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When was the last folk music revival?

GUEST,Leadbottom 17 Jun 22 - 07:50 PM
Joe Offer 17 Jun 22 - 08:02 PM
GUEST,.gargoyle 18 Jun 22 - 01:34 AM
Piers Plowman 18 Jun 22 - 09:48 AM
GUEST 18 Jun 22 - 11:39 AM
GUEST,Phil d'Conch 18 Jun 22 - 02:56 PM
GUEST,Leadbottom 19 Jun 22 - 01:42 PM
GUEST,Leadbottom 19 Jun 22 - 01:46 PM
GUEST,matt milton 20 Jun 22 - 06:35 AM
rosma 20 Jun 22 - 10:37 AM
GUEST,Leadbottom 21 Jun 22 - 02:31 PM
GUEST,Leadbottom 21 Jun 22 - 02:32 PM
John MacKenzie 21 Jun 22 - 02:37 PM
matthewdechant 21 Jun 22 - 03:36 PM
GUEST,Phil d'Conch 22 Jun 22 - 03:18 AM
Steve Shaw 22 Jun 22 - 05:05 AM
GUEST,Leadbottom 22 Jun 22 - 05:44 PM
Joe Offer 22 Jun 22 - 08:11 PM
GUEST 22 Jun 22 - 08:17 PM
Joe Offer 22 Jun 22 - 08:41 PM
GUEST,Phil d'Conch 23 Jun 22 - 12:41 AM
rosma 23 Jun 22 - 06:46 AM
Daniel Kelly 23 Jun 22 - 06:55 AM
GUEST,matt milton 23 Jun 22 - 11:16 AM
Piers Plowman 23 Jun 22 - 01:25 PM
GUEST,matt milton 23 Jun 22 - 02:11 PM
GUEST,Phil d'Conch 23 Jun 22 - 02:20 PM
Piers Plowman 23 Jun 22 - 02:20 PM
GUEST 23 Jun 22 - 03:23 PM
rosma 23 Jun 22 - 03:42 PM
GUEST,Leadbottom 23 Jun 22 - 03:42 PM
Joe Offer 23 Jun 22 - 05:06 PM
GUEST 23 Jun 22 - 05:18 PM
GUEST 23 Jun 22 - 05:19 PM
GUEST,Leadbottom 23 Jun 22 - 05:20 PM
GUEST,Leadbottom 23 Jun 22 - 05:26 PM
MaJoC the Filk 23 Jun 22 - 06:55 PM
GUEST,The Sandman 24 Jun 22 - 04:30 AM
GUEST,matt milton 24 Jun 22 - 04:40 AM
GUEST,matt milton 24 Jun 22 - 04:43 AM
Piers Plowman 24 Jun 22 - 05:38 AM
GUEST,Leadbottom 24 Jun 22 - 03:08 PM
GUEST,Jerome Clark 25 Jun 22 - 11:22 AM
GUEST,Jerome Clark 25 Jun 22 - 12:26 PM
McGrath of Harlow 25 Jun 22 - 12:45 PM
GUEST,Jerome Clark 25 Jun 22 - 01:40 PM
GUEST,Leadbottom 25 Jun 22 - 01:45 PM
GUEST,The Sandman 25 Jun 22 - 02:25 PM
GUEST,Leadbottom 25 Jun 22 - 03:56 PM
GUEST,Leadbottom 25 Jun 22 - 04:00 PM
GUEST,Leadbottom 25 Jun 22 - 04:01 PM
GUEST,matt milton 27 Jun 22 - 06:36 AM
GUEST,Pixy 27 Jun 22 - 09:58 AM
MaJoC the Filk 27 Jun 22 - 10:23 AM
Stilly River Sage 27 Jun 22 - 02:30 PM
GUEST,matt milton 28 Jun 22 - 04:20 AM
GUEST,Phil d'Conch 28 Jun 22 - 08:49 AM
Neil D 28 Jun 22 - 06:15 PM
GUEST,Leadbottom 29 Jun 22 - 01:38 PM
GUEST,.gargoyle 29 Jun 22 - 09:11 PM
GUEST,Leadbottom 30 Jun 22 - 12:46 PM
Bill D 30 Jun 22 - 04:41 PM
GUEST,matt milton 01 Jul 22 - 04:19 AM
Stanron 01 Jul 22 - 05:13 AM
GUEST,matt milton 01 Jul 22 - 07:20 AM
Stanron 02 Jul 22 - 08:08 AM
GUEST,Phil d'Conch 03 Jul 22 - 06:04 PM
GUEST,Jerome Clark 04 Jul 22 - 11:36 AM
GUEST,Phil d'Conch 04 Jul 22 - 02:25 PM
The Sandman 04 Jul 22 - 04:01 PM
GUEST,Leadbottom 07 Jul 22 - 06:49 PM
GUEST,Phil d'Conch 07 Jul 22 - 08:08 PM
The Sandman 08 Jul 22 - 04:41 AM
MaJoC the Filk 08 Jul 22 - 08:23 AM
GUEST,matt milton 11 Jul 22 - 04:17 AM
ST 11 Jul 22 - 05:38 AM
MaJoC the Filk 11 Jul 22 - 07:01 AM
MaJoC the Filk 11 Jul 22 - 07:19 AM
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Subject: When was the last folk music revival?
From: GUEST,Leadbottom
Date: 17 Jun 22 - 07:50 PM

I know about the one in the 30's with Leadbelly, Guithrie, Seeger, Lomax and others. And there was one led by Seeger in the late 50's that culminated with the emergence of the Kingston Trio, Baez, Dylan, Paxton and a whole bunch of singer songwriters from 1958 or so into the early 70's. I think there was one in the late 80's - early 90's with a revival of 60's artists like Dylan and the Grateful Dead and folk inspired groups. I don't know who the contemporary artists were in that period. And since then, has there been a new revoival of folk in this millenium, or are we due for one soon?

Folk never dies. Listen to what Daniel Johnston was doing in his living room in the 80's when everything was about synthesizers. He is that last folkie I signed up for. Beck is good too, in this early pahse with his homemade tapes. Must we look to homemade rap and hip hop of the 90's? I'm listenign top a bit of that too. Lyric. That's what makes the music.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AW2cmIIomac


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Subject: RE: When was the last folk music revival?
From: Joe Offer
Date: 17 Jun 22 - 08:02 PM

There are many interesting younger performers now who mine the roots of tradition. My current favorites are Rhiannon Giddens in the US and Emily Smith and Karine Polwart and Malinky in Scotland, but there are many others.


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Subject: RE: When was the last folk music revival?
From: GUEST,.gargoyle
Date: 18 Jun 22 - 01:34 AM

Dude - you answered your own question.

Folk never dies.


How can you revive something that is vibrant and alive?

Sincerely,
Gargoyle

You have been looking for folk in all the wrong places.


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Subject: RE: When was the last folk music revival?
From: Piers Plowman
Date: 18 Jun 22 - 09:48 AM

If only we could be sure it would be the last!


