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Who invented Folk Clubs UK

Les in Chorlton 15 Aug 13 - 06:10 AM
GUEST 15 Aug 13 - 08:00 AM
GUEST,Blandiver 15 Aug 13 - 08:19 AM
The Sandman 15 Aug 13 - 08:28 AM
Dave the Gnome 15 Aug 13 - 08:36 AM
GUEST,Henry Piper of Ottery. 15 Aug 13 - 11:54 AM
GUEST,Geoff the Duck 15 Aug 13 - 12:43 PM
GUEST,Geoff the Duck 15 Aug 13 - 12:51 PM
Jim Carroll 15 Aug 13 - 01:10 PM
GUEST,Frank Lee 15 Aug 13 - 06:18 PM
MGM·Lion 16 Aug 13 - 01:47 AM
GUEST,iain 16 Aug 13 - 01:54 AM
MGM·Lion 16 Aug 13 - 02:00 AM
r.padgett 16 Aug 13 - 02:59 AM
OldNicKilby 16 Aug 13 - 04:59 AM
MGM·Lion 16 Aug 13 - 05:20 AM
Will Fly 16 Aug 13 - 09:23 AM
GUEST,Henry Piper of Ottery 16 Aug 13 - 05:49 PM
GUEST,Hootenanny 16 Aug 13 - 06:32 PM
GUEST,enfield/swindon Pete 17 Aug 13 - 03:01 AM
Jim Carroll 17 Aug 13 - 03:28 AM
Les in Chorlton 17 Aug 13 - 03:58 AM
Jim Carroll 17 Aug 13 - 07:15 AM
MGM·Lion 17 Aug 13 - 11:22 AM
Jim Carroll 17 Aug 13 - 12:25 PM
MGM·Lion 17 Aug 13 - 01:26 PM
GUEST,Hootenanny 17 Aug 13 - 02:23 PM
GUEST,Henry Piper Of Ottery 17 Aug 13 - 03:35 PM
The Sandman 17 Aug 13 - 04:52 PM
GUEST, 17 Aug 13 - 09:27 PM
Little Robyn 18 Aug 13 - 01:23 AM
GUEST,Hootenanny 18 Aug 13 - 05:12 AM
Les in Chorlton 18 Aug 13 - 02:24 PM
MGM·Lion 18 Aug 13 - 03:20 PM
GUEST,Raggytash 19 Aug 13 - 12:00 PM
MGM·Lion 19 Aug 13 - 12:37 PM
Les in Chorlton 22 Aug 13 - 03:22 AM
GUEST,Evan johnson 22 Aug 13 - 08:48 AM
GUEST,GUEST,Terry Masterson 29 Nov 13 - 10:44 AM
GUEST 30 Nov 13 - 10:04 AM
MGM·Lion 30 Nov 13 - 10:15 AM
Jim Carroll 30 Nov 13 - 10:54 AM
Jim Carroll 30 Nov 13 - 11:03 AM
Dave Hanson 30 Nov 13 - 02:46 PM
RoyH (Burl) 30 Nov 13 - 03:40 PM
Big Al Whittle 30 Nov 13 - 07:25 PM
GUEST,Derek Schofield 01 Dec 13 - 01:03 PM
Jim Carroll 01 Dec 13 - 01:12 PM
GUEST,Hootenanny 02 Dec 13 - 05:11 AM
Les in Chorlton 02 Dec 13 - 05:22 AM
GUEST,Hootenanny 02 Dec 13 - 06:12 AM
Jim Carroll 02 Dec 13 - 07:06 AM
Les in Chorlton 02 Dec 13 - 08:05 AM
GUEST,Hootenanny 02 Dec 13 - 09:09 AM
Jim Carroll 02 Dec 13 - 09:43 AM
Big Al Whittle 02 Dec 13 - 11:44 AM
Les in Chorlton 02 Dec 13 - 12:28 PM
Jim Carroll 02 Dec 13 - 01:33 PM
Vic Smith 02 Dec 13 - 01:54 PM
Jim Carroll 02 Dec 13 - 02:06 PM
Les in Chorlton 02 Dec 13 - 02:50 PM
The Sandman 02 Dec 13 - 03:48 PM
Big Al Whittle 02 Dec 13 - 07:59 PM
Jim Carroll 03 Dec 13 - 04:09 AM
Mr Red 03 Dec 13 - 04:55 AM
Les in Chorlton 03 Dec 13 - 05:09 AM
Jim Carroll 03 Dec 13 - 05:17 AM
Les in Chorlton 03 Dec 13 - 05:23 AM
Jim Carroll 03 Dec 13 - 05:36 AM
GUEST 03 Dec 13 - 09:15 AM
GUEST 03 Dec 13 - 09:17 AM
Les in Chorlton 03 Dec 13 - 11:49 AM
Big Al Whittle 03 Dec 13 - 04:39 PM
GUEST 03 Dec 13 - 07:36 PM
GUEST,roderick warner 03 Dec 13 - 08:13 PM
Jim Carroll 04 Dec 13 - 03:45 AM
GUEST,Terry Masterson 15 Dec 13 - 12:04 PM
Les in Chorlton 15 Dec 13 - 12:28 PM
Big Al Whittle 15 Dec 13 - 10:55 PM
Jim Carroll 16 Dec 13 - 04:13 AM
GUEST 16 Dec 13 - 05:09 AM
Big Al Whittle 16 Dec 13 - 05:52 AM
Les in Chorlton 16 Dec 13 - 06:08 AM
Jim Carroll 16 Dec 13 - 06:23 AM
Dave Hanson 16 Dec 13 - 06:34 AM
TheSnail 16 Dec 13 - 06:42 AM
Howard Jones 16 Dec 13 - 06:47 AM
Jim Carroll 16 Dec 13 - 08:21 AM
GUEST,johncharles 16 Dec 13 - 08:47 AM
Big Al Whittle 16 Dec 13 - 09:55 AM
Jim Carroll 16 Dec 13 - 11:00 AM
Les in Chorlton 16 Dec 13 - 11:19 AM
GUEST 16 Dec 13 - 12:33 PM
MGM·Lion 16 Dec 13 - 02:12 PM
MGM·Lion 16 Dec 13 - 02:28 PM
TheSnail 16 Dec 13 - 04:14 PM
TheSnail 16 Dec 13 - 05:07 PM
GUEST,johncharles 16 Dec 13 - 06:48 PM
Big Al Whittle 16 Dec 13 - 07:23 PM
Big Al Whittle 16 Dec 13 - 08:10 PM
Les in Chorlton 17 Dec 13 - 03:49 AM
MGM·Lion 17 Dec 13 - 04:09 AM
MGM·Lion 17 Dec 13 - 04:10 AM
johncharles 17 Dec 13 - 04:11 AM
Howard Jones 17 Dec 13 - 04:40 AM
TheSnail 17 Dec 13 - 05:56 AM
Jim Carroll 17 Dec 13 - 06:00 AM
MGM·Lion 17 Dec 13 - 06:14 AM
Les in Chorlton 17 Dec 13 - 08:54 AM
Big Al Whittle 17 Dec 13 - 01:58 PM
Les in Chorlton 17 Dec 13 - 02:36 PM
MGM·Lion 17 Dec 13 - 02:57 PM
Jim Carroll 17 Dec 13 - 03:01 PM
Jim Carroll 17 Dec 13 - 03:01 PM
Big Al Whittle 17 Dec 13 - 04:38 PM
Valmai Goodyear 17 Dec 13 - 04:48 PM
TheSnail 17 Dec 13 - 05:23 PM
Big Al Whittle 17 Dec 13 - 05:54 PM
Big Al Whittle 17 Dec 13 - 07:22 PM
SunrayFC 17 Dec 13 - 08:56 PM
Bob Bolton 17 Dec 13 - 09:49 PM
Big Al Whittle 18 Dec 13 - 02:37 AM
Jim Carroll 18 Dec 13 - 03:37 AM
johncharles 18 Dec 13 - 03:57 AM
rosma 18 Dec 13 - 04:36 AM
Les in Chorlton 18 Dec 13 - 05:21 AM
Jim Carroll 18 Dec 13 - 08:47 AM
Big Al Whittle 18 Dec 13 - 10:09 AM
Jim Carroll 18 Dec 13 - 10:22 AM
The Sandman 18 Dec 13 - 11:10 AM
SunrayFC 18 Dec 13 - 12:59 PM
MGM·Lion 18 Dec 13 - 01:13 PM
Jim Carroll 18 Dec 13 - 01:18 PM
Les in Chorlton 18 Dec 13 - 01:26 PM
rosma 18 Dec 13 - 02:13 PM
Howard Jones 18 Dec 13 - 02:29 PM
rosma 18 Dec 13 - 03:24 PM
Jim Carroll 18 Dec 13 - 03:27 PM
Big Al Whittle 18 Dec 13 - 05:25 PM
The Sandman 18 Dec 13 - 07:49 PM
SunrayFC 18 Dec 13 - 10:25 PM
Dave Sutherland 19 Dec 13 - 03:31 AM
Jim Carroll 19 Dec 13 - 03:31 AM
Howard Jones 19 Dec 13 - 04:08 AM
GUEST 19 Dec 13 - 04:30 AM
Jim Carroll 19 Dec 13 - 04:31 AM
GUEST 19 Dec 13 - 04:35 AM
MGM·Lion 19 Dec 13 - 04:48 AM
The Sandman 19 Dec 13 - 07:29 AM
The Sandman 19 Dec 13 - 08:11 AM
Les in Chorlton 19 Dec 13 - 08:20 AM
Jim Carroll 19 Dec 13 - 08:40 AM
Jim Carroll 19 Dec 13 - 09:12 AM
The Sandman 19 Dec 13 - 12:24 PM
Big Al Whittle 20 Dec 13 - 12:34 AM
Les in Chorlton 20 Dec 13 - 04:06 AM
The Sandman 20 Dec 13 - 04:56 AM
johncharles 20 Dec 13 - 05:02 AM
Les in Chorlton 20 Dec 13 - 05:10 AM
johncharles 20 Dec 13 - 05:28 AM
Dave the Gnome 20 Dec 13 - 06:14 AM
Big Al Whittle 20 Dec 13 - 06:16 AM
MGM·Lion 20 Dec 13 - 06:43 AM
Les in Chorlton 20 Dec 13 - 10:39 AM
Big Al Whittle 20 Dec 13 - 11:11 AM
Les in Chorlton 20 Dec 13 - 11:41 AM
GUEST 20 Dec 13 - 12:14 PM
Big Al Whittle 20 Dec 13 - 02:54 PM
Les in Chorlton 21 Dec 13 - 05:49 AM
The Sandman 21 Dec 13 - 06:28 AM
Big Al Whittle 21 Dec 13 - 07:53 AM
The Sandman 21 Dec 13 - 09:27 AM
Jim Carroll 21 Dec 13 - 09:29 AM
Big Al Whittle 21 Dec 13 - 12:55 PM
Jim Carroll 21 Dec 13 - 01:19 PM
Les in Chorlton 21 Dec 13 - 02:21 PM
MGM·Lion 21 Dec 13 - 02:27 PM
The Sandman 21 Dec 13 - 03:13 PM
Big Al Whittle 21 Dec 13 - 03:34 PM
The Sandman 23 Dec 13 - 08:36 AM
MGM·Lion 23 Dec 13 - 08:43 AM
Jim Carroll 23 Dec 13 - 08:47 AM
Les in Chorlton 23 Dec 13 - 09:54 AM
Jim Carroll 23 Dec 13 - 11:18 AM
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Subject: Folklore: Who invented Folk Clubs UK
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 15 Aug 13 - 06:10 AM

Whilst the EFDSS help to create branches (?) of Dance Clubs across England from the 1930s (?) onwards, who invented Folk Clubs in the sense of small gatherings, usually in rooms above pubs, where people sang folk songs?


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Who invented Folk Clubs UK
From: GUEST
Date: 15 Aug 13 - 08:00 AM

'Who invented Folk Clubs UK'

Reginald 'Reggie' Cholmondley from Tonbridge Wells.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Who invented Folk Clubs UK
From: GUEST,Blandiver
Date: 15 Aug 13 - 08:19 AM

It wasn't so much an invention as a spontaneous borrowing from other types of religion, though modelled (obviously) on those who were of the more where-two-or-three-are-gathered-together-in-my-name persuasion but who still favoured a modicum of public worship in the name of a (theoretically) open door policy than of those who were moved to architecture.

Whilst there was no One Person who invented them, each Folk Club tends to favour an Autocratic Leadership, benign or otherwise, who can make or break a session depending on their mood.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Who invented Folk Clubs UK
From: The Sandman
Date: 15 Aug 13 - 08:28 AM

in my opinion the network of folk clubs were set up in the uk by people IN THE 1950S most of whom had left wing political beliefs, some of these organisers from the 1960s are still running folk clubs, and I feel we are greatly indebted to them


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Who invented Folk Clubs UK
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 15 Aug 13 - 08:36 AM

It was me. I admit it was my fault. I am also responsible for beards, Aran sweaters and pewter tankards.

After 40 years of marriage I have come to the conclusion it is easier to take the blame for everything...;-)

Cheers

DtG


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Who invented Folk Clubs UK
From: GUEST,Henry Piper of Ottery.
Date: 15 Aug 13 - 11:54 AM

There were a whole spate of Jazz clubs set up in similar environments (ie Pubs) in the mid to late 1940's,to enable enthusiast to meet and share live music in congenial company.
One of the earliest and most famous was at the Red Barn at Barnehurst in Kent, where George Webbs Dixielanders featuring Humphrey Lyttleton, played for some years. The Red Barn is often credited with being the home of the "Trad" jazz revival in Britain. I suspect that with the growth of interest in Folk Music in the'50s enthusiasts where looking for a similar environment to share their chosen music, and naturally gravitated to similar venues.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Who invented Folk Clubs UK
From: GUEST,Geoff the Duck
Date: 15 Aug 13 - 12:43 PM

Les
Unfortunately many of the people who were directly involved are no longer with us.
This link may give you a starting point for where to ask questions or what questions to ask.
History of the Topic Folk Club, Bradford - 1956 to present day.
Quack!
GtD.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Who invented Folk Clubs UK
From: GUEST,Geoff the Duck
Date: 15 Aug 13 - 12:51 PM

The description given of Jazz Clubs is definitely similar to what I have heard described of the early days of the Topic. Members originally listened to recordings of names such as Big Bill Broonzy, then as time went on, some learned guitar and started singing the same sort of stuff. Others discovered more local songs and worked on those.
Quack!
GtD.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Who invented Folk Clubs UK
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 15 Aug 13 - 01:10 PM

Numerous claims - among the the earliest were the concerts at The Theatre Royal, Stratford with MacColl, Lomax and others which later became The Ballads and Blues (MacColl again, Isla Cameron, Fitzroy Coleman and occasionally Joe Heaney Bert Lloyd and Seamus Ennis (among others)
Have poor quality snippet of a radio programme somewhere on this.
The Topic Folk Club (Bradford?) is also an early claimant.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Who invented Folk Clubs UK
From: GUEST,Frank Lee
Date: 15 Aug 13 - 06:18 PM

FWIW Newcastle's Bridge folk club, mentioned in the Topic website, founded in 1958 certainly hasn't been in the same venue since the start. It was started by Louis Killen and Johnny Handle at The Barras Bridge in the Haymarket, then moved to the Liberal Club in Pilgrim Street before moving to the Bridge Hotel, around 1961 I think, where it has remained to date.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Who invented Folk Clubs UK
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 16 Aug 13 - 01:47 AM

Several years earlier than the Bridge & the Topic, tho, there were the 'skiffle' clubs ~~ a sort of jazzy/folky genre which involved impro'd household implements like washboard played with thimbles for the percussive element & bass made from a teachest & string ~~ see the very informative Wikipdedia article on "Skiffle". It is hard always to follow directly as to 'what grew out of which?'; but there is surely no doubt that the origins of the folk club as we know it were intimately bound up with the brief but influential 'skiffle' craze of the early-mid 50s ~~ many who liked folk were interested by the skiffle phenomenon, & folk songs might well be heard during the 'open' part of a skiffle evening.
Note particularly the following from wiki --
A large number of British musicians began their careers playing skiffle in this period, and some became leading figures in their respective fields. These included leading Northern Irish musician Van Morrison and British blues pioneer Alexis Korner, as well as Ronnie Wood, Alex Harvey and Mick Jagger; folk musicians Martin Carthy, John Renbourn and Ashley Hutchings; rock musicians Roger Daltrey, Jimmy Page, Ritchie Blackmore, Robin Trower and David Gilmour; and popular beat-music successes Graham Nash and Allan Clarke of The Hollies. Most notably, The Beatles evolved from John Lennon's skiffle group The Quarrymen.

