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British Americana bands

Zimmerman 26 Feb 13 - 07:56 AM
Will Fly 26 Feb 13 - 08:18 AM
Marc Bernier 26 Feb 13 - 11:28 AM
dick greenhaus 26 Feb 13 - 01:34 PM
BanjoRay 26 Feb 13 - 02:23 PM
Richard Bridge 26 Feb 13 - 04:10 PM
BanjoRay 26 Feb 13 - 07:13 PM
Richard Bridge 26 Feb 13 - 10:42 PM
GUEST,FloraG 27 Feb 13 - 03:33 AM
Will Fly 27 Feb 13 - 03:50 AM
Richard Bridge 27 Feb 13 - 04:11 AM
GUEST,Hootenanny 27 Feb 13 - 07:25 AM
Will Fly 27 Feb 13 - 07:34 AM
Richard Bridge 27 Feb 13 - 08:00 AM
Will Fly 27 Feb 13 - 09:17 AM
meself 27 Feb 13 - 09:58 AM
Will Fly 27 Feb 13 - 10:08 AM
Richard Bridge 27 Feb 13 - 10:14 AM
Will Fly 27 Feb 13 - 11:03 AM
GUEST 27 Feb 13 - 11:42 AM
Richard Bridge 27 Feb 13 - 11:59 AM
GUEST,Hootenanny 27 Feb 13 - 12:41 PM
GUEST,Stuart Reed 27 Feb 13 - 01:21 PM
Will Fly 27 Feb 13 - 01:42 PM
Richard Bridge 27 Feb 13 - 03:41 PM
TopcatBanjo 28 Feb 13 - 05:39 AM
GUEST 28 Feb 13 - 07:47 AM
GUEST,Lavengro 28 Feb 13 - 07:49 AM
GUEST,matt milton 28 Feb 13 - 07:54 AM
GUEST,matt milton 28 Feb 13 - 07:59 AM
michaelr 28 Feb 13 - 09:20 AM
GUEST,Lavengro 28 Feb 13 - 10:20 AM
Lonesome EJ 28 Feb 13 - 11:44 PM
Lonesome EJ 01 Mar 13 - 12:12 AM
GUEST 01 Mar 13 - 12:46 AM
GUEST,Ron Gould 01 Mar 13 - 05:19 AM
Will Fly 01 Mar 13 - 05:32 AM
GUEST,Hootenanny 01 Mar 13 - 05:43 AM
GUEST 01 Mar 13 - 06:09 AM
GUEST,Tom Paley 01 Mar 13 - 07:09 AM
GUEST,Hootenanny 01 Mar 13 - 12:14 PM
GUEST,Russ 01 Mar 13 - 02:14 PM
GUEST,Stuart Reed 01 Mar 13 - 04:54 PM
pdq 01 Mar 13 - 07:28 PM
Lonesome EJ 01 Mar 13 - 10:01 PM
GUEST,Hootenanny 02 Mar 13 - 07:00 AM
Lonesome EJ 02 Mar 13 - 08:20 AM
pdq 02 Mar 13 - 11:38 AM
GUEST,Hootenanny 02 Mar 13 - 02:15 PM
GUEST,Russ 02 Mar 13 - 04:00 PM
Janie 02 Mar 13 - 04:21 PM
Janie 02 Mar 13 - 04:46 PM
GUEST,Stuart Reed 02 Mar 13 - 06:57 PM
GUEST,Russ 02 Mar 13 - 09:58 PM
Lonesome EJ 03 Mar 13 - 01:07 PM
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Subject: British Americana bands
From: Zimmerman
Date: 26 Feb 13 - 07:56 AM

As Sussex is my old stamping ground I followed up Stuart Reed's link to the Brighton Acoustic Session and was knocked out by the quality of some of the music he's putting on.

I reckon The Longhill Ramblers would give many American bands a run for their money - high quality musicians with a really authentic sound.

Likewise, Hatful of Rain have some excellent songs, easily on a par with the likes of Gillian Welch etc. Pity I can't make their gig but if they ever venture north I would definitely make the effort to see them

Keep up the good work Stuart!