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Subject: RE: When was the last folk music revival?
From: GUEST
Date: 18 Jun 22 - 11:39 AM

Hmm. Folk does not die, but it does wax and wane. In agricultural societies, it tended to keep an even keel. But in urban areas, there seems to be a need for conscious revival every 30 years. I count the 30's, 60's and 90's as these periods. Add 10 years and we should be in a resurgance. This is based upon American revivals. I don't know what the trends are internationally.


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Subject: RE: When was the last folk music revival?
From: GUEST,Phil d'Conch
Date: 18 Jun 22 - 02:56 PM

Folk rock peaked in '70s. Commercial chart toppers The Weavers and Harry Belafonte were the '40-50s. North American 'folk revival/craze' calypso (Yellow Bird; John B. Sail; Day-O!; Big Bamboo &c) 'revived' nothing Caribbean. Like 'em, or not, they're Yank Tin Pan Alley pop songs.

What you wind up tracking is one person's consumer preferences about a genre label. Different consumer, different history. It's not very useful.

No century ever ended with the same genre list, instruments and tech it started off with. The entire marketplace reinvents itself every 15-20 years. It was the Lomax's regular complaint on arrival everywhere they ever went.

If Disney sequels Wimoweh; or Washington, DC needs to reboot This Land is Your Land, you're back in business... until the next new thing comes along.


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Subject: RE: When was the last folk music revival?
From: GUEST,Leadbottom
Date: 19 Jun 22 - 01:42 PM

I agree with that last post by Phil. Seems like genre is all important for revival, and both the Lomaxes ran into trouble over this issue. John Lomax was scoffed for bringing cowboy songs into the folk repertoire. Then he and his son, Alan Lomax had similar problems introducing the blues as a folk art.

I have been performing traditional folk music all of my life, but I didn't choke at punk. I introduced the Ramones (into my set) as folksingers with electric guitars and reproduced some of their great songs well on a solo acoustic guitar.

Any sounds that support the lyrics are OK with me. Hip hop looks like a good vehicle now for use on the folk scene. Heavy metal on acoustic instruments? Why not? Hey, if you stop to think about it, Smoke on the Water is a real ballad, because it tells a complete story.


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Subject: RE: When was the last folk music revival?
From: GUEST,Leadbottom
Date: 19 Jun 22 - 01:46 PM

I'm just saying that folk revivals get the kick in the butt from the pop music genres of the immediately previous generations. Interesting theme to explore. Anyone had experiences introducing "new music" as legitimate folk? What were the responses? Works well in the schools. They know what's good.


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Subject: RE: When was the last folk music revival?
From: GUEST,matt milton
Date: 20 Jun 22 - 06:35 AM

I don't think it's necessary to introduce "new music" as "legitimate folk". You'll just end up having arguments with people about definitions of folk music - there's too much of that already.

Most traditional folk singarounds are strong enough to incorporate non-traditional material. Some of such non-traditional material sits happily enough within it that it will eventually (in 50 years' time, say) become traditional material. I sing Gillian Welch's 'Miner's Refrain' unaccompanied at singarounds and everyone assumes it's traditional.
We just have to wait long enough for the majority of people to forget who wrote it.


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Subject: RE: When was the last folk music revival?
From: rosma
Date: 20 Jun 22 - 10:37 AM

To answer the original poster's question about the 80s, popular American names from the 1980s include Suzanne Vega, Tracy Chapman and possibly Tori Amos. Of course Paul Simon rejuvenated his career in the 80s, initially with Graceland. Another name that came along in the second half of the 80s was Michelle Shocked - while she is American she based herself at that time in the UK, and was maybe therefore more popular in the UK and Europe.

The late 80s/early 90s is when I came across British and Irish bands like The Barely Works, Chumbawamba, Levellers, The Pogues, The Men They Couldn't Hang, The Housemartins, Half Man Half Biscuit. Some of these had been around since the early 80s. While some may stretch the term, they were all influenced by folk music or moved into folk music as their careers progressed.

Peter Gabriel started WOMAD in 1982 which set off a whole world music movement. While WOMAD incorporates a lot of "cross-over" today, up to the early 90s there was a great deal of pure tradition from around the world, including the UK, Ireland and the USA.


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Subject: RE: When was the last folk music revival?
From: GUEST,Leadbottom
Date: 21 Jun 22 - 02:31 PM

The Pogues. But the Sex Pistols too, not only did a thrashing kind of folk music but also performed some baudy songs like Friggin' in the Riggin'.

I think I should revise one of my statements. I said that folk never dies, that it waxes and wanes. Now I'm inclined to think that folk is always on the move yet we don't recognize folk when it's happening because so much of it first enters as pop music.

The Lomaxes not only introduced cowboy songs and blues (both anathema to the purists in the 20's and 30's) but Alan Lomax named Louis Armstrong as a folksinger in his classic Folk Songs of North America. That statement put a frown on my face when I read the book in the year 2000, some 60 years after the publication. Less so now.

There is always this resistence to folk, mostly from the folkies themselves. Has any visitor to this forum introduced the idea of reggae, rap and punk to be considered as folk music? I think all of this music was made with a folk sensibility.


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Subject: RE: When was the last folk music revival?
From: GUEST,Leadbottom
Date: 21 Jun 22 - 02:32 PM

And my initial question was whether we are due for a new revival, if a 30 year trend holds true?


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Subject: RE: When was the last folk music revival?
From: John MacKenzie
Date: 21 Jun 22 - 02:37 PM

Depends on what you call folk music, surely !


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Subject: RE: When was the last folk music revival?
From: matthewdechant
Date: 21 Jun 22 - 03:36 PM

As someone at the ripe young age of 21, I feel like there's definitely a folk revival happening right now. It might be harder to spot because I think it's more based around listening than performing at the moment (something I'm hoping to correct), but trad music is definitely gaining steam among young people in both the US and the UK.


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Subject: RE: When was the last folk music revival?
From: GUEST,Phil d'Conch
Date: 22 Jun 22 - 03:18 AM

Leadbottom: What exactly are you measuring on the y-axis when you plot revivals? Industry awards, Top 40-100 charts, sales… music you like? What's the maths?

There were three Billboard Top 40 chart categories for North America; Folk wasn't one of them and neither were the 1930s. The Weavers and Belafonte charted as Pop artists. The Battle of New Orleans was Country. The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face was Pop or Country or R&B, depending on the artist.

One suspects if we add in all the stuff not mentioned or liked (The Tarriers, Arlo Guthrie, Steve Goodman, Neil Young &c &c &c) the thirty year peaks are in your consumer preferences.

PS: Dylan's revival 'backup' band (aka: The Traveling Wilburys) were all platinum recording artists in their own right many times over. That's a built-in base of several hundred million consumers for starters.


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Subject: RE: When was the last folk music revival?
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 22 Jun 22 - 05:05 AM

"Depends on what you call folk music, surely!"

Don't start, John! ;-)

(And don't call me Shirley...)


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Subject: RE: When was the last folk music revival?
From: GUEST,Leadbottom
Date: 22 Jun 22 - 05:44 PM

Well... "What is Folk Music?" is the dreaded topic, but a necessary evil if you are going to have a folk music forum. And it won't do to say "We've gone over this a million times" because we (in italics) have not. Every new generation here has to confront this question together.

