating it Bland?

Not at all, old man. Most of what I said up there I said back on the old '1954 & All That' thread which I opened in March 2009 - certainly the remit of the ICTM, which is, I feel, crucial to the notion of just what Traditional Music is. It's certainly inclusive - huge in fact: Folk, Pop & Classical - and whilst that certainly suits the subject of this thread, it falls way outside the Folkie nuerosis that only 'their type of music' can be considered 'traditional' or 'folk processed' which is demonstrable hokum.

I wonder - do the ICTM still stand by their findings as the IFCM? Or why, for that matter, they felt compelled to change the name? What was their Road to Damascus?

Did you see Maud Karpeles on TV the other night? Part of a BBC Proms broadcast of the music of Vaughan Williams. I just caught it in passing but a fascinating glimpse all the same.

*

SRS : The old English broadsides of popular songs were a booming business for printers from around 1500 through the 1700s

And beyond, SRS. Have you seen the Axon Broadside collection at Chethams in Manchester, UK? Worth a look. Printed in the 19th century, many of the songs have been subsequently collected & recorded from Traditional singers (you can hear 'Out With My Gun in the Morning' (sheet 104) sung by Jimmy Knights on VOTP 18 - & sung by Jim Causley on the Woodbine & Ivy album). Even those that haven't offer a fascinating window into the idiomatic nature of English Folk Song & Ballad making. At 280 ballads maybe it's not quite as extensive as the Bodleian Broadsides, but the scans are of a superior quality!

Axon Ballad Collection


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: GUEST,Stim
Date: 25 Aug 12 - 04:40 AM

Ole Juul--I like to play music on acoustic instruments, and I particularly enjoy playing for dancing, so at one time, I played a lot for "international folk dancers", who do a lot of Scandinavian dances, so I am familiar with the whole "Spelman" thing. I am also a bit of a a wonk, and have a never ending curiosity about sources, origins, construction, and such things.

One thing I learned from playing music is that for audiences, it exists only in the present. They don't really care how old a song is, or how it came to be. Often, the are scarcely aware of what it is about. They really just want it to make them feel like they are part of the moment.

Music is about the best way to make people feel part of the moment, but what music? A room full of International Folk Dancers might feel an overwhelming connection to the earth and the people when they hear a Swedish Hambopolksa from the 19th century, but a room full of Swedes might rather hear ABBA (I can tell you this from my own experience!).


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 25 Aug 12 - 05:10 AM

"I wonder - do the ICTM still stand by their findings as the IFCM?"
As I've said, it's the message and not the medium that is important - Your argument was "Pop music is Traditional Music" - look IFMC said so, so it must be true.
I aways know you're bullshitting when you call me 'old man' - and I always expect a waterfall of meaningless verbiage - thanks for not disappointing me
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: GUEST,Blandiver
Date: 25 Aug 12 - 05:46 AM

I aways know you're bullshitting when you call me 'old man'

Jim - I only call you Old Man as a mark of respect. Seriously. It comes from the film 'For a Few Dollars More' - it's what Clint Eastwood's Monco calls Lee Van Cleef's Col. Mortimer. It acknowledges the simple fact that we both are, each of us in our own very different ways, Bounty Hunters in the wilds of Folk Song. It also acknowledges that I defer entirely to both your seniority and your contribution to a greater work before which I stand in awe. I'm not bullshitting here - I'm just an average Folkie with a proclivity for mouthing off in the face of entrenched religiosity & fundamentalism which (I feel) ill befits the glory of the subject. Personally, I count in an honour that you bother discussing these things with me at all. It always passes a cheery hour....

So...

Your argument was "Pop music is Traditional Music" - look IFMC said so, so it must be true.

Would the IFMC said such a thing? The ICTM certainly did - and not without good reason. It is my contention that the Pop music of today is part of an unbroken continuous tradition of Vernacular Music Making stretching back 50,000 years at least. Each idiomatic genre of Pop Music derives from that which proceeded it - nothing came out of nowhere. This to me is what Traditional means. It's acknowleding the glorious Rootedness of all human music making and respecting it accordingly. Pop, Folk, & Classical musics are all born of Traditions and Processes and are thus evolving as a consequence. For sure, you can go back and isolate a particular idiom (as Prof Child did with his Popular Ballads) but that filters out so much else and creates the false picture upon which the Folk Song Revival is predicated. It's a nice picture though - as nice as those on the Axon Broadsides certainly, but just part of something that always a good deal broader.


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: Ole Juul
Date: 25 Aug 12 - 05:59 AM

This bears repeating.

Blandiver: It is my contention that the Pop music of today is part of an unbroken continuous tradition of Vernacular Music Making stretching back 50,000 years at least. Each idiomatic genre of Pop Music derives from that which proceeded it - nothing came out of nowhere. This to me is what Traditional means. It's acknowleding the glorious Rootedness of all human music making and respecting it accordingly. Pop, Folk, & Classical musics are all born of Traditions and Processes and are thus evolving as a consequence.

It seems like there are some who like to set themselves apart. In my experience it is the more conservative element too. Funny that.


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: Brian Peters
Date: 25 Aug 12 - 06:16 AM

'Johnny B. Goode' might entertain claims to have become a traditional song if its lyrics (and not just the chorus) were widely-known amongst the public at large (and not just a tiny number of lead vocalists in covers bands), and passed down in thousands of households from one generation to the next (which is what 'traditional' means in this context). The thing that makes 'folk music' - in its original usage - 'different' is that it was not the preserve of a self-appointed caste of musicians. The excellent discussion in the New Penguin Book of English Folk Songs of folk song in a social context makes the point that singing for diversion and entertainment was once very widespread in the population. It also declares, incidnetally, that for all Cecil Sharp's supposed selectivity in his collecting methods, his findings regarding repertoire were more or less confirmed by the collectors who came later, and operated with more inclusive criteria.

Excellent points from Stilly River Sage, by the way.


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: GUEST,Blandiver
Date: 25 Aug 12 - 06:49 AM

and passed down in thousands of households from one generation to the next (which is what 'traditional' means in this context).

Vernacular musical usage was always a good deal more widespread than the prescriptions of Folk would allow. Back in the 80's I lived in mining communities and knew key singers & musicians in their 90's (and older) who would talk openly about taking their one-string fiddle quartets around the farms at Christmas time and the colliery band traditions which many of them had learned from their fathers, but on the subject of Folk Song Proper I invariably drew a blank. Even growing up as a kid we had a wealth of Traditional Northumbriana in our family but it was always just a part of a much wider picture. According to family tradition, my father played all sorts of music on the piano, as did his mother before him, and even sang certain 'Folk Songs' and shanties but my mother never remembered him being involved with Folk as such.

It seems to be the aim of Folk to filter out what it sees as the 'pure stuff' from the background noise of working-class culture as a whole. Maybe I'm alone in finding that a tad specious.


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: Ole Juul
Date: 25 Aug 12 - 07:42 AM

It seems to be the aim of Folk to filter out what it sees as the 'pure stuff' from the background noise of working-class culture as a whole. Maybe I'm alone in finding that a tad specious.

No you're not. :)


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 25 Aug 12 - 07:43 AM

"I count in an honour that you bother discussing these things with me at all. It always passes a cheery hour...."
Does this mean the wedding's back on then?
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: GUEST,Don Wise
Date: 25 Aug 12 - 08:32 AM

I don't know about "Johnny B. Goode" but "Memphis Tennessee" certainly turns up, either complete or in parts, in a'folk' music context. Ever heard Bob Davenport's version? Or Pete Coe's reworking of "Marrowbones"?

Personally, I consider that a lot of what we classify as 'Traditional/Folk Music' , irrespective of whether "Come all ye's" or "Big Ballads" was, at one time or another, the Top 40 of the day. And what about "The First Time Ever"? Or is a cross-over from 'folk' to 'pop' OK but not the other way round?


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: Brian Peters
Date: 25 Aug 12 - 09:47 AM

"Vernacular musical usage was always a good deal more widespread than the prescriptions of Folk would allow."

I don't know which 'prescriptions of folk' you're referring to. My point was that singing was indeed very widespread, at least up to the early 20th century. Vernacular music making is an interesting area, encompassing the early 19th century village bands in which present-day folk musicians, at least, take a great interest.

"It seems to be the aim of Folk to filter out what it sees as the 'pure stuff' from the background noise of working-class culture as a whole."

Again, I ask who or what is 'Folk' in this context? As I've pointed out before in these discussions, things have moved on a long way in the hundred years since Sharp. But even he, during his Appalachian trips, noted fiddle tunes, African-American work songs, string band songs and hymns that did not fall into his search criteria of old 'English' folk songs. In other words, he made a record of precisely the 'background noise' you're referring to.


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: GUEST,Tunesmith
Date: 25 Aug 12 - 11:06 AM

Well, of course, lots of modern songs are mistaken for old(ish) folk songs. But most of them are written in a folkie style.
For example, I've heard Ralph McTell's "From Clare to Here" introduced as a traditional folk song.


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 25 Aug 12 - 01:25 PM

"From Clare to Here" introduced as a traditional folk song."
MacOll's 'Shoals of Herring turns up in American academic Horace Back's 'Folklore and the Sea' as 'Shores of Erin' a traditional song from Kerry
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: The Sandman
Date: 25 Aug 12 - 01:34 PM

the reason for singing a song should be [IMO] that it appeals to you, and that you feel you can perform it well.
since the majority of songs performed in the folk genre, are often performed without amplification, that has to be a consideration.
   most pop songs IMO, DO NOT WORK without accompaniment, or electronic wizardry, they are often written with that consideration in mind.
they may be good songs of their genre, but they do not stand up to a different test, that being sung unaccompanied or accompanied in an acoustic style
quite frankly if Iwant to listen to johnny b goode, I would listen to the man who does it best chuck berry[not bob davenport]
likeise if i wanted to listen to a north eastern mining song, i think bob davenport would be a preferential choice to chuck berry. horse for courses


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: Acme
Date: 25 Aug 12 - 02:13 PM

Brian Peters wrote The excellent discussion in the New Penguin Book of English Folk Songs of folk song in a social context makes the point that singing for diversion and entertainment was once very widespread in the population.

In 1984 I was an heir in my great aunt's estate in a the house the family moved into in 1911. The attic was like peeling back history, with the cabinet radio in front of the box of lacquer records and then the big old Victrola, all of this in front of the music stand for the piano sheet music at the back wall of the upstairs room. A brief history of how this family entertained themselves with the earliest step being singing together at the piano with sheet music.

The Ur folksongs will never be discovered since they can't leave a fossil record, but (I imagine) an important part of the research includes an anthropological examination of the collections and early written records, wherever they are found, trying to find reference to known songs or better yet, the jotted down ancient lyrics. Am I correct? I'm an English major, who spent a portion of my academic pursuits focused on American Indian literature and the early records of literate Indians, of first settlers, and the largest portion coming from anthropologists who are very important in teasing out the earliest known tellings of stories and the understanding of remnants and fragments of earlier times. We look at anthropological transcriptions and translations of conversations looking for things that we understand now that they missed in their day.

If we didn't have a written record today this discussion of popular song versus traditional would all be moot. This whole discussion is putting modern composition and the written evidence against spoken and sung history and versions that were handed down through memory. If all of the old versions haven't been collected before now time is almost up because the written word trumps so much.

Allow me a moment to put on my academic hat and introduce some French theory. Jean-Francois Lyotard wrote The Postmodern Condition: A Report on Knowledge in 1984 (as La Condition pestmoderne: rapport sur le savoir). Chapter 6 (pgs 18 - 23) is "The Pragmatics of Narrative Knowledge" and has to do with passing down stories through the oral tradition. He discusses the transmission of narratives (obviously songs are a form of narrative) and that
their narration usually obeys rules that define the pragmatics of their transmission. I do not mean to say that a given society institutionally assigns the role of narrator to certain categories on the basis of age, sex, or family or professional group. What I am getting at is the pragmatics of popular narratives that is, so to speak, intrinsic to them. [20]

He gives the example of how a tribal Cashinahua storyteller always begins a story with their equivalent of "once upon a time." He would begin "Here is the story of ------, as I've always heard it told." Because he heard the story, because he tells the story, because he follows the social conventions to ground the story in its place in the culture, the community privileges the storyteller to do this work of transmitting cultural knowledge.

"The narrator's only claim to competence for telling the story is the face that he has heard it himself. The current narratee gains potential access to the same authority simply by listening." This is identical to the authority we grant to folksingers known for collecting and performing traditional songs.

Lyotard follows by noting that this "gives insight into what is a generally recognized property of traditional knowledge." Privileging the narrator is what cultures are inclined to do, but in modern times those narrators are up against the written and recorded word and allows quibbles with authorship, exact wording, sources, and versions. (I won't stray into Barthes and Foucault and argue about the Death of the Author, but a huge aspect of "folk" is that the author is unknown, which is mostly impossible with modern recorded and printed songs.) Before the prominence of the written word, cultures granted the storyteller the authority to do his or her work. When Child and Sharp and others started collecting them, things changed.

As I read this thread, am I correct in thinking that some participants in this discussion seem to want the continuum to move along as if modern composition is subject to the same eventual obscurity as songs composed hundreds of years ago, and that they will eventually be transmitted as a piece but missing the author bit of information? Do any of us really think that Johnny B. Goode will someday be an anonymous folk song? The traditional narrator storyteller/singer gives what they know about what they are about to perform and they tell the story or sing the song. In older times, as what was understood about the world changed, aspects of the song or story would change. The folk process. When modern songs are written on paper with names attached and copyright issued this process is no longer going to happen. Don't you think?

That's all I'll pull from the Lyotard essay, I need to re-read it to discuss any more in depth, but that isn't necessary for this topic. I just wanted to bring in something else for you to chew on.

SRS

Lyotard, Jean-Francois. The Postmodern Condition: A Report on Knowledge, 1984. Translation from the French by Geoff Bennington and Brian Massumi. U of Minnesota Pr, Minneapolis.


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: Acme
Date: 25 Aug 12 - 02:17 PM

I probably overshot the discussion - I'll leave those remarks with apologies to those who don't appreciate them and just say don't let it trip you up.

SRS


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: John P
Date: 25 Aug 12 - 02:23 PM

To get back to the original question, I'm wondering about "Summertime". I've heard it done as jazz, folk, blues, rock, classical, and combinations of all of those. I've heard the melody get seriously messed with. The words seem to mostly stay the same, though, and I can't honestly say that the melodic alterations actually equate to different versions, so there is ambiguity in my mind. On the other hand, pretty much every musician I've ever played with knows it and has a slightly different take on it, and everyone in every audience I've ever played it for knows it.


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: GUEST,Stim
Date: 25 Aug 12 - 02:27 PM

I think "Johnny B. Goode" is a perfect song to consider. It is, after all, one of the most widely known and recorded songs of our time. And, contrary to SRS assertion, it has been published in many different versions, because each new recording constitutes a publication, and secondly because both the music and the text have been printed and reprinted, both formally and informally, hundreds, if not thousands of times.

Probably more important, for the purposes of this thread, it is a narrative ballad. It tells the story of "Johnny B. Goode" very much in the way "traditional" ballads tell stories. It describes him in the terms that ballads describe their heroes, it gives examples of his virtue, his humble origins, his character, and his achievements.

Even though the boilerplate for rock and roll describes it as a mixture of black and white musical traditions, it never seems to register with people that it is directly linked to the broadside ballad tradition. What was "Stagger Lee"? It was a murder ballad.


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: John P
Date: 25 Aug 12 - 02:34 PM

As for the Scandinavian thing, I've been playing mostly Swedish dance music for the last few years. The "feel" of the tradition is somewhat different than the American, British and French music I'd played before. It's almost like the traditional music is more conscious; musicians regularly know the names of the composers of tunes that are a hundred years old or more, as well as the name of the person who came up with the version that gets commonly played. This seems to be a part of the tradition in the minds of most of those who play the music. Also, newly composed tunes -- if they do what dance tunes are supposed to do -- get accepted into the traditional repertoire quite easily.


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: Acme
Date: 25 Aug 12 - 02:39 PM

There may be many versions of Johnny B. Goode but they are tethered to the original by way of permission from the author or publisher. That seems less conducive to folk process, don't you think? Same (in theory) with any modern song.

SRS


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: Brian Peters
Date: 25 Aug 12 - 03:16 PM

I'm an admirer of Chuck Berry's lyrics, but I don't see any resemblance at all to a narrative ballad. There's plenty of scene-setting (which the old narrative ballads typically avoid) but no one particular incident that's described in any detail.

As far as different versions go, I've heard plenty, but none that departs substantially from the Berry original. Maybe in the presence or absence of the 5 chord at the end of the verse, but nothing more. Guitarists generally try to copy Berry's opening riff note-for-note. And, as I tried to say earlier, few people (including, I suspect, band members other than the singer) have the slightest idea of the lyrics to the verses. It might have very wide recognition, but if lots of people not in bands aren't singing it then it's hardly a folk song.

SRS: interesting stuff (if not easy). A printed example is generally the earliest record we have of most English folk songs and, although no-one can ever be really certain, Steve Roud in New Penguin reckons that the majority had their origins in print. Nevertheless, most of the singers who were recorded during the 20th century, at least, told collectors they'd learned songs from family members, not print.


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: JHW
Date: 25 Aug 12 - 03:33 PM

Traditional to me means so long ago that most people or indeed no-one at all knows who wrote it. Even time served songs by McColl or Cyril Tawney, written in the style of a folk song, passing through variation and selection etc. to become what many would reasonably call a Folk Song are not Traditional.
The origin of a song can no longer disappear into the mists of time. Today's media and access to information means that in centuries to come our descendants will still know who wrote Shoals of Herring so it will never be traditional.
Equally so a pop song.


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: Acme
Date: 25 Aug 12 - 03:56 PM

"Traditional" has more than one meaning here. Traditional as it is defined in folk music circles, or traditional in that it is always done because it is part of the popular culture.

Habituation is an aspect - so many songs might simply be forgotten, written or not, so if they are rediscovered in print (author or not) are they now "traditional?" If it has an author and is in print but is so popular and sung with gusto on special occasions, does it become traditional because it fits a specific tradition or occasion? It isn't folk process traditional, but it is culturally traditional. Like Jingle Bells at christmas or Happy Birthday at your party.

SRS


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: Lonesome EJ
Date: 25 Aug 12 - 04:22 PM

10 years ago, in the wake of one of the ongoing "what is Folk?" discussions, I offered up a method by which songs might be classified as to their stage in the Folk Process...

Steps in the Folk Process


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: GUEST
Date: 25 Aug 12 - 05:09 PM

Compare this: Peter Tosh's Johnny B. Goode
with this: Chuck Berry's Johnny B. Goode

I think that you'll have to acknowledge that there is plenty of variation--people learn rock/pop stuff from memorization, variations can result from incomplete recollection, misunderstanding, or deliberate alteration, all of which are part of the folk process.


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: Acme
Date: 25 Aug 12 - 05:14 PM

I think some of you are confusing variations on the original song with the folk process. If the source is attributable and the secondary product is always linked back to it, that isn't folk, that's theme and variation.

SRS


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: GUEST
Date: 25 Aug 12 - 05:15 PM

"You Are My Sunshine" is a clear example, as are "take Me Out to the Ball Game" and a horde of others.


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: The Sandman
Date: 25 Aug 12 - 05:36 PM

"You Are My Sunshine" is a clear example, as are "take Me Out to the Ball Game" and a horde of others
you are entitled to your opinion, and I am entitled to mine, and your examples are not in my opinion traditional songs


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: GUEST
Date: 25 Aug 12 - 05:40 PM

"If the source is attributable and the secondary product is always linked back to it, that isn't folk, that's theme and variation." And you know this, because...?


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: GUEST,Stim
Date: 25 Aug 12 - 05:49 PM

That doesn't even make sense, SRS--if the source isn't attributable, then there is no source, and without sources, ethnomusicologists wouldn't have anything to work with.


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: Bettynh
Date: 25 Aug 12 - 05:49 PM

Arlo Guthrie discussed this awhile ago. And Pete agreed.


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: The Sandman
Date: 25 Aug 12 - 06:03 PM

so what,bettynh, just cause PETE agreed, that does not make it a folk song or even a traditional song.


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: Lonesome EJ
Date: 25 Aug 12 - 06:21 PM

Nice link, Betty. I'm with you, Arlo, and Pete. A song that lives on is a Folk Song, whether it's about the Moon in June, a Gold Doubloon, or The Bold Dragoon. Long may it be so!


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: Bee-dubya-ell
Date: 25 Aug 12 - 07:03 PM

IMO, Peter Tosh's version of "Johnny B. Goode" is not truly a variation of the original. It's the lyrics to "Johnny B. Goode" sung to a rhythm and melody of Mr. Tosh's devising. There's nothing wrong with that, but it doesn't reflect the way variations of songs naturally evolve via the "folk process".

Compare it with Jim & Jesse McReynolds version: CLICK (audio only).

But, overall, I agree with Don Wise's post above, that "Memphis Tennessee" has a lot more going for it when it comes to lending itself to interpretation.


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: GUEST,Stim
Date: 25 Aug 12 - 07:17 PM

Thank you, Betty. Like most everybody, I was moved.

As far as I am concerned, if there is one person who would know, it would be Pete. As for you GSS, the choice is yours-you can either sing along, or not. At the end of the day, that's really all there is to this.


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: Acme
Date: 25 Aug 12 - 07:19 PM

I was talking about copyright. It seems that copyright status on a modern composition would stymie the folk process because you will always know the original song. If you do a different version of a song but have to pay a fee to the original writers, does it still count as the folk process?

SRS


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: MorwenEdhelwen1
Date: 25 Aug 12 - 07:30 PM

IMO it only starts to count when you don't have to pay a fee anymore.


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: GUEST,Stim
Date: 25 Aug 12 - 09:30 PM

This discussion is complicated enough already without bringing up a discussion about copyright and folk/traditional music.;-) Copyright doesn't effect much beyond who gets the money. And somebody always gets the money.


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: Acme
Date: 25 Aug 12 - 11:35 PM

Copyright says who has the right to the song, payment or not - and as Morwen notes, if there is a copyright then there is going to be a fee - and the folk process is something I always understood to take place on songs in existence before the legal issue of ownership and copyright comes into it. Isn't that what we're talking about? The organic shift in songs and lyrics from a time when ownership was forgotten and they belong to the folk to sing and change as the interpretations and conditions shift?

SRS


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: GUEST,Stim
Date: 26 Aug 12 - 02:02 AM

I am not sure where you ot the impression that the folk process did not apply to material that was copyrighted. Copyright simply is the right of authors to profit from their work by licensing it's commercial use. It may offer a limited ability to control changes and variations in a song presented commercially, but in practice, it is difficult to control that. There is no legal way for an author to prevent any sort of non-commercial variation of a song at all.


Here is description of the "Folk Process", from Wikpedia. It is not the final word, it is just an attempt to describe something that has been observed to occur.

"In the study of folklore, the folk process is the way folk material, especially stories, music, and other art, is transformed and re-adapted in the process of its transmission from person to person and from generation to generation.

....it is the act of refinement and creative change by community members within the folk tradition that defines the folk process."


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: Larry The Radio Guy
Date: 26 Aug 12 - 03:00 AM

Question for Good Soldier Schweik,

Why isn't You Are My Sunshine, or Take Me Out to the Ballgame traditional?

Is there anything that would have to happen to make them traditional?


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: Henry Krinkle
Date: 26 Aug 12 - 06:23 AM

I say that at this point songs like Johnny B. Goode are folksongs.
{:-(0)=


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: The Sandman
Date: 26 Aug 12 - 07:40 AM

Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: JHW - PM
Date: 25 Aug 12 - 03:33 PM

Traditional to me means so long ago that most people or indeed no-one at all knows who wrote it. Even time served songs by McColl or Cyril Tawney, written in the style of a folk song, passing through variation and selection etc. to become what many would reasonably call a Folk Song are not Traditional.
The origin of a song can no longer disappear into the mists of time. Today's media and access to information means that in centuries to come our descendants will still know who wrote Shoals of Herring so it will never be traditional.
Equally so a pop song.
I agree with JHW,
Larry Saidman, Henry Krinkle, that is my answer, that is my opinion you are entitled to yours, if you want to call it folk music or the music of the people that is debatable too but a different matter entirely


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: GUEST,Blandiver
Date: 26 Aug 12 - 07:59 AM

I say that at this point songs like Johnny B. Goode are folksongs

Well, Jimmy Wrinkle, they're certainly a non-horse song born of idiomatic tradition and subsequently adopted and processed accordingly; but the fact it exists in even more variations than Barbara Allan isn't enough to make JBG a folk song. And why would one want it to be? For sure, it can be a folk song - but only when sung by folkies: as I might have said earlier or elsewhere even when Jim Eldon performs a pop song it becomes Folk by dint of context & intention alone, but to call it a Folk Song on account of its adoption, process, nascence and adaption is, I think, specious in the extreme.

Call it instead a Traditional Song (a term which is, I would argue, tautologous) of the genus Rock 'n' Roll that has been adopted by Folkies and Classical players (I've heard extremely involved & intricate serial variations for string quartet) is by the by. Composers have used folk songs similarly - doesn't mean Vaughan Williams was writing folk music, but dear God, he was certainly processing it as part his tradition.

All musical Idioms exist in the flux of process. The nascence of a song is testimony to this & its variations thereafter but par for the course, especially in a more improvisatory context, such as the natural oral habitat of The English Folk Song Proper where things emerged differently every time and the collected evidences froze those instances in aspic - silenced as larks tongues!

The Folk Song idiom is hightly prized for its music purity but whether this the consequence of the erosion of the ages or just the mastery of the individual song makers is open (I hope) to debate. Remember, in their working lives these singers would have been masters of a dozen crafts, and just as I hear kids of ten masterfully peeling off everything from heavy metal licks to Irish jigs to Vivaldi sonatas, it ought not surprise us that these songs were made by masters too. Heavens, we even have the names of a few of them - George Bruce Thompson, Tommy Armstrong and James Armstrong to name but three - who composed perfect verse in the Idiom of Traditional Folk Song. They were not alone.

My position here is that Folk Song is a matter of idiom; the Tradition was the genre, rather than the songs per se. It's a case of seeing the wood AND the trees. We access an idiom through its works, and by a familiarity with those works we gain an understanding of that idiom, and however so long dead they still have the power to invigorate us on a level which, I suspect, is as intuitive as it is academic. I know a lot of very passionate folk song scholars - indeed, what would the revival be without them?

The Folk Charm is beguiling, but without an understanding of the natural habitat of Fok Song Proper we're limited to the taxidermy, which is far from flawless as act of pure ethnomusicology - which it wasn't in the first place. It is typified well meaning outsiders like Cecil Sharp made a parlour arrangement of a song he'd filched of his mate's gardener only a few hours earlier. Is that too part of The Folk Process I wonder?

This continues this to this day - all we Folkies are doing is making parlour arrangements of material which is better heard by the original singers, but being so beguiled, we're compelled to do so. Many lose sight of the Old Singers in this tertiary folk process. I keep ranting on about sourcing and listening and revering, but even the most seasoned folkie will look askance if told that his/her song has a better source than Steeleye Span. Tread carefully there, bonny lad, (though I might add that I seldom go on like this in the real world unless faced by a very particular fundamentalism (the dreaded Purist) but they, thankfully, are few & far between these days).

If some gifted young kid got up in a Folk Club and sang the whole of The Revealing Science of God accompanying him/herself on a mandolin (or better still if Jim Eldon did it on his fiddle, we can but dream) then I'd argue that in that manifestation it was, by dint of context alone, a folk song. The original, of course, is not a folk song - the original is merely part of the unbroken 50,000 year Tradition of Popular Music-making.


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: GUEST,Blandiver
Date: 26 Aug 12 - 08:37 AM

Oops!   Missed Brian's post back there...

Again, I ask who or what is 'Folk' in this context?

I'm using Folk to mean The Revival. I think it's not unreasonable to see it as unbroken continuum from the early years of the 20th century to the present day. Socially, culturally, demographically it occupies the same niche which is no closer to the actually 'folk' whom it regards as its principle source, much less those of a similar social caste today. Folk is thus a construct arising from the condition of social class that operates at several removes from the tradition it postulates, much as Kipling did in The Land. IMHO.


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: GUEST,SteveT
Date: 26 Aug 12 - 09:17 AM

""Traditional" has more than one meaning here. Traditional as it is defined in folk music circles, or traditional in that it is always done because it is part of the popular culture."

Absolutely. If you mean the latter; why not? If you mean the former, you need to define folk (the usual minefield; lets not start again) and also need to define "pop".

My "folk" environment consists of singers who sing purely for the pleasure of it in singarounds in pubs etc and my comments are probably only valid within that context.   I don't spend much time at concerts etc listening to recording artists, professionals or semi-professionals and I don't equate "folk" with stages, electrics, microphones and "performances" so the nature of pop, when I last heard any, would tend to deny it entry to the folk world

"Traditional to me means so long ago that most people or indeed no-one at all knows who wrote it. .. The origin of a song can no longer disappear into the mists of time. Today's media and access to information means that in centuries to come our descendants will still know who wrote Shoals of Herring so it will never be traditional."

This seems to lead to the conclusion that the "folk song process" by which songs become traditional can no longer take place and that there will be no more traditional songs from any source. Whilst I accept the rationale of this viewpoint I'm happy to accept, personally, that songs like Fisherman's Green and Shoals o' Herring are modern songs that are in the process of becoming traditional folk songs because they match several criteria. First, they sound like folk songs to me (I won't go into details)! This is incredibly subjective but, in the end, I think we're all subjective about what constitutes folk so I'm just being honest about it. Second, many of the people that know and sing these songs think they are traditional or at least don't know the author (see the "most people (do not know) who wrote it" above.) [Many of the non-professional, "back room" singers that I know do research the background to their material very thoroughly but many others just sing for the fun of singing without knowing everything about the provenance of the songs they sing] Third, the songs have gone through enough changes to have evolved in the same way that the true traditional songs evolved. The big problem, perhaps, is that the two song examples above were never "pop" songs in the first place and were, in fact, created for and within the current (and "artificial") folk revival movement.   

If there is a true folk process occurring somewhere in the way that it occurred to produce the songs we could all agree are current traditional folk songs, I doubt if that process is occurring in the folk world. (Perhaps it's in the creation of football chants?) It's all a bit like evolution itself, you can only look back afterwards to see that it's happened. You can demonstrate the process in controlled, artificial habitats (farm animals; folk clubs) but the true process is probably going on where you're not looking, will probably produce something you couldn't have predicted, won't recognise and probably wouldn't want to admit as a traditional folk song anyway.


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: GUEST,Don Wise
Date: 26 Aug 12 - 09:57 AM

Whether or not present day 'pop' songs pass over into a tradition of some sort or other is a question of time. We are too close to the songs to be able to foresee what may or may not happen in 10,20,50 or more years, irrespective of matters like copyright.
I can well imagine a similar argument taking place in a village pub somewhere, say 150 years ago. One of the younger men has just sung a song from a broadsheet he picked up recently at the market and one of the older men passes comment along the lines of "Na, it won't last, this modern stuff. You mark my words lad, no bugger'll be singing songs like that'n next year!"........And then take a good look at the song collectors lists.
As for the accompaniment/interpretation question, it's all down to your abilities and to how prepared you are to take risks. After all, the audience knows these songs (Chuck Berry or whoever) from radio, concerts and records and so tends to expect you to go along with the 'accepted' version. But if you're prepared to convincingly go out on a limb the results can be fascinating. I know it's not exactly a 'pop' song but with "Hallelujah" for example, singers tend to slavishly follow Leonard Cohen's original interpretation. A while back I heard a version from an Algerian singer which was, apart from the melody, light years away from the usual interpretation- and it was bloody marvellous! Ditto Davenport's a capella "Memphis Tennessee". On the other hand, playing rock'n'roll songs in a proper rock'n'roll manner can be real fun!


I'll go along with Arlo on this.


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: GUEST,Blandiver
Date: 26 Aug 12 - 10:02 AM

It is one of the more iksome myths of the Folk Movement that in writing Modern Folk Songs people are supplying The Traditional Songs of the Future. Consequently in most clubs you're more likely to hear Artificial Folk Songs than Real Folk Songs, however so artifically interpreted. I have a love of certain Artificial Folk Songs - be they by Bob Pegg, Rudyard Kipling, Peter Bellamy or Ron Baxter - but whilst they might tick all the right Idiomatic Boxes, they are a very different beast to the real thing. In more mawkish MOR circles the songs are even further removed from the core root of the thing (by their very sentimentality), and the Weirdlore Scene is a law unto itself (by its very pagan-centredness). That's the Horses for Courses Definition of Folk.

The Tradition is dead; long live the tradition.

Empirically yours,
Jack Blandiver.


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 26 Aug 12 - 10:16 AM

All of these words being bandied about 'folk', 'traditional' etc. have different meanings in different contexts and are perhaps best dealt with loosely without rigid definitions. Certain characteristics can certainly be applied but even the 1954 definition has been discredited in academic circles. No-one in ethnomusicology or study of folklore now accepts that knowing an author has any relevance to the subject at all. We know the names of many authors of songs nowadays due to lengthy research. That surely doesn't mean that these artifacts they originated now cease to be part of a particular genre other than the genre of songs without known authors.


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: The Sandman
Date: 26 Aug 12 - 12:48 PM

Iam not impressed by your comment Steve, as far as I am concerned trad means of unknown author, plus having been through a process of oral transmission in which words have become changed possibly added to etc, an example being the outlandish knight, it does not mean johnny b goode. I am unimpressed if people on this thread want to be silly and start calling anything, everything, why not start calling baked beans roast beef?


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 26 Aug 12 - 01:00 PM

"but even the 1954 definition has been discredited in academic circles. No-one in ethnomusicology or study of folklore now accepts that knowing an author has any relevance to the subject at all."
Not following you.
"The International Council also stressed the fact that the term folk music, which includes folk songs, can be "applied to music which has originated with an individual composer and subsequently has been absorbed into the unwritten living tradition of a community"
"Discredited???"
Don't think that knowing the composer of a song has ever been an issue.
It's about a process, not origin.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: Don Firth
Date: 26 Aug 12 - 01:44 PM

On the day that "Johnny B. Good" becomes a folk song:   (CLICKY).

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: Larry The Radio Guy
Date: 26 Aug 12 - 01:52 PM

Folks, I'm finding this to be a very helpful and relevant discussion. It's relevant to me because one of my challenges, in my involvement with the Princeton Traditional Music Festival, is to try to get some of our local musicians to learn traditional material so they can also be part of the festival.   What comes with this is the need to explain to them what is meant by 'traditional music'.

I realize that, for the purpose of the festival, there is a continuum....and it's not my purpose to be part of a 'traditional police force'.   But I do need to be able to state when it's gone beyond the 'boundary' that the festival needs to have in order to maintain it's integrity.

One old fellow, a harmonica player, says that this official version 'traditional' is bullshit. He says he heard (and played) music in mining and lumber camps as a youth and nobody ever did those songs that the academics define as traditional. No, they did the old pop and country songs.

This, plus some of the comments made here, has made me wonder whether there can be (and is) a such thing as a "living tradition".

And maybe songs like You are My Sunshine could be it.

Even though that song was credited to Jimmy Davis, there is further research that shows that Jimmy Davis actually stole the song from a much older source.

And there have been many different verses I've heard people singing.

Don't get me wrong! I'm not arguing that this song is traditional. I very much respect the knowledge that many of you are communicating in this thread.

I'm just a 'folkie' who's trying to figure it out, and to communicate it to people who don't have this understanding so they can be sensitive to maintaining the integrity of a 'traditional music' event.

Thanks for all your input.


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: The Sandman
Date: 26 Aug 12 - 02:43 PM

oh for gods sake, just go away and play music, play what you like, but if you cant recognise a traditional song, take up knitting.


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: Bettynh
Date: 26 Aug 12 - 03:02 PM

I'm fairly new to this academic-type discussion, really. I come from a background, like your harmonica player, Larry, where isolated singers gathered and sang much of the day and never knew or cared where the songs came from - Girl Scout camps of the 50s and early 60s. I can't speak about what happens there now. The songs were sung for the singing. After reading here a few years, I guess some of them were hundreds of years old (Rise Up Oh Flame, Rolling Home), some were obviously composed about particular events (Girl Scout belting out a version of The Ship Titanic) and some were never heard anywhere else and may have been written by someone on staff at that particular time and place. I've seen songbooks, so there were collectors (and disseminators) around at that time. Is anyone collecting now? I'd love to hear what camp kids are singing now.

I'f you're really interested in what makes "Traditional Music," why not set up a booth like the StoryCorps project asking for people to share songs they haven't heard elsewhere? At the least, it'd give the academics some new material to argue over.


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: Larry The Radio Guy
Date: 26 Aug 12 - 03:21 PM

To Good Soldier Schweik: Yes, I can recognize a traditional song.

What I can't recognize is when it starts deviating from 'traditional'. Most classifications are on a continuum, you know....very little in life is purely black and white.

I'm pleased that up to this point this discussion has been very civil. I think your comment was a deviation from that continuum of civility. (Maybe this one's a slight deviation too. If so, my apologies.

Thank you for your feedback, Bettynh. You are able to recognize the complexity of the topic. I'm wondering not just what kids sing in camps, but what they sing in mining and logging camps today. Do people still write songs about their bosses and fellow workers? (Or make revisions to pop and folk songs to describe what's going on in their lives?   Or do they sing at all.....maybe they just spend all their time on their laptops.


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: GUEST
Date: 26 Aug 12 - 05:33 PM

Just so you know Larry, when Blandiver said this:

"even when Jim Eldon performs a pop song it becomes Folk by dint of context & intention alone, but to call it a Folk Song on account of its adoption, process, nascence and adaption is, I think, specious in the extreme."

It became really clear that he isn't a folklorist/ethnomusicologist, and doesn't really understand what they do, or what they've been doing for the last hundred odd years.
He may well have other strengths, and I am sure he's a lot of fun at parties.

Jim Carroll, on the other hand, knows what he's talking about. He's done some wonderful and important work, and has a great understanding of the subject. One of the few redeeming features of discussions like this is that Jim often shares his knowledge..


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 26 Aug 12 - 05:54 PM

Disregarding Dick's irrelevances and tantrums.

Jim,
I've been led to believe that the 54 definition/guidelines did include the unknown author clause but was later dropped. I would like clarification on this. There are '54' experts on here I'm sure who can put us right.


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: Larry The Radio Guy
Date: 26 Aug 12 - 05:59 PM

Actually I find Blandiver's posts quite fascinating....and it's really only his take on what is 'folk'.

I've looked through Jim Carroll's posts and I'm still trying to understand that 'process' fully......and can it still exist today?

If not, that it really is an academic pursuit of interest only to a learned few. Which is fine.....but the interest will eventually die.

So looking at something like "You are My Sunshine".   Aside from it's origin (which is debateable and probably not fully known....despite Jimmy Davis' claim to have written it)..........is their a 'process' it would need to go through in order to be considered traditional?


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 26 Aug 12 - 06:21 PM

Larry,
IMO the oral tradition still exists today, but because of a number of reasons (not least modern technology) that tradition is not the same as before the era of sound recording. However the oral tradition of the last 500 years will not be the same as that of the pre-print era.

FWIW I consider it as part of oral tradition but it is also part of other genres such as 'community songs'. It is certainly part of my own personal oral tradition. If I'm playing in a pub bar-room to the general public, it's one I will sing and accompany, as I know all the real folk will be able to join in.


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: GUEST,Stim
Date: 26 Aug 12 - 09:08 PM

The "folk process" is simply a term that refers to the way that a community uses its available resources to adapt something(in our case, music, but it doesn't have to be) to its own purposes and tastes.

Broadsides, sheet music, and recordings show us how a piece starts out, but folklorists and ethnomusicologists are concerned with the way that communities change it to suit their needs.

The study of the "folk process" is very much akin to the study of language changes, and it is worth noting that the departments of linguistics and folklore are very closely associated as schools such as the University of Pennsylvania.


