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Where Do You Draw the Line?

wysiwyg 05 Jun 01 - 03:36 PM
Clinton Hammond 05 Jun 01 - 03:39 PM
MMario 05 Jun 01 - 03:41 PM
Matt_R 05 Jun 01 - 03:47 PM
SINSULL 05 Jun 01 - 03:51 PM
kendall 05 Jun 01 - 04:08 PM
Chicken Charlie 05 Jun 01 - 05:08 PM
wysiwyg 05 Jun 01 - 06:26 PM
Rollo 05 Jun 01 - 06:27 PM
Bert 05 Jun 01 - 06:41 PM
Matt_R 05 Jun 01 - 06:47 PM
Dorrie 05 Jun 01 - 07:07 PM
Matt_R 05 Jun 01 - 07:27 PM
Caitrin 06 Jun 01 - 01:44 PM
mousethief 06 Jun 01 - 01:56 PM
Robin2 06 Jun 01 - 09:02 PM
Amos 06 Jun 01 - 09:25 PM
Amos 06 Jun 01 - 09:44 PM
Uncle_DaveO 06 Jun 01 - 10:28 PM
Clinton Hammond 06 Jun 01 - 11:11 PM
marty D 06 Jun 01 - 11:12 PM
GUEST,Phil Cooper 06 Jun 01 - 11:14 PM
Amos 07 Jun 01 - 01:03 AM
KingBrilliant 07 Jun 01 - 08:13 AM
bigchuck 07 Jun 01 - 09:25 AM
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Subject: Where Do You Draw the Line?
From: wysiwyg
Date: 05 Jun 01 - 03:36 PM

Hardi and I finally figured out where we draw the line on choice of material and responding to requests. We discovered this quite accidentally while talking through what has been a long-term problem within our little jam pals group, and which until now we could not see clearly. This has been a real problem at nursing homes in particular.

We thought it was about the TIME periods involved, and our age in relation to them. Nope!

Chances are, if it was ever on a Top Forty chart, in any time period, genre, language, etc., or on any similar scale of popularity, we don't do it, and don't want to learn it, either. (Unless, of course, it's a parody, and now I wish we had taped the dozen or more we created to laugh over as we figure this out. All gone now! All I can recall is "Has Everybody Had My Gal?")

We may not be able to say clearly what folk or acoustic ARE, but we know what WE are NOT. We are NOT what you will ever see advertised on late night TV as "Let's go back to the classics of the ---- period/genre/sound!"

Oh we LISTEN to that stuff and tap our toes and everything. And sing along if invited. But it does not float our musical boat enough to make us reach for instruments.

What we want to do will always tend to be whatever was not quite the "accepted" THING in its own culture and context.

You?

Genres? Political sensibilities? Time periods?

Stuff like that.

Tell tell tell.

~Susan


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Subject: RE: Where Do You Draw the Line?
From: Clinton Hammond
Date: 05 Jun 01 - 03:39 PM

it boils down to this... if I really like a song, odds are good that I'll learn it... and if I've learned it, odds are good I'll play it at some gig or other...


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Subject: RE: Where Do You Draw the Line?
From: MMario
Date: 05 Jun 01 - 03:41 PM

I guess I'm just a musical slut bimbo---I tend to sing just about anything.

Though when *I* get to choose it does tend to be older. And "new" songs tend to be stuff with no anachronisms that I can use at faire...


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Subject: RE: Where Do You Draw the Line?
From: Matt_R
Date: 05 Jun 01 - 03:47 PM

Hear hear Clint!

Looking out the window
The line is fine
Standing on the ledge
But don't look down...


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Subject: RE: Where Do You Draw the Line?
From: SINSULL
Date: 05 Jun 01 - 03:51 PM

Draw all your lines in the sand - they are easy to erase and redraw.


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Subject: RE: Where Do You Draw the Line?
From: kendall
Date: 05 Jun 01 - 04:08 PM

The only pop song I ever sing is "Those were the days" Not that Archie Bunker tripe.


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Subject: RE: Where Do You Draw the Line?
From: Chicken Charlie
Date: 05 Jun 01 - 05:08 PM

Wysiwig--

Christ, you know it ain't easy. Given your invitation to ramble on, there have been several different situations in which I have honored or not honored requests.

