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Folk Songs to Ditch

Peter Timmerman 23 May 97 - 10:28 AM
Peter Timmerman 23 May 97 - 10:49 AM
23 May 97 - 10:52 AM
Bert Hansell 23 May 97 - 10:53 AM
LaMarca 23 May 97 - 10:53 AM
Peter Timmerman 23 May 97 - 11:20 AM
LaMarca 23 May 97 - 11:43 AM
Jack 23 May 97 - 11:49 AM
Martin Ryan 23 May 97 - 11:53 AM
TFT 23 May 97 - 12:06 PM
Dale Rose 23 May 97 - 12:19 PM
Peter Timmerman 23 May 97 - 01:17 PM
Cap 23 May 97 - 04:33 PM
Bert Hansell 23 May 97 - 04:48 PM
Susan of Calif 23 May 97 - 05:46 PM
Barry Finn 23 May 97 - 06:15 PM
23 May 97 - 08:13 PM
Alan of Australia 23 May 97 - 09:31 PM
dick greenhaus 23 May 97 - 09:48 PM
Alison 23 May 97 - 11:42 PM
cleod 24 May 97 - 09:26 AM
LaMarca 24 May 97 - 09:51 AM
TFT 24 May 97 - 01:39 PM
SSWINNEY@worldnet.att.net 24 May 97 - 06:17 PM
Benjamin Hollister (hollister@tanstaafl.net.au) 24 May 97 - 09:25 PM
Bill D 24 May 97 - 10:31 PM
Peter Timmerman - ptimmerman@ifias.ca 25 May 97 - 04:43 PM
H. Burhans - burhans@frognet.net 25 May 97 - 05:40 PM
H. Burhans - burhans@frognet.net 25 May 97 - 05:40 PM
Andres R. 26 May 97 - 09:51 AM
Les Blank 26 May 97 - 10:09 AM
Peter Timmerman 26 May 97 - 11:27 AM
Will 26 May 97 - 09:21 PM
Joe Offer 27 May 97 - 03:08 AM
AndyG 27 May 97 - 07:42 AM
Peter Timmerman 27 May 97 - 09:23 AM
Susan of California 27 May 97 - 11:27 AM
Martin Ryan 27 May 97 - 12:09 PM
Martin Ryan 27 May 97 - 12:21 PM
hartley 27 May 97 - 06:17 PM
hartley 27 May 97 - 06:20 PM
hartley 27 May 97 - 06:22 PM
Cathy Brady 27 May 97 - 06:42 PM
Tim Rossiter 28 May 97 - 09:46 AM
LaMarca 28 May 97 - 03:11 PM
Peter Timmerman 28 May 97 - 05:26 PM
Sheye 29 May 97 - 10:40 AM
joebass@inforamp.net 29 May 97 - 11:59 AM
Bert Hansell 29 May 97 - 01:11 PM
Canadian, eh? 29 May 97 - 04:28 PM
29 May 97 - 05:31 PM
JH 29 May 97 - 05:31 PM
29 May 97 - 08:58 PM
Alan of Australia 29 May 97 - 10:11 PM
Barry Finn 29 May 97 - 10:25 PM
Bill D... extree@erols.com 30 May 97 - 08:40 PM
Cathy Brady 31 May 97 - 01:22 AM
Will 31 May 97 - 01:28 AM
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Bill D extree@erols.com 31 May 97 - 02:31 PM
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Subject: FOLK SONGS TO DITCH
From: Peter Timmerman
Date: 23 May 97 - 10:28 AM

Having by chance a dinner party last night which included one or two folkies, a one time fiddler, and various citizens, I was unable to resist the temptation to raise the question: “Which Folk Songs would you ditch?” as brought up obliquely in the “Thrediquette” thread. This resulted in one of the great, if increasingly rowdy, evenings. Add in a couple of telephone calls and one e-mail, and I post the results of my 9 person survey. The rules evolved during the evening.

There are three rules and two categories. The two rules are:

(1) You can be as politically incorrect as you like;

(2) “Kumbaya” is out of the competition (This became known as the Kumbaya Rule).

(3) In folk music there is a fine line between the rustic and the crummy. (This is a quote from Tom Lehrer, and means that people should err on the side of generosity, also known as the Lehrer Rule).

The two categories are:

(1) individual Folk Songs that you wish had never been born, and that if you hear again you will run screaming into the street, the pines, or the misty shieling.

(2) categories of Folk Songs that need pruning or else editing in an ideal world.

Naturally enough, the first category caused the most intense hilarity, obscentiy, hand wringing, etc. Because of the Lehrer Rule, songs that aroused hatred but which were grudgingly conceded to be worth preserving, survived. These included (I have a longer list) Puff the Magic Dragon, Guantanamera, and the House of the Rising Sun. The top three, with the worst first, were (trumpets):

(1) “On Ilkley Moor Baht’at”.

Everyone hated this song. They hated the attempts at bad North Country dialect, all the “worms shall eat thee oop” stuff (see the worm thread for another take on this). The repetitions only made it worse.

(2) “Michael Row the Boat Ashore”.

People actually ran from the room howling during the discussion of this song. People said terrible things about what they would like to do to the Georgia Islands (which I am told is where the song came from), and hoped that Michael would row the boat away or drown.

(3) “Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right”.

This was a dark horse entry that eventually compelled our attention. While everyone admitted that the tune was great, it was felt that the character in the song (whether it was the author himself was left mostly untouched) was a moral creep. Not only was he leaving without even having the grace to say goodbye (fare thee well indeed), leaving her hanging on, but he actually blamed her for wasting his time!

The results of Part 2 in a moment.


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Subject: RE: FOLK SONGS TO DITCH
From: Peter Timmerman
Date: 23 May 97 - 10:49 AM

Note on last message: three rules, not two.

Anyway, the second category received its share of controversy. The top 5 categories for editing or pruning were:

(1) Sea Shanties.

There were just too many of them, and there was only so much you could do pulling on a rope or rowing.

(2) Early blues from the mississippi delta.

I am posting this under protest (especially knowing the name of the site). This proposal for editing aroused protest from, well, from me, but to no avail. Did we need all those recordings of the fifth version of whatever out of the back of John Lomax's car. Pure ignorance in action. I go on.

(3) Sequel songs.

Somebody mentioned a sequel to Marty Robbin's "Ballad of El Paso" ("Wicked Felina?), which was used against this genre.

(4) Feminist rewritings of famous folk songs with new words.

This started out as a complaint against "If I Were a Carpenter" as a sexist song, and degenerated after that.

(5) IRA Ballads.

These were not objected to for political reasons, just bulk.

Phew. Yours, Peter


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Subject: RE: FOLK SONGS TO DITCH
From:
Date: 23 May 97 - 10:52 AM

Peter

How about an entirely separate category for us Canadians.

Folk songs that you REALLY like but want to see deleted forever from the Archives of the CBC.

I don't know if those south of our mutual border realize that 2 songs by Wade Hemsworth, namely "The Log Drivers Waltz" and "The Blackfly Song" were made into animated TV shorts. These were then played whenever commercial sales couldn't fill the allotted time over a period of what seemed like a year. This mercifully has ended but what were 2 of my favorite songs have been put on my "Don't play for a long time" list.

I think there was at one time an attempt to save Ilkley Moor with a bi-lingual version "On Ilkley Moor sans ch(a)peau" but can't remember all the words.

Frank Phillips


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Subject: RE: FOLK SONGS TO DITCH
From: Bert Hansell
Date: 23 May 97 - 10:53 AM

Unfortunately we have a problem here.
If you can remember a song it is unlikely to go away.
Most of the songs that you mention suffer from one problem only, OVEREXPOSURE. Each of them has survived so far on it's own merits. Just because we are sick of hearing a song doesn't make it a bad song.
Amazing Grace is another in this category, it is a good song but, just once, I'd like to go to a sing and NOT hear it.

I think a more important project would be to list songs that most people have forgotten but need saving.
We are in great danger of losing a lot of good songs just because they fall into the category of "old pop".
A positive emphasis in this direction would reduce the frequency of performance of "SONGS TO DITCH".

Bert


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Subject: RE: FOLK SONGS TO DITCH
From: LaMarca
Date: 23 May 97 - 10:53 AM

Oh, boy, I've found people who share my aversion to "Don't Think Twice..." I've always felt the protagonist in the song is an absolute scum; this is perhaps colored by some of the toads I kissed before I met my prince. This promises to be a FUN thread; I'll think of my candidates over the weekend and see what other goodies (baddies?) people have submitted on Monday when I get back to work(?) (where my net link is...)


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Subject: RE: FOLK SONGS TO DITCH
From: Peter Timmerman
Date: 23 May 97 - 11:20 AM

Dear Bert, Yes, of course, you are right. Perhaps we should have called the first category the "25 year give it a rest" category. In category 1 everyone started from the premise that they were good songs. The real objections were overexposure and also the way they were always destroyed in presentation. Some people also hated the songs, but.... The second category was different (a bit like the remark about all those Woody Guthrie songs). It was all done in a spirit of fun.

Dear Frank, The only Canadian song that came up was Alouette, and that was during a discussion about list songs and gesture songs, during which Ilkley Moor came up, and we never got back to it. Yours, Peter


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Subject: RE: FOLK SONGS TO DITCH
From: LaMarca
Date: 23 May 97 - 11:43 AM

Can't resist adding another comment...

In our song circle (and probably others, too) certain individuals become linked to certain songs. There is always a component of the group who will perpetually request the SAME song from that person; they never seem interested in hearing something new or different. It doesn't mean that the song itself is bad, but the person who is asked to sing it for the 50,000th time is sure sick of it, and so are SOME of the other members of the group (Mrs. Ravoon comes to mind, Bill D.) This is especially true of parodies; a lot of them are funny or amusing the first couple times you hear them, but they fit Heinlein's "Funny once, Mike" classification of jokes.

I have also experienced the flip side of this; being a relative newcomer to the group, I have on occasion found a "new" old song that I think is really neat, learned it and sung it, only to have an old-timer sneer at it because it was over-done 20 years ago. I don't know what a happy medium is between honoring requests for songs one is sick of, and reacting rudely to someone who may have just discovered that song and thinks it's really great.

This leads us into the other traditional folkie social circle habit, "more obscure is better" or "My source is better than your source". If songs are to be pruned because they're overdone, you have to look at the reasons they're overdone. There seems to be an element of human nature that puts great importance on the idea the "My (or my group's) tastes are special and superior". If too many people start liking something, it is now "Popular" and beneath the Inner Circle's attention. There's a line from a Peter Gabriel song (NOT a folkie; sorry Elsie and others) that I'm fond of quoting; it's a cynical song about exclusion, which sums up this attitude wonderfully: "How can we be "in" if there is no outside?"

I am constantly torn between the interest and desire to explore obscure varients of ballads and defensiveness when I elect to sing one that others deem too mundane or common. On the other hand, I don't want to hear "Michael, Row the Boat Ashore" every song circle. One of the problems caused by "Rise Up Singing" is that it provides a defined canon of "folk" song that everyone in a group can learn, but is then sometimes used to exclude the vast repertoire of songs that weren't included in the book. So "Popular" can be exclusionary, too. "But that song isn't in The Book..."

This has rambled a BIT off the Folk Songs to Ditch topic, but I think that folks need to look a little at their reasons for wanting to include a particular song...In a lot of cases, this is going to boil down to personal taste and history. Anyway, all that being said, "I've got a little list; they never will be missed..."


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Subject: RE: FOLK SONGS TO DITCH
From: Jack
Date: 23 May 97 - 11:49 AM

Can I vote Can I huh huh Oh boy!

The Wedding Song

It fits the overexposure category in spades. My wife is a wedding vocalist and everyone wants that song.

But aside from that its not that great a song (IMHO). The melody is so monotonous The 12 string part is a dirge. The lyrics are OK I guess. Not bad, but kind of simple.

I'd stick it in the 25 year hiatus file and intentionally forget it was there.

I love a good vitriolic thread! ;-).


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Subject: RE: FOLK SONGS TO DITCH
From: Martin Ryan
Date: 23 May 97 - 11:53 AM

If DG is his usual efficient self, the April 97 version of the database will include a version of "The Green Fields of France" which may suggest that before your ditch a song, you should consider shooting it straight between the eyes!

Regards


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Subject: RE: FOLK SONGS TO DITCH
From: TFT
Date: 23 May 97 - 12:06 PM

Morning Has Broken should be broken.


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Subject: RE: FOLK SONGS TO DITCH
From: Dale Rose
Date: 23 May 97 - 12:19 PM

Back in the early 60s, I heard Maybelle Carter tell Ralph Emery on his late night radio program that she was SO tired of Wildwood Flower! I cannot remember the whole conversation, but the gist was that she would just as soon not EVER have to do it again! OK, this leads me into another candidate. The group on any number of TV shows all gather around their separate microphones and for their closing number sings, "Will The Circle Be Unbroken" and/or "I Saw The Light". Just once, we need to hear these songs done earlier in the show by a single act, or better yet, not at all! Naturally, we need to exclude the "Orange Blossom Special" and "Rocky Top" from any performance that is even remotely bluegrass. Someone actually yelled out, "Rocky Top!" to Ricky Skaggs at a festival. He yelled back, "You're kidding!" Well, that is enough for now, but I am sure that if we keep at it, we may well eliminate at least half of all the folk songs ever written. (Sorry for having used the words written and folk songs in the same sentence.)


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Subject: RE: FOLK SONGS TO DITCH
From: Peter Timmerman
Date: 23 May 97 - 01:17 PM

That reminds me (the hangover is wearing off) that someone at our event mentioned an article from Acoustic Guitar magazine where people who sold guitars had become sick to death of "Classical Gas", "Blackbird", and "Stairway to Heaven". They pleaded with people to test out their potential purchases with something else. I have no idea when the issue was. Yours, Peter


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Subject: RE: FOLK SONGS TO DITCH
From: Cap
Date: 23 May 97 - 04:33 PM

What a great thread! Personally, I would ditch any folk song that is performed while holding hands and swaying. After all, how is a person supposed to pick? ;-)


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Subject: RE: FOLK SONGS TO DITCH
From: Bert Hansell
Date: 23 May 97 - 04:48 PM

Cap,

Those songs are supposed to be performed when you are too drunk too pick. Why do you think they are holding hands and swaying? :-)

And talking of picking, let's get rid of "She sat 'neath the Lilacs and played her guitar"

Bert.


