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Writing a folk standard

Andy7 27 Oct 16 - 06:40 PM
Leadfingers 28 Oct 16 - 05:09 AM
Alaska Mike 28 Oct 16 - 10:17 AM
Alaska Mike 28 Oct 16 - 10:22 AM
punkfolkrocker 28 Oct 16 - 01:24 PM
CupOfTea 28 Oct 16 - 02:42 PM
GUEST, DTM 28 Oct 16 - 07:49 PM
Tattie Bogle 28 Oct 16 - 07:49 PM
GUEST,DTM 28 Oct 16 - 07:51 PM
Mr Red 29 Oct 16 - 03:53 AM
GUEST,Pete from seven stars link 29 Oct 16 - 03:58 AM
GUEST,Mr Red at the local library 29 Oct 16 - 09:16 AM
GUEST,henryp 29 Oct 16 - 09:26 AM
GUEST,Desi C 29 Oct 16 - 10:03 AM
Andy7 29 Oct 16 - 11:36 AM
Jack Campin 29 Oct 16 - 01:35 PM
Nigel Parsons 29 Oct 16 - 03:18 PM
Andy7 29 Oct 16 - 04:51 PM
The Sandman 29 Oct 16 - 05:56 PM
Andy7 29 Oct 16 - 06:51 PM
Mr Red 30 Oct 16 - 03:34 AM
Will Fly 30 Oct 16 - 03:41 AM
Jim Carroll 30 Oct 16 - 04:23 AM
Jack Campin 30 Oct 16 - 08:35 AM
GUEST,Some bloke 30 Oct 16 - 09:26 AM
Jim Carroll 30 Oct 16 - 12:44 PM
Tattie Bogle 30 Oct 16 - 06:18 PM
Mr Red 31 Oct 16 - 03:43 AM
Jim Carroll 31 Oct 16 - 04:09 AM
GUEST,Dtm 31 Oct 16 - 09:02 AM
GUEST,henryp 31 Oct 16 - 11:56 AM
Jim Carroll 31 Oct 16 - 12:33 PM
Will Fly 31 Oct 16 - 12:41 PM
GUEST,Sone bloke 31 Oct 16 - 02:56 PM
Jim Carroll 31 Oct 16 - 03:32 PM
ripov 31 Oct 16 - 05:07 PM
GUEST, DTM 31 Oct 16 - 05:17 PM
GUEST 31 Oct 16 - 06:45 PM
GUEST,ripov (cookie vanished AGAIN!) 31 Oct 16 - 07:23 PM
GUEST,Some bloke 01 Nov 16 - 03:24 AM
Jim Carroll 01 Nov 16 - 03:46 AM
Mr Red 01 Nov 16 - 05:16 AM
Jim Carroll 01 Nov 16 - 06:01 AM
Jack Campin 01 Nov 16 - 07:50 AM
Jim Carroll 01 Nov 16 - 08:27 AM
GUEST,Some bloke 02 Nov 16 - 09:36 AM
Nigel Parsons 02 Nov 16 - 12:07 PM
Nigel Parsons 02 Nov 16 - 12:08 PM
Mr Red 02 Nov 16 - 12:41 PM
Andy7 02 Nov 16 - 02:38 PM
punkfolkrocker 02 Nov 16 - 03:09 PM
Mr Red 02 Nov 16 - 03:18 PM
The Sandman 02 Nov 16 - 03:34 PM
Mr Red 02 Nov 16 - 03:45 PM
Andy7 02 Nov 16 - 03:53 PM
Andy7 02 Nov 16 - 03:59 PM
Tattie Bogle 02 Nov 16 - 08:12 PM
Andy7 02 Nov 16 - 09:13 PM
GUEST,Some bloke 03 Nov 16 - 03:56 AM
Mr Red 03 Nov 16 - 04:51 AM
Jim Carroll 03 Nov 16 - 05:18 AM
Jack Campin 03 Nov 16 - 06:15 AM
Jim Carroll 03 Nov 16 - 06:28 AM
GUEST,Sol 03 Nov 16 - 06:51 AM
Jim Carroll 03 Nov 16 - 06:59 AM
Jack Campin 03 Nov 16 - 09:25 AM
GUEST,Some bloke 03 Nov 16 - 01:51 PM
GUEST,Sol 03 Nov 16 - 02:39 PM
Andy7 03 Nov 16 - 03:30 PM
Jim Carroll 03 Nov 16 - 03:55 PM
Jack Campin 03 Nov 16 - 05:00 PM
GUEST,Some bloke 04 Nov 16 - 05:05 AM
Jim Carroll 04 Nov 16 - 08:15 AM
Jim Carroll 04 Nov 16 - 09:39 AM
GUEST,Some bloke 04 Nov 16 - 11:03 AM
Jim Carroll 04 Nov 16 - 11:21 AM
punkfolkrocker 04 Nov 16 - 11:53 AM
Jim Carroll 04 Nov 16 - 11:57 AM
Jim Carroll 04 Nov 16 - 11:59 AM
punkfolkrocker 04 Nov 16 - 12:18 PM
Jim Carroll 04 Nov 16 - 01:13 PM
The Sandman 04 Nov 16 - 02:19 PM
Andy7 04 Nov 16 - 02:20 PM
Jim Carroll 04 Nov 16 - 03:44 PM
punkfolkrocker 04 Nov 16 - 03:55 PM
Andy7 04 Nov 16 - 05:04 PM
GUEST,Sol 04 Nov 16 - 05:18 PM
Mr Red 04 Nov 16 - 05:44 PM
The Sandman 04 Nov 16 - 09:49 PM
Jim Carroll 05 Nov 16 - 04:39 AM
The Sandman 05 Nov 16 - 04:47 AM
Jim Carroll 05 Nov 16 - 07:04 AM
punkfolkrocker 05 Nov 16 - 09:26 AM
Jim Carroll 05 Nov 16 - 09:35 AM
The Sandman 05 Nov 16 - 12:34 PM
The Sandman 05 Nov 16 - 05:27 PM
GUEST,henryp 06 Nov 16 - 02:46 AM
GUEST,Warwick Slade 06 Nov 16 - 04:23 AM
The Sandman 06 Nov 16 - 04:48 AM
Jim Carroll 06 Nov 16 - 05:30 AM
Mr Red 06 Nov 16 - 06:58 AM
The Sandman 06 Nov 16 - 07:46 AM
Jack Campin 06 Nov 16 - 08:26 AM
Jim Carroll 06 Nov 16 - 08:42 AM
Will Fly 06 Nov 16 - 09:41 AM
Jim Carroll 06 Nov 16 - 12:05 PM
The Sandman 06 Nov 16 - 12:38 PM
Will Fly 06 Nov 16 - 12:58 PM
Jim Carroll 06 Nov 16 - 12:58 PM
Jim Carroll 06 Nov 16 - 01:11 PM
Jim Carroll 06 Nov 16 - 01:13 PM
Jack Campin 06 Nov 16 - 01:43 PM
Andy7 06 Nov 16 - 01:55 PM
Mr Red 06 Nov 16 - 02:11 PM
The Sandman 06 Nov 16 - 02:26 PM
GUEST,LynnH 06 Nov 16 - 02:43 PM
Jack Campin 06 Nov 16 - 06:47 PM
mg 07 Nov 16 - 02:37 AM
GUEST,Some bloke 07 Nov 16 - 04:56 AM
Jim Carroll 07 Nov 16 - 05:13 AM
GUEST,Some other bloke 07 Nov 16 - 05:18 AM
The Sandman 07 Nov 16 - 05:38 AM
GUEST,Sol 07 Nov 16 - 05:48 AM
Jack Campin 07 Nov 16 - 06:16 AM
Jim Carroll 07 Nov 16 - 06:20 AM
The Sandman 07 Nov 16 - 06:57 AM
Tattie Bogle 07 Nov 16 - 07:12 AM
GUEST,henryp 07 Nov 16 - 07:15 AM
Jim Carroll 07 Nov 16 - 07:42 AM
GUEST,Some bloke 07 Nov 16 - 08:00 AM
Jim Carroll 07 Nov 16 - 08:15 AM
The Sandman 07 Nov 16 - 09:57 AM
Jim Carroll 07 Nov 16 - 11:37 AM
GUEST,Some other bloke 07 Nov 16 - 12:06 PM
Jim Carroll 07 Nov 16 - 12:17 PM
punkfolkrocker 07 Nov 16 - 12:35 PM
Jack Campin 07 Nov 16 - 12:51 PM
punkfolkrocker 07 Nov 16 - 01:14 PM
Jim Carroll 07 Nov 16 - 02:05 PM
Jim Carroll 07 Nov 16 - 02:09 PM
Andy7 07 Nov 16 - 02:31 PM
GUEST,Some bloke 07 Nov 16 - 02:33 PM
Jim Carroll 07 Nov 16 - 04:00 PM
Norfolk Sky 07 Nov 16 - 08:01 PM
Jack Campin 07 Nov 16 - 08:57 PM
McGrath of Harlow 07 Nov 16 - 10:29 PM
Jim Carroll 08 Nov 16 - 05:20 AM
Jack Campin 08 Nov 16 - 05:45 AM
Jim Carroll 08 Nov 16 - 05:49 AM
GUEST,Some bloke 08 Nov 16 - 05:59 AM
McGrath of Harlow 08 Nov 16 - 06:34 AM
Jim Carroll 08 Nov 16 - 06:26 AM
Jack Campin 08 Nov 16 - 06:50 AM
Jim Carroll 08 Nov 16 - 07:16 AM
The Sandman 08 Nov 16 - 07:29 AM
GUEST,henryp 08 Nov 16 - 08:08 AM
GUEST,Ian Mather 08 Nov 16 - 09:26 AM
McGrath of Harlow 08 Nov 16 - 09:34 AM
Jim Carroll 08 Nov 16 - 09:48 AM
GUEST 08 Nov 16 - 10:44 AM
GUEST 08 Nov 16 - 10:45 AM
Jim Carroll 08 Nov 16 - 11:15 AM
GUEST 08 Nov 16 - 11:42 AM
The Sandman 08 Nov 16 - 01:25 PM
Jack Campin 08 Nov 16 - 02:02 PM
The Sandman 08 Nov 16 - 02:57 PM
Andy7 08 Nov 16 - 04:52 PM
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Subject: Writing a folk standard
From: Andy7
Date: 27 Oct 16 - 06:40 PM

I'd love, one day, to write a folk standard, that everyone sings around the clubs.

I know I almost certainly never will, haha!

But I wonder, what is it that turns a great song - of which there are many - into a 'standard', that so many people enjoy performing, and so many more enjoy joining in with the chorus?

Good words, good tune, not too hard to sing, all those of course ... but what is that extra special 'something' that makes those songs so popular?


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Subject: RE: Writing a folk standard
From: Leadfingers
Date: 28 Oct 16 - 05:09 AM

If it was possible to pinpoint that extra something we would ALL be writing good songs


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Subject: RE: Writing a folk standard
From: Alaska Mike
Date: 28 Oct 16 - 10:17 AM

I was fortunate enough to successfully write such a song. "Back In The Clydesdale" is being sung in pubs and festivals across the country and overseas. It has been recorded numerous times by a variety of artists and provides steady (if small) royalty checks in my mail. I wrote this in 2003 and I'm still trying to duplicate the feat.

"Back In The Clydesdale"


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Subject: RE: Writing a folk standard
From: Alaska Mike
Date: 28 Oct 16 - 10:22 AM

That blue click didn't work, try those.

"Back In The Clydesdae"


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Subject: RE: Writing a folk standard
From: punkfolkrocker
Date: 28 Oct 16 - 01:24 PM

Expecting a fair few lefty folkie activist singersongerwriters are struggling tonight trying to find a good rhyme for "Uber", "gig economy", and "self-employed" ...???


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Subject: RE: Writing a folk standard
From: CupOfTea
Date: 28 Oct 16 - 02:42 PM

A fair few of the more recently written "in the tradition" songs that resonate are songs of comfort, goodwill, friendship. I think of the Gordon Bok songs like "Hearth and Fire" or "Turning of the Year" - what Caroline Paton calls "comfort songs" Or end of the evening companionship songs like "One More Before We Go" that stress camaraderie, complete with choruses, that tend to feel like keepers.

The balance between great melody and crisp wording that makes a song a pleasure to sing. Richard Thompson manages this quite well.

A universality of feeling in the song - that a wide range of people can identify with the viewpoint of the singer - gives it a wider section of the population to take root. That you WANT to sing along is more important than having a performer who is encouraging you to do so. (though that doesn't hurt any).

I also think, that on a regional basis, some well loved singers who have songs they do often that encourage participation, gives rise to those songs' longevity in their circles.

The watershed between "great" songs and "standards" might very well be when someone records your song, and innocently credits it as "trad" - as Si Kahn and others have found. I don't think you can sit down with the expectation of writing a great song. Intention, sure, but don't all songwriters attempt greatness?

And the more I think of it... some standards aren't all that "great" - it's the direct simplicity that gets to your heart and mind. Mine is the point of view of someone who only sings the songs written or passed down by others...so I have thought about this a wee bit.

Joanne in Cleveland (a sucker for rhyme & scansion)


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Subject: RE: Writing a folk standard
From: GUEST, DTM
Date: 28 Oct 16 - 07:49 PM

IMO, if a song writer composes 100 say songs then generally he/she might get a couple of quality ones that will rise above mediocrity.
Sometimes a composition you think is a good song may not take off while others you may regard as a filler may have that something extra that others hear.
That said, I think if you ever write a real cracker (along the lines of 'Bridge Over Troubled Water'), you will know. :-)


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Subject: RE: Writing a folk standard
From: Tattie Bogle
Date: 28 Oct 16 - 07:49 PM

Herewith the rules:
Good (simple?) title (might help, but don't copy anyone else's if you don't want to get over-hit on Google or face a law-suit - do Google search first!!)
Fab tune (actually catches some people before the words!) But no plagiarism allowed: was gobsmacked to find that one of my local songwriting competitions allows recognised (even still in copyright) tunes. Quel horreur and travesty!
Great - and memorable - lyrics.
Topical - yet eternal and ever-relevant. No "short shelf-life" songs.
Theme: that your audience can identify with (immediately preferable, than before they have to think about it!).
Good chorus, or at very least, singable refrain. (Which means they probably won't listen to your carefully constructed verses, but just be waiting for the totally brilliant chorus/refrain to come round!)
My formula for an award -winning song at the next song-writing competition I enter (not far off now - watch this space! I'll probably be ousted by some parodising, plagiarising tune-copying bastard!)


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Subject: RE: Writing a folk standard
From: GUEST,DTM
Date: 28 Oct 16 - 07:51 PM

Note to self: Always proof read post for proper grammar before sending.


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Subject: RE: Writing a folk standard
From: Mr Red
Date: 29 Oct 16 - 03:53 AM

Writing a good song is part luck and part experience. You have to learn your trade mostly, and that includes test driving it in Folk Clubs, and reading the reaction and not being brow-beaten by criticism.

Writing a standard is part luck, and a lot of groundwork. You have to get it out there, lots of exposure and it has to chime.

I have seen earnest attempts that clearly fell at the first hurdle. And even in Folk there is the dreaded fashion syndrome. The song may have a shelf life that is not obvious without hind-sight.

IMNSHO songs that want to be born have a better chance than you wanting to write a song, let alone one with something that is not easy to define. Good songs carry the passion gene, and even that is not enough for the highest accolade.

But Hey! Don't let nay-sayers like me stop you, as I always rail "the word NO kills creativity".