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: The Sandman
Date: 27 Aug 12 - 02:10 AM

LARRY,I apologise if you find my post uncivil.
As a singer the reason I choose to sing a song is whether it appeals to me.
I do not think you should be encouraging a young singer to be singing you are my sunshine, because I do not think it is a good song, it may be popular, but I do not rate it.
There are amongst the traditional repertoire some excellent songs and some inferior ones the vast majority of singers select those songs that appeal to them and discard those that they do not like.
Jim Carroll stated that in his experience traditional singers differentiated between certain genres of songs in their repertoire, although I am not a traditional singer, but someone who has been singing traditional songs[ not exclusively], for a long time,I feel I recognise one [generally speaking] when I hear it.
I find these threads a waste of time, extremely frustrating furthermore they generally seem to go around in circles, reaching no conclusion,Ifeel it a better use of time to play music, therefore I will leave this discussion and let you carry on the endless roundabout


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 27 Aug 12 - 03:28 AM

"Broadsides, sheet music, and recordings show us how a piece starts out" There is absolutely no evidence whatever that this is the case - if you have discovered a sure way to prove how folksongs began - who knows, there might be a Nobel on offer somewhere. What little work we managed to do on 'ballad' sellers in Ireland indicates that they went for their material to the tradition or to popular songs of the time; when asked if they composed the songs they sold the reply was "why bother, there was plenty to choose from all round us?" The seller we spent a great deal of time with described how he (a non-literate Traveller) went to the printer and recited his father's songs (The Blind Beggar, Early in the Month of Spring, Gradh Geal Mo Chroi The Herring….) over the counter and had him run off as many songs sheets as were required. With respect to Steve Gardham, in my opinion all that has anybody has managed to do is to research songs back to the first time they appeared in print. There is no way of proving one way or the other whether any given song existed before it went into print or was just lifted from the tradition - which appears to be the argument put forward by broadside experts like Leslie Shepherd, and even as far back as Charles Hindley. Izaac Walton, in his 'Compleat Angler' referred to the broadsides he saw on the tavern walls as 'Country Songs'. The whole process of singers learning from print is a complex one - in our experience, the indications are that songs learned from a printed source were often treated as sacrosanct and remained unchanged, just for starters. Unsubstantiated definitive statements are little more than blind alleys that are quite likely to be replaced by other unsubstantiated blind alleys in the future. "I've looked through Jim Carroll's posts and I'm still trying to understand that 'process' fully" Me too - it's what we're all trying to arrive at. We can only pick our way through every scrap of what little we know of the song tradition, neglecting or 'explaining away' nothing (a tendency here and elsewhere). I'm no great fan of '54' as it stands at present, but I do think we need some sort of a definition that will allow us to communicate with kindred souls rather than squabbling uselessly and making threads like this an "Oh no - not another sodding "What is folksong" thread" Steve; I've never had a problem with the 'known author' inclusion idea, and I don't think anybody has made much of an issue of it for a long time, if they ever did. The Irish, particularly Irish language song tradition has such pieces in spades. If, as you say, "you would like clarification..... was dropped later" you have no grounds for saying "but even the 1954 definition has been discredited in academic circles" - exactly the type of definitive statement that creates more heat than light - I expect a hundred lines by the end of the day, "I must not...."! Nor do I believe that age has too much to do with whether a song is 'folk' or 'traditional'. We recorded many songs, particularly from Travellers, which must have been recently made, certainly well within the lifetimes of the singers (though I have to say that a common factor running through most of them was that their makers were almost exclusively 'anon') As I've said, it has more to do with the progress of a song rather than where it came from Is Johnny B Goode a folksong? Don't see any argument here that shows it to be anything but an oft performed pop song - once again a confusing of 'tradition' and 'repetition'. Try telling the Chuck Berry holdings that it's in the public domain and see how far that gets you. Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 27 Aug 12 - 03:31 AM

Sorry about the 'paragraphination' in that.
Bloody computers; were's me quill pen??
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: banksie
Date: 27 Aug 12 - 03:53 AM

Whatever one's taste in music surely the ultimate, base level test is whether people sing along. Go into a typical pub (not one where the folk club is being held at that time) get your guitar out and start singing something like Bye Bye Love by the Everly Brothers, and people will join in - at least on the chorus (and get the words wrong so they make bits up to fit {the folk process?}). Sing the Outlandish Knight, and most people will consider it a very good time to go to the bar or start talking.

I have tried this experiment in a band I was in for a while. They wanted to add a few more `real' folk songs, so I volunteered to sing The Blackbird and She Moved Through The Fair (a good example of a song widely accepted as trad but where the writer is known - Padraic Collum - and it is said to be a concatenation of some older trad songs and poems). The audiences would love the Everly Brothers stuff, and the Black Velvet Band (again a `trad Irish' song that actually isn't, I believe and something of a hit record for The Dubliners back in the day). Now, this could be something to do with my singing, but when it was time for one of the folk ballads, the bar was packed.

So I'd say of course a few modern pop songs will become `folk', they are already. Beatles songs already are. I'm the first to acknowledge that I prefer `traditional folk songs' but surprisingly few folk sing them, or know them. And I would have thought that had to be at least part of any test of `folk music'.


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: Larry The Radio Guy
Date: 27 Aug 12 - 04:17 AM

Thanks Jim. I enjoyed reading that post, despite the 'paragraphination'. (What causes that, anyway?).

Just to reinforce what it is all you knowledgeable people are referring to when you make reference to 1954.

"In 1954 the International Folk Music Council defined folk music as "the product of a musical tradition that has been evolved through the process of oral transmission. The factors that shape the tradition are: (1) continuity which links the present with the past; (2) variation which springs from the creative impulse of the individual or the group; and (3) selection by the community which determines the form or forms in which the music survives."

Regarding point 3: It does seem that there is some contention between the academic community and the people banksie describes who frequent the 'typical pub'.

And somebody pointed out the difference between 'tradition' in terms of how a group of people have always done things vs. tradition relating to folk or traditional music.

Yet it's still the same word....so there must be a connection.

Back to the old harmonica player who talked about how people in the logging and mining camps would sing old pop and country songs.

And the question about what children sing today in summer camps.

Do truckers sing "Six Days On the Road" at trucker's conventions? (That was the song that John Cohen once thought was a pop song that was entering the oral tradition).

And.....most importantly....do any of these questions matter when we talk about traditional music?   

I actually kind of like the 1954 definition....it does give a certain grounding.

But oral transmission is different now than it was then. A lot of songs are spread today through facebook.....and it's a much purer transmission than those controlled by record companies or radio stations.   But.....are there variations due to creative impulses of the individual or group?

It does go back to the question as to whether there is (or can be) a living tradition.   And whether it's possible for 'pop' songs to enter that living tradition.

(By the way, I tend to agree that "Johnny B. Goode" wouldn't quality, as it is too much associated with one singer/writer). Also, there's no quality in the song that seems to clearly link the present with the past.

That, to me, seems to be a crucial criteria....that linking.   I'd like to hear more about that. What exactly does it mean?


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 27 Aug 12 - 05:11 AM

"(What causes that, anyway?)."
Happens when I preview a posting before I send it.
More late - visit to Galway Clinic in the offing - anybody ever hear of sleep-aepnia? I hadn't until I.... zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: GUEST,Blandiver
Date: 27 Aug 12 - 05:28 AM

It became really clear that he isn't a folklorist/ethnomusicologist,

In which case, GUEST, you missed the point entirely. At no point have I claimed to be either of those things, though as a Folk Musician (which is to say one who sings & plays as part of the wider Revival) I do have more than a passing interest in the subjects.

But, for the sake of clarification...

When I say that a Jim Eldon performance of a pop song is Folk I'm talking about the wider remits of the Revival Scene in the UK today which is not very concerned with The Tradition per se, but a particular way of dealing with al manner of Popular Idioms in terms of its Spirit. It's akin to Jane Turriff singing a Jimmie Rodgers song - it touches a broader cultural ambience of what most of the population experience by way of a Common Vernacular Musical Usage beyond the specialist enthusiasms of a small number of habitues in a small corner of The Revival. Traditional Singers were part of that wider culture too; Folk Singers likewise, but when Norma Waterson or June Tabor do covers of non-folk / popular material, it is still perceived as being Folk by the general population, and by most folkies too.

To call Pop Songs 'Folk Songs' on account of the usual factors under discussion here (1954 etc.) is to miss the point of how Pop Songs are pretty complication creatures anyway, generated by communities and adopted and adapted thereafter according to a Master Idiom stretching back centuries and yet in a constant state of flux & renewal as new talent emerges to learn their chops, pay their dues & take it to the next stage as it suits them to do so. To call that process a 'Folk Process' or Pop Music a 'Folk Music' is to miss the point that all music is Traditional in that very sense. The very term 'Traditional Music', as I might have said earlier, is tautologous - Music by its very nature is Traditional, all music, but that sure as hell doesn't make it Folk. Folk didn't exist before the term was invented in the mid 19th century anyway; hell, even Prof Child thought of his Ballads as Pop Songs.

*

Jim Carroll, on the other hand, knows what he's talking about. He's done some wonderful and important work, and has a great understanding of the subject. One of the few redeeming features of discussions like this is that Jim often shares his knowledge..

I doubt I'd bother if this wasn't the case.


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 27 Aug 12 - 05:47 AM

"Pop Songs are pretty complication creatures anyway"
No they're not; they are commodities that are more or less totally controlled by a music establisment that will use them as they see fit and cast them aside when they have no more use of them, to replce them with use them as they... so ad infinitum
That us ousiders like us mght (or not) listen to them and even perform them publicly when IMRO isn't listening has nothing to do with the fact that they are not ours and never will be tthanks to the attached (c)
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: theleveller
Date: 27 Aug 12 - 06:55 AM

I must admit, I'm beginning to wonder if there ever was such a thing as folk song and that it is, indeed, an artificial construct backed up by a spurious and arbitrary definition - bit like religion, really: god exists because the bible says so - and the bible is the word of god. In other words, a self-perpetuating concept.

Seems more likely that there have always been popular songs which are relevant to a particular time and context and which change style to reflect the ever-developing culture and mores of the time. The popular songs of any one time can give us a fascinating insight into the thinking of the 'common' people of that time, as in demonstrated in Christopher Hill's 'Liberty Against the Law' and, of course, deserve to be preserved. At one time this meant by oral transmission but nowadays we have much more sophisticated means. Plus ca change as they say across the water.


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: GUEST,Blandiver
Date: 27 Aug 12 - 07:07 AM

Nice one, TL. 100??


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 27 Aug 12 - 07:16 AM

'Popular' is one of those weasel-words. before Thoms' 1840s coinage, it was the word generally used where we would say 'folk': 'Popular Antiquities' was the name gave his C18 collection of what we would call 'folk customs'. And even after ~~ what is the title, just remind me, of Child's collection: 'The English and Scottish [what?] Ballads'? And it seems to me that some posters are confusing the issue by using the word indiscriminately, and sometimes simultaneously, in both/all of these senses at once.

Until terms are properly defined, and some precise distinctions made, this thread is going to go on infinitely chasing its own tail, it seems to me.

~M~


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 27 Aug 12 - 07:18 AM

"...Brand gave his collection". Sorry; name omitted above.


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 27 Aug 12 - 07:31 AM

"Regarding point 3: It does seem that there is some contention between the academic community and the people banksie describes who frequent the 'typical pub'."
Hit and run comments I'm afraid - your "typical pub" don't give a toss one way or the other; we've failed to engage them in what I believe to be their heritage, to our eternal shame.
The very music that some here seek to claim as 'folk' or 'traditional' has disenfranchised them from their heritage and turned them into armchair recipients of a culture rather than makers and interpreters.
"spurious and arbitrary definition"
Flawed maybe, but neither S or A., but arrived at after a great deal of personal experience, thought and discussion. The didn't get all right first time round, pioneers seldom do, but they gave us something to work with, as well as enough beautiful songs to fill several lifetimes.
If you want 'arbitrary' try Johnny B Goode - why not Olbla Dee, Oobla Da, or Viva Espania, or Funiculi Funicula.
The oft repeated misinformation that traditional singers didn't discriminate between types continues to be arrant nonsense no matter how many times iyt is repeted.
They had their own identification tag for these songs, the claimed them as their own, they had a familiarity with the subject matter that no outsider could possibly have - AND THEY VISUALISED AND IDENTIFIED WITH THEM IN A WAY THEY NEVER DID OR COULD BY THE STORE BOUGHT PRODUCTS THAT ARE BEING PRESENTED HERE AS 'FOLK AND TRADITIONAL.
Bye for now,
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: GUEST,Blandiver
Date: 27 Aug 12 - 07:47 AM

it seems to me that some posters are confusing the issue by using the word indiscriminately, and sometimes simultaneously, in both/all of these senses at once.

As an ill-educated lower-caste oik content to ramble the hinterlands of Popular Music in general I have no problem whatsoever in Popular meaning the same in a Prof Child sense or a Tim Westwood sense or an Annie Nightingale sense. Pop is an umbrella heading for a myriad styles, idioms and genres that are born from the 50,000 year old tradition of Vernacular Music Making, and which continues with vigour to this day. Indeed, as long as there are Human Beings alive, there will be Vigorous Popular Music Making.

Folk, OTOH, is a prescriptively precious construct, hatched from on high, which seeks after an all too elusive purity, and when it finds it, it isolates it, refashions it into something it never was in its natural habit - be it Cecil Sharp making a parlour arrangement of The Seeds of Love, or Peter Bellamy singing Butter and Cheese and All. Both are equally contrived; both are an artitifice. Folk is a subject of fetishism for a crypto-religious elite that doesn't really connect with the 'real world'. This is, of course, an integral part of its appeal for the cranky, mad, eccentric, idiosyncratic, curmudeonly, misanthropic self-serving middle-class academic elite that typifies the Folk Scene even unto this day.

I say these things as a lover of Folk Music. But its worth remembering that whilst much Great Music is done by Folkies (I bet Cecil's arrangement of SOL was a cracker; just as Bellamy's various recorded renderings B&C&A are amongst my life's joys) there are no Proper Folk Songs ever sung in a Revival Context. The Proper Folk Songs are dead and gone with the Proper Folk Singers; and the Stone that Builders Rejected is the Cornerstone of all Future Vernacular Music Making on Planet Earth regardless of idiom.

Including Folk? Maybe...


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: johncharles
Date: 27 Aug 12 - 08:03 AM

Traditional songs are only traditional because they are old. when they were first sung they would have been the popular songs of the time and the area in which they were sung. Printing allowed wider circulation, but recording and transmission are relatively new phenomena.
Collectors,academics and committed traditional singers have a particular view of the importance of old songs which does not seem to be shared by the vast majority of the population.
Deriding the majority for their poor taste and inactivity is a form of snobbery all to evident in academic circles.
john.


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: johncharles
Date: 27 Aug 12 - 08:07 AM

"too" evident


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: GUEST,Brian Peters
Date: 27 Aug 12 - 08:13 AM

theleveller wrote:

"...an artificial construct backed up by a spurious and arbitrary definition - Seems more likely that there have always been popular songs which are relevant to a particular time and context."

The second bit is partly true, but not the whole story. Roy Palmer's great book 'Working Songs' uses historical accounts to demonstrate that industrial protest songs were actually sung widely (including in pubs) during the period of their composition - which was welcome because previously all we had to go on were a host of printed broadsides and the occasionally suspect claims of Bert Lloyd - but we still don't have evidence that those songs were passed down through succeeding generations.

The kind of songs that folk revivalists have generally concentrated on are a bit different, though. These were songs - many of which actually were the popular songs of the 18th century or before - that took such a hold on the populace that they were still being used for diversion, public and private, two hundred years later. People in East Anglian pubs were still singing songs of the Napoleonic wars, or even older and more mysterious pieces of magic and terror, as late as the 1950s, when by which time any relevance to the singers' pesonal experience was long gone.

To make a similar claim for 'Johnny B. Goode', you'd have to imagine a future counterpart of Cecil Sharp or Jim Carroll finding people who not only remembered the song but could sing all of its verses (and remember those 18th century songs had many more verses) without any kind of prompt, in 2158. And for that to have happened in a world without sound recordings. And for all of those singers to be using subtly (or even wildly) different versions of the words and tune.

Blandiver wrote:
"I'm using Folk to mean The Revival. I think it's not unreasonable to see it as unbroken continuum from the early years of the 20th century to the present day."

In that case you seem - in comments such as "it seems to be the aim of Folk to filter out what it sees as the 'pure stuff'" - to be assuming that there's been no evolution in thinking over a period of 100 years: between Sharp and his followers on the one hand, and A. L. Lloyd, Steve Roud, Georgina Boyes on the other. Rather difficult to sustain!


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: theleveller
Date: 27 Aug 12 - 08:36 AM

"Flawed maybe, but neither S or A., but arrived at after a great deal of personal experience,"

Well, perhaps, but if, to continue my religious analogy, that committee was the Synod of Folk, setting the parameters of orthodoxy, then there will always be a Martin Luther nailing his articles to the cathedral door, to say nothing of the vast array of Ranters, Quakers, Muggletonians and Fifth Monarchists eager to turn the world upside down. And, of course, there will also be what I seem to be becoming: the folk agnostics and athiests, Perhaps, to plagiarise Mr Lennon, it would be better if we could

Imagine there's no folk songs,
It's easy if you try
Just lots of people singing
Great songs they can't define....

"The kind of songs that folk revivalists have generally concentrated on are a bit different, though. These were songs - many of which actually were the popular songs of the 18th century or before - that took such a hold on the populace that they were still being used for diversion, public and private, two hundred years later."

Yes, of course, but in 200 years' time you'll proably still find people singing 'There'll be Bluebirds Over the White Cliffs of Dover' still oblivious to the fact there have never been bluebirds in the UK.


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: GUEST,Ripov (not at home)
Date: 27 Aug 12 - 09:17 AM

How is it that so many who wish to imprison "folk" music so tightly that it can't turn round, are content with "pop" music being undefined? Which of course it isn't. Ask one of the "youngsters" whose absence is discussed elsewhere. I'm sure you'll be told firmly that many tunes/songs you've mentioned are not "pop". My kids and grandkids call me many names for using the term so loosely. Try it youselves at home!

And if "pop" music is more loosely defined as "that produced/distributed by the music industry", (pace Jim Carroll) what do we call the vast amount of music (that the musically illiterate, never mind "folkies", would never class as "folk" music) written and played by (inter alia) young musicians (the ones who don't go to folk clubs or sessions), and played in pubs and clubs to the delight of their peers?

Tirade over.

But of course what is actually being discussed is "popular" music, that is to say, the music of the people; and how could we ever think that "folk" music had its roots in music and song that ordinary people enjoyed, and even joined in with?


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: Uncle_DaveO
Date: 27 Aug 12 - 09:19 AM

So.......can a song that was written and defined as a pop song or 'rock 'n roll' ever become considered traditional. And, if so, what would it take? And finally.....any examples of songs that have met this (or are meeting this) criteria?

Oh Suzanna! q.e.d.

Dave Oesterreich


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: GUEST,Blandiver
Date: 27 Aug 12 - 09:50 AM

to be assuming that there's been no evolution in thinking over a period of 100 years: between Sharp and his followers on the one hand, and A. L. Lloyd, Steve Roud, Georgina Boyes on the other.

I said continuum, rather than consistency. Of course there's been an evolution within the movement itself, but it's essentially unchanged in terms of its social-class & its relationship to the folk-caste proper. This is stated with depressing clarity Georgina Boye's Imagined Village whilst Harker's Fakesong simply tells it like it is too, and I dare say you'll find it in the Ladybird History of Music too which even carries an illustration of Sharp's epiphany in the green house. As I say there's no difference here between Sharps parlour arrangements and the more robust renderings of more earnest Traddies such as Bellamy or Michael Grosvenor Myer, neither of whom are exactly men of the sod. The Folk Veneer is still very much one of an academic elite, in which we refer to songs by their Roud Numbers. As I said in recent review of the Roud-complied VOTP volume:

...the academic aura of VOTP [....] is (I insist) not only anathema to the working-class craft & cunning of the men and women who created the songs in the first place, but is entirely incompatible with the earthy vernacular realism of their subject matter.

This is, to myself at least, the essence of the Folk Revival as an echo of the UK class-system, whatever it's political or philosophical aspirations might be otherwise. Right or Left, it makes no difference; it is still born of the very social priviledge it perpetuates to this day in the VOTP series, the Folk Degree Course or general middle-classness of the scene as a whole. The more middle class the Folk Club, the more Traditional it's likely to be. We've got Folk Clubs over here which are so working-class Traditional Songs are anathema.

Are we downhearted??


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: theleveller
Date: 27 Aug 12 - 10:05 AM

"Are we downhearted??"

Well, no - but it may be that, having seen the fate of both albatross and ancient mariner, we will wake the morrow-morn sadder, if not wiser (wo)men.


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: GUEST
Date: 27 Aug 12 - 10:34 AM

"I said continuum, rather than consistency."

I know what you said, but in making bald statements about this monolith that you call 'Folk' decreeing this or that, or wilfully ignoring working-class culture, or whatever, you are asking us to believe that ideas haven't evolved in the slightest.

"Harker's Fakesong simply tells it like it is"

'Fakesong' contains much interesting information, especially concerning the early ballad collectors and their sources, and it was no doubt a necessary corrective to lazy thinking. However, any kind of critical reading of the book reveals exactly the same kind of wishful-thinking and inconsistency that Harker accused the folk revivalists of. More knowledgable people than me (e.g. the editor of the New Penguin Book) scarcely take it seriously.

"...its social-class & its relationship to the folk-caste proper."

Some of the most detailed descriptions of the social role of folk songs in a rural community were, of course, written by Bob Copper, who was from exactly that community. But you knew that already.

"in 200 years' time you'll proably still find people singing 'There'll be Bluebirds Over the White Cliffs of Dover'"

Really? I asked my son, just for interest, whether he was familiar with the song. Yes, he said, from documentaries about World War 2. Did he know the words? None, beyond the title. If you'd asked me, I could have stretched as far as "Tomorrow, just you wait and see", and that would have been that. Maybe people will still be listening to those WW2 documentaries and hearing 'Bluebirds' in 200 years time (if there's anyone left alive), but 'knowing the song' in the way that a Lancastrian woman was able to remember 17 verses of 'Lord Bateman' in 1973 is a different thing altogether.


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: Brian Peters
Date: 27 Aug 12 - 10:36 AM

'Guest' was me, forgetting to check the cookie jar.


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: theleveller
Date: 27 Aug 12 - 11:10 AM

"but 'knowing the song' in the way that a Lancastrian woman was able to remember 17 verses of 'Lord Bateman' in 1973 is a different thing altogether. "

"A" woman. One swallow, as they say.....


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: GUEST,Stim
Date: 27 Aug 12 - 12:21 PM

For JimC-when I said that thing about songs starting, it would have been more useful had I said that each of those sources gave a reference point from which one, if they were of a mind, could view changes, dissemination, adaptation, and such things.

Larry Saidman--your long post above asked a good number of questions, any one of which would make an excellent research topic. With music, as with most things, it takes much less time to ask a question than to answer it.


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: Bettynh
Date: 27 Aug 12 - 12:22 PM

Hmm, threads like this one keep me coming back to Mudcat.

For your consideration (and outrage, I'm sure):

Shape-note singing sessions can be found in several areas of this country. All from a few books.


New England contra dance   Every second Saturday.


Talking about Doc Watson brings up lots of stuff - he was trained to tune pianos, grew up where people sang traditional ballads, made a living playing dances (traditional fiddle tunes on electric guitar), and had the voice and technique to sing and play whatever he wanted to. What he got paid for varied by time and place.


Johnny Cash: "Hurt" Again, he grew up, then married into, traditional singing (at least, the Carters were collectors of and benefactors from Appalachain song). By the end of his life, he was able to sing whatever he wanted to, and make it part of his music.

We don't have one tradition here in the USA, so it seems insulting to me to talk about restricting singing (or instrumental music) to a single profile.


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: Brian Peters
Date: 27 Aug 12 - 12:35 PM

"One swallow, as they say..... "

Well, by 1973 we were well into Autumn, if not Winter, as far as folk song (in the old sense) is concerned. On the other hand, hundreds of independent versions of 'Lord Bateman' were still doing the rounds in various parts of the English-speaking world in the early part of the 20th century, which isn't bad for a song that was at least 150 years old by 1900.

The point I'm trying to make is that songs of recent composition, whether 'Johnny B. Goode' or 'Bluebirds', are never likely to 'become folksongs' in the way that 'Lord Bateman' did, because we just don't live in that kind of culture any more. 'Oh Susannah' probably has 'become a folksong' as Uncle Dave O suggested, but then that was written in 1847.


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: GUEST,Blandiver
Date: 27 Aug 12 - 01:43 PM

Interesting that Sam Lee is still turning up new stuff...


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: GUEST,Stim
Date: 27 Aug 12 - 01:44 PM

Why does it matter that a Lancastrian woman was able to remember 17 verses of 'Lord Bateman' in 1973?


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: Brian Peters
Date: 27 Aug 12 - 02:40 PM

"Why does it matter that a Lancastrian woman was able to remember 17 verses of 'Lord Bateman' in 1973?"

Because I've been arguing that only a tiny minority of people know even one verse of 'Johnny B. Goode', a song that's only 60-odd years old and which many of us have heard many times over on radio or TV ads. That Lancastrian woman was remembering in considerable detail a song that, at the time the collector Fred Hamer visited her, was over two hundred years old, at the very least.

She'd learned it from her elder sister eighty years previously, at a time when old songs were still being passed on from one generation to the next. Meanwhile there were hundreds of other instances of people in different localities being able to remember their own version of 'Lord Batemen' - most probably (we don't know in every case but it's a reasonable guess) as a result of it having been passed on within families or maybe peer groups.

The point being that, in a culture in which entertainment was largely self-generated - i.e. people singing for themselves - those people got to know their songs a lot better than people in our present-day culture, where most of us absorb our entertainment ready-made. Those people in the 19th century and before knew and loved their songs well enough to pass them on to their kids. How many parents today are singing their children to sleep with 'Johnny B. Goode', 'Yellow Submarine' or any of the other usual candidates for 'modern folk songs'?

So, I suggest, 'Lord Bateman' is a folk song (in the old sense, I stress once again) whereas 'Johnny B. Goode' is, not one now and unlikely to become one. Does that make sense?

"Interesting that Sam Lee is still turning up new stuff... "

Very interesting and inspiring. Mind you, Cecil Sharp wouldn't have expected Lancastrian women to be singing 17 verses of 'Lord Bateman' in 1973, never mind travellers in 2012. His predictions of the imminent extinction of the oral tradition were inaccurate in terms of timescale. A few pockets still survive, and it's no surprise that's happened in certain traveller communities. Thomas McCarthy is bloody good, too.


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 27 Aug 12 - 03:03 PM

One of the many things that has occurred in the last century or so that has stemmed the flow of oral tradition is the acceleration of fashion change, mainly due to modern technology. Something comes into fashion and rapidly disappears as something else comes along to replace it. Consequently only the very memorable items take a hold whereas prior to this they had much longer to take a hold.

An example might be the minstrel troupes that started c1840, were the bees' knees for decades and didn't actually die out until the more PC 1960s.

However there is still a strong oral traditon of sorts with song. Generally only 'folk singers' and their children would count 'folk songs' in this. The typical oral repertoire contains community songs, children's rhymes, football chants, pop songs from parents' youth/own youth, TV ad jingles, school songs, hymns, popular carols


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: Larry The Radio Guy
Date: 27 Aug 12 - 03:04 PM

Brian, what you say makes a lot of sense. And it complements the points that Jim Carroll and others are making. Certainly that Lancastrian woman has truly adapted that song (Lord Bateman) and it's exciting that she would bring it so 'close' to her.....and it obviously has a lot of meaning for her.   Even though that meaning may be more related to the context (i.e a song that was in the family) than to the content (the actual story).


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 27 Aug 12 - 03:05 PM

For Jim

I must not make sweeping statements as fact when they are only opinion. Cut and Paste x99.

Ta, Jim.


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 27 Aug 12 - 03:09 PM

Speak to you later - bed time - bloody aepnia
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: Larry The Radio Guy
Date: 27 Aug 12 - 03:17 PM

Stim, you mention that it takes more time to ask a question than to answer it...particularly related to this thread.

Yet.... looking at this very interesting thread (I'm with you, bettynh, when you say that threads like this keep bringing you back to mudcat).........I realize that I've probably asked the wrong question.

I'm really wanting to understand the 'living tradition' of music and that whole process and how we, the 'common people' put that into practice.

So for me to use terms like 'traditional' and 'folk music'....which are terms studied by musicologists and other academics, and expect people knowledgable in this field to make this 'living tradition' process lucid is probably not realistic.

The closest thing I can find is that Lord Bateman example....and it reminds me of how my father-in-law would take such pride in reciting, so passionately, certain poems like "The Rhyme of the Ancient Mariner". He grasped it so close to his soul; this was no commercial music (or poetry) industry putting words in his mouth.

And I think there are some similar (but different) processes happening today.   The songs I sang to my son when he was a baby. The songs that are sung in folk clubs, pubs, or legion halls that get people singing along.   No, they're not traditional in the academic sense.   But somehow they come close to people's hearts (if not their souls).

So what I think I need to do is start another thread focusing on what makes a song last. And what recent popular, rock'n roll, country, or so-called 'folk' songs seem to be on their way to becoming songs that will become part of such a singing 'tradition' (using the other definition of tradition, rather than the one embraced by musicologists).

Thanks everybody for your input....and Joe, I'm OK with closing this thread now (unless others want to keep it open).

-Larry


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 27 Aug 12 - 03:27 PM

Good luck with your new thread, Larry. I think you've hit the nail on the head.


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: Bettynh
Date: 27 Aug 12 - 03:29 PM

"One of the many things that has occurred in the last century or so that has stemmed the flow of oral tradition is the acceleration of fashion change, mainly due to modern technology. Something comes into fashion and rapidly disappears as something else comes along to replace it. Consequently only the very memorable items take a hold whereas prior to this they had much longer to take a hold."

Yes, but it doesn't disappear anymore. It just gets archived on youtube. My kids can listen to the same recorded tunes that I did when I was small, and wax cylinders of 19th century music hall music is there, too. Currently, string band music is rather popular (Cornbread and Butter Beans)

Original archived recorded material is a click away. The Bristol Sessions

Somewhere out there, perhaps someone is learning Lord Bateman from Elizabeth Laprelle, who currently makes a living singing it (does that make it a pop song?)


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: GUEST,Stim
Date: 27 Aug 12 - 03:55 PM

Thanks for your answer, Brian. It's an interesting theory, but you haven't provided any evidence that it's true. l.

From what I've seen over the years, the opposite might in fact be true.

Modern technology allows people to listen to the music that they like much more often, and much more intensely, than was ever possible in the past. This makes it possible for them to memorize much more, and much faster, than every before.

The other night, a friend took me to a dance club (it has been twenty years, at least, since I'd been in one) and I heard the dancers singing along, word for word, with recordings that were so fast that I couldn't even follow them.

More remarkable, there were frequent occasions where the DJ, though use of technology that I have only heard about, cut out the vocal tracks, leaving the MC and the crowd singing to the instrumental track. The MC seemed to be improvising, as well, but I wasn't familiar enough with the material to know.

Something else that I experienced, a number of years ago, still lingers with me to this day, for similar reasons. I was attending a concert by a fairly popular "Alternative Rock" band. It was one of the first concerts in a tour supporting their new album, which had been out for about a week.   I felt a bit on top of things because I'd gotten the album and listened to it a few times.

The crowd sang along with every song, including everything from the new album.

I was surprised, but not as much as I was a few weeks later, when I heard my 8 year old sing the entire album acapella.

So, Brian, before I believe you,I would very much like to see some hard data.

I am also curious to know how many people day know "Lord Bateman", and how many of them learned it by listening over and over to recordings.


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: Brian Peters
Date: 27 Aug 12 - 03:59 PM

"The typical oral repertoire contains community songs, children's rhymes, football chants, pop songs from parents' youth/own youth, TV ad jingles, school songs, hymns, popular carols"

Indeed Steve, the oral tradition can never be declared dead until people have finally stopped singing 'Happy Birthday to You'. But... Hymns? My kids (19 and 25) don't know a single hymn and would struggle with carols beyond 'Jingle Bells' (chorus only) and just possibly the first couple of line of 'Away in a Manger'. TV ads? I could reel off quite a few ad jingles from the days of my childhood, but those will die with our generation.

It's changing all the time - what was true for you and me isn't necessarily true for our kids. Children's rhymes? Yes, still going strong, apparently. Football chants? Well, I have an interest here as a 1970s fanatic who still gets to a few games a season. I know that new chants are still being composed, and that several of the old ones are still going strong. But the singers are fewer in number and the repertoire smaller. Deafening tannoy music drowns out a lot of the attempts at singing - even at a small club like Stockport County, never mind Old Trafford. And when the Stretford End is still half empty ten minutes before kick-off (compared to the days when it was packed an hour and a half beforehand and the empty time was filled by singing) then you know things are different.

There's no reason or remote possibility that things will or should stay the same, but there's no point in trying to pretend that nothing's changed.

Incidentally, to Larry Saidman, thanks for coming back to the thread to comment, and for having started it off without an existing axe to grind.


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: Lonesome EJ
Date: 27 Aug 12 - 04:44 PM

Speaking of "Oh Susannah", I ran into a guy about 35 years old who thought Neil Young wrote it.


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 27 Aug 12 - 05:22 PM

Brian,
Whilst agreeing that things are changing as I said, the terrace chants have a knack of reappearing. The canned music is a damned nuisance to us, but the away fans still are very vocal at games where they're concentrated into a relatively small area. And I agree entirely that there's no point in pretending that nothing's changed. I thought that's what I was trying to say.

The carols surprise me. Apparently we don't sing in schools any more like we used to, and nor do we need to go Christmas carolling door to door like we used to as kids. These are some of the other changes, not necessarily down to rapidly expanding technology.


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 27 Aug 12 - 05:30 PM

On the topic of how the way songs are transmitted has changed, but transmission still occurs, I think may be worth reproducing this long-since post of mine on this topic. I hope its relevance to this aspect of this discussion will be apparent ~~

Subject: RE: Origins: Black Cat Piddled in the White Cat's Eye
From: MtheGM - PM
Date: 26 Sep 09 - 05:46 AM

BTW — we recently had a long thread on what was the Folk Process, or whether it even existed. Well, isn't this an example of the way it can work?

Consider - I learned a children's song in 1956 from a friend who remembered it from his early E London days. Two years later it took the fancy of Sandy Paton who became a friend while he was visiting London. Exactly 40 years later he posted it, most courteously attributed to me, as part of a thread about its tune. This thread got refreshed 10 years later, & the words caught the eye of Joy in Australia, who started this thread about it, ref-ing Sandy's 11-yr-old post. I saw this & revealed myself as Sandy's acknowledged source, & named my source;, which brought a response from Hootenanny, who comes from the same part of London, with a recognisable variant of the same song.

I mean, the Folk Process might not work quite as it did when Kidson & Gavin Greig, Sharp & the Hammonds, Moeran & RVW, were all at work. But doesn't this show that modern means of communication, like The Web e.g., have their part to play also?


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: Bill D
Date: 27 Aug 12 - 05:36 PM

Somehow I missed the start of this thread...I could have saved you all this debate.

Of course pop song can become trad... it takes 84 years, 3 months and 9 days to qualify. Then someone submits it to the "Committee of Modal Folkers", who analyze it for 3 months and vote in an alley behind a random pub in England. Then they go inside, sing 3 versions, and announce it as 'trad'... then the audience throws rotten vegetables and/or nods seriously.

Over the next year, the committee's opinion (liberally paraphrased) is passed on to OTHER pubs & clubs, argued over, transmitted to America, where they have totally forgotten the original, and finally someone starts thread #2933744999336 at Mudcat, where it is linked to 984 other threads and bandied about in very clever rhetoric until it no one remembers what the question was.

Then, if some young girl finds the words in he grandfathers notebook and make a recording of it to one of the 9 Irish tunes, it magically becomes TRAD.

The process starts now.


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 27 Aug 12 - 05:49 PM

Bill,
I find your assertion of '84 years, 3 months and 9 days' to be somewhat overstated. Everybody here knows it's actually 84 years, 3 months and 8 days. Please keep up!


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: Bill D
Date: 27 Aug 12 - 07:04 PM

Steve... I must not have allowed for all the leap years. I'll recalculate....


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: Rob Naylor
Date: 27 Aug 12 - 07:18 PM

Brian Peters: Because I've been arguing that only a tiny minority of people know even one verse of 'Johnny B. Goode', a song that's only 60-odd years old and which many of us have heard many times over on radio or TV ads.

On the other hand, there are multitudes of people who know all the verses of a song like "Hotel California" which is over 40 years old. Not only know the lyrics, but can play it, in several guitar parts, and also often add their own improvisations. Here in Sakhalin (Russian Far East) I started the 7th-fret intro in an informal singaround in a pub last Sunday and after one bar another guitarist was finger-picking the open-string chord sequence while a 3rd was strumming the same. At least a dozen people, mostly Russians, joined in with the vocals and Grisha (the finger picker) did some nice improvisation around the theme at the end.

I've seen the same happen at several open mics in England. At one in Axminster we had 6 guitars playing various parts and improvisations, and 3 female vocalists in their early 20s singing it (generation transfer).

So maybe "Johnny B Goode" is a poor choice as a "possibility"?


Those people in the 19th century and before knew and loved their songs well enough to pass them on to their kids. How many parents today are singing their children to sleep with 'Johnny B. Goode', 'Yellow Submarine' or any of the other usual candidates for 'modern folk songs'?

Not "singing them to sleep" but I'd suggest, for certain songs, a lot more than you'd think are passed on. OK, "Hotel California" may be over-done, but it's certainly been passed down at least one generation. As have songs like "Wish You Were Here"....again, something I can start in almost any "open" pub session and have 20-somethings join in with both the vocals and the guitar parts. Others in the frame would include "Streets of London", "Mr Tambourine Man" (plus several other Dylan songs), some Crosby Stills Nash and Young songs etc. I've heard several under-25s doing Bowie's "Space Oddity" recently...usually with sections of the (predominantly young) audience joining in, and knowing all the words.

And "new" songs in the "folk idiom, such as Dirty Old Town, Fiddler's Green, etc, are sung widely (often by people who believe they're "trad", and with changed words...eg most people sing "gasworks wall" rather than "gasworks croft").

So no, I don't believe "Johnny B. Goode" will ever become "trad", but I can imagine many other "pop" songs of the last 50 years still being sung and passed down through generations a hundred years from now.


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: johncharles
Date: 28 Aug 12 - 12:07 AM

I was in a music session a few weeks ago and someone sang Running Bear. I realised I knew every word even though it was 40 years since I last heard it. Give it a few more years and I will pass it on as a song learned at my mothers knee.
john


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: GUEST,Stim
Date: 28 Aug 12 - 02:11 AM

I had a similar experience with that song, johncharles. At a gig, many years ago, I got "I'll bet you don't know this one", and, to their surprise, and mine, I did. I'd never played it before, nor since. It's one of those songs.


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: theleveller
Date: 28 Aug 12 - 04:12 AM

"it reminds me of how my father-in-law would take such pride in reciting, so passionately, certain poems like "The Rhyme of the Ancient Mariner". "

Interesting point Larry. My father could also recite long tracts of poetry, much of which he'd learnt from his schoolmaster's recitation at the age of 12. Funnily enough I, too, enjoy reciting those poems and many others. So does the 'folk process' apply to poetry? Good news for those who can't sing!


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: GUEST,Blandiver
Date: 28 Aug 12 - 04:54 AM

I grew up with my grandfather reciting everything from Kipling's Barrack Room Ballads he learned in the army in India to Tommy Armstrong songs & Geordie Broon of Backworth. Not sure if he ever changed a word, so maybe the Folk Process doesn't apply here?

Somethings never change; they are proudly part of the heritage of a community and simply held in trust as comfort in the face of an ever-changing world beset by death, decay, disease and general entropy, which to many is what Tradition is I suppose, i.e. an affirmation of permanance & continuity. Records are part of this in that they set the definitive and at least give the illusion of permanance. Frank Zappa notes that it was very much part of the tradition of bands in the late 50's / early 60s to stick as close as possible to the recorded arrangements. Those who did it best got the gigs.


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: Brian Peters
Date: 28 Aug 12 - 05:33 AM

Phew, such a lot of interesting stuff on this thread. I'm learning a lot.

Let's start with Blandiver's "Somethings never change; they are proudly part of the heritage of a community and simply held in trust as comfort in the face of an ever-changing world beset by death, decay, disease and general entropy, which to many is what Tradition is I suppose, i.e. an affirmation of permanance & continuity."

