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Is folk a dirty four-letter word?

Colin Randall 17 Dec 21 - 09:47 AM
Dave the Gnome 17 Dec 21 - 10:08 AM
Steve Gardham 17 Dec 21 - 10:32 AM
GUEST,Modette 17 Dec 21 - 12:10 PM
Johnny J 17 Dec 21 - 12:19 PM
Dave the Gnome 17 Dec 21 - 12:34 PM
Dave the Gnome 17 Dec 21 - 12:36 PM
GUEST 17 Dec 21 - 12:41 PM
GUEST,Modette 17 Dec 21 - 12:56 PM
Dave the Gnome 17 Dec 21 - 01:13 PM
Rain Dog 17 Dec 21 - 01:21 PM
GUEST,Bob Coltman 17 Dec 21 - 01:57 PM
Tattie Bogle 17 Dec 21 - 02:06 PM
PHJim 17 Dec 21 - 04:00 PM
GUEST 17 Dec 21 - 04:56 PM
Dave the Gnome 17 Dec 21 - 05:25 PM
Steve Gardham 17 Dec 21 - 05:33 PM
Bill D 17 Dec 21 - 06:00 PM
Dave the Gnome 18 Dec 21 - 04:08 AM
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Colin Randall 18 Dec 21 - 09:32 AM
Bill D 18 Dec 21 - 09:52 AM
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Tattie Bogle 18 Dec 21 - 12:17 PM
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Steve Gardham 19 Dec 21 - 03:19 PM
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Big Al Whittle 20 Dec 21 - 05:07 AM
Malcolm Storey 20 Dec 21 - 08:23 PM
The Sandman 21 Dec 21 - 03:11 AM
Dave the Gnome 21 Dec 21 - 03:18 AM
GUEST,MikeOfNorthumbria, sans cookie 21 Dec 21 - 06:45 AM
Steve Gardham 21 Dec 21 - 09:19 AM
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reggie miles 29 Dec 21 - 10:45 PM
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GUEST,Charles 30 Dec 21 - 06:57 AM
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Dave the Gnome 30 Dec 21 - 07:43 AM
The Sandman 30 Dec 21 - 07:57 AM
Howard Jones 30 Dec 21 - 08:26 AM
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Subject: Is folk a dirty four-letter word?
From: Colin Randall
Date: 17 Dec 21 - 09:47 AM

I posted this at my site Salut! Live yesterday and have received some interesting comments already. Maybe a topic on which Mudcatters would have thoughts. You'll need to
go to the site to see the responses but I'll repost the article below with apologies to US Mudcatters for my own piece being a bit Anglocentric -- I could and perhaps should have used American examples , too



What is it about folk music that makes some folk or folksy artists want to disown it and smug rockers want to sneer?

Think how many acoustic musicians and people associated historically with folk have sought to create distance. Briefly fashionable singer-songwriters seem to recoil in horror from being “pigeon-holed”. Folk, to many, is a dirty word.

Salut Live Froots ad - 1
There is nothing especially new in this. Maddy Prior, a product of the folk clubs of England who has made a living singing (superbly) traditional songs put to amplified accompaniment, once insisted Steeleye Span was a rock band.

And I have never forgotten one moment when the excellent trio Therapy - Dave Shannon, Sam Bracken and Fiona Simpson – played at my folk club, the Spinning Wheel, in Darlington, in about 1970.

Dave – sadly no longer with us – paused after a selection of self-compositions and at least one Cat Stevens hit to introduce a traditional song (it may have been Blackwaterside). “This," he said, "is one for anyone who strayed in here expecting to hear folk music.”

A young character in the BBC radio soap, The Archers, was once heard mocking his parents’ fondness for old Fairport Convention records.

Often enough, it depends on what you are prepared to label folk. But some venues are nervous, too, about being linked too closely with the genre.

Among the artists who have appeared or are due to perform at the Old Cinema Launderette in Durham are the Unthanks, Martin Carthy, Kathryn Roberts and Sean Lakeman, Jez Lowe and Peggy Seeger.

Yet the co-owner, Richard Turner, was quick – and right - to pounce when I sloppily omitted the negative from this sentence in a recent Salut! Live item: ”…Richard is keen to point out that it is not a folk venue”.

“It is not a folk venue at all,” he wrote. “We have artists from across the board.” But what followed felt like the twist of a knife:

      ‘We are getting less and less folk. There doesn’t seem to the audience for it’

In reality, this too is familiar territory. How often have we been told that while there is indeed an audience for such people as Kate Rusby, Oysterband, Bellowhead and its descendants, Show of Hands and assorted Lakemans (Kathryn Roberts and Cara Dillon included), that audience is a predominantly a middle-aged or older one.

Melanie_Safka_1975_cropImage of Melanie: public domain, via the William Morris Agency

Nor is the tendency to talk down folk a recent phenomenon. A grim introduction to Kat Lister’s interesting Guardian interview with Melanie (Brand New Keys, glorious Ruby Tuesday cover etc) Safka read: “Overlooked and underestimated, Melanie was framed as a winsome folkie and left out of the pantheon of greats.”

The subtext could not be clearer. Find yourself labelled folk and you can forget about ever being taken seriously let alone thought of as great.

I’d say that is or ought to be utter nonsense. So many of the artists featured at Salut! Live over its 13 years or so of existences ooze greatness that it is pointlessly difficult to choose where to start.

But maybe they succeed or win respect despite rather than because of identification with folk. Maybe I am just an unreformed and unreformable folkie living in the past. And maybe we should stop calling our music folk and just go on enjoying it for what and whatever it is.

Is there a debate worth having? Is folk, indeed, still strong and resilient enough to rise above mainstream disdain?


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Subject: RE: Is folk a dirty four-letter word?
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 17 Dec 21 - 10:08 AM

I think it may be a primarily English rather than UK thing, Colin. In Scotland and Wales there is a pride in their own traditions. I have not mentioned Ireland because it is not in the UK and their folk traditions are world renowned anyway.

I don't know what it is although I suspect that the mainstream media and so-called comedians have a lot to do with it. Some folk aficionados and organisers do not help either. There are countless examples on here of traditionalists decrying other types of music to the extent that they have put people who like covers and contemporary folk off setting foot in a folk club!

Just my 2p. For now anyway :-)


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Subject: RE: Is folk a dirty four-letter word?
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 17 Dec 21 - 10:32 AM

The English by and large have always derided their customs as quaint, except at certain times of the year when they are accepted. Traditional folk has largely and long been under the radar and most of us are happy with that. It is part of the attraction! Those who aspire to be household names, having started off in folk circles, have usually done it under another genre guise, pop/rock music, comedy, at least in this country.

'Strong and resilient?' Of course. We may be few but we are die-hards who love the music. The word 'niche' springs to mind.


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Subject: RE: Is folk a dirty four-letter word?
From: GUEST,Modette
Date: 17 Dec 21 - 12:10 PM

Norn Iron is not in the UK, gnomic one?


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Subject: RE: Is folk a dirty four-letter word?
From: Johnny J
Date: 17 Dec 21 - 12:19 PM

"Traditional Music" used to be a good term "Here in Scotland" until the "young ones" hijacked the word "Trad"....


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Subject: RE: Is folk a dirty four-letter word?
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 17 Dec 21 - 12:34 PM

Most of Ireland is not in the UK, Moderate, and the description on my passport is "The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland". What is your point and is there any relevance to folk music?


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Subject: RE: Is folk a dirty four-letter word?
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 17 Dec 21 - 12:36 PM

Whoops! Spill chucker got me! Are you a moderate Modette?


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Subject: RE: Is folk a dirty four-letter word?
From: GUEST
Date: 17 Dec 21 - 12:41 PM

Could be that performers who distancing themselves for 'folk' are doing it out of understanding and respect for more traditional music.

I first heard "depends what you mean by folk" sometime in the 1960's when performers were up on stages, big or small, entertaining people with non-traditional renderings of traditional songs.


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Subject: RE: Is folk a dirty four-letter word?
From: GUEST,Modette
Date: 17 Dec 21 - 12:56 PM

I'm just making the point, Dave, that Northern Ireland IS in the UK and has strong musical and song traditions.


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Subject: RE: Is folk a dirty four-letter word?
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 17 Dec 21 - 01:13 PM

More so than most of Ireland? I think not and rather than risk getting this thread closed as UK politics I shall draw my line there.


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Subject: RE: Is folk a dirty four-letter word?
From: Rain Dog
Date: 17 Dec 21 - 01:21 PM

Drawing a line is what caused problems in the first place.


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Subject: RE: Is folk a dirty four-letter word?
From: GUEST,Bob Coltman
Date: 17 Dec 21 - 01:57 PM

Part of the problem, I suspect, is that traditional songs—the *real* folk songs—were pushed into he background by "folk" singer-songwriters, who were anything but folk (I can say that, having one foot in each camp), writing new songs, in a largely non-traditional manner, and usually nothing like traditional performance styles.

It's the latter labeling , IMO, that has first off all contributed to confusion about the word, and secondly led to so many people not wanting to be folk-identified. Traditional songs and tunes go on contributing the backbone to music and draw me, for one, as no other type of song does.

There is, however, the real question whether, in a music world dominated by commercial product (including "folkie" product), traditional music has the strength, or the outlets, to break through. I think Scotland and Ireland are good examples of traditions that remain vigorous.

Here in the US, though, a body of traditional songs familiar to most as recently as the earlier (1950s) careers of active performers like Burl Ives, Pete Seeger, et al (excuse me for citing them in the same sentence), is simply not reaching enough ears. Drowned out! and not chosen by very many as part of their repertoires. An old refrain, sure, but this time media might make it an epitaph.

Hope I'm wrong! I want traditional songs and tunes, done traditionally, to continue still vigorous for hundreds of years yet (at the very least). Bob


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Subject: RE: Is folk a dirty four-letter word?
From: Tattie Bogle
Date: 17 Dec 21 - 02:06 PM

Whoa there, Dave the Gnome! I'm with Modette here: Northern Ireland DOES have a brilliant musical tradition of its own, and it's not all about politics by a long chalk! Think of singers like Len Graham, Kevin Mitchell, Colin McAllister, The Sands family, Cara Dillon, Paddie Bell, Sarah and Tommy Makem. And they have a rich repository of great tunes and songs too: Mountains of Mourne, Green Glens of Antrim, Star of the County Down (and all its variants), Slieve Gallion Braes. Then it has festivals: Rostrevor, Inishowen....and I could go on!


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Subject: RE: Is folk a dirty four-letter word?
From: PHJim
Date: 17 Dec 21 - 04:00 PM

When asked why he didn't want his music labeled "Folk", Catfish Willie said:

"It's a four letter word that starts with "F", ends with "K" and if you use it, your songs won't be played on the radio."


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Subject: RE: Is folk a dirty four-letter word?
From: GUEST
Date: 17 Dec 21 - 04:56 PM

Anybody named Catfish Willie has enough problems of his own to start with.


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Subject: RE: Is folk a dirty four-letter word?
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 17 Dec 21 - 05:25 PM

I have no doubt it does, Tattie. Just in the same way that Lancashire and Yorkshire do. But no more so than the rest of England or Ireland. Now, can we put this tangent to bed?


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Subject: RE: Is folk a dirty four-letter word?
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 17 Dec 21 - 05:33 PM

Norfolk and good!


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Subject: RE: Is folk a dirty four-letter word?
From: Bill D
Date: 17 Dec 21 - 06:00 PM

Bob Coltman has it pretty close. "Folk" is just too handy as a short term for anything that is not pop or rock. I have been complaining/discussing the issue here for 20 years.
Because the word has been diluted until it means whatever someone wants it to mean, it ends up being so broad as to be almost useless.
The problem is, the backup word.. 'traditional'... has almost suffered the same fate. We now see people calling anything older than themselves,'trad'. And a careful search will reveal Dylan being called 'trad'. The antique business has pretty tight control over what counts.. and 'collectable' is used for more recent things.
   I am at a loss to figure out what to call 'folk' music that is really a product of either anonymous sources or so embedded in the culture that its authors are perhaps known/knowable, but is passed down thru oral tradition. I guess that if someone wanted to announce a singer or a concert of such music, they could call it "really, really old" but... *shrug*.

   I have actually heard a singer say, "I am a folk singer, so the songs I sing are folk." What are you gonna do?


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Subject: RE: Is folk a dirty four-letter word?
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 18 Dec 21 - 04:08 AM

The issue now, Bill, is that there is no such thing as the oral tradition in the western world. Everything is on record and available on YouTube or Spotify or any such. Folk is and always was ever changing. So, for that matter, is pop. What we now call folk was the pop of its day. Music Hall has become a big part of folk as have contemporary songs such as those by Bob Dylan, Eric Bogle and even the sainted Ewan MacColl. The lines are so blurred it has become, as you say, a meaningless term, but what shall we use instead?

Songs not in copyright?
Old music?
Stuff that anyone can perform without the pop racket making a fortune?

It's a tough one but one thing I know for sure. Try to categorise, collect or copy it and it will change!


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Subject: RE: Is folk a dirty four-letter word?
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 18 Dec 21 - 04:57 AM

I just noticed that Tattie Bogle mentioned the Mountains of Mourne and The Star of the County Down as traditional NI songs. The former was written by William Alexander Houston Collisson (1865-1920) while the latter was by Cathal MacGarvey (1866–1927) so neither are, stricly speaking, traditional! Just the point I was making about the lines being blurred :-)


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Subject: RE: Is folk a dirty four-letter word?
From: Colin Randall
Date: 18 Dec 21 - 09:32 AM

First of all, I would thank all for their thoughtful comments. More can be seen at the site, whether directly posted there by readers or transferred from Facebook groups where I've also mentioned the article. Secondly, apologies for the way ads appeared in my copy-and-paste of the piece above, That want my intention - I simply wanted to reproduce the whole piece rather than just hawking for 'hits' to Salut! Live.

One point I'd make. Yes, it IS different and always has been in Ireland (both sides of the border), Scotland and, though not mentioned, Cape Breton. There, people just seem content ofappreciate g good music irrespective of genre and to regard folk/traditional as a living form.


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Subject: RE: Is folk a dirty four-letter word?
From: Bill D
Date: 18 Dec 21 - 09:52 AM

DtG.. there is a form of oral tradition that still persists.
When someone does a song that YOU don't know and you get them to teach it to you without even discussing the source... but of course, Google can usually find it, so your point is well-taken.
One element does still persist... 'folk processing'. I have added a verse or changed a word..... or even mis-heard a line... and passed it on.
   What I hate is when the Folk Processor is set on 'puree' and a mostly trad song becomes almost unrecognizable.


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Subject: RE: Is folk a dirty four-letter word?
From: GUEST,Nick Dow
Date: 18 Dec 21 - 10:38 AM

Is folk a dirty four-letter word? A lot less than Punk really. I would say that upon the Folk Scene we tend to stick to our views generally, even if we argue among ourselves. What we don't do is sing 'I am an Anarchist' in one incarnation and then behave like a clown and hold out a hand for the dosh, from advertising Country Life Butter. We just grit our teeth as the latest load of abuse aimed at Morris Dancers graces our TV screens. (Not for a while I'm glad to say). Punkfolkrocker forward please, followed by views on 'socialist singers accepting MBE's' oh well! Not a lot of use to say 'No Offence!' I'm off to get my tin hat. Still reckon we come out ahead though!


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Subject: RE: Is folk a dirty four-letter word?
From: Tattie Bogle
Date: 18 Dec 21 - 12:17 PM

I think Percy French also had something to do with "Mountains of Mourne": oh yes, he wrote the lyrics and Houston Collisson wrote the tune. So a song is not traditional unless no-one knows who wrote it, and it has been handed down at endless knees. But there are songs which are written in traditional style or have "gone into the tradition": and yes, there I'd agree that the lines are blurred.
As for "Star of the County Down", the tune goes back hundreds of years before Cathal MacGarvey wrote his set of lyrics, and has been used for at least 5 other songs and hymns that I can think of. "You can't put a good tune DOWN"!


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Subject: RE: Is folk a dirty four-letter word?
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 18 Dec 21 - 02:01 PM

Dave,
Sorry to be pedantic but the majority of us decided at least 70 years ago (I think even dear Cecil agreed in the end) that knowing the writer/composer was irrelevant to any of these meanings or words, other than the word 'anonymous'. As you have brought this old chestnut up we need to refer back to the dreaded 1954 IFMC definition which quickly decided, with input from a large number of foreign delegates, that this part of the definition was irrelevant and should be deleted, and forthwith it was. Otherwise all of those Harry Clifton songs I have recorded from oral tradition will have to be excluded.

To repeat something that has been said on this forum ad nauseam, the definition isn't perfect but it works well enough for most of us doing the research. What the singers do with it is their business.


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Subject: RE: Is folk a dirty four-letter word?
From: The Sandman
Date: 18 Dec 21 - 03:22 PM

Dave,no it is not


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Subject: RE: Is folk a dirty four-letter word?
From: GUEST,Phil d'Conch
Date: 18 Dec 21 - 04:17 PM

A very British (Isles) thread. View from the colonies:

Some Southern Baptist folk didn't much care for Stalinist or mainstream pop (capitalist) folk.

It doesn't matter how or when one defines [X]. Most folks won't know or care and somebody is always complaining.

'Traditional' comes with the same baggage as any other form of reinacting, martial, maritime, what-have-you. That exotic wood fiddle bow won't make it past Customs and your 19th century ship's rigging won't stand for the Health & Safety inspector.


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Subject: RE: Is folk a dirty four-letter word?
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 18 Dec 21 - 05:00 PM

Well put, Phil!


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Subject: RE: Is folk a dirty four-letter word?
From: GUEST,jag
Date: 18 Dec 21 - 05:10 PM

I think many self-described traditional musicians regard themselves as inheritors rather than re-enactors. Indirect inheritors.


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Subject: RE: Is folk a dirty four-letter word?
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 19 Dec 21 - 08:30 AM

IMO in order to be an 'inheritor' you would have to have been an active participant in the 'community' the song was part of, i.e., a particular occupation, a hunt pack, a ship's crew, the armed forces, a playground community, a village community etc. Otherwise, like me, you are a re-enactor. I learnt several songs as part of my family, but I would say had I not become part of the folk scene these songs would have been long forgotten so I am definitely to all intents and purposes, a re-enactor.


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Subject: RE: Is folk a dirty four-letter word?
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 19 Dec 21 - 11:39 AM

Using the 1954 definition results in football chants becoming folk songs. I am not saying the definition is faulty and, as Steve pointed out, it does help academics study the genre. As far as I can see though it does nothing to help potential folk club audiences to decide who to go and watch!

