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Emotion 'junkies'

akenaton 23 Sep 03 - 07:34 AM
GUEST 23 Sep 03 - 07:47 AM
GUEST,MMario 23 Sep 03 - 10:02 AM
mack/misophist 23 Sep 03 - 10:16 AM
GUEST,KB 23 Sep 03 - 10:38 AM
alanabit 23 Sep 03 - 12:35 PM
McGrath of Harlow 23 Sep 03 - 12:52 PM
akenaton 23 Sep 03 - 03:42 PM
GUEST,Big Nurse 23 Sep 03 - 03:46 PM
McGrath of Harlow 23 Sep 03 - 03:55 PM
akenaton 23 Sep 03 - 04:10 PM
Bill D 23 Sep 03 - 10:13 PM
LadyJean 23 Sep 03 - 11:44 PM
Mudlark 24 Sep 03 - 12:56 AM
Amos 24 Sep 03 - 08:52 AM
GUEST,reggie miles 24 Sep 03 - 09:23 AM
McGrath of Harlow 25 Sep 03 - 08:16 PM
Joybell 25 Sep 03 - 10:05 PM
LadyJean 26 Sep 03 - 12:03 AM
akenaton 30 Sep 03 - 07:11 PM
akenaton 30 Sep 03 - 07:16 PM
Amos 30 Sep 03 - 07:19 PM
McGrath of Harlow 30 Sep 03 - 07:44 PM
Joybell 30 Sep 03 - 07:49 PM
GUEST,pdq 30 Sep 03 - 08:03 PM
akenaton 30 Sep 03 - 08:17 PM
akenaton 30 Sep 03 - 08:33 PM
GUEST,pdq 30 Sep 03 - 09:06 PM
akenaton 30 Sep 03 - 09:11 PM
Maryrrf 30 Sep 03 - 09:27 PM
Amos 30 Sep 03 - 09:30 PM
McGrath of Harlow 30 Sep 03 - 09:34 PM
GUEST 30 Sep 03 - 09:38 PM
Joybell 30 Sep 03 - 10:30 PM
GUEST,the old pooperoo 30 Sep 03 - 11:13 PM
Joybell 30 Sep 03 - 11:31 PM
mg 30 Sep 03 - 11:42 PM
Amos 30 Sep 03 - 11:50 PM
Joybell 30 Sep 03 - 11:54 PM
GUEST,the old pooperoo 01 Oct 03 - 12:31 AM
alanabit 01 Oct 03 - 02:50 AM
harvey andrews 01 Oct 03 - 05:08 AM
Steve Parkes 01 Oct 03 - 05:38 AM
alanabit 01 Oct 03 - 05:57 AM
s&r 01 Oct 03 - 06:52 AM
Joybell 01 Oct 03 - 06:57 AM
Steve Parkes 01 Oct 03 - 08:22 AM
Amos 01 Oct 03 - 09:08 AM
Jeri 01 Oct 03 - 09:19 AM
VIN 01 Oct 03 - 09:26 AM
Steve Parkes 01 Oct 03 - 10:01 AM
alanabit 01 Oct 03 - 02:48 PM
Joybell 01 Oct 03 - 07:27 PM
McGrath of Harlow 01 Oct 03 - 07:44 PM
Joybell 01 Oct 03 - 07:54 PM
Amos 01 Oct 03 - 08:09 PM
Joybell 01 Oct 03 - 08:20 PM
akenaton 01 Oct 03 - 09:45 PM
GUEST,the old pooperoo 01 Oct 03 - 09:58 PM
Amos 01 Oct 03 - 09:59 PM
VIN 02 Oct 03 - 08:35 AM
Steve Parkes 02 Oct 03 - 10:32 AM
McGrath of Harlow 02 Oct 03 - 10:55 AM
Peg 02 Oct 03 - 11:27 AM
Amos 02 Oct 03 - 11:48 AM
akenaton 02 Oct 03 - 01:33 PM
Trevor 03 Oct 03 - 10:34 AM
Jeri 03 Oct 03 - 11:02 AM
VIN 03 Oct 03 - 11:15 AM
Steve Parkes 03 Oct 03 - 11:22 AM
Uncle_DaveO 03 Oct 03 - 11:26 AM
Amos 03 Oct 03 - 11:51 AM
GUEST,ClaireBear 03 Oct 03 - 12:15 PM
Trevor 04 Oct 03 - 05:01 AM
Jeri 04 Oct 03 - 06:55 AM
GUEST,erinmaidin 04 Oct 03 - 07:43 AM
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Subject: Emotion 'junkies'
From: akenaton
Date: 23 Sep 03 - 07:34 AM

