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The singers club and proscription

The Sandman 10 Jan 16 - 06:43 AM
MGM·Lion 10 Jan 16 - 06:52 AM
GUEST,Musket 10 Jan 16 - 07:29 AM
Jim Carroll 10 Jan 16 - 07:59 AM
Mr Red 10 Jan 16 - 08:25 AM
MGM·Lion 10 Jan 16 - 08:33 AM
Jim Carroll 10 Jan 16 - 09:54 AM
The Sandman 10 Jan 16 - 10:21 AM
Jim Carroll 10 Jan 16 - 10:38 AM
GUEST,Musket 10 Jan 16 - 11:29 AM
GUEST,ada the cadre 10 Jan 16 - 11:34 AM
GUEST,Hootenanny 10 Jan 16 - 12:59 PM
The Sandman 10 Jan 16 - 01:28 PM
The Sandman 10 Jan 16 - 01:47 PM
Vic Smith 10 Jan 16 - 02:25 PM
Jim Carroll 10 Jan 16 - 02:53 PM
MGM·Lion 10 Jan 16 - 02:57 PM
Doug Chadwick 10 Jan 16 - 03:52 PM
The Sandman 10 Jan 16 - 04:50 PM
GUEST,Musket 10 Jan 16 - 05:47 PM
The Sandman 11 Jan 16 - 03:16 AM
Jim Carroll 11 Jan 16 - 04:43 AM
GUEST,Hootenanny 11 Jan 16 - 06:27 AM
Jim Carroll 11 Jan 16 - 07:38 AM
The Sandman 11 Jan 16 - 08:52 AM
Jim Carroll 11 Jan 16 - 09:04 AM
The Sandman 11 Jan 16 - 09:40 AM
Jim Carroll 11 Jan 16 - 09:45 AM
GUEST,Hootenanny 11 Jan 16 - 09:58 AM
akenaton 11 Jan 16 - 10:44 AM
Will Fly 11 Jan 16 - 11:30 AM
akenaton 11 Jan 16 - 11:47 AM
Will Fly 11 Jan 16 - 12:12 PM
akenaton 11 Jan 16 - 12:20 PM
Will Fly 11 Jan 16 - 12:30 PM
GUEST,Musket 11 Jan 16 - 12:43 PM
Jim Carroll 11 Jan 16 - 12:49 PM
The Sandman 11 Jan 16 - 01:01 PM
TheSnail 11 Jan 16 - 02:45 PM
TheSnail 11 Jan 16 - 02:53 PM
Jim Carroll 11 Jan 16 - 02:57 PM
The Sandman 11 Jan 16 - 03:04 PM
TheSnail 11 Jan 16 - 03:17 PM
akenaton 11 Jan 16 - 04:26 PM
Jim Carroll 11 Jan 16 - 05:24 PM
GUEST,Musket 12 Jan 16 - 03:03 AM
Will Fly 12 Jan 16 - 03:18 AM
The Sandman 12 Jan 16 - 04:29 AM
Jim Carroll 12 Jan 16 - 04:41 AM
GUEST,Musket 12 Jan 16 - 05:20 AM
GUEST,Gealt 12 Jan 16 - 05:48 AM
Jim Carroll 12 Jan 16 - 06:08 AM
Vic Smith 12 Jan 16 - 06:13 AM
Jim Carroll 12 Jan 16 - 06:43 AM
Vic Smith 12 Jan 16 - 06:48 AM
Jim Carroll 12 Jan 16 - 06:57 AM
akenaton 12 Jan 16 - 07:38 AM
GUEST,Brian Grayson 12 Jan 16 - 08:32 AM
Jim Carroll 12 Jan 16 - 08:39 AM
The Sandman 12 Jan 16 - 09:46 AM
Jim Carroll 12 Jan 16 - 10:44 AM
GUEST,Musket 12 Jan 16 - 11:08 AM
akenaton 12 Jan 16 - 12:12 PM
akenaton 12 Jan 16 - 12:27 PM
GUEST,Shimrod 12 Jan 16 - 12:47 PM
The Sandman 12 Jan 16 - 12:58 PM
GUEST,Musket 12 Jan 16 - 01:14 PM
Effsee 12 Jan 16 - 02:06 PM
GUEST,Musket 12 Jan 16 - 02:32 PM
The Sandman 12 Jan 16 - 03:38 PM
akenaton 12 Jan 16 - 03:59 PM
akenaton 12 Jan 16 - 05:19 PM
GUEST,Shimrod 12 Jan 16 - 06:07 PM
GUEST,Musket 12 Jan 16 - 07:20 PM
Steve Shaw 12 Jan 16 - 07:35 PM
GUEST,Musket 12 Jan 16 - 07:48 PM
Steve Shaw 12 Jan 16 - 08:26 PM
MGM·Lion 13 Jan 16 - 12:40 AM
The Sandman 13 Jan 16 - 03:34 AM
Jim Carroll 13 Jan 16 - 08:51 AM
Steve Shaw 13 Jan 16 - 09:10 AM
The Sandman 13 Jan 16 - 10:04 AM
Jim Carroll 13 Jan 16 - 10:06 AM
Steve Shaw 13 Jan 16 - 10:15 AM
Jim Carroll 13 Jan 16 - 10:50 AM
TheSnail 13 Jan 16 - 11:38 AM
Jim Carroll 13 Jan 16 - 12:38 PM
Steve Shaw 13 Jan 16 - 12:52 PM
Jim Carroll 13 Jan 16 - 01:01 PM
Steve Shaw 13 Jan 16 - 01:50 PM
GUEST,Musket 13 Jan 16 - 02:14 PM
The Sandman 13 Jan 16 - 02:25 PM
Jim Carroll 13 Jan 16 - 02:56 PM
TheSnail 13 Jan 16 - 03:22 PM
GUEST,Hootenanny 13 Jan 16 - 03:37 PM
Vic Smith 13 Jan 16 - 04:25 PM
TheSnail 13 Jan 16 - 04:25 PM
The Sandman 13 Jan 16 - 05:28 PM
MGM·Lion 13 Jan 16 - 05:30 PM
The Sandman 13 Jan 16 - 05:35 PM
TheSnail 13 Jan 16 - 05:49 PM
Vic Smith 13 Jan 16 - 05:57 PM
Jim Carroll 13 Jan 16 - 08:04 PM
Jack Campin 13 Jan 16 - 08:36 PM
Jim Carroll 14 Jan 16 - 03:33 AM
GUEST,Shimrod 14 Jan 16 - 03:46 AM
akenaton 14 Jan 16 - 04:08 AM
MGM·Lion 14 Jan 16 - 04:33 AM
GUEST 14 Jan 16 - 05:21 AM
Will Fly 14 Jan 16 - 05:24 AM
Vic Smith 14 Jan 16 - 05:51 AM
GUEST 14 Jan 16 - 05:55 AM
Vic Smith 14 Jan 16 - 06:03 AM
GUEST 14 Jan 16 - 06:30 AM
TheSnail 14 Jan 16 - 06:47 AM
GUEST,Hootenanny 14 Jan 16 - 06:48 AM
TheSnail 14 Jan 16 - 07:45 AM
Brian Peters 14 Jan 16 - 07:51 AM
Vic Smith 14 Jan 16 - 07:58 AM
GUEST 14 Jan 16 - 08:48 AM
GUEST,Hootenanny 14 Jan 16 - 09:02 AM
Jim Carroll 14 Jan 16 - 09:50 AM
Vic Smith 14 Jan 16 - 09:51 AM
GUEST,Hootenanny 14 Jan 16 - 10:48 AM
The Sandman 14 Jan 16 - 11:29 AM
akenaton 14 Jan 16 - 11:56 AM
Jim Carroll 14 Jan 16 - 01:01 PM
GUEST,Shimrod 14 Jan 16 - 01:35 PM
Brian Peters 14 Jan 16 - 01:36 PM
The Sandman 14 Jan 16 - 01:54 PM
GUEST,Hootenanny 14 Jan 16 - 02:28 PM
Jim Carroll 14 Jan 16 - 03:04 PM
Jim Carroll 14 Jan 16 - 03:07 PM
Jim Carroll 14 Jan 16 - 03:07 PM
TheSnail 14 Jan 16 - 03:49 PM
The Sandman 14 Jan 16 - 04:08 PM
GUEST,Hootenanny 14 Jan 16 - 04:11 PM
The Sandman 14 Jan 16 - 04:30 PM
The Sandman 14 Jan 16 - 04:39 PM
GUEST,Shimrod 14 Jan 16 - 04:44 PM
The Sandman 14 Jan 16 - 04:57 PM
Jack Campin 14 Jan 16 - 06:13 PM
akenaton 14 Jan 16 - 06:40 PM
Jim Carroll 14 Jan 16 - 08:04 PM
Jack Campin 14 Jan 16 - 08:39 PM
GUEST,Musket 15 Jan 16 - 02:47 AM
Jim Carroll 15 Jan 16 - 03:57 AM
GUEST,Hootenanny 15 Jan 16 - 06:36 AM
MGM·Lion 15 Jan 16 - 07:02 AM
The Sandman 15 Jan 16 - 07:43 AM
The Sandman 15 Jan 16 - 08:04 AM
akenaton 15 Jan 16 - 08:06 AM
MGM·Lion 15 Jan 16 - 08:07 AM
TheSnail 15 Jan 16 - 08:09 AM
TheSnail 15 Jan 16 - 08:10 AM
The Sandman 15 Jan 16 - 08:14 AM
Steve Shaw 15 Jan 16 - 08:55 AM
GUEST,Hootenanny 15 Jan 16 - 09:10 AM
MGM·Lion 15 Jan 16 - 09:22 AM
Jack Campin 15 Jan 16 - 10:32 AM
Jim Carroll 15 Jan 16 - 12:47 PM
The Sandman 15 Jan 16 - 02:03 PM
GUEST,Hootenanny 15 Jan 16 - 02:27 PM
Jim Carroll 15 Jan 16 - 02:36 PM
GUEST,Jon 15 Jan 16 - 02:57 PM
The Sandman 15 Jan 16 - 03:16 PM
GUEST 16 Jan 16 - 02:36 AM
Jim Carroll 16 Jan 16 - 04:00 AM
GUEST,Hootenanny 16 Jan 16 - 05:28 AM
akenaton 16 Jan 16 - 05:35 AM
Jim Carroll 16 Jan 16 - 05:40 AM
MGM·Lion 16 Jan 16 - 05:44 AM
The Sandman 17 Jan 16 - 04:34 AM
GUEST 17 Jan 16 - 04:53 AM
GUEST,Shimrod 17 Jan 16 - 05:03 AM
MGM·Lion 17 Jan 16 - 05:40 AM
MGM·Lion 17 Jan 16 - 06:20 AM
GUEST,Seaham Cemetry aka R Sole 17 Jan 16 - 06:35 AM
MGM·Lion 17 Jan 16 - 06:46 AM
GUEST,Shimrod 17 Jan 16 - 07:01 AM
Jim Carroll 17 Jan 16 - 07:15 AM
The Sandman 17 Jan 16 - 07:43 AM
The Sandman 17 Jan 16 - 07:57 AM
The Sandman 17 Jan 16 - 08:01 AM
GUEST,Hootenanny 17 Jan 16 - 08:10 AM
Jim Carroll 17 Jan 16 - 08:10 AM
MGM·Lion 17 Jan 16 - 08:46 AM
Keith A of Hertford 17 Jan 16 - 09:01 AM
GUEST,Jon 17 Jan 16 - 09:18 AM
MGM·Lion 17 Jan 16 - 09:55 AM
MGM·Lion 17 Jan 16 - 09:58 AM
The Sandman 17 Jan 16 - 10:11 AM
GUEST,Shimrod 17 Jan 16 - 10:35 AM
GUEST,Jon 17 Jan 16 - 11:05 AM
Jim Carroll 17 Jan 16 - 11:06 AM
The Sandman 17 Jan 16 - 11:16 AM
GUEST,Shimrod 17 Jan 16 - 11:45 AM
GUEST,R Sole 17 Jan 16 - 12:02 PM
GUEST,Shimrod 17 Jan 16 - 12:29 PM
Jim Carroll 17 Jan 16 - 01:12 PM
GUEST,Musket 17 Jan 16 - 01:45 PM
Jim Carroll 17 Jan 16 - 02:25 PM
akenaton 17 Jan 16 - 04:55 PM
The Sandman 17 Jan 16 - 05:41 PM
The Sandman 17 Jan 16 - 05:47 PM
GUEST,Shimrod 17 Jan 16 - 06:16 PM
GUEST,Musket 18 Jan 16 - 02:13 AM
The Sandman 18 Jan 16 - 03:05 AM
The Sandman 18 Jan 16 - 03:05 AM
The Sandman 18 Jan 16 - 03:05 AM
GUEST 18 Jan 16 - 04:35 AM
TheSnail 18 Jan 16 - 06:36 AM
GUEST 18 Jan 16 - 06:38 AM
TheSnail 18 Jan 16 - 06:40 AM
GUEST 18 Jan 16 - 07:05 AM
TheSnail 18 Jan 16 - 08:21 AM
GUEST,Shimrod 18 Jan 16 - 09:21 AM
GUEST,Shimrod 18 Jan 16 - 09:46 AM
GUEST 18 Jan 16 - 10:19 AM
Jack Campin 18 Jan 16 - 06:13 PM
The Sandman 18 Jan 16 - 06:18 PM
The Sandman 18 Jan 16 - 06:28 PM
Jim Carroll 18 Jan 16 - 07:10 PM
GUEST,R Sole 18 Jan 16 - 07:15 PM
GUEST,Shimrod 19 Jan 16 - 03:37 AM
Jim Carroll 19 Jan 16 - 04:27 AM
TheSnail 19 Jan 16 - 04:55 AM
The Sandman 19 Jan 16 - 05:56 AM
Jim Carroll 19 Jan 16 - 06:48 AM
The Sandman 19 Jan 16 - 08:14 AM
MGM·Lion 19 Jan 16 - 08:40 AM
MGM·Lion 19 Jan 16 - 08:41 AM
Jim Carroll 19 Jan 16 - 09:04 AM
TheSnail 19 Jan 16 - 09:08 AM
Vic Smith 19 Jan 16 - 09:45 AM
GUEST,Hootenanny 19 Jan 16 - 10:43 AM
Jim Carroll 19 Jan 16 - 11:20 AM
The Sandman 19 Jan 16 - 12:40 PM
Jim Carroll 19 Jan 16 - 01:06 PM
The Sandman 19 Jan 16 - 02:51 PM
GUEST,Hootenanny 19 Jan 16 - 03:04 PM
The Sandman 19 Jan 16 - 03:18 PM
TheSnail 19 Jan 16 - 05:07 PM
Jim Carroll 19 Jan 16 - 07:42 PM
The Sandman 20 Jan 16 - 03:10 AM
Jim Carroll 20 Jan 16 - 03:35 AM
GUEST 20 Jan 16 - 04:50 AM
The Sandman 20 Jan 16 - 07:24 AM
Jim Carroll 20 Jan 16 - 07:50 AM
The Sandman 20 Jan 16 - 08:29 AM
TheSnail 20 Jan 16 - 08:38 AM
Jim Carroll 20 Jan 16 - 09:19 AM
The Sandman 20 Jan 16 - 03:53 PM
The Sandman 20 Jan 16 - 03:59 PM
GUEST, 34 20 Jan 16 - 04:11 PM
The Sandman 20 Jan 16 - 05:56 PM
Jim Carroll 20 Jan 16 - 07:15 PM
GUEST,Musket 21 Jan 16 - 03:54 AM
Jim Carroll 21 Jan 16 - 04:23 AM
GUEST,Shimrod 21 Jan 16 - 09:27 AM
The Sandman 21 Jan 16 - 10:26 AM
The Sandman 21 Jan 16 - 02:10 PM
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Subject: The singers club and proscription
From: The Sandman
Date: 10 Jan 16 - 06:43 AM

As les in chorlton asked and to prevent thread drift. I started a new thread.
according to the dictionary, proscription is the imposing of restraint and restriction.The Singers club HAD RULES RELATING TO THE PERFORMANCE OF MUSIC, therefore it was proscriptive.
That suited some people but not everybody.
Would such a club would work now, and is there a need for it?


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Subject: RE: The singers club and proscription
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 10 Jan 16 - 06:52 AM

It was both proscriptive and prescriptive.

It prescribed the performance of work from one's own tradition;

and proscribed that from those of others.

(Up to a point: I don't think that either the pro- or the pre-scription was rigorously or unreasonably enforced. Tho, as I have related before, I recall Ewan threatening Isla Cameron with 50 lashes next time she sang an American song.)

≈M≈


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Subject: RE: The singers club and proscription
From: GUEST,Musket
Date: 10 Jan 16 - 07:29 AM

There used to be a few clubs hereabouts with "rules."

My point centres around the "used to be" part of the sentence.


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Subject: RE: The singers club and proscription
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 10 Jan 16 - 07:59 AM

"(Up to a point: I don't think that either the pro- or the pre-scription was rigorously or unreasonably enforced"
It wasn't - it was an something expected from and by the residents (the policy came from an audience committee) and was based on a desire to open up the national repertoires on Britain and Ireland rather than allowing them to be swamped by the U.s. as had happened previously.
"Isla Cameron"
I hope no-one ever approaches me with my indiscretions committed in my pre-teen days Mike (that's how old the revival was when that particular incident happened).
The Singers Club was no more rigid than most folk Clubs in terms of what was performed there, and it was far less than many 'purist' clubs that denied the use of instruments and rejected contemporary or political songs.
If there is no place for clubs where people can be guaranteed to go to hear folk songs, then the "Folk revival" is over and the future of folk songs lies in archives and libraries.
Is there a need for it - having viewed what has happened in the UK and comparing it to the massive influx of youngsters becoming involved in traditional music - very much so.
I will be happy to contribute to this thread until it degenerates into a personalised slanging match (against anybody, living or dead)
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: The singers club and proscription
From: Mr Red
Date: 10 Jan 16 - 08:25 AM

As far as I am concerned it is up to the club organisers and what they want it to be. They put the effort in and they stand or fall on the popularity of their decisions. We vote with our feet, or seat. It can defeat some clubs particularly ones that no longer exist, though there may be many other reasons for their demise.

I have and do avoid anything that is too draconian. I may choose to tolerate things, my choice.

The digital revolution has moved things on, some of our consumption, and participation is as an archive. I include myself in this, and if C# was here today he would sport a pocket recorder and a website.


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Subject: RE: The singers club and proscription
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 10 Jan 16 - 08:33 AM

I never actually went to The Singers Club, which happened, I believe, after I left London for Cambridge, after my late wife won her Mature State Scholarship and I dropped out of the folk scene for several years. My recollections re Ewan & Isla &c are of the earlier incarnation, the late 1950s Ballads & Blues Club at the Princess Louise. Not sure what degree of continuity there might have been.

≈M≈


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Subject: RE: The singers club and proscription
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 10 Jan 16 - 09:54 AM

"Not sure what degree of continuity there might have been."
This is Ewan's statement of intent when he and Peggy launched the
Singers Club in 1961 in conjunction with Eric Winters' Sing Magazine.
Jim Carroll

"Why I am Opening a New Club
Ewan Maccoll and Peggy Seeger have set up their own folk song club, the Singers' club, in the heart of London. Run jointly with the magazine SING. it opened on 25 June at 2 Soho Square.
Maccoll and Seeger are not strangers to this building. For many months they sang there with the Ballads and Blues Association, until they broke with manager Malcolm Nixon after disagreements on artistic policy. Here Maccoll explains what led him to start the new club.

At a time when there are a great many folk clubs on the London scene, people may wonder why I have plunged in at the centre, in a season when attendances tend to fall off.
1.        It is necessary to rescue a large number of young people, all of whom have the right instincts, from those influences that have appeared on the folk scene during the past two or three years; influences that are doing their best to debase the meaning of folk song. The only notes that some people care about are the banknotes.
2.        Some top-liners in the folk song world; Bert Lloyd, Dominic Behan, for instance; have done little public singing in the past two or three years. Peggy and I have sung to live audiences more in the States and Canada than in Britain. Our new club will provide a platform for singers of this calibre who, like all folk singers, draw strength from live audiences.
3.        Our experiences during our US tour and at the Newport Festival have shown us the danger of singing down to an audience. It is the danger that the folk song revival can get so far away from its traditional basis that in the end it is impossible to distinguish it from pop music and cabaret.
It has happened in the States at clubs like the "Gate of Horn" in San Francisco where the cover charge and a meal are likely to run to about £5 a head for an evening. True bawdiness is reduced to mere suggestiveness. The songs, sapped of their vigour, become "quaint". It's happening here too in the "Tonight" programme. I was scared when I saw what's going on in some of the clubs. But it's not too late to retrieve the position.
4.        The position in Britain is relatively healthy. It's easy to bring Harry Cox and Sam Lamer to London and other centres and to bring fine Gaelic singers into Edinburgh, for instance. There's no tendency for them to be snapped up and commercialised. But we are determined to give top traditional singers a platform where they will be protected from the ravages of the commercial machine.
5. Finally, we need standards. Already the race for the quick pound note is on in the folk song world. "Quaint" songs, risque songs, poor instrumentation and no - better - then - average voices; coupled with a lack of respect for the material: against these we will fight.
Sing August 1961."


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Subject: RE: The singers club and proscription
From: The Sandman
Date: 10 Jan 16 - 10:21 AM

would there be any one who would give up their time and do it for nothing, which was what Ewan and Peggy did?


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Subject: RE: The singers club and proscription
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 10 Jan 16 - 10:38 AM

"would there be any one who would give up their time and do it for nothing, "
Virtually all involved in the revival in those days were non-professional; making a living from the Folk Clubs was a rarity.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: The singers club and proscription
From: GUEST,Musket
Date: 10 Jan 16 - 11:29 AM

I doubt the word "tolerate" ever comes up in most folk clubs. Words such as "entertain" and "enjoyment" seem to be far preferable.


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Subject: RE: The singers club and proscription
From: GUEST,ada the cadre
Date: 10 Jan 16 - 11:34 AM

I was taken there a few times as a child & visited once or twice as an adult too. My recollection is of the childhood visits that both Ewan & Bert Lloyd were pretty scary, and that you would need to be a pretty good musician to offer to perform at all. The problem with the proscription was that many of us grew up in cities where the folk tradition had been gone for a century. The number of songs originating from the London boroughs of Camden & Haringey are small and there are only so many times you can sing The Bailiff's Daughter of Islington. In my mind the proscription is linked with the Anti American feelings that a lot of adults on the Left had at the height of the Cold War. If you think they were harsh on American songs you should have heard people from those political circles on chewing-gum and what were then known as blue-jeans.