~M~


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Who invented Folk Clubs UK
From: GUEST,iain
Date: 16 Aug 13 - 01:54 AM

Dereck Sargeant started a club in Kent in 1956 before moving to Surbiton Assembly rooms in the early 60's. This ran for 16 years.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Who invented Folk Clubs UK
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 16 Aug 13 - 02:00 AM

I should perhaps have made above the important point that skiffle in this country grew out of jazz; in particular the habit of Ken Colyer's jazz band of taking occasional breaks which would be filled by the banjo player, one Lonnie Donegan, bringing on a couple of friends with washboard & string bass to provide an entertainment he had become interested in called 'skiffle'...


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Who invented Folk Clubs UK
From: r.padgett
Date: 16 Aug 13 - 02:59 AM

Yes I concur with all said above! if it matters

Tommy Steele and early coffee bars, public houses and the traditional singers of Walter Pardon, Fred Jordan ilk etc

Jazz and American influence,Sonny Terry and Brownie McGee pivotal Lonnie Donegan and Wallie Whyton Bert Weedon, TV and Joe Brown

Post War and Cold War and Communism, somewhere were people made own entertainment and met convivially ~ Social History an awareness/performance poetry

Topic and Leeds Grove (both still active!!)

Barnsley Local Authority leaned more toward "popular" entertainment using Folk Music and the early creation of professional folk entertainers and musicians [Dave Burland for example]

Scottish/Irish/Welsh music, empowerment of the working classes!!

I won't bother with the book

Ray


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Who invented Folk Clubs UK
From: OldNicKilby
Date: 16 Aug 13 - 04:59 AM

I have the minutes and the programmes for a "Folk Club" that was operating in Leicester in 1933 to 1937, it may have lasted longer. It seemed to be the Brain Child of Eric Swift. There was a constitution and of course a committee. I found the documents when I bought Eric's library of Folk Books at an auction. I think that Doc Rowe has other evidence of early clubs


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Who invented Folk Clubs UK
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 16 Aug 13 - 05:20 AM

Earlier than any of the London 1950s clubs so far named were the St Lawrence of Cambridge University, founded about 1952 by Rory McEwen, Stan Bootle [Kelly], Leon Rosselson, Joe Miller, et al. I think the Oxford equivalent [the Heritage, I think it was called], of which Tony Rose & June Tabor were members, was going at about the same time.

~M~


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Who invented Folk Clubs UK
From: Will Fly
Date: 16 Aug 13 - 09:23 AM

Some of the folk clubs - like the Lancaster Folk Stir I used to go to in the mid-1960s - started off as folk dance societies dedicated purely to folk dance. They then morphed into folk dance and song and, eventually, lost the dance element completely. I can still remember the main organiser - Mrs. Gladys Parkinson - who seemed to me to be always slightly bemused by the singing that went on!

Not all went through that change in precisely the same way, but Lancaster was a typical example of its kind.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Who invented Folk Clubs UK
From: GUEST,Henry Piper of Ottery
Date: 16 Aug 13 - 05:49 PM

MtheGM.
Lonnie Donnegan, was the Banjo player with Chris Barbers Band, this band also featured a "Skiffle" Group, with Chris, playing the Double bass instead of his usual Trombone.
Ken Colyers Skiffle group featured Ken himself I believe on Guitar and Vocals.
Certainly the Skiffle Boom was a Bridging Point between jazz and Folk in the mid to late 50's


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Who invented Folk Clubs UK
From: GUEST,Hootenanny
Date: 16 Aug 13 - 06:32 PM

Henry Piper,
Chris Barber formed a co-operative band and when Ken Colyer came back from New Orleans they asked him to be their trumpet player. Lonnie Donegan was the banjo player. I believe this was the line-up that recorded "Isle of Capri" under Ken Colyer's name. I can't be sure if the skiffle group happened while Ken was part of this group and whether Ken was part of it but when he was later voted out by the co-operative (he didn't approve of the rhythn section)and formed his own band he also had a skiffle intermission on his shows when he put down his trumpet and picked up the guitar, Johnny Bastable played banjo and Mandolin.


Hoot


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Who invented Folk Clubs UK
From: GUEST,enfield/swindon Pete
Date: 17 Aug 13 - 03:01 AM

Do not forget Ted and Ivy Poole setting up Swindon Traditional Folksingers Club in 1960. Still going strong as they are too.

Cheers Pete


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Who invented Folk Clubs UK
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 17 Aug 13 - 03:28 AM

Seems fairly obvious that a serious and unbiased history of the revival is very much needed - anyone with five minutes on their hands?
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Who invented Folk Clubs UK
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 17 Aug 13 - 03:58 AM

Good point - I believe Jim Carrol is just the man to do it!


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Who invented Folk Clubs UK
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 17 Aug 13 - 07:15 AM

Nah - too old and biased - having too much trouble remembering.... now what was the question again?
MtheGM would get my vote
There have been plenty of bits and pieces to sift through and choose from on threads like these with a mass of stuff I had no idea was out there.
Heard a nice lecture by Peta Webb some time ago on Topic Records, and one on the radio on the same theme entitled 'Little Red Label' (utterly spoiled by agenda, in my opinion, but still...)
Folk Britannia had stacks of information, somewhat drowned out by the sound of axe-grinding in places.
Ian Watson's 'Song and Democratic Culture in Britain has a great deal to be drawn from.
Fred Woods's pot-boiler 'Folk Revival' is a pleasant enough read, but has too many 'spot-the-not-really-deliberate' mistakes to make it any more than that.
I really hoped that Dave Harker's 'One for the Money' was really going to help push the boat out, but sadly, it didn't.
Mike Brocken's efforts - best passed over maybe.
All of these have valuable information, experiences and opinions to be drawn from, but don't, in my opinion, come anywhere near being complete and often in need of verification.
Don't know Bill Leader's, Mike Yates's or Dave Bland's situation nowadays but all are wells of information to be drawn from.
Hootenanny has given us much information on the earliest days.... the list is endless.
I have always thought that if a sufficiently open mind could be found, the job really wouldn't be that difficult - time-consuming maybe, but certainly not impossible - what are you doing next week Les?
Now where's me pills?
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Who invented Folk Clubs UK
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 17 Aug 13 - 11:22 AM

Much appreciated, Jim. But don't think I could raise that sort of energy these days. Or, probably , live long enough to complete such a project. I am 81 years & 97 days old today.

~M~

Do you know a poem by George Oppen, American poet, 1908-1984?:-

Old Age

What a strange thing to happen

To a little boy 


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Who invented Folk Clubs UK
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 17 Aug 13 - 12:25 PM

Shame.
Happy 81/97 Michael
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Who invented Folk Clubs UK
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 17 Aug 13 - 01:26 PM

And a Happy Unbirthday right back to you, Jim...


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Who invented Folk Clubs UK
From: GUEST,Hootenanny
Date: 17 Aug 13 - 02:23 PM

Here is a clip on You Tube. Malcolm Taylor of the Vaughan Williams Memorial Library hosting a group of people from the early days discussing the beginnings of the clubs in London. You might find it of interest

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FhJYUuqgoNk&feature=youtu.be


Hoot


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Who invented Folk Clubs UK
From: GUEST,Henry Piper Of Ottery
Date: 17 Aug 13 - 03:35 PM

Hootenanny,
You are of course Correct, I had forgotten the Colyer/Barber joint Effort. 'As I recall Colyer didn't like the rhythm section, finding them unsympathetic to his purist New Orleans Philosophy, and attempted to sack them, but was himself fired by Barber and the rest of the band, to be replaced by Pat Halcox


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Who invented Folk Clubs UK
From: The Sandman
Date: 17 Aug 13 - 04:52 PM

hootenay, thanks,
as i said people like ewan and bert with strong political beliefs, andpeop;le like tedand ivy poole and others have kept it going


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Who invented Folk Clubs UK
From: GUEST,
Date: 17 Aug 13 - 09:27 PM

You can read all about the jazz/ blues / skiffle > folk interface of the late '40s onwards through the '50s in Pete Frame's excellent book The Restless Generation. It's a shame that people like Eric Winter and John Hasted from that era are no longer with us, but apparently Eric donated his considerable archive to Folk Roots.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Who invented Folk Clubs UK
From: Little Robyn
Date: 18 Aug 13 - 01:23 AM

One of the first places that offered folk music in NZ was The Monde Marie in Wellington.
Visiting folkies were usually taken there after their concerts. People like William Clausen, Judy Collins, Theodore Bikel etc were all important 'guests' at Mary's coffee bar, from the late 50s until the early 70s.
Robyn


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Who invented Folk Clubs UK
From: GUEST,Hootenanny
Date: 18 Aug 13 - 05:12 AM

Not an expert on New Zealand folk clubs but one of the regulars at the Ballads and Blues Club in the early 60's was Curly Simon. He also started a late Saturday night club downstairs at The Student Prince in Soho. It was a convenient place to go after the Ballads and Blues club finished for the evening. Curly went to live in New Zealand and opened the Poles Apart Folk Club. I know that people such as Pete Stanley and Malcolm Price went over to play there, maybe others have more knowledge.

Hoot


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Who invented Folk Clubs UK
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 18 Aug 13 - 02:24 PM

Thanks to all so far. seems like the roots of the venue - upstairs or backrooms of pubs is based in the Trad Jazz and Skiffle boom of the 50s. Skiffle was certainly the way in for many of us Baby Boomers.

Also explains the massive presence of guitar players and American Songs right from the start. No other particular reason why the guitar should be used so much to accompany English Folk Songs.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Who invented Folk Clubs UK
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 18 Aug 13 - 03:20 PM

Not sure about that ~~ see Oliver Goldsmith's The Vicar Of Wakefield, 1766; in which the eponymous clergyman's daughter frequently sings to her own guitar accompaniment. Thread 3 or so years ago on Guitar in folksong, iirc.

~M~


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Who invented Folk Clubs UK
From: GUEST,Raggytash
Date: 19 Aug 13 - 12:00 PM

My money is on Sir Patrick Spens in a valiant and reasonably successful endeavour to achieve immortality.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Who invented Folk Clubs UK
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 19 Aug 13 - 12:37 PM

The thread I ref'd 2 posts back was called

"History of British Folk Guitar"

& ran from January to November 2010

~M~


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Who invented Folk Clubs UK
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 22 Aug 13 - 03:22 AM

Anybody back from a fest and have a view on this?


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Who invented Folk Clubs UK
From: GUEST,Evan johnson
Date: 22 Aug 13 - 08:48 AM

I came home on leave from the navy in 1957 and found my eldest brother Theo was running Bunjies Folk Club in the cellar of a coffee house in Litchfield, Street London.
Dave Waite, and Roger Evans were part of the group called the Whalers.
I taught them many of the songs I had heard as a child and ended up as a Folk singer in 1959 when I cam ashore.
I became resident at Bunjies two nights a week, One with Terry Masterson and the other with Tony Mcarthy.

THere were folk clubs springing up all over and almost 200 in the Greater London area. Many of them were listed in the Melody Maker so an old copy might help.
I worked with many great singer including Alex Campbell, Diz Disley, Jonny Silvo, Sandy Denny, Tom Paxton, Jackson C Frank, and many others.

They were great times and I still include the odd folk rendition when playing gigs today.
I also worked extensively in Scotland, North East and Yorkshire.


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Subject: RE: Who invented Folk Clubs UK
From: GUEST,GUEST,Terry Masterson
Date: 29 Nov 13 - 10:44 AM

Hi Evan,

Have to pick you up on that one! I took over from you at Bungies, as your brother Theo said you were going off diving - in Cyprus, if my memory serves me correctly - and for a short while was resident with Tony McCarthy (forgotten about that till you jogged my memory) until he was replaced by Ron Simmonds. I played on Monday nights for a couple of years (I think) before going down to help run clubs on the south coast from 1964 onwards, when Scotsman Jack Whyte wrote to tell me Brighton was "wide open for folk music!", as he put it. Wonderful days! The audiences were so enthusiastic.

The first folk club I ever sang in was on Eel Pie Island, Twickenham, run by American Sandy Paton, back in the '50s when I was at art school.

Talking about Ron Simmonds, I ran into him in Spain just last week. Hadn't seen him for over 40 years and he's just as cheeky as ever!


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Subject: RE: Who invented Folk Clubs UK
From: GUEST
Date: 30 Nov 13 - 10:04 AM

I think it was Bob Dylan who invented UK folk clubs.


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Subject: RE: Who invented Folk Clubs UK
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 30 Nov 13 - 10:15 AM

Terry: I used to sing at Eel Pie Island also, & was a friend of Sandy's while he was here in late-50s. Are you the young man who sang Irish songs, who turned up on my recommendation at one of the Cecil Sharp House monthly Sunday afternoon sessions which I happened to be chairing and sang "Are you there, Moriarty?"?