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Subject: RE: British Americana bands
From: Will Fly
Date: 26 Feb 13 - 08:18 AM

The Longhill Ramblers have an ace guitarist in the shape of Tab Hunter - and the fiddle player, Ben Paley, is the son of legendary Tom Paley, and one of the finest players in that style in the UK. Stuart puts on the very best that he can - and all from Sussex whever possible!


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Subject: RE: British Americana bands
From: Marc Bernier
Date: 26 Feb 13 - 11:28 AM

I saw this thread title and the 1st thing that crossed my mind Was "The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Led Zepplin, etc...


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Subject: RE: British Americana bands
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 26 Feb 13 - 01:34 PM

Rattle on the Stovepipe, featuring Dave Arthur, is a fine example.


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Subject: RE: British Americana bands
From: BanjoRay
Date: 26 Feb 13 - 02:23 PM

The Buffalo Gals is also truly excellent, with great fiddler Kate Lissauer, playing some really good Old Time songs and fiddle tunes.


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Subject: RE: British Americana bands
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 26 Feb 13 - 04:10 PM

Marc, you are way off beam. The Beatles were snigger snogwriters. Virtually no Americana there. LZ redefined rock - it may have been US influenced (in some places US songs) but it was definitely NOT Americana. It was part of the English invasion. Even the Stones who were far more rooted in blues than the other two did NOT reproduce the US sound. They too were part of the English sound.

Incidentally, thanks for the list of bands I won't be going to see.


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Subject: RE: British Americana bands
From: BanjoRay
Date: 26 Feb 13 - 07:13 PM

Your loss, Richard


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Subject: RE: British Americana bands
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 26 Feb 13 - 10:42 PM

Even if I liked Americana (which I mostly don't) why would I want plastic imitations?

Which blues singer was it said "Those white boys want to play the blues so bad. And that's just how they play them: bad"?


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Subject: RE: British Americana bands
From: GUEST,FloraG
Date: 27 Feb 13 - 03:33 AM

Isn't it the same with a lot of english based cajun and irish bands. They play all the right notes in the right order, but ...
Just accept then as good bands in their own right often adding something to the tradition rather than trying to be authentic.
FloraG


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Subject: RE: British Americana bands
From: Will Fly
Date: 27 Feb 13 - 03:50 AM

In many cases it's an artificial distinction. Ben Paley, for example, is Tom Paley's son and has spent a great deal of time living and playing in America. He brings not only the experience of his father's tradition to his music, but his own personal experiences - and he's a hell of a fiddler, playing Irish and Swedish music as well. (Swedish mother).

The blues singer you're fumbling for, Richard, was Sonny Boy Williamson II - real name Rice Miller - who was also a bit of a fake. A lot of very boring, samey harmonica playing (IMO), a lot of showbiz flash, and not a patch on the original Sonny Boy, who was superb. If you don't like old-time string bands, by the way, your loss. The heart of much of the music has its origins in the UK, Ireland and Europe.


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Subject: RE: British Americana bands
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 27 Feb 13 - 04:11 AM

"All the right notes in the right order" is IMHO a statement of faith rather than reality, sometimes, too. Probably not so of the bands praised here.

I can accept Ben Paley's connection to a tradition by inheritance (but am less sure about visitation).

I liked Sonny Boy Williamson II. "Fattening Frogs for Snakes" is a bit of a classic. I'm sure I used to have it without the Animals on it - somewhere.

And no, I don't like old timey or bluegrass. Not even the real stuff.


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Subject: RE: British Americana bands
From: GUEST,Hootenanny
Date: 27 Feb 13 - 07:25 AM

Will,
Sorry but re Ben Paley and his parentage you are incorrect; Father Tom Paley from New York, Mother Claudia from North Carolina NOT Sweden.
I believe Ben was born in England but spent some time in North Carolina where he obtained some of his fiddle playing.

Buffalo Girls is also led by an American; Kate Lissauer and you cannot say that her playing is not the real thing wether she is playing fiddle, banjo or guitar.

Kate and Ben are excellent musicians. Kate playing "Old Timey" and Ben in wahtever style he plays and we are fortunate to have them here. But neither of them play what I think of as Americana.

Richard I know it's all a matter of personal taste but I find it hard to believe that you can like the blues and yet dismiss Sonny Boy (Alec Miller) so lightly. Did you ever see him live?