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Subject: RE: The singers club and proscription
From: GUEST,Hootenanny
Date: 10 Jan 16 - 12:59 PM

Jim,

Are you suggesting that Ewan and Peggy did not receive and financial recompense for their Saturday evening performances at The Ballads & Blues Club?

I find Ewan's idea of rescuing a large number of young people quite amusing. Also his reference to the Tonight Programme. The Tonight Programme was NOT a folk music programme but a current affairs/magazine type show. At the end of each week-night programme there would be a musical item. Sometimes it was classical mandolin player Hugo D'Alton (excuse me if I have the name mis-spelt), sometimes it was calypsonian and guitarist Cy Grant who was often a guest at the Ballads & Blues during Ewan's tenure. Others that appeared were Rory & Alex McEwen also guests at the Ballads & Blues during Ewan's period, Robin Hall & Jimmie MacGregor and another whose name at the moment I cannot recall. Their material was often a calypso type number commenting on items in the day's news.

The number of musicians making a living solely from "Folk Music" then was probably about the same as it is now. Very small indeed

I hope you don't consider this to be sniping at anyone living or dead.

I should also declare an interest in the subject having taken over the bookings for the Ballads and Blues Association Club when it re-opened after the Summer break in September 1961 a few yards around the corner from the ACTT at 2 Soho Square, We were at 7 Carlisle Street in premises which were previously The Partisan Coffee Bar.


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Subject: RE: The singers club and proscription
From: The Sandman
Date: 10 Jan 16 - 01:28 PM

"Virtually all involved in the revival in those days were non-professional; making a living from the Folk Clubs was a rarity."
I presume you are talking about 1961.
I was talking about the time[ mid sixties] they gave up to help the critics group, as I understand it The Critics Group ran for eight years from the mid-1960s to the early 1970s.
Carthy was pro in 1965.
Cyril Tawney left the Navy early in 1959 to become a full-time professional musician and broadcaster. He earned his living in this way for 44 years, making him Britain's longest-standing professional folksinger.
By 1961,Alex Campbell was playing folk clubs in London, including Les Cousins, and appeared several times, on and off stage, at Robin Hall and Jimmie MacGregor's London Folk Song Cellar on the BBC. He toured Germany several times, and other parts of Europe.
Wizz Jones, 1966, Ralph McTell 1967,
Roy Harris quote"I decided to go full time after a good reception at Sidmouth Festival in 1964,"
IAN CAMPBELL FOLK GROUP..In 1963, they signed to Transatlantic Records and released their first studio album, This is The Ian Campbell Folk Group. The group made television appearances throughout the 1960s including Hootenanny Show, Barn Dance and Hullabaloo, They established a substantial audience and played concerts at the Royal Albert Hall and the Royal Festival Hall and at the Newport Folk Festival in 1964. In 1965, their version of Bob Dylan's "The Times They Are a-Changin'" reached No. 42 in the UK Singles Chart.
Hamish Imlach 1965.Derek Brimstone 1965.Johnny Handle.TheSpinners, The Corries. The McCalmans 1964.


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Subject: RE: The singers club and proscription
From: The Sandman
Date: 10 Jan 16 - 01:47 PM

and Robin Hall and Jimmie MacGregor, Lou Killen,EwanMacColl Peggy Seeger, Tom Paley 1966.The Humblebums The band was active from the mid-1960s until the early 1970s.and on and on.


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Subject: RE: The singers club and proscription
From: Vic Smith
Date: 10 Jan 16 - 02:25 PM

Others that appeared were Rory & Alex McEwen also guests at the Ballads & Blues during Ewan's period, Robin Hall & Jimmie MacGregor and another whose name at the moment I cannot recall.

I think that it was Josh MacRae.


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Subject: RE: The singers club and proscription
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 10 Jan 16 - 02:53 PM

"Are you suggesting that Ewan and Peggy did not receive and financial recompense for their Saturday evening performances at The Ballads & Blues Club? "
No I am not - I am suggesting that there were few people around who were making a living out of it.
Both the B and B and The Singers paid their residents - ot much, in th case of the Singers Club - barely covered expenses.
"I find Ewan's idea of rescuing a large number of young people quite amusing"
I'm sure you do - you were a friend of, Malcolm Nixon, weren't you.
There is little doubt that the music was being sucked into the commercial market and sanitised for wiide public consumption.
My first club was one such, I was a member for a year and, so anodyne had it become, was on my way out when was taken under the wing of people like Terry Whelan and Harry Boardman - been around since.
The Singer never wavered from presenting traditional song, well sung and new songs using traditional forms.
Kept me from hanging around street corners for most of my life and earned my eternal gratitude.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: The singers club and proscription
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 10 Jan 16 - 02:57 PM

... or perhaps Stan Kelly, who was anchorman at the club Bruce Dunnett established at the Cranbourne in Gt Newport St in 1958. Residents were Isabel Sutherland, Sandy Paton, Dominic Behan, Shirley Collins -- one each Scot, US, Irish, English -- + Stan himself: all traditionalists, which was obviously the policy & USP. Occasional floor singers, tho not an invariable feature. I remember Stan once asking (can't recall why) if anyone knew a version of The Bitter Withy other than the one Bert Lloyd had remembered from his youth, and it happened that I did [the one in Matthew Hodgart's book The Ballads, collected by CSH iirc], so he called me up to sing it. After that he would ask me to sing one or two songs most weeks.

≈M≈


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Subject: RE: The singers club and proscription
From: Doug Chadwick
Date: 10 Jan 16 - 03:52 PM

It prescribed the performance of work from one's own tradition;

and proscribed that from those of others.

(……………….. I recall Ewan threatening Isla Cameron with 50 lashes next time she sang an American song.)


What bothers me about such prescription and proscription is the definition of "one's own tradition".

I spent all my working life in the process industry – 12 years in chemical works and 30 years in oil refining. At all times, I was working for major multi-national companies. There are oil/chemical processing plants a-plenty in the US – if there is a good song out there inspired by them should I be stopped from singing it just because it is American?

I have lived for the last 30-odd years with rural Lincolnshire on my doorstep but was born and brought up as a city boy. It was heavy industry that has paid the bills. I love the countryside and get out into it whenever I can but does this give me the right to sing songs about farming and the life of an agricultural labourer as part of "my tradition" just because I live here? I was born in Liverpool and live just outside of Grimsby, both major ports in their day. My father spent all of his working life at sea or working for the port authority but I am a landlubber. Can I rightfully sing songs about rounding the Horn in a sailing ship? Is it part of my tradition?

If I had to limit my singing to what I know directly, my repertoire would be pretty thin as there aren't that many songs about boiling oil.

DC


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Subject: RE: The singers club and proscription
From: The Sandman
Date: 10 Jan 16 - 04:50 PM

Society and Economic climate have changed a lot since 1965, would that make a difference to the success of such a venture?


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Subject: RE: The singers club and proscription
From: GUEST,Musket
Date: 10 Jan 16 - 05:47 PM

Here here Doug.

Mind you, plenty of ruddy mining songs. I preferred to find songs about reed cutting in bloody Norfolk though. Bad enough spending all day or night down the pit without singing about the chuffing place.

I left mining songs to social workers and cost accountants. They seemed to know more about it.

The folk police did more than their fair share to turn people off and the sad demise of folk clubs. These days, it's all singarounds with pieces of paper and cookbook holders. Rather sad to read that having bollocksed up clubs, some of the old sods are unrepentant.

Folk is thriving. The music coming out is exciting. The beauty is that those providing it have parents who weren't even born in 1954. The sad bit is that folk clubs are not relevant nor desirable for them. It's all small theatre or YouTube. In a pub last week, with about twenty performers ranging in age from 16 to 80, only two of us had ever heard of Mudcat, as we found when we took the piss out of 1954 and had to explain what we were laughing at.


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Subject: RE: The singers club and proscription
From: The Sandman
Date: 11 Jan 16 - 03:16 AM

What changed or was there any change? between 1961 and the early Seventies?.
It was my experience, and I understood it to be the norm in the Seventies, that folk club residents helped a club and did not receive payment.A lot of people were putting time and effort into helping the uk folk revival and not receiving money
I was resident at several clubs in those years,I did not receive payment, neither did I expect it,as I understood it, we all gave up our time and were not paid to help the local folk club.
Hootenanny gave the impression that some residents were paid at The Ballad and Blues club, did Ewan and Peggy get paid?, did anyone else get paid? Were residents at The Singers club paid?
I am seeking clarification for the purpose of hearing the truth, there is so much mythology and attempts to rewrite history or muddy the waters on this subject.


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Subject: RE: The singers club and proscription
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 11 Jan 16 - 04:43 AM

"the definition of "one's own tradition". "
There is no mystery in what was meant and why it was adopted as a policy by the club - I've explained MacColl and Lloyd's encounter with Lomax and the desire to open up the national repertoires - it worked - certainly over here - the revival was introduced to the songs of Jeanie Robertson, Harry Cox, Sam Larner.... big time.
The advantages of that are still with us - some of us are still singing these songs.
Terms like "proscription" I believe are deliberately chosen to avoid using the one that all club adopted "policy".
All clubs had a policy, certainly back then - even if it was the policy of "anything goes".
The singers club was no more "proscriptive" than any other club and a damn sight less than some.
We had an objective - to open up the national repertoires of these islands and while doing so, to introduce our audiences to performers from other cultures performing songs from their wn cultures - our guests came from Europe, the U.S. and Asia because they were available - we would have taken them from anywhere had it been possible.
"prosciptive" has become a term of abuse, as has "finger-in-ear" and "purist" and folk police"
It has never been applicable to the singers club, from those who visited the club it is dishonest and from those who didn't it is downright insulting.
The Singers was one of the most innovative, ground breaking and experimental clubs I was ever involved with but it created a foundation for itself on traditional song, and it never abandoned that foundation - it did what it said on the tin, and audiences came knowing what would be on offer - would that were the case today.
I wish today's revival was as in as safe hands - we wouldn't have the "anything goes", lack of standards shambles we have now.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: The singers club and proscription
From: GUEST,Hootenanny
Date: 11 Jan 16 - 06:27 AM

Vic Smith; Not Josh MacRae Vic, I don't think he ever appeared in that spot. The name that I couldn't recall was Lance Percival who was not from the folk scene.

Jim Carroll; Having worked with Malcolm Nixon does not mean that I was/am not able to think for myself. Also I was there at the time. Ewan rescued no-one. He set up a folk club which differed somewhat in policy to the one or two others around at the time. The paying customers made their own choice. Some preferred the Singers Club and went there out of choice. Others chose venues which cast a wider net. Simple as that.

Dick Miles; I "gave he impression that some residents were paid at the Ballads & Blues Club"?? We did not have residents after Ewan & Peggy left. We had people that appeared pretty regularly. We normally would have three acts each week ALL of whom were paid.
You give a few names of people who made a living from "Folk Music". My only comment would be that there is a difference between making a living and "getting by".


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Subject: RE: The singers club and proscription
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 11 Jan 16 - 07:38 AM

" The paying customers made their own choice. Some preferred the Singers Club and went there out of choice."
Remind me again when the Ballads and Blues closed Hoot - don't think it was around when I went to my first London folk club in 1963
The Singers was still going strong until Peggy moved to America after Ewan's death in 1989 - you could still hear traditional songs and ballads well sung, coupled with newly composed ones, MacColl albums, dating back to his early days as a singer are still readily available
I'm not one for pissing competitions but I know whee my money would go as to who made the greatest contribution to folk song
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: The singers club and proscription
From: The Sandman
Date: 11 Jan 16 - 08:52 AM

As far as I am concerned my use of the term proscriptive is not intended as abusive but purely as an accurate description of their musical policy.it would be accurate to describe other clubs that had a policy of no instruments as proscriptive, in the end people choose for themselves, some like one thing others like something different.


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Subject: RE: The singers club and proscription
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 11 Jan 16 - 09:04 AM

"As far as I am concerned my use of the term prescriptive is not intended as abusive but purely as an accurate description of their musical policy."
To my knowledge we never at any time "proscribed" anybody therefore suggesting we did is an abusive term, unless you can show that we did.
The Singers, far from discouraging others to use instruments, they encouraged it - Peggy actually gave lectures on the subject (still have the recordings)
If being "proscriptive" means doing what you say you do, than everything, from putting on Jazz to labeling your tin "baked beans" is proscriptive.
It is a nonsense term when applied to a specified dedicated art form, just as is "finger-in-ear, which is a valid and age-old technique for keeping in tune is - both are used regularly to denigrate clubs and performers who apply standards and a degree of responsibility to their chosen art and their audiences.   
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: The singers club and proscription
From: The Sandman
Date: 11 Jan 16 - 09:40 AM

Proscriptive describes certain musical policies, it does make sense, for example some traditional music clubs[ not the singers club]had proscriptive musical policies, those policies forbade anything but unaccompanied singing, that description is crystal clear, the singers club had a different proscriptive musical policy.
Neither does it follow that clubs like les cousins who had a broader and less proscriptive policy had any lower quality of booked performer, they too had a high standard.
"If being "proscriptive" means doing what you say you do"
That is not the definition of Proscriptive.


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Subject: RE: The singers club and proscription
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 11 Jan 16 - 09:45 AM

" booked performer, they too had a high standard."
If you are relying on booked performers youi are not running a club, you are putting on mini-concerts.
WE relied on our residents week-after-week - guests were a welcome break once a month.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: The singers club and proscription
From: GUEST,Hootenanny
Date: 11 Jan 16 - 09:58 AM

Jim, May 1965 was when the Ballads & Blues Club ceased operations but not for want of audience.
If you are not keen on pissing contests what is all that crap about "biggest contribution to folk song"?

I don't claim that the B&B made any contribution to folk song. We put on people that our audience enjoyed, and I am sure that Ewan and Peggy did likewise for their audience

I believe that we are already aware that you would prefer the Singers Club to the B&B. Of course you never experienced the B&B personally and I don't claim that it would have changed your mind at all if you had. "Horses for Courses".

I've said it before Jim but you really should lighten up a bit.

Keep smiling, life's too short


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Subject: RE: The singers club and proscription
From: akenaton
Date: 11 Jan 16 - 10:44 AM

What happened between 1961 and the seventies was that certain people started taking the piss out of chorus singing, which was the backbone of the revival......the pointing and laughing brigade took the emotion and participation away and killed the genre.

It was replaced by "clever" musicians and celebrity performers, who in turn fell victim to current fashion.....there was nothing of real value left,

The present day folk music is sad and empty, musician based and produced to an academic template, not real life.
I listen to dozens of these young groups striving not for beauty or emotion, but a saleable sound. So many influences which when mixed together could be produced by a machine.

The Gaelic culture depended on participation, it has now almost completely disappeared......only the Mod(which was roundly condemned by seventies "folkies") remains as it was.

The folk process should be linked to dance as it has always been in Ireland......it has survived there despite the 70s and 80s "Super groups"


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Subject: RE: The singers club and proscription
From: Will Fly
Date: 11 Jan 16 - 11:30 AM

The present day folk music is sad and empty, musician based and produced to an academic template, not real life.

So the evening of traditional English, Irish, Scottish and French music we had the other day in our local pub - with participants of all ages - was sad and empty, was it?

Strange, as the whole pub - including the listeners clustered around the room and up at the bar - seemed to be having a whale of a time. We knew it was going really well when an informal longways set began stamping and whirling up at the top end of the room!

And, pray, what is meant by "musician based"? Were the people playing fiddle, guitar, mandolin, boxes, whistles, smallpipes and nyckelharpa not supposed to be there?

"Academic template"? Do get out more!


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Subject: RE: The singers club and proscription
From: akenaton
Date: 11 Jan 16 - 11:47 AM

It may be different in your area Will, round here used to be a great area for folk music we had upwards of 500 every week in the club and the Hotels all allowed singing. Our Club was an hotel ballroom!
There are few clubs now and the Hotels do not in general welcome the folk community.....most of the bars are empty.
I put a lot of blame on the shift from singing to instrumental groups who experiment with the music until it becomes simply a cacophony of sound.
"Do get out more"?....I get out quite a lot thank you, and was that really necessary?....The opening poster requested civility.


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Subject: RE: The singers club and proscription
From: Will Fly
Date: 11 Jan 16 - 12:12 PM

No offence intended, Ake - tongue in cheek and with a smile - but when you make sweeping statements about the whole of "present day folk music" - which I believe to be an exaggeration- it does make me wonder where you go and what you listen to.

I'm aware that musical trends differ from area to area - and I think we're particularly lucky to have a rich musical scene down here in Sussex - but, even so...


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Subject: RE: The singers club and proscription
From: akenaton
Date: 11 Jan 16 - 12:20 PM

Maybe more of an association with dance in your area keeps things more traditional in nature?

I am very interested in "Morris" and its origins"....how it has survived etc.


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Subject: RE: The singers club and proscription
From: Will Fly
Date: 11 Jan 16 - 12:30 PM

I honestly couldn't say. Perhaps its coincidental that our session is run by members of a ceilidh band (which includes myself), and that many of the participants are also part of other local bands playing for both dancing and listening.

I ought to add, in all fairness, that our sessions are punctuated with stuff from the likes of Jimmie Rodgers and Fats Waller! We have musicians who combine a love of traditional music with a love of, and ability to play, country, jazz and swing. What really moves me is when the whole complement of players is joining in as one - doesn't matter what's being played as long as we're drawing people in to the music.

There are also several Morris teams where we are. I watch them occasionally, as friends of mine are dancers, but I confess that I don't have a particular interest in following it or participating in it.


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Subject: RE: The singers club and proscription
From: GUEST,Musket
Date: 11 Jan 16 - 12:43 PM

Folk is indeed a wide genre, as this thread is somewhat inadvertently demonstrating.

I agree Will. Some people do need to get out more, but so long as they don't stray too far eh?


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Subject: RE: The singers club and proscription
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 11 Jan 16 - 12:49 PM

"Keep smiling, life's too short"
Bit presumptive you're assuming I'm not "smiling" don't you think?
I've spent a lifetime enjoying the songs I love, singing them, listening to them and helping preserve them.
When our last 'big' singer died in 2005, I thought 'that was that' - the stuff was archived safely and we could put the finishing touches to the collection and sit back - didn't happen like that.
People have shown an interest in what we've done (not necessarily in the UK but here in Ireland.
Our Clare double CD has become a field recording best seller, despite the bad behaviour of some people and a our County Library responded to our suggestion that they might like to pair it with their excellent music website - thy put two librarians to work on it for over two years and put over 500 of the songs we collected up just over a year ago - a truely magnificent job of which we are extremely proud - thy have helped us return the songs we collected back to the county we got them from - couldn't begin to tell you what a buzz that gave us.
Carroll Mackenzie collection
Early last year we completed two programmed dedicated to Ewan for Irish National Radio - another high.
Last month the World Music Department at Limerick Uni. accepted our entire collection for their students and have mooted the idea of opening a Travellers website based on the work we did with Irish Travellers in London.
Lighten up!! If we were any lighter they'd have to send up rockets to shoot us down.
None of this would have happened had our sole concern been to put bums on seats a you seem to imply is (or was) yours.
You are right about one thing - life is too short.
We are now quite old and have yet to sort out the twenty years of work we did with Walter Pardon - can't think of many English clubs interested enough to weigh in and give us a hand.
That we should live long enough to get it all done!
"What happened between 1961 and the seventies was that certain people started taking the piss out of chorus singing, which was the backbone of the revival."
Choirus singing was never the backbone of the revival and audiences joining in solo singing has become one of the rapidly spreading infections of the present day.
The Singer at no time "took the piss" out of chorus singing - ever - on the contrary, Ewan and Peggy were often accused of taking too long to teach choruses - they were an essential part of what we did.
This is a total new one on me - I have never visited a club that discouraged chorus singing - ever.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: The singers club and proscription
From: The Sandman
Date: 11 Jan 16 - 01:01 PM

Jim, I just had a guy come to my door,and he said he heard the programme about Ewan, and he was waxing lyrical, what a good programme, how much he enjoyed the songs,he said he didnt realise how many songs he thought were irish songs, were in fact written by ewan.


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Subject: RE: The singers club and proscription
From: TheSnail
Date: 11 Jan 16 - 02:45 PM

Ewan MacColl quoted by Jim Carroll -
1.       It is necessary to rescue a large number of young people, all of whom have the right instincts, from those influences that have appeared on the folk scene during the past two or three years; influences that are doing their best to debase the meaning of folk song. The only notes that some people care about are the banknotes.

Intriguing. It sounds as if the rot had set in 45 years ago.


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Subject: RE: The singers club and proscription
From: TheSnail
Date: 11 Jan 16 - 02:53 PM

Arithmatic failure. Make that 55 years ago.


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Subject: RE: The singers club and proscription
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 11 Jan 16 - 02:57 PM

You mean that the money men didn't move into the revival back then Bryan?
Not my experience when Folk meant 'The Smothers Brothers at the Purple Onion'.
Not unconnected to the fact that if we want folk song nowadays all we have to do was to is "hop on a train to Lewes" as I was once told - can't remember by who!
The Singers was true to its word and for around thirty years the audiences were treated to good folk songs well sung - "Gone are the blue, remembered hills"
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: The singers club and proscription
From: The Sandman
Date: 11 Jan 16 - 03:04 PM

The Singers was true to its word and for around thirty years the audiences were treated to good folk songs well sung - "Gone are the blue, remembered hills"
Jim Carroll
As they have been in other folk clubs around the country, some for more than thirty years such as Swindon folk club,Darlington Britt,Bodmin.


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Subject: RE: The singers club and proscription
From: TheSnail
Date: 11 Jan 16 - 03:17 PM

My point was, Jim, that you seem to say that you left the UK folk club scene (In the eighties?) when you could no longer hear folk music in a "Folk Club". The quote from MacColl seems to imply that this was already true in 1961. I'm not sure of the relevance of 'The Smothers Brothers at the Purple Onion'. (For those who don't know,the Purple Onion was a venue in San Francisco.) It would appear that The Singers was a bit of a rarity even then.

"hop on a train to Lewes". Give it a try, you might even enjoy it and be a bit surprised by the existence of something that you deny.