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Subject: RE: Writing a folk standard
From: GUEST,Pete from seven stars link
Date: 29 Oct 16 - 03:58 AM

I don't suppose anything I've written will ever become big or a standard but I was quite pleased to be recognised yesterday by someone's saying " excuse me , you mr dinosaur bone ?" Referring to a song audiences often sing along to .


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Subject: RE: Writing a folk standard
From: GUEST,Mr Red at the local library
Date: 29 Oct 16 - 09:16 AM

Sturgeon's Rule: "9 tenths of everything is crud"
& GBS said: "the Golden Rule, is that there is no Golden Rule"

So let the song come out when it has to. Break all the rules if you want, it is a gamble, and recognise the 10% will be OK and 1% will fly. And if you are lucky 0.% will soar.

Now that makes (if my math(s) is correct, on average, 1000 songs. Get writing!


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Subject: RE: Writing a folk standard
From: GUEST,henryp
Date: 29 Oct 16 - 09:26 AM

The whole thing is a mystery to me.

Song writers often have doubts about a new song and do not appreciate the value of their own work. They may not value a song if they think it has come too easily - whether the words or the music.

Experience is not necessary - many writers have success very early in their careers.

Meaningful words and a great tune are not necessary either! Consider, for example, Mull of Kintyre.

Some songs which the writers had little confidence in;
Yesterday - Paul McCartney
Flower in the Snow - Allan Taylor
Anderson's Coast - John Warner


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Subject: RE: Writing a folk standard
From: GUEST,Desi C
Date: 29 Oct 16 - 10:03 AM

I supppose I've done it lbeit in a small way. I wrote a song about my home town Kilkenny in Ireland called Singing In Kilkenny, did very well there and they even framed it and put on the Mayor's office wall, and it's often sung there at sessions. Thing is it came to me in a flash of inspiration one day and it took only about twenty minutes to write, 4 good verses. BUT! I've not really been able to write anything worthwhile since so I have no formula to offer ;)


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Subject: RE: Writing a folk standard
From: Andy7
Date: 29 Oct 16 - 11:36 AM

There are some very good tips in this thread - the song has to be on a topic that everyone, or nearly everyone, can relate to; nothing about contemporary events that will date easily; and a 'warm' subject, e.g. raising our voices in song together, good friendships and good company, fine ale, raising a glass, being homeward bound after a journey (or after an evening together), etc.

Right, I'll give it a go; and I'll let you know, maybe in a few years, whether I ever hear anyone else singing my 'standard'! :-)


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Subject: RE: Writing a folk standard
From: Jack Campin
Date: 29 Oct 16 - 01:35 PM

A song can be a mega-hit despite having a crap tune and dull words about something hardly anyone cares about, if somebody famous enough sings it (exhibit A: "Mull of Kintyre").

Quality guarantees nothing.


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Subject: RE: Writing a folk standard
From: Nigel Parsons
Date: 29 Oct 16 - 03:18 PM

I don't believe that you can deliberately write a "Folk standard". Just keep writing songs. If someone else enjoys it, then great. If lots of others enjoy it, and want to perform it, then you're headed there.

If you can write something you think is memorable, you're part way there. Just wait for the opinions of others.

If you set out to write a "Folk standard" then it is probably just an egotistical wish.


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Subject: RE: Writing a folk standard
From: Andy7
Date: 29 Oct 16 - 04:51 PM

Yes, I agree it's egotistical, and a strange idea, to set out to write a folk standard; I was kind of joking with my post!

And yet, we all want others to like our songs, so there's a little bit of truth in there too!


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Subject: RE: Writing a folk standard
From: The Sandman
Date: 29 Oct 16 - 05:56 PM

I don't believe that you can deliberately write a "Folk standard". SPOT ON,You are echoing my thoughts


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Subject: RE: Writing a folk standard
From: Andy7
Date: 29 Oct 16 - 06:51 PM

Okay, here's a lighthearted but interesting challenge, if you're up for it. Although many don't believe it possible, let's each TRY to write a folk standard!

And in 5 years time, let's revisit this thread, and see whether any of those songs we wrote DID become standards! :-)


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Subject: RE: Writing a folk standard
From: Mr Red
Date: 30 Oct 16 - 03:34 AM

Modesty aside but if there is no ego there is no performance, or none worthwhile. There has to be something extra, like the joy of singing it.
And that applies to the song writing too, but it is in the words.

Jack: Crap words, crap tune, but you didn't say anything about the symbiosis! Mull of Kintyre worked because (pick your subdivision):
McCartney, money, obscure Scottish location, plagiarised Folk tune, Christmas, simplicity and let us not overlook that it was inspired by the composer's hideaway retreat (and we knew it).

As Benny Green (Lord Rockingham's Eleven and many better things) said: "lyrics are rubbish until they marry the tune then something magic happens" - not entirely true, but true of crap lyrics!

Or am I talking lyrically............


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Subject: RE: Writing a folk standard
From: Will Fly
Date: 30 Oct 16 - 03:41 AM

Nigel's quite correct - you can't write a folk "standard", any more than you can write a jazz "standard", or a standard anything else. All you can do is pick your genre or style, if you have to, and write your song.

It's interesting to me that, in the field of traditional-style tunes, modern-day compositions can fit seamlessly into the style, be accepted instantly and get played at sessions and for dances without a second thought. Think of John Kirkpatrick, Andy Cutting, etc. Just great tunes.


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Subject: RE: Writing a folk standard
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 30 Oct 16 - 04:23 AM

You can never write "a folk standard" thugh, if you are really good, you might, just might write to the the standard required for a song to be absorbed into the folk tradition
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Writing a folk standard
From: Jack Campin
Date: 30 Oct 16 - 08:35 AM

You mean, you'd better start work hard and early, because you're going to need to achieve the elevated artistic standards of "Happy Birthday to You" and "Lloyd George Knew My Father"?


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Subject: RE: Writing a folk standard
From: GUEST,Some bloke
Date: 30 Oct 16 - 09:26 AM

You can of course write a folk song. It's a style or set of styles, nothing more, nothing less.

Jim is correct however when he mentions a way of it becoming a standard, i.e. For people to sing it assuming it has always been around. Ewan MacColl was a master of the art. Try telling people his songs aren't folk and you can have hours of fun being laughed at. John Connolly reckons he hovers between pride and frustration when his Fiddlers Green is assumed to be traditional (or as per many lyrics websites, even ruddy Irish.)

Watch out though. The price of writing standards is that everyone assumes you are dead. I have lost track of the times I have heard people sing The Final Trawl and tell the audience Archie Fisher is no longer with us. (True, I think he is touring abroad at present.)


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Subject: RE: Writing a folk standard
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 30 Oct 16 - 12:44 PM

"It's a style or set of styles"
No it isn't - it's a process of creation, transition and acceptance a composition goes through before it can become 'folk'
There are too many different styles to talk about "folk style".
MacColl always made it clear that he didn't write 'folk songs', though he hoped one day that some might become recognised as such - probably his 'Traveller Songs' came nearest to being absorbed - the death of Traveller song traditions (around 1974 in Britain) put paid to his dream and he was the first to acknowledge that.
Peggy still makes that point as a performer.
MacColl actually composed very few songs in a recognisable 'folk' style.
Folk songs are, by definition, in the public domain - try telling any singer/songwriter that we all own one of his/her songs - then phone your solicitor!
These discussions usually degenerate into whether the subject is worth arguing about, which is a pity.
As a singer, I sang whatever I felt fitted into the somewhat loose definition adopted by the clubs I frequented, so as not to con the listeners who turned up to listen to 'folk songs' (as distinct from music hall ot Country and Western or swing or early pop.....
As a researcher and collector who frequently talks and writes on the subject, I need to be more accurate - folk songs proper carry far too much cultural, social and historical baggage to do otherwise - the clue lies in the most common description - 'The Songs of the People'
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Writing a folk standard
From: Tattie Bogle
Date: 30 Oct 16 - 06:18 PM

Ok, looking back to what I wrote on 28th, it was just some things that run through my mind when writing a song which I hope will catch others' imagination, and they'll want to hear again.
But I agree, it's a very long way off from becoming any sort of "standard" - only time will tell, and some songs may not have instant appeal but grow on you.
Just thinking of a few examples that get sung up here: you have to be quick off the mark in a session before someone else sings them first:
Follow the Heron (Karine Polwart)
Coming Home (Steven Clark)
Both Sides the Tweed (based on James Hogg poem but revosed by Dick Gaughan)
Norland Wind/The Wild Geese (poem by Violet Jacob, set to music by Jim Reid)
( + Include anything else that was a poem by Violet Jacob/Marion Angus/Mary Brooksbank)


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Subject: RE: Writing a folk standard
From: Mr Red
Date: 31 Oct 16 - 03:43 AM

Tam Kearny - late of Toronto - told the tale from MacColl of collecting songs in a lumber camp. He got several, one's learned at the lumberjack's grandmother's knee. And were "old".
one was a real find. So he asked for more:
one was "Please Release me" (wot Englebert Humperdink sang)
and one was Ewen MacColl's own!

Grandmother's can't be wrong - but memory can be.

MacColl wrote and let the people (Folk?) decide. And they did, and do.

And my contention is that if it was launched on the world in your grandparents' time it is "old" and "old" gives it a patina. Which gives way to assumption.

So there you have another way to write a standard, start young and grow old.


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Subject: RE: Writing a folk standard
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 31 Oct 16 - 04:09 AM

"MacColl wrote and let the people (Folk?) decide. And they did, and do."
The vast majority of people don't give a rat's arse what the songs are or where they come from - they sing them because they like them.
Because they sing 'You'll Never Walk Alone' on the terraces doesn't alter the fact that it is a Rodgers and Hammerstein composition and will never be a folk song while it has a hole in its bottom.
Repetition or admiration does not make a folk song - the genre is much more complicated and important than that.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Writing a folk standard
From: GUEST,Dtm
Date: 31 Oct 16 - 09:02 AM

Just for the record, who agrees with Louis Armstrong's definition of folk music?


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Subject: RE: Writing a folk standard
From: GUEST,henryp
Date: 31 Oct 16 - 11:56 AM

Mr Ed


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Subject: RE: Writing a folk standard
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 31 Oct 16 - 12:33 PM

"Just for the record, who agrees with Louis Armstrong's definition of folk music?"
"Mr Ed"
Love it, love it!!
The 'Armstrong' quote is attributed to many, including Broonzy.
I totally agree with the Catter' who put me right severally years ago (Maybe Will Fly) who said it was a brilliant riposte rather than a serious statement
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Writing a folk standard
From: Will Fly
Date: 31 Oct 16 - 12:41 PM

Not guilty, Jim - some other 'Catter, i"m afraid. :-)


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Subject: RE: Writing a folk standard
From: GUEST,Sone bloke
Date: 31 Oct 16 - 02:56 PM

"You'll never walk alone" is of course in the folk tradition, even by Jim's rather narrow interpretation. The Anfield rendition allows the song to go down in folklore for many years to come.

Back to the original question, that deserves better than preaching by someone who thinks a meeting in 1954 trumps err.. the evolving folk tradition. (That's irony, that is you know. My mate knows a lot about irony. One day he'll tell me what it means.)

To become a standard (almost as subjective a term as folk itself) you need it to be assumed to be Oirish. Even better if Christy Moore is generally seen as writing it.


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Subject: RE: Writing a folk standard
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 31 Oct 16 - 03:32 PM

""You'll never walk alone" is of course in the folk tradition"
It doesn't sound like any folk song.
It was written by two famous professional American composers.
It is owned by their estate
Any use it is put to has to be purchased by the user.
To reduce the oral folk tradition to repetition is to misunderstand it and debase it.
You may as well describe Happy Birthday to You, the National Anthem and every droney hymn we were forced to repeat at every school assembly as "folk"
Folk is far far better than that and far, far more important
Sorry pal - you have a very dim view of folk if that's what you believe it is.
I don't need a meting in 1954 - I spent forty years talking to real folk singers - fishermen, farmers, Travellers - the real "folk" who made and gave us our songs.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Writing a folk standard
From: ripov
Date: 31 Oct 16 - 05:07 PM

Mr Carroll - I really must differ from you (although rather nervously) regarding your last post.
If there were a way folk song should sound, it would have been mentioned already in this thread.
Does it matter who wrote "You'll never walk alone"? it will eventually be out of copyright anyway. And do those who sing along on a Saturday afternoon think about that? (it'd be interesting to know if royalties have been demanded!)
Is the oral tradition not maintained by repeating what has been heard. Modification/evolution comes with time (or mishearing).
"Happy Birthday" has been passed on from parent to child, and between children, almost ever since it was written. And it is sung because folks WANT to sing it. That surely is folk. God save the queen has not; most peope don't want to sing it - even musicians hate it - and I totally agree it is not folk! (I've never tried leading off with it in a session though - nor am I likely to!)
All folk is not far better. Folk inhabits a broad spectrum, just like everything in life, and there's always room for 'the stone that the builder rejected' Some of the not so good bits may indeed be rather ephemeral though.
I think I get less and less sure about how I would define folk music, indeed folk arts generally. And while musicians, artists and academics may be the guardians of the tradition, surely it has to be relevant to "ordinary" folk, or it has no meaning.
And my respect for the work you do, and the people who have been your "sources". Strange though that you don't mention musicians - but then most musicians have to have a day job.
Tony


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Subject: RE: Writing a folk standard
From: GUEST, DTM
Date: 31 Oct 16 - 05:17 PM

LOL, GUEST,henryp
Good one!


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Subject: RE: Writing a folk standard
From: GUEST
Date: 31 Oct 16 - 06:45 PM

ripov: "... And it is sung because folks WANT to sing it. That surely is folk. God save the queen has not; most people don't want to sing it - even musicians hate it - and I totally agree it is not folk! (I've never tried leading off with it in a session though - nor am I likely to!"

A few years back, as a rather nervous newbie at a 'mediaeval banquet' during a folk music weekend, I was suddenly picked on by 'King Arthur', on pain of forfeit - for no apparent reason that I could see! - to perform a song for the assembled company.

So, thinking quickly, I faced His Majesty, went down on one knee, and sang the beginning of 'God Save Our Gracious King'.

It seemed to go down very well! Was that folk music? :-)


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Subject: RE: Writing a folk standard
From: GUEST,ripov (cookie vanished AGAIN!)
Date: 31 Oct 16 - 07:23 PM

Well - what can I say?


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Subject: RE: Writing a folk standard
From: GUEST,Some bloke
Date: 01 Nov 16 - 03:24 AM

I couldn't have put it more eloquently myself Ripov. Don't be too concerned about pricking the bubble of pomposity though. Knowing a lot about a small part of the genre is a wonderful thing but trying to apply it elsewhere is just daft

If everyone came up with narrow (minded) interpretations of the musical genre "folk" then the descriptors themselves would never be valid. You can't legislate for evolving, oral tradition or music of the people by referring to minutes of a meeting in a particular country over sixty years ago. A few thousand scousers singing "You'll never walk alone" doesn't have any bearing or influence on copyright so not even that absurd clause works. At Hillsborough, regardless of who we are playing, the kop and north stand sing "Hark now hear the Wednesday sing, United ran away, and we will fight forever more because of Boxing Day." A folk song referring to Boxing Day 1979. I was that soldier, I saw all four goals. Kids not born then sing it with pride. That's yer oral tradition Jim.

After all, 99% of contemporary folk hadn't been written in 1954 when people with fairisle sweaters and sandals had a meeting and many of the writers hadn't been born.