Beautifully put, Mr. B. Not for nothing are those communities transplanted by free will or force, to hostile environments, amongst the most fertile in terms of traditional song and music: the Acadians, expelled from the Canadian maritimes to the steaming swamps of the Deep South; the Appalachian mountaineers, trying to hack out a meagre living on poor soil, in extreme weather, cut off from 'civilization' with potential threats all around them. Perhaps you overstate slightly with the single word 'never'. Things do change even in communities like those, but nonetheless the pride in heritage remains strong. (More later)


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: GUEST,Blandiver
Date: 28 Aug 12 - 07:05 AM

Never

Well, you know my feelings on Organic Change, I Ching & The Tao. The entire universe is in flux & flow for good (we plough the fields & scatter) or ill (fast falls the eventide) so there is a tendency to dream of something that Never changes. Maybe all human art is to move against nature to ensure solidity & permanance? At Stonehenge, Avebury & Thornborough our forebears were creating order and relative permanance on a scale which was, in effect, greater than nature. Wyrd will out however, no matter how well-wrought our walls, but for a lifetime, or several lifetimes, there will be at least something that will seem everlasting even as everything changes around it.

So Time that is o'er-kind
To all that be,
Ordains us e'en as blind,
As bold as she:
That in our very death,
And burial sure,
Shadow to shadow, well persuaded, saith,
"See how our works endure!"


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song bJOHNecome traditional?
From: johncharles
Date: 28 Aug 12 - 07:13 AM

"My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:
Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!"
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare
The lone and level sands stretch far away.
John


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 28 Aug 12 - 08:12 AM

We really don't seem to have moved away from the repetition = tradition stance that has blighted all these discussions and obviously will continue to do so for some time to come.
"Folk is a subject of fetishism for a crypto-religious elite that doesn't really connect with the 'real world'"
Ten years ago, when I retired I was full of enthusism for publishing - a collection of Travellers songs maybe, or a book on Walter Pardon, and certainly an oral autobiography based on the hundred or so tapes we recorded from Mikeen McCarthy the Traveller ballad seller.
It's snideswipes such as this that have largely persuaded me that it is really not worth the effort and it would be far more beneficial to leave it all on the shelf and let posterity decide.
When this comes wrapped in verbal self-abuse aimed (as far as I can make out when I manage to cut my way through the clever-clever verbal undergrowth) at tearing down something others have done without offering a trace of your own work, it doesn't even have a great deal of entertainment value
All very depressing
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: GUEST,Blandiver
Date: 28 Aug 12 - 09:37 AM

Jim - I'm not tearing anything down just reporting on what I see to be the case. It's what Folk is - it's a verty precious specialism about which the real world couldn't give a damn one way or the other. Even most Folkies I meat couldn't give two hoots about Traditional song. I believe it's now the fashion for Folkies to call non-Folkies Muggles; whilst this is true of other specialisms too, I find it rather depressing especially when the culture of Real Venacular Popular Music Making is so vigorous in a muliplicity of idioms - even something called 'Folk' which no Folkie would ever call Folk, which goes back to Tom Wilson turning Dylan and Simon & Garfunkel onto electricity by overdubbing their music with rock music - and that's years before we get to the doldrums of UK Folk Rock.

Ultimately discussions like this on the nature of Traditional Music as hermetically sealed sacred art entirely separate from the rest of Popular Culture just serve to demonstate the extent of an elitism which is part and parcel of The Revival. Myself, I reckon that's a massive part of its appeal - like those earnest Traddies in singarounds who introduce a ballad by quoting both its Child & Roud Number. Even I refer to songs by their Child Number largely in deference to an academic tradition I'm still in awe of.


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: Tootler
Date: 28 Aug 12 - 10:07 AM

Having just read that last post I can unerstand why Jim Carroll feels depressed


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: GUEST,Blandiver
Date: 28 Aug 12 - 10:23 AM

Tootler - it's petty little snipes like that that depress me. Either discuss it in the good spirit of the discussion, or don't bother.


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: Brian Peters
Date: 28 Aug 12 - 10:52 AM

"repetition = tradition"

I'm with Jim on this one. Neil Armstrong's famous words "one small step for a man, etc." are replayed endlessly and are recognizable to millions, but that doesn't make them traditional, nor folklore. If, on the other hand, I were to take a hypothetical young son out on a regular walk involving some treacherous stepping stones, each time encouraging him to be bold with the words, "It's just one small step for a man", and, twenty years in the future, he were to encourage his own son with the same phrase, then it would have become folklore, at least on the family level.

Further up the thread, Stim asks me to provide 'hard evidence' of my previous argument that modern songs are unlikely to become traditional in the way that songs of the 18th century did. Leaving aside the temptation to point out that Mudcat is a place where everyone else bandies around personal opinions without feeling the need for the slightest corroboration, I would say this. Presumably, Stim, you're not asking for hard evidence of the transmission of what I would call traditional songs? If you were, there's plenty available, from biographical booklets accompanying CDs of traditional singers released by Topic, Musical Tradtions, Veteran etc., to the aforementioned New Penguin Book of English Folk Songs, to Bob Copper's A Song for Every Season, to the personal account of Carrie Grover, etc. etc.

If, on the other hand, you're asking me to demonstrate that songs no longer get passed on (always difficult to prove a negative!), well I'm sorry, but I'm not about to undertake a scientific survey for the sake of a Mudcat discussion. However, what I'm saying is based partly on personal, local and anecdotal experience, partly on the kind of press stories we hear from time to time regarding the decline in parents singing to their children. Like these, trawled from a very quick Google search:

Nursery rhymes out of fashion?

Shy parents afraid to sing nursery rhymes

Children don't know nursery rhymes

Your examples of people singing along at concerts or dance clubs are interesting (particularly the eight-year-old who can sing an entire album accapella), but not especially surprising: I knew by heart the lyrics to many of the records I bought in my teens (in fact I still do), and we've all seen footage of the mainstage crowd at Glastonbury singing along with Coldplay or whoever.

But the 'hard data' that you really need to provide here is that baby boomers raised in the rock'n'roll years are actually passing 1950s or 60s songs on to their offspring by singing to them (as opposed to digging out Chuck Berry videos on Youtube and saying "just listen to this great old song"). And then that those offspring remember the songs well enough to pass them on to their own kids. Or, alternatively, that the Rogers & Hammerstein songs that my parents' generation knew, have been passed orally through my generation and on to the next one. Until you can prove that, you haven't demonstrated that (relatively) modern popular songs have 'become traditional' in the way that 'Lord Bateman' did.

To Rob Naylor: You're right: 'Johnny B. Goode' isn't the greatest candidate in this discussion, not least because it depends for much of its musical interest on a driving R'n'R arrangement, the melody in itself not being especially memorable. I was fascinated by the account of guitarists in Sakhalin playing 'Hotel California' (how our world has shrunk!) but you are talking about guitarists - a small percentage of any population - rather than unaccompanied singers. The whole point about the singing tradition, or whatever we choose to call it, is that it was open to anyone, not just people with the money to afford an instrument and the time to practise it; the evidence I've seen suggests that singing was once very widespread indeed. So again we aren't comparing like with like. It's a bit like saying that traditional singing goes on, because a small community of folk music hobbyists have recreated a version of it in microcosm - and I'm with Blandiver in his opinions of that.


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: johncharles
Date: 28 Aug 12 - 10:52 AM

Sales of folk music in the UK last year were up 20% from 2010.

The success of Brit Award winning Laura Marling as well as the likes of the US musician Gillian Welch are behind the boost in sales.

According to the British Phonographic Industry, despite the huge lift in sales, folk music still only accounted for 1.6% of album sales in the UK in 2011. Other artists which helped boost folk music sales were Bellowhead and Daniel O'Donnell.
I guess that the more "traditional" end of the spectrum accounts for only a small fraction of these sales.
Folk is a minority occupation to pretend otherwise is self-delusion.
It is a great hobby,making music with friends,and entertaining like minded folk. The error is in trying to maintain that it is somehow central to British culture and feeling depressed when the vast majority no not share this view. John


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 28 Aug 12 - 11:14 AM

Deja vu strikes again.....and again.....!

I seem to remember, even with my senility, at a similar point in previous discussions chipping in that we would be best treating what happens today as separate traditions from those that happened a century and more ago. Yes they have similarities, but they also have drastic differences.

The Everlasting Circle, isn't that a folk song?


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 28 Aug 12 - 11:18 AM

"Jim - just reporting on what I see to be the case."
No you're not - you're doing what you always do.
I was in the Critics Group until it disappeared - I loved every minute of it; the idea that people cared enough to discuss and criticise my singing and suggest how it might be improved still gives me a buzz.
You don't do that; you criticise people for trying; you slag people of for what you think they are because they bother to make an effort, and you offer nothing in return
I'm not a fetishist, neither am I one of the crypto religious, nor one of the social priveleged - or any of the shit you've poured over researchers/collectors when you've had the opportunity.
I really have got nothing against honest, positive criticism; I was one of those who were delighted when Harker was doing a critique of the early collectors - jesus - what a letdown - a hitlist of every collector who didn't toe the party line, followed by The Hidden Village - a tilt at self constructed windmills. You fit in perfectly between the two, except you've never put finger to keyboard long enough commit yourself in a big way.
Your saving grace in the past has been that the pretentious language you present your snides in has made you somewhat of a parody (sort-of winebuffese writ large) and raised the occasional grin, but even that's wrn thin now and just comes over as nastiness.   
If researchers got it wrong, tell them what they should have done to get it right.
Discuss and criticise what they/we do, not what we are for trying.
Give us a break
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 28 Aug 12 - 11:46 AM

John, I see nothing to disagee with in your last post. It certainly isn't central to current British Culture, but IMO it certainly should be central to British social history.


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: GUEST,Blandiver
Date: 28 Aug 12 - 11:54 AM

You don't do that; you criticise people for trying; you slag people of for what you think they are because they bother to make an effort, and you offer nothing in return

Not true, I'm simply accounting for a condition as I've understood it these past 40 years. It's just the way it is - simples. I'm not criticising any one individual, just pointing out what seems wonky to my sensitivities that's all.

If researchers got it wrong, tell them what they should have done to get it right.

This a weird one because in an ideal world there would have been no researchers and the old culture would have died away with dignity as the new replaced it. Maybe in an ideal world you wouldn't have had the schisms of social class that gave rise such a cultural apartheid in the first place, much less one that ultimately destroyed the human & natural ecology of the British Countryside in so spectacular a fashion, creating the sort of post-war housing estate ghettoes in which many of us were brought up and which have their modern counterpart in Blairite Blandness that blights greenfields at every turn. Maybe there would have been no need for The Revival because things would have kept going, ever evolving as they had been for centuries. Whatever the case, there's no way The Revival could have happened without the entrenched social-caste system we have in the UK & that I got pulled into at an early age. 40 years on it is very much a part of what I am, but I'm under no illusions as to its nature - nor yet to its value as a means of experiencing & creating Truly Great Music, be it Traditional or Revival. I listen in tears to Joseph Taylor singing Brigg Fair in Percy Grainger's 1903 wax cylinder recording - that's how real this music is for me.

*

Whilst I'm on here's a recording I made of Ross Campbell singing his setting of Rob Baxter's Braiding accompanying himself on anglo - a vignette of life in a fishing town in the 1960s. It's not Traditional, but it's idiomatically Folk and the very pip besides.

Braiding - Ross Campbell


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 28 Aug 12 - 12:39 PM

Whatever
Jim Carrolol


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 28 Aug 12 - 01:46 PM

Is that 'lol' on the end intentional, Jim? Or has the apn(0)ea set in early tonight? Apologies in advance.


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 28 Aug 12 - 02:38 PM

Set in ezzzzzzzz
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: johncharles
Date: 28 Aug 12 - 03:15 PM

Tiredness is a result of lack of adequate sleep caused by sleep apnoea disturbing normal sleep.
sleep apnoea
john


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 28 Aug 12 - 04:06 PM

Thanks for that John -
All new to me
Best,
Jim Czzzzzzzz


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: Rob Naylor
Date: 28 Aug 12 - 06:20 PM

Brian: I was fascinated by the account of guitarists in Sakhalin playing 'Hotel California' (how our world has shrunk!) but you are talking about guitarists - a small percentage of any population - rather than unaccompanied singers. The whole point about the singing tradition, or whatever we choose to call it, is that it was open to anyone, not just people with the money to afford an instrument and the time to practise it...

I understand what you're getting at, but only partly agree. At that pub there were only 4 instruments in the room. But as I pointed out, at least a dozen people joined in with the singing, many of them not involved with those of us playing. They were just singing along, and did so to any song they recognised when we started to play it. Even the (20 year old) barmaid knew it and joined in.

I was at a BMF barbecue a few weeks back and similary (the only instrument there) just noodled the intro to "Wish You Were Here..." following which a whole group of the (mainly late 20s to early 30s) attendees started singing it.

This happens a lot among the people I socialise with...and a relatively small part of my socialising is with "musos". Mostly I socialise with climbers, mountaineers and with runners/ British Military Fitness (BMF) groups.

I agree that there's very little spontaneous acapella singing outside singarounds these days, but I suspect that this is largely because instruments have become so much more affordable. Looking back to my teenage years, when I was earning £5.00 a week in a pop factory, the cheapest guitar that was remotely playable was about £25, or 5 weeks wages. My daughter got a perfectly playable low-end Yamaha for just over half her first full week's wages working in a cafe. As I've said several times, almost every one of my kids' friends have instruments. Most of them are not musical or from particularly musical families, and the majority only know half a dozen chords, and play rarely, but the instruments are there.

Thinking of the houses in our street, except for next door on the right (the one attached to ours...poor sod has to listen through the wall but can't get any retaliation in!) every house for at least 5 either side, and all the ones across the street that I can see from our door, contains at least one guitar. And none of these neighbours go to sessions, singarounds or open mics. They just have guitars.

So I suspect the lack of unaccompanied singing isn't down to the fact that people aren't passing on songs, but to the fact that the zeitgeist we're in at present associates singing with accompaniment, instruments being affordable for a much larger proportion of the population than previously.

The original question in this thread, as posted by Larry, was: So.......can a song that was written and defined as a pop song or 'rock 'n roll' ever become considered traditional. And, if so, what would it take? And finally.....any examples of songs that have met this (or are meeting this) criteria?

And I'll stand by my initial point that a fair number of pop or rock songs that are 40-60 years old have now passed down through 1 or even 2 generations and some are on their way to becoming "traditional" in the sense that they'll be sung and remembered down the generations without people necessarily knowing their provenence. Of course, they won't become "traditional" in the sense that the original composers will be unknown (barring a catastropic collapse of civilisation as we know it!) but the way the original post was phrased didn't specify how "trad" should be defined.


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: GUEST,Blandiver
Date: 28 Aug 12 - 06:27 PM

We can see how all sorts of music is taken to the hearts of all sorts of communities as an esential part of their lives, culture & identity.

Surely that's enough?


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 28 Aug 12 - 06:35 PM

Rob,
No-one with any basic knowledge of the tradition nowadays believes that knowing the origin of the song has any relevance at all to the oral tradition. The oral tradition is concerned solely with transmission, not origin, and rightly so IMO. How can a song be traditional one day and the next not be just because we discovered Martin Parker wrote it in 1652 or Harry Clifton in 1860 etc.?

The word 'traditional' can be applied to almost anything that is handed down, whether altered or not. Alteration is a characteristic, not a prescription. 'Rule Britannia' is very much part of several traditions including oral tradition, but it seldom gets altered. In its original form it's not a 'folk song' but it does form part of some folk songs.

The answer to your question is a complex one. Perhaps you need to define what your concept of 'traditional' is.


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: Rob Naylor
Date: 28 Aug 12 - 07:29 PM

Steve, There have been several attempts on here to define what "traditional" means. Not sure there'll ever be a consensus, and you're right, the question is complex, and I agree that it's not about the provenence. But I *have* seen people arguing here that if authorship is known ,then it's not "trad", so was just pre-empting that faction in my post above.

It wasn't *my* question though! I was actually just trying to get the thread back on track a bit as it seems to have deteriorated well away from the OP's question, into personal sniping and squabbling about semantics. Which may be rivetting for the 3-4 people actually involved in the exchanges, but is deadly boring to me, and, I suspect, others.


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: MorwenEdhelwen1
Date: 28 Aug 12 - 07:35 PM

Many Trinidadians can apparently sing the chorus of "Jean and Dinah" composed in 1956, or even the whole song, starting from "Well, the girls in town feelin' bad, there's no more Yankees in Trinidad.."
(I'm not Trinidadian, but I know the whole song. And when I become a calypsonian and if I ever have kids, I'll sing it to them. In fact, I might start teaching it to my cousins.)

In Rob's definition, "Jean and Dinah" is a folk song.

And now it's in my head. I'm still singing "Jean and Dinah, Rosita and Clementina,
Round the corner posin',
Bet your life is somethin they sellin'..."


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: banksie
Date: 29 Aug 12 - 03:13 AM

JohnCharles wrote: `It is a great hobby,making music with friends,and entertaining like minded folk. The error is in trying to maintain that it is somehow central to British culture and feeling depressed when the vast majority no not share this view.'

I'd agree with most of that except to maybe question why we shouldn't feel a little depressed when our `culture' (officially at least, in the form of state-funded grants from the Arts Council etc) is largely made up of Italian opera and Russian/French ballet. We have a lot of culture of our own which is not so supported. I just wonder what the level of interest might be throughout the country if there was a modicum of support?

And I am also aware that there is a huge downside to such `state support' as it would almost certainly trap everything in art aspic. But I am trying to think of other countries that turn their collective back so vehemently against their own musical and dance heritage. Mybe we need a diaspora to kick it off?

And for what its worth I have most certainly been called a snob for preferring folk music - and not just by kids. But it can be fun at the obligatory disco at a family wedding or whatever to throw in some morris double stepping - it works well with a lot of disco music - and see kids suddenly start to join in as it is `different'. Then tell them they have been morris dancing. Some faces can be quite entertaining at that point.....and at subsequent discos I have seen them continue to do it, all by themselves.


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 29 Aug 12 - 04:05 AM

"....as it would almost certainly trap everything in art aspic."
Not necessarily
Up to compariavely recently Irish music was a poor relation - banned in many pubs, sneered at by the media as 'diddly-di music' and apart from one influential body, Comhaltas (CCE) totally devoid of establishment support.
The 70s and 80s brought a tremendous upturn in fortune; a magnificent traditional archive was established in Dublin, a week long music school, teaching all traditional instruments, with lectures, recitals, concerts and wall-to-wall sessions was held in West Clare (still thriving after 40 years) and youngsters flocked to the music in their thousands. You couldn't, and still can't turn your television and radio on without hearing traditional music in one form or other, academic and performance, of traditional music.., I stress that was 'music', song still has some way to go, but it is infinitely more healthy than it is in the UK
I can go out in this one-street town and hear goodmusic well played in our local pubs 4 or 5 nights a week, some nights having to choose between pubs.
This is still very much the case today, despite the downturn in the economy.
Applications for grants for both performance and research were pushing on an open door - we managed to get an extremely generous one for work on our Irish Traveller collection.
At no time did the grant givers or the arts or political establishment attempt to interfere with the nature of the work that was being applied for, the only condition being that you showed that you were doing what you said you were doing.
The secret of this success was that the trad music crowd got their act together and showed that they knew the difference between Johnny B Goode and The Bucks of Oranmore and drew a clear line between the two; no compromises.
The end result is that Irish traditional music will survive and thrive for at least two more generations.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: theleveller
Date: 29 Aug 12 - 04:11 AM

"our `culture' (officially at least, in the form of state-funded grants from the Arts Council etc) is largely made up of Italian opera and Russian/French ballet. We have a lot of culture of our own which is not so supported. I just wonder what the level of interest might be throughout the country if there was a modicum of support?
"

I really don't want to get into a debate about what our culture is - that way madness lies - but, as someone who never goes to the ballet or opera, off the top of my head I would say that it's the music of Elgar and Vaughan William and, increasingly, the work of those wonderful poets who so beautifully evoke our heritage, landscape, people and 'sense of place',in particular, Wordsworth, Clare, W H Davies and Edward Thomas whose poem 'Haymaking' I scarcely go a day without reading - in fact, a copy of his Selected Poems is an almost constant companion. The popularity of these poets seems to be having a resurgence, especially amongst the modern crop of nature and topographical writers such as Robert Macfarlane.


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: MartinRyan
Date: 29 Aug 12 - 04:16 AM

I can go out in this one-street town and hear good music well played in our local pubs 4 or 5 nights a week, some nights having to choose between pubs.


Choose between pubs? Such hardship! ;>)>

As to the thread topic: the only sensible answer is surely " Seems unlikely - but come back in a hundred years time and ask me again!"

Regards


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 29 Aug 12 - 04:42 AM

Ah, Edward Thomas. What a great poet. 'Adlestrop' must be one of the finest accounts of that sort of mystic experience we all have now and then, the feeling that there is a sort of profound thought somewhere just beyond where our mind can reach, if only we could just think what it was.

And is there any other poem which says so much in just a few lines as -

In Memoriam: Easter 1915

The flowers left thick at nightfall in the wood
This Eastertide call into mind the men,
Now far from home, who, with their sweethearts, should
Have gathered them and will do never again.

~M~


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: GUEST,Blandiver
Date: 29 Aug 12 - 05:35 AM

The end result is that Irish traditional music will survive and thrive for at least two more generations.

Well a grim nationalistic MOR pastiche of it anyway. I'm reminded of an old Irish travelling musician I once sat in a session with in Tyneside back in the mid 1980s who left when the company started up with Simon Jeffe's Music for a Found Harmonium.
'You okay?' said I.
'It's not music anymore - it's just notes.' said he.

I remember another Irish session, in Durham at The Colpitts, very studied, earnest and famed for the sort of dazzling po-faced ultra-slick muso virtuosity that now typifies the genre. I was rapidly losing the will to live through in the other bar when one of the old Irish regulars came in, took one listen and proclaimed: 'Holy Mary Mother of God! It's Riverdance night!' and turned on her heel and left.

That said, I could listen to Seamus Ennis, Felix Doran & Willie Clancy all day - and very often do.

Me, I'm just happy that formula-free feral Human Traditional Music will survive and thrive as long as there are people on planet earth to play it, and will do so regardless of the prescriptions of Folk on what constitutes Traditional or Folk or whatever. All the Ethnomusicologist has to do is just sit back and rejoice at the reality of it all; just as the linguist rejoices in the living reality of language and the ethnologist in the living reality of cultural diversity. Folk will always be seen as risable & reactive by the majority of the population who are way too busy getting on with the realities of life, and music, to care about anything other than pure creative joy of doing it.


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 29 Aug 12 - 10:32 AM

"Well a grim nationalistic MOR pastiche of it anyway"
Do you have any evidence for this?
You seem to be totally incapable of accepting that anything positive can be happening with traditional music without your putting your own nasty twist to it.
The Willie Clancy Summer School, has been the greatest single influence on Irish music was started forty years ago with tutors and lecturers such as Seamus Ennis, Tom McCarthy, Bobby Casey, Breandan McGlinchy... and a whole host of earlier generation musicians who taught youngsters., Breathnach, Peoples, Glackin, John Kelly, Johnny O'Leary.   
Tom McCarthy's family is now into the third generation of playing superb Irish music and this town has young people who cut their teeth here are now teachers themselves.
Willie Clancy, who you claim to admire, has been a major influence in the development here.
You strike me as one of the most unpleasent (begrudgers is the word they use here) when it comes to giving credit, in this case to many thousands of kids who have taken up traditional music and are making it work using traditional forms.
I look forward to an explanation (in plain English if possible) as to why you describe what is happening as "a grim nationalistic MOR pastiche" othewise, I serious suggest you seek an attitude implant, the present one seems to have deteriorated beyond salvation.
Personally, I put it down to a bad case of inferiority complex - you really do come over as a thoroughly nasty piece of work.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 29 Aug 12 - 10:49 AM

"...one of the old Irish regulars came in, took one listen and proclaimed: 'Holy Mary Mother of God! It's Riverdance night!' and turned on her heel and left."

Sounds like the typical meanness of a drunken bully. Loud and rude with an admixture of sly. I wouldn't worry about it too much.


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: GUEST,Blandiver
Date: 29 Aug 12 - 11:07 AM

Way too personal, Jim - I don't need the insults, not from you or anyone else. All I'm doing is a little generalising with respect of how Folk works in terms of its own agendas and notions of Tradition one one hand & Heritage on the other, assuming the two things aren't conflated. Which is fine, but there's still a cut off point between the one thing and the other, Pre & Post Revival, and all that implies.

Real Music, on the other hand, is that which exists regardless of state-funded agendas or prescriptive revival. Real Music thrives & evolves according to the deeper needs of humanity than that which first perceives then consciously preserves any given tradition. In Real Music, tradition just happens anyway, though the participants probably wouldn't think of it as such. I think that much is self-evident - so please, don't take it so personally if I point it out, I don't mean it as an insult.

The value of Revival Folk Music is beyond calculation, but it has its limits, and those limits are, one would have thought, what this thread is all about.


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: GUEST,Blandiver
Date: 29 Aug 12 - 11:20 AM

Sounds like the typical meanness of a drunken bully. Loud and rude with an admixture of sly. I wouldn't worry about it too much.

Indeed not; she was the sweetest old dear you're ever likely to meet, the heart and soul of many a fine evening of impromptu craik, or crack as we call it the North East of England. I think her comment was to do with the over formalisation of a music which was, to her at least, second nature. Hell, even seasoned session players spoke of The Colpitts Session in hushed tones - rumour was you had to apply for an audition to play. There's several ways of looking at this - but having browsed fora like The Session where one rouitinely sees great musicians dismissed out of hand - including at least one highly respected 'Catter - I might ponder its true worth as part of the general inclusivity of the come-all-ye which remains my Folk Ideal. That way the roots are acknowledged and new singers & musicians duly nurtured.


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 29 Aug 12 - 11:34 AM

She was actually a sweet old dear? Well, good, then.


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: GUEST,CS
Date: 29 Aug 12 - 11:53 AM

JohnCharles wrote: `It is a great hobby,making music with friends,and entertaining like minded folk. The error is in trying to maintain that it is somehow central to British culture'

Saw this quoted above by another poster. I'd argue that the assertion that 'amateur music making and sharing is not central to British culture', is false. Pretty much every person I know has some kind of musical instrument. I'd say a good half of the pople I've known in my life - NOT including 'folkies' - have played some kind of (principally self-taught) instrument, the overwhelming majority being acoustic guitar, but others have included; piano, violin, djembe, concertina, viol, cello, saxophone, didgeridoo, electric bass, drums, ukelele, flute, keyboards and harp. DIY music making continues to be a key aspect of British culture, and working-class British culture at that. While acapella singing in the traditional folk sense has arguably all but disappeared from popular British culture, in it's stead there does exist a modern tradition of performing vocally without instrumental accompaniment, in the form of rap. Unlike Rob, many folkies on this board possibly tend to remain in folkie land, which is not where the majority of popular British culture is to be found; that is to be found everywhere outside of folkiebubble land.


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: GUEST,Blandiver
Date: 29 Aug 12 - 12:02 PM

Rap eh? Well I still argue that the logical inheritor of the Unaccompanied Community Singing Tradition is Karaoke. Sure there's a backing track, but there's no actual instruments involved, which is the defining aspect of the Karaoke Tradition. That said, we passed a board outside a Blackpool pub the other day advertising 'Bandaoke' - Karaoke with a live band... Imagine that...


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: Larry The Radio Guy
Date: 29 Aug 12 - 12:19 PM

I appreciate the 'passions' expressed both by Blandiver and Jim....and maybe I'm being 'wishy washy' but I see the truth in both.

But I'm fascinated with one thing Jim said that I'd love to explore further, when he talks about the revival of traditional Irish music in Irish pubs.

This seems to come close to that 'living tradition' that seems so elusive to me on this thread.

You say, Jim, that "the trad music crowd got their act together and showed that they knew the difference between Johnny B Goode and The Bucks of Oranmore and drew a clear line between the two; no compromises".

I'm curious why you think that happened? My guess that it came from the leadership of a few traditional music lovers who made a concerted effort to do this.....but somehow they attracted many followers.

Was there something specific about the 'time and place' that allowed this to happen?   

Was there somehow a melding (perhaps because of the success of the more commericial 'RiverDance" that somehow gave a legitimacy to this music that may not have happened otherwise?    Or did the strength of certain people's passion permeate into places where lesser passions could never get through?

And I'm wondering if this could be a model for bringing back other forms of traditional music in other cultures?

(I realize this question deviates a bit from the original one about whether pop music can be traditional.....but maybe not).

-Larry


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 29 Aug 12 - 01:05 PM

"Way too personal, Jim - I don't need the insults"
Yet you feel free to insult anybody you choose whenever it takes your fancy.
I asked if you have any evidence for your claim of "a grim nationalistic MOR pastiche of it anyway"
You obviously have not, so here you feel free to insult the music played by Irish people, young and old - please feel free to interpret 'a real pice of work' as another insult.
Jim Caroll


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: Brian Peters
Date: 29 Aug 12 - 02:10 PM

"the leadership of a few traditional music lovers who made a concerted effort to do this.....but somehow they attracted many followers."

Even in vibrant traditional music cultures that never had 'folk revivals' initiated by outsiders, this seems to be the case. I don't think Cajun music would be in the rude health it seems to be, without the passionate advocacy of Dewey Balfa (himself from within the tradition, of course), Michael Doucet and others. the same is true in my experience of Quebecois music.

"DIY music making continues to be a key aspect of British culture"

I'm sure that it is, although I'd guess that it's far from universal (the only vaguely relevant figures I could find on the web reckoned that 6% of the US population owns a guitar, although that might be an underestimate). And Rob Naylor is right in saying that instruments and technology are priced within the grasp of many more people these days than formerly.

I tend to agree with Steve Gardham, when he said "we would be best treating what happens today as separate traditions from those that happened a century and more ago", which is not, of course, to say that what happens now is inferior. Also with Martin Ryan, that as far as modern songs 'becoming traditional' is concerned, it's simply too early to say. I still await the evidence that recent songs are getting passed on down the generations in the way that allowed Sheila Kay Adams to learn 'The Outlandish Knight' from her mother in North Carolina, and still be singing in 2011 a ballad known in Britain the best of 250 years previously (and much older than that in Europe), which Cecil Sharp himself noted down from Sheila Kay's great-great-Aunt Mary Sands in 1916.

Sheila Kay talks about her family and sings 'The Outlandish Knight'


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: GUEST,Blandiver
Date: 29 Aug 12 - 02:57 PM

and maybe I'm being 'wishy washy' but I see the truth in both.

Me too. Is life ever so simple as to be clear cut?

they knew the difference between Johnny B Goode and The Bucks of Oranmore

And the two can coexist quite happily in the same musical universe. Most Irish Bands of my acquaintance wouldn't get the gigs if they couldn't cover The Dubliners, Irish Women, Riverdance, Dervish as well as The Commitments.

*

Yet you feel free to insult anybody you choose whenever it takes your fancy.

I never insult anyone, Jim. I question certain assumptions, but I never get personal.

*

I still await the evidence that recent songs are getting passed on down the generations

Things get passed on, only differently; and maybe the time scale is a little different too. The Idioms certainly get passed on - the means by which new music is created; we inherit that the same as language. I've still got my mother's old Beatles 45's, including her cherished copy of All You Need Is Love which I flipped over & flipped out to as a kid in '67 when I heard Lennon's modal clavioline on Baby You're a Rich Man. That's Pop heritage! It provided the link between the Smallpipes and the Prog that followed; especially when I hear the Third Ear Band a few years later. Pow! I'm still reeling, man. Seriously. That got me into Medieval Music via The Macbeth soundtrack & I still dream of a universe where Magma and Gong used to tour together - or where Mark E. Smith used to travel on the same bus as Ian Curtis, or Sun Ra and Rahsaan Roland Kirk would meet on the subway in the early hours after the gigging was done, or the thoughts of what Willie Scott, Jimmy McBeath and Davie Stewart had to say to each other in those high and far off times...

We live in a wonderful wonderful wonderful wonderful traditional popular musical universe. Forgive the worst pun you'll ever hear but it's Johnny B. Goode to be here. As Zappa said - Music is the Best.


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: Brian Peters
Date: 29 Aug 12 - 03:29 PM

"grim nationalistic MOR pastiche"

I found myself at a concertina workshop with this wonderful musician last year. Kindly explain how her music fits into the ludicrous characterisation above.

Mary McNamara


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: GUEST,Blandiver
Date: 29 Aug 12 - 04:25 PM

I was thinking more of Riverdance actually - but the thing I love about pre-Revival Irish musicians & singers (same for America & UK) is the numinouness that, to my ears at least (this is a matter of personal taste after all), is conspicuously absent thereafter.


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: GUEST,Blandiver
Date: 29 Aug 12 - 06:46 PM

Is it 'numinousness', 'numinescence' or 'numinosity'?
It's like 'luminous'.
You say 'numinosity'?
I do.
And when a things is numinous, it exudes an air of mystery, of sanctity, of energy.
It appears 'charged'.


(Peter Blegvad)


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 29 Aug 12 - 07:02 PM

numinosity....almost rhymes with verbosity.


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: Rob Naylor
Date: 29 Aug 12 - 08:09 PM

I still await the evidence that recent songs are getting passed on down the generations

What evidence do you need?

I've said above, a couple of times, that I regularly hear people in their 20s singing and playing songs that are 40-60 years old, or joining in with them word-perfect when they hear them played.

The songs include "modern folk" songs...I've posted before about the young mandolin player who "only plays traditional Irish songs" launching into "Fiddler's Green" and reacting with horror when told that not only was it written in Grimsby, but that the composer was still alive and performing.

As for pop and rock songs, as I said above, "Hotel California" is definitely a generation-crossing "anthem"...if young people from Axminster to Sakhalin and various points between are able to identify it from the first bar and join in word-perfect, including the 3 percussive table-slaps immediately before the vocals start, then in my book it's "there". In the last few months I've heard it done by, and joined in by, people at least a generation removed from its composition in: Axminster; Yeovil; Bethesda; Tunbridge Wells; Den Helder; Stavanger; St Petersburg and Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk. I would probably have heard it in Turkmenbashi and Ashgabat if I'd been there long enough to come across any singing!

Other pop/rock songs I hear sung by people in their 20s and younger all the time, and in widely separated locations, include:

- Space Oddity
- Wish You Were Here
- Blowin' In The Wind
- Streets of London
- Teach Your Children
- Bad Moon Rising
- Catch The Wind
- Big Yellow Taxi
- The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down
- Ruby Tuesday

to name just 10 of many.

And strangely, there seems to have been a recent uptake of "Feel Like I'm Fixin' To Die Rag" which is *really* out of its time and place, but which I've heard done recently by under-30s in both Axminster and Tunbridge Wells, and joined in with enthusiastically by others.

I suspect that one's just a flash in the pan, but I'd be willing to bet that at least half the other 10 I listed above continue to make their way down the generations.


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: The Sandman
Date: 29 Aug 12 - 10:29 PM

I am flabbergasted, as Shakespeare might have said "much ado about nothing


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: GUEST
Date: 29 Aug 12 - 10:39 PM

I have been a folksong leader and performer for about 55 years and, although I am partial to traditional songs, and I champion then in my reviews, I believe that a "folk song" is a song that people sing, rather than just listen to. Of course, tradition takes time. Is there anything sillier than an event that is advertised as The First Annual whatever?
But, even though Dr. Kenneth Goldstien was a friend, and my daughter's godfather, his assertion that a folksong's author must be anon and altered by, what he called "folk process", was, and is nosensical. Even he would have admitted that Silent Night, Happy Birthday and the Star Spangled Banner are traditional and ritual folksongs. The same can be said for Guthrey's "This Land is Your Land", Leadbelly's "Goodnight Irene" and Irving Berlin's "God Bless America" A folksong outlives its creator and its popularity. I suspect that "Puff, The Magic Dragon" will achieve folk status. Children's songs and Christmas carols tend to have a longer shelf life.


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: GUEST,CS
Date: 30 Aug 12 - 04:27 AM

Agree with Rob, the kinds of songs he lists have definitely become generation transiting acoustic anthems - just take a look at YouTube and you'll see examples of hundreds of young musicians playing such songs. The key difference today being that such songs have become a part of contemporary DIY music making traditions via the means of recorded sound, the internet and also importantly via 'Greatest Rock Songs for Guitar' chord books, rather than the exclusively oral tradition of yore - though that plays it's part also.


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: theleveller
Date: 30 Aug 12 - 04:30 AM

"'Adlestrop' must be one of the finest accounts of that sort of mystic experience we all have now and then, the feeling that there is a sort of profound thought somewhere just beyond where our mind can reach, if only we could just think what it was."

Very true - whenever it happens I always think that Wordsworth sums it up.

                               "And I have felt
      A presence that disturbs me with the joy
      Of elevated thoughts; a sense sublime
      Of something far more deeply interfused,
      Whose dwelling is the light of setting suns"


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: Will Fly
Date: 30 Aug 12 - 04:30 AM

Rob - some very interesting comments from your own experience on how, in our modern times, popular songs - and even fragments of these songs - are remembered cross-culturally. Perhaps we're seeing the beginning of a different kind of "folk process" (I hate the phrase but can't think of a better) in which, from out of the multitude of popular songs composed and created in our time, certain ones get sifted out and come to prominence while the rest of them settle down to relative obscurity. I'm generalising, of course, but I'm sure you'll get my drift. The main difference between our time and that of the collectors at the turn of the 20th century is that recording and archiving techniques allow the provenance of all of this modern material to be known and documented. In this world, both the "classics" and the "dross" survive on an equal footing and can be brought out for inspection as and when required.

What would we have heard two or three or four hundred years ago? What has not survived? Perhaps, like today, a mixture of great songs and comparatively poor material. I've been listening avidly to music for the greater part of my 68 years, and been actively performing a wide range of music for over 45 of them. I often reflect that, when I first started listening to music hall songs, for example, this material was around 50-60 years old then. Now it's over 100 years old. Similarly, the 20s and 30s jazz I'm so fond of was in its 40s when I started playing it - but is now fast becoming a venerable centenarian. In both genres time has, like water running through a rock formation, eroded the soft stuff and left the peaks standing. It's a process analogous to that of traditional music, with the exception that, unlike traditional music, we have all the relevant birth information. What will be remembered and heard and played of our modern music in 100 time...?

As far as traditional music is concerned, I'm firmly of the belief that the songs we hear today started off as personal compositions by an individual. Some names survive, others don't. And I'm sorry to say that - not really being immersed in the folk song tradition, it matters not a jot to me whether Variant A is related to Variant B by way of a housewife in Banff. What does matter to me is how good the song/tune is to my ears.


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: GUEST,d
Date: 30 Aug 12 - 06:03 AM

Will - and by extension Rob - you two sum up the situation pretty well. One could also include our parents, aunts, uncles here - what, if anything, did they sing to us when we were kids? 'Folksongs'??? Or songs from rambling/climbing club outings, popular films of the time etc.? Some of these songs may have stuck in our memories, some we may even sing irrespective of whether we know who composed them or not, or some we've even possibly used as vehicles for completely new songs. Only time will tell whether anything like 'folkmusic' will be played and sung in 2112, and the same goes for songs crossing over from one genre to another. (It's 'folk' Jim, but not as we know it!) Since none of those pontificating here in this thread are going to be around in 2112, surely the question is really only one of academic interest.

"Fixin' to Die Rag" may be superficially about Viet-Nam, but surely it's the general sentiment of the song - war and the behaviour of politicians and military - that matters?


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: johncharles
Date: 30 Aug 12 - 06:05 AM

Will, you could be that man on the clapham omnibus. I may have to have a rest now, philosophy is so tiring.
john.


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: GUEST
Date: 30 Aug 12 - 06:22 AM

surely we could have answered this thread's question with just two words (rather than 190something posts):

"Yellow Submarine"


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: Brian Peters
Date: 30 Aug 12 - 07:19 AM

"I still await the evidence that recent songs are getting passed on down the generations..."

"What evidence do you need?"


As several people have now pointed out, in order to discuss the original question we have to decide what 'traditional' actually means. Clearly it meant one thing then and another now. I've tried to remember to qualify at least some of my comments with the phrase "in the old sense". However, as far as the dictionary goes the main meaning is given as:

"The passing down of elements of a culture from generation to generation, especially by oral communication."