If Ed Sheeran performs "The Parting Glass" is it folk?
If Martin Carthy performs "Rave on" is it folk?

There are too many corner cases and exceptions for me to help define it!


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Subject: RE: Is folk a dirty four-letter word?
From: The Sandman
Date: 19 Dec 21 - 11:54 AM

Why dont you ask,Martin?


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Subject: RE: Is folk a dirty four-letter word?
From: The Sandman
Date: 19 Dec 21 - 11:58 AM

here is my opinion for what it is worth, the first one is more likely to evolve and change, RAVE ON when it is sung always appears to have the same lyrics, so according to the 1954 definition it is not folk. but i think you might get a more intersting answer if you contacted Martin Carthy


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Subject: RE: Is folk a dirty four-letter word?
From: GUEST,jag
Date: 19 Dec 21 - 12:56 PM

I was meaning inheritors of a tradition of getting together and singing songs or playing tunes/dancing as a social activity. A 'what the folk sang however it got onto the street' approach.


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Subject: RE: Is folk a dirty four-letter word?
From: GUEST,Rigby
Date: 19 Dec 21 - 02:57 PM

Musicians often dislike being tagged with a genre label. I don't think it's just a folk thing. No-one wants to be considered pop, or MOR, or AOR.


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Subject: RE: Is folk a dirty four-letter word?
From: GUEST,Phil d'Conch
Date: 19 Dec 21 - 03:08 PM

I've found Yellow Bird covered under everything from exotica to schlager. They're just retail inventory locations. It's all good.

Genre are defined by three distinct business entities: producers, artists and consumers. The Haitian song Choucoune has always been a middle class urban lounge tune on that island. But if Moses Asch records a certain Mudcatter and Pete Seeger cover they can call it 'folk' if they want to and anybody can listen to it as same. But it's still the same song with just the one discography.

There are no "No" votes in comsumerism, only "Yes." As long as the minimum for your business model agree, it really does not matter how many consumers do not like your stuff... or your labels.


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Subject: RE: Is folk a dirty four-letter word?
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 19 Dec 21 - 03:19 PM

Anyone with any sense, even academics, only use the 54 def as a guideline. Phil and Rigby hit the nail on the head. Much of it is a matter of personal perception and opinion. We all have our own opinions on what we would consider 'folk' and no 2 opinions are exactly the same.

BTW football chants are most definitely folk and most of them are sung so that makes them very much folk songs by any definition.


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Subject: RE: Is folk a dirty four-letter word?
From: GUEST,Anne Lister sans cookie
Date: 19 Dec 21 - 03:37 PM

I remember a conversation with a child at a school where I worked who was asking me about my music, having heard me play some songs to the class. "I like folk," he said, confidently, "but I can't remember - is it fast, or slow?"


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Subject: RE: Is folk a dirty four-letter word?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 20 Dec 21 - 05:07 AM

In answer to the the original question - yes 'folk' is a dirty word....filthy and depraved.
Once again I am outraged! Just the thought of doing it it in public....!


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Subject: RE: Is folk a dirty four-letter word?
From: Malcolm Storey
Date: 20 Dec 21 - 08:23 PM

It has actually become a dirty word at the EFDSS (English Folk Dance & Song Society) along with English (very dirty) and Society (smutty) according to the clowns employed to run it.
Sensible questions addressed to "Officers" are ignored and it would be easier to get answers from the Government spooks than anyone at Cecil Sharp (remember him?) House - no doubt soon to be renamed 37 whatever street it is on.


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Subject: RE: Is folk a dirty four-letter word?
From: The Sandman
Date: 21 Dec 21 - 03:11 AM

Hear Hear,Malcolm.
I am proud to be a Folk Singer,Ihave been singnig Folk songs[ not rave on, for over 35 years and it dont seem a day too long.


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Subject: RE: Is folk a dirty four-letter word?
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 21 Dec 21 - 03:18 AM

Sorry Steve but I got bollocked in no uncertain terms when I said that folk was what we perceived it to be. Not by you I add but a number of people told me that personal perceptions had nothing to do with it! I do not believe that anything should go at folk clubs. There have been times when I have thought something was not folk but the number of these were tiny compared to the vast majority of songs that were folk. Even if they were not 1954 folk, :-) That doesn't help us of course.

So,what type of folk is being referred to in the opening question?


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Subject: RE: Is folk a dirty four-letter word?
From: GUEST,MikeOfNorthumbria, sans cookie
Date: 21 Dec 21 - 06:45 AM

Well, hello there … it’s déjà vu all over again!

“Do We Still Need That F-Word?” was the title of an article published in issue number 68 of the magazine Living Tradition (2006). In it, I suggested that we might find it helpful to reserve the word traditional for ‘songs of unknown authorship, which have survived generations of oral transmission’, while the word folk might be more usefully applied to ‘songs – whatever their origin – that the members of a particular community sing regularly, and acknowledge as their own.’

An obvious example is ‘The Blaydon Races’. We know that the words were written by by George Ridley in 1862 (and set to an American minstrel-show tune).   So, it isn’t traditional in the same sense that - for example - ‘Lord Randal’ is. Nevertheless, Blaydon Races has been sung as their local anthem by generations of Tynesiders - at school, in their homes, and at football matches - and it seems petty and pedantic to deny it the status of a folk song.

Looking back on those thoughts with fifteen years of hindsight, I’m still willing to stand by them.

Wassail!


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Subject: RE: Is folk a dirty four-letter word?
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 21 Dec 21 - 09:19 AM

Hi Malcolm
I think your description there is a little OTT. Have you read the recent proposals in the latest EDS? They state categorically 'Please be assured that our continuing use of the word FOLK is not up for negotiation.'

I must add that I do not like the idea of any organisation changing its name unless there is a very valid reason.

This is a marketing exercise provoked by some who have suggested that the current name is to some extent confusing and/or exclusive (English).

I think EFDSS does what it says on the tin and I've presented my views in the survey. All MEMBERS have been asked to fill in a comprehensive questionnaire as a consultation exercise. To give us all something to do in lockdown no doubt.

The Scots, the Welsh and Ulster regions all have their own societies, though I'm sure they all recognise that the very nature of folk has little to do with geographical boundaries. I see no problem with including the word 'English'. It has the dual purpose of describing a geographical area and a pretty universal language.

Mike, the only disagreement I have with your points is that 'traditional' also has no connection with 'authorship'.


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Subject: RE: Is folk a dirty four-letter word?
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 21 Dec 21 - 09:26 AM

Regarding the use of the English language I was most amused on the box the other day to see the Brussels politicians still spouting in English even though the UK was no longer a member. Before anyone starts I was and am a staunch remainer. Perhaps it was Irish English they were speaking. I was too busy laughing to notice.


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Subject: RE: Is folk a dirty four-letter word?
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 21 Dec 21 - 11:16 AM

During my time working in Belgium I noticed that many speak to each other in English anyway. I think it saves trouble breaking out between Walloons and Flemish :-)


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Subject: RE: Is folk a dirty four-letter word?
From: GUEST,MikeOfNorthumbria, sans cookie
Date: 21 Dec 21 - 11:53 AM

Hi Steve,

Surely it's no surprise that many Brussels politicians still communicate with each other in English? How many Finns speak Portuguese? How many Poles understand Dutch?

Consider also the Eurovision Song Contest: how many of the performers who choose not to sing in their native languages use anything other than English as an alternative? (This is not because they love us - they just want to sell more records.)

And by the bye, I suspect that representatives of the smaller EU nations would oppose any attempt to impose French(or German)as the standard medium of communication between speakers whose native languages are unintelligible to each other. Much too dangerous politically!

Indeed, our current (and - I hope - temporary) absence from that forum could make the English language even more attractive to all those who feel anxious about the possibility of future French (or German) domination of it.


Wassail!


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Subject: RE: Is folk a dirty four-letter word?
From: GUEST,Jim Knowledge
Date: 21 Dec 21 - 12:34 PM

I `ad that Don the Dwarf in my cab the other day. `e looked like a pixie oo `ad been banned from fishing in the garden pond, well beside `imself.
I said, " Morning Shorty, whereto today?"
`e said, "Anywhere Jim I can sit down and get my `ead together".
I said, "Whatsup then?"
`e said, " It`s that Mudcat stirring things up again. They`re getting people to ask whether "folk" is a dirty word. We were doing a gig last night and some bloke suggested we ought to be cancelled, like they do in the universities, because our folk songs might make people feel uncomfortable. They might `ave been sung or written by people they dis-agree with."
I said, "I wouldn`t get out of your pram over that."
`e said, "Well, `ow would you and your band `andle it?"
I said, "We`d just announce that any folk songs we do weren`t written by anybody, they just grew on trees!!!"


Whaddam I Like??


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Subject: RE: Is folk a dirty four-letter word?
From: The Sandman
Date: 21 Dec 21 - 12:53 PM

American is an international language it is a variation of English, itis the language of the computer world, why the folk should people not speak it in belgium brussels or anywhere else.


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Subject: RE: Is folk a dirty four-letter word?
From: GUEST,Norman Lewis
Date: 21 Dec 21 - 03:39 PM

Well, here is today's folk:

https://www.theguardian.com/music/2021/dec/20/the-10-best-folk-albums-of-2021



The Guardian top ten Folk albums of 2021


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Subject: RE: Is folk a dirty four-letter word?
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 21 Dec 21 - 03:46 PM

Of course you are absolutely right, Dick. It was the irony of it that made me laugh. Same irony that has most of Eurovision songs in English yet the UK nearly always come last. It doesn't take much to amuse me as we head back into the dark ages.


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Subject: RE: Is folk a dirty four-letter word?
From: Malcolm Storey
Date: 21 Dec 21 - 06:33 PM

Here are some snippets of correspondence with a concerned friend - no name no pack drill.

Me
So now to the latest rubbish to arrive from the front!
 
The so called questionnaire / survey must have been put together by an eight year old with learning difficulties!!
What a mess.
 
I note "they" are taking this forward on the strength of initial responses from 65 (SIXTY FIVE) persons - that's almost one in a million of the UK population. Impressive what?
 
What does the current treasurer think of the idea of throwing money away?
 
Before any decisions are made on this issue it would be far more important to look at the current staff appointments, their salaries and most importantly their responsibilities. I have a feeling there is a lot of dead wood - including those at the top.
 
WE ARE NOT A SECRET SOCIETY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
 
As I say above a cull is needed.


Part of reply
I've had the questionnaire, but not yet opened up .... I've seen enough Facebook messages, including from a professional statistician, rubbishing the structure to convince me that I need to be calm before I open it.

Me
Another point I made was that at the time I joined the Society they/we were pushing to attain a membership of 10,000.
The staff structure at the time including field staff was less than the current numbers.
They also did not have the benefit of computers etc to aid the running of the Society.

Membership now stands at less than 2000 (there's progress) and yet seems to cost in real terms a hell of a lot more to administer.

Lot's to think about when the body which purports to represent our interests in a culture we all supposedly treasure is in the hands of these people.


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Subject: RE: Is folk a dirty four-letter word?
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 21 Dec 21 - 08:04 PM

The trouble with folk music arises when certain "folk" seize the opportunity to make a career out of it. There's a bit of a phenomenon in English folk which I could refer to as pedestalisation (get a load of THAT one, Merriam-bloody-Webster!). I couldn't possibly name names of dynasties lest I be (literally) assassinated (it's happened before...), but there are several that come to mind...Naturally, incredibly talented musicians will rise to the top in a natural way and become famous inside our bubble, but that ain't good enough for some. The genre in which I was mainly steeped is Irish traditional instrumental music. I've consorted with many of the great and the good therein and found all of them to be humble and grateful for the kudos they've received...and they'll sit in your session with you and exude not even a hint of an air of superiority or a need to distance. You're not good because you think you're good. You're good because you ARE good and because you want to be integrated with the rest of us, even the not so good. Surely that's what sets (or what should set) real folk music apart from the ultra-commercial music world... But what do I know!


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Subject: RE: Is folk a dirty four-letter word?
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 22 Dec 21 - 07:59 AM

I think that happens elsewhere too, Steve. The USA abounds with them. Isla St Clair and Eddi Reader in Scotland. Enya is a prime example of it Ireland and I am sure there are more. I am also sure that a lot of those who have 'made it' in England are happy to be integrated with the rest of us. I have experience of quite a few 'famous names' roughing it with us plebs :-) Maddy Prior, Martin Carthy and Kate Rusby to name but 3! And did Ewan MacColl exude an air of superiority or feel a need to distance?


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Subject: RE: Is folk a dirty four-letter word?
From: The Sandman
Date: 25 Dec 21 - 07:29 AM

one of the differences between ireland and england is that CCE recives much more funding


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Subject: RE: Is folk a dirty four-letter word?
From: PHJim
Date: 25 Dec 21 - 01:30 PM

FOLK - a 4 letter word that starts with "F", ends with "K" and if you use it, your songs won't get played on the radio.


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Subject: RE: Is folk a dirty four-letter word?
From: GUEST,.gargoyle
Date: 25 Dec 21 - 10:53 PM

Curious rhythm to some UK posts...

One, TWO, Three, ONE, Two.

Malcolm post 12/21/21

Sincerely,
Gargoyle

. Have ya noticed THAT,
Many Bits end their sentence with an up-turned questioning query?


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Subject: RE: Is folk a dirty four-letter word?
From: GUEST,Albachiel
Date: 26 Dec 21 - 09:26 AM

Paul Robson is supposed to have said when asked "what makes a folk song".
He replied "Folk"


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Subject: RE: Is folk a dirty four-letter word?
From: Malcolm Storey
Date: 26 Dec 21 - 10:10 AM

That would be Paul Robeson?!


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Subject: RE: Is folk a dirty four-letter word?
From: Malcolm Storey
Date: 26 Dec 21 - 12:59 PM

Leadbelly said he had never heard a horse sing when asked a similar question.


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Subject: RE: Is folk a dirty four-letter word?
From: The Sandman
Date: 26 Dec 21 - 03:28 PM

no, not lead belly,louis armstrong.
rubbish. anyway, of courses. horses sing.


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Subject: RE: Is folk a dirty four-letter word?
From: GUEST
Date: 26 Dec 21 - 04:44 PM

Neigh, lad.


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Subject: RE: Is folk a dirty four-letter word?
From: Malcolm Storey
Date: 26 Dec 21 - 05:38 PM

Knew I could rely on you Dick!

Horses can certainly hum!!


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Subject: RE: Is folk a dirty four-letter word?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 29 Dec 21 - 01:40 AM

Its odd really, Jim used to rage against his experiences of when he last visited English folk clubs and (horror of horrors!) - there were people there singing Beatle and Buddy Holly songs.

Those songs are sixty (nearly 70!) years old now and they're part of the mental geography of most people living in these islands.

Who gets to choose what are folk songs? The folk of course. You can have as many societies and committees as you like, for the preservation of the arcane and the obscure. But they're all onto a bit of a loser.

'We've lost more than we'll ever know...' sing Show of Hands. Maybe! But we've gained a fair bit, and we should celebrate that.


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Subject: RE: Is folk a dirty four-letter word?
From: The Sandman
Date: 29 Dec 21 - 03:00 AM

the fact that certain songs are 70 years old is not really relevant it is not the age of a song that makes it a folk song.
the whole point of oral tradtion quote
a
community's cultural and historical traditions passed down by word of mouth or example from one generation to another without written instruction.
buddy holly AND BEATLES songs are written down and always sung without alteration to the lyrics, therfore they do not fit under the 1954 definition, the only occasion they do, are when they are ADAPTED AND ALTERED by football crowds.
the folk do not choose anything they are fed banal pop by the media


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Subject: RE: Is folk a dirty four-letter word?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 29 Dec 21 - 03:51 AM

well (with all respect) - there you have your recipe for disaster and how you've whittled down membership of your gang.

English literature went through a similar crisis at the end of the 19th/start of the 20th century. Poets were writing 'in the the tradition'. They called themselves neo -Georgians, pre Raphaelites etc - it all came down to the same thing -namely eschewing the voice of the 'folk'.

Luckily we got a break and TS Eliot and others kicked us into the language of the 20th century..

Folk music is located with the 'folk' - just as the sky is located above us. Nothing the Pope or some committee of experts decree will change that.


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Subject: RE: Is folk a dirty four-letter word?
From: GUEST,Nick Dow
Date: 29 Dec 21 - 04:42 AM

You've lost me a bit here Al. Are you saying singing Folk Song in the traditional style has emptied Folk Clubs? Not my experience.


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Subject: RE: Is folk a dirty four-letter word?
From: GUEST,Nick Dow
Date: 29 Dec 21 - 04:42 AM

You've lost me a bit here Al. Are you saying singing Folk Song in the traditional style has emptied Folk Clubs? Not my experience.


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Subject: RE: Is folk a dirty four-letter word?
From: The Sandman
Date: 29 Dec 21 - 04:57 AM

not my experience either.
one thing that has emptied clubs, are singers that are unpractised, and who talk through other singers performances, and who are not prepared to listen to practised performers, they prefer their singers clubs where sometimes the standard is incompetentand they appear to find companionship with other bad performers. This is regardless of whether the songs are folk pop or anything else.
the one thing that people are not prepared to pay for is bad performance regardless of material.
personally, i have no problem with people reading their lyrics if they have practised them, and they then perform the material well


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Subject: RE: Is folk a dirty four-letter word?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 29 Dec 21 - 05:07 AM

No I don' t think I'm saying that. Everybody has the right to sing 'in the traditional style' -if they want. I think think its hard to work out what the tradition is for most of us. The late Ian Campbell once told me his Dad's main influence as a singer was Al Jolson.

I suppose what I'm saying is that time moves on. When I first went to folk clubs in the 1960's. Fifty years ago was pre first world war. Now 50 years ago is the 1960's - well no that's 60 years ago....makes you think!

I don't think I sing Beatles/Buddy Holly songs songs in the same way they were sung originally. No more than Joan Baez sang Black is the Colour like Hamish Imlach did, or as Christy Moore does. Three totally different different interpretations of the same song.

If anything has emptied folk clubs - I think maybe its the opinion that one has sole possesssion on the way the truth and the light - that could be the problem.


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Subject: RE: Is folk a dirty four-letter word?
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 29 Dec 21 - 05:45 AM

The years of my editing songs for our local dance teacher to use with children taught me, to my delight, that a good deal of "pop music" is far from banal. You don't have to like it or regard it as in any way linked to folk music (though you could be wrong there...), but to diss it, whilst at the same time implicitly putting folk on a pedestal apart, doesn't, er, help the cause...


