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Commitment and Success in NYC Folk

InOBU 13 Mar 02 - 03:16 PM
GUEST,Barbara in D.C. 13 Mar 02 - 04:55 PM
Jerry Rasmussen 13 Mar 02 - 06:49 PM
InOBU 13 Mar 02 - 07:52 PM
michaelr 13 Mar 02 - 07:59 PM
InOBU 13 Mar 02 - 08:05 PM
McGrath of Harlow 13 Mar 02 - 08:36 PM
InOBU 13 Mar 02 - 08:50 PM
Big Mick 13 Mar 02 - 09:10 PM
McGrath of Harlow 13 Mar 02 - 09:19 PM
InOBU 13 Mar 02 - 09:21 PM
Jerry Rasmussen 13 Mar 02 - 10:56 PM
Phil Cooper 14 Mar 02 - 01:38 AM
Janice in NJ 14 Mar 02 - 06:34 AM
InOBU 14 Mar 02 - 06:58 AM
McGrath of Harlow 14 Mar 02 - 08:33 PM
InOBU 14 Mar 02 - 08:47 PM
InOBU 15 Mar 02 - 09:10 AM
Jerry Rasmussen 15 Mar 02 - 10:33 AM
Peg 16 Mar 02 - 10:38 AM
catspaw49 16 Mar 02 - 11:00 AM
Rick Fielding 16 Mar 02 - 11:00 AM
Jerry Rasmussen 16 Mar 02 - 12:00 PM
InOBU 16 Mar 02 - 03:11 PM
Peg 17 Mar 02 - 12:42 AM
InOBU 17 Mar 02 - 04:01 PM
Peg 17 Mar 02 - 07:06 PM
InOBU 17 Mar 02 - 09:58 PM
McGrath of Harlow 18 Mar 02 - 07:55 AM
Janice in NJ 19 Mar 02 - 07:09 AM
InOBU 19 Mar 02 - 08:42 AM
InOBU 19 Mar 02 - 10:03 AM
GUEST,Barbara in D.C. 19 Mar 02 - 12:33 PM
Peg 19 Mar 02 - 01:20 PM
InOBU 19 Mar 02 - 02:27 PM
InOBU 19 Mar 02 - 02:28 PM
InOBU 19 Mar 02 - 02:31 PM
Janice in NJ 19 Mar 02 - 06:34 PM
InOBU 19 Mar 02 - 06:51 PM
InOBU 19 Mar 02 - 07:08 PM
Jerry Rasmussen 19 Mar 02 - 11:46 PM
Peg 19 Mar 02 - 11:48 PM
InOBU 20 Mar 02 - 07:43 AM
Suffet 20 Mar 02 - 05:45 PM
McGrath of Harlow 20 Mar 02 - 07:21 PM
McGrath of Harlow 20 Mar 02 - 07:21 PM
InOBU 20 Mar 02 - 08:16 PM
InOBU 20 Mar 02 - 08:17 PM
McGrath of Harlow 20 Mar 02 - 09:39 PM
Suffet 20 Mar 02 - 11:49 PM
InOBU 21 Mar 02 - 04:22 AM
Suffet 21 Mar 02 - 06:55 AM
Suffet 21 Mar 02 - 07:05 AM
InOBU 21 Mar 02 - 08:07 AM
mzkitty 21 Mar 02 - 08:53 AM
InOBU 21 Mar 02 - 09:11 AM
Jerry Rasmussen 21 Mar 02 - 10:27 AM
InOBU 21 Mar 02 - 10:51 AM
McGrath of Harlow 21 Mar 02 - 01:47 PM
InOBU 21 Mar 02 - 01:57 PM
Jerry Rasmussen 21 Mar 02 - 02:48 PM
McGrath of Harlow 21 Mar 02 - 05:08 PM
Jerry Rasmussen 21 Mar 02 - 05:24 PM
Suffet 21 Mar 02 - 09:47 PM
InOBU 21 Mar 02 - 09:49 PM
Suffet 28 Apr 02 - 11:59 PM
Suffet 28 Nov 02 - 08:25 PM
InOBU 28 Nov 02 - 10:06 PM
InOBU 28 Nov 02 - 10:07 PM
Suffet 29 Nov 02 - 09:58 AM
InOBU 29 Nov 02 - 06:58 PM
dick greenhaus 29 Nov 02 - 11:42 PM
InOBU 30 Nov 02 - 02:15 PM
InOBU 30 Nov 02 - 02:18 PM
GUEST,I too am good 30 Nov 02 - 02:43 PM
InOBU 30 Nov 02 - 05:16 PM
GUEST,I too am good 01 Dec 02 - 10:20 AM
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InOBU 01 Dec 02 - 05:53 PM
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Subject: Commitment and Success in NYC Folk
From: InOBU
Date: 13 Mar 02 - 03:16 PM

I don't know if it is living in New York, the US or the world today, but commitment has become a dirty word. I have gone through some 20 something musicians in the past few years, and typical is the conversation today... "Look," says I, "I don't need this to be your only commitment, but I have to know I can count on you all to a certain degree in order to book the band, and pay yeas..." "When you get to the point that you are playing at the bottom line, then you can hire xyand z..." "Well, we aren't getting to the bottom line without some kind of commitment..." "stop saying we when it is you..."
Well isn't that it folks? How the hell can a band get anywhere if the members don't see it as a job of work? One member once said a few months ago, "Look some bands hang together and work cooperatively ... like the Beatles, but that's rare!" Seems to me to be a good reason to hand together and work cooperatively. Well, so here we are again, in the waning days of Babylon, sitting in the nuclear cross hairs and trying to sing for my life, and getting no where, any New York musicians who play guitar and want to change the world with song, feel free to call.


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Subject: RE: Commitment and Success in NYC Folk
From: GUEST,Barbara in D.C.
Date: 13 Mar 02 - 04:55 PM

Have you considered presenting yourself as a SOLO musician who performs with accompanists? That way you can develop a core of sidemen musicians who learn your material, and you can pick and choose among that group of regulars when you land a gig.


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Subject: RE: Commitment and Success in NYC Folk
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 13 Mar 02 - 06:49 PM

Hi, Larry: Commitment? What's that? When my oldest son was a teenager, he'd take a part-time job just long enough to buy a scateboard, and then he'd quit. Until he "needed" something else and he'd get another part-time job and work just long enough to buy it before he'd quit. Fortunately, he's grown up. Not everyone does. Being in a group is hard wokr (as well as being an enormous amount of fun.) The rule of thumb is, the harder you work, the more fun it is. Unfortunately, once the initial rush of being in a group passes, as it does, then all the immediate-payoff folks dissapear, looking for the next rush. I've seen the cycle from initial excitement and hard work to the downward spiral of missed practices and gigs. The first two tenors I had in my gospel quartet burned out after about nine months and were encouraged to leave before the first year was up. The tneor in our group now has been with us three years, and will be with us as long as I keept thr group going, as will the other two guys. They come to practice and performaces when they're sick, when they're exhausted or when they're trying to stave off problems at work or at home. They give up paying jobs to sing in nursing homes where the only pay is the greatest.. lifting someone else up. They're always ready to help lug equipment, set it up, break it down, distribute fliers... all the work that goes into having a group. (I don't think they'd work out in your group, though.) Any Black Irish/Danish songs that you know?

Walt Michael did just what Barbara in D.C. suggested, and it worked for him. I suspect there were plenty of headaches and egos to deal with, even then. I think that the only one perfectly suited to lead a group was Job, and as far as I know, he always played solo.

Keep on keepin' on though, Larry. You've got something too good to let anyone pull down.

Jerry


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Subject: RE: Commitment and Success in NYC Folk
From: InOBU
Date: 13 Mar 02 - 07:52 PM

I've actually tried the pool approach, it is fine until there is a paying gig, suddunly there is no way to avoid haveing eight mouths to feed on stage and I have to spend a month on the street busking to pay the leaches. I am seriously considering this last gig my last, and the next step is a hack licence. I can't get my wife to move to a country where people think in terms of mutual respect and cooperation, the effing ME generation in the US has destroyed the place, and frankly, I haven't a reason on earth to live here.
Cheers
Larry


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Subject: RE: Commitment and Success in NYC Folk
From: michaelr
Date: 13 Mar 02 - 07:59 PM

Larry - are you sure what you say is true for the whole country? After all, everyone knows that New York City sucks...;-)

Consider moving to NorCal!
Michael


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Subject: RE: Commitment and Success in NYC Folk
From: InOBU
Date: 13 Mar 02 - 08:05 PM

I actualy liked North Carolina, far west, seemed there was music there, and folks working at it... but I supose you mean California. Could be. Then again, every now and then doesn't the ground open up and swallow your houses, dogs, and other neet stuff? New York is such a hard place to live in, because foriegn (mid western)landlords bought the place up and hiked rents to the point that every one is working until they die to get more into dept... but as I said, I can't get Genie to move, or I would be in Quebec playing at St. Patrick's Pub tommorrow - or Devizes at the Barge Inn... Cheers, Larry


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Subject: RE: Commitment and Success in NYC Folk
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 13 Mar 02 - 08:36 PM

I gather New York is one of those places which, for some people, it's the only possible place in the world. And the rest of the world scratches its head and just can't understand.

