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Can a pop song become traditional?

Brian Peters 09 Dec 15 - 12:04 PM
The Sandman 09 Dec 15 - 11:27 AM
The Sandman 09 Dec 15 - 11:17 AM
Brian Peters 09 Dec 15 - 10:03 AM
The Sandman 09 Dec 15 - 09:04 AM
GUEST 09 Dec 15 - 07:21 AM
The Sandman 08 Dec 15 - 02:07 PM
Jim Carroll 08 Dec 15 - 07:59 AM
The Sandman 08 Dec 15 - 07:28 AM
Jim Carroll 08 Dec 15 - 06:10 AM
Jim Carroll 08 Dec 15 - 06:00 AM
The Sandman 08 Dec 15 - 05:39 AM
Jim Carroll 08 Dec 15 - 04:06 AM
Jim Carroll 08 Dec 15 - 04:03 AM
The Sandman 07 Dec 15 - 05:47 PM
The Sandman 07 Dec 15 - 05:32 PM
The Sandman 07 Dec 15 - 05:30 PM
The Sandman 07 Dec 15 - 04:37 PM
The Sandman 07 Dec 15 - 04:05 PM
MGM·Lion 07 Dec 15 - 03:59 PM
GUEST 07 Dec 15 - 03:17 PM
GUEST,# 07 Dec 15 - 03:04 PM
Jim Carroll 07 Dec 15 - 03:01 PM
The Sandman 07 Dec 15 - 02:11 PM
The Sandman 07 Dec 15 - 01:10 PM
Jim Carroll 07 Dec 15 - 08:54 AM
Steve Gardham 07 Dec 15 - 08:52 AM
Jim Carroll 07 Dec 15 - 07:36 AM
Steve Gardham 06 Dec 15 - 02:51 PM
Brian Peters 06 Dec 15 - 01:13 PM
GUEST,HiLo 06 Dec 15 - 10:33 AM
Larry The Radio Guy 06 Dec 15 - 09:55 AM
GUEST 05 Dec 15 - 05:58 PM
Steve Gardham 05 Dec 15 - 05:52 PM
GUEST,Dave 05 Dec 15 - 02:30 PM
Lighter 05 Dec 15 - 01:37 PM
Jim Carroll 05 Dec 15 - 11:56 AM
GUEST,# 05 Dec 15 - 11:55 AM
GUEST 05 Dec 15 - 11:41 AM
GUEST,Larry the Radio Guy 05 Dec 15 - 11:28 AM
Vic Smith 05 Dec 15 - 10:24 AM
Jim Carroll 05 Dec 15 - 10:14 AM
Vic Smith 05 Dec 15 - 08:46 AM
Jim Carroll 05 Dec 15 - 06:25 AM
GUEST,Raggytash 05 Dec 15 - 06:11 AM
GUEST,keith price 05 Dec 15 - 05:55 AM
GUEST,Raggytash 05 Dec 15 - 05:10 AM
Brian Peters 05 Dec 15 - 04:29 AM
Jim Carroll 05 Dec 15 - 04:21 AM
GUEST,Larry the Radio Guy. 04 Dec 15 - 11:11 PM
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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: Brian Peters
Date: 09 Dec 15 - 12:04 PM

"we will never walk alone. red red robin, when the saints, i am forever blowing bubbles, do you support the wrong teams?"

You mean 'You'll Never Walk Again', 'Oh When the Reds' and 'We're Forever Throwing Bottles'? That's what we sang. Much better versions.


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: The Sandman
Date: 09 Dec 15 - 11:27 AM

the original pop song
Mull of Kintyre, oh mist rolling in from the sea
My desire is always to be here
Oh Mull of Kintyre

Far have I traveled and much have I seen
Darkest of mountains with valleys of green
Past painted deserts the sun sets on fire
As he carries me home to the Mull of Kintyre


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: The Sandman
Date: 09 Dec 15 - 11:17 AM

we will never walk alone. red red robin, when the saints, i am forever blowing bubbles, do you support the wrong teams?
Valley Floyd Road,
oh mist rolling
in from the Thames
my desire is always
to be here
at Valley Floyd Road
many miles have I travelled,
many games have I seen
following Charlton
my favourite team
many hours have I spent
with the Covered End choir
singing Valley Floyd road
my only desire.