A secondary meaning, "A time-honored practice or set of such practices." is relevant here, too. (I don't think anyone here has yet claimed Slade's 'Merry Christmas' as traditional, but it's certainly part of what is now the traditional Christmas soundtrack, like it or not)

When I talk about "getting passed down" I'm talking about songs being passed from parents to children, and then on to the next generation and the one after that. Sheila Kay Adams' family singing tradition, for instance. What Rob is describing (and I'm genuinely fascinated by it) is a process by which songs are accessible to the generation below the one that first enjoyed them, but as the result of a more complex series of processes that no doubt involves peer-to-peer transmission but also Youtube, Spotify, CDs, LPs, etc. There's always a fixed reference point to return to. Of course that also means that those songs will be available for ever, for anyone who wishes to access them.

When I said "it's too early to tell", I was imagining a list that might have been drawn up in 1960, of songs that would stand the test of time. What would it have included? 'Oh, What a Beautiful Morning'? 'Getting to Know You'? 'Singing in the Rain'? 'Ol' Man River'? As it happens I remember my Mum singing the first two of those around the house, and could manage at least a verse and chorus of the first. But I don't sing them around the house (nor much else, for that matter, unless I'm practising) and I guess Rob's young musicians in Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk don't sing them either. Of course they'll always be there for people who like to watch classic old musicals, but I suspeect they'll fall out of more general circulation in another generation.

Now I'd concede that those songs from the shows represent a style of music that the next generation largely rejected, whereas the generation below mine hasn't (entirely) rejected the guitar-based popular music idiom that arose in the 1960s. Also, there's been a democratisation of music-making since working-class youths of the 60s achieved fame by playing electric guitars, then punks and rappers showed that music-making was accessible to anyone, instruments and technology became more accessible, and venues like my local music pub started running open-mikes. There's plenty of opportunity to get involved in music today. Nonetheless, those twenty-year-olds who are playing 'Hotel California' (do the three table-slaps make it the new 'Wild Rover', I wonder?) are still part of a select community that chooses to entertain itself by sharing music, a bubble no less than the folkie bubble CS identified.

fRoots magazine reckons from surveys that 53% of its readers play an instrument, two thirds of those in public - but that's fRoots, which champions essentially home-made music. What percentage would you find amongst the readers of Auto Trader, Country Life, The Spectator, Cosmopolitan or Nuts? There is a subculture of music-makers, but I suggest (while respecting various bits of testimony above) it's still a minority. In the heyday of what (with all the usual disclaimers) I'll call the folk tradition, the majority of people sang, albeit without necessarily having a large repertoire. According to Roud, "people sang in all kinds of places and contexts, and there was probably no situation in which people did not sing at one time or another". He goes on to list instances both private and public: the home, the pub, the workplace, etc. According to an account of turn-of-the-century Nova Scotia:

"In the town where I lived until I was twelve years old, almost everyone sang these old songs and ballads. Neighbors were few and far between, books and magazines were scarce and we had to make the best of what we had... If a stranger came to house or to one of our neighborhood gatherings, it was considered a breach of good manners not to ask him to sing."

We simply don't have that kind of culture now, however much wonderful music is made in our present culture. Celebrate the difference, but recognize it. And recognize too that, in the great scheme of things, it doesn't actually matter very much, other than as an interesting discussion topic.

"I was thinking more of Riverdance actually"

Then why not say so? Instant consensus, and no subsequent ill-humour!


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: Mr Happy
Date: 30 Aug 12 - 08:28 AM

Yes


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: GUEST,Iains
Date: 30 Aug 12 - 05:11 PM

I have read all this thread with fascination. There seem to be several streams of thought(at least)There is a highly academic line of reasoning that suggests everything has too be highly dissected and conform to a rigerous test as to origin/antiquity-even to the extent of having no attributable author. Another argues that a song must have evolved. The definition of folk has no universally accepted criteria.
Also the world has moved on. Data can move around the world in an instant- the days of an itinerant minstrel ceased many years passed.
In many ways the purists need to update their act to the modern world, they seem to require that a song evolves and travels over a period of time. The internet provides a new paradigm.
Is Raglan Road a folk song or in the folk idiom or is this purely an argument based around semantics? Does the same apply to O'carolyn's Farewell to Music, or Carrickfergus?
In sessions I attended in Lincolnshire for some years the music played
would encompass anything in the folk 'idiom' I am sure we all collectively regarded it as folk, irregardless of wether it was written by John Connolly, Ralph Mctell or A N Other back in the 1600's
If Joe average regards Fairytale of New York as a traditional folk song then surely it is? By it's chart sales it is also a pop song.
Is music of a certain genre to be enjoyed by listening to it-playing it-or dissecting it? The latter song is a traditional christmas favourite. So to answer the original thread I would say YES.


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: GUEST
Date: 30 Aug 12 - 05:45 PM

Will Fly has described the process clearly enough:
"time has, like water running through a rock formation, eroded the soft stuff and left the peaks standing. " and, by means of this analogy, suggested that rather than being a phenomenon peculiar to music, or to a particular culture or society, or even to humanity, it is at root, a universal principle.


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: GUEST
Date: 30 Aug 12 - 06:33 PM

"Goodnight Irene". "So Long, It's Been to Know Ya". "You Are My Sunshine".
All have entered into the folk process. They have been adopted by people who have no idea that they were written in the last century and that their composers are known. When people sing them they sing them as songs they learned from somebody else; a parent, a sibling, a friend, from a recording. They may remember the lyrics or the tune " "incorrectly" or add their own variations.
Frankie Armstrong told me she met a couple of German girls travelling in Wales who were singing Ewan MacColl's "Moving On Song". Unlikely they learned it from the original Radio Ballad. It had become part of their personal tradition.
Many of Ewan's songs have entered the tradition. "Shoals of Herring" is popular in Ireland and there are people there who will swear they learned it from their grandfather.
It doesn't matter the provenance of a song. If people adopt it as their own it becomes "folk".
Big Bill Broonzy once said, "If folks sing it it's folk music."


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: Rob Naylor
Date: 30 Aug 12 - 06:59 PM

Will: In both genres time has, like water running through a rock formation, eroded the soft stuff and left the peaks standing.

As someone involved in geophysics that image strikes a very appropriate chord!

It's been fascinating out here to see what songs are known and sung. It's also fascinating to see that the more "commercial" side of things (what's playing in clubs and such) is largely Rap, Trance and Dub-Step music that sounds about 3-4 years "out of date" compared to the UK. The local "commercial" music seems to be mainly Rap or Metal, and the lyrics often switch into English, sometimes inappropriately. I was walking through a mall with quite loud piped music the other day and the Russian lyrics suddenly switched to : "I want to lick your balls until you come", repeated 3 times until they switched back to Russian. I was an obvious foreigner as I stopped dead and did a distinct "double take"!

Brian: What Rob is describing (and I'm genuinely fascinated by it) is a process by which songs are accessible to the generation below the one that first enjoyed them, but as the result of a more complex series of processes that no doubt involves peer-to-peer transmission but also Youtube, Spotify, CDs, LPs, etc. There's always a fixed reference point to return to. Of course that also means that those songs will be available for ever, for anyone who wishes to access them.

Yes, you've hit the nail on the head there in terms of transmission processes. And, as someone else pointed out, there are also loads of "Best Rock Guitar Tunes" books and similar. I know that some of the songs in my "inter-generational list" feature in several of these books.


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 31 Aug 12 - 01:21 AM

Much impressed by Brian's last post. Reminded by it of something from my pre-WW2 childhood, about 1937 when I would have been 5. We had the painters in for a few days; and one of them while at work incessantly sang The Skye Boat Song, which I thought beautiful. Have always wondered why, and whether such a thing would happen today. (Just an anecdote, but felt faintly relevant.)

~M~


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: Mr Happy
Date: 31 Aug 12 - 04:19 AM

"I want to lick your balls until you come"??

I think 'traditional' songs are usually a little more subtle than that example, often with innuendo & humour


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: GUEST,Jim Bainbridge
Date: 31 Aug 12 - 12:57 PM

First time I heard Bob Davenport in 1964(he's well known for plain speaking) a floor singer got up and spent fully 3 minutes explaining the song he was about to sing. Bob stood up and shouted from thn back- 'Sing the fucking song man, stop talking about it'
The current discussion brought this to mind, can't think why


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: The Sandman
Date: 31 Aug 12 - 01:49 PM

exactly Jim, its called the Dunbeacon reply, HAVE YOU DUN SPEAKING THEN DUN BEACON


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: GUEST,Blandiver
Date: 31 Aug 12 - 03:38 PM

Discussion's cool. Surely much of the appeal of a song is its provenance; I'd go so far as to say that its provenance accounts for its numinosity (or is it numinouness?). At a Fylde Festival singaround earlier today (about 2 hours ago) I happily sourced my rendering of Out With my Gun in the Morning to the singing of Jimmy Knights with reference to both the Broadside in the Axon Collection and Jim Causeley's track on the Woodbine & Ivy Band album. If someone had said Sing the fucking song man, stop talking about it I would have told them that whilst never being numinous ourselves, we Traddies are nevertheless drawn to the mystery that, in the pure sweet communion of simply singing a song, radiates its divine charge in our hearts / souls and in this way are our lives made complete. This is but one of the Bounties of Traditional Song and we do well to explore the source and account for it by way of as wide a credit as we can. Chapter and, indeed, verse. Amen, amen, amen, amen.

Who said Folk was a religion?


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 31 Aug 12 - 04:09 PM

Jack,
It's a case of time and place. I can easily talk for an hour on the provenance/history/geography of some of the songs I sing, but wouldn't dream of doing this in a singaround where you're often lucky to get 2 songs in. If I'm perfoming to a historical group I might do this but to people who've come to hear singing the briefest of intros suffices. I'm afraid I veer more towards Bob's colourful and brief statement.

And we'll all be glad when you've got to the end of the dictionary and got it out of your system.


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: GUEST,Blandiver
Date: 01 Sep 12 - 03:43 AM

I'm not talking of a lecture, Steve - just a wee introduction to place the song in its context, for the benefit of those who don't know, or might not be familiar with it. It's nice to do that without having some pumped up boor bawling out to Sing the fucking song man - much less resort to personal sidewipes about dictionaries.


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: theleveller
Date: 01 Sep 12 - 05:02 AM

"First time I heard Bob Davenport in 1964(he's well known for plain speaking) a floor singer got up and spent fully 3 minutes explaining the song he was about to sing. Bob stood up and shouted from thn back- 'Sing the fucking song man, stop talking about it'"

Ignorant bastard! There's plain speaking and there's downright fucking rude. If anyome said that to me they'd get a pretty curt response at the time and a warning afterwards that it they ever did it again they wouldn't be able to sing until they'd had a lot of cosmetic dentistry.

Personally, I like to hear the provenance of songs (OK, maybe not so much in a singaround). When he ran the Osmotherly Folk Gathering, Richard Grainger has a Sunday lunchtime session where singer/songwriters were invited to talk about the background to their songs before singing them. I really enjoyed that.


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: Musket
Date: 01 Sep 12 - 06:29 AM

I like to give a bit of background to a song, not too much but a bit. I suppose that if we are to call something "folk" it includes the provenance as the idea is to preserve old traditional songs as well as introduce new songs to the genre.

Which of course is why a pop song can become traditional.



If a song is about an event, a person, a capture of time in any event, it is preserving an experience, which is precisely what we want to preserve traditional songs for.

Cool for Cats describes my life at the time. I Don't Like Mondays was sung by Dave Burland whilst in the charts and he described it as a new folk song. Smoke on the Water is about a fire in Switzerland. Etc etc etc


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: Henry Krinkle
Date: 01 Sep 12 - 10:06 PM

See my lyric request for Run, Joey Run?
A pop song very likely to become traditional one day.
Just you wait and see.
(:-( ))=


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 01 Sep 12 - 11:56 PM

Just a thought-
Since this discussion is pointless, and has been for the past century or so, why not start over by soliciting definitions of "folk" and "traditional"? Otherwise we wind up with arguments about whether an elephant is a quadruped, a vertebrate, a mammal, or a beast of burden.


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: Ole Juul
Date: 02 Sep 12 - 04:37 AM

Since this discussion is pointless, and has been for the past century or so, why not start over by soliciting definitions of "folk" and "traditional"? Otherwise we wind up with arguments about whether an elephant is a quadruped, a vertebrate, a mammal, or a beast of burden.

That's easy. "Folk" is a mammal and "traditional" is a beast of burden. :)

Seriously, there is indeed an elephant in the room. That, is the tendency to slide effortlessly back and forth between academically aware practitioners, such as we mostly see here, and society in general.


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 02 Sep 12 - 05:47 AM

Second try!

Jack, apologies, it slipped out, but you do have a strong tendency to use vocabulary no one else on here understands.

Dick, agreed, and I really like Ole's follow-up.


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: GUEST,raymond greenoaken
Date: 02 Sep 12 - 02:42 PM

I understand it all! Honest. I have a dictionary too.


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: Brian Peters
Date: 02 Sep 12 - 03:24 PM

'Sing the fucking song man, stop talking about it'

I'm always amused (or possibly bemused) when people make the effort to post to a music discussion group to complain that discussing music is boring and a waste of time.

Also agree with theleveller: I hope the singer went and punched the offending heckler on the nose for such bad manners.


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: GUEST,raymond greenoaken
Date: 02 Sep 12 - 06:11 PM

Punch Bob Davenport? Are you hard enough?


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: Brian Peters
Date: 02 Sep 12 - 06:45 PM

Even as I wrote it, I was thinking about kicking Bishop Brennan up the arse...


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: theleveller
Date: 03 Sep 12 - 03:14 AM

"Punch Bob Davenport? Are you hard enough?"

Fortunately I've never come across this "gentleman" whoever he is, but let's just say that I doubt if he can hold a candle to the hunt followers, dog-fight organisers and badger-baiters I've come up against in my time.


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 03 Sep 12 - 03:53 AM

leveller ~"Whoever he is" ··· Are you serious! He might have his yobbish and aggressive side; but Bob is one of the most distinguished singers of the British Folk Revival. Try googling if you don't believe me.

~M~


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: theleveller
Date: 03 Sep 12 - 07:43 AM

Yes, vaguely recall the name from way back in the mists of time. He didn't have much impact of the Yorkshire folk scene I was involved in and I don't think I've ever seen or heard him. He obviously has an over-inflated sense of his own importance.


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 03 Sep 12 - 02:44 PM

Bob certainly had an agenda and didn't suffer fools gladly, but under the brash exterior is a heart of gold. He lives in London nowadays and still turns up at the occasional do. He was an influential singer in his early days being backed by bands like the Rakes. Impact on the Yorkshire scene? I saw him perform in my neck of Yorkshire many times.


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: GUEST,Blandiver
Date: 04 Sep 12 - 06:35 AM

Of course there are certain cunning individuals who can turn their scolarly intros into golden entertainment without veering into the Badlands of Folk Comedy even in the setting of one of the Fylde Festivals less desirable venues. We witnessed this on Saturday night even as the MC fumbled about the place trying to figure out how to work the lights and the ghostly ectoplasmic fug of the Wheeltappers and Shunters club hung in the stale air undisturbed by anything brighter than a lighter since 1970 at least (somehow, you just know the Shirley Bassey Sink anecdote is set here). But, undaunted, and with the sort of gifted artistry that sorts out Men from Boys, we were lifted (nay transported) into the more wholesome realms of Traditional Song & Ballad (& more besides) in such a way as to quite ignore the oppressive horror of the place. Mr Brian Peters, to you, sir, I doff my cap.

We didn't stay long enough to see The Emily Portman Trio, but we loved her set the following day at Moseley. Her music is an exquisitely woven filigree tenderness ideally suited for the rainbow colours, smiling painted faces & verdant parkland setting that typifies the Psychedelic Arcadia that is MoFo. I couldn't help but wonder how her particular flower would have faired in the sinister gloom of the Gasworks Club. Shame we didn't hang round long enough to find out really, but, like Brian, I bet she sent the shadows fleeing away...

Then, doubt not, ye fearful
The Eternal is King
Up, heart, and be cheerful,
And lustily sing:
What chariots, what horses
Against us shall bide
While the Stars in their courses
Do fight on our side?


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: GUEST
Date: 04 Sep 12 - 08:15 AM

I think the key words here are "3 minutes" and "floorsinger"!

Effectively that's making your intro the same length as someone else's entire floorspot! That's saying "my song is more important than your song". I'm willing to bet that that floorsinger probably went on to sing a song that was a lot longer than everyone else's too. There's always one...

(I went to a screening of "Cracked Actor", the 1974 David Bowie documentary, at the ICA on Sunday. Afterwards there was a Q&A with the director. One particularly obsessive audience member just didn't seem to understand the concept: his question turned out to be a three questions, prefaced by a lengthy rambling preamle, and the microphone had to be positively wrestled away from him)


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 04 Sep 12 - 08:18 AM

otoh many traditional song benefit from a programme note. Obviously, discretion as to length and detail is essential, but it would be a pity if all traditional material were to be sung entirely 'from cold', perhaps to the mystification of much of the audience.

~M~


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: GUEST,matt milton
Date: 04 Sep 12 - 08:28 AM

at the risk of sinking up to my neck into the "what is folk?" quagmire...

it has often struck me that the closest thing we have to a folkloric "shared song culture" today is that provided by Glee and X Factor.

After an episode of Glee, there will suddenly and instantaneously be hundreds of thousands of people who know the song "First Time Ever I Saw your Face" or "Hallelujah", or whichever song from the last 50 years of recorded popular music the programme's producers have decided to recuperate.

The next day, children in school playgrounds know the song, and share it on their phones.

One might say something analagous about the function that superhero movies plays in terms of narrative and myth: today's equivalents of folktales and mythical archetypes are Batman, Spiderman et al. The speed at which the film companies decide to "reboot" the franchise with different actors is in its own way testament to the mythic potency of Iron Man, Hulk and co.


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: GUEST,Ed
Date: 04 Sep 12 - 08:56 AM

Blandiver,

It's quite possible that I'm very dim, but I really don't understand what Psychedelic Arcadia that is MoFo means.

Could you elucidate please?

Thanks,

Ed


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: GUEST,Blandiver
Date: 04 Sep 12 - 10:20 AM

I really don't understand what Psychedelic Arcadia that is MoFo means.

MoFo = Mosely Folk Festival - or so it said on our handsome purple plastic wrist bands.

Psychedelic - Well, the whole vibe was like Glastonbury 1984 in miniature & it brought me back to the whole free festival scene that I used to revel in as a younger man, only it wasn't free, but the vibes were beautiful and the music was beautiful too. We heard amazing sets from Emily Portman, Sunjay Brayne, Telling the Bees and Ian A Anderson's False Beards and it felt utterly idyllic. Even several hallowed members of Steeleye Span said how much they enjoyed our set.

Arcadia - This is mythic realm of Nymphs, Shepherds, sunshine & idleness. Backstage we were handfeeding the wildfowl on the wooded lake before going on to do our set of Field-Hollerin' Mom 'n' Pop Feral Weirdlore and I looked out and - things was cool, you know? I saw beautiful nymphs laughing with handsome young shepherds and all in perfect contented idleness. Wandering around the festival site afterwards we bought beautiful clothes for autumnal wear; there were storytellers, jig-dolls, pole lathes, tarot readings, Chinese zither players and lots of happy painted faces and not a curmudgeonly folky in sight.

Thus : the Psychedelic Arcadia that is MoFo. And all a very long way from the Gasworks Club in Fleetwood.


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: theleveller
Date: 04 Sep 12 - 10:40 AM

"I think the key words here are "3 minutes" and "floorsinger"!"


No, the keywords are: 'Sing the fucking song man, stop talking about it'. A quiet word afterwards might have been appropriate but to speak that that to someone in front of the whole room is disgusting. Only an ignorant boor would behave like that - I don't care what his credentials are in the folk revival. No-one, but no-one would ever get away with speaking to me like that.


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: GUEST,Ed
Date: 04 Sep 12 - 10:59 AM

Thank you, Blandiver.

A google search for MoFo suggested something entirely different...


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: GUEST,matt milton
Date: 04 Sep 12 - 11:01 AM

Well he used a naughty word which he shouldn't have. He could of course have said something a little less hostile. Like "are you going to sing this song then?" or something.

But I've been tempted to heckle when I've experienced people hogging other people's time in situations like that. it's inconsiderate.

Like when you're at an Open Mic and you get three songs each: there's always one (usually a pony-tailed middle-aged guy with an expensive guitar) whose first song is about the length of other people's three. And then his second's even longer. And then his third... you get the idea.


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: theleveller
Date: 04 Sep 12 - 11:20 AM

No, it's not the naughty word - it's the arrogance to think that you can bawl someone out in public and get away with it. Yes, I agree it can be annoying and inconsiderate when someone hogs the 'stage' but that's not the way to deal with it unless you want a full-scale brawl on your hands - which is exactly what would have happened (and frequently did) if you'd shouted at someone like that in a Hull docklands pub on a Saturday night.

A good MC can handle situations like that in a diplomatic way.


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: GUEST,matt milton
Date: 04 Sep 12 - 11:45 AM

I've bawled people out in public and gotten away with it. I've bawled people out in public and not gotten away with it. On the (few) occasions I've done it, across decades of gig-going, I don't think arrogance has had anything to do with it: it's always been because I thought the guy onstage was being an asshole.

Yeah, this particular one's a bad example, because the guy in question probably wasn't an asshole; he just didn't have a very good sense of floorspot etiquette.

But let's say the guy had been wittering on for longer - FIVE minutes, say. Would I be "bawling him out in public" if I said something like "We haven't got all night mate!" or something? Cos I don't see anything wrong with it - and have been known to make those kind of comments. In fact, I'm by no means unique: one of the NICE things about folk clubs is that a lot of the audience will know each other, and so heckling (generally of the genial/appropriate/humorous variety) is a direct result.

Of course, outside folk clubs - at small-venue rock/indie/punk venues I've played at - you hear far worse things. In fact, at a punk gig, depending on tone of voice "just play the fucking song" could even generate a laugh: I wouldn't be at all surprised if I've played gigs at which someone might have shouted that, given the number of pisshead musicians I've played with over the years.


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: GUEST,raymond greenoaken
Date: 04 Sep 12 - 12:48 PM

We're getting a bit worked up here about an anecdote from nearly fifty years ago. Jim Bainbridge hasn't been back to put his original post into context, so we're left with several questions unanswered.

1. "fully three minutes" Did Jim actually time this floor singer's peroration? Or did it just "feel" like three minutes? Sometimes even half a minute can feel like considerably longer. We don't even know from Jim's account whether time was at a premium on this occasion.

2. Did Bob Davenport know the singer personally? That would make a big difference in terms of the social dynamics.

3. Did BD utter his words in the boorish tone the account suggests? Or was it good-humoured badinage?

4. Was BD familiar with the song in question? He may merely have been impatient about hearing stuff that he already knew.

Without knowing any of the above, it's hard to form any general principles. Personally speaking, when it comes to traditional songs in performance, I'm always hungry for any information about them. Even the Child number can come in useful. And some songs just need more explication than others. It's all down to the performer's judgement at the end of the day.


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: Brian Peters
Date: 04 Sep 12 - 01:04 PM

Thanks, Mr. Blandiver, for the kind words and that rather hilarious account of the Fleetwood Gasworks Club. It might surprise one or two readers to know that regular Mudcat adversaries can greet one another like long-lost friends when they meet. It's only a bit of chat, after all.

Glad you enjoyed Moseley, and I'm sorry I missed Emily Portman. Now back to the Davenport trial.


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: GUEST,Stim
Date: 04 Sep 12 - 03:25 PM

It is worth noting that theleveller has chosen to pass harsh judgement on words spoken a half century ago by someone who he knows nothing about, in a situation that he knows nothing about, and which were recollected only for the purpose of telling any amusing story.

Those of us that the teller sought to amuse know certain things about such tales:

1.) They are intended to entertain.

2) As such, they may not be strictly factual.

3) Even if, on the odd chance that they are factually accurate, the statute of limitations on offenses committed has expired long ago.

4) Even if there were a fourth item for this list, it wouldn't be worth bothering about it.


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 04 Sep 12 - 03:29 PM

Thanks for the perspective reality check, Raymond.

50 years ago many folk clubs were not the gentile, sedate arenas that survive today. Many of those present were rising working class background and quite heavy drinking was the norm, before the drink-drive laws. Bob liked a drink like most of the others. Just adding a little bit of context.

I'll get me coat!


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: Henry Krinkle
Date: 04 Sep 12 - 03:41 PM

Do you think a TV theme song can become a traditional?
Gilligan's Island? Hazel? The Love Boat? Three's Company?
(:-( ))=


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 04 Sep 12 - 03:45 PM

Absolutely!

I'm Popeye the sailor man.....
Try telling the playground song collectors it's not traditional!


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: GUEST
Date: 04 Sep 12 - 05:48 PM

I read as much of this as I could stand, then skipped to the bottom to add my two cents' worth. Some of you already know my position on this topic ~ so feel free to skip this, if so inclined..

As a (retired) street performer, acoustic guitar and vocal, I always made it a point to construct my repertoire using selections (A) that I know and can perform credibly and (B) that people, in general, like and recognize ~ and might, for example, be motivated to sing (i.e., "sing-along") on a long bus ride or around a campfire.

Such a repertoire includes quite a few "popular" songs written and recorded in recent decades, and does NOT include songs that are without-a-doubt "traditional" but which are obscure and unlikely to arouse audience interest.

Does this define "folk"? For many (e.g., Cecil Sharp), obviously not.

But for me, such songs DO comprise the "folk culture" of our 21st-century, electronically-linked, world-wide community of musicians and listeners ~ in very much the same way that a given selection of traditional songs may have defined the folk culture of a 19th century fishing village or an 18th-century farming community.

I would consider, for example, that a number of Beatles songs have attained "folk" status under my definition ~ but that a precious few compositions by "folkie" singer-songwriters have achieved anywhere near the kind of widespread recognition that earns a place in our contemporary canon of "people's music."

Another thought: if you consider blues to be folk music (even if you restrict your definition to acoustically-played blues songs), it is almost impossible to exclude many songs with known composers.

I will draw the line somewhere though; to me, the Coke commercial about teaching the world to sing is NOT a folk song. But maybe that's only because I don't like it very much at all...


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 04 Sep 12 - 11:08 PM

So, you think something is a folk song if folks are singing it? Works for me.


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 05 Sep 12 - 12:56 AM

Aaaaarrrrrggggghhhhh! ~~ Bring on the Bloody Horse...!


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: theleveller
Date: 05 Sep 12 - 02:48 AM

"quite heavy drinking was the norm, before the drink-drive laws."

...and the onset of weak bladders! Ah, happy days :)


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: GUEST,Guest
Date: 05 Sep 12 - 04:35 AM

Re: Bob Davenport

Has no-one heard of the ancient art of folk club heckling? Too many soft southerners amongst the respondents here?!

Re; Pop Songs - It depends if you think the term has any validity outside the semi-academic world of the current folk club/festival environment. Folk is a term used by the semi-academics that dwell there/here and describes whatever they want it to mean. In the world they seek to describe (rather than the one they inhabit)I would say it had no meaning. True some "traditional" singers would distinguish between songs of different heritage but I doubt they used the classification "folk".


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: theleveller
Date: 05 Sep 12 - 05:19 AM

"Too many soft southerners amongst the respondents here?!"

You looking for a fat lip, sunshine? I was born and bred in Yorkshire, playing folk clubs there from the age of 16 and spending many a happy Saturday night in the rougher pubs of Hull dodging the fists (not always successfully) of trawlermen and dockers.


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: Ole Juul
Date: 05 Sep 12 - 05:25 AM

AC: Has no-one heard of the ancient art of folk club heckling? Too many soft southerners amongst the respondents here?!

I remember at one gig, someone piped up from the back of the room: "play something you know!". I knew the person, and thought it was quite amusing. Indeed it was a friendly gesture and I wasn't the least offended.


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: Henry Krinkle
Date: 05 Sep 12 - 05:28 AM

Gosh!
You sound like a real stampeder!
(:-( O)=


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: Ole Juul
Date: 05 Sep 12 - 05:42 AM

Folk is a term used by the semi-academics that dwell there/here and describes whatever they want it to mean.

To be fair, I don't think it's that vague. They clearly use the term to describe their particular kind of popular music from their particular culture. That's pretty specific. I note that there is little talk of Chinese music in this context, and even (as I pointed out at the beginning of this thread) Danish "folk" music does not fit the current English/American use of the word - and Denmark is only a few miles away.


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 05 Sep 12 - 03:31 PM

Ole,
Welcome. I have a great fondness for Danish ballads. I have a Danish dictionary which I occasionally use but sadly I don't speak Danish (and it's quite likely your English is better than mine). I'm intrigued about the Danish use of the word 'folk'. Can you enlighten us on this please?


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: The Sandman
Date: 05 Sep 12 - 03:46 PM

I only understand anglo saxon, which has proliferation of four letter words.
try folk off cos this fred is much ado abaht nowt


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 05 Sep 12 - 05:26 PM

And Dick's English is obviously much worse than mine.


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: johncharles
Date: 05 Sep 12 - 06:52 PM

Hwæt! We Gardena         in geardagum,
þeodcyninga,         þrym gefrunon,
hu ða æþelingas         ellen fremedon.

Just for Dick.


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: theleveller
Date: 06 Sep 12 - 03:04 AM

There's a huge affinity between Danish and the old, now seldom-spoken, East Yorkshire accent which, I'm told, only extends as far west as Snaith. My grandfather could speak it and told me the mow-familiar story of when some Danish soldiers were sent to East Yorkshire during the First World War, they could converse with the locals in Danish.


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: theleveller
Date: 06 Sep 12 - 03:27 AM

Not 'accent', 'dialect'. Dohhhhhh!


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: theleveller
Date: 06 Sep 12 - 03:51 AM

Swa begnornodon         Geata leode
hlafordes hryre,         heorðgeneatas,
cwædon þæt he wære         wyruldcyninga
manna mildust         ond monðwærust,
leodum liðost         ond lofgeornost.

THE END.


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: GUEST,Don Wise
Date: 06 Sep 12 - 04:41 AM

Ole has actually hit the nub of the problem here. There are myriads of traditions, so which one(s) are we talking about here? Those of the British Isles? US Appalachian? US country blues? Cajun? Sami? Bhutan? Denmark?

Chuck Berry probably won't transfer to British Isles 'folk' repertoires, and, given time one or other of the 'traditions', because his songs are intrinsically american. On the other hand, his songs have already crossed over into the cajun repertoire and in the course of time will no doubt be regarded as 'traditional' cajun songs.


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: Stringsinger
Date: 06 Sep 12 - 11:54 AM

A folk song has to be sung by those who are outside the music business genre.
A popular song can cross over. My nominations are:
1.   This Land Is Your Land (known by every school child internationally)
2.   Maybe Blue Eyes Cryin' in the Rain (since there's Czech version.
3.   Country Roads has gotten world wide recognition

4.   Old Dan Tucker was a walk-around cakewalk from Daniel Emmett on the New York Stage, popular in its time.
5.   Dixie also by Dan Emmett from New York stage stolen by a New Orleans publishing house emerging as a phony theme for the Confederate cause.
6.   Johnny I Hardly Knew Ya' from Irish with vaudeville roots.
7.   Songs by Joe Hill such as The Preacher and the Slave.
8.   Scarborough Fair (with a bridge written by Paul Simon
9.   We Shall Overcome (from the tobacco workers union in Tennesee with roots from Rev. Tinsley called I Will Overcome.
10. Angelina Baker by Stephen Foster changed to Angeline The Baker in Appalachia.

There are many more examples and brings forth the argument as to whether folk songs are part of the aural tradition and variations or is the original song composed?
There are arguments for both sides.

Johnny B. Goode is not one because of copyright restrictions, there are no definable or recognized variants.


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 06 Sep 12 - 12:26 PM

Good list, SS, with which I should nor differ basically. But I don't think a 'bridge' built by a particular folksinger into a N England variant of Child #2 quite makes it a pop song; and I don't think a song extolling the area between "California the the New York Islands" will be quite as internationally known by children as you may fancy.

~M~


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: johncharles
Date: 06 Sep 12 - 12:56 PM

having just looked at the Bellowhead video thread it would seem a traditional song can become a pop song.
john


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 06 Sep 12 - 01:09 PM

Strinsinger-
I agree with "A folk song has to be sung by those who are outside the music business genre.A popular song can cross over. " as at least a portion of a definition of "folk" or "trad". Necessary, but not sufficient. In your list, though, only 2,3,4,5 and 10 were really "pop" songs.
Parenthetically, 7 (Johnny I hardly knew ye) was not of Irish origin.


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 06 Sep 12 - 01:12 PM

Of course it was, Dick ~~ even if it used a tune and format from another tradition.

"Along the road to sweet Athy ..."

Athy is in Co Kildare.

~M~


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: PoppaGator
Date: 06 Sep 12 - 01:31 PM

"Guest" of 04 Sep 12 - 05:48 PM, above, was me. THought I was logged in...


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 06 Sep 12 - 08:22 PM

MikeGM-
It was about an Irish soldier, but it certainly wasn't Irish in origin. Read Jon Lighter's The Greatest Anti-War Song Ever Written. Fascinating, well researched read.
CAMSCO stocks it (and published it). Check camscomusic.com


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: GUEST,Stim
Date: 06 Sep 12 - 09:13 PM

I don't know about a Czech version of "Blue Eyes Cryin in the Rain", Stringsinger, but I know that the song has a life of it's own amongst American Serbs, many of whom believe it is a Serbian song, and sometimes translate it back to English as"In the rain, your blue eyes are filled with tears"--it is copyrighted, as well.


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: GUEST,Don Wise
Date: 07 Sep 12 - 04:33 AM

Copyright is not eternal and if some people get their way could be very short lived.

"Johnny B.Good": I'd say that the Peter Tosh version certainly qualifies as a variant.


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: Will Fly
Date: 07 Sep 12 - 04:46 AM

Frank - just to nitpick slightly here:

"Scarborough Fair" is not a pop song which has become traditional - it's an old traditional song which has become popular. Paul Simon's version is essentially that of a version sung by Martin Carthy and then copyrighted by Simon.

As far as the song itself goes, I much prefer the alternative tune and words by the Dransfield Brothers, which they recorded on their "Rout Of The Blues" album in 1971. The tune (IMO) is more rugged, and the words dispense with the obligatory herbs - their version being far more down to earth than the pretty-pretty decoration of Simon's.


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 07 Sep 12 - 05:15 AM

'Scarborough Fair' is in fact a version of Child #2, The Elfin Knight; specifically the 'Cambric Shirt' versions. The herbs are integral, as magic potions for the transformations &c demanded by the contestant-lovers in the ballad. 'Scarborough Fair' [the familiar tune & words] is the version collected [by Ewan MacColl ~ who simply states the version is "from the singing of..."] from Mr Mark Anderson, a retired lead miner of Middleton-in-Teasdale, Yorkshire, in 1947; sung by Ewan on The Long Harvest {Argo DA67, 1967}, having been previously included by him & Peggy Seeger in The Singing Island, London, Mills Music,1960.

~M~


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: GUEST,CS
Date: 07 Sep 12 - 05:30 AM

I don't know about Sringsinger's list, is he sure that the songs he lists are maintained outside of a particular generation of folkies? Perhaps they are in the US I wouldn't know, but I haven't heard half of them either in or outside folkie circles here in the UK. And I'd certainly never heard of "this land is your land" before joining Mudcat. I'm not even sure if I've ever heard anyone play it since then in fact.

As per below I was raised hearing Pink Floyd, the Rolling Stones and the Beatles played on acoustic guitars from "Fifty Greatest Rock Songs" compendiums.


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 07 Sep 12 - 05:32 AM

Meant to put a '?' after "by Ewan MacColl": not quite clear if he claimed to have collected it or not.

Robin Dransfield's version is OK, but an amalgam from various versions ~~ like the words sung by Sim & Garf for that matter, but not that sung by Ewan which appears to be Mr Anderson's version correctly reproduced. No indication where Robin got his tune from: another variant, or his own composition? I do not find his rendering preferable, myself: partly for the lack of a source for the tune, which doesn't strike me as a very interesting one, partly because I miss the symbolic herbs, as stated above; tho Will appears not to care for their inclusion. Why is that, I wonder, Will?

~M~


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: GUEST,Blandiver
Date: 07 Sep 12 - 06:03 AM

Symbolic herbs, eh? Next you'll be telling us The Seeds of Love is a cunning occult concoction for an effective remedy for erectile dysfunction in the elderly folky. All sounds a tad Frazerian to me, Michael, but charming by way of Steamfolk, as these things invariably are.


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 07 Sep 12 - 06:19 AM

Macbeth's witches somewhat predated Frazer, Sean. Do you deny any tradition of magic potency of certain fauna & flora in witchcraft and spells?

~M~

(And I shall blaspheme all I like, but just you leave my liver alone!)


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: Will Fly
Date: 07 Sep 12 - 06:22 AM

No particular preference for the herbs inclusion, actually, Michael - I just always feel irritated by Paul Simon's version of the tune, which seems all tinkly-winkly to me, grumpy old toad that I am.

For me - and I'm never very interested in the origins of tunes, not being anything of a folklorist - the Dransfield's tune seems more rough-hewn and appealing than the better-know version. I believe that they heard it from a singer in a Bradford pub, but I wouldn't swear to that tale without going back to the record sleeve notes.

The song, as sung by the Dransfields, has a simplicity and bitterness about it. "Her? A true lover of mine again? Not a chance in hell!" But that's just my personal interpretation, you understand. And the violin accompaniment is wonderful.


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: GUEST,Blandiver
Date: 07 Sep 12 - 07:41 AM

I'd to think both Seeds of Love and Child #2 predate Frazer too, but whereas Shakespeare was quite deliberate in his Jacobean incantations, it's still a fancy rather than witch-lore per se. There's nothing to indicate that the makers of folk songs were being quite so self-consciously occult in the meaning of their imagery, much less that such a tradition exists as such beyond the usual medicinal associations of certain flora, a lot of which was still extant when I was kid & probably is today (dock for nettle stings, dandelions for a diurectic, comfrey for broken bones, hawthorn leaves as an appetite suppressant, etc etc). Is the riddling of Child #2 an indication of the occult I wonder? Or just two lovers being smart with each other - more Much Ado than Macbeth? As for Seeds of Love, the flora serves to euphemise a load of knob-gags.


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: Stringsinger
Date: 07 Sep 12 - 11:00 AM

Regarding This Land Is Your Land, it has achieved international status whether you know the song or not. Its roots are in the old Carter Family rendition of the spiritual, "When the World's on Fire".

Regarding Johnny I Hardly Knew Ya' it might have originated as an English Music Hall song as did Finnegan's Wake but both certainly are known throughout Ireland and that qualifies
it as a folk song, a song sung traditionally by Irish singers.


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: GUEST,CS
Date: 07 Sep 12 - 11:09 AM

"Regarding This Land Is Your Land, it has achieved international status whether you know the song or not."

I'm sure it's a well known song among folk enthusiasts. But not by "every schoolchild internationally" I'd be surprised if any schoolchild outside of a folk loving family in the US had so much as heard of it, or indeed most of the other songs you propose as modern folk songs. Really, Stringsinger, my intention isn't to be offensive in any way, honest, just realistic.


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: Stringsinger
Date: 07 Sep 12 - 11:10 AM

To complicate the matter, Barbara Allen became known from its source, a printed version in an old songbook. That suggests at one time it was popular, a pop song.

I think the argument is over whether songs sung by popular artists such as the Beatles
can be construed as folk songs.

In time, with variants, I think they can. But they have to be taken up by enough people to produce cultural variants, by which I mean they find themselves in a monolithic culture changed from the original version. Rock and roll is not a monolithic folk culture but a
genre of music engendered by the music industry and used as a label in recording stores
to sell that brand of music.

A folk song is one in which many have taken it up and found variants of it.
A good example would by the song "La Paloma" written by a Spanish composer
and disseminated in different forms all over the world. No one can dispute its
popularity in its original form.


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: GUEST,Blandiver
Date: 07 Sep 12 - 11:21 AM

A folk song is one in which many have taken it up and found variants of it.

I can think of dozens of Folk Songs where this isn't the case.