I suppose most of us know that the "hook" that ties us "folkies"to the music we love is the emotional fix (sadness, happiness, anger , indignation),contained in most performances.I remember a young waif called June Tabor,singing "the band played Waltzing Matilda"on one of the TV folk series'.I had never heard the song before and the sound of june singing it unaccompanied was unforgettable.
Of late I have developed a disturbing trait,involving the analysis of the tremors ,cracks and dents in Linda Thompsons magnificent folk voice in an attempt to wring out the last buzz.
Do any other Mudcats display this behaviour,or should I await the arrival of "Frank Bruno's taxi"


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Subject: RE: Emotion 'junkies'
From: GUEST
Date: 23 Sep 03 - 07:47 AM

Taxi's here Mr Akenaton & the meter's running.


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Subject: RE: Emotion 'junkies'
From: GUEST,MMario
Date: 23 Sep 03 - 10:02 AM

getting analytical about it ruins the pleasure....(for me at least)


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Subject: RE: Emotion 'junkies'
From: mack/misophist
Date: 23 Sep 03 - 10:16 AM

I've always preferred voices that sounded like they'd been somewhere, done something, suffered some, and lived to tell the tale.


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Subject: RE: Emotion 'junkies'
From: GUEST,KB
Date: 23 Sep 03 - 10:38 AM

I love voices that are expressive & that have a range of expressions too. There is nothing more disappointing to me than hearing a fantastic rendition & then finding out the rest of the repertoir is exactly the same flavour. So - I like a varied diet of high emotion and mellow restful & all stations between.


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Subject: RE: Emotion 'junkies'
From: alanabit
Date: 23 Sep 03 - 12:35 PM

For me it comes down to what sounds natural and convincing. There was a slight crack in Billie Holliday's voice, which was just perfect for what she did. It's there in some of my favourite blues singers too. Singers who over emote - especially when the lyrics in no way justify that treatment - are a bit of a turnoff for me.


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Subject: RE: Emotion 'junkies'
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 23 Sep 03 - 12:52 PM

I'm with alanabit there - I loathe it when singers try to put emotion into a song. Sing it straight and if the emotion breaks through, that's a different thing. The emotion should be in the listener to be experienced, not in the performer, to be observed.


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Subject: RE: Emotion 'junkies'
From: akenaton
Date: 23 Sep 03 - 03:42 PM

Thanks for your replies folks especially Guest, who has obviously "worked the cars " in his time.   I dont think I totally agree with Mcgrath and Alanabit..There seems to be a small group of singers who can project true emotion.    Mind you ,a good song can help.Any ideas on singers who "get you going " emotionally.
I very much agree with "misophists" remarks.
The young singers like Kate Rusby and Cara dillon ,though very popular appear to be "ear-candy".    Ake...


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Subject: RE: Emotion 'junkies'
From: GUEST,Big Nurse
Date: 23 Sep 03 - 03:46 PM

Now take your medicine and hop into the nice taxi, Ake.


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Subject: RE: Emotion 'junkies'
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 23 Sep 03 - 03:55 PM

There's evoking emotion and there's projecting it - that's the difference I mean. For me the place where the emotion belongs is in the person listening to the song, and in the heart of the singer - but not in the singing.

That's a personal preference, though it's also one that seems pretty general to most traditional ways of singing in all parts of the British Isles. It's very important in Sean Nos singing. There are types of singing where naked emotion, real or assumed, seems very important, such as Flamenco and Soul.


