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What makes a song REALLY last?

Big Al Whittle 30 Aug 12 - 04:50 AM
McGrath of Harlow 30 Aug 12 - 09:00 AM
GUEST,Mike Yates 30 Aug 12 - 09:06 AM
GUEST,leeneia 30 Aug 12 - 10:18 AM
The Sandman 30 Aug 12 - 10:23 AM
Nigel Parsons 30 Aug 12 - 10:32 AM
Musket 30 Aug 12 - 11:35 AM
s&r 31 Aug 12 - 05:45 AM
GUEST 31 Aug 12 - 05:56 AM
DMcG 31 Aug 12 - 05:58 AM
MGM·Lion 31 Aug 12 - 07:35 AM
MGM·Lion 31 Aug 12 - 07:39 AM
Big Al Whittle 31 Aug 12 - 08:18 AM
DMcG 31 Aug 12 - 12:54 PM
Don Firth 31 Aug 12 - 02:58 PM
Don Firth 31 Aug 12 - 03:03 PM
GUEST,leeneia 31 Aug 12 - 06:25 PM
Stanron 01 Sep 12 - 12:22 AM
DMcG 01 Sep 12 - 02:13 AM
Dave the Gnome 01 Sep 12 - 06:05 AM
MGM·Lion 01 Sep 12 - 06:45 AM
Artful Codger 01 Sep 12 - 11:09 AM
GUEST,Shimrod 01 Sep 12 - 11:15 AM
Big Al Whittle 01 Sep 12 - 03:06 PM
stallion 01 Sep 12 - 03:09 PM
GUEST,leeneia 01 Sep 12 - 03:45 PM
MGM·Lion 02 Sep 12 - 12:31 AM
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Subject: What makes a song REALLY last?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 30 Aug 12 - 04:50 AM

Desolation Row for example....seems to go on for hours. I used to think Nic Jones Banks of Claudy was a bit interminable.

Recently someone was saying that Shanties go on a bit. But I've never really noticed. Possible cos I quite like them.


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Subject: RE: What makes a song REALLY last?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 30 Aug 12 - 09:00 AM

"Shanties go on a bit"

Depends on what the work involved might be and how long it takes. Might be a long haul or a short haul.

That's for shanties used as shanties of course.


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Subject: RE: What makes a song REALLY last?
From: GUEST,Mike Yates
Date: 30 Aug 12 - 09:06 AM

I once asked the Appalachian singer Dan Tate what he liked about his version of "Barbara Allen" and he said, "You know, that verse about the rose and the briar. That just can't be beat."


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Subject: RE: What makes a song REALLY last?
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 30 Aug 12 - 10:18 AM

In the case of an old ballad, do you suppose somebody took every verse collected from every different source singer and collated them into one supposed song?

Or did a long, long ballad simply help pass a cold, dull winter night? You know, an excuse to huddle round the fire a bit longer before retiring to a chilly bed.


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Subject: RE: What makes a song REALLY last?
From: The Sandman
Date: 30 Aug 12 - 10:23 AM

barbara allen,
as she walked down those long stair steps she heard the small birds singning and every voice it seemed to say hard hearted barbry allen. the rose and briar verse is excellent too


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Subject: RE: What makes a song REALLY last?
From: Nigel Parsons
Date: 30 Aug 12 - 10:32 AM

What makes a song last?



Performing all the others first.


BOOM - tish!


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Subject: RE: What makes a song REALLY last?
From: Musket
Date: 30 Aug 12 - 11:35 AM

What makes a song last?

Thinking about anything other than songs whilst singing it...

BOOM etc


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Subject: RE: What makes a song REALLY last?
From: s&r
Date: 31 Aug 12 - 05:45 AM

Being called zip e doo doo dah?

Stu


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Subject: RE: What makes a song REALLY last?
From: GUEST
Date: 31 Aug 12 - 05:56 AM

Trying to get back to what I think Al's question to be - I find 'The Prickly Bush' and 'Hunting the Wren' to be songs that go on far too long, primarily because of the repetition ("I think I see my third cousin twice removed on my mother's side coming" ...) but I know plenty of people who think it a great song. On the other hand there are some ballads that are ten to fifteen minutes long which I really like that still have a fair bit of repetition in them ("You shall [do something]" ... "So he [did that something]"). I think the problem is that the songs I don't like are almost all repetition, unlike the ballads where it is more like an emphasis of a part of a quite complex story.