Hoot


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Subject: RE: British Americana bands
From: Will Fly
Date: 27 Feb 13 - 07:34 AM

Correct Hoot - I'd got that particular Swedish connection wrong, although there is one somewhere. I'll ask him the next time I see him! I just wish he was able to get his book on Swedish tunes reprinted. Whatever - he's a fabulous musician. He and Tab had a regular Wednesday residency at the Snowdrop in Lewes - may still have for all I know, 'cos I haven't been for ages.


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Subject: RE: British Americana bands
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 27 Feb 13 - 08:00 AM

Me? - no, I said I liked Sonny Boy Williamson II. IT was Will who didn't.


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Subject: RE: British Americana bands
From: Will Fly
Date: 27 Feb 13 - 09:17 AM

True, Oh King.

No, I was never really keen on SBW mark II - just personal taste - and, yes, I did see him live. Mind you, he was getting on then and died not long afterwards. He was very scathing about British blues players. The same ones who revered the blues and made him very welcome in this country - as they did all the visiting black blues performers in a way which was generally the opposite of how they were treated in their own country at that time.

All past history and long ago now.


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Subject: RE: British Americana bands
From: meself
Date: 27 Feb 13 - 09:58 AM

Did SBW II have more to say about the young Brit players? I've only ever come across that one quip - which I took as a bit of not-necessarily-unfriendly humour, or, alternatively, as an even more curmudgeonly moment than usual. Curious to know what else he said.


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Subject: RE: British Americana bands
From: Will Fly
Date: 27 Feb 13 - 10:08 AM

I think what the British kids expected from a blues performer was a more rigid, stricter adherence to the format than the players themselves were used to. John Lee Hooker, Sonny Terry, Brownie McGhee, SBW and others had a freer approach to a 12-bar blues, for example, than the Brits. If they felt like playing 13 bars, they played 13 bars - it was, after all, their music!

I suppose it was that difference in approach that might have prompted SBW's remark, though I can't remember what else he did or didn't say at the time.


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Subject: RE: British Americana bands
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 27 Feb 13 - 10:14 AM

Was it Jeff Beck who highlighted that by asking what the right answer was to the questions "How many bars are there in a 12-bar blues" - and suggesting the answer "As many as I want"?


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Subject: RE: British Americana bands
From: Will Fly
Date: 27 Feb 13 - 11:03 AM

It may well have been - and I seem to recall John Lee Hooker saying something to that effect!


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Subject: RE: British Americana bands
From: GUEST
Date: 27 Feb 13 - 11:42 AM

For any British band, Americana is acting. Nothing wrong with that, as long as you remember it's pretend music.


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Subject: RE: British Americana bands
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 27 Feb 13 - 11:59 AM

I'd agree with that (except that I don't like it anyway).


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Subject: RE: British Americana bands
From: GUEST,Hootenanny
Date: 27 Feb 13 - 12:41 PM

Richard;

Please accept my apologies, must re-read a post before shooting off a reply.

Will;
Re Sonny Boy (2) and his remarks on British backing groups. If you were around at the time (and I suspect you were)you would understand it. When he and other bluesmen were coming over in the late 50's early 60's you have to understand that the only way to make it viable was to tour them around the mainly jazz clubs of the time. The club organisers would pay so much for the bluesman and the club would supply a "suitable" backing group many of which had a scant knowledge of the blues. Add to this that several of the blues men would not bother to rehearse the band or only do a cursory run through,Little Walter being a prime example. Hooker was a difficult guy to back up even by other bluesmen but I guess they were more adept at covering up. In those early days too there was a common belief that the blues was normally twelve bars long or sometimes eight.
It was far from ideal but it would have been virtually impossible financially to bring a whole group over to tour the clubs in addition to which the Musicians Unon didn't make it easy. An artist could be brought in as a single performer and register with the Variety Artist's Federation to enable the issuing of a work permit.
In the circumstances it wasn't surprising that there were a few hard words spoken by the visitors BUT they did used to get a month or so of solid work at a reasonable rate of pay which is more than many were getting back home, they did get to record on some occasions also and broadcast and it did allow us to see some of our heroes even though conditions were not always ideal

Hoot (Fortunate enough to have seen them all from Broonzy onward)


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Subject: RE: British Americana bands
From: GUEST,Stuart Reed
Date: 27 Feb 13 - 01:21 PM

Thank you zimmerman and Will for you kind words but, oh dear, poor Richard Bridge is still trapped in Ewan MacColl's Stalinist bunker, with its prescriptive rules about who may sing what.