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Subject: RE: Emotion 'junkies'
From: akenaton
Date: 23 Sep 03 - 04:10 PM

Mcgrath ..Im talking more about the finer nuances of the singers voice,as when listening to Linda Thomson for example,shes giving away her deepest secrets when she sings.Anyway thats how I see it.
And Guest "big nurse" that taxi's sounding better all the time.
   Best wishes Ake....


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Subject: RE: Emotion 'junkies'
From: Bill D
Date: 23 Sep 03 - 10:13 PM

I own the 2 record set by John Jacob Niles....I think I have have played it maybe twice in 20 years. 'Nuff said...


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Subject: RE: Emotion 'junkies'
From: LadyJean
Date: 23 Sep 03 - 11:44 PM

All music conveys emotion. Handel lived in a time when reason ruled, and emotion was mistrusted. Yet he wrote "The Messiah" an emotional piece of music if ever there was one. To hear it sung by some church choir diva, who feels nothing, is not a happy experience.   
Unless you are made of stone, there are some songs that are going to make you feel, and that emotion is going to come through in your singing. This is not, necessarily a bad thing.
                Once more! With feeling!


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Subject: RE: Emotion 'junkies'
From: Mudlark
Date: 24 Sep 03 - 12:56 AM

Authenticity is all...the minute the listener detects effort, it becomes manipulation. On the other hand, there are some voices that, whether because of resonance or emotion or something else, tend to get me going. Listening to Eva Cassidy sing Fields of Gold or I Know You By Heart makes me cry every time...or Emmy Lou singing She No Longer Needs You...or Fred Neil...


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Subject: RE: Emotion 'junkies'
From: Amos
Date: 24 Sep 03 - 08:52 AM

Authenticity is all.

Mudlark strikes to the very core again!


A


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Subject: RE: Emotion 'junkies'
From: GUEST,reggie miles
Date: 24 Sep 03 - 09:23 AM

I recently had the opportunity to catch a performance where the singer used certain vocal calisthenics while presenting his songs. The use was surprising and effective at producing a desired response the first time, but by the time the third or fourth song rolled around I found myself wishing he would stop showing me his voice tricks and just sing. The attempt to inflict each song with this affectation became an annoyance.


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Subject: RE: Emotion 'junkies'
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 25 Sep 03 - 08:16 PM

I was at a workshop which Dan Keding - storyteller 9(and singer too) and Mudcatter - gave at Sidmouth Festival last month, and the question about emotion came up. Dan was very firm on the idea that, when you're telling a story the emotion belongs in the listeners, and I think that goes for songs. That doesn't mean a flat and uninvolved performance, but an element of detachment, a kind of modesty.

Actually the word for what I dislike is when a singer "emotes", and starts using a display of emotion as a technique.


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Subject: RE: Emotion 'junkies'
From: Joybell
Date: 25 Sep 03 - 10:05 PM

I knew I had found kindred spirits. I find vocal tricks distracting at best and unbearably painful at worst. Of course that doesn't mean that I haven't gulped or sobbed in the middle of an old ballad on occasion. I have a horror of singers who put in deliberate emotion or draw attention to their voices. The song and not the singer - that's what I strive to convey.


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Subject: RE: Emotion 'junkies'
From: LadyJean
Date: 26 Sep 03 - 12:03 AM

I saw Maddy Prior dance all over the Carnegie Lecture Hall, singing "Padstow". I don't know if she was showing off, or if it was the joy of the song. But it was something special.


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Subject: RE: Emotion 'junkies'
From: akenaton
Date: 30 Sep 03 - 07:11 PM

Sorry to revive this dead thread, but I'v been away and reading through the messages I dont think we have got the idea of emotion in Folk music...What about Ewan Macoll's anger at the treatment of industrial workers (including his own father) and Eric Bogle's cold fury at the futility of war .There are countless other examples,This is what makes Folk music so different.I dont agree with what Mcgrath and others say ,that it should all be left up to the listener,when people feel things deeply its bound to come through in the music they produce....Ake


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Subject: RE: Emotion 'junkies'
From: akenaton
Date: 30 Sep 03 - 07:16 PM

And while Im on my "high horse .Why is there so much shit on this forum at present .We all seem to be getting more sanctimonious and sentimental by the day ......BRING BACK GARGOYLE......BAN THE OLD FARTS...