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Subject: RE: FOLK SONGS TO DITCH
From: Susan of Calif
Date: 23 May 97 - 05:46 PM

I'm not sure if this is officially a folk song, but I could live the rest of my life without ever hearing "Waltzing Matilda" again. Hated it when I first learned it in the 2nd grade, still hate it 30 years later.


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Subject: Lyr Add: RISE UP SCREAMING
From: Barry Finn
Date: 23 May 97 - 06:15 PM

I'm coming back later but i'm tossing in the whole book,
"RISE UP SCREAMING". If I hear open to page %#$&* again,
ever, it's open season. If it's not worth learning why
it, The tune is to "Jack In The Green"

A pub session or a party is a very strange thing
They're all out of fashion, no more do they sing
For they read from a book or copy a tape
They imitate sounds no mortal should make

There's no sound in the kitchen, no sound in the hall
There's a murderous screech that plays off the walls
Where is the music, where are the songs
In the mouths of monsters where no sound belongs

Dead pan they look as they sing in your face
They'l spit out the words and the tune they'll disgrace
A song will be beat o'r and over to death
And in a round robin they'l resurrect it again

No more will be heard a version that's lost
Or a variant that's rare or two songs that were crossed
The borrowing or sharing of a tune or a song
Will be according to the Bible, all else will be wrong

And now for the future, it's bleak for the song
No young mortal will dare to carry it on
They'll be none around who without books can sing
Or swap without tapes or rise up singing.

I know that I just wiped out a musical library in one
swift stroke, but there is alot of talent in closets
due to 'sing that same one'.

HTML line breaks added. -JoeClone 27-Feb-01


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Subject: RE: FOLK SONGS TO DITCH
From:
Date: 23 May 97 - 08:13 PM

To Susan of Calif.

There are 2 tunes to Waltzing Matilda.

The original or "Queensland" version which I picked up from an Aussie site and the current or "Victoria" version which I won't sing any more. My voice teacher, Don Hansen, knew the tune since someone played it for him on his trip to Oz last summer. This would indicate that the Queensland version is still alive and well "danunda" and perhaps used as relief from the usual tune.

To Bert.

Right. It's overexposure that does it. However I think that overexposure may be relative to local conditions. I haven't heard Guantanamera in such a while that I am actually learning it out of Pete Seegers book.

Frank Phillips


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Subject: RE: FOLK SONGS TO DITCH
From: Alan of Australia
Date: 23 May 97 - 09:31 PM

To Susan of California:

Once a jolly swagman went surfing through the internet
Came upon a forum of folk songs so rich
When who should he find but Susan of California
Saying Waltzing Matilda is the first song to ditch.

Susan how dare you, Susan how dare you?
You've just insulted our national pride
Matilda is our unofficial national anthem
And fifteen million Aussies are after your hide.

No, I don't really mean all that. It may be a silly song but we're quite partial to it down under.

Now I'm about to do the same thing:

A song I've hated since I was in primary school is The Happy Wanderer. Still hate it 45 years later

To Frank

The two most common tunes to Waltzing Matilda are the Marie Cowan version which is probably the most familiar tune outside Oz and the Queensland version which you may hear in Aussie folk clubs. However you are not likely to hear either version in a folk club - we can all sing it but we choose not to (for fear of overexposure).

Cheers, Alan


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Subject: RE: FOLK SONGS TO DITCH
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 23 May 97 - 09:48 PM

Can someone lend me a ten-foot pole that that I won't touch this thread with?


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Subject: RE: FOLK SONGS TO DITCH
From: Alison
Date: 23 May 97 - 11:42 PM

Well seeing as so many others are getting their spoke in, I'm going to be a complete traitor to my home country and recommend that "Danny Boy" is ditched . It's not so much the song which annoys but the never ending variety of ways people find to murder the tune, from the misty eyed drunk dreaming of home version, to the over the top warbling tenor one. (apologies to any tenors out there!) Alison


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Subject: RE: FOLK SONGS TO DITCH
From: cleod
Date: 24 May 97 - 09:26 AM

Hey, I heard a version of Waltzing Matilda sung by Tico Torres (of Bon Jovi) I'll bet he sounded much better than all those other people who mangled the poor song...


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Subject: RE: FOLK SONGS TO DITCH
From: LaMarca
Date: 24 May 97 - 09:51 AM

I'm working on the crew for the Washington Irish Festival this weekend; here's a list of songs you probably WON'T hear at this great traditional Irish music festival, and if I had my druthers, never again anywhere:

The Wild Rover (with clapping or beer mug pounding on chorus)
The Unicorn Song (written by that great Irishman, Sheldon O'Silverstein. He should be ashamed.)
ANY song involving audience participation with hand gestures, unless the audience is 10 years old or younger.
Danny Boy (see above thread)
Any IRA song sung by a drunken American audience who doesn't have to personally experience the results of their political sentiments.

Re Waltzing Matilda: The Queensland version was also recorded by A. L. Lloyd, who brought a wealth of Australian folk songs to the attention of us folks in the northern hemisphere. I've always liked that tune a lot. For a good time Down Under, check out Mark Gregory's Australian Folk Song site:

http://www.chepd.mq.edu.au/boomerang/songnet/

He's put together a great collection of songs there, and links to other related sites.

To Barry Finn: GREAT song! Okay if I pass it around to our song circle?


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Subject: RE: FOLK SONGS TO DITCH
From: TFT
Date: 24 May 97 - 01:39 PM

What about that song with the "gospel makers" that you have to sit through while people expound on who "the rivals" were? One is one and all alone, and that is what you'll be if you sing that song again!


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Subject: RE: FOLK SONGS TO DITCH
From: SSWINNEY@worldnet.att.net
Date: 24 May 97 - 06:17 PM

...and if we're discussing protagonists who were creeps, how about "That's What You Get For Lovin' Me"? I'm still looking for a version of "Banks of the Ohio", a song with a wonderful little melody, that doesn't include murder!


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Subject: RE: FOLK SONGS TO DITCH
From: Benjamin Hollister (hollister@tanstaafl.net.au)
Date: 24 May 97 - 09:25 PM

Oh Boy, I wasn't gonna but I have to.

I remeber the relief felt when I first heard the folk version of Matilda but could do with out it now. Unfortunately always get asked to play/sing it when travelling OS me being Aussie.

My songs fall into the category that Billy Connolly once summed up as "Shortbread Tin Songs" where the singer is standing like the figures on Scottish shortbread tins.

Danny Boy is one especially with the spoken bit about the soldier in the first world war (And Alan what about Barry Crockers version!!!! I played that at a bad taste party recently and had the whole crowd singing

Others are: Maids when you're young never wed an old man Cockles and Mussels Black Velvet Band Maggie/Nora (Slightly bearable when sung in Irish) Wild colonial Boy (even when done to Ghost Riders in the sky) Carrickfergus/Wild Mountain Thyme/Fields of Athenry (depending on who and how sung) Any Irish song sung in Country and Western style

Anyone who wants to experience this The Irish Australian Assoc in Adelaide 4th and 5th Fridays of month.

I feel so much better

Benjamin


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Subject: RE: FOLK SONGS TO DITCH
From: Bill D
Date: 24 May 97 - 10:31 PM

WOW!...you miss 2 days and an entire opus has been written! We had an Open Sing once(the local name for a song circle....we do it with topics)where the topic was "Oh,no-Not Again", in which we were invited to publicly air those songs we were tired of and offically retire them for some ambiguous amount of time. It was almost too painful to endure! Songs are like favorite foods-the same meal too often can cause one to give it up for a while.I love "Jock 'O Hazeldean" and "Rose of Allandale", but I don't want to hear them every day, so the 2nd catagory, "songs which need to be edited or pruned" could vary a lot from group to group..(yes, Mrs. Ravoon is among them....I'll do it once a year...on Halloween).

A rule I have is that the 'thinner' or 'weaker' a song is(that is, the less it has to say, or the less well crafted the lyrics) the longer the time between public airings. For example, "Give Me the Roses While I Live", a neat little song with a catchy tune...until you realize that all 4 verses say the same thing!You get tired of it half-way thru! I will think of some more examples and add to this later.. As to stuff like "Waltzing Matilda" and "Danny Boy". These can be fine songs when not overdone-and when performed well! Lame attempts and maudlin arrangements may kill them yet.(I have heard ONE version of 'Danny Boy' which I like, by an Irish singer whose name escapes me at the moment...but he makes you feel why the song was written).

Songs which should never have escaped into the real world: So many..."Old Wooley" by Don Lange...performed by Priscilla Herdman...a great idea, badly crafted!

3/4 of all the "Mother,Father,Sister,Brother,Friends" songs.

"Circle of the Sun" by Sally Rogers...it ain't about anything, it goes nowhere, and it ruins good meter trying to get there.

"Fox on the Run"...What can I say? Yuck!

Songs which are usually ruined but can be great...

"Rolling Home"...often done too fast, in the wrong rhythm, with no feeling...but Lordy! When done well,sends chills up my spine!

"Rolling Down to Old Maui"....same story...and it is easily over done...

"Andy's Gone With Cattle"....several versions, usually sing-songy and in wrong meter..Gerry Hallom does it right! "Goodnight Irene"...too many people know it...and they tend to sing it 'at' each other.It is really work to get into just the right mood to do justice to it.

well...I only have 200-300 more in each category...let's see where this goes......What? You don't all agree with my opinions? Humpf!


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Subject: RE: FOLK SONGS TO DITCH
From: Peter Timmerman - ptimmerman@ifias.ca
Date: 25 May 97 - 04:43 PM

I have received some more phone calls and e-mails about this, (it seems to have engendered a lot of therapeutic response if nothing else) among which it is suggested that I should tabulate or post a top Ten (three was felt to be too restrictive). If you feel strongly about something left off category 1, or have a good line -- you could post it here, or send it to me by e-mail. I will repost the new results, oh, in a few days. I have no way of making a vote tabulation, so I will do my best. Yours, Peter P.S. Category 2's are O.K. too.


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Subject: RE: FOLK SONGS TO DITCH
From: H. Burhans - burhans@frognet.net
Date: 25 May 97 - 05:40 PM

I heartily agree with the nomination of "the Wedding Song" In fact, my husband and I can no longer get through it without laughing, 'cause we've parodied it too much! But my all-time most detested song is (ducking!) Heart Like a Wheel! The stupid metaphors drive me nuts! *Some say the heart is just like a wheel (oh yeah, famous saying - learned it at Mom's knee) *You can bend it, you can't mend it (or something like that) *But my love for you is like a sinking ship *And my heart is on that ship out in the ocean (or something) I rest my case.... HB


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Subject: RE: FOLK SONGS TO DITCH
From: H. Burhans - burhans@frognet.net
Date: 25 May 97 - 05:40 PM

I heartily agree with the nomination of "the Wedding Song" In fact, my husband and I can no longer get through it without laughing, 'cause we've parodied it too much! But my all-time most detested song is (ducking!) Heart Like a Wheel! The stupid metaphors drive me nuts! *Some say the heart is just like a wheel (oh yeah, famous saying - learned it at Mom's knee) *You can bend it, you can't mend it (or something like that) *But my love for you is like a sinking ship *And my heart is on that ship out in the ocean (or something) I rest my case.... HB


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Subject: RE: FOLK SONGS TO DITCH
From: Andres R.
Date: 26 May 97 - 09:51 AM

I don't know if this is a folk song but one of the most nauseating songs ever, ever is Wind Beneath My Wings. A song for the little people behind the big humble star, bleahh. It is grounds for desertion -- can you imagine some poorlongsufferin wife or husband hearing that and going into the bathroon to throw up and then heading for the luggage rack. Andres


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Subject: RE: FOLK SONGS TO DITCH
From: Les Blank
Date: 26 May 97 - 10:09 AM

Well, I held off as long as I could !! Peter, when you and your followers get finished trashing those (G)oldies, please let me know so I can scavenge your dumpsters. I will scoop up your throw-a-ways and lovingly pack them away, to be resurrected years hence after your latest fad has faded. Music is forever -- and, thank Heaven, all of us are not !!

Les Blank


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Subject: RE: FOLK SONGS TO DITCH
From: Peter Timmerman
Date: 26 May 97 - 11:27 AM

Dear Les, Well, I don't think they are followers of mine! I sort of like Danny Boy, even ruined innumerable times. While I have you on the line (maybe) did you ever get back to Greenfields (a good song)? I suspected that the chorus might be in the major (C), but got stumped again. I am not much of an accompanist. Yours, Peter


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Subject: RE: FOLK SONGS TO DITCH
From: Will
Date: 26 May 97 - 09:21 PM

Hmm, I guess I'll dive into this. I have mixed feelings about this thread. On the one hand, it is hilarious. On the other, though, it smells a bit of folk-crowd literati. As several people have mentioned, many of the songs that people have mentioned are on the list because they show up so often, not because they are intrinsically bad songs. So some people must be voting with their ears. I am reluctant (very reluctant) to object to pretty much any song in the same way that I am reluctant to object to pretty much any book. There are many songs I don't play or sing or listen to, just as there are many books that I don't read, but I object strongly to banning books (even Madison County, Bridges thereof). Similarly, I find it difficult to object to other peoples' taste in music.

Part of the reason I am having this reaction is that I am going off to an annual camp that we have organized with my daughter's school class for the last four years. We have dinner, and then sit around a campfire and sing songs and beat at guitars. Some of these people I see every week; some I see once a year. We end up singing songs that most of us know, including many (most?) of the songs on the outre' list. We sing them not because they are great music, although some of them actually are wonderful songs, but because most of us know the tunes, the words, and can guess at the chords. While part of me wants to view the campfire as an opportunity to introduce wonderful unknown songs to a new audience, the greater part of me justs wants this to be a comfortable evening singing songs with a group of nice people. While I will probably try to play a wonderful Stan Rogers song that no one else has ever heard, along with the standards, I suspect that I will get no more than a grudging listen, because what people there really want to do is sing together, rather than listen to me show off what I have learned in the last year.