~Michael~


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Who invented Folk Clubs UK
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 30 Nov 13 - 10:54 AM

Ballads and Blues was established in 1954 - MacColl, Bert Lloyd and others participated in a concert to raise money for setting it up.
A couple of years earlier there were Sunday singarounds at the Theatre Royal Stratford (East London. which included MacColl, Lloyd and Alan Lomax.
Circa 1952 seems to be the front runner for a starting date.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Who invented Folk Clubs UK
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 30 Nov 13 - 11:03 AM

"....Bob Dylan who invented UK folk clubs."
Which would make Bob Dylan about 11 - advanced for his age
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Who invented Folk Clubs UK
From: Dave Hanson
Date: 30 Nov 13 - 02:46 PM

He was very precocious, his first song was about Brigitte Bardot.

Dave H


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Subject: RE: Who invented Folk Clubs UK
From: RoyH (Burl)
Date: 30 Nov 13 - 03:40 PM

Wharever happened to Tony McCarthy? I remember him from around 1960/1/2. He played the concertina. He was an activist for CND, and was part of the setup at Sanity' magazine. I haven't heard of him in years, until this thread that is.


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Subject: RE: Who invented Folk Clubs UK
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 30 Nov 13 - 07:25 PM

its an odd business, Jim. I suppose you're right about MacColl being the first.
however what we call folk clubs - you say aren't really what folk music is about. so perhaps what he invented wasn't what we call folk clubs.


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Subject: RE: Who invented Folk Clubs UK
From: GUEST,Derek Schofield
Date: 01 Dec 13 - 01:03 PM

The EFDSS was running a folk (song) club in Cecil Sharp House in about 1949 - I am not at home at the moment so don't have the exact date to hand. There was also a Birmingham Folk Song Club from about 1949 / 1950, and also the club in Cambridge juat about the same time (see earlier message from Michael GM). All these pre-dated the MacColl initiatives, although the latter perhaps had the larger impact on how the rest of England (especially London) developed.
Derek


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Subject: RE: Who invented Folk Clubs UK
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 01 Dec 13 - 01:12 PM

"What he invented wasn't what we call folk clubs."
Who's "we" Al - it's a word that's been doing the rounds since 1836
It would be far to contentious and a waste of time to ask hat you call "folk" - haven't had any takers so far.
Would be fascinated to know what happened at the early EFDSS clubs Derek - Sharp had folk 'gatherings' - but I don't know anybody who ever really counted them as 'folk cluubs'.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Who invented Folk Clubs UK
From: GUEST,Hootenanny
Date: 02 Dec 13 - 05:11 AM

Jim Carroll,

Re your posting 13th August. Somebody must have taken 5 minutes or possibly more. We can expect the results within a few months.

Can't tell you more at the moment.

Hoot


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Subject: RE: Who invented Folk Clubs UK
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 02 Dec 13 - 05:22 AM

Ok Folks as the OP herabouts let me restate something or other. By the mid 1960's Folk Clubs could be found all over the UK. Generally, in or above pubs, they would meet regularly, have some residents who started the evening, guests who did a couple of 30 minute spots, floor singers, a charge to get in, a raffle and an audience many / some of which would be regulars.

Oh, and people sang 'folk songs' - no, no lets leave that alone for now.

Where ever we went around the country we could find one and know what the routine was.

By the 1970s thousands of these clubs existed. The evolved into other things - Singers Clubs, Sessions, dance clubs and events, concerts & festivals.

Amazing really.


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Subject: RE: Who invented Folk Clubs UK
From: GUEST,Hootenanny
Date: 02 Dec 13 - 06:12 AM

And a book is in the offing.

Hoot


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Subject: RE: Who invented Folk Clubs UK
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 02 Dec 13 - 07:06 AM

"Re your posting 13th August. Somebody must have taken 5 minutes or possibly more."
Assume you mean 17th August.
Can't wait.
I know Fred Woods and Mike Brocken had shots at writing a history of the revival.
Fred threw his hands up and fessed up that he'd made a hames of it - I found Brocken's efforts depressingly unsatisfactory.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Who invented Folk Clubs UK
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 02 Dec 13 - 08:05 AM

The Second Revival, as we sometimes call it, was quite a phenomenom. I guess some people feel it destroyed any concensus of what a 'Folk Song' might be with a tsunami, or maybe just a big wave, of neo-pop songs, singer-songwriters, Americana and singing comedians.

But the folk clubs really did bring something or other of old songs and tunes to a much wider public then the collectors of the First Revival - although clearly that legacy was central to the Second Revival.

So what is the legacy of the Second Revival? Quite a bit I think - not least thousands and thousands of people who sang, played, danced, mummered and son on and thousands and thousands of songs and tunes etc.

Thanks you Folk Clubs


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Subject: RE: Who invented Folk Clubs UK
From: GUEST,Hootenanny
Date: 02 Dec 13 - 09:09 AM

Jim Yes,
My apologies, blame it on lack of sleep.

Hoot


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Subject: RE: Who invented Folk Clubs UK
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 02 Dec 13 - 09:43 AM

"The Second Revival, as we sometimes call it, was quite a phenomenom."
Absolutely
To say it changed many of our lives would be an understatement.
"I guess some people feel it destroyed any concensus of what a 'Folk Song' might be with a tsunami, or maybe just a big wave, of neo-pop songs, singer-songwriters, Americana and singing comedians."
Right again Les - it took away our choice of what we wanted to hear - if I wanted to listen to Elvis or Buddy Holly wannabes I could go to my local talent night (used to be a wonderful one half way along the Stretford Road) - nowadays I'm more likely to find the same and similar in anywhere that adverstises itself as a "folk club"
It really isn't a matter of "definition", "purism", "folk-policing"... or any of the other garbage substituted for argument - it's simply a matter of what you expect to find from what you read on the label.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Who invented Folk Clubs UK
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 02 Dec 13 - 11:44 AM

It really isn't a matter of "definition", "purism", "folk-policing or any of the other garbage substituted for argument - it's simply a matter of what you expect to find from what you read on the label.

true enough - but theres more of us than you and we like sigue sigue sputnik and frank sinatra in our folk clubs.


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Subject: RE: Who invented Folk Clubs UK
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 02 Dec 13 - 12:28 PM

Ok BAW,

"but theres more of us than you"

How do you know?


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Subject: RE: Who invented Folk Clubs UK
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 02 Dec 13 - 01:33 PM

" but theres more of us than you and we like sigue sigue sputnik and frank sinatra in our folk clubs."
There might well be, but only because thousands of us pissed off leaving you with the thriving and healthy position you now find yourself in
And you still haven't told us what your particular brand of 'folk music' is - and does it include Elvis wannabes - just so as we can tell if there really are more of you than us..
Wish you'd make up your mind whether you want to be recognised as a bully or a clown - you don't appear to be good at either.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Who invented Folk Clubs UK
From: Vic Smith
Date: 02 Dec 13 - 01:54 PM

I first became involved in running folk clubs with my college folk club in 1963 - 50 years ago.

I married Tina in 1966 and within a few weeks we were running a weekly folk club; we still run a folk club 47 years later with virtually no breaks. Can anyone beat our record for longevity?


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Subject: RE: Who invented Folk Clubs UK
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 02 Dec 13 - 02:06 PM

Doubt it Vic - though Ted and Ivy must be close runners
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Who invented Folk Clubs UK
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 02 Dec 13 - 02:50 PM

I think all live music is a generally good thing. If people want to sing anything whatsoever, then they should - and I wish them the best of luck.

But if it's called a folk night and most of the songs have be written in the last 20 or even 50 years I will feel I have been misiled.

Yes I know people have written fantastic songs in the last 20 or 50 years and some of them have passed into the current oral tradition ie the folkies like em and sing em but I don't want to hear people sing pop songs - with odd exceptions.

We are not narrow minded or musical biggots we just know what we like and we can read. So when the flyer or weby says folk we have a reasonable expectation that ....................


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Subject: RE: Who invented Folk Clubs UK
From: The Sandman
Date: 02 Dec 13 - 03:48 PM

perhaps it was a lot of different people, much like the process of traditional songs changing shape.


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Subject: RE: Who invented Folk Clubs UK
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 02 Dec 13 - 07:59 PM

not a clown or a bully. just proposing that the nature of folk music is decided by folk.

and if Elvis speaks to them more than Ewan....well that's the role model they will base their own self expression on.

to my certain knowledge the eccentricities of the traddy crowd have closed more folk clubs than the occasional care in the community elvis wannabe.

but really that's an irrelevance. society changes, and the folk club survives only if it does change. charismatic leaders emerge every few years and redefine the folk club to answer a society's need.

what were the needs of the 1950's folk club customers - to escape from the stifling values of the time, a little taste of the bohemian lifestyle, to protest about the bomb. attempts to turn the folk clubs into a museum for putrefying traditions were at best ill considered.

Today I sang in a Weymouth church, a song I wrote last week. celebrating the life of folksinger Al Kendrick. The place was packed. I've had people coming up to me all day thanking me for my contribution but I wrote directly for the people who knew Al -not in some ossified tradition.

folkmusic - like tears are for the living.


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Subject: RE: Who invented Folk Clubs UK
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 03 Dec 13 - 04:09 AM

Yes it is Al - but not a minute number of clubs who have decided that they have no interest whatever in folk as it has been always understood, has a definition and i fully documented and archived as a specific type of music.
The vast majority of 'The Folk' have no interest in folk music in any shape, form or definition - we have totally failed to involve them in any way.
If any club is going to decide to change that definition they have to say what it has been changed to, they have to give the reasons why it has changed and they have to gain some sort of a consensus - if that doesn't happen the term becomes meaningless and we cease to anybody ese
This is what has happened in the 'anything goes' clubs.
Pop music, jazz, classics - whatever, is not folk music in any shape or form - not better or worse, just different.
I gave up "words mean what I want them to mean" when I stopped reading Alice in Wonderland.
If you are drawing audiences into folk clubs and not giving them folk music you are conning them and you are nausing it up for those of us who have some idea of what it is.
By the way - you are not in the majority, as you claim - you have no consensus, no definition, no history, no documented evidence, no archived examples and no credibility - we have
You are dispirit groups who can't even reach a consensus among yourselves other than "words mean what I want them to mean" - and you've managed to do an enormous amount of damage to an extremely important music.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Who invented Folk Clubs UK
From: Mr Red
Date: 03 Dec 13 - 04:55 AM

like the usage of the word bodhran, it received wide currency in the 50's but the concept was known before then. Though the actual description of the word may have eluded folklorists in the Victorian era.
Hootenannies date from the 40's, ceilidh (in its literal translation) is much older than that. And I don't doubt the C# would have met in a suitable establishment, alcoholical or not, before they built C# house. And songs would have been sung for the enjoyment as well as for the erudition. And like SAR these days, discussion would be part of that.

What strikes me quite often is that people's idea of what is very old has a cutoff date around the youth of their parents or grandparents (depeding on their exposure to memories from those antecedents). Earlier than that is considered very very old (especially if it is Folk) ie maybe 100+ years. Speaking from personal experience - revelations about a song's (ie) provenance can be surprising after having "assumed".


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Subject: RE: Who invented Folk Clubs UK
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 03 Dec 13 - 05:09 AM

Well, whatever folk music is it is currently in quite good shape. The level of musicianship and quality of performance above the semi pro and pro individuals and bands is very high. The number and quality of festivals is excellent.

I don't really know, but suspect that the number of dance bands and dancing events is higher than for a longtime. Border Morris is all over the place and guess other schools of 'dancin' are also on the up.

Collections of dance tunes from 18/19C sources are getting published and the RVWM Library is putting all that stuff on line hence The Full English and a whole lot more.Current performers are still going back to 19/20C collections and 20C source singers as well as the legacy of the Second Revival.

The old songs tunes and dances are just good to listen and to be involved in. Most of this is Third Revival (?) no maybe not, but most of this activity comes from people who know, love and enjoy old songs and tunes. They work well in small acoustic spaces, small and large halls and even big festivals.

If people want to have nights dominated by Elvis, Buddy and todays charts - great get on with it.

Best wishes


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Subject: RE: Who invented Folk Clubs UK
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 03 Dec 13 - 05:17 AM

"If people want to have nights dominated by Elvis, Buddy and todays charts - great get on with it."
Could't agree more - but don't call it what it aint
And try telling the copyright holders that it''s in the public domain (which folk music is by law) and see how far it gets you.
Terms like "folk music" don't "change", (certainly not at the whims of groups of individuals who can't bother there arses to keep the rest of us up to speed as to what they've changed into) - these meanings EVOLVE with common usage and added information - neither applies to Elvis or Buddy wannabes
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Who invented Folk Clubs UK
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 03 Dec 13 - 05:23 AM

Open mike seems to do the job quite well for events when people sing pretty well anything. Xlnt - They also use mikes which most folk clubs don't


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Subject: RE: Who invented Folk Clubs UK
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 03 Dec 13 - 05:36 AM

Apologies to all who are allergic to discussion on definitons - they're fairly inevitable on a forum such as this, I would have thought - and I didn't start it.
"so perhaps what he invented wasn't what we call folk clubs."
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Who invented Folk Clubs UK
From: GUEST
Date: 03 Dec 13 - 09:15 AM

There are several threads missing here: firstly, like it or not, the National Song Book laid a foundation in Schools which the early clubs drew on. Secondly, both Wales and Northumberland had local community performance traditions which never broke: in Northumberland, the practice of visiting around the farms in the evening, as it was a major exercise to get into town for the cinema. In Wales, the Hwyl Nos and Gymanfa Canu traditions, often based around the Rugby Clubs, which went far beyond the hymns and arias. Maddy Prior's first steps, for example, were taken in a Methodist Church youth group in Kilburn. I was taught maypole dancing in school in the 1960s by one of the "heritage" dancers passing on the family tradition.
Therefore, yes, if you want to focus tightly on the Clubs themselves, you have to go back the jazz/skiffle. But they drew on older roots sown by RVW and CS and their circle in the 1920s, performed in the Church Fayre processions and the like.


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Subject: RE: Who invented Folk Clubs UK
From: GUEST
Date: 03 Dec 13 - 09:17 AM

Oh, I forgot to add another section to the list of unbroken traditions: the Sheffield Carols around the pubs at this time of year.


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Subject: RE: Who invented Folk Clubs UK
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 03 Dec 13 - 11:49 AM

Thanks Guest, good points and for many of us the oral tradition of brownies, guides, cubs and scouts.

Does anybody have a reasonable estimate of the number of folk clubs active in about 1972?


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Subject: RE: Who invented Folk Clubs UK
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 03 Dec 13 - 04:39 PM

everything is in flux in our society. everything changes very fast. language reflects that.

institutions change too. I think I would agree that traditional music has an importance i'm just not really sure what the nature of that importance is. to scholars and historians certainly. to musicians and composers looking for inspiration an tecdhniques. the archives are there - how can they be damaged?

if the idea was originally to preserve and present traditional singers only. you have to face facts, Jim.

your idea has been hijacked by a group of people hungry for self expression and charismatic performers who have forged a means of expression more accessible than poetry or the drama of Samuel Beckett. I don't think you should disparage this or rail against it. you have been part of a great artistic movement, be proud!

history writes itself. we cannot choose our role in the cast.