A pool of players you play with socially, and you pick the ones you want as formal paid musicians when you get a gig, that seems fair enough. If others want to come along and play for free and for fun, that's fair enough too, if they don't hurt the sound.

I can't see how anyone should feel entitled to object to that, it's a fairly normal way to operate. If I was in New York I'd be honoured to be allowed to play with Larry, without any payment.


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Subject: RE: Commitment and Success in NYC Folk
From: InOBU
Date: 13 Mar 02 - 08:50 PM

A McGrath, that's why I'd move to England in a flash, if Genie would realize that we aren't even treading water here. I just sent a proposal over to another band that wanted to hire me, to put two bands together... I will keep you all posted, they live in the next state, it would mean a lot of busking to pay the train fare, but I noticed they seem to work somewhat together over there.
Some of you may remember the band member who insisted I didn't pay her, six months after an event I clearly remember paying her for? Well, after she left the band, she gave me greif for not having her come down to play a paying gig in North Carolina! (me paying the band as it turned out) The gall is just too much. Ever wonder why you have heard of so few Irish bands coming out of New York? Cherish the Ladies is one of the few, and they really hang together, great folks. Well, whatever.
Good luck all... Larry


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Subject: RE: Commitment and Success in NYC Folk
From: Big Mick
Date: 13 Mar 02 - 09:10 PM

Larry, my friend. You really need to learn to separate the business of making music from making music with friends. And remember, on the business side the old "feel bad" syndrome must subdue itself to the needs of the business. The very idea of you having to busk to pay some vultures is fucking ludicrous. Don't you see that you care about it more than they do. I have a rule ......... when I care about you more than you care about you, time for you to go. I think the original suggestion was the best. Anyone who left me over money and then came back and bitched when I didn't take them to a paying gig, I would simply not call back. Don't you see old friend? They see you as so desperate that they can take advantage of you and you will suck into it so deeply that you are willing to do what they wouldn't, namely go busk to pay them.

Go solo and hire when you need a gig filled. And hire only what you need for the music. Putting eight people on stage when you need four is lunacy and very poor economic policy for you. If they weren't there for the struggle, to hell with them during the payday.

Just one working stiffs opinion. I wish you were here, a cara, because you wouldn't need to worry about the guitar player.

Mick


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Subject: RE: Commitment and Success in NYC Folk
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 13 Mar 02 - 09:19 PM

Isn't that the way most musicians - Jazz, Irish, whatever - have always worked? Jam together for fun - but when there's a paying gig, round up the people they want to play with on that specific occasion.


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Subject: RE: Commitment and Success in NYC Folk
From: InOBU
Date: 13 Mar 02 - 09:21 PM

Hi Mick... I actualy haven't and wouldn't call her back. See the problem is that most folks in New York are completely unreliable, and the session players aren't interested in doing gigs. I think the idea of a bunch from New Jersey may work out, if they go for the two band idea... Cheers again, Larry


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Subject: RE: Commitment and Success in NYC Folk
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 13 Mar 02 - 10:56 PM

Hey, Larry: There's a kinda-old-time band up here in Connecticut, the Jackson Pike Skifflers that's been around forever. The nucleus is a husband and wife,and depending on who's available, there is a pool of another half a dozen musicians who join them. They've been steadily successful over the years... none of them try to make a living off the music. They've played in far more prestigious places in New York than I ever have... an outdoor concert series during the summer at the Lincoln Center, for example. I used to run a folk concert series... ran it in Stamford, CT for 27 years. I booked the Skifflers several times in different settings, and I don't think I ever booked the same group twice. But, they were always enjoyable.

Reading your posts makes my eyes water. I'm lucky in that we just have one instrument. It's been suggested that I add a bass player, keyboards, drum, etc. and sound like everyone else. But then, we'd have to carry around a full sound system, have someone to mix it, do one hour sound checks, worry about tuning and all the rest. That sounds suspiciously like work to me. Your CD sounds fine, and I'm sure that's what you hear in your head. I'm not sure what your options are, except maybe to boil your sound down into fewer instruments. But then, what do I know?

Have you ever considered giving it all up and just play harmonica?

Don't

Jerry


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Subject: RE: Commitment and Success in NYC Folk
From: Phil Cooper
Date: 14 Mar 02 - 01:38 AM

It's hard to find other musicians with the same commitment level. I tried collaborating with several other musicians before I teamed up with Margaret. I do the booking work, but once we commit to a booking, we keep it. The last seven years, we've added a third member, and she also keeps the gigs she says she can do. My significant other has also tried several combinations where the other musicians didn't stick to agreed upon bookings. She was sometimes mad enough to chew nails, felt like people wanted her to be a sheep dog to get them to come to gigs, and felt frustrated in the process. I wish you the best of luck.


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Subject: RE: Commitment and Success in NYC Folk
From: Janice in NJ
Date: 14 Mar 02 - 06:34 AM

Lorcan, here are two pieces of advice. First, listen to Big Mick and to Barbara. Go solo, and hire just as many back-up musicians as you need for a particular gig. Remember, a lot of us have heard the Sorcha Dorcha CD, and it's clear that Lorcan Otway is what it's all about, or at least almost all about. Why pay for eight musicians when all you need are a guitarist, a fiddler, and one female singer? Second, in the words of the great Bob Dylan, "Goodbye New York! Howdy East Orange!" (For those who don't know, East Orange is in New Jersey, close to New York and even closer to Newark.) Why pay Manhattan rent for a tenement slum walk-up, when for the same money or less you can live modern apartment that's twice the size in Edgewater, right across the river? You will still be close enough to the New York folk scene so you can bitch and moan to your heart's desire, but at the same time you will be connected, physically, culturally, and spiritually, to the mainland of North America. Our state motto: New Jersey -- don't let first impressions fool you.


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Subject: RE: Commitment and Success in NYC Folk
From: InOBU
Date: 14 Mar 02 - 06:58 AM

Hi gang, actualy, Janis postulated the exact minimum I concider for the band, if I can't put a fidler guitarist and me on stage, I have to cancil a booking, which to my mortification I have had to do enough times that I find it very hard to book. The idea is that for me to shift from whistle to pipes to vocals, I need an instrument such as the fiddle to cover the changes and keep a thick sound - and make the music which you hear on the CD. Live, three musicians give the sence of the music one hears on the CD. In fact, a lot of the CD, is just Mazz and me. But, when it gets to the point I can't depend on two other people, it is time for a change. Bunches of folks result from getting several folks to cover the fact that I can't get the simplest coment from ONE let alone three, then when they smell money, the whole pack begins to circle the carrion. What makes me sick about it, is folks who tell me they believe in the music and causes and still don't committ. Isn't that why this country is in the shape it's in folks? Yeah, I believe we should not take land from Indians, destroy the environment, kill Roma (Gypsies) Shoot Black folks, remember firefighters, be brave in the face of terror ... I just don't want to commit a day a week to practice to promote music to that end, or in fact do anything else but say I am behind you... guess what, you aren't.
Well, I will let you all know if we hear from the band in New Jersey. I am completely ready to abondon New York, I think it is a city that has becomed damned. Unfortunately my wife wont consider it.
Back to busking... Larry


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Subject: RE: Commitment and Success in NYC Folk
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 14 Mar 02 - 08:33 PM

I think you'd be wrong if you think this is just New York. I think it's a pretty widespread tendency among our kind of musicians to not want to be tied down. It can be irritating, if you've got something fixed and you get "I'm not too sure - remind me later". But it seems to go with the territory.

One fella I know like this, it got so the one who'd lined up the gig wouldn't even tell him where it was, in case he said he'd turn up, and then didn't get there on time. So he says "follow my car" and off they go in convoy. And then my friend only loses the car he'd been following at some traffic light, and never gets there at all...


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Subject: RE: Commitment and Success in NYC Folk
From: InOBU
Date: 14 Mar 02 - 08:47 PM

Well McG and folks... just got an Email from the NJ band... they like the idea, and we will get together for a talk next week... I will keep ya posted! Larry


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Subject: RE: Commitment and Success in NYC Folk
From: InOBU
Date: 15 Mar 02 - 09:10 AM

I was musing on the Quaker concept of simplicity and the band... Commitment and responsibility to your band is not unlike commitment in marriage. For a marriage to succeed it takes work AND commitment. If one complicates one's life by chasing other girls around, it makes for such complications that one can't enjoy the simplicity of a committed marriage. What my present band mates want is to have an affair with this band, and leave me wondering if I am out in the cold on the next gig. Basically they want all the good that might come out of the band for free. SO, on to another pack of folks, hoping these guys will keep their vows. Cheers Larry


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Subject: RE: Commitment and Success in NYC Folk
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 15 Mar 02 - 10:33 AM

May you have a joyous wedding of the muses!