Some of the comments about "Rise up singing" jump out in this context. I don't use the book much when I am playing at home. Instead, I use books that have music and songs that I don't already know. But I leave those books at home for campfires and take a couple of copies of RUS, because I know that we will find some songs that we know how to sing and because there will be just enough chords that people who only play a few times a year can play too. Intrinsically, I suppose it's not good music, certainly I wouldn't record it. But, extrinsically it is very good music, because we can all slide into it easily without having to spend all our time worrying about teaching each other words and phrasing.

I think that part of the point, for me, is that music is as much about a social context and a social language as it is about a particular tune and a set of words. Over time, some songs beccome part of a common language. I suspect that there are many reasons why a song becomes invasive, whether it is a catchy tune, a memorable set of phrases, or a particular link to a time and society that people care about for whatever reason. Dylan is probably a good example ("Don't think twice"). There are a bunch of links there: to the 60s, with both the positive and negative aspects of those 10-15 years, a good tune, and an easily remembered verse. I play "Don't think twice" sometimes, other times stop myself because I don't like the sentiments (I have the same reaction to much of the blues). But I wouldn't ditch the song or tell someone else not to sing it. If I hear it on the radio and it bothers me, I switch stations. If I am with a group of people and someone sings it, I'll either wait for the next song or find another group of people if there are too many songs I don't like.

Perhaps another part of the point is that some songs are a form of comfort food, like pasta. I sing "Michael" almost every night to my kids. Have done so for years. By now they both know the words and know that I sing it badly. But it is part of the ritual of going to sleep. While I could get very tired of the song if I heard it in public a lot, I suppose, I don't get tired of it at home.

I am somewhat apologetic about the tone and length of this post. As I said, I think the thread is hilarious. But I don't want us to become too diverted from what I think is our reasonably shared understanding about music, which is that people sing songs and listen to songs that mean something to them. That really is the power of music. So if a bunch of people seem to find something meaningful in a song that I am really tired of, or never got the point of in the first place, I am willing to believe that they must find something that I don't and leave it at that.


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Subject: RE: FOLK SONGS TO DITCH
From: Joe Offer
Date: 27 May 97 - 03:08 AM

Will, I think you speak the truth. We can pass judgment music all we like and push all sorts of it aside because it doesn't meet our standards, but that's not the point. If somebody enjoys performing or listening to a song, then that song has value. Some of the music I've enjoyed most is corny, trite, and sloppily sentimental. Sometimes I enjoy that stuff just because it's weird; and sometimes I just like a little sentimentality.

Many moons ago, I spent eight years in a Catholic seminary; and one of my greatest pleasures there was singing. We'd gather in the chapel vestibule before evening prayers and smoke cigarettes and sing Engelbert Humperdinck songs. We would chant bus schedules in a Gregorian psalm tone. We'd gather around a piano with a group called the "Rolling Lambs" and drink beer and sing gospel songs. We did all that in jest, but we put a lot of sincerity into all those corny 60's commercial folk songs - including Kumbayah. Whatever the case, we sure had a good time singing a lot of bad music.

Now I'm in a song circle that uses "Rise Up Singing" as a hymnal. Yes, the book has a lot of corny songs; but I sure have a good time singing them. Isn't that what it's all about?

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: FOLK SONGS TO DITCH
From: AndyG
Date: 27 May 97 - 07:42 AM

Ok, I live in England, and drink (and help run a folk club) in an Irish Pub, so here's my list of ditchable songs.

English:
The Wild Mountain Thyme (please Go lassie).
Pleasant and Delightful (for who?).

Irish:
The Black Velvet Band (Still awful after all these years).
Whiskey in the Jar (clap,clap,clap,clap... Oh deary me).
The Wild Rover (even to the tune of Ghost Riders in the Sky).

But, on the other side of the coin I see:-
the phenomena amongst English singers, (anywhere else ?) of singing songs to new and obscure tunes so they, and only they, can sing the chorus, which tends to make even well loved songs long & probably dreary.

Andy

Fun thread tho'


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Subject: RE: FOLK SONGS TO DITCH
From: Peter Timmerman
Date: 27 May 97 - 09:23 AM

Yes, well, all this is ruining the slightly drunken simplicity of the original game. Oh well. Currently, most offthread contributors (well, some of them have started tuning in to follow this thread -- hi guys) have much more interest in ditching certain pop songs. This seems to bring out real hatred, and not just the "25 year give it a rest" weariness (unless you are singing it as a lullaby to your children, I guess -- the world is new every morning). Probably there needs to be a new Web site somewhere for worst song ever (somewhere else and thought up by someone else, I have no time!!!) I don't want to give away any secrets, but "Tie a Yellow Ribbon" is way up there. Yours, Peter


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Subject: RE: FOLK SONGS TO DITCH
From: Susan of California
Date: 27 May 97 - 11:27 AM

Will, I agree with you that much of the time music is about social context. People from different parts of the world have different feelings about songs, and if someone from Australia sang "Waltzing Matilda" at my campfire, I'd probably have a soft spot for it :-) And what really matters is the human connection that music often makes. Look at the symbolic use yellow ribbons have now, that they might never have attained if not for a hokey song. And as far as singing to your kids goes, I have found that when mine were little, I could get away with singing them virtually anything-one of their favorites was a severely mangled "Tura Lura Lura" (is that from Finnean's Rainbow?) I'm sure that I don't know the right words or tune but I can remember my Mom singing it to my little brother, I sang it to them, and I bet they will produce their own version of it when they have kids..at least I hope they will. Now that they are getting older, they just wish I'd quit singing, and their dad would leave his guitar out in the rain. Arggh. Having teenaged kids is such fun.


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Subject: RE: FOLK SONGS TO DITCH
From: Martin Ryan
Date: 27 May 97 - 12:09 PM

I seem to remember Frank Harte recording "Molly Malone" a few years ago and commenting that just because a song had fallen on hard times because of the company it kept, it didn't mean it wasn't a great song!

Let's keep an open mind and be prepared to gently subvert the restrictive corsets into which songs get pushed. Sorry about the mixed metaphor!

Now can can we get back to songs?

Regards


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Subject: RE: FOLK SONGS TO DITCH
From: Martin Ryan
Date: 27 May 97 - 12:21 PM

I seem to remember Frank Harte recording "Molly Malone" a few years ago and commenting that just because a song had fallen on hard times because of the company it kept, it didn't mean it wasn't a great song!

Let's keep an open mind and be prepared to gently subvert the restrictive corsets into which songs get pushed. Sorry about the mixed metaphor!

Now can can we get back to songs?

Regards


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Subject: RE: FOLK SONGS TO DITCH
From: hartley
Date: 27 May 97 - 06:17 PM

I'm for complying the top to-be-ditch candidates in several categories--Irish sung and unsung, dated folk music, country/western, children's tunes, etc. This would be subject of good conservation as we sing them.


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Subject: RE: FOLK SONGS TO DITCH
From: hartley
Date: 27 May 97 - 06:20 PM

I'm for complying the top to-be-ditch candidates in several categories--Irish sung and unsung, dated folk music, country/western, children's tunes, etc. This would be subject of good conservation as we sing them.


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Subject: RE: FOLK SONGS TO DITCH
From: hartley
Date: 27 May 97 - 06:22 PM

I'm for complying the top to-be-ditch candidates in several categories--Irish sung and unsung, dated folk music, country/western, children's tunes, etc. This would be subject of good conservation as we sing them.


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Subject: RE: FOLK SONGS TO DITCH
From: Cathy Brady
Date: 27 May 97 - 06:42 PM

I've just started going to bluegrass jams with my fiddle. I'm getting so I don't want to name my request when it's my turn. The last time I asked for Angel Band I got the cold shoulder for the rest of the night. As I read this thread it occurs to me that maybe it was "overexposed"? I finally get over the "obscure is cool" thing I was in in the sixties and seventies... it got lonely. If Garrison K. can make "Tell Me Why" a pleasure to sing, I'm in pursuit of the friendly song circle. Of course i'd be the first to punch out the person who wants us to play Rocky Top. Maybe we should ask them "What key will you be playing in?" This thread has been great fun and thought provoking, too.


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Subject: RE: FOLK SONGS TO DITCH
From: Tim Rossiter
Date: 28 May 97 - 09:46 AM

I think we need to realize that what may be "over-exposed" to performers is not to listeners. John McCormack (not what we might call a folk artist, but . . .) said he gave his audiences three things at a performance, Songs they want hear, Songs from his home and Songs they should want to hear.

I do "feel your pain" with some of the Son of Kumbaya liturgical songs, and although many people insist they easier for people to sing and encourage participation, I don't think a Panis Angelicus or Pange Lingua would hurt now and then.

NB. I think the so-called "I.R.A." category needs to be split into three. There is nothing wrong in celebrating Irish freedom from Britain with patriotic songs such as "Rising of the Moon", or educating about current injustices with songs such as "H-block Song". The third category could be those songs which advocated killing civilians or burning churches. Frankly I can't think of any.

Tim


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Subject: RE: FOLK SONGS TO DITCH
From: LaMarca
Date: 28 May 97 - 03:11 PM

In the past couple years Dave Barry has had a "Ten Worst Rock and Roll Songs of All Time" contest in his column. I don't remember the whole list, but his number one loser was "MacArthur Park", a song so full of bombast and overblown metaphors that it collapses under its own weight ("Someone left a cake out in the rain..."), especially when "sung" by the musically impaired Richard Harris.

This contest was a lot easier for rock'n'roll than for folk songs in some ways; a lot more REALLY BAD songs get a whole lot more exposure and airplay in the pop music world than in folk music circles. One good thing about the oral tradition; if a song REALLY stinks, it will die after a couple generations. Unfortunately, those of us living in the same generation the song was "born" or written in are stuck with it...

There's a really big crop of recently written "folk" music I'd love to see consigned to the trash dumpster of history, especially "message" songs that advocate feminism, ecological correctness, peace, love, freedom and other politically correct causes without regard to melody, meter or elegant language. It's not that I don't agree with the political viewpoints expressed; it's just that the songs are written with all the subtlety of a 2 X 4, and sung with such painful earnestness that I want to cringe. There's the generic protest song, "Gonna Keep on Walkin' Forward" (your cause here), the sappy/cute eco-consciousness song "Hugh the Manatee" (Hugh Manatee - get it?, get it? Aren't we clever), any of the myriad of "Wymyn's movement" songs("all men are scum and we sisters should become lesbians and just get rid of them"), etc. Personally, I think Tom Lehrer's "We Are the Folk Song Army" should be required listening for anyone tempted to write a topical/political song!

Ah, well, I know that in generations to come, right thinking people (meaning those who share MY opinions) will bury these mistakes in the collective unconscious, whence they will be revived by earnest amateur folklorists like myself looking for a "new" obscure song to present to THEIR fellow folksingers...


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Subject: RE: FOLK SONGS TO DITCH
From: Peter Timmerman
Date: 28 May 97 - 05:26 PM

Dear LaMarca, If you could find a copy of the Dave Barry list, I would appreciate it. I am sure he also has some appropriate remarks. The other request is more gruesome -- do you have a copy of Hugh the Manatee? I have never heard it, and it sounds so hideous that it might be worth, well, I am not sure what. I speak as an ardent environmentalist. Yours, Peter


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Subject: RE: FOLK SONGS TO DITCH
From: Sheye
Date: 29 May 97 - 10:40 AM

An example of the 25 year hiatus clause being subjective: I remember Molly Malone from grade school and haven't heard it in years. The first part is all I remember and would love to hear it again.

Greensleeves could go to sleep for a while. Was never partial to green and envious that since I wouldn't be wearing green, I wouldn't be turning heads.

Dave Barry's list was a blast and I'd love to read it again...


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Subject: RE: FOLK SONGS TO DITCH
From: joebass@inforamp.net
Date: 29 May 97 - 11:59 AM

I sure enjoyed that read. Learned that there are some good humoured people out there, also learned that we are not without our snobs. Somebody said that all Shakespeare did was string together a whole bunch of cliches. I wish I was a cliche.

Best, Joe


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Subject: RE: FOLK SONGS TO DITCH
From: Bert Hansell
Date: 29 May 97 - 01:11 PM

Joe,

You could substitute "Country songs" for "Shakespeare" in your message.

Also, I went to a songwriter's workshop a while ago and they told us "Don't use cliches" . I said "Well there goes all my songs."

Bert.


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Subject: RE: FOLK SONGS TO DITCH
From: Canadian, eh?
Date: 29 May 97 - 04:28 PM

Have the non-Canadians among this group been overexposed to Lightfoot's "The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald", or did the CBC save that just for us? I will apologize now to any loyalists I may have slighted.


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Subject: RE: FOLK SONGS TO DITCH
From:
Date: 29 May 97 - 05:31 PM

H. Burhans!! Could you post those Wedding Song parody lyrics?

also... A comment or two on complaints on folk songs that are really good, just "over-requested, over-played or over-sung".

Not one of the secular "overplayed" songs mentioned above holds candle to the repetition records of some hymns (e.g. Doxology).

There's a Cleveland Folksinger, Tim Wallace, who managed to take one line each from about 25 or so of these songs and weave them into a single song. He did it back during the late '60's folk scare as a way to get all the requests out of the way in one song.

Besides, legions of people who have written or are currently writing and performing great original music, or who have great repertoires of lesser played old-time or folk tunes, cut their teeth as performers on Puff, House of Rising Sun, Edmund Fitzgerald et al., around campfires and at open mikes (yes you did, come on, admit it).

So if repetition of great old songs is what it takes to keep bringing people into this music, its a price worth paying. You would rather Vanilli?


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Subject: RE: FOLK SONGS TO DITCH
From: JH
Date: 29 May 97 - 05:31 PM

WHILE YOUR AT IT, DUMP, GET RID OF, TRASH, ANYTHING THAT HAS BEEN SUNG OR WRITTEN BY NEIL YOUNG AND THE CRAZY HORSE HE RODE IN ON.


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Subject: RE: FOLK SONGS TO DITCH
From:
Date: 29 May 97 - 08:58 PM

To Canadian Eh.

I am sitting here typing away, wearing a T-shirt that says "The Edmund Fitzgerald, 1975-1995 The legend lives on."

BUT I am NOT going to sing. I agree with you about the CBC (as I said in my post about the 2 Wade Hemsworth songs.)

Now I am going to make a strenuous effort to find Lightfoot and Hemsworth songs that I really like but NEVER hear anymore. Home From the Forest and Wild Goose spring immediately to mind.