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Subject: RE: Is folk a dirty four-letter word?
From: The Sandman
Date: 29 Dec 21 - 09:29 AM

in reply to big al , it has been some of the low standard of singers nights in folk clubs, that has emptied folk clubs. al , you are missing the point , you do not change lyrics of pop songs when you sing them, neither does anybody else that i have heard, that is an essential difference between pop songs and folk songs.
yes, i do think most folk songs are better that is why i sing them because i like them, because i put them on a pedestal.
jazz singers like jazz songs for the same reason, because they like the bloody song.
steve, you like irish trad, that is why you used to play it, whereas you did not play yellow submarine at sessions did you


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Subject: RE: Is folk a dirty four-letter word?
From: GUEST,Nick Dow
Date: 29 Dec 21 - 10:48 AM

I think the use of the word tradition, may be causing a confusion. Within the context of Folk song, the tradition in it's entirety, has boundaries and styles. There are of course other musical traditions, but to apply them to different mediums including Folk Song/Music, when they are alien to the medium is a mistake IMHO.


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Subject: RE: Is folk a dirty four-letter word?
From: GUEST
Date: 29 Dec 21 - 12:52 PM

"it has been some of the low standard of singers nights in folk clubs, that has emptied folk clubs".
Spot on, The Sandperson.


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Subject: RE: Is folk a dirty four-letter word?
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 29 Dec 21 - 01:41 PM

I think a lot of pop has its roots in folk but maybe that is just me. I like, for instance, Jethro Tull and find them quite folky at times. More up to date, I am not that keen on Mumford and Sons but can see the folk influence. A lot of the tunes are lifted directly from the tradition (Belfast Child by Simple Minds to name but one) As kids we regularly changed the lyrics of pop songs (Is there anything that you want? Fish and Chips! Is there anything I can do? Pass the salt!) Is that folk music? What about the traditions of other countries? Is it OK to have Country Music or Bhangra at folk clubs? As I keep saying, I don't have any definitive answers as I find the lines too blurred. All I can rely on is what sounds, to me, like folk music. As such I would never be one to try and define it!


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Subject: RE: Is folk a dirty four-letter word?
From: GUEST,Phil d'Conch
Date: 29 Dec 21 - 01:55 PM

Sandman: ...you do not change lyrics of pop songs when you sing them, neither does anybody else that i have heard, that is an essential difference between pop songs and folk songs.

Oy. If you can't tell Jamaican Monty Alexander from Jamaican Byron Lee, it's because you've never taken the time to listen to them. One is a jazz pianist. No sing.

I own over twelve hundred (1200) covers of Yellow Bird on vinyl. 37 countries. It's been done in Dutch, French, Mandarin and over half are instrumentals the academics are none-the-less likely to list as 'English' cutural appropriations of the Kreyole 'original.'

How in thee holy heckens does one play guitar, piano or vibes in English?


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Subject: RE: Is folk a dirty four-letter word?
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 29 Dec 21 - 02:01 PM

Just going on from the changed lyric thing, a folk club I was heavily involved with had a lot of Manchester City fans who loved it when "Nancy Whisky" led into a "Blue Moon" section. As far as I know it was a 'tradition' in that club only. In addition, a good friend who we see regularly substitutes "Living Doll" in the song of the same name with "Blow up Doll" followed by hissing noises. Yes, childish I know but still gets a laugh and, again, as far as I know it has been done for so long it could well be a tradition in itself! :-) (tongue in cheek but poses the question about turning a pop song into a local tradition. Maybe!)


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Subject: RE: Is folk a dirty four-letter word?
From: Allan Conn
Date: 29 Dec 21 - 03:06 PM

People do change lyrics of pop songs all the time. From a basically rewriting of the words for example Puff Daddy's "I'll Be Wanting You" which is "Every Breath You Take" - to less comprehensive changes for example Sinatra's take on "Mrs Robinson". More personally I do a Scots language take on "Don't Think Twice It's Alright" which involved a fair bit of word changing too. I also do Clapton's "Wonderful Tonight" with the last verse altered. I don't think it is that uncommon. Another example is Kirsty McCall's version of "New England" which is slightly different and has an extra verse.


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Subject: RE: Is folk a dirty four-letter word?
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 29 Dec 21 - 03:25 PM

Thanks Alan. Do the changed lyrics become part of the folk process if they become regularly accepted by your (presumably folk) audience?


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Subject: RE: Is folk a dirty four-letter word?
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 29 Dec 21 - 04:21 PM

"A folk song is what’s wrong and how to fix it."

There you go. A mighty definition from Woody!


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Subject: RE: Is folk a dirty four-letter word?
From: The Sandman
Date: 29 Dec 21 - 04:59 PM

what a load of bullshit.
the penguin book of english folksongs contains folk songs not yesterday or yellow submarine or buddy holly.
if people want to sing buddy holly songs in an acoustic manner why not be honest and call it an acoustic music club, if you want to sing jazz call it a jazz club, if you want to sing bluebeat call it a bluebeat club.
if you want to sing unaccompanied only, call it an unaccompanied singing club, if its an instrumental session call it that.
if people do not know what to expect they will not turn up
if Martin Carthy is advertised you do not expect   Johnny Rotten, or Garth Brooks


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Subject: RE: Is folk a dirty four-letter word?
From: The Sandman
Date: 29 Dec 21 - 05:02 PM

I think Jim Carroll was right, when folk clubs had good resident singers and people sang folk songs in folk clubs, audience turned up in droves on singers nights, and on guest nights partly because the standard was high and partly because the knew approximately what they were getting.


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Subject: RE: Is folk a dirty four-letter word?
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 29 Dec 21 - 05:24 PM

You're being a bit elitist about something that isn't elite, Dick...


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Subject: RE: Is folk a dirty four-letter word?
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 29 Dec 21 - 05:36 PM

I went to a concert to see Fishermans Friends and saw them
I went to a concert to see Joe Brown and saw him
I went to a folk club and heard both sea shanties and acoustic 50s covers

I enjoyed them all in different ways and none of them judged me for liking the others. That's probably both the beauty of folk and why some think it's a four letter word. Its inclusivety.


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Subject: RE: Is folk a dirty four-letter word?
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 29 Dec 21 - 06:04 PM

That's it, Dave.

By the way, I've played and sung Yellow Submarine many times on my acoustic harmonica with my son on his acoustic geetar. Gawd knows whether we'd changed the words, but our five-year-old loved it. I seem to recall once morphing into it in our pub session very many moons ago. You can be po-faced about music or you can have fun. I could get po-faced about a Freddie And The Dreamers minor hit, otherwise I say it's all good...


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Subject: RE: Is folk a dirty four-letter word?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 29 Dec 21 - 06:12 PM

these conversations have become something of a tradition.

I think maybe we just don't understand each other's point of view. I can't see much profit in attacking the point of view of someone who is sincere and happily productive from the perspective he seems to enjoy. Particularly as we get older and there is still so much we want to do before the park closes.


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Subject: RE: Is folk a dirty four-letter word?
From: GUEST,Phil d'Conch
Date: 29 Dec 21 - 06:12 PM

Folk or folk clubs?
In folk it's the words that are dirty.
In clubs it's the loo.
Dictionary definitions don't need to make rent.
Clubs on the other hand do
.

Consumers everywhere have choices. Folk is one choice but relevance isn't mandatory. One need not dislike a folk artist or venue to prefer the jazz or classical alternatives. On the other hand, the ladies may hate your eyebrows with a burning passion. If someone tells you they've got it all figured out, fuggedaboudit.

'Folk clubs' are mostly a British Isles thing. Commercial venue owners everywhere are typically more flexible about their A&R. The old Village Vanguard in New York booked a novelty; folk and jazz act on one playbill.

Not knowing what to expect was part of the entertainment... aka fun.


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Subject: RE: Is folk a dirty four-letter word?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 29 Dec 21 - 06:15 PM

Besides that if we start putting some bugger in charge of quality control - most of us would never get a play.


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Subject: RE: Is folk a dirty four-letter word?
From: Allan Conn
Date: 29 Dec 21 - 06:42 PM

David I wasn't suggesting by changing the words of a pop song it becomes a folk song. So wasn't going there really. Was just pointing out that the statement "people don't change the words of pop songs" doesn't really hold up. Sometimes some people do.


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Subject: RE: Is folk a dirty four-letter word?
From: Allan Conn
Date: 29 Dec 21 - 06:54 PM

I kind of agree with Dave too re the genres. I like a wide variety of music from most types of popular/rock music to jazz to classical to ambient to folk etc. I don't really get the division thing. Though we don't restrict our club anyway. We are called Kelso Folk & Live Music club and welcome all genres as long as it is live. Though the paid artists we bring tend to be pretty exclusively from the folk world. But in normal times we have 50 singers nights per year and performers can do what they want. Some of it is folk but plenty is not.


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Subject: RE: Is folk a dirty four-letter word?
From: Malcolm Storey
Date: 29 Dec 21 - 07:18 PM

No one changes pop song lyrics!

So who's Alice?


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Subject: RE: Is folk a dirty four-letter word?
From: reggie miles
Date: 29 Dec 21 - 10:45 PM

In the 1960s, some of the artists that have been sighted as having a role in the beginnings of what we generally recognize as the Blues genre were being introduced to audiences of the day. The advertising for these artists and their music wanted to reference the fact that these players were using acoustic guitars, not the newly popular electric guitars gaining attention in the contemporary music scene. I think that's why the phrase Folk Blues was used to describe their music. Many of the songs they played and sang very likely had roots in the oral traditions that were a part of the culture in the early 1900s, when they first began to explore their musical paths. Which was the way most music found its way to folks before the popularity of recorded forms.

I have no oral tradition of influence, as they did. But I always liked the phrase Folk Blues and thought it was a good description of their unique approach to sharing their music. Many of those artists had a primitive feel to their playing and singing style. Some even accompanied their songs with primitively self-built instruments, that today are considered Folk instruments. It was that primitive (anyone can do this) aspect of their approach to sharing their music that first attracted me to explore more of what they singing and playing.

I am not going to attempt to offer any definitive answer as to what Folk music is or isn't. In this fast paced world we now reside in, genres defining some aspect of musical styles are being invented and adapted so quickly, that I have no earthly idea about what the majority of them even refer to. I am shocked that some players are allowed to expand the definitions of their musical styles with strange new terms and that those genre names have become universally accepted almost overnight. Meanwhile, older genre terms, like Blues, or Folk struggle to even find a place among the flood of newly invented genres. I may be the only person even using the now defunct phrase Folk Blues to describe my own efforts.

I recently released a few songs to streaming outlets in the digital multiverse. As I was filling out the needed information regarding my songs, the drop down menu asked me to describe my music from among the many choices they offered and yet, they offered no means to add my own description. I felt cheated out of the opportunity to do as so many other artists have been granted permission to do with their music, invent my own terms to describe what I've been sharing.

I think that given the many and varied aspects of Folk music represented in just this thread alone, we should not be afraid of doing as other contemporary artists have done. We should have fun with our descriptions and invent new terms to define what is obviously an ever changing body of musical expression. Because, though we may yearn to put music in a box and restrict its characteristics with genre terms, describing instrumentation, singing and playing styles, cultural origins, oral traditions... all of those efforts are vain and utter folly. Music is, by nature, ever changing. It morphs with each new soul that travels the path to its discovery and expression. Music cannot be contained by any feeble means we possess. Like life itself, it breaks through any artificial boundaries we might build. It only ever longs to be free.


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Subject: RE: Is folk a dirty four-letter word?
From: PHJim
Date: 30 Dec 21 - 12:39 AM

Subject: RE: Is folk a dirty four-letter word?
From: Malcolm Storey - PM
Date: 26 Dec 21 - 12:59 PM

Leadbelly said he had never heard a horse sing when asked a similar question.

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Subject: RE: Is folk a dirty four-letter word?
From: The Sandman - PM
Date: 26 Dec 21 - 03:28 PM

no, not lead belly,louis armstrong.
rubbish. anyway, of courses. horses sing.

******************************************************************
I have seen this attributed to Big Bill Broonzy:
"All songs is folk songs. I ain't never heard no horse sing 'em," in a Sing Out! magazine from the sixties.


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Subject: RE: Is folk a dirty four-letter word?
From: The Sandman
Date: 30 Dec 21 - 02:54 AM

steve shaw,
when i go to trad music sessions, like all the other people there we play trad instrumental music, there are so many good tunes to play that nobody wants to plays yellow submarine, it is not about being elitist its about knowing what we have gone to play.
people can play yellow submarine plenty of other places ,they can play tiptoe through the tulips in plenty of places.
if you want to play that stuff in a listening club environment go and start your own acoustic music club.
people who have not practised have driven more people out of folk clubs in my opinion than anything else, no one minds beginners who show improvement, it is this idea that it is acceptable to continue to insult audiences by not bothering to have practised material, and that audiences are happy to listen to anything in a folk club.
if you want to play buddy holly, fine go and start an acoustic music club or a rock and roll club.


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Subject: RE: Is folk a dirty four-letter word?
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 30 Dec 21 - 03:24 AM

Thanks again, Allan and apologies for misspelling your name earlier. Yes, I realise that you were not suggesting that changed lyrics became folk. I was asking the question to point out once again the blurred lines. Our club was pretty much like yours although we had more paid guests.

Good point made by Reggie too. Music and genres change. I would add that they also interweave. If we try to define something rigidly there will always be exceptions and we end up with too many sub-genres. I, for one, enjoy diversity. Because I have welcomed change I have been accused of ruining folk music. Well, if I have, I apologise. But I have gained, and given I think, a great deal of pleasure through it :-)


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Subject: RE: Is folk a dirty four-letter word?
From: GUEST,Nick Dow
Date: 30 Dec 21 - 03:57 AM

How do musical genres interweave?


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Subject: RE: Is folk a dirty four-letter word?
From: The Sandman
Date: 30 Dec 21 - 04:01 AM

When I sing at a Maritime song festival, i expect other perfomers to be singing Maritime songs not Rave On.
I have not accused you of anything, I have heard you sing and i would give you a floor spotif i was running a club
I dont think you ruin music when you perform, i have heard better and also a lot worse


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Subject: RE: Is folk a dirty four-letter word?
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 30 Dec 21 - 04:52 AM

Fusion Nick - Think of Jazz Blues, Folk Blues, Folk Rock, East/West. The possibilities are endless! Maybe confusing rather than fusing :-D


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Subject: RE: Is folk a dirty four-letter word?
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 30 Dec 21 - 04:55 AM

The ruining folk music comment was in relation to allowing music that some considered to be non-folk to be played at our folk club.


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Subject: RE: Is folk a dirty four-letter word?
From: The Sandman
Date: 30 Dec 21 - 04:57 AM

musical genres inter weave?,
the only example i can think of is jazz, which as i understand is defined by improvisation. so jazz and classical music only interweave if there is improvisation specified in the classical composition.
it could be argued that some folk instrumental music becomes jazz when spontaneous variations are played[ i do not mean northumbrian pipe notated variations which are not spontaneous but written out]
one, might possibly hear miss mcleods reel at RoNnie Scotts Jazz club if it was improvised upon. because someone sings Rave On in a folk club, it does not become Jazz UNLESS IT INVOLVES SPONTANEOUS IMPRVISATION,neither does it suddenly become folk, it is Generally classified as a fifties hit written by buddy holly... rock and roll
       "Rave On", also written "Rave On!", is a song written by Sonny West, Bill Tilghman and Norman Petty in 1958. It was first recorded by West for Atlantic Records, which released his version in February 1958 (as Atlantic 45-1174).[1] Buddy Holly recorded the song later the same year, and his version became a hit, one of six of his recordings that charted in 1958. Holly is instantly recognizable as the artist: the record begins with a drawn-out "Well…" as stylized by Holly's distinctive hiccup ("A-weh-uh-heh-uh-ell…"). quote wiki
feck all to do with folk music


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Subject: RE: Is folk a dirty four-letter word?
From: The Sandman
Date: 30 Dec 21 - 05:01 AM

folk blues, is not jazz it is folk music,, american folk music,
folk rock is a misnomer it is folk music performed generally with amplification, it bears little resmblance to rock and roll, and uses folk music as its material therefore it is amplified folk music


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Subject: RE: Is folk a dirty four-letter word?
From: The Sandman
Date: 30 Dec 21 - 05:01 AM

blues only becomes jazz when the 12 bar structure is improvised on


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Subject: RE: Is folk a dirty four-letter word?
From: The Sandman
Date: 30 Dec 21 - 05:11 AM

dave the gnome , no,
not ruining folk music but ruining the enjoyment of someone who wishes to hear folk music, it maybe a competently perfomed version of rave on, but if the audience member went to hear willy of the winesbury, he she might have had a ruined evening.
you were running a club and assumed that everyone wants to hear buddy holly, it is rather like advertising martin carthy and you substitute him with andy caven. a good way to piss off your audience.[ andy caven performed buddy holly songs well] but that is not what most people had come expecting


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Subject: RE: Is folk a dirty four-letter word?
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 30 Dec 21 - 05:28 AM

Dick, it is because of ridiculous statements like you were running a club and assumed that everyone wants to hear buddy holly that I no longer interact with you but let us clear up that point. I have never assumed anyone likes anything. I only know what I like. If I go to a concert, I expect the concert artist(s) to perform what they are best at. If I go to a session, I like to hear competently performed music. If I go to a singaround I usually hear a good mix of styles and standards. Some I like, some I don't but overall I enjoy myself and try not to criticise what other people do.


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Subject: RE: Is folk a dirty four-letter word?
From: GUEST,Charles
Date: 30 Dec 21 - 05:37 AM

not ruining folk music but ruining the enjoyment of someone who wishes to hear folk music, it maybe a competently perfomed version of rave on, but if the audience member went to hear willy of the winesbury, he she might have had a ruined evening.
you were running a club and assumed that everyone wants to hear buddy holly, it is rather like advertising martin carthy and you substitute him with andy caven. a good way to piss off your audience.[ andy caven performed buddy holly songs well] but that is not what most people had come expecting
Says the man who happily included My little nicotine gal in his set at the Folk Club I go to.
By the way it is polite to use capital letters when writing peoples names


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Subject: RE: Is folk a dirty four-letter word?
From: The Sandman
Date: 30 Dec 21 - 05:49 AM

Dave, it is not a ridiculous statement to expect jazz in a jazz club country and western in a country club, if i pay to go to a folk club i go expecting to hear what has been advertised., if it is Martin Carthy, i do not want to hear him sing Rave On, I WANT TO HEAR HIM PERFORM TRAD MATERIAL
if i am being paid to perform ,i have to listen to everything, that is part of the job. Ido not critices what other people do ,but i reserve the right to pick and choose what music i wish to listen to,
i could guarantee in 1970, that if i went to a singers night the standrd would be high and nobody sang buddy holly songs, they sang what are generally classfied as folk songs, the standrd was higher and the venues were packed.
is it coincidence that clubs are emptier now, is it because of anything goes material? or is it because some singers do not practise? i do not know neither do you. what i do know ,is that these days i would be selective before i visited a folk club .
in 1970, i could guarantee going to for example farnigham folk club on a singers night or the fighting cocks in kingston and the standrd was high regardless of booked guest.