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Subject: RE: Writing a folk standard
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 01 Nov 16 - 03:46 AM

Ripov
Have no idea why differing with me should make you or anybody nervous - my opinions are no more valid than anyone elses here.
"If there were a way folk song should sound, it would have been mentioned already in this thread."
How a song "sounds" has no bearing on it being folk - I thought I'd already said that.
The "Folk process" is what makes a song 'folk', the making, remaking, the moving from person to person, community to community, country to country even, the adaptation to suit different communities - the passage of time and place.... until its origins are either lost or are considered unimportant.
We worked with Irish Travellers in London - back in the early 1970s they were still making songs among themselves - we recorded at least half a dozen of these Traveller-made pieces, all about their lifestyle and trades - we never managed to find the maker of one of them.
The nearest we came was with the best and longest of them, about a Travelling Man who married a woman because of her ability to buy and sell feather mattresses (a traditional Traveller trade).
One singer describe how, as a young man, he had sat on the bank at the side of the road outside the church where the wedding was taking place and watched as a group of Travellers made verses on how they thought the life of this (apparently mis-matched) couple would develop

"Oh the first of our years, they were lovely,
And the second, we couldn't agree,
And the third, then she put on the trousers,
And so, made a wreck out of me"

We were given the song by at least half-a-dozen singers - all but one asked us not to play it to anybody else as, at the time, the couple were still living - the exception was a blind singer who first said, laughing, "Don't play that song to anybody - he's (the husband) my first cousin and he'd murder me if he found out I'd given it to you".
A few years later she said - "You can pass that song on after I'm dead".
Not one of the singers could remember who made the song - it had become public property and ownership was totally immaterial.
That is an example of the making of a folk song.
I gave a talk to our Local History Society here in Clare a month ago, the subject was, in part, locally made songs - in totting up, I counted over sixty songs made in this immediate area - we managed to get a suggestion of the author of only one of those songs - and that was only a guess.
I entitled my talk 'Breaking wind in Church' because of something a 95 year old farmer told us a couple of years ago.
He said; "In those days everybody made songs; if a man farted in church, somebody made a song about it."
You can't 'like' a song to becoming folk - you can only like it to the top of the charts.
It is about acceptance, transmission, adaptation and change - and above all, lack of definite ownership.
Your 'national anthem/Happy Birthday' analogy is an extremely shaky one - I find H.B. a deary piece of doggerel, as do many people I know - it is the event that is being relished, not that simplistic, extremely dull verse.
On the other hand, I've heard the National Anthem sung with love and relish (not by me!) - again, the occasion, not the song.
The Irish National anthem is usually sung with pride and gusto over here, especially this year when a great achievement is being celebrated.
It's not a folk song - it was written by Brendan Behan's uncle, Peader Kearney
Folk is folk because it is 'the voice of the people' (as the Topic Series was entitled; Bert Lloyd did a great series of 13 radio programmes years ago where "the people" features again - "Songs of the People".
Calling songs 'folk' has become a convenient label for those who don't have another designation for their compositions - unfortunately, it has muddied the waters for the real thing, in my opinion, which is why I'm prepared to fight my corner as often as I do.
It is more than a random group of songs, it is a social phenomenon and, I believe, an extremely important one.
It represents the creative outpourings of an entire class of people who are largely regarded as having never producing anything in the way of art of any note.
Worth getting yourself a bad reputation for, as far as I'm concerned.
When push comes to shove, the answer lies on the bookshelves; Folk Song
is among the most documented and researched genres of song - nowhere does 'repetition' feature among those researches as a defining feature.
Listen to all the arguments before you make up your mind.   
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Writing a folk standard
From: Mr Red
Date: 01 Nov 16 - 05:16 AM

"You'll Never Walk Alone" sung by 15,000 Football referees is Folk singing.
Gerry Marsden et al singing it - is commerce.
The song is a song.

the Venn Diagram shows overlapping circles.

Or is this a Kop-out?


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Subject: RE: Writing a folk standard
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 01 Nov 16 - 06:01 AM

"the Venn Diagram shows overlapping circles."
Then you have to show where they overlap
Where are your versions - where has the song changed ownership - where is it not merely repetition of a standard set of words - why do we have to pay for permission to record it - why is it not in the public domain?
What makes it 'folk' in any definable term?
Never heard of a choir made up of 15,000 football referees - - do they accompany themselves on their whistles?
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Writing a folk standard
From: Jack Campin
Date: 01 Nov 16 - 07:50 AM

The words of football songs are anything but standard. Adaptation, pastiche and parody are as energetic as anything from the Jacobite songwriters of the 18th century. The football song is the liveliest form of folksong creativity in the English-speaking world today.

Tunes aren't fixed either - it's common for football songs to be allusive mashups.

The procedures of a football song writer are not that different from what Matt McGinn used to do, though with less concern for a wide or enduring audience. (I don't have a problem with ephemerality, and I welcome creations that could never become any sort of "standard"). McGinn recycled tunes with no regard for their origin and was happy to mangle them out of recognition. (I rate McGinn far above MacColl).


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Subject: RE: Writing a folk standard
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 01 Nov 16 - 08:27 AM

There is the wold of difference between a parody and the repetition of a piece from Carousel Jack.
Parodies have always accepted candidates as folk songs - simple repetition is simple repetition - no more.
"I rate McGinn far above MacColl"
à chacun son goût
As much as I enjoyed Matt's songs, the ones that will follow me to the end of my days are masterpieces like 'Joy of Living', 'Shellback', My Old Man, Farewell to Ireland 'Tenant Farmer'....... and the hundred or so other MacColl compositions I still get a buzz from decades after I first heard them - no competition, as far as I'm concerned - but this is about definition, not personal taste.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Writing a folk standard
From: GUEST,Some bloke
Date: 02 Nov 16 - 09:36 AM

This here phenomenon Jim....   Let's see now.

It describes everything from rock n roll to gangsta rap via punk and country and western. Songs by people describing their lives and communities. Be careful what you wish for. At least folk genres sound occasionally like the music you put forward as folk.


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Subject: RE: Writing a folk standard
From: Nigel Parsons
Date: 02 Nov 16 - 12:07 PM

From: Jim Carroll - PM
Date: 01 Nov 16 - 08:27 AM
There is the wold of difference between a parody and the repetition of a piece from Carousel Jack.
Parodies have always accepted candidates as folk songs - simple repetition is simple repetition - no more.
"I rate McGinn far above MacColl"
à chacun son goût
As much as I enjoyed Matt's songs, the ones that will follow me to the end of my days are masterpieces like 'Joy of Living', 'Shellback', My Old Man, Farewell to Ireland 'Tenant Farmer'....... and the hundred or so other MacColl compositions I still get a buzz from decades after I first heard them - no competition, as far as I'm concerned - but this is about definition, not personal taste.
Jim Carroll


No, this if about "how to write a folk standard", if such a feat is possible, intentionally. The discussion "What is folk" can be found in many other threads in Mudcat.
You may believe that this discussion is about the definition of 'folk', but that doesn't appear to have been the intention of the original poster!

Cheers
Nigel


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Subject: RE: Writing a folk standard
From: Nigel Parsons
Date: 02 Nov 16 - 12:08 PM

For those who can't be bothered to read the whole of the thread, this is where we started:
From: Andy7 - PM
Date: 27 Oct 16 - 06:40 PM

I'd love, one day, to write a folk standard, that everyone sings around the clubs.

I know I almost certainly never will, haha!

But I wonder, what is it that turns a great song - of which there are many - into a 'standard', that so many people enjoy performing, and so many more enjoy joining in with the chorus?

Good words, good tune, not too hard to sing, all those of course ... but what is that extra special 'something' that makes those songs so popular?


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Subject: RE: Writing a folk standard
From: Mr Red
Date: 02 Nov 16 - 12:41 PM

Never heard of a choir made up of 15,000 football referees - - do they accompany themselves on their whistles? Their singing is Folk - no matter what they sing, or how robotic they are.
If you look for widespread acceptance by large numbers of people - look no further. ie a standard. FWIW I hate football and a lot of the tribalism that goes with it. But I refuse to be caught with the halo effect when it comes to the singing. It is spontaneous, evolving, rarely has commercial benefit and is done by common folk.

"Football (soccer) is a game played by 22 men in their underpants kicking a bag of wind, watched by 15,000 referees". Guy Martin.


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Subject: RE: Writing a folk standard
From: Andy7
Date: 02 Nov 16 - 02:38 PM

Thanks for the reminder of the thread subject, NP.

Is anyone tempted to take up my lighthearted challenge, and set about deliberately trying to write a 'folk standard'?

To save having to try to define 'folk' again, the challenge will have been won if the song is frequently sung at singarounds in folk clubs!


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Subject: RE: Writing a folk standard
From: punkfolkrocker
Date: 02 Nov 16 - 03:09 PM

As far as current event songs go..
I'd suggest the only recent UK news item with the potential to inspire the longest lasting song with a chance to be remembered
is the "Great Fire Of Exeter"...

..and I can't be arsed trying to write it...

..and if I could the only decent rhymes that come immediately to mind
are "Brexiter" and "Bed wetter"... 😜


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Subject: RE: Writing a folk standard
From: Mr Red
Date: 02 Nov 16 - 03:18 PM

I did write a song with the intention of fooling the folk club. Not only did it, but it was written in the during a lull of another song, and at a table with three fighting kids and two adults trying to mollify them.

the Oak and the Willow about halfway down

What gives it away is that Longbows were made of Yew, smaller ones could be made out of Ash. Obviously I am proud of it, but to be in with any remote chance of a standard it had to reach a wide audience, and that would be down to me. Not going to happen.


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Subject: RE: Writing a folk standard
From: The Sandman
Date: 02 Nov 16 - 03:34 PM

but what is that extra special 'something' that makes those songs so popular?
here is an example JOHN OF DREAMS, it appeals to everyone its message is clear[ unlike some of bob dylan], it uses a beautiful tune and is well written


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Subject: RE: Writing a folk standard
From: Mr Red
Date: 02 Nov 16 - 03:45 PM

..and if I could the only decent rhymes that come immediately to mind
"next iteration" is a good enjambed rhyme.


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Subject: RE: Writing a folk standard
From: Andy7
Date: 02 Nov 16 - 03:53 PM

JOHN O' DREAMS is a great example! Moving words that all can relate to, and a lovely, laid-back tune, with a very distinctive, yet easy to sing, musical phrase as its backbone.


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Subject: RE: Writing a folk standard
From: Andy7
Date: 02 Nov 16 - 03:59 PM

But Mr Red (great song, btw!) has a very good point. If the writer of 'John o' Dreams' had just sung it every couple of months or so at his local club, people would probably just say what a nice song he'd written, and that would be that.


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Subject: RE: Writing a folk standard
From: Tattie Bogle
Date: 02 Nov 16 - 08:12 PM

John O'Dreams uses the tune of Tchaikovsky's 6th Symphony, 1st movement, but possibly Tchaikovsky got it from a folk singer. Only the timing is changed slightly.
As for Carousel "You'll Never Walk Alone" and Gerry Marsden's version: changed from 4/4 to 6/8: makes it easier to sway and wave your lighters to!
Andy 7, I mentioned several comparatively modern songs that have become "standards" further up the thread: perhaps the writers didn't set out to write one, but they surely hoped they might become so.


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Subject: RE: Writing a folk standard
From: Andy7
Date: 02 Nov 16 - 09:13 PM

Ah yes ...

"Follow the Heron (Karine Polwart)
Coming Home (Steven Clark)
Both Sides the Tweed (based on James Hogg poem but revised by Dick Gaughan)
Norland Wind/The Wild Geese (poem by Violet Jacob, set to music by Jim Reid)
( + Include anything else that was a poem by Violet Jacob/Marion Angus/Mary Brooksbank)"


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Subject: RE: Writing a folk standard
From: GUEST,Some bloke
Date: 03 Nov 16 - 03:56 AM

You are right. Tchaikovsky did use traditional Russian tunes within his work, ditto Mussorgsky etc and ditto our own Vaughan Williams, Britten, Elgar etc. The former two noted collectors of song.

In fact, the "sampling" of older songs in pop music is in itself carrying on the tradition. When Boney M sang Rasputin many years ago, the drums lifted verbatim from Cozey Powell's Dance with the Devil, it was no different to Vaughan Williams using the tune to A Blacksmith Courted Me for both another trad set of lyrics he collected (Our Captain) and also for his work on Pilgrims Progress (He who would valiant be.)

One wonderful way of writing a folk standard would logically begin with borrowing the tune. Borrowing the lyrics from poems and concocting a chorus with a tune borrowed elsewhere wouldn't be a bad idea. Mike Waterson did that after hearing a poem set to music by Filey Fishermans Choir. I have yet to hear anyone call "Three score and ten" anything but a folk song despite the poem being written and published to raise money for the bereaved. (An interesting Mudcat thread on that, if you are interested.)

The first step in writing a folk standard would be to realise that if it catches on in folk clubs and even gets buggered about with slightly, it is a folk song. Others may or may not call it a classic.

After all, hearing The Watersons sing a chorus song many years ago and more recently people sing it still, the only difference between trad and copyrighted is actually knowing whether it is or not. (Bright Phoebus and Three Score and Ten v Dido Bendigo and I'm a Rover.)

Folk is, in the borrowed words of Harold Wilson, a broad church.


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Subject: RE: Writing a folk standard
From: Mr Red
Date: 03 Nov 16 - 04:51 AM

"ex-sitar" before we loose the context. (As it burns in the conflagration.) I read somewhere they have retrieved some (alledged) anglo-saxon bones from the undercroft that were in a jar. Probably on display.


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Subject: RE: Writing a folk standard
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 03 Nov 16 - 05:18 AM

"The discussion "What is folk" "
Whenever the subject comes up there is a wave of hostility - traces of it here.
I would have thought it possible to discuss this subject on a forum that styles itself as Mudcat does in a friendly manner - once again, I appear to have been proved wrong.
For me, the term folk is important - the existence of song, music and stories that have been created and passed on down the centuries, have remained anonymous virtually throughout the time of their existence is, to me, an interesting enough phenomenon to deserve drawing attention to as group distinct from the popular songs, classical creations and those made by known poets that are traceable and identifiable back to source.
The anonymity, constant adaptation and the subject matter of these songs makes them uniquely distinctive.
The process that once made them is now gone - songs are made, sung at the clubs, put on albums, published.... they remain largely unchanged and they are fixed at birth as being owned by their composers - they are compositions by Ewan MacColl, Eric Bogle, Jack Warshaw, Sandra Kerr.... all great songmakers in their chosen genre...... but they are not folk songs and they probably never will be because the folk mechanism no longer exists to pass them on in the way that they could take on a life of their own - they are all stillborn by their very nature.
Recently, I have become interested - obsessed even, with songs that have not entered the general folk repertoire, but were made locally by 'ordinary' (whatever that means) people, to record local events, characters, aspects of life..., survived, often for only a short period, then have disappeared when the subject matter that inspired them passed from the memories of the community.
The Travellers made them up to the 1970s, we've discovered probably near 100 of them made in this West of Ireland one-street town, dating back to the middle of the 19th century.
The represent the artistic creations of working people and as such, they are unique.
I have no problem with making new songs and singing them at folk clubs - songwriting is one of the great achievements of the Folk Revival 0-- without it, our clubs would have been little more than museums or butterfly collectors conventions.
When I was singing regularly, I had a repertoire of around 300 songs - about a third of them were contemporary songs created in the folk styles.   
Since I began to research and collect songs from the older generations - from farmers and land labourers, fishermen, Travellers.... I began to realise their importance, not just as entertainment, but as a massive body of our social history - historically, they are the voice of the voiceless - the "Folk" - I believe they important enough to be treated separately for what they are - way back in the 1830s, somebody came up with the term "folk" and, whether we like it or not, that's what we are stuck with.
It doesn't stop us liking and performing other genres of song or music, but if we want to discuss and pass on the information, we need to be clear about what we are talking about - it's crazy to have a term that is published and documented in great detail to mean one thing, yet which means something totally different in the "folk clubs".
They is a later development of the folk revival - when I first signed up to all this, I knew more or less what I would find when I went to a folk club - they did what it said on the tin.
Now I can, and have, walked out of a 'folk' club without hearing a folk song - I stopped going to folk clubs when that became a regular feature, and so did a lot of other people.
In those days, folk club evenings were weekly events - now they are mainly monthly.
The audiences reduced radically and their average ages increased - we stopped drawing in new people - I believe this was because the term 'folk' came to be used as a dustbin to cover anything any individual wanted it to be - the 'singing horses' took over the scene.
A major part of our collecting was to interview, sometimes at great length, the singers we recorded about how they felt about their songs and where they fitted into their lives and the lives of their communities.
Most of them sang other types of songs, earlier popular, music hall, Victorian Parlour Ballads, Country and Western.... - but they all distinguished the folk from the non-folk in some way or other - the "old" songs, the "come-all-ye's", even the "folk" or "traditional" songs.
Walter Pardon filled tape after tape describing how his folk songs were different from the rest of his repertoire.
Blind Travelling woman, Mary Delaney, recalled nearly 100 folk songs a
and ballad which she called "my daddies songs" - when we recorded her father, he knew about six - Mary was talking about a type of song - that was her definition.
She could have doubled her repertoire with the CandW songs she knew, but she refused becaus she said,"that's not what you are looking for - I only learned them because that' what the lads ask for down the pub".
It is a myth to suggest that he older singers didn't distinguish between one type and another - if they can do it, surely we can - it seems both common sense and good manners.
They gave us their songs because they thought they were worth preserving for whatthey were - they took a pride in them - so shoud we.
Sorry to have gone on for so long - a hobby horse of mine.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Writing a folk standard
From: Jack Campin
Date: 03 Nov 16 - 06:15 AM

The original question was not "what does it take to create a folk song?" But "what does it take to create a standard?" - which is a more achievable goal.