Frank Phillips


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Subject: RE: FOLK SONGS TO DITCH
From: Alan of Australia
Date: 29 May 97 - 10:11 PM

The tune for "The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald" is the same as Bobby Sands' "Back Home In Derry" but without the chorus. Which came first? Any ideas?

Cheers,

Alan


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Subject: RE: FOLK SONGS TO DITCH
From: Barry Finn
Date: 29 May 97 - 10:25 PM

Yes I did cut my teeth on House Of The Rising Sun etc, but I'm still for tossing Rise Up Singing, I agree it's fun to get every body singing together but on something that was exiting in the 60's please, give it a rest, there are still uncharted waters out there, the same waters where these old gems came from. My gripe with the old stand bys and books are that the more they get recycled the less we hear of songs that we could complain about in 25 yrs from now, and the effect this has on our expections and standards. Why learn The Rambler From Clare when everyone will sing Danny Boy just ONE MORE TIME. I droped out of singing circles 15 yrs ago when I kept getting asked for the same songs over and over again until I hated the songs and only recently started singing them to my kids. LaMarca you can sing my song to death if you like, I'll take the heat, which brings me to contempory trash. Anyone want a new song about the SUN or MY BABY GIRL or WHAT GROWS IN MY GARDEN that doesn't grow in yours, get a life. It seems that alot the contempory stull thats being aired is written by singers who's talent lies in promoting and alot of the great hard to find songs are dying because of underexposure (see above thread). This leads to the talented singer/songerwriter who needs the exposure to ply their trade like the broadside ballad hawkers of the last century. Again this might lead to the talented getting lumped together with the talentless, at festivals, where cheaper is a major factor of survival, and where traditional & contempory performers may struggle with one another for their bread, and who's to say who's better or who's worth more,(the promoters thats who), and when the venues start to fade away we can all sing COME BY HERE where the clubs, festivals and airwaves used to be. And people call me pathalogicaly affirmative. Barry Finn Cont. may


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Subject: RE: FOLK SONGS TO DITCH
From: Bill D... extree@erols.com
Date: 30 May 97 - 08:40 PM

from Joe Offers post up there ^

"and drink beer and sing gospel songs. We did all that in jest, but we put a lot of sincerity into all those corny 60's commercial folk songs - including Kumbayah. Whatever the case, we sure had a good time singing a lot of bad music.

Now I'm in a song circle that uses "Rise Up Singing" as a hymnal. Yes, the book has a lot of corny songs; but I sure have a good time singing them. Isn't that what it's all about?"

-Joe-

Yep, Joe...and some people drink Budweiser and eat at McDonalds. Having a good time singing is a very important part of 'what it's all about'.You may certainly sing...and enjoy...anything you please.But Barry's point (it seems to me)is that an awful lot of stuff is being produced--beer, hamburgers, music--that has very little content and polish, and is simply being 'marketed' like soap, soap operas, sit-coms, bland beer,and pre-cooked veal patties.

Some of the 'navel-gazing' songs done by girl singers who are inspired by Kate Wolfe are really insipid stuff....as were some of the 'oldies' of the sixties.Yes, I know some of them...even sing one now & then...I eat a McDonalds hamburger occasionally, too (though I will NOT drink a Budweiser!) But I do not partake of these things on a 'regular' basis, and I do not extoll their virtues and form "McDonalds eating clubs".

I own a copy of "Rise Up Singing", and every now & then I refer to it...I would not 'throw it out'...and I doubt that Barry expects me to. There are a lot of good songs in it, and it has some real uses. It is not terribly well researched and edited...there are a lot of un-necessary errors in it, but I can deal with that because I also have OTHER sources! When it is the ONLY source, those errors get set in stone in a lot of people's heads, as does the very concept of 'one source'. I have "The Folksingers Wordbook" too--and several other collections & compilations.

So, what's my point? My point is that McDonalds & Anheiser-Busch have enough money & influence to make it difficult for competition, no matter HOW good, and "Rise Up Singing" has put so many copies of their little tome out there(as well as "Rise Up Singing" workshops & seminars), that it has begun to propagate like crabgrass and become, as you say, a hymn book.No one can keep you from worshiping at the altar of your choice, but whenever possible-like 'now'- I will take a few minutes and warn those within earshot that there ARE other (and, to my mind, better) books).

Am I being a 'snob'? Perhaps so, by some standards....I really thing that there are songs(and beers) that we would be better off without, but they are here...and I am a realist. All I can do is enter these discussions and point out my approach to things...you never know when I'll gain a convert by my brilliant analysis. *wink*

I don't think that any folk songs are going to be 'ditched' because of what we say here, but perhaps the nominees will cause some 'folk' to think a bit more about what they sing.

Regards...Bill D


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Subject: Songfest, the book
From: Cathy Brady
Date: 31 May 97 - 01:22 AM

It was a yellow paperback in the early 60's. I have never seen Rise up Singing. Is Songfest similar. From it I learned words to Mountain Dew that nobody else seems to use. And a song called Persian Kitty that I've never heard any one else sing.


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Subject: RE: FOLK SONGS TO DITCH
From: Will
Date: 31 May 97 - 01:28 AM

Great comments. Just came back from two days at camp with a bunch of fifth grade boys.

I played as many terrible songs as I could think of, as loudly as I could manage, just to drown out their version of "If I had a hammer", which had become a paen to sex and violence.

Whatever is the younger generation coming to?


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Subject: RE: FOLK SONGS TO DITCH
From: Peter Timmerman
Date: 31 May 97 - 01:25 PM

Dear Cathy, in the interests of information and fair play, "Rise Up Singing" is a spiral bound book with about a thousand songs in it, complete with chords, and organized thematically. The themes are, well, sort of like the apotheosis of the 60's (much of the material comes out of the "Sing Out" magazine files and other places).There are also tapes you can buy, and (news to me, but see above contribution) they seem to hold learning sessions. It is actually a pretty good deal for a first book. It has "Up On the Roof" in it, which is not a folk song, and seems to me to be impervious to destruction, so I can stand it personally. Yours, Peter


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Subject: RE: FOLK SONGS TO DITCH
From: Bill D extree@erols.com
Date: 31 May 97 - 02:31 PM

Kathy is thinking of the book by Dick & Beth Best..(my copy is pretty ragged...also my copy of "Songs for Swingin' House Mothers" and my Burl Ives books and my "Hootnanny Songbook"..etc.. I guess it will take a bit longer to wear out the newer ones...and every one deserves a place on my shelf, though they don't get opened as often anymore. I collect almost anything I can find...(as do several other friends in this area...we all have our 'private bookstores which we hope no one else will discover.*smile*) And when we find duplicates, they make fine presents for those we know don't have them...I acquired a wonderful copy of Percy's Reliques recently from a nice lady.(Thanks again...)

So...in having a lot of books and Digitrad & this forum, I am constantly honing & re-defining my tastes and learning new verses and history. The 'folk process' is like evolution...it CAN'T stop unless you totally isolate yourself from outside influences.But that does not mean that it should be hurried along too fast....a 'folk processer' set on 'puree' gives you mush-which is why I don't add just anything to my repertoire...I may have to 'eat' it later...


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Subject: RE: FOLK SONGS TO DITCH
From: Kitdiva
Date: 01 Jun 97 - 12:15 AM

I love this thread. I, too, cast my vote for the Wedding Song, If I were a Carpenter, and Michael row....

I too would be desperately grateful for a copy of Hugh the Manatee. LaMarca, would you be so kind-?!! Plus the parody of the Wedding Song would be wonderful, H. Burhans. Thanks. (And has anyone mentioned, "Today, while the blossoms still cling to the vine"? May they fall off!)


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Subject: RE: FOLK SONGS TO DITCH
From: Peter Timmerman
Date: 01 Jun 97 - 03:51 PM

Dear Cathy, further to above. "Rise Up Singing is edited by Peter Blood and Annie Patterson, copyright 1992. ISBN 0-9626704-7-2. Since my last posting, I have received two e-mails (er, e-males) suggesting (among other things I cannot mention in polite company) that the entire chapter entitled "Men" in "Rise up Singing" should be given a special horror award of merit. So, be on guard.Yours, Peter


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Subject: RE: FOLK SONGS TO DITCH
From: Jerry Friedman, jfriedman@nnm.cc.nm.us
Date: 03 Jun 97 - 05:48 PM

I'm amazed that "Greensleeves" and "Danny Boy" are on people's lists. In my opinion, those are two of the best tunes ever "written" in the insular part of Europe. I can't imagine a life in which I would hear the Londonderry Air too often, but I guess overexposure will kill one's pleasure in anything.

TFT writes: What about that song with the "gospel makers" that you have to sit through while people expound on who "the rivals" were?

It's called "Green Grow the Rushes O" and it not only brings me pleasant memories of a summer camp, it's also quoted in THE GREATEST NOVEL EVER (okay, my favorite American fantasy novel of the '80s): _Little, Big_ by John Crowley.

Canadian, eh? writes: Have the non-Canadians among this group been overexposed to Lightfoot's "The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald", or did the CBC save that just for us?

Oh God.

I actually like the tune of "MacArthur Park", and the poetically overambitious lyrics make a nice change from the deadly underambitious lyrics of many pop (and folk and folk-rock) songs. (I am not speaking of heavy metal or progressive rock here. And I'm not for a moment defending Richard Harris's and Donna Summers's versions.)

When I used to get chances to hear great sopranos, both Kathleen Battle and Jessye Norman performed the same de-folked arrangement of "He's Got the Whole World in His Hands". I would be willing to ditch this song from the diva repertoire.

People find it hard to believe that I don't remember ever hearing "The Wedding Song". Now I'm in no hurry to.

Be careful before throwing out "Michael Row the Boat Ashore". There are many worse things for kids to do on long car or bus trips.


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Subject: RE: FOLK SONGS TO DITCH
From: Cathy Brady
Date: 04 Jun 97 - 07:22 AM

I really should let go of this thread, huh? Last night at a BG jam the guy next to me pulled out his book of lyrics and it was "Rise up.."! So I guess it was my week to learn about it. As for MIchael, He's got the whole world... etc, I have learned to love these songs again because I've been singing them with the "Excetpional Learners" (retarded adults) Sunday School group. I've even learned to love Jesus Loves Me - which is a song I never remember liking. The key is that the folks singing all love the music and are happy to be singing something they know. How the group feels about singing might be the key. Which might explain the successes of old saws on Prairie HOme Companion.


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Subject: RE: FOLK SONGS TO DITCH
From: Tamara
Date: 06 Jun 97 - 08:15 PM

Lessee. Broom o' the Cowdenowes, Valley of Strathmore, Rose of Allendale, Mattie Groves, the Gypsy Rover (with the exception of the Boiled in Lead version, which cracks me up), and Rosie Anderson. Unfortunately, I'm rather fond of Blackbird, Anarchie Gordon, and a couple of the others that have been over done.
Oh yes. A word about bagpipes. I love them. But only if the piper does NOT play either Scotland the Brave or Amazing Grace, the only songs known, apparently, by some ninety percent of pipers.
There's a lot of stuff y'all are mentioning as being beaten to death in sing circles that i'm sure I'd have a stronger opinion about

IF I ONLY HAD SOMEBODY TO SING WITH !!!

Whine whine. I live in center city Philadelphia. All of the local song groups I know of require cars to get to. I make do with singing to tapes and the radio. Pathetic, isn't it ?
And so I share my pain :).

Tamara
tamarad@dolphin.upenn.edu


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Subject: RE: FOLK SONGS TO DITCH
From:
Date: 09 Jun 97 - 12:05 AM


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Subject: RE: FOLK SONGS TO DITCH
From: Leslie Walters waltersl@cctr.umkc.edu
Date: 09 Jun 97 - 01:22 PM

Yes indeed!

There are certainly songs in every genre that could stand to be unheard for decades. Although I still love Danny Boy, I have to agree with the person who lambasted those who shouldn't be singing it, namely the singers who have to mutilate the tune to keep it within range. There's a singer here in Kansas City, who is from Dublin. Most of the time he flatly refuses to sing DB at all. He he considers it a tune to sing at funerals.

I'll also second the motion on The Happy Wanderer, Kumbaya, and dizzying circle chants. Leave those to the Girl and Boy Scouts around the campfire. Actually, they're probably pretty sick of them too. As one of those ancient folkies from the sixties, I well remember any number of trad songs that I wish had never been "found." They seemed to be the ones that either your family or an audience ALWAYS wanted you to sing. If I think of any more to consider for the "dump" list, I'll stick in another two cents worth or so.

Keep up the good work!

Leslie


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Subject: RE: FOLK SONGS TO DITCH
From: dani tdblack@mindspring.com
Date: 09 Jun 97 - 03:47 PM

I can't believe you can't find folks to sing with in Phila. I can think of a half dozen places to lurk and find singers - email me if you want some ideas!


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Subject: RE: FOLK SONGS TO DITCH
From: Dick Wisan
Date: 10 Jun 97 - 12:26 AM

What a great thread!

My beef isn't exactly the songs but the singers. The Clancys (but not only the Clancys) are bad about this: all shantys are turned into capstan shantys (shanties?) because they want a hard driving rhythm.

Somebody groused about "The Happy Wanderer". Is that the one that goes:

We love to go a-wanderung

Along the Zuyder zee,

And as we go, we laugh and throw

Our friends into the sea.


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Subject: RE: FOLK SONGS TO DITCH
From: Alan of Australia
Date: 10 Jun 97 - 02:37 AM

That was me!
Your words are a great improvement.

Cheers,

Alan


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Subject: RE: FOLK SONGS TO DITCH
From: webmaster@waltzingmatilda.com
Date: 10 Jun 97 - 07:04 AM

I read with interest the comments started off by Susan of Calif

Had Susan been exposed to the true story behind Waltzing Matilda and not just the popular "Jolly Swagman" version that was re-arranged in 1903, some eight years after Banjo first penned the ballad at old Dagworth Homestead in January 1895, then she may have had a completely different outlook on the ballad.

The true story behind "our song" is not one of a Jolly Swagman stuffing a whole sheep into a tucker bag but...

Well the best way to answer that is for you to visit our Waltzing Matilda site at http://www.waltzingmatilda.com and be exposed to the real Matilda.