Jerry


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Subject: RE: Commitment and Success in NYC Folk
From: Peg
Date: 16 Mar 02 - 10:38 AM

Forgive me for pointing this out, but you do seem to continue to have this problem, Larry (I only know because you post about it frequently on the Mudcat). And you seem to think it has everything to do with the other musicians, and nothing to do with you. Since this pattern keeps repeating, it might be a good opportuinity to do some soul searching about how you have been approaching the problem,and how you might change the way YOU are doing things...instead of waiting for others to change (they won't, most likely, and since they are mere acquaintances and not friends, most of 'em, it is not appropriate to ask them to) and also what you might be willing to settle for if your ideal situation/configuration continues to fail. Just a thought.


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Subject: RE: Commitment and Success in NYC Folk
From: catspaw49
Date: 16 Mar 02 - 11:00 AM

Larry, what you need is a really sharp girl singer in a sexy outfit to front the band. Maybe somebody like this!

Spaw


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Subject: RE: Commitment and Success in NYC Folk
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 16 Mar 02 - 11:00 AM

Good point Peg. As much as I admire what you're trying to do Larry, this DOES seemto repeat itself a lot.

I discovered (without a whole lot of soul-searching) many years ago, that I was a TERRIBLE band leader. I expected people to have first-rate anticipation skills on stage, I expected them to have the same commitment to music that I did, I expected them to dress appropriately, deal with customers and management in a way that did credit to the band, and in general....think like me.

Some bandleaders get what they want, other don't. I often didn't. I found it really embarrasing to have to tell another adult NOT to get drunk during a show. A band member who shows up five minutes before a gig is ALWAYS gonna freak me out.

Now, this makes me out to be some kind of perfect, disciplined musician, only asking for professionalism....but over the years I found out that some players thought I was sarcastic, would give them a dirty look if they made mistakes, and never took into account that they had OTHER lives (like raising children, and other family matters) while I had much more spare time to dedicate to music.

A GOOD bandleader would have solved these problems, but as a lousy one, I encountered the same ones over and over again. I took stock, and realized that I either had to work solo, or choose people who had already demonstrated the disciplines that I wanted, while in other bands.

Generally I hired folks on the basis of charisma, and sense of humour, where maybe a duller (personally) player would have done the job better on stage.

NOW, I know all this, but I prefer being a part-timer and teaching in between gigs...so perhaps I learned it too late.

Cheers

Rick


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Subject: RE: Commitment and Success in NYC Folk
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 16 Mar 02 - 12:00 PM

Hi, Larry:

This morning, we had practice at my house. I don't think you've ever seen four more exhausted men. On top of having a half hour drive to get here, it was raining and foggy. Our tenor, Derrick, didn't get home until 4 this morning, but still dragged himself up here for a 9:30 practice. Frank and Joe were up at five, and here 45 minutes early. It took some strong coffee for us to wake up, let alone practice. But, they were all here. The previous two tenors in the group sound like they'd fit right in, in Sorcha Dorcha. I invited them to sing a couple of songs with us at our anniversary concert out of respect for them, but told them they'd have to come to two practices. I told them when the practices were.. every Tuesday night and Saturday morning and the said they'd "like to come." Neither showed up for any of the practices, but would still like to come to the anniversary, get up on stage and sing their leads unrehearsed. So what else is new? I told them I wouldn't ask them up.

I think that there's some good, loving advice on here, Larry. Obviously, Rick has had similar experiences. It's better to be upfront about what is expected, and then if people don't keep commitments, they've been warned, and you should feel no discomfort in throwing them off the ship. If they don't feel that much of a commitment, they won't really care. They've already proven that.

Now, nothing against New Jersey, because I worked in New Jersey at one point in my life and think it gets a bad rap. But, try to exert yourself and your expectations from the beginning. You have a better chance of making things work if you tell them what you expect, and don't let them slack off.

I hope this works for you. Better yet, I hope you are able to MAKE it work for you..

I take zero credit for what I have with my guys. The Lord sent 'em to me...
Jerry


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Subject: RE: Commitment and Success in NYC Folk
From: InOBU
Date: 16 Mar 02 - 03:11 PM

Hi Peg... well let me start with Spaw... Spaw old boy, I never wished to be blind before... Peg! Well, yes and no... see there are very few American Irish bands in New York which do more than cover successful Irish bands. It is easy to do that with a pickup band so it fits the no committment culture in New York. Most of the band members, I've noticed, (not all but the majority) have affairs, get divorced and don't commit in their lives generally. I, on the other hand, after a 25 year marrige, can speak to the success possible in commitment.
On the good page... there is a band who have been together for a long time, are committed to each other, and want me to join them, but they don't write. In order to perform my music I need some degree of central possition, which I would not ask for in an existing band. SO Best possible world, Collin of Sixmilecross and I are creating two bands with very similar core members. BEst possible sinario, we both get hired for the same festival, and we get two paychecks for the same moving costs! I've known the fellow a long time and we both wished we could figure an araingement like this for a while, a good coop. SO hoping for the best. Basicly, I don't think the answer is for me to follow the lead of others in my band, none of whom have gotten much notice for their work, other than in my band. SO it is not like I have a swelled head, I just say, sure, I will follow, if you can show you've been able to do what I've done. I inclueded members work, tried everything, but the problem seems to have been New York is the center of the me generation.
Cheers all... Larry


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Subject: RE: Commitment and Success in NYC Folk
From: Peg
Date: 17 Mar 02 - 12:42 AM

well, as I said it was just a thought. Good luck.


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Subject: RE: Commitment and Success in NYC Folk
From: InOBU
Date: 17 Mar 02 - 04:01 PM

Actually, as a mudcat fundraiser, I was concidering a soap opera challenge... for say each ten dollar pledge to Mudcat, I would tell another chapter in the history of SD memberships.... for example the member who didn't want to play a song about the murder of a Gypsy woman by a skin head gang unless she knew the other side of the story! That one is a real side splier, worth $10 to the cat, eh? Just think 23 stories at 10 bucks each! Cheers Larry


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Subject: RE: Commitment and Success in NYC Folk
From: Peg
Date: 17 Mar 02 - 07:06 PM

How about if we pay the money to NOT hear the stories?

:)


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Subject: RE: Commitment and Success in NYC Folk
From: InOBU
Date: 17 Mar 02 - 09:58 PM

I think we have a bidding war here!!! Larry


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Subject: RE: Commitment and Success in NYC Folk
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 18 Mar 02 - 07:55 AM

Better get some wigs and false beards Larry - we had a mini-festival the other year and a friend had got himself into just about every band playing. It got so people were saying "there he is again" as he lurched onto the stage each time.

You seem to have two separate problems here Larry - one is people fighting shy of political commitment in songs, anything that might put off the punters; the other is people resistant to musical and organisational commitment, to planning in advance and being good on timekeeping and that.

Getting both those types of commitment together isn't that easy. That's why the world is in the state it is. Not just New York either.


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Subject: RE: Commitment and Success in NYC Folk
From: Janice in NJ
Date: 19 Mar 02 - 07:09 AM

I hope that InOBU understands that neither the universe nor this website revolves around him and his troubles. Having said that, let me say that I played the Sorcha Dorcha CD for a Saint Paddy's Night gathering of some of the colleens and it floored each and every one of them. They like to get together, bend an elbow, and sing the old rebel songs as much as the next gal, but they never knew there was stuff like this being written today, except perhaps by Tommy Sands. And even his songs pale by comparison. By the way, do you have Yvette's phone number? :-)


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Subject: RE: Commitment and Success in NYC Folk
From: InOBU
Date: 19 Mar 02 - 08:42 AM

??????????????????? & and yes, I do have Yvette's number.
Cheers, Larry


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Subject: RE: Commitment and Success in NYC Folk
From: InOBU
Date: 19 Mar 02 - 10:03 AM

Let me see if I get your post Janice (and thanks for the complement to begin with...) I think the world revolves around me because I expect to find some musicians to brining you music about Yvette Michele, and should not use the board to promote said music ... which you compare to Tommy Sands. OK, how do you know about Tommy Sands, because commercial interests have sold you his work. I am brining it (free) to you ... through this folk board. Which sounds like folk to you? Two, who does the world revolve around? Well lets look say at Chere, some one asked for the racist words to the song she sings about G--- Tramps and Theieves... Chere who doesn't write her songs, whose every move is planned by others - who is promoted by a huge capitalist corporation ... that is what it is to have the world revolve around you, it is not pushing to get the story of people like Yvette who, at this moment is in a land being bombed for practice in order to make sure that when they bomb the REAL enemy (jeeze!) they will get it right. I am breaking my head against the wall so you and others, can, through folk music know that NATO is bombing Indian land, as I write this, as practice runs to bomb civilians in Afghanistan. I - for one, think that is something which at least two or three other musicians may commit. Give me a fucking break.