The dilemma is common for any topic whether it be "What is Classical Music?" "What is the Middle Ages?"or "What is Biology?" and such.

It was in one such discussion that I stumbled upon an hypothesis that I'll share with you now. Folk music is a collection of surviving pop genres. Some of you have interesting things to say about this, so I don't mean to be exclusive about my definition. Our diverse opinions may peacefully cohabitate.

I'd like to hear more from the young people. Matthewdechant, you say we are in a revival. If there is some close relation between pop and folk, it could be good to begin with an inventory of past and contemporary pop music. What are the pop genres of the day? And, does my claim seem strage to young ears - that rap, punk and reggae have become folk music now that time has passed?

Clarification: Folk Songs of North America was published in 1960. In the introduction Alan Lomax says something about Louis Armstrong being the greatest folksinger in America. When I read this in the year 2000, it did not immediately sit too well with me. That was 40 years distant from the writing and some 80 years after Armstrong first turned the musical world upsidedown. now, 22 years after that reading, I am more open to this interpretation of Louis. Does Lomax's statement about Armstong sound strange to a 21 year old? How do you view jazz and Armstrong, in particular? Because I often hear jazz performed by folk groups these days. Ragtime too. And this would never have passed during the revival of the 1960's.


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Subject: RE: When was the last folk music revival?
From: Joe Offer
Date: 22 Jun 22 - 08:11 PM

I think that folk music is healthier when it's NOT commercially successful. When people are making money on folk music, they do all sorts of weird things to make it marketable. When there's no market, people do folk music for enjoyment, and that's healthier.
So, don't quit your day job, but have a great time making your own music with friends.
-Joe-


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Subject: RE: When was the last folk music revival?
From: GUEST
Date: 22 Jun 22 - 08:17 PM

I think that pop music becomes less commercially successful as it ages, so that is not a problem. I'll play a traditional Scottish song and then Beat on the Brat by the Ramones - and I don't get the gig! So, we've got you covered on that issue. We are not talking about being commercially successful. How is that issue relevant? Or is it?


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Subject: RE: When was the last folk music revival?
From: Joe Offer
Date: 22 Jun 22 - 08:41 PM

I think it's relevant, Leadbottom. Read what I said again. When music is commercially popular (as folk isn't now), it tends to become a commodity and not so much a form of personal expression. It's healthier when it's not a commodity, when it belongs to real people and not to corporations. But too many people think of music only for its commercial value.





Please use your name - it makes it easier to follow the discussion. email me if you'd like to register
joe@mudcat.org


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Subject: RE: When was the last folk music revival?
From: GUEST,Phil d'Conch
Date: 23 Jun 22 - 12:41 AM

Leadbottom: How is that issue relevant? Or is it?

Trousers first... then boots. ie: Doesn't matter if it's a 30 fortnight cycle of furlongs per firkin, these questions needed answering for yourself before your 'data' were plotted and finding(s) made. You're doing it backwards... or not at all.

I don't think there is an entertainment genre that doesn't have consumers who disdain mainstream media commercial "sell outs" and the like. Genre hipsters take pride in living out on the bleeding edge. They lose interest when the word gets around.

But Woody & Pete's live gig days are long gone and even back when, they had more influence on the English folk scene as recording artists, popular or not so much.


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Subject: RE: When was the last folk music revival?
From: rosma
Date: 23 Jun 22 - 06:46 AM

There certainly seems to be some sort of shanty revival going on, maybe prompted by the use of shanties in computer games. Groups such as The Longest Johns are somewhat commercial, but there is also a viral element (TlJs also do viral). I know “Wellerman” isn’t a shanty, but it is a gateway to shanty singing.


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Subject: RE: When was the last folk music revival?
From: Daniel Kelly
Date: 23 Jun 22 - 06:55 AM

Don’t let your kids sing Wellerman, before you know it they will be singing ‘Bully in the Alley’ and practicing their brace haul at the dinner table.


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Subject: RE: When was the last folk music revival?
From: GUEST,matt milton
Date: 23 Jun 22 - 11:16 AM

"rap, punk and reggae have become folk music now that time has passed?"

What does 'becoming folk music' mean in practice? If punk had 'become folk music', how would anyone know? What would that look like?

The genres you mention don't, in the main, lend themmselves to communal, spontaneous, non-professionalised expression. Certainly none of them have become folk music in the sense of there being identifiable songs - standard repertoire - that everyone would know well enough to sing at a singaround.

With one notable exception - Bob Marley. Having been at a festival recently with a lot of late-night round-the-campfire singing, it was noteable how often Bob Marley songs got trotted out and got people singing along. Perhaps 2nd only to Beatles and Ed Sheeran songs.

No punk and no rap. Very hard for rap to ever become 'folk music' in a meaningful sense for the de facto reason that there's a hell of a lot of words, and no singing as such, so very hard for people to join in. I love hip-hop and could probably rap some verses from certain Public Enemy, Gang Starr and Wu Tang Clan songs if I really wanted to embarass myself. But I'd be on my own.

Maybe I'll start a hip-hop singaround for white middle aged men. Now that would be a truly horrendous thing.


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Subject: RE: When was the last folk music revival?
From: Piers Plowman
Date: 23 Jun 22 - 01:25 PM

"Maybe I'll start a hip-hop singaround for white middle aged men. Now that would be a truly horrendous thing."

Why would that be horrendous? Would it be more horrendous than white middle-aged men singing a blues song? There's always someone who will tell you you can't do this or that because of your age, your sex, your skin color, where you come from, your looks, etc. It's not that long ago that African-Americans had no possibility of studying music and becoming opera singers or conductors or composers and I think it's still not easy. The story goes someone once asked Thomas "Fats" Waller why he hadn't become a concert pianist and he answered "Because I'm black".

I don't happen to like rap but maybe there are some white middle-aged men or women or elderly Ohioans or slightly long-in-the-tooth people from Missouri who are great at it and have just been overlooked because they don't belong to a "cool" demographic.

I don't think dumping on white middle aged people is any better than dumping on anyone else, even if it's a white middle-aged person doing it. Haven't we learned anything?


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Subject: RE: When was the last folk music revival?
From: GUEST,matt milton
Date: 23 Jun 22 - 02:11 PM

I'd rather this thread didn't get derailed by going off-topic if that's alright with you.

The overall point I was making was that genres such as punk, rap and reggae might well have plenty in common, lyrically, with many a traditional folk song.

But that's a different thing to whether they can be considered folk music (unless you radically redefine folk music). Some Bob Marley songs are definitely ingrained in public consciousness in much the same way many Beatles songs have - so they are close to achieving 'folk status'.

So much of punk's power comes from distorted guitars and snarly or sarcastic vocals. That's a very particular form of delivery that doesn't lend itself to the same contexts as folk song (eg unaccompanied singing in a social group).

I have sung X Ray Spex's song 'Warrior in Woolworths' at singarounds once or twice, but that's because it genuinely sounds like a lot of folk songs (it's modal, like a lot of X Ray Spex songs) in a way that no other punk band does that I can think of.