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Subject: RE: FOLK SONGS TO DITCH
From: Bert Hansell
Date: 10 Jun 97 - 12:12 PM

Tamara, try this site for folk info in Philadelphia

http://www.dynanet.com/~larry/index.html
Bert.


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Subject: RE: FOLK SONGS TO DITCH
From:
Date: 10 Jun 97 - 12:45 PM

About the waltzingmatilda site above. Maybe it had the original words there but I gave up before I found them.


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Subject: RE: FOLK SONGS TO DITCH
From: Annie Talley
Date: 10 Jun 97 - 01:27 PM

I've been reading this since no one answered my thread on the words to "I'm a truthful fellow".It is very funny. I got to thinking though it's not really the song that needs ditching it's more the people who do them and the WAY they are done.My son was in his room yesterday and was playing an "alternative" version of "Boil Them Cabbage Down" on his electric guitar and it was quite awesome. Two scenes come to mind and one is where John Belushi (in animal house) smashes a guitar over some one's head who is singing "I gave my love a cherry" and the other one where that guy on beevis and butthead that wears the shirt with the peace sign on it is sitting around a campfire singing "men have feelings too". I was at Mt. Airy last weekend for the fiddler's convention and I was singing "Will the Circle be Unbroken" and some hairy pitted hippie chick started singing "will the fetus be aborted" and I was like geeeeeeeeeehhhhh. As far as "Rise up singing" there's too much good stuff in there to trash it. I could sing Lakes of the Ponchartrain a gazillion times.But there are plenty in there that do SUCK - like isn't there one about a penis and it goes something like "it's only a pee-pee"- this one should be first on the list for sure. Oh well, that's my 2 cents.


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Subject: RE: FOLK SONGS TO DITCH
From: Joe Offer
Date: 10 Jun 97 - 02:35 PM

I'll second the motion on ditching "It's only a Wee-Wee" in the 'Rise Up Singing' songbook. We have a 6-yr-old in one song circle who requests that song every darn month. We sing it, because that's better than making an issue of it. Songs like that, the ones that push political agendas or try too hard to be politically correct, those must be the most obnoxious songs ever written. Give me a plate of greasy grimy gopher guts any time, rather than that garbage.

-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: FOLK SONGS TO DITCH
From: Jack
Date: 10 Jun 97 - 04:44 PM

Annie, I agree with you about Rise Up Singing. As I indicated in a recent thread in this forum (see IN DEFENSE OF RUS), it is mainly critized not on its own merits, but on the way some use it, (or overuse it as the case may be).

In fact, a lot of complaints in the current thread are less about songs than about the taste or behavior of other singers. The complaints are in the general format of

I HATE SONG X BECAUSE....

A) Everyone wants to sing it all the time B) Nobody wants to sing my songs because they always sing SONG X. C) Too many people sing SONG X really badly.

None of which have much to do with the song itself.


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Subject: RE: FOLK SONGS TO DITCH
From: Bob Clayton
Date: 23 Jun 97 - 02:12 PM

Let's see -- one part "done badly" and two parts "done to death," mixed with "poorly (or worse) conceived" makes for an interesting list. This thread, which I just read in toto, having just decided to look over the discussion forum that Bill D keeps mentioning, keeps wobbling back and forth about the songs. We orta organize 'em:

Songs that are Okay, but Overdone (SOO Songs):

Michael's Boat (so overdone in its day that it's not done much at all, but still gets "those looks" when started); the Wedding Song (I, too, don't actually recognize this one, as in "hear it in my head when the title is mentioned"); Walting with Fauna ('nuff said); Waltzing Matilda (does the purported "charm" of this song derive from those Australian terms that the singer can claim to know when the audiene supposedly doesn't -- or actually didn't when the song was first commited?) (For the English majors out there -- you know who you are -- I bet you can't parse THAT sentence!) and probably most of the others already mentioned.

Poorly Done Ditties (Yes!) (PIDDY Songs):

MacArthur Park, and much of Paul Simon's later (post-1970) work (the charm of "Graceland" is NOT in the lyrical qualities of the pieces, and I say this despite very much liking to hear the CD); "Mao Tse Tung" by Ewan MacColl (if it's not his worst, I don't wanna hear what is!) A sh*tload of other topical and PC songs (Hugh Manatee is right up there, fer shur!) Most of those songer-singwriter songs that are so personal that ONLY the writer would sing 'em. I write songs, too, but at least try to come up with something someone else might LIKE to sing. (If anyone asks, I'll post "I Feel, I Feel" -- a collaboration with some friends -- but ONLY if someone asks.) (I can hear it now -- Don't Ask, Don't Tell!)

Well, It Sings Hard (WISH Songs) -- songs that are hard to do properly, but are done anyway, usually by people who shouldn't have attempted them: Star Spangled Banner ANY Leonard Cohen song and most old ballads with Phrygian, Lochrian or other "odd" modes in the tune. They get discovered and perpetrated on recording, then the vox populi attempt them, with disastrous results.

This has gotten longer than I intended, but my song-circle friends expect it of me, so I had to comply. Sort of the prose equivalent of "I keep getting asked for this song." If we look hard, we can find terrible songs, good songs done to death, and professional-driver-on-closed-course, don't-try-this-at-home songs. Our resulting list should probably be annotated to reflect the categories.


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Subject: RE: FOLK SONGS TO DITCH
From: Peter Timmerman
Date: 23 Jun 97 - 05:12 PM

Dear Bob, I am sort of maintaining a watch on this -- I also have a stack of e-mails -- and at some point I intend to post the (interim?) results. Your categories are pretty good. I have been fiddlng away with overdone and half-baked (for the PC songs). A real problem is drawing a line so that bad pop songs are excluded. They crop up a lot on lists. We have been this way before....Also, given the nature of the contributors, there is a North American folkie/Celtic pub divide (If I can simplify drastically) that needs to be reflected in the final listings. Fun, though. Yours, Peter


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Subject: RE: FOLK SONGS TO DITCH
From: kiwi@unagi.cybernothing.org
Date: 25 Jun 97 - 02:40 PM

I agree that a lot of the problem with many of the songs is that they're overplayed or done badly. Unfortunately, that tends to ruin the sweetness of getting the occasional taste of a song done well. I was at the Winterguard championships in Wildwood, NJ this past spring and saw a guard perform to a beautiful version of "Danny Boy".. since it WAS well done and I hadn't heard it recently, it DID bring tears to my eyes.

My submissions:

The Ball of Ballynore (a.k.a. The Gathering of the Clans): Most people probably don't hear this often, but at a Renaissance Festival it's likely to get you set upon by every kilt-boy, actor, and volunteer in sight because we've heard it so damned much! However, a new verse can still occasionally be welcomed with a laugh.

Come Forth: I don't know how widely known this one is, but it's a "Here Comes the Bride" type of thing. "Come forth, come forth from Lebanon, my bride; Come forth, come forth from Lebanon, my spouse; Come draw near, come draw near, my fair one." etc.. I made my mother promise that if/when I get married, she'll make the choir NOT sing it for me, otherwise I'm going to refuse to walk down the aisle. :)

99 Bottles of Beer on the Wall

Amazing Grace on the bagpipes: I never heard this until maybe last year, and suddenly it's all that the pipers know how to play! Now, since I hate hearing a good song mangled, this was occasion for fist-clenching, frantic whimpering, and serious thoughts of setting my clan-cousins on the pipers. However, has anybody heard Ani DiFranco's version of AG? It's beautiful because it's done in a different style.


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Subject: RE: FOLK SONGS TO DITCH
From: Bill D
Date: 25 Jun 97 - 03:14 PM

I heard "Amazing Grace" played on the Alpenhorn a few years ago...it was VERY nice!! (*grin*...maybe a bagpipe & Alpenhorn duet)


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Subject: RE: FOLK SONGS TO DITCH
From:
Date: 25 Jun 97 - 03:33 PM

I second the motion to ditch 99 Bottles of Beer. I personally had to ditch the song at age 15. It was on a train (tells you how old I am) to camp (Royal Canadian Air Cadets - tells you again.) Someone started singing and his seat mates joined in. They did the whole works down to no bottles of beer. Just as we were breathing a sigh of relief the instigator sang the following.

No bottles of beer on the wall
No bottles of beer
Take one down, pass it around
Minus one bottles of beer on the wall.

He stopped at this point. Someone's hands were around his neck. I've never sung it since and I'll bet he hasn't either.

Frank Phillips


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Subject: RE: FOLK SONGS TO DITCH
From: david@media.mit.edu
Date: 25 Jun 97 - 06:48 PM

Much as the vast, hovering body of folk music may, like grandmaternal embraces or avuncular dutch-rubs, seem oppressive at times, one could not decently think of hacking off a bit of it any more than one would consider removing a large swath of Granny's mid-section with a samurai sword or flattening Uncle Bill's knuckles with a meat mallet.


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Subject: RE: FOLK SONGS TO DITCH
From: kiwi@unagi.cybernothing.org
Date: 26 Jun 97 - 12:05 PM

even worse than hearing 99 bottles of beer sung all the way through, though.. is hearing it sung in hexadecimal... a friend of mine did that to her family on a trip once.. started at FF bottles and got through all 256 refrains, down to 00 bottles.

And there's the ever popular "infinity bottles of beer on the wall" which we managed to sing for an entire half hour with nobody killing us while waiting in line for a ride at Disney.. :)


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Subject: RE: FOLK SONGS TO DITCH
From: Paul Stamler
Date: 11 Jan 99 - 01:59 PM

A few miscellaneous thoughts: 1) Danny Boy -- can we separate the superb tune, collected from a tinker in Co. Derry in the mid 19th century, from the sodden lyrics, written (I believe) by some tin pan alley hack? 2) Would someone please put a large billboard in every city with folksingers, telling them that "Goodnight Irene" isn't a jolly, roaring farewell song, but a trip into the depths from a man who has lost his wife and his lover and is seriously contemplating suicide? 3) I quite like Louis Killen's version of "Waltzing Matilda", which keeps its eye on the class relationships. 4) "Wedding Song" is the best reason I know to live in sin. 5) The problem with "Amazing Grace" is that performers (pro and amateur) use it as a tool to induce a particular mood, and it's always manipulative. "OK, folks, you're gonna feel holy now!" Feh. Try the shape-note version, which is harder to abuse. Others I'd love to see disappear: that damned song about the Irish immigrant cowboy who killed lots of people, stole, cheated, but was basically a good sort because he liked slip jigs and reels. "Kilkelly", another sentimentalized bosh. "Whishkey in the Jar". "Thanksgiving Eve". I'll grant "The Sick Note" clemency, but it sure has been overdone. Outside the folk realm, *any* "gonzo" Christmas song should be deep-sixed forever, unless it was written by Tom Lehrer. Okay, I'll stop now.


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Subject: RE: FOLK SONGS TO DITCH
From: Allan. S
Date: 11 Jan 99 - 02:37 PM

Wow what a thread more fun What I can't stand are the PC songs that start with the following statement "And then I wrote this song because people are dying in -------" fill in the blank any country will do. If we all sing it we can save the world.


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Subject: RE: FOLK SONGS TO DITCH
From: Ralph Butts
Date: 11 Jan 99 - 04:53 PM

Re: Paul's Item 2, above, I would add "Loch Lomond", always done way, way out of context......Tiger


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Subject: RE: FOLK SONGS TO DITCH
From: jeffs
Date: 11 Jan 99 - 10:17 PM

ANY song that gets done time after time can make the list. I dreaded the City of New Orleans for a while. I still have an urge to take a black marker to the Rose.

I'll nominate American Pie for the WISH list. But it's soo much fun to try.

Since RUS is taking some more abuse I should point out that there're 1200 songs in there. You really should be able to go a few months without repeating ;^)

jeff "moving from a town with 3 circles to one with 8 helps too"


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Subject: RE: FOLK SONGS TO DITCH
From: Tim Jaques tjaques@netcom.ca
Date: 11 Jan 99 - 10:24 PM

"Where Have All The Flowers Gone?"


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Subject: RE: FOLK SONGS TO DITCH
From: Dawn
Date: 12 Jan 99 - 01:23 AM

I was recently at an open mike night where - because some people come later, hopefully for a better reason than because then they don't have to listen to the earlier performers - those of us who stayed for the entire evening sat through THREE renditions of "Angel from Montgomery". In one night. By the time the third performer started in on it, half the pub was almost rolling on the floor.


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Subject: RE: FOLK SONGS TO DITCH
From: Kris
Date: 12 Jan 99 - 07:18 AM

Well, I think that if I like a song I shall damn well sing it. And so do a lot of other people. At the singing circle I have recently joined I am quite happy to listen to ANYONE sing ANYTHING and I don't care whether they are off key, squeeky, or singing something I don't like. That is because they extend the same courtesy to me. And to anyone that sneers at someone else's choice of songs and execution - well who made you the god of music then? That's not to say you can't BE fed up of something & discuss said fed-up-ness, but not to the extent of making amateur performers afraid of being ridiculed. The nice thing about the circle I have joined is that, as my husband remarked (tho he ma have been exaggerating just a little), you could fart in a glass and they would all say 'well farted'. And I think that's a good thing. The attitude not the farting.


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Subject: RE: FOLK SONGS TO DITCH
From: Bill D
Date: 12 Jan 99 - 12:19 PM

for those who sometimes 'sing' limericks..(various tunes are used..)

I DID once sing at our local song circle this little ditty..click if you would be amused by the ultimate 'well farted'


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Subject: RE: FOLK SONGS TO DITCH
From: Dan Keding
Date: 12 Jan 99 - 08:32 PM

While there are several songs out there that I could live forever happily without hearing again I have to agree with Kris. I'm sure when many of us started we sang songs that others wanted dead and buried. For the most part those folks suffered through our folkie beginnings and I guess we should return the favor. The good songs will last, cream always rises to the top. The good singers will always be appreciated. I also sometimes shudder when I see that Blue Book come out but it sure started a lot of people singing and I'd rather they were singing, even songs I hate, then staying home and watchinh t.v. and ignoring the music altogether. Dan


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Subject: RE: FOLK SONGS TO DITCH
From: Jo Taylor
Date: 12 Jan 99 - 08:34 PM

Just taken about half an hour to read this thread - no-one's yet mentioned 'Four Strong Winds'.
When at its height of 'oh no not again-ness' it was heard - see Dawn's experience above - no less than three times in the same evening, it must be really baffling for the poor performers when the entire audience cracks up!
It was the first song I ever learnt to sing & play and I loved it - well, I was only 12 years old. Not sure if it falls into the category of 'overexposed' or 'not terribly good in the first place'. Please excuse me if some odd letters appear in this message - trying some HTML
line
breaks
Jo


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Subject: RE: FOLK SONGS TO DITCH
From: phinquephinque
Date: 13 Jan 99 - 06:55 PM

If the songs don't get sung, they don't get passed along. That's how some of these songs got to us prior to RUS.