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Subject: RE: Is folk a dirty four-letter word?
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 30 Dec 21 - 05:58 AM

The ridiculous statement is "you were running a club and assumed that everyone wants to hear buddy holly". End of story.


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Subject: RE: Is folk a dirty four-letter word?
From: The Sandman
Date: 30 Dec 21 - 06:01 AM

Guest, Charles that song was a request,
It is however a well written song, that i consider a contemporary folk song[ just my opinion] SHOULD I HAVE NOT SANG IT AS IT WAS REQUESTED
Ihad a gal, a rare nice gal, down in Wroxham way
She were whooly nice ter me in the ole school days.
She would smile all the while, but Daddy dint know all
What she used ter say ter me behind the garden wall.
'Hev yew gotta loight, boy? hev yew gotta loight, boy?'
Molly Windley, she smook like a chimley,
But she's my little nicoteen gal.

Then one day, she went away, I dunt see har no more,
Till by chance, I see har down along th' Mundesley shore.
She wuz there, twice as fair, would she now be trew?
So when she see me passin' by she say 'I'm glad thass yew,
Hev yew gotta loight, boy? hev yew gotta loight?'
Molly Windley, she smook like a chimley,
But she's my little nicoteen gal.

Now yew'll see har an' me never more t'part,
We would wander hand in hand tergether in the dark.
Then one night I held har tight in th' ole back yard,
But when I tried to hold har close, she say 'Now hold yew hard!
Hev yew gotta loight, boy? hev yew gotta loight?
Molly Windley, she smook like a chimley,
But she's my little nicoteen gal.

By and by we decide on th' weddin' day,
So we toddle orff ter chatch ter hear the preacher say:
'Do yew now tearke this vow ter honour all the time?'
Afore I had th'chance ter stop har, she begin ter pine:
Hev yew gotta loight, boy? hev yew gotta loight?
Molly Windley, she smook like a chimley,
But she's my little nicoteen gal.

Now the doctor tell me a Daddy I will be,
So when I arsk him 'Woss th' score?' he say 'There's only three'
So, here I go, cheerioo, ter see how she do fare,
I know what she will say ter me as soon as I git there:
Hev yew gotta loight, boy? hev yew gotta loight?
Molly Windley, she smook like a chimley,
But she's my little nicoteen gal.


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Subject: RE: Is folk a dirty four-letter word?
From: GUEST,Charles
Date: 30 Dec 21 - 06:47 AM

Guest, Charles that song was a request,
It is however a well written song, that i consider a contemporary folk song[ just my opinion]SHOULD I HAVE NOT SANG IT AS IT WAS REQUESTED

Ah I think I get the idea,it is OK to sing a a song if You consider it to be a contemporary folk song,but not songs Dave thinks are contemporary folk songs.

SHOULD I HAVE NOT SANG IT AS IT WAS REQUESTED (No need to shout, I'm not deaf)
If it was requested yes,I don't recall you saying it was a request.


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Subject: RE: Is folk a dirty four-letter word?
From: GUEST,Charles
Date: 30 Dec 21 - 06:57 AM

If it was requested yes,I don't recall you saying it was a request.
I'll rephrase that slightly,
If was a request of course you should have sung it. ,I don't recall you saying it was requested.


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Subject: RE: Is folk a dirty four-letter word?
From: The Sandman
Date: 30 Dec 21 - 07:21 AM

must have been many years ago,9 years?kiveton park? i cannot even remember it. now.


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Subject: RE: Is folk a dirty four-letter word?
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 30 Dec 21 - 07:43 AM

This is the main bone of contention, Charles. I think that the traditional meaning of folk is pretty much accepted. It is when we get to what goes on around the edges that there arguments start. I have no idea if Nicotine Gal is an acceptable song at a folk club. Not my cup of tea but performed well it is witty and I would be happy with it. What about John Denver stuff? What about a folk club performer doing "Superstition" in a folk or blues style? What about Les Barker parodies? A lot of this is down to personal taste, regardless of how good (or bad!) it is. One thing I am with Dick on is that there are floor singers who should not be performing when people have paid to see a professional or semi-pro guest. At out club we accepted that some stuff on singers nights was an excuse to go to the bar ;-) That should not happen on guest nights.

So, back to the original question. Is folk a dirty four letter word because of poor performances at clubs? Maybe. Is it a dirty four letter word because the mainstream media mock (particulary) English traditions? Partly. Is it because there are too many introspective singer/songwriters? Could be. All the factors are in play and many more besides. My feeling is to ignore those who mock and just enjoy what I like :-)


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Subject: RE: Is folk a dirty four-letter word?
From: The Sandman
Date: 30 Dec 21 - 07:57 AM

guest, charles, must have been about 2011. 10 years ago, possibly kiveton park. 10 years ago i sang a song as a request, not typical of my general repertoire.
Dave, yes, the mainstream media do mock it.
EFDSS is also underfunded compared to CCE.


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Subject: RE: Is folk a dirty four-letter word?
From: Howard Jones
Date: 30 Dec 21 - 08:26 AM

If I go to see Martin Carthy I expect to hear whatever he chooses to perform. This will seldom be entirely traditional songs, and he has been known to go well off-piste at times. I can't recall if I have seen him perform "Rave On", but it has certainly been in his repertoire.

I would not expect to visit any club and find that everything performed was to my taste. That does not mean it should not be performed. If a particular club's style were too far removed from my own preferences I would stop going, but that does not mean it should not be called a folk club.

My own preference is for traditional folk, but I have heard and enjoyed much in folk clubs which was not traditional, but neither did it feel out of place. My life has been enriched by that, as much as it has by "proper" folk.

I've had to sit through stuff I didn't enjoy, but that's a price you pay. The only way to ensure you hear only what you enjoy is either to run your own folk club in a particularly dictatorial way, or stay at home with your own playlists.


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Subject: RE: Is folk a dirty four-letter word?
From: The Sandman
Date: 30 Dec 21 - 09:31 AM

This will seldom be entirely traditional songs, quote
over 90 percent of his repertoire has been tradtional songs on the last 3 occasions,i have booked him.
so the majority of his repertoire is tradtional, that is what he is known for performing.
I do not want to hear, my baby has gone down the plug hole, Although there is a clip of him doing that on you tube.
guest charles,[john charles?] tried to trip me up, by recalling, that a long time ago i sang Nicotine Girl, however it is not typical of my repertoire anymore than Rave On or" My baby has gone dpwn the plug" is typical of Mrtin Carthy


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Subject: RE: Is folk a dirty four-letter word?
From: The Sandman
Date: 30 Dec 21 - 10:56 AM

When people ask me what kind of music i perfom i say Folk, Iam proud of my music, for me folk is not a dirty word


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Subject: RE: Is folk a dirty four-letter word?
From: GUEST,Charles
Date: 30 Dec 21 - 11:47 AM

Dick, it was 2019 when you included it in your performance at the club I saw you at.If it was requested I don't remember you saying it was,which means either it was requested because someone knew you did sing it or you chose to perform it.which ever, it was as well received as your traditional songs.As others have said about material that is considered non folk songs or tunes if they are performed well most people will
enjoy them just as much.Life has good and bad bits for everyone,no two people have the same tastes.


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Subject: RE: Is folk a dirty four-letter word?
From: The Sandman
Date: 30 Dec 21 - 12:56 PM

The songs that i value and enjoy singing the most are the Traditional ones.
I think it is a similar opinion to that of Walter Pardon


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Subject: RE: Is folk a dirty four-letter word?
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 30 Dec 21 - 01:13 PM

That is absolutely fine, Dick, and I'm sure that you would not look down on anyone singing non traditional folk songs. I do not know why you feel the need to substantiate your opinion with that of Walter Pardon but, from what I have heard, I am pretty sure he would not have decried anyone singing non traditional songs either. Folk is a very broad church and many different songs and singers can be accommodated.


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Subject: RE: Is folk a dirty four-letter word?
From: Brian Peters
Date: 30 Dec 21 - 02:15 PM

We've got a bit sidetracked here into the question of what is and is not acceptable in a folk club, which isn't really what Colin Randall was talking about.

The debate about the word 'Folk' has been going on since I got involved with this music forty years ago, and probably long before that. At various times the term has been pronounced terminally off-putting to potential audiences outside the magic circle, so less baggage-laden alternatives like 'Roots', 'Acoustic', 'Open Mike', etc. have been proposed. Many of us (of a particular persuasion) preferred 'Traditional' to 'Folk' all along. But then every so often - most recently 10-15 years ago - our cultural influencers start telling us that 'folk is cool again' and we all get excited. Now Colin reports that it's out of vogue once more. Well, whatever - fashions change, and it's always been a niche taste anyway.

'Folk' has been a deeply ambiguous term at least since it was applied for marketing purposes to American singer / song-writers of the Dylan / Paxton era, as opposed to its former meaning of old songs passed down traditionally amongst the rural working class. In more recent times, the record industry has regularly applied the term to any act featuring an acoustic instrument or two. So, is 'folk' to be defined by its musical characteristics, by the style in which it's performed, by the method through which it's transmitted, or by the kind of venue in which it's presented? There's never been a consensus on that, but performers and venues alike will still need some kind of label that signals broadly what kind of music is to be expected.

The reasons different people give for being put off by 'folk' are sometimes contradictory: for some, the word conjures up red-faced heartiness; to others it spells fey and wifty-wafty. The folk club itself will, for some, mean a church-like atmosphere in which any outward signs of enjoyment are frowned upon; for others, a safe space in which audiences actually listen. More to the point, 'folk' is surely seen by many young people as something that the old folks do. That hasn't stopped some really talented young musicians getting wildly enthused by it (often though not always through childhood exposure from parents), but even they are very conscious of the ageing demographic sat in front of them. I propose no remedies, other than the often-discussed hope that more young people will take up the mantle of organising the kind of venues - not necessarily 'clubs' of course - where folk music (or whatever it's called) can be enjoyed in years to come.

As an aside, Walter Pardon did of course sing more than a few Music Hall songs, though according to Jim Carroll (who knew him and interviewed him at length) he drew an aesthetic distinction between those and the older songs in his repertoire.


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Subject: RE: Is folk a dirty four-letter word?
From: The Sandman
Date: 30 Dec 21 - 02:20 PM

Walter valued some songs above others let me quote from a conversation jim carroll had with Walter.
JC If you had the choice, Walter if somebody said to you one night they were going to ask you to sing say half a dozen or a dozen songs say, even of all your songs that you sing what would be your choice can you think offhand what you would choose to sing.
WP The Pretty Ploughboy, Rambling Blade would be another, Van Diemans Land. Let The Wind blow high or low ,Broomfeld Hill The Trees They Grow High, thatd be six.
no one mentioned anything about decrieng, other than Dave Polshaw.
both of us
Walter Pardon and Dick Miles are talking about songs we prefer or choose to sing as favourites we were not talking about anyth9ng else in that context, Folk clubs or decrieng non trad songs,, we are talking about the songs we most enjoy singing for orselves
performing in a Folk Club is a different subject, stop muddying the waters.


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Subject: RE: Is folk a dirty four-letter word?
From: GUEST
Date: 30 Dec 21 - 02:26 PM

what does decrieng mean ?

Dave H


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Subject: RE: Is folk a dirty four-letter word?
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 30 Dec 21 - 02:37 PM

Sorry Dave

Decrying


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Subject: RE: Is folk a dirty four-letter word?
From: The Sandman
Date: 30 Dec 21 - 02:42 PM

So, When i sing in a Folk Club, I have to think about two sets. balance of tempo, subject matter,each set, has a beginning a middle and an end,
Because of the structure of the evening and possibly what others have sung. I can only sing some of my favourite songs
. if i was to sing all my favorite folk songs in a folk club.because of how folk clubs have changed in the last 50 years, I do not think i would get rebooked, that is because folk clubs have moved towards anything acoustic goes, and tradtional music has become less popular in folk clubs than it was 50 years ago
FolkClubs are not as busy as 50 years ago, maybe that is a coincidence, or is it some other reason.
I do know that in 1969 folk clubs were very busy and a lot more trad songs were sung than is the case now.
people can draw whatever conclusions they want from that


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Subject: RE: Is folk a dirty four-letter word?
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 30 Dec 21 - 02:51 PM

Very sensible post as ever from Brian. Who plays mainly traditional but can turn his hand to Sponge Bob shanties :-)

So his Wikipedia entry says!


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Subject: RE: Is folk a dirty four-letter word?
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 30 Dec 21 - 03:25 PM

And once again, Dick, well done for not decrying anyone else's tastes. That is as it should be. Perform your stuff. Let others perform theirs in peace. Live and let live. That is what you are doing isn't it? I am complimenting you on that attitude not arguing about it!


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Subject: RE: Is folk a dirty four-letter word?
From: GUEST,Phil d'Conch
Date: 30 Dec 21 - 03:59 PM

Nick: How do musical genres interweave?

Like beach sand:

Country & Western: Chet Atkins first cover of Yellow Bird is the old French-Caribbean berceuse presented in an American exotica arrangement as Caribbean Guitar.

Bluegrass: A few years later Atkins covered it a third time as a member of The Nashville String Band (w/Homer & Jethro & Co..) It's what one might expect from that lineup but with a full string section arrangement by Suzi Ragsdale's uncle John. It's certainly not the,

Jazz: of Jamaican Monty Alexander or the,

Showtunes: of Inia Te Wiata or Rita & Sakura who sound nothing like the,

Folk: Seeger & Stringsinger cover of that same French melody they adapted directly from the,

Lounge: 'Original' which the Haitian-American composer took from the old D'Anjou,

Berceuse:.... rinse-repeat.


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Subject: RE: Is folk a dirty four-letter word?
From: GUEST,Phil d'Conch
Date: 30 Dec 21 - 04:32 PM

Back to the thread title, for every genre mentioned above:

+99% - Don't know, don't care. Rather watch football, +Yes. I do not like [X]. There's really no good way to tell the two consumer groups apart.

<1% - No. I like [X].

So. If you like [X]. You are, by definition, a tiny minority. Not even 1%. And you don't know, or care, or maybe even not like, the other +99% of not [X].


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Subject: RE: Is folk a dirty four-letter word?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 30 Dec 21 - 08:27 PM

What we need is stormtroopers in all the folk clubs.....

First time some scoundrel gets up and says....'this is a James Taylor type folksong...!'

Out with the rubber truncheons!


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Subject: RE: Is folk a dirty four-letter word?
From: GUEST,AC Wilson
Date: 30 Dec 21 - 09:35 PM

Re "pedestalisation": Is a "pedal steel" a folk instrument? Circle Y or N...


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Subject: RE: Is folk a dirty four-letter word?
From: GUEST,AC Wilson
Date: 30 Dec 21 - 10:08 PM

Somebody or somebodies, once a upon a time, came up with a song with a tune, likely including bits of other songs from before. Others sang and played, changed it along the way. When did it become traditional and/or folk? - there is no clean answer to that.

At 69 years old, my personal taste keeps expanding. Sometimes I listen to a traditional song; other times I listen to a brand new piece that has neither melody nor harmony. The two could even happen in the same concert set. Many musicians cross "genre" all of the time, because they enjoy multiple genres, as do I.

Here in Chicago, almost every music venue that I frequent (in these COVID times, via streaming) presents many different types of concerts. I would not have it any other way, because I personally enjoy listening to many kinds of music.

(Apparently, some "ancient Greeks" who complained that the kids were turning everything to shit. I pray to the universe that I never say that.)


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Subject: RE: Is folk a dirty four-letter word?
From: Allan Conn
Date: 31 Dec 21 - 02:04 AM

I think the idea that a folk song needs to be written by persons unknown and passed down orally is clearly too restrictive a definition for what is widely regarded as folk music in Scotland. It would exclude the songs of Robert Burns, Lady Nairn, James Hogg, Alicia Spottiswoode etc plus newer writers like the Corries, Dougie McLean etc. Plus of course there are new fiddle tunes being written all the time by trad players.


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Subject: RE: Is folk a dirty four-letter word?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 31 Dec 21 - 02:07 AM

You know when I was in my salad days (about three years ago when I was 69) I was just like you. Full of liberalism and all for personal freedom and the right to express yourself.

Nowadays, I'm a lot more grumpy and old. I'm not actually sure anyone who disagrees with me about the nature of folk music should be allowed to remain on the surface of the earth.

There has to be some standards, otherwise all would be anarchy.


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Subject: RE: Is folk a dirty four-letter word?
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 31 Dec 21 - 02:22 AM

I agree completely, Allan. Trouble is that the die hards will tell you that there is such a wealth of traditional material that there is no need for anything new. There is also the issue of deciding which new songs, singers and songwriters are folk and which are pop. I, personally, would include some (but not all) songs by David Gray or Ed Sheeran for instance. When I dared to suggest that I was jumped on from a great height and told that songs written for the mass market could never be folk. Even if performed in a folk style.

But I am going back to what is folk rather than answering the OPs question. Maybe it is linked though. Is folk a dirty word to some because the arbiters of folk taste have deemed that if it is popular, it cannot be folk?


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Subject: RE: Is folk a dirty four-letter word?
From: The Sandman
Date: 31 Dec 21 - 02:45 AM

there is a 1954 definition , it may have flaws, but i doubt if it is going to be replaced.
Who are these arbiters of taste, are they the folk agents pushing their products.
popular music has a name it is pop, classical music has a name it is classical, jazz has a name.. jazz
folk has a classification too,
Are you intent on destroying all classifications?
and what exactly is a folk style, i thought there were many folk styles, if you believe style determines folk rather than repertoire then if i was to sing Tiptoe through the Tulips unaccompanied or with a concertina , it does not suddenly become a folk song.