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Subject: RE: Commitment and Success in NYC Folk
From: GUEST,Barbara in D.C.
Date: 19 Mar 02 - 12:33 PM

So we all know about Tommy Sands because the commercial interests have sold us his work. Granted. Otherwise Tommy would still be singing in second rate pubs begging for a wee bit of hush so people can hear his lyrics. That seems to be the circumstances InOBU finds himself today. The only thing I cannot figure out is if InOBU is frustrated because the commercial interests haven't yet discovered him? Or is he frustrated because he has, consciously or unconsciously, chosen not to be discovered by them?


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Subject: RE: Commitment and Success in NYC Folk
From: Peg
Date: 19 Mar 02 - 01:20 PM

Gypsies, Tramps and Thieves as sung by Cher can hardly be called racist. It is sung in the first person, most famously by someone who grew up as a mixed-race child and who was painfully aware of it. The song seems to be speaking of how horrible it is to be treated in a prejudicial manner by those who would try to exploit the "gypsies, tramps and thieves" (this phrase refers to what the bigoted "people of the town" call the group the narrator/singer belongs to).


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Subject: RE: Commitment and Success in NYC Folk
From: InOBU
Date: 19 Mar 02 - 02:27 PM

No Barbara... this post is about lack of commitment by band members in an america where committment to each other in every relationship is lacking... this is why there is so much divorce in this nation, for example... I don't give a damn if a big record company discovers my music or not... if you follow my posts, and those of folks like McGrath, we are trying to get traditional music a place to survive in a world that is more and more cracking down on busking and where there are fewer and fewer places to get paid to play anything but comercial music. I think it is great Tommy Sands is on a comercial lable, but that is not the point, Janice seems to think it is unseamly to talk about the trouble keeping a folk band together in NYC, well, funny enough, most of the positive advice comes from fellow working folk musicians. That's because they know where I am coming from with this.
Peg... the police guide to racial profiling of Roma in the US, put together by the South Carolina police, and a quoted source used by the FBI is called Gypsies, Travllers and Thieves. Perhaps the song was not intended to be racist, however, I know a fair number of Pavees and Roma who frankly are not very fond of the song. Think about it, if the song were called Witches Psycotics and Crazies, you may not think it was about marginalised folks, but a strike at your faith? Try and cast the margin you live into the picture and you see the harm. BY the way, the popular halfwit will be in New York at the end of April, had to change his plans, so PM me and we will plan a get together with Ralphieboy.
Cheers Larry


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Subject: RE: Commitment and Success in NYC Folk
From: InOBU
Date: 19 Mar 02 - 02:28 PM

No Barbara... this post is about lack of commitment by band members in an america where committment to each other in every relationship is lacking... this is why there is so much divorce in this nation, for example... I don't give a damn if a big record company discovers my music or not... if you follow my posts, and those of folks like McGrath, we are trying to get traditional music a place to survive in a world that is more and more cracking down on busking and where there are fewer and fewer places to get paid to play anything but comercial music. I think it is great Tommy Sands is on a comercial lable, but that is not the point, Janice seems to think it is unseamly to talk about the trouble keeping a folk band together in NYC, well, funny enough, most of the positive advice comes from fellow working folk musicians. That's because they know where I am coming from with this.
Peg... the police guide to racial profiling of Roma in the US, put together by the South Carolina police, and a quoted source used by the FBI is called Gypsies, Travllers and Thieves. Perhaps the song was not intended to be racist, however, I know a fair number of Pavees and Roma who frankly are not very fond of the song. Think about it, if the song were called Witches Psycotics and Crazies, you may not think it was about marginalised folks, but a strike at your faith? Try and cast the margin you live into the picture and you see the harm. BY the way, the popular halfwit will be in New York at the end of April, had to change his plans, so PM me and we will plan a get together with Ralphieboy.
Cheers Larry


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Subject: RE: Commitment and Success in NYC Folk
From: InOBU
Date: 19 Mar 02 - 02:31 PM

PS Sorry for the double post... the cat is working queerly today. Also, Janice... as to give me a break, I really am directing that at the folks who want to play serrious music with me, in a off handed and uncaring way. The reason my music is good, if it is, is because it is from the heart, I just can't seem to find anyone who playes it with me from the heart. It means alot to me that Kev McGrath DOES play my music with heart and committment. It is turning into a rough couple of days here, and I have a gig tonight which life is getting in the way of preparing for... CHeers Larry


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Subject: RE: Commitment and Success in NYC Folk
From: Janice in NJ
Date: 19 Mar 02 - 06:34 PM

"Give me a f---ing break." So says Lorcan (InOBU), the Quaker. Is this how he speaks at Meeting? Is this how he addresses God? Or his Friends? Or just his fans? Has Lorcan been unmindful of the praise I have freely given him and his CD? I wonder whom he speaks to with less civility, his fans or his fellow band members.


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Subject: RE: Commitment and Success in NYC Folk
From: InOBU
Date: 19 Mar 02 - 06:51 PM

Hi Janice... did you miss the post just above this? As I say above, the fustration is directed at my band members who don't give half a fec about what we are doing.
As to how we speak in meeting... a group of us were walking towards a peace vigil the other day, and one of us refered to the god damned traffic, I reminded him... "Thee should not take thy lords' name in vane, thee might think to say the Fucking traffic!"
I am sorry about seeming to go off on you, but think about what you are saying here, you are saying that this forum is no place to promote one's music or discuss the challenges of working as a folk musician, and yet the only way you know of my work is through the same. If you find yourself at one of my gigs, I owe you a round.

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Subject: RE: Commitment and Success in NYC Folk
From: InOBU
Date: 19 Mar 02 - 07:08 PM

Bye the way, Janice... just a brief note of being a Friend. Many people have the funny notion that we are sort of church mouse pious... Now, we do try to live our beliefs, and we do try to carry over our traditions of worship into our daily lives. I do sometimes tell God, "give me a effing break!" though I can at the same time see God's love in horrible acts, live earthquakes and volcanos! What makes Quaker conversation is listening to each other. You seem not be be completely listening (or reading if you will). I am not only mindful of your praise, I began my comments with thanks for your praise. If you read carefully, you would see that folks state two reasons for leaving this band, one ... they don't wish to committ to playing with a band (after using this band as a free music school) or two, discomfort with performing meaningful music. No one has left the band saying that I speak abusivly to them, to my knowlege. If anyone says I abuse my band members, well, they are not being honest with you.
All the best, Larry
PS I have not felt called to ask to be given a effing break in meeting, but, I can not say that I could not emagine being so moved. But, than again, no Friend would say that they ever know what they may be called on to say in meeting... I will let you know if I ever find myself so called! Last mid week meeting, a large number of us began laughing histerically no mater how we tried not to laugh, so who knows! Cheers again, and again thanks for enjoying the music.


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Subject: RE: Commitment and Success in NYC Folk
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 19 Mar 02 - 11:46 PM

Hi, Larry: Sorry you feel under such duress. As for band members not being comfortable singing some of the stronger songs that you write, you might give them credit for treating music with honesty. I wrote a song for my group that one member was uncomfortable with. He didn't feel that he could honestly sing it, because he didn't believe it. And good for him. I told him that I didn't want to pressure him to sing a song with a point of view he disagreed with, and said we'd do it without him. When he said that he wouldn't be comfortable if we did it without him and just excused him for that song, I understood how he felt. It would have been a public recognition that he was in opposition to the beliefs in the song. If you don't believe what you sing, you shouldn't sing it. You certainly know that, Larry.

As it turned out, we had a couple of long discussions about the song, and the person who refused to sing it became it's greatest champion. The song, in part, is:

Publicans, Harlots, beggars and thieves
Jesus was a friend to them all
He ate at their tables, and walked on their streets
And he comforted their weary souls

Chorus:

"Didn't my Lord deliver Daniel?
Didn't my Lord deliver Paul?
Didn't He deliver them Hebrew Children?
Didn't my Jesus die for all?

the verse he had a problem with was:

Lutherans, Baptists, Catholics and Jews
Whether they are black or white
Buddhists and Muslims, Methodists too :-)
All are precious in his sight

He felt that people would take offense at that verse until he thought about it, and realized that it is not offensive. Or at least not meant to be. 'Cept for Methodists, maybe (I had a beloved Uncle who was a Methodist Minister, and I were one too, for many years.)

People not wanting to sing something that you feel strongly about shouldn't be offensive to you, Larry. Any more than how you feel is offensive to me.

All the best, kid...

Jerry


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Subject: RE: Commitment and Success in NYC Folk
From: Peg
Date: 19 Mar 02 - 11:48 PM

Larry; I see your point about the Roma gypsies but that doesn't seem to be the exact group Cher's song is about! (Hard to tell without asking the songwriter). It seems to me the "people of the town" referred to these travelling folk as "gypsies" but they could easily be any old ethnic group, couldn't they? I really like the song, find it poignant and effective. And it demonizes the prejudiced townspeople, not the gypsies, so I don't understand why so-called gypsies have a problem with it...unless they simply have a problem with that word being used anywhere (which is, I suppose, understandable, but I was not aware it was always seen to be a pejorative term). Sorry but I do not "see the harm" in this one, personally..no more than I see why certain people who have never read "To Kill a Mockingbird" wish to ban it from being read in schools because it contains the "n" word...if anyone read the book they'd realize it denounces racism very powerfully...