I have trouble with listening to a singer song writer (some exceptions Paxton, Lavin) who does a program of only his(or her) songs of which many..or all are not very good.

I second Kris' comment about courteous listening at song circles. Groups at informal "campfire" sings somehow seem to like the overdone songs. Maybe because we all know all the words and it's too dark to read the song


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Subject: RE: FOLK SONGS TO DITCH
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 13 Jan 99 - 07:06 PM

Sorry, The DT doesn't ditch anything. Though at times, I've considered the idea...


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Subject: RE: FOLK SONGS TO DITCH
From: Dawncampfire
Date: 14 Jan 99 - 12:52 AM

And we are glad that you don't, Dick. I wouldn't even want "Angel" ditched completely. I just would like to NOT hear it quite so often. Maybe if everyone in my open mike group would be courteous enough to come for the whole evening instead of just long enough to get on stage for their 15 minutes of "fame".....Again, it's more a problem of people than the songs.


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Subject: RE: FOLK SONGS TO DITCH
From: McMusicMcMusic
Date: 14 Jan 99 - 02:11 AM

Would LOVE to add: When Irish Eyes Are Smiling Mother Macree McNamara's Band

Not Irish folk songs you say? Exactly my point, yet some people insist on identifying them as such!! Drives me crazy! That and Too-ra-loo-raloo-ra!!! And God bless those who voted for Michael Row The Boat Ashore. Sometimes I think I'll open up an artery if I hear that song again!


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Subject: RE: FOLK SONGS TO DITCH
From: Lesley N.
Date: 14 Jan 99 - 05:18 PM

OK - I've waited for someone to to mention "My Bonnie Lies Over the Ocean" and "Clementine" - but no one has. Are they covered in the 'Rise Up Singing' group? (I too have never seen the book).


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Subject: RE: FOLK SONGS TO DITCH
From: Bill@Australia
Date: 14 Jan 99 - 06:22 PM

Susan of Calif.

STAR SPANGLED BANNER.... (is it a Folk song?)

It's 'Over exposed CRAP.

Alan of Aussie. Silly Song. Want to see something silly?

LOOK IN THE MIRROR.

Bill, Welcome to Mudcat. It's nice to see such obviously young people join in the discussions.


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Subject: RE: FOLK SONGS TO DITCH
From: Roger in Baltimore
Date: 16 Jan 99 - 12:20 AM

Of overexposed songs, I'd have to vote for "City of New Orleans." A ten year rest might be appropriate. I think I might vote for most of John Denver's and Gordon Lightfoot's repertoire most of it to saccharine for me.

Roger in Baltimore


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Subject: RE: FOLK SONGS TO DITCH
From: Susan A-R
Date: 16 Jan 99 - 01:38 AM

This is quite a thread. It's interesting to me that when Joan Baez and the Indigo Girls sing "Don't Think Twice" I don't mind it so much. I haven't heard or sung "jMichael" in years, so I don't greet it with the same level of horror. My current work schedule (11 hour days in the kitchen) does make it difficult for me to sing with other folks, so I guess I'm not so picky about repeats. I'd sing almost anything with almost anyone in order to be able to harmonize (I sing a Lot in the Kitchen but it isn't the same without harmony.) I'm also really curious about finding ways to work up old familliar tunes. For example, some of us have found that "Swing Low" and "Ezekiel" fit together nicely, as do "I saw Three Ships" and "Bring a Torch"

There is a lot of material I'd hate to throw out with the RUS (was that Rats of Unusual Size??) I'm particularly fond of "Oh Had I a Golden Thread" "Sally Gardens" "Willie O Winesbury" "Chat With Your Mother" "Lads O' The Fair" and "In Your Daughters and Your Sons."

I DO have a hard time with singer/songwriters hitting me over the head with their oh-so-clever images, in=depth navel examination (I didn't know navels were that LARGE) and/or ultra political correctness without humor, poetry, or intelligence. It's always made me very nervous about singing anything I've written.


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Subject: RE: FOLK SONGS TO DITCH
From: Lonesome EJ
Date: 16 Jan 99 - 03:12 AM

OK here are my nominees 1The Unicorn. This song is true vomit fodder."Humpty-backed camels" for Christ sake. 2Where are you going my little one. They ran this behind a Kodak ad years ago on tv until I had to cover my ears and shout obscenities to drown it out.3 I'd like to teach the world to sing. Another commercial craw-sticker featuring hundreds of happy robots holding hands and singing and trading bottles of coke4Ballad of the Green Berets. This one had it all..God, Country. Death. Fearless men who jump and die. GET A PARACHUTE!!! 5 Eve of Destruction. Other side of the coin from the Berets, but just as loathsome.This guy had the nerve to rhyme "red China" with "Selma Alabama" 6 Green green grass of home. The definition of maudlin tripe. Another great rhyme- "Padre" and "daybreak" 7 Houses Made of Ticky Tacky Now here was some condescending, repetitive, lets-sit-in-the-coffeehouse-and-make-fun-of-the-straight-people garbage. Seeger (not Bob...Pete) should serve 10 to 20 in a tract home outside Cleveland for that one. 8 Sunshine on my Shoulder...or was it Annie's Song. Bet this was a contributing factor in John Denver's divorce.9 A Man needs a Maid. This was almost redeemed by the hilarity it engendered in all who heard Neil Young sing it.Was he seeking a housekeeper? 10 The wreck of the....well you know the rest. You could hear the beginning of this on the radio, get out of the car, have lunch and the damn thing was still stumbling on like the inevitable onslaught of a large wounded animal. ......of course,take all this with a grain of salt. I was nuts about MacArthur Park


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Subject: RE: FOLK SONGS TO DITCH
From: Garry
Date: 16 Jan 99 - 09:36 PM

To Alan of Australia and Alison, I would ditch most of them particularly the Irish and English ones

Cheers


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Subject: RE: FOLK SONGS TO DITCH
From: bbelle
Date: 17 Jan 99 - 01:18 PM

I would have to vote for 500 Miles, Lemon Tree, and Where Have All the Flowers Gone. The Baez Ring Them Bell CD put a new slant on several old folk tunes which I found refreshing. There are a few "folk" songs which I have refused to sing and some others are definitely overdone, but I've been doing this for 30+ years and when I first heard them or sang them, it was great. So, maybe a few of us are jaded with a bit of the old stuff, but what about the "new" generation of folkies? It's new to them ... allow them the pleasure of the experience. They'll tire soon enough of singing/playing them, too. And ... every 4th of July my father's family congregates for a week in Morehead City, NC for the annual family reunion. We do all the kids' things during the day and at night we gather together at one of the cottages and sing and play music. We do a lot of the old stuff, including 'Will the Circle Be Unbroken because all the aunts and uncles are in their 70's and 80's and love to sing along, etc. Isn't that what this is all about ... sharing? Believe me when I say I'm neither a maudlin individual, nor am I steeped in nostalgis, but the cynicisn is wearing on me. jenny


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Subject: RE: FOLK SONGS TO DITCH
From: Stubs
Date: 17 Jan 99 - 07:02 PM

Don't ditch any! If you are sick of it (usually because of overexposure)then turn it off if you are a listener , re-work it if you are a player. There is nothing better than hearing a new twist to an old standby, especially if you are hoping the standby will lay down and die!


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Subject: RE: FOLK SONGS TO DITCH
From: Cuilionn
Date: 18 Jan 99 - 12:40 PM

I cannae believe "Scotland th' Brave haes nae earned mair vitriol than twa oor three mentions... Th' rest o' ye hae ne'er suffered thro' an entire day on some blisterin'-hot fairgroond durin' th' Highland Games, listenin' tae twenty-hunnert blastit pipers playin' it up, doon, sideways, an' taegither in terrifyin' degrees o' unison an' lack thereof. An' th' few guid pipers whae avoid it oot o' some deep moral fortitude are bound tae hae some Braveheart-T-shirt-wearin' eejit walk up wi' liquid refreshment in hand, askin' them tae play "The Old Spice Song..."

Th' mere SICHT o' "Carrickfergus," "She Moved Thro' The Fair," oor "Athenrye" on a cd oor cassette label is eno' tae mak me drop a recording back intae th' bin an' run screamin' frae ony music shop. "Danny Boy" wis INDEED wrichten in Tin Pan Alley an' I ance tortured a piper friend in a moment o' deviltry by playin' it on th' theramin at a children's museum in front o' her. If her young son wisnae there with us, I'm sure she'd o' murdered me richt then an' there. Noo, I'm basically a gourmand an' willin' tae endure muckle tae spread th' gospel o' what music can dae for folks, but tho' I cringe tae admit ma ain snobbery, I'm layin' it doon richt here for a' tae see. An' I'm muckle obliged for th' opportunity!

This may be a wee bit obscure, but if I gae tae ane mair Gaelic-only ceilidh whaur folk are singin' "Fear a' Bhata," (The boatman) I'm gang tae find th' puir sot's wee boatie an' drill holes in it. Ane o' th' women in oor circle wrocht a parody called "Fear a' Bhainne", ("The Milkman") which wis hysterical.

Yirs amang th' guid, bad an' ugly,

--Cuilionn


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Subject: RE: FOLK SONGS TO DITCH
From: Richk
Date: 20 Jan 99 - 04:19 PM

I gotta throw my 2 cents (anyone need change?) in and say it's the singer more than the song.

One of the great lures for me to folk music is its context and spontaneity. When I was a teenager pouring over bad rock and roll albums, the point was to attempt to recreate the song note for note on guitar and spill it back to an audience. You were proud if someone heard you playing and thought it was a Pink Floyd record.

With the folk tradition, as a performer, you go on stage and are full aware that a lot of people in the audience would've heard a certain song time and time again. As a performer, you're forced to make the song your own in some way. You think about the song and you think about where you are. Then you start to play and what happens in that time and place is you converse with the audience, musically, and, at least in the Irish pub scene, the audience usually feels pretty comfortable responding to what you're doing in a real and immediate sense.

I remember as a kid hearing my extended relations break into Danny Boy after a wedding and then again after my grandmother's funeral. In those two instances, I heard two very different songs.

At the end of a wedding, it marks a necessary and inevitable break with the past with some hope for a redemptive future. At the end of a funeral, well, it's the end of a funeral. In both moments, there were tears and toasts and some swaying around the room.

I also remember the first night I played in NYC with an Irish trio. I was nervous; it was my debut with a somewhat established outfit and I was still learning a few of the original songs they were writing.

The first two sets went ok. We were all still getting to know each other, so we were more concentrating on the music more than the crowd. I had no idea how we were being received. At the end of the night, exhausted but happy, we broke into The Wild Rover.

I will never forget the moment we hit the chorus and the whole room started clapping and then singing along. Anyone holding a beer bottle crashed it down on the table. It was a grand craic.

So there you have it. The times I've really been turned off by a song have been the times I've heard it sung without an appreciation of the context or its meaning.

Folk songs cover the full range of human experience and emotion. Some singers might not appreciate that at times. I've heard "Cerrickfergus" sung as an upbeat song (my friend first thought the line was "I wish I was in Kerry Fergus" because of the upbeat rhythm). If a singer thinks he/she absolutely HAS to sing "Charlie on the MTA" or that one about the Scotsman winning the blue ribbon just because the bar has a neon shamrock in the window, then you're probably in for a pretty dull evening.

By the way, the only version of Lakes of Pontchatrain(sic) I've ever heard that didn't make my skin crawl was by Christy Moore. Seems like the author could've shortened us the lyric a whole bunch...

Rich


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Subject: RE: FOLK SONGS TO DITCH
From: John In Mendocino
Date: 30 Jan 99 - 01:19 AM

Anybody ever heard of the song "Rosie's House of Sin" about a bordello near Fresno? Or how about some sort of ditty with the words "Hirsute Syndicate" ??? Thanks


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Subject: RE: FOLK SONGS TO DITCH
From: heidi
Date: 30 Jan 99 - 01:50 AM

I don't know if this is classified as "folk", but I HATE "To All the Girls I've Loved"!!!!!!! Who is this Julio Ugliasias anyway?


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Subject: RE: FOLK SONGS TO DITCH
From: alison
Date: 30 Jan 99 - 02:45 AM

Hi,

It's not folk. But in my book most things by Julio Inglesias are right up (or should that be down?) there with Joe Dolce's "Shut up a your face.", and whatever that truly awful Ren and Renate thing was that got to number 1 in the UK.....??? "Save your love my darling, save your love...."

slainte

alison


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Subject: RE: FOLK SONGS TO DITCH
From: Craig
Date: 30 Jan 99 - 04:40 AM

Well! I can't believe I read the whole thing. Aaack! Thud! Personally I think I would like to ditch this whole thread for about 10 years. There are a lot of good songs that have gone bad and a lot of bad songs that still hang around. They all have one thing in common. Somewhere someone still likes them. So enjoy and God Bless.

Craig


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Subject: RE: FOLK SONGS TO DITCH
From: katmuse
Date: 30 Jan 99 - 12:38 PM

Great humorous thread, but Amen, Craig!