If one were to say 'yes, you can consider rap to be folk' or 'yes, you can consider punk to be folk'... what would that mean or accomplish?


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Subject: RE: When was the last folk music revival?
From: GUEST,Phil d'Conch
Date: 23 Jun 22 - 02:20 PM

...hip-hop singaround for white middle aged men = Flyting.

You're one Netflix cameo; video game soundtrack or TikTok away from a Celtic/Norse roots-music revival. Get busy!


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Subject: RE: When was the last folk music revival?
From: Piers Plowman
Date: 23 Jun 22 - 02:20 PM

"I'd rather this thread didn't get derailed by going off-topic if that's alright with you."

I think that's a little feeble, to be honest, but I guess you answered my question.


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Subject: RE: When was the last folk music revival?
From: GUEST
Date: 23 Jun 22 - 03:23 PM

"The overall point I was making was that genres such as punk, rap and reggae might well have plenty in common, lyrically, with many a traditional folk song".
A few examples, please ?


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Subject: RE: When was the last folk music revival?
From: rosma
Date: 23 Jun 22 - 03:42 PM

I sometimes sing “I don’t like Mondays” (Boomtown Rats). It’s structure is very folk in the sense of a socially aware story. The melody works quite well with my fairly basic guitar playing. Each time I perform it I wish I’d spent a bit more time working out exactly how to work the guitar accompaniment at certain points, but it goes OK.


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Subject: RE: When was the last folk music revival?
From: GUEST,Leadbottom
Date: 23 Jun 22 - 03:42 PM

I don't have a copy of Folk Songs of North America with me now. But, if you have a copy, can you quote what Lomax says about Louis Armstrong? He says something about Armstrong being the greatest folksinger in the USA in 1960. How do you feel about this claim?


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Subject: RE: When was the last folk music revival?
From: Joe Offer
Date: 23 Jun 22 - 05:06 PM

Don't know what Lomax said because I can't find Louis Armstrong listed in the index, but Frank Hamilton said on Mudcat: "Louis Armstrong was one of the greatest folk musicians to some degree. Maybe one of the greatest blues singers too.."


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Subject: RE: When was the last folk music revival?
From: GUEST
Date: 23 Jun 22 - 05:18 PM

https://www.jstor.org/stable/657909
This article counts a twenty year gap between the revivals of the 30's and 60's. How do you count it? How do you account for the 90's revival. There certainly was a folk revival then, sparked by interest in Dylan and the Dead and artists who inspired them (Doc Watson, Guthrie, Ledbelly...)

There is some talk that the pandemic sparked a new movement. I'm quite interested in the oddities like this statement by Lomax concerning Louis Armstrong and also this kind of pop-folk icon, Tiny Tim. TT played at Monterrey Pop in 1967. He seems to have culled his folk repertoire almost completely from old music hall and Tin Pan Alley tunes (not very folk in '67.)

Tiny Tim at Monterrey Pop 1967

In the series of songs, he seems to be using these old pop lyrics to make some social statements about contemporary times. He seems to have been overlooked by the folkies. Does he appear on any lists of 1960 folksingers?


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YS18tX6h8Lo

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zcSlcNfThUA

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lrWe3Nc2tCQ


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Subject: RE: When was the last folk music revival?
From: GUEST
Date: 23 Jun 22 - 05:19 PM

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FfDsUvPXtiY


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Subject: RE: When was the last folk music revival?
From: GUEST,Leadbottom
Date: 23 Jun 22 - 05:20 PM

That was me.


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Subject: RE: When was the last folk music revival?
From: GUEST,Leadbottom
Date: 23 Jun 22 - 05:26 PM

Ha. In 1967, no one would have said they were in a folk movement. What do we do with this Tiny Tim dude?


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Subject: RE: When was the last folk music revival?
From: MaJoC the Filk
Date: 23 Jun 22 - 06:55 PM

There'll always be crossovers. The comment about distorted guitars brought Billy Bragg's Between the Wars to mind for me.

.... and there'll always be revivals, whenever they're needed, like right now. We just haven't heard the results yet.


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Subject: RE: When was the last folk music revival?
From: GUEST,The Sandman
Date: 24 Jun 22 - 04:30 AM

When the Wellerman had his hit on tik tok, EARLY 2021


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Subject: RE: When was the last folk music revival?
From: GUEST,matt milton
Date: 24 Jun 22 - 04:40 AM

To whoever the anonymous GUEST was who asked for a few examples of punk, reggae or rap songs that have elements in common with traditional song, I'd suggest perhaps 'London Calling' or 'Bankrobber' by The Clash or 'The KKK took my Baby Away' by the Ramones as examples from the punk scene.

From reggae there are plenty of examples of lyrics with elements in common with traditional song, perhaps because reggae has roots in folkloric genres like Mento. I'd suggest numerous Bob Marley songs (eg Redemption Song), but more generally lyrics such as 'Maga Dog' or 'Police and Thieves'.


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Subject: RE: When was the last folk music revival?
From: GUEST,matt milton
Date: 24 Jun 22 - 04:43 AM

@Piers Plowman "I'd rather this thread didn't get derailed by going off-topic if that's alright with you."
"I think that's a little feeble, to be honest, but I guess you answered my question."

I deliberately haven't addressed your question because I don't want to send this thread spiralling off topic.

Happy to answer it via direct messsage or in a separate thread.


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Subject: RE: When was the last folk music revival?
From: Piers Plowman
Date: 24 Jun 22 - 05:38 AM

Please don't bother.


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Subject: RE: When was the last folk music revival?
From: GUEST,Leadbottom
Date: 24 Jun 22 - 03:08 PM

The topic is folk music. Anything goes. At the moment, I'd be very interested in examining closely whatever Lomax said about Louis Armstrong in the introduction to Folk Songs of North America.

I don't have a hard copy with me. Maybe you do? The introduction can be downloaded at this link, if you have access.

Introduction from "Folk Songs of North America" by Alan Lomax


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Subject: RE: When was the last folk music revival?
From: GUEST,Jerome Clark
Date: 25 Jun 22 - 11:22 AM

My understanding is that it was Big Bill Broonzy, not Louis Armstrong, who cracked wise about never hearing a horse sing when asked if he had just performed a folk song.

The last folk revival happened after the excitement about oldtime music that O Brother Where Are Thou? generated. At least so I judge, as a longtime CD reviewer, from how many trad-sounding CDs were showing up in my mail in the subsequent two or three years. Now, sadly, we're back to "folk" as singer-songwriters oblivious to the tradition.


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Subject: RE: When was the last folk music revival?
From: GUEST,Jerome Clark
Date: 25 Jun 22 - 12:26 PM

From Bob Riesman's I Feel So Good: The Life and Times of Big Bill Broonzy. University of Chicago Press, 2011, p. 226:

The Northwestern [University] concert [October 25, 1956] was noteworthy for several reasons. It marked a milestone for WFMT because it represented the first concert held in the Chicago area that the station taped for future broadcast. In the years to come, WFMT would record hundreds of concerts by folk and classical artists. In the case of the Northwestern show, some of the material was later released on an LP by Folkways, in conjunction with Verve. For years, Big Bill Broonzy and Pete Seeger in Concert was the only commercially available recording of Bill performing live for an American audience.... The recording also documented one of Bill's most-quoted observations. As he was introducing his version of the spiritual "This Train," he observed, "I like all songs,, you know, and some people call this a folk song. Well, all the songs that I ever heard in my life was folk songs. I never heard horses sing none of 'em yet."