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Subject: RE: Writing a folk standard
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 03 Nov 16 - 06:28 AM

"what does it take to create a standard?"
Sorry Jack, but it wasn't - it was "what does it take to create a folk standard?"
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Writing a folk standard
From: GUEST,Sol
Date: 03 Nov 16 - 06:51 AM

Quote from Jim Carroll: "the 'singing horses' took over the scene."

That bloody Mr Ed again!

I note that some sessions are now being advertised as "acoustic" rather than "folk". This seems to be an ideal way of sidestepping the unsolvable argument on the definition of folk music.
Acoustic covers Trad, Americana, C&W, R'n'R - anything really, as long as you don't plug anything in.

Music is music is music... Vive La Difference.


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Subject: RE: Writing a folk standard
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 03 Nov 16 - 06:59 AM

"acoustic" rather than "folk".
Certainly a solution that would suit me.
"Music is music is music... Vive La Difference."
Quite - though-it doe seem somewhat of a contradiction in terms.
Thanks
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Writing a folk standard
From: Jack Campin
Date: 03 Nov 16 - 09:25 AM

The f-word was in the subject line and nowhere else in the basenote. Andy7 clarifies:

the challenge will have been won if the song is frequently sung at singarounds in folk clubs!


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Subject: RE: Writing a folk standard
From: GUEST,Some bloke
Date: 03 Nov 16 - 01:51 PM

Well done Mr Carroll. At last you prefaced your comments with "for me" rather than trying to inflict your view on others. There's hope for you yet.

Your views are not ridiculous as such, just not shared by those of us with a passion for folk that isn't the same as your own. Your long but readable post duly laments the demise of certain types of folk club and I share it (although I feel walking out and not enjoying a good night out is self defeating) but in the folk tradition, clubs and content evolve.

There are many recently written folk "standards" but not standard as in universal. I love going to areas of the country where most places know and many perform songs that would be heard for the first time in other areas. Even with YouTube and most performers having a net presence, you still get songs well known somewhere but not elsewhere.   I recently sang a trad song in Doncaster that hardly anybody knew yet a few donkeys back, you could hear it most nights in clubs in towns less than twenty miles away.

The acoustic solution isn't really a solution. I too use it in a club I help run in order to widen the net somewhat. Some of us are appearing in a charity concert next week and one man who plays '50s pop songs is insisting on playing acoustic whilst I shall be plugged in playing jigs and reels. We could have as much fun with acoustic as we do with folk on these threads, except nobody feels the need to wear their trousers up to their tits.

😎


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Subject: RE: Writing a folk standard
From: GUEST,Sol
Date: 03 Nov 16 - 02:39 PM

For a bit of enlightemnment, let's all put down our weapons for a moment and assume there is such a thing as a 'recently written folk standard'. Which song(s) do you think could fall into that category?

e.g. Follow The Heron? The King's Shilling?


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Subject: RE: Writing a folk standard
From: Andy7
Date: 03 Nov 16 - 03:30 PM

When All Men Sing (Scowcroft/Gifford, 1989)


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Subject: RE: Writing a folk standard
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 03 Nov 16 - 03:55 PM

"Well done Mr Carroll. "
Thanks for your patronising post - pity it is totally devoid of substance.
My view of folk song is back up by decades of research and libraries full of books - I have yet to see an alternative definition nor a convincing argument - "folk song is what I care to call it" seems the order of the day - and yesterday..... and every day since these arguments began - the main loser being the music.
"demise of certain types of folk club "
You mean we have weekly clubs and large, young audiences for whatever you acre to call folk song?
Somehow, I doubt it.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Writing a folk standard
From: Jack Campin
Date: 03 Nov 16 - 05:00 PM

Following up Sol's question, and sticking to post-1950 songs:

I'm Looking for a Job
Seven Nights and a Sunday
The Rolling Hills of the Borders
The Foreman O'Rourke
The Freedom Come-All-Ye
The Jeely Piece Song
Star of the Bar
Norland Wind
Both Sides the Tweed
Come by the Hills
My Love Has Gone
Women of Dundee
Generations of Change
far too many interminable Eric Bogle and Brian McNeill things
The Moving On Song
Shoals of Herring
The Terror Time

the last three being the only MacColl songs I've heard sung more than once. Most of those have a clear political message.


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Subject: RE: Writing a folk standard
From: GUEST,Some bloke
Date: 04 Nov 16 - 05:05 AM

Nice list Jack. Of course we could add a few but hopefully people get the picture. I would have said post 1954 instead of 1950 but most of us know why.

My "standard" for folk at this time of year is John Tamm's excellent Scarecrow (trying to avoid the obvious ones.)

By the way Mr Carroll, my interpretation of folk is backed up by being me and nothing else, a bit like yourself. My interpretation of standard however is perhaps a more interesting proposition for this thread.

"Oh God, why does everyone sing that bloody song with thousands and thousands to choose from?" Not good news for the person who wrote it and being early November. Eric Bogle aficionados will be hearing many a rendition of a certain song once too often.

Although poor Richard Thompson didn't really deserve this doing the rounds in our local folk clubs thirty odd years ago;

Meet me at the folk club don't be late
I need to sing some Richard and it just won't wait
Blow out the candles and turn on the lights
I don't want to hear "The Bright Lights" tonight.

As I keep saying. a) Folk is a broad church and b) at our local club last week, thriving and really bucking the trend, out of about fifty people in the room, I reckon half a dozen had been born in 1954. None were old enough to be on the mailing list for agenda notification. When I'm having a moan about the folk police, I tend to compare them to US sports having WORLD series when there is little interest outside of three or where they recently invaded. (I know, cricket and the commonwealth is no coincidence either but I understand cricket.)

Most folk club standards hadn't been written in 1954. Not even most MacColl and Seeger shock horror and many traditional songs were gathering dust, waiting to be rediscovered by belts rather than braces 😇


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Subject: RE: Writing a folk standard
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 04 Nov 16 - 08:15 AM

"By the way Mr Carroll, my interpretation of folk is backed up by being me and nothing else, a bit like yourself"
Er - no
My interpretation is fully backed by over a century of research, long established, definitions - (pre-dating '54 by over a century), a common usage that has never been challenged by a replacement definition and reams of international literature.
Yours appears to be a personal one, not necessarily agreed by people who do not accept the established one but who neither have the knowledge or interest to agree among themselves enough to come up with I new one.
"Folk is what I say it is" is not a definition.
You done even have the good grace to acknowledge the damage that has been done to an established people's culture.
What has happened on the British scene is 'acculturation' - the destruction of one cultural form by other forms.
Forty odd years ago, when we first started researching in Ireland, we were recording from a dying culture.
Traditional music was on the wane - totally ignored or despised by the establishment and the media (as "diddly-di music") and on the way out, pretty much as it is in Britain now.
A handful of enthusiasts, took the situation and turned it around completely.
Since then, many thousands of young people have flocked to Irish music, taken up the instruments and the tunes, learned from the handful of older musicians that were still around, or their recordings and have guaranteed at least a three-generation future to our Folk arts.
In this one street town on the West Coast I can go out from four to seven nights a week (depending on the time of year) and hear excellent music played by musicians ranging in ages from early teens to octogenarians.
I can switch the radio on any night of the week and listen to traditional music and song, the same to a lesser degree with the the television where filmed sessions of traditions performers are regularly featured alongside academic discussion and documentaries - last week a documentary on Sarah Makem, this week on Elizabeth Cronin - the interviewee was a beatifully talented singer, I would guess in her early twenties.
Song has some way to go to catching up with the music scene, but it's getting there.
None of this has been achieved by not knowing our folk arse from its elbow.
Perhaps you might come back when you have a workable definition to replace the existing one.
So far, you have only produced a hostile takeover.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Writing a folk standard
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 04 Nov 16 - 09:39 AM

"the interviewee"
Should read - "the interviewer"
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Writing a folk standard
From: GUEST,Some bloke
Date: 04 Nov 16 - 11:03 AM

Nope. Folk is far more than your narrow interpretation based on your own experience.

This is why whenever someone makes a genuine enquiry or point, you come running out of trap 7 trying to belittle them.

Of course a folk standard can be written. They all were, whether recently by people we can relate to or in the deep dim past and buggered about with by successive generations.

It's a genre. Nothing more and nothing less.

Tsk


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Subject: RE: Writing a folk standard
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 04 Nov 16 - 11:21 AM

" Folk is far more than your narrow interpretation based on your own experience. "
Nope - for a start, it isn't "my narrow" experience - it is a documented art form
Your own non-definition appears to vary from club to club (assuming that each club has a definition) - doesn't come any narrower than that.
"Of course a folk standard can be written."
No thy can't - where do we go from here?
Give us your definition and I'll consider it - you have mine - and its pedigree
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Writing a folk standard
From: punkfolkrocker
Date: 04 Nov 16 - 11:53 AM

.. mind you.. they did have electricity in 1954.. so there's no excuse for any and all kinds of folkie's grim determination
to continue despising & excluding electric guitars and fuzz boxes...???


.. unless there is actually a thriving electric instruments only trad folk club somewhere...????

"sorry mate, you can't come in with that acoustic instrument.... we have tradition and standards to maintain".... 😜


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Subject: RE: Writing a folk standard
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 04 Nov 16 - 11:57 AM

The reason these discussions usually end up as unpleasantly a they invariably do is, in my opinion, the amount of dishonesty that they generate.
The definition I work with is the established one - not mine.
I have never attempted to "belittle" any other music or anybody who performs it - I probably sing more folk inspired songs than anybody here.
I attempt to respond people's points honestly rather than attempting to misrepresent them.
I've given you my arguments and I've shown how clarity and purpose has made a difference to the future of folk music in Ireland.
I would be extremely grateful if that level of response was reciprocated.
Thee is nothing more evasive and insulting than terms like 'Folk Police' - a term favoured by people with no genuine answers.
It reduces these discussions to "snigger-snogwriter" slanging matches.
I hope everybody here is above that
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Writing a folk standard
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 04 Nov 16 - 11:59 AM

""sorry mate, you can't come in with that acoustic instrument..."
Haven't heard that for over forty years - yet another straw man that doesn't merit a reply
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Writing a folk standard
From: punkfolkrocker
Date: 04 Nov 16 - 12:18 PM

Precisely .. that's my point Jim.. "Over 40 years ago"

.. and the acoustic only establishment are still continuing to indoctrinate young minds in their luddite prejudices..

I actually mostly agree with your position, my interests lie in 'trad folk'.
But my mind and ears want to hear those old songs expressed respectfully, intelligently, and creatively with the expansive unlimited timbres of 'new' electronic sounds....

Electric guitars in Folk Rock may have been a shocking novelty 4 or 5 decades ago..
but now even a smart phone is capable of playing software instruments that stimulate and excite the ears with far more sonic possibilities....

If a good song can be accompanied tastefully with a concertina or harmonium, or hurdy gurdy,
then there is no reason why the same cannot apply to even a vintage technology monophonic synthesiser played through a low wattage, low volume battery powered portable amplifier....
That in the real world could be so responsibly low in volume it could still be drowned out by a banjo or accordian..


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Subject: RE: Writing a folk standard
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 04 Nov 16 - 01:13 PM

"and the acoustic only establishment are still continuing to indoctrinate young minds in their luddite prejudices.."
Is it - none of the clubs I have ever been part of organising have ever adopted such a practice and it has nothing whatever to do with this argument.
I respect any club's policy - accompanied or unaccompanied - the English ones I were part of encouraged accompaniment - Peggy Seeger actually too classes and gave lectures on accompaniment
Some Irish clubs (it doesn't have a folk-club scene) adopt a no-instrument policy because that's the way the singing tradition here works best, especially Irish language singing - the decision was taken in order to open up the native Irish repertoire.
Far from putting "young minds" off, the most hopeful club in Ireland at present meets on the first Sunday of every month at the Cobblestone Pub in Smithfield Dublin and is run entirely bu youngsters - they are producing some of the finest young singers in the country and are regarded with envy by us crumblies.
It is 'folk policing' in the extreme to impose an accompanied/unaccompanied policy from the outside.
In the end, the proof of the pudding.....
I've always left the Cobblestone ('Night Before Larry Was Stretched Club') fully sated and wanting more.
It is the policy clubs here that are making the difference, just as it was the 'anything goes' clubs that have destroyed the British scene.
It was rather interesting that, a few years ago, when the Frank Harte Weekend in Dublin, a largely unaccompanied event booked Christie Moore as it's guest they offered him the choice of bringing his guitar - out of respect for the event and for the singer in whose memory it was held, Christie refused the offer.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Writing a folk standard
From: The Sandman
Date: 04 Nov 16 - 02:19 PM

Jim.
I understand that if clubs have policies and they are clearly stated, then people are free to make their own decision to attend or not.
I am not sure that you are right about this
"Some Irish clubs (it doesn't have a folk-club scene) adopt a no-instrument policy because that's the way the singing tradition here works best,"
my personal opinion is that this is incorrect,Ilike the occasional variety of an accompanied vocal when performed well, but I respect clubs policies and am happy to go along with it, in fact i find it a challenge to try and present a night of unaccompanied singing.
do you mind explaining why you think the IRISH singing tradition works best with a no instrument policy.


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Subject: RE: Writing a folk standard
From: Andy7
Date: 04 Nov 16 - 02:20 PM

Widening the discussion from the true meaning of 'folk', one could then also question whether the term 'folk club' is a misnomer.

But in my part of southern England, we all know what to expect from a 'folk club'. There'll be a good number of the traditional songs. Also a number of modern 'standards'. Some popular songs from the 60s onwards. Maybe a comedy song or two. And perhaps some self-penned stuff, some poetry, and some instrumentals.