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Subject: RE: The singers club and proscription
From: akenaton
Date: 11 Jan 16 - 04:26 PM

Scottish folk music is now ruled by a "media mafia" it's depressing and empty, just bands trying to get famous......like pop you've now got to know the right people and lick the right arses.
The folk academies up here turn out groups which all sound the same and who murder all the good songs and tunes in the same manner.
Folk music was never about technical ability, it is about raw emotion, the magic ingredient.
In the days even before the revival, I can remember pub and small ceilidh singers who were magic on legs.

Jim I was not pointing at the singers club, one of my personal favourites Gordeanna McCulloch joined many years ago one of the best folk singers Scotland ever produced, with only two CDs to her name, but she devoted her life to teaching and singing all over the country, keeping the tradition alive.
Chorus singing and the groups who performed it were treated with derision, not by the clubs, but by the new breed of would be celebrity performers, who were dedicated only to making a name for themselves.

MacColl knew what it was all about.


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Subject: RE: The singers club and proscription
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 11 Jan 16 - 05:24 PM

"My point was, Jim, that you seem to say that you left the UK folk club scene (In the eighties?) when you could no longer hear folk music in a "Folk Club""
I didn't Bryan, I said I said I stopped randomly visiting clubs when my choice of what would find there was removed from me.
"The quote from MacColl seems to imply that this was already true in 1961. "
That was the way it was heading then - the policy adopted by The Singers was followed my other clubs - Manchester had several, Liverpool at least one, Birmingham, from what I cam make out, Lewes, Grimsby, Hull and other clubs avoided what was happening - Pat had a list of clubs she could approach when she booked a guest.
"It would appear that The Singers was a bit of a rarity even then."
Not by any means but had not peopele stood up to be counted then it might well have been.
MacColl was lucky enough to have the (sometimes qualified) support of Eric Winter and Fred Dallas to publicist his statement.
"Give it a try, you might even enjoy"
I might well - but isn't it a sad state of affairs that I woulfd have to?
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: The singers club and proscription
From: GUEST,Musket
Date: 12 Jan 16 - 03:03 AM

Can't see what the problem is Jim. If Marks and Spencer stop selling your favourite Y fronts, they are still a shop that sells men's underwear. It's just you who would be disappointed trying to find what you want. It's still the same Marks & Sparks to everybody else, none of whom would understand what all your fuss is about.

Just think how folk could have taken off if it wasn't for people being turned off by the very thought of the folk police. Music in the popular culture from the 50s onwards has had a hell of a lot of folk inspired influence. If folk clubs had been universally more inclusive, they might have thrived rather than dropping like flies over the last thirty years.

Anyway. Must dash. I have to brush up on Ziggy Stardust. Haven't played it in years and I will tonight at a err folk club....


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Subject: RE: The singers club and proscription
From: Will Fly
Date: 12 Jan 16 - 03:18 AM

Alternatively, of course, Jim could abandon M&S completely and go elsewhere for those elusive and desirable Y-fronts. The interesting thing is that music is a far more complex and sophisticated set of spiritual, cultural experiences than Y-fronts - or indeed anything that, for example, fits into a can with a label on it.

That's why these eternal wranglings about the nature and taxonomy of the music continue.

The important thing to remember is that all taxonomies are relative - skewed to the originators of the taxonomies and their aims.


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Subject: RE: The singers club and proscription
From: The Sandman
Date: 12 Jan 16 - 04:29 AM

"Subject: RE: The singers club and proscription
From: Jim Carroll - PM
Date: 11 Jan 16 - 05:24 PM

"My point was, Jim, that you seem to say that you left the UK folk club scene (In the eighties?) when you could no longer hear folk music in a "Folk Club""
I didn't Bryan, I said I said I stopped randomly visiting clubs when my choice of what would find there was removed from me."
My experience is different, I WAS PLAYING IN A LOT OF FOLK CLUBS IN THE EIGHITES AND I heard a lot of well performed trad and contemporary material. I also ran a folk club in the eighties and booked Carthy and Swarbrick,Martin Carthy, MacColl and Seeger, Cyril Tawney,Tony Rose Peter Bellamy, Irish musicians such as John and Julia Clifford, Nic Jones, Johnny Handle etc




2


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Subject: RE: The singers club and proscription
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 12 Jan 16 - 04:41 AM

Thanks Will - should have said that
I do wish people would stop using spitefully childish terms like 'folk police' or we'll be back to schoolyard name-calling before you can say "snigger-snogwriter" - itis an ugly term and it gets us nowhere.
The music is more complex than that.
I came into folk song because I liked it to sing and to listen to - when I realsised just how important it was I hung round - I've been there since.
"Folk" isn't a term you can walk away from - it's too well documented and has been for nearly 150 years - it identifies what the music is, who it served and how it came about - it has history.
Why should re-brand our song and music when it's already well-branded - what do we say when someone new to the genre asks about "folk song" - "Go look in 'Folk Song in England' or 'Folk Songs of The North East' or 'Folk Songs of the Upper Thames' or 'The Ballad and the Folk' or Cecil Sharp's 'Folk Songs of the Appalachians' or his and Maud Karpeles 'Folk Songs of England Collection'..... but don't take any notice of the title!!
It gets more complicated when you have to tie it up with its related disciplines; folklore, folk music, folk dance, folk tale, folk custom, folk beliefs, folk art...
Making a folk U.D.I. is all very well but sorry, this chair is occupied and the 'anything goes clubs' don't change that fact one iota.
It wasn't your Folk Police (nastily insulting term) who drove us out of the clubs in droves, most folk clubs I went to were fairly easy-going within the description, it was the fact that when we turned up we didn't get to hear anything resembling what we came for - if we wanted to hear Bonzo Dog Doodah Band (or Ziggy Stardust) numbers, we'd dig out the records from the masters of that genre - we didn't have to listen to fifth-rate renditions belted out by folkies no longer singing folksongs.
There was a time when the folk revival knew what folk song was and we were able to choose our clubs on the basis of whether they were well-performed or not.
Enjoy your Ziggy Stardust - "I'm sorry for your trouble" as they say around here when someone dies.
When you work with old singers, especially those who have been part of communities who have had a thriving living tradition, you realise that they have, to some extent, taken ownership of the songs - they are Clare songs, or Norfolk songs, or Traveller songs... wherever they turn up, they belong to there.
The singers may have sung music hall, or C&W, or pop songs of the period, but the Traditional songs are (or more accurately were) different - I believe the communities that once had the songs no longer make or remake them to any degree - the 'living traditions' are things of the past - we saw that happen virtually overnight between 1973/75 with Irish Travellers when they all got portable televisions and stopped singing and making songs.
As folkies, we still get pleasure in singing them, and hopefully, using the forms to make new ones, but I believe by doing so, we take on the responsibility of maintaining their importance - they really are part of our social history - the product of communities who, it has been claimed, were incapable of producing anything artistically or socially worthwhile - as the album series says 'The Voice of the People' - "The Folk" in fact.
We've been working here on the West Coast of Ireland since the early seventies.
Three years ago, when we started to prepare our collection for the internet, we stumbled on something we had overlooked - several dozen local songs which were not part of the mainstream tradition and had not moved out of the area - four songs about a local shipwreck, five about an incident during the 'Black and Tans' period and several more on the same theme, four song on the local West Clare Railway, election songs, songs about local characters, murders and drinking sprees..... all made during the lifetimes of the singers and all anonymous.
An old singer told us a couple of years ago that "if a man farted in church, somebody made a song about it".
I have since come to the conclusion that the practice of recording local history in song must have happened throughout the country and, because of the songs not tying up with the traditional repertoire, they have been either not recorded or ignored when they have - just as we did.
This maybe common knowledge elsewhere - it's new to me and worth pushing to see if we can get others to follow it up.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: The singers club and proscription
From: GUEST,Musket
Date: 12 Jan 16 - 05:20 AM

Stop telling me what folk music is by definition based on your opinion and I'll stop calling you the folk police, Jim.

Simple.

Unlike Y fronts, which can be difficult when you are busting and fumbling.

Especially when your waistband ends nine inches above your Y fronts eh?


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Subject: RE: The singers club and proscription
From: GUEST,Gealt
Date: 12 Jan 16 - 05:48 AM

The Folk Peeler and His Why Fronts. Sounds like a good one.


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Subject: RE: The singers club and proscription
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 12 Jan 16 - 06:08 AM

"Stop telling me what folk music is by definition based on your opinion "
Not based on my opinion Muskie - based on a century of research - with the literature to back it up - stop behaving like an SS storm-trooper with you disgusting ageist taunts (at least not at aimed at Harry CVox and Sam Larner this time) in order to thrust your unqualified opinion down my throat - show us your literature, or #do we just have to take your word for it.
As with all the other bullies on this forum - finished debating with you for fear of wrecking an otherwise interesting thread.
You want a "folk policeman" - go look in the mirror - you're the only one demanding we have to take your word on trust - I've given my arguments.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: The singers club and proscription
From: Vic Smith
Date: 12 Jan 16 - 06:13 AM

"Folk Police?" I always thought that was nominative determinism for P.C Bobby Copper of the West Sussex Constabulary. You want photographic evidence? Here it is!


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Subject: RE: The singers club and proscription
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 12 Jan 16 - 06:43 AM

Thanks Vic - just in the 'nick of time' (pun intended).
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: The singers club and proscription
From: Vic Smith
Date: 12 Jan 16 - 06:48 AM

Too much, Jim. Give it arrest!


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Subject: RE: The singers club and proscription
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 12 Jan 16 - 06:57 AM

It's a fair cop guv -I'll come quietly!
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: The singers club and proscription
From: akenaton
Date: 12 Jan 16 - 07:38 AM

Well Jim, we may disagree on many things, but we're brothers on folk music......Well said sir(4;41 am)


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Subject: RE: The singers club and proscription
From: GUEST,Brian Grayson
Date: 12 Jan 16 - 08:32 AM

Oh, dear - does the fun never stop?

I was a regular at the Singers' Club in the 70s, and I don't recall a notice prescribing/proscribing the singers' choice of songs. I recall one glorious occasion when Loudon Wainwright III asked to sing (ah, the days of floor-singers) and did 'Dead Skunk in the Middle of the Road' to enthusiastic applause from all present (including Ewan and Peggy)!

By the bye - I was just watching a news item on TV which included a clip of David Bowie singing with his hand to his ear... it doesn't matter what you're singing, it helps acoustically!

My only personal criticism of the present folk scene (sic) is that festivals have grown and eclecticised to the point where I stay away 'cos they're just too bloody big and too bloody loud - but I accept that mine is a minority opinion influenced by my growing geriatric nostalgia for the Good Old Days...

OK - time for my nap. Nurse! Nurse?

Fond regards to Jim, Kevin Shiels and all the others who are keeping up the good work.

Brian


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Subject: RE: The singers club and proscription
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 12 Jan 16 - 08:39 AM

Nice to hear from you again Brian, long time no hear - happy new century - don't forget your medication!!
"but we're brothers on folk music..."
Apologies for misunderstanding you Ake - that old knee-jerk, I'm afraid.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: The singers club and proscription
From: The Sandman
Date: 12 Jan 16 - 09:46 AM

LOUDON was not contradicting a club rule was he? the club did not have a rule against the use of song accompaniment either, but it was proscriptive.
remind us again Jim of the club rule? was it singers singing traditional songs from their own back ground? or was it something else, that is proscriptive, however on the positive side it did mean that singers went and tried to find songs from their own background.


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Subject: RE: The singers club and proscription
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 12 Jan 16 - 10:44 AM

"remind us again Jim of the club rule?"
I don't know if you're just being obtuse or dishonest Dick.
You've read what Peggy wrote about the policy - you've read what I have written about the policy, you've just been given adescription of how Wainwright was received at The Singers Club - are you really suggesting that we are all lying?
Whatever it is, it is extremely useful as an example of how The Singers Club has ben misrepresented down the years.
When will you get it into your head that there was no "club rule" as to what could and could not be sung there
There was an expectation that the residents stuck to singing songs from their own countries in their own accents because we were opening up and exploring our own national repertoires - it was never at any time a "RULE" and was occasionally ignored without th wrath of god being poured onto our heads - repeating the "rule" myth appears to be openly malicious.
ow - remind me again Dick - are we all lying or what?
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: The singers club and proscription
From: GUEST,Musket
Date: 12 Jan 16 - 11:08 AM

See? Just because you didn't invent it doesn't make your insistence any the wiser Jim.

Folk is far wider, far more enjoyed and vastly more artistic in scope and flavour than you could ever realise. It took off and diversified about the same time as a bunch of serious buggers with Asbergers Syndrome had decided they knew enough to describe it.

A bit of a bugger really when you try to pigeon hole something which by their own description is dynamic, evolving and reflecting people of the time.

😂😂😂


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Subject: RE: The singers club and proscription
From: akenaton
Date: 12 Jan 16 - 12:12 PM

"evolving" into third rate pop music.....I'll just say it once!


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Subject: RE: The singers club and proscription
From: akenaton
Date: 12 Jan 16 - 12:27 PM

Just been studying some nineteenth century bothy ballads from Aberdeenshire, most of the farm buildings are still there....huge culture summed up in these "comical" songs ...all life is there if you have the inclination to look.
These men had pride...in their work, their "place", even the tightness of the auld fermer boss.

When you look even closer you see that faqrmer an' worker were not really battling each other, but were involved with a titanic struggle to tame the land and raise their families.....all contained in a "spleighter o' comical blethers."

Folk music has always been about real people and real life (Ziggy Stardust nivir visited Eberdeenshire) :0)


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Subject: RE: The singers club and proscription
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 12 Jan 16 - 12:47 PM

I can't help wondering why we're raking this old topic up AGAIN! Talk about 'flogging-a-dead-horse'. Ewan's been dead for over 26 years. In my opinion he did a bloody good job. Let him rest in peace!


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Subject: RE: The singers club and proscription
From: The Sandman
Date: 12 Jan 16 - 12:58 PM

"There was an expectation that the residents stuck to singing songs from their own countries in their own accents because we were opening up and exploring our own national repertoires"
OK, Are you stating that it only applied to residents, not to floor singers, all you have to do is say yes or no.
I did not go there so I am trying to find out exactly what happened.


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Subject: RE: The singers club and proscription
From: GUEST,Musket
Date: 12 Jan 16 - 01:14 PM

Little Sir Echo how do you do?

Sorry about that...


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Subject: RE: The singers club and proscription
From: Effsee
Date: 12 Jan 16 - 02:06 PM

"Ziggy Stardust nivir visited Eberdeenshire"... Aye he did Ake! See:-

https://www.eveningexpress.co.uk/fp/news/local/memories-of-late-legend-before-he-was-starman/


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Subject: RE: The singers club and proscription
From: GUEST,Musket
Date: 12 Jan 16 - 02:32 PM

Even when trying to be obnoxious, he wouldn't know a fact from a fart.

Ignore him. He tried to denigrate Bowie. Why? Probably his neutral sexuality persona. The worm used to tell everybody how much he liked Rufus Wainwright till he found out he was gay.

What the flying it has to do with the thread is beyond me. Luckily.


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Subject: RE: The singers club and proscription
From: The Sandman
Date: 12 Jan 16 - 03:38 PM

Shimrod, if you do not like it you do not have to particpate, the thread is about the singers club and proscription IT is not about MacColl.
MGM Lion, mentioned Isla Cameron, I quote
Up to a point: I don't think that either the pro- or the pre-scription was rigorously or unreasonably enforced. Tho, as I have related before, I recall Ewan threatening Isla Cameron with 50 lashes next time she sang an American song.)
was that at the singers club or elsewhere?was Isla a resident at Singers club or doing a floor spot there?


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Subject: RE: The singers club and proscription
From: akenaton
Date: 12 Jan 16 - 03:59 PM

I have always thought Mr Bowie nothing more than a second rate popsinger a member of the celebrity culture, there are bucketful's of them.....perhaps he would have been more at home in a theatrical setting.
Mr Wainwright is nowhere near his father in talent or song writing ability....his sexual preferences are not of any interest to me.


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Subject: RE: The singers club and proscription
From: akenaton
Date: 12 Jan 16 - 05:19 PM

EEsee.....Bit he nivir shawed neeps in 'e freezin' cauld...
       mibee he wis " 'e quine 'it did 'e strip it Inverooorie" :0o


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Subject: RE: The singers club and proscription
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 12 Jan 16 - 06:07 PM

"Shimrod, if you do not like it you do not have to particpate, the thread is about the singers club and proscription IT is not about MacColl."

Of course it is - and you know it!


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Subject: RE: The singers club and proscription
From: GUEST,Musket
Date: 12 Jan 16 - 07:20 PM

As ever, your view of musical talent is about as worthy as your view on whole sections of society.

Sick puppy.


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Subject: RE: The singers club and proscription
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 12 Jan 16 - 07:35 PM

"I have always thought Mr Bowie nothing more than a second rate popsinger"

What a mindlessly stupid thing to say. If you didn't care for him, that's great. That would be the way to say it. Otherwise, find something else to talk about.


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Subject: RE: The singers club and proscription
From: GUEST,Musket
Date: 12 Jan 16 - 07:48 PM

Don't.

He might.


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Subject: RE: The singers club and proscription
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 12 Jan 16 - 08:26 PM

Oh God, you're right. Gotta start ignoring those booze guidelines again...


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Subject: RE: The singers club and proscription
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 13 Jan 16 - 12:40 AM

Re Dick 0338pm (et al) -- For sake of accurate fact, so far as I can recall the details of the incident:-

Ewan's affected denunciation of Isla [who was occasionally among the main host-group at the front] for singing an American song (it was 'Red Apple Juice', iirc) took place at Malcolm Nixon's Ballads·&·Blues club when it was at the Princess Louise, c 1957; predecessor of the Singers Club, which I never attended, having by then married & dropped out of the club scene prior to leaving London in 1963. Hope that brings the incident into time-context.

It seemed nevertheless relevant to me to cite as an example of 'proscription' in a club run by some of same personnel as would later constitute the Singers.

≈M≈


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Subject: RE: The singers club and proscription
From: The Sandman
Date: 13 Jan 16 - 03:34 AM

Thanks,Mike.
I am trying to find out what the true facts are,as you know I was not there.
I think accuracy is important we all know there is a lot of mythology on this subject.


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Subject: RE: The singers club and proscription
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 13 Jan 16 - 08:51 AM

Between August, 1978 and March 1979, Pat and I carried out a series of interviews with Ewan, getting him to talk about his approach to singing rather than his life, which was already well covered.
In an effort to get away from subjects here that have already been answered ad nauseum, perhaps it's worth putting some of the discussion that took place here - one can but try!!
The transcripts were used in a talk Pat and I gave at the first 'Ewan MacColl weekend' in Salford.
Jim Carroll

Ewan was very much opposed to the popular idea that the act of traditional singing was a "natural" one and that the singer really did not have to think about what he or she was doing.

1.   I believe that this notion comes from, it really begins in the Romantic Movement.   It begins with that notion of the rude, unlettered hind with a heart of gold and all the rest of it, you know. Basically today I see it as a very reactionary and very bourgeois point of view. I think it stems from a belief that the working class are incapable of doing anything which demands a high level of expertise and a high level of skill, particularly in the creative field.   
And how is it possible then that this body of music that we call folk song and folk music, traditional song, traditional music, whatever you like to call it, how is it possible that this, which has been made by labourers, seamen and all the rest of it, should have, should demand this level of expertise, should demand this high level of craftsmanship on the part of its performers.   "No", they say, "the songs are simple", and all the rest of it.   And that is nonsense, that is utter nonsense.   
To some extent it's the same idea that the nineteenth century English folk song collectors had about the music itself.   "It's embryonic music", they said, and when they didn't actually describe it as embryonic, that is what they meant when they talked about it being simple, "the simple music of unlettered people".   But unlettered there is used as a pejorative term, as though the ability to read and write is all important. The implication being that if you can read and write, then you are going to be a better singer than if you can't read or write, and we know that's nonsense.
It's this snob thing and it's the snob thing which makes them say "you don't need to work at it, you don't need a high level of craftsmanship to perform this.   
The best of folk music in the world, wherever it comes from, whether it's a Joe Heaney or whether it's that young man singing those Azerbaijani songs, is full of the most extraordinary expertise, full of the most extraordinary physical ideas, vocal ideas I mean, I mean physical in the vocal sense.


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Subject: RE: The singers club and proscription
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 13 Jan 16 - 09:10 AM

Well, I can't speak for singing, but there's no doubt that traditional Irish music of the instrumental variety is "simple" in a number of respects. Overwhelmingly, it consists of short, regular phrases and is mostly diatonic. Playing it involves much repetition. As much of it was made up on instruments, it mostly sits very easily on those instruments, so that virtuosity is never required. Untutored payers can play the music very well (as can tutored players, of course). I understand from fiddle players that they rarely, if ever, have to go beyond first position. "Simple" may mean easy to play, therefore an inclusive kind of music. I'd take that as a positive, not an insult. But "simple" doesn't mean the same thing as easy to play well. Getting to play well may mean following a different developmental path for traditional musicians than for classically-trained musicians, but that should not imply a less musicianly path. So, while I agree with the sentiment of what MacColl says, I think I detect just a hint of defensiveness. But then I'm no singer. ;-)


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Subject: RE: The singers club and proscription
From: The Sandman
Date: 13 Jan 16 - 10:04 AM

"The best of folk music in the world, wherever it comes from, whether it's a Joe Heaney or whether it's that young man singing those Azerbaijani songs, is full of the most extraordinary expertise, full of the most extraordinary physical ideas, vocal ideas I mean, I mean physical in the vocal sense"
I agree with all that, I believe practice is important. Ewan and Peggys idea of vocal warm ups are in my opinion good, good conrol of the voice cannot be achieved without practice,the voice in effect is a musical instrument.


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Subject: RE: The singers club and proscription
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 13 Jan 16 - 10:06 AM

Simple, in the song sense, means instinctive and without thought, "free and birdsong" as the early collectors put it.
He elaborated on it in other arguments later.
Don't know what "simple" Irish music you mean - I gave up on the flute and the concertina after years of trying - far from simple.
A good musician if far from repetitious, we spent time recording musicians like Kevin Burke (fiddle), P.J. Crotty (flute), Fergus McTeggart (fiddle), Tom McCarthy (pipes, concertina, whistle and sometimes fiddle) and others talking about how not to make the music repetitious (ie boring).
Quite an education   
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: The singers club and proscription
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 13 Jan 16 - 10:15 AM

I didn't mean repetitious in that sense, Jim. Phrases within tunes are repeated, A and B music are repeated and whole tunes are repeated, but for good players they're just the hooks to hang the music on. The use of ornamentation and variation to good effect are part of that "different path" to playing well that I referred to. You won't hear Kevin Burke just repeating tunes verbatim but you might hear beginners doing that, different ends of that path. And I wasn't disagreeing with the quote, just musing.