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Subject: RE: Is folk a dirty four-letter word?
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 31 Dec 21 - 03:09 AM

Under the 1954 definition, the newer writers that Allan mentions could never write folk songs. Besides, I thought we had already determined that 1954 was useful for academics and collectors but of little use in real life.

I have no intention of destroying anything as I have already, apparently, destroyed folk music :-D

I have no idea whether "Tiptoe through the tulips" (written by Al Dubin (lyrics) and Joe Burke (music) in 1929) will ever become a folk song. I do know that I have heard "Carolina Moon", also co-written by Joe Burke, performed in a folk setting and it was well received.

As to the arbiters of folk taste, I don't know who they all are but they tell us, whenever these discussions arise, what is and is not folk music.

Like I have said umpteen times. No, not all music is folk. No, I cannot define it but if I enjoy it and it sounds like folk, I am happy. I do not speak for anyone else.


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Subject: RE: Is folk a dirty four-letter word?
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 31 Dec 21 - 03:11 AM

BTW, Dick, you became an arbiter in this thread when you deemed one modern song acceptable while an older one was not!


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Subject: RE: Is folk a dirty four-letter word?
From: The Sandman
Date: 31 Dec 21 - 03:15 AM

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zcSlcNfThUA
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zcSlcNfThUA
you do not speak for anyone else?, i thought you were the mps forGnomes


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Subject: RE: Is folk a dirty four-letter word?
From: The Sandman
Date: 31 Dec 21 - 03:19 AM

the fact that i prefer The Shortest story, to little sir hugh, IS NOT RELEVANT


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Subject: RE: Is folk a dirty four-letter word?
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 31 Dec 21 - 03:22 AM

By the same writer

Carolina Moon

Interpretation and style have a lot to do with it

Us Gnomes don't have a government. We are anarchists


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Subject: RE: Is folk a dirty four-letter word?
From: The Sandman
Date: 31 Dec 21 - 04:21 AM

that is your opinion, nothing more, it is not my opinion. i think style has a small part to play but repertoire has a bigger part.
   MacColl encouraged younger singers to look at and listen to indigenous singers of the uk and ireland, co incidentally the folk clubs were full and people sang mainly trad material.
anything goes, more latterly, and the folk clubs are not so full. is this a co incidence, who knows but it is fact


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Subject: RE: Is folk a dirty four-letter word?
From: The Sandman
Date: 31 Dec 21 - 04:47 AM

Here is a quote from Jim Carroll, on the subject of the oral tradtion
Something I neglected to mention was what James Hogg's mother told Sir Walter Scott when she was singing him her ballads, "They were meant for singing, now you have written them down you have killed them" (paraphrase).
Apart from being a vital piece of evidnce in the literary/oral argument, that, for me, described perfectly the double edged sword that literacy was, regarding our oral traditions.
On the one hand, it helped immortalise the songs sung by the people, on the other, it eventually helped kill off the creativity of those people and turn them/us into passive recipients rather than creators of our culture.
A song set in print is by nature resistant to change;


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Subject: RE: Is folk a dirty four-letter word?
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 31 Dec 21 - 04:50 AM

Of course it is my opinion, Dick. As is your opinion. Both are subjective and both add to what are considered to be folk songs. You believe that a song written by Harry Chapin and one written by Alan Smethurst are both suitable for performing at a folk club. Others may disagree but I don't. I believe that some songs written by Cat Stevens or Jackson Browne are suitable. Others may disagree. There is no point in flogging this dead horse any longer. People will never agree on what they believe is folk music. The best we can hope for is a consensus where, on any given folk club evening, most of the audience enjoy most of the songs performed.

That adds nothing whatsoever to the opening question of course. As there are so many opinions on what the term folk music includes, which opinion in particular lends itself to becoming a dirty four letter word? As (I think) Brian pointed out earlier, some people dislike the modern singer songwriters while others dislike the traditional style. The former would say that folk is decried because of the inclusion of contemporary music while the latter would argue that it is sticking in the past that gives folk a bad name. I do not agree with either but can understand both viewpoints.

The fact that folk clubs are not as busy as they used to be is not necessarily an indication that they are doing anything wrong. Pubs are not as busy. Theatres are not as busy. Cinemas are not as busy. Economics and technology has a massive impact on everything.


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Subject: RE: Is folk a dirty four-letter word?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 31 Dec 21 - 04:54 AM

who knows...? Its a bit like the lost tribes of the Kalahari. Perhaps all these fans of traditional music died in paroxyms of wanton pleasure having forgotten en masse the last line of The Molecatcher, and sudden recollection of that last line just slayed them.

I've often sat there yearning for something of that nature to occur.


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Subject: RE: Is folk a dirty four-letter word?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 31 Dec 21 - 05:08 AM

Perhaps there is a Valhalla where they sing Three Score and Ten, The Nutting Girl round the campfire ....a bit like that folk tale of yore....Heads Down! Tea breaks over!


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Subject: RE: Is folk a dirty four-letter word?
From: The Sandman
Date: 31 Dec 21 - 05:22 AM

The fact that folk clubs are not as busy as they used to be is not necessarily an indication that they are doing anything wrong." quote
   
niether is it an indication they are doing anything right, but is a fact thatthey are not so well attended as 50 years ago.
but how many acoustic music clubs have survived 50 years


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Subject: RE: Is folk a dirty four-letter word?
From: GUEST
Date: 31 Dec 21 - 06:53 AM

Is folk a dirty word?
No.
Folk song and dance is of interest to a small part of the population,as is stamp collecting, model trains and photography.
It has a quite a large following compared to many minority interest groups and has several long standing and quite big annual festivals in the UK.Over the years I have been to several of the larger festivals and noticed that many of the same attendees were present at virtually all of them.The young men and women of the 1960s are now old and grey,but amongst the crowds are new young faces, just not as many.
The general public see the festivals as a colourfull diversion in what is a normally routine life,but will generate the odd convert.
In the 50s and 60s when most Mudcat followers were in their teens and early 20s it became popular largely through TV and radio playing groups like Peter,Paul and Mary and the Spinners etc and gained for a short period almost a minor pop status and was something your parents didn't do,always true of youth.
Like any such popular movements time moved on and many gained new interests, folk retained quite a large number of followers,but not as many as in the early days.
My thoughts on the subject,discuss


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Subject: RE: Is folk a dirty four-letter word?
From: GUEST,Derrick
Date: 31 Dec 21 - 06:55 AM

The unnamed guest was me


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Subject: RE: Is folk a dirty four-letter word?
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 31 Dec 21 - 10:00 AM

I think that is true, Derrick. I started my teens in 1965 and, yes, got interested in folk shortly after via bands like Steeleye Span, Fairport Convention and Jethro Tull. It was not something my parents were into but my Polish Grandmother loved the voices of both Sandy Denny and Maddy Prior :-)

Yes, Dick, the decline in folk club attendances does nothing to indicate that they are getting things right either. Half full? Half empty? Either way there are more logical reasons for the decline in live entertainment in general than just a change in presentation. In fact, I suspect that the change in presentation followed the decline in numbers rather than the other way round. People trying new things to bolster attendances maybe? Cause and effect is never clear cut!


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Subject: RE: Is folk a dirty four-letter word?
From: The Sandman
Date: 31 Dec 21 - 01:42 PM

Subject: RE: Is folk a dirty four-letter word?
From: Big Al Whittle - PM
Date: 31 Dec 21 - 05:08 AM

Perhaps there is a Valhalla where they sing Three Score and Ten, The Nutting Girl round the campfire
the Nutting Girl was sung in The Blaxhall Ship
https://eafa.org.uk/work/?id=1340   BOY SCOUTS NORMALLY SANG GING GANG GHOLUEYS, round the camp fire


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Subject: RE: Is folk a dirty four-letter word?
From: GUEST,Rigby
Date: 31 Dec 21 - 05:31 PM

Personally I find it a bit irritating to turn up at a folk club and hear a procession of people singing the works of Paul Simon, Bob Dylan et al. That's not because I have a strong opinion as to whether or not they are folk music, it's because there are a million other open mic nights where you can hear that. My selfish preference is for the folk club to be a space where I can hear material that's more closely associated with the tradition, and talk to other people who are interested in it.

As to the decline in attendance, I started going to folk clubs around ten years ago, coincidentally at about the same time my other half decided to re-train as a vicar. It's remarkable how similar the dynamic is between folk clubs and C of E congregations. Both rely on a core of loyal but increasingly elderly people, and for some of those people, the religious/musical purpose of the thing has become a bit secondary to its being a social circle where they can meet up every week with their friends. And while they're both very friendly and welcoming environments, it's not hard to see why younger people might think "There's nothing for me here."


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Subject: RE: Is folk a dirty four-letter word?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 31 Dec 21 - 09:17 PM

I think basically the problem devolves down to this:-

we'll have to see what happens after we're dead.......


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Subject: RE: Is folk a dirty four-letter word?
From: GUEST,Nick Dow
Date: 01 Jan 22 - 04:49 AM

And Happy New Year to you as well Al! :=)


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Subject: RE: Is folk a dirty four-letter word?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 01 Jan 22 - 07:36 AM

And to you Nick, and good luck attend ye!


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Subject: RE: Is folk a dirty four-letter word?
From: GUEST,Tom Patterson
Date: 01 Jan 22 - 10:15 AM

"The best in acoustic music: contemporary and traditional folk, country, blues, comedy, jazz and standards"
This is the promotional description used by a well-established Midlands folk club. Whilst one might question whether any local club can offer "the best", there is little doubt that the rest of the sentence gives a very fair description of what you will find on one of their club nights. When I arrived in Birmingham, nearly 50 years ago, there were at least 5 folk clubs operating in the city centre with a strong focus on traditional song. This not to say that you would only hear traditional song as at least 2 of these clubs had residents performing music hall songs and "new" songs by the likes of Ewen MacColl and Bill Caddick. Now only one of these clubs remains- The Black Diamond. Whilst there are plenty of other clubs and singarounds in the local area, most are of the "anything goes" variety and traditional songs are less commonly heard than they used to be.
It is interesting that nearly all of these clubs still choose to call themselves folk clubs and that suggests to me that folk is not a dirty four-letter word; it's just that for many people now it has become a generic word for "anything goes" music.


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Subject: RE: Is folk a dirty four-letter word?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 01 Jan 22 - 04:37 PM

Interesting... I was living in Brum fifty years ago and ran several folk clubs round that time, and attended all the others.

I'm sorry if Brum's folkscene is in such a parlous state. As you say fifty years ago, the scene was very exciting. Of course the bombs going off in the 1970's scared a lot of people out of the town centre. That knocked everything sideways for a long while.

If you think back. The scene was very fragmented back then the trad clubs of the time The Old Crown in Digbeth, The Prince of Wales, The Star, Ian Campbell's various clubs, Chas Baird's club. They weren't really a homogenous gang with a common aim. Frequently they didn't like each other very much.

I think I liked the clubs outside the city more. The Blackthorn, The Three Barrels, The Fitters Arms in Walsall, The Old Crown in Lichfield, Bob Lines's various clubs in Sutton Not sure any of them were very keen on me - still - no one is forced to love you.


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Subject: RE: Is folk a dirty four-letter word?
From: GUEST,Nick Dow
Date: 01 Jan 22 - 06:59 PM

Especially Chas Baird and Jim McPhee, but then I'm not sure anybody liked McPhee. I lived in Bearwood round the corner from Chas. He was my roadie in the 1970's.


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Subject: RE: Is folk a dirty four-letter word?
From: GUEST,Tom Patterson
Date: 01 Jan 22 - 07:50 PM

Big Al - with regard to Brum's folkscene, I wasn't implying that it is in a parlous state; the point I was making is that folk clubs have changed in that there is less of a focus on traditional song.


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Subject: RE: Is folk a dirty four-letter word?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 01 Jan 22 - 08:39 PM

Of course Jim and Les Ward and Derek Grinell (over at The Bell and Pump) were fairly unashamedly showbusiness agents - although they booked folk acts also. Jim's club the Fox and Hounds was very successful. Jack Hudson told me that Jim booked him into a night club in Kenya for a month.

The great folk scare was over by 10 years - but the folk comedian business gave a woof of air beneath the wings of the professional folksingers.
Plus there ware acts that worked in Scandinavia and Germany. I remember Waterfall did some gigs in Holland.

It was a very diverse time. Barrie Roberts (who ran the Fitters) was always full of gossip - he told me about Free Reed going bust when it produced The Transports for Peter Bellamy.I think every one was excited by the breadth of vision of Peter Bellamy, even if they had reservations about buying it.

Victoria Wood was winning New Faces and appearing at The Bell and Pump. Fivepenny Piece were also on New Faces. And I heard The Spinners play The Bleacher Lass of Kelvinhaugh on Pebble Mill at One. The late Donny McLeod who introduced Pebble Mill at One was a folk fan and invited Jon Raven to play on the programme.
I think we knew the movement was getting away from us, but looking back - it was an interesting time.


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Subject: RE: Is folk a dirty four-letter word?
From: Malcolm Storey
Date: 01 Jan 22 - 09:12 PM

Ah Jim Mc(Mega)Fee - not at all popular with those dealing with him with his agent's hat on.
Not sure he did his stable a lot of favours.
I certainly stopped dealing with him when running the Folk Union One in Hull and never dealt with him when involved at Whitby.
A decade and a half of running large mixed engineering installations from Teeside to Hereford in the late 60s to early 80s (Dave Burland once opined that I was a Gypsy) meant I could get to at least five folk clubs a week most weeks. There were not many I did not enjoy although I did tend towards the more traditional clubs where there was a choice on any particular evening.
Happy days.


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Subject: RE: Is folk a dirty four-letter word?
From: The Sandman
Date: 02 Jan 22 - 03:21 AM

bring back Mary Whitehouse, she will know, She did not like four letter words


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Subject: RE: Is folk a dirty four-letter word?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 02 Jan 22 - 05:07 AM

So how does this tradition thing work?
Does someone say to you, by gum! you're a traditional singer?
Do you guys feel differently to us who who play all kinds of stuff?

And more importantly - do you really feel its made for a good working basis.

In my time I've played a lot of traditional songs - initially in folk clubs, then country and western, then Irish pubs and theme pubs, old peoples homes. But I've always been a mongrel - picking up guitar riffs and songs here there and everywhere.

Has the idea of 'the tradition' worked for you. Has it made the best out of you as a musician and artist?   I think if not, you have to work out the four letter word that has summed up your experience.

And does it seem worth handing onto a next generation.


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Subject: RE: Is folk a dirty four-letter word?
From: The Sandman
Date: 02 Jan 22 - 06:22 AM

Al i am not a tradtional singer but a singer of trad songs , there is a difference
YES listening to tradtional tunes has made me a better player, and listening to tradtional singers has given me an idea of style, much the same as listening to blues singers, like robert johnson blind lemopn jefferson gives you an idea of blues style. its about listening to the roots of the music.
if you want to understand rock and roll you listen to the roots, it came out of blues, and to the early rock and rollers
. bill haley was an exception, his roots were country and jazz, his early years played in a band called the four aces of western swing.
Al it is about listening to roots, to get an idea of styles
"Has the idea of 'the tradition' worked for you. Has it made the best out of you as a musician and artist?"
Yes, in my case listening in my teEnage years to MissipPiJohn Hurt, and learning his guitar style, playing melody on and off the beat, and transferring it to concertina, influenced my accompaniments, my singng was influenced by listening to Harry Cox JEANNIEROBERTSON and loads of unaccompanied tradtional singers [ not singers of trad songs]


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Subject: RE: Is folk a dirty four-letter word?
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 02 Jan 22 - 06:32 AM

You ask all the right questions, Al.


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Subject: RE: Is folk a dirty four-letter word?
From: The Sandman
Date: 02 Jan 22 - 09:12 AM

Al, it is my opinion that it is difficult to master more than one style[ which is hard enough, to try and sing jazz well, classical music well, blues well and trad folk well, if you stick to one style you have a better chance of getting one thing done better.
the old cliche jack of all trades master of none is apt


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Subject: RE: Is folk a dirty four-letter word?
From: The Sandman
Date: 02 Jan 22 - 10:37 AM

Nick Dow, now there is someone who is an exception, many years ago I saw him playing in a pub[ john of gaunt?] in Lancaster playing blues[ he did not know i was there, i get around sometimes incognito] and he was good, in my opinion he is good as a trad performer too


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Subject: RE: Is folk a dirty four-letter word?
From: Brian Peters
Date: 02 Jan 22 - 01:23 PM

'So how does this tradition thing work?'

Some interesting questions there, Al...

'Does someone say to you, by gum! you're a traditional singer?'

No-one ever said that to me - I just concentrated on the stuff I enjoyed the most, and then got asked to do gigs playing it. Like Dick, I would use 'traditional singer' to mean the kind of singer who had their songs handed down to them as part of the natural flow of things, rather than people like me, who set out to learn them in a folk revival setting.

'Do you guys feel differently to us who who play all kinds of stuff?'

Probably not. I played for many years in a band doing Americana of various stripes, and formed a mid-life-crisis rock'n'roll band for a while as well. The task is always to develop the material in a way that makes it an interesting challenge for the musician, and entertaining for the audience. My job description has always been 'professional entertainer', rather than 'keeper of the flame'.

'And more importantly - do you really feel its made for a good working basis.'

Musically yes - I never got bored with arranging trad. songs in different ways. Career-wise it's kept me going for 40 years and taken me to a lot of interesting places. Developing the educational / workshop side has been useful in terms of career - trad. fans may be a niche audience, but they are keen and often participatory.

'But I've always been a mongrel - picking up guitar riffs and songs here there and everywhere.'

Many of us (instrumentalists especially) possess that instinct, and I've played all kinds of different stuff in my solo set, never mind in bands. Peter Bellamy (himself a handy bottleneck guitarist) once told me that his approach was 'anything goes for the encore', but that he preferred to keep the trad' stuff as the core of his set.

'Has the idea of 'the tradition' worked for you. Has it made the best out of you as a musician and artist?'

I like to think so. Arranging old stuff for new audiences was, for me, always a more interesting challenge than writing my own songs (I did write a few, many years ago). And, though I can get a thrill from a falsetto bluegrass harmony or a rock'n'roll accordion break, nothing matches the intensity of a blood-and-guts Child ballad! I would also say that, for someone with my musical predelictions, folk gigs at which people actually listen to what you're doing are a great spur to musical development.

'And does it seem worth handing onto a next generation.'