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: Brian Peters
Date: 09 Dec 15 - 10:03 AM

"songs sung by fooball crowds fit that defintion, so YES"

We've discussed football chants on here more than once before, and of course they represent a modern singing tradition (though threatened these days by deafening music on the PA). I was an Old Trafford regular when songs like 'Na Na Hey Hey (Goodbye)' (Steam, 1969), 'Son of my Father' (Chicory Tip, 1972) and 'Jesus Christ Superstar' (1970), got turned into chants, joining the variety of old hits from the shows, the music halls, nursery rhymes, American folk, etc that were already going strong. Things Like 'She'll be Coming Round the Mountain', 'Polly Woll the Doodle', 'Knees Up Mother Brown', 'We Shall Not Be Moved', 'Knick Knack Paddy Whack', 'Clementine', loads more.

However, in just about every case, all that gets used is the chorus, usually with new words about the home team, opposition or referee. Has that song by Steam really "become traditional" when all that's left of it is:

"Na na na na
Na na na na
Hey Hey
Man United"


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: The Sandman
Date: 09 Dec 15 - 09:04 AM

another is that of music that has been submitted to an evolutionary "process of oral transmission.... the fashioning and re-fashioning of the music by the community that give it its folk character."
so songs sung by fooball crowds fit that defintion, so YES.


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: GUEST
Date: 09 Dec 15 - 07:21 AM

hasn't it gone quiet


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: The Sandman
Date: 08 Dec 15 - 02:07 PM

Beyond the Palehttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2k_9mXpNdgU


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 08 Dec 15 - 07:59 AM

This goes beyond the pale - if there is a passing forum fairy on hand can he/she please whisper the magic words in this stalkers ear and make him vanish in a puff of smoke
Much obliged
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: The Sandman
Date: 08 Dec 15 - 07:28 AM

I am talking about your hypocrisy, your inability to read posts properly, and your tendency to fly off the handle and throw irrelevant insults.
Football crowds sing pop songs and alter them,according to the 1954 definition they might [arguably] be a traditional song.


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 08 Dec 15 - 06:10 AM

"Keith A of Hertford "
Keith- by the way, is one of those who has consistently referred to me as a supporter of terrorism, and has suggested on several occasions that I am "antisemitic"
He constantly refers to people who disagree with him as "leftie Muppets" and "liars" and his attitude to "Muslim cultural implants" is beyond belief
As with John Brune, you've backed the wrong horse there, my son.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 08 Dec 15 - 06:00 AM

Dick
If you continue this spiteful behaviour someone will report you to the forum fairies - if you wreck this thread as you seem determined to, I'll be at the front of the queue.
Please go away
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: The Sandman
Date: 08 Dec 15 - 05:39 AM

Iam referring to your hypocrisy, about dancing on peoples graves, you just do not get it do you, you insult dead people, other members of the folk scene and other members of this forum, then wonder why you get an adverse raction.
you compare my musical abilties to someone who specialises in irish music, the comparison is irrelevant to the topic at the time., and is meant as an insult, in fact the comparison is like comparing an orange to an apple, you clearly have not seen me perform live, I use concertina mainly for song accompaniment.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V_yjf4nSeWc http://www.eafa.org.uk/catalogue/5148. I am not interested in whether you like it or not, however I am pointing out to you that your attempted insult is wide of the mark, as I have done things with the English concertina, that the other player, who actually plays a completely different instrument... the anglo concertina, does not do or even try to do, although he is excellent at what he does, your comparison is just another example of silliness.
the other person you regularly insult is Keith A of Hertford calling him a fascist etc, I do not agree with some of his opinions but this childish name calling that you indulge in, is just another example of why people react to your over the top insults, AND IN MY OPINION WEAKENS YOUR CASE.


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 08 Dec 15 - 04:06 AM

Your reopening the John Brune thread seems to have misfired somewhat - perhaps you'd like to read Mike Yates' last posting there.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 08 Dec 15 - 04:03 AM