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Subject: RE: Who invented Folk Clubs UK
From: GUEST
Date: 03 Dec 13 - 07:36 PM

1972, probably more than there are now.

What is its place now? Partially, keeping good songs alive. In this, there can be a case for the performance of songs which returned from overseas, which is why Cecil Sharp went to Appalachia. Also, because it's the music of the people, not something forced on them by some industrial combine. A tension has existed between the people and their bosses since forever, which became particularly pointed after the collapse of feudalism c1500. Why is nobody targeting the modern bosses, energy companies, banks, tax abusers, the NHS? Has feudalism returned?


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Subject: RE: Who invented Folk Clubs UK
From: GUEST,roderick warner
Date: 03 Dec 13 - 08:13 PM

'Why is nobody targeting the modern bosses, energy companies, banks, tax abusers, the NHS? Has feudalism returned?'

If/when people do target them musically - they will hardly do so within forms that are irrelevant in this century, surely? If they want an audience... which they will surely not acquire within dying formats like 'folk clubs?' A load old old people singing to old people in forms they think are 'folky' aren't going to hack it. Surely? Things move on... too fast for some, perhaps... Kumbayah, y'all...


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Subject: RE: Who invented Folk Clubs UK
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 04 Dec 13 - 03:45 AM

"everything is in flux in our society. everything changes very fast. language reflects that.
"
What happens at your 'folk' club does not represent "society" only what happens in your club - you have no impact whatever in the outside world ad how the rest of us choose to communicate with one another.
If you want to communicate outside your particular bubble you use the language we all do
If I needed to find out what folk song was (assuming I hadn't spent half a century actively working at it, organising folk clubs, singing folk songs, lecturing and writing about it - and most of al, spending three decades collecting it from people who are part of a long chain that reaches back centuries in passing on the songs) - I would simply reach for one of the hundreds of books labelled "folk songs".
If all this no longer applies or if it has changed in any way - tell me what it has become - you and your buddies are awfully shy in passing on your secret - it seems to range from "what I choose to call it", through "what happens at our club" to "it doesn't have any definition".
C'mon Al - give us a clue - show us yours!!!
By the way - one clown suggested that we have to abandon the term "traditional" as the Buddy Holly/Elvis wannabes are "traditional now because they change a few words.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Who invented Folk Clubs UK
From: GUEST,Terry Masterson
Date: 15 Dec 13 - 12:04 PM

To MtheGM :"Are you the young man who sang Irish songs who turned up on my recommendation at one of the Cecil Sharp House monthly sessions.....and sang "Are you there Moriarity?"?"

Well, Michael, I have no recollection of that particular Cecil Sharp House session, but it sounds likely as I know noone else who sings "Moriarity". It was a long time ago but if I met you at Eel Pie Island I'm sure it's true. You'll have to remind of your name, although the old grey cells are not what they used to be.
Sandy Paton was very encouraging to me - recommended I listen to Margaret Barry, etc. I saw her at the Bedford in Camden Town and eventually booked her at my club in Lewes, Sussex. My last contact with Sandy was in the States round about 1969/70.


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Subject: RE: Who invented Folk Clubs UK
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 15 Dec 13 - 12:28 PM

Anybody up for a stab at how many clubs existed in the mid 1970s?


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Subject: RE: Who invented Folk Clubs UK
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 15 Dec 13 - 10:55 PM

four hundred and ninety six - but were they all real folk clubs, featuring nothing but real folk music. or were they pesky buddy holly wannabes. define your terms if you want me and jim to take you seriously.

Me an Jim have decided to reclassify everybody - if you're not a real folk, your licence to run a folk club will be revoked. anyone who seems to be influenced by fly by night operators like Elvis Presley and Buddy Holly will face excommunication.


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Subject: RE: Who invented Folk Clubs UK
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 16 Dec 13 - 04:13 AM

"Me an Jim have decided to reclassify everybody"
When will you get it into your head that what you have done is to de-classify the term so that we no longer know what we are going to be given when we turn up at a 'folk' club - that's why so many of us went somewhere else for what we wanted.
Where's your description - or is it just "what we choose to give you"?
If we can't get to (or can't be bothered to) turn up at your particular club, where is it we can find out exactly what you do?
Is it documented at all.
We've got the literature - we've got the history - you want to hear what we do - listen to 'Voice of the People' or 'Folk Songs of Britain' - or the output of Veteran, or 'Greentrax' or 'The School of Scottish Studies' or the 'Musical Traditions' output.
You want to read about it try 'The Greig Duncan Collection' or 'The Penguin Book of Folk Songs' or just work your way down The Roud Index or the 'Kist o' Riches' or The Irish Traditional Music Archive' website - all available at the flick of a finger.
Where's yours?
Us and ours have been around since at least 1899 in solid, definable form - where have you been all my life - where are you now - where is your consensus, or has 'folk' come to mean "Magical Mystery Tour"?
You may have re-classified what you mean but don't involve anybody else until you can tell us what the new classification is.
C'mon Al - give us a clue - and stop sniping.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Who invented Folk Clubs UK
From: GUEST
Date: 16 Dec 13 - 05:09 AM

Taffy Thomas. He also invented beards, dominoes, stories and jokes. And escapology. It's as likely as the inane ramblings of Al Whittle - wonder what part of him is 'Big' ?


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Subject: RE: Who invented Folk Clubs UK
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 16 Dec 13 - 05:52 AM

tummy -guest.

Inane, I may be but my observations don't ramble. They tend to be very much to the point.

My point is the same as always. Jim and a few anal types may have codifies what they regard as folk music. However the actual folk of England (including the early Ewan Macoll) express themselves very differently due to the fact they no longer live in isolation. THey are influenced by all sorts of music. They have moved on and voted with their feet. And I don't think anyone has the right to resent this.

(I am thinking of the jazz clarinet of Bruce Turner on Dirty Old Town. Don't think Ewan was writing about New Orleans.)


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Subject: RE: Who invented Folk Clubs UK
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 16 Dec 13 - 06:08 AM

Look Al, I can see you just like having a laugh - nothing wrong with that obviously but if somebody calls an event folk or a folk club I wont be happy if when I get there people are playing jazz.

This is not a judgement about anything other than calling a dog a dog.

That's it really. Loads of us know more or less what we define as folk its a minorty interest, but we like it. We don't want to be misslead by people singing - for instance pop songs all night - as good as they may or may not be and an interesting interpretation is sometimes welcome.

I am genuinely surprised that you haven't quoted that deeply meaningful "All music is folk I never heard a horse sing" - but you can if you like.

Best wishes


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Subject: RE: Who invented Folk Clubs UK
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 16 Dec 13 - 06:23 AM

Still no references of what we'll find at your club - read a lesson into that Al
Irish traditional music is flourishing, particularly among young people - the reason - it never abandoned its base; people who came to the music had masses of examples to draw from - all recognisable as traditional.
It will survidve for at least another two generations because of this fact.
People coming into the music for the first time can do what they want with it - and they do, but they have a model to hold up and say - "this is what we are and this is what we do".
The last time I was in an English folk club I was nearly blinded by the glare of bald heads and grey hair - same old tiny number of faces as those that were there last time I visited it twenty years ago.
You don't even have a reference point, no definition, no literature, no archived examples - just evasive waffle.
You have failed totally to involve the world outside your little bubble, and it's them who ring the changes and evolve the language to redefine definitions, not the little band who turn up at the Boggart Hole Clough 'Folk' club, or whoever and wherever you are.
Stay with your Alice in Wonderland of "words mean what I want them to mean - and I'm not telling you what that is" if you want, but don't accuse me of re-classifying anything.
By the way - Ewan MacColl didn't "write" folk songs and he always made a point of emphasising that fact - he sang fold songs, and introduced many of us to them, but his own creations were just that - his compositions, largely, but not exclusively based on folk styes.
One thing you were guaranteed of when you came away from one of his performances was an earful of folk songs - not a Buddy Holly wannabe in sight t.b.t.g. - I could get that at my local pub session most weeks.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Who invented Folk Clubs UK
From: Dave Hanson
Date: 16 Dec 13 - 06:34 AM

Ewan once said he didn't consider himself a ' songwriter ' he just made some stuff up.

Dave H


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Subject: RE: Who invented Folk Clubs UK
From: TheSnail
Date: 16 Dec 13 - 06:42 AM

Would it be OK to sing a Ewan Macoll song in a folk club? We've got Jon Heslop and John Connolly booked next year. Is that alright?


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Subject: RE: Who invented Folk Clubs UK
From: Howard Jones
Date: 16 Dec 13 - 06:47 AM

Al, no one disagrees with the fact that the 'folk' have voted with their feet. For decades, mass culture has been more interested in commercial popular music than in traditional music. That may or may not be regrettable, depending on your point of view.

However it is irrelevant to what goes on in folk clubs. These were never intended to reflect current popular or 'folk' culture - they are governed by an aesthetic approach rather than a sociological or ethnomusicological one. The folk clubs were (and are) places to enjoy a specific musical genre, which has at its core a particular style of treating traditional material.

For reasons partly to do with the origins of the folk revival and partly to do with an ethos of encouraging ordinary people to perform, folk clubs have always been more or less accepting of quite a wide range of other types of music which have only a tenuous relationship either to the core tradition or the revival style of playing. That is both their strength and their weakness. It has meant however that folk clubs have been seen as a suitable outlet for a wide range of performers who don't fit easily into other genres and might otherwise find it difficult to find other venues in which to perform.

They have also come to regard their music as 'folk' and may come to believe that they have an automatic right to be accepted in folk clubs, and may even feel aggrieved when their talents are not as widely appreciated as they feel they deserve. The reality is simply that their music is on the fringe of what the folk clubs are based upon, and will only find a limited audience within this genre.

I don't think most other genres would be as tolerant. Try going into a jazz club or classical music group with your guitar or melodeon - I think you'll soon be asked more or less politely to try elsewhere.


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Subject: RE: Who invented Folk Clubs UK
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 16 Dec 13 - 08:21 AM

"Would it be OK to sing a Ewan Macoll song in a folk club?"
Don't be facetious Brian - I've have never attempted to restrict what goes on in a folk club, I just object to turning up at one and not hearing a folk song.
I'm still chasing this myth about folk song being re or de-defined and trying to find out what that re-definition is, if it really exists - next stop Loch Ness!
I really didn't start this, but Al's insecurity seems not to allow him to make a comment on folk clubs without taking a pop at those of us who are delusional enough to believe that we know what folk song is - silly us!!
Wot Howard just said with knobs on.
Happy Christmas to all, just in case I die of boredom or anticipation before the event in a 'folk club' (as distinct from a folk club)
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Who invented Folk Clubs UK
From: GUEST,johncharles
Date: 16 Dec 13 - 08:47 AM

folk club party tonight expect we will sing some carrolls *<:)


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Subject: RE: Who invented Folk Clubs UK
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 16 Dec 13 - 09:55 AM

I also recollect the late Ian Campbell telling me the greatest influence on his Dad's generation of singers was Al Jolson - so what I'm proposing is not a new idea. And it has occurred to others far more distinguished in their achievements than I.

If you find the ideas inane -maybe you just are unable to comprehend, or unwilling.


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Subject: RE: Who invented Folk Clubs UK
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 16 Dec 13 - 11:00 AM

"the greatest influence on his Dad's generation of singers was Al Jolson"
So what Al - are you suggesting Al Jolson was a folk singer - a Bridge too far even for you.
Go to South Wales and you'll find hundreds of miners choirs singing opera - Verdi a folk composer - come onnnnn.
I eat food - I'd crawl over broken glass to sample a South Indian vegetarian curry at this moment - all down to my choice in what I want to eat/listen to at any given moment - a right you are happy to deprive me of it would seem.
Stop talking gibberish and tell us how you define what happens in your club - what can I expect, Buddy Holly, Elvis, Singalonga-Max, give us a clue.
The majority of people's particular tastes in music are a thousand miles away from folk music, and thanks to the efforts of people like your good self, are likely to remain that way for the forseeable future - Attila the Hun could have taken lessons from you people in how to tear down something that some people took centuries to pass on to us.
By the way, of all the people to choose, Ian Campbell was both knowledgeable and articulate in explaining what he meant by folk music - he didn't faff around in hiding his opinions.
If I was ever at a loose end in Birmingham The Jug of Punch was fairly high on my 'go to' list.
Unable - unwilling to comprehend.... until you explain what you mean by folk - either will do.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Who invented Folk Clubs UK
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 16 Dec 13 - 11:19 AM

He can't Jim


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Subject: RE: Who invented Folk Clubs UK
From: GUEST
Date: 16 Dec 13 - 12:33 PM

Tony McCarthy emigrated to Australia to work, I believe, in broadcasting/TV.


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Subject: RE: Who invented Folk Clubs UK
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 16 Dec 13 - 02:12 PM

"You'll have to remind of your name, although the old grey cells are not what they used to be."

.,,.
Hi, Terry. Thanks for response. I think you may be the same man that I remember. It was a good while ago -- 55 years by my reckoning!

My name is Michael Grosvenor Myer [in those days it was just Michael Myer].

~M~


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Subject: RE: Who invented Folk Clubs UK
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 16 Dec 13 - 02:28 PM

... Terry: my recollection is that Sandy called up a young man called Terry to sing at Eel Pie Island. He sang a couple of Irish songs. I said 'hi' to him at the end, & mentioned Peter Kennedy's monthly folk afternoons at Cecil Sharp House, the next one of which the following Sunday I was due to chair. The young man called Terry came in a bit after the start, & I said "One of the best young Irish singers I have herd for good while has just come in. His name is Terry & I met him recently at Eel Pie Island. How about a song. Terry?", and he sang "Moriar-i-ty". At the end, I remember, a young woman called Jennie Leathers, who had earlier sung the McPeakes' Jug Of Punch, went over to chat him up.

I think that Terry might well have been you. Any bells rung?

~M~


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Subject: RE: Who invented Folk Clubs UK
From: TheSnail
Date: 16 Dec 13 - 04:14 PM

Not being facetious Jym, just trying to make a valid point. I'm glad you've never attempted to restrict what goes on in a folk club. You might well have been politely requested to go forth and multiply if you'd tried. You have, however, expressed some strong opinions about what should or should not go on in a folk club. Correct me if I am wrong but I think you have said that a certain amount of written material informed by the tradition was acceptable. You gave me a list of examples. It might include, for instance, the works of Ewan Macoll.

The trouble with that is that you have then abandoned all rules and the choice is purely subjective. If someone wants to sing Elvis, your own rules allow them to do so.

A couple of points -

I haven't taken the slightest bit of notice of anything Big Al says for quite some time. I recommend it. I think you will find it liberating.

In forty years I cannot recall ever having heard anyone sing an Elvis song or a Buddy Holly song in a folk club.


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Subject: RE: Who invented Folk Clubs UK
From: TheSnail
Date: 16 Dec 13 - 05:07 PM

GUEST,johncharles

folk club party tonight expect we will sing some carrolls *<:)

Here's a little something we're doing in Sussex this Christmas - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GgInUHrWIf4

Note the reactions of Will Duke and Bob Lewis when Stuart Walker conducts a little too enthusiastically.