That is a great question. My impression is that there was a great crusading spirit around in the 1960s, and it was still there among many of the pros and organisers when I started playing in the 1980s. People like Bellamy and Martin Carthy would always be telling you to look up Sam Larner or Harry Cox's version of this or that, and my old pal Roy Harris was truly passionate about a sense of mission. I did use to think that 'handing it on' was a sacred duty, but I don't so much now. There are plenty of talented young singers and musicians (some of whom even admit to listening to my old records) and they're well capable of finding things out for themselves without some crusty oldster telling them what they ought to do. Performing folk songs in an accessible style, while keeping the source material available to anyone who wants to pick up on it, would be enough for me.


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Subject: RE: Is folk a dirty four-letter word?
From: The Sandman
Date: 02 Jan 22 - 03:07 PM

With the greatest respect,Brian much as i admire your dexterity and ability playing blues on your accordion., which you do very well,
You are in my opinion a much better singer of traditional songs[ A VERY GOOD ONE IMO] than a singer of blues.
I recorded two blues on duet concertina on Boxing Clever, a concertina compilation, but I got a good BLUES singer, Pauline Abbott, to sing them.
Al, we have to decide what we are best at as singers., and stick to it. And can i make it clear Brian is not a traditional singer but a singer of traditional songs, which he sings very well, do you understand the difference?


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Subject: RE: Is folk a dirty four-letter word?
From: Brian Peters
Date: 03 Jan 22 - 04:49 AM

Thanks, Dick, but btw I've never claimed to be a blues singer - though I'll sometimes do 'Bright Lights, Big City' or similar for a bit of fun. Didn't you use to do 'Four Until Late'?


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Subject: RE: Is folk a dirty four-letter word?
From: The Sandman
Date: 03 Jan 22 - 05:39 AM

I understand, just trying to explain to Al.
I did used to do four until late , the concertina part was intersting, I adapted a Blind Lemon Jefferson guitar part for a different song, to the Robert Johnson song, but I Should have got a blues singer to sing the vocals., bit difficult that on folk singers money


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Subject: RE: Is folk a dirty four-letter word?
From: Howard Jones
Date: 03 Jan 22 - 07:20 AM

I think that for most people now folk music is entirely alien to them. For about a century popular music has been largely based on American musical forms, in particular black American forms. The rhythms, modes, and many other characteristics of folk music are entirely unfamiliar to most modern ears. Most people will get excited by an Irish reel but most have no idea how to move to a jig or a hornpipe. We play unfamiliar instruments which make unfamiliar sounds. For most people it's remote from their daily experience of music, and they need to learn to listen to it just as they might have to learn to listen to Middle Eastern music, or jazz or classical music.

In England there isn't even the desire for a sense of national identity which makes the Scots, Irish and Welsh at least recognise and acknowledge their traditional music even if they don't choose to listen to it for pleasure. The English have ignored their own traditional music heritage, and are embarrassed by it when it comes to their attention.

The folk world itself has become too introverted, too ready to accept low standards of performance, and too stingy to pay a reasonable amount to hear good music. Most professional folk musicians do it for the love of the music, they may (or may not) make a decent living from it but no one's going to get rich. Is it any wonder that singer-songwriters like Ed Sheeran (reported worth £220m) or Katie Melua (£18m) are careful to avoid any suggestion of the "folk" tag?


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Subject: RE: Is folk a dirty four-letter word?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 03 Jan 22 - 07:55 AM

Thank you all for your considered and creative replies.

Its interesting that both Dick and Brian stress the importance of communicating with an audience.

In many of the folk clubs of Brum I visited and took my uncommitted pals to back in the 1970's - the style was actually confrontational. It was almost like a competition to come up with the most grotesque singing style. It was like 'repel all boarders'. Frequently my friends left the folk club totally bewildered.

To be fair this was a trend that was going through avant gard jazz and and acid rock at the time also.
I agree that to be Pavarotti or George Jones or Robert Johnson - you need to start early and stick to your last. However as financial necessity kicked me out of my comfort zone - as I went from folksinger, to country singer, pub singer, Irish theme bar singer, old peoples home singer - each time I gained something. Icouldn't do these jobs initially - but there were important skills to be learned.

In contrast I was really sad when Noel Murphy told me he didn't clean up in the great Irish theme bar explosion because the audiences ( abit of a stretch calling them that!) weren't quiet like in a folk club. And Doug Porter told me that Derek Brimstone had cancelled a a gig because he had to go on after a disco.

Like I say thanks for your insights

One last thing that resonates with me. Les Worral asked me to do a few spots for his festival of Scarecrows at Faldingworth in Lincolnshire. Must be about 15 years back. Anyway tin the time honoured fashion, the rain pelted down all day - sometometimes torrential, sometimes heavy sometimes semi trpical in its intensity. Key Largo had nothing on it.

So the cream teas were held indoors -steam coming off busloads of pensioners,
'Aren't they wonderful?' Les asked me as some kids (everyone under 40 looks like kids!) banged a hob nail boot, to a totally unfamiliar acoordion accompanied song, and two hundred and fifty pensioners endured a lugubrious Watersons style lump of unintelligibility.


I'm not telling this story to say - ain't I great God knows we're all old enough to have war stories of dying on our arse. But my feeling is that 'the tradition' - if there is one, it is more spiritual than anything.


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Subject: RE: Is folk a dirty four-letter word?
From: Howard Jones
Date: 03 Jan 22 - 09:41 AM

Al, I think what you're forgetting is that many folk clubs were catering for a specialist audience. The uncommitted who dropped in expecting what they'd seen the Spinners do on TV were likely to be challenged by it. This didn't just apply to folk clubs - I remember ending up in Ronnie Scott's after a night out and being just as baffled as your friends were.

I don't see anything wrong with that. Any art form worth its salt requires time and effort to understand. You first need to cut your teeth on the more accessible stuff, which may then lead you to the more difficult and more challenging material. If Kenny Ball's Jazz Men on Saturday night TV hadn't prepared me for what the musicians in Ronnie Scott's were playing, that was my failing not theirs.

Someone with "The Four Seasons" as their ringtone may not be able to understand Schoenberg. Someone whose idea of folk music is "The Wild Rover" might struggle with a Child ballad. The imbalance arises when the wrong performer is put in front of the wrong audience.

There is a perception that folk music is simple and should be immediately enjoyable by everyone. Some of it is, but some of it is more complex and more challenging, and takes time to appreciate.


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Subject: RE: Is folk a dirty four-letter word?
From: The Sandman
Date: 03 Jan 22 - 09:55 AM

There is something in what you say about performing to different audiences and adapting. But my point is that you have to stick to what you do best.
before the lockdown i was singing regularly in two community halls to senior citizens, but because i was in ireland, i could sing trad songs, because the irish are closer to their tradtions.
i did adapt, singing some songs popularised by luke kelly and also the clancy brothers, but i also was able to sing more esoteric material too it was a listening audience and i did not sing pop songs, absoluteley no need to murder buddy holly or englebert humperdinck.
why? sing musack that can be heard in every supermarket and music that is treated as wallpaper music.
I sing because i like the material I sing, I COULD HAVE BEEN A POP SINGER AND EARNED MUCH MORE MONEY. I chose not to.
Folk clubs have become a place where failed popsingers can live out their failed fantasies, it was never thus in 1966 when i first waked in to a folk blues club, neither was it like that at les cousins in soho in 1967, yes it was a broad church, but no body singing Buddy Holly, Or Cliff Richard


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Subject: RE: Is folk a dirty four-letter word?
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 03 Jan 22 - 09:57 AM

I'm not 100% sure on that, Howard. I have often said in these discussions that I am shallow and do not want to work for my entertainment. That is not strictly true I suppose. I did about 30 years helping to run a folk club and festival so there was a certain amount of effort! That aside though, when I feel I have to work to understand the music that is being played, I move on to something easier. It is not necessarily because it is traditional rather than 'light' either. I have seen at least 3 of the contributors on here (and a good few others) who all perform 'heavy' traditional music and I have no problem at all enjoying their work. I think they have all put the work in for me! They make traditional music enjoyable and that is not something everyone can do. When someone performs without entertaining it does become hard work to listen to and, yes, may give folk a bad name. It is easier to entertain an audience with popular music that they are familiar with and can sing along to than it is to make an obscure traditional song entertaining as well as interesting. I think most people go for the easy option!


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Subject: RE: Is folk a dirty four-letter word?
From: The Sandman
Date: 03 Jan 22 - 10:08 AM

Derek Brimstone was a good entertainer, he entertained without singing top ten popsongs., as far as i remember
Alex Campbell was hilarious, but sang some trad material[ inever heard him sing cliff richard or Buddy Holly songs] , he understood what was folk.
The dichotomy for perfomers [and i speak only for myself], is that entertainment is there to enhance the songs that you sing, as an entertainer you should imo have respect for your material, once you start denigrating your songs to get a cheap laugh, you have imo got the balance wrong


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Subject: RE: Is folk a dirty four-letter word?
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 03 Jan 22 - 10:54 AM

Entertaining is not always about 'getting a cheap laugh', Dick, or getting any sort of laugh if it comes to that. Entertaining can be tugging at the heart strings. Telling an amazing story. Dazzling people with your skill. Many, many different things can be entertaining. Yes, you do need to get the balance right but with the best will in the world, if the artist does not entertain me in some way, I am not likely to pay to see them again!

I like Buddy Holly songs BTW - Even though they were a bit before my time. His music was simple and very entertaining. I cannot honestly say the same of Cliff Richard but I know that plenty of other people would. Not saying that either is suitable for a folk club but the simplicity of Holly's music certainly lends itself to audience participation and I have never objected to anyone playing it :-)

Bit of a tangent though so I'll leave that bit of the thread there!


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Subject: RE: Is folk a dirty four-letter word?
From: The Sandman
Date: 03 Jan 22 - 11:13 AM

I did not say Entertaining is always about 'getting a cheap laugh, please do not lecture me on the subject of entertainment.
I am not intersted in what pop songs you like, as you say a tangent and an unnecessary one,
simplicity is neither here or there, because a pop song is complicated or simple, does not alter the fact that they are pop songs
folk songs can be simple or complicated country and western songs can be simple or complicated, so what


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Subject: RE: Is folk a dirty four-letter word?
From: The Sandman
Date: 03 Jan 22 - 11:58 AM

Sorry Dave, that was a bit brusque, we have had an intersting discussion


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Subject: RE: Is folk a dirty four-letter word?
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 03 Jan 22 - 01:35 PM

It was a bit, Dick, but I'm used to it :-)

The point I was trying, and failing, to make about simplicity is that if the tune and/or lyrics are simple, people are more likely to sing or whistle it later. It becomes memorable. I think it was Sam Cooke that made the same point when asked why his compositions were so popular.

Bringing it back on topic, simple songs are easier to sing and remember so they are quite likely to be performed by some floorsingers. Whether they are folk or not!


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Subject: RE: Is folk a dirty four-letter word?
From: The Sandman
Date: 03 Jan 22 - 02:26 PM

Simple song and tunes are jot necessarily easier to sing well.
Some singers find songs with stories easier to remember, and can remember a long song with an interesting song easier than sqay a song with not much of a story, it depends on the singer.
if floor singers are not singing folk songs, is That the fault of the organiser for allowing it as a policy?
When i started singing,it was difficult to get on as a floor singer ,we had to practise and everyone sang either American folk songs or folk songs from the uk or ireland
I am going to pose a question
is it similiar to dumbing down? is it, less people come to a venue because maybe the standard of floor singers is dropping, so the organiser allows anything goes repertoire and unpractised singers, those people who want to hear what they think of as folk songs well performed stop attending
or is attendances on guest nights drop because singers just want to hear themselves and only go to singers nights and for these people socialising is more important than music?
these are questions not statements


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Subject: RE: Is folk a dirty four-letter word?
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 03 Jan 22 - 03:27 PM

Dunno, Dick. As I said before, cause and effect are never straight forward. Did numbers start dwindling because organisers started to introduce non-folk songs or did organisers try to boost numbers with non-folk offerings because numbers were dwindling anyway? I can only go off personal experience. As you know, at Swinton Ged did most of the bookings. Dave W, and sometimes Frank, joined him on 'stage' as the resident act. I did the door and paid people as well as organising publicity and performing a singers spot if time allowed. We did not change anything at all for years and while numbers were very high at first they did dwindle eventually. Frank no longer performs. Dave W moved to Scotland. I moved to Yorkshire. The singers nights still go on at the White Lion on Mondays but guests are now presented at the Conservative club in Westhoughton. I could be wrong but I think you may have been the last guest to be booked at the Lion.

It is far to easy to lay the blame for dwindling numbers on one aspect but, in truth, the situation is tied in to the economy, social trends and changing tastes as well as a myriad of other factors. Just like why some people think folk is a dirty four letter word :-D


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Subject: RE: Is folk a dirty four-letter word?
From: Brian Peters
Date: 04 Jan 22 - 08:49 AM

Big Al: 'But my feeling is that 'the tradition' - if there is one, it is more spiritual than anything.'

Not for me, Al, nor any trad. musician I've ever met. It's a particular style of music ands lyric that doesn't sound like contemporary folk (or blues, or jazz, or pop), and those who enjoy it can get passionate about it. Nothing spiritual about it, though. I accept that some traddies in the past have been passionate to the point of intolerance but at the same time I can remember intolerant contemporary club organisers who would refuse point-blank to book what they called 'all-that-finger-in-the-ear-stuff'.

You do have a point though, Al, about singing styles on the tradfolk scene during the 1970s, a subject about which I've researched and written. The topic of 'mannerism' was debated vigorously in the folk press of the time, and pretty much every leading artist was accused of it at some point. Some of it did get a bit abstruse and weird. I once interviewed Will Noble - a singer who learned his songs traditionally and is notably free of folkie mannerisms - and asked him what he thought of the singing style in the 'folk scene'. Like the gentleman he is, he replied: 'a lot of them sang in a "different" way, shall we say... I suppose people were trying to get back to a way of life that they thought was around when this singing was going on.' I'm sure that 60s and 70s revival singers were actively experimenting with vocal styles, in search of an elusive 'authenticity'. It wasn't always successful...

I quite agree with what Howard said about finding the right repertoire/style for the right environment, and what Dave said about all the other factors that have caused a reduction in numbers.


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Subject: RE: Is folk a dirty four-letter word?
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 04 Jan 22 - 10:43 AM

In 2007, the Fairport version of Sandy Denny's "Who Knows Where The Time Goes?" was voted "Favourite Folk Track Of All Time" by listeners of BBC Radio 2.

Either discuss or throw stones at me... :-)


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Subject: RE: Is folk a dirty four-letter word?
From: GUEST,Nick Dow
Date: 04 Jan 22 - 12:10 PM

I know we've been here before, but now we are minus Jim Carroll, I will dare to venture the opinion that the informal definition of Folk, is some distance away from the academic definition, (such as it is).
Folk, to most club going people, covers Traditional and Contemporary, and that'll do, end of argument. It's just for convenience sake. No amount of hair splitting, is going to bother them at all, and usually provokes a mass exodus to the bar, where they will probably start their own sing around, with impunity. (Pinch of salt required for this bit of imagery. You know what I mean, I'm sure...)


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Subject: RE: Is folk a dirty four-letter word?
From: Brian Peters
Date: 04 Jan 22 - 12:17 PM

I agree with Nick. To that small portion of the world at large that bothers itself with such matters at all (and particularly to 'Folk on 2' listeners), anything by Fairport Convention would fall smack in the mainstream of 'Folk'. I don't get upset about it.

And it is a lovely song!


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Subject: RE: Is folk a dirty four-letter word?
From: GUEST,Phil d'Conch
Date: 04 Jan 22 - 01:53 PM

Sandman: ...proves nothing other than the taste of those listeners in 2007...
Pesky consumers! When will they ever learn?

Brian: ...anything by Fairport Convention would fall smack in the mainstream of 'Folk'. I don't get upset about it.

When Fairport had their first whack at Yellow Bird they tried to claim Norman Luboff as a 'traditional arrangement.' Publishers everywhere just rolled their eyes and billed them for the standard mechanical rights. Second time around proper ASCAP credit was given to the composer + Alan & Marilyn Bergman (lyrics.)

If you're doing this for money, run your personal consumer preference definitions past the usual pop sausage grinders.

PS: There's some Bob Dylan & Joni Mitchell on those first few Fairport albums. Some Mudcatters would call that something dirty, others would not & most don't care either way.


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Subject: RE: Is folk a dirty four-letter word?
From: The Sandman
Date: 04 Jan 22 - 02:02 PM

it has nothing to do with pesky consumers, it is a small selection of listeners, but it has nothing to do with folk being a for letter dirty word,
my comment is not a criticism of the song., the song has no relevance to the original post
here is the otiginal postSubject: Is folk a dirty four-letter word?
From: Colin Randall - PM
Date: 17 Dec 21 - 09:47 AM

I posted this at my site Salut! Live yesterday and have received some interesting comments already. Maybe a topic on which Mudcatters would have thoughts. You'll need to
go to the site to see the responses but I'll repost the article below with apologies to US Mudcatters for my own piece being a bit Anglocentric -- I could and perhaps should have used American examples , too



What is it about folk music that makes some folk or folksy artists want to disown it and smug rockers want to sneer?

Think how many acoustic musicians and people associated historically with folk have sought to create distance. Briefly fashionable singer-songwriters seem to recoil in horror from being “pigeon-holed”. Folk, to many, is a dirty word.

Salut Live Froots ad - 1
There is nothing especially new in this. Maddy Prior, a product of the folk clubs of England who has made a living singing (superbly) traditional songs put to amplified accompaniment, once insisted Steeleye Span was a rock band.

And I have never forgotten one moment when the excellent trio Therapy - Dave Shannon, Sam Bracken and Fiona Simpson – played at my folk club, the Spinning Wheel, in Darlington, in about 1970.

Dave – sadly no longer with us – paused after a selection of self-compositions and at least one Cat Stevens hit to introduce a traditional song (it may have been Blackwaterside). “This," he said, "is one for anyone who strayed in here expecting to hear folk music.”

A young character in the BBC radio soap, The Archers, was once heard mocking his parents’ fondness for old Fairport Convention records.

Often enough, it depends on what you are prepared to label folk. But some venues are nervous, too, about being linked too closely with the genre.

Among the artists who have appeared or are due to perform at the Old Cinema Launderette in Durham are the Unthanks, Martin Carthy, Kathryn Roberts and Sean Lakeman, Jez Lowe and Peggy Seeger.

Yet the co-owner, Richard Turner, was quick – and right - to pounce when I sloppily omitted the negative from this sentence in a recent Salut! Live item: ”…Richard is keen to point out that it is not a folk venue”.