That kind of mix is good enough for me! I have a great respect for the oral folk tradition, but I'd not want to go along every week to hear just genuine, unaccompanied old songs (some of which are beautiful, but some of which, to be fair, are mediocre, whatever their social history value). I like the variety; and as this variety keeps me and many others going along week after week, the old songs are then shared with a much wider audience, rather than a small group of enthusiasts.

Returning to the initial idea of the thread ... in hindsight, I should have called it 'Writing a folk club standard'!


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Subject: RE: Writing a folk standard
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 04 Nov 16 - 03:44 PM

"whether the term 'folk club' is a misnomer."
MacColl never called any of his clubs "Folk" or "Traditional"
I agree with a degree of "mix" if they are identifiable with each other, but it seems your particular mix tries to please all the people all of the time and ends up pleasing nobody.
Can't imagine a Beatle fan settling down to 15 minutes of Tam Linn
"Do you mind explaining why you think the IRISH singing tradition works best with a no instrument policy""
It's a largely ornamented tradition in which the ornamentation is a sufficient enough accompaniment in itself.
Don't forget, Ireland went through its 'Ballad Boom' in the sixties, just as Britain went through its 'Folk Boom'.
The survivors here were the no-accompanists, and the survivors have widened their scope radically to embrace the Irish language repertoire which seldom lends itself to accompaniment.
The basic difference here was that Irish revivalists had a much greater number of the older generation of living traditional singers to learn from than Britain ever had, there were almost exclusively unaccompanied and their songs worked that way.
On of the great problems with accompaniment in Britain is that, even with the best of musicians, it doesn't accompany, it acts as a distraction - the more accomplished the musician, teh greater the distraction.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Writing a folk standard
From: punkfolkrocker
Date: 04 Nov 16 - 03:55 PM

"the more accomplished the musician, teh greater the distraction"

... the old songs should be safe in my hands then..... 😜


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Subject: RE: Writing a folk standard
From: Andy7
Date: 04 Nov 16 - 05:04 PM

I wholeheartedly agree with your point about about accompaniment, Jim. I'd far rather listen to a song well sung with minimal or no accompaniment, than a song half-mumbled while the performer concentrates on her/his (admittedly very clever) guitar fireworks.

But I'm not sure why you say that 'my' particular mix (it's not mine!) tries to please all of the people all of the time and ends up pleasing nobody. I've already said that it pleases me, and many others besides. And no one set out to create such a mix - it arose organically. If people didn't like it, they'd stop turning up and buying drinks and raffle tickets, and the club would fold.

To take it to the extreme - just as an intellectual exercise - think of the song that is your very favourite (or at least, your favourite of the moment). Then imagine a club where, week after week, every performer sings only that song - in a variety of styles, keys and tempos, accompanied or unaccompanied, solo or in a group, etc. etc.

I'm sure you'd soon tire of that favourite song, and find another club!

The same is true, for me, of a narrow range of musical style. I don't want a club where only genuine traditional folk songs are sung. I don't want a club where you can only hear comedy songs, or only Dylan and Simon & Garfunkel. I love the variety. And I believe that that helps us more to appreciate, and love, the old songs from the oral tradition that we still frequently hear.


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Subject: RE: Writing a folk standard
From: GUEST,Sol
Date: 04 Nov 16 - 05:18 PM

To follow up what Andy 7 said about enjoying the variety of turns at his club. The club I go to is similar and I have been made aware of many songs that I like but would probably never came across because they were in a category I wouldn't normally listen to e.g. C & W. From that aspect a different mix of styles in the club broadens one's appreciation of other genres.


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Subject: RE: Writing a folk standard
From: Mr Red
Date: 04 Nov 16 - 05:44 PM

so did we come up with any latter-day standard bearers?


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Subject: RE: Writing a folk standard
From: The Sandman
Date: 04 Nov 16 - 09:49 PM

"Do you mind explaining why you think the IRISH singing tradition works best with a no instrument policy""
It's a largely ornamented tradition in which the ornamentation is a sufficient enough accompaniment in itself.
Your OPINION,and nothing else, the problem with this opinion, is that it does not allow for the evolvement of the tradition, so what happens is that it the tradition gets preserved like a museum piece, if a person does not allow harmony[ that rules out The Voice Squad] solely because previously Irish singing was a solo unaccompanied tradition,absolutely ridiculous
I appreciate unaccompanied traditional singing, I also appreciate songs accompanied sensitively,IRISH TRADITIONAL SONGS can and have been accompanied sensitively, and have been successfully sung in Harmony[voice squad]
The Voice Squad, have taken the unaccompanied irish solo tradition and sung successfully in harmony, that is not opinion it is a fact. I anticipate that you might possibly say its ok for them to sing in harmony because it is vocal and not instrumental.
In my opinion it is how the song is accompanied or sung in harmony,THAT IS IMPORTANT and that applies to any tradition.
I AGREE THAT WHEN A SONG IS ACCOMPANIED THE STYLE CHANGES,but for traditions to evolve they have to accept change, otherwise the tradition will eventually be come static, unable to develop


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Subject: RE: Writing a folk standard
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 05 Nov 16 - 04:39 AM

"Your OPINION,and nothing else, "
Don't be silly Dick - I have nothing to do with the making of policy in any Irish Singing club, festival or Singing Circle - that's what they have decided, not me.
It is not our place as "BLOW INS" to tell Irish people how they should do things.
It is "Your OPINION,and nothing else," that accompaniment is an essential part in the development of Irish song and that it can't develop without it - go and convince them, not me.
Ireland went through the commercial-driven, accompanied 'Ballad Boom" way back, it ran its course when the music industry decided when there was more money to be had elsewhere and Irish singers returned to their source material to pick up the baton - that did not include instrumentation or electrification or harmony singing to any great extent.
What is slowly developing now is a rising interest in solo-voice, unaccompanied singing based on what the likes of Elizabeth Cronin, Tom Lenihan, Joe Heaney, Eddie Butcher...... and all those other wonderful old singers were doing.
It would be sheer destructive arrogance fo us to interfere with that by demanding something from a British revival that appears to have run its course (judging from the "not knowing their folk arse from their elbow and not caring very much" arguments here.
The Voice Squad had their day an ran their course - their style of singing never caught on to any great degree, unlike the wannabe Waterson, mini-choirs that infested Britain for so long.
I like accompanied singing, I used to sing with accompaniment back in Britain.
When I moved to Ireland and lost my accompanist I found that I could sing virtually all my songs unaccompanied and get the same satisfaction that I always did.
Accompaniment was never a feature of British or Irish traditional singing and it thrived and developed for centuries without it - it was the advance of technology, particularly radio and television, that killed of our oral traditions, not the lack of accompaniment.
I have no intention of continuing this with you - you usually manage to turn arguments between us into unpleasant slanging matches - I'm not alone in this - your reputation goes before you.
If you have any reasoned arguments, put them - dogmatic pronouncements on what the Irish singing scene needs will get us nowhere.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Writing a folk standard
From: The Sandman
Date: 05 Nov 16 - 04:47 AM

I accept that the repertoire is increasing, but some of that repertoire is well suited to accompaniment. For example Fiddlers green, Song for ireland From clare to here, Shoals of Herring[ on occasion sung as Shoals of Erin], Dirty old Town.Coves of Rossbrin. Thirty foot trailer, Free Born Man. The Town i knew so well.THE BOYS OF KILLYBEGS.
the irish tradtional repertoire is not exclusive to the few singers clubs it includes songs sung in pubs and houses, ALL the above mentioned songs have been mistaken for traditional and are regularly sung and treated as if they were of the tradtion


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Subject: RE: Writing a folk standard
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 05 Nov 16 - 07:04 AM

" accept that the repertoire is increasing, but some of that repertoire is well suited to accompaniment. "
That is for others to decide as well as you Dick
If you decide to accompany them fine - if chubs won't book you because yo do so - try them without or accept that you won't get their custom.
I sing Shoals of Herring, Dirty old Town, Thirty Foot Trailer and Freeborn Man without accompaniment and I always have done - they work for me.
It's not a matter of a song being "suited" to accompaniment.
Peggy Seeger once said in a lecture, "the way to approach accompaniment is first to decide if a song needs it - if it doesn't, don't".
I can live with that - many venues can too - live with it.
What you do in the privacy of your own home is is your own business - you can sing Lord Gregory with a loofah stuck up your backside, if that's what turns you on.
What you try to impose on clubs is a different matter.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Writing a folk standard
From: punkfolkrocker
Date: 05 Nov 16 - 09:26 AM

ok then... I'm not Irish.. I'm not particularly interested in Irish folk music.. I never go to clubs, or have any intention to start doing so...

I'm a 21st century musician who is more interested in arrangement of instrumental timbres than words;
and the international internet is my potential stage for expressing my 'art'...

This is the culture that I inhabit and will explore with my adaptions of our old songs....

So as much as I respect & thank the collectors and caretakers of trad heritage songs,
I must also acknowledge the significant differences of intent, opinion, and aesthetic diversity that arise,
and actively discover my own way in this post millenial creative technological era...

In other words... If I wanna make a bleedin uncouth racket, I'll turn me amp up, plug a direct feed into the internet and get on with it...

though obviously whilst wearing headphones, no need to annoy the neighbours.... 😎


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Subject: RE: Writing a folk standard
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 05 Nov 16 - 09:35 AM

"ok then... I'm not Irish.. I'm not particularly interested in Irish folk music.. "
Fine PFR - I won't pontificate on your music if you don't pontificate on mine.
I'm all for peaceful coexistence
I have no problem with adapting folk songs - George Butterworth's 'Banks of Green Willow' is one of my favourite pices of English Orchestral music - but it ain't folk
The internet has done wonders for disseminating our FOLK SONG
Feel free to adapt - if you must"!
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Writing a folk standard
From: The Sandman
Date: 05 Nov 16 - 12:34 PM

Jim, I do not try and impose anything upon singers clubs, most Singers clubs in Ireland impose rules, I HAVE ALREADY STATED THAT I AM PREPARED TO ACCEPT THOSE RULES, IF I WISH TO PLAY THERE.


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Subject: RE: Writing a folk standard
From: The Sandman
Date: 05 Nov 16 - 05:27 PM

"On of the great problems with accompaniment in Britain is that, even with the best of musicians, it doesn't accompany, it acts as a distraction - the more accomplished the musician, teh greater the distraction."
another sweeping generalisation, and in my opinion complete poppycock, the more accomplished musician can use his technique to accompany sensitively, the more accomplished musician in my experience knows when to not overpower the song a classic example is peggy seeger listen here to the golden ball at 23 .00https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I8ZFVD7qkRU


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Subject: RE: Writing a folk standard
From: GUEST,henryp
Date: 06 Nov 16 - 02:46 AM

11.30am Tuesday 8 November BBC Radio 4
Steve Earle's Songwriting Bootcamp

For songwriting, it helps if you have lived a little. Earle has lived a lot: seven marriages, jail time, cocaine and methadone addiction.

Also teaching is Shawn Colvin. She tells Levinson that great songwriters approach a subject indirectly. "Try to come in the side door."

John Bungey, The Times


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Subject: RE: Writing a folk standard
From: GUEST,Warwick Slade
Date: 06 Nov 16 - 04:23 AM

I wrote a song that has been recorded in Australia and, in the best folk tradition, the tune has changed and extra verses.
The rule is - there are no rules.


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Subject: RE: Writing a folk standard
From: The Sandman
Date: 06 Nov 16 - 04:48 AM

Jim,
Margaret Barry and Pecker Dunn were tradtional irish singers who accompanied their songs,but never mind they would be not allowed to accompany themselves any more if they turned up at irish singers clubs.
when tradtional music becomes about what you are not allowed to do, it is a very sad day


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Subject: RE: Writing a folk standard
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 06 Nov 16 - 05:30 AM

Dick
When traditional music becomes about professional musicians moaning about not being able to get a booking, rather than than its exponents choosing what is best for it, it has no future.
They decide what is good for it, not the professional outsiders.
Every cultural movement sets its own parameters and decides where it is and is not going.
This is becoming more of a sales pitch than a discussion on the tradition
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Writing a folk standard
From: Mr Red
Date: 06 Nov 16 - 06:58 AM

anyone care to set this to music? It has a few credential that would help it to carry a long way. Farcebook post

I am not a badge of honour,
I am not a racist smear,
I am not a fashion statement,
To be worn but once a year.

I am not glorification
Of conflict or of war.
I am not a paper ornament
A token; I am more.

I am a loving memory,
Of a father or a son,
A permanent reminder
Of each and every one.

I'm paper or enamel
I'm old or shining new,
I'm a way of saying thank you,
To every one of you.

I am a humble poppy
A Reminder to you all,
That courage faith and honour,
Will stand where heroes fall.

to which I add:

Just a simple red reminder
Not sartorial caprice.
The hope of generations
That they gave to gain a peace.

If you don't have any positive comments on this post just keep them to yourself, it is about writing a song. And if good enough; a standard.
No ego driven opinions.

TIA.


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Subject: RE: Writing a folk standard
From: The Sandman
Date: 06 Nov 16 - 07:46 AM

"When traditional music becomes about professional musicians moaning about not being able to get a booking, rather than than its exponents choosing what is best for it, it has no future"
Jim,no one in this thread has moaned about getting bookings, why are you introducing a red herring into the discussion?
Jim,your quote here
"rather than than its exponents choosing what is best for it" really? what you in fact should have said for accuracy sake, is this" when a few exponents who happen to organise irish singers clubs decide what is best for the future of it".
in my opinion, there is a similarity between CCE and some organisers of IRISH SINGERS CLUBS.CCE had/have rules about perfomance of harmony with irish traditional songs. Irish singers clubs have rules about accompaniment with irish tradtional songs.
you have in the past used Brendan Breathnachs quote about CCE "an organisation with a great future behind it"   
When traditional music stops evolving then it has no future.
The fact is that if Margaret Barry AND Pecker Dunn were alive today and turned up at most irish singers clubs, these tradtional singers would not be allowed to perform with accompaniment.
Margeret and Pecker would undoubtedly have choice words to say to those people running the clubs many of whom are not traditional singers but singers of tradtional songs, or on occasions singers of recently written songs written in a particular "traditional style"


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Subject: RE: Writing a folk standard
From: Jack Campin
Date: 06 Nov 16 - 08:26 AM

[versified poppy-fascist clichés]

If you don't have any positive comments on this post just keep them to yourself, it is about writing a song. And if good enough; a standard.

A song committed to a specific political agenda will only last as long as you can find singers and an audience who can tolerate that agenda. Try doing "Croppies Lie Down" in a folk club.


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Subject: RE: Writing a folk standard
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 06 Nov 16 - 08:42 AM

"when a few exponents who happen to organise irish singers clubs decide what is best for the future of it"
They don't decide anything of the sort Dick - they make a policy for their own clubs - you are a lone outsider banging on the door demanding to be let in.
There is no widespread demand for instrumentation in what few Irish clubs there are.
Th singing Circles accept accompanists willingly - what is noticeable is how few there are - certainly in the ones I've attended.
Your "Pecker Dunn/Margaret Barry argument is both stupid and dishonest.
Both were regular and welcome guests at Traditional Clubs and would be today for what they were - Street Singers who were not representative of the mainstream tradition and greatly valued for what they represented.
Please do not attempt to smear those who are working hard to put Irish singing back on its feet by misrepresenting what they are doing.
If great artists like Christie Moore respect their efforts, I'm sure lesser ones like yourself might make the effort to understand what is happening.
The present healthy and promising situation has evolved naturally without rules - it doesn't need an English folkie to turn it int he train-wreck that the English revival has become.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Writing a folk standard
From: Will Fly
Date: 06 Nov 16 - 09:41 AM

Jim, I don't have any problem with you liking what you like, and I can respect the reasons that you give for liking it - I may not agree with them, but I can understand them. I personally think that you're pulling up a drawbridge around the music and being rigid about what and what isn't acceptable - but that's your choice and fair enough.