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Subject: RE: What makes a song REALLY last?
From: DMcG
Date: 31 Aug 12 - 05:58 AM

Oops, that was me sans cookie.


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Subject: RE: What makes a song REALLY last?
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 31 Aug 12 - 07:35 AM

Rose·&·Briar belongs to many ballads, and many versions of Barbara Allen do not carry it. Harry Cox hated hearing it sung there. "That come in Lord Lovely. They get mixed up ... that shouldn't come in Barbara Ellen," he vehemently told Bob Thomson and me when we visited him in Nov 1970; "that don't belong in that. They belong in Lord Lovely."

Odd, because in other contexts he was quite well aware of the concept of variants. "Do you know that song?" he asked me after singing a fragment of The Ship Called 'Onward' - his version of The Amphytrite or Rounding The Horn. And on my saying I did, "Well, what's your tune for it then?"

~Michael~


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Subject: RE: What makes a song REALLY last?
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 31 Aug 12 - 07:39 AM

DMcG ~~ Of course, incremental repetition is a vital part of the ballad tradition. Many ballads just would not be the same without it. Maid·Freed/Prickly·Bush depends for its ultimate climax on its incrementally repetitious build-up being varied at the end. Pupils to whom I sang it back in my teaching days would often breathe a collective audible sigh of relief on "Yes, I have brought you gold"!

~M~


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Subject: RE: What makes a song REALLY last?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 31 Aug 12 - 08:18 AM

I once got my guitar group at a school i was doing a supply contract in to sing 100 men went to mow for comic relief. Took about two hours.


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Subject: RE: What makes a song REALLY last?
From: DMcG
Date: 31 Aug 12 - 12:54 PM

Well, yes, MtheGM, that's certainly the case. But I don't think it enough to compensate in Prickly Bush. By verse three, it's obvious there are only two likely endings: the actual one and the 'No, we've waited long enough, off you pop' ending. Verses 4 to tedium for me don't add anything. But, as I said, I'm aware I seem to be have the minority view over that one - if only judged by the number of people who've recorded it.


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Subject: RE: What makes a song REALLY last?
From: Don Firth
Date: 31 Aug 12 - 02:58 PM

I once heard a fairly well-known singer do a long ballad--many verses, which in itself was okay, but in addition, he was a pretty fair guitarist, and he felt impelled to play the entire melody on the guitar between each of the verses! So you got verse-guitar-verse-guitar-verse-guitar-verse-guitar-verse-guitar.....you get the idea.

Interminal! Bo-o-o-oring! And downright tasteless! As good as he is supposed to be, he demonstrated that he didn't really understand how to tell a story, which is what a ballad is.

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: What makes a song REALLY last?
From: Don Firth
Date: 31 Aug 12 - 03:03 PM

On the other hand, on one occasion, a bunch of us got going on "What Shall We Do with a Drunken Sailor?" and once we had exhausted the usual verses, people started making them up. This was fairly easy to do because each verse is only one line repeated, so by the time the rotation gets back to you, you've got one ready to go.

We kept that sucker going for over a half-hour. And the longer we went, the raunchier the verses got!

To bad we didn't get that on tape.

But on second thought, it's probably just as well.

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: What makes a song REALLY last?
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 31 Aug 12 - 06:25 PM

Let's not forget that sometimes it's pure egotism that makes some people sing a long song. They want to be the center of attention for as long as possible. It's normal to want attention, but it can be overdone.

Is your audience looking bored and resentful? Not making eye contact? Are shoulders hunched, do faces look stoney? Do people suddenly need to go to the bathroom? Then it's time to cut out verses 7-16 and get to the end of the song.

I remember one night long ago, when a group of us were singing songs in a Catholic coffeehouse. It was midnight or one o'clock, and we were all getting tired, but didn't want to go to our lonely rooms just yet. A young woman from Chicago (this was in Wisconsin, so naturally she was from Chicago) who was bigger and better dressed than any other female present, stood up, planted her hands on her hips, towered over us and began an interminable version of "St James Infirmary." I wanted to sock her one.