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Subject: RE: When was the last folk music revival?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 25 Jun 22 - 12:45 PM

Arguments about "what is folk song" are in themselves an important part of the tradition, and have been since at least the 18th century. They are have been an established part of it since before pretty well anything else, including virtually all of our most antiquated songs.


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Subject: RE: When was the last folk music revival?
From: GUEST,Jerome Clark
Date: 25 Jun 22 - 01:40 PM

One thing we can all agree on is that folk songs, whatever their origins, persisted in oral performance and helped shape a tradition. Nobody, I hope, will try to argue that prospect is likely to apply to the typical, instantly forgettable singer-songwriter effusion from the last decades of pop music.

Besides that, we no longer live in the cultural circumstances that made folk music -- not called that, of course, by those who sang or played it -- a part of ordinary life. Unless folk music is redefined as any music people, as opposed to horses, enjoy.


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Subject: RE: When was the last folk music revival?
From: GUEST,Leadbottom
Date: 25 Jun 22 - 01:45 PM

Yes. There are always fresh approaches to the topic. That's why I really like hearing from young people when it comes to folk, pop and any kind of music. I have these same kinds of talks about classical music. We have to remember how much classical and folk are both hindered and energized by pop music.

I think that's relevant. Folk gets interesting when pop music gets tired. And visa versa. There's a real dynamic between folk and pop, and classical and pop. While it might not feel like it's happening in obne scene, it's happening in another and eventually those influence come back around.

I'd say that all of the Ramones repetoire is folk on electric guitars. It's easy to hear it that way if you classify the bulk of it as "children's songs." Of course, you must have considered much of the Beatles catalogue as folk, no? I mean, you've had that discussion here? I'd say yes to this because their music is a) classic and b) easy to sing and communicate in an oral tradition.

That part of their catalogue which is not folk could be classified as classical music - songs like Tomorrow Never Knows and Revolution #9.


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Subject: RE: When was the last folk music revival?
From: GUEST,The Sandman
Date: 25 Jun 22 - 02:25 PM

lead bottom, you are entitled to your opinion, but why try and persuade others, we surely do not want yet another what is folk.


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Subject: RE: When was the last folk music revival?
From: GUEST,Leadbottom
Date: 25 Jun 22 - 03:56 PM

Sandman - There is only you and myself. Everyone else here is an individual in their own right. Who is "we?"


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Subject: RE: When was the last folk music revival?
From: GUEST,Leadbottom
Date: 25 Jun 22 - 04:00 PM

When people say "we surely do not want yet another "what is folk?" thread, what do they mean by the word "folk?" LOL


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Subject: RE: When was the last folk music revival?
From: GUEST,Leadbottom
Date: 25 Jun 22 - 04:01 PM

This is not a "what is folk?" thread. It's a "What is a "what is folk?" thread?"


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Subject: RE: When was the last folk music revival?
From: GUEST,matt milton
Date: 27 Jun 22 - 06:36 AM

"The last folk revival happened after the excitement about oldtime music that O Brother Where Are Thou? generated. At least so I judge, as a longtime CD reviewer, from how many trad-sounding CDs were showing up in my mail in the subsequent two or three years. Now, sadly, we're back to "folk" as singer-songwriters oblivious to the tradition."

I think there's a small upsurge among young people making traditional music, of a notably more stripped-down and in some cases 'experimental' (though not radically avant garde) fashion.

I wouldn't call it a revival as such, but there's definitely an uptick of interest. I go to a fortnightly singaround at the Matchstick Piehouse in London and it's packed with 20 and 30somethings. I'm in my mid-40s and I'm often the oldest person there.

It's notable how many of the kids there have learned songs from Lankum or Stick in the Wheel. Acts like those two, alongside Nick Hart, Shovel Dance Collective, John Francis Flynn, Burd Ellen and others are providing something a bit different and attracting younger audiences.


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Subject: RE: When was the last folk music revival?
From: GUEST,Pixy
Date: 27 Jun 22 - 09:58 AM

Two questions:
Why is this discussion on folk music soooooo male dominated?
Why do you "guys" seem to think that folk music isn't of other cultures from all around the entire world, and is only of the USA/England?


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Subject: RE: When was the last folk music revival?
From: MaJoC the Filk
Date: 27 Jun 22 - 10:23 AM

> Why is this discussion on folk music soooooo male dominated?

It's only us lads who have the patience to split hairs so finely, and the bullheadedness to argue to the death about the process and the results. The lassies have better things to do.

I'll get mi tin helmet.


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Subject: RE: When was the last folk music revival?
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 27 Jun 22 - 02:30 PM

Pixy seems to want to start an argument, not contribute to the conversation. Take yourself off to search the forum and you'll find a lot of discussion of folk around the world.


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Subject: RE: When was the last folk music revival?
From: GUEST,matt milton
Date: 28 Jun 22 - 04:20 AM

"Why do you "guys" seem to think that folk music isn't of other cultures from all around the entire world, and is only of the USA/England?"

I don't think that, and I listen to and enjoy loads of different traditional musics from many nations and cultures.

But unfortunately - and I think in many ways this is a huge own goal - we don't have precise terminologies in British and American folk musics in the same way other cultures do. We just have the catch-all 'folk'. We don't have, for example, bhangra or bal folk. We don't even have many words for specific sub-forms, the way other countries have ghazal or calypso or klezmer or zouk or Mariachi or rebetika.

If I want to refer to any of those aforementioned folkloric forms I will do so using those terms.

And by the same token I use the standard accepted term that the vast majority of people seem to use when referring to traditional English, Irish, Scottish, Welsh, North American and Canadian music. Which is currently, for better or worse, the word "folk".


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Subject: RE: When was the last folk music revival?
From: GUEST,Phil d'Conch
Date: 28 Jun 22 - 08:49 AM

:::Rolls eyes in Bahamian:::

Why is this discussion on folk music soooooo male dominated?
Aggression & territorial defense; individual recognition; mating display. The usual Attenborough material.

Why do you "guys" seem to think that folk music isn't of other cultures from all around the entire world, and is only of the USA/England?
I blame Paul Campbell... & Thomas Edison.

“What is it that makes a complete stranger dive into an icy river to save a solid gold baby? Maybe we'll never know.” [J. Handey]


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Subject: RE: When was the last folk music revival?
From: Neil D
Date: 28 Jun 22 - 06:15 PM

I just watched a video of Billy Strings doing an entire hour of Doc Watson music. This kid is the real deal and I wouldn't even know about him if my kids hadn't twisted my arm, and they aren't what you'd call folkies. Internationally, I listen to Mongolian folk rock like Altan Urag and The Hu and I have lately become quite enamored with the Desert Blues being created by Tuareg artists like Mdou Moctar and Tamikrest.
So, my answer to the OP: the most recent folk music revival is now. The last folk music revival will, hopefully, never happen.


