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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
Dave the Gnome 18 Dec 21 - 04:57 AM
Colin Randall 18 Dec 21 - 09:32 AM
Bill D 18 Dec 21 - 09:52 AM
GUEST,Nick Dow 18 Dec 21 - 10:38 AM
Tattie Bogle 18 Dec 21 - 12:17 PM
Steve Gardham 18 Dec 21 - 02:01 PM
The Sandman 18 Dec 21 - 03:22 PM
GUEST,Phil d'Conch 18 Dec 21 - 04:17 PM
Steve Gardham 18 Dec 21 - 05:00 PM
GUEST,jag 18 Dec 21 - 05:10 PM
Steve Gardham 19 Dec 21 - 08:30 AM
Dave the Gnome 19 Dec 21 - 11:39 AM
The Sandman 19 Dec 21 - 11:54 AM
The Sandman 19 Dec 21 - 11:58 AM
GUEST,jag 19 Dec 21 - 12:56 PM
GUEST,Rigby 19 Dec 21 - 02:57 PM
GUEST,Phil d'Conch 19 Dec 21 - 03:08 PM
Steve Gardham 19 Dec 21 - 03:19 PM
GUEST,Anne Lister sans cookie 19 Dec 21 - 03:37 PM
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
Steve Gardham 21 Dec 21 - 09:26 AM
Dave the Gnome 21 Dec 21 - 11:16 AM
GUEST,MikeOfNorthumbria, sans cookie 21 Dec 21 - 11:53 AM
GUEST,Jim Knowledge 21 Dec 21 - 12:34 PM
The Sandman 21 Dec 21 - 12:53 PM
GUEST,Norman Lewis 21 Dec 21 - 03:39 PM
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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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