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Subject: RE: FOLK SONGS TO DITCH
From: GUEST,Sean McR
Date: 23 Aug 00 - 01:47 AM

I'vejust come onto this thread, and have seen, and read some very coherent statements. Also some tongue-in-cheek ones. My personal opinion is that, as a professional Irish folk singer, you have to give the paying public what they are asking for. Otherwise I'm back to another form of work. The "best ditched category" will never really be fully decided, but will continue to grow, almost exponentially. And I agree that the overexposure of a good song will merit inclusion in the 'ditch' list. Whilst back home in Ireland, I played with a group that gigged 4 nights a week; and every night we'd get at least 4 requests for Willie McBride/Greenfields of France. The song itself is a good one, (Thanks, Eric), but the overexposure kills it. Two more quick points: 1-(for Alan in Australia) Edmund Fitz came along before Back Home in Derry, just see Christy Moore's "Ride On" album, he gives credit to Gordon Lightfoot on the liner notes. 2- IRA ballads, like most Irish music, relate a particular event in Irish history. If you listen, you'll understand. Thanks for listening, Slan go foill ('bye for now) Sean


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Subject: RE: FOLK SONGS TO DITCH
From: GUEST, Banjo Johnny
Date: 23 Aug 00 - 04:04 AM

Golly! All my best stuff has just been 86'ed. This leaves me with: We Shall Overcome, What a Friend We Have in Jesus, Red River Valley, You Are My Sunshine, and Home On the Range. And my big finish, Aloha Oe.

Does this mean I should learn new tunes?? == Johnny


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Subject: RE: FOLK SONGS TO DITCH
From: pastorpest
Date: 23 Aug 00 - 11:18 AM

There are a lot of great songs here that people are currently weary of. Good songs with good melodies and good lyrics that stimulate heart and mind are simply going to come back and back. There can be too much of a good thing.

I know that there is an explosion of singer/songwriters around and from this explosion good songs emerge. But my beef is with all the singer/songwriter songs that have neither lyric nor melody worth a tinker's damn. There have been folk festivals spoiled for me by overdosing on such dribble. The one good thing about these songs is they are instantly forgettable and have a built in self-ditching quality.


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Subject: RE: FOLK SONGS TO DITCH
From: Midchuck
Date: 23 Aug 00 - 11:36 AM

What pastorpest said.

Peter.


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Subject: RE: FOLK SONGS TO DITCH
From: GUEST,Ann Singleton
Date: 23 Aug 00 - 12:02 PM

As an Ilkley person, I can say that the abolition of our so-called Yorkshire anthem might at least liberate those of us who are shy about singing (especially about singing awful songs) from having to play the "token Tyke" every time a particular type of cringe-making compulsory "folk evening" starts up. It's the equivalent of being forced to do Scottish country dancing at school.


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Subject: RE: FOLK SONGS TO DITCH
From: Little Hawk
Date: 23 Aug 00 - 12:03 PM

Guantanamera is a real drag to hear when done badly by North Americans who only know 3 verses of it. It's a joy to hear when done well by Cubans who know probably 50 verses of it (they're always making up new ones...).

They have even composed some humorous verses for it. You need a good translator to get the joke.

Is "Leaving On A Jet Plane" a folksong? If so, bury it in the deepest hole you can find.

"Don't Think Twice, It's All Right" is in some ways a strikingly honest song...although very politically incorrect in these times, and even in its own original time...that's one reason why I like it. Then too, it has some brilliant lyrical and musical passages in it.

The song was essentially about Suze Rotolo, Bob's very serious girlfriend in the early 60's ("the true fortune teller of my heart"). She is pictured on the cover of "The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan", walking down a New York sidewalk with Bob. People who knew them at the time remarked on how absolutely happy and close they were, but the relationship deteriorated as Bob's career escalated. That often tends to happen. It's hard to say who cared more...Bob or Suze...but it is evident that they both cared a great deal. Most of the love songs on Bob's first 4 albums are about Suze. They range from worshipful to wistful to angry to despairing. "Boots Of Spanish Leather" is one of them.

Has anyone heard Joan Baez sing "Don't Think Twice" with the Indigo Girls? What a fantastic rendition!

Baez, by the way, infuriated Suze at some big festival (Newport?) by introducing the song onstage and saying something like "This is a song about a relationship that should have ended some time ago" (I may not have the wording dead on...but that was the general gist of what she said). Suze stormed off...she suspected Bob was involved with Joan, and she was right.


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Subject: RE: FOLK SONGS TO DITCH
From: GUEST,Airto
Date: 23 Aug 00 - 01:19 PM


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Subject: RE: FOLK SONGS TO DITCH
From: GUEST,Airto
Date: 23 Aug 00 - 01:27 PM

Sorry, Littlehawk

I don't know the Joan Baez version of Don't Think Twice. But the Four Seasons version is a masterpiece. It has Frankie Valli singing in his highest falsetto, the backing group echoes the line endings, and there's a doop oopy woop chorus at the end. Does anyone know what Bob Dylan ever thought of it?


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Subject: RE: FOLK SONGS TO DITCH
From: Little Hawk
Date: 23 Aug 00 - 05:22 PM

Haven't heard the Four Seasons version, but Johhny Ashe has probably got it in his record collection...he's got everything. I'll see.

The Joan Baez version is on a recent CD where she does duets with a number of younger female folksingers of the present era.

The CD is called "Ring Them Bells" (after the Dylan song), and was released by EMI in 1995. It's great.


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Subject: RE: FOLK SONGS TO DITCH
From: Rollo
Date: 23 Aug 00 - 06:26 PM

My favorite to ditch is not a folk song to ditch but folks ditching a song.

Everytime I try to sing "the wild rover" like I want to sing it (a little bit sad because having thrown away my life so far and now trying to make it better)the drunken crowd starts to howl and cheer and spoil it.


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Subject: RE: FOLK SONGS TO DITCH
From: Little Hawk
Date: 24 Aug 00 - 12:44 AM

You're singing it for the wrong audience, Rollo. You had best do it at a song circle of folkies where there is no alcohol on hand, methinks.


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Subject: RE: FOLK SONGS TO DITCH
From: celticblues5
Date: 24 Aug 00 - 10:52 AM

Ben -
I'd agree with any Irish song sung in CW style, but I'd have to expand it a bit - to ANY song sung in CW style, including CW songs. ;-)

But, sorry, still love Maids When You're Young, Wild Rover (yes! - done wistfully), Broom of the Cowdenowes, Wild Mountain Thyme, & Wild Colonial Boy - guess I just don't get to hear them as often as some (honey, I live in IOWA - I don't get to do much of ANYthing as often as some).

Have to agree with hating Waltzing Matilda, Bottles of Beer on the Wall, Teach the World to Sing, Wedding Song, & Happy Wanderer.
Don't know of anyone who ever sang Green Berets SERIOUSLY (just the circles I run in, I guess).
I am kind of sick of Mattie Groves - but I think that's because everyone I ever heard sing it in person learned it from the Joan Baez songbook, & it's just the same old thing again & again, and no one would DARE CHANGE ONE WORD. By contrast, I could listen to Christy Moore's version (Little Musgrave) over & over & over.....(what a difference the right version/right voice makes!)

I don't think The Unicorn is a terrible song - I just got personally sick of it after, having sung it ONCE to cousins I was babysitting, being forced to re-sing it about a google times every time I sat with them. I don't know any kid who doesn't love it.

Agree with ditching those maudlin, supposedly Irish things like When Irish Eyes Are Smiling & all those ditties about "me auld mither."


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Subject: RE: FOLK SONGS TO DITCH
From: Mbo
Date: 24 Aug 00 - 11:02 AM

Definately, "I'll Tell Me Ma". I'm still convinced that the obscure lyrics are really a strange cover, waiting to be pierced to discover the true meaning. Maybe Prof. Freud could help. BTW CB, you didn't seem to object to me singing country music last night on HearMe.


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Subject: RE: FOLK SONGS TO DITCH
From: GUEST,mickeymeboy
Date: 25 Aug 00 - 02:07 AM

ANYTHING from Peter Paul & Mary


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Subject: RE: FOLK SONGS TO DITCH
From: Rincon Roy
Date: 25 Aug 00 - 10:12 AM

Just remembering the first time I heard a straight, non-parodied, non-apologetic version of Home on the Range, Pennies from Heaven (with full intro strain), Melancholy Baby, even Ry Cooder's version of Maria Elena...

I couldn't believe they were the same songs/tunes as the tired old hackneyed worn-out, ragged and torn versions I'd always heard. Finally understood why they have lasted all these years.


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Subject: RE: FOLK SONGS TO DITCH
From: LR Mole
Date: 25 Aug 00 - 10:38 AM

Yeah...a stray quote from O. Wilde just surfaced in my stew, here. He said it about parents but it's just as true of songs, especially those that toouched us: At first we adore them; then we despise them. Rarely, if ever, do we forgive them.


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Subject: RE: FOLK SONGS TO DITCH
From: Little Hawk
Date: 25 Aug 00 - 10:59 AM

Oh, my. Ain't that sad, though. There's a lesson to be learned here somewhere.


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Subject: RE: FOLK SONGS TO DITCH
From: GUEST,Meadow Muskrat
Date: 26 Aug 00 - 11:40 PM

My friend Pete used to give out the Annual Wayne Newton Song award-that level from which you can sink no lower.Some winners included Tighten Up by Archie Bell and the Drells,Everyday People by Sly Stone,Groovin by the Young Rascals, and two time winner You just keep me hanging on by the Supremes and Vanilla Fudge.I'm not sure which version was worse-Diana Ross's speeded up high pitched voice or the melodramatic cover by Vanilla Fudge.


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Subject: RE: FOLK SONGS TO DITCH
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 27 Aug 00 - 01:34 PM

"a song circle of folkies where there is no alcohol on hand" - is such a thing possible?

I've only skimmed this thread. But most of the songs I've seen mentioned are great songs, it's just that they get sung all the time by people who bounce along on the service and don't think about what they are singing.

It's the distinction between singalong and a singing circle. The singalong approach is about novelty and having a jolly time and that. A singing circle is about bringing out songs that mean something to you, and sharing that with other people.

Hearing that done with a song you thought was hackneyed and dead can raise the hairs on your neck. And it's nothing to do with the musical quality of the voice of the person singing it eiter, it can happen when some shy person with a minimal voice suddenly opens up and sings a song you thought you hated, and you realise you'd never really listened to it before.


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Subject: RE: FOLK SONGS TO DITCH
From: GUEST,Rich(stupidbodhranplayerwhodoesn'tknowbetter
Date: 27 Aug 00 - 03:46 PM

Most of my answers have already been taken.
The Unicorn
Rocky Top
Tell me ma
Danny Boy (note to Jerry who defended the Londonderry Air; It's a beautiful Irish harp tune, but the lounge act song set to it was written by an Englishman living in Chicago.)
If I could submit a tune it would have to be The Irish Washerwoman (Hollywood's soundtrack tro nearly every pub scene!)
And while I like the Wabash Cannonball, I'd like it more if I heard it less!

Rich


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Subject: RE: FOLK SONGS TO DITCH
From: jayohjo
Date: 27 Aug 00 - 07:20 PM

A lot of objections seem to be to songs that have been hugely overdone - a VERY fair point. However, as an 18 yr old, it's not always obvious what songs were overdone 20-30 yrs ago, and thus are now 'unacceptable' or at best laughable. I hear a song that i like, learn it because to me it is fresh new and most of all a good song - but i sing it in public and its not ok.

ho hum, that's the way it goes i suppose!

jayohjo XX


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Subject: RE: FOLK SONGS TO DITCH
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 27 Aug 00 - 07:48 PM

Don't pay any heed to the smartarse bastards, jayohjo. Songs don't wear out, they get better as they get older. That's what's supposed to happen to people, but it doesn't always seem to work for the first few decades anyway.


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Subject: RE: FOLK SONGS TO DITCH
From: Mbo
Date: 27 Aug 00 - 07:56 PM

Jo, I thought the exact same thing the last time we had a thread like this "Songs Banned at Your Folkclub". It made me made that all the old folks were dissing songs as overplayed, and I had only just learned them, or never even heard of them! And the same goes for the pop songs as well!


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Subject: RE: FOLK SONGS TO DITCH
From: Troll
Date: 27 Aug 00 - 11:28 PM

When me rambling days they are over,

And the next of the rovers has come,

He'll take the old songs and he'll sing them again,

To the beat of a different drum.

The Roving Dies Hard by The Battlefield Band

Matt and Jo and anyone else; learn 'em, sing 'em and the

world be damned. If you genuinely like a song, sing it

because you may have a different take on it than anyone

else. But do it your own way. I, too, have become a litle

jaded with the Joan Baez version of Matty Groves.

troll


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Subject: RE: FOLK SONGS TO DITCH
From: Ely
Date: 28 Aug 00 - 11:23 PM

Thank God "Rocky Top" isn's a folk song (Felice and Boudleaux Bryant, 1967?)

I've never liked "Old Joe Clark", "The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face", or that one about the Goodnight-Loving Trail, which doesn't really make much sense. "Home on the Range" can go and so can "Ground-Hog".

I like the Hedy West version of "500 Miles", with the plucky banjo accompaniment (not my favorite method of banjo-playing by any means, but it has more life and less self-pity than some other versions).


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Subject: RE: FOLK SONGS TO DITCH
From: Serf
Date: 28 Aug 00 - 11:47 PM

Maybe i am lucky.. i am getting exposed to enough new singer songwriters.. acoustically inclined.. that the occasional time an old folk standard is revived.. it is with a bit of pleasure... especially if the version has a nice twist to it.. None of this sentimental grace is extended to.. John Denver tunes.. but then no one has dared.... Lightfoot.. ( as a Canadian.. we get more exposure) If I could walk 500 miles.. i would have ..just to escape that song. Toronto friends on their honeymoon cruise had a New York couple as table mates.. who chose a night of rough weather to suggest that my friends must be used to stormed tossed seas.. seeing as you come from the country that gave us.. the SINKING OF THE ELLA FITZGERALD : ) sadly true.. as i picture her going under ... scat singing...


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Subject: RE: FOLK SONGS TO DITCH
From: GUEST,Airto
Date: 29 Aug 00 - 12:40 PM

I'd be happy to ditch all that clumpy, predictable and simplistic Germanic alpenstuff. I'd drown all those bierkeller bands in pils.

And as I did so I'd like to sing Hi diddle ha ha ha


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Subject: RE: FOLK SONGS TO DITCH
From: GUEST, Banjo Johnny
Date: 29 Aug 00 - 01:25 PM

There is no more Country & Western.

There is just rock-n-roll with cowboy hats.