""I never met John Brune, but I have massive respect for his work and on the occasions I met him...""
Sorry Mike - confused is right.
Sentence should have read "
"I never met John Brune, but I have met Reg Hall numerous times and cooperated with him during our contribution to 'Voice of the People' and Bobby Casey's album, 'Casey in the Cowhouse. I have a massive respect for his work and on the occasions I met him..."
Accidentally deleted some of the text before I posted it.
Dick
You appear to be deliberately setting out to sabotage this thread
You have had my explanation for my comments on John Brune. quite verifiable, and I have given the background to my criticism of Reg, as I did at the time - take them or leave them , it is of no interest to me, one way or the other, nor is anything else you have to say - our engagement is off, I'm afraid!!
You commented on other times I have lost my rag on this forum - carefully omitting to mention that they occurred on non-music threads where all involved sling invective at each other as if they are handing out Smarties - I have become extremely bored by Israeli supporters referring to me as "Antisemite" because of my attitude to Gaza, or "ignorant, gullible liar" because I don't find W.W.1 a glorious memory or "a supporter of terrorism" because I hate Islamophobia or racism.
I'm not proud of my shortness of temper on these subjects, but I do object it being used by someone who serially abuses people when he doesn't agree with them and who, not too long ago, threatened me with physical violence - "glass house - stones" springs to mind - not too long ago you were ejected from a discussion forum because of your outrageous, abusive behaviour - I genuinely hope you are not going to repeat the exercise here - for all our sakes.
I notice you have spitefully reopened the John Brune thread - suits me - it allows people to review the John Brune story in full.our tame troll and drag him out from under his bridge - now he's snapping at all of us - well done!!
I'm off to Dublin tomorrow - I was hoping to resume our (interesting, as far as I'm concerned) discussion on the topic at the weekend - perhaps not, if you've managed to send this thread crashing down in flames, as seems to be your intention.
I really do have nothing to say to you, and hopefully, nor do you to me - like the lady in the wrinkle cream ad says; "and I'd like to keep it that way for as long as possible".
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: The Sandman
Date: 07 Dec 15 - 05:47 PM

here is Jim, being hypocritical yet again, he deplores people talking about folk fascism and the folk police, then insults Bob Davenport by accusing him of folk fascism.
one thing Jim Carroll has is a lot of brass neck and outrageous cheek
"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."
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: The Sandman
Date: 07 Dec 15 - 05:32 PM

the above post features Jim dancing on JohnBrunes grave and doing his own bit of mudslinging , hypocrite again


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: The Sandman
Date: 07 Dec 15 - 05:30 PM

Subject: RE: John Brune FolkSong collector
From: GUEST,Jim Carroll - PM
Date: 06 Aug 07 - 04:52 PM

McGrath,
I knew a number of the people concerned, including MacColl Seeger and Parker, who were the co-producers and John Faulkner, who performed on the programme. Arch anti-MacCollite Reg Hall (the one who blatantly lied on Folk Britannia about MacColl and Lloyd's 'policy of setting up folk ensembles') was a close friend and admirer of Brune; it was he who first told me the story as an example of MacColl's gullibility - I believed him, you may believe what you like.
While there are still people around who take great delight in dancing on MacColl's grave eighteen years after his death I feel perfectly justified in setting the record straight - you may call it mud-slinging if you wish.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: The Sandman
Date: 07 Dec 15 - 04:37 PM

From: GUEST
Date: 05 Aug 07 - 02:42 PM

John Brune was the arsehole who professed to be interested in Travellers - and did some collecting from them, but deliberately attempted to sabotage the first and most important radio programme about them,(the Radio Ballad, The Travelling People). He was partly successful as he managed to remove Sheila Stewart from the programme.
More information is to be found from Bob Pegg's article on Sheila Stewart on Living Tradition webpage and my letter published in the following edition
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: The Sandman
Date: 07 Dec 15 - 04:05 PM

I have apologised to Vic Smith.
Jim, you made those two comments, you are a hypocrite, you insulted John Brune who is dead, yet when others criticise MacColl in any way you accuse then of corpse kicking, that is hypocritical.


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 07 Dec 15 - 03:59 PM

"I never met John Brune, but I have massive respect for his work and on the occasions I met him..."
.,,.

Eh! Wotsat? Don't want to be too captious, Jim; but you seem to me to have got just an itti-bitty confused here.

I can hear myself, 50 years ago in my teaching days, desperately and vainly enjoining my pupils always, please, to "read your work through at least once chec for mistakes". But did thy ever? Ha!

And did you here?

Ha in ♠♠♠!

Cheers
≈M≈


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: GUEST
Date: 07 Dec 15 - 03:17 PM

And neither of them have a clue regarding the wide genre of folk music. Just a clinging need to make the exclusive right for their little bit to have the term applied.


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: GUEST,#
Date: 07 Dec 15 - 03:04 PM

As long as everyone's having a good time . . .