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Subject: RE: Emotion 'junkies'
From: Amos
Date: 30 Sep 03 - 07:19 PM

Oh, climb down, dick-head!! There-- happy now??

A


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Subject: RE: Emotion 'junkies'
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 30 Sep 03 - 07:44 PM

The distinction is between the case where it comes out naturally, as against the case where it is used as a technique. And one reason for that is that you are likely to end up with the situation where the performer is putting on an emotion like some garment, and the audience is uninvolved and admiring the technique.

In the examples akenaton gave, the emotion is there - but it's held in check ("cold fury"), which I believe makes it far more effective at eliciting a corresponding emotion in the listener.

My impression is that gargoyle is a quintessential old fart.


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Subject: RE: Emotion 'junkies'
From: Joybell
Date: 30 Sep 03 - 07:49 PM

Such anger! A good paddling on the bottom by one of us Old Farts" would be a good idea. The songs of McColl and Bogle were never part of a folk culture. They are not old folk-ballads.


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Subject: Lyr Add: DADDY WHAT DID YOU DO IN THE STRIKE
From: GUEST,pdq
Date: 30 Sep 03 - 08:03 PM

This song has been posted before. But, once more with feeling!



DADDY WHAT DID YOU DO IN THE STRIKE
(Ewan MacColl)

It was in the year of '84 shit really hit the fan
When 'Mac the Knife' MacGregor, Maggie Thatcher's hatchet-man
Said, Another twenty pits will have to close to meet the plan
And we'll dump another twenty thousand miners

Daddy were you with the first of the first
Did you tell the NCB to do its worst
Or did you save your lily liver
Sell the union down the river
A scab, a blackleg, one forever cursed

When Arthur Scargill heard the news he cried, This Yankee slob
Is a gift from Cowboy Reagan and he's here to steal our jobs
Do an axe-job on the union for the crummy Thatcher mob
But we'll show him what it means to be a miner

Daddy did you man the picket-line
Did you fight to save the future of the mines
Or did you take the wrong direction
Did you squeal for police protection
Did you let 'em see your india-rubber spine

Well the Yorkshire lads came out on strike and said, It's evident
The only way to stop MacGregor and the government
Is to bring the lads out everywhere from Scotland down to Kent
And we'll show 'em what it means to be a miner

Daddy what did you do in the strike
Did you stand there with your mates and join the fight
Or did you show a yellow belly
Spill your guts out on the telly
Did you let the bosses fill you full of shite

Some didn't heed the strike call for guts and brains they lack
They're the colour of a primrose though their hearts and legs are black
And their noses are all brown with being up the rear of Mac
They're just a bunch of dirty blackleg miners

Daddy did you march at the head
Did you stand there on the picket-line unfed
Or did you sell your mates to have a
Fortnight on the Costa Brava
Did you choose a two-week holiday instead

Well the battle it is joined at last the forces they are massed
On their side the press the telly all the weapons of their class
Plus MacGregor and his blacklegs but we'll never let 'em pass
The NUM's the weapon of the miners

Daddy what did you do in the strike
Did you scab and let your workmates wage the fight
How the neighbours stood and booed us
Said we had the stink of Judas
Daddy what did you do in the strike


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Subject: RE: Emotion 'junkies'
From: akenaton
Date: 30 Sep 03 - 08:17 PM

Joybell what planet do you come from....Macoll and Bogle dont belong in the "folk culture"????Have I been missing something for the last 60 yrs. When I was a young folkie the clubs were full of Macoll songs.


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Subject: RE: Emotion 'junkies'
From: akenaton
Date: 30 Sep 03 - 08:33 PM

pdq ...Thats exactly what I mean,you can see and hear the anger in his writing and his singing.That commitment to his ideals (whether you agree withthem or not)is what gives folk music its power...
Sorry if my language offended any senior citizens...Ake


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Subject: RE: Emotion 'junkies'
From: GUEST,pdq
Date: 30 Sep 03 - 09:06 PM

Thanks for the concern, Ake. I personally am not quite senior just yet. You are actually close to a debate about the definition of "folk music". Wouldn't you rather open a new thread and let this one pass on???