“It is not a folk venue at all,” he wrote. “We have artists from across the board.” But what followed felt like the twist of a knife:

      ‘We are getting less and less folk. There doesn’t seem to the audience for it’

In reality, this too is familiar territory. How often have we been told that while there is indeed an audience for such people as Kate Rusby, Oysterband, Bellowhead and its descendants, Show of Hands and assorted Lakemans (Kathryn Roberts and Cara Dillon included), that audience is a predominantly a middle-aged or older one.

Melanie_Safka_1975_cropImage of Melanie: public domain, via the William Morris Agency

Nor is the tendency to talk down folk a recent phenomenon. A grim introduction to Kat Lister’s interesting Guardian interview with Melanie (Brand New Keys, glorious Ruby Tuesday cover etc) Safka read: “Overlooked and underestimated, Melanie was framed as a winsome folkie and left out of the pantheon of greats.”

The subtext could not be clearer. Find yourself labelled folk and you can forget about ever being taken seriously let alone thought of as great.

I’d say that is or ought to be utter nonsense. So many of the artists featured at Salut! Live over its 13 years or so of existences ooze greatness that it is pointlessly difficult to choose where to start.

But maybe they succeed or win respect despite rather than because of identification with folk. Maybe I am just an unreformed and unreformable folkie living in the past. And maybe we should stop calling our music folk and just go on enjoying it for what and whatever it is.
Subject: Is folk a dirty four-letter word?
From: Colin Randall - PM
Date: 17 Dec 21 - 09:47 AM

I posted this at my site Salut! Live yesterday and have received some interesting comments already. Maybe a topic on which Mudcatters would have thoughts. You'll need to
go to the site to see the responses but I'll repost the article below with apologies to US Mudcatters for my own piece being a bit Anglocentric -- I could and perhaps should have used American examples , too



What is it about folk music that makes some folk or folksy artists want to disown it and smug rockers want to sneer?

Think how many acoustic musicians and people associated historically with folk have sought to create distance. Briefly fashionable singer-songwriters seem to recoil in horror from being “pigeon-holed”. Folk, to many, is a dirty word.

Salut Live Froots ad - 1
There is nothing especially new in this. Maddy Prior, a product of the folk clubs of England who has made a living singing (superbly) traditional songs put to amplified accompaniment, once insisted Steeleye Span was a rock band.

And I have never forgotten one moment when the excellent trio Therapy - Dave Shannon, Sam Bracken and Fiona Simpson – played at my folk club, the Spinning Wheel, in Darlington, in about 1970.

Dave – sadly no longer with us – paused after a selection of self-compositions and at least one Cat Stevens hit to introduce a traditional song (it may have been Blackwaterside). “This," he said, "is one for anyone who strayed in here expecting to hear folk music.”

A young character in the BBC radio soap, The Archers, was once heard mocking his parents’ fondness for old Fairport Convention records.

Often enough, it depends on what you are prepared to label folk. But some venues are nervous, too, about being linked too closely with the genre.

Among the artists who have appeared or are due to perform at the Old Cinema Launderette in Durham are the Unthanks, Martin Carthy, Kathryn Roberts and Sean Lakeman, Jez Lowe and Peggy Seeger.

Yet the co-owner, Richard Turner, was quick – and right - to pounce when I sloppily omitted the negative from this sentence in a recent Salut! Live item: ”…Richard is keen to point out that it is not a folk venue”.

“It is not a folk venue at all,” he wrote. “We have artists from across the board.” But what followed felt like the twist of a knife:

      ‘We are getting less and less folk. There doesn’t seem to the audience for it’

In reality, this too is familiar territory. How often have we been told that while there is indeed an audience for such people as Kate Rusby, Oysterband, Bellowhead and its descendants, Show of Hands and assorted Lakemans (Kathryn Roberts and Cara Dillon included), that audience is a predominantly a middle-aged or older one.

Melanie_Safka_1975_cropImage of Melanie: public domain, via the William Morris Agency

Nor is the tendency to talk down folk a recent phenomenon. A grim introduction to Kat Lister’s interesting Guardian interview with Melanie (Brand New Keys, glorious Ruby Tuesday cover etc) Safka read: “Overlooked and underestimated, Melanie was framed as a winsome folkie and left out of the pantheon of greats.”

The subtext could not be clearer. Find yourself labelled folk and you can forget about ever being taken seriously let alone thought of as great.

I’d say that is or ought to be utter nonsense. So many of the artists featured at Salut! Live over its 13 years or so of existences ooze greatness that it is pointlessly difficult to choose where to start.

But maybe they succeed or win respect despite rather than because of identification with folk. Maybe I am just an unreformed and unreformable folkie living in the past. And maybe we should stop calling our music folk and just go on enjoying it for what and whatever it is.

Is there a debate worth having? Is folk, indeed, still strong and resilient enough to rise above mainstream disdain?


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Subject: RE: Is folk a dirty four-letter word?
From: The Sandman
Date: 04 Jan 22 - 02:06 PM

the finishing line of the above post
Subject: Is folk a dirty four-letter word?
From: Colin Randall - PM
Date: 17 Dec 21 - 09:47 AM



Is there a debate worth having? Is folk, indeed, still strong and resilient enough to rise above mainstream disdain? quote

so what is the relevance of steve shaws post


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Subject: RE: Is folk a dirty four-letter word?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 04 Jan 22 - 02:35 PM

I suppose the spiritual thing is a bit unavoidable for me. I was bought up a Quaker and - my intro to folk music was Where have all the Flowers Gone -folk music versus nuclear destruction.

However much I reject 'the pale socialist of Gallilee'. I look for larger significance in the music and most other things.

And I think this is the start of the problem. We come to folk and jazz music - always from different positions.

I'm sorry we've lost Jim . To me, my Fathers house has many mansions and I should have liked Jim to be co-existent with us. I don't know how it happened - he denounced everyone he didn't care for - and the simple fact is that far more people have become involved with folk music through Peter Paul and Mary and Donovan than any of the stuff he champions.

In classical music - there seems to be a general acceptance that Mozart is a good guy, so is Bach and Beethoven, Wagner, Chopin. And you can go to college to learn what makes these guys the bees knees.

Whereas in folk, there is no such common ground. And jazz.....trad lovers are really intolerant of mainstream jazz. And as for bebop players - they used to be called 'dirty boppers' when I was a kid.

Probably my favourite Julian Bream DVD starts off with with JB playing John Taverner's Nocturne. Now this a piece of music I really don't 'get'.

I don't get it but it doesn't seem to cause friction. There does seem to be emnity in folk music amongst the various factions.


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Subject: RE: Is folk a dirty four-letter word?
From: GUEST,Spleencringe
Date: 04 Jan 22 - 05:36 PM

I'm surprised no-one picked up on that Guardian best folk albums of 2021 someone posted up the thread: 7 out of 10 of the albums are wholly or partly traditional music, and of the others, you can hear the influence of at least three different traditions on Yasmin Williams' brilliant Urban Driftwood.

I'd contend that outside of the folk club scene, there's still more rumblings in the undergrowth than you'd imagine. Over the last couple years I've heard great albums of traditional music from (off the top of my head) Burd Ellen, Green Ribbons, Jack Sharp, Jake Xerxes Fussell and House & Land. There's more to add to that list. Also great contemporary music rooted in folk traditions by players like Henry Parker and Jim Ghedi. Happy to post some Bandcamp links


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Subject: RE: Is folk a dirty four-letter word?
From: Brian Peters
Date: 04 Jan 22 - 05:58 PM

'Over the last couple years I've heard great albums of traditional music from (off the top of my head) Burd Ellen, Green Ribbons, Jack Sharp, Jake Xerxes Fussell and House & Land.'

Links would be good but, to return to the OP, how many of those regard or market themselves as 'Folk'?


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Subject: RE: Is folk a dirty four-letter word?
From: GUEST,Spleencringe
Date: 04 Jan 22 - 06:50 PM

"How many of those regard or market themselves as 'Folk'?". Good question. Pretty much all of them, I'd say. Just not necessarily 'folk scene' folk.

Burd Ellen

"Burd Ellen is a collaborative project featuring Debbie Armour (Alasdair Roberts, Green Ribbons) and Gayle Brogan (Pefkin, Barrett’s Dottled Beauty). The group uses traditional song to explore and evoke dark landscapes and deep stories. Innovative instrumentation, drone and sound-wash support detailed vocal work to create a unique sonic atmosphere."


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Subject: RE: Is folk a dirty four-letter word?
From: GUEST,Spleencringe
Date: 04 Jan 22 - 06:53 PM

Jack Sharp

"Good Times Older is Jack Sharp’s first solo album, following 13 years fronting psych rock band Wolf People. This collection of 11 songs features Jack’s guitar and voice, recorded in an austere and spare setting, using mostly traditional music and words gleaned from his home county of Bedfordshire."


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Subject: RE: Is folk a dirty four-letter word?
From: GUEST,Spleencringe
Date: 04 Jan 22 - 06:57 PM

Green Ribbons

(Though this is cheating as the involvement of Frankie Armstrong is a clear link to the folk club scene)

"Green Ribbons is a project dedicated to the celebration of unaccompanied song. The current line-up features Debbie Armour (Burd Ellen), Frankie Armstrong, Alasdair Roberts and Benjamin “Jinnwoo” Webb (Jinnwoo, Bird in the Belly). Their debut release is an intimate collection of traditional and newly composed songs."


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Subject: RE: Is folk a dirty four-letter word?
From: GUEST,Spleencringe
Date: 04 Jan 22 - 07:00 PM

House and Land

"House and Land is a North Carolina based duo whose guitar, fiddle and banjo abilities transform traditional folk forms from the familiar to the strikingly fresh."


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Subject: RE: Is folk a dirty four-letter word?
From: GUEST,Spleencringe
Date: 04 Jan 22 - 07:04 PM

Jake Xerxes Fussell

"Fussell is creating his own legacy within the long lineage of traditional folk musicians and storytellers that have come before him."


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Subject: RE: Is folk a dirty four-letter word?
From: GUEST,Spleencringe
Date: 04 Jan 22 - 07:06 PM

Henry Parker

"Henry Parker's contemporary take on folk, which he explores via thoughtful yet deeply accomplished guitar playing, unfurls and moves much like the landscape itself - mirroring the unpredictable, yet beautifully flowing, rolling hills and valleys of his hometown, the Aire Valley in West Yorkshire."


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Subject: RE: Is folk a dirty four-letter word?
From: GUEST,Spleencringe
Date: 04 Jan 22 - 07:09 PM

Jim Ghedi

"An alternative & progressive take on folk and song-writing, exploring themes on social politics, history and environment."


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Subject: RE: Is folk a dirty four-letter word?
From: GUEST,Nick Dow
Date: 04 Jan 22 - 07:09 PM

Unfortunately, Jim Carroll turned most threads that he joined into a slanging match. He gave offence and then expected everything to be alright afterwards. His mind was closed and he was unreceptive to any other point of view. He was impossible to ignore, in as much as almost every time you posted, there he was trying to start an argument.
There are very few on mudcat who behave in such a way I'm glad to say.
There is one other, however I for one will not engage with him on any level since his last torrent of abuse in my direction. Probably right.
I think as Joe Offer has said it's desirable to be on your best behaviour on mudcat, and it makes for a pleasant experience.
Anyway, enough, and back to the thread.
How many times have we had conversations with surprised members of the non Folk public who have heard songs that we are familiar with and exclaimed in surprise 'That's Folk music! I didn't realise. It's good isn't it?'
Two of my next door neighbours when we were singing in the garden. (The other one fired up a circular saw!) Oh well. Not sure if that is an argument for marketing your self as Folk or not. Goes against the grain a bit.


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Subject: RE: Is folk a dirty four-letter word?
From: GUEST,Spleencringe
Date: 04 Jan 22 - 07:12 PM

So to summarise, the first five albums are more veering towards traditional song; the last two are primarily singer-songwriter-guitarists who are influenced by 60s/70s UK folk. I don't think any of them are shy about using the word to describe themselves ??


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Subject: RE: Is folk a dirty four-letter word?
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 04 Jan 22 - 09:14 PM

Jim Carroll is a legend among folk music scholars, dear moderator. He knows more than you, me and most other contributors here about our genre. No-one is criticising you for removing him and we should be able to talk about him. Thank you.


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Subject: RE: Is folk a dirty four-letter word?
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 05 Jan 22 - 03:18 AM

Nice to see you back Nigel. Where have you been?


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Subject: RE: Is folk a dirty four-letter word?
From: Vic Smith
Date: 05 Jan 22 - 05:43 AM

Much to agree with in Nick Dow (04 Jan 22 - 07:09 PM ) Sadly I was another who became the butt of insults for daring to disagree with the entrenched opinions. After a good time away from Mudcat, I now find that the perpetrator has been removed from Mudcat.
Perhaps I will restart an engagement here


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Subject: RE: Is folk a dirty four-letter word?
From: GUEST,Keith Price
Date: 05 Jan 22 - 06:18 AM

Well at least he did it to your face Nick Dow, Vic Smith and not behind your back.


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Subject: RE: Is folk a dirty four-letter word?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 05 Jan 22 - 06:48 AM

Yes but sometimes people feel a bit too vulnerable to get biffed in the face. You can say well you should not involve yourself in a robust dialogue.
I've had that said to me a few times - so you crawl off to lick your wounds , whilst the shit slinger purrs contentedly.

But every time that happens your heart hardens a little bit, and mudcat feels less like a meeting place for human beings and more like a a gang of fuck ups hiding behind computers.
I noticed a load of right wing Americans depart soon after I joined. Not for what I said, but they got pissed off with being the butt of judgemental middle class types whose idea of ethnic diversity was watching a Sidney Poitier movie. In their own country the Americans felt like normal citizens like the Trump voting ones. But on here, they were the source of the River Styx.

If you only talk to people who agree with you - you won't learn much.


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Subject: RE: Is folk a dirty four-letter word?
From: GUEST,Nick Dow
Date: 05 Jan 22 - 07:17 AM

Thanks for that Keith, and you know that how?


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Subject: RE: Is folk a dirty four-letter word?
From: GUEST,Keith Price
Date: 05 Jan 22 - 09:05 AM

I just think your comments were unnecessary Nick. Jim Carroll has not taken part in this thread and couldn't respond whether he wanted to or not.


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Subject: RE: Is folk a dirty four-letter word?
From: GUEST,Nick Dow
Date: 05 Jan 22 - 09:21 AM

I've just scrolled back through the thread. I now understand Steve Shaw's post on 4th of January 9.14. Some previous posts concerning Jim Carroll have been removed, so it now seems that my post on 4th Jan 7.09 has come out of nowhere. In fact Keith it was a reply to the removed posts, had I read my post without that reference I would have agreed with you, it now looks unnecessary and I would not have included it here.


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Subject: RE: Is folk a dirty four-letter word?
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 05 Jan 22 - 09:45 AM

Jim hasn't been stopped from posting on Mudcat. He has just had his membership revoked which means he can no longer post below the line. He can post as a guest on the music section and I know he keeps an eye on it too so nothing is being said behind anyones back. This adds nothing to the thread of course and may cause bad feelings, or even get the thread closed, if it continues, So I suggest we go no further down this path.


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Subject: RE: Is folk a dirty four-letter word?
From: The Sandman
Date: 05 Jan 22 - 09:53 AM

Jim has been stopped from posting on Mudcat


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Subject: RE: Is folk a dirty four-letter word?
From: GUEST
Date: 05 Jan 22 - 10:09 AM

My apologies if I've taken this out of context Nick.


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Subject: RE: Is folk a dirty four-letter word?
From: GUEST,Keith Price
Date: 05 Jan 22 - 10:10 AM

Sorry I'm the guest


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Subject: RE: Is folk a dirty four-letter word?
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 05 Jan 22 - 12:22 PM

He hasn't, Dick. Anyone can post in Mudcat Music section, whether they are logged in or not. They just cannot post in the BS section. Trust me on this, I made a good living in IT for 40 years. There are umpteen people without membership have posted as Guest or Guest:Name on this thread alone.


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Subject: RE: Is folk a dirty four-letter word?
From: The Sandman
Date: 05 Jan 22 - 12:54 PM

Joe runs this forum, the fact that anyone[ who has not had their mudcat membership revoked] can post in the mudcat music section, does not mean that Jim is allowed to.
Until i hear otherwise from Joe , I am under the impression that Jim is NOT ALLOWED and not encouraged to post anywhere on Mudcat.
    Actually, I would love to have Jim Carroll post about music at Mudcat. And there's nothing to stop him from posting about music. I just couldn't put up with his constant tirades demanding that other people be banned. Jim has an enormous amount of folk music knowledge, and I'd love to have him share it here.
    -Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: Is folk a dirty four-letter word?
From: GUEST,DtG
Date: 05 Jan 22 - 01:06 PM

This is me logged out, Dick


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Subject: RE: Is folk a dirty four-letter word?
From: GUEST,DtG
Date: 05 Jan 22 - 01:08 PM

This is me posting from a server in Tirana, Albania


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Subject: RE: Is folk a dirty four-letter word?
From: GUEST,Steve The Almighty!
Date: 05 Jan 22 - 01:11 PM

...And that's MEEEE, Dick!

(Steve Shaw to be precise - now back to reality...)


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Subject: RE: Is folk a dirty four-letter word?
From: GUEST,DtG
Date: 05 Jan 22 - 01:11 PM

This is me posting from an anonymous server in the USA using Opera browser


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Subject: RE: Is folk a dirty four-letter word?
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 05 Jan 22 - 01:16 PM

This is me signed back in again.

There is a huge difference between asking someone not to post and actually stopping them. Even if Jim does not chose to post, I do know that he still reads some threads.

And it still has nothing to do with folk being a dirty word.


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Subject: RE: Is folk a dirty four-letter word?
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 05 Jan 22 - 02:07 PM

Blimey, Dave, you get around the whole planet in a flash AND can still find time to take in an opera... Kudos!


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Subject: RE: Is folk a dirty four-letter word?
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 05 Jan 22 - 02:25 PM

Is opera a dirty 5 letter word?