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 07 Dec 15 - 03:01 PM

Reg Hall claimed on Folk Britannia that Maccoll and Lloyd aimed to produce 'Folk Ensembles' such as those to be found in in Eastern Europe - as "proof" he produced album notes written by' American Henry Cowell researcher (the album was the magnificent IRISH JIGS REELS and HORNPIPES featuring Willie Clancy and Michael Gorman, - the liner notes are freely downloadable if you'd care to check) .
Reg's anti MacCollism is legendary. if you or anybody his statement I'll be happy yo apologise.
The story of John Brune sending fake songs of his own composition to be included in the Radio Ballad, 'The Travelling People', a few days before it was broadcast is widely known and told as an anti-MacColl story.
After an appeal by the Travelling People' team, for songs made by Travellers to be included in the program Brune claimed to have recorded them from English Travellers - had he been successful in his deception, the validity of one of the most important and groundbreaking programme on Travellers would have been totally undermined.
I never met John Brune, but I have massive respect for his work and on the occasions I met him, found him a thoroughly pleasant and sociable person - the 'Folk Ensemble' incident was not one of his better moments.
Talking about "insulting" - I have yet to see you ever apologise for your ill mannered behaviour on this forum - This recent little gem ("CheckMate and fuck off") might serve for you to practice on Dick
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: The Sandman
Date: 07 Dec 15 - 02:11 PM

here are some examples of how Jim, hurls insults.
"Arch anti-MacCollite Reg Hall (the one who blatantly lied on Folk Britannia about MacColl and Lloyd's 'policy of setting up folk ensembles'
"John Brune was the arsehole who professed to be interested in Travellers"
John Brune of course is in no position to answer back, yet he complains if anyone criticses,. MacColl, because he canoot answer back.
That is double standards and hypocritical
Jim ...ACTION Provokes REACTION.If I had the time, I could find examples of Jim Carroll calling mudcat members Fascists and or other insults.
I dont agree with anonymous people abusing anyone, and would agree with Jim that Mudcat would be better, if anonymous guest posting and or even guest posting was not allowed


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: The Sandman
Date: 07 Dec 15 - 01:10 PM

If you want to apologise, it would be more fitting to apologise to those members you have insulted.


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 07 Dec 15 - 08:54 AM

Thanks Steve
Sorry again for my outburst
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 07 Dec 15 - 08:52 AM

Amen to that, Jim. Have a good time.


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 07 Dec 15 - 07:36 AM

One last word here - for now - off to Dublin for a ballad seminar and a filmed version of my favourite novel (Sunset Song) for a few days on Wednesday
"although I don't agree with him on everything by any means"
I am delighted to hear it Brian.
These threads should be about openly discussing different and opposing ideas on folk song instead of the rather distasteful nastiness that all too often occurs when the subject comes up.
The fact that discussing what folk song is instigates such nastiness to the extent that such topics have become no-go areas on a forum dedicated to folk song is surely an indication that something is rotten in the State of Mudcat, and on the folk scene in general.
Despite the amount I have over-said here, I have much more to add and I believe others have too - I look forward to continue with discussions such as this in future - hopefully without the bile.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 06 Dec 15 - 02:51 PM

Larry,
I like your use of 'AN oral tradition' implying that there can be more than one. I agree with you. Since the advent of writing any oral tradition has gradually altered over the centuries and the alteration has become much more accelerated over the last century or so. A purely oral tradition untainted by other traditions only exists in a few isolated places in the world. For instance, though we have very little record, we do know oral tradition was interacting with the scribal tradition long before the advent of print. Ask any Beowulf scholars.

However, various degrees of oral tradition are still possible and do happen even in the western world of the 21st century. Obviously it is on a completely different scale to a century ago. The simple descriptors of the 54 definition are entered above and if you can apply some of them to a particular 'pop' song then you might have a case.


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: Brian Peters
Date: 06 Dec 15 - 01:13 PM

Like Vic, I don't need to waste too much time on points of Mudcat principle, but this stuff is really pathetic.

"Amazing that not only Jim Carroll reckons anyone choosing, as Mudcat allows, to remain anonymous says the same as the next anonymous person, but Vic Smith exhibits the same illogical conclusion."

Nothing amazing about it. If you don't want to be mistaken for the next anonymous person, do something to distinguish yourself. There are plenty on here using a regular pseudonym.

"I feel I cannot carry any debate with the irrational diatribe coming from Jim Carroll. To defend him may seem a kind notion but makes you look a fool."