Anyway, good to hear Ralph is coming. I will be out of toen at a reunion the last weekend in April (26-28) but would love a chance to see him if I can work it out...hope to see him in the UK in June, too.


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Subject: RE: Commitment and Success in NYC Folk
From: InOBU
Date: 20 Mar 02 - 07:43 AM

Hi Peg:
We had a thread on Mudcat, can't remember the name, where we discussed songs which mention Roma. I mentioned and still say that it all is in the introduction. There are songs like the Riddle of the Rum, I would not sing, with out an explanitory intro. Roma hide so well in this nation that their population of over a million are often not noticed, hiding in plane sight. Many Roma are carney workers, have fortunetelling buisnesses etc.
Jerry, I have no problem with someone walking over the politics of my music, which is ... in fact about the damage that apathy creates, after all there would have been no Hitler without the majority looking the other way. I never have twisted anyone's arm to sing in the face of their own apathy, but I do find the apathetic walk. What I find a bit worrysome is bandmembers who say the deeply believe in the music but can't committ, while committing to bands which play music with no social content, seems to me to be a little bit odd... for example last night we were offered a job as the house band in a major NY music pub... but my band mates tell me they will only committ week to week. Tell me, is this anyway to run a buisness??????? Cheers all, Larry


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Subject: RE: Commitment and Success in NYC Folk
From: Suffet
Date: 20 Mar 02 - 05:45 PM

Larry,

You're my friend and I'll stand by you, but maybe the time has come for you to take all the suggestions to go solo. You can still have a nucleus of musicians you can call upon to accomapny you, but you won't have to depend upon their level of commitment. With so many people telling you the same thing, please give it serious consideration.

--- Steve


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Subject: RE: Commitment and Success in NYC Folk
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 20 Mar 02 - 07:21 PM

Either that or maybe Rick's right, and you need a sheepdog to coax them into line, while you can concentrate on the words and the music.

And that "other side of the story" - even that might have had other ways of reading it. All kinds of reasons people get murdered, and the people who get blamed for it aren't always the ones who did it, so wanting to know more about it isn't a bad thing in a singer, as Jerry pointed out. Checking out the facts behind a song mean you can sing it with more strength and conviction.


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Subject: RE: Commitment and Success in NYC Folk
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 20 Mar 02 - 07:21 PM

Thinking about Yvette's song reminded me of this one I found in a book I've got on my shelf called The Unwritten Song. It's an anthology of songs (without tunes) from oral cultures all over the world, gathered from all sorts of anthropological reports and so forth. This one is Inuit, from Canada. It's about surviving:

And I thought over again
My small adventures
As with a shore-wind I drifted out
In my kayak
And thought I was in danger.

My fears,
Those small ones
That I thought so big
For all the vital things
I had to get and to reach.

And yet, there is only
One great thing,
The only thing:
To live to see in huts and on journeys
The great day that dawns
And the light that fills the world.


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Subject: RE: Commitment and Success in NYC Folk
From: InOBU
Date: 20 Mar 02 - 08:16 PM

Excellent song, McGrath! Steve, I'd love to go solo, but unfortunatly I neither play the guitar or piano, and I find more than one acapella song by me puts an audience to sleep! I was offered to be the house band for a pub the other day, without a steady band, well, no steady work.
Cheers all, Larry


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Subject: RE: Commitment and Success in NYC Folk
From: InOBU
Date: 20 Mar 02 - 08:17 PM

McGrath, I generally agree with you about most things, but Blimey, if I can think of a justification for six skin head guys throwing a mother off a bridge!
Cheers, Larry


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Subject: RE: Commitment and Success in NYC Folk
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 20 Mar 02 - 09:39 PM

The point was, I can understand someone wanting to check that that was what happened, and that, for example, it wasn't the local police finding a convenient group of scapegoats for something that had some other explanation. (Maybe one that reflected badly on them.)

And I'm not suggesting at all that the facts weren't as you have them in the song, or that your interpretation of the hesitation about the song in this case is wrong - just making the general point that wanting to ask questions about an atrocity makes sense.

For example, in Amadou, you mention the attempt by the killers to claim that he had been reaching for a gun. It's been proved that that was a lie. When I sing that song it is helpful to know that.


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Subject: RE: Commitment and Success in NYC Folk
From: Suffet
Date: 20 Mar 02 - 11:49 PM

Maybe it's time to repost this song from last December?

To be sung to the tune of The Star of the County Down:

On Manhattan's isle, for too short a while,
Amid all the hype and noise,
There was once a band, that took its stand,
As it sang of woes and joys.
It sang its songs of rights and wrongs,
Wherever an audience it found,
Now that band is gone, may we carry on,
As we tread on Sorcha Dorcha's ground.

From the northern tip to the South Ferry slip,
From the East Side to the West,
Oh, we wish them well and a fond farewell,
For they were New York's best!

[New words by Stephen L. Suffet © 2001]


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Subject: RE: Commitment and Success in NYC Folk
From: InOBU
Date: 21 Mar 02 - 04:22 AM

Well, another song to remember... "We are gentle angery people, and we are singing singing for our lives..."
We had a great laugh at Midweek Meeting, remembering Freinds who would and did say the like of "Give me a fucking break" during meeting...
The bottom line is this... We are living in the city, most likely than ever before to suffer a nuclear blast for the behavior of a government out of control, and frankly I am more than angery, I am furrious.
My band members, one in particular, weeps at the songs Amadou Diallo and Engine 33, and while not making a comitment to this band, is well comitted to a band which plays fluff. I would trade a single tear for an ounce of commitment, as we are, quite litterally playing for our lives, as well as the lives of the victems of this toltalitarian capitalist state, which is snuffing out lives like a house wife with a raid can going after flys.
Yes, give me a fucking break, and give a break to the victems of American apathy everywhere. I would be overjoyed if you tossed my lifes work on the scrap heap of history and worked HARD for peace and justice. Give us all a break.
I remember passing the UN during the Cuban missile crises with my father and thinking that the fate of our two nations lies in that place, if we die or not, it all happens there between Mr. Kennidy and Mr. Kruschev. Oh, to trade baby bushkins for Mr. Kennidy. How unlikely we were to suffer the results of a failed policy then, compaired to now.
Needing a break, Larry


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Subject: RE: Commitment and Success in NYC Folk
From: Suffet
Date: 21 Mar 02 - 06:55 AM

My reposting of the song from last December must not be taken as a farewell to Larry Otway and his wonderful work. He will continue to tell us of woes and joys, and long may he live to do so. My purpose is to gently say it's time to move on.

Larry, you bemoan the lack of commitment among the musicians with whom you have worked, and you tell us this has been an on-going problem as twenty or more people have passed through your band. Rather than blaming individuals, either yourself or those former band members, and rather than blame the particular culture of New York City, let's play Marxian for the moment and presume for the sake of argument that the lack of commitment is indicative of the socio-cultural superstructure. What we need to do is look deeper at the underlying economic relationships, in particular the realtionship of each individual to the means of production.

The first and most obvious is that you are the band leader and they are the workers. We know that you have gone out of your way to be a good boss and to make certain that your band members get paid fairly for their work, just as I am certain that Fred Engels took care to see that the workers in the factory he owned were treated well and paid fairly. But your good intentions and good deeds do not change the fundamental relationship bewteen you and them. Given that reality, their lack of commitment is more than understandable. It is what one would expect, not because they objectively lack commitment, whatever that may mean, but because the boss and the workers view the concept of commitment differently.

Now, I don't want to portray you as the Evil Capitalist. You are not. You are as très petit as petit bougeois can possibly be, and we certainly can have a discussion about the role of the petty bourgeoisie in the advanced capitalist world. Very often their position is much worse than that of the traditional worker, and that fact is not lost on corporate leaders who frequently prefer outsourcing production to small businesses and to the nominally self-employed, in lieu of hiring more workers, particlarly hiring more workers under unionized conditions.

Ah, but I digress.

Maybe, had Sorcha Dorcha been cooperatively owned and managed, lack of commitment would not be a problem. But there would have been another a certainly greater problems: your lack of final artistic control. That is the dilemma all artists must face. Either the vision and the direction are yours, in which case you are the boss and you shouldn't expect others to share your level of commitment. Or else you become part of some collective, in which instance the vision and direction are yours only in part.

My advice, which I shall repeat for the last time, is that despite the concern you have stated, the time has come for you to go solo.

--- Steve


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Subject: RE: Commitment and Success in NYC Folk
From: Suffet
Date: 21 Mar 02 - 07:05 AM

Sorry for the unintended boldface.