The Longhill Ramblers may be English but I can't see the objection to them playing Appalachian tunes any more than a Scottish singer performing a ballad from Ireland. As it happens, they do have British songs in their repertoire and these are much refreshed by their American string band line up.

As for for Hatful of Rain's original material, a useful comparison is with Ezra Pound's advice to a youthful T S Eliot to absorb the literary tradition and "make it new." Their songs (Chloe Overton's in particular) are redolent of American folk idioms yet are essentially English.

To describe such bands as "plastic imitations" is to do them a disservice - and in this context we would do well to remember that, according to Peggy Seeger, MacColl's early repertoire included Sixteen Tons and that some of his own songs strayed a long way from the templates of traditional music.


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Subject: RE: British Americana bands
From: Will Fly
Date: 27 Feb 13 - 01:42 PM

I remember it all well, Hoot! And what you say is very accurate. I do recall very complimentary remarks from most of the bluesmen about their reception in the UK - read "White Bicycles" by Joe Boyd, who organised one of the tours, for his take on it - and that's why SBWs remarks seemed so churlish.


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Subject: RE: British Americana bands
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 27 Feb 13 - 03:41 PM

It depends what you mean by "can". I do not proscribe, but am of the view that the difference can be heard. I did realise, long ago, that although was then very keen on the blues, I could not do it justice. And even if I could I would still be a cuckoo in the nest.

An example of the ghastly problem, recently, when I let beer and enthusiasm overcome caution (and it's not even proper blues, more sort of blues-new country!) can be found here

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sjjkRvNWm4s


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Subject: RE: British Americana bands
From: TopcatBanjo
Date: 28 Feb 13 - 05:39 AM

@Richard Bridge
Well. No wonder you're bitter and snide about Brits playing American music if that's your contribution. I know that you get your kicks out of trolling on here, but just once, it would be nice to read a discussion on Mudcat about Americana/bluegrass/old time strands of music without some people weighing in with negativity when they're not even interested in these genres.

I also don't buy this "you can't sing/play it if you're not American" bullshit at all. You either can or can't sing with conviction, and if you are immersed in the music and can sing well, you can put over that music well. For me personally (English with Irish heritage) the American forms of traditional music just appeal to me far more; I just find the songs and tunes more appealing. I do like some English, Irish and Scottish folk music, but not as much. Bluegrass is also such a participative tradition in the small BG and OT community in the UK. A huge proportion of festival goers play and sing (much more than at the average folk festival in my experience) - and the standard of musicianship tends to be much higher.I have come to singing and playing through bluegrass and I'm privileged to know dozens of superb singers and musicians who play really high quality music across the continuum of bluegrass, old time and Americana.

I very much agree with the original post and with Stuart's post above. Hatful of Rain are excellent and I am so impressed with how they have matured over the last few years and with Chloe's singing and songwriting. Jaywalkers are also a band that could perhaps be described as Americana, and are doing great things right now.


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Subject: RE: British Americana bands
From: GUEST
Date: 28 Feb 13 - 07:47 AM

@TopcatBanjo

Hi Topcat,

Have to agree with the essence of your post. Must be honest I haven't really understood a lot of viewpoints expressed in this thread? It seems that some are suggesting that we should only play music that is directly ethnically attributable to our DNA? To me this is nonsense. Music is an emotional thing and if something speaks to you, it speaks to you regardless of its and your origins. If music from the foothills of Nepal resonates with you and you are from New Jersey or Norfolk who is to say you are not allowed to play it; or that you are a fraud for doing so. Don't get me wrong if you have a Brit playing Americana and for his/her patter between songs they adopt a fakey southern drawl I would fold up laughing! Sincerity and honesty in music is paramount to me personally.

A good example of someone (IMO) striking a balance is CW Stoneking. An Aussie doing depression era style blues, sounding vocally like the illegitimate offspring of Leadbelly; complete with a string of fabricated stories of his time in the US working in voodoo shops in New Orleans etc. But as soon as he speaks it's all "G'day folks". So he is writing and playing music he loves, and playing it to an appreciative audience who are not being misled. Where's the harm? What should he be playing? Presumably a didgeridoo? Or does he go back to his European ancestry? How far back? What are the rules? Who makes them up?