Jim Carroll is well able to defend himself, but I will say that - although I don't agree with him on everything by any means - he is far better-informed and articulate than most of his detractors on here. He has brought his knowledge to bear directly on the present discussion in a way that puts to shame 'because-I-say-so' statements like: "I repeat. A pop song can become traditional. That is my view and that is what we have seen in many instances."

"All the terms are subjective anyway so standing at the shoreline commanding the tide to go away looks as silly now as it did 1200 years ago"

'Traditional' has a specific meaning in the context of folk song. And if you can be 200 years out on the reign of Cnut, how seriously are we supposed to take the rest of your ideas?


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: GUEST,HiLo
Date: 06 Dec 15 - 10:33 AM

Would the songs of Stan Rogers now be part of the folk tradition..they seem to be in parts of eastern Canada. This is a confusing issue.


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: Larry The Radio Guy
Date: 06 Dec 15 - 09:55 AM

In reference to the very first post.....I have heard many different versions of '6 Days on the Road'.......and most people have no memory of the first 'hit' recording by Dave Dudley.   So could John Cohen have been right when he said that song may be somewhere along the continuum of entering an oral tradition?


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: GUEST
Date: 05 Dec 15 - 05:58 PM

I rest my case.

Cock a doodle feckin' doooooooo


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 05 Dec 15 - 05:52 PM

Somewhat narrow-minded view, Dave, but each to his/her own.


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: GUEST,Dave
Date: 05 Dec 15 - 02:30 PM

Are any of you really interested in parodies? I must admit that I cringe whenever someone starts singing one of these, either sing a traditional song, or write your own stuff, one or the other.


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: Lighter
Date: 05 Dec 15 - 01:37 PM

> lack of a widespread singing tradition in our culture.

This is the key, possibly even more important than copyright.

A copyrighted song sung in a family circle with all sorts of changes, additions, variations, etc. - and no real sense of who wrote it - would be well on its way to being a "traditional" song. No lawyers could prevent it, though they might well keep you from publishing it in a collection.

But most everyone who sings nowadays wants to sing commercially recorded versions in the commercially recorded way. If you forget the words, you listen to the download. And everyone knows the name of the popularizing singer, if not of the songwriter.

If you went around recording amateur performances of pop songs, I think you'd find that they didn't vary much - or at least not very interestingly - from the official, copyrighted versions.

Parodies and rugby-type songs, of course, are the exceptions (for now), but they're almost all humorous, which is a restriction the older repertoire didn't labor under.

"Shoals of Herring" is close to being unique as a carefully composed song which was then appropriated, with no sense of authorship, by the very people it talked about.

But the few collected versions show few interesting changes, and the number of fishermen who actually sing it is minuscule compared with the tens of millions who sing (or hum) the latest hits.


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 05 Dec 15 - 11:56 AM

"I have never used the word plonker"
Was this not you then - remember, if you deny yourself three times before the cock crows, you won't go to heaven
Jim Carroll
"You really are a plonker Jim Carroll- "
"he's a plonker, total and utter- surprising he's learned so little despite all the work he says he's done"
"If saying that pop songs can become traditional makes me ageist"
NO, but this does.
"I don't exactly call an old man crooning out of tune into a cheap microphone entertainment."
Was that not you?
If not, the adjudicators here really have to sort out this "guest" policy
You all come over as the same person/troll.
You have my arguments - I would be very grateful if your would respond to them rather than distorting them or pretending that they haven't been given
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: GUEST,#
Date: 05 Dec 15 - 11:55 AM

Can a pop song become traditional?
It can if it's simply transitional.
The changes we fear
In the songs we hold dear
Are just aspects of questions conditional.


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: GUEST
Date: 05 Dec 15 - 11:41 AM

I have never used the word plonker, on account of not being a star of an '80s sitcom.

Amazing that not only Jim Carroll reckons anyone choosing, as Mudcat allows, to remain anonymous says the same as the next anonymous person, but Vic Smith exhibits the same illogical conclusion.

If saying that pop songs can become traditional makes me ageist, I feel I cannot carry any debate with the irrational diatribe coming from Jim Carroll. To defend him may seem a kind notion but makes you look a fool.

I repeat. A pop song can become traditional. That is my view and that is what we have seen in many instances. All the terms are subjective anyway so standing at the shoreline commanding the tide to go away looks as silly now as it did 1200 years ago.


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: GUEST,Larry the Radio Guy
Date: 05 Dec 15 - 11:28 AM

Thanks folks. There seems to be a general consensus among people in the know that 'traditional' music is no longer a 'living tradition', because "the owners stamp is clearly displayed" so they can never belong to the 'folk' but to the owner.   But there might be a possibility relating to song parodies.