What I dislike is the lashing out about other music with remarks like "the train-wreck that the English revival has become". With respect, you demonstrate that you don't now have the faintest idea what happens in folk clubs and sessions over here. I can go out several times in a week and hear traditional music from England - tunes in particular - or, if I so wish, music from other cultures. At our monthly Ditchling session last Sunday - for example - we had a lovely selection of traditional English tunes being played by many musicians of all ages. Interspersed with those were some great Swedish tunes and some modern tunes firmly in the traditional style. We had a number of very talented players, and even a few songs both traditional and non-traditional for variety. Another satisfying evening of wonderful music - so don't be so dogmatic in passing judgement on what you don't know.

I have no interest whatsoever in travellers' songs and background, but I never remark on that lack of interest here in deference to those people - like yourself - who do. A little less acid makes the forum a more pleasant place to be.


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Subject: RE: Writing a folk standard
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 06 Nov 16 - 12:05 PM

"Jim, I don't have any problem with you liking what you like,"
Can't say I'm not disappointed in your reducing this to "line and dislike" Will - not usually your style.
I've laid out as clearly and articulately as I can, over and over again what believe folk music to be - maybe not up to your standard, but there you go!
I have yet to have even the vaguest hint of a definition which either expands that to include the pop repertoire or the stuff Hollywood musicals are made of.
When we left Britain we didn't move to The Moon, and even if we had, we still could have charted the path that he revival in Britain has taken as long as we could have received a strong enough signal.
I stopped being a regular visitor when it became near impossible to choose the music you wished to hear at a folk club - not in terms of quality, but type.
Nothing I have seen or heard since has persuaded me that this has changed other than for the worse - arguments such as this one have confirmed that this is not just complacency, but a deliberate misuse of the term.
I am a regular visitor to Britain - forays into today's "folk" clubs have proved a disaster - no folk songs to speak of, standards that would not have been acceptable a couple of decades ago and a sadly apparent lack of commitment - all accompanied by the rustling of crib-sheets, the glow of mobile phones being used as hymn sheets and this appalling British practice-come-obsession of people singing along with solo performances.
I have no doubt that there oases of comfort to be had in all this, but I have yet to experience many - but there again, my experiences have been confined to cities that once throbbed with weekly good and indifferent folk clubs.
Others on this forum have confirmed that I am alone in my views
What seems to have happened is that the old objective seems not to have changed but to have been torn up by the roots and replaced by an alien growth - whether you "like" the new one or not is immaterial - it doesn't change the importance of 'folk song proper' as I have outlined it.
If you don't agree with my analysis - fine - we have a basis of discussion, but I would happily do without the straw men.
Yours respectfully
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Writing a folk standard
From: The Sandman
Date: 06 Nov 16 - 12:38 PM

"They don't decide anything of the sort Dick - they make a policy for their own clubs - you are a lone outsider banging on the door demanding to be let in."
I am not a lone outsider, I do sing and have been booked at singers clubs and I sing unaccompanied.
I am afraid they do effectively decide, they impose rules in their clubs, these rules would prevent margaret barry and pecker dunn from using accompaniment, if you have a rule it has to apply to everybody, so if Barry and Dunne turned up they would be prevented from using accompaniment.
There are not many singers clubs in Ireland, AND WHAT IS NOT KNOWN IS HOW MANY PEOPLE CHOOSE NOT TO ATTEND BECAUSE OF THE NO INSTRUMENT POLICY.


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Subject: RE: Writing a folk standard
From: Will Fly
Date: 06 Nov 16 - 12:58 PM

Jim - actually I'm not quibbling with your definition of folk music, as it happens. What I'm taking against is your constant and predictable comments on the state of the music in England. Now, I can't speak for the whole of England any more than you can, but my experience of the traditional music scene is different from yours. You seem to concentrate - as ever - on folk song, and ignore the actual music. Tunes and songs form the whole. You appear to gloss over the example I detailed in my last post. Let me detail a little more. Here is the programme for the fag end of 2016 for one club in my area:

NOV 12 FRANKIE ARMSTRONG
Stirring, evocative, humorous & moving ballads, rural, industrial, music hall & modern songs.

FRANKIE ARMSTRONG NATURAL VOICE WORKSHOP
Sunday 13 November 10.45 a.m. - 4.45 p.m. Places £35 (£17 for two under 25-year-olds)
At the Royal Oak, Station Street, Lewes BN7 2DA
Frankie has worked with Louis Killen, Ewan McColl, Bert Lloyd, Peggy Seeger & Sandra Kerr & is a superb solo performer. She's a pioneer of natural voice techniques. Enjoyable & relaxing exercises, improvisations & songs will help release the voice. Music reading not necessary.

NOV 19 COPPER FAMILY
Songs in harmony from the family's own tradition sung by members of two generations. As Sussex as the Downs, flint walls, Bonfire & Harveys Best.

NOV 26 PETA WEBB & KEN HALL
Peta & Ken sing Irish, English, US & music hall songs in beautiful, charming harmony.


DEC 3 TOM PALEY & BEN PALEY
Tom sings & plays banjo, guitar & fiddle. Ben plays fiddle. Tom has played with Woody Guthrie, Mike Seeger, Leadbelly & the New Lost City Ramblers & has played a huge part in reviving US old-time & vintage music.

BEN PALEY FIDDLE WORKSHOP10.45 a.m. - 4.45 p.m. Places £35 (£17 for two under 25-year-olds)
Ben is a natural & scintillating musician who's played the fiddle music of the USA, Sweden & Ireland since he was six. He tours widely with his father Tom, The Long Hill Ramblers, The New Deal String Band, & Sarah Grey & Kieron Means. The workshop will use tunes from Ireland, USA & Sweden to explore techniques.


A good mixture of entertainment and educational workshops by experts in their field.

Now, as far as sessions go, there are several every day of the week in Kent, Surrey and Sussex... English tunes, Irish tunes, beginners' workshops, song-only sessions - around 45 of them in one listing alone. This is not pie in the sky - it's real traditional music by people who love it. If you haven't encountered this, it's your loss. You don't even have to "like" it - but you can't deny it exists. As I say, I can't speak for the rest of the country, but I could be out every evening of the week if I so choose, to play and listen to a huge selection of traditional music. As far as cities are concerned, I get out to one or two now and then. Sheffield and Manchester spring to mind, and I have memories of hearing and joining in with wonderful and wild sessions in both these places. I was in Exeter recently - great music in the West Country if you look.

I wouldn't deny for one minute that there are some clubs and singarounds where the crib sheets and mobile phones appear - and I avoid those places like the plague - but there's a lot more of the other sort. I'm afraid that if this doesn't impinge on your consciousness, then we shall have, courteously I hope, beg to differ.


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Subject: RE: Writing a folk standard
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 06 Nov 16 - 12:58 PM

Sorry Dick - can't deal with this distorted picture you are presenting
I have described how The Pecker and Maggie Barry werre both regarded - if you believe I am telling lies we really shouldn't be talking to each other - it really will all end in tears.
You haven't even started to make your case for accompaniment in Irish clubs and while you continue to distort their position, you never shall.
You cannot, as a performer, impose your own tastes on clubs - you either meet their requirements in what you do and how you do it or you don't get booked - that is not "restrictive", it is policy.
All musical genres have objectives and standards; that goes for any type of music you care to name, not just folk.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Writing a folk standard
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 06 Nov 16 - 01:11 PM

Do you think that discouraging the use of a synthesizer a three piece chamber quartet or a bodhran as an accompaniment - is "restrictive" Dick - if not, why not?
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Writing a folk standard
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 06 Nov 16 - 01:13 PM

Or how about a euphonium or a trombone?
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Writing a folk standard
From: Jack Campin
Date: 06 Nov 16 - 01:43 PM

Rory McLeod on playing a trombone at sessions:

http://www.rorymcleod.com/diaries/shetlands.htm

He turned up at a session where I was one of the regulars. Nice guy and added life and interest, despite not being particularly stellar on it. The main problem was the amount of space he needed in a crowded pub. As he says here, he found himself welcomed in Ireland - not everybody over there gets all UKIP about people playing the music differently.

I heard Patsy Seddon and Mary MacMaster (harps and voices) doing a gig with laptop accompaniment once - Scots and Gaelic traditional songs. It worked fine. Someday you'll be able to learn styles of laptop backing for traditional music in a systematic way, and the result will make people happy.


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Subject: RE: Writing a folk standard
From: Andy7
Date: 06 Nov 16 - 01:55 PM

Okay, to help newcomers to this thread, here are my answers to some of the questions posed within.

Q. What does 'folk music' mean?
A. It means many different things to many different people. Some believe that the term should be used only for traditional songs written by unknown authors, as originally intended. Others believe that the meaning of words changes organically, and that it's acceptable for 'folk music' to have a wider meaning now.

Q. Are some folk clubs restrictive in the kind of music they allow? And what kind of accompaniment, if any?
A. Yes. If there were no restrictions, they wouldn't be folk clubs, they'd be open mike nights.

Q. Should traditional Irish songs ever be accompanied?
A. Some think yes, some think no. Just different opinions.

Q. Is the English folk revival going down the pan?
A: No.

Q. Is it possible deliberately to write a folk club 'standard'?
A. Aha! You'll have to wait for the answer to that one! :-)


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Subject: RE: Writing a folk standard
From: Mr Red
Date: 06 Nov 16 - 02:11 PM

political agenda would someone define this before we get on to the easier task of defining what Folk is?


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Subject: RE: Writing a folk standard
From: The Sandman
Date: 06 Nov 16 - 02:26 PM

"Sorry Dick - can't deal with this distorted picture you are presenting
"I have described how The Pecker and Maggie Barry werre both regarded - if you believe I am telling lies we really shouldn't be talking to each other - it really will all end in tears."
I am not distorting the picture, Irish singers clubs have rules which prevent song accompaniment, if The Pecker or Margaret Barry, turned up at an Irish Singers Club[ IN 2016] not way back in the past. but in 2016, they would presumably have to abide by irish singers club rules .no accompaniment
So traditional singers in 2016 would be prevented from accompanying songs by organisers who are singers of traditional songs, or are you saying that because they are renowned and famous, exceptions would be made?
it is not a question of regard, it is a question of a rule that apparantly applies to all singers within that club.


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Subject: RE: Writing a folk standard
From: GUEST,LynnH
Date: 06 Nov 16 - 02:43 PM

I seriously doubt that there is such a thing as "a folk standard". Songs come, songs go,for a while they can be heard everywhere then they are replaced by a new batch of 'must be sung' songs - and so it goes on. Some merge into the wealth of known songs, often becoming erroneously referred to as 'trad', other remain inseparably bound up with their creator.


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Subject: RE: Writing a folk standard
From: Jack Campin
Date: 06 Nov 16 - 06:47 PM

More voice and trombone (four of them). Schütz's "Fili mi, Absalon" is in no way folk but it's one most haunting laments of all time, implicitly a comment on the slaughter of the Thirty Years War (in which much of Europe went through what Libya, Iraq and Syria are going through now). Several performances on YouTube, scores on IMSLP and CPDL - get to know it if you don't already. If there was a visiting group capable of playing it, would any folk club tell them to go away? I hope not.


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Subject: RE: Writing a folk standard
From: mg
Date: 07 Nov 16 - 02:37 AM

I agree totally with the sentiment but doubt it would become a standard. The first verse is not melodic to the ear. Last one you added I would substitute the line about sartorial for something else. I would fill in the blanks and rearrange things.

I am a loving memory,
Of a father or a son,
A permanent reminder
Of each and every one.

I'm paper or enamel
I'm old or shining new,
I'm a way of saying thank you,
To every one ---

I am not a badge of honour,
I am not a racist smear,
---
---

I am not ----
Of conflict or of war.
I am not a paper ornament
Or a token I am more.


I am a humble poppy
A Reminder to you all,
That courage faith and honour,
Will stand where heroes fall.


Just a simple red reminder
-----
The hope of generations
That they gave to gain a peace.


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Subject: RE: Writing a folk standard
From: GUEST,Some bloke
Date: 07 Nov 16 - 04:56 AM

Ok, we need a new standard and to see if it can be heard in folk clubs a few years hence.

I'll give it a first verse starter, those of a more eloquent style can chip in.

"Was it written on parchment in days of yore
Or was it just Tin Pan Alley pop hits?
Was it sung by four girls in leotards and glitter
Or a old bloke with trousers up to his tits?"

If you sing it unaccompanied, you can mangle the lines to scan.

The OP of course meant folk club. 99.999% of people realise the term folk is a broader definition than any committee of self appointed hobbyists could ever muster from their narrow experience, especially as the musical genre hadn't really kicked off in popular c20 culture by that point.

PFRis right when he mentions shunned instruments. Cecil Sharpe would have been bemused by the use of melodeon in Morris.

We had a bloke who used to come to a local club to play tunes on his squeeze box (I enjoyed that bit) and to have a pop, loudly and opinionated at anything that didn't fit in his mind box.

Salvation was when he said he would stop coming if anyone played electric. Four people independently of each other brought amps the following week (yours truly played a few jigs & reels on an electric mandolin in a poor attempt to inject irony) and sadly musically but thankfully in terms of the people coming back who he had insulted, the old bugger hasn't been seen or heard since.

Folk clubs can and do thrive. So logically, standards not yet written will carry that mantle in years to come. Yes, I can get nostalgic for older formats and attendances but I have no time whatsoever for fools who claim to know everything but decry what they admit they don't even go to and haven't for many years.


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Subject: RE: Writing a folk standard
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 07 Nov 16 - 05:13 AM

"it is not a question of regard, it is a question of a rule "
It is neither a rule, nor is is restrictive Dick, and it is extremely dishonest of you to claim otherwise.
Those who run music venues here do so for local singers - in general, people who turn up with instruments are as welcome as those who don't - as I said, it is extremely noticeable that very few do.
The few clubs who operate an unaccompanied policy do so in order to promote the style of singing that they learned from the older generation - up to fairly recently there were still a significant number of them around.
There has been a huge revival of interest in Irish language singing here over the last decade or so - solo singing that does not, by its very nature, lend itself to accompaniment.
That is the judgement of the organisers of these clubs and I respect that - it is extremely arrogant of you not to.
Personally, I have always been happy with accompanied singing - when sensitively done - in my opinion, nowadays, on the British scene, you can count the number of 'sensitive' accompanists' on two hands and be left with fingers over - far too often extremely skilful musicians dominate the songs with their skill and draw attention away from the lyrics - that has all too often been my experience.
Irish instrumental music is guaranteed a future, not because I.T.M.A. and the Willie Clancy Summer School rushed to put bums on seats - instead, they built a firm foundation on which the music could first survive - and then flourish.
Now - all the thousands of youngsters who have taken it up can do what they wish with their new-found skills - they can experiment away with it knowing that there is a firm base of tradition they can return to should they wish to do so - and there is a ground floor though which any newcomer can enter and make up his or her own mind which road to take.
That has to happen with Irish singing if it is to have a future
In my experience, experimentation damaged Folk Music in Britain because no foundation for the real thing was ever really established.
You forget your place Dick - you are a guest of this country, just as I am - it is not our place to tell Irish people how to run their clubs.
If there is a groundswell towards accompanied singing it should happen without our interference - it smacks of old British Colonialism for people like you to demand it without it happening naturally.
"Q. What does 'folk music' mean?"
Basically, it means music that has probably been created by and passed through the fingers and the mouths of large numbers of people - 'communities' has been accepted by them as their own, has been remade, adapted and added to over a long period of time, of te centuries, and had become theirs by right and practice.   
That is how it had been researched over a century, has been documented and defined - until it is re-defined and accepted, that is how it will remain.
If it means other things to other people, then we need to know what those things are and be able to discuss and agree upon those 'other meanings' if we are going to be able to communicate with one another.
These arguments become more and more like the BLIND MEN and the ELEPHANT
The rest of your points are very much open to debate Andy - long may that continue to happen - without rancour   
"More voice and trombone"
We are talking about English language tradition Jack, which is overwhenlmingly word-based and narrative and which requires its own nattarive voice if it is to work as narrative communication.
That is not necessarily the case with other traditions - Canto Hondo - which still knocks me out of my socks when I hear it well performed - is a mixture of the two, with each aspect sharing the attention of the listener separately - Middle Eastern Music is pretty much the same and, for what it's worth, has the same effect on me.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Writing a folk standard
From: GUEST,Some other bloke
Date: 07 Nov 16 - 05:18 AM

I've lost the will to live!