Try the harmonica, Jim. It's never too late! ;-)


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Subject: RE: The singers club and proscription
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 13 Jan 16 - 10:50 AM

"Try the harmonica, Jim. It's never too late! ;-)"
Been there - done that - didn't even make a fist of that one
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: The singers club and proscription
From: TheSnail
Date: 13 Jan 16 - 11:38 AM

Jim Carroll
I said I said I stopped randomly visiting clubs when my choice of what would find there was removed from me.

I don't recall the "randomly" before. That's a bit like expecting to randomly visit a restaurant and always get steak and chips. Anyway, it's nonsense. As MacColl's quote shows, this was true before 1961, is true now and has certainly been true all the time in between. One of your favourite lines is "Does what it says on the tin." You have to read beyond "Soup" and check the list of ingredients, check the e-numbers and consider the reputation of the manufacturer. This has always been true.

"Give it a try, you might even enjoy"
I might well - but isn't it a sad state of affairs that I woulfd have to?


You don't have to. There are plenty of clubs where you will here just the sort of music you want, some of which have been going since the sixties and before. Do your research but not just for examples that fit what you want to believe.

There is so much more I'd like to respond to like your latest quote from MacColl but I really haven't got time.


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Subject: RE: The singers club and proscription
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 13 Jan 16 - 12:38 PM

I don't recall the "randomly" before.
Not my problem Bryan - that's the way it was - my main club was the Singers and I spent two or three nights per week visiting other clubs.
"Anyway, it's nonsense."
And we were doing so well - no it wasn't any such thing - try not to be so belligerent and we might have a discussion.
MacColl flt that the B and B was moving to commercialism and he did what he said he was going to do - set up a new non-commercial tradition based club -what part of that do you have trouble with?
I came to live music while I was an apprentice - Country and Western - listening to the likes of Jimmy Rodgers (the singing brakeman - not the other one), Hank Williams et al, and attending a C&W club in Liverpool town centre
Along came the Music industry, milked the C & W scene, orchestrated all the songs, used it for a while and spat it out.
I started to go to The Cavern to hear what was then the best of jazz - Colyer, Lyttleton, Barber, Lightfoot... with occasional visits from Sonny Terry and Brownie McGee and Donegan
Along comes the Industry again, markets jazz and boom all gone, no more tomorrow.   
Ewan (certainly not alone) and others saw the same thing happening with folk (and was proved very right, given the Folk Boom) and decided to make a stand.
The Singers was presenting good well performed folk songs without compromise until nearly a year after Ewan died - I became one of the long-term beneficiaries of that policy.   
As far as I'm concerned it says "folk" on the tin - I think I know what the word means, no-one has yet given me any reason to doubt what I believe
"There are plenty of clubs where you will here just the sort of music you want,"
There may well but in my experience there are far more who call themselves "folk" who don't.
"Do your research"
Bang - there goes that arrogance again - do you think I haven't - one of the advantages of the net is you don't have to to leave home to check the quality of what's out there - fairly depressing.
On our last three visits to London we have been fairly appalled at what we found - little folk badly performed read from crib-sheets (never saw a mobile phone prompt used before) - as for the new slimline folk scene that used to boast up to fifty clubs a week.
"I'd like to respond to like your latest quote from MacColl but I really haven't got time."
That's a shame!
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: The singers club and proscription
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 13 Jan 16 - 12:52 PM

Ach, too defeatist, Jim. At least you can sing, unlike me!


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Subject: RE: The singers club and proscription
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 13 Jan 16 - 01:01 PM

"At least you can sing, unlike me!"
MacColl always argued that, unless there was something physically wrong (quite rare), anybody could sing if they were prepared to put the work in.
Whose being a defeatist now?
There were two brothers came regularly to the Singers, one could sing, the other, both claimed, was "tone deaf"
The latter joined the Singers Workshop - for the crack.
We worked on him for about three months and he reciprocated by listening to advice.
He became a passable singer - bought us all drinks and his brother presented us with a song book for our archive - still have it somewhere.
A definite high point in an otherwise unremarkable career
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: The singers club and proscription
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 13 Jan 16 - 01:50 PM

I hope he wasn't a passable singer BECAUSE he bought you all drinks! I've got a very loud voice and can sing in tune but there's something wrong that I can't put my finger on, and my wife says I pull a funny face when I'm singing - sort of pained, she reckons. I'll have another bash at it when she goes out. I suppose Danny Boy would be out of the question...


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Subject: RE: The singers club and proscription
From: GUEST,Musket
Date: 13 Jan 16 - 02:14 PM

"Who call themselves folk"

Therefore folk.

Easy


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Subject: RE: The singers club and proscription
From: The Sandman
Date: 13 Jan 16 - 02:25 PM

the last club I visited in London was the cellar upstairs not long ago, IT WAS EXCELLENT, floor singers included tom paley[ who was a regular at the singers club], guests were ken hall and peta webb.


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Subject: RE: The singers club and proscription
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 13 Jan 16 - 02:56 PM

"the last club I visited in London was the cellar upstairs not long ago, IT WAS EXCELLENT"
One of the last clubs we visited in London wa The Callar Upstairs - it wasn't, what with its crib sheets and noise from the bar - and it was half empty (or half full, if you prefer)
Then again À chacun son goût
"Easy"
You mean simple - minder, that is.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: The singers club and proscription
From: TheSnail
Date: 13 Jan 16 - 03:22 PM

Jim, I called a statement you made nonsense on the straightforward grounds that it was. You responded with personal attacks on me calling me belligerent and arrogant. I was going to bite my tongue and try to continue a reasonable debate until I read your latest reply to GSS. For belligerence and arrogance, it takes some beating.
Do as you would be done by and something might be achieved but if you insist on alienating everyone you come in contact with, we are going nowhere.


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Subject: RE: The singers club and proscription
From: GUEST,Hootenanny
Date: 13 Jan 16 - 03:37 PM

Jim,
Can you explain in what way the Singers Club was not commercial as opposed the the Ballads and Blues Club? I visited the Singers Club on three occasions and had to pay to enter.

Your comment about noise from a bar at the Cellar upstairs (which as far as I know usually operates in a function room and not in the bar) reminds me of one occasion when I visited the Singer's Club. A certain gentleman who was a regular supporter there was somewhat "tired and emotional" and in the middle of a song by Derrol Adams very loudly commented "he's still singing the same _ _ _ ing songs". The same man that I had had to eject from the B&B a number of years earlier for similar disruption. I won't mention his name as I know that you don't like folks dancing on graves.
I don't recall a bar in the basement at St John Street so I guess he oiled up before entering the club as he used to at the Nellie Dean Street.


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Subject: RE: The singers club and proscription
From: Vic Smith
Date: 13 Jan 16 - 04:25 PM

I have been to the Cellar Upstairs club on quite a number of occasions. I found that it was well run, had a high standard of guests and floor singers in an amazingly quiet environment for its location in a busy part of London and was always well attended to full when I have been there. I found their audiences to be attentive and appreciative.
I know the organiser, Sheila Miller, well and know her to be a hard-working, efficient and knowledgeable folk club organiser. I worked with her for decades in organising tours where guests came to both our clubs as well as others of like minded, traditionally oriented clubs. I have nothing but praise and admiration for the way she single-handedly combines all the responsibilities and combines this with a demanding professional career.
I am very unhappy to see her club dismissed in such a disparaging way by someone who apparently only has a passing knowledge of it. If I were to stumble on a night where things were not perfect at a club on an irregular visit, I would not make assumptions that this was always the case.
As a long-term organiser and knowing that things can sometimes go wrong through no fault of the club management, I certainly would not be posting negative comments about it on a public forum.


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Subject: RE: The singers club and proscription
From: TheSnail
Date: 13 Jan 16 - 04:25 PM

Does everybody else know or is it a deep, dark secret? Who is Hootenanny?


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Subject: RE: The singers club and proscription
From: The Sandman
Date: 13 Jan 16 - 05:28 PM

There was no bar in the folk club in the" cellar upstairs" when i went there, the material was all folk music, ken hall and peta webb sang american folk music ,they were of a high standard, tom paley was a high standard, there were no crib sheets, I did not sing with a crib sheet either, obviously i cannot comment on my own performance other than to say i played traditional songs, in my usual way.


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Subject: RE: The singers club and proscription
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 13 Jan 16 - 05:30 PM

I have been wondering the same. 'Hootenanny' writes as if we are all going to know who he is, with his first person recollections of clubs he has visited &c [see 3 posts back]; but I know, no more than TheSnail, his actual identity. [But -- a bit of
tu quoque — don't know who TheSnail is either.]

≈M≈
[Michael Grosvenor Myer]


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Subject: RE: The singers club and proscription
From: The Sandman
Date: 13 Jan 16 - 05:35 PM

I know who The Snail is but it would be unethical to reveal his true identity, one thing I can say is that I have yet to see him eating snails


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Subject: RE: The singers club and proscription
From: TheSnail
Date: 13 Jan 16 - 05:49 PM

I thought it was a fairly open secret. My name is Bryan Creer. I am on the committee of Lewes Saturday Folk Club. I play English concertina and fiddle and rarely sing. What else do you need to know?
(I have never eaten snails but their cousins, moule mariniere, are very nice.)


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Subject: RE: The singers club and proscription
From: Vic Smith
Date: 13 Jan 16 - 05:57 PM

The person who calls himself The Snail on Mudcat does not use this name because takes a gastronomic interest in Gastropoda, but it refers to the statue in Lewes of an ammonite sculpted by Peter Randall-Page commonly called 'The Snail' in the town. I'm sure that Bryan won't mind me mentioning that. AAARGH! Now I've gone and mentioned his name!


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Subject: RE: The singers club and proscription
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 13 Jan 16 - 08:04 PM

"There was no bar in the folk club in the" cellar upstairs"
Didn't say there was Dick, but the night we were there there was an exceptionally loud juke-box thumpng through the floor.Nobody suggested yo sang from a song sheet - why is it, d'you reckon, that whenever I come in contact with you I get visions of flamingos being used as croquet mallets?
"You responded with personal attacks on me calling me belligerent and arrogant."
And you approached what I had put down with contemptuous aggression without having the courtesy to say why
Sorry Hoot, don't recognise the 'certain gentleman' you describe - it wasn;'t the 'certain gentleman' I knew from the late sixties onward - as I said, I hope nobody ever takes me to task for my behaviour a lifetime ago.
I never remember that "certain gentleman" shouting down a Irish speaking woman singer because she took the trouble to explain her songs, or tried to wreck one of anybody's radio programmes by sending fake recordings of field singers, or humiliating someone on stage by pinning "I am a twat on the back of their chair" or persuading a well-meaning elderly lady to post snails to anybody's house by pretending they were needed to feed a pet hedgehog, or lying on television by claiming that album notes claiming certain approach to folk song, were written by them or shouting down audience members at a public discussion on folk song.
The revival in those days was a bit of a snake pit in those days and a hell of a lot of people tried their hands at snake charming - it seems complaints of bad behaviour are still as selective now as they were then.   
The C.U. was as I described it - half empty - a thumping juke box (from the bar) and poor performances.
A cellar downstairs wasn't much better on a previous visit (though with more punters and better beer on that occasion.
Well - there we go - Bryan's name (I used to think it had something to do with 'The Magic Roundabout' before he kindly put me right) - The Cellar upstairs, half-a-century old urban legends, and the usual bout of corpse kicking - anything rather than a discussion of the work and ideas MacColl left behind, "If winter comes, can name-changes and army records be far behind -
What is it with you people - is a rational discussion on folksong really that difficult?"?
G'night all
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: The singers club and proscription
From: Jack Campin
Date: 13 Jan 16 - 08:36 PM

Count me in as somebody else who's only had good experiences at the Cellar Upstairs. It's one of the two regular folk events in London I make a point of going to on my rare visits there (the other being the Lord Hood session in Greenwich).

Jim's description is so bizarrely out of line with everybody else's that I wonder if he's getting his pubs mixed up.

I never remember that "certain gentleman" shouting down a Irish speaking woman singer because she took the trouble to explain her songs, or tried to wreck one of anybody's radio programmes by sending fake recordings of field singers, or humiliating someone on stage by pinning "I am a twat on the back of their chair" or persuading a well-meaning elderly lady to post snails to anybody's house by pretending they were needed to feed a pet hedgehog, or lying on television by claiming that album notes claiming certain approach to folk song, were written by them or shouting down audience members at a public discussion on folk song.

All I can work out from that is that you're annoyed and like being annoyed. I haven't the faintest idea what all that bile is about and I have not the least flicker of interest in having it explained. Go away, calm down and shut up about it.


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Subject: RE: The singers club and proscription
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 14 Jan 16 - 03:33 AM

"Jim's description is so bizarrely out of line with everybody else's that I wonder if he's getting his pubs mixed up."
Nope - unless they moved from the one near Euston Square.
Sorry - I find this tiresome - maybe fols are happy with half empty clubs with singes reading from crib sheets and a juke box thumping from downstairs - not the folk scene I enjoyed for so long.
I'll look in later to see if anybody's interested in discssing the topic in hand.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: The singers club and proscription
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 14 Jan 16 - 03:46 AM

Half a century ago, in a specific club which had specific objectives and was operating under specific historical conditions, "proscription" was probably completely reasonable (although, apparently, was considered to be too draconian for some - who have never stopped moaning about it).

The chief "proscriber" is long dead and can't 'get' anyone now. So it is up to the present generation of performers - like the initiator of this thread - to decide whether "proscription" is good or bad. So what do you think, GSS, is "proscription" good or bad?


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Subject: RE: The singers club and proscription
From: akenaton
Date: 14 Jan 16 - 04:08 AM

Surely the question is about WHAT is to be proscribed?

One would not expect to be allowed to play traditional music in a jazz club, or bubble gum pop in a Country and Western club.

The reason for forming a specific type of club is to promote that particular genre and bring it to a larger number of people.

In the beginning of our club the large turnouts was the "new" experience of sharing the old songs the magic of the blend of voices, raising the roof in one song and shedding a little tear in the next.
Gradually the "performers" moved in and people began listening rather than participating....."evolution"/"devolution" took place, the crowds began to drift away as the singer song-writers took over.

Few wanted to listen to their refrains of self pity.

I began to be about getting big names to fill the venue.....the revival had been hijacked and strangled.


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Subject: RE: The singers club and proscription
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 14 Jan 16 - 04:33 AM

Thanks, Bryan. Moules indeed delicious -- so are escargots, {but v expensive alas), so long as one likes garlic, which is their predominant flavour when cooked à la Bourguignonne. I was fortunate in that during my late teens & 20s my mother ran a S Ken hotel which belonged to her brother,where I lived & which had in its basement a v fashionable* French restaurant so I had access to moules & snails & such -- so long as I didn't overindulge or Uncle Alec might have had something to say!

≈M≈

*Diana Dors, Theo Bikel, Gilbert Harding, Marquis of Milford Haven among the regulars.

Apols for drift. Not much to do with Singers -- tho I used to sing there!


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Subject: RE: The singers club and proscription
From: GUEST
Date: 14 Jan 16 - 05:21 AM

No idea how those who wish to "proscribe" could execute their directive because most places use the term "folk" in its widest terminology.

I help run a folk club and thirty years ago I bet it was mostly what some in here reckon to be their previous interpretation of folk.

Now I joke that I have friends in the room if anyone else turns up and sings a traditional song. But we like many others up and down the land enjoy what the living tradition of folk has turned our music into.

The healthy number of bums on seats infers lots of people know what their folk is. I doubt though that they'd try to proscribe it to others. I'm sure we leave that to those who think proscribing in an evenings entertainment is a good thing. Nowt as queer as folk.


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Subject: RE: The singers club and proscription
From: Will Fly
Date: 14 Jan 16 - 05:24 AM

One would not expect to be allowed to play traditional music in a jazz club

Actually, Lonnie Donegan started singing American folk songs by Leadbelly, and similar material, in the interval of jazz sessions with the likes of the Ken Colyer Jazzmen.

If, for a comparison, you look at jazz and its following in the 1950s and, to a certain extent, the 1960s - as I'm sure Hoot, among others here, will remember - there were similar schisms to those described in the folky world. Those believing in the purity of the early New Orleans sounds were dubbed "mouldy figs" by those know by the other, modernist side as "dirty boppers"! All pretty hilarious in retrospect - and those were the days when jazz clubs were far more numerous than they are today. A bit like the folk scene in some ways. Where are the jazz clubs now - mostly long gone, with what music there is being played in pubs and bars.

I played jazz in pubs and the odd club in the late '60s up to the mid '80s - in London and then in Brighton - and remember clearly that the repertoires in those days were actually quite eclectic. Our own band played stuff as diverse as Herbie Hancock's "Watermelon Man" (in Mongo Santamaria style) and "Canal Street Blues" - a real mixture of old and new, with all sorts of things thrown in - even the odd Beatles number. All that mattered was that the tunes were worthy of playing and getting into melodically and harmonically.

Musicians will not be constrained from playing what they want to play - because music is a complex and constantly evolving art. And the club scene is not the be-all and end-all as far as venues are concerned. As far as my own personal tastes are concerned, my preferences are to make music communally in a session or to play for dancing - both exhilarating and tremendous fun.


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Subject: RE: The singers club and proscription
From: Vic Smith
Date: 14 Jan 16 - 05:51 AM

I note that the person who was the subject of my comments in my post of 13 Jan 16 - 04:25 PM has returned to this thread with posts on 13 Jan 16 - 08:04 PM and 14 Jan 16 - 03:33 AM. Both of posts are of the combative nature that we have come to expect from him rather than the discursive nature that would help to further the development of the thread. In neither of these subsequent posts does he address the points that I made about the unkind and unworthy comments that he made about one of London's deservedly most popular folk clubs. I would have thought that he should return with at least an explanation, at best an apology, but no, he chooses to ignore my comments and carry on in his usual antagonistic and bellicose manner.
Which figure in public life does this remind me of? I am thinking of our present prime minister who when challenged about some misdeed in parliament on in interview always avoids a direct answer and raises his voice whilst changing the subject to one that reinforces his entrenched positions.


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Subject: RE: The singers club and proscription
From: GUEST
Date: 14 Jan 16 - 05:55 AM

"Musicians will not be constrained from playing what they want to play -"
Course they won't - but clubs that advertise themselves as 'folkclubs' commit themselves to providing a certain type of music
I repeat - I'd love to be a fly on the wall at a local pop venue if a singer turned up with 'selections from the Joe Heaney Songbook'
It's misleading to talk about constraining anybody - it's about giving what you say you give and respecting the music for its importance
"Now I joke that I have friends in the room if anyone else turns up and sings a traditional song" - how sad, but my point is well made.
"what the living tradition of folk has turned our music into"
What has our tradition of folk turned into exactly and where does the Bonmnzo Dog Doodah Band fit in?
We don't have a 'living tradition' anymore - would that we did.
What goes on in folk clubs is as divorced from the real world as The Atheneum and in no way speaks for people's culture any more, let alone change it - specially when it is possible to take the piss when a folk song is sung.
Folk song has not touched the world outside the clubs and until it does enough to give the wider population a choice of changing long - establishd terms, the old definitions remain
"widest terminology. "
Define that "widest terminology".
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: The singers club and proscription
From: Vic Smith
Date: 14 Jan 16 - 06:03 AM

M'Lud, in support of the case I made in my previous post; I would like to present as evidence Exhibit A - the post at 14 Jan 16 - 05:55 AM


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Subject: RE: The singers club and proscription
From: GUEST
Date: 14 Jan 16 - 06:30 AM

Didn't understand a word of that last Vic - are you really calling me a liar and suggesting that I made up what Pat and I experienced the when we described our experiences at the aforementioned club?
That is what we found - maybe that's people's idea of a good club - not mine I'm afraid.
I occasionally attended the club as far back as Kentish Town, I know, respect and like the organiser - I was looking forward to the evening, especially as it was the only one on offer that night and we were staying within walking distance of it.
Maybe I shouldn't have named it - but then again - that would have taken away a now overused excuse for not responding to the points I have raised
Try another one from the interview and see if we have any better luck   

"Now you might say that working and training to develop your voice to sing Nine Maidens A-milking Did Go or Lord Randall is calculated to destroy your original joy in singing, at least that's the argument that's put to me from time to time, or has been put to me from time to time by singers who should know better.   
The better you can do a thing the more you enjoy it.   Anybody who's ever tried to sing and got up in front of an audience and made a bloody mess of it knows that you're not enjoying it when you're making a balls of it, but you are enjoying it when it's working, when all the things you want to happen are happening.    And that can happen without training, sure it can, but it's hit or miss.   If you're training it can happen more, that's the difference.   It can't happen every time, not with anybody, although your training can stand you in good stead, it's something to fall back on, a technique, you know.   It's something that will at least make sure that you're not absolutely diabolical……………
The objective, really for the singer is to create a situation where when he starts to sing he's no longer worried about technique, he's done all that, and he can give the whole of his or her attention to the song itself, she can give her or he can give his whole attention to the sheer act of enjoying the song."
JIm Carroll


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Subject: RE: The singers club and proscription
From: TheSnail
Date: 14 Jan 16 - 06:47 AM

Jim Carroll
And you approached what I had put down with contemptuous aggression without having the courtesy to say why
Jim, I said precisely why I thought your statement was nonsense in the following sentences, citing MacColl in the process. Anyway, I learnt from a master.
MacColl quoted by you -
"No", they say, "the songs are simple", and all the rest of it.   And that is nonsense, that is utter nonsense.   
The implication being that if you can read and write, then you are going to be a better singer than if you can't read or write, and we know that's nonsense.

I'm sure you wouldn't call MacColl belligerent and arrogant.

A long time ago, I gave an honest answer to a question you had posed and you said that my response was "crass". As I said, Jim, "Do as you would be done by" perhaps without reference to flamingoes and croquet mallets.

What is it with you people - is a rational discussion on folksong really that difficult?
A good question but I really don't think you are in a position to criticise others.


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Subject: RE: The singers club and proscription
From: GUEST,Hootenanny
Date: 14 Jan 16 - 06:48 AM

In my post of the 13th I inadvertently said the the visiting guest so rudely interrupted was Derroll Adams. My apologies, that should have read Guy Carawan.

