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Why sing protest songs to each other?

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Andy7 02 Feb 17 - 04:10 AM
Roger the Skiffler 02 Feb 17 - 04:14 AM
Andy7 02 Feb 17 - 04:19 AM
Mo the caller 02 Feb 17 - 04:43 AM
GUEST,Martin Ryan 02 Feb 17 - 04:50 AM
banjoman 02 Feb 17 - 05:11 AM
Doug Chadwick 02 Feb 17 - 05:31 AM
Steve Shaw 02 Feb 17 - 06:10 AM
Will Fly 02 Feb 17 - 06:24 AM
Jim Carroll 02 Feb 17 - 06:35 AM
Steve Shaw 02 Feb 17 - 07:07 AM
Jim Carroll 02 Feb 17 - 07:59 AM
GUEST,Jim Knowledge 02 Feb 17 - 08:35 AM
GUEST 02 Feb 17 - 09:18 AM
Jim Carroll 02 Feb 17 - 09:25 AM
GUEST 02 Feb 17 - 09:38 AM
Steve Shaw 02 Feb 17 - 09:50 AM
Jim Carroll 02 Feb 17 - 09:59 AM
GUEST 02 Feb 17 - 10:00 AM
Jim Carroll 02 Feb 17 - 10:36 AM
GUEST 02 Feb 17 - 10:51 AM
Jim Carroll 02 Feb 17 - 11:04 AM
SPB-Cooperator 02 Feb 17 - 12:25 PM
GUEST,Stephen Harvey 02 Feb 17 - 01:39 PM
Steve Shaw 02 Feb 17 - 02:46 PM
GUEST,Ebor Fiddler 02 Feb 17 - 07:14 PM
Steve Shaw 02 Feb 17 - 07:21 PM
GUEST,Stephen Harvey 02 Feb 17 - 08:04 PM
Steve Shaw 02 Feb 17 - 08:46 PM
Joe Offer 03 Feb 17 - 02:02 AM
Mo the caller 03 Feb 17 - 05:12 AM
Steve Shaw 03 Feb 17 - 02:45 PM
Joe_F 03 Feb 17 - 06:10 PM
Mrrzy 03 Feb 17 - 06:18 PM
Mr Red 04 Feb 17 - 03:34 AM
Andy7 04 Feb 17 - 05:42 AM
GUEST,Jim Moran 04 Feb 17 - 06:41 AM
The Sandman 04 Feb 17 - 07:14 AM
GUEST,Desi C 04 Feb 17 - 09:37 AM
Mr Red 04 Feb 17 - 10:30 AM
punkfolkrocker 01 Mar 17 - 11:25 AM
Steve Gardham 01 Mar 17 - 03:18 PM
GUEST,Guest from Sanity 01 Mar 17 - 06:24 PM
Steve Gardham 01 Mar 17 - 06:42 PM
toadfrog 01 Mar 17 - 09:00 PM
GUEST,Guest from Sanity 01 Mar 17 - 09:11 PM
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Subject: Why sing protest songs to each other?
From: Andy7
Date: 02 Feb 17 - 04:10 AM

Protest songs can be very powerful and moving.

But I sometimes wonder ... why do we sing protest songs to each other at folk clubs?

I imagine you'd have to travel a pretty long way to find anyone at a folk club singaround who is in favour of aggressive wars, exploiting poor people or destroying the environment. So why do we sing protest songs to others who almost certainly already agree with us?

Please don't get me wrong! I'm not knocking protest songs, and I sometimes sing them myself. I'm just curious as to why we do so.


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Subject: RE: Why sing protest songs to each other?
From: Roger the Skiffler
Date: 02 Feb 17 - 04:14 AM

"to" or "with"?

RtS


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Subject: RE: Why sing protest songs to each other?
From: Andy7
Date: 02 Feb 17 - 04:19 AM

Yes good point, the well-known ones are usually sung together.

But the question still remains, why do we sing them in folk club singarounds?


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Subject: RE: Why sing protest songs to each other?
From: Mo the caller
Date: 02 Feb 17 - 04:43 AM

I've always wondered.
maybe so that we can fell good about 'doing something'


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Subject: RE: Why sing protest songs to each other?
From: GUEST,Martin Ryan
Date: 02 Feb 17 - 04:50 AM

Comfort


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Subject: RE: Why sing protest songs to each other?
From: banjoman
Date: 02 Feb 17 - 05:11 AM

because they are good songs and often the original purpose has become obscured (Blowing in the wind is a good example) If a song is worth singing then sing it anyhow.


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Subject: RE: Why sing protest songs to each other?
From: Doug Chadwick
Date: 02 Feb 17 - 05:31 AM

Ideally - To pass them on to others who can sing them to the world.