== Johnny in Oklahoma City


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Subject: RE: FOLK SONGS TO DITCH
From: Kim C
Date: 30 Aug 00 - 11:45 AM

Well, since Music City doesn't have any song circles or pub sessions that I know of, I don't generally get tired of some of these songs y'all are talking about 'cause I never hear them. But from the standpoint of a living history musician, I am sick to death of The Only Hymn Ever Written - Amazing Grace. Yes, I love the song. I really do. And I love the story behind it. But for cryin out loud, can we not do Rock of Ages or There is a Fountain Filled With Blood or Something Else PLEASE?!??!! There were a lot of other hymns besides Amazing Grace in the 18th-19th centuries. And if I ever hear it on the bugpeeps again I think I'm gonna HURL.

Londonderry Air is one of my favorite melodies ever. Since we can't sing the words for reenacting purposes (since Danny Boy wasn't written until AFTER the Civil War), we will sometimes play it as an instrumental. The tune all by itself is very moving.

We also have begun leaving Dixie out of our set, except when the SCV or UDC ask us to play at their functions. We'll do it for them because they expect it. But we've pretty much cut it out because any idiot can sing Dixie. If we include Southern patriotic songs, we're more likely to do Bonnie Blue Flag or Southern Soldier Boy.

If we could get more gigs up Nawth, we'd include some Yankee songs too. :)


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Subject: RE: FOLK SONGS TO DITCH
From: Burke
Date: 30 Aug 00 - 12:17 PM

Kim C, I bet Rock of Ages was lots more popular than AG in the 19th century as well.

Do your re-enactors a favor & insist on the 19th century version of AG instead of the one we all seem to know that's from @1909. And leave off 10,000 years that's also a late addition.

Here's New Britain in 4 parts as first published.


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Subject: RE: FOLK SONGS TO DITCH
From: Burke
Date: 30 Aug 00 - 12:20 PM

Oops! Make that 3 parts. They did not believe in altos at the time.


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Subject: RE: FOLK SONGS TO DITCH
From: Kim C
Date: 30 Aug 00 - 01:50 PM

That's a good question, Burke, and the answer is, I don't really know. I guess we sing the more common modern version because it's what everyone knows. Did they sing it to Gilligan's Island in the 19th c?!?

Great, just what I need - another research project! :)


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Subject: RE: FOLK SONGS TO DITCH
From: Bernard
Date: 30 Aug 00 - 02:37 PM

Songs to ditch? Each to their own, really. I must admit songs like 'The Fields of Athenry' make me feel nauseous.

I can't quite put my finger on why, but the sentiment doesn't quite ring true. The words are somewhat contrived...

Okay, words of songs need to be contrived to make them fit a tune/metre, but there is a point where the song becomes more important than the sentiment.

On a different tack, has anyone got the words for Ted Edwards' parody on Waltzing Maltilda/Rochester? I think the first verse went:

Once a jolly swagman camped by a Goolagong A long way from Rochester, I'm sure you'll agree, And he sang as he watched and waited, squeezing Billy's boil Who'll come a waltzing Matilda with me?


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Subject: RE: FOLK SONGS TO DITCH
From: Bernard
Date: 30 Aug 00 - 02:45 PM

Worronearth happened to the formatting? I put line breaks in, honest!


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Subject: RE: FOLK SONGS TO DITCH
From: Ely
Date: 30 Aug 00 - 02:58 PM

Rock and roll, nothing--we should be so lucky. It's just POP music with cowboy hats.

Anybody else from Texas? Remember the Dixie Chicks way back when?


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Subject: RE: FOLK SONGS TO DITCH
From: GUEST,Aidan Crossey
Date: 31 Aug 00 - 09:36 AM

Hard to disagree with anyone's rants in the above. Glad to see that The Fields of Athenry got a mention. If I ever hear that song again ...

Glad to see also that The Wild Rover has been trashed a number of times. Reminds me of a time when I used to attend what was billed as a folk session in Camden Town, North London. In fact the "session" was an opportunity for a pretty loose confederation of musicians to play as a band for half an hour or so and then invite others to take the floor and play two or three numbers to the assembled miserable buggers who'd paid two or three quid to witness the sorry debacle. (The effect was so surreal that I used to go regularly and treat it as a bit of a comedy event.)

Anyway the "band" used to round off the evening with a few tunes to which they invited members of the audience to contribute. One of the tunes was always "The W*** R****" and till the day I die I'll never forget the band's guitarist peering over his glasses to his songbook for the chords and, even then, having to halt progress from time to time to get back on track. (And, if memory serves me right, they played the tune in F! Who in their right minds ....)

Another song which they massacred was "Sweet Betsy From Pike". I don't want to come within ten miles of that ditty again!

And while we're on the subject their stop-start version of "Bill Bailey" was a hoot!

Perhaps this "band" ought to log on to this thread, vaguely learn all of the songs which people would like to ditch, and host a nightmarish evening where they play them all really badly!

While they're at it they could include in their repertoire some of my other all time least favourite songs such as:

Ride On (a low point in Christy's career) Star of the County Down ( ... such a coaxin' elf, indeed!) Boys from the County Armagh (I'm from the place myself and therefore on my infrequent visits home have to be subjected to the song down the local pub ... Oh God!) Kevin Barry (especially when "crooned" by some red-faced drunk to whom the whole bar has to "give a bit of order") Any "funny" song sung by the likes of Val Doonican such as Paddy McGinty's Goat or Phil the Fluter's Ball (believe it or not I have heard such songs sung in public ...) "The Rose of Mooncoin", "The Banks of My Own Lovely Lee", "Limerick, You're a Lady", "Slievenamon", "Avondale", "The Bard of Armagh" And finally I'd like to be able to pass sentence on the person responsible for reviving "Living Next Door to Alice" and making it a staple at every Irish "singalong"!

.... Aidan Crossey


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Subject: RE: FOLK SONGS TO DITCH
From: GUEST,Aidan Crossey
Date: 01 Sep 00 - 05:08 AM

And while we're on the subject any sentimental song about parents (A Mother's Love's A Blessing, Mother Mo Chroi, SIlver Haired Daddy Of Mine, Gentle Mother) or dying children (Put My Little Shoes Away, Jeannie's Afraid Of The Dark) or kindly folks explaining a parent's death to a small child (Mother Went A-Walking Son).

Fetch me a bucket!


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Subject: RE: FOLK SONGS TO DITCH
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 01 Sep 00 - 08:30 PM

Bottom line is, as Dick Greenhaus has pointed out, no songs should ever be ditched, and none ever will from the DT.

Somewhere in my head is a list of songs I am likely to sing in the near future, and songs I am likely to avoid singing. Everyone else has an equivalent list. Thank God they aren't all the same list.


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Subject: RE: FOLK SONGS TO DITCH
From: Little Hawk
Date: 01 Sep 00 - 09:00 PM

One of the first songs I ever learned to play on the guitar was the early Dylan song "He Was A Friend Of Mine", a lament about a penniless friend who dies on the street. I got tired of it after awhile, especially in the light of about 300 other Dylan songs that were immeasureably better than that one. I can fairly much do without it.

One thing about this song...the lyrics can be pretty repetitive (unusual for Dylan), so it's important if you do play it to introduce some lyrical variety, which can and has been done. I'll be glad to supply tips on that.

Take note, flattop. Ya-ha-ha!


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Subject: RE: FOLK SONGS TO DITCH
From: simon-pierre
Date: 01 Sep 00 - 09:09 PM

There's a song on the Harry Smith Anthology I can't absolutely stand and makes me wish I'll never have a better english. I don't have it near me, but I think it's called ®Single girl, married girl¯; I've read that the criminals who sang that end their carreer by singing in Disneyland. No need to tell more. Here's your new french word for today, qualifying things like this: cochonnerie.

SP


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Subject: RE: FOLK SONGS TO DITCH
From: Little Hawk
Date: 01 Sep 00 - 09:54 PM

simon-pierre - does that mean "little pig"? Or "little pig pen"? Where are you located? Are you in France?


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Subject: RE: FOLK SONGS TO DITCH
From: simon-pierre
Date: 01 Sep 00 - 10:05 PM

I don't know exactly what is a "little pig pen", but "cochonnerie" may be translated by "bullsh*t" or any other lovely word. I'm from Qu‚bec city.

(how did I made that encircled R?...)

SP


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Subject: RE: FOLK SONGS TO DITCH
From: Little Hawk
Date: 01 Sep 00 - 10:18 PM

Ah...good to know...thanks!


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Subject: RE: FOLK SONGS TO DITCH
From: sophocleese
Date: 01 Sep 00 - 10:24 PM

Well first time I've sat down and read this whole thread. Interesting stuff.

First of all in defence of pipers around the world; a lot of them don't like playing Amazing Grace but, astonishingly enough, many people request it. A few years ago I saw a documentary on the song and was surprised that in all the different times they showed people singing and playing the song not once did they show it being played by a piper(it was an American documentary).

I am torn between my love of finding a new (to me) version of a song and my delight in having people sing along with me. So I try to make a mix of songs when I'm singing.

Folk Songs to ditch? How about a category: humourous songs done more than three times. However hilarious a song is when you first hear it it loses its humour far faster than a decent song with a good melody loses its charm. People are still singing Two Sisters and Little Musgrave because tragedy endures but humour is ephemeral and spontaneous.


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Subject: RE: FOLK SONGS TO DITCH
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 02 Sep 00 - 01:57 PM

"humourous songs done more than three times" - three times a night>? three times in a lifetime?

There are funny songs, and there are humourous songs. Most humourous songs aren't actually funny, they get by on novelty, and that wears out pretty quickly.


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Subject: RE: FOLK SONGS TO DITCH
From: Mr Happy
Date: 21 Jul 15 - 01:50 PM

The Sick Note!!


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Subject: RE: FOLK SONGS TO DITCH
From: Mr Happy
Date: 21 Jul 15 - 01:50 PM

The Sick Note!!


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Subject: RE: FOLK SONGS TO DITCH
From: Mr Happy
Date: 21 Jul 15 - 01:50 PM

The Sick Note!!


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Subject: RE: FOLK SONGS TO DITCH
From: GUEST,Olddude
Date: 21 Jul 15 - 02:17 PM

Where have all the flowers gone. The song lasts two years with the endless verses and same monotonous melody


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Subject: RE: FOLK SONGS TO DITCH
From: Joe_F
Date: 21 Jul 15 - 03:16 PM

Olddude: You might prefer "Where have all the flowers gone" as Pete Seeger originally wrote it, before it was extended into a cycle of posies by Joe Hickerson. It is short, it has a point, and there is even a variation in the tune. Look it up.


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Subject: RE: FOLK SONGS TO DITCH
From: GUEST,just a-passin' through
Date: 21 Jul 15 - 04:30 PM

How about songs like "This Land Is Your Land" and other songs with political and/or otherwise radical lyrics that people don't sing? The songbook publishers when we were in school always left out the people starving, the sign that was one-sided, etc.


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Subject: RE: FOLK SONGS TO DITCH
From: GUEST,Olddude
Date: 21 Jul 15 - 04:44 PM

Thanks Joe i never heard that version I will look it up


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Subject: RE: FOLK SONGS TO DITCH
From: GUEST,HiLo
Date: 21 Jul 15 - 10:17 PM

Maries bloody wedding.i do wish she had stayed single and left us in peace.i also wish to hear The Wild Rover again......no nay never!


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Subject: RE: FOLK SONGS TO DITCH
From: GUEST,Rossey
Date: 21 Jul 15 - 11:15 PM

Not a folk song, but has had words set to it. The tune Highland bloody Catherdral!   Bombastic, overblown and dreary and that's just without the words.   I truly hate this allegedly anthemic dirge!   But every piper loves the thing and it's ubiquitous. Heck, I wish I'd written it for the royalty payments - when it's not stolen as trad. Apologies to the writers.

A folk song to ditch... the Riddle song. Why?   If anybody watches the party scene in National Lampoon's Animal House, it makes sense.


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Subject: RE: FOLK SONGS TO DITCH
From: LadyJean
Date: 21 Jul 15 - 11:53 PM

"Don't Laugh At Me", number one on my hate parade. "Imperfect" people with disabilities, deserve respect, not pity.


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Subject: RE: FOLK SONGS TO DITCH
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 22 Jul 15 - 01:42 AM

disgraceful thread!

the recent death of Theodore Bikel reminds me that he was the act immediately preceding Koerner, Ray and Glover at the time of their breakthrough gig at Newport. how inclusive and beautiful the scene was in those days.!

today the loudest voices on mudcat are full of self righteous certainty that certain things aren't folk music.

so many of the songs herein mentioned have enchanted audiences. have elicited a creative response from musicians. have enabled musicians to earn a living - and that has given them the money to dedicate the rest of their existence to more esoteric forms of folk music.


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Subject: RE: FOLK SONGS TO DITCH
From: Will Fly
Date: 22 Jul 15 - 04:11 AM

Al, if you go right back to the opening posts in this thread, it's quite clear that they were written with tongue firmly in cheek.

today the loudest voices on mudcat are full of self righteous certainty that certain things aren't folk music.

Yes, but it's just Mudcat, isn't it? It's one of thousands of forums on the internet, even a major one, perhaps, but it's not the real world.

In the real world, people go out and play and perform just what they want to play and perform - and, if lucky, they find the venues where they can play their music - just like you and I have done for the last (in my case) 50 years. Fashions and tastes come and go - I've seen rock'n roll reinvented at least twice over the years. Only the other day a lass in her twenties was enjoying singing "Maids When You're Young Never Wed An Old Man" at a session. She'd heard it just recently for the first time and thought it was great - and was amazed when I mentioned that it was one of the first songs I'd ever heard at a folk club back in the mid-'60s!

What goes around comes around - play what you want to where you can and, if you work at it, someone will always want your music. There may be ups and downs in it all, and you have to live with them.


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Subject: RE: FOLK SONGS TO DITCH
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 22 Jul 15 - 05:04 AM

ofcourse you're right Will.

however to assuage the smart arses perhaps we ought to make attending a folk club a degree only profession.


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Subject: RE: Folk Songs to Ditch
From: The Sandman
Date: 22 Jul 15 - 05:15 AM

more important to sing songs. also young people should be organising folk events


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Subject: RE: Folk Songs to Ditch
From: Jack Campin
Date: 22 Jul 15 - 05:59 AM

I quite like Highland Cathedral. Not at all Scottish but I don't think it's trying to be.

But Sonny, please go away.


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