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Subject: RE: When was the last folk music revival?
From: GUEST,Leadbottom
Date: 29 Jun 22 - 01:38 PM

How's about this?

Hi, How Are You - Daniel Johnston


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Subject: RE: When was the last folk music revival?
From: GUEST,.gargoyle
Date: 29 Jun 22 - 09:11 PM

ROSMA - Thank You.

I had forgotten about the entire New Christian folk movement of the 70" s, 80's.

KAEGY
GABRIEL
AGAJANIEN

The Armenian community contributed much more than lyrics... the finesse and fine precision and execution, raised Christian music to a level unsurpassed.

Sincerely,
Gargoyle


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Subject: RE: When was the last folk music revival?
From: GUEST,Leadbottom
Date: 30 Jun 22 - 12:46 PM

I think that folk music is always happening, but you don't always know that it's happening, especially since recording devices are more common. Seems that the folk movement of the mid or late 70's was being produced in the bedrooms and living rooms of suburban teenagers like Daniel Johnston - from Austin, TX. Other kids living in the Bronx were making and sharing mixtapes of a new way of making folk music, and they called it "hip hop." It was also called the "Do It Yourself" movement or DIY. Does anyone know anything more about this?


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Subject: RE: When was the last folk music revival?
From: Bill D
Date: 30 Jun 22 - 04:41 PM

3 weeks ago
https://www.fsgw.org/washingtonfolkfestival


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Subject: RE: When was the last folk music revival?
From: GUEST,matt milton
Date: 01 Jul 22 - 04:19 AM

@Leadbottom: you are adopting a very broad definition of folk music here, which appears to be something along the lines of "music of the people" - any music with a grassroots base.

You wouldn't be the first to have proposed this but I don't think it's workable myself - because it potentially includes all music. If it includes bedroom singer-songwriters, as you suggest, then it would have to include pretty much everyone who now makes music on soundcloud: popstars like Lily Allen and Billy Eilish, teenage techno producers and YouTubers.

If a definition of 'folk' expands to include any music made in a 'folkloric' fashion - any music so long as it has a 'from the ground up' beginning, then I don't see its usefulness because it is not specific enough.

Rappers, reggae singers and punk rockers do not describe themselves as folk musicians. The impetus to explode the definition of folk music seems to be unilateral: you never hear people asking "why shouldn't the definition of hip-hop be expanded to include people like Martin Carthy?"


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Subject: RE: When was the last folk music revival?
From: Stanron
Date: 01 Jul 22 - 05:13 AM

We are back to the old lines of 'Folk' versus 'Traditional Folk' here. It could be argued that Traditional Folk is a kind of equivalent to Historical Re-enactment. I don't imply any pejorative inference here. If someone wishes to dress up in 16th Century dress, lug around muskets and pikes and re-enact the English Civil war, then good luck to them. I might even go and watch and enjoy it. Similarly if someone wants to sing songs that were relevant in past centuries then good luck to them too. I may well go and watch and enjoy that too.

Non of that can negate the fact that music can develop away from commercial endeavours and represent what people want on a grass roots, independent sort of level as well. Some of which I may like and some of which I wouldn't touch with a barge pole, if one I had.


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Subject: RE: When was the last folk music revival?
From: GUEST,matt milton
Date: 01 Jul 22 - 07:20 AM

I don't think we are back to the old lines of 'folk' versus 'traditional folk' here: I think Leadbottom is suggesting a definition of folk that is much, much wider than that. Leadbottom is suggesting that hip-hop, reggae and punk could be considered folk.

I don't see the point of that. I don't think hip-hop, reggae and punk *want* to be considered folk - who does that help? Try flipping it round: is folk hip-hop? Is folk reggae?

I think specific descriptive terms are extremely useful things. I don't understand the impulse to say that all dogs are labradors just because other dogs have doggy things in common with labradors.

Shirley Collins performs a different genre of music to Kanye West and I don't see the usefulness of claiming otherwise.


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Subject: RE: When was the last folk music revival?
From: Stanron
Date: 02 Jul 22 - 08:08 AM

There are definitions of Folk Music that allow inclusions. There are definitions that appear to mandate exclusions. I prefer the former.


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Subject: RE: When was the last folk music revival?
From: GUEST,Phil d'Conch
Date: 03 Jul 22 - 06:04 PM

I typically find The Weavers; Burl Ives &c in the “Oldies” section, if there is one. Which definition takes precedence walking in, yours or the shopkeeper's? Genre labels are for inventory. They 'exclude' everthing they don't 'include':

One Harry Belafonte album was titled Calypso.
The Billboard chart was “Popular.”
The Grammy was “Folk.”
The current used media/boot sale bin is “Pop/Male Vocal” moving toward “Oldies” & it's still just the one & same album it's always been.

Personal definitons aren't of much value even to the person having them. Most folks will just use alpha-by-artist at home.


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Subject: RE: When was the last folk music revival?
From: GUEST,Jerome Clark
Date: 04 Jul 22 - 11:36 AM

Essentially, in claiming -- the evidence of our own ears notwithstanding -- that there are no genres, some would argue that folk music is whatever a horse doesn't sing.

That's about as useless a definition as any complacent observer could pull out of his nether region. Even Big Bill Broonzy meant it as a joke.

Coming next:

Any sound you hear in the world through your (human) ears is folk music.


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Subject: RE: When was the last folk music revival?
From: GUEST,Phil d'Conch
Date: 04 Jul 22 - 02:25 PM

Ever notice some old vinyl records weren't pressed in your basic black?

RCA Victor microgroove (7”-45RPM) colour codes:
Children's – Yellow
Classical – Red
Country & Western – Green
Popular – Black
R&B – Orange
International – Blue

The genre were legacy from 10"-78RPM. Folk was Pop or Country with the occasional R&B. The colour system didn't last long. Materials management & planning nightmare.

When an American library filed their RCA Victor holdings right alongside Columbia & Folkways they used the Dewey Decimal System.

The sorting criteria and genre labels changed because the users changed. The physical inventory remained the same.


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Subject: RE: When was the last folk music revival?
From: The Sandman
Date: 04 Jul 22 - 04:01 PM

Shirley Collins performs a different genre of music to Kanye West and I don't see the usefulness of claiming otherwise". quote
Spot on.
Miles Davis performs a different genre of music to cliff richard


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Subject: RE: When was the last folk music revival?
From: GUEST,Leadbottom
Date: 07 Jul 22 - 06:49 PM

Matt - I don't think any folksingers called themselves "folksingers" until musicologists did. I think a distinction can be made, though a flimsy one, as good as any other flimsy definition of folk - to make folk music in the living room (like Daniel Johnston did in the late 70's and early 80's) and to do it yourself with the most limited supply of resources is quite exceptional.