I am a Welsh Romani and don't care a bit who plays Gypsy music or how well or badly they do it. As long as they don't attempt to pass themselves off as a Gypsy that is fine.

People have strong interests in other cultures (look at how many western practitioners there are of eastern martial arts) and I believe that is ultimately a good thing, as any increase in cross cultural understanding can only benefit us all.

For some reason every time I convert a link to a blue clicky the entire post disappears, so it is for that reason and not laziness that I haven't converted the following. I hope both sides of the debate enjoy it!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-6S7agOnOTE&playnext=1&list=PLgbqskevMdr3xsGliyl7EgkeQLrQ58n0s&feature=results_video


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Subject: RE: British Americana bands
From: GUEST,Lavengro
Date: 28 Feb 13 - 07:49 AM

Above post by Lavengro. Oops.


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Subject: RE: British Americana bands
From: GUEST,matt milton
Date: 28 Feb 13 - 07:54 AM

"For any British band, Americana is acting. Nothing wrong with that, as long as you remember it's pretend music."

All music is pretend music, in a sense.

For me, Duke Garwood is the most interesting blues musician in the world right now. He so happens to be white and probably middle-class South Londoner. Note: I say "most interesting", not the "most authentic": I imagine most blues purists wouldn't even consider what he does to be blues. But, for me, he has the most in common with Skip James, Robert Pete Williams, early John Lee Hooker in spirit and vibe and cussedness.


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Subject: RE: British Americana bands
From: GUEST,matt milton
Date: 28 Feb 13 - 07:59 AM

Anyway, when it comes to instrumental music, it'd be pretty difficult to distinguish between a young non-American act who'd learned all their chops from listening to old records and a young American act who'd learned all their chops from listening to old records.

And face it, in 2013, old records/the internet is mostly where their classic old-time influences will have come from.

I'd rather listen to a british americana act who'd learned from old Fiddlin John Carson albums than, say, an American act who'd learned from mainstream country radio. The point being everyone has access to everything now, so where you're from isn't so crucial to your musical development. America's a big country, so it's not like all American americana acts are getting their music direct from the source anyway!


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Subject: RE: British Americana bands
From: michaelr
Date: 28 Feb 13 - 09:20 AM

There is no such thing as "pretend music".


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Subject: RE: British Americana bands
From: GUEST,Lavengro
Date: 28 Feb 13 - 10:20 AM

Guitar Hero® ?

:)


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Subject: RE: British Americana bands
From: Lonesome EJ
Date: 28 Feb 13 - 11:44 PM

Redlands Palomino Company from the sagebrush hills of Croydon. If they're pretending , I'm ok with it.


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Subject: RE: British Americana bands
From: Lonesome EJ
Date: 01 Mar 13 - 12:12 AM

Mansion on the Hill


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Subject: RE: British Americana bands
From: GUEST
Date: 01 Mar 13 - 12:46 AM

Ahhh, the only truly Americana songwriter was Blaze Foley. They didn't call him the Duct Tape Messiah for nothing. Compared to him Townes Van Zant was a privileged, prep school pris who wanted to be funked out for a week. Just do a youtube search of ol' Blaze and either you'll get it or you wont. Ray Wiley Hubbard's pretty good, too.


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Subject: RE: British Americana bands
From: GUEST,Ron Gould
Date: 01 Mar 13 - 05:19 AM

Re Ben Paley
Son of Tom Paley and the traditional singer, Claudia Paley (now and for the last 45 years Gould and born in Washington D.C.)

Ben did not learn any music from Tom until he was at least 18.
Ben has lived with me and his mother from the day of his birth, until he left to go to University.
His first fiddle teacher when he was 6 was Maisie Hipperson, a school dinner lady.
AS a very young child Ben was surrounded by music in our house, both live and recorded.
We went to North Carolina in 1972 and 1974 when Ben and I played on local radio.
We actually lived in Morganton N.C. from 1976 to 1979, I was able to get him lessons from the wonderful Nashville session man, Jim Buchanan.
On return to England Ben extended his playing skills, rehearsing with friends of mine such as Diz Disley, Simon Prager and Pete Stanley.