If somebody asks for a song which one member of the group knows well enough, and it's either trad folk or at least compatible, we'll go for it. Actually we've "discovered" songs which became group standards in just that way.

Our rule of thumb is that we don't do anything written after 1901 unless there's a Real Good Reason. That's not to say no good music has been composed since, it's just that if we do the same stuff that is available elsewhere, we defeat our own purpose. On that reasoning, we have declined requests for Neal Diamond & John Denver. I'm working on a brief and seductively smoothly delivered sentence to the effect that while X is good music, we have not rehearsed it and don't want to ruin it by doing it badly, to be recited convincingly while the other half of my brain is saying, "Yeah, right." Sometimes that line would be true and sometimes just convenient.

In another case, in our last gig we kind of got cornered and had to do a Willie Nelson to get a rather persistent a--hole out of our faces. I was about to do Pancho & Lefty but two colleagues started "On the Road Again," which was OK by me, and sort of a hint, though I think our p.a. was too chemically induced to pick up on any hints. "Security" was being kind of obtuse about it all, as "security" usually is when you need them.

Woops, gotta go--but that's about it anyway, I guess.

CC


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Subject: RE: Where Do You Draw the Line?
From: wysiwyg
Date: 05 Jun 01 - 06:26 PM

Seamus Kennedy showed me one option-- people were requesting stuff he does, but did not feel like doing. He'd listen, say, "Oh, thanks, yer askin' fer -----....", pause in an attitude of in-charge thinking-it-over, then say firmly and brightly, in a friendly tone, "No!" And move on. It sorta had the tone of "I just don't wanna, and I don't gotta!"

It was the way he made it clear he was in charge as the pro on hand that made it work. And of course having another great song ready to rip didn't hurt. Rousing!

He had a great line for hecklers too, but that would be telling!

~S~


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Subject: RE: Where Do You Draw the Line?
From: Rollo
Date: 05 Jun 01 - 06:27 PM

I don't draw the line. When I get confronted with a song I didn`t knew, I listen to my belly. If there is a chord strung inside, if I get touched, if I feel I will be able to tell something by performing this song, I will do it. Be it medieval, "classical" or a pop song by madonna. Who cares? I do nashville songs, I do ancient ballads from dusty books, I do songs I heard at the campfire. If I want to sing a song, I must transform it into something coming from my heart. In the end the audience should have the feeling that I told them what I had to tell, allthough they knew the words allready.


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Subject: RE: Where Do You Draw the Line?
From: Bert
Date: 05 Jun 01 - 06:41 PM

I'm with Clinton on this. I sing anything that "I" like.

There's many a good song that has been up there on the charts but has fallen by the wayside of popular culture. It's our duty as folk singers to sing those good songs so that they are not forgotten.

As an example, I'm sure that in a hundred or so years there will be many Beatles songs that are considered FOLK.


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Subject: RE: Where Do You Draw the Line?
From: Matt_R
Date: 05 Jun 01 - 06:47 PM

'S truth Bert! I'm currently playing an ELO song called "Indian Queen" that exists only as a 45-second acoustic demo on a badly-recorded tape recorder by Jeff Lynne, and a full-length demo found on a very rare and so-so quality record of Jeff Lynne's rejected experimental demos, only a few copies of which exist. Now I'm re-introducing to all the world!!

I drew a line
I drew a line for you
Oh what a thing to do...
And it was all yellow


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Subject: RE: Where Do You Draw the Line?
From: Dorrie
Date: 05 Jun 01 - 07:07 PM

i always thought i was

i jumped across for you-what a thing to do...


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Subject: RE: Where Do You Draw the Line?
From: Matt_R
Date: 05 Jun 01 - 07:27 PM

That's the verse that comes before it, Dorrie...


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Subject: RE: Where Do You Draw the Line?
From: Caitrin
Date: 06 Jun 01 - 01:44 PM

Well...there's relatively little I know how to play, so I'm frequently a bit at the mercy of the instrumentalists I'm singing with.

But, given my own preferences...

I'll play and sing anything I like. I know people who refuse to play anything that isn't sufficiently obscure--this always strikes me as rather pretentious and silly. Why refuse to play something just because other people like it? Rather ridiculous, I think.

As for requests--I'll play or sing them if it's a song I know and like. Otherwise, it's just a nice smile and "Sorry, I don't know that one well enough to do."