Jim it doesn't matter that you don't recognise the certain gentleman, perhaps I should not have used the word gentleman, but if you were at the Singers Club as long and as often as you infer then you certainly knew him.

Oh, and you haven't answered my query about the Singers Club not being commercial.


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Subject: RE: The singers club and proscription
From: TheSnail
Date: 14 Jan 16 - 07:45 AM

Actually, Vic, I think the concrete ammonite in Lewes is also known as Brian The Snail and we both took our names from our childhood hero in The Magic Roundabout. Why Jim thinks I've ever said otherwise, I don't know.


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Subject: RE: The singers club and proscription
From: Brian Peters
Date: 14 Jan 16 - 07:51 AM

Re The Cellar Upstairs - a folk club which has put on consistently good music mostly from the traditional end of the spectrum for decades now - it should also be said in defence of the organiser that she has had a number of venue changes forced on her over the years, and some venues have been better than others. No folk club organiser deliberately chooses a room with a loud jukebox downstairs, but pubs are pubs and landlords sometimes act unpredictably. If loud music becomes a persistent problem then you move - but to where? Finding an appropriate venue these days is the bane of many a club organiser's life.

I should also say of CU that I've played there a number of times and can't remember ever seeing a crib sheet in use. Some of the floor singers, and all of the residents there, are extremely good, .


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Subject: RE: The singers club and proscription
From: Vic Smith
Date: 14 Jan 16 - 07:58 AM

I should also say of CU that I've played there a number of times and can't remember ever seeing a crib sheet in use. Some of the floor singers, and all of the residents there, are extremely good


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Subject: RE: The singers club and proscription
From: GUEST
Date: 14 Jan 16 - 08:48 AM

"'m sure you wouldn't call MacColl belligerent and arrogant."
Nor would I describe anything he or anybody said as "rubbish" without qualifying it - "I don't agree" maybe   
"residents there, are extremely good "
I didn;'t comment on the residents - I commented on the general atmosphere an some poor performances - particularly stumbled-through crib sheets, which can drag the best of evenings down - it was a poor night, and if I'd been visiting the place (or worse still, if it was my first experience of a folk club) I would never have come back again.y
None of which answers my question - did I lie - or - if I didn't and it was just a poor night and are such poor nights acceptable?
"but if you were at the Singers Club as long and as often as you infer then you certainly knew him"
Sombody else lacking a sense of irony - I knew who you were referring to - who else would it be.
I outlined the backbiting that went on in those days and is still common - and answer came there none - again - why would there?
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: The singers club and proscription
From: GUEST,Hootenanny
Date: 14 Jan 16 - 09:02 AM

Jim,

You still haven't answered my simple question.

The fact that you know to whom I was referring makes me wonder why he was allowed into the club and why nobody on that occasion at least did anything about his boorish behaviour. I think I know the answer but I could be wrong.


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Subject: RE: The singers club and proscription
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 14 Jan 16 - 09:50 AM

"The fact that you know to whom I was referring makes me wonder why he was allowed into the club"
I have answered inasmuch as that was th way things were in those days - from many people
Do you think Bob Davenport should have been thrown out of Musical Traditions for behaving the way he did towards the lady from the Aran Islands - excused by some.
Somebody described (as a joke) somebody purring a notice on the back of Maccoll's chair reading "I am a twat" - should that individual have ben thrown out (even though he was one of the organisers)?
Do I have to go through the Brune thing again, which at least one anti-MacCollite has defended?
If Ewan behaved the way he did, it was unacceptable - it was over half a century ago and that was not the Ewan I knew for twenty years.
Nobody I can think of made a contribution to folk song that Ewan did - nobody, yet it is still impossible to discuss that contribution without first having to wade through this ancient garbage.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: The singers club and proscription
From: Vic Smith
Date: 14 Jan 16 - 09:51 AM

It is not what you thought of the circumstances of one particular visit to the Cellar Upstairs that is important, it is that you have seen fit to decry a very worthwhile club in such a gross, unfair and public way.

The club was not in your opinion well-attended. What were the reasons for this? The club has been forced to move because of pub closure in an area of re-development. The organiser searched every pub, club and venue in the area and even now has been been forced to spread her club meetings between two venues, a far from ideal solution. My heart goes out to her. Many a less tenacious person would have given up. Club organisers who had a change of venue forced on them will know that every move takes you back to square one and you have to patiently build up your audience again. Any concerned, sympathetic person would want to encourage her for her efforts, but no, Jim Carroll says it was half-empty and asks if we think if he is telling a lie about this.

As well as losing audience when a move takes place, a club is likely to lose some of its supporting floor performers. Again an understanding person would realise this and know why the organiser might have to call on a singer who wanted to rely on written words. If Jim had made a general point about singers with crib sheets, he would have found widespread support on Mudcat, Certainly he would have me fulminating against the practice, but no, Jim decided to relate it to one particular incident in the Cellar Upstairs club.... and why was this club in particular mentioned by Jim? Read back and you will find that was because of the need he feels for incessant bickering and point-scoring between himself and Dick Miles.

Thirdly there is the matter of the intrusive recorded music. I have nothing to add to what Brian Peters has said on this point except that Jim claims to have know that organiser well. Could he let us know if he thinks that she is the sort of person who is likely to put up with this situation week after week with doing something about it? Would Jim like to suggest a positive way of helping her on this one rather than carping?

Finally, and this is my final statement in this thread, could I ask people - the next time they have a drink in their hands - to drink a toast to Sheila Miller and her ilk? Long may they continue their thankless, unpaid task of bringing the best performers that they can afford to their audiences. May they be protected from the moaning Minnies of this world!


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Subject: RE: The singers club and proscription
From: GUEST,Hootenanny
Date: 14 Jan 16 - 10:48 AM

Still no simple straightforward non ranting reply from Jim to my question. I guess I should know better by now.


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Subject: RE: The singers club and proscription
From: The Sandman
Date: 14 Jan 16 - 11:29 AM

I found Sheila polite friendly and welcoming the standard of floor singers was good includng the mighty Tom Paley the resident singer was good, the booked guests were excellent, no one performed with a crib sheet,neither was there a problem with extraneous music came through from anywhere.
Shimrod,
OVER MANY YEARS I have consistently been asked to do a gig at Cork Singers Club, the club has a rule WHICH proscribes musical instrument accompaniment.I DO NOT HAVE TO DO THE GIG, but I find it an nteresting challenge so I SPEND A COUPLE OF DAYS PRACTISING REPERTOIRE UNACCOMPANIED., and do the club.
I seem to remember Shimrod that you got very annoyed because performers were doing the actions in the "I AM A LITTLE TEACUP SONG" you appeared to want to proscribe that activity is that correct?


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Subject: RE: The singers club and proscription
From: akenaton
Date: 14 Jan 16 - 11:56 AM

Hi Will, I was actually referring to a "modern jazz" club.

I loved traditional jazz, in the fifties it WAS the popular music.
The Clyde Valley Stompers, Acker Bilk, Chris Barber.....great stuff.


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Subject: RE: The singers club and proscription
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 14 Jan 16 - 01:01 PM

"It is not what you thought of the circumstances of one particular visit to the Cellar Upstairs that is important"
It's how I experienced a night Vic - I had been used to good nights there and I thought "Oh dear, not another good club down the tubes"
Dick first raised the Club - I responded.
Maybe I should not have, maybe it was just an off-night, but it was bad enough to find disturbing because of the clubs past record.
What aree you peole on - Dick finds it permissible to open a thread on a club he admits he has never been to - I have no idea how many of the people who have given the Singers a kicking ever visited it or how many people who still snide at MacColl's approach to sng ever heard him speak... but when I relate a contrary experience and opinion to those off Dick's - burning torches and pitchforks
Who the hell do you people think you are... folk police writ large.
I have no idea of the reasons for the bad night - I only know it was.
I'm happy to learn that it is now doing a good job, but based on the last time I was there - Pat tells me it was longer ago than I thought it was - it wasn't then.
How dare you people deride one club and object when I give an opinion of another?
Double standards or what?
"Could he let us know if he thinks that she is the sort of person who is likely to put up with this situation week after week with doing something about it?"
I wouldn't have thought so - Sheila's dedication down the years has been extremely creditable - hence my surprise and disappointment.
"bickering and point-scoring between himself and Dick Miles."
I really don't know how to handle Dick's persistent bad behaviour
which has included threats of violence at one stage and which, (by his own admission), has led him to him having been thrown off one forum
I realise my response has been somewhat intolerant occasionally and have attempted to ignore him - not always easy
I have attempted to be polite with him here, successfully to a degree.
Thanks a bunch for raking over old coals Vic, extremely helpful in promoting intelligent discussion - much appreciated, .I'm sure.
Anyway - sorry to interrupt the public pillorying - carry on chaps.
"Still no simple straightforward non ranting reply from Jim to my question"
And still no response to my reply - which I didn't expect
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: The singers club and proscription
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 14 Jan 16 - 01:35 PM

"I seem to remember Shimrod that you got very annoyed because performers were doing the actions in the "I AM A LITTLE TEACUP SONG" you appeared to want to proscribe that activity is that correct?"

Uuuummm!!?? The "I AM A LITTLE TEA CUP SONG" you say? I may have heard it - but I've only got a dim memory of it - probably as a result of its sheer crassness!. I suspect that it probably would annoy me - with or without the actions! Would I "proscribe" it though? Well, I'd probably have to be restrained from nutting the singer!

Anyway, LITTLE TEA CUP songs notwithstanding, I asked for your opinion on "proscription" GSS. I wrote:

"So it is up to the present generation of performers - like the initiator of this thread - to decide whether "proscription" is good or bad. So what do you think, GSS, is "proscription" good or bad?"


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Subject: RE: The singers club and proscription
From: Brian Peters
Date: 14 Jan 16 - 01:36 PM

"How dare you people deride one club and object when I give an opinion of another?"

I don't think I've ever derided the Singers' Club on here - quite apart from the fact that it was all before my time, I've said before that the policy of encouraging singers to seek material from their own area played a part (for instance) in getting Harry Boardman and others to explore North West traditions, and was therefore a Good Thing.

However, the Singers' Club is long gone, and beyond harm from even the most malevolent Mudcatter, whereas Cellar Upstairs - whilst very much alive - is vulnerable to damage by negative comments on a folk music forum. The Sheila Millers and Vic Smiths of this world are on essentially the same side as you, Jim - give them a break.


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Subject: RE: The singers club and proscription
From: The Sandman
Date: 14 Jan 16 - 01:54 PM

I have not derided the singers club, either.
I think MacColl was a great songwriter and a fine performer.
I have absolutely no idea what the rest of Jims





















post is about.
Shimrod my original post was asking others their opinion.
I do not have a dogmatic opinion on the subject, all i can say is that no club that i have run has ever been proscriptive.
The night I visited the Cellar Upstairs I had a most enjoyable evening, the club was well run the standard of singing was good.


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Subject: RE: The singers club and proscription
From: GUEST,Hootenanny
Date: 14 Jan 16 - 02:28 PM

Jim,


I guess you mean the question re Bob Davenport. Well if so I didn't witness that but if what you say is true then he should have been ejected or asked to apologise, although I guess that the second option wouldn't have had much effect.

Is that the question? does this count as a reply?

Why are you so reticent in giving a reply to a simple question?


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Subject: RE: The singers club and proscription
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 14 Jan 16 - 03:04 PM

"Well if so I didn't witness that but if what you say is true then he should have been ejected or asked to apologise, "
Maybe his should, but he wasn't and he has been defended here in a most insulting and hypocritical manner - it's OK for him to behave as he did - does (not too long ago), but its unacceptable for Ewan so have done so fifty odd years ago - doesn't that count as double-standards in your book?
Likewise - it's OK for people who were never there to attack a club and a quarter century dead singer, but not for me who was there to criticise an evening at a club - double standards again.
My points covered far more that Bob's behaviour - the rest you choose to ifgnore, as you have Bob to date.
I don't think I've ever derided the Singers' Club on here
Didn't say you had Brian - you don't seem the sort.
"However, the Singers' Club is long gone, and beyond harm from even the most malevolent Mudcatter,"
Unfortunately, the myths surrounding the Singers Club have, and are still creating an apparently insurmountable barrier in discussing a valuable (in my opinion) body of work on folk song.
If it were just a matter of who likes what, I really wouldn't bother, but it goes far beyond that and affects much of what has influenced our own work and of my life.
If I didn't believe the music and all its implications was worth fighting for, I really wouldn't be arsed - life really is too short.
As far as The Cellar Upstairs - I am delighted to accept that my view of the club on that particular night was a one-off. I apologise unreservedly to Sheila and all concerned if I have be n any way unfair.
I accept what people here say about the role played by the club.
I do not apologise for describing our experiences, though perhaps I should not have responded to Dick and identified the club I was criticising.
I still find it absolutely outrageous that people should feel free to lay into MacColl and the Singers Club and forbid me from giving my own experinces (not second hand and not dishonest).
It serves only to confirm my somewhat jaundiced opinion of the present revival in Britain - hopefully they will make a better fist of it here in Ireland, where the scene is in its ascendancy.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: The singers club and proscription
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 14 Jan 16 - 03:07 PM

Sorry Hoot - missed a bit
"Why are you so reticent in giving a reply to a simple question?"
If you check you will ind I have answered your question in full - several times over
You have yet to respond to my reply and answer my points.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: The singers club and proscription
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 14 Jan 16 - 03:07 PM

Sorry Hoot - missed a bit
"Why are you so reticent in giving a reply to a simple question?"
If you check you will ind I have answered your question in full - several times over
You have yet to respond to my reply and answer my points.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: The singers club and proscription
From: TheSnail
Date: 14 Jan 16 - 03:49 PM

Jim Carroll
I still find it absolutely outrageous that people should feel free to lay into MacColl and the Singers Club

Yet you seem to feel justified in laying into the present revival in Britain and everyone involved in it. What was that about double standards?


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Subject: RE: The singers club and proscription
From: The Sandman
Date: 14 Jan 16 - 04:08 PM

If I did run a folk club I would possibly proscribe keg beer. "Unfortunately, the myths surrounding the Singers Club have, and are still creating an apparently insurmountable barrier in discussing a valuable (in my opinion) body of work on folk song"
Precisely why I opened this thread to try and find the truth and dispel myth, if you were not so aggressively defensive and thought for a minute that might dawn on you.


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Subject: RE: The singers club and proscription
From: GUEST,Hootenanny
Date: 14 Jan 16 - 04:11 PM

Jim,

You should take the blinkers off some time calm down and give straight answers to simple questions.

I don't understand your anger at people who don't share your view. Virtually every time it's an angry retort.

The Singers Club was just one club among many as was the B&B. As I have said before different strokes for different folks.

Enjoy your evening


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Subject: RE: The singers club and proscription
From: The Sandman
Date: 14 Jan 16 - 04:30 PM

Shimrod, I do remember[from some years ago] two of your posts clearly, one was your hatred of mobile phones going off during concerts, the other was performers performing the song "i am a little teapot" with the actions, presumably you would proscribe these two things if you were running a folk club.


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Subject: RE: The singers club and proscription
From: The Sandman
Date: 14 Jan 16 - 04:39 PM

here we are Shimrod, you even started a thread on it, a veritable storm in a teacup,if you will excuse the pun, very cross you were shimrod.
Subject: Folklore: Songs with actions: An annoying fad?
From: GUEST,Shimrod - PM
Date: 19 Aug 07 - 02:37 PM

I'm becoming increasingly annoyed with people in folk clubs who insist on singing 'songs with actions'. You know the sort of thing:

"I'm a little tea pot,
Short and stout,
Here's my handle (put left hand on left hip)
Here's my spout (extend right arm)"

Do such singers really expect the grown men and women in the audience to join in with this infantile type of nonsense? It seems as though they do - and anyone who refuses to join in (like me, for example) is regarded as some sort of 'killjoy'.

The fact is that I find it unfunny, embarrassing and demeaning to be expected to behave as though I am still an infant and, as far as I am concerned, such silly, childish ditties have absolutely nothing to do with folk music. What does anyone else think?


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Subject: RE: The singers club and proscription
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 14 Jan 16 - 04:44 PM

No, GSS, you've got me there, I'm afraid! I might, possibly, have said something like that but I honestly have no recollection of it. Anyway, I should point out, that disliking something is not the same has having an ambition to "proscribe" it - is it?

I would be tempted to nut a 'little tea potter' though!


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Subject: RE: The singers club and proscription
From: The Sandman
Date: 14 Jan 16 - 04:57 PM

You definitely said it.
Let me make it clear to you, I started this thread to dispel mythology surrounding the Singers club, My views on the singers clubs proscriptiveness are not relevant, I was asking for opinions.
From: Good Soldier Schweik - PM
Date: 10 Jan 16 - 06:43 AM

As les in chorlton asked and to prevent thread drift. I started a new thread.
according to the dictionary, proscription is the imposing of restraint and restriction.The Singers club HAD RULES RELATING TO THE PERFORMANCE OF MUSIC, therefore it was proscriptive.
That suited some people but not everybody.
Would such a club would work now, and is there a need for it?


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Subject: RE: The singers club and proscription
From: Jack Campin
Date: 14 Jan 16 - 06:13 PM

The Singers Club was just one club among many as was the B&B

When you used the acronym before I assumed you were saying you'd thrown a folkie alcoholic out of a bed and breakfast you ran at the time. But this suggests some other meaning. What is it?


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Subject: RE: The singers club and proscription
From: akenaton
Date: 14 Jan 16 - 06:40 PM

"Yet you seem to feel justified in laying into the present revival in Britain and everyone involved in it. What was that about double standards?"

Present revival in Britain?....what revival would that be then.

Playing "traditional" instruments does not equate to a folk revival.
The young groups I hear play something that falls between the genres, soulless noise. Impossible the dance to and with no emotional content.

All searching for a sound to sell their CD.
Is there a name for this new genre? It's certainly not folk music.


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Subject: RE: The singers club and proscription
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 14 Jan 16 - 08:04 PM

"You should take the blinkers off some time calm down and give straight answers to simple questions."
You have not responded to one of mine Hoot - the double standards of slamming MacColl for something he may have done over fifty years ago while ignoring the fact that everyone was behaving similarly (you have been given at least 4 examples)
The dangers of commercialising the revival as appeared to be happening at the B and B via Malcom Nixon
What happened when the revival became part of the pop scene and then was spat out by the industry (giving examples of what happened to C&W and Jazz).
The fact that the B and B survived a matter of a few years after MacColl left, and The Singers continuing up to at least a year after Ewan died (around 1990)
The contribution that Ewan made with his own songs and the hundreds he researched and put back into circulation
The work Ewan did with less experienced singers while all the other folk superstars got on with their own careers      
The fact that, to the end of his life, Ewan continued to champion folk song while others drifted into music hall, poorly performed pop song.... and anything goes (as displayed amply by many examples here)......
All these and more have been put to you and others and you have remained totally silent on them - and you demand an answer to a question I have already responded to.
Tell you what - you show me yours and I'll show you mine
"Yet you seem to feel justified in laying into the present revival in Britain and everyone involved in it."
No I don't Bryan - I say a club scene that claims the tradition has changed but is unable to say what into or why is in a bit of a two-and-eight.
A club scene that passes off poorly performed pop songs that have been largely forgotten by the people as a whole as "folk" has lost its way.
A folk scene that now supports clubs where a traditional song is a matter of humour "Now I joke that I have friends in the room if anyone else turns up and sings a traditional song." is no longer a folk scene
And closer to all this, the fact that any discussion on what constitutes folk song on a forum dedicated traditional songs and music is a no go area and is immediately screamed down with cries of ""folk police" (or "fascist"), "finger-in-ear", "purist"... and a whole string of such epithets.
That abuse appears to now be directed at our source singers, describing them as "out of tune, singing into cheap microphones", "£tit-trousers" (a reference to the way they dress, apparently) and being told that if the likes of Sam Larner were around today their role would be to "sit back and watch how it should be done" (all these put forward during one of these "friendly" discussions).   
To say I condemn all is simply an invention on your part - I condemn what the revival has become.
I could produce a long list of singers and musicians I like and admire - many of them not performing because there is no longer an interest in what they do (sure - they could all go to Lewes (do you not know how sadly condemnatory that suggestion is?).   
We were amused and not a little puzzled at an incident that took place way back when Pat was still arranging bookings for singers like The Stewart and Walter Pardon.
She was given the number of a "folk club" where Walter might get booked
She was asked by the organisers "What does he do?"
Whan she explained, the reply was, "Sorry, we only book folk singers".
How many clubs do you think there are in Britain now that WOULDN'T BOOK SAM OR HARRY?
Don't you - or anybody dare say I lay into everybody on the scene - I certainly don't
I am appalled at the hostile takeover of the revival that we helped build by many people who appear neither to understand nor like folk song - I have never claimed "all" - but certainly enough to have done enormous, possible irreparable damage to a very important music.
You want evidence of this - go to some of these unpleasant discussions - the wold doesn't end when you leave Lewes.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: The singers club and proscription
From: Jack Campin
Date: 14 Jan 16 - 08:39 PM

Would it actually hurt so much to explain what the fuck the "B&B" was? Did they do Stornoway black pudding or gluten-free toast? Did they always change the sheets?

And how does it relate in any way to the original question asked in this thread (which was a pretty reasonable one, and given a lot of very unreasonable answers)?


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Subject: RE: The singers club and proscription
From: GUEST,Musket
Date: 15 Jan 16 - 02:47 AM

The "revival" which is another word describing those living in the past realising slowly that folk music has never gone away in the first place... is wonderful to hear, great to involve yourself in and considering music is an abstraction, and folk, just like any other genre, puts the human touch to it with words, is doing fine.

Proscription may have been interesting to those who like that sort of thing but it did harm to the general spread of folk as a word to describe a set of types of music. The irony being that the description of folk that some were proscribing did in itself mean "evolving." Quite funny really.

In more recent years, many have taken to using the term "acoustic roots" in order to appeal to those who equate the word "folk" with dinosaurs sitting round a volcano arguing points of order. The response of the evolutionary inept lizards? To scoff at the child they raised. All rather sad really, if you were to take their opinions at face value.

But folk is alive, kicking and appealing to audiences of all ages. The old folk clubs may be far less and many have evolved into singarounds, but the music and its appeal has wandered nicely into other platforms. A revival indeed.