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 07 Sep 12 - 11:52 AM

Yes yes, Blandy. But your persistence in this counter-everyone-and-everything vein which you affect is becoming tiresome and overdone. There is probably much truth in your urgings about the disingenuous factitiousness of much of 'the tradition'; & of the influence of lateC19/earlyC20 anthropologists determined to find what confirmed their theories; & of the selectiveness of the early collectors with their scorn for so much of their informants' repertoires and offerings which didn't meet their own predetermined criteria ~~~

Yes yes, we all know all that ~~~

But beware of going too much to the other extreme and denouncing absolutely any and every concept of 'the tradition' as non-existent, a con, an imposition on the national æsthetic ~~~

Remember the wise words of James Thurber in the moral to one of his Fables For Our Time -- "You might as well fall flat on your face as bend over too far backwards!" ~~

And just think of that poor baby in the bathwater.....

Best regards

~M~


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: johncharles
Date: 07 Sep 12 - 12:35 PM

More wise words

Oh, your baby has gone down the plug hole Oh, your baby has gone down the plug
The poor little thing was so skinny and thin He should have been washed in a jug


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: GUEST,Blandiver
Date: 07 Sep 12 - 01:01 PM

The only thing I'm wary of is The Rule, Michael - which isn't about to be proved by all these bally exceptions. And in urging a more descriptive approach to Folk Song, as oppose to a prescriptive one, then we might clarify the sort of thing that deserves to be classified as a Folk Song (Seeds of Love etc.) and those that obviously don't (Johnny B. Goode etc.), no matter how Traditional they might be otherwise (ICTM) as all musical idioms undoubtedly are.

Talking about babies and bathwater, I remember collecting this as a kid around the playground to a tune close to Glory, Glory, Hallelullia:

Whiter than the whitewash than the whitewash on the wall,
Whiter than the whitewash than the whitewash on the wall,
If you wash me in the water that you wash your dirty daughter,
I'll be whiter than the whitewash than the whitewash on the wall.


Ten years later I was singing it as part of Oh What a Lovely War (it's in the Metheun Script at least) and the producer was most fascinated to think how it got from the trenches of WW1 to the playgrounds of 1960s Northumberland.


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 08 Sep 12 - 01:10 PM

I'm beginning to prefer the descriptive over the prescriptive as well, Jack.

Never heard your little ditty but it goes very well to 'College Hornpipe' tune (Sailor's HP)


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: GUEST,Brian Peters
Date: 08 Sep 12 - 02:48 PM

This Land Is Your Land (known by every school child internationally)

I rather doubt that this is the case in many places outside the USA - where I believe the song is taught to every school child. Whether that constitutes 'living tradition' or not may depend on how you view, for instance, the formal teaching of old playground games, as opposed to just letting them carry on unmolested in the schoolkids' 'underground' (which is the whole point of those games if you ask me).

Old Dan Tucker, Dixie and Angelina Baker are good examples precisely because they're relatively old, and we can witness their adoption. Country Roads might be a good candidate (it has a very catchy chorus), but with the generation who first popularised it still very much alive, it's surely too early to say.


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: GUEST
Date: 09 Sep 12 - 01:42 AM

There is a large brown insect on my window screen, and it is much more interesting than this thread has gotten to be. Please everyone, endeavor to be more interesting, or it would be best to let it die(the thread, not the insect).


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: Stringsinger
Date: 09 Sep 12 - 10:40 AM

"A folk song is one in which many have taken it up and found variants of it.

I can think of dozens of Folk Songs where this isn't the case."

Please offer examples of this .

In aural tradition in rural areas, songs are taught to people in informal ways.
That's how they get disseminated.

Formal ways may or may not constitute the aural process by which traditions are learned but I see no distinction between the methods of teaching.

Folk traditions can be formalized in their teaching methods by carriers of tradition.

People study music in traditional circles as would a student at a music academy.

Regarding "This Land", not all people from urbanized communities fed on piped in pop music will know this song but it continues to be circulated in other environments and in this instance, I mean this respectfully, it has been around with variants for some time as Woody would have wanted it to be and of course reality is in the eye of the beholder.
The values might be different in terms of what is acceptable or not, but the best teaching is when the student is in the same room with the teacher.


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: GUEST,jim bainbridge
Date: 09 Sep 12 - 04:54 PM

re my non-return to Bob Davenport's considered criticism of a very boring singer, called Smyth my memory tells me?- have been busy playing the music after my own fashion, folk, pop or whatever. When people have paid £5plus or more like 2 shillings in those days! a little background is fine, but not a whole pre-summary of what was already a long song is not what is required- and it still happens- a joke is one thing but not what this man did. I have admired Bob ever since and I am appalled that anyone who pronounces about 'folk music' and admits to never having heard of him is very sad. I wouldn't have the nerve or the honesty to react as Bob did that night.


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: GUEST,jim bainbridge
Date: 09 Sep 12 - 04:56 PM

it occurs to me that this is nothing much to do with the subject & maybe you'd all better get back to the subject- apologies for any failure to return.


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 09 Sep 12 - 05:41 PM

Regarding "This Land", not all people from urbanized communities fed on piped in pop music will know this song but it continues to be circulated in other environments and in this instance, I mean this respectfully, it has been around with variants for some time as Woody would have wanted it to be and of course reality is in the eye of the beholder.

I think - and I mean this respectfully - that there's 3000 miles of ocean between a lot of us here and the country Woody Guthrie was writing in and about. I'd never heard "This land" until I encountered the Internet.

Several of your other examples fall into the dreaded 1954 Definition without any trouble at all - few if any collectors believed that all folk songs were composed collectively or anonymously and preserved only within the oral tradition.

Defining "folk song" is a fool's errand - some "folk songs" are only found in one variant; some are found on multiple broadsides but without any variation; some are found on broadsides and don't appear in the oral tradition at all... Personally I'm happy to say that "folk songs" = "all the songs collected by folk song collectors, with a few completely subjective exceptions and additions" and leave it at that. It's not as if we're going to risk running out of folk songs if we define them too narrowly, after all.


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: GUEST,Stim
Date: 09 Sep 12 - 10:46 PM

If you use phrases like "In the tradition" or "In the oral tradition" please define it in some way, be it geographically, ethnically, or culturally . Or something. There is no single "tradition"., there are lots of them, in lots of places, unless they've disappeared.

For instance, here is a new website that offers recordings from a tradition that I am very excited about: Paul Gifford's Collection of Old Time Music from Michigan and the Great Lakes .

I am excited about it because I am from Michigan (though I seldom admit it unless I have been drinking) and he managed to record music from a tradition that I remember from my childhood, before it disappeared(the music, though my childhood seems now to be gone, too).

The thing is, it disappeared so completely, that I'd forgotten that it was ever there. And when it was there, I didn't recognize it for what it was, and, at least by reputation, I am a "folkie".

Paul is not an ethnomusicologist or an academic, he's just a guy who was really interested in what was out there, so he wasn't looking for "ballads", or such things--the result is he has a collection of folk music that shows us how diverse the sources for "folk music" really are--


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: Spleen Cringe
Date: 10 Sep 12 - 02:52 AM

Thanks for the link Stim. I knew this thread would make good in the end.


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: theleveller
Date: 10 Sep 12 - 04:20 AM

"I am appalled that anyone who pronounces about 'folk music' and admits to never having heard of him is very sad"

Well I wasn't aware that I had "pronounced" about anything - merely expressed an opinion about what I think is ignorant and boorish behaviour. Sorry if that doesn't suit you, Jim, but I expect you'll get over it.

The fact that I haven't come across Mr Davenport during my 48 years around the folk scene probably says more about him than me.


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: GUEST
Date: 10 Sep 12 - 06:08 AM

>I think - and I mean this respectfully - that there's 3000 miles of ocean between a lot of us here and the country Woody Guthrie was writing in and about. I'd never heard "This land" until I encountered the Internet.<

I knew it when I was in primary school (West Northumberland), as did just about all of my pals. We're talking late '50s/early '60s here. Folk songs were ubiquitous during my childhood – on the radio, in school, at the Cubs and the Scouts, local concert parties, in the back of the bus. Did I live in a folk oasis?


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 10 Sep 12 - 06:52 AM

GUEST ~~ You say you knew "Your land, my land" when you were in primary school. Did you actually learn it at primary school?: in which case you will probably have had a Guthrie-loving teacher. Or was it one of those ubiquitous radio, cubs&scouts, back of bus songs you mention from the time? It makes a difference...

~M~


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: GUEST,Stim
Date: 10 Sep 12 - 03:51 PM

You're welcome, Spleen Cringe. If you're still around, check out "Ethnic Music" on the pulldown menu under "Dulcimers" for a real treat! Though the discussion is not the most satisfying, I've been googling some of the references, Bob Davenport, for instance, and have found good things to listen to.

For those unimaginative sorts who have problems understanding why people would enjoy singing about things that are 3000 miles away, I will point out that California is nearly 3000 miles from the New York Island. I doubt it helps you, though.


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: GUEST,raymond greenoaken
Date: 11 Sep 12 - 04:34 AM

sorry Michael and everybody – I was that Guest.

>GUEST ~~ You say you knew "Your land, my land" when you were in primary school. Did you actually learn it at primary school?: in which case you will probably have had a Guthrie-loving teacher. Or was it one of those ubiquitous radio, cubs&scouts, back of bus songs you mention from the time? It makes a difference...<

Can't actually remember, Michael. I associate it with school, somehow, but I rather doubt that our Miss foster was a Guthrie enthusiast. Probably it was in the air.


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 11 Sep 12 - 05:02 AM

Thanks, Raymond.

Nevertheless, Stim, I think you miss the point about "This Land". The distances involved are an irrelevance. It is just that someone above claimed that it was a song known worldwide by all children; whereas, whatever Raymond's recollections, most children here, unlike yours, are not taught it at school, and are entirely unaware of its very existence ~~ no matter how wide the ocean, how high the sky!.

~M~


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: GUEST
Date: 11 Sep 12 - 03:01 PM

I don't miss the point, MthGM. I happen to think that there is good reason to believe that "This Land is Your Land" is known and sung all around the world, and by a fair number of children, at that.

Here is something I pulled from the Wikipedia page:

Arlo Guthrie tells a story in concerts on occasion, of his mother returning from a dance tour of China, and reporting around the Guthrie family dinner table that at one point in the tour she was serenaded by Chinese children singing the song. Arlo says Woody was incredulous: "The Chinese? Singing "This land is your land, this land in my land? From California to the New York island?"

The page also includes verses of the song that have been rewritten to includes places in New Zeeland, India, and Namibia, to name a few.

If that does not suffice, the recently published "This Land Is Your Land
Woody Guthrie And The Journey Of An American Folk Song" by Robert Santelli and Nora Guthrie discusses this at greater length.

To resolve this properly, perhaps we should as Bob Davenport if he knows the song.


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: GUEST,Stim
Date: 11 Sep 12 - 03:02 PM

That last was me.


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 12 Sep 12 - 02:01 AM

Bob will know it, Stim, & for the same reason I do ~~ he is a folkie.

I am sure many people know the song worldwide: particularly those into folk; & including many children.

But I still think the original assertion, *that it is known to every child internationally,* was an absurd overstatement ~~ a bit of typical US-centricity, the assumption that what goes over there must be commonplace worldwide. I have no precise statistics to hand, obviously. But if you can organise a survey among British children which will demonstrate that more than one child in a thousand has ever even heard of it [or of Woody Guthrie either, for that matter], I promise to give you a nice red apple. As distinct from the situation in US, where, as many above have confirmed, it appears to be taught as part of the regular educational curriculum.

~M~

*"1. This Land Is Your Land (known by every school child internationally)" was what Stringsinger posted on 6 Sep, 1154 am. To which I rejoin, yet again, NO IT'S NOT.


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 12 Sep 12 - 02:35 AM

those unimaginative sorts who have problems understanding why people would enjoy singing about things that are 3000 miles away

Not my point at all. I was just pointing out that the song is specifically part of a US schoolchild's heritage, not the heritage of schoolchildren everywhere.


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: GUEST,Don Wise
Date: 12 Sep 12 - 04:43 AM

@ Phil Edwards: ...but presumably only with the 4 standard verses?

As an aside, back in the 1950s a british skiffle group recorded a 'UK' version of the lyrics.......bloody awful!!

A further aside- schoolkids in Jamaica, Zimbabwe etc. sing Bob Marley songs..........


Now and again in the course of this thread reference has ben made to the 1954 definition of folk music. With hindsight it must be clear to many people that,even back in 1954, that definition was teetering precariously on the brink of obsolescence. Since then things have taken giant steps forward..........

Oral transmission: I suspect this is inversely proportional to literacy rates. Where literacy rates are generally high there is less demand for oral transmission. Also, whilst Mudcatters will probably have high scores here, how many parents these days sing to their kids? How many take the time to go through not only nursery rhymes but also kids songs - of whatever provenance? How many take the easy way out and plonk the brats in front of the goggle-box/PC, give them cds of modern childrens songs and leave them to their own devices or consider this a responsibilty of the kindergarten?

Variations to lyrics and melody: It's difficult to see how variations can occur these days, given the availability of song and tune books, cds, YouTube and websites like MUDCAT.....This applies not just to 'folksong' but also to pop and rocksongs. We no longer need to grapple with lousy pronunciations mumbled into a wall of sound on crackly vinyl discs, instead we just google around till we find what we want on the net or we post a query on, for example, Mudcat and receive the correct lyrics almost before you can blink. From this viewpoint the 'lack of variations' of pop/rocksongs sung at parties, campfires etc. is understandable. Even if we can't find the lyrics as text there's likely to be a YouTube video available where we can take them down in the 'traditional way'.

Copyright: This is finite and, if some people get their way, will become obsolete. Furthermore, it only really comes into play in connection with recordings,big concerts etc. If Mudcatters want to sing 'Da-Da-Da' to their kids and they, in turn, pass it on to their kids (andsoonandsoon......) the fact that the song was 'composed' and subject to copyright will slip into the background, even assuming that the name of the composer(s) was known. Whilst songwriters like Chuck Berry, Lennon&McCartney,Jagger&Richards et al are these days more or less household names, who knows who wrote, for example, "The Rose" (I know, I noted it when I copied the lyrics) or, referred to above, "Da-Da-Da"? (I think I know, but I don't know who translated it).
Those who, with apologies to Kant, invoke a 'categoric negative' in terms of pop/rocksongs eventually acquiring some sort of 'traditional' status are, to my mind, grasping at virtual straws.


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: GUEST,CS
Date: 12 Sep 12 - 05:12 AM

"a bit of typical US-centricity, the assumption that what goes over there must be commonplace worldwide."

I recall another discussion akin to this one where a number of US posters argued that the CND sign meant simply 'Peace' in ALL COUNTRIES, and absolutely and resolutely refused to believe that this was not the case for those of us in the UK, where it is known historically as the 'anti-nuclear' sign. So odd!


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: Don(Wyziwyg)T
Date: 12 Sep 12 - 06:39 AM

Wrong question! Or else a pack of wrong answers!

1. A pop song CAN become traditional over 100 - 200 years, if it survives that long.

2. It can only become traditional pop, never folk, because it simply isn't folk.

"Traditional" is not a word that applies just to one kind of music in one culture. It is the application of the descriptor "Folk" which provides that link, and even with that the boundaries are fuzzier than some people would like.

Whether, or not, the pop song will ever become traditional is a matter for those in the future who choose to apply it as a descriptor because they wish to preserve it. Given the origins, it is extremely unlikely that they would want to call it anything other than "Traditional Pop".

Don T


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: Don(Wyziwyg)T
Date: 12 Sep 12 - 06:42 AM

And that was 300

Don T.


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: GUEST,veteran
Date: 17 Nov 14 - 01:20 PM

Who cares if it's folk or traditional or pop- if it's a good song, it's a good song. Threads like this run a severe risk of having to define your terms and none of us want that, do we?


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: GUEST,Joseph Scott
Date: 17 Nov 14 - 01:45 PM

Of course popular songs have been taken up by folk singers and altered through the traditions of the folk process countless times. Paul Oliver and Abbott-Seroff are examples of people who have documented examples. I'll add a possible one that I've never seen anyone mention: the "Corn Shucking Time" that Jimmie Strothers knew was possibly influenced by the "Corn Shucking Time" that was used in His Honor The Barber.


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: GUEST
Date: 17 Nov 14 - 01:55 PM

It's interesting that the two words should have grown to have such a distinction, since they originally meant the same thing, i.e. music of the people, which is pop(ular) from Latin and folk (volk) from German. And from Greek we have lay (laiko) music -- the music of the people, as opposed to the music of the church or the clergy. There may be others, borrowed from other languages, but those are all that I can think of offhand.


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: GUEST,Desi C
Date: 18 Nov 14 - 05:48 AM

Seems to be mostly down to interpretation. On one hand the glib answer would be the clue is the term 'POP' but in recent years in Folk Clubs I've heard songs my The Kinks, because many of their songs were about the London 60's fashion & culture be somewhat Folkyfied, in the folk sense of music being of the times and culture. perform a lot of Trad Irish songs, where trad usually related to old songs by anonymous writers. But again in rcent year songs snch as The Town I loved So Well, The Rare Auld Times, even Dirty Old town ( not even Irish or Anon) become regularly listed and referred to as trad. So is it down to age of the song or definition, or perhaps where, when and how it's sung??


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: cptsnapper
Date: 18 Nov 14 - 08:32 AM

I think that Eleanor Rigby might eventually be included in the traditional canon


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: ripov
Date: 18 Nov 14 - 05:16 PM

The point may have been made before, this is a long thread, but surely it depends as much on how you define "pop" as how you define "traditional" or "folk". Is it to be "popular"? Then most traditional tunes were - and remain - popular. That's why we keep playing and singing them. But ask a teenager if they like "pop" music; you will be told "No, I like rock/metal/rap/techno/ballads/indie"; "pop" appears to be used as a a derogatory term for all the (light? I don't know a word to describe the whole gamut - perhaps it IS "pop"!) music they dislike, and particularly for commercial products of the music industry (except the ones they like!).


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: GUEST,Phil
Date: 18 Nov 14 - 06:59 PM

My own definitions have changed over the decades but at present I'd say yes.
Pop(ular) = Percent of market share. We keep charts. In America it's Billboard, Goldmine, etc.
Traditional = We have occasions. Happy Birthday; Land of Hope and Glory; The Bridal Chorus; Auld Lang Syne; For He's a Jolly Good Fellow. Going by sheer playcount and participation this probably the more 'popular' music.

In different days and times "Lay My Head Beneath a Rose" and "Danny Boy" were both pop sheet music hits and traditional funeral songs.


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: GUEST,jim bainbridge
Date: 15 Nov 15 - 06:00 AM

Just picking up this thread again and inviting vitriol from purists everywhere, I just found an old 'Collector EP with brief notes by Reg Hall.
The gist of his totes then was (and I doubt if he's changed his views 50 years later) that a pub singer giving full value to 'Lily of Laguna' in the public bar is a lot more interesting and meaningful than someone droning Child ballad number whatever it is in the folk club upstairs.
Academic study is fine, and most of us are very grateful for research into the tradition, but it's not real life, is it

I'm with Reg 100pc on this.....


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 15 Nov 15 - 07:08 AM

Despite what "folk is whatever I choose to say it is" folkies claim, virtually all the traditional singers we recorded over thirty-odd years were careful to differentiate between folk songs, pop songs, country and western songs.... and traditional songs, even to the extent of having their own identifying name for them.
Of course - they might have got it all wrong!!
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 15 Nov 15 - 07:11 AM

Meant to add that the chance of a modern pop song becoming traditional in virtually non-existent as composers carefully place a (c) next to them to make sure they don't
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: Brian Peters
Date: 15 Nov 15 - 07:29 AM

"a pub singer giving full value to 'Lily of Laguna' in the public bar is a lot more interesting and meaningful than someone droning Child ballad number whatever it is in the folk club upstairs."

A comparison so loaded as to be useless. What if I were to reverse that bias and ask you to choose between a vibrant, committed performance of 'My Son David', 'Henry Martin, or 'Tiftie's Annie' in the room upstairs, versus a drunk in the bar bawling an out-of-tune rendition of some music hall song or other?

Incidentally, where exactly are these public bars where people sing 'Lily of Laguna'?

There's my bit of purist vitriol.


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: Larry The Radio Guy
Date: 15 Nov 15 - 08:49 AM

I had forgotten I had started this post 3 1/2 years ago. If it hadn't been 'written down' with my name on it, I'd have sworn it was traditional.


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 15 Nov 15 - 09:14 AM

I'd have sworn it was traditional."
Sorry Larry - isn't that what's being discussed?
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: Lighter
Date: 15 Nov 15 - 09:56 AM

I concur with Brian.

But part of the whole problem (if that's what it is) is that "Traditional" doesn't mean "traditional."

"The Star Spangled Banner" is "traditional" in the everyday sense: it's been around a long, long time, and people still sing it, especially on certain occasions (as before major-league baseball games).

But capital-T "Traditional" means having some age, but it also means having notable variations in text and/or tune, and no recognized standard version.

A folkie chestnut like "Tom Dooley," of course, can be both. In one sense, the song was traditional because it had a long, if geographically limited, existence in various versions with no "standardized" text or tune. Once it became a copyrighted revival hit, text, tune, and timing (and to some extent instrumentation: who plays it on the piano?)became essentially frozen. Those who know the song see any variations in performance as mere variations from a well-established norm. The copyrighted "Tom Dooley" is "Traditional" only by special pleading, even if it has "Traditional" roots.

One-word labels with no context or elaboration are notoriously misleading.


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 15 Nov 15 - 10:14 AM

"The Star Spangled Banner" is "traditional" in the everyday sense: it's been around a long"
"Traditional" when applied to music has a specific meaning in the same way "classical" does - though both terms can have other meanings whe applied elsewhere.
Traditional in our sense refers to a process of transmission, remaking - nothing to do with how long it has been around.
Irish Travellers were still making traditional songs in the 1970s which were being absorbed into the communities, changed and adapted and in a relatively short time, becoming anonymous -
The Star Spangled Banner was written by Francis Scott Key in 1812 and has basically remained the same.
Should parodies of it b made, become accepted and be absorbed into the communities, they might be described as being 'traditional'
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: GUEST,jim bainbridge
Date: 15 Nov 15 - 11:18 AM

Just concurring with the views of Reg Hall, an early stalwart of the tradition- re- 'Lily of Laguna', the views I mentioned were expressed 50 years ago- if it's a good song, who cares if it is traditional or not- you lot can't even define it and PLEASE DON'T TRY!!!
Tell you what, given the choice of your two examples Brian, although I'd rather hear 'Lily of Laguna' sung well, I'd go for the drunk in the bar- the Child ballads are an important body of work but the chances of anyone giving a meaningful and sympathetic delivery of a Child ballad in 2015 are slim (at least 50 years ago there was a real possibility of hearing ballads in a social context)
There's always an exception of course delivered vibrantly to what is after all a tiny minority of the population- ie folkies)...
but such material is far better left to the academics these days I think.

It's maybe regrettable but that's the real world- 'folk music' is supposed to be for the folk after all- why do we put up these pointless barriers? -just off to the pub (where the folk spend time)- will probably do some Delia Murphy songs.
And in my experience, traditional singers never differentiated between these alleged 'genres' of music- they didn't know they were singing folk songs till song collector TOLD them & put all their songs in tidy little slots!


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: Lighter
Date: 15 Nov 15 - 12:31 PM

> you lot can't even define it and PLEASE DON'T TRY!!!

If there's a desire to discuss it intelligently, one can define anything.

The kind of music that interests people like Jim and Steve and me and some others is undeniably real and, in various ways and shifting degrees, different from other kinds of music. Not so different as an apple from an orange, but different.

Anyway, illuminating discussions of "folk music" don't founder on slapping labels on things. If Mr. X calls "Finnegan's Wake" a "folk song" and Ms. Y doesn't, they can still talk intelligently about "Finnegan's Wake." Or they can wrangle pointlessly.


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 15 Nov 15 - 01:23 PM

"PLEASE DON'T TRY!!! "
Why not?
Lily of Laguna is a British coon song, a love song that originally included a racist and stereotyped image of black people. It was written in 1898 by English composer Leslie Stuart.
Not a folk song, however popular it was.
Reg's comments were on taste, nnot on definition - à chacun son goût ( "to each his own taste").
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 15 Nov 15 - 01:32 PM

Here's one for you, Jim.
In the 40s and 50s, even into the 60s a well-loved pub song at the time, if somewhat racist, was 'My Brother Sylvest'. It apparently had many outings during the Sods' Operas of WWII and existed in a variety of versions. Nobody could remember where it came from, how old it was or who wrote it, not that they cared anyway. Could that have been in any way a 'Traditional' or 'folk' song? I don't want to get involved yet again in these pointless arguments but still would be curious to see what you think.


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: GUEST
Date: 15 Nov 15 - 04:46 PM

Mike Harding used to sing My Brother Sylvest in folk clubs. Makes it a folk song by at least one definition.

Bob Dylan songs that charted are pop songs on Radio 2 in the day and folk songs on Radio 2 on a Wednesday evening.

Songs written by Richard Thompson (usually genred pop or rock on iTunes and Amazon) appear on websites of traditional Irish songs, ditto many MacColl songs.

No such thing as pop. No such thing as folk. It's all music. Jim Carroll likes it to get old men warbling out of tune pretending they learned it at their mother's knee and many American mudcatters think you had to sit cross legged with a flower in your hair forty eight years ago to call it folk.


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: GUEST,Guest
Date: 15 Nov 15 - 05:46 PM

No such thing as Football,Cricket, Rugby, Baseball, Basketball,etc it's all sport, Football supporters are just narrow minded bigots.


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 15 Nov 15 - 07:22 PM

"Makes it a folk song by at least one definition. W
So if someone gets up i a fol;k club and sings Puccini's Nessun Dorma it becomes a folk song - or when opera singer Kiri ti Kanawa sings Wouldn't it be Luverly, it becomes opera??
Silly definition - is it actually documented anywhere?
Bob Davenport used to sing Kurt Weill's,and Maxwell Anderson's September Song' at folk clubs ( basically to get up the noses of us "purists" I suspect) - a folk song - I don't think so.
Really don't know enough about My Brother Sylvest to comment - don't think there are hard and fast rules on individual songs - there are certainly borderline cases, but not, I suggest, among modern pop songs, for the reason I mentioned.
The point I am making about these songs is basically if you are going to understand them we need to be fairly specific on what we mean - they carry far too much historical and cultural baggage to just abandon an existing and well documented definition and not replace it with something we can all (in general terms) agree upon.
The present definition has never been seriously challenged - it certainly has never been replaced.
What has happen is that the a small number of people have decided that the terms 'folk' and 'tradition' have proved inconvenient to their particular interests and ambitions and have decided to hang their own particular flavour-of-the-month on a hook that has been occupied for well over a century and a half, without having the courtesy to explain why, other than "folk/tradition is what I choose to call it".   
It's far too important an art/cultural form to allow that to happen without a fight.
Sing what you want, but if you have any respect for the music, at least try to understand it, or allow those of us to wish to to do so without abusive terms like "purist" or "finger-in-ear" or "
"folk police" or even "folk fascist".
I think I know what folk/traditional song is - have spent over half a century trying to come to terms with it.
I out experience, the older source singers knew that the songs I believe to be folk/traditional were unique and had their own terms to describe what they sang.
If they were, I am wrong fine - show us where they/I am are and I'll make arrangements to pack of our large library of books on the folksong, ballads, folklore, music, dance tales, superstitions... (all related disciplines)   to Oxfam and fill the shelves with commended alternative - so far, nobody has come up with zilch.
Not very convincing.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: Larry The Radio Guy
Date: 15 Nov 15 - 08:01 PM

Sorry about my rather 'fuzzy' (is that the right word?) joke, Jim.   What I was trying to imply was that because I forgot that I had started this thread (i.e. the author), and years later people are still discussing it, maybe it's entered the 'oral tradition'....and now this thread meets at least some of the criteria of traditional.   Yeah....I know.   Not really all that funny..

But onto the discussion: I have a lot of respect for Jim Carroll's point of view here.   I think that any genre of music has to have some kind of defining features.   I also think that it's always valuable to keep discussing them, as you see how defining features change over the years.

For the longest time I was always fighting with the use of the word "cover version".....since I knew it's origin.   And the fact that now it's used to describe any song anybody sings that the singer didn't write (or wasn't written specifically for that singer)......drove me crazy. Now I just find it irritating, and I no longer go off on long discourses.

So I have to accept that the term has changed.

Maybe that's happened with 'folk music'.

But I haven't really heard any compelling arguments within this thread to suggest that 'traditional' as a category is really any different today than it ever was.

I think "Happy Birthday" and "Old MacDonald had a Farm" are traditional. So are those ballads that Jim and other folklorists have collected and annotated.

Eleanor Rigby?   Everybody knows it's a Beatles song.   Six Days on the Road?   Lots of variants, it's true.....but most people think of one specific recording (whether it's Dave Dudley or Taj Mahal or Colleen Peterson) when they hear or sing it.

Anyway.......I really don't know much about traditional music, but those are my thoughts.   For now, anyway (until they change....but then, that's part of the 'tradition').


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: GUEST,Ripov
Date: 15 Nov 15 - 08:17 PM

>Last Guest
Couldn't agree more. Just as in music, while there are dedicated amateurs keeping the individual forms of sport (1954 definition) alive (even if they have the occasional disagreement), the bulk of it , just like the music industry, is simply a way of getting bums on seats and so increase the industry's profits. But at least the music industry is honest about the fact that it's only show business.


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: GUEST,ripov
Date: 15 Nov 15 - 08:23 PM

that is "amateurs" in the sense that they have a deep love of their subject.


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: GUEST
Date: 16 Nov 15 - 03:12 AM

Rugby league or rugby union?

Two inning matches, one day or 20/20?

The London Philharmonic Orchestra with a Vaughan Williams collection or John Connolly singing his Fiddler's Green?

Joan Baez singing Geordie or U2 playing Bloody Sunday?

Elvis Costello singing Veronica at a punk venue or singing Veronica when he supported MacColl and Seeger?

Sadly, nobody has the copyright on the word folk any more than the word music. 1954 was a year when a lot happened but nothing of note in committees set up to analyse music. Many pop, rock, blues etc songs relate a moment in time or reflect a community and its people. Many traditional songs are about the same.

Shagging, unrequited shagging and dying from cannonball wishing you were shagging.

We call it song, regardless.


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 16 Nov 15 - 03:53 AM

"So I have to accept that the term has changed."
Then you have to define what it has changed into so we can continue to discuss it.
I have hundreds of books labelled "folk" or "tradition" going back to the beginning of the twentieth century and beyond, dealing with a specific and identifiable type of song (and related cultures and activities).
I have dedicated half a century listening to singing, studying and researching that specific type of music - thirty years of that time was spent finding old singers, recording their songs and interviewing them on how those songs fitted into their lives.
That time has only confirmed in my mind the idea I first started out with - that there is a unique body of song and music, that it held a unique place in the lives of people and communities and that they claimed it as "ours" (Irish, Traveller, Norfolk... wherever) something they can never claim about music that was manufactured and copyrighted by a business to be sold.
It's not the repetition or the alteration or the like or dislike that makes it traditional - it's role within the communities it served and almost certainly where it originated.
If the terms used to identify that music no longer serves because they have been replaced by other types of music, then you have to say why that is - you have to re-define the term.
Bert Lloyd summed it up perfectly way back in 1967 when he wrote "If Little Boxes and The Red Flag are folk songs, then we need a new term to describe The Outlandish Knight, Searching for Lambs and The Coalowner and the Pitman's Wife".
I suggest that the length of time the terms have been in use, the amount of research that has gon into the subject and the century or so of published material making use of the terms 'folk' and 'traditional', it is far, far too late to rename our music now - the term is too well defined for that.
It's not as if these changes you claim to have taken place have happened because the public have taken them up and re-applied them They are not terms in general use in any shape or form when applied to music - we have failed miserably to involve the broad mass of people in our music.
These changes are being demanded by a tiny number of self-interested people who lack either energy or imagination to think of a name or definition of unrelated music that catches their fancy - and even they are not agreed on what that new definition is.
The term(s) are now a a convenient cultural catchall to suit people who don't necessarily like folk or traditional music but find the term handy for their own particular ambitions and interests.
That is not how language evolves - it is not evolution but self-serving manipulation.
One of the features of traditional/folk music is that it has bee ruled to be in the public domain - try tellin the copyright holders of Eleanor Rigby that it belongs to us all and wait for the waterfall of legal writs to come showering through your letterbox.
What do you suggest - that folk song be taken out of the public domain and be subject to copyright, as are Beatles songs?
I'd have thought that folk music proper has enough problems to cope with if it is to survive.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: GUEST,guest
Date: 16 Nov 15 - 04:02 AM

I'm sorry guest I'm missing your point or you're missing mine.If you paid £30 or £40 pound to see a football match would you be just as happy if 13 or 15 lads came out with an oval ball ?


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 16 Nov 15 - 05:37 AM

"Sadly, nobody has the copyright on the word folk"
Probably the least convincing and irrational argument of all times
Language is what it is because of usage and track record - it's how we communicate.
If I bought a tin labeled 'salmon' and go home to find it was full of butterbeans because John Wests had decided salmon wasn't making enough profit, I would be entitled to go back and complain and, if doing so had caused me time and expense, some recompense (after all, the word "salmon" isn't copyrighted
If they persisted, I would be entitled to sue them.
The misuse of existing words is usually down to ignorance and often stupidity.
The deliberate use of words in order to push your own interest or product is simply dishonest and often dealt with through the Trades Description Act.
If you have something to give or sell you are morally obliged to describe accurately what it is.
Your argument is simply dishonest cultural vandalism - "I will call my music "folk music" because it suits me to do so - it doesn't matter how it affects the recipient.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: GUEST,Phil
Date: 16 Nov 15 - 08:02 AM

"If you paid £30 or £40 pound to see a football match would you be just as happy if 13 or 15 lads came out with an oval ball?"

"If I bought a tin labeled 'salmon' and go home to find it was full of butterbeans because John Wests had decided salmon wasn't making enough profit, I would be entitled to go back and complain and, if doing so had caused me time and expense, some recompense (after all, the word "salmon" isn't copyrighted
If they persisted, I would be entitled to sue them.

'I think I know what folk/traditional song is - have spent over half a century trying to come to terms with it."

There is damn little traditional "calypso" on history's first and only million seller calypso album (Calypso, Belafonte, RCA LPM-1248, 1957.) And there were hundreds of other artists and songs from around the globe that self-defined as "calypso." Yet I don't know a single university professor of West Indian music who doesn't insist on hewing to a rigid, dictionary definition of calypso as Trinidadian folk.

In the half-century of my own research I've found academic, textbook and/or Mudcat definitions are about as relevant as pocket lint to the overwhelming majority of music makers and consumers (and fwiw, the true history of caribbean pop/folk music.) No refund, no return.


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 16 Nov 15 - 08:20 AM

"as relevant as pocket lint"
I assume you have come up with an alternative of your own - or somebody else s?
I await with interest.
If not, I'll stick with what I've got.
You calypso analogy is fairly irrelevant
That the pop industry was prepared not to include calypso to sell their product is surely the point - commercial enterprises do that sort of thing all the time
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 16 Nov 15 - 09:43 AM

Jim,
I like your answer to my question about 'Sylvest'. Respect.

I am with you 99% of the way for what it's worth. Almost all of us interested in any way in traditional folk music know pretty precisely what we are talking about when we discuss it and your 'definition' of this would probably fit my definition like a glove.

BUT it didn't do King Cnut any good telling the tide to go back. 'Folk Music' has come to have a much wider accepted meaning over the last 50 years and this doesn't need to have a definition. Like other genres of music it is a broad umbrella. I can live with this.


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: Lighter
Date: 16 Nov 15 - 09:59 AM

> I can live with this.

Me too. The issue, however, is that some people not only insist that the term "folk music" has no real meaning; they also want us to believe them.

The ballgame analogy is an excellent one. Not perfect, but excellent.


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: GUEST,jim bainbridge
Date: 16 Nov 15 - 11:03 AM


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: GUEST,jim bainbridge
Date: 16 Nov 15 - 11:17 AM

sorry- firing blanks again....

My question really was about whether a definition is necessary- we all think we know what folk/traditional music is & while we can try & define it, my feeling is that it's a style rather than a repertoire- I remember a recording of travellers at a campfire singing 'I'll never forget my blue eyes' long before I heard Johnny Cash singing it, and Jack Elliott's. brother Reece was singing 'Sylvest' at the Birtley club in the mid-sixties.

I I've never gone out of my way to upset purists ear-fingerers or anyone really but if otherwise perceptive people reject a song because it's not 'folk' or 'traditional' they are missing a hell of a lot, just like Cecil Sharp, who rejected material for different, but equally blinkered reasons....


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 16 Nov 15 - 11:19 AM

Of course, King Cnut didn't want the tide to go back. What he was actually doing was demonstrating to his flattering courtiers the limitations of even a king's power, by making them get their feet wet -- an exemplar of rightness rather than of vanity. My late first wife Valerie put it rather well in one of her books: she wrote, "History has given Canute the wrong footnote."

So I agree with Steve's analogy. We are, alas, not going to stop them saying "folk" so promiscuously about things that we know are nothing of the sort, much as we would love to do.

≈M≈


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 16 Nov 15 - 11:38 AM

"I've never gone out of my way to upset purists ear-fingerers or anyone really"
Sorry Jim, but I find "inviting vitriol from purists" pretty offensive - the term itself is pretty offensive - sort of like calling the man who asks for salmon and is given butterbeans a pedant -after all, it's all food!!
Nobody "rejects" any form of music - our collection ranges from Maria Callas to Frank Sinatra, some opera, blues, jazz 1930s swing, music hall... an extremely catholic collection.   
The fact that we don't accept a type of music as traditional doesn't mean we don't listen to it or like it.
I actively don't like modern pop for all sorts of reasons not relevant here, but that's about it.
THere is nothing whatever blinkered about either not counting music as traditional or even disliking some music - that's called "taste" and it is somewhat arrogant to suggest that there is something wrong with us because we all don't like that same things.
One of the best singers we ever recorded was a blind Irish Travelling woman with a repertoire of somewhere between 100 and 200 traditional songs (never managed to record them all)
She could have doubled the number of songs she gave us with her Country and Western songs but despite our requests for her to sing them, she refused saying "they're not what you want - I only ing them 'cause they're what the lads ask for down the pub".
In the five years we knew her she refused to sing one of them, though it was very much a part of what we did to have recorded them.
Sharp may have missed some, but what he got was a treasure trove and we can only speculate what he missed.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: GUEST
Date: 16 Nov 15 - 11:50 AM

According to Jim Carroll, if you buy a tin of salmon etc...

Well, if you have been listening to folk music for years and years and you then buy an album expecting folk music but you get folk music instead?

I shall happily listen to Dave Burland with his guitar and silky voice singing A Sailor Cut Down in His Prime, and I call it entertainment but whilst acknowledging the contribution Harry Cox made in ensuring the song has a new audience, I don't exactly call an old man crooning out of tune into a cheap microphone entertainment. Provenance yes, but we all have our particular ideas.

Led Zeppelin singing Gallows Pole is rock. An old traditional song can be rock then. Just as a Vin Garbutt song written last year can be folk.

It isn't difficult. They are all music. A folk style? Quite a few of those to go at. Warbling into a guitar c/w harmonica, mumbling with your finger in your ear, guitars, bass and drums, fiddles, bodhran and pipes, even banjo if you must stretch a point.


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: Lighter
Date: 16 Nov 15 - 11:59 AM

Getting back to "My Brother Sylvest'," the earliest reference I've found is in The Morning Oregonian (Portland), Sept. 28, 1908, p.8. Sung in a comedy called "Coming through the Rye," it is described as a "more or less well known...dainty little Dago ditty."

The magazine Our Navy (September, 1915), p. 42, mentions "Brother Sylvest'" as one of several "Famous Italians" along with "Chris Columbus...Garabaldi...Marconi."

Sorry, no lyrics.


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: Brian Peters
Date: 16 Nov 15 - 12:10 PM

"Just concurring with the views of Reg Hall, an early stalwart of the tradition- re- 'Lily of Laguna', the views I mentioned were expressed 50 years ago- if it's a good song, who cares if it is traditional or not- you lot can't even define it and PLEASE DON'T TRY!!!"