You seem to be treating folk as a genre, which it is not, no more than classical and popular can be considered genres. It is better to consider them as categories of genres. The genres that make up folk are blues, railroad songs, depression era songs, irish republican songs, and much, much more. Then, if folk is a collection of genres, how can it be a genre in itself. This applies to classical music also. Classical music is a collection of classic genres (waltz, march, minuet, aria, sinfonia, bagatelle, bouree) and hundreds more. Then how can classical be a genre, itself being consisted of genres? Apply the same to the word popular. Actually, when you look at it this way, much of the source of confusion begins to become apparent.


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Subject: RE: When was the last folk music revival?
From: GUEST,Phil d'Conch
Date: 07 Jul 22 - 08:08 PM

Leadbottom: You seem to be treating folk as a genre, which it is not, no more than classical and popular can be considered genres. It is better to consider them as categories of genres.

Oh dear. The prefix is "sub." It's music because it's not literature and it's all Liberal Arts. If the subject is music industry charts & revivals... Classical is Popular because it's not R&B or Country.

Your problem is you're lacking a real world application and the proper ethics that come with. Say as you do. Do as you say. You could call them Tom, Dick, Harry & Rudolph if you please. It wouldn't matter one iota. You're not actually sorting anything at all.


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Subject: RE: When was the last folk music revival?
From: The Sandman
Date: 08 Jul 22 - 04:41 AM

leadbottom is a category anarchist, he had better watch himself
Derek Schofield, will be on his tail. Derek is a great man for small detail, its a shame he isnt running the uk government he would make a much better job of it than boris the wounded scarecrow. derek schofield for primeminister


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Subject: RE: When was the last folk music revival?
From: MaJoC the Filk
Date: 08 Jul 22 - 08:23 AM

> Then, if folk is a collection of genres, how can it be a genre in
> itself

A meta-genre? But I fear we're veering dangerously near Russell's Paradox territory here, and that little offender derailed research into the foundations of mathematics for Simply Ages.

> derek schofield for primeminister

And with *that*, we encounter Plato's (or Socrates'?) idea of the philosopher king. Were Derek elected, would he have to be dragged kicking and screaming into Number Ten? rather than out of it (cf the current emcumbrance).


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Subject: RE: When was the last folk music revival?
From: GUEST,matt milton
Date: 11 Jul 22 - 04:17 AM

"You seem to be treating folk as a genre, which it is not"

I am indeed treating folk as a genre. For me, it very much is. That is the best way for me to define the music that I like and make.

"Matt - I don't think any folksingers called themselves "folksingers" until musicologists did."

I totally agree with that. It could be said that that is when folk became a genre.

"I think a distinction can be made, though a flimsy one, as good as any other flimsy definition of folk - to make folk music in the living room (like Daniel Johnston did in the late 70's and early 80's) and to do it yourself with the most limited supply of resources is quite exceptional."

Yes, you could use that as a definition, but it is not much use in describing the music that I listen to and make. It is also not much use in describing the music that most people who call themselves folk musicians make. It is also not much use in describing the CDs in the folk section of record stores, or on Spotify, or sang in folk clubs, or performed at folk festivals.

It's a definition that applies as much to Billie Eilish (that's how she started) or Jpegmafia or anyone making techno or drum'n'bass as it does Daniel Johnston. For that reason it's not a useful definition: it includes far too much music that nobody thinks of as 'folk'.


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Subject: RE: When was the last folk music revival?
From: ST
Date: 11 Jul 22 - 05:38 AM

As far as I'm concerned, the last folk revival happened on Saturday when I was performing at Mary's Irish Pub. It only takes a few good old songs for people who have never heard any to start liking them.

If someone absolutely has to measure revivals by copies sold, though, then yeah, wut, it's not gonna happen until records marked "folk" make the charts again. It's a sales and marketing department thing, though, if you ask me. I'd be just as happy singing my folk song collection if somebody arranges my gigs selling me as a "lumptie-blump" singer. Or something. Anything goes long as it pays better.


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Subject: RE: When was the last folk music revival?
From: MaJoC the Filk
Date: 11 Jul 22 - 07:01 AM

Long View Dept: Trolls believe we walk through live backwards, because we can see what's happened, but not what comes next. References in one's thesis, and in papers in the Learnéd Journals, can similarly only look backwards.* The tiny birth pangs of the next scientific revolution will be drowned by the roar of the current orthodoxy, unless and until it becomes a roar in its own right. And I didn't clock Planxty or the Pogues till I heard Fairytale of New York one Christmas.

The next folk revival will come out of the blue. That's the thing about the future: if we knew what it would be, it wouldn't be a surprise.

* There's a journal which scrapes references, and reverses the pointers; when I was writing up, I found it invaluable for finding everything which referenced my Prof's paper. But it still needs to be compiled on a yearly basis.


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Subject: RE: When was the last folk music revival?
From: MaJoC the Filk
Date: 11 Jul 22 - 07:19 AM

Or let's try it this way: "folk" is what happens when the record industry isn't looking.


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Subject: RE: When was the last folk music revival?
From: GUEST,Phil d'Conch
Date: 11 Jul 22 - 11:36 AM

Or let's try it this way: "folk" is what happens when the record industry isn't looking.

Moses AschFolkways RecordsWoody Guthrie.

Folk is a genre-category-type-style-aisle-shelf-breed-[X]... but a 6th century German-Irish rowing chant isn't goombay, junkanoo or calypso and none of any of it is popular in British folk clubs.

Except for not knowing what it is; what critical atribute one wants to measure and how to measure same... we calculate it's revival comes every thirty (30) years. Cue Tom Lehrer's New Math.


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Subject: RE: When was the last folk music revival?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 11 Jul 22 - 12:05 PM

Hang on! Its just died again.....!!

Any volunteers to loosen its corset Tickle the old girl into life and give it mouth to mouth resuscitation...?


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Subject: RE: When was the last folk music revival?
From: GUEST
Date: 11 Jul 22 - 06:24 PM

https://youtu.be/QNC9i2szngs


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Subject: RE: When was the last folk music revival?
From: GUEST,Leadbottom
Date: 14 Jul 22 - 03:07 PM

matt wrote: I don't think hip-hop, reggae and punk *want* to be considered folk - who does that help? Try flipping it round: is folk hip-hop? Is folk reggae?

No, because hip hop, raggae and punk are genres, while folk is a collection of genres, but is not a genre in itself. This also applies to classical. Waltz, march, aria, rondo and scherzo are genres, while classical is a collection of those genres, while it is not a genre in itself.

Reggae emerged from a grassroots music scene called ska. Very difficult to exclude any form of pop from the collections of classical or folk. What was the blues before it was allowed into the collection of folk?


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Subject: RE: When was the last folk music revival?
From: GUEST,Leadbottom
Date: 14 Jul 22 - 03:15 PM

Phil wrote: Most folks will just use alpha-by-artist at home.

Point: Not until recently could we separate the individual genres that make up these collections. It might be good to try this as an experiemnt. A piano sonata or a cantata may contain several genres which were heard as one collection. That was the only available way to hear them. Now we can separate all of them. We can rip apart these collections and catagorize each piece by genre. Try putting all waltzes together in one collection - then Morning Has Broken by Cat Stevens will be in that collection of waltzes. If we extend this to marches and every other genre, we may get a new perspective on the old questions of "What is folk?" or "What is classical?"