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Subject: RE: The singers club and proscription
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 15 Jan 16 - 03:57 AM

"Would it actually hurt so much to explain what the fuck the "B&B" was"
Not really Jack - part of the earlier conversation of which you were apparently not part of - 'The Ballads and Blues Club' - bit cumbersome to type out every time - sorry for not explaining; it was the fore-runner of The Singers Club.
"The "revival" which is another word describing those living in the past "
Still ploughing the furrow Muskie - would your mind slowing down so us "bunch of serious buggers with Asbergers Syndrome" can keep up?
You do realise that arguments like yours are doing a great job of making my point for me - thanks for the help.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: The singers club and proscription
From: GUEST,Hootenanny
Date: 15 Jan 16 - 06:36 AM

"Tell you what - you show me yours and I'll show you mine"

This from someone who doesn't go in for Pissing Contests!

While I was booking people for the Ballads & Blues Club I wasn't competing with anyone. I was booking singers and musicians that our members enjoyed seeing. I guess that Ewan and Peggy did the same thing for their members.

Apart from the club the Ballads and Blues Association promoted concerts by such people such as Pete Seeger at St Pancras Town Hall which was just after he was able to travel, The Weavers and Robin Hall and Jimmie MacGregor at The Royal Festival Hall, Jack Elliot and Derroll Adams with Jessie Fuller at Islington Town Hall and Josh White at the Royal Albert Hall. I guess this is what is referred to by Mr Carroll as being commercial. I will admit before being accused that there was not much British content there but that isn't what we were about.

Jack, sorry about adding to the thread drift but it was obvious when seeing the original post that Jim Carroll would take the bait and things would develop the way they have and always do.


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Subject: RE: The singers club and proscription
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 15 Jan 16 - 07:02 AM

"Hootenanny" has taken to denouncing others for 'not answering a simple question'. Another bit of blatant tu-quoquedom: SFAICS he has not answered the simple question as to who he is, altho Bryan has come clean as to being L'Escargot.

Who are you, Hoot? You seem to have been involved with B&B which I attended regularly in its early, Princess Louise, avatar. Were/are you anybody I know or knew? Were you connected with other clubs there [Hylda Sims & Russ Quaye; Henry[Hyam] Morris; Nancy Whiskey, et al]?

Answer! Answer!

≈M≈

aka Michael Grosvenor Myer, MA FRSA Official·Legendary·Pedant &c &c


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Subject: RE: The singers club and proscription
From: The Sandman
Date: 15 Jan 16 - 07:43 AM

Jim, I can only speak for myself,Icannot speak for others but I have always performed and championed tradtional songs.


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Subject: RE: The singers club and proscription
From: The Sandman
Date: 15 Jan 16 - 08:04 AM

Freda Palmer was booked at a club that I was a committee member of as were the tradtional musicians, The Cliffords, I also remember seeing Bob Copper in Folk clubs.I think one of those was Groombridge, run by Isobel Sutherland who also championed traditional song.


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Subject: RE: The singers club and proscription
From: akenaton
Date: 15 Jan 16 - 08:06 AM

Mah freen Davie says it aw!...

Scotland is full of musicians, especially young musicians, of almost superhuman talent,
but Scots song is either ignored, or sung by those to whom Scots dialect is pretty much
an alien tongue.
"The Desperate Cry" Davie Robertson.

Oor Scots tradition, so ye say,
Rude, rosy health enjoys.
It's juist the kin o stuff tae play
Tae be yin o the boys!
But whae will heed the desperate cry,
"How long o Lord, how long!"?
Whae fickle fashion will defy,
An sing a guid Scots song?
Alas, ma friends, ye've sadly erred,
Ye're blind, deif, an complacent.
For Scots song noo is hardly heard,
An doon tae deith has hastened.
If tae some folk club ye repair,
An sit doon in the middle,
Ye'll find fifteen fanatics there,
Each sawin at a fiddle.
Or else ye'll find the sorry pass
In cosy howffs an bars,
Where bluegrass boys descend en masse
Wi banjos an guitars.
When young folk gaither tae explore
Their so-called Celtic roots,
For 'oors they'll tootle, wheep, an bore
Wi whistles, pipes, an flutes.
As in a race they'll up the pace
Wi furious frantic finger;
But ye'll find green men fae outer space
Afore ye'll find a singer!
Sae keep yer gaitherins in yer pubs,
Yer ceilidhs an yer sessions.
I yaisually come hame fae yer clubs
In the deepest o depressions.
The Deevil take musicians aw,
An waste their reeds an strings!
Deil blast them aw that strum an blaw,
But spare the boy that sings!
(Words and tune original


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Subject: RE: The singers club and proscription
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 15 Jan 16 - 08:07 AM

Another - 0804pm yesterday - cogent & most relevant post from Jim, which seems to me to make many points which can't be made too often:-

about how the soi-disant "folk" scene has mutated & degenerated into something which seems to me, by the use of that appellation, to risk prosecution under the Trades Descriptions Act. How else could you describe a situation where a "folk" club organiser can decline to book Walter Pardon because they think he is not a "folk singer"?!

≈M≈


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Subject: RE: The singers club and proscription
From: TheSnail
Date: 15 Jan 16 - 08:09 AM

Sorry, Jim, I haven't got time to reply to you latest nonsense. (If it's OK for Ewan, it's OK for me.) Busy weekend coming up. We've got our annual all-day sing tomorrow - an hour of traditional tunes followed by eleven hours (with a break for supper) of mostly traditional English song, most of it unaccompanied. People come from all over the country. (I wonder what they do the rest of the year.) Then on Sunday we've got a three hour tune session, again, largely traditional English.


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Subject: RE: The singers club and proscription
From: TheSnail
Date: 15 Jan 16 - 08:10 AM

Hootenanny Of course you are under no obligation to say who you are but it seems you were a major player back in the sixties so it would be interesting to know.


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Subject: RE: The singers club and proscription
From: The Sandman
Date: 15 Jan 16 - 08:14 AM

I can think of a number of clubs that would book harry cox and sam larner if they were still alive.


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Subject: RE: The singers club and proscription
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 15 Jan 16 - 08:55 AM

Well the folk club that got me going and to which I was always eternally grateful (thanks, John and Cheryl) went into terminal decline in the mid-90s, partly because of an unpopular move to a different pub, admittedly, but I recall that we could fill the place up nicely with Show Of Hands or Flook or The Poozies. But I also remember with sadness a couple of guest nights with Martin Carthy and Roy Bailey with less than two handfuls of people there. Inexplicable. It seems to me that big-name big bands playing juiced-up traditional music and a fair amount of not-very-traditional music in a not-very-traditional way sucked the lifeblood out of what we might call (whilst ducking) real folk music. Maybe it started with Steeleye and Fairport and Albion but I wouldn't know where to draw the line and I kind of quite liked that lot and things do have a habit of wanting to move on....   Grrr, can't get me head round it all, really...


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Subject: RE: The singers club and proscription
From: GUEST,Hootenanny
Date: 15 Jan 16 - 09:10 AM

Snail;
A Major Player?? Not at all far from it. Just one among many, many people that were involved in the folk club scene at that time. I was booking performers into one club out of many - yes there were more than two in London at the time. I have and make no claims to fame so it isn't that interesting.

In answer to two of your questions MGM;

No I didn't and still don't know you.

I believe it was my first visit to the Princess Louise around 1957/58 when I saw Russell & Hylda. I also saw Nancy Whisky and Jimmie MacGregor and Shirley Bland but not necessarily on the same evening.


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Subject: RE: The singers club and proscription
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 15 Jan 16 - 09:22 AM

Well, obviously we didn't meet to speak or know one another's names; but we must certainly have been in some of the same audiences. I sang at the Nancy Whiskey club at the Louise once as part of a group called Easy Riders, but it was a pretty dire & frosty gig. Think it might have been one of Nancy's looking-for-new-talent competition nights or some such. But, as Louis MacNeice wrote of the Ancient World but I always think of as referring to things that happened in my youth, "It was all so unimaginably different, And all so long ago".


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Subject: RE: The singers club and proscription
From: Jack Campin
Date: 15 Jan 16 - 10:32 AM

Davie Robertson is no more in touch with the Scottish folk scene than Jim Carroll is with the English one. He stays at home in Longniddry, probably hasn't been to any folk event in the last ten years, and has probably never even heard Steve Byrne or Siobhan Miller.

Yes, it would be good to have more singers working in Scots (and less American-style torch singers dropping in the odd Scots word so the arts establishment can hand out grants to them while pretending to boost Scottish culture). But that kind of griping is no way to make it happen.


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Subject: RE: The singers club and proscription
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 15 Jan 16 - 12:47 PM

"Sorry, Jim, I haven't got time to reply to you latest nonsense."
You never have - wonder why?
"This from someone who doesn't go in for Pissing Contests!"
You really do need an irony implant!
Still no answers
"I guess this is what is referred to by Mr Carroll as being commercial."
No it wasn't - you know as well as I do that the break with Ballads and Blues came about as a result of Malcolm Nixon's, "I can make you a star" policy (see 'No Agents Need Apply' song)
The Singers was booking singers such as those you list as well as helping organise the' Free Pete Seeger' campaign (still have the leaflet), taking part in the CND campaigns, and later The Anti-Apartheid movement, The Folksingers for Freedom in Vietnam, the Anti-fascist movement, the miners' Strike - all voluntary work by dedicated people like Karl Dallas, without Nixon's agency fees.... that's what I am referring to.
Like Bryan - you have yet to respond to the points I have made (perhaps you're too busy too!) but at least you appear to have stopped demanding answers to questions I have already answered
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: The singers club and proscription
From: The Sandman
Date: 15 Jan 16 - 02:03 PM

"Sorry, Jim, I haven't got time to reply to you latest nonsense."
Jim, he has explained he is helping to organise tradtional music events for tomorrow and the weekend.


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Subject: RE: The singers club and proscription
From: GUEST,Hootenanny
Date: 15 Jan 16 - 02:27 PM

Jim,

If the Singers Club were booking the people that I mentioned I would probably have come along more often.

The fact that the Singers Club supported various political causes has absolutely no place in this thread. What are you implying? - sorry forget that, it's a question. It looks like you are starting a pissing contest.

Thank you and Good night


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Subject: RE: The singers club and proscription
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 15 Jan 16 - 02:36 PM

Don't you dare tell me what has a place on this thread - I was pointing out the differences between it and the B and B - one appraching music as a business, the other committed to wider and less lucrative activities.
Not "implying" anything, just telling it as it was.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: The singers club and proscription
From: GUEST,Jon
Date: 15 Jan 16 - 02:57 PM

Would such a club would work now, and is there a need for it?

If there are enough like minded people in an area, there would be a need and it would work.

Every club and session I've been to a few times has had some form of "rules". OK they may be unwritten but there is always some sort idea as to what is appropriate for the occasion.

I'd say that sort of rule/understanding would include "anything goes" but I don't think I've been to anything that really is. It usually seems to extend things into the pop/"acoustic" type direction but I can't imagine many being too happy if "anything goes" was interpreted as welcoming operatic arias.

Whatever. I don't see any point in arguing over how someone else's club or session runs. As far as I'm concerned, someone could set up an event with no instruments or no singing rules, another, traditional only, another "anything goes" and others somewhere in between, and I'm happy.

As a listener and participant, I simply pick the events that suit me best in my area. My first priority is an Irish instrumental session but I can also enjoy some rather broader events.

From a purely selfish perspective, I would loose out if everything became specialised/rigid and if everything had to cater for all interests.

My wider view is that I feel that the broader folk scene is healthier with a diversity of events each running its own way that it would be with one right way for all clubs imposed.


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Subject: RE: The singers club and proscription
From: The Sandman
Date: 15 Jan 16 - 03:16 PM

I would have thought a club that booked Pete Seeger was worth supporting
any club that charges an admission fee becomes commercial, after all it has to pay the guests it books.


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Subject: RE: The singers club and proscription
From: GUEST
Date: 16 Jan 16 - 02:36 AM

Ah but in the eyes of Jim Carroll, taking money is obscene. Singers should be grateful for the opportunity for him to berate them and tell them they aren't folk.

This is a rather depressing thread. Still, luckily folk music is doing well and reaching to new younger generations and many different places and formats for enjoying the living tradition.


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Subject: RE: The singers club and proscription
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 16 Jan 16 - 04:00 AM

"Ah but in the eyes of Jim Carroll, taking money is obscene."
Why do people do this?
I have never at any time said this, nor do I believe it.The dishonesty of such statements is as much proof of my arguments as the fact that nobody yet has come up with an alternative definition.
There is nothing wrong with taking money for folk music - there never has been.
It's when 'taking money' becomes the main and sometimes sole objective that is wrong.
Iv'e know and worked with people who have been paid for singing and research - we wouldn't have been able to carry out some of the work we've done and made it available without the generous grant we received from the Arts Council of Ireland.
The club scene I was part of was a voluntary affair - run by people who dedicated themselves to the music, from setting up clubs, booking guests..... to taking the glasses down to the bar at the end of the night..... all done for the love of the music.
We had singers who were paid for singing and were happy to have them, but we were equally happy that we didn't have to rely on them, as we had our own singers who would be the week after week without payment - they were the backbones of the clubs we helped run.
"Still, luckily folk music is doing well "
No folk scene that doesn't know its folk arse from its folk elbow, is unable to define the music it purports to be promoting and thus, is unable to guarantee a visitor that he or she will hear the folk music they have come to know over many years - is not "doing well".
The club scene has shrunk in size and quality since I came into it - in some cases, someone singing traditional songs is not welcome - is even a cause for humour (described above).
The scene has become a cultural receptacle in which to place their own particular taste in music - classical, pop.... whatever takes their fancy.
Not to say that some clubs don't do what they say they do, and do it well; but far to few to make a difference.
The revival has by and large become divorced from the music - it has lost the objectives that set it on the road back in the fifties.
What is so refreshing about the scene over here is that the thousands of youngsters playing it for the first time know what it is and base what they do on what they know.
Whatever the do with it in future, they have a base to come back to come back to - a firm foundation has been built and traditional music has been guaranteed a future lasting at least another two generations judging by the ages of the musicians now playing.
The singing has yet to sort itself out, but recent national projects have set it in motion.
We can go out five nights a week in this one-street town and listen to music played - from passably well to superb.
We can listen to or watch performances, or documentaries on traditional music most nights on national television or local or national radio - programmes on different areas and styles, on music and history, over the last three weeks, excellent documentaries on MacColl (by Christie Moore) and on Luke Kelly.
In a couple of weeks time we will be attending a local history talk on street literature, and later, will be giving two - one on songs on the history of this County, another on the older singers - all to people who are not involved in the music scene.
The County has an excellent song and music website which has two librarians largely dedicated to its maintenance.
Limerick University is in the process of taking our collections for their 'World Music Department' - a website dedicated to Traveller song, music, storytelling and folklore has been mooted by them - they have already been part of the revival of Traveller traditions within their community.
None of this is down to us, other than having been able to push on an open door when we tried to make our collections more widely available.
That's what "doing well" means.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: The singers club and proscription
From: GUEST,Hootenanny
Date: 16 Jan 16 - 05:28 AM

Guest you are right. This is a rather depressing thread.I apologise for my part in it. All I have tried to do was point out that some comments made putting down clubs never visited and people not known by the person making them were not always correct.


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Subject: RE: The singers club and proscription
From: akenaton
Date: 16 Jan 16 - 05:35 AM

Jim, One of the best and most emotive posts that I have read on this forum.
Excellent, it's when money or "celebrity" becomes the driving force that the music suffers.

This music used to be bigger and more valuable than any of those who performed it ....some of the finest moments in our club involved the audience actually taking over a song and presenting it in all it's emotional glory.


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Subject: RE: The singers club and proscription
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 16 Jan 16 - 05:40 AM

Thanks Ake - a bit more positive and incisive than the evasive waffle that proceeds your posting
Nice to find something we agree on
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: The singers club and proscription
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 16 Jan 16 - 05:44 AM

One of the depressing things about it, Mr Hootenanny, has been your pertinacious refusal to identify yourself. Gives rise to my mind to all sorts of probably irrational suspicions as to what could be your motivations for acting so. "What has he got to hide?" is the thought that rises unbidden to mind every time your pseudonym appears at the top of a post. "Your problem!" is perhaps likely to be your reaction. But I am not the only one to have made this point, or to have been made uncomfortable by this irrational reticence of yours. Are you 'wanted' or something? As long as you go on hiding under this cloak of anonymity, you are not wanted here, by me for one at any rate. Your contributions, some admittedly thought-provoking and worthwhile, are not worth the irritation caused. Quite glad of your assurance above, in fact, that we don't know one another But at least you have the advantage of me as to ID.


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Subject: RE: The singers club and proscription
From: The Sandman
Date: 17 Jan 16 - 04:34 AM

One point has been pointed out by Jim, The Rules applied only to the residents.
We also Know that a visiting floorsinger was laughed at for singing the Rock Island Line with a cockney accent.
It has also been established that singing with musical instruments was not proscribed as it was in one or two other clubs.


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Subject: RE: The singers club and proscription
From: GUEST
Date: 17 Jan 16 - 04:53 AM

"We also Know that a visiting floorsinger was laughed at for singing the Rock Island Line with a cockney accent."
By Peggy Seeger - a lifetime ago - she apologised in public (on The Living Tradition letter page) and explained fully the policy of the club regarding singing songs from your own national backgrounds.
In the early days, the policy of not using musical instruments or singing only traditional songs extended to far more than "one or two clubs" - it was never the policy of the Singers Club, on the contrary, the stated aim was to develop instrumental styles and to encourage the composition of new songs using traditional forms.
Peggy edited more than 20 issues of 'The New City Songster' an occasional magazine she set up made up of new songs from all over the English-speaking world.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: The singers club and proscription
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 17 Jan 16 - 05:03 AM

"We also Know that a visiting floorsinger was laughed at for singing the Rock Island Line with a cockney accent."

I would probably have laughed as well (or sighed heavily)! In the post-war period, guitar-based American style music was becoming more and more popular in the UK. I would guess that there were, at that time, lots of singers, performing that type of music, who were looking for a platform. A club in central London, that encouraged singers from the floor, represented an ideal platform for them. I would guess that part of the reason for the Singers Club's proscriptive policy was to avoid being swamped by Cockney pseudo-Yanks!


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Subject: RE: The singers club and proscription
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 17 Jan 16 - 05:40 AM

Yes. Until we learnt better, we were all getting our songs from The Burl Ives Songbook. I remember the first time I heard Stan
Kelly-Bootle was at a Downing College Cambridge ball in 1953, & he led off with Worried Man Blues; likewise Rory McEwen, as cabaret at a Cambridge Union ball in 1954, started off with Ives's version of The Fox. It wasn't till The Singing Island & The Seeds Of Love came out that we mended our ways.

≈M≈


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Subject: RE: The singers club and proscription
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 17 Jan 16 - 06:20 AM

To clarify what might be a bit of over-ellipsis in that last post, and pre-empt my being put down for it --

I know that "Worried Man" is not in the Burl Ives Book, but a song popularised by the Carter Family; but its use by English singers in the 1950s is relevant to the point being made as a whole.


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Subject: RE: The singers club and proscription
From: GUEST,Seaham Cemetry aka R Sole
Date: 17 Jan 16 - 06:35 AM

The best nights in folk clubs for me at any rate have been where a combination of eager local singers have been followed by a guest performer whose profession is entertaining with folk music.

The idea of sitting in judgement is really no more than counting bums on seats. People will judge what is folk based on whether it's their idea of folk and whether they will bother turning up again at that venue. I doubt anybody needs to follow the ideas of past generations rather than do their own take. Leave that principle to religions and other irrelevant movements.


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Subject: RE: The singers club and proscription
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 17 Jan 16 - 06:46 AM

Re my last posts: I remember a cabaret sketch in a university revue in the 50s, a song about being at an interminable all-night party, which contained the verse

It seemed such fun at a quarter to one
When that man started playing his guitar
But it's two hours later and hes not done a quarter
Of Burl Ives' repertoire


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Subject: RE: The singers club and proscription
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 17 Jan 16 - 07:01 AM

You just don't get it, do you "Seaham etc."? That particular club, at that particular time, had specific objectives and formulated a policy which helped them to meet those objectives. I only attended the Singers' Club a couple of times but on both occasions there were plenty of people in the audience - so those people were obviously able to live with the oh so terrible, cruel, narrow-minded, restrictive, fundamentalist (insert own adjective) policy.


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Subject: RE: The singers club and proscription
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 17 Jan 16 - 07:15 AM

" Leave that principle to religions and other irrelevant movements."
Folk Song as 'The Voice of the People' is certainly far from "irrelevant" and, in my opinion, if far more important than any religion, numbers of 'bums on seats' or peoples' lack of understanding of or disinterest in what it is.
If I were to say to singers, "stop singing and concentrate on the study of the songs", there would be howls of "folk fascist" from Birkenhead to Brighton", and rightly so.
As it is, when the reverse comes from a folk club scene that can no longer guarantee the performance of folksongs in their clubs, I'm supposed to go into my nodding- dog mode and slink off into a corner.
Sorry - no can do.
While this forum, which describes itself as being for discussing "Traditional Music and Folklore Collection and Community" is a#available to me I will continue to raise these points, despite the folk-bobby-on-the-beat telling me to "move along there".
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: The singers club and proscription
From: The Sandman
Date: 17 Jan 16 - 07:43 AM

This discussion is good, hopefully it is getting rid of mythology surrounding the singers club, so it is quite obvious that singers from the floor singing worried man blues or american songs in english accents were not encouraged either.
What was the guest booking policy?


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Subject: RE: The singers club and proscription
From: The Sandman
Date: 17 Jan 16 - 07:57 AM

Shimrod, I am aware that you dsapprove of peopole singing," I am a little teapot" with the actions, you have now added another thing you disapprove of, people singing american songs in English accents, you also disapprove of people inadvertently allowing mobile phones to go off during concerts, do you approve of english singers singing american songs in attempted american accents?


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Subject: RE: The singers club and proscription
From: The Sandman
Date: 17 Jan 16 - 08:01 AM

you see,Shimrod, I like singing a couple of Woody Guthrie songs, I normally sing them in my own english accent, I wouldnt want you to disapprove.Should i sing farewell to the gold in a new zealand accent?


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Subject: RE: The singers club and proscription
From: GUEST,Hootenanny
Date: 17 Jan 16 - 08:10 AM

MGM·Lion
Date: 16 Jan 16 - 05:44 AM

Sir,
Thank you so much for those kind words. The fact that you don't welcome my contributions here fills me with deep sorrow and grief.