Defining what is traditional or not was precisely what Reg Hall was doing in that statement made fifty years ago - it's just that he was defining it purely by context and not at all by musical and lyrical content. My first reaction to his words (especially regarding the phrase 'interesting and meaningful' to describe the performance rather than plain 'enjoyable') was that they reeked of an elitism of their own. The perspective of a sociologist rather than a listener.

The problem with a 'context is everything' approach is that it means that Fred Jordan was 'authentic' when singing in the Church Inn in Ludlow, but not when at the National Folk Festival. You could say the same for Lizzie Higgins, or Willie Scott, or any traditional singer who ever performed for a 'folk scene' audience.

"the Child ballads are an important body of work but the chances of anyone giving a meaningful and sympathetic delivery of a Child ballad in 2015 are slim (at least 50 years ago there was a real possibility of hearing ballads in a social context)
There's always an exception of course delivered vibrantly to what is after all a tiny minority of the population- ie folkies)...
but such material is far better left to the academics these days I think."


We're all entitled to our differing tastes, Jim, but I do find that statement staggering. Why can no singer be expected to give a meaningful delivery of an old ballad in 2015? Are you saying that modern singers lack the imagination and empathy to find and communicate the excitement and emotional depth of material from two or three hundred years ago? Or is it just that it wouldn't go down well in the taproom of your local pub, so is therefore of no value? The material is valid as long as there is an audience ready to listen to it - who's entitled to decide what is an appropriate 'social context'?


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 16 Nov 15 - 02:37 PM

I'm sorry to send you on a wild goose chase, Jon. I didn't mean to. I have the original sheet music and a cylinder recording of the original singer. They're not difficult to come by.
Words by Jesse Laske and music by Fred Fischer, published in 1908 so your Morning Oregonian was referring to a song just out. I think there's a copy of the sheet music on Lester Levy site as well.


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 16 Nov 15 - 03:23 PM

"I don't exactly call an old man crooning out of tune into a cheap microphone entertainment"
You are talking about personal taste again - nothing top do with definition
Harry, despite his age and all the problems that brings managed to convey the feeling of the songs to all who cared to listen - as did his contemporaries - fairly rare in most modern singing.
Singing with guitar' finger in ear - if you are going to denigrate a music you obviously don't like - the British tradition is largely an unaccompanied one - the traditional singers almost universally sang unaccompanied.
Nobody sings with "his finger in his ear" that would be stupid.
However the act of cupping the hand over the ear in order to stay in tune is centuries (possibly millenia) old - particularly useful to street singers and ballad sellers in the open air
Try to get it right
This thread has become overloaded with personal taste from people who neither like nor appear to understand folk song - somewhat arrogant to pontificate in those circumstances eh- what.
Personally, I think Led Zeppelin are noisy inarticulate shit, devoid of content - but I wouldn't put it forward as an argument that my music is better and it would be extremely arrogant of me to do so.
If you don't like the goods, don't muck 'em abaht.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: Lighter
Date: 16 Nov 15 - 03:35 PM

Steve, I see the Lasky/Fischer song is called "My Brudda Sylvest."

The sheet music is not viewable due to "copyright restrictions."

It was copyrighted at the Library of Congress on May 16,1908.


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 16 Nov 15 - 03:46 PM

Oh! Could have sworn I copied the Levy copy before I got my original. Can easily scan it for you if you're interested. I think I got it from Ebay.


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 16 Nov 15 - 08:31 PM

"old man crooning out of tune into a cheap microphone entertainment"
Meant to add that the public recordings of Harry Cox were made by the BBC, by Alan Lomax and Ewan MacColl, by Charles Parker and Phillip Donellan - all of whom used high quality, expensive microphones.
It appears you didn't get too much right in your posting Guest
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: GUEST
Date: 17 Nov 15 - 02:56 AM

Interestingly, some of the Child ballads have been recorded as beautiful music by Anais Mitchell and Jefferson Hamer. It's a good job real people don't share Jim Carroll's insular views. The album has, I believe, had over a million downloads on iTunes, who knows how many on Amazon and tracks appear on many compilations, including an extra session they did for The BBC.

Folk is taste you silly old man. It's a word we use in the same way as rock, pop or classical to denote a wide genre. The people at the tail end of a romanticised oral tradition are merely part of it. They captured the imagination of people who then turned it into music for a c20 audience. Provenance and to your particular taste, acceptable. To my taste, nostalgic for a folk club circuit that doesn't quite exist but if it's all the same to you, raw material in an artistic sense.

I gave a lift to someone the other day and happened to be listening to John Eliot Gardner's excellent interpretation of Vivaldi's Gloria. "Oh, you like your classical music then?" He said. "Yes" I said. Far better than trying to make pedantic irrelevant points by trying to say Vivaldi is baroque not classical.

The rewording of Jeff Beck's Hi Ho Silver Lining sung by twenty five thousand fans at the match last Saturday answers the original question. If that isn't an example of evolving in the oral tradition I fail to see what is.

I sing many child ballads but am not an academic in the subject. Why are people clapping at the end Jim? (Possibly because I've stopped singing, before anybody else says it.)


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: Bonzo3legs
Date: 17 Nov 15 - 03:06 AM

"I think Led Zeppelin are noisy inarticulate shit, devoid of content" - surprising statement from someone who insists that gypsies be called travellers or was it the other way round!!!


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 17 Nov 15 - 03:34 AM

"Anais Mitchell and Jefferson Hamer"
Somebody loaned me a copy of their Child ballad album earlier this year - I got three tracks in and gave it back - dreadful schmaltz!
As I said, diff'rent strokes for diff'rent folks.
This should not be about personal taste, which is, as the label said, 'personal' and has nothing whatever to do with definition, which, once challenged, is avoided like the plague by people who don't actually like folk/traditional song but for some inexplicable reason, want to use the title for their own, unrelated songs.
MacColl once said in an interview we did with him that folk songs have served people for many centuries and have managed to survive true to their own utterance and in different forms throughout that time, but they will never survive if they fall into the hands of people who don't like them - that statement is beginning to make sense to me.
I've always been disturbed by those who described the old singers who were generous enough to give us our beautiful repertoire of songs with phrases such as "old man crooning out of tune into a cheap microphone entertainment" - ungracious, to say the least.
No - folk is not taste - you silly man - you cannot 'like' a genre of music into existence, any more than you can dislike it out of existence - it is what it is whether we like it or not (otherwise, there would be no Wagner, as afr as my tastes go!!)
I am appalled that a racist such as Bozo-no-Brain (the poster who described the ten Travellers recently burned to death in a tragic fire here in Ireland as "thieving Gyppos". when the news of their death was announced), should renew his attacks on Travellers on this thread - please go away.   
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: GUEST
Date: 17 Nov 15 - 03:47 AM

If it isn't about personal taste, why say only academics should have anything to do with Child ballads?

You have no concept whatsoever of the evolution of traditional song, it's integration into the fashions of the day, as exampled over hundreds of years or even, judging by your posts, an appreciation of music.

A useful librarian but no author or indeed reader.


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: The Sandman
Date: 17 Nov 15 - 03:58 AM

As far as I am concerned he was King Cunt, like most of the other Kings Of England,he would have been better employed making sure his fellow countrymen were better looked after instead of getting his followers to take him to paddle around in the tide.


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: Brian Peters
Date: 17 Nov 15 - 04:20 AM

"why say only academics should have anything to do with Child ballads?"

You're addressing the wrong Jim, 'Guest'. Be nice to know your name, btw - we're all signing ours!


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 17 Nov 15 - 05:37 AM

"You're addressing the wrong Jim,"
Thanks for that Brian, saves me the trouble
Far from Child ballads being the domain of academics, some of our finest and most important Child ballads have come from Travellers, mainly Irish and Scots - right upto th latter half of the 20th century.
Hamish Hederson called them as the Muckle (big) songs and MacColl who breathed life back into 137 of them, described them as "the high-watermark of the tradition and compared them to the best of Shakespeare.   
"You have no concept whatsoever of the evolution of traditional song, it's integration into the fashions of the day, "
Neither does anybody else to a great extent as very few people have ever bothered to ask the singers about them to any great extent; but those of us who are interested in them, who actually like them and who have got up off our arses to try and find out about them are entitled to make an educated guess based on the information we manage to glean.
(poor use of the apostrophe there by the way!!)
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: GUEST
Date: 17 Nov 15 - 06:55 AM

Well bugger me. Wrong Jim.

Sorry for that.

But not sorry for the other observations, not one bit. You see, language, definition, millions of people and reality tend to concur with me, or at least what I am putting here.

My cookie buggered up. Sorry. Hopefully this one is signed in.


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: Lighter
Date: 17 Nov 15 - 07:03 AM

> people who don't actually like folk/traditional song but for some inexplicable reason, want to use the title for their own, unrelated songs.

You nailed it, Jim.


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 17 Nov 15 - 07:16 AM

"You see, language, definition, millions of people and reality tend to concur with me, "
No they don't I'm afraid - the vast majority of people have neither interest in nor knowledge of folk song of any shape, form or description and the tiny few who profess or have an interest can't even even agree with each other - leaving you in a minority of a minority.
Folk song had been de-defined, not redefined
Would those figures were different, but creating smokescreens around what folk song is isn't going to improve things one iota - the Irish experience of what has happened to traditional music here, with many thousands of youngsters flocking to play traditional music because they know what it is and where to find in - very different from the UK where they can't tell the difference between a ballad and a ballet.      
Sorry 'bout that - and for the loss of your cookie - hope she returns to bake you a nice pie before too long
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: Lighter
Date: 17 Nov 15 - 08:47 AM

The versions on this thread strengthen the claim that "My Brudda Sylvest'" has indeed become "Traditional":

thread.cfm?threadid=350

In other words, long history, oral (besides printed) tradition, practical anonymity, variant versions.


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: GUEST,Desi C
Date: 17 Nov 15 - 08:57 AM

Can S.h.i.t.e ever be called chocolate!


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 17 Nov 15 - 09:08 AM

'very different from the UK where they can't tell the difference between a ballad and a ballet.'

Jim, on this one you'll be pleased to note you are decidedly wrong.

There are plenty of young people here now who know the provenance of the ballads, the people who sang them, and who are treating the material in a very respectful way. They are even going out collecting themselves and are organising clubs and conferences themselves. I see all of this as very healthy. Many are second and third generation folkies but by no means all of them.


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: GUEST,jim bainbridge
Date: 17 Nov 15 - 09:40 AM

Am flattered that I am now considered to be the 'right' Jim- told you I was right (addressed politely to the 'wrong Jim')

Seriously though, I can't take lectures from you Brian about context- I knew personally many of the folk you mentioned- none of them made any distinction as to the category a song fitted into- except when guided by some song collector with his own agenda. And while Tam Lin & Lord Bateman are wonderful tales & of great value, it takes a real talent to communicate orally such material in 2015.
It seems to be a lost art- or maybe I'm spoilt by years of listening to the Stewarts and their ilk. They knew their contexts, and chose their songs accordingly. Surely we all do? At an after- folk club late-night session, surely no- one would launch into a set of 'dreich' ballads?- or maybe some would?

It's obvious that we all have different tastes and can certainly reject a song purely on that basis, but I still can't see why all this pigeon-holing is so important to people!
I note there is a parallel discussion on whether a 'folk' song can become a 'trad' song- equally pointless...

A reviewer once said of a CD of mine- 'Jim only sings the songs he likes'   I think I know what he meant & maybe you can work it out, but there isn't really any alternative to that, is there?
               signed the right Jim


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: Brian Peters
Date: 17 Nov 15 - 11:11 AM

"I can't take lectures from you Brian about context"

I'm not lecturing anyone - just asking what happens to 'context' when a traditional singer finds him- or herself in the dreaded folk club room upstairs with all those Child ballad droners. The singers themselves seem to have been perfectly happy about it - Jeff Wesley is a regular at Northampton Folk Club, Thomas McCarthy used to frequent clubs in London.

"none of them made any distinction as to the category a song fitted into"

Not my fight - you should discuss that one with the other Jim.

"And while Tam Lin & Lord Bateman are wonderful tales & of great value, it takes a real talent to communicate orally such material in 2015. It seems to be a lost art"

Says who? I've heard some great renditions of both those and many others in the last few years, and I've been in some memorable dreich ballad sessions too. Some of the most enthusiastic comments I've ever had for the ballads I sing has been from non-folkies or new-to-it folkies. I wouldn't do them in the local pub, but then again I wouldn't be encouraged to sing anything there unless I took a microphone and played Oasis covers (and my local is unusual in tolerating live music at all). Even the romantic picture of a sozzled 'Lily of Laguna' in the public bar is a museum piece, treasured in the memory like Wicketts Richardson and Cyril Poacher, but gone forever.

The reason I jumped into this thread again is that I really get cross with the attitude (expressed in the original Reg Hall quote) that old ballads should be allowed to die with the likes of the Stewarts and Lizzie Higgins, because later generations of singers are somehow unworthy. No! They are some of the most thrilling and cathartic songs ever made, and will be enjoyed and rediscovered long after 'Lily' has been forgotten.

You sing the songs you like, Jim (I really enjoy your stuff, for what it's worth), but lay off telling me what I should and shouldn't be singing!


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: GUEST
Date: 17 Nov 15 - 12:13 PM

So the usual Jim reckons people who don't like folk used the term for their own unrelated songs.

Says it all really. I doubt those of us out there in clubs and venues keeping it alive and kicking, fascinated and thrilled by the high profile these days with young musicians could ever be so insular, precious or plain wrong.

Folk is folk. If only folk songs are folk, what name do we give to folk songs?

Quoting dead men had no relevance to alive young people. Being around many years ago is no more relevant than being a teenager. Folk is a living tradition so old views become irrelevant as new views take to the field. New views feed off the old but living folk music is more related to rock than warbling. Just as a starter, hear the many interpretations of known songs by young artistes on the BBC Folk Awards albums. Tell me that folk isn't that? Get your 1/4" reels out and enjoy them Jim. They are part of the provenance of what the rest of the world calls folk.

Cecil Sharpe would have said the same about melodeons playing Morris tunes.


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 17 Nov 15 - 12:38 PM

A point I endeavour to make every time this for some reason so widespread solecism occurs

Whatever point they may be urging, it is surely reasonable to expect contributors to this forum to be able to spell the name of Cecil Sharp correctly.

≈M≈


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: GUEST,punkfolkrocker
Date: 17 Nov 15 - 12:58 PM

"Can a pop song become traditional?"

yeah... maybe... possibly.. eventually.....???



I vote for "Wig Wam Bam" and "Little Willy" by the Sweet.

Shame Gary Glitter turned out the way he did and buggered all chances for "I'm the Leader of the Gang (I Am)"... 😜


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 17 Nov 15 - 01:21 PM

"Jim, on this one you'll be pleased to note you are decidedly wrong"
I do hope so so Steve, but I've got a little tired with a situation where it is virtually impossible to discuss the subject because of people who seem to be arguing that the existing definition is rubbish, but are unable to offer one of their own.
As usual, this discussion has degenerated into one of taste rather than definition - somehow I regard that as a sign of dislike - If I like it, it's folk/traditional.
I've also become tired of scurrilous attacks on old singers because they don't sound like Peter' Paul and Mary, or, in this case Led Zepplin.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 17 Nov 15 - 01:32 PM

Agreed, Jim.
There is nothing wrong with the 54 definition. It describes very well the music we love and respect.

However the word has now taken on a much wider meaning not totally unrelated to 54. I have no problem using qualifiers like 'traditional', 'vernacular' when in the company of the millions who use the term in a wider sense.

If you mixed with people on a daily basis who only knew this wider meaning you would find it very tedious continually having to explain that you only accept the 54 definition and then having to repeat it all.


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 17 Nov 15 - 02:48 PM

"There is nothing wrong with the 54 definition. "
It certainly needs revisiting.
"However the word has now taken on a much wider meaning not totally unrelated to 54"
If it has, it is only to a miniscle number of people who apparently can't agree among themselves enough to cobble together an explanation of what they men by "folk" other than it means what I want it to mean" - just like Humpty Dumpty.
If it has come to mean something else, what is that something else, and who else agrees with your definition? Language- communication relies on consensus, otherwise we might as well keep it all to ourselves.
Until someone comes up with a new definition, the old one stands, warts and all.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: GUEST
Date: 17 Nov 15 - 05:30 PM

There's nothing wrong with the 1954 definition if it floats your boat.

It is irrelevant otherwise. I dare say 99.9% of people who enjoy folk music have never heard of it and would have a quiet chuckle if they read it. It describes a view, and just like Jim's dismissal of Child ballads sung for wider audience, based on subjective and arbitrary taste.

Anyway, I saw Robert Plant in concert last year. Looks like an old man to me.


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 18 Nov 15 - 04:11 AM

"There's nothing wrong with the 1954 definition if it floats your boat.   It is irrelevant otherwise."
Nope - wrong again - until someone comes up with a new one it's what we've got to explain a unique music
You want another - come up with one, persuade others that it is "relevant" and document it - that's what we have had to do.
No definition is "irrelevant" - that's crass.
This music represents the artistic creation of an entire people - centuries of it.
If we are unable to discuss it because a tiny group of folkies can't be arsed to come up with a description for what they do - bit of a shame really, doncha think?
You claim that we are in the minority - wrong again - you have no definable definition, we have, you have no definition, we have, you have no track record, we have - centuries of it, you have no literature, we have - libraries full.
You don't have agreement among yourselves.
It is cultural vandalism to attempt to destroy the identification of the artistic creation of an entire social group/class, in this case the largely agricultural working people.
I grew up being told that people like me never produced anything worthwhile, and we had to go to our betters for our music, our literature, our theatre, paintings...
It turns out that that was not the case; my forbears produced a body of song, music, oral literature that spanned centuries - something to be proud of - not made "irrelevant" at a whim.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: GUEST,jim bainbridge
Date: 18 Nov 15 - 09:29 AM

Nobody's telling you what you ought to sing Brian- we're all capable of deciding for ourselves what we like- you've gained great respect with the choices you've made, so if it works for you......!

Not sure if you WOULD do Oasis songs down your local, but I've always tried, with some exceptions mainly due to reducing attention spans in 2015, to do much the same in my local as I do at folk clubs/festivals.

Living in Ireland probably makes that a bit easier maybe, although as communication is important in music (however defined!), I've never sung any Tommy Armstrong songs in Co Leitrim.

Also I did accept earlier that listening live to source singers may have made me intolerant of anything less..... you probably hear more attempts at 'dreich' ballads than I do, as an infrequent UK visitor, but I'd take some convincing about your assertions in that area, especially when coming from younger folk celebrites (no names, have upset enough people already!)

Am sure you all enjoy discussing the 54 definition, whatever that is, am sorry to say it doesn't interest me- logical really, when I have no interest in pigeon holes, which is the original aim of this thread- to paraphrase that.........' is it folk?'

Can anyone explain why it matters?


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 18 Nov 15 - 11:13 AM

"Can anyone explain why it matters?"
To repeat
"It is cultural vandalism to attempt to destroy the identification of the artistic creation of an entire social group/class, in this case the largely agricultural working people.
I grew up being told that people like me never produced anything worthwhile, and we had to go to our betters for our music, our literature, our theatre, paintings...
It turns out that that was not the case; my forbears produced a body of song, music, oral literature that spanned centuries - something to be proud of - not made "irrelevant" at a whim."
Not important to you maybe but, as a working class lad who left school (Secondary Modern) having been told after being late for a maths class because a kindly music teacher tried to help me understand the scales, "What do you need that for - do you intend to earn you wages singing in the street" - he went on "All you need to be able to do when you leave here is to tot up your wage packet at the end of the week" - the fact that working people have created a unique musical culture of their own is bloody important to me and worth defending and passing on.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 18 Nov 15 - 11:18 AM

Sorry Jim - didn't quite finish.
There is an arrogance among some singers that, because they are not interested in doing anything more than standing up and singing once a week, the rest of us should be as shallow.
We have to put up a great deal of stick because we do.
If it wasn't for the collectors and researchers we wouldn't have folk clubs or anything to sing in them; we'd all still be warbling about pink and blue toothbrushes.
May please some.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: Brian Peters
Date: 18 Nov 15 - 11:19 AM

OK Jim B, truce.

I've shared a few dreich ballads in recent years with Kathy Hobkirk (short clip only but good). You might have come across her at Whitby?


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: The Sandman
Date: 18 Nov 15 - 01:58 PM

I have had a very enjoyable day singing and playing traditional songs and music.
i do not care what Jim Carroll or anyone else on this forum thinks of my singing and playing, or the feckin 1954 definition or any other crap, I sing tradtional and occasional contemporary songs cos i like them, Iwould say that was probably Fred Jordans and most other tradtional singers reason for singing them too


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: Bonzo3legs
Date: 18 Nov 15 - 02:28 PM

I agree with you Good Soldier Schweik. We go to a folk club for no other reason than we like the sound of the artist's voice, the quality of playing and the songs performed.


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 18 Nov 15 - 02:56 PM

"or anyone else on this forum thinks of my singing and playing, or the feckin 1954 definition or any other crap, "
Doesn't stop us having an opinion of it Dick
You think 1954 iws crap - fine - you now my opinion of your singing - we're quits.
The problem with all of these arguments us that if I insisted that everybody must share my level of interest in folk or like the same things I like (I never have) there would be howls of "folk police" from the north to the south pole, yet, if I express an interest beyond just singing it or listening to it I am regularly met with much of the abuse present here "finger in ear", "purist", "intransigent", "narrow minded" and much, more more, sometime far worse.
What makes one attitude acceptable and the other not.   
Jim Bainbridge tells this story about Bob Davenport as if it was clever or even acceptable.
"First time I heard Bob Davenport in 1964(he's well known for plain speaking) a floor singer got up and spent fully 3 minutes explaining the song he was about to sing. Bob stood up and shouted from the back- 'Sing the fucking song man, stop talking about it'"
I saw behave like this a few years ago in the Musical Traditions Club, in this case, towards a young woman singer from The Aran Islands who had taken the trouble to give a brief explanation of her Irish language songs.
That is not "plain speaking" - it is downright folk fascism.
Again, why should Bob's behaviour be acceptable and the woman singer's not - Bob's a folkie star, I suppose?
There seems to be a graet deal of double standards afoot in today's folk world.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: The Sandman
Date: 18 Nov 15 - 03:38 PM

Your opinion of my singing is of no interest to me,Jim.
I have enjoyed performances by Bob Davenport Jim Bainbridge and Brian Peters.
Jim Carroll gives his opinions, has anyone heard him sing?, can he entertain an audience for a couple of hours, as Davenport ,Bainbridge or Peters have done.


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 18 Nov 15 - 04:09 PM

Here we go, here we go, here we go!


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: The Sandman
Date: 18 Nov 15 - 04:33 PM

Jim has been very helpful in the past in providing me and others with versions of traditional songs, which I appreciate.
But performance of traditional songs is about interpretation and entertainment, it is not just about remembering words, and it should not be forgotten that all the singers I mentioned have done the business many times., and have continued to get re booked, so they do know about performance. I am not sure and have no evidence that Jim Carroll does, although he is clearly knowledgeable about tradtional song.
Jim, for your info,I saw Fred Jordan say exactly the same thing as Davenport to a singer[but without the f word], so Daven port is not alone in having done that. Personally, I would never interrupt anyone, I find background info interesting, although I cannot see the point of telling the story beforehand if you are going to sing it.


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: Brakn
Date: 18 Nov 15 - 05:21 PM

I don't think I'm going to bother reading all this. Ah well life goes on..


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 18 Nov 15 - 06:46 PM

"Here we go, here we go, here we go!"
Not as far as I'm concerned Steve - a diversion that should not have happened
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: The Sandman
Date: 19 Nov 15 - 03:17 AM

"First time I heard Bob Davenport in 1964(he's well known for plain speaking) a floor singer got up and spent fully 3 minutes explaining the song he was about to sing. Bob stood up and shouted from the back- 'Sing the fucking song man, stop talking about it'"
I saw behave like this a few years ago in the Musical Traditions Club, in this case, towards a young woman singer from The Aran Islands who had taken the trouble to give a brief explanation of her Irish language songs.
Two completely different situations, Which Jim lumps together to have a go about Bob Davenport.
There is no need to explain the story of a song if you are going to sing it, there is a good reason for explaining a song in a different language, NAMELY people who do not understand the language can know what its about.


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: GUEST,Allan Conn
Date: 19 Nov 15 - 03:54 AM

No need to explain the story itself if the song itself does that. We had one woman who was singing Nancy Whisky and in between each verse explained what was going to happen in the next verse! It was quite frankly a tad annoying though no-one said anything. However surely nothing wrong with explaining the background to a song before singing it? As long as it isn't too long winded and is interesting I think that often enhances it. I don't think there is any excuse for publicly barracking someone though. A wee word in the ear is surely preferable?


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: The Sandman
Date: 19 Nov 15 - 04:19 AM

i agree Allan, however any professional performer knows how to deal with a heckler.
I would have dealt with Bob in ten seconds,as I dealt with Fred Jordan on the other hand the girl from the Aran islands was in a different country explaining her own language, and should have been given more respect, different situations.
Dear old Jim Carroll is a bit like an elephant remembering all these different Davenport offences from as far back as 1964


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: GUEST,Phil
Date: 19 Nov 15 - 04:32 AM

Jim C.: "That the pop industry was prepared not to include calypso to sell their product is surely the point - commercial enterprises do that sort of thing all the time."

Belafonte is/was considered a folk singer by millions of listeners around the globe and he is hardly a fan of capitalism today. But he is still cranking out those "King of Calypso" reissues and "Greatest Hits" comps.

"I assume you have come up with an alternative of your own - or somebody else's?"

If I'm dealing with Belafonte's music I use Belafonte's. When I move to the largest online database I'll find all "calypso" as a subset of "reggae;" where "Folk" is one third of "Folk/World/Country" and "Trad" appears only as a track credit (ie: neither genre nor style.) Different boats, different long splices. Twas always thus.


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: The Sandman
Date: 19 Nov 15 - 04:33 AM

"If it wasn't for the collectors and researchers we wouldn't have folk clubs or anything to sing in them; we'd all still be warbling about pink and blue toothbrushes. "
true, but as usual not the complete picture, Jim has forgotten the folk club organisers, people like Ted Poole[ 50 years organising] and Vic and Tina Smith,Ron Angel and many more.
without folk club organisers there would be NO folk clubs, then there is the hundreds of quality performers like Bob Davenport[ who did not need crib sheets], most of whom earned a pittance but who generally helped to maintain a good standard.


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: GUEST,Raggytash
Date: 19 Nov 15 - 04:55 AM

Back to the OP.

A couple of days ago I heard Peter Sarstedt singing "Where Do You Go To My Lovely"

I think that's a Pop Song that could become a Folk Song, if it hasn't already done so.


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: GUEST,Dave
Date: 19 Nov 15 - 05:19 AM

Aargh Raggy, I really hope not!


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: GUEST,Colin
Date: 19 Nov 15 - 05:26 AM

I'm reminded by all this above of the lyrics to an old traditional pop song... very appropriate lyrical value I'm sure you'll agree..

Sing sing a song
Make it simple to last the whole night long
Don't worry that its not good enough for anyone else to hear
Just sing
Sing a song


simples


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: GUEST,CJ
Date: 19 Nov 15 - 06:02 AM

Jim Carroll,

May I ask you a question on this?

Way up above on this thread you mentioned

"don't think there are hard and fast rules on individual songs - there are certainly borderline cases"

May I ask which cases you were referring to?

Thanks in advance

CJ


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: Brian Peters
Date: 19 Nov 15 - 08:00 AM

Personally I think that pretty well everything useful there was to be said regarding the topic was covered three years ago. However, although there's no earthly reason why singers shouldn't ignore pigeon holes and sing whatever they like (as I do), the OP asked a perfectly reasonable and interesting question, and the respondents have done no more than try to answer it according to their own precepts.

"Just sing the bloody song" is all very well, but if that's all that everyone wanted to do there would be no need for Mudcat.


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: The Sandman
Date: 19 Nov 15 - 09:38 AM

"Just sing the bloody song" is all very well, but if that's all that everyone wanted to do there would be no need for Mudcat."
really, what about all the questions about technique related to instrumental playing, the precise point at which mudcat is in my opinion most useful.
all these questions about what is folk music etc,never seem to reach a conclusion, and are in my opinion a perfect illustration of discussions going round in circles, and GETTING NOWHERE.
    Mudcat is also useful as a digital resource for providing words of songs that is possibly what is it needed for as regards the majority of people interested in songs, providing words of songs.


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: Brian Peters
Date: 19 Nov 15 - 11:10 AM

Quite true, Dick, but it is a discussion forum, and the theoretical side has its place too. This and other similar threads do tend to go round in circles, but they've contained some interesting discussion, and certainly made me question my own attitudes. And what about all those queries Malcolm Douglas used to be so good at answering, about song history? You don't need all that to sing the song, it's just interesting for it's own sake.


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 19 Nov 15 - 12:11 PM

"Quite true, Dick, but it is a discussion forum, "
Totally agree - as you would!!
I doubt if these arguments radically change people'e views, but at the very least, they can add to what we think we know.
The day we can't discuss folksong is the day we close down forums like Mudcat.
C.J. "May I ask which cases you were referring to?"
Sorry meant to respond to this earlier - cant multi task too well nowadays.
It's a bit difficult to deal with this at length and it's bound to get bogged down in argument, but I have in mind songs with a known authorship that have hardly changed, but are claimed by communities as their own
We've come across several songs that fall into this category during our work here on the West Coast of Ireland
Two songs 'Nora Daly' and 'Farewell to Miltown Malbay' written as poems in this town by local poet Tomás Ó hAodha (Thomas Hayes)- (1866-1935.) - sung around by locals extensively, undergone virtually no changes in the century since they were made (except most singers have dropped two verses from the original and one singer sang it to a different tune - and the song remained in this area and didn't move out until the revival, to my knowledge - is it too static to have passed through any process - don't know and wouldn't dream of arguing with anybody who says it is traditional.
Another similar, 'A Stór mo Chroí' (Treasure of my Heart), written by Brian O'Higgins (1882-1963) - the same applies as the above songs - known author, etc.... but totally accepted by local peole as traditional - who am I to argue.
One example of a deliberately written song establishing itself into the oral tradition is known alternatively as 'Patrick Sheehan' or 'The Glens of Aherlow' - written very self-consciously by Irish author and Republican, Charles Kickham (1828-1882) in order to persuade Irishmen not to join the British army.
Kickham said he "wrote it deliberately in the style of the street ballad" in order that it would get maximum circulation.
It is based on actual events and tells of a man whose family were driven from their home by a landlord during the famine - when his parents died at the side of the road he joins the army and is blinded at Sevastopol.
After a time his army pension expires and he is forced to beg on the streets of Dublin
Kickham is said to have made the song having met a veteran of the Crimean War in exactly the circumstance described in his song - it brought about a review of the army pension rules.
I suppose the deciding factor in all these is that Ireland had a strong oral tradition up to quite late which was still capable of absorbing these songs.
They can all be found on the Clare County Library website HERE
As I said - no hard and fast rules but very different from taking different genres of songs and claiming them to be folk.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: The Sandman
Date: 19 Nov 15 - 12:33 PM

I agree background information is interesting.
Neither do I agree with interrupting people [unless they make a racist comment], however I have been interuppted once by Fred Jordan and once by a folk club organiser, I continued unabashed and was not intimidated by anyone.If any one tries to interrupt me I am ready for them.
I do not need any definition to decide which song I am going to sing, I have no desire to sing pop songs, if i did I would have become a pop singer and made a lot more money, I believe I AM EMPLOYED IN FOLK CLUBS TO SING TRAD SONGS,WHICH I CAN RECOGNISE WITHOUT A DEFINITION.


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: GUEST,jim bainbridge
Date: 19 Nov 15 - 01:30 PM

Should have known Mr Carroll would bring Bob D into this, it really is very predictable, isn't it?   Is this part of the evidence for the silencing of all who (like me and Bob) do not subscribe to his canonisation campaign for the Blessed MacColl?

Anyway, it wasn't me who brought it up this time guv...but maybe I'll now expand on exactly what happened that night in 1964.

I was there when Bob uttered the offending words and I think he was dead right (language excepted). The 'singer' was taking advantage of the good nature of the audience at Derek Sarjeant's club in Surbiton to talk down to the people as a bad teacher might to ten-year olds.

He didn't just explain the song's background- I often do that myself, this man told the whole story, verse by verse, rendering the singing of the song pointless!
The audience were restive, but too polite to react, and apart from the f.. word I think Bob was principled, brave and may have made a few folk think & wish THEY had said something!
I wasn't at the Musical Traditions club in London when the other alleged incident occurred, but I DO know that the MT club which continues to thrive, would very likely not exist without Bob Davenport- ask the organisers!
Where is your 'Singers' club' now, Jim?

As for Kathy Hobkirk, Brian, she goes to other places than Whitby- I'm an irregular visitor there, by the way but you must appreciate that my assertions were of their nature, generalisations. Kathy is a fine singer I've known for many years (20 plus?) but she is certainly one of the few exceptions which prove the rule- please no more blue clickys...

Finally, to Jim C, I love what is called folk/traditional/ethnic music (as I define it) & have no wish to damage the 'tradition' as I understand it. I have great respect for 'travellers'- or 'tinkers' as Sheila Stewart used to prefer being called. I'm also extremely grateful for their contribution to the 'tradition'.

The music may have needed protection in the fifties, but such is the huge body of material available to people in the internet age, worrying about whether a song is folk or traditional still seems daft to me, and 61 year old definitions seem even dafter.
I know what it is, as I expect do all readers of this discussion, so let's just get on with the music, wherever it comes from!


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: The Sandman
Date: 19 Nov 15 - 01:49 PM

I know what it is, as I expect do all readers of this discussion, so let's just get on with the music, wherever it comes from!
Well said.


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 19 Nov 15 - 02:58 PM

"hould have known Mr Carroll would bring Bob D into this, it really is very predictable, isn't it? "
You brought him in earlier Jim with your story about his bad manners two people mentioned him beforehand.
Not really interested in him in one way other the other - just your apparent admiration for his bad behaviour.
Wonder wwhy it's a no-no to criticise him yet take a pop at Ewan, (as is your wont) who has been dead for over half a century   
Your double-standards are showing!
It's never "right" to shout down a fellow singer - take him/her aside and explain your likes and dislikes to him/her by all means - but the way Davenport has been known to behave wouldn't be accepted at a Celtic-Rangers match without someone throwing a bottle.
"I wasn't at the Musical Traditions club in London when the other alleged incident occurred"
It wasn't "alleged" -it happened and was commented on by several members of the audience - why shouldn't it have happened - you've described him behaving in the same way.
"Where is your 'Singers' club' now, Jim?"
The same place a dozen or so clubs Bob was involved in - The Empress of Russia - The Fox - and at least half a dozen others visted when I lived in London.
However - MacColl, Seeger and others of The Singers left a legacy that is still being celebrated - just made two radio programmes to celebrate his 100th
I already knew September Song long before I heard Bob sing it.
"I'm also extremely grateful for their contribution to the 'tradition'. "
Nice to know we agree on something
"Let's just get on with the music"
Fine by me - you get on with it your way and I'll get on with it mine- for me, that means finding out where it came from.
To be honest - I really am not unhappy with what Pat and I have managed to do with the songs and information we have gathered and passed on - and we've managed it without telling people what they should be doing!
Jim Carroll   
.


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: Brian Peters
Date: 19 Nov 15 - 03:07 PM

"please no more blue clickys..."

The clicky was there to share my enthusiasm for Kathy Hobkirk with the rest of Mudcat, not just prove a point. Kathy is indeed particularly good, but by no means the only one who can put over a ballad convincingly.


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: GUEST,CJ
Date: 19 Nov 15 - 03:09 PM

Thanks Jim.

My own basic take on it is thus - when I'm in a discussion about traditional music and someone takes or uses the expression "folk" to mean acoustic pop, I say "ah I meant traditional folk" and that almost always clears the waters. As an aside, to avoid that particular confusion, I find myself using the expression 'traditional music' just as often as 'folk music'.


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: The Sandman
Date: 19 Nov 15 - 03:11 PM

"Fine by me - you get on with it your way and I'll get on with it mine- for me, that means finding out where it came from."
Jim Bainbridge has in my opinion more to offer as a performer than you, he is also interested in where the songs came from.
"Not really interested in him in one way other the other - just your apparent admiration for his bad behaviour."
why do you keep going on about him then, I mean ,you brought up some evnt FROM 1964, 58 YEARS AGO.You seem to have a Davenport obsession.


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: GUEST,Phil
Date: 19 Nov 15 - 03:40 PM

Desi C.: "Can S.h.i.t.e ever be called chocolate!"
It's a matter perspective. Experiment: Unwrap a "Baby Ruth®" candy bar, toss it into your local public swimming pool and observe how people react ;)

Academics, musicians and audiences can't tell the difference until they have a backstory (truth or fiction.) Their individual perspectives on race, nationality, politics, economics, etc. outside of the music then decide the issue for them (accurately or not.)

"The Wreck of the Sloop John B" is a vaudville pop tune masquerading as authentic Bahamian folk; masquerading as American pop-folk.

"Colby;" "Choucoune;" "Don't Ever Love Me" and "Yellow Bird" are four nearly identical Pan-American songs individual listeners will pigeonhole very differently according to their nonmusical attributes.


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: Lighter
Date: 19 Nov 15 - 06:13 PM

> can't tell the difference

Certainly untrue in the case of "Row, My Bully Boys, Row" on another thread. And many others as well.


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: GUEST,jim bainbridge
Date: 20 Nov 15 - 02:10 PM

The incident in Surbiton, Jim, was something I mentioned many moons ago- I really couldn't see what relevance it had to the current exchange of views except as a further contribution to your obsession about Bob D, so I just 'thought I'd clarify what happened!
I admire what MacColl did for the music in the early days, and especially the songs he wrote, but with MANY reservations. There are equally as many anecdotes about MacColl's behaviour, illustrating arrogance rather than verbal violence but let's not get into all that again- it would be nice to hear that you could accept that Bob did ANYTHING for the music, apart from your blinkered hero- worship? Yes, he was a pain at times, but..... also the spirit of the Empress of Russia continues at the MT club, whereas MacColl's sterile 'Singers' club influence seems now to be confined to the media- ie academic rather than active and living.

Thanks Dick, let's get on with the music instead of all this wasted energy- as a FINAL comment on the original point of this thread, it may be a cliché, but a good song is a good song...


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 20 Nov 15 - 06:00 PM

"a good song is a good song..."
.,.,.,

What a monumental copout.

Categories matter. Taxonomy is of the essence if any communication is to be effected, any standards maintained.

A good meal is a good meal. But there are times when one wants to eat Pâté de Foie Gras; others when one feels more like a couple of buttered crumpets with bitter orange marmalade; or an Escalope Bordselaise; or a nice plate of Kellogg's Corn Flakes with tinned condensed milk; or soft roes on toast with raspberry vinegar... All food; but not otherwise to be identically categorised.

Likewise with music -- 'songs' -- however 'good'...

Astonished at such emotively and evasively loose argument from the long-established & much respected Mr Bainbridge.

≈M≈


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 20 Nov 15 - 06:09 PM

To adapt the old limerick --

It would be most odd
If you could not tell God
Save The Weasel
from Pop Goes The King.


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: GUEST
Date: 20 Nov 15 - 11:58 PM

Can a pop can be used to hide a beer at a concert. Inquiring minds want to know


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: GUEST,punkfolkrocker
Date: 21 Nov 15 - 12:03 AM

"Can a pop song become traditional?"

I'm still inclined to answer yes....

here

and before that,...

here... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=77lc1yxBtFE

which was happening at the same time and place as this.. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=89C_PQ_kuUk.

Then just follow the folk process trail back another 5 decades to the song's pop / rock origins....


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: GUEST
Date: 21 Nov 15 - 02:14 AM

Every song revered as traditional, ethnic, social this that and the other is a pop song.

The songs Child & co collected were pop songs.

If fools can be literal about the wide musical genre called folk, they must be consistent and be literal with the genre pop.