--- Steve


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Subject: RE: Commitment and Success in NYC Folk
From: InOBU
Date: 21 Mar 02 - 08:07 AM

Hey Stevarino! I agree, to a degree. In the past I alowed members to bring in whatever music they wanted, and the gig's lacked direction... now I include a tune or two from members who write and a favorite tune or two from members who don't... does not seem to make a diff. AGAIN, my bold writing pal, read past posts to the thread... How do you go solo if you don't play any instruments to which you can sing? Two nights ago, the gig was going great, I did one unacompanied song, went fine, started another in the second set, and saw the audience begin to lose interest. I stoped the song and said, here is a better idea, and went into a whole band song, and back they came... didn't even notice the change in the middle of the song. Now, if I were in a concert hall it would be different, but when you have to play pubs, you can't stand on a stage alone and sing to nothing.
Thanks for the suggestion though,
Larry


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Subject: RE: Commitment and Success in NYC Folk
From: mzkitty
Date: 21 Mar 02 - 08:53 AM

Come to North Carolina! Loads of dedicated and committed musicians and artists of all sorts, pleantiful jobs and inspirational natural resourses. I have based successfully out of Coastal NC for 35 years, raising 3 kids, being a full time musician. You can get anywhere from here and coming home is the best part. There is a large tourist flow as well as supportive local communities. The Eastern section draws ocean lovers, Mid-section, the college folks, Western section, mountian lovers and college people....and everywhere, MUSIC! (It's a real blessing to love where you live and be able to support yourself there as well!)


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Subject: RE: Commitment and Success in NYC Folk
From: InOBU
Date: 21 Mar 02 - 09:11 AM

I played last month in Ashville NC... Loved it, can't convince my wife to move... Ce' L'vie... North Carolina is the tops... In fact Mzkitty, PM me an adress and I will send you a Sorcha Dorcha CD, it is always good to be heard in NC! Cheers Larry ...


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Subject: RE: Commitment and Success in NYC Folk
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 21 Mar 02 - 10:27 AM

Hi, Larry: Are you bemoaning a lack of commitment in general, or a lack of commitment in others to what you're committed to? There are many deeply committed musicians who are giving generously of themselves in support of the poor, the homeless, the sick and bedridden. I could name a long list, but might embarass some people. They are not apathetic. They just feel committed to other self-less, worthy causes.

Jerry


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Subject: RE: Commitment and Success in NYC Folk
From: InOBU
Date: 21 Mar 02 - 10:51 AM

Hi Jerry, if you are really intersted, PM me, I am not about to put myself in the possition of bragging, other than to say, I have and I do walk many miles a month for justice. Cheers, Larry


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Subject: RE: Commitment and Success in NYC Folk
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 21 Mar 02 - 01:47 PM

Just had another look at that last post I wrote, and it occurred to me it might be open to misinterpretation. I wrote:

"For example, in Amadou, you mention the attempt by the killers to claim that he had been reaching for a gun. It's been proved that that was a lie. When I sing that song it is helpful to know that."

What I meant was not that it was a lie to say that the killers claimed that he had been reaching for a gun. I meant that it had been proved that they did make that claim, and that they were lying when they did so.

Isn't this a convoluted language sometimes?


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Subject: RE: Commitment and Success in NYC Folk
From: InOBU
Date: 21 Mar 02 - 01:57 PM

McGrath, I know exactly what you meant, for example, this morning as I trough the cow over the fence ... some hay, I was musing on how funny it is to write to each other rather than to speak with each other... Cheers ol'pal, Larry PS check out the new song,


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Subject: RE: Commitment and Success in NYC Folk
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 21 Mar 02 - 02:48 PM

As I PM'd Larry, I think that what gets us both is people who hace received many gifts and talents and only use them for selfish reasons. I've never understood someone taking pride in a gift. Being able to sing is a GIFT which can be taken away. Same with playing an instrument. There are Mudcatters who have had to deal with the loss of the use of their hands or their voice. Everything we have is a gift, and should be used to help, support, encourage and entertain others. People who search for happiness never find it. It's a by-product of living a good life. Like 5th magnitude stars you can only see if you don't look directly at them.

Believe me, the ways that Larry gives of himself are far too lenthy to post on this thread.

We need more men (and women) like him.

Jerry


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Subject: RE: Commitment and Success in NYC Folk
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 21 Mar 02 - 05:08 PM

Pride is an odd concept.

It can just mean being pleased that someone or something we love exists and is doing something we like to see them doing - and that can include the music we play and the hands we use to play it with.

Or it can mean a kind of pride of possession - as if in some way we own these people or things, and anything good about them glorifies us. We are in charge.

The second meaning is why pride has always been seen as seriously harmful and to be avoided, by people who take these things seriusly.

The first meaning, I hope, is what we really mean most of the time when we talk about being proud of something. And it implies a responsibility not to waste what we've been lucky enough to be in some way under our control.


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Subject: RE: Commitment and Success in NYC Folk
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 21 Mar 02 - 05:24 PM

You got it McGraht:

"Knowledge puffeth up, but charity edifieth." Let us not get puffethed up.
Pride can be the satisfaction that comes from doing something to the best of your ability, no matter how modest it might be.

I sense thread creep.

Jerry


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Subject: RE: Commitment and Success in NYC Folk
From: Suffet
Date: 21 Mar 02 - 09:47 PM

Ever hear of Millard Thomas? He has been accompanying Harry Belafonte on guitar for more than half a century. Larry, what you need is your own Millard Thomas, or maybe two or three Millard Thomases, whom you can hire as needed. That's all I'm saying.

Millard Thomas info & pix.

--- Steve


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Subject: RE: Commitment and Success in NYC Folk
From: InOBU
Date: 21 Mar 02 - 09:49 PM

Hi Steve... can we clone him?????????? CHeers, Larry, PS check out the new song... and another wee song from InOBU...


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Subject: RE: Commitment and Success in NYC Folk
From: Suffet
Date: 28 Apr 02 - 11:59 PM

Will wonders never cease? Last night with my very own eyes I saw InOBU join the New York Pinewoods Folk Music Club! Time to sing The World Turned Upside Down.

--- Steve


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Subject: Midwinter Hoot! 2/2/03
From: Suffet
Date: 28 Nov 02 - 08:25 PM

Coming soon to the Big Apple!

THE FIRST ANNUAL MIDWINTER HOOT --
A ROUND-ROBIN SONGFEST


Sunday, February 2, 2003
7 to 9 PM

Featuring...

Jessica Feinbloom
Joel Landy
Anne Price
Eric Levine
Steve Suffet

and others subject to confirmation

CB's 313 Gallery
313 Bowery
New York City

$5 cover lets you stay all evening and hear other acts as well.


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Subject: RE: Commitment and Success in NYC Folk
From: InOBU
Date: 28 Nov 02 - 10:06 PM

Bah humbug... Cheers Larry


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Subject: RE: Commitment and Success in NYC Folk
From: InOBU
Date: 28 Nov 02 - 10:07 PM

On a serrious note... isn't this a wee bit of thread creep, Steve? Larry


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Subject: RE: Commitment and Success in NYC Folk
From: Suffet
Date: 29 Nov 02 - 09:58 AM

More than a wee bit, Larry! But this thread has "NYC" and "Folk" in the title, so I figured it would be better to stray here than to start a new thread.

Did you check out that El Puente gig for12/13/02? I'll be doing a couple of songs that night at Community Church in Manhattan, as a guest artist in the NYC Street Singers' holiday show. But if you are playing and if I can cut myself loose quickly enough, I'll trot over to Brooklyn or Queens or wherever and catch your performance.

--- Steve


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Subject: RE: Commitment and Success in NYC Folk
From: InOBU
Date: 29 Nov 02 - 06:58 PM

I called and got a recording and no way to leave a message... Cheers Larry


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Subject: RE: Commitment and Success in NYC Folk
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 29 Nov 02 - 11:42 PM

InOBU-
Back in my day (the early Jurassic, as I recall) there were a few competent accompianists around (I was one of them.) I'm sure there still are.


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Subject: RE: Commitment and Success in NYC Folk
From: InOBU
Date: 30 Nov 02 - 02:15 PM

Hi Dick!
Did I ever send you my CD? As you will see, if you don't have it (and PM me and I will send it to you...) it is not simple music to play... dynamics in Irish music aren't in the simple three cords, but in the dynamics that good araingements make. One band member, for example, a fine musician, used to miss a break ever time we played it, where the whole band would drop out leaving the Uilleann pipes playing alone, (for those of you with the CD, the break in the first track, between Lietrim Thrush and An Phis Fluch...) well, as a result the change between the tunes, in stead of sounding tight and fine, would sound ragged and sloppy. I'd remind the fellow as we set out into the tune, and watch his face as he'd space out during the playing, and well, it is not a matter of just accompanists, but finding folks who are behind the meaning of the songs and the sence of the music. Fact is, I put serrious thought and human rights messages into music that makes people think. Frankly I am sick to hell of apathetic folks who just don't get it the way audiences do. I am damn near chucking in the whole damn thing. I write because I can't help it, but to hell with playing for anybody else.
Happy new year,
Larry


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Subject: RE: Commitment and Success in NYC Folk
From: InOBU
Date: 30 Nov 02 - 02:18 PM

PS dick... here is a small sample of my writing... it isn't shit, though it is often treated as such by band members or venue owners...
Scales of Revenge

Words Lorcan Otway, Tune Traditional, Willy Of Windsburry from the singing of the great Anne Briggs.