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Subject: RE: Who invented Folk Clubs UK
From: GUEST,johncharles
Date: 16 Dec 13 - 06:48 PM

I must get down to Sussex one of these days.
john


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Subject: RE: Who invented Folk Clubs UK
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 16 Dec 13 - 07:23 PM

'In forty years I cannot recall ever having heard anyone sing an Elvis song or a Buddy Holly song in a folk club. '

wel all I can say in forty years you can have been to bloody few folk clubs. in face of your complete ignorance, let me explain what jim is endlessly bitching about.

some kids have been influenced by Eva Cassidy who played acoustic guitar and sang some Buddy Holly songs in her repertoire. Some older people were influenced by Don Mac, pete seegerlean - a man who was influenced by Josh White Elvis Presley and Buddy Holly. Most contemporary English folksingers were influenced by John Cash who - whatever the hardships of the character in the song /story he was performing, delivered it in epic style - rather than the snivelling miserable quavering voice so loved by traddies.

jim feels the traddies are right and the rest of humanity are infra dig.
something tells me you agree with his opinion. don't worry - seek liberation inside your shell, mon petite escargot.


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Subject: RE: Who invented Folk Clubs UK
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 16 Dec 13 - 08:10 PM

should read


'In forty years I cannot recall ever having heard anyone sing an Elvis song or a Buddy Holly song in a folk club. '

wel all I can say in forty years you can have been to bloody few folk clubs. in face of your complete ignorance, let me explain what jim is endlessly bitching about.

some kids have been influenced by Eva Cassidy who played acoustic guitar and sang some Buddy Holly songs in her repertoire. Some older people were influenced by Don Maclean - a man who was influenced by Josh White Elvis Presley, pete seeger and Buddy Holly. Most contemporary English folksingers were influenced by John Cash who - whatever the hardships of the character in the song /story he was performing, delivered it in epic style - rather than the snivelling miserable quavering voice so loved by traddies.

jim feels the traddies are right and the rest of humanity are infra dig.
something tells me you agree with his opinion. don't worry - seek liberation inside your shell, mon petite escargot.


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Subject: RE: Who invented Folk Clubs UK
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 17 Dec 13 - 03:49 AM

Go on Al - tell us about horses not singing - we like that one


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Subject: RE: Who invented Folk Clubs UK
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 17 Dec 13 - 04:09 AM

I don't: I agree with Bert Lloyd who called it 'a dreary axiom'. I always say the I have never seen a horse dancing in a tutu either: so does that make Swan Lake & Coppelia folk dances?

~M~


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Subject: RE: Who invented Folk Clubs UK
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 17 Dec 13 - 04:10 AM

BTW, Les. I did recognise your irony. I was just building on it.


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Subject: RE: Who invented Folk Clubs UK
From: johncharles
Date: 17 Dec 13 - 04:11 AM

The clue is in the title "FOLK" club. For those with broader tastes there seem to be a whole raft of events; open mic, acoustic open mike, virtually open mic etc. where anything seems to go. I am told some of these even allow poets to perform; usually a sign for me that I should be elsewhere.
john


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Subject: RE: Who invented Folk Clubs UK
From: Howard Jones
Date: 17 Dec 13 - 04:40 AM

I would describe the folk scene as a series of concentric circles. If the term 'folk' is to mean anything at all, this must have traditional music at its core – the Harry Coxes, Sam Larners, the Coppers and their like. Surrounding this you have the folk revival – modern singers interpreting traditional material in various ways which we can recognise, if not easily define, as typical of the folk revival aesthetic.

Outside this it starts to get more complicated. You have those interpreting traditional material in un-folky ways – I would put folk-rock here, and Bellowhead. I might also include those concert acts which have become too large and dare I say too complex for folk clubs – June Tabor, Kate Rusby, the Unthanks. However you also have those writing and performing non-traditional material that sounds is if it should be trad – writers like Ewan MacColl, Keith Marsden, perhaps Eric Bogle.

Further out you have the 'contemporary' folk, people writing their own songs which don't draw much on traditional styles or structures, but nevertheless performing them in a way which bears some relationship to the revival styles found closer to the centre. This might also include those who perform acoustic versions of popular songs.

Out at the margins you have the comedians, poets, monologuists, jugglers and other hangers-on who appear to have little connection to traditional folk at all but who have somehow managed to latch onto the folk scene, perhaps because no one else will have them. You might also find those performing music which has no relationship to traditional musical structures and doesn't use conventionally folky instrumentation, and whose only connection is that one of the band once did a floor spot in a folk club.

Clearly, the further out you are from the core the more likely it is that there will be disagreements over whether this is really 'folk'.

The boundaries are of course blurred. Many performers straddle these zones to a greater or lesser extent, but most can be defined as belonging to one or another. Likewise the taste of most audience members will straddle the zones (as well as encompassing other genres which fall entirely outside this model). Individual folk clubs may centre themselves anywhere, but the further out from the centre they are the less likely they are to be recognisable as 'folk clubs', at least as far as Jim Carroll and those of his way of thinking are concerned (I include myself). Big Al, on the other hand, on the evidence of his website is himself positioned some way out from the centre and therefore understandably considers 'folk club' to be a valid description for these.

I think I should patent this idea and offer it to folk clubs as a marketing tool. They could then describe themselves as fitting into Band 1, Band 2 etc, and even publish a graphic on their websites indicating where in the circle they consider themselves to be. Then both Jim and Al will know which ones they can safely visit.


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Subject: RE: Who invented Folk Clubs UK
From: TheSnail
Date: 17 Dec 13 - 05:56 AM

Not quite, Howard. I think everybody thinks that where they are is the centre and everything else forms concentric rings around that.


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Subject: RE: Who invented Folk Clubs UK
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 17 Dec 13 - 06:00 AM

"The trouble with that is that you have then abandoned all rules and the choice is purely subjective."
o I have not Bryan (sorry about previous mis-spelling)
We came into the revival back in the early sixties to a mixture of new songs and traditional songs - CND, political songs mainly - no conflict, no attempt to claim one was the other.
MacColl always argued that folk clubs might as well be museums if they didn't present newly composed songs using traditional forms - that's what we did, that's what we believed - nothing new, no opening doors to pop songs, just a recognised practice in most cubs.
The few clubs that banned new songs and instrumental accompaniment were generally singled out as being 'antiquarian'.
This is not what clowns like Al are arguing for (still no specific description Al - must accept that you believe that anything not sung by a horse is a folk song - how quaintly out-of-date).
He is not only abandoning any description to what goes on in his club (they were singled out as anything-goes clubs way back when), but he is claiming that whatever goes on in his club, or any club which terms themselves as 'folk' must be folk song - stupid or what?
Once again I must bow to Howard's skill with words - he puts it far more articulately than I do.
"I don't: I agree with Bert Lloyd"
Didn't think Bert supported the singing horse idea.
Somebody pointed out that the original statement, whoever said it, what a witty remark that got out of hand when it was taken seriously - am inclined to agree
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Who invented Folk Clubs UK
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 17 Dec 13 - 06:14 AM

No, Bert didn't support it Jim. You missed my point. Where I agreed with him was that the 'horse' statement was 'a dreary axiom' [Bert's formulation]. My 'I don't' was an ironic response to Les's "Go on Al - tell us about horses not singing - we like that one".

Of course the original 'horse' thing was a silly off-cuff joke [by Satch or Broonzy or whoever is this week's candidate for having first said it] which got taken over-seriously & so got out of hand.

~M~


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Subject: RE: Who invented Folk Clubs UK
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 17 Dec 13 - 08:54 AM

I like Howard's model - it does describe things very well. What ever the label people give to a public event it needs to help the public understand what the event might be like.

Many of us are clear about what we would expect in a Folk Club and Open Mike events have evolved - and more power to them - to give people who sing almost anything - an opportunity to do so. I have been to a few and probably wont go again. But all live music is good.

But Al, tell us the one about the horse - you know we like that!


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Subject: RE: Who invented Folk Clubs UK
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 17 Dec 13 - 01:58 PM

I have never agreed with Bert Lloyd about folkmusic being a minority - ploughmaen lying in bed at night with lonely muse aS they honed their words to perfection.

bit of a face saver for traddies who know they sound weird to the general population.

when people need a song to tell them about Nelson Mandela -did they turn to one one of Ewan;s many finely crafted songs - no they turned that bloke out of Fun Boy Three,

When the Sowetans wanted to protest about Afrikaan being the language used in the school -did theyturn to a product from all their friends in the Critics Group - no they used Pink Floyd's Brick in the Wall.
The best song about the English class system - Leon Rosselson maybe - no he hasn't done anything as strong as Pulp's Common People.

Folk decide what is folk music. I know you wish it was you. But its not.


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Subject: RE: Who invented Folk Clubs UK
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 17 Dec 13 - 02:36 PM

No but Al - the horse, the horse joke it says it all really


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Subject: RE: Who invented Folk Clubs UK
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 17 Dec 13 - 02:57 PM

"Folk decide what is folk music. I know you wish it was you. But its not. "
.,,.,
Nice try, Al. Good way of trying to bring off what Macbeth said the Witches were doing, of "paltering with us in a double sense". You are not really as stupid as you would wish to appear here, in pretending not to realise that you are using the word "folk" in two distinct senses:

a. that of simply a synonym for 'people'; and

b. that of the designation for a precise æsthetic genre.

You know the difference whatever you pretend; so that your statement is not the wise aperçu, which by your tone you would wish us to believe; but just a not very good or profound pun.

So, having demolished this convoluted and inaccurate invocation of the concept of 'folk', to take up your second point:

If it's not me, what makes you think it's you?

Best regards

~M~


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Subject: RE: Who invented Folk Clubs UK
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 17 Dec 13 - 03:01 PM

"no they used Pink Floyd's Brick in the Wall"
Which isn't by a million miles folk music - in Soweto or here - what's your point Al?
The Travellers used MacColl's Freeborn Man, Thirty Foot Trailer and the Moving On Song as I means of self-identification - it doesn't make them folk songs either.
The ones we interview didn't reckon the C and W songs they all sang as folk either, they folk songs 'the old songs' or my father's songs' or 'Traveller songs (all up for listening at the British Library.
It seems the only ones who can't tell their fork arse from their elobows are he folkies from Boggart Hole Clough and the rest of you.
Sorry Mike - didn't read your posting in context.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Who invented Folk Clubs UK
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 17 Dec 13 - 03:01 PM

"no they used Pink Floyd's Brick in the Wall"
Which isn't by a million miles folk music - in Soweto or here - what's your point Al?
The Travellers used MacColl's Freeborn Man, Thirty Foot Trailer and the Moving On Song as I means of self-identification - it doesn't make them folk songs either.
The ones we interview didn't reckon the C and W songs they all sang as folk either, they folk songs 'the old songs' or my father's songs' or 'Traveller songs (all up for listening at the British Library.
It seems the only ones who can't tell their fork arse from their elobows are he folkies from Boggart Hole Clough and the rest of you.
Sorry Mike - didn't read your posting in context.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Who invented Folk Clubs UK
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 17 Dec 13 - 04:38 PM

'they folk songs 'the old songs' or my father's songs' or 'Traveller songs'

so some travellers that Jim ran into in the arse end of nowhere get to decide what is folk music for all of us. just so we know what you souls liberated from my reasoning are held in thrall by.

I think I'd better leave you to it. a life codified and tidied up in definitions supplied by the British Library and 'those in the know'.

I think I prefer a life - more life like and untidied up.


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Subject: RE: Who invented Folk Clubs UK
From: Valmai Goodyear
Date: 17 Dec 13 - 04:48 PM

At the end of 2013, Vic & Tina Smith of Folk at the Royal Oak Lewes are stepping down. We've asked them do a special evening at Lewes Saturday Folk Club on 29th. March 2014 at which they will not only sing and play as usual, but give a presentation on their fifty years of running folk clubs for mainly traditional music. They have always made a point of booking source singers as well as modern performers; their Sussex Singers Nights featuring The Copper Family, George Belton, Bob Lewis, Bob Blake, Cyril Phillips and Scan Tester were an inspiration to me when I was in my teens.

The evening will be entertaining, nostalgic and highly instructive for anyone interested in a tested method of running a folk club over a very long time. Entrance will be £5 and floor singers will, as always, be welcome. We'll start at 7.30 p.m. rather than the usual 8.00 p.m. to give Vic and Tina extra time.

By the way, I think this presentation could usefully be put on at festivals and anywhere else where people might welcome informed practical guidance about how to run a traditional music club.


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Subject: RE: Who invented Folk Clubs UK
From: TheSnail
Date: 17 Dec 13 - 05:23 PM

Jim Carroll

MacColl always argued that folk clubs might as well be museums if they didn't present newly composed songs using traditional forms

So it is OK to sing songs that don't fit the 1954 definition in folk clubs?


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Subject: RE: Who invented Folk Clubs UK
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 17 Dec 13 - 05:54 PM

snail ....its okay. you don't need anyone's permission to sing anything. its what our dad's fought hitler about - amongst other things.

you can even pick your own tradition.
tradition comes from latin ; traditio = I hand over.
look with honesty at what has been handed over to you. the songs you sang as a child, the songs your parents sang, the songs you used to celebrate love death, the whole shooting match.

that's what was handed to you its a great responsibility - don't hand it over to some ideologue who can't see past the end of next weeks session.


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Subject: RE: Who invented Folk Clubs UK
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 17 Dec 13 - 07:22 PM


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Subject: RE: Who invented Folk Clubs UK
From: SunrayFC
Date: 17 Dec 13 - 08:56 PM

Don't get me started.....


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Subject: RE: Who invented Folk Clubs UK
From: Bob Bolton
Date: 17 Dec 13 - 09:49 PM

G'day Big Al ...

It's a bit of hazard going back to the Latin ...

... '\"tradere": 'hand on' OR 'betray' ...

Well, who trusred the Romans anyway ...?

regards,

BobB


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Subject: RE: Who invented Folk Clubs UK
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 18 Dec 13 - 02:37 AM

I always fancied being a Roman soldier. I've always fancied Nerys Hughes in The Liver Birds.....its that look.

A velour top, a suede mini skirt, maybe a dazzling flash of white panties......I just have a feeling I could carry it off quite well...

amo, amas, amat....