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 21 Nov 15 - 04:45 AM

"The songs Child & co collected were pop songs. "
Not in the sense that the term is used today they weren't
Child called them 'Popular Ballads' not because they enjoyed great popularity but because he believed they came from and belonged to the PEOPLE - as far as you can get from today's pop songs which belong to somebody and bear a little (c) which identifies them as doing so - today's pop songs, no matter what reason the authors made them, are commodities to be bought and sold - as far away from the traditional repertoire as you can get, which belonged to nobody and were freely passed on.
Pat and I have been given many hundreds of songs by the older singers - we'd have had to sell our house and live in a tent if we'd been collecting pop songs.
Those songs are now archived and accessible for anybody to do what they wish with them - can't think of a single pop song we would be free to do that with - can you?
These songs are part of the social history of ordinary working people, which is why they are important and what distinguishes them from any other art form - THEY ARE OUR SONGS - not John Lennon's and Paul McCartney's, or anybody elses'.      
The only foolishness here is the idea that you can ignore all this and flush an entire genre of songs (the artistic creation of working people) down the pan at a whim and not be bothered enough to come up with an alternative definition for what passes for "folk/tradition.
Jim B
You've heard the urban legends and spiteful stories about MacColl - I knew Ewan for twenty years - I worked with him, I was a recipient of his and Peggy's incredible generosity when I moved to London - they fed me and gave me a bed until I found a job and somewhere to live.
I was part of the workshop they ran for singers who wished to become better singers - once a week in their home for nearly ten years, all while the rest of the folk stars were getting on with their own careers.
I don't "hero worship" Ewan - I admire the work he did for folk song, his ideas on them, the work he and Peggy put in to pass them on, not just in their own singing but in what they collected (*all freely available to interested people - they actually rigged up their home for visitors to stay over and copy their field recordings of Sam Larner, the Stewarts etc (some have finally been made available by Musical Traditions).
Ewan and Peggy have left a massive legacy - of their own singing (which you can take or leave) - their work, their ideas, the hundreds of songs they made (both were insistent that what they wrote weren't 'folk songs' by the way).
I never found the Singers Club sterile, but there again, I only went to the place for nearly every week for about twenty years, so what the hell do I know?
You want to rely on malicious gossip - feel free, I'll stick with personal experience, if its all the same with you.
In all the twenty years I knew Ewan I never once saw him shout anybody down in public, nor did I ever see him rude to people, certainly not in a crowded folk club.
Arrogant - maybe (I never found him so) - confident in his opinions, certainly, but having had a close look at those ideas over a long time and put them to the test in our work with traditional singers, I've come to the conclusion that he had a right to be - he was prepared stick his neck out and put those opinions up to be measured - happy to live with that anytime.
I don't particularly like Bob Davenport's singing, but that's my personal taste, but I deplore his arrogant and ill mannered attitude to his fellow performers.
I don't mind self confidence in people who merit it - it's the talentless ones who think they're god's gift who are the pain in the arse - never got that with Ewan and Peggy (we're still in touch with Peggy - still as generous and forthcoming as she always was) - plenty of others who don't live up to their own image of themselves.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: Bonzo3legs
Date: 21 Nov 15 - 09:20 AM

Please sir, I want some songs for accountants, solicitors, barristers and other professional people!!!

Most Gregson Collister songs are now traditional songs.


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: The Sandman
Date: 21 Nov 15 - 12:48 PM

"I never found the Singers Club sterile, but there again, I only went to the place for nearly every week for about twenty years, so what the hell do I know?"
If i were to make a judgement from that comment, I would say you know sweet f a, since when has going to a place many times been any criteria for making an objective judgement?.
you obviously liked the place, so   we should not be surprised that you did not find it sterile, however the Singers Club no longer exists. Islington Folk club and Musical traditions two clubs that Bob Davenport was involved with are still going., this is not opinion but FACT.
"I don't "hero worship" Ewan"
It is my opinion that you do.
I agree with you, he was a fine songwriter and a polished performer and an excellent presenter of his material, I also think his idea of using vocal warm up exercises was very good.
I think the UK Folk revival is indebted to the early song carriers such as Alex Campbell, Davenport, MacColl. Lloyd, Carthy.
I did find him arrogant on at least one occasion, on the other hand I could relate incidents that showed another side of his charcter , his helpfulness and kindness.


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: keberoxu
Date: 21 Nov 15 - 01:25 PM

Am I gonna be sorry I jumped in here? Probably, but never mind. My music history studies from university days come in handy, here, for an example of....no, not this circular discussion....but the OP question, can a pop song become traditional? I guess the way I understand the question is, can a pop song become something else altogether?

Oh. That IS a different question, isn't it.

Anyway, here's my example.

Back in the days of the Minnesangers....this is before the Renaissance if I recall my music history properly. Minnesangers sang about "minne," which is not a lady's name, but a class of romantic love, devotion, lady on a pedestal, unnattainable object of desire, and so on. The lyrics were not limited to, but often appeared in, Mittel-Hoch-Deutsch, that is, German from before modern German. There was this one lament with a memorable tune. The words, rendered in present-day German, began:

"Mein G'mueth ist mir verwirren
Fuer eine Jungfrau zart...."

which says something like, My mental equilibrium is in tatters because of a fair young maid....

Fast-forward to the Reformation, Martin Luther, the Gutenberg Bible, and all those lovely Chorale-Hymns, which in time, Johann Sebastian Bach would harmonize. If Bach really liked the tune and the lyric, it would make its way into one of his choral compositions. Say, a cantata, like Christ Lag In Todesbanden.

As for "Mein G'mueth etc etc," that song of romance had long since lost its romance lyric, and its tune now had a lyric meditating on Good Friday; and in its new incarnation it was a chorale-hymn, solidly within the bosom of the church hymnal.

Now, the former love-song started with the words,

"O, Haupt voll Blut und Wunden...."

which tune Bach would exploit for his St. Matthew Passion.

Flash-forward to the Digital Tradition at the Mudcat Cafe, which has a lyric written by Paul Simon. His title is American Tune. Which always cracks me up, since the tune is recognizably:

"Mein G'mueth ist mir verwirren...."
or,
"O Haupt voll Blut und Wunden...."
known to us English-speakers as,
"O Sacred Head Now Wounded...."



....but don't mind me. You all go on circling each other verbally. Sorry, gentlemen, but you fellows do remind me of vultures in the air overhead.


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: GUEST,punkfolkrocker
Date: 21 Nov 15 - 02:37 PM

They remind me of aging respected warriors sat in a gentlemen's club heatedly debating their old regiments,
and Generals they have served and fought under...

"What the battles of 54 and 64.. MacColl's boys.. the Singers .. we were in the frontline.. face to face with the enemy..
Davenport and your sorry lot.. Bah... didn't even know which side you were fighting on...!!!???...
harumph..... steward 2 more ports for my good self and my old adversary the Colonel.. "


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: GUEST,Allan Conn
Date: 21 Nov 15 - 04:04 PM

It does seem a bit like that PFR. I feel that I am from a completely different world and to tell you the truth I'd never even heard of Davenport anyway! Putting aside Scottish folk songs (or as I thought of them in my youth - Corries songs) I actually was introduced to older folk songs via pop music. My mate was playing an old compilation cassette his older brother had made up. I think just after Annie Lennox singing "Wild Among The Flowers" something came on which made me take notice. It was Dylan singing "Blowin In The Wind" and from that day I became a Dylan fan. I then discovered many of his songs were based on older folk songs so I started looking these out. Fair enough trad songs are a distinct thing but I feel there is a continuum between these trad songs, more modern folk songs (ie Annie Laurie to Caledonia etc) and even some pop music be in folk type pop or folk rock etc.

Also this might infuriate some people but sorry it is my opinion. Dylan never had a great voice but in his younger days he could ctually sing. Good example is the Desire album. His voice is completely shot now. Can't listen to his recent stuff. I feel the same about some of the clips of some of the source singers. People raving about old old guys with, certainly by then, less than impressive singing voices. Seemed to be they were at least by then being lauded simply for knowing the songs rather than actual delivery. I know some will suggest that is heresy.


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: The Sandman
Date: 21 Nov 15 - 04:20 PM

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RYhfZ_eOow Bob Davenport
can Jim Carroll sing like that, in the meantime it would be great if Carroll would desist


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: The Sandman
Date: 21 Nov 15 - 04:34 PM

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RYhfZ_eOoww


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: The Sandman
Date: 21 Nov 15 - 04:36 PM

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RYhfZ_eOoww


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: The Sandman
Date: 21 Nov 15 - 04:37 PM

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RYhfZ_eOoww


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: The Sandman
Date: 21 Nov 15 - 06:38 PM

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uttQbH2FuA


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: The Sandman
Date: 21 Nov 15 - 06:41 PM

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-IGfnZgZAXE


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: GUEST,Allan Conn
Date: 22 Nov 15 - 02:02 AM

Thanks for the link. Daveport does have a really good voice! Wasn't meaning to suggest otherwise just commented that the argument is like from a closed shop or other world to some of us and that others maybe came to folk music through different directions. Or maybe I should say "folk type music" so as not to offend some :-)


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: The Sandman
Date: 22 Nov 15 - 03:33 AM

Iam not offended ,but found clips so you could hear him, Bob must be 80 and still has a powerful voice


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 22 Nov 15 - 04:40 AM

"They remind me of aging respected warriors sat in a gentlemen's club heatedly debating their old regiments, "
Wonder why - maybe to some people traditional music has no more relevance than the Battle of Waterloo - not to me, I'm afraid - it is as important and as entertaining an anything ever created and well worth arguing over
If it is irrelevant, why bother with forums like these
Thousands of youngsters in Ireland are coming to traditional music for the first time and some of them are playing it as well as it has ever been played - maybe we should tell them they are wasting their time and should expend their talents on all this new stuff!
Some of us here seem to be still hooked on personal taste - ah well!!
For my money, Sam Larner put more life and understanding into a song than did any other 80 year old I ever heard and both of them were into their 80s when recorded.
That's my preference for this thread
JIm Carroll


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 22 Nov 15 - 05:14 AM

"can Jim Carroll sing like that, in the meantime it would be great if Carroll would desist"
I really wasn't going to bother with this inanity as I have no doubt, should anybody bother I have no doubt it would lead to the destruction of this discussion - but I'm curious!
When I came into the music back in the early sixties, one of the first things that struck me was the democracy of the situation.
No matter whet your abilities as a singer, your knowledge or the length of time you'd been around,m your opinions were treated with complete respect.
If you asked a question or made a suggestion it was responded to with politeness and genuine interest - I can never remember having been told - by anybody - to go away and come back when I was a better singer oor had been around for longer.
Is it really the case nowadays that it is only the folkie superstars whose opinions are worth consideration?
Has the democracy gone down the pan with much of our traditional music?
Would appreciate an answer from someone else other than you Dick - I know yours already, you've made it clear several times.   
As I say, not intending to develop this into a tit-fot-tat; just curious.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: The Sandman
Date: 22 Nov 15 - 07:10 AM

If i want to know about the fine art of pargetting, I ask someone who can show me that he can do it, you cannot sing but you persist in passing judgement, as far as i an concerned that means i have no reason to value your opinion, neither would I value the opinion of Britney Spears, Britney Spears is entitled to an opinion, but she cannot sing, so why should i take any notice of her
as the Actress said to the bishop its not length of time that matters but what you can do in that length of time, show us your singing and if its any good ,I might value your opinion.


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: GUEST
Date: 22 Nov 15 - 07:39 AM

You should realise Mr Carroll that entering into a battle of wits with an unarmed opponent is futile


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 22 Nov 15 - 07:48 AM

"You should realise Mr Carroll that entering into a battle of wits with an unarmed opponent is futile"
Point taken
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: Bonzo3legs
Date: 22 Nov 15 - 11:27 AM

I have rarely heard anything so dreadful as Bob Davenport singing!


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: The Sandman
Date: 22 Nov 15 - 12:39 PM

"For my money, Sam Larner put more life and understanding into a song than did any other 80 year old I ever heard and both of them were into their 80s when recorded"
here is Tom Paley well into his mid eighties when this was recorded, putting skill in to his performing and guitar work href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wx6mSRM4JW0">https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wx6mSRM4JW0
PEGGY SEEGER 80, singing and playing as well as everhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CCRRe72mwwY
Jim stop talking popycock, Sam Larner BETTER? no, not better but different, but not better, it is like comparing apples to oranges, more life than seeger or paley, how ridiculous.


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: The Sandman
Date: 22 Nov 15 - 12:46 PM

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wx6mSRM4JW0 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=joW8gSpUjiM, how jim carroll can say that one is beeter than the other or better than seeger both are good but cannot be compared, merely illusrates what an inane idiotic sweeping comment jim carroll has made.


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 22 Nov 15 - 01:11 PM

Dick: The critic or pundit has a different function from the performer on whom he comments. The foolish idea that nobody has a right to be a critic if he can't also perform, or that nobody should pass judgment on any attainment which he can't emulate, is one of the most whiskery of non-sequiturs.

"You may scold a carpenter who has made you a bad table, though you cannot make a table. It is not your trade to make tables."
Samuel Johnson, 1709-84 -- one of the most distinguished of critics.

≈M≈


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: GUEST
Date: 22 Nov 15 - 01:18 PM

Jim Carroll is now trying say that pop isn't derived from popular.

No hope for him.


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 22 Nov 15 - 01:36 PM

The fact that the designation 'pop' derives as an abbreviation from 'popular' doesn't mean that it is synonymous with all the different usages of 'popular'; it is rather a designation for a particular form of popular music, and not used in the sense that eg Child used it in his title, or Brand in his C19 book of "Popular Antiquities", by which he meant what we would call folk customs. I think that Jim meant that some people were trying to over-define the term.

≈M≈


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: GUEST,punkfolkrocker
Date: 22 Nov 15 - 01:53 PM

Although Dick and Jim can be ornery disagreeable old folkers at times,
they have both earned and deserve much respect for their different accomplishments.....

I salute the 2 old warriors...


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 22 Nov 15 - 02:17 PM

"some people were trying to over-define the term."
Thank you Mike - saves me the trouble.
Child went out of his way to reject modern compositions and went as far as to comment on some which he could only date back to the eighteenth century.
"you cannot sing but you persist in passing judgement"
By the way Dick - I can and do sing - with a repertoire of something around 300 songs - just sung half a dozen over the week-end in the presence of some of Ireland's finest - still got the buzz!!
I actually gave up singing when the pressure of both collecting and singing became too much - always believed you shouldn't get up in front of an audience without putting in the preparatory work.
You never enjoy a song if you make a hames of it - as I'm sure you well know!
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: The Sandman
Date: 22 Nov 15 - 03:29 PM

.........."I actually gave up singing when the pressure of both collecting and singing became too much - always believed you shouldn't get up in front of an audience without putting in the preparatory work.
You never enjoy a song if you make a hames of it - as I'm sure you well know!"
I Agree.


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: The Sandman
Date: 22 Nov 15 - 06:04 PM

"You may scold a carpenter who has made you a bad table, though you cannot make a table. It is not your trade to make tables."
Samuel Johnson, 1709-84 -- one of the most distinguished of critics. Samuel Johnson was an ignorant fat pig, who amongst his even more ignorant quotes than the one you mentioned was
The noblest prospect which a Scotchman ever sees is the high road that leads him to England.
Samuel Johnson was an Establishment lackey and a glutton who considered his own unpleasant remarks to be witty


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: Larry The Radio Guy
Date: 22 Nov 15 - 07:23 PM

You too are funny!


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 22 Nov 15 - 11:38 PM

I daresay Johnson's reputation might just about survive your jejune animadversions, Dick.

≈M≈


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 23 Nov 15 - 12:43 AM

... and what, Sir, precisely do you mean here by 'ignorant'? You might disagree with the sentiments expressed, but this far too prevalent use of the word 'ignorant' as a generalized pejorative is a deplorable piece of linguistic vulgarity which the great Sam would authoritatively have denounced in a few well-chosen words -- politely beginning, of course, with his customary vocative "Sir".


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: Bert
Date: 23 Nov 15 - 12:52 AM

All these threads eventually end up arguing semantics.

There are songs that are traditional in our family, that the world has forgotten.

So don't get bound down with definitions. Decide which you prefer, definitions or songs. If you prefer definitions, go find yourself a semantics forum. If you prefer songs get out there and sing whatever the hell you like. Those that survive may eventually considered to be traditional by philologists, just enjoy what you are singing and share your songs as much as you can.


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 23 Nov 15 - 01:11 AM

𝄞♫♫
Come all ye bold taxonomists
Of definitions I sing
For the genre must be established
If your gig is to take wing
Or else they will reject you
For confusing Jazz with Swing
Or Ballad with Calypso —
Or Folk with ····· anything ♩♩♩


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: The Sandman
Date: 23 Nov 15 - 01:23 AM

unknowing, equals ignorant, what an idiotic remark to make, dismissing Scotsmen in such a manner
Even before the Industrial Revolution, Scots have been at the forefront of innovation and discovery across a wide range of spheres.
Johnson was a pompous ignorant windbag.


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: GUEST
Date: 23 Nov 15 - 03:13 AM

Anyone else here read Viz?

Which of our lot reminds you most of Major Misunderstanding?

Lots of pop songs fit any description of folk. Quite a few hitherto described as folk songs have become pop songs. A couple of rocket scientists on here give a definition of folk that precludes anything Ewan MacColl wrote but get hot under the collar if you point out that they call his work folk. In the same breath, they dismiss songs written about similar subjects as not folk. It must be something in Irish water that doesn't agree with British guts.

It's the subtext under that obvious statement and old men getting precious over their experience that forms this particular debate.


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 23 Nov 15 - 04:04 AM

Johnson was merely teasing Boswell, can't you see, Dick? Boswell was his dearest friend and constant companion -- and a Scotsman himself, with whom he went on an extended tour of the Hebrides; so Johnson was taking the piss out of him as close friends do to one another. You're surely not really so thick as to have missed that essential point -- assuming you to have read Boswell's great biography, and are not merely making unwarranted assumptions from a position of {genuine and literal} ignorance of your own; which I fear is what you are making it sound perilously close to.

Best regards as ever —

≈M≈


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 23 Nov 15 - 04:18 AM

"Major Misunderstanding?"
Then all that has been offered to clear that misunderstanding is abuse and disbelief - not an alternative definition certainly - not a single honest response to any of the important points - just empty denial of well documented (not by me) facts, which is more or less how all these arguments end up - "When I use a word,' Humpty Dumpty said in rather a scornful tone, 'it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less."
(Alice through the Looking Glass)
We know what happened to Humpty Dumpty - he fell off the wall.
Bland unqualified statements like " Quite a few hitherto described as folk songs have become pop songs" - don't hack it - if they are folk songs, why aren't they in the public domain - why can't I go and put them out on an album without payment and permission.
This attitude opened the doors of our folk clubs to the P.R.S. and Imro jackals who have made the survival of the peoples's music that much more uncertain.
There is a great deal of hypocrisy happening here - shuffling around questions, deliberate distortions of what has been said -
"give a definition of folk that precludes anything Ewan MacColl wrote" being a typical example.
MacColl made it clear throughout his life that the songs he wrote were not folk songs - I made the point earlier here, yet is is used as an argument and a piece of abuse - not particularly ethical, doncha think?
What is it with you people - do you as much lack the imagination to put forward a logical, honest argument as you do to reveal to us the secrets of your new, personal definition?
Who are you trying to kid - yourself, it would appear.
Sing what you want where you want - nobody would wish to stop you - but don't try to justify the damage you have done to the music you appear to neither like in the form it was passed on, nor understand.
How about telling us what you mean by folk, why and who agrees with you? - you appear not to have a consensus of the meaning of the words Folk and Tradition to explain it fully other than your 'Humpty Dumpty' one.
C'mon - give us a real argument instead of all these somewhat distasteful attempts to bully and bluff.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: Bonzo3legs
Date: 23 Nov 15 - 04:53 AM

Great Clive Gregson gig last Friday at the Ram Club - a real Folk Club!!!!


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 23 Nov 15 - 05:23 AM

Glad you enjoyed it, Bonzo. Clive G is a very accomplished musician in the sort of folk-rock singer-songwriter genre which was all the rage when he started up on the scene about 40 years ago, and has, Now He Is Six[ty], acquired a sort of nostalgic charm of its own among those who like[d] that sort of thing*.

But I can't quite see how your post is to the purpose of this thread...

≈M≈


*"that is the sort of thing they like" in Abe Lincoln's indispensable formulation, much ripped off since by Miss Jean Brodie et al


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: The Sandman
Date: 23 Nov 15 - 06:34 AM

what is an unreal folk club, or even a surreal folk club?


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: GUEST,Punkfolkrocker
Date: 23 Nov 15 - 07:19 AM

"what is an unreal folk club, or even a surreal folk club?"

Now if Banksy started up a folk club along the lines of his Dismaland Bemusement Theme Park...??? 😜


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: GUEST
Date: 23 Nov 15 - 07:55 AM

Ah. So they have to be in the public domain to be folk songs?

This gets better.

I'll just move all my MacColl into the part of my shelves labelled pop.

Ditto Guthrie, Seeger, Paxton, Garbutt, Thompson, Swarbrick etc etc.

Like I said. Something in the water. It's alright, no need to get het up. We all know what we mean when we say folk, classical, pop, rock, grunge, punk, Celtic, Oirish, jazz.. We don't need a confused old man to tell us we are thick, if it's all the same to you.


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 23 Nov 15 - 08:27 AM

"I'll just move all my MacColl into the part of my shelves labelled pop."
Are you really going to walk away from your dishonest cxclaim that I suggested only songs written by MacColl were folk songs - suppose so really - ah well!!
Why move them to "pop"?
As good as they were, with one exception, they weren't popular with anybody but a small number of people otherwise he'd have been able to set up Blackthorn Records way back in the 40s when he wrote Manchester Rambler.
Not only do you have trouble with defining 'tradition' but you seem to be having trouble with 'pop' music now - late night maybe?
The same with the others too - though a couple of them were closer to 'pop' in their approach than they were to folk.
Any sign of that definition yet - having a problem holding my breath?
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: Teribus
Date: 23 Nov 15 - 09:55 AM

Most certainly judging by what can be heard at the folk clubs I have been to recently.


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 23 Nov 15 - 11:06 AM

"Ah. So they have to be in the public domain to be folk songs?"
By the way Folk songs don't "have" to be in the public domain - they ARE in the public domain - nothing to do with definition - just on of those things you people never seem to want to come to terms with.
Much of the damage, apart from th "not selling what it says on the tin" confusion you people have created is that clubs have to pay PRS and Imro dues to open their doors to the public.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: GUEST,punkfolkrocker
Date: 23 Nov 15 - 11:39 AM

Heavy industrial strength deja vu setting in... 😜

Jim - As you may recall from previous threads on this subject,
I tend to agree with most of what you espouse... let's say 90%..

But the 10% I can't support, are aspects of your views on music culture as it is right now,
certainly since the punk/indie years of the late 70s...
and maybe the near future of illicit underground 'resistance' internet communities and sharing...

..And your emphasise on the nowadays importance of Folk Clubs.. some of us, maybe a lot of us, never set foot inside them.
We find and enjoy 'our' folk music [trad and contemporary]
through other means, media, and distribution channels.

Like it or not this is now an era of youtube / streamcloud.. etc...

So despite all the legalistic/corporate greed odds against it..

I still think it's not impossible for a 'pop song' to evolve, adapt, and become accepted as a 'folk song'...


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: The Sandman
Date: 23 Nov 15 - 12:24 PM

MGM, Johnson also said

1,872. Ireland; Scotland
The author of these memoirs will remember, that Johnson one day asked him, 'Have you observed the difference between your own country impudence and Scottish impudence?' The answer being in the negative: 'Then I will tell you,' said Johnson. 'The impudence of an Irishman is the impudence of a fly, that buzzes about you, and you put it away, but it returns again, and flutters and teazes you. The impudence of a Scotsman is the impudence of a leech, that fixes and sucks your blood.'
nasty racist stuff, the same as the other quote, the best thing you can do Mike is get your lion and go to work on an egg


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 23 Nov 15 - 12:57 PM

"But the 10% I can't support, are aspects of your views on music culture as it is right now,"
Punk was interesting until it became commodified - don't think it ever represented or communicated much, in the way folk song did/does (if you open your mind to it)
It became as disposable as any other type of music with a shelf-life that didn't allow it to become anything really - don't know too much about Indie, so can't comment.
As far as I know, these, and rap are claimed from birth by their authors - if they are commercially viable they become fixed.
Because numbers of people listen to a music doesn't make it necessarily theirs and it certainly doesn't make it folk.
Go to south Wales and you'll find ex mining villages singing opera (someone once conned the Welsh into believing they could sing!!) - does that make Verdi or Bizet folk - don't think so really.
One of the characteristics off pop song is that it comes with a sell-by date - most of our folk songs have lasted centuries and it their progress through time and space that makes them folk.
We have become passive recipients of our musical culture - any claim we have to it is what we buy - we have no input into its creation and we can't re-create it without paying for the right to do so because it belongs to somebody other than 'the folk' - so how can it evolve or adapt and become somebody else's?
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: GUEST,punkfolkrocker
Date: 23 Nov 15 - 01:07 PM

"...we have no input into its creation and we can't re-create it without paying for the right to do so
because it belongs to somebody other than 'the folk' - so how can it evolve or adapt and become somebody else's?
"


because we can f@ck about with the words and tune of a copyright song as much as we like as long as no one catches us.... 😜

.. and some might even be fortunate enough to record 'their' version and pay off the legal vultures to allow them to air it in public legally....


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: GUEST,Raggytash
Date: 23 Nov 15 - 01:17 PM

" most of our folk songs have lasted centuries and it their progress through time and space that makes them folk."

Interesting perspective this.

This afternoon I was having my customary pint and Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody" was on the radio. A piece of music I've always enjoyed.

Will this, in time, become a folk song?

I don't know the answer, just posing the question.


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 23 Nov 15 - 01:25 PM

"because we can f@ck about with the words and tune of a copyright song as much as we like as long as no one catches us"
Still not ours PFR - it remains identifiably somebody's.
I can be made a parody, in which case it can be said to be folk, but even that is dodgy - how many legal quibbles have there been about tunes being filched
But even if that were the case - that is not what is being argued for here - people are arguing basically that any song they care to name can be folk because they care to call it that.
It is a small group of folkies who are attempting tp de-define something 9 haven't come up with a redefinition yet - someday, if we live long enough maybe)   
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: GUEST,keith price
Date: 23 Nov 15 - 01:41 PM

Queen couldn't play "Bohemian Rhapsody " live Raggytash what makes you think you and I can do it.


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: keberoxu
Date: 23 Nov 15 - 02:14 PM

De-define.

De-define?

(I thought I had heard everything)


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: GUEST,punkfolkrocker
Date: 23 Nov 15 - 02:19 PM

Jim - punk rock ethos / attitude... 😜

There's enough of us.. now in our late 50s to early 60s..

30 odd years of sticking 2 fingers up to the corporate music industry...

For every mega selling commodity "Anarchy in the UK" or "Sheena is a Punkrocker"
there were a multitude of unrecorded spotty herberts knocking off songs about themselves and their mates and council estates,
and shit jobs and the dole, and who did what to annoy us during the previous week,
and taking the piss out the police and the tories, and local upstanding civic dignitaries we all agreed were complete c@nts..etc..

to be sung loud and pissed at weekend ramshackle gigs in local community scout huts, skittle alleys, village halls,
wherever we could get away with it.. all around the UK...

Most of these songs are long forgotten.. some still linger on in the memories of now respectable aging citizens with mortgages and grand kids..

occasionally meeting up for old times sake and swapping cassettes of long ago gigs and band rehearsals,
and DIY home recordings, to now be transferred to CD for posterity..

But that was a valid grass roots ground level form of 'folk music',
expression of teenage dissatisfaction and anger with the state and society....
and great effin fun as well...

And a big part of that was taking well known pop songs and kicking the shite out of them
until they were barely recognisable... they were 'our' versions...


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 23 Nov 15 - 02:51 PM

"(I thought I had heard everything)"
Obviously not - if you have a definition for something and decide that definition is invalid but don't bother replacing it - you de-define it - can't think of another word for it - can you?

Not conviced that what you are describing is folk or traditional
otherwise all those Aldermastons, Faslanes and Anti Vietnam War demonstrations I went on were 'folk' - nevrer heard them
described that.
What goes into0 making up folk is really far more complex than 'a fist in the face of the establishment' or the music industry.
That strikes me as part of the industry going Awol from where I'm standing.
More power to that.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: GUEST
Date: 23 Nov 15 - 02:54 PM

"They ARE in the public domain." - Jim Carroll.

Err.. No they aren't. Just because we might ignore PRS doesn't mean copyrighted songs are in the public domain when sung in pubs.

You might want to define folk through cheating on hard working song writers but I have more respect for the genre. I may not pay Vin Garbutt when I sing his songs but a) he knows I and others do and is comfortable with it and b) in return I buy his albums and go to his concerts when nearby (ok and have been known to put him up for the night.)

But I'm still in breach technically of copyright.

Copyright allows people to write songs without them being stolen. Many folk songs are written by people scraping a living writing songs. By Jim's reckoning one of my pop songs I wrote many years ago and a friend still performs to this day (it's crap as songs go mind) is a real folk song because I never copyrighted it.

And there was me thinking it was about the music not the status. Keep wriggling.









Genres.


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: GUEST,punkfolkrocker
Date: 23 Nov 15 - 03:04 PM

"otherwise all those Aldermastons, Faslanes and Anti Vietnam War demonstrations I went on were 'folk' - nevrer heard them
described that
"

errrrm... I think they might have been...

or at least, a sub facet of a wider alternative movement's 'folk culture'.... ????

I'm sure that's how it might be regarded in a lot of socio/historic documentaries and magazine articles..

1960s Folkies were up to there neck's in it all, serious movers and shakers, after all... ????

I'm struggling to remember contextual material from my student years...


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: keberoxu
Date: 23 Nov 15 - 05:21 PM

de-define, de-define, de-de all the waaaaaaaaaaaaay.....


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 24 Nov 15 - 12:57 AM

As one who was on the first Aldermaston March, playing in a group led by Fred [later Karl] Dallas, under the overall ægis of John Hasted, I confirm that there was a very strong folk element on the Aldermastons. Not least in the song which became the CND anthem, The H-Bomb's Thunder, to the tune of The Miners' Life Guard, written by distinguished sf writer John Brunner with whom I happened to be sharing a flat in W Hampstead at the time. John could not sing a note, BTW, so asked me to sing the first draft as a try-out; so I can claim to have been the first ever to sing the song which has later been sung on various occasions by millions worldwide.

≈M≈


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: GUEST
Date: 24 Nov 15 - 02:52 AM

With every old codger lining up to claim they were marching at Aldermaston, then Rod Stewart's songs are all folk, not just the ones with mandolins playing on them.

Mainly because at least he actually was marching.


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 24 Nov 15 - 03:35 AM

"Keep wriggling."
I'm not the one wriggling - you have my definition and its track record - I still await yours.
"With every old codger lining up to claim they were marching at Aldermaston"
Your posts seem to have degenerated into simple troll abuse - don't know about the Singers Club being sterile - this rather unpleasant conversation certainly is so I'll leave you to your somewhat personal bile and hope it gives you every satisfaction.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: GUEST,keith price
Date: 24 Nov 15 - 04:13 AM

I get the feeling Guest regards anyone over the age of 18yrs as old.


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: GUEST,Guest from Sanity
Date: 24 Nov 15 - 04:16 AM

Sure they can, and are...'House Carpenter' is hundreds of years old...and was also popular at the time...that's why it went on to be 'traditional'.
Maybe no one is writing stuff that good anymore....

GfS

P.S. A re-post of a prior post expressing pretty much the same thing..jeez, are they deleting above the line, too???..even well known facts???
    No posts deleted here, GfS. Your message probably didn't "take." -Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 24 Nov 15 - 04:48 AM

Well, I suppose I am old, at that -- 4-score+3. Whether a 'codger', not for me to say. I mean, how does one 'codge'? What is 'codging' precisely? Not a practice I have ever indulged in sfaik.

≈M≈


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: Will Fly
Date: 24 Nov 15 - 05:10 AM

codge

Verb

(third-person singular simple present codges, present participle codging, simple past and past participle codged)

    To patch or cobble together; to make hastily and carelessly.


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: Will Fly
Date: 24 Nov 15 - 05:12 AM

Forgot to add, Michael = just a dictionary definition - not my opinion! :-)


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: GUEST
Date: 24 Nov 15 - 05:24 AM

It isn't quite so ironic when someone has to spell it out to them. Thank you Mr Fly. Presumably those annoyed used to be young codgers.

I'm just off to write a new folk song. I have a booking in a folk club on Friday and I usually present a few new folk songs at this annual booking for the good people who listen to my folk songs in a folk club.

Not that they are brilliant songs of course. The lazy amongst us have always known folk clubs to be less than discerning audiences. Perhaps I codge them together?

Sorry to read that precious people still think the world spins round them. Folk is defined by those using the word. Acoustic, roots, traditional, protest, ballad.., presumably we all know folk all compared to old codgers?


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: The Sandman
Date: 24 Nov 15 - 01:02 PM

you reckon you write folk songs? could you let us hear some?Folk is not defined by the term acoustic, acoustic has a definition which means Of or involving the performance of music using acoustic instruments, sometimes amplified through microphones. so jazz could be acoustic, classical music can be acoustic and frequently is and classical music is not folk or traditional.
your definition is less accurate than the 1954 one, you are just spouting crap.


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: GUEST
Date: 24 Nov 15 - 04:18 PM

Hook line and sinker yet again Dick......


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 25 Nov 15 - 06:02 AM

Thanks for that definition of 'codge', Will. Seems to be a variant of 'bodge'. Which dictionary did you find it in? Not in my edition of Chambers.

Regards

≈M≈


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: Will Fly
Date: 25 Nov 15 - 11:42 AM

I found it in various slang dictionaries, including Cassell's Dictionary of Slang (which I have in print).

It also reminds me a bit of cobble, in the sense of "to cobble together" something.


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: GUEST,Allan Conn
Date: 25 Nov 15 - 12:29 PM

The Concise Oxford suggest "codger" meaning an old or strange person is perhaps a variant of "cadger".

Cadge means to beg for something so a cadger is a beggar.


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: Lighter
Date: 25 Nov 15 - 02:38 PM

Oxford has never heard of the verb to "codge" either.

It suggests the likelihood that "codger" is a variant of "cadger," which originally meant not a beggar or scrounger but an itinerant dealer or street hawker.


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 25 Nov 15 - 02:50 PM

Thanks for headsup to Slang Dict, Will. I find it is in fact in my Partridge Dict of Slang & Unconventional English -- meaning 'repair', & (confirming my above suggestion) possibly a variant of 'botch' [of which 'bodge' as I used above, a variant.]

Roger & Out!

≈M≈

...but still don't see why only silly old buggers like me should be expected to repair things, at that! Is a young shoemaker, or the girl who puts on the patches at the dry cleaners, a 'codger', then? I think we should be told!


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: Lighter
Date: 25 Nov 15 - 04:58 PM

> possibly a variant of 'botch'

Another one of Partridge's odd conjectures.


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: GUEST,guest
Date: 26 Nov 15 - 03:12 PM

Partridge?    Eric or Don? re the latter now there's was a wonderful exponent of the old English TRADITION of the one man band- much lamented and always enjoyed the folk scene


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: GUEST
Date: 26 Nov 15 - 07:57 PM

Have we managed to decide how many angels are dancing on the head of the pin yet?


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: GUEST,jim bainbridge
Date: 27 Nov 15 - 08:20 AM

No it seems not... I was accused of a 'copout on the subject a while back. It was no such thing. I simply stand by my view that until somebody can define to my satisfaction the nature of the two alleged music types, there is very little point in trying to even approach the question asked above.
In my opinion, nobody has even approached valid definitions- I think it's impossible and unnecessary, but given satisfactory criteria, it might be a worthwhile discussion.

What did the Synod of Whitby decide about the angels and the pins anyway?


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 27 Nov 15 - 08:37 AM

"In my opinion, nobody has even approached valid definitions"
Been defined internationally since 1954 and had sever hundred books published based on that definition - may not satisfy you Jim, but until someone comes up with a better one, we'll just have to struggle on with the one we've got - that is, if we intend trying to pass on what we've got.
Bit to wet to start burning the books in the garden at the present time.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: GUEST,punkfolkrocker
Date: 27 Nov 15 - 08:40 AM

"Have we managed to decide how many angels are dancing on the head of the pin yet?"

more to the point.... what tunes are they dancing to.... Trad or contemporary folk, jazz, or pop music...????

Though I never realised angels were so tiny,
always thought they were at least 5'7" to maybe 6'5" for the really lanky ones..... 😕

silly buggers dancing on pins though... never did understand devout religious self harming and flagellation...???


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: GUEST,Raggytash
Date: 27 Nov 15 - 08:43 AM

Synod of Whitby sorted the date of Easter in 664AD, Angels and Pins came much later.

Personally I don't need to define folk music that closely. If I like it fine, if I don't like it fine someone else will.


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: Vic Smith
Date: 27 Nov 15 - 09:08 AM

What did the Synod of Whitby decide about the angels and the pins anyway?
They pondered the question for a long time, Jim, and found that everyone had their own opinions and nobody agreed with anyone else. The more they thought, researched, discussed and argued, the more depressed and sullen they became. Then one of the Synod's brightest brains had a brilliant idea, He stood up and shouted, "I've got it! Some questions don't have answers; this 'angels' and 'pins' thing is one just like..... well let me think for a minute..... yes, just like 'Can a pop song become traditional?' So instead of wasting our time on things that we can't answer, why don't we approach Malcolm Storey and ask him to start a Whitby Folk Week. He'd probably do it for years... decades even... and we could all help him out as stewards!"
There was an immediate round of applause and cheers and shouts of "Great idea!".
So that is what they did and, do you know, they became much happier people afterwards.


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 27 Nov 15 - 11:56 AM

@ j bainbridge

If a tacky tautologous turgid trite tortuous truism like

☠☠ 'a good song is a good song' ☠☠

on the part of a normally cogent commentator like yourself is not a

C O P O U T

☞ ☛ ☞ ☛ ☞

then I reckon it will do till a copout comes along.

Regards

☺〠☺~M~☺〠☺❤❤


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: The Sandman
Date: 27 Nov 15 - 12:05 PM

BodgersThe term was once common around the furniture-making town of High Wycombe in Buckinghamshire, England. Bodgers were highly skilled itinerant wood-turners, who worked in the beech woods of the Chiltern Hills. nothing to do with codgers.
Jim Bainbridges point is not a cop out but valid, he learns a song not because of its classification but because the song appeals to him.


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: GUEST
Date: 27 Nov 15 - 12:19 PM

What we need is a North Korean or Taliban style ministry of culture.
That'll decisively end all arguments.


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: Brian Peters
Date: 27 Nov 15 - 01:23 PM

So the Guest who finds this thread as futile as the angels-on-a-pin conundrum managed to revive it just when it was dying the death. Nice bit of trolling.


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 27 Nov 15 - 01:33 PM

"That'll decisively end all arguments."
Did I miss somethink - all you have offered are rather unpleasant ageist snides
Jim Carrol


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 27 Nov 15 - 01:50 PM

Disagree, Dick. Whatever you think he might have meant to communicate, he expressed it with extreme clumsiness in exceedingly copout·worthy terms. "A good song is a good song" does not, unless one is determined on more kindness than such a tautologous idiocy deserves, afford the interpretation you so obligingly chose to put on it. If he simply meant that he sings what he likes without the need for taxonomic categorisation, why couldn't he say so, instead of talking in meaningless truisms? Why, even those pinhead-dancing angels could do better than that.

I say again: if it was not a copout, then it will do for me till a copout comes along.

Regards

≈M≈


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 28 Nov 15 - 02:11 AM

Beethoven's setting of Schiller's Ode To Joy as climax of his Ninth Symphony

Cole Porter's Miss Otis Regrets

The Battle Of Harlaw

Irving Berlin's Always

Greensleeves

The Fox as sung by Burl Ives

Ditto as sung by The Young Tradition ················

USW·&c&c·and so forth to the power of ∞


,.,.,.,.,.

I should rubricate all the above as 'good songs'. Do you, Dick, or does Mr Bainbridge, or indeed does any living breathing sentient human being, genuinely believe that no further distinction needs to be made or that any attempt at taxonomy or categorisation is superfluous????