May I wish you a Happy New Year


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Subject: RE: The singers club and proscription
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 17 Jan 16 - 08:10 AM

"do you approve of english singers singing american songs in attempted american accents?"
He didn't say that - he referred to "pseudo-Yanks" - ie - the strange mid-American accent adopted by folkies and pop singers alike.
I sing several American versions of traditional songs, (my particular favourite being, 'Fair Rosamund'), but only the ones that will transpose into my own accent.
Get it right (again) Dick. ]
"you also disapprove of people inadvertently allowing mobile phones to go off during concerts,"
Don't you? - you can get thrown out of a theatre or a cinema for allowing this to happen - surely folk songs are just as important - maybe not!
"do you approve of english singers singing american songs in attempted american accents?"
The said he didn't - I would agree with him aesthetically - they sound phoney.
The guest policy was to book good singers - phoney singing is not good.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: The singers club and proscription
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 17 Jan 16 - 08:46 AM

There was a separate thread, "Mid-Atlantic - why?" that ran from 2011-2014 [which I OPd BTW]. on the use of accents. No firm conclusion ever got reached. Does one ever!?

≈M≈


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Subject: RE: The singers club and proscription
From: Keith A of Hertford
Date: 17 Jan 16 - 09:01 AM

Lonnie Donegan sang Rock Island Line with a cockney accent.
Best not to try and fake an accent I think.


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Subject: RE: The singers club and proscription
From: GUEST,Jon
Date: 17 Jan 16 - 09:18 AM

One thing with accents is there I think I had to consciously avoid doing it. Not American in my case but I feel I used to be a prone to going "Oirish". Possibly still am if we get the combination of a few jars and say a "Black Velvet Band"...


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Subject: RE: The singers club and proscription
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 17 Jan 16 - 09:55 AM

Guest Hootenanny: Many thanks for your New Year wishes at 0544, which are entirely reciprocated.

≈Michael≈


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Subject: RE: The singers club and proscription
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 17 Jan 16 - 09:58 AM

correction - at 0810


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Subject: RE: The singers club and proscription
From: The Sandman
Date: 17 Jan 16 - 10:11 AM

You and Shimrod make it all sound like great fun.





































You andShimrod make it sound like fun


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Subject: RE: The singers club and proscription
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 17 Jan 16 - 10:35 AM

"Shimrod, I am aware that you dsapprove of peopole singing," I am a little teapot" with the actions, you have now added another thing you disapprove of, people singing american songs in English accents, ..."

I, personally, dislike those things. Presumably, I am supposed to like and approve of everything that people insist on perpetrating in folk clubs these days? Just for the record, here's a list of other things that I dislike:

- Guitarists who think they're virtuosos and accompany their, often over-complicated and borderline inept, guitar playing with their voices (think about it).

- People who sing from crib sheets (learn the f**king words - it's not hard!!!).

- People who have a limited repertoire of a few comic songs (e.g. about teapots) and folk song parodies and insist on singing them week after week after f**king week. They may have been mildly amusing the first time (questionable) but they are just torture the 30th or 40th time!!

- A 30 verse ballad sung by one of the worst singers in the room. To add insult to injury it may be the only traditional song of the night!

- Pop songs sung by wilfully ignorant ... persons ... who have arbitrarily decided that "everything that folk sing is folk". I am reminded of a line in a post above: "People will judge what is folk based on whether it's their idea of folk ..." Give me f**king strength!!!

So there you go, GSS, pick the bones out of that and then sue me!


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Subject: RE: The singers club and proscription
From: GUEST,Jon
Date: 17 Jan 16 - 11:05 AM

Shimrod, in one mostly instrumental Irish session I used to go to, we had someone quite capable of a longer Tam Lin. I got on well with the person but I'd never be convinced something like that was the right song for the occasion,

In maybe mean and unfair mode, I've sometimes felt the only good Bob Dylan song is the one written by Eric Bogle...

I suspect many of us do have our own loves and pet hates and I for one do not really fit the "broad folky mould" (ie. everything that may get defined as folk does not necessarily follow my own musical tastes). I'd probably in some instances be easier if people went a step further and did a Beatles song or even an acoustic Slade song than some of the stuff that lurks in the middle "acoustic" territory but that's just me...

... and if we are talking in terms of a club offering a mixture, I can pretty much always ride through the bits I personally may not enjoy so much.


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Subject: RE: The singers club and proscription
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 17 Jan 16 - 11:06 AM

"So there you go, GSS, pick the bones out of that and then sue me!"
Are you thinking of circulation a petition - please!!
Might I add - arrogant ****ers who insist in joining in solo performances whether they know the words on not?
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: The singers club and proscription
From: The Sandman
Date: 17 Jan 16 - 11:16 AM

I have no intention of suing anyone,
I believe in live and let live. Some people get their fun from belonging to religous sects[ the Wee Frees spring to mind]that disapprove of doing a lot of things on a sunday.
Although they are determined to prohibit and proscribe a lot of things,          I just steer clear of their meetings.
I choose which folk clubs, I play, I recently played Bodmin folk club and had a great night, if you are ever down there recommend it.
I would also recommend The Wilson Family Folk Club in Billingham, have you come across The Wilson Family, they are great singers, a club I have been booked at a few times.


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Subject: RE: The singers club and proscription
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 17 Jan 16 - 11:45 AM

" I can pretty much always ride through the bits I personally may not enjoy so much."

After 45 years of going to folk clubs, I can't any more - especially as "the bits I personally may not enjoy so much" now seem to dominate many folk sessions. I just want to kick some ass and wring some necks!

"I believe in live and let live."

I don't! If you give 'em an even break, the f**kers will walk all over you. Hit first and then ask if there are any questions!

What the f**k have the Wee Frees got to do with anything? This is not about intolerance (although I admit, personally, to being a tiny bit intolerant) it's about taste.


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Subject: RE: The singers club and proscription
From: GUEST,R Sole
Date: 17 Jan 16 - 12:02 PM

"Music of the people."

Just reread what you are putting, irrelevant dinosaurs.

The Singers' Club was a time and event, not particularly influential in the rise of the folk clubs that came after, not of interest to the many people who recall old folk clubs with affection and enjoy what they see as folk now.

That people on here are putting forward the odd silly arbitrary way such things were run as a virtue is bemusing at best.

The U.K. Folk Clubs have a far stronger claim to a Genesis in US coffee clubs, Dylan, Paxton et al than the old men in fancy dress claiming a song they heard at their mother's knee is anything but something they got off an A L Lloyd album.

It is precisely because folk is far more than the narrow sub set of a sub set Jim Carroll is claiming as "pure" that folk clubs accommodated finger in ear farming dirges alongside '60s Americana, wannabe Pentangles and mucky monologues.


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Subject: RE: The singers club and proscription
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 17 Jan 16 - 12:29 PM

R Sole by name, R Sole etc.

I don't recall Jim using the word "pure". Did you use the word "pure", Jim?


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Subject: RE: The singers club and proscription
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 17 Jan 16 - 01:12 PM

"Did you use the word "pure", Jim?"
Not me - must have a doppelganger - otherwise, somebody is telling porkies to score points - must be Mr Arsehole
The Singers club was somewhere you could go and be guaranteed to come away with a bunch of folk songs ringing in your ears - fully accept that that's quire dinosaurial to many of today's folkies.
"that folk clubs accommodated finger in ear farming dirges "
Many thanks for that - says it far better than I ever could - never catered for "'60s Americana, wannabe Pentangles and mucky monologues" though - much preferred folk songs
These guys ain't very bright, are they?
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: The singers club and proscription
From: GUEST,Musket
Date: 17 Jan 16 - 01:45 PM

Away from all the side tracking and silliness.

How would proscription work today, if at all? What would you proscribe? What would or could it do to help people enjoy music?

There have been a few side issues here. Most people who like their folk music are too young to have experienced the singers' club but many like myself have had people tell dark forbidding tales of this institution. (I have, when a keen teenager had MacColl tell me off for not being indigenous when doing a floor turn at one of their bookings and that alone was enough for me.)

So. Are people saying it was good, bad or indifferent? Two hundred posts up to yet of reminiscing but nothing about its legacy.


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Subject: RE: The singers club and proscription
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 17 Jan 16 - 02:25 PM

"What would or could it do to help people enjoy music?"
You mean you need advice for that - I certainly don't? But there you go
You've already had this - but here's a part again:
"The objective, really for the singer is to create a situation where when he starts to sing he's no longer worried about technique, he's done all that, and he can give the whole of his or her attention to the song itself, she can give her or he can give his whole attention to the sheer act of enjoying the song."
It's not just a question of enjoying it - nobody has ever disputd that this is a fundamental requirement - it's what you enjoy, what you give people to enjoy and what you call what you give people to enjoy.
If you no longer enjoy folk song perhaps you should look elsewhere for your pleasure.
Calling what you do enjoy "folk" because you enjoy it just doesn't hack it - now that would be "silliness".
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: The singers club and proscription
From: akenaton
Date: 17 Jan 16 - 04:55 PM

These people don't seem to understand that folk music existed long before the revival, or coffee houses for that matter.
The bothy ballad tradition goes back to the beginning of the nineteenth century, the Gaelic traditions goes back millennia
I remember concerts in our little village where the singing was all Gaelic and the audience all new how to sing along even those to whom Gaelic was a second language.
How many songwriters in Scotland today can come anywhere near to Burns Jacob, Tannahill or Henderson....old hat, dinosaurs, not a patch on Dylan or Bowie?
With the honourable exception of Davie or perhaps Dougie Mclean with his "Indigenous" CD

The Irish seem to have preserved their musical and dance traditions much better than Scotland, England or Wales....and I am sure that this is because they have been taught their own history and have a real pride in their nation.


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Subject: RE: The singers club and proscription
From: The Sandman
Date: 17 Jan 16 - 05:41 PM

The Wee Frees disapprove of a lot of things and like proscribing anything that might be fun, Shimrod I thought you might be of that persuasion my apologies for thinking you were a wee free or even a possibly a wee wee free.
Shimrod, out of curiosity do you play an instrument?


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Subject: RE: The singers club and proscription
From: The Sandman
Date: 17 Jan 16 - 05:47 PM

THE SINGERS CLUB has not left a legacy.It was ephemeral.
MacColl on the other hand has left a fine collecton of self written songs


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Subject: RE: The singers club and proscription
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 17 Jan 16 - 06:16 PM

No, sadly, GSS, I don't play an instrument but I do sing - or rather, I used to sing when I had somewhere to sing. Actually, while we're on the subject of singing, it was the great Ewan MacColl himself who persuaded me that it was possible for me to sing. Many, many years ago, I attended a weekend singers' workshop that he and Ms Seeger ran, in Huntingdon of all places, and it was, for me, a key educational experience.


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Subject: RE: The singers club and proscription
From: GUEST,Musket
Date: 18 Jan 16 - 02:13 AM

Thanks Jim.

I'll carry on getting my folk fix at folk clubs and folk venues. I appear to like folk music in all its wide interpretation of the genre. Including MacColl, including folk rock, including fusion, including, (and this is where it becomes the music of the people,) a podium for sharing your love of music with others without necessarily investing in pa gear and needing to get a gig. Music of the people indeed.

Just as most on here do, have done and hopefully always will do.

I am an observer of the subject title and see the singers club as part of a UK heritage. I think proscription to have been ultimately harmful and it's always saddened me to think how folk morphed into a clique in some clubs then withered. I can't help but think of the crusty idiots who sat there berating people for exhibiting what the buggers were ultimately advocating in the first place.

Proscription isn't entertainment. Folk certainly is.


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Subject: RE: The singers club and proscription
From: The Sandman
Date: 18 Jan 16 - 03:05 AM

Proscription and prohibition in the end always fail.The reason I chose to not visit The Singers Club was as a result of a conversation with the "great Ewan MacColl".
Whilst I was in search of good folk music I was also in search of a good time, I very quickly realised that I was not going to have a good time, in fact It appeared to me that it might be a bit like going to Sunday School.
Why would I want to spend my evenings with a man over twice my age, who on my first meeting with him appeared to be authoritarian.
I was nineteen years old, there was plenty of choice of good quality folk music in other clubs and plenty of girls of my own age in other folk clubs other than the Singers Club.
None of that alters the fact that he was a very professional and skilled performer and fine songwriter.

Great man?Chacun Sa Gout, some people think John Wesley was a great man.


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Subject: RE: The singers club and proscription
From: The Sandman
Date: 18 Jan 16 - 03:05 AM

Proscription and prohibition in the end always fail.The reason I chose to not visit The Singers Club was as a result of a conversation with the "great Ewan MacColl".
Whilst I was in search of good folk music I was also in search of a good time, I very quickly realised that I was not going to have a good time, in fact It appeared to me that it might be a bit like going to Sunday School.
Why would I want to spend my evenings with a man over twice my age, who on my first meeting with him appeared to be authoritarian.
I was nineteen years old, there was plenty of choice of good quality folk music in other clubs and plenty of girls of my own age in other folk clubs other than the Singers Club.
None of that alters the fact that he was a very professional and skilled performer and fine songwriter.
Great man?Chacun Sa Gout, some people think John Wesley was a great man.


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Subject: RE: The singers club and proscription
From: The Sandman
Date: 18 Jan 16 - 03:05 AM

Proscription and prohibition in the end always fail.The reason I chose to not visit The Singers Club was as a result of a conversation with the "great Ewan MacColl".
Whilst I was in search of good folk music I was also in search of a good time, I very quickly realised that I was not going to have a good time, in fact It appeared to me that it might be a bit like going to Sunday School.
Why would I want to spend my evenings with a man over twice my age, who on my first meeting with him appeared to be authoritarian.
I was nineteen years old, there was plenty of choice of good quality folk music in other clubs and plenty of girls of my own age in other folk clubs other than the Singers Club.
None of that alters the fact that he was a very professional and skilled performer and fine songwriter.
Great man?Chacun Sa Gout, some people think John Wesley was a great man.


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Subject: RE: The singers club and proscription
From: GUEST
Date: 18 Jan 16 - 04:35 AM

"I appear to like folk music in all its wide interpretation "
The only onne you have givin is "whatever I choose to call it" - no good to me as a punter looking for folk song - bit selfish, doncha think?
I think the most telling statement so far on this thread is "finger in ear farming dirges " and the most depressing is the silence following it - "roll over the Coppers"
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: The singers club and proscription
From: TheSnail
Date: 18 Jan 16 - 06:36 AM

Actually, I was at a Copper Family house concert on Friday evening. Very enjoyable. Part of a busy weekend as I explained on Friday. Still a bit busy, back later.


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Subject: RE: The singers club and proscription
From: GUEST
Date: 18 Jan 16 - 06:38 AM

"Actually, I was at a Copper Family house concert on Friday evening"
Delighted to hear it Bryan - look forward to your howls of protest.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: The singers club and proscription
From: TheSnail
Date: 18 Jan 16 - 06:40 AM

Hootenanny I'll take that as a "No" then. Entirely within your rights of course but it would be interesting to know.


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Subject: RE: The singers club and proscription
From: GUEST
Date: 18 Jan 16 - 07:05 AM

"THE SINGERS CLUB has not left a legacy.It was ephemeral."
The residents of the Singes Club researched and launched the London repertoire into the revival, presented the Waterloo Peterloo project with their album, established theme and poetry and sing evenings evenings as far back as the mid-sixties.
Bert and Ewan, as residents, introduced Industrial songs into the revival at the beginning of the early sixties, the women residents produced 'The Female Frolic' project and album and the rest of the residents, John and Sandra, Terry Yarnell, Frankie Armstrong and Bob Blair all produced their own albums.
Ewan and Peggy released The |Long Harvest (10 albums) and Blood and Roases (4 albums) - arguably the best sets of Child ballads ever.
On Argo, Ewan, Peggy and the Critics Group co-operated with actors in producing 20 albums of poetry and song for schools ('Poetry and song (14 albums) Voices (6 albums).
The Singer residents put on 6 'living newspaper' shows (The Festival of Fools' at the end of the year which ran for two weeks each time.
Peggy produced 20-odd songbooks of newly composed songs to be sold at the club which introduced 100s of new songs into the revival from all over the world.
Ewan, with the residents of the club established a self help group for less experienced sings which led to similar being set up in various parts of the country
Our own archive includes about twenty Singers Club evenings and 200 plus recordings of Critics Group meetings, all of wich ill be archived and made available soon....... yup Dick, fairly "ephemeral.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: The singers club and proscription
From: TheSnail
Date: 18 Jan 16 - 08:21 AM

What, pray tell Jim, would you like me to howl about?


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Subject: RE: The singers club and proscription
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 18 Jan 16 - 09:21 AM

"I think proscription to have been ultimately harmful ..."

Bollocks! Who did it harm?

It applied to a particular club, at a particular time - a club which had specific objectives and formulated a policy which helped it to meet those objectives.

Having said that, all of the best clubs that I attended - including the first one that I ever attended, in my home town - had policies (usually unwritten) which might be described as "proscriptive". But those policies were about taste and a common understanding of the musical genre that the members of the club (both performers and audience) were interested in and enjoyed. It was NEVER, as the 'everything-is-folk' brigade continue to insist, about compulsion or restriction.


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Subject: RE: The singers club and proscription
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 18 Jan 16 - 09:46 AM

"The reason I chose to not visit The Singers Club was as a result of a conversation with the "great Ewan MacColl"... Why would I want to spend my evenings with a man over twice my age, who on my first meeting with him appeared to be authoritarian."

As I thought! This is really a MacColl knocking thread, isn't it, GSS? Even though he's been dead for over a quarter of a century, you still hate him, don't you? I wonder if, before you met him, a few of your wannabee-LeadBelly/Guthrie/Dylan mates had told you that he was an evil man who TOLD OTHER PEOPLE WHAT THEY COULD or COULDN'T SING (horror)!!??

At your next gig you will need to look closely at the audience because his ghost might be among them marking your performance out of ten! Scary stuff!


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Subject: RE: The singers club and proscription
From: GUEST
Date: 18 Jan 16 - 10:19 AM

"As I thought! This is really a MacColl knocking thread, "
It was a bloody joke - the idea that he would insult an album by Peggy and Tom Paley seriously while Peggy was on stage is bloody nonsense - they were long term partners and respected each others work absolutely - Dick's "experience" defies all logic.
Ewan actually gave me the album, among others while I was doing electrical work there - I still have the copy signed by both of them
Some people really do need a sense-of-humour transplant, but it's a great example of how these rumours get started
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: The singers club and proscription
From: Jack Campin
Date: 18 Jan 16 - 06:13 PM

How would proscription work today, if at all? What would you proscribe? What would or could it do to help people enjoy music?

It seems to be ubiquitous in my local 70s-nostalgia guys-with-guitars scene. If you turn up to try anything traditional (i.e. not in the Neil Young/Eagles/Dylan/Richard Thompson/Ralph McTell idiom) you won't get formally told off for it, you'll just get cold-shouldered by prats who put their guitars down and make no attempt to pick the piece up, however simple it may be. So you won't try for very long.

It works. It means those guys are heading for the eventide home in the safe knowledge that they'll never be challenged to learn anything that isn't already in their record collection. They enjoy it that way.


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Subject: RE: The singers club and proscription
From: The Sandman
Date: 18 Jan 16 - 06:18 PM

I do not hate anyone.Neither am I knocking anyone, i am explaining why I decided not to go to the singers club, it seems like Musket had a similiar experience.
Jim, you are once again incorrect with your facts, it was not that album at all it was an album by Mike and Peggy Seeger.
Ewan was a fine songwriter and a very skilled performer, Shimrod thinks he was a great man, chacun sa gout.


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Subject: RE: The singers club and proscription
From: The Sandman
Date: 18 Jan 16 - 06:28 PM

Jim, the other inaccuracy in your post, they were not on stage together. Peggy was busy in conversation with someone else[ as I have explained to you at least once before]it was the break at half time, I know what happened, I was there, you were not there.


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Subject: RE: The singers club and proscription
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 18 Jan 16 - 07:10 PM

"Mike and Peggy Seeger."
Doesn't matter - tyhe same thing stanmds, even more so - Mike wasn't just a regular guest, he was Peggy's brother - your story just doesn't hold water - it was a joke
"I was there, you were not there."
I knew both of them forr over twenty years (still see Peggy) you did not
I get tired of sneery sides from someone who nether knew the man nor cared for his singing
You can repeat your "praise" of Ewan's songwriting as many times as you like - doesn't mean a thing to me, I really don't care what you thought of him as a singer, songwriter gardener, scrabble-player.....
I've given you a list of what we did at the club you described as "ephemeral"
Address that, if you must - not really interested in any more sniding
You once threw a wobbler when I had the temerity to say what I thought of your singing (after I became extremely tired of your constant self-promoting) - yet you feel free to snide ad snipe at someone who has been dead for over a quarter of a century =- give us a break Dick
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: The singers club and proscription
From: GUEST,R Sole
Date: 18 Jan 16 - 07:15 PM

Meanwhile, tonight at a folk club..

I doubt any of the 70+ people in the room would have recognised some of the self serving arrogance on here. Everything from what Jim Carroll and two or three more would grudgingly call folk to songs the other few hundred on Mudcat would call folk. Yet I doubt few if any had heard of the singers club or indeed Mudcat.

GSS asked at the outset if proscription has any place in clubs. Sure, if you want to fuck up successful music venues!


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Subject: RE: The singers club and proscription
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 19 Jan 16 - 03:37 AM

"Yet I doubt few if any had heard of the singers club or indeed Mudcat."

Yes, 'R Sole', ignorance is bliss - especially to the wilfully ignorant!

Charming name, by the way, but I should point out that it does very little for your credibility.