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Subject: RE: Who invented Folk Clubs UK
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 18 Dec 13 - 03:37 AM

"So it is OK to sing songs that don't fit the 1954 definition in folk clubs?"
Who on earth ever claimed it wasn't?
Definitions are for discussion such as these and for documentation so we might make some sort of sense of what we do, write about and pass on.
As someone who likes to listen to folk song for pleasure, I want the right to choose the type of music I listen to; I what to know what clubs I am likely to hear it in, or what shelves I can find it in a record or bookshop.
If I make the effort to go to a club and come away without hearing anything that resembles a folk song in any shape or form, which happened often enough for me to stop going to strange clubs entirely, I feel I have been conned - it's sharp practice; it is no way to assist the music to survive.
Having argued with Al before on other subjects, it doesn't really surprise me that this isn't a consideration with him.
No musical form will survive if the punters turn up to find that they are being passed off with something else other than what they know to be their choice of music – transfer Al's attitude to jazz, classics, any pop music venue...... and see how much sense it makes.
Whatever the weaknesses and however much in need of repair, the existing definition brings with it some form of consensus – it is certainly worth more than the sneers and avoidance it gets som some quarters.
Anybody coming new to the music and deciding they want to know something about it can be pointed in a definite direction - the folk song and music is, by its very nature, if different,; it has a different history, its origins and utterances are unique, it's place in our culture has an importance of its own.
I came to folk via the clubs – The Spinners opened the doors into a rich varied and entertaining scene for me – from there I could go anywhere I liked without too much trouble.
If I wanted to listen to country and western I didn't even have to leave the building – I could go to the basement and hear Hank Walters.
I went to The Cavern to listen to the best of jazz (in those days).
They all brought with them their own uniqueness and identity – they all stood on their own two feet and said "this is me – this is what I am".
Folk clubs used to be part of that uniqueness, now only some of them are and you have to go out of your way to find which ones are and which ones have no idea what they are or what they are doing (Al certainly appears not to be able to explain his music other than to sneer at what others are doing.
A newby no longer stands a chance, which can't be good for the music as a whole; I can't see how it can do Al's music any good either if it has no identity of its own.
I'm sure you are fully aware of all this - what's your point Bryan?
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Who invented Folk Clubs UK
From: johncharles
Date: 18 Dec 13 - 03:57 AM

where did the singing horse get to? Have I missed it?
john


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Subject: RE: Who invented Folk Clubs UK
From: rosma
Date: 18 Dec 13 - 04:36 AM

I haven't been around as long as some of you, and I haven't been to as many folk clubs as many of you but I have been to a good selection of clubs, sessions, sing-arounds, etc.

I know there are exceptions but in my experience most of these include variety. Yes you usually have people providing traditional English, Scottish and Irish folk (and some of my stuff is too) but variety is what it's usually about. If I was visiting a club I hadn't attended before I would be reluctant to sing on the first visit but if I did I would first assess what other people were singing and not stray too far from it if I could.

At one set of the sessions I used to go to we would say to any newcomer "Can you sing, dance, recite a poem, juggle?" It's whatever gets people involved.

The only limitation is usually that it needs to be acoustic, though a chap did once turn up to a session with an electric guitar and that was OK too - as a one-off. There were strange looks but no one complained. If you can get people in you might just turn some of them to the music you like but if you don't, at least they're keeping it live.

I find it's a given that a folk club includes British folk songs and tunes, shanties, European folk, military songs, blues, Americana, humour / parody, singer-songwriter, classical guitar, monologue / poetry, and a few other outliers to make up the mix. Let it long be so, I say.


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Subject: RE: Who invented Folk Clubs UK
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 18 Dec 13 - 05:21 AM

Ok Jim, calm, calm ..... I am with you all the way, as I think you know.

Do you think the real problem is that Al doesn't know the horse joke? Because surely his position is summed up so well by it and it would save him endlessly repeating all that stuff.

Come on Al, either tell us the horse joke or admit that you don't know it.

Best wishes


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Subject: RE: Who invented Folk Clubs UK
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 18 Dec 13 - 08:47 AM

"Ok Jim, calm, calm"
This is calm for me Les - you try living off the Atlantic Coast with its pissing rain and forty mile an hour fog - now that's what I call stormy!
Rosma
It's not really what any club presents that's the problem - it's what it claims to be in the order of things that's the problem and what has caused the damage.
Ireland has had the success it has by knowing what it means by folk/traditional.
Not only has it attracted a significantly large new following, but it has now become a respected art form, opening the door too large research and performance grants, but also gaining access big time to the media.
I can turn the radio or television on and can almost certainly find programmes of and on traditional/folk music and any level of understanding and interest most nights of the week throughout the year.
We fought tooth and nail when I lived in the UK just get a central archive of our recorded music - the end result wan the sound archive at the British Library.
Irish music is in no way po-faced - it is played straight and experimented with - room fall all tastes and inclinations.
The kids coming in are in the process of making it their own music in a way we never managed to.
The lesson is a simple one - take yourself seriously, get some sort of consensus and others will respect you, whether the like your music or not.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Who invented Folk Clubs UK
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 18 Dec 13 - 10:09 AM

no the Irish and the Jamaicans - they aren't po-faced about their music. but they're po-faced about being Irish, American, and Jamaican - in a way that only the most humourless conservative Englishmen are about being English.

And its that inclusiveness that makes our folkclubs so special. Being English is special but not in the way that we need to make a conscious effort and hold our hand on our heart every time the national anthem is played.

We've been here for too many years to get insecure about who we are, and to need phoney aides de memoire about what it took to hold on to who we are.


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Subject: RE: Who invented Folk Clubs UK
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 18 Dec 13 - 10:22 AM

You don't need the air time - the credibility, the wherewithal to spread the word - that's what I thought.
Otherwise - didn't understand a word of your increasingly gibberish gibberish
Still no explanation of what you mean by 'folk Al - c'mon; it's nearly Christmas.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Who invented Folk Clubs UK
From: The Sandman
Date: 18 Dec 13 - 11:10 AM

"MacColl always argued that folk clubs might as well be museums if they didn't present newly composed songs using traditional forms"
Jim, does that mean MacColl was against newly composed songs being sung in a folk club, if they did not use traditional forms.
and what exactly did he mean by traditional forms was he referring to melody or construction of song or both? if he meant melody was he implying that those melodies had to use ONLY A FEW particular modes?


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Subject: RE: Who invented Folk Clubs UK
From: SunrayFC
Date: 18 Dec 13 - 12:59 PM

Have you guys no life? Singing is fun! Enjoy it, dont rail it!


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Subject: RE: Who invented Folk Clubs UK
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 18 Dec 13 - 01:13 PM

Sunray, don't be such a great big party pooper. Can't you see it's the railing we enjoy! That can be fun too ~~ otherwise why did you post, eh?

〠~M~〠


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Subject: RE: Who invented Folk Clubs UK
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 18 Dec 13 - 01:18 PM

"Jim, does that mean MacColl was against newly composed songs being sung in a folk club, if they did not use traditional forms."
I was never aware of any prescription of of any type of song being enforced in the club he was involved in.
Visitors sang what they wished and were booked on the basis of what they sang and how well they sang them.
Residents became residents on the same basis - confirmed club policy.
Whether either chose to sing other types of songs occasionally during a performance was a matter for them as long as they didn't interfere with the main policy of the club, though I can't honestly remember residents straying too far from the general folk-repertoire style (the occasional music hall piece being a exception) - matter of personal taste rather than a 'rule'.
I have known audience members complain about singers from too many the floor singing non-folk style songs - seen a letter of complaint to the committee about this.
MacColl occasionally wrote non-folk-style songs himself - 'Nightmare' springs to mind.
Several of the songs for first radio ballad, 'John Axon' were jazz bases and 'The Cabin Boy's Song, from 'Singing the Fishing' was based on Gilbert and Sullivan.
A nuber of the residents sang and recorded songs composed by London songwriter John Pole - not all in folk-style by any means.
It was never a "rule" - just club practice to confine an evening at the Singers Club to folk and folk-style songs - just as it was in many hundreds of other clubs I visited.
I have seen singers (and experienced myself once) specific requests not to sing contemporary songs and I regularly visited several in the North of England which displayed "no instruments" notices on the wall.
All cubs have and are entitled to have their own policy, even if that policy is "we have no policy here".
The dominance of what you find at a club determines what type it is and the quality of the residents is a measure of whether it is a good or bad club IMO.
As for what 'folk style' means - as has interminably been pointed out, if you don't understand folk styles enough to articulate them (not sure I do fully) you tend to recognise them when you hear them.
It's not necessarily a question of style anyway - function and utterance can be a determining factor in the uniqueness of folks song.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Who invented Folk Clubs UK
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 18 Dec 13 - 01:26 PM

Clipperty clop, clipperty clop - come Al you know how it goes


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Subject: RE: Who invented Folk Clubs UK
From: rosma
Date: 18 Dec 13 - 02:13 PM

Jim Carroll: "It's not really what any club presents that's the problem - it's what it claims to be in the order of things that's the problem and what has caused the damage."

You imply that the exemplary club of which you speak has a constitution or mission statement which closely constrains the type of music it allows. I'm not sure I would want to get involved in such a strait-jacketed organisation and that certainly hasn't been my experience of folk clubs. sessions and sing-arounds (although I know they exist).

A random trawl of the web sites of a few "folk clubs" produced the following descriptions:

  • "a live music club, embracing all styles of acoustic and folk music"

  • "usually acoustic, covering a wide range of styles"

  • "Although we are a folk club, we do not restrict ourselves to purely traditional or contemporary folk music. Blues, Country, Music Hall and sometimes even 60s pop may be heard! Indeed, any good acoustic music."

  • "We strive to encourage and showcase young, local and emerging talent, whilst offering the very best in Folk, Roots and Acoustic Music from all around the UK and abroad"


That was from the first few links on a Google search. I didn't censor a single club which said "traditional English music only". You seem to be in the minority in thinking "folk club" has a very restrictive meaning.

Please don't misunderstand, I have nothing against English traditional music. I just embrace other styles. I once coined a phrase something like "Your folk music is someone else's world music". I think that's quite appropriate. While we may each have a slightly different perspective on what is valid folk music, there's no reason we can't all co-exist, be inclusive, maybe even in the same club. :-)


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Subject: RE: Who invented Folk Clubs UK
From: Howard Jones
Date: 18 Dec 13 - 02:29 PM

Al is a singer-songwriter. He has to argue the case he does to justify his own presence in folk clubs.


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Subject: RE: Who invented Folk Clubs UK
From: rosma
Date: 18 Dec 13 - 03:24 PM

Al's not the first singer-songwriter to do folk clubs and he won't be the last. He has nothing to justify on that count.

(BTW I'm not qualified to speak for Al, it's just a general truth)


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Subject: RE: Who invented Folk Clubs UK
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 18 Dec 13 - 03:27 PM

"has a constitution or mission statement which closely constrains the type of music it allows."
Not what I'm saying - please read what I've written.
Look - I like arias and small snippets of opera, but I have never been able to sit through and enjoy a full opera (except Carmen)
It would be totally unreasonable to expect the opera establishment to adapt their policy to suit my lack of taste - artistic suicide in fact.
Yet the folk scene has been told that it has to cater for people who don't like folk music, who find ballads boring, or singers who sing well "elitits" or "finger-in-the-ear posers".
People who argue in this manner seem to find it unacceptable that we put on or wish to listen to an evening of the songs that have been termed "folk" for well over a century.
Fine if you do't like folk song - go and find somewhere that caters for your own particular taste - just as I will buy an album of operatic arias to suit my own tastes.
Live and let live
I know what folk music is - we've got a library and an archive of the stuff here at home.
We spent thirty years recording Travellers and fishermen and labourers and small farmers who sang folk songs since they were children, as did their parents and grandparents.
All of them knew the difference between a folk song and a C&W and a Buddy Holly number - and were able to explain that difference when we asked them.
There really shouldn't be a problem
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Who invented Folk Clubs UK
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 18 Dec 13 - 05:25 PM

quite right Howard, there is no valid reason for me to darken the doors of any folk club anywhere. the logical conclusion. well done.


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Subject: RE: Who invented Folk Clubs UK
From: The Sandman
Date: 18 Dec 13 - 07:49 PM

"MacColl always argued that folk clubs might as well be museums if they didn't present newly composed songs using traditional forms"
quote jim carroll.
"I was never aware of any prescription of of any type of song being enforced in the club he was involved in" quote jim carroll.
jim , you have just contradicted yourself.


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Subject: RE: Who invented Folk Clubs UK
From: SunrayFC
Date: 18 Dec 13 - 10:25 PM

Ok. For what it's worth, Al is a worthy addition to any folk club. Come and see why tonight! (19th)


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Subject: RE: Who invented Folk Clubs UK
From: Dave Sutherland
Date: 19 Dec 13 - 03:31 AM

So it is only the traddies who have closed minds?
I recall going to a club in Leicestershire some eighteen or so years ago to see the Bushbury Mountain Daredevils and at the end of the night while chatting to the organiser he asked who we had the following weekend at Traditions at the Tiger (Long Eaton). When I told him John Kirkpatrick he replied "oh yes, your club is a bit er, er, (almost as if he couldn't bring himself to say the word traditional)" I answered that we were very er,er and he quickly answered "That doesn't go down here!" Since I hadn't heard a recognised folk song all night I was hardly surprised.
Another time a former member of ours explained why he had left us to go to a folk club in Derbyshire; we were "too traditional" and that the club he now favoured presented a little bit of folk, a little bit of country, a little bit of contemporary etc in fact all sorts of music.


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Subject: RE: Who invented Folk Clubs UK
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 19 Dec 13 - 03:31 AM

"jim , you have just contradicted yourself."
I have no intention of entering into one of your unpleasant vacuous arguments but out of curiosity - why?
MacColl was expressing an opinion as to how the folk song revival should develop - we all have those - opinions, that is - nowhere was it a "enforcement" as to how the Singers Club or any other club must me run.
Please don't attempt to create "contradictions" where there are none.
Over and out
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Who invented Folk Clubs UK
From: Howard Jones
Date: 19 Dec 13 - 04:08 AM

Singer-songwriters have always had a place in the folk scene, that's not in question. However in my opinion they cannot be at the centre of something which must have traditional music at its core if the term 'folk' is to mean anything at all. The less any form of music has a recognisable relationship with traditional music forms and structures, the more likely it is to be considered peripheral and the less likely it is to be accepted by everyone as appropriate fare in something describing itself as a 'folk club'.

Al's argument appears to be that because the 'folk' have abandoned traditional music in favour of popular music, 'folk' no longer has any meaning and it follows that anything goes in folk clubs.

It's not a judgement on quality - I've never to my knowledge heard Big Al sing but I've no reason to question those who compliment his performances. If I were at a folk club and Al, or another of his ilk, were to do a spot I would be entirely unsurprised. What's more, I would probably enjoy it. However if the entire evening were to comprise singer-songwriters and performers of popular songs I would start to question whether I was actually at a 'folk club' or something run on similar lines which was actually something else. The other side of the coin is that people who prefer this music may not want to listen to traditional music. A term which is too broad and too loosely defined doesn't serve anyone.

It's a question of labelling, and like it or not labels are convenient. I don't expect to go into an Indian restaurant to find a menu of mostly Chinese food.

I think the problem is that we don't have an accepted label for those clubs which have a broad music policy or which don't centre themselves around traditional music (as they are perfectly entitled to do). They used to call themselves 'contemporary folk clubs' but that seems to have fallen out of favour. 'Open mic' is perhaps too broad and too far towards the popular music end of the scale. So we end up with the catch-all term 'folk club' which in practice is interpreted too broadly to be of much help to anyone.