Realistically - Why do we sing any song? To share the joy of singing with others.

Librarians sing of the sea to landlubbers; teachers sing about life down the pit to those who may never have seen a piece of coal. Social injustice is something even the most comfortable, middle-class suburbanite will come into contact with in day-to-day life.

Singing a protest song at a singaround is akin to discussing politics in the pub. You're never going to put the world to rights but it fills the evening and just might persuade someone else to come round to your point of view.

DC


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Subject: RE: Why sing protest songs to each other?
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 02 Feb 17 - 06:10 AM

You don't have to hang around the BS section here for very long to realise that not all folkies harbour left-wing, egalitarian or pacifist ideals.


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Subject: RE: Why sing protest songs to each other?
From: Will Fly
Date: 02 Feb 17 - 06:24 AM

I've always felt that, unless protest songs (however you define them) are sung AT the people you're protesting about - or sung in such a public manner that they can't be ignored - they're a waste of time.

Singing about political or social issues in a folk club is just singing another song. Singing out like Pussy Riot gets you in jail... but you get lots of publicity.

Which is more effective - if anything sung is ever effective in this world?


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Subject: RE: Why sing protest songs to each other?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 02 Feb 17 - 06:35 AM

"Why do we sing any song?"
Exactly
It would be extremely naíve of any songwriter to believe they are going to convert anybody with a three or four minute song - just it would be for a singer to believe the same
Songs are outward expressions of thoughts, feelings and aspirations, made for the maker as much as for the listener - self-affirmations.
One of the earliest batch of printed songs in English and Latin, are political, going back to the twelfth century, yet there are still those who find them unnecessary and even intrusive.
The Civil Rights movement was documented in its songs and they provided hope and unity to those facing horrific opposition.
I know the ones we sang to each other on Aldermaston made me forget my sore feet for a time.
Some of the most memorable evenings I have spent in folk clubs was listening to protest songs I must have heard dozens of times over.
Hopefully, the clubs haven't deteriorated to the stage of Freemasons Lodges, where we all know one another - gawd forbid.
One of the most electric nights I ever experienced in the Singers Club was when it was invaded by a couple of dozen students in London for a demonstration against teh introduction of University fees.
Ewan and Peggy threw away their prepared programme and tailored the evening to the visitors with traditional and contemporary political songs - we all floated down the stairs and out into the street that night - a truly shared experience.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Why sing protest songs to each other?
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 02 Feb 17 - 07:07 AM

I spent many a long evening in smoke-filled rooms in the 70s with fellow lefties (no-one else). It was very comforting and felt fortifying talking revolutionary stuff with co-believers, but getting the message out was a whole nother thing. With singing there's a lot more listening and a lot less arguing, and a few good words in a song can cut through better than all that polemicising in the sweaty upstairs rooms of dodgy pubs after work. I'm definitely for protest songs! Even Vin's anti-abortion jobs, though that does make me want to avoid him. The best songs don't beat you round the head with polemic but deliver their messages more subtly. Would you call Woody's songs about the privations of ordinary people "protest songs?" They make you think. Songs regaling me about how bad Thatcher or the RUC were, etc., engender in me, paradoxically, an odd sort of resistance to the singer. I want ideas, not lessons!


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Subject: RE: Why sing protest songs to each other?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 02 Feb 17 - 07:59 AM

Rather interesting story Alan Lomax told about the origins of the spectacular Genoese 'Tralaliri' choral songs he recorded.
During the Garabaldi Revolution, the authorities banned the public singing of the songs that had sprung up during the events.
The men would gather in the cafes and hum and la-la the tunes of the banned songs - because there were no seditious words being sung, the police were powerless to stop them.
Eventually, the practice evolved into a genre of its own, appled to any subject
If you haven't heard it - Google it - there are some beautiful examples
One of the best was used to end A L. Lloyd's Folk Song Virtuoso programme
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Why sing protest songs to each other?
From: GUEST,Jim Knowledge
Date: 02 Feb 17 - 08:35 AM

I `ad one of those protest singers in my cab the other day. `e was reading "The Guardian" looking for some other cause to go and sing about `aving `ad a good bash at the Donald Trump shennigans in London.
I said, "Morning Che. You short of something to moan about, then?"
`e said, "Yeah Jim, I`ve done Starbucks, Occupy, immigration control, unemployment, freedom of expression, blacking up, save Corbyn. You name it , I`ve done it. There must be something else."
I said, "What about doing something serious like the tyranny of Kim Jong Un?"
`e said, "Nah, that`s no good Jim. None of the demo punters would know what I`m on about, `sides, it`s too `ard to rhyme with!!"