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Subject: RE: Where Do You Draw the Line?
From: mousethief
Date: 06 Jun 01 - 01:56 PM

Whoever said "if I like it I'll learn it," captures my feeling. Just because something was popular doesn't make it bad; just something was popular doesn't make it good. I'm not enough of an iconoclast to like stuff just because it's rare or weird. If it's got that groove, it's got that groove, and if it don't, it don't.

De gustibus non est disputandem.

Alex


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Subject: RE: Where Do You Draw the Line?
From: Robin2
Date: 06 Jun 01 - 09:02 PM

My first post to Mudcat! On drawing the line; Depends on the gig...paying gig, meant to be there to entertain? If they ask for it, and we know it we play it. If we don't know it, we borrow a line from Maura O'Connell, and say "that's a great song, we don't know it, but here's one with a lot of the same notes."
Playing for ourselves? We never take requests unless it's something we really love. Sometimes you do it for them, sometimes you do it for yourself.


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Subject: RE: Where Do You Draw the Line?
From: Amos
Date: 06 Jun 01 - 09:25 PM

As they say in gay Paree -- "Chacun a son mauvais gout!".

A


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Subject: RE: Where Do You Draw the Line?
From: Amos
Date: 06 Jun 01 - 09:44 PM

I always draw the line a little further in than I already am.

That way, when I notice I have drawn it I also notice I am already over it, so what the hey!

A


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Subject: RE: Where Do You Draw the Line?
From: Uncle_DaveO
Date: 06 Jun 01 - 10:28 PM

Somewhat on this subject, Burl Ives once said something like, "People call me a folk-song singer. I'm not. I sing songs that I like. It just so happens that most of the songs I like are folk-songs."

Dave Oesterreich


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Subject: RE: Where Do You Draw the Line?
From: Clinton Hammond
Date: 06 Jun 01 - 11:11 PM

What was that about your gout, Amos?


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Subject: RE: Where Do You Draw the Line?
From: marty D
Date: 06 Jun 01 - 11:12 PM

I never felt I was good enough to refuse to sing a song I actually Knew! I'm getting close to it with Danny Boy though!

marty


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Subject: RE: Where Do You Draw the Line?
From: GUEST,Phil Cooper
Date: 06 Jun 01 - 11:14 PM

We actually don't know many songs that people request. But we'll do them if someone asks politely. Where I draw the line when booking ourselves is not to take bookings where it's obvious that the venue will not respect musicians, where we have to ask for tips, or where someone asks, "can you stroll and do sing-a-longs?"


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Subject: RE: Where Do You Draw the Line?
From: Amos
Date: 07 Jun 01 - 01:03 AM

Oh, Clinton, you're bouncing off the walls!!! What gout?


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Subject: RE: Where Do You Draw the Line?
From: KingBrilliant
Date: 07 Jun 01 - 08:13 AM

Wys - I think you're very wise to think about where your personal line is & then implement it. If your particular style is not compatible with what is being requested then it is surely reasonable to decline. Otherwise you risk diluting the thing that you want to be.
You have made the choices of what you want to play according to a coherent whole, and you shouldn't feel obliged to skew that by playing something that doesn't fit. It sounds as though your repertoire hangs together in a particular context and why should you compromise the hard work you've put in to build that?
For myself, I play and sing whatever I like and I only do it informally. I'm thinking a lot about repertoire at the moment as I think I've fallen into a predictability trap. If I were to play more formally then I think I would be looking for balance and coherence in repertoire & would not be keen to compromise that.
I really hate singing something I dislike, and avoid unless there's a really good reason (eg someone dearly wants to sing it & just needs a helping hand). I think that if I don't have some sort of conviction about the song then I won't sing it from the heart anyway & that always gives me an attack of the drear (and it shows).
The things I most definitely absolutely hate to sing & at which my line would be strongest are 'middle of the road' sort of songs. Though a lot depends on where I last heard the song & the associations it has. Almost anything can be made 'middle of the road' if you try hard enough (or not, if you see what I mean).

Kris


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Subject: RE: Where Do You Draw the Line?
From: bigchuck
Date: 07 Jun 01 - 09:25 AM

I side with Clinton on this. During my not very illustrious career, I have done most everything but rap and heavy metal. If a song speaks to me (and I'm not real interested in analyzing why it does), then I'll learn it. If I learn it, chances are that I'll trot it out in public at somepoint.
Sandy


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