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Subject: RE: The singers club and proscription
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 19 Jan 16 - 04:27 AM

"I doubt any of the 70+ people in the room would have recognised some of the self serving arrogance on here"
And I doubt if anybody who turn up for traditional music in the five sessions a week at our local pubs would recognise what you describe as folk music - whoops, apologies, you haven't actually given a description of what we'd find if we made an effort to turn up to your club other than "whatever we choose to put on" - no way to run a piss-up - in a brewery or anywhere else.
I am into folk music to promote folk music, not to put bums on seats for any old kind of music.
If you ask me what kind of music I mean by folk, I'll gladly tell you in as much detail a you want, or I'll point out to you where you can fing recordings of it or hundreds of collections of folk songs - or even record labels over the last dive decades devoted to it,; Topic, Folkways; Tangent; Claddagh, Library of Congress Smithsonian.....
Or books on it - The Ballad and the Folk; Folk Songs of the Upper Thames; English Folk Song, Some Conclusions; Folk Songs of the Northeast; THe Greig Duncan Folksong Collection (8 large volumes of that one!!!!).....   
If I wanted to learn about your "folk music", where can I find the information, who is there to explain it to me?
You certainly haven't.
When we interviewed MacColl, he said, "the greatest threat to the future of folk song is if it falls into the hands of people who don't like it"; "finger in ear farming dirges " suggest to me that it might have and Muskie's rather despicable attacks on elderly traditional singers rather confirm that.
What on earth type of music are you talking about - if you are unable to describe it and justify your description of it, how can you claim it has a future other than, whatever we choose to put on next week.
At least you have had the bottle to describe your club as a "music venue".... it certainly isn't a folk club.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: The singers club and proscription
From: TheSnail
Date: 19 Jan 16 - 04:55 AM

Bryan - look forward to your howls of protest.

For the second time of asking, Jim, what are you suggesting I howl about?


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Subject: RE: The singers club and proscription
From: The Sandman
Date: 19 Jan 16 - 05:56 AM

I met Ewan a number of times, I booked them at my folk club, I did a support for them at a concert and had a long conversation with both of them they were pleasant and polite on all those occasions.
A relative of mine experienced their helpfulness and generosity, all this I have explained to you before.
I mentioned the reason why I did not choose to go to the singers club.,


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Subject: RE: The singers club and proscription
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 19 Jan 16 - 06:48 AM

"For the second time of asking, Jim, what are you suggesting I howl about?"
For the second time - I gave you a quote from one of the protagonists here describing the type of singing Bob Copper regaled us with for so long as ""finger in ear farming dirges " .
Can only say, he wouldn't have got away with it in my day - maybe it's o.k. down there in Lewes.
I have a recording here of a meeting held circa 1965 in London to discuss the folk scene.
During its course, a leading folkie, who shall be nameless for fear of upsetting his friend, described Jeannie Robertson as an appalling singer - the meaning erupted into anger and ended up in chaos.
How I long for the days when folk song elicited a bit of passion!
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: The singers club and proscription
From: The Sandman
Date: 19 Jan 16 - 08:14 AM

Correction to my earlier posts. Which should read,chacun à son goût.


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Subject: RE: The singers club and proscription
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 19 Jan 16 - 08:40 AM

Must admit, following a bit of potential drift, that I could never greatly admire Jeannie Robertson's performances. She certainly had fine clear voice & diction, & strong dramatic sense; but not all the mannerisms rang true to me. I have heard it suggested by other Scots that they suspected she had been got at by Hamish Henderson, who seems to have been ambivalently regarded by some, to sing in the manner he considered correct for a traditional Scots singer.

≈M≈


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Subject: RE: The singers club and proscription
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 19 Jan 16 - 08:41 AM

... Relevant here, it seems to me, as another instance of 'proscription'.


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Subject: RE: The singers club and proscription
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 19 Jan 16 - 09:04 AM

Don't disagree with that Mike, Jeannie became a victim of collectors who told her that her slow, drawn out style of singing was magnificent and here singing became slower and slower - compare some of the earliest recordings (don't think it was down to Hamish, b. t. w.
But that's a bit beside the point really; singers like Jeannie were not part of our folkie world - you don't go to them, ask them for their songs, then pull their singing apart publicly - it's both ungracious and, certainly from the point of view of a collector, self destructive - not the way to win songs and influence people.
We had a nasty 'incident' some time ago when a reviewer took the opportunity while reviewing one of our albums of field recordings, to take revenge for past differences, which included virtually ignoring the singers and their songs (in probably the longest review I've ever read), or taking a pop at them personally - "why does he sound like a woman" is not the type of thing you say about an elderly West Clare farmer.
It meant that we were reluctant to follow up the work we had originally done with that particular man, which lost us access to his manuscript collection of songs.
The behaviour was repeated by the publication some years later with another group of singers and another collector.
Don't know if any of the singers, or their relatives saw any of the reviews, but it shouldn't have happened - as I say, their agenda is not ours.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: The singers club and proscription
From: TheSnail
Date: 19 Jan 16 - 09:08 AM

Jim the person who used the phrase "finger in ear farming dirges " signs on as GUEST,R Sole. I gave them the attention I thought they deserved. Looking back, I see that they made no mention of the Coppers. The only person to associate them with the phrase was you -
I think the most telling statement so far on this thread is "finger in ear farming dirges " and the most depressing is the silence following it - "roll over the Coppers"
Are you saying that you think that the Copper Family sing "finger in ear farming dirges "?

maybe it's o.k. down there in Lewes.
I have never heard anyone in a folk club audience say anything of the sort.

Changing the subject slightly, I came across this interesting page. It's amazing what you find when you are looking for something else.


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Subject: RE: The singers club and proscription
From: Vic Smith
Date: 19 Jan 16 - 09:45 AM

Bryan,
I have a copy of that book if you would like to read it in its entirety. I could also email you a copy of the review that I wrote of it in fRoots which surprised me from the number of positive emails that I got for the review from prominent people in traditional song circles.


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Subject: RE: The singers club and proscription
From: GUEST,Hootenanny
Date: 19 Jan 16 - 10:43 AM

To The Snail;

Thanks for the link to that as you rightly call it "interesting page".


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Subject: RE: The singers club and proscription
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 19 Jan 16 - 11:20 AM

"I gave them the attention I thought they deserved".
It's an often expressed point of view, "finger in ear" "drony old singers", "tit trousers", "boring old songs, "too-long ballads".... all expressing a dislkike of the songs and occasionally the people who were generous to give them to us - just thought we owed it to make an effort, whoever expresses it - maybe not.   
"Are you saying that you think that the Copper Family sing "finger in ear farming dirges "?
Tsk Bryan - bit beneath you - you know damn well I'm not - I object to eejits summing up folk song in that manner, which is what this particular braindead was doing
Thanks for the link - haven't managed to find the time to read the book in full yet
Had to smile about John being regarded as one of the best Irish fiddlers though - not sure by who.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: The singers club and proscription
From: The Sandman
Date: 19 Jan 16 - 12:40 PM

It was interesting, but I am still puzzled, I got the impression from the article, that it was not just the residents of the club but all the singers to which the policy applied, is that correct or incorrect, Jim?


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Subject: RE: The singers club and proscription
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 19 Jan 16 - 01:06 PM

"was not just the residents of the club but all the singers to which the policy applied, is that correct or incorrect, Jim?"
May have ben fifty yars ago Dick - I wasn't around at the time
I fist attended the Singers in November 1963 (the day after Kennedy was shot).
Have to say there wasn't much sign of it then, but certainly, when I began to get down to London more often a few years later, it was as Peggy said it was, for the residents only.
I seem to remember that Long John Baldry had been a guest at the singers around then - I know Ewan admired him as a singer.
As I say - in my time it was never a rule, it was a guide.
I would have no great objection if it was compulsory for all singers in the very early days, Ewan and Bert were trying to get the British repertoire off the launching pad, but once it was established there was room to relax.
I found it interesting to read how the audiences dropped off when the club became a policy one, then built up again.
I remember being torned away from The Pindar of Wakefield because there was no room and having to queue at other times.
I queued for an hour to get into see Ewan and Peggy at Samson and Barlow's in Liverpool and had to book in advance when they came to Manchester.
Whenever I saw them at The singers, they played to more-or-less full houses. The Singers - a sign for me that whatever they did before I saw them, it seems to have worked, which seems to contradict any claim that a policy club drove people away.
If you say that things have changed and it wouldn't work today, fine, it seems to make my point that the revival has divorced itself from folk music. unless, of course, you are arguing that folk song no longer has a relevance - different argument altogether.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: The singers club and proscription
From: The Sandman
Date: 19 Jan 16 - 02:51 PM

Change is inevitable, but I couldnt be definite about whether it would or would not, in some places proscription works, maybe in others it wouldnt, but you are right there are many forms of proscription.
lets face it blues clubs proscribe too, I could not go into a Blues club sing a traditional ballad or a Shanty and expect to be asked to sing the next week.


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Subject: RE: The singers club and proscription
From: GUEST,Hootenanny
Date: 19 Jan 16 - 03:04 PM

No Point scoring, no pissing contest, but I don't think the maths in the above posting add up.

It might be of interest to those not aware of the facts and who read the pages referred to above but Long John Baldry was one of the London practioners of Blues during the 1960's and his bookings were handled by Malcolm Nixon from at least 1960 until 1965. He was a regular performer at the Ballads & Blues Club and in fact headlined on the last night.

I have seen it suggested that the "Cockney blues singer" that Peggy found amusing was Long John. Anybody that knew John should be able to detect that he was no Cockney.


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Subject: RE: The singers club and proscription
From: The Sandman
Date: 19 Jan 16 - 03:18 PM

he was born in east haddon, is that northants?
Jim, The singers club had high quality residents, they also would have benefited from TV coverage, Two contributory factors towards success. The fact that everyone was striving to learn new songs and not repeat themselves was a good policy, and Ewan was right to encourage and promote that, everyone was practising and trying to improve, that is good in any genre of folk music whether it blues or Traditional indigenous, Ballads OR Shanties OR Bothy ballads


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Subject: RE: The singers club and proscription
From: TheSnail
Date: 19 Jan 16 - 05:07 PM

"Are you saying that you think that the Copper Family sing "finger in ear farming dirges "?
Tsk Bryan - bit beneath you - you know damn well I'm not - I object to eejits summing up folk song in that manner, which is what this particular braindead was doing

Jim, R.Sole did not mention the Coppers. You did.

It's an often expressed point of view, "finger in ear" "drony old singers", "tit trousers", "boring old songs, "too-long ballads".... all expressing a dislkike of the songs and occasionally the people who were generous to give them to us - just thought we owed it to make an effort, whoever expresses it - maybe not.
But you love it Jim because it give you more ammunition in your campaign against current folk club organiser with your conviction (despite any amount of evidence to the contrary) "that the revival has divorced itself from folk music." Life is too short to bother with the R.Soles of this world, or the Muskets for that matter (although there only seems to be one of him these days). You have a certain amount of status and can do (and are doing) far more damage than they ever could.


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Subject: RE: The singers club and proscription
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 19 Jan 16 - 07:42 PM

"But you love it Jim because it give you more ammunition in your campaign against current folk club organiser"
Why do you do this Bryan?
I have never ever mentioned "organisers" my criticism is the way the sene as gone
Rather than respond to what I have actual;ly said - you invent a scenario.
You said some time ag that you "didn't have time" to respond what I put of of our MacColl inteview now you have time - still no response to what I put up
You were too bus#y last week - still no response - just smokescreens of your own creation.
You don't agree with what I say, fine, kindly have the balls to tell me why ad stop ducking and diving.
R.sole made a statement that is fairly common yet you still don't have the bottle to condemn it outright.
Very praiseworthy, I'm sure - akes me want to rush to join the queue to get into your club!
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: The singers club and proscription
From: The Sandman
Date: 20 Jan 16 - 03:10 AM

Why, do you do it, Jim? you belittle folk clubs, you rarely visit them, and when you occasionally visit one, for example THE CELLAR UPSTAIRS, your experience is completely different from mine, yet you persist in attempting to give the impression that it is ALWAYS crap, when you know perfectly well that it is the haunt of professional musicians like Tom Paley.


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Subject: RE: The singers club and proscription
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 20 Jan 16 - 03:35 AM

"you persist in attempting to give the impression that it is ALWAYS crap, "
Why do you do this Dick- why do you lie?
I have never said that the Cellar Upstairs is ALWAYS crap - £1000 to your favourite charity if you can produce a single example of my saying so.
I said that my last visit there was disappointing, I said why and have now accepted that I hit it on a bad night and apologised.
The people I hang out with are the type who are gracious enough to accept apologies - I doubt if you will ever be one of them.
Now how about your producing an example of my saying what you claim or an apology for your accusation - I won't hold my breath - you don't seem to be that sort of feller.
Your post is fairly typical of the nonsense that has been aimed at me here - that I want to close down music venues, that I want a purist folk scene, that I have invented my own definition of folk song, that I don't like other music, that I want clubs that perform only folk songs...... all inventions, every single one of them.
And above all, the refusal to respond to what I have actually said (an occasional promise that they will "when they have time", but so far, nothing but somewhat defensive nastiness).
The dishonesty of these arguments always astounds me and leaves me with a desire to open all the windows and let some fresh air in.
What have these people got against folk music if they have to go to such lengths to avoid straightforward discussion?
Now - how about a withdrawal of what you have just said - on second thought, I suppose an apology was a bit too much to ask from you!!
JIm Carroll


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Subject: RE: The singers club and proscription
From: GUEST
Date: 20 Jan 16 - 04:50 AM

Missed a bit:
That I am embarked on a "campaign against current folk club organiser"
All 'makkie ups', as the Scots Travellers say.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: The singers club and proscription
From: The Sandman
Date: 20 Jan 16 - 07:24 AM

what a lot of twaddle,in my opinion you have an agenda, and this 0pinion is based on your haste to be negative about folk clubs, the perfect example was the cellar upstairs, you very rarely visit folk clubs, your experience is very limited yet you RUSH to post with something negative which gives the impression [my words were give an impression] that it is always like it was on your one visit.
the damage was done before your apology, think, before you post.
I believe that you do want folk clubs only to perform folk songs, [you have made remarks in the past about what it says on the tin]I believe you are purist, I do not believe you want to shut down music venues.         
I too have opinions about what folk clubs should be promoting, and in my experience there are some good[ A SUBJECTIVE JUDGEMENT BASED ON TATE] folk clubs and some not so good, in 50 years it was always that way.


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Subject: RE: The singers club and proscription
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 20 Jan 16 - 07:50 AM

No apology, no withdrawal of lie, no conversation
Go away and promote yourself |Dick - it' what you do most
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: The singers club and proscription
From: The Sandman
Date: 20 Jan 16 - 08:29 AM

Jim, I spend most of my time on an unpaid basis as a Festival organiser.


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Subject: RE: The singers club and proscription
From: TheSnail
Date: 20 Jan 16 - 08:38 AM

Jim Carroll
And above all, the refusal to respond to what I have actually said (an occasional promise that they will "when they have time", but so far, nothing but somewhat defensive nastiness).
The dishonesty of these arguments always astounds me and leaves me with a desire to open all the windows and let some fresh air in.
What have these people got against folk music if they have to go to such lengths to avoid straightforward discussion?


You are a piece of work aren't you Jim. Enough.

At least you've got Akenaton on your side. That must make you happy.


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Subject: RE: The singers club and proscription
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 20 Jan 16 - 09:19 AM

"Enough." I understand; having distorted what I say, you are now doing a runner.
A "piece of work" is the one who claims "You have a certain amount of status and can do (and are doing) far more damage than they ever could." - then does a disappearing act
Substantiate your claim or stand with your friend, Good Soldier Schweik as a Porky vendor.
Who the hell do you think you are with you bloody aggression?
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: The singers club and proscription
From: The Sandman
Date: 20 Jan 16 - 03:53 PM

"Who the hell do you think you are wth your bloody aggression2",
There speaks a pacific, calm voice, Mr Tranquillity himself, a man rarely roused to name calling.
I know you used to be an electrician but it sounds like you are all sparked up with crossed wires.


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Subject: RE: The singers club and proscription
From: The Sandman
Date: 20 Jan 16 - 03:59 PM

Jim, in any electrical circuit appliances and wiring will burn out to protect fuses.


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Subject: RE: The singers club and proscription
From: GUEST, 34
Date: 20 Jan 16 - 04:11 PM

OK, I'm bored now with people sniping at each other.

I do have a question about the idea of proscription, however. I have heard it described as wanting people to play music from their tradition, and also as wanting people to play music from their locale. Was the idea that an Englishman should sing songs from England, or that songs from Sussex should only be sung by people from Sussex? There's quite a difference, especially given the huge numbers of people from various parts of the country who moved to cities to find work.

And what about me, an American? Would this proscription say that I shouldn't do songs from my tradition, which is very definitely British? Most of the laws, customs, and social traditions in America are directly from Britain. That is our dominant culture, or at least it has been through most of our history. It is, in a very real way, our tradition. I feel much more socially connected to English music than I do to Cajun or Country/Western or most of the other indigenous American folk music. I started out playing the blues, and have continued to do so privately, but have never felt the desire to perform it. Appalachian music is pretty good for me, but it is a direct descendant of British music, and I really feel more at home playing music from England, and somewhat from Scotland.

Comments? Ideas?


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Subject: RE: The singers club and proscription
From: The Sandman
Date: 20 Jan 16 - 05:56 PM

As i understand it if you were american it was ok to sing american songs at the singers club, for example it was ok for peggy seeger and tom paley to sing songs from the appalachian mountains even though they were from the east coast, of course they were and are very good performers. Ewan sang songs from Scotland he was born in salford but his mother was scottish and he had heard her singing the scottish songs at home, I do not think he sang many lancashire or manchester traditional songs, I dont think he sang lancashire dialect songs either. Harry Boardman used to sing lancashire songs and used to sing an intersting song called cob coaling


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Subject: RE: The singers club and proscription
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 20 Jan 16 - 07:15 PM

" I have heard it described as wanting people to play music from their tradition,"
Basically it was Britons performing British material at first, though the suggestion that they used their own accents rather than say 'oirish' or 'Mummerset'
The policy was to concentrate on the British repertoire that had been made available through The BBC 1950-54 collecting project.
On one of my first visits to Ewan and Peggy's home to copy their tapes they gave me access to half a dozen tapes from the Beeb collection and suggested that if I wanted to expand my small repertoire there was plenty there to choose from.
Peggy also had about ten folders in the filing cabinet, of songs in alphabetical order she had typed out for their own research - they were for the benefit of anybody who came to the house to work.
she had made multiple copies of each and the last of each was marked 'final copy' so she could replace it as they ran out.   
We still have typed Xeroxed copies of about a dozen songs I took away around 1968.
As I've said, when Lomax first came to Britain Ewan and Bert and virtually everybody else on the scene was singing American songs, largely recorded by The Library of Congress - Lomax tore a strip off them for "neglecting their own tradition".
Both Ewan and Bert took his point and ,as far as I'm concerned, the policy worked and loads of people started singing British material - a great help in this was the ten-series Caedmon series of albums, 'Folk Songs of Britain' (Lomax was instrumental in getting this produced); it was later released on the British label, Topic.
On Ewan's 70th birthday he was given a symposium in London - Pat and I were there when Alan and Ewan sat in front of an audience and discussed the beginning of the revival - this was one of the points covered.
There was no objection to taking say Irish, Scots or American song of British origin and singing them in your own accent - I have a couple of dozen Scots songs in my repertoire, lots of Irish and a couple of American ones - I've had to work on them to fit my Scouse-ish accent - just added 4 Scots onesa and one America one (Hedy West's 'Fair Rosamund', which I almost osmosised from hearing Peggy sing it so often).
Eventually it was not so much about national origin as accent - once we started work in the Critics Group analysing and relating to the songs we found that they just didn't work in an accent that wasn't your own.
Ewan and Peggy actually did a Folkways album entitled 'Two-Way-Trip', swapping British and America versions of songs - in my opinion, it was their least successful album - neither managed to pull the accents of for the choruses - they never did it again, to my knowledge.
Said this before but, much of the animosity Ewan felt towards Dylan was based on a fear that, having pushed British songs to the fore, Ewan worried that the situation would revert back to as it was pre-Lomax.
When I first got involved at the beginning of the sixties, the scene was swimming with Joanie clones and Dylan doublers - I found clubs like The Wayfarers in Manchester and the occasional trips to the Singers a bit of an oasis.
Sorry about the arguments - it won't happen again if I can help it.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: The singers club and proscription
From: GUEST,Musket
Date: 21 Jan 16 - 03:54 AM

I get it. you have to be over a certain age to even care.

Meanwhile as some have pointed out, folk clubs are stuffed with younger people now for whom MacColl is a historical figure. Last night at a local club four of the singers weren't even born when he died. When a sixteen year old sings a MacColl song and calls it a Stereophonics song because she got it from her Dad's album, who am I to say otherwise? It is a Stereophonics song, (ditto Roberta Flack, Elvis, Sinatra, Rod Stewart..)

It's that oral tradition that some on here rattle on about but rally against when they experience it.


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Subject: RE: The singers club and proscription
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 21 Jan 16 - 04:23 AM

"I get it. you have to be over a certain age to even care. "
More dishonesty - but there again, you're not into apology or withdrawal either
Same offer of £1000 toyour favourite charity of you come up with an occasion that I ever said tat Muskie - desperation seems to have set in.
It is you who have dismissed us "tit-trouser" as irrelevant
Give us a break (or post when you've woken up properly)
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: The singers club and proscription
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 21 Jan 16 - 09:27 AM

"I have heard it described as wanting people to play music from their tradition, ..."

Phew! For a moment there I thought we were going to get into (yet another) endless, sterile, nit-picking debate about what constitutes one's own tradition. Luckily Jim came to the rescue with his statement that:

"Basically it was Britons performing British material at first, though the suggestion that they used their own accents rather than say 'oirish' or 'Mummerset'"

That's probably all you need to know.

Although to keep this in perspective, it's also worth recalling that the 'proscription policy' applied to a particular club, at a particular time (50 years ago!) - a club which had specific objectives and formulated a policy which helped it to meet those objectives.


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Subject: RE: The singers club and proscription
From: The Sandman
Date: 21 Jan 16 - 10:26 AM

Although to keep this in perspective, it's also worth recalling that the 'proscription policy' applied to a particular club, at a particular time (50 years ago!) - a club which had specific objectives and formulated a policy which helped it to meet those objectives.
True, but many other singers went and found an indigenous repertoire, without ever going near the singers club. They spent time visiting Cecil Sharp House where they looked and found songs from their own back ground, and went out to folk clubs and sang those songs.
Cyril Tawney was one of the older singers who encouraged younger singers to seek and look for certain material.


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Subject: RE: The singers club and proscription
From: The Sandman
Date: 21 Jan 16 - 02:10 PM

Roy Harris, who went professional in 1965, after having a very successful Sidmouth Festival, also encouraged singers to research songs, and organised NTMC In Nottingham.
Roy was a skilled performer who had a real ability to get audiences joining in chorus songs.
NTMC had a more rigid policy [as I understand]than the Singers club and like the singers club was successful for a considerable number of years.


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