Oh America's fired a cruse missile, and it's killed my brother's son
Now I must put my hopes aside and learn the way of the gun
Oh why and how can they do such things, why bring such grief to me
Now I will go and seek revenge for my faith and my dignity

Oh some men from Saudi Arabia, have killed my old school friend
He was never a part of any war, why bring him this awful end?
Oh why and how can they do such things, why bring this grief to me,
Now I will go and seek revenge for my friend and for my country

Oh the helicopters came last night, and we fled into the dark
But American bullets flew from above, killing my wife, my love,
Oh why and how can they do these things, why bring this grief to me,
As generations of Afghans before, I'll defend this poor country

My son, my son, he will never return, in a foreign war he lies slain
He was fighting for his home and hearth, on some barren Afghani plain
Oh why and how can they do these things, why bring such grief to me
Send troops send troops, to far Iraq, to stop this insanity

And here I sit and I watch the world, as blood is shed for blood
And I can only wonder why and how can we stem this flood
Oh why oh how can they do such things, on justice's bloody path,
And who will be left to say in the end, we've balanced the scales at last

Don't stop, don't stop for our martyred dead, or one inch of blood soaked soil,
But stop oh stop for the love of your child, in fields of hope now toil
Oh how oh why can't we begin, by putting grief behind
We can not ever pay for the dead, by paying another in kind.

Centuries of Pain The Ballad of Amadou Diallo
Lorcan

Amadou was born, where humanity sprang from,
In a land forced to give away its best.
Where a foreigners hand, stole the riches from the land
even tearing her children from her breast.
Verdant forests cut down, and gold ripped from the ground
and her diamonds sparkling in many a foreign crown
Ancient wisdom denied, history buried beneath lies
hers a legacy of centuries of pain.

He came to a land of gold, where his homeland's wealth was sold,
hoping he could find a place to make his way.
By the sweat of his brow, he would make a life somehow,
in a land far from family and friends.
In the streets of New York, he set out to live his dreams
though things where much different than his hopes
still he felt he'd get by, not often wondering why,
here his people found a legacy of pain.

Coming home one night, in his hallway's stark white light,
gunmen challenged him - he turned to ask them why.
Many shots then blazed, Amadou stood amazed
Why was he being murdered by these men?
In that hallway where he died, once again many men lied,
saying Amadou was reaching for a gun.
But history is clear, so many die each year,
This is still our nations legacy of pain

A mother came to take, her son back to lie
in the soil from which humanity emerged.
In a brave mothers tears, we saw the burden of the years,
of a land forced to give away her best
Amadou my son, what have these strangers done?
Could they not see the child I held so dear?
Where they blinded by their badge, or the color of your skin?
or the legacy of centuries of pain?


Who Will Marry Me
Lorcan Otway all rights reserved...


I'm a Bangladeshi Hindu girl, I cannot say my name
I cannot show my face to you, I'm forced to flee in shame
I cannot find the words to tell, what they did to me
When the gangs came to my village and robbed my dignity

I cannot speak the words my fear, and horror to relate
When the women of my village became, the target of your hate
With nothing but my tattered clothes, I have been forced to flee
For after my public shame, who would ever marry me

In the decade before I was born, my land was wracked with pain
Democracy and Freedom, religious rights to gain
All the people of our land, shared the terror of that night
to cast off religious hatred and, emerge into the light

I can't understand why the world, allows hate to divide my land
Is our pain so foreign to your world, that you can't understand
The tears of my nation, a waterwheel could turn
Can they not touch your heart enough, our history to learn

How my story ends I cannot say, what's ahead I cannot see
Fundamentalism's fertile fields, are starved lands of poverty
But in the ruins of my land and life, I can only cry in vain
why must I bear the shame alone, who would ever share my pain

One question more I'll ask of you, before I flee my land
One question more I'll put to you, I'm too young to understand
One question more I must demand, before I turn to go,
for the answer to this question, no young girl may ever know

My sister's bodies have become, the target's of your war
And our mother's and our grandmothers, for countless years before
How can it be our dishonor, why is it our disgrace


Ghosts of our nation
word, Lorcan Otway all rights reserved
Tune The Shamrock Shore.

Farewell to the land, of Jefferson and Franklin
Farewell to the dreams of the good Thomas Paine
We have sacrificed our freedom, on the altar of security
and I fear we may not soon see the likes of both again,
For this land was more than a flag or a slogan
this land was more than its rocks or its clay
This land was a gift given us by great thinkers
a dream which lesser men have now cast away


The rule of law is hobbled and no rights are now held sacred
except the right to steal and plunder in the name of corporate greed
While bible thumping patriots, in the guise of elder statesmen
rob for the wealth of few from the people in most need
Now our prisons are full of the men of no property
and back alleys are filled with the hopeless and insane
but still we are told, that this is the land of liberty
and told to ignore those whom our country causes pain

Who can hold up their head, and proud proclaim their homeland
while leaders whet the assassins knife by stealth upon the road
this is not the act of a land of law and of justice
no mater who the target, we must live by legal code
What light of hope now shines in the halls of Philadelphia
what words of bravery speak out from the senate floor
what black thoughts now taint with blood, the hopes of a nation
when politician pimps make sweet liberty their whore

But I cast my gaze, to the hills of our history,
while I stake my few hopes on the words of our past
For while a spark shines on, in the ashes of these ruins
the light of freedom's fires may dispel the shadows cast
And each one of you, who remembers where we came from
proclaim your love liberty and reject the cynics sneer
cast fear upon the pyre of the promises of tyrants
turn away from craven cowards, and true hearts now draw near.

The Probies of 01
Words Lorcan Otway, Tune Arthur McBride from the singing of Paul Brady
Inspired by Dan "the bike" Rowan chauffeur of Ladder 9, and dedicated to 343 firefighters and their loved ones.

I saw in the eyes of a Probie last night,
That familiar confidence that sense of fight
And I knew as I watched in the flashing red light,
I knew that our brothers had finally come home

So although the flags remain at half mast,
And though o'er the doorway grim buntings are cast
three hundred and forty three wounds will e're last
I know that our brothers have finally come home

All the new Probies know that which they face
They know of the dangerous demon we chase
And while shouldering the burden they'll never replace
Those heroes our brothers, they helped to bring home

So here's to the Probies who joined in O one
As they sort out the job, as they have begun
To take up the slack where the bravest would run
As they help to usher our lost brothers home

So I look past the flags and the buntings and grief
At so many young faces providing relief
The orange shield on your helmets expresses belief
You carry our brothers, back to us and home.

Yvette's Song   

When I was young, my people lived, along the Moise River's flow
Summer when the Salmon came, it's fishing we would go,
and oh the way the Salmon ran

Then came the fall, and with it the snow,
North and west to hunt we'd go,
Following the Caribou, and o the way the Salmon ran
and o how the Salmon ran.

Then one day, the Canadians came,
took away the children in a big sea plane
Told us we were for boarding school,
and o how the children ran, and
o the way the children ran

Kwai kwai, I said to the teacher there, she slapped my face and pulled my hair
Bon jour was the greeting then,
and o how my old words ran
and o the way my old words ran

They took away my clothes of Caribou,
took my moccasins and cut my long hair too,
schooled me in the white world's ways
and o how traditions ran, and
o the way traditions ran

When I was 18 I went to Quebec, to get a job with a fat pay check
It was there I found I was Indian,
and o how my hope then ran
and o the way all hope then ran

For an Indian there was no work at all
but there were drugs and there was alcohol
and soon my life, it was adrift,
like a feather on the Moise's flow
like a feather on the Moise's flow

But the Bear spirit came to me
spoke of my Grandmother, and the Moise
and back I went to Grandmother's door
and o the way my cares then ran
and oh the way all care then ran

There I remembered I was Innu again,
Not a Montainaise and not your Indian
and o how good the Salmon was
and o the way the white ways ran
and o how the white ways ran.

Now you bring us your mines and dams
you pollute our rives you destroy our land
now there is no place to run
there will be no place to stand
there will be no place to stand.


Lough Neagh - words Lorcan Otway tune General Monroe/Sally Monroe (Depending what foot you dig with ;-) )

Come all ye good people, who toil on the land
and attend to these verses, that you might understand
how an ancient injustice, commenced long ago
still enslaves all the fishers who sail from Ardboe

My name's Brian Hannon, I'm a fisher b' trade
in the town of Ardboe I was born and raised
and well I remember that very first day
that I sailed with my father to fish on Lough Neagh

How bitter for Ulster was fifteen ninety-four
for the loss of our land after the nine year war
Tyrone, Tyrconnell, and McQuire swept away
While our forefathers clung on to harvest Lough Neagh

What cold hearted nation, could remember with pride
the slaughter of parents with babes by their side
When Arthur Chitchester despoiled Lough Neagh's shore
enslaving the fisherfolk, there evermore

All around Dungannon, whole families he slew
he burned all the crops and wee cottages too,
while no reparations could this injustice repay
his descendants extort rent from us to this day

Now we toil on these waters unjust rent to pay
to Anthony Cooper, who now claims Lough Neagh
We toil that he might give one million pounds
to his gold digging third wife is she pouts or frowns

Now pollution has darkened the waters we need
for no absentee land lord could e're fully heed
the loving concern that it takes everyday
to preserve the sweet gifts of our treasure, Lough Neagh

For these waters we love, for they've given us life
Its the love that a man only feels for his wife
for these waters have fed us from our people's first day
we're as wed to these waters as the fish of Lough Neagh

The Ballad of Richard Murray
Words Lorcan Otway from a true story told my Anna L. Curtis
Tune Girl of the County Down.