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Subject: RE: Who invented Folk Clubs UK
From: GUEST
Date: 19 Dec 13 - 04:30 AM

"the club he now favoured presented a little bit of folk, a little bit of country, a little bit of contemporary etc in fact all sorts of music."
"we don't have an accepted label for those clubs which have a broad music policy"

.,,.
I remember Peter Bellamy saying, at a Norwich Festival workshop at which Alex Atterson was speaking up in favour of such clubs, "That's not a folk club, that's an anything club"; which seems to me as good a name as any for such resolutely undiscriminating organisations.

"and like it or not labels are convenient"

Amen. Something else Pete would often quote in such colloquies was something I wrote once in Folk Review, after Karl Dallas had denounced the folk scene's love for categories: "Hurrah for categories. If every article of household furniture was called a chair, we shouldn't know where to park our arses".

~M~


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Subject: RE: Who invented Folk Clubs UK
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 19 Dec 13 - 04:31 AM

The folk never really "abandoned" folk music for anything - folk and other music always existed side-by-side until 'the folk' stopped making their own music and became more or less passive recipients to a manufactured and commercially produced culture.
This left behind a large repertoire of songs that had existed, sometimes for centuries - which is where we came in.
To suggest that the term 'folk song' became meaningless is equivalent to saying that anybody could write an Elizabethan madrigal (made during the reign of Elizabeth I) today - a "new" Elizabethan madrigal, maybe!
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Who invented Folk Clubs UK
From: GUEST
Date: 19 Dec 13 - 04:35 AM

"the club he now favoured presented a little bit of folk, a little bit of country, a little bit of contemporary etc in fact all sorts of music."
"we don't have an accepted label for those clubs which have a broad music policy"

.,,.
I remember Peter Bellamy saying, at a Norwich Festival workshop at which Alex Atterson was speaking up in favour of such clubs, "That's not a folk club, that's an anything club"; which seems to me as good a name as any for such resolutely undiscriminating organisations.

"and like it or not labels are convenient"

Amen. Something else Pete would often quote in such colloquies was something I wrote once in Folk Review, after Karl Dallas had denounced the folk scene's love for categories: "Hurrah for categories. If every article of household furniture was called a chair, we shouldn't know where to park our arses".

~M~


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Subject: RE: Who invented Folk Clubs UK
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 19 Dec 13 - 04:48 AM

Sorry about above double-entry sans cookie, which had gone awol. Now restored and I hope all now sorted.

~M~


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Subject: RE: Who invented Folk Clubs UK
From: The Sandman
Date: 19 Dec 13 - 07:29 AM

MacColl was expressing an opinion as to how the folk song revival should develop - we all have those - opinions, that is - nowhere was it a "enforcement" as to how the Singers Club or any other club must me run."
MacColl along with others determined a policy for the singers club,which you have stated on this forum[please correct me if this is not the case] was that singers should choose traditional repertoire from their own ethnic back ground, are you now saying this was not the case?   
you also appear to be saying that he approved of newly composed songs providing they were in a traditional style, I asked you for some indication as to how this traditional style is determined, you appear to not want to answer.
Ewan was very a good songwriter, I would have been interested in the answer, was traditional style based on tunes [that only used certain modes] or lyric structure or both?


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Subject: RE: Who invented Folk Clubs UK
From: The Sandman
Date: 19 Dec 13 - 08:11 AM

MacColl" was expressing an opinion as to how the folk song revival should develop - we all have those - opinions, that is - nowhere was it a "enforcement" as to how the Singers Club or any other club must me run." jim carroll quote.
here is a copy of peggy seegers letter, from this letter it is clear the singers club had a club policy which they enforced at their club.

Ewan MacColl Controversy - by Peggy Seeger
I confess, I confess! I was the one who started the whole 'policy' debate. The Ballads and Blues Club had been going really well since 1953. I arrived in London in 1956. The club met at the Princess Louise in High Holborn at that time and there was an impressive list of residents: Alan Lomax, Ralph Rinzler, Isla Cameron, Fitzroy Coleman, Seamus Ennis, Bert Lloyd, Ewan MacColl, et al. Bert was singing English, Australian, N. American and Scottish songs; Ewan was singing 'Sixteen Tons' and 'Sam Bass' alongside 'Eppie Morrie' and 'The Banks of the Nile'; I regularly sang French, German and Dutch songs alongside 'Barbara Allan' and 'Cumberland Gap'. Fitz and Seamus stuck, respectively, to their Jamaican and Irish material. Alan only sang songs that he and his father had collected in the USA. There were many floor singers who came and went - the Weavers turned up from New York and sang in three or four different languages; a west London couple came regularly and sang in Yiddish, a language which they did not speak; two French students would sing Spanish Civil War songs; and so on. It was a free-for-all and I will admit that it was a lot of fun. More about that at another time.

It was that Cockney lad singing Leadbelly who started the rock rolling downhill. Was it 1960 or so? Yes, it was that poor fellow whose rendition of 'Rock Island Line' reduced me to hysterical laughter one night. I was literally doubled over in my seat, gasping. I had to be taken out of the room. Most unprofessional, but I couldn't help it. I am North American. Woody Guthrie, Jean Ritchie, Big Bill Broonzy, Leadbelly, et al, used to come to our house in Washington. I knew what the song should sound like and the manner of delivery and the insertion of Cockney vowels into a southern USA black prisoners' song just sounded funny.

I was reprimanded by several members of the audience at the end of the evening. When I explained my reasons, one of the French students pointed out that the insertion of my American vowels into French songs was also quite laughable. I then mentioned that Ewan's rendition of 'Sam Bass' verged on parody. My children have since pointed out that my Scots accent (on a number of Seeger-MacColl records) is not exactly impeccable. But I am straying… the Cockney singer then confessed that he loved Leadbelly's songs but was losing his confidence in singing them. He was getting bored. I declared that I preferred singing songs from the Anglo-American traditions and only sang the French/German/Spanish songs for 'variety'. The discussion heated up and was a main topic of conversation for several weeks following. We laid the matter in front of all the residents and interviewed the folks who paid at the door on the subject. The decision to lay down guidelines for what you could sing on stage was not made by Ewan MacColl - it was made by the residents and members of the B&B Club (later known as the Singers Club). If it became hewn in stone - well, that's the way things go.

This policy was meant for OUR club, not for other clubs. The policy was simple: If you were singing from the stage, you sang in a language that you could speak and understand. It didn't matter what you sang in the shower, at parties, while you were ironing or making love. But on stage in The Ballads and Blues Folk Club, you were a representative of a culture - you were interpreting a song that had been created within certain social and artistic parameters. Incidentally, along with this policy came the request from our newly-formed Audience Committee that we not sing the same traditional song more than once every three months… they were getting tired of hearing the same songs week after week. This forced us residents to learn new songs at an unholy rate. But it brought out lots of new songs and ballads and really got us thinking about how we sang what we were learning.

Shortly afterwards, the Critics Group was formed, at the behest of several singers who also found that they were losing their way in singing traditional songs. We began to attract singers who wanted to study folksinging. You know, there is no set discipline for folksinging - it's an 'anything goes' area even though real dyed-in-the-wool field singers are very specific about how they sing and what they sing. The purpose of the Critics Group was to make it possible for the singers who had not been brought up in the 'folk' tradition to sing the songs in a way that would not abrogate the original intention of the makers. It was an attempt to keep the folksongs folksongs, not turn them into classical pieces or pop songs or anything-goes songs. We analysed accompanimental and vocal styles, tried to expand our abilities to sing in different styles so that we could tackle different kinds of songs (within the languages and dialects that we spoke) and still keep the songs true to themselves. Once again, we were not initially telling other singers how to sing - just deciding how WE were going to sing. If we became evangelical and sounded dictatorial, well - that's the way things go. The intentions were honourable.

I must admit that I am still going that way and tend to be rather intolerant of female singers lilting 'Ranzo Ranzo Way Away' as if it were a lullaby or a love song; of a band of instrumentalists producing 'Sir Patrick Spens' (which had been unaccompanied for several centuries) with four fiddles, two double basses, drums, electric guitar and unintelligible lyrics. It was such a good song… but OK. Just don't call it folk song. And while you're at it, listen to some of my own early recordings - say on the Fellside album "Classic Peggy Seeger". Listen to me in my early years singing so fast that even I (who know the words of the songs) cannot understand what I am singing. Or listen to me accompanying Ewan on sloshy guitar or overharmonising with him on 'Lassie Wi' the yellow Coatie'. We all do these things in our youth and before we have understanding (just wish I hadn't recorded them). Ewan did this himself in his early recordings and never pretended that he didn't. What he was really trying to do in his later years (and I will be the first to admit that sometimes we could both be hamfisted about it) was encourage understanding of where these songs came from and how easy it is to ruin them, to turn them into something else. Kind of like what's happening to the earth right now. We're all doing just what we want to a beautiful piece of natural art (aka nature) - and only just now beginning to worry about having to live with the mess. Unfortunately, that's the way things go. And so many of the intentions are not honourable.

I've done my share of 'changing' the folksongs. Had to. I wasn't brought up on the front porch of a cabin in the Appalachians and I don't care to pretend that I was. I had a middle-class classical musical training and that's hard to shake. But I don't pretend to be a folksinger or that the folksongs (as I sing them) are 'ur' versions. I am a singer of folksongs and I hope that my lullabies are lullabies and the words of my ballads are intelligible. Ewan MacColl was one step nearer to being a folksinger than I, having been brought up in a Scots community in Salford. He is a man who is a perfect example of the old saying "stick your neck out and someone will chop your head off". I didn't know, until after he died, just how many enemies and ex-post-facto critics we had made. WE. Please remember that he and I were in this together and you can now aim your missiles at someone who is still here and who is quite articulate on the matter. Pity more folks didn't have the courage and the knowledge to talk with him while he was alive. He was actually an interesting, approachable person and was happy to talk to anyone who approached with a less-than-hostile attitude. I learned so much from those years… and, of course, I am biased! I am also fed up with people who criticise him with only hearsay and second (third, fourth, umpteenth) knowledge on which to base their opinions.

The editor wants to know "Who are Jim Carroll and Pat Mackenzie?" They were members of the Critics Group for most of the life of that group. They were two of the most loyal, industrious and intelligent members by far. It is possible that they have inherited some of Ewan's intransigence and argumentative temperament (that's the way things go?) but there is no doubt that their work in the folksong world has been invaluable and dedicated. Most of the collectors who've done that have had a kind of tunnel vision, without which their work would not have been as productive. They stuck their necks out and their heads are getting chopped off. They are in good company.

Like Ewan, I've always got lots more to say but I don't care to argue all this out nitty blow by gritty blow. By the way, I'm just finishing up a book of his songs. 200 of them. 'The Essential Ewan MacColl Songbook' (Music Sales, autumn 2000). Those of you who have followed or partaken in this controversy might find my long critique of him as a person and an artist enlightening. It won't be what you expected from the person who was his lover and working partner. Information is on my website: www.pegseeger.com.

Peggy Seeger, Asheville
North Carolina
Living Tradition Homepage


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Subject: RE: Who invented Folk Clubs UK
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 19 Dec 13 - 08:20 AM

Xlnt post GSS but I still want Al to tell the horse story


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Subject: RE: Who invented Folk Clubs UK
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 19 Dec 13 - 08:40 AM

Can't see a single thing that contradicts what I have said - I have put that same letter up to show that it was club policy to base what happened there on Folk songs as we know it.
It was a policy confirmed on a regular basis by the audience committee, of which Pat and I were members for over ten years, that we restrict our nights to Folk and Folk based songs, with the exceptions I have already mentioned.
As Peggy's letter said "This policy was meant for OUR club, not for other clubs."
It is exactly what I said and exactly what I mean.
Peggy's letter was a response in support of a previous letter of mine and Pat's (The Living Tradition - about three issues previous to Peggy's letter) making the points I am making here - we entitled it "Where have all the folk songs gone"
What is your point, but please don't make this another of your stalking campaigns.
"Ewan was very a good songwriter, I would have been interested in the answer, was traditional style based on tunes [that only used certain modes] or lyric structure or both?"
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Who invented Folk Clubs UK
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 19 Dec 13 - 09:12 AM

"Ewan was very a good songwriter, I would have been interested in the answer, was traditional style based on tunes [that only used certain modes] or lyric structure or both?"
Sorry - missed a bit - as I have indicated - you'll have to ask him
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Who invented Folk Clubs UK
From: The Sandman
Date: 19 Dec 13 - 12:24 PM

"By the way - Ewan MacColl didn't "write" folk songs"
not intentionally but some of them have become that, which is in my opinion a compliment to his song writing skills.
however I asked Jim a question in an attempt to be fair, since he will not answer the question, I have to assume from his statement, "macColl encouraged people to compose songs USING TRADITIONAL FORMS", so it is not unreasonable to assume that he did not encourage song writers to perform at his club who did not use traditional forms.
I wonder what his reaction would have been if John Lennon had turned up and sang Imagine[ a song that has incidentally inspired millions of people to question the warmongers of this world]
and still we do not know what this term tradtional form means, does it mean that songs have to be written in a question or answer patternlike tradtional songs "Swan swims so bonny" or is it meaning the use of only 3 particular modes.
whichever way it is imposing an inibition on the creativity of song writers, it is restriting them to working within a limited perameter.
why is Imagine less of a folk song than masters of war?


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Subject: RE: Who invented Folk Clubs UK
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 20 Dec 13 - 12:34 AM

strangely enough Nottanum Town on which Masters of War is supposedly based was the one song I did ask MacColl about. He was very friendly and gave me some ideas.

I sometimes tell a story about the bath/horse trough that Lancashire police horses drink out of, and was the bath that Buck Ruxton dismembered his wife and maidservant in. I also wrote and occasionally perform a song called Buster the Line Dancing Dog.

However the horse joke escapes me. If I told you it Les, it was perhaps whilst I was in an altered state of consciousness.


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Subject: RE: Who invented Folk Clubs UK
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 20 Dec 13 - 04:06 AM

Oh, come on Al don't be like that - you know the story .......


....... Folk music? Folk music ...... it's all Folk music .....

... I never heard .......


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Subject: RE: Who invented Folk Clubs UK
From: The Sandman
Date: 20 Dec 13 - 04:56 AM

nottamun town which was collected from jean ritchie shares the same tune as masters of war.


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Subject: RE: Who invented Folk Clubs UK
From: johncharles
Date: 20 Dec 13 - 05:02 AM

is it the tale about the horse with a long face listening to tales of whoa?
john


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Subject: RE: Who invented Folk Clubs UK
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 20 Dec 13 - 05:10 AM

Very good John, but no, Al must know mustn't he - he knows so much about .................