Whaddam I Like??


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Subject: RE: Why sing protest songs to each other?
From: GUEST
Date: 02 Feb 17 - 09:18 AM

I sing protests songs quite a lot because I feel that they continually remind us that liberals must keep persuing the ideals of liberal democracy. As for Liberals in the bs section..I refer to below the line as the echo chamber, only one point of view allowed. Just my observation.


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Subject: RE: Why sing protest songs to each other?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 02 Feb 17 - 09:25 AM

Hi Ake - assume it's you
You attack Liberals because their Humanitarianism conflicts with your extremism - it's why you support the monster you do
Liberalism has a clear definition - that is the one you attack
You've made clear where you stand on left politics
No intention of fouling this thread up with this ongoing argument - it has no place here.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Why sing protest songs to each other?
From: GUEST
Date: 02 Feb 17 - 09:38 AM

No it is not Ake. Arguments against your point of view, Jim, seem to have no place anywhere. You are not a liberal. Many of the songs I do are on the subject of free speech. For some on the left free speech has become a major nuisance..so singing ones opinion is one way round the the anto free speech lot.
Music and song can have great influence, if people try to shut down your words, they seldom try to shut down your songs...at least my experience.


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Subject: RE: Why sing protest songs to each other?
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 02 Feb 17 - 09:50 AM

You're getting carried away, Guest. Plenty of different points of view are on display in the BS section. Also on display, admittedly, are some bad-tempered ripostes to different points of view. I'd suggest that, as you've instigated a BS-style conversation above the line, you should reveal yourself. Alternatively, keep the conversation about protest songs. We've had enough of people shooting from behind walls.


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Subject: RE: Why sing protest songs to each other?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 02 Feb 17 - 09:59 AM

Sorry - it was the misuse of the trem "liberal" that threw me.
There seem to be a number of people who insist on re-interpreting the term - all very confusing!!
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Why sing protest songs to each other?
From: GUEST
Date: 02 Feb 17 - 10:00 AM

I am talking about protest songs as a way of getting a message across that might otherwise be unheard. Singing against injustice is a very old way of protesting and there is no justice without free speech and song is part of free speech. is it not ?
My conversation is totally about the right to express thoughts through music, do you disagree with that ?


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Subject: RE: Why sing protest songs to each other?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 02 Feb 17 - 10:36 AM

"My conversation is totally about the right to express thoughts through music, do you disagree with that ?"
Of course not, but if your message is one of intolerance and bigotry , your "freedom" becomes another's oppression.
I've got tired of hearing extremists moan that their inability to openly express their bigotry is an attack on free speech - it is just the opposite.
It ensures freedom from oppression and hatred - that's why we have "liberal laws" against incitement to race hatred, for instance - helps stop petrol being poured through letter-boxes
I've also got tired of hearing terms like "political correctness", "do-gooder" and "bleeding heart" (and low, "liberal" it seems) used as an excuse for bigotry
We live in a multi-cultural, multi-faith world and some people need to come to grips with that fact
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Why sing protest songs to each other?
From: GUEST
Date: 02 Feb 17 - 10:51 AM

Freedom of expression, in words or song, is the first of all freedoms. If we tell people what to say and what not to say or sing, we are attacking the very core of liberal values.I will leave it at that and let the terminally argumentative Shaw and Carroll to scuttle yet another discussion.


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Subject: RE: Why sing protest songs to each other?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 02 Feb 17 - 11:04 AM

"Freedom of expression, in words or song, is the first of all freedoms."
'Fraid not - it's only one of many - all eqiually important
I'll leave it here as well
Jim Carroll
Universal Declaration of Human Rights
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Why sing protest songs to each other?
From: SPB-Cooperator
Date: 02 Feb 17 - 12:25 PM

Part of the reason may be peer approval, another might be to bring protest songs onto the world wide stage, as per the 60s civil rights movement. Possibly singing on marches, demos may gain more attention and raise their popularity.

In my view, the best protest songs (for public consumption) are simple in structure, and easy to pick up.


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Subject: RE: Why sing protest songs to each other?
From: GUEST,Stephen Harvey
Date: 02 Feb 17 - 01:39 PM

A friend of mine once said that even the choir needs preaching to sometimes. As others have pointed out, it fosters a sense of unity.
I certainly have need of this often as, even though I consider myself a socialist, I have an increasingly dyspeptic view of humanity.