In eighteen hundred and fifty six, I was in my eleventh year
There came a pounding at the door, which seized my heart with fear
For I knew we Quakers were hated, for our love of liberty
For my parents were abolitionists, and foes of slavery

My father, John Murray, cracked the door and peered outside
When a burly man forced the door open, and pushed him too one side
He glanced around the room then said, I see you're all at home
He then went out to his men, leaving us, for a time, alone

My father knew they would search the barn, and find our horses gone
So he told me to go up to my room, and t'is that, that I would have done
But I paused a moment on the stair, and I know I was not to have seen
My mother leading a Black man, to the room where I had been

Then my father called me down again, and he sat me by the fire
And he told me to pop some corn, and fear not what ere may transpire
For there came a hammering at the door, "Break it in" the men did call
So my father threw the door open wide, and three men fell into our hall

When they regained their feet again, their anger cause me alarm
"We're after a nigger slave this night, who ran off from his master's farm"
"Thee will find no slaves in this house, my friend, only folks as free as thee
But, welcome to look as hard as thee may, thou wilt not be stopped by me "

I tried to look calm as I wondered where on earth our guest might hide
In so plain and small a room as this, and I glanced from side to side
My mother handed a candle, to the men to give them light
"Take care that thee should not curse the dark," she said with some delight

Our home was then filled with sounds of men searching everywhere
Every room and closet was opened but they found no escapee there
At last they left, and even said, they were sorry for the harm
Having broken a chair, when they tumbled in, it was that which they fell upon

What did thee do with that man father, I asked, once the men were gone
So thee saw, my father said to me, it is time thee knew learned my son
He motioned me up from the hearthstone, then moved it to one side
And there I saw a room below, where several might safely hide

"Can I come up now" came a voice from the dark, "Yes I think it is safe thee now"
And, I was introduced to Samuel then, I was proud I do allow
For I was now a conductor on our railroad underground
And I'd do my part for justice, until freedom's bell would sound

The Ballad of Judith Folger
To the tune of Anachie Gordon
Words by Lorcan Otway
From a true story told to me by Anna Curtis,
the Great Great Granddaughter of Judith Folger.

My father was a whaling man, I'm proud to tell to thee
Master of a Nantucket whaling ship, the Lively Sally
As fierce a Quaker whaler man, as ever left this shore
He said to his wife one day, I fear there will be war

The year was 1775 we set out on the sea,
Sailed up the Hudson river, to a place near Albany
We bad farewell to father's ship, and the fisher's life
To start again on the frontier, away from war and strife

In the forests of the Iroquois, we set out to begin anew
We of the Folger family, and our Brother Samoset to,
For his parents died of the sickness, several years before
When almost every Indian died, on Nantucket's wind swept shore

In the Easton Quaker settlement, we lived two happy years
Till Johnny Burgoyne's army came, and we were filled with fear
For through out the long summer, Burgoyne's Native allies,
Were sent to raid the settlements, to raise the armies supplies

It was at Mid week meeting, that the Indians came at last
They burst into our meeting house, a frightening gaze they cast
Upon each seated Quaker, as we worshiped silently
Until the chief met the gaze of Zebulon Hoxie

Both looked into each other's eyes, yet not a word was said
The natives put their weapons down, and each bowed his head
And at the rise of meeting, our native guests we led,
To Zebulon Hoxie's house, there to break some bread      

And when the meal was taken, the chief rose to say
I came into your house today, each one of you to slay
I saw you talking with the Lord, and I listened also
He told me not to kill you, in Friendship now, we'll go

He placed a feather o'er our door, a sign that we were friends
And there I leave my story, though this story never ends,
For they saw God in all of us, as we saw God in them
And thee may think on Easton, and live in peace my friends

Cheers Larry


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Subject: RE: Commitment and Success in NYC Folk
From: GUEST,I too am good
Date: 30 Nov 02 - 02:43 PM

here is a small sample of my writing... it isn't shit, though it is often treated as such by band members or venue owners...

Maybe your band members and venue owners are more objective judges of your writing than you are. From what I've gathered from 20 years of playing in bands is that if my mates do not believe in the strength of the songs, the audience sure won't.

Something else I've gathered is that venue owners come to know what works in their venue. If it's a bar, the objective is to sell drinks and they want music that people will want to drink to. If it's a coffeehouse or concert, they want headliners who will bring in the audience and support artists who will hold the audience's attention and suitably prepare the crowd for the headliner. If you're not up to those tasks, then you're of little use to the venue owner.


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Subject: RE: Commitment and Success in NYC Folk
From: InOBU
Date: 30 Nov 02 - 05:16 PM

Dear Guest, sign your name or get stuffed. Larry


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Subject: RE: Commitment and Success in NYC Folk
From: GUEST,I too am good
Date: 01 Dec 02 - 10:20 AM

Pretty funny there Larry. Especially since you know exactly who I am, and since you know full well that I've been to see you play more than once and have heard your songs. Just between you and me, your personality can be pretty alienating, and that may have something to do with why people don't want to play with you, or hire you.

About getting stuffed, though. It's three days since Thanksgiving and I'm still stuffed. Lots of leftovers keeping me that way. Haha!


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Subject: RE: Commitment and Success in NYC Folk
From: Fortunato
Date: 01 Dec 02 - 11:26 AM

Hey, Larry,
I'm signing on late here, but I find myself in agree with Suffet about maintaining a 'bench'.

I'm located in DC. Everyone tells me it's different than New York. I wouldn't know. It's smaller anyway. The Irish scene here is not small, however. There are quite a few venues. I'm sure Seamus Kennedy could tell you more about that than I. My impression is that many musicians in the circuit play or have played with everyone else if they're any good, use a kind of 'bench' system.

As you may remember I play Old Time Country Music now. But I've been a solo folk performer, hosted open mikes, played in country bands, rock bands and western swing bands. I've played on the 'strip' in burlesque houses and I've played in NCO clubs and I've played in coffee houses. All that to say, I'm not inexperienced in putting together, booking and breaking up bands.

That said, here's my current take on this. I am the band leader. Fascist? No, far from it. I ain't Benny Goodman, but I am the guy responsible for making the show work. The vision is mine (though my wife shares it), the planning is largely mine. the research is mine and the implementation is mine. What success there is, is shared because it's ABOUT THE MUSIC. I hire the best musicians I can bring to a venue or recording session. If 'S' can't make it I'll find another bass player; if the fiddler can't make it I'll find another. I cut CDs and give the 'hired guns' the material ahead of time. These guys are so damn good they don't need real rehearsal and know how to listen and watch. That keeps the intros and outs formulaic, yes, but "shave and a haircut, two bits" works every damn time doesn't it?

I don't know what you've done or tried other than what I read up there, so I'm not commenting on your efforts AT ALL! Just my own, ok?


Would I like to have a band of 'soul mates', sure. But in the meantime the message to me is this: IF THE AUDIENCE SHOWS UP AND LIKES THE SHOW, THE VENUE OWNER WILL LIKE THE SHOW. IF THE VENUE OWNERS LIKE THE SHOW, I'LL HAVE PLACES TO PERFORM. If they don't then I don't. Now it's up to me to put together the show. No excuses, nobody else to blame.

It's a tough business and I'm glad I have a day job. All the best to you and good luck with your music. Chance


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Subject: RE: Commitment and Success in NYC Folk
From: InOBU
Date: 01 Dec 02 - 05:51 PM

Well, doesn't that just prove what a coward you are, guest? If you contend that my personality is at fault, sign your damn name. It is easy to liable someone from behind the wall, coward. Get a life and you will be happy to hang a name on it, till then, I reiterate, get stuffed.
Larry Otway


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Subject: RE: Commitment and Success in NYC Folk
From: InOBU
Date: 01 Dec 02 - 05:53 PM

While posting on the mudcat site,
so many a tune did borrow,
my songs inflamed, many a fascist clan
and one wee guest named Yarrow

This Yarrow she did post with spite
and many a phrase so callow
Invective she hurled with all her might
did this one wee guest named Yarrow

But words bereft of mighty wit
where met with naught but sorrow
for one who posts with no real point
this one wee guest named Yarrow

So poets all, raise up yer glass
We'll toast and sing till it be morrow
And when the words flow fast and free
We'll have a dram for Yarrow
Larry


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