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Subject: RE: Emotion 'junkies'
From: akenaton
Date: 30 Sep 03 - 09:11 PM

I think your right pdq, but that debate seems to be never ending and Iv just had my Cocoa ...So its up the stairs to Bedfordshire.
      Good night to you    Ake..


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Subject: RE: Emotion 'junkies'
From: Maryrrf
Date: 30 Sep 03 - 09:27 PM

Well, since this thread is refreshed I'll put in my two cents. As long as it's genuine and not overdone or theatrical, I like it when the singer puts emotion into the song. Although Kate Rusby, Cara Dillon, and some others I can't think of right now have beautiful voices, I often feel a little frustrated - like something's missing. I like a voice with feeling and dare I say it...passion. Niamh Parsons comes to mind. I am aware that there are two very different schools of thought on this and I'm not putting down those in favor of "detachment" but it isn't what I prefer.


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Subject: RE: Emotion 'junkies'
From: Amos
Date: 30 Sep 03 - 09:30 PM

AKe, just to let it be said I tend to agree with you about both "poles" in the transmission being proper locations for emotion.

And I think further that most of what wa sbeing objected to by others here was affectation -- the donning of signs of emotion not actually felt, which is kin to the spouting of words for a walk never taken. It is hard to be genuine, and therefor ehard to communicate, when one is actually making a pretense from art.

A


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Subject: RE: Emotion 'junkies'
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 30 Sep 03 - 09:34 PM

It's not prettiness in the voice that is important (it can even hurt) - it's authenticity, especially around emotion.


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Subject: RE: Emotion 'junkies'
From: GUEST
Date: 30 Sep 03 - 09:38 PM

Oh yeah...it is why I love minor key songs so much.


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Subject: RE: Emotion 'junkies'
From: Joybell
Date: 30 Sep 03 - 10:30 PM

Same planet. I didn't say they didn't belong. I saw Eric Bogle when he was first performing "The Band Played Waltzing Matilda" and for the record he, (like Ewan McColl actually) performs in a very low-key style. He always lets the song provide the emotion, which isn't to say that there's no feeling there. We all cried with him as I remember.


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Subject: RE: Emotion 'junkies'
From: GUEST,the old pooperoo
Date: 30 Sep 03 - 11:13 PM

O priest of the sun-god, the fact that you think folk culture is what goes on in urban "folk" clubs shows where you are at. (Ewan MacColl actually did present a lot of great REAL folk songs, in a fine unaffected traditional style) if you had spent more time listening to genuine folk music, you might know the difference. the term "folk" as used by non-folklorists is virtually meaningless -- at least since the the days of the good old Peoples' Artists. as for the "folk" festivals, i dont care so much if they want to call them that, but most of the stuff presented is not fit to listen to: robotic bluegrass bands, white people pathetically trying to sound black, inspired but talentless poets delivering sermons in song, failed violin students giving spiritless renditions of folk dances, electrified acts trying to get into show business thru the back door etc etc. (and personally, i dont think eric bogle is all that good -- compared with Lyle Lovett, Tom Waits, Guy Clark, Townes van Sandt, and yes, Slim Dusty -- at least he was real). For the record, i had my first paid residency in Boston in 1960, and am still playing at "folk" festivals -- what the hell, i might sell a CD or two. Regards to all, and blessings on Doc Watson. The Old Pooperoo


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Subject: RE: Emotion 'junkies'
From: Joybell
Date: 30 Sep 03 - 11:31 PM

Old PPR Welcome in the water's fine.