We have lots of family in the US and visit as often as we can

He has a Swedish connection because Tom and Claudia lived there for a couple of years and we have many friends there.
I do agree that it would be nice to re-issue the Swedish book.

Ben's Irish stuff comes in the main from his wife's Irish family (Sam is a fine fiddle player herself)

The link is continuing through their children Isaac and Joy. Look out for them.

There, that's off my chest.
Still if the legend is that Ben learned everything from his folk playing father and nothing from his folk, blues and jazz playing step-fater, then of course print the legend.


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Subject: RE: British Americana bands
From: Will Fly
Date: 01 Mar 13 - 05:32 AM

Thanks for making all that clear, Ron - and no insult intended to you if incorrect info was posted here. The point that I was trying to make was that, in spite of the nay-sayers here about British Americana players being "not the real thing", Ben - and others of his ilk - are immersed in that tradition, in many ways.

Ben plays with Tom regularly and has mentioned, in casual conversation with me, that he visits Tom and plays through his collection of fiddles. No "legend" or otherwise intended - just the sort of gossip that gets passed around, and none of it really meaningful at the time.

I love Ben's music and it annoys me to see wonderful musicians like him being dismissed out of hand.


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Subject: RE: British Americana bands
From: GUEST,Hootenanny
Date: 01 Mar 13 - 05:43 AM

Good to hear from you Ron putting us all right on Ben's musical lineage/heritage. He is a great fiddle player no argument about that.

From one who can still remember the days at 10 Rathbone Place and    still has the albums on his shelves.

Hoot. P.S. The Black Horse is now a burger bar!


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Subject: RE: British Americana bands
From: GUEST
Date: 01 Mar 13 - 06:09 AM

Peggy Seeger claimed that it was the Singers' Club Committee that decided that people should only perform songs from their own tradition ( the curse of the Stalinist committee ).......
...as my wife is from Long Island, and I am from Guernsey, are we then only allowed to perform songs from Islands in the Atlantic ? LOL
Actually we do everything from Americana, to her own songs, to ITM ( I'm 1/8th Irish, and 1/8th Scots too, and my Scots/Irish grandma was born in Barbados, so West Indian too ! ) !


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Subject: RE: British Americana bands
From: GUEST,Tom Paley
Date: 01 Mar 13 - 07:09 AM

Ron Gould makes a couple of mistakes:
Until Ben was about 14 or 15 months old, he lived with Claudia and ME (not RON). Ron and his (then) wife shared the same flat, but that's not quite the same thing as Ben 'living with Ron and Claudia'.
A far more important mistake is Ron's claim that "Ben did not learn any music from Tom until he was at least 18."! Actually, I had a great deal of contact with Ben after Claudia left me and we played a lot of music together and even went on trips to Sweden together.

Tom Paley


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Subject: RE: British Americana bands
From: GUEST,Hootenanny
Date: 01 Mar 13 - 12:14 PM

Guest two posts above:

Despite Peggy's claim, this was a policy that Ewan brought into play before the Singer's Club existed. He and Peggy were still appearing at the Ballads & Blues Club from which they departed to form the Singer's Club. I have mentioned this before when this claim has been made. I usually quote the time when Lisa Turner got up to sing or play an American number and Ewan made quite clear his policy (we didn't have a committee). Lisa quite politely refused. Ewan and Peggy went off to form the Singer's Club where I understand the policy continued.

I wonder if Ewan complained when a song written by an Englishman from Lancashire "The First Time Ever" was recorded by an American girl singer? (Roberta Flack?)Me thinks possibly not.

Hoot


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Subject: RE: British Americana bands
From: GUEST,Russ
Date: 01 Mar 13 - 02:14 PM

These sorts of discussions have confused me for years.
I try to ignore them, but sometimes I am weak.

I'm a yank and I think I can be properly classified as a traditional musician whatever your definition.

I am familiar with the terms "old time" and "old timey"
My understanding is that they were invented by record companies back in the day to label a new bin for records that didn't fit into the existing bins.
Sort of like "World Music"

But now it seems I've been playing americana all my life and didn't even know it.

I've been seeing the word for a few years now but in my experience it is a relative newcomer. I don't remember it from back in the day.