Also difficult due to a lack of a widespread singing tradition in our culture.

Any other views?


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: Vic Smith
Date: 05 Dec 15 - 10:24 AM

This post is cut and paste from the Facebook page Folk21. This is a well-supported British Folk Club discussion page with an intelligent and interesting bent. It is made all the more interesting by the fact that no anonymous posts are allowed and any evidence of trolling or members posting insulting comments are removed straight away.
The post that I am copying is from the singer-songwriter George Papavgeris, a man I know and respect and who is, in my opinion, one of the finest songwriters operating on the British folk scene. He is also one of the most active, most proselytising members of Folk 21 and dedicated to promoting folk and folk-related music in clubs and small venues in the UK. I find his post very interesting but rather worrying:-
"This will put the contemporary cat among the traditional pigeons. I am posting it not to generate argument, but only to point out that 60-year old definitions notwithstanding, here are the stewards of English folk music and song pinning their colours to the mast, proving the futility of the "horse" argument. You might therefore want to use this next time someone starts about repertoires, permissible content in clubs etc etc.

In the December edition of EDS (the EFDSS magazine) the Vaughan Williams Memorial Library put out a call for "contemporary English folk recordings", to augment and grow the relevant library section. When I contacted them and asked if by this they meant simply "contemporary recordings of traditional music", or whether they also wanted recently written music, this was their response:

"Dear George, thanks for your email. We would include both those types in our coverage. We do collect composed songs that are now part of the folk genre.
Natalie Bevan, Librarian
The Vaughan Williams Memorial Library
English Folk Dance and Song Society "

And who knows, 50 years from now someone could be swearing blind that "Hail! Hail the First of May" is traditional (and not written by Dave Webber).

Oh - I forgot. they do that already."


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 05 Dec 15 - 10:14 AM

I'm in the process of digitising our vinyl collection and I came across this as part of the notes to a 'Folk Legacy album - it was written by a much-missed contributor to this forum, Sandy Paton.
I believe that it is relevant to this discussion as it touches on the effect of copyright on tradition song – a part of this argument yet to be responded to by those who claim that pop songs can become traditional.
Sandy's track-record in making available traditional recordings through his magnificent Folk Legacy label gives him a voice on matters such as this, as far as I'm concerned.

Many, many thanks for your thoughtful comments Vic - will respond to your PM either when things get quieter or when I get my head around multi-tasking!!
Jim Carroll   

13   Rich Girl, Poor Girl
This is related to a Negro song of variations on the same title ("Brown Girl, Black Girl", "White Girl, Brown Girl, My Girl", etc.).
Editor's Note: The vast number of bawdy verses generally found with this song would indicate that it has led quite a colorful life through its years of oral transmission. The structure of the song, in both its Negro and white versions, certainly lends itself to individual invention. Scholars studying the processes of oral transmission have found their work vastly complicated by the effect of the stall ballad or broadside, the songster, and the early recordings of country music on oral tradition. It has been observed that only in the case of blatantly bawdy material can the folklorist be sure that his collectanea is free of such influences. When Hank Ferguson originally recorded this song for Bruce Jackson, he had no way of knowing that it might, eventually, be used in an album produced for sale to the general public. At that time, he freely sang those verses which clearly establish that he could have learned the song only from oral sources. At our own recording ses¬sion, he chose to omit those verses. This note is inserted here for a particular reason: in recent years,   several copy¬rights have been filed on this song, or, rather, on "arrange¬ments" of this song, which brings up an important point — namely,   the difficulty in assessing the validity of copy¬rights now being filed on traditional or semi-traditional material.   This difficulty is becoming increasingly obvious to those who are working in the field of folksong and is causing a great deal of discussion among folklorists, both in America and in Great Britain, who, almost unanimously, deplore the attempts of individuals to possess, privately, portions of that traditional heritage which properly, it would seem,   should remain the property of all the people. I realize that this observation is not especially appropriate in this particular instance,   "Rich Girl,   Poor Girl1* being an unimportant song by comparison.    But the unfortunate fact re¬mains that a number of professional performers and songwriters are currently filing copyrights by the score on songs which have been in oral tradition for years — indeed, in many cases for centuries. We, of Folk-Legacy Records, Inc., share the growing concern of the academic folklorists in this regard and look forward, with them, to a prompt and thorough examination and legal resolution of the problem.
S.P.