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Subject: RE: Emotion 'junkies'
From: mg
Date: 30 Sep 03 - 11:42 PM

to each his own. I will chose the pretty voice every time over the one with however much raw and rough experience of life. We always talk about the emotional aspects of music and never almost about the sensory aspects of it. I like pretty music and jolly music. Life is sad enough. mg


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Subject: RE: Emotion 'junkies'
From: Amos
Date: 30 Sep 03 - 11:50 PM

I think there's room around for all kinds as long as they're getting it said, Ole pooperoo...maybe we need to make chronological tags -- White-Haired Folk Music for anything written before 1700. Gray haired, 1700-1800. Middle-aged, 1800-1960. Whippersnappers, anything from Phil Ochs to Townes van Zandt. Woddya think?

A


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Subject: RE: Emotion 'junkies'
From: Joybell
Date: 30 Sep 03 - 11:54 PM

It all has it's place. For the record my voice is pretty and sweet even though the songs I do are seldom pretty in content. Jolly sometimes though. I really like the pretty sounding old songs that are grim stories. The contrast is the attraction.


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Subject: RE: Emotion 'junkies'
From: GUEST,the old pooperoo
Date: 01 Oct 03 - 12:31 AM

dear amos, thank you for your reply. i was making 2 points. 1. folk music is the product of a folk culture -- that is, one that is reasonably independent of mass culture, such as have existed until recently in parts of the american south, in urban ghettoes, and thruout the 3rd world. in any other context, the term "folk music" is so ill-defined as to be meaningless. the misuse of the term got a big boost in the 50s, when some brave and well-meaning people started applying it to newly-written compositions which they hoped would improve the world. the works of the modern songwriters are not folksongs. they are simply songs -- topical songs, exploitation songs, propaganda songs, "neo-traditional country" songs, "acoustic" songs -- and their composers are what i call singer-songwriters. The likes of Ochs are more closely related to the world of student parody and political campaign, and perhaps more distantly to cabaret singers like Georges Brassens and Amalia Rogriguez. back around 1960 it was common for the "folk" crowd to scoff at rock&roll and country music -- i remember one night become enraged at hearing dear Joanie making fun of "Let the Good Times Roll" -- when the stuff they were sneering at was directly derived from our country's folk music, while the stuff in the coffee houses varied a great deal on that score. note that Dylan, who had a deep knowledge and appreciation of folk song, and who used folk elements in his compositions, never called himself a folk-singer (altho hank williams did). i'm not a folksinger either, altho i use folk song and style often, and prefer the non-affected delivery. this means opening oneself to the power of the song, and letting it work if it will, on oneself and the listener. once a song gets a bit old, it's time to let it rest. sensitive listeners can tell when you're faking.
2. the other issue is that of standards, and is not necessarily related. the "folk" audience seem to have a tolerance for performances that are poorly done, by people who havent taken the trouble to really understand their material. compare the standards of performance in jazz and even country music. The singer-songwriters seem to depend on audience sympathy for the cause -- saving the environment, stopping war, etc -- rather than on well-crafted songs, and their songs are usually tuneless strings of cliche-ridden doggerel. There are some great songwriters around, like the ones i mentioned, but a lot of them dont seem to be considered "folk".
does it depend on the crowd you're with? all the best, the old pooperoo


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Subject: RE: Emotion 'junkies'
From: alanabit
Date: 01 Oct 03 - 02:50 AM

Shame on Eric Bogle for failing to get himself born in America, eh?


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Subject: RE: Emotion 'junkies'
From: harvey andrews
Date: 01 Oct 03 - 05:08 AM

"The singer-songwriters seem to depend on audience sympathy for the cause -- saving the environment, stopping war, etc -- rather than on well-crafted songs, and their songs are usually tuneless strings of cliche-ridden doggerel"

I agree there's a lot of it about, but they're only a part of a greater whole.Please don't tar all with the same brush! Maybe "some" singer-songwriters or even "most", but surely not all.
As to emotion, it seems to me many younger singers work hard to keep that out of their vocals, probably in opposition to the drivel sung by pop divas at an emotional level equal to being on a scaffold with a rope around the neck, that pours out of supermarket speakers whenever I'm shopping.
The words should convey the emotion, but the singer should be singing the words as if newly discovering them, and without vocal "tricks". If you're honest with the song it will do its magic. However I do think some of the younger performers I've heard, mostly female, sound as though they're singing the songs in their sleep.Almost an academic exercise like they used to be sung when I was in school, without any feel for the content or connection with the story being told.