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Subject: RE: Why sing protest songs to each other?
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 02 Feb 17 - 02:46 PM

I agree with that, Stephen, but would say that when it comes to songs the choir would benefit from something a little more subtle than preaching! 😉


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Subject: RE: Why sing protest songs to each other?
From: GUEST,Ebor Fiddler
Date: 02 Feb 17 - 07:14 PM

In most Church Choirs, during the sermon, the lads have their X Boxes out and the grownups take time for a ziz. We did have one enterprising member who took the opportunity to nip to the pub and down a swift pint!


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Subject: RE: Why sing protest songs to each other?
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 02 Feb 17 - 07:21 PM

I've heard one or two protest songs that give you enough time to nip out for at least two pints! 😜


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Subject: RE: Why sing protest songs to each other?
From: GUEST,Stephen Harvey
Date: 02 Feb 17 - 08:04 PM

Well, I guess that reveals how long it is since I've been to church!
But, yeah, I agree, Steve, that " something a little more subtle than preaching" would be much better received.


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Subject: RE: Why sing protest songs to each other?
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 02 Feb 17 - 08:46 PM

That's what I like about Woody's songs, and what I occasionally dislike about some of Christy's 80s songs, for example. As a rabid leftie I agree with all the sentiments but I don't much like the very direct regaling. It's very much a matter of personal taste, but babies and bathwater occasionally come to mind.


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Subject: RE: Why sing protest songs to each other?
From: Joe Offer
Date: 03 Feb 17 - 02:02 AM

Why sing protest songs to each other? I don't know that I have a rational answer. All I know, is that it gives me hope in the face of adversity.
-Joe-


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Subject: RE: Why sing protest songs to each other?
From: Mo the caller
Date: 03 Feb 17 - 05:12 AM

Singing in folk clubs is an odd thing sometimes.
Who would have thought that a sad poem would have made such a belter of a jolly chorus song as "Threescore and Ten". (Not exactly a protest song i know - unless against natural forces)


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Subject: RE: Why sing protest songs to each other?
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 03 Feb 17 - 02:45 PM

I agree with that, Joe, and I also think that listening quietly to the angle expressed in a song can occasionally make your own point of view more rounded.


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Subject: RE: Why sing protest songs to each other?
From: Joe_F
Date: 03 Feb 17 - 06:10 PM

If you feel dissatisfaction,
Strum your frustrations away.
Some people might prefer action,
But -- give me a folksong, any old day.

-- Tom Lehrer, whose songs, in revenge, have been absorbed into the folk tradition


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Subject: RE: Why sing protest songs to each other?
From: Mrrzy
Date: 03 Feb 17 - 06:18 PM

Whom else would we sing them to, trees?


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Subject: RE: Why sing protest songs to each other?
From: Mr Red
Date: 04 Feb 17 - 03:34 AM

Why do we sing?
Why do we post here?
Why do we say anything, anywhere?
Because we have an opinion.
We are interested in somethings.
Why do we wear clothes of a certain colour? Because we can. Because it makes us comfortable.

The songs we choose to sing say something about us. And that comforts us. If we are uncomfortable singing we don't. If the song does not accord with us, we refrain.

It may make us feel we are changing the world, that comforts us. It is changing the world, a minuscule portion.

Don't fall into the trap of size, wife beating is rare and historically was discounted therefore. Husband beating is rarer, and hasn't yet got the same recognition. SO rare as to be unheard of, and if it is unheard of it doesn't.............................

Why do cars have windows all around? Because it makes us better informed. We see the other side. We would like others on the road of life to know there is another side. Lest they don't see something coming and involve us in their ignorance.


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Subject: RE: Why sing protest songs to each other?
From: Andy7
Date: 04 Feb 17 - 05:42 AM

Wow, that's a nice answer!

Wouldn't take much to turn it into a song lyric!


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Subject: RE: Why sing protest songs to each other?
From: GUEST,Jim Moran
Date: 04 Feb 17 - 06:41 AM

Years ago, a regular at a local folk club, Kevin Littlewood ( he of On Morecombe Bay ) wrote a song about the woman of Greenham Common and a number of folk club supporters didn't like thrust of the song and were talking about boycotting the club.
I've never heard of anybody reacting like that to a Dylan protest song.
Maybe, Ewan was right for criticising Dulan for being too general with his protest songs.


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Subject: RE: Why sing protest songs to each other?
From: The Sandman
Date: 04 Feb 17 - 07:14 AM

Although masters of war was possibly his best song
"Singing in folk clubs is an odd thing sometimes.
Who would have thought that a sad poem would have made such a belter of a jolly chorus song as "Threescore and Ten". (Not exactly a protest song i know - unless against natural forces)"
the original poem ?broadside, by delf. is inferior to what has been folk processed


From 'The Oxford Book of Local Verses', comes the following:

'A Ballad in Memory of the Fishermen from Hull and Grimsby who lost their lives in the Gale of 8 and 9 February 1889'
by W. Delf, a Grimsby fisherman.