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: Vic Smith
Date: 05 Dec 15 - 08:46 AM

To the anonymous poster GUEST Date: 04 Dec 15 - 07:35 PM

I won't be drawn into futile arguments on Facebook but I will allow myself one post to explain the irritation that myself and others who object to anonymous posts of insults on Mudcat. I will quote from that post to help me to do this:-

His (by this GUEST means Jim Carroll) insistence that his view is fact rather than his view is bad enough, but letting him abuse others isn't the "best behaviour" the moderator seems to be wanting.
If any Mudcat member has an objection to a post by another member, he can take this up with that member without cluttering up the flow by using Mudcat's 'private message' system. I have used this method on several occasions in the past; with anonymous guests we can only object in the thread - and clutter it up.

How he assumes someone who wishes to remain anonymous is the same person as any other anonymous person is beyond me
It is beyond all of us to identify between anonymous posters and that is one reason why the moderators call for anonymous posters to be on their 'best behaviour'.

It ruins a decent thread. Mr Carroll, whoever he is, should be ashamed.
This from the anonymous poster who identifies themselves as the person who posted the phrase he's a plonker, total and utter. Any chance of such a phrase ruining a decent thread?


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 05 Dec 15 - 06:25 AM

"that we will witness the complete demise of traditional folk music."
The making and passing on as I describes began to die towards the end of the 19th century in Britain - with a few notable exceptions - this was what motivated Sharp and his cronies to mount a rescue operation to save what was still remembered.
A bit later in Ireland but that was the case when we started collecting in the 70s (again, with a few notable exceptions)
Even what was being remembered had to be rescued by the Beeb in the 1950s because it was disappearing rapidly.
Our friend, Tom Munnelly, who collected more songs than any single individual in these islands, described his job as full time collector as "a race with the undertaker" - that was back in the 70s.
That traditional songs will remain to be collected third or forth hand from someone who remembered meeting someone who remembers meeting someone who remembers them being sung is a very welcome inevitability - long may that continue to happen, but the only singers we met, with the exception of Travellers, who actually participated in a living tradition are all dead - the rest learned them from the previous generation.
Moving the goalposts of what you mean by tradition only clouds the issue - it doesn't help us to continue to listen to or sing or pass on these songs - as is shown by the decline of folk clubs.
We worked with MacColl (another taboo subject) who wrote more songs than anyone I can name, and who insisted that clubs were "no more than museums is they didn't cater for and encourage the making of new songs - he was quite clear of what he meant by folk songs and was insistent that what he wrote didn't fall under that description and never would unless they passed through the oral process (he was delighted that Travellers took up some of his songs and Sam Larner thought Shoals of Herring had been around forever (though he didn't know a word of it))
Folk songs can be immortal if they are not swamped out by other songs because it is convenient for some to do so.
They are as timeless as Shakespeare or Dickens, despite the general disinterest and sometimes hostility shown towards all of these.
They can still entertain, inform and move if they are allowed to.
But just as importantly, they provide an ideal template to make new songs that do the same job as the old ones did - allow us all to express ourselves; Ewan's, Peggy's, Con 'Fada' O'Driscoll's, Tim Lyons's Fintan Vallely's, Adam McNaughton's, Eric Bogle's.... and all the other great songwriter's new creations prove that beyond the shadow of a doubt.
That they are not traditional is unimportant - that's only a name - a label to identify what they we are talking about so we can make people aware of them.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: GUEST,Raggytash
Date: 05 Dec 15 - 06:11 AM

My own definition ................. oh bugger!

How about Music of the people, for the people, by the people.

That covers a multitude of sins and I fully expect to be shot down any second now.


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: GUEST,keith price
Date: 05 Dec 15 - 05:55 AM

Raggytash could you please give a definition on "what the rest of us know as folk music "


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: GUEST,Raggytash
Date: 05 Dec 15 - 05:10 AM

Judging by the criteria laid down for a piece to become "traditional" and "folk" it would seem, in the 21st century, that we will witness the complete demise of traditional folk music.

Even Jim by recording material and placing it in the public domain is actively creating it's death.

So we'll have to stick to what the rest of us know as folk music.


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: Brian Peters
Date: 05 Dec 15 - 04:29 AM

"How he assumes someone who wishes to remain anonymous is the same person as any other anonymous person is beyond me."

There have been a number of anonymous 'Guest' posts here, often making frivolous points or aiming personal abuse at Jim Carroll. Why on earth should someone else choosing to post as an anonymous 'Guest' expect the benefit of the doubt?