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Subject: RE: Writing a folk standard
From: The Sandman
Date: 07 Nov 16 - 05:38 AM

I am not telling anybody how to run anything. I am stating facts, the irish singers club rules are restrictive [fact].
I GET BOOKED AT IRISH SINGERS CLUBS AND PERFORM UNACCOMPANIED, how is that lacking respect?
As for your statement about being a guest of the country?
Jim, I pay tax the same as any Irish person, I believe that entitles me to an opinion, your argument would mean that irish people living in England are not entitled to comment on English folk clubs, I think that would be construed is a racist comment.
My comment is an honest comment.I AM TELLING IT HOW IT IS
JIM , WILL YOU PLEASE STOP TRYING TO ALTER MY WORDS.


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Subject: RE: Writing a folk standard
From: GUEST,Sol
Date: 07 Nov 16 - 05:48 AM

Instead of calling it "Folk Music", let's just refer to it as "Elephant Music".
Sorted.


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Subject: RE: Writing a folk standard
From: Jack Campin
Date: 07 Nov 16 - 06:16 AM

Attempting to pull something relevant to the question out of the clouds of smoke: when does the choice of accompaniment make a song more successful?

The obvious example (which I owe to somebody here whose identity I forget) is The House of the Rising Sun, which hardly anybody knew when it was just sung solo, didn't go anywhere fast with Leadbelly's original chording, but took off as a major hit with the Animals' re-harmonization.

Not sure what the corresponding British examples would be. Lloyd's concertina-accompanied songs work brilliantly but they're too hard to play to ever be folk club standards. Ditto for Jim Eldon's fiddle accompaniment of his own voice - there's a very long history of that, from the iconographic evidence, but it's like rubbing your belly and the top of your head in opposite directions to do it, and the resulting sound is too idiosyncratic (given contemporary expectations) to be taken as the normal way to perform. Dido's My Love Has Gone is often sung in folk singarounds (fair enough - it's sort of a rewrite of Fear A Bhata) but unaccompanied - the drony backing her producer used didn't contribute very much. So, where is the British Isles song where a guitarist does something essential and unforgettable?

The last time I heard something in a pub session which had a distinctive backing in the original which had been retained was when there happened to be a bass available and one of the bar staff knew Peggy Lee's Fever.


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Subject: RE: Writing a folk standard
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 07 Nov 16 - 06:20 AM

"I am not telling anybody how to run anything."
That is exactly what you are doing Dick
It Irish singers wifh to take up instrumentation of their own volition they are quite capable of doing so without your bullying.
The fact that clubs here book you is their choice - a matter of taste, I suppose - 'à chacun son goût' as the French say.
You are entitled to your opinion as I am mine - I am telling you as it is - you are attempting to change how it is, for your own benefit.
There is no groundswell of change back to instrumentation - or the Aran Island sweaters (been there, done that - got the exodus of audiences to prove that).
Leave it out Dick - I think we've both said all we have to say to each other.
"I've lost the will to live!"
Know the feeling - I've always found that a healthy dose of honest, thoughtful debate works wonders - beats cupboard-full of Philosan any day!
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Writing a folk standard
From: The Sandman
Date: 07 Nov 16 - 06:57 AM

To have a different opinion is not bullying.
I am stating how it is, not attempting to change anything.
I quite happily go and do an evening unaccompanied [less instruments to carry about] and giving the customers what they want, I also find it a challenge, because a different approach to the song is required.
THE FACT IS THE RULES IN IRISH SNGERS CLUBS ARE RESTRICTIVE,They prevent accompaniment, whether that is good or bad is debatable, and is not what I am trying to discuss, PLEASE PAY CAREFUL ATTENTION JIM
restrictions, prevent certain kind of development, whether that is good or bad is the subject for a different discussion, neither do we know how many people do not turn up because of the restrictiveness.
"Lloyd's concertina-accompanied songs work brilliantly but they're too hard to play to ever be folk club standards."
Alf Edwards accompaniments are not difficult, do you play the English Concertina, Jack?I do, and i am telling you they are not technically difficult.


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Subject: RE: Writing a folk standard
From: Tattie Bogle
Date: 07 Nov 16 - 07:12 AM

Andy 7's post on 6th November sums it all up!
Now, job for the day: write a (prize-winning) folk standard to be my entry in songwriting competition this coming Thursday. Accompany or not? Guitar? Melodeon? Bodhran?
Come back in 30 years' time to see if it has become a standard. (However many of us will be up, still arguing, in the great folk club in the skies by then....or it might be an open mike?)


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Subject: RE: Writing a folk standard
From: GUEST,henryp
Date: 07 Nov 16 - 07:15 AM

"Attempting to pull something relevant to the question out of the clouds of smoke: when does the choice of accompaniment make a song more successful?"

What about Paul Brady's version of The Lakes of Pontchartrain - and Arthur McBride too?

Lakes of Pontchartrain


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Subject: RE: Writing a folk standard
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 07 Nov 16 - 07:42 AM

"To have a different opinion is not bullying."
To persist in that opinion over and over again without qualifying it is.
"I am stating how it is, not attempting to change anything. "
]I am explaining why it is why it is and you are ignoring it.
"THE FACT IS THE RULES IN IRISH SNGERS CLUBS ARE RESTRICTIVE"
You ac repeat his as often as you like, but until you respond to the facts and show them to be restrictive, they are no more than your repeated opinion.
They mu#ight be described as "restrictive" if you could provide names and numbers of people they are restricting.
The exclusion of accompaniment took place after it had been tried and found wanting - it isn't as if it had been already a feature of the Irish revival - it just didn't suit the survivors who soldiered on after the Balla Boomers had gone elsewhere.
Dragging it back to do the same damage it had done in the first place would be folk suicide, and to foist it on a disinterested and reluctant clubs would be as RESTRICTIVE as it gets.
I went two Dublin singing nights a couple of months ago -
One was at the Cobblestones, which is exclusively non accompanied - a mixture of mainly young singers who welcome us odies.
The other took place the following night around the corner, in the lounge area of a pub and was made up entirely of young people who had been part of the earlier night - o club - no "rules" just a singaround.
The youngsters sang traditional songs and ballads all night and they all chose to sing them unaccompanied - it was heartwarming to hear so many young singers dipping their toes into the traditional repertoire - it was also heart-warming to har youngsters singing half a dozen Child Ballads in a crowded Dublin Pub.
Don't you dare attempt to to interfere with that wonderful progress in order to get a booking.
Would you care to provide any actual evidence of your claim of "restrictive" - no?
Thought not.
We know how many people walked away from an accompanied scene and we know what those who stayed around wanted - their choice
The music decides whether accompaniment is necessary - not the drive to put bums on seats.
"when does the choice of accompaniment make a song more successful?
"successful" in artistic terms Jack, or whether it will draw in more people?
The voice is the most versatile and accessible of all musical instruments, and it is a worldwide fact that it is quite capable of speaking for itself without outside help.
If instruments can add to its qualities, fine, but it takes a great deal of work for that to happen - I've become tired of hearing the old chestnut that "work spoils enjoyment" so I don't hold much hope for that one in a revival that calls in the pest-control firm whenever it is suggested that standards need improving.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Writing a folk standard
From: GUEST,Some bloke
Date: 07 Nov 16 - 08:00 AM

Still chuckling over sweeping statements that "Irish clubs are restrictive."

There are many folk standards written in Ireland. Granted, whether they were written recently by whoever or are lost in the trad mist of time, you can always find websites stating they were written by Christie Moore or a n other member of The Dubliners.

Tell you what Jim, the voice may well be an unrestrictive musical instrument but the typed words can be somewhat restrictive eh?

I love an audience who will sit hanging on my every word as I describe the history and provenance of a song or tune before I play it but I also accept that most folk music is, as has been for the last sixty years enjoyed by bums on seats who like the noise it makes.

Off yer high horse


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Subject: RE: Writing a folk standard
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 07 Nov 16 - 08:15 AM

"but the typed words can be somewhat restrictive eh?"
As you appear to be demonstrating
More later
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Writing a folk standard
From: The Sandman
Date: 07 Nov 16 - 09:57 AM

The following Irish Singers Clubs that i have been to have a restrictive singing policy, no accompaniment allowed... Cork singers club, Skibbereen singers club.
that is a fact, the only other singers club that I know of the Góilín Traditional Singer's Club, at this moment in time appears to have a more relaxed policy,I understood that it used to have a more rigid policy.
I have never been to that club so of course I WAS TALKING FROM MY OWN EXPERIENCE.


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Subject: RE: Writing a folk standard
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 07 Nov 16 - 11:37 AM

Add the Goilín to that list - and long may it stay there
It chooses to not have accompanied songs - you really need to learn the difference between "restrictive" and "selective" and stop attempting to impose your own selfish agenda on a group of people who have been involved in Irish song as long as we have, have produced a body of work second to none in Ireland - and continue to do so, who are both knowledgeable and talented, who continue to provide a venue for the best of Irish singers and have inspired new talent and deep interest in traditional song.
All of the Singing Circles in Clare have an open policy towards accompaniment, but, as I said, accompaniment here i as rare as rocking-horse shit.
You really do need a humility transplant Dick - your arrogance in telling clubs that they need accompaniment to put bums on seats ranges from big to mammoth-sized.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Writing a folk standard
From: GUEST,Some other bloke
Date: 07 Nov 16 - 12:06 PM

I've died!!!!!!!


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Subject: RE: Writing a folk standard
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 07 Nov 16 - 12:17 PM

"I've died!!!!!!!"
Then stop making a noise and lie down!
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Writing a folk standard
From: punkfolkrocker
Date: 07 Nov 16 - 12:35 PM

Has that elephant poem been set to music,
because it scans perfectly to a 'standard folk melody format'©
and I can easily imagine the likes of any of the Carthy clan performing it very effectively... 😎

.. with or without single instrument or full electric band backing.... 🙄


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Subject: RE: Writing a folk standard
From: Jack Campin
Date: 07 Nov 16 - 12:51 PM

Okay Jim, what would it take to compose a new song that would take off in the no-accompaniment clubs you like, and become part of their standard repertoire?

Has anybody done it in living memory?

Can you give Andy7 any pointers as to how he might go about doing it?


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Subject: RE: Writing a folk standard
From: punkfolkrocker
Date: 07 Nov 16 - 01:14 PM

"See The Elephant"


One positive thing about the yanks.. they seem to have fewer hang ups about what constitutes good modern 'folk' music...???


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Subject: RE: Writing a folk standard
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 07 Nov 16 - 02:05 PM

"Okay Jim, what would it take to compose a new song that would take off in the no-accompaniment clubs you like,"
Can we clear something up Jack - I have no problem with accompaniment - I sang to it for many years and am happy to hear it when it accompanies and does not interfere with the song - all too often not the case.
MacColl insisted on using it for the Singers club because he felt that, with Peggy's skill and sensitivity and the work they put into it, it could add to songs and also ring the changes in an evening's performance - it was always half-and-half with them.
But this isn't about what I like - for me it a balance between my love as a listener and my interest as a researcher into what I believe to be working-class music.
As for Irish music and accompaniment - I've said what I have to say about what I believe to be the attitude of the best of the singing clubs - personally, I tend to agree with them regarding traditional song for the reasons I have stated - I'm not opposed to experimentation and I'm not opposed to the principle of accompaniments, but it needs skill, sensitivity and intelligence not to make a pig's-ear of it - to be honest, I don't believe Dick is the man for the job.
Pat and I spent well over twenty years associating with and listening to Ewan and Peggy, and since Ewan died we have amassed an archive of his work - singing and talking - the bulk of it being the latter - seminars and long soliloquies he used to lapse into following the main body of work at Critics Group meetings (200 tapes worth of the latter).   
This archive will be handed over to the MacColl Family (hopefully later next year) and will be archived with the rest of ur collection when we shuffle of this mortal whatsit - anybody who is interested in any aspect of Ewan and Peggys work is, of course welcome to anything I can pass on to them - not much use to those who didn't like Ewan and not prepared to listen to what he had to say - their loss!!
I believe Ewan to have been among the best of our songwriters writing using folk styles - he was certainly the most prolific.
I've some idea of is views on songwriting and am happy to sum them up for those who will listen but I'm really interested in yet another unpleasant o boring necrophobic grave-dancing fest.
So - there you go - if you're interested - so am I.
If not, our stuff goes to Limerick Uni and the Irish Traditional Music Archive for future generations without inbuilt agendes to make sense of - it will anyway.
My offer remains as it has always been - we have a large archive of traditional song and music accumulated during the 10/15 years life of the London Singers Workshop.
Any traditionally based club which thinks they can use it to assist the development of their club is welcome to a copy - they only have to ask.
One of the things that Pat and I took away from The Critics Group was the desire to share when we have - we caught a nasty dose of that from Ewan and Peg.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Writing a folk standard
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 07 Nov 16 - 02:09 PM

Whooooops""
Should read - " but I'm NOT - DEFINITELY NOT really interested in......."
******* keyboard.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Writing a folk standard
From: Andy7
Date: 07 Nov 16 - 02:31 PM

Btw, when I've written my 'standard', I'm not going to post anything about it on here. I want it to stand or fall on its own merits just from being sung in clubs, with no 'marketing' of any kind!


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Subject: RE: Writing a folk standard
From: GUEST,Some bloke
Date: 07 Nov 16 - 02:33 PM

So it was ok for MaColl and Seeger, not for any cultural or minuted resolution reason but because she can stroke the necks of guitars and banjos. 😅😅😅. The inference being I suppose that it somehow makes her different to the many accomplished musicians playing folk since (and before) it kicked off big time in the '60s.

Interestingly I have just been listening to them on an old compilation of songs from the radio ballads. Good stuff and from a genre perspective, I'd put songs (and arrangements) of the likes of Cabin Boy as light operatic whilst Battle is Done With is pure jazz.

Yet of course, both folk, both played in folk clubs.

Oh, even the living tradition works. The only time I ever really recall hearing The Fitters Song prior to learning it as a teenager was the MacColl BBC rendition. Yet that album today, I notice I have inadvertently altered the words (he sings mend a broken tread whereas I seem to have altered it to tap a broken thread.) He often said that his songs are offered to the living tradition and if the songs evolve, that's good. I even have a tape of him saying it in an interview in January 1985 after a gig in Kiveton.