A number of participants in this discussion have used the term.

So, what's it mean?

What am I being called?

Russ (Permanent GUEST)


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Subject: RE: British Americana bands
From: GUEST,Stuart Reed
Date: 01 Mar 13 - 04:54 PM

Russ, it would interesting to us on this side of the Atlantic to get your opinion of an English band like The Longhill Ramblers playing American songs. Listen to them
here


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Subject: RE: British Americana bands
From: pdq
Date: 01 Mar 13 - 07:28 PM

I have heard recent claims that Americana was firtst tried by KFAT, a tiny FM station in central California.

Although basically a Country station, they might play Hank Williams, Leo Kottke, Carl Perkins, Kate Wolf, the Grateful Dead, Merle Haggard followed by Gabby Pahinui doing "Hawaiian Cowboy" and Utah Phillips doing "Moose Turd Pie".

You always knew that a bunch long-haired hippies were in there spinning the discs.

The station made little money and lasted from 1975-83, but re-broadcasts can be found on the KPIG website.

I first heard of "Ramblin' Jack" Elliot, Utah Phillips, Mary McCaslin, Jill Crosston* and a few others by way of KFAT.

No, I think Old Time (aka Old-Timey) means about the same as it did when the New Lost City Ramblers were doing it.

*now known as Lacy J. Dalton


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Subject: RE: British Americana bands
From: Lonesome EJ
Date: 01 Mar 13 - 10:01 PM

Americana is American roots music including such diverse genres as old time fiddle music, Appalachian mountain music, Bluegrass, Country and western, Blues, American Folk music,cajun and Zydeco and derivatives of these genres that incorporate this root music in combinations which may even include jazz and rock n roll.Such music is primarily of an acoustic nature.
Much of Americana may have its root in Celtic, British, and African music, although they are not Americana in their pure forms.Shady Grove is Americana, Matty Groves most assuredly is not.
The hybrid nature of Americana reflects the melting pot nature of American culture, and retains much of its primitivity, filtered through a lens of 21st Century life, and is characterized by a universal authenticity of feeling,and a plainness of speaking. It can also be quite poetic in a frank and honest way.


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Subject: RE: British Americana bands
From: GUEST,Hootenanny
Date: 02 Mar 13 - 07:00 AM

The above posting bears out my feeling that as far as music is concerned the term "Americana" is totally meaningless, it is as useless a description as saying American music. Two titles are quoted one is described as "Americana" the other "most assuredly not". Bullshit! It ain't what you do, it's the way that you do it.
The origin of the song/tune makes no difference.
"Americana in their pure forms" ???????? Which pure form of Matty Groves were you around to hear and when was that?

Hoot


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Subject: RE: British Americana bands
From: Lonesome EJ
Date: 02 Mar 13 - 08:20 AM

Well, I'm sure you're the authority on Bullshit, so your opinion carries some real weight, buddy.


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Subject: RE: British Americana bands
From: pdq
Date: 02 Mar 13 - 11:38 AM

Americana is a radio station format that allows the playing of a wide a variety of "roots" music, hopefully excluding (C)rap, Classical and various forms of Pop (Sinatra, et al).

Record stores and night clubs can use the same standards to appeal to specific customers and patrons.

By using the term "Americana group" you will probably waste a lot of time looking for something that does not exist.


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Subject: RE: British Americana bands
From: GUEST,Hootenanny
Date: 02 Mar 13 - 02:15 PM

E.J,

Thanks for the compliment, there is a lot of it about but you didn't answer my question.

Hoot


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Subject: RE: British Americana bands
From: GUEST,Russ
Date: 02 Mar 13 - 04:00 PM

Lonesome EJ,
The definition certainly covers a lot of territory.
If it proves useful in some situations, more power to it.

Stuart Reed,
Thanks for the link.
I listened to all 7 tracks and really enjoyed the experience.
The group did an excellent job and produced a quality product.
That said, I would not buy the CD because it is not the sort of thing I am interested in these days.

All comments below are strictly an expression of my personal preferences.

As for the Americana thing...
In a blind tasting, the female singer's accent would give them away.
They don't come across to my ears as brits trying to sound like yanks
They sound like themselves.