As to the idea that this is an 'obvious question', I'd have thought the large number of thoughtful and well-argued posts here would be sufficient demonstration that there is no 'obvious' answer.

To Larry: I think the question has been thoroughly explored by now (Howard Jones' recent posts have been very useful). To sum up, yes, a pop song could in theory become traditional, but this becomes increasingly unlikely in a culture without a widespread singing tradition, and in which pop songs are universally known by a single, iconic version. That's what I think, anyway.


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 05 Dec 15 - 04:21 AM

"better than the poster Jim Carroll calling it trolling? "
I have put my argument as to why don't believe modern songs can become pop songs - you have responded with personal insults, ageist attacks on the people who were generous enough to pass on their songs to us and without whom we would have had nothing to sing, and with an attitude which sums up as 'they can because I say they can' not unsimilar to 'a song is a folk song because I choose to call it a folk song' - not very convincing, I'm afraid.
Some popular songs have become traditional in the past because the process that made it possible, an active, creative and recreated oral tradition, was still in working order - that is no longer the case.
Modern songs come out fully formed and with the owners stamp clearly displayed on their behinds - they can never belong to 'the folk' - they will always belong to the owner.
Any passage through any oral tradition that may remain is controlled by that ownership - by law.
The only chance of them becoming traditional is if they are parodied - happened a lot in Liverpool where I grew up
One parody I remember took a hit song of the time 'That's Amore' and made it:

"When your boil suppurates and it runs on your plate, salmonella"

Don't know if it ever got any further than the Liverpool Docklands - but it had left home and become something else.
People have argued that 'You'll Never Walk Alone' has become traditional - don't agree - the tradition is far more complicated and creative than simple repetition - it involves, creation, re-creation, passing on, recreation again and passing on again - ad infinitum, and in each place that happens, those involved claim it as their own.
We have been staggered over the last forty years while recording in rural Ireland and Irish Travellers in London by how many songs we found that possibly originated in Scotland or England, yet which the singers insisted were "Clare songs" or "Travellers' songs", or "Irish songs" - or even "Miltown Malbay songs" - that is a sign that a song is part of an oral tradition.
We were recording a 95 year old singer last year (sorry guest, it wasn't his fault he was old) here in Clare - he gave us 'Catherine Jaffrey', 'The Keach in the Creel', Lord Bateman', 'Lord Lovell', 'The Suffolk Miracle' and 'The Girl With the Box on her Head' "all good Irish songs"!
On top of these imports and the hundreds of Irish-made songs we recorded, we have discovered a tradition we were totally unaware of, of local songs made during the lifetimes of the singers, reflecting local happenings, big and small, from protests over land distribution, local Fairs, The West Clare Railway, an ambush of Black and Tans leading to the destruction of three towns, a shipwreck.... down to a local man going out on a bender and getting barred out of all the pubs.
All of these songs are anonymous, and the people we asked, if they hadn't heard them they remember the events.
As our old singer said, "in them days, if a feller farted in church, somebody made a song about it".
That is a tradition in action, now, alas gone.
The fact that some people might choose to use the terms 'traditional" and "folk" because it gives the songs that happen to like some sort of status or title, doesn't make that use a valid definition.
Similarly, if a mass of people misuse the term out of ignorance because that are not involved in the music, we don't take on those misuses and manipulated definitions as valid until they are taken up by enough people to have become identifiable, agreed upon definitions in themselves - a quantum physicist, or a botanist, or an electrician... whoever, goes on what they know and have learned, not on what somebody else doesn't know and is not interested in.
The problem with all these discussions is that any attempt to arrive at an agreement is looked on as a criticism of somebody else's musical tastes - it isn't, and it never should be.   
As far as I'm concerned, it is an attempt to create a situation in which we can discuss our interests in folk music in a friendly and helpful manner so that we can pass on what we think we know and benefit from the knowledge of others on a forum that describes itself as being about"Traditional Music and Folklore Collection and Community" without nastiness and abuse -   
It seems to me a crying ***** shame that we can't "what is a folksong" has become as taboo as sleeping with your sister.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Can a pop song become traditional?
From: GUEST,Larry the Radio Guy.
Date: 04 Dec 15 - 11:11 PM

So, can we get back to the topic?   Can a 'popular' or 'pop' song ever become 'traditional'.   What would have to happen for that to occur?   I'm interested in this by whomever's definition of 'traditional'.


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