Oh, come on!.....

luvyazall justersame

≈M≈


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: Will Fly
Date: 28 Nov 15 - 04:17 AM

That's a very nice list, Michael. Oddly enough, three of them are in my playing repertoire:

Miss Otis Regrets
Always
Greensleeves

Haven't quite got round to the Ode to Joy yet, but it's only a matter of time...

I remember the first time I heard "Always" - 'twas in the Noel Coward film "Blithe Spirit", which I saw as a child.

This post adds absolutely nothing to the thread, but it's always a pleasing diversion to talk trivia about songs...


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: Bonzo3legs
Date: 28 Nov 15 - 04:56 AM

I wonder if gypos have a view on all this!


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 28 Nov 15 - 05:09 AM

... and about films too, Will. I too have always greatly enjoyed that version of Blithe Spirit which I must have seen at least 10 times -- Rex Harrison, Kay Hammond, Constance Cummings, Margaret Rutherford, Joyce Carey... "I am fully aware of the irony in your tone Dr Bradman!" I have done much work on Noel Coward in my time, as am-actor, director (inc 2 productions of Blithe Spirit), encyclopedia contributor, &c. Once one of a chorus singing adapted version of Mad Dogs & Englishmen at Norfolk CC drama course at Wymondham College... Consider him one of the really great playwrights.

driftdriftdriftdri....... luvverly innit!


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: GUEST,jim bainbridge
Date: 28 Nov 15 - 06:03 AM

Firstly, MGM Lion , if you check my original post you'll find that I did say that my quote was a cliché, but like many such, I would defend it as being totally valid in this case. What you are saying is that YOU can say whether a song is 'pop' or 'traditional' on an individual basis. That's just barmy, you're entitled to your opinion, just like Jim Carroll, but you are not infallible, so how can you be so dogmatic and blinkered about it?
I don't intend to discuss your list as there's little point, it doesn't matter anyway. Would suggest you sit down with a nice cup of tea and stop worrying about it- as my mum would have said- 'keep your hair on'
I'm regarded by many as being a 'traditional' performer but have never described myself as such, I just think I have some basis in the 'tradition' as I understand I, but hesitate to tell anyone else what it is. Think Dick knows what I mean...
don't burn your books yet, Jim- I didn't suggest that and see you at the next Synod, Vic?
... dear MGM - no capital letters, no exclamation marks here- keep your hair on


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 28 Nov 15 - 06:36 AM

"so how can you be so dogmatic and blinkered about it?"
Pretty much as you can be by insisting that you don't need a definition and call whatever you choose "folk" or "traditional" to suit yourself, or claim that it is impossible to define the terms when perfectly serviceable and time tested definitions exist.
Not us being blinkered I'm afraid, just those who choose to ignore what is there to be had.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: The Sandman
Date: 28 Nov 15 - 08:22 AM

most performers learn songs because they like them, however as a performer in a folk club the situation becomes more complicated, here is my particular case.. in a folk club most people who turn up to see me, expect certain to hear certain types of songs, in a pub in ireland the situation is slightly different and a different repertoire has to be used in a singers club in ireland a different repertoire again, all the songs I would sing would all be classified as folk songs although once or twice in uk folk clubs in the past at the request of concertina afficianados, i have played instrumentals such as yesterday, washington post, dill pickle rag, none of which i consider to be traditional or folk material., hoever the majority of the material during the evening would be what I think of as folk songs[ Ido not need any 1954 definition] I know one when i hear one, much as Walter Pardon did
people who go to see Jim Bainbridge, expect a different repertoire, and he does some excellent songs, is the song that he sings about JESUS A FOLK SONG? , all i know is that it is a good song, is the song about The Half Crown a folk song?possibly possibly not , but it is a good song.
I have in the past sung THE WORLD TURNED UPSIDE DOWN, it is a modern song, is it a folk song?, well it is written in a folk style, but in my opinion it is a good song[regardless of whether it is a folk song or not].
Then we have Brian Peters, he chooses to sing a song about Fish and Chips, He clearly likes the song, I doubt if he worries about whether he thinks it is a folk song, before he sang it, or whether it fitted the 1954 definition, personally I prefer him singing tradtional ballads, but I am sure others would disagree, and I am sure Brian thought carefully more about whether it fitted in to a concert to give contrast humour and light relief rather than whether it fitted the feckin 1954 definition.


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: The Sandman
Date: 28 Nov 15 - 08:47 AM

and so I will go on and on, what about thishttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DtdIQr-AmYM


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: The Sandman
Date: 28 Nov 15 - 08:55 AM

does this fit the sacred 1954 Definition.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gx9NprywlhE


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: The Sandman
Date: 28 Nov 15 - 09:01 AM

Did Walter Pardon need to consult the 1954 definition before he sang a song?Did Fred Jordan?or MARGARET BARRY


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 28 Nov 15 - 09:41 AM

"Did Walter Pardon need to consult the 1954 definition before he sang a song?"
Walter filled tape after tape with his opinions of what constituted a folk song without ever being prompted to do so.
Nobody has to consult anything before singing a song and nobody has ever suggested that they should - not in my hearing anyway.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: GUEST,Raggytash
Date: 28 Nov 15 - 09:49 AM

Could it be that after 61 years the 1954 definition is outdated?


Just asking.














OK I'll get me coat.


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 28 Nov 15 - 10:29 AM

"Could it be that after 61 years the 1954 definition is outdated?"
It's very much in need of revising based on what we know now - it may no longer serve its purpose any more, but if we are going to continue to attempt to draw peoples' attention to the music and discuss it among ourselves, we need something we can all agree (more or less) on.
The problem lies with some of the arguments put up here by some people who argue that you don't need to define what you sing - if you confine your singing to your rubber duck in the bath, of course you don't, but if you attempt to draw people in in order to pass on the music you consider important, you most certainly do - same goes if you write about it or broadcast it publicly - "what it says on the tin".
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: The Sandman
Date: 28 Nov 15 - 01:31 PM

Walter had opinions, so do I, so do you, but he chose to sing a song because he liked it, AND because his audience expected it, for example he might have liked[possibly] the white cliffs of dover, but he knew that was not what traditional folk song collectors were after, he also knew that was not what was expected of him in a folk club, Harry Cox was the same.
NOW a traditonal singer like charlie stringer would sing the highwayman outwitted and five minutes later, carolina moon, because he just liked singing both songs.


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 28 Nov 15 - 01:36 PM

"Walter had opinions, so do I, so do you, but he chose to sing a song because he liked it, "
Who doesn't and who suggested you shouldn't
You have no idea what motivated Walter to sing
But none of this alters the fact that he and every other singer we have questioned, differentiated between the type of song they sang whatever they sang.
Sorry Dick - no intention of getting bogged down with you unless you have a point to make
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: The Sandman
Date: 28 Nov 15 - 02:27 PM

The expectations of the audience, THAT IS MY POINT.
If you turned up for a Martin Carthy gig, it will have been promoted in a certain way, you will be expecting a particular style of song, if you turn up for a Jim Bainbridge gig you know what you are likely to get, if you turn up to Leon Rosselson you have expectations, no one needs a 1954 FOLK Defininition to decide whether an artist is their particular taste to make a decision about attendance.
so another point is that as soon as people start to charge money thee become expectations.
Charlie Stringer sang as a non professional he was classified by John Howson who was in the business of becoming a collector and wanted him to be part of his old hat party and be a "traditional singer" ,but Charlie, just sang what he like, an old ballad one minute a country and western song the nex,,
you know as well as i do that traveller "tradtional" singers the sort you collect, do precisely, this they dont care about definitions they sing exactly what they want, country and western and/or old ballads, they decide upon their songs not upon classification but because they think the song is a good song.JIM BAINBRIDGES Point
this in my opinion only changes when people start to make money out of it and start to have an image and an audience starts to have expectations.
if paying people turned up to a Carthy concert and he sang Lonnie Donegan songs all night, they would be surprised and probably shocked, and might ask for their money back, but it would not be anything to do with the 1954 definition.


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 28 Nov 15 - 02:38 PM

"The expectations of the audience"
Walter was singer who dedicated his life to gathering together his families songs - he did not sing to order.
If that is what we expect of our singers, why bother having them at all - why not install a juke box
Walter was booked for what he sang and how he sang them - not as a crowd pleaser
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: The Sandman
Date: 28 Nov 15 - 02:51 PM

but he was still pleasing his crowd , the crowd that had turned up to see Walter Pardon the traditional singer who sang old ballads that had been in his family.WalterPardon could never have hacked it as margaret Barry did as a busker on the streets.
Walter was promoted and audiences turned up to see him   on the rare occasions he sang in folk clubs and folk festival. HE PLEASED HIS CROWD BY SINGING WHAT WAS EXPECTED OF HIM.
BobDavenport and JimBainbridge do the same but they are carrying on the attitude of the traveller tradtional singers [who you collect from] of singing songs on the basis of whether the song is a good song, rather than its classification., or the 1954 . CheckMate and fuck off


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 28 Nov 15 - 03:08 PM

"CheckMate and fuck off"
Tried to be nice there Dick even though I knew it was a waste of time
Won't try again
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: The Sandman
Date: 28 Nov 15 - 04:12 PM

I am just being friendly,Jim, fuck off is a term of endearment around here.


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 28 Nov 15 - 08:42 PM

"I am just being friendly,Jim, fuck off is a term of endearment around here."
'Suppose it is Dick - ain't I lucky I live in Clare!!
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 28 Nov 15 - 08:42 PM

"I am just being friendly,Jim, fuck off is a term of endearment around here."
'Suppose it is Dick - ain't I lucky I live in Clare!!
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: The Sandman
Date: 29 Nov 15 - 03:16 AM

if you fecked off,I would have no one to discuss it with.
Jim can I put a question to you, Old Brown's Daughter was an English music hall song, sung by Alfred Vance, and became a Newfoundland folk song. It was written by G.W. Hunt (1839–1904).
Walter Pardon sang this song, he was described as traditional singer,these are facts do you agree/ now I know you will say Walter differentiated between his songs, but he did not use the 1954 definition. Walter sang the songs because they had been in his family? do you agree?or did he sing the songs because he liked them? or was it [which is my opinion] a bit of both, if it was a bit of both he had something in common with Jim Bainbridge, WHO SAID HE SANG A SONG BECAUSE IT WAS A GOOD SONG.
It could be argued that Old Browns Daughter was originally a pop song, it certainly was a popular song of its day being a Music Hall song, so it could be argued that O B Daughter is an example of a popsong becoming a tradtional song, because it was in the repertoire of a traditional singer, that would be logical if [as it appears to be the case] tradtional singers are classified as traditional singers because of the way they ;learned their song and their material.
would a traditional singer still be classified as such if he learned all his songs orally but they were all music hall or popular or popsongs.
Is it 100 per cent correct to still call Walter a traditional singer when he included in his repertoire GRAND MOTHERS OLD ARM CHAIR, OLD BROWNS DAUGHTER, OLD JOE THE BOAT IS GOING OVER, NAUGHTY JEMIMA BROWN THE MISTLETOE BOUGH, all of the above are composed songs of the victorian era most of which were popular in the music halls, and would have been classified as popular songs of the day or music hall songs.
Touche,Jim.


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: The Sandman
Date: 29 Nov 15 - 03:29 AM

here is some of Walters Repertoire
Cover photo by Sylvia PitcherMT CD 305:

    Cupid the Ploughboy
    A Country Life
    The Poor Smuggler's Boy
    I'm Yorkshire Though in London
    Seventeen Come Sunday
    The Parson and the Clerk
    Blow the Winds I-O
    Hold the Fort
    All Among the Barley
    Black-Eyed Susan
    Caroline and Her Young Sailor Bold
    Lord Lovel
    The Skipper and his Boy
    Thornaby Woods
    An Old Man's Advice
    If I Were a Blackbird
    The Bonny Bunch of Roses-O
    The Green Bushes
    Polly Vaughan
    The Saucy Sailor
    Little Ball of Yarn
    The Huntsman

MT CD 306:

    Put a Bit of Powder on it, Father
    The Cuckoo
    Old Joe the Boat is Going Over
    Cock-a-Doodle-Do
    The Harland Road / Wheel Your P'rambulator
    Ben Bolt
    Uncle Walter's Tune
    Two Lovely Black Eyes
    Alice Grey
    Rosin-a-Beau
    Not for Joseph, Not for Joe
    The Old Armchair
    The Marble Arch
    Wake Up Johnny / When the Cock begins to Crow / Saving Them All for Mary / Down by the Old Abbey Ruins
    The Mistletoe Bough
    On a See-Saw
    Your Faithful Sailor Boy
    Here's to the Grog
    Nancy Lee
    Up the Chimney Pot / Slave Driving Farmers / Bound to Emigrate to New Zealand
    Husband Taming
    Uncle Walter's March
    If I Ever Get Drunk Again
    Naughty Jemima Brown
    The Dandy Man
    For Me, For Me
    While Shepherds Watched

so apart from those I have mentioned before in my last post, We also have, While Shepherds Watched, Two lovely black eyes, NOT FOR JOSEPH NOT FOR JOE. WALTER HAD AT LEAST 8 SONGS IN HIS REPERTOIRE THAT WERE NOT TRADITIONAL SONGS.


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: The Sandman
Date: 29 Nov 15 - 03:44 AM

Have you got a storm up there Jim, its blowing a gale down here


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: GUEST,jim bainbridge
Date: 29 Nov 15 - 06:53 AM

Jim, I have never EVER said to listeners 'this is a traditional song' or 'this is a folk song' - after all I've said, it would be the kind of dogmatic statement I'd avoid like a date with Edwina Currie.

I might introduce a song by saying 'I got this from e.g. Willie Scott, or Sam Cooke' as it's a bit of extra information, but it's up to the listener to put songs in categories, if they really must, certainly not my role.

There are MANY good songs in my repertoire which could be described as 'traditional' or .....perish the thought 'pop'. I do them my own way, and have never excluded anything for reasons of its provenance because I don't draw lines- other people do enough of that. If we are concerned about passing on the tradition, I would suggest that to exclude a vast proportion of 'popular music' because of some outdated and unsatisfactory definition is likely to seriously damage the chances of anyone listening and passing on this amazing music.

This has been an interesting discussion, and I'm not excluding joining it again, but for now think I've made my opinions clear on the original question (see above) so keep calm & carry on.....


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: Brian Peters
Date: 29 Nov 15 - 07:01 AM

"Brian Peters, he chooses to sing a song about Fish and Chips, He clearly likes the song, I doubt if he worries about whether he thinks it is a folk song..."

Indeed he doesn't. As you suggest, Dick, I plan my set list with light and shade in mind, like any decent performer does. I don't plan my set around the 1954 definition, and neither - as far as I know - does anyone else. Doesn't mean I don't have an idea of what 'traditional' means, though.


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 29 Nov 15 - 09:34 AM

"'this is a traditional song' or 'this is a folk song' "
Me neither - neither has anybody I know to an audience
What's your point?
This isn't about what you sing, whether you enjoy it or what you tell your audience - it's about how you understand it if you wish to discuss it - are you suggesting that we shouldn't do that, or it is not important, or that we should all be singalongers and shouldn't take the music we have spent our lives listening to, seriously?
"NOT FOR JOSEPH NOT FOR JOE. WALTER HAD AT LEAST 8 SONGS IN HIS REPERTOIRE THAT WERE NOT TRADITIONAL SONGS."
Walter had at least 3 or four dozen songs that were not traditional, he had a phenomenal memory and remembered everything he heard - he had read every Dickens and Thomas Hardy novel and could reel of the plots of all and thee names of the characters at the drop of a hat.
He was fully aware which songs were traditional and which were not and he very seldom, if ever sang his non traditional songs in front of an audience - though he was happy to put all of them on tape.
His knowledge of his repertoire dates back to 1949, when he first started writing down his family songs in notebooks (which we have)
We carried out a long interview with him where he itemizes his songs and described how he knew they were traditional.
He went on to describe the point at which family members of his age abandoned the family repertoire and started singing "the other stuff" - all on tape and archived.
What is your point?
You have somewhat arrogantly told us why he sang what he sang - never having met him.
He believed his traditional songs were important enough to write down from the days he came out of the Army after his war service.
"if you fecked off,I would have no one to discuss it with."
There's a lesson to b learned there Dick - perhaps you should take the hint and learn from it before it's too late.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: Bonzo3legs
Date: 29 Nov 15 - 11:55 AM

Some great new traditional songs performed on "Sweet Liberties" tour - Cecil Sharp House was like Jodrell Bank last night with pro video cammeras all around and who knows how many digital recorders in the audience !!!


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: The Sandman
Date: 29 Nov 15 - 12:49 PM

"You have somewhat arrogantly told us why he sang what he sang - never having met him"
incorrect, what I said was a fact,nothing arrogant about it, he sang certain songs at festivals or folk clubs because people had turned up to hear him sing those songs, he knew what they were expecting and obliged, no different from HARRY COX, or revival singers like Carthy. Jim, can you define tradtional?
Brian you say you know what tradtional is, what is it, does it include pop songs or music hall songs?


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: The Sandman
Date: 29 Nov 15 - 12:59 PM

Walter sang the songs from his family, that is what his audience were expecting, Walter had not sang out for many years because local people scorned his family songs, when he was discovered by the uk folk revival, he sang for an audience from the uk folk revival who wanted to hear his family songs,Walter obliged, he sang for an audience who atlast wanted to hear those songs, previously to this he had not sung out because in his own words local people did not want to hear them, he sang them at home. here is a documentary[ which you are fmiliar with] about Walter which confirms this.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B95JAQe1Wt
Jim, you are so sexy.


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: The Sandman
Date: 29 Nov 15 - 01:02 PM

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B95JAQe1Wtc


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 29 Nov 15 - 01:23 PM

"Walter had not sang out for many years because local people scorned his family songs,"
Wrong again on both counts.
Walter had nevre sung in public - not ever, until he was introduced to the folk revival.
He heard the songs sung as a boy at Christmas parties and harvest suppers - he sang only one song at them "Dark Eyed Sailor" "because nobody wanted that".
When he came back from the army in 1946, his Uncle Billy, the main source of his songs, had died, so he decided to gather the family songs together, write them down and memorise the tunes he remembered, by playing them on a melodeon.
His cousin's nephew, Roger Dixon, who was Peter Bellamy's tutor, was aware of them, and persuaded Walter top put them on tape - which he gave to Peter.
His first public singing outside the family was to Bill Leader.
His family never sang outside the home - at Christmas Parties and earlier, Harvest suppers, so they couldn't have stopped singing because the neighbours didn't like the songs.
One of the great surprises to Walter was that when the BBC came to North Walsham in the early fifties none of the surviving members of his family were recorded because the locals were not aware that they sang.
All this is a matter of record - in articles and radio programmes by Karl Dallas and Mike Yates, on radio and TV documentaries and on record sleeve notes.
Will you stop spouting "facts" that are grossly inaccurate and which you have no idea about.
We interviewed Walter extensively for twenty years - in his home and in ours.
Those interviews are in The British Library and in Dublin if you would like to verify what I say - all in Walter's own words.
The old engineers adage might suit here - please do not put the mouth in motion until the brain is fully engaged.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 29 Nov 15 - 01:29 PM

"Jim, can you define traditional?"
Course I can - can't you?
If not - plenty of books on the subject - 100s in fact
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: Bonzo3legs
Date: 29 Nov 15 - 01:49 PM

Best song was called "Migs" - all about migrants!!!!!


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: Brian Peters
Date: 29 Nov 15 - 02:09 PM

"Brian you say you know what traditional is, what is it, does it include pop songs or music hall songs"

Possibly. Depends on whether or not they got passed on down the generations. Like I said, Dick, the topic was fully discussed three years ago, and you can always scroll back through the thread.


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: The Sandman
Date: 29 Nov 15 - 02:25 PM

"The old engineers adage might suit here - please do not put the mouth in motion until the brain is fully engaged"
so why was it that Walter never sang out? come on answer MrKnow all
until the people from the UK folk revival [that you are always putting down] persuaded him to.
Give us an answer Mr know all Jim Carroll.
Walter realised or was prsuaded by Roger Dixon[ FROM THE UK FOLK REVIVAL] that the people most interested were the likes of Peter Bellamy AND SINGERS from the uk folk revival

none of this alters the fact that Walter sang the songs that his audience from the UK FOLK REVIVAL wanted to hear.
my other point is that Jim Bainbridge and Bob Davenport are doing what many traveller singers of traditional songs do, mix them up with other songs of different classifications,they sing songs on the basis of whether they think it is a good song not its classification
Audiences that go to hear those performers, expect that., in the same way they expected something different from Walter Pardon[ namely his family songs]
My next point is that if Walter had walked in to a working mens club and sang his songs in England,very few would have been interested, so much for the assertion that this is the music of working class people in England, unfortunately the vast majority prefer something else.
The last point is that if it had not been for Peter Bellamy and Roger Dixon and people interested in Trad music from the UK Folk revival, these songs would have been lost.
you are always running the UK Folk revival down ABOUT TIME YOU GAVE CREDIT TO THE UK folk revivalists WHO SAVED HIS SONGS.
come on then Jim define traditional songs, if you cannot shut up


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 29 Nov 15 - 04:16 PM

Dick,
The 54 definition is ONE very good definition that would be easily accepted and recognised by most of us here. Origins are irrelevant so there's no point bleating on about Music Hall. Walter's songs learnt from his own community orally all fit the definition perfectly. The word 'traditional' can be applied to a multitude of things. Anything that has a continuous past has its own traditions. If you use the word 'folk' in the same context as 'folklore' then its meaning is quite clear. Like most words in the English language the word 'folk' has come to have a variety of meanings when applied to music. The 54 definition is just one of them.


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 30 Nov 15 - 03:07 AM

"so why was it that Walter never sang out? "
Walter was totally unaware of folk clubs; there was no singing in his area that he was aware of and hadn't been since he was a boy.

"Walter realised or was persuaded by Roger Dixon [ FROM THE UK FOLK REVIVAL]"
Wrong again, I'm afraid - Roger was not a part of the folk revival - still isn't as far as I'm aware. As I said - he was Peter Bellamy's tutor and was aware of Peter's interest in the old songs.

"none of this alters the fact that Walter sang the songs that his audience from the UK FOLK REVIVAL wanted to hear."
Nope again - he sang the songs he wanted the audience to hear that he had heard as a boy from his family; that is where his interest came from - certainly not from any revival.
He occasionally responded to requests, but he much preferred to come with a set list that he had worked on in advance – he thought the songs were worth it.
He had some of the longest songs I have heard from an English source singer, but in the 20 years we knew him I never remember him slipping up on the words in public (or anywhere else, for that matter) – not once.
Walter had a magnificent traditional repertoire; he sang them to himself at home long before he sang them in public - he sang them, memorised them, wrote them down.... in the 1940s because he liked them and thought them important - he didn't get an audience for them till the 1970s but he had known them all his life.
He wasn't a "performer" nor did he consider himself a singer - to him, the songs were worth saving so he saved them - he did that before he ever knew there was a folk scene and would have done if he had never found there was such thing as a folk club - pretty well the same as every traditional singer we've ever met - they all sang the songs irrespective of the outside world - it meant nothing to them as far as the songs went.

"ABOUT TIME YOU GAVE CREDIT TO THE UK folk revivalists WHO SAVED HIS SONGS."
What - are you mad?
He'd written them down in books and memorised the tunes long before the revival was a twinkle in anybody's eye - as did every other traditional singer.
The revival was a beneficiary of songs that had been kept alive by singers for centuries - if anybody can claim the credit for saving them; it's the Gavin Greigs, Cecil Sharps, Alan Lomaxes, the Tom Munnellys.... and all those who virtually saved them from dying off with the older generation of singers.
Some revival singers recognise the tremendous legacy they have been bequeathed, but quite often that gratitude is not accompanied by an understanding of the songs – as demonstrated by poor uninspired performances of them – and occasionally, a contempt is shown for both the songs and the singers – as on this thread.
The older singers owe us nothing, or nothing matching what we owe them – we owe them everything.
If anything, today's folk revival has done possibly irreparable damage to the future of our folk songs by having to ask stupid questions like "what is a folk song" at the same time as claiming to run "folk club", or mixing them with pop songs that have pleased listeners for a time then spat out like old chewing gum because they no longer please and have been replaced by the 'new – improved' model - breaching the trades description act or what?
Most of the singers who gave us our songs were past their prime technically, -some well past it, but they nearly all brought a depth of respect and understanding to them that is seldom reached by modern singers – a few, but not many: beautiful description of octogenarian, Phil Tanner's 'Banks of Sweet Primroses' sounding like "a young man going out first thing on a summer's morning looking for love".
Too many singers now "perform" their songs in order to "please" their audiences rather than allowing the songs to take over and dictate how they should be performed – that is not going to be helped by arguments that you only need to stand up and sing them – if they are going to work you need to feel them to, to get them to take you over.
Ewan and Peg once described Sam Larner singing a song he must have sung hundreds of times throughout his life as sounding as if he was discovering its beauty for the first time – I cannot remember a revival singer ever leaving me with that feeling.

"Mr Know Everything"
Once more – not in a thousand years.
What little I know I have learned from listening to others – in the last forty years, that has been the older generation of singers – they are the ones who held the key to these songs, and the somewhat distasteful contempt for them shown on this forum is not only ungracious, it's bloody stupid.
Those among us who think they know everything usually know nothing, and are very unlikely ever to ever to learn (too far up their own arses).
They are invariably the dullest and most unimaginative singers, no matter how technically proficient they are - the worst are usually the crowd-pleasers who try to be everything to everybody and end up pleasing none.   

"Would someone be willing to translate what he's going on about into three easy sentences, please?"
Take more than three sentences to do that I'm afraid, Modette.
I'm happy to talk to anybody, trolls and genuine enthusiasts alike, while I can talk about one of our best traditional singers (and happy to pass on everything we've ever written or found out about him) - but there comes a point when..... well, you know!!
Please don't go away.

"the word 'folk' has come to have a variety of meanings "
Still waiting to learn what it means to enough people to make it a definition Steve

Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 30 Nov 15 - 04:46 AM

Jim -- When you write that Roger Dixon "was Peter Bellamy's tutor and was aware of Peter's interest in the old songs", in what sense his 'tutor'? At Art School? Or some sort of folk scene mentor? Or what? I don't recall Pete's ever having mentioned him to me.

Enlightenment, please...

≈M≈


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 30 Nov 15 - 05:11 AM

At college (presumably art) Mike - he had nothing whatever to do with the folk scene.
His uncle Hubert, Walter's cousin, was a near neighbour of Walter's, living a couple of doors down the lane from him.
We met him on several occasions - a nice man; as far as we know, he didn't have any songs.
I think the information is on the sleeve notes of one of the Leader records.
I'd be happy to let you have the article we wrote on Walter, "A Simple Countryman?' (note the question-mark) for the Tom Munnelly Festschrift, if it's of any interest - goes for anybody of course.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 30 Nov 15 - 07:21 AM

Ah, yes, thank you Jim. I have some memory coming back to me, of Pete's mentioning he had met Walter thru some somewhat circuitous rout via an art school connection. Many thanks.
Thanks for offer to post your article on Walter; should be very interested to see it, as I am sure would be many.

≈M≈


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: The Sandman
Date: 30 Nov 15 - 07:43 AM

Walters songs   were promoted by people from the uk folk revival the Godbolds, Peter Bellamy etc. He was encouraged to appear at festival and folk clubs by members of the uk folk revival., it is about time you credited those people who promoted and saved those songs, yes we all know walter saved them originally, but the people interested in those songs were people from the uk folk revival, they encouraged walter to sing out and put the songs in circulation to more people.
whether he was the greatest traditional singer is arguable, personally i prefer the singing and repertoire of Harry Cox, but that is personal opinion, just the same as you have a different opinion.
Roger Dixon clearly states that he knew a couple of the songs, check out from 8 40 to 913 onwards,
Roger also states that Walter realised that when he died that all the songs that he knew that had been handed on from his family that those songs would die with him , Roger then says that he knew one or two of them, HE SUGGESTED TO WALTER TO PUT THEM ON REEL TO REEL.and that Roger would take them to UK Folk Revialist Peter Bellamy, clear your ears out, or listen again, you inattentive person.Roger then goes on to say how Peter Bellamy forced his hand., by saying that he would arrive by train on a particular day
Start Listening and start giving credit to Peter Bellamy you miserable old curmudgeon


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 30 Nov 15 - 08:10 AM

Not really interested in your trolling inanities Dick - you obviously are not prepared to credit our traditional singers with their contribution - as you have made perfectly clear in the past
Nor am I interested in your ongoing insulting behaviour towards anybody who disagrees with you - please take it elsewhere.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: The Sandman
Date: 30 Nov 15 - 08:40 AM

do nt be ridiculous,,Icertainly do credit and give importance to tradtional singers who put this clip up here about Walter When are you going to acknowledge the importance of Peter Bellamy and the UK FOLK REVIVAL IN ALL THIS?


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 30 Nov 15 - 09:42 AM

Mike
Have tried to post to you but the e-mail address I have bounced
Can you let me have the correct one - PM or e-mail (I think you have mine)
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 30 Nov 15 - 10:43 AM

Jim,
As we've said many times before, not everything is easily definable. Most, probably all genres, music/literature etc. have numerous overlaps into other genres. That doesn't invalidate them. At best they can only have loose descriptors. If you wish I'm sure we could come up with a long list of these loose descriptors for 'folk music' but it would make this already too long thread twice as long.


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: GUEST,punkfolkrocker
Date: 30 Nov 15 - 11:16 AM

According to my mrs, and a huge number of the rest of them from the country she comes from..

Tom Jones's "Delilah" is well on it's way to becoming a 'traditional' song, if not even an unofficial national anthem... 😜


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 30 Nov 15 - 11:51 AM

"As we've said many times before, not everything is easily definable."
It has a clar enough definition - I've always found it workable as a rule-of-thumb.
Of course there are overlaps - but again, that is not what is being discussed here -
What is being suggested that the existing definition is no longer valid and must be abandon and replaced with - well, nothing really - and this by a tiny handful of self- interested people - you really should know as a researcher that that is nonsense and should it ever become accepted practice all the accumulated knowledge of our music would be meaningless - you`only need look at the damage to the club scene to see what can happen.
People need to say why such and such a song is folk - so far, it doesn't amount to a minuscule number of people saying "because I say it is" no rationale or even attempt at rational.
We already fave to pay performing rights taxes to put on an listen to what is supposed to be in the public domain - do you never wonder how much it would cost to run a club where Beatles (or Tom Jones Punkie) numbers are the order of the day.
As for folk ever being accepted as "the people's music" - forget that pipe-dream.
If we had a living, thriving tradition, there may be a point to all this, but our popular culture today is a passively received one, not a participatory one - deliberately so, because it is now a major industry.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: GUEST,punkfolkrocker
Date: 30 Nov 15 - 12:16 PM

The thing about passive reception is, just how passive...???

It's not like the 'masses' are attached by drip feed to their PCs, phones, tellys and radios...
Even though it might appear so in some folk's worst nightmare's....

..and experience shows that performing rights taxes are of little concern and completely ignored
in most day to day musical interactions...

..and again, folk clubs aren't the be all and end all to a lot of us out here...

But I understand & appreciate your history and prioritising of them.


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 30 Nov 15 - 12:28 PM

"It's not like the 'masses' are attached by drip feed to their PCs, phones, tellys and radios.."
Aren't they - hmmm?
My point is, and always has been that the people as a whole no longer play a part in the creation and dissemination - it is no more 'ours' than a tin of processed peas bought at Sainsburys
Our only role is as a customer
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: GUEST
Date: 30 Nov 15 - 12:47 PM

If they use these new fangled pencils to write down the words, it isn't folk. It must be a quill or it fails the 1854 interpretation.

Any idea how silly the debate is? Meanwhile, most people (and especially I'm glad to say an increasing young set of performers and audience) know what they mean when you say folk. To Jim Carroll it's something to do with Walter Pardon. To many in The USA it's something to do with Joan Baez. To many in The UK it's whatever you listened to in folk clubs over the years.

But it's folk all to to with one opinion over any other.

By the way, when you reach the impossible consensus on what folk is, the thread asks you consider it against pop music. What does that mean? (I'll check back in ten years.)


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: Vic Smith
Date: 30 Nov 15 - 01:12 PM

My point is, and always has been that the people as a whole no longer play a part in the creation and dissemination - it is no more 'ours' than a tin of processed peas bought at Sainsburys
Our only role is as a customer.


It could be that - against expectations - that we are getting somewhere. A real difference is in the commodification of pop music. A pop song is presented by the music industry as the finished object with the recording, the image, the video etc. all bundled to make the complete commodity. This has led to the the proliferation of 'tribute' bands who try their damnest to reproduce the product by attempting to be as close a clone of the original as they can manage.

With performance of a traditional song and tunes, it has always seemed to me that there are three planes operating and I always try to use as an analogy - three dimensions.
One plane is the song or tune itself.
A second plane is the performance that the current performer learned from.
The third plane is what the current performer brings to it.

This analogy held good for traditional song and music for millennia. I remember Mike Seeger saying that you don't have to go that far back in time to reach the days when the only way you could hear a song or tune was if that performer was in the room with you.

From the time when the printed word became widespread, the situation has become more complex. These complexities mean that unless a basis for the parameters of any discussion can be agreed then all you are likely to get is circumlocution - and I'm afraid that is what has happened in this long thread.


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: GUEST,Anne Neilson
Date: 30 Nov 15 - 01:59 PM

To answer the original question -- probably not, 'in my life-time' IMHO.

To address some of the more recent concerns, I'm very aware of the current wrangling about the introduction of source singers to the scene. Maybe we were luckier in Scotland (perhaps because we are a smaller community) but when the Folk Revival hit us in the early '50's, I imagine it as a great gift from a very knowledgeable Santa Claus!

My English teacher in 1956 was Norman Buchan (later a Labour MP and author of two significant books of traditional Scottish song). Norman had been involved politically with the people who put together The People's Festival in Edinburgh in 1951, as an antidote to the over-priced and 'high culture fixated' official Festival -- and during that event, he was in the audience for the first People's Festival Ceilidh which was put on by Hamish Henderson.

Hamish had begun to collect songs for what became The School of Scottish Studies (in Edinburgh University) and, as was his wont, generously shared his recorded material with other enthusiasts -- so, when Norman started his Ballads Club in Rutherglen Academy in 1957, we had access to recordings of source singers like Jimmy McBeath, Jeannie Robertson, Lucy Stewart et al along with Pete Seeger, The Weavers etc.
Our club members sang a great range of songs -- from The Twa Corbies via The Bleacher Lassie o Kelvinhaugh to Rothesay Oh, and as we approached the 60's we added We Shall Overcome, Blowing in the Wind and Can't Help But Wonder Where I'm Bound.

But the point is that I think all the Club members knew the difference between a song like The Plooman Laddies and Masters of War -- in terms of their origins. And there was also an acknowledgement of the skill of a maker in creating a new song that spoke to current concerns. (I remember the impact of Tom Paxton's Vietnam songs 'Lyndon Johnston told the Nation' and - specifically - 'Jimmy Newman')

So, my bottom line is that a traditional song (handed down orally etc.) is a special thing, particularly when it has come from performers of the calibre of Jeannie Robertson etc. -- but there is no bar to another song becoming equally significant….

Provided it has significant emotional content, narrative strength and appropriate melody.

(I'll be interested to hear proposals)


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: The Sandman
Date: 30 Nov 15 - 02:01 PM

"This analogy held good for traditional song and music for millennia. I remember Mike Seeger saying that you don't have to go that far back in time to reach the days when the only way you could hear a song or tune was if that performer was in the room with you."
Now, one can have many performers in the room through the use of the computer.


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 30 Nov 15 - 02:04 PM

Jim -- Have as requested PM'd my current e-address to you.

≈M≈


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 30 Nov 15 - 02:38 PM

"If they use these new fangled pencils to write down the words, it isn't folk. It must be a quill or it fails the 1854 interpretation. "
Nope, but I suppose it gives you some sort of perverse satisfaction to put up something nobody has said - which reinforces my point.
Most people never come into any form of folk and those that do no longer have a consensus of what it is.
I assume the "1854" is an attempt at satie - on second thought - maybe not!
"To Jim Carroll it's something to do with Walter Pardon. "
More distortion of what has been said - not doing too well, are you?
Your claim isn't reflected in increased audiences or popularity, whereas in Ireland, thousands of youngsters are flocking to what they know to be traditional - a lesson in that somewhere.
Which can now mean anything from Beethoven to Barbra Streisand - not very workable as a definition, doncha think?
"By the way, when you reach the impossible consensus on what folk is," the nearest thing we have to a consensus is the the current definition which has been fully researched and documented for over a century - perfectly possible to all but those who don't actually like folk music.
I've always been fascinated to learn why people who don't like or understand something feel the urge to destroy it - any ideas?
Thanks for the ray of sunshine Vic.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 30 Nov 15 - 02:38 PM

Jim,
Can you find me please a cast-iron definition of classical music?

All of the people who I know who write about folk song, and it's rather a lot, know exactly what the 54 definition is, and use it regularly as I do. None of us have a problem with using that definition or using the much wider meaning when we need to. We manage to communicate with each other on a regular basis and have very few if any arguments on the matter. Why can't you just ignore the few largely anonymous trolls here who trying to bait you?


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 30 Nov 15 - 03:03 PM

"Can you find me please a cast-iron definition of classical music?"
This one, From the Oxford English Reference Dictionary suits me as as well as any Steve:
"Classical Music n. serious or conventional music following long-established principles rather than a folk, jazz, or popular tradition. It is associated with acoustic instruments, in particular the orchestra, and the sonata form; however, modern experimental composers such as Karlheinz Stockhausen and John Cage, using electronic instruments and other devices, are generally considered to be working within classical music. The term is used more specifically with reference to music written c.1750-1800, as opposed to baroque and romantic music, and is exemplified by'-the work of Haydn, Mozart, and the young Beethoven. During this period the orchestra, the chamber group, and the various compositional forms such as symphony, concerto, and sonata became standardized."
If there are divergences from this, they are by sufficient numbers of people in agreement to make them contenders , which is not the case here, which amounts to a handful of folkies making a U.D.I. on their own behalf yet being unable to agree among themselves what they mean by "folk" or "tradition".
If the compiler can distinguish between other forms of music, as he/she does, why shouldn't we?
You appear not to wish to respond to my point - we are not being asked to accept another definition, but to abandon the one we have for nothing.
If you are prepared o do that, I am not.
If there is a wider meaning, what is it?
So far, the answer is the Humpty Dumpty one - "it is what I choos itr to be".
'54 is a bit of a red herring - I never use it other than to someone who wishes to delve deeper a starting point.
When these arguments started I had to drag down Bert Lloyd's book to remind me what it was - don't think I'd read it since I first bought the book in 1967   
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: The Sandman
Date: 30 Nov 15 - 03:19 PM

"I've always been fascinated to learn why people who don't like or understand something feel the urge to destroy it - any ideas?"   Something you seem intent on doing when it comes to the UK Folk Revival, when are you going to give credit to Peter Bellamy and others from the UK Folk Revival, who Helped Walter get his family songs better known.


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 30 Nov 15 - 05:15 PM

'This one, From the Oxford English Reference Dictionary suits me as as well as ANY Steve:'

Precisely, 'as well as any'. It's not a definition, it's a short summary of descriptors and look in another dictionary or encyclopedia and you'll find differences.

When I've a bit more time tomorrow I'll write you out a description of folk music that corresponds pretty much with what you have there.


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 30 Nov 15 - 06:22 PM

Here you are, Jim. Knocked this up in about 10 minutes.

Folk Music: Often based on traditional folk music but since the 50s and the start of the second revival the term has gradually acquired a much wider meaning to include music written and composed by members of the revival. Today any music written in the style of traditional folk music or that uses acoustic instruments like the guitar and concertina is generally accepted as folk music.

This wider meaning came to the British Isles from America where it had increasingly been used since the 1920s. Skiffle and American folk music suddenly blossomed in the British Isles after WWII and this sparked an interest in British folk music as well as imitation of American contemporary folk music. It was pioneered over here by such artistes as Bert Lloyd, Ewan MacColl, Martin Carthy, The Spinners and The Watersons. Alongside the increasing interest in traditional folk music many artistes began writing their own material. Once Tin pan Alley saw the commercial potential it began to spread to a much wider audience and the genre was crossed with other genres such as rock music.

There you go. We won't all agree on that but it's as good as your dictionary definition of classical music.


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