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Subject: RE: Is folk a dirty four-letter word?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 06 Jan 22 - 05:31 AM

Filthiest song I ever wrote ave
That wasthe chorus
I shoved it opera


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Subject: RE: Is folk a dirty four-letter word?
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 06 Jan 22 - 08:55 AM

??? - Sorry Al :-(


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Subject: RE: Is folk a dirty four-letter word?
From: The Sandman
Date: 08 Jan 22 - 04:30 AM

I was listening to Thought for the day and the speaker mentioned a new folk song The Lost Words Blessing written by Julie Fowlis and Karine Polwart, QUOTE Inspired by the tradition of Scottish gaelic incantantions.
a song based on tradtion and roots of scottish Gaelic incantantion
I find this intersting and it seems not unreasonable to call it a folk song.
The presenter thought it was ok to call it a folk song, and what great publicity for the writers of the song.
https://www.google.com/search?client=firefox-b-d&q=the+lost+blessingyou+tube


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Subject: RE: Is folk a dirty four-letter word?
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 08 Jan 22 - 04:40 AM

So, now all the silliness seems to have stopped, I have a question. What can we, the supporters of folk music, do to help repair the poor image that our mainstream media have created and perpetuate?

I remember the late, great Dave Weatherall (Jolly Jack) being particularly put out when I made the joke "good enough for folk". He pointed out that it was jokes like that that did nothing to help the poor image. He was right of course and since then I have tried my best to be positive about the image of folk even when faced with 'jokes' about fingers in ears, navel gazing songwriters or rustic Morris dancers.

I no longer run a club and have never performed professionally but there are plenty here that do one, the other or both. How do you help promote folk music and what do you recommend others do to help?


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Subject: RE: Is folk a dirty four-letter word?
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 08 Jan 22 - 04:43 AM

Thanks, Dick. We were posting at the same time and your comment is a good example of bolstering the image of Scottish folk.


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Subject: RE: Is folk a dirty four-letter word?
From: GUEST,Spleencringe
Date: 08 Jan 22 - 07:05 AM

Hi Dave - I'm good thanks, in answer to your question a few days ago! Hope you are.

I'm not sure any of us can do much about the negative image folk music has in some parts of the media. I'm also not sure it matters that much.

I tend to simply point people at music that blows my mind, like this by House & Land and suggest preconceptions are best left at the door.


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Subject: RE: Is folk a dirty four-letter word?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 08 Jan 22 - 07:23 AM

Well with the best will in the world (and my will is in the top four) - are you asking the right question Dave?

To me it seems that folk is dirty, by definition. Its the English language you are taking issue with.

Folk is the music of the great unwashed. The Queen isn't folk, or her family. THe house of Lords isn't folk.

People write folksongs about the nobility like Matty Groves, and Sir Patrick Spens. But Lords and ladies have their gig and folk belongs with the mucky denizens in the mucky streets.

All attempts to trap it on BBC4 for half a dozen insomniacs and a couple of superstars who need a government grant and a record deal to change their guitar strings have been pretty shit - compared to the actual stuff of pubs, and peoples front rooms.

Blues doesn't shy away from its demotic origins and the fact that all the practitioners are skint. Why should we?


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Subject: RE: Is folk a dirty four-letter word?
From: The Sandman
Date: 08 Jan 22 - 07:52 AM

People write folksongs about the nobility like Matty Groves quote

Matty Groves is about arranged marriages, AND SOCIETY AT THAT PARTICULAR TIME.
the necessity for his wife to be buried on top because she was of noble kin, his lord ship was a psychopath and power freak,who it appears was not tried for murder because of his social position, not much different from john hardy[ apart from the outcome,because of his social position], or the nutter in "early morning blues"
however. it will be intersting to see what happens to the Prince who was a friend of Epstein., Have times changed?
Folk belongs to people from all levels of society and about all levels of society.


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Subject: RE: Is folk a dirty four-letter word?
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 08 Jan 22 - 08:16 AM

I am thank you Nigel :-)

That link was lovely but, putting on my devils advocate hat, how does it help the image of English folk music? And there are some amongst us who would claim that the instrumental accompaniment detract from the song! ;-) (Not me I hasten to add. I thought it was great)


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Subject: RE: Is folk a dirty four-letter word?
From: GUEST,Spleencringe
Date: 08 Jan 22 - 12:26 PM

"How does it help the image of English folk music?"

To be honest, it probably doesn't. But, one of the things I like about House & Land is that here are two excellent musicians who are deeply involved in the US experimental/ underground music scene, yet who are also knowledgeable about traditional music and comfortable enough with playing it to bring influences from their other musical lives into their song arrangements. To me this normalises folk music - it's not out on a limb but part of their wider musical lives. Jake Xerxes Fussell is another good example - a very good interpreter of traditional songs who is equally at home sharing a bill with rock and underground musicians as he is playing on more specifically folky stages (last time I saw him he was on tour with
Daniel Bachman).

Here's Jake Xerxes Fussell live on KEXP. He's got a UK tour in May. I already have tickets :-)


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Subject: RE: Is folk a dirty four-letter word?
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 08 Jan 22 - 03:55 PM

All minority interests are seen by the great unthinking masses as something to fear and take the piss out of, because it doesn't conform to their mass-culture. Mass media has blown this out of all proportion.
Those in power are happy to perpetuate this state of affairs.

All you can do is make good music and hope that you inspire some people. You'll never inspire all of them.


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Subject: RE: Is folk a dirty four-letter word?
From: GUEST,Nick Dow
Date: 08 Jan 22 - 07:16 PM

Non Conformity, is OK, unless it makes loads of money. See my posting on this thread 18th of December. Nothing wrong with making money, but not at the expense of professed beliefs, and musical dedication. Inspire and then betray, happens rarely if at all in the Folk world. I believe we all value that, and should be proud of it. No, not a dirty four letter word at all.


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Subject: RE: Is folk a dirty four-letter word?
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 09 Jan 22 - 02:27 AM

What if it goes the other way? Someone who has already made loads of money in pop music then releases some non conformist folky stuff that is different to their musical direction? Eddi Reader for instance with her Robert Burns showcase? Neither Fairground Attraction nor mainstream! Should performers from the pop world be able to switch direction or can pop singers never be acceptable performing folk?


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Subject: RE: Is folk a dirty four-letter word?
From: Allan Conn
Date: 09 Jan 22 - 02:55 AM

Barbara Dickson went from Folk music in folk clubs, to mainstream success in the pop charts and in musical theatre, then back to the folk music world again. Good on her I say. Don't see why you can't do both. Let's face it Karine Polwart chops and changes from album to album. Why not??? If you make a good folk album then it is a good folk album - even if the previous one was a cover of 80s pop songs or whatever. Why should musicians be restricted?


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Subject: RE: Is folk a dirty four-letter word?
From: GUEST,Nick Dow
Date: 09 Jan 22 - 03:08 AM

It's not the money, or the musical direction, it's the sincerity. Of course you can do other things, just be honest about it. Unlike the likes of John Lydon IMHO. That's where we've got the edge I think. That's the point I was making.


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Subject: RE: Is folk a dirty four-letter word?
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 09 Jan 22 - 04:09 AM

Yes, I see what you mean, Allan and Nick. I agree. I did ask for a reason, well two really. Primarily, if mainstream singers do folky stuff then it may become both better known and more acceptable among the younger generations. Of course we may get some critics slagging them off but that always happens. Secondly, I was once told in no uncertain terms that pop singers can never do folk as they are only in it for the money and any folk singers trying out new stuff are just wannabee pop singers. Good to see that attitude is not endemic :-)


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Subject: RE: Is folk a dirty four-letter word?
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 09 Jan 22 - 04:11 AM

Oh, and thanks for the other links Nigel. I have enjoyed them all. I think you are now the named expert on folk fusions :-D


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Subject: RE: Is folk a dirty four-letter word?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 09 Jan 22 - 04:38 AM

Well this is what I mean about spiritual.

I'm not sure you can define and refine the quiditas of what is folk music in the same way that Thomas Aquinas tried with truth, beauty and Christian faith. And frankly - I'm not sure its a worthy aim - after all what is it for except to say 'yahboo! Sucks to you!' to someone who is pissing you off.

If you have someone who turns at your club and wants to sing rubbish - them to piss off. You don't need the 1954 definition and bell book and candle. sod off! usually does the job.

To me - artists and pieces of music float in and out of the orbit of what is folk music. The intention to be folk music is is largely illusory. Its like a venn diagram where the parameters keep changing.

This rancorous going over of old arguments is what imbues the term 'folk' with poison.


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Subject: RE: Is folk a dirty four-letter word?
From: The Sandman
Date: 09 Jan 22 - 05:51 AM

I can see the advantages of Folk music being popularised through adverts, but I find emotionally, I can then be put off the song, not because it is popular but because of the association, an example might be the Rev Gary Davis version of Candy Man being used to sell Candy Floss.


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Subject: RE: Is folk a dirty four-letter word?
From: The Sandman
Date: 09 Jan 22 - 06:00 AM

However if the song, o good ale, or Drink old England dry, was used to advertise a beer like Adnams Spitfire, I probably would feel differently.


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Subject: RE: Is folk a dirty four-letter word?
From: Allan Conn
Date: 09 Jan 22 - 06:10 AM

One of the newer songs most oft sung in Scottish folk clubs is Dougie Mclean's "Caledonia" which first really came to prominence to the Scottish public in general through it's use in an advert for beer in the early 90s. That cover version by "Frankie Miller" was then released as a single and reached the lower regions of the UK pop chart. It is kind of forgotten now and Dougie's own version is the better known again.


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Subject: RE: Is folk a dirty four-letter word?
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 09 Jan 22 - 10:41 AM

Amy MacDonald did a version for, I think, Scottish tourism. It was on her album "This is the life" as a hidden track at the end for some reason!


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Subject: RE: Is folk a dirty four-letter word?
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 10 Jan 22 - 03:00 AM

Al. "To me - artists and pieces of music float in and out of the orbit of what is folk music." is just about as perfect a description of how it should be as I can imagine. Thank you. Other people would disagree of course and, yes, some have done so in a way that is toxic. Fortunately, they are getting fewer and further between.

I also agree that a word in someone's ear when they cross the line is the best way of going about things. It only happened once in my 30+ years of helping run a folk club though I am glad to say. The perpetrator took offence of course and we never saw him again. But who wants a badly played, out of tune electric guitar blasting out at their folk club? :-S


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Subject: RE: Is folk a dirty four-letter word?
From: GUEST,Nick Dow
Date: 10 Jan 22 - 04:37 AM

I saw that happen at 'Grannies Folk and Blues' in London. Raggy Farmer removed the electric noise maker from the stage. Those were the days! I saw the late Christy Hennessey blow the place apart, with sheer personality and his own songs. Sorry! A sign of age reminiscing in public.


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Subject: RE: Is folk a dirty four-letter word?
From: GUEST,Roderick A. Warner
Date: 10 Jan 22 - 08:30 AM

… as opposed to a badly-played, out of tune acoustic guitar? Heard many a time down the years…


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Subject: RE: Is folk a dirty four-letter word?
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 10 Jan 22 - 08:45 AM

At my age I can filter out some sounds, Roderick :-) Amplifiers tend to nullify that :-(


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Subject: RE: Is folk a dirty four-letter word?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 10 Jan 22 - 10:02 PM

I don't think it does any harm to credit most people with good intentions whatever their beliefs are.

When I was 16 in 1965, most towns of any size had about three folk clubs. I thought (mistakenly) that it was a state of affairs that would endure. How could we possibly throw such treasure stores of entertainment and enrichment away?

I thought I would be safe taking a few years to get my playing up to the standard of the players and singers I admired.

But throw it away we did, and by the time I started writing and performing in the mid 70's, there only fragments left. And by and large the fragments were fought over like a basket of rats.

I don't think theres ever been much point in apportioning blame. By then most of us were living in dormitory towns, far from where we were born - rootless almost by definition. But some of us wanted a voice - despite living in soulless estates. And the songs we produced felt no alliance with basket weavers and the like.   Sure the traditional songs had as many valid virtues as Shakespeare. But the 'in the tradition' business seemed to many of us similar in spirit to the turn of century poets writing about Highwaymen in the age of the steam and early combustion engine.

I don't think we'll ever get back to the generosity of spirit that I remember in those early folk clubs. Folk isn't a dirty word to me. To me its been an artistic movement of terrific achievement. Whether it has good days in front of it is up to us, and the youngsters who come after us.


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Subject: RE: Is folk a dirty four-letter word?
From: GUEST
Date: 11 Jan 22 - 05:16 AM

...and the youngsters who come after us...
- Who will do it their own way, no matter what people here think, and it very probably won't be in anything called a folk club.


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Subject: RE: Is folk a dirty four-letter word?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 11 Jan 22 - 07:25 AM

well seeing as the word 'folk' has created such division - perhaps that is no bad thing


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Subject: RE: Is folk a dirty four-letter word?
From: GUEST,Roderick A. Warner
Date: 11 Jan 22 - 09:03 AM

Point taken, Dave. But I’ve heard more bad acoustic guitar players then amplified ones down the years I’ve attended gigs in various venues in several countries. I’ve heard a lot of great music in ‘folk clubs’ and a fearful amount of bungling crap. In fact, can’t think of any bad amplified guitar players, off hand.


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Subject: RE: Is folk a dirty four-letter word?
From: rosma
Date: 11 Jan 22 - 09:10 AM

I've read about half of this thread (sorry if I'm repeating what's in the other half). It reminds me of something I mused recently. An acquaintance of mine is a shanty singer. He has been known to look down his nose a little at popular shanty groups.

I am perfectly aware of "traditional" shanty singing, but I relatively recently saw The Longest Johns a few times and have been inspired to sing some of the songs they sing, whether or not I'd heard them before.

My acquaintance recently referred to hearing a recording of The Longest Johns and described it as being the worst he'd heard them sing. He described it though in a way that showed somewhere deep down some sort of admiration for them.

I pointed out to another acquaintance that popular folk-like performers, particularly those who sing traditional or near-traditional songs, are capable of acting as a gateway drug which could, with the right attitude from us, get more people into folk clubs and sessions. If we sing a shanty in a traditional way, for example, and they recognise it, they may sing along, and they may even be drawn further in to listening to that type, and perhaps other types of folk music.


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Subject: RE: Is folk a dirty four-letter word?
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 11 Jan 22 - 10:58 AM

Good points, rosma. Regarding chanties, they are today 100% heritage related entertainment and are totally away from the original context, so that means they can be performed in any way the performers feel fit. It is a personal preference to me to sing them in as close a way as I can to what I envisage was the original style, with the proviso I have other preferences, i.e., I enjoy singing in a group and improvising harmonies. I doubt very much any harmonising was involved with the originals. What I'm trying to say rather clumsily is there is no right way or wrong way, it all comes down to personal preference. We are entertaining/educating so we should make the best stab at that if we wish to succeed.


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Subject: RE: Is folk a dirty four-letter word?
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 11 Jan 22 - 02:37 PM

I had this discussion with someone from a shanty group, Steve. Yes, they were work songs and I would certainly concur that no-one purposely put any harmonies in. However, harmony happens whether it is meant to or not. Get a group of a dozen or so people singing and, whether by design or accident, some will be harmonising. May be because there are some notes they cannot reach. May be because that is what they hear. Could be many other reasons. But he was insisting that shanties should be in pure unison because that is how they were sung. That was probably as they were intended but I doubt that is they way they came out!

Nowt to do with the thread of course but an interesting enough aside I think :-)


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Subject: RE: Is folk a dirty four-letter word?
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 11 Jan 22 - 03:41 PM

When you're breaking your back with exertion musical niceties were the last thing to be taken care of. The only consideration was keeping in time.


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Subject: RE: Is folk a dirty four-letter word?
From: The Sandman
Date: 11 Jan 22 - 04:00 PM

That was probably as they were intended but I doubt that is they way they came out!"
speculation and guess work


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Subject: RE: Is folk a dirty four-letter word?
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 11 Jan 22 - 04:03 PM

Exactly, Steve. They would have been sung with a complete disregard of keeping to the tune or words. Bit like some floorsingers :-) I reckon that it would have been pretty difficult to hear anything but the rhythm at times anyway!


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Subject: RE: Is folk a dirty four-letter word?
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 11 Jan 22 - 04:15 PM

I suppose it is, Dick. Which is why I said I doubt rather than I know. It is a fact that some people will automatically harmonise though so I will still say it is likely that in any situation where a group of people are singing, some will be harmonising. They may not intend to or even know they are doing it but some will do it all the same.


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Subject: RE: Is folk a dirty four-letter word?
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 11 Jan 22 - 05:28 PM

There is a likelihood that heaving chanties in port or in less strenuous circumstances might have afforded the luxury of harmony on occasion, but I can't see it with hauling chanties whilst out at sea.


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Subject: RE: Is folk a dirty four-letter word?
From: GUEST,Phil d'Conch
Date: 11 Jan 22 - 06:16 PM

Steve: "...100% heritage related entertainment...."

Why do I get the feeling no actual maths were used in this statement?

Less drift here methinks: What is a Shanty


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Subject: RE: Is folk a dirty four-letter word?
From: rosma
Date: 11 Jan 22 - 08:28 PM

Although I used shanty singers and pseudo-shanty singers as my example, I didn't intend to mean it would apply exclusively to shanty singing.


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Subject: RE: Is folk a dirty four-letter word?
From: Joe Offer
Date: 11 Jan 22 - 09:37 PM

Threads like this always make me nervous, but I guess they have to be. What I like to do with threads like this is to let them run their natural course, and then close them quietly once they've died down so nobody can refresh them and peel the scab off the wounds.
-Joe-


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Subject: RE: Is folk a dirty four-letter word?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 12 Jan 22 - 02:55 AM

well feel free to expunge anything I say that you think might be contentious. I don't claim to be an expert on anything


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Subject: RE: Is folk a dirty four-letter word?
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 12 Jan 22 - 07:46 AM

Actually, Joe, it makes me nervous too. I feel that one of the reasons that we folkies are often seen as a somewhat impenetrable set apart, in which it's rather hard to do anything without being criticised for doing something or other wrong or a bit untraditional, is that we indulge ourselves in long bouts of looking inward, as in many a thread like this one. As a relative outsider (a harmonica player of traditional, mostly Irish, music) I feel rather fortunate in that I can so explicitly and so boldly "do the wrong thing" that I never get criticised for it!


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Subject: RE: Is folk a dirty four-letter word?
From: the lemonade lady
Date: 12 Jan 22 - 12:00 PM

We've found it a bit of a hurdle when getting gigs. Once I mention folk, I can hear the interest drain out of their enthusiasm. I now say that our genre is progressive folk with attitude.

Www.miceinamatchbox.co.uk


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Subject: RE: Is folk a dirty four-letter word?
From: Joe Offer
Date: 13 Jan 22 - 02:53 AM

"Progressive folk with attitude." Ah, that's the formula!!
Cheers!
-Joe-


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