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Subject: RE: When was the last folk music revival?
From: GUEST,matt milton
Date: 14 Jul 22 - 04:30 PM

"No, because hip hop, raggae and punk are genres, while folk is a collection of genres, but is not a genre in itself. This also applies to classical. Waltz, march, aria, rondo and scherzo are genres, while classical is a collection of those genres, while it is not a genre in itself."

As someone else pointed out above, a genre can have subgenera. Thet doesn't stop it being a recognisable genre.

Classical music remains an identifiable genre, despite the fact that the music of John Cage or James Tenney sounds nothing like Handel. A programme of classical music could include everything from early music to graphic scores, yet still be considered classical.

Whereas a festival of folk music that featured Amyl & the Sniffers and Kanye West would be a bit unusual to say the least. I'm not sure those acts *want* to be thought of as folk and would want to play it. People would rightly wonder why it wasn't termed a festival of punk and hip-hop.

I notice you eleted not to answer my query that you quoted as to whether punk or reggae *want* to be considered folk? The fact is that however you look at it, if folk simply becomes a descriptive term for a process/model of music making then it ceases to be useful in describing the musical content.

I'll say it again, if 'folk' were to simply mean homemade DIY music making then it would cease to be a useful descriptive term: it would include, for example, all musicians who play classical music at home for fun. It would include bedroom techno programmers. It would include Lily Allen, who got her break releasing home recordings n Myspace days.

Were that to happen we would, ironically, have to find a new descriptive term to use instead of 'folk' with which to refer to the music talked about on this board. I wouldn't be able to use it as a useful shorthand/adumbration of the music I love any more.

The very fact that we are having this discussion on this board is proof that the definition of folk works as it stands.

You mentioned blues - I tend to think of blues as something related to folk, but different. Yes, you could call blues a type of folk music, but it's no coincidence that you often see the words "folk and blues". It's a useful descriptive distinction.


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Subject: RE: When was the last folk music revival?
From: GUEST,Jerome Clark
Date: 14 Jul 22 - 08:11 PM

"Folk and blues" denotes musics that overlap at points but ultimately part ways. Early down-home blues was a style of tradition-based music shaped pretty much in the way folk songs were created and passed on. By mid-century (or a little earlier) blues as a popular genre began to create its own story through a range of broadly comparable styles, some far removed from the original rural variety that one can reasonably link to folk.

Guys like Howlin' Wolf, Muddy Waters, Johnny Shines, Big Walter et al. are folk musicians of a kind, in my opinion. I wouldn't apply that characterization to more uptown, jazz-influenced artists such as BB King, Little Milton Campbell, Bobby Bland, T Bone Walker, Charles Brown, and the like. I love all that stuff, but today most advertised blues is the work of flashy white rock guitarists in search of faux-authenticity. As a regular CD reviewer I hear enough of this to wonder if blues has a future.

For some recent examples of blues as folk, there's Taj Mahal & Ry Cooder's "Get on Board" (Nonesuch) and Charlie Musselwhite's "Mississippi Son" (Alligator) -- both well worth your attention if this kind of approach interests you.


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Subject: RE: When was the last folk music revival?
From: GUEST,Leadbottom
Date: 16 Jul 22 - 06:51 PM

If Howlin' Wolf is folk, then rock & roll is folk.

"Classical music remains an identifiable genre, despite the fact that the music of John Cage or James Tenney sounds nothing like Handel. A programme of classical music could include everything from early music to graphic scores, yet still be considered classical."

So Scott Joplin works very well on a classical music program.

No one has commented upon Lomax's statement in 1960 that Louis Armstrong was the greatest folksinger alive at that time. That sort of challenges the claims that commercial music is doubtful as "folk." Since Armstri¡iong was also one of the most commercially successful artists of the 20th century.


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Subject: RE: When was the last folk music revival?
From: GUEST,Leadbottom
Date: 16 Jul 22 - 06:56 PM

The whole musical world has to acknowledge that the blues was the harmony of the 20th century. We are far from done with the blues. You can still hear innovations being made with the blues in locales like Bahia, Brasil.

I don't think we would have had R&R or heavy metal without the blues. And, if it's not the blues, I can't think of any other music that deserves to be called the "people's music."


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Subject: RE: When was the last folk music revival?
From: GUEST,Jerome Clark
Date: 17 Jul 22 - 09:41 AM

I prefer the definition often attributed to Sam Phillips: "Howlin' Wolf is where the soul of man never dies."

No one disputes -- I hope anyway -- that early rock'n'roll (not to mention some later rock) counts traditional folk among its varied influences. But if to make the case for rock-dominated history one must press the argument:

If Howlin' Wolf is rock, so is Charlie Patton. Wolf never mentioned rockers as among his influences, though in interviews he sometimes cited Jimmie Rodgers's yodels. (Was Rodgers a rocker?) Still, from this perspective the only consequential differences, more technological than stylistic, are the electrification and the volume. And if the latter comprise one's definition of rock, then Robert Johnson is a rocker because toward the end of his life he played a plugged-in guitar and performed with a trio, including (apparently) a drummer.

Of course, there's a not-subtle subtext here, namely the presumption if it's electrified, it can't really be blues and should be redefined as something else, such as (of course) rock.

From there, I guess, one can argue that blues' significance is that it was a stop on the way to humanity's crowning musical achievement: rock, needless to say. I suppose one can follow the logic and declare blues just a primitive draft, which Wolf transcended, of that highest form. Most people who care about such things, I suspect, would find that notion pretty depressing.

The reality is more like this: Howlin' Wolf may have been a part of rock's trajectory, but rock was not a part of Wolf's.


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Subject: RE: When was the last folk music revival?
From: GUEST,Danny boy
Date: 09 Aug 22 - 01:56 PM

I seem to own your old Angelica guitar. Model number 2854 serial number 226…….. I don’t use this site or forum… but a post from 21 years ago suggests you had my guitar! Now I have yours. Thought I’d reach out. Danny, Worthing, West Sussex


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Subject: RE: When was the last folk music revival?
From: GUEST,Danny boy
Date: 09 Aug 22 - 05:53 PM

McGrath of Harlow that is… if anyone can nudge him…


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Subject: RE: When was the last folk music revival?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 11 Aug 22 - 06:35 AM

'I can't think of any other music that deserves to be called the "people's music."


I don't understand that.


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Subject: RE: When was the last folk music revival?
From: Backwoodsman
Date: 11 Aug 22 - 07:47 AM

”The whole musical world has to acknowledge that the blues was the harmony of the 20th century. We are far from done with the blues. You can still hear innovations being made with the blues in locales like Bahia, Brasil.

I don't think we would have had R&R or heavy metal without the blues. And, if it's not the blues, I can't think of any other music that deserves to be called the "people's music."


Possibly true of the US. But there’s a very big ole world beyond the US’s borders, with many other ‘people’s musics’, depending on location, and where the Blues is just another musical form no more ‘special’ than many other forms.

As always, the standard disclaimer applies - IMHO. However, I realise that YMMV, and I’m cool with that.


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