It's right and proper that MacColl pops up as he was the archetypal writer of folk standards. Hearing what he said on the subject in later years is more pertinent to this thread than his earlier thoughts before folk took off in a way his mates could never imagine.


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Subject: RE: Writing a folk standard
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 07 Nov 16 - 04:00 PM

"So it was ok for MaColl and Seeger"
No - it was and is good for anybody when it appropriate.
Stop twisting what I have aid half a dozen times.
Still waiting for a definition unless you are suggesting "anything that's played at a folk club" - surely nobody's that thick!
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Writing a folk standard
From: Norfolk Sky
Date: 07 Nov 16 - 08:01 PM

It shouldn't be about ego, because once your song in the folk tradition (different things to different people) is out there, anything can happen to it. It has a life of its own. All you can do as the author is to give it a good send off - people will probably forget you in favour of the person that sings it best.

I have a 'folkie' song that hasn't, to my knowledge, been sung by other artists but gets enthusiastically sung along with when I do it in local pubs and folk clubs.

I do think that the writer is often not the person best placed to sing it though.


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Subject: RE: Writing a folk standard
From: Jack Campin
Date: 07 Nov 16 - 08:57 PM

Do you think that discouraging the use of a synthesizer a three piece chamber quartet or a bodhran as an accompaniment - is "restrictive"

There is a local singer-percussionist who makes a setpiece out of MacColl's "The Tunnel Tigers" (he's one of the very few people I know of who still performs any of MacColl's songs in Scotland). He uses a bodhran for accompaniment, in a spectacular and technically sophisticated style where it emulates the rhythms of a tunnelling machine. I can't imagine anybody finding it inappropriate.

Bodhran accompaniment is common in Scotland for the more militaristic Jacobite songs (like "The Highland Muster Roll"). Which makes a cruder statement with far less originality, but it fits. It's been an accepted way to do those songs for decades.


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Subject: RE: Writing a folk standard
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 07 Nov 16 - 10:29 PM

To talk about "the folk tradition" is a bit of a nonsense, as if there was one single folk tradition. It's a way of talking that invites the kind of belligerency we get here, the "what is folk" squabbles.

There isn't one tradition, there's a host of them in every corner of the globe. Some are living, some are fossilized, some are rigid, some are the reverse. There is a kind of communality between them - if you're in an unfamiliar place and you come across some traditional music, you're likely to be fascinated by it even if it's totally remote.

But stuff like what kind of instruments it's played on, or not, and whether the words and tunes are ancient and no one knows who made them, or made yesterday or on the spot, that's all depending on how that particular tradition works, and it varies in so many ways.

There's always a tension and a potential conflict between the need to draw lines, and protect the particular quality of a tradition, and the benefit that can come from being open to other traditions. Both are important, but the conflict and tension are always there. Some people will rightly focus on one side or the other. Both are needed. Blending everything together makes for mush. Different traditions do best to live alongside each other, rather than merging, much of the time.
........
To get back to the original point, the only thing I'm certain of is that no one can sit down and write a "folk standard". What you can do is make up songs, and maybe on occasion you'll find that some song you've made gets asked for, or you sing it somewhere and someone asks "was it you wrote that", or you find someone you've never met singing it. But there's no way to know why it's that song, and not others, not even others you might think are better songs.


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Subject: RE: Writing a folk standard
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 08 Nov 16 - 05:20 AM

"There is a local singer-percussionist who makes a setpiece out of MacColl's"
There's little point of throwing up examples of who has done what to which Jack - George Butterworth took a fine English ballad and turned it into something else - so do Delius - and Vaughan Williams, and Kodaly, and Bartok....
All that is doing is using something in order to produce something else, there's nothing wrong with experimentation. if that's what you are implying..
Tunnel Tigers isn't a folk songs - the author always insisted on that about everything he wrote.
We are not an inch nearer your telling me what folk song has become
"To talk about "the folk tradition" is a bit of a nonsense,"
Not really Mac - whatever form traditions take, there is general agreement as to what it is, what made it as it was, where it came from and where it (probably) originated.
Living traditions evolve - dead ones don't, but they can be used to serve the purpose they once did - that was what the Folk Revival was about.
That is not what is being argued for here.
Changing the meaning of the product and discarding the old model doesn't work with folk song or music - especially if you can't explain the changes.
I believe MacColl to have been the best songwriter the revival produced, not because his songs were the ones that turned me on, but because he respected and understood the tradition and used it to create new pieces.
The best and most resilient of his pieces were those taken directly from the mouths of working people; Shoals of Herring (Sam Larner and Ronnie Balls), Freeborn Man (Minty Smith, Gordon Boswell, Belle Stewart and others), Shellback (Ben Bright), Tenant Farmer (a group of Scots Border farmers he met at a Hogmanay Party), The Big Hewer (Jack Elliot ad other miners)...... plenty more examples   
The Radio Ballads were groundbreaking creations that changed how working people were regarded by the media.
All of these creations throbbed with the language and vernacular of the working people before today's "progress" destroyed it with innovations like 'Estuary English'.
We learn from our past and use what we learn to go on expressing ourselves as human beings - no sensible person shows the contempt some have her for past creations because they prefer other forms and decide their new forms are "folk".
It really doesn't work like that.
MacColl once said during a period of depression that the thing that would destroy folk song would be for it to fall into the hands of people who neither respected it nor understood it.
That appears to be what has happened on the British folk scene - it will be terminal if those who don't feel like that don't do something about it
Let's hope that the Irish youngsters coming to the music make a better fist of it than we did
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Writing a folk standard
From: Jack Campin
Date: 08 Nov 16 - 05:45 AM

Tunnel Tigers isn't a folk song - the author always insisted on that about everything he wrote.

No, but it is a "standard" of the kind Andy7 was asking about. So the ways you might perform it are relevant to his question. "What is folk?" grandstanding isn't, and there are many other more appropriate threads on this forum you could tack your manifesto on to.


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Subject: RE: Writing a folk standard
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 08 Nov 16 - 05:49 AM

"No, but it is a "standard" of the kind Andy7 "
You've missed out the "folk" bit that was requested in the title Jack
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Writing a folk standard
From: GUEST,Some bloke
Date: 08 Nov 16 - 05:59 AM

I doubt Vaughan Wliiams et al turned traditional ballads into anything other than traditional ballads. Their crime according to Jim is that they didn't wear their trousers up to their tits or claim to have learned them at their mother's knee. Arrangements are presentation.

The pity is, Jim's lifetime of valuable work in a particular field of folk music isn't well served by his comical dismissal of western folk music in general on the basis he wants to reserve the word folk for a narrow genre that has merged successfully with other styles fairly successfully everywhere apart from in his head.

Mind you, he always gives good entertainment and that can't be a bad thing. A pity his act gate crashes serious threads starting with genuine questions or propositions but there you go. There's a thread about under exposed artistes doing the rounds and he starts chirping about people who have been dead years and never in a million years were they "under exposed." Both MacColl and Pardon enjoyed being well known in their field.

Writing a folk standard. Beauty is as ever in the ear of the beholder. I heard a song again last night that a good friend wrote and it is still in my head this morning. I might ask him for the words. This is how it starts....


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Subject: RE: Writing a folk standard
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 08 Nov 16 - 06:34 AM

Read what Jim wrote, bloke, don't read into it what you choose to think he wrote. He didn't talk about what Vaughan Williams or Delius did using folk songs as "their crime". They used folk materials to create something very different from a fok song. In no way is the result a folk song, any more than a wooden table is a tree.

And Vaughan Williams would of course have roarred with laughter at anyone making that mistake, especially as he so loved and valued folk song and did si much for it.

There are particular features of the folk traditions that do set them part from other categories of music. They need to be respected and cherished.


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Subject: RE: Writing a folk standard
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 08 Nov 16 - 06:26 AM

"Read what Jim wrote, bloke, don't read into it what you choose to think he wrote. "
Waste of time Mac - guy has never produced an honest argument whatever persona he chooses o troll in
He's not even bright enough to hide his identity - no prizes for identifying him - he's just told us " trousers up to their tits".
Next stop - "I don't like Mondays"
Anybody here old enough to remember Lobby Ludd?
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Writing a folk standard
From: Jack Campin
Date: 08 Nov 16 - 06:50 AM

No, but it is a "standard" of the kind Andy7 was asking about
You've missed out the "folk" bit that was requested in the title Jack


Andy made it perfectly clear what he meant and you're deliberately twisting his intention.


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Subject: RE: Writing a folk standard
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 08 Nov 16 - 07:16 AM

"Andy made it perfectly clear what he meant and you're deliberately twisting his intention."
No I'm not Jack - if misunderstood, enough people here took him took him to mean what I believe he meant and went on to defend the non-meaning of the term "folk"
We really do need to settle this question - hopefully without the mud-slinging.
Then maybe subjects like 'definition' will stop being no-go areas.
I have become increasingly sickened by the unpleasantness and dishonesty that surrounds this topic - even from people I otherwise respect.
The return of Muskett and his hydrophobic hatred of folk song and source singers (albeit in yet another persona) hasn't helped
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Writing a folk standard
From: The Sandman
Date: 08 Nov 16 - 07:29 AM

Iwould like to nominate JOHN OF DREAMS, It uses a tradtional tune and in my opinion has a good set of lyrics.
JimCarroll quote,
"You really do need a humility transplant Dick - your arrogance in telling clubs that they need accompaniment to put bums on seats ranges from big to mammoth-sized."
provide an example of where i have said that, your dishonest ,and a mischief maker liar,these are things you can do something aboutIaccept that you can do nothing about being of small stature, but please try and improve your intellectual stature by being honest. you intellectual dishonesty makes you look like a cerebral pipsqueak


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Subject: RE: Writing a folk standard
From: GUEST,henryp
Date: 08 Nov 16 - 08:08 AM

John Tams has an enviable catalogue.

I would like to put forward Rolling Home.


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Subject: RE: Writing a folk standard
From: GUEST,Ian Mather
Date: 08 Nov 16 - 09:26 AM

Musket doesn't have a hatred of folk music Jim. Or at least I don't and the other two Muskets haven't exactly indicated that way. In fact, none of us refuse to go to folk clubs and prattle on about folk being dead, as you do. We all go to folk nights in our respective necks of the woods and enjoy the huge revival and exciting young talent out there, possibly writing tomorrow's folk standards. You are the one who criticises bloody good music.

Stop telling lies, eh?

Oh and stop ruining decent threads with your verging on the fanatical crap regarding folk music. You don't know and I don't know what it is, because it is a subjective term to denote a musical genre of various types of music. Logically everything is folk but we have to trim it down so if it isn't too left field when performed by people in pubs, that's not a bad start. If some of those songs are a couple of hundred years old, we are getting there.

Kevin. I disagree. They are still folk songs after Vaughan Williams arranged them. Your logic would dictate that me singing The White Cockade slowly with a Celtic styled DADGAD guitar is a folk song but a couple I know who sing it as an up tempo unaccompanied chorus song isn't? Or vice Versa?

The arrangement changes nothing. Thin Lizzy sang a traditional folk song called Whiskey in the Jar, which is and remains a folk song whether the late Phil Lynott was screaming it or Jim mumbling it through his waistband.


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Subject: RE: Writing a folk standard
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 08 Nov 16 - 09:34 AM

Tchaikovsky isn't really "traditional", Schweik. The tune used by Bill Caddock might have been a tune Tchaikovsky picked up which might have been traditional, but no one knows that.

For what it matters - anyway I tend to think that any good tune must have been used before in some variant.


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Subject: RE: Writing a folk standard
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 08 Nov 16 - 09:48 AM

"Musket doesn't have a hatred of folk music Jim. "
Yes he does - or he pretends to in order to destroy discussion - or shock, as a child does - "tit-trousers = Walter Pardon ot Harry Cox - what more proof do you need for your behavior Muskie?
Your schizophrenic identity crisis has destroyed more threads than I could ever hope to.
"Thin Lizzy sang a traditional folk song called Whiskey in the Jar"
And Vaughan Williams used a Norfolk Sea song to compose a rhapsody - what's your point?
Manners of performance have nothing to do with definition - origin and process does.
Are you really trying to rehabilitate yourself after your long ter abusive behaviour?
Bit late, I'd say
Like with folk song - you can'r rewrite history
Grow up - you are not even amusing
jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Writing a folk standard
From: GUEST
Date: 08 Nov 16 - 10:44 AM

To clarify what I meant - yes, I meant a 'folk style' standard that would be sung, and welcomed, in folk clubs. Not a 'heavy metal' standard or an 'operatic aria' standard.

And by 'folk clubs', I mean the kind of club that welcomes a variety of styles and genres, including new compositions.

And obviously not a 'traditional folk' standard either, because talented and clever though I believe myself to be, it's a little beyond me to travel back in time 250 years and write an anonymous song! :-)


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Subject: RE: Writing a folk standard
From: GUEST
Date: 08 Nov 16 - 10:45 AM

Oops, clever maybe, but not clever enough to sign in! The above was from me, Andy7.


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Subject: RE: Writing a folk standard
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 08 Nov 16 - 11:15 AM

"I meant a 'folk style' "
Fine Andy - I accept that and have set out how I believe Ewan went about it - it's not by any means the only way but it seems to me a convincing use of the vernacular holds the key to an approach.
It's ironic that one of his finest songs is a mixture if a Sicilian tune, personal retrospection and Shakespearean references (chicks = Macbeth).
Forcing both the style and the language leads almost inevitably to pastiche - listening to how the subjects of your songs express themselves can help avoid this.
One of the distinguishing features of traditional song is that the people in them invariably have names and identities - quite often occupations.
Anonymity comes with your song taking on an identity of its own, as have a number of MacColl's; particularly among Travellers.
All the Traveller and West Clare songs we recorded were anonymous, even though most had been made within the lifetimes of the singers.
In the case of the Travellers, some of them were less than a decade old, yet the singers referred to them as "old songs" - a reference to type rather than age.
Anonymity isn't a defining feature - it's just commonplace to most folk songs.
Your aim should be to write a good song - I find the folk forms adaptable enough for that purpose, but they are bn no means the only ones.   
Many of MacColl's good songs didn't follow any identifiable style - he used jazz for his John Axon songs ans some of his 'Festival of Fools' (and one of his 'Singing the Fishing' compositions was based on Gilbert and Sullivan.
G'luck with your writing
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Writing a folk standard
From: GUEST
Date: 08 Nov 16 - 11:42 AM

Thanks, Jim.

Andy7


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Subject: RE: Writing a folk standard
From: The Sandman
Date: 08 Nov 16 - 01:25 PM

McGrath, BillCaddick claims it is a trad tune that the composer used , go and discuss it with him


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Subject: RE: Writing a folk standard
From: Jack Campin
Date: 08 Nov 16 - 02:02 PM

Nobody else seems to have thought it was anything other than an original tune. If he said different Caddick was havering.


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Subject: RE: Writing a folk standard
From: The Sandman
Date: 08 Nov 16 - 02:57 PM

Caddick is from Wolverhampton not Havering, but where he is from has nothing to do with whether it is a traditional tune,here he is
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zlDMBojZbpE so will the smart arse pedants listen to the man himself, it is an italian trad tune


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Subject: RE: Writing a folk standard
From: Andy7
Date: 08 Nov 16 - 04:52 PM

Yes it's a lovely tune, cleverly used by Bill Caddick for his moving words. I think there's nothing wrong with using a traditional folk tune for a new song, as he has (as long as it's good!)

Incidentally - just opinion, I know! - I think that, in the linked video, Bill Caddick pays just a bit too much attention to his clever instrumental work, and not quite enough to singing the song - both in the sound balance, and in the amount of time he looks at the instrument while performing.


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