Methinks I see some little crafts spreading their sails a-lee
As down the Humber they did glide bound in the Northern sea;
Methinks I see on each small craft a crew with hearts so brave,
Going to earn their daily bread upon the restless wave.

Methinks I see them as they left the land all far behind,
Casting the lead into the deep their fishing grounds to find;
methinks I see them on the deck working with a will,
To shoot their net into the deep either for good or ill.

Methinks I see them shoot their trawl upon the Thursday night,
And saw the watch upon the deck, and everything was right;
methinks I see them yet again when daylight did appear,
All hands working with a will getting off their gear.

Methinks I see the net on board and fish so fresh and gay,
And all were busily engaged clearing them away;
Methinks I see them put away into the ice below,
And then the sea began to rise, and the wind did stronger blow.

Methinks I heard the skipper say, 'My lads, we'll shorten sail,
As the sky to all appearance looks like an approaching gale.'
Methinks I see them yet again, and all on board was right,
With sails close reef'd, the deck cleared up, and sidelights burning bright.

Methinks I see them yet again, the midnight hour was passed [sic];
Their little craft was battling there with the fiery blast;
Methinks I heard the skipper say, 'Cheer up, my lads, be brave.
We'll trust in Him who rules the deep, in Him who alone can save.'

Methinks I read the thoughts of them who now are called away;
They were thinking of their loved ones dear many miles away;
Thinking of wife and children dear, and aged parents too,
Who no more will see them here again in this world below.

Great God, Thou sees each sorrowing heart, the widow in distress,
Thou knows the little children dear, who now are fatherless;
Comfort and cheer them here below, and lead them by Thy hand,
And at last may they meet with their loved ones dear in the promised land.

The notes say: 'Supplied by F.R. Whitmarsh of Grimsby from the original broadsheet as sold by the author.'


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Subject: RE: Why sing protest songs to each other?
From: GUEST,Desi C
Date: 04 Feb 17 - 09:37 AM

One may as well ask why sing ANY songs to each other!? It often crosses my mind what an illogical process it is


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Subject: RE: Why sing protest songs to each other?
From: Mr Red
Date: 04 Feb 17 - 10:30 AM

Wouldn't take much to turn it into a song lyric!

Be my guest - I have just written my first song for 12 years and as for the next one - I may be some time.

Why sing ANY songs to each other!?

the great comedic actor Windsor Davies was asked why/how he took any role. He remarked "you fall in love with the current project" and, I would add, you stay in love sometimes. I have heard it said from a wife of a muso who had just discovered the banjo!


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Subject: RE: Why sing protest songs to each other?
From: punkfolkrocker
Date: 01 Mar 17 - 11:25 AM

Alan Klein - Age of Corruption [1965]


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Subject: RE: Why sing protest songs to each other?
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 01 Mar 17 - 03:18 PM

Why not?


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Subject: RE: Why sing protest songs to each other?
From: GUEST,Guest from Sanity
Date: 01 Mar 17 - 06:24 PM

Because your audiences are getting smaller...because your topics are just re-hashed, half-witted talking points, fed to you, because your creativity, and ability to process REAL information, have been surrendered....by YOU!!......and yet you want to APPEAR as if you're relevant. ....In reality, many of you haven't had an ORIGINAL thought in decades...if ever.

GfS


P.S. So get pissed off...that way you can pretend to 'know something', to impress the other clone-idiots!


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Subject: RE: Why sing protest songs to each other?
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 01 Mar 17 - 06:42 PM

What a great idea for a song! Thanks, GfS!


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Subject: RE: Why sing protest songs to each other?
From: toadfrog
Date: 01 Mar 17 - 09:00 PM

Good protest songs are fun to sing.

Bad protest songs are not fun, and I see no reason to go on singing them, except to flatter the singer who wrote them.

I say this infrequently, hoping to avoid being considered a sorehead.

But I think that songs are not worth singing just because they express virtuous sentiments, or angry sentiments. Any more than bawdy songs are good just because they are bawdy.

An exception might be if the song had the potential actually to persuade people who disagreed. And I can think of at least one such song, "Tim Evans" by Ewan McColl. But these are very, very rare.


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Subject: RE: Why sing protest songs to each other?
From: GUEST,Guest from Sanity
Date: 01 Mar 17 - 09:11 PM

You're welcome, Steve...Think anyone will listen to it, and get it??
Perhaps you should listen to some Zappa interviews regarding the subject....even his music.

GfS


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