At the time I thought of her as a show-off. Now I think she just a bully.


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Subject: RE: What makes a song REALLY last?
From: Stanron
Date: 01 Sep 12 - 12:22 AM

Cobblers?

Boots of Spanish leather
Walking back to happiness
Sole music in general?


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Subject: RE: What makes a song REALLY last?
From: DMcG
Date: 01 Sep 12 - 02:13 AM

Another personal view here: The repetition on Drunken sailor (and to some extent Hunting the Wren) is tolerable because they are community singing, so the main reason for the repetition is to allow everyone else to join in. Also, since in Don's case a new verse was invented every time, that went a long way to keeping up the interest. So these are not bad songs to join in with.. But it becomes a problem if they are songs to listen to, perhaps on a CD.


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Subject: RE: What makes a song REALLY last?
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 01 Sep 12 - 06:05 AM

I've got a song that'll get on your nerves,
Get on your nerves,
Get on your nerves.
I've got a song that'll get on your nerves,
Get on your nerves.

I've got a song that'll get on your nerves,
Get on your nerves,
Get on your nerves.
I've got a song that'll get on your nerves,
Get on your nerves.

I've got a song that'll get on your nerves,
Get on your nerves,
Get on your nerves.
I've got a song that'll get on your nerves,
Get on your nerves.

I've got a song that'll get on your nerves,
Get on your nerves,
Get on your nerves.
I've got a song that'll get on your nerves,
Get on your nerves.

I've got a song that'll get on your nerves,
Get on your nerves,
Get on your nerves.
I've got a song that'll get on your nerves,
Get on your nerves.

I've got a so...


Ahhhhhgggggghhhhhhhh!

DtG


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Subject: RE: What makes a song REALLY last?
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 01 Sep 12 - 06:45 AM

One must be a bit considerate of one's audience, and of the organisers of the session. At the Crofters club in Cambridge, anyone called up was normally expected to sing two songs. But I once sang a full version of Rosie Anderson, a beautiful song IMO, but loooong. So I just sang that one and then ceded to the next singer. The song went down very well, and the organisers thanked me for having ceased after it and not over-hogged attention by insisting on my full quota.

~M~


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Subject: RE: What makes a song REALLY last?
From: Artful Codger
Date: 01 Sep 12 - 11:09 AM

@ leeneia: I resemble that remark (about collecting every known verse). Though generally my intent is to make the song a more coherent story, or because the tune is too good to be wasted on a three-minute song. If you look at broadside ballads from the 1700s--20 verses was light sailing--, it's clear that ballads served as the television of their day--one hopes, without all the advertising. Sometime I'll have to try singing a long ballad intermixed with commercial jingles, especially if I can figure out appropriate tie-ins: let me see, for "The Ride of Paul Venarez" ("Billy Veniro") I could sing about saddle soap, Western Union, Colt 45 malt liquor and Miracle-Gro (for the flowers on his grave--oops, was that a spoiler?)

What makes a song last is a disgruntled audience member and an Uzi. "They were face down at Folk City." -- The Roches


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Subject: RE: What makes a song REALLY last?
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 01 Sep 12 - 11:15 AM

"Let's not forget that sometimes it's pure egotism that makes some people sing a long song. They want to be the center of attention for as long as possible."

Oh yes! That's so very, very, very, ... very true!

It was me wot complained about shanty singers in another thread - some of them seem to learn every verse that they can find, mainly, I suspect, so that they can "be the center of attention for as long as possible."


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Subject: RE: What makes a song REALLY last?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 01 Sep 12 - 03:06 PM

what was that song they played at Noriega?


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Subject: RE: What makes a song REALLY last?
From: stallion
Date: 01 Sep 12 - 03:09 PM

one guy used to do the local open mike gigs with one song 23 minutes, he has disappeared, I think someone may have stuck his guitar up his ass


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Subject: RE: What makes a song REALLY last?
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 01 Sep 12 - 03:45 PM

Artful, I love your idea of including commercials.

DMG., I agree with you about the community singing.


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Subject: RE: What makes a song REALLY last?
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 02 Sep 12 - 12:31 AM

And remember ~~

You can get anything you don't want
In Alice's restaurant

especially a considerable portion of

American Pie

(So bye-bye)

~M~


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