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Subject: RE: Who invented Folk Clubs UK
From: johncharles
Date: 20 Dec 13 - 05:28 AM

"I guess all songs is folk songs. I never heard no horse sing 'em."
Big Bill Broonzy
He should have checked youtube

small horse
john


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Subject: RE: Who invented Folk Clubs UK
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 20 Dec 13 - 06:14 AM

A horse is a horse, of course of course.

Obviously never heard of Mr Ed either

:D tG


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Subject: RE: Who invented Folk Clubs UK
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 20 Dec 13 - 06:16 AM

Not really my style Les, I do tend to specialise in jokes that make people laugh - albeit showing a complete lack of good taste.

just one of those predjudices commonly held by clowns.


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Subject: RE: Who invented Folk Clubs UK
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 20 Dec 13 - 06:43 AM

The 'never·heard·a·horse' bollox also attributed to Louis Armstrong. Bert Lloyd called it 'a dreary axiom', as I remarked above. My reply (as I might have said before but never mind) is that I've never seen a horse dance in a tutu, so does that make Swan Lake a folk dance?

~M~


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Subject: RE: Who invented Folk Clubs UK
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 20 Dec 13 - 10:39 AM

Hello Al, I just wondered why it took you so long to respond.

I started this thread to explore the origin and evolution of Folk Clubs in the UK because I think they have been and remain an amazing phenomena.I think that question has been answered but as often happens on here we get back to the "What is Folk" question and "Why are their less Folk Clubs than their used to be".

I will do what most people do on here I probably want go back and read eveything again. But somewhere between the 1954 definition (songs from within a community, passed on orally, author uknown) and the looser - anything sung in a folk club since 1954 - lie many, many definitions or descriptions.

I guess yours lies near the second of these two?


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Subject: RE: Who invented Folk Clubs UK
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 20 Dec 13 - 11:11 AM

I suppose I became aware of folk music as a term applied by radio dj's to recordings of groups like the Kingston Trio - that would be around 1958 when I was nine.

By the time Seeger and Dylan were having their glory glory years in the early 60's - folk seemed to me, and I suspect to the general public in England like a great artistic movement. Iwould imagine that is still the understanding of most English people. Donovan, corn dollies, The Yetties....

Names like Ewan MacColl and Cecil Sharp and AL Lloyd - they were turning up in books by Oak Publications. Even though we did not realise we had met them already in Singing Together on the radio when we were kids.

I would agree - not everything in folk clubs is folk music. But I look on everyone who comes into a folk club as being a possible recruit to the great adventure called Folk.


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Subject: RE: Who invented Folk Clubs UK
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 20 Dec 13 - 11:41 AM

Same route Al, same people - throw in the Spinners, Clancy's and Dubliners and all your other points - especially the last sentence.

This will by my 50th year performing in folk clubs so I don't have time to waste. When it's called a Folk Club I would settle for 50.1% folks songs collected in or before the 19C. I want lots of open mike events so that live music of all kinds can be found.

I would like English Folk Music to have the popularity and standing that Irish Folk Music has - I am not sure why - probably because I think it would make lots of people happy.

Best wishes


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Subject: RE: Who invented Folk Clubs UK
From: GUEST
Date: 20 Dec 13 - 12:14 PM

But I look on everyone who comes into a folk club as being a possible recruit to the great adventure called Folk.
That's the real point, the person who turns up thinking that "folk" means Mumford needs enough to hold them until they can realise what else there is.

OK, I like the heavy "finger in the ear" end of folk and if places with a population to support one clubs like that then all the better. The important thing is for clubs to be clear in their publicity about what they are offering and what their core audience expects, not just the bland "all types welcome" which isn't always true by any means.


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Subject: RE: Who invented Folk Clubs UK
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 20 Dec 13 - 02:54 PM

I agree there's a lot to enjoy in E, and in particular nglish Folk music and it would be great to give it a higher profile and for it to be more highly valued.

but bear in mind, who was it slagging off the popularisers like the Corries, The Spinners, The Yetties, etc. when they were most active - it was English trad purists.

in England we are horrid to musicians = the purists are the most horrid.
'that's not what I call traditional jazz - not with a saxophone'
'that's not country music - not with a loud drummer like that'
'that's not bluegrass....not real bluegrass'

I've been listening to shit like that all my working life as a musician.


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Subject: RE: Who invented Folk Clubs UK
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 21 Dec 13 - 05:49 AM

That's as maybe. But a point that Jim Carrol made earlier is important; all kinds of music goes on in Ireland and excellent world-class traditional folk music is part of that and is extremely popular with the general public.

No doubt their will be many reasons musical, political and social.

I am not suggesting that we will get to an understanging of the success of traditional Irish folk music here or that we can simply follow the Irish experience even if we wanted to. But I do feel we could learn something from that experience.


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Subject: RE: Who invented Folk Clubs UK
From: The Sandman
Date: 21 Dec 13 - 06:28 AM

"That's as maybe. But a point that Jim Carrol made earlier is important; all kinds of music goes on in Ireland and excellent world-class traditional folk music is part of that and is extremely popular with the general public."
I live in Ireland, that in my opinionthat is partly true but is an over simplification.
country and western is more popular,
within trad music unusual phnomena appear, there are very few folk clubs, there are a lot of venues where music is background music, there are a few singers clubs[with strict rules about unaccompanied singing only]there are tradtional instrumental music sessions where only a small amount of singing is encouraged, so there is a divide amongst trad music of singer and instrumentalists, there are very few clubs where singer songwriters are encouraged to perform in a listening environment, most singer songwriters end up performing in pubs and end up being wall paper music, i find this sad because to me lyrics are important., the only place people listen to lyrics are in singers clubs, or the ocasional song which is a break for trad instrumentalists, all is not entirely rosy in the irish folk garden.


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Subject: RE: Who invented Folk Clubs UK
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 21 Dec 13 - 07:53 AM

well there of course lies the problem.

being English we decide that country music isn't folk music. Personally I used to love that thing of playing in an Irish club where you'd do Black Velvet Band, orThe Galway shawl in waltz time and the floor would fill up with dancers.

It felt like something folkish was going on to me. And frankly something at a deeper more instinctive level than much more prestigious forms of folk music.


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Subject: RE: Who invented Folk Clubs UK
From: The Sandman
Date: 21 Dec 13 - 09:27 AM

but black velvet band and galway shawl have no connection with country and western or country and irish, their roots are not in american old timey music they are irish songs, black velvet band is an irish transportation folk song, galway shawl , relates a meeting between two people and mentions playing irish tradtional tunes, how is that a country song?


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Subject: RE: Who invented Folk Clubs UK
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 21 Dec 13 - 09:29 AM

"and excellent world-class traditional folk music is part of that and is extremely popular with the general public."
o intention of getting bogged down in one of Dick's mud-fields, but can I put this in context.
It really doesn't matter how popular which or whatever music is "more" popular (nobody can claim traditional music has been "more popular" than any other form for a long time in these islands) - Irish traditional music has come into its own at long last here, thanks to the dedication of people who didn't faff about trying to please all of the people all of the time and didn't stumble around trying to re-invent it to please a bunch of hangers on who wouldn't recognise a folk song if they stumbled over an eight volume set of The Greig Duncan collection - and wouldn't like it if they knew what it was.
Over twenty-odd years ago there were accounts of musicians being turned out of pubs if they were carrying musical instruments - certainly they were never welcomed over the howls of 'That'll be the Day' coming from the juke boxes.
Kevin Glackin described how he went to music lessons with his fiddle tucked under his coat for fear of being jeered at or even set upon by his schoolmates.
Nowadays, around here, in Donegal and other counties, traditional music (proper) is on the rise.
I can go out three/four nights a week and hear good traditional music well played in the pubs in our single-street town - not as background music, though any public playing has its hazards, and always has had.
Local families like the McCarthys are now entering into their third generation as traditional music, youngsters are coming into the music in a steady stream.
The country has two magnificent world-class archives and traditional music is now part of the curriculum in several universities.
The media coverage is as I described it above - later on this year we hope to be putting together a programme (series maybe) on the work of Ewan MacColl for national radio.
We did a three part series on national radio on Irish Travellers in London a couple of years ago.
Our collection of around 300 songs from west Clare goes up on the county library web-site for public access in March (hopefully).
The situation is uneven - Dick's part of the world may be as he described - who knows, with a little effort and a little less self-absorption, he might be able to play a part in improving the situaion there, but it seems more than a little perverse to point out that Country and Western is more popular - so is Kylie Minogue, or Lady Gaga - so what - that's why "popular music" got its name.
It no way detracts from the importance of traditional music; not does it change the fact that Ireland now has a base to build on for the future.
I don't give a toss whose music is more popular than our is - I do know that it's only by focusing on what we do and what we mean my 'traditional' and 'folk' not by trying to decide whether 'Masters of War' and 'Imagine' are more folkie than one another.
Back to the archiving
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Who invented Folk Clubs UK
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 21 Dec 13 - 12:55 PM

well you segue into Goodnight Irene - you get my meaning.

I guess you're right |Jim. you lot started up the folk clubs. the English people sodded it up because they didn't think Saturday night in a museum of folk music constituted a decent night out

Still it seems that you're quite happy and everything is to your liking over where you are.

so no harm done
apart from to our sacred heritage - which we don't seem to give a bugger about.


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Subject: RE: Who invented Folk Clubs UK
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 21 Dec 13 - 01:19 PM

" the English people sodded it up because they didn't think Saturday night in a museum of folk music constituted a decent night out"
Not as simple as that Al - but even if it was, so what?
The English people made folk song - just say they have now disowned it, it doesn't make a gnats cock of difference - they made something beautiful that lasted for centuries and became an essential part of our history, culture and entertainment.
We may have managed it better and it may get more attention that it is now getting (if it wasn't for the morons in between - (as the song nearly says) - but it will be around long after we are for others to enjoy - long after we're gone and the Boggart Hole Clough Folk Club is a "where" in people's memories.
In the meantime, we'll have to soldier on and continue to amuse ourselves as best we can.
Happy Christmas Al and all
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Who invented Folk Clubs UK
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 21 Dec 13 - 02:21 PM

Clancys, Dubliners, Johnstons, Chieftains, Planxty, De Dannan, Patrick Street, Bothy Band, Altan, Clannad, Danu, Fureys, Lunasa .....

Seems an amazing collection of musicians that are just some of the Irish bands that were and some still are popular with the widest audience in Ireland, in the UK and in many cases around the world.

They have all stayed close to traditional music.

UK folk bands as popular as these? Steeleye? Fairport? Spinners?

And now? Bellowhead

Population of Ireland 4.5 million. Population of UK 63 million.

We are currently going through a great blossoming of English traditional music - Spiers & Boden, New Albion Band, Lady Maisery, Emily Portman, Jackie Oats, Jim Morray, Maukin/Causley, Demon Barbers, all those in Bellowhead who perform in 1s, 2s and 3s.Melrose Quartet .....

All groups making great music and staying close to traditional songs and tunes.

So, looks like it can be done.

We run a singaround every 1st & 3rd Wednesday in Chorlton, Manchester and some of the people who come are very good, most of us get by and some are not good. We have a tunes session on 2nd & 4th mostly English and steady. Around 20 of us appear as a Ceilidh Band. I can honestly say that most of the public would not enjoy our singaround but I can also say that when ever and where ever we play tunes, English Country Dance Tunes - people always enjoy them.

Maybe its what Irish Bands discovered years ago that tunes and songs are better than just songs?


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Subject: RE: Who invented Folk Clubs UK
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 21 Dec 13 - 02:27 PM

In any event, Al, museums are valuable places serving a valuable purpose. Don't you feel it a bit unworthy to use the word as a term of belittlement and abuse?

Regards

~M~


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Subject: RE: Who invented Folk Clubs UK
From: The Sandman
Date: 21 Dec 13 - 03:13 PM

"The situation is uneven - Dick's part of the world may be as he described - who knows, with a little effort and a little less self-absorption, he might be able to play a part in improving the situaion there,"
Jim your post is partronising and rude and inaccurate.https://sites.google.com/site/thefastnetmaritimeandfolkfest/


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Subject: RE: Who invented Folk Clubs UK
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 21 Dec 13 - 03:34 PM

no not really Mike lots of love and much respect at Christmas and always
al


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Subject: RE: Who invented Folk Clubs UK
From: The Sandman
Date: 23 Dec 13 - 08:36 AM

Jim Carroll, I also run a monthly singers circle, and organise a weekly trad tunes session, and organise a yearly folk festival do you organise anything yourself?


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Subject: RE: Who invented Folk Clubs UK
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 23 Dec 13 - 08:43 AM

And to you likewise, Al ~~ all best Seasonal Compliments from Emma & me.

~Michael~


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Subject: RE: Who invented Folk Clubs UK
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 23 Dec 13 - 08:47 AM

"Maybe its what Irish Bands discovered years ago that tunes and songs are better than just songs?"
Both are important Les and one is never "better" than the other unless you measure the value of your culture by the numbers of bums on seats.
Always worth remembering that Shakespeare went through periods - sometimes centuries without audiences.
Tried to get into 'Dream' when I was in London - not a snowball's chance...
Even as archived and studied material, folksong is one of the most important aspects of our culture, whether people come to listen to it or not.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Who invented Folk Clubs UK
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 23 Dec 13 - 09:54 AM

As I mentioned above, we have songs and tunes an alternating weeks and sometimes together - overlapping groups of people.

With the odd exception the most popular groups currently out of Ireland or the UK offer a mixture of songs and tunes - and quite a few through in clog dancing in the UK


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Subject: RE: Who invented Folk Clubs UK
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 23 Dec 13 - 11:18 AM

We are lucky enough to have a weekly music session which also caters for and encourages singers - not common.
Some musicians tend to treat singing as a sing-'n-chat break, on the other hand (as was recently pointed out), some singers will use music as 'wallpaper', yet still expect silence when they sing.
Give and take does it.
Strangely - or maybe not so - it is always the solo musician who manages to command respect and attention in a pub session.
I've related this before but worth repeating I think:
At the time of veteran fiddle-player, Junior Crehan's death, spme fifteen years ago, local radio did a long obituary programme where they interviewed numerous musicians who had played with him.
Junior, as well as being an extremely important musician, was also a fine storyteller and singer.
One friend, also a veteran fiddler, Joe Ryan, was asked about the singing side of Junior's talents, and why some musicians were not interested in, and sometimes hostile towards singing.
He replied that at the time when music was always played in farmhouse kitchens the singing usually took place at the end of the evening when the musicians and dancers had had enough.
Joe said he could never get away from associating singing with the end of an enjoyable night's entertainment.
Some of Ireland's great musicians were also singers - Josie McDermott, Mary Anne Carolan, Willie Clancy, Johnny Doherty and many others were musicians as well as singers.
The last time we saw Kevin Burke he was singing imn addition to enthralling the audience with his fiddle playing.
He even sang one he had made himself, about the music pubs in London.
The great Seamus Ennis's contribution to traditional song was as important as his playing - certainly as a collector and passer-on of both
Jim Carroll


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