Mostly they sound young.
At my age I think of then as "kids"

I notice that the genre is listed as "folk".
I think that is accurate.
They are definitely towards the "folkie" end of the spectrum.
But they share that with a lot of young groups in the states.
Every generation seems to rediscover and reinvent traditional music and turn it into "folk" music.
I used to use "folk music" pejoratively but not any more.
I think it is a natural phase in the rediscovery and repurposing and even regifting of traditional music.

I did experience some deja vue all over again.
My wife was singing the same arrangement of Frankie and Johnny in 1962.
Even the black and white photo of the band took me back.

A lot of young fiddlers tend to sound a bit generic to my ears.
They have technique to burn and they never hesitate to demonstrate it.
Before you know it, the fiddling has moved into the realm of "classically trained violinist plays fiddle music."
It's OK, but does not push my buttons.

The singing is technically accomplished, the voices are pleasant, and the harmonies are beautiful.
A bit too beautiful.
Moving from 2 to 3 parts is a change of a full order of magnitude and, IMHO, aesthetically much harder than it looks.
Been there.
It is too easy to slip into the realm of barbershop harmony.
Barbershop harmony is definitely Americana, but not my cup of tea.
They ended up doing what I think of as a sort of "church" harmony.
I tend to think of that as "English" when used in this kind of music.
(The preceding has been left purposefully vague)

To get a bit specific about the individual selections

When bacon was scarce (Maggie Hammons called it "Bob Porters old gun")
It is a silly little fun song and the arrangement was a bit ponderous.

Molly Bond
Nice version
It sounds like an English version to my yank ears.
I like the versions that include a court appearance by the deceased.

Hop rabbit hop
Great little song.
Excellent old time fiddle and banjo
They nailed it.

The southern girl's reply
I have a friend from VA who sings this.
When she sings it, she means it.
As a yank in both senses, I would never presume to sing it.
Gladly, the unforgivable sin was NOT committed - faking an American accent.
I can imagine a Scot singing it and meaning it, post Culloden.

Likes liquor better than me
Beautifully done.
The banjo playing is a bit generic but pleasant
I really liked the hesitation waltz thingy.

Russ (Permanent GUEST)


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Subject: RE: British Americana bands
From: Janie
Date: 02 Mar 13 - 04:21 PM

What Russ said.


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Subject: RE: British Americana bands
From: Janie
Date: 02 Mar 13 - 04:46 PM

While I agree with Hoot's observations to a certain extent, the same observation can be made with respect to labeling music as folk music. Labels have their usefulness as long as one also accepts the limitations of labels.

I'm remembering my first FSGW Getaway. I wandered into what I was told was an old time jam, expecting it to be mostly old time string band. Since I knew I was amongst, for the first time, a lot of folks from the mid-Atlantic and New England areas I was anticipating hearing some real differences from Appalachian string band music. It was, instead, old time country, lots of Carter Family material and mostly a song circle rather than a stringband jam. Enjoyed it thoroughly. It just wasn't what I expected.


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Subject: RE: British Americana bands
From: GUEST,Stuart Reed
Date: 02 Mar 13 - 06:57 PM

Thanks for taking the time out Russ - always good to get feedback from across the pond,


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Subject: RE: British Americana bands
From: GUEST,Russ
Date: 02 Mar 13 - 09:58 PM

You're welcome, Stuart.

Russ (Permanent GUEST)


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Subject: RE: British Americana bands
From: Lonesome EJ
Date: 03 Mar 13 - 01:07 PM

Yes, Americana is a broad term. So are the following: Blues, Jazz, Bluegrass, Classical, Polka, and Jug Band Music of the 1920s. It is sometimes easier to determine what does NOT belong in a classification than to clearly define what does. Some genre's of music are by nature more specific than others. Because the term Americana has been broadly applied to a wide range of American music, that doesn't render it meaningless. Traditional English music is also a very broad term, but when you mention it, I know your aren't speaking of New Orleans jazz.
As for Matty Groves, no one including guest, Hootenanny has any idea of its original melodic structure. It is quite likely that the melody known as Shady Grove was later applied to it due to the similarity in name, and the fact that the words fit rhythmically. There are some appalchian versions that use much of the story structure, so it was probably an inappropriate example for me to use as something that doesn't fit into the scope of Americana .


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