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Subject: RE: Emotion 'junkies'
From: Steve Parkes
Date: 01 Oct 03 - 05:38 AM

I've always believed in listening to the words when you sing: sound as if you mean what you say. This needn't require "putting on" an emotion: you can sing in a manner that allows your listeners to know if your'e being ironic, facetious, resigned, passionate, or whatever.

Example ... A friend of mine sings "Go to sea once more" (merchant sailor comes back from a voyage, blows al his cash and gets his new clothes etc. stolen; has to sign on again straight away with whatever cold, wet miserable berth he can get) in a very glum way; he gives the impression of a man feelng very sorry for himself. I always sing it with a "you'll be amused when I tell you the stupid thing I just did" tone.

I think you should take your songs seriously if you want others to. I agree with Harvey. (Isn't that what I just said?)


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Subject: RE: Emotion 'junkies'
From: alanabit
Date: 01 Oct 03 - 05:57 AM

I go along with both of you. I think the way you present the emotion in a song has a lot to do with the viewpoint. I do a song about a teenage runaway who is perhaps embittered, but unrepentant. I try to make it sound as if it's coming from her mouth. In other songs I am the narrator. Those (I think) sound better with a lighter touch. I guess that when singers sing about their own life, it must be very hard to strike a balance. I shall leave that sort of thing to singers more talented than myself!


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Subject: RE: Emotion 'junkies'
From: s&r
Date: 01 Oct 03 - 06:52 AM

read the thread "Why we Sing"


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Subject: RE: Emotion 'junkies'
From: Joybell
Date: 01 Oct 03 - 06:57 AM

I agree Harvey, Steve and Alanabit. Once long ago I told my teacher/guru that I wished I had a voice like ... I forget who it was I admired at the time, but she had a voice to die for. Anyway he said "when I hear you sing the "Great Silkie of Shule Skerrie" I can smell the fish on the breath of the seal". I think of that a lot especially now that my voice is getting older and shakier.


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Subject: RE: Emotion 'junkies'
From: Steve Parkes
Date: 01 Oct 03 - 08:22 AM

Are you sure that was a compliment, Joybell?!


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Subject: RE: Emotion 'junkies'
From: Amos
Date: 01 Oct 03 - 09:08 AM

Very funny. Steve!!

Pooperoo, I understand your point. I recommend to you the thread series called "Why We Sing", if you haven't read it. I think it provides a perspective from which the argument for a "modernistic folk culture" could be made, but I do understand that is not the definition you honor.

I am an amateur folksinger, but I work at my presentation and at my skills. I have recently had the opportunity to listen to a wide range of recordings from Mudcatters all over the world and I have to say that more than half of them are highly professional in their presentation. But I might add that you seem to be working up a double standard in requiring that folk music come from a folk culture but be professionally competent in presentation. I would think we would want to leave room for those who sing from the heart, and do it as well as they can, because the lvoe the song, although employed in other professions.

A


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Subject: RE: Emotion 'junkies'
From: Jeri
Date: 01 Oct 03 - 09:19 AM

I hope when people are talking about 'detached' and a lack of emotion in the singing (as opposed to the song itself or the listeners) one is talking about not over-acting.

McGrath, you wrote (way up there) "For me the place where the emotion belongs is in the person listening to the song, and in the heart of the singer - but not in the singing."
How does one manage to extract the emotion from the transmission phase of this form of communcication?

If I have to sing songs I can detach from, or ones that make me feel something strongly and then supress my emotions, why bother singing? Why bother listening? People can just read the lyrics, without emotion, at home to themselves.

Singing a song, for instance a ballad, with no appropriate passion is like telling a story in monotone.

Ewan McColl sang traditional ballads and songs with a great deal of passion. So did Jeannie Robertson. So does June Tabor, Frankie Armstrong, Lou Killen, various people named Waterson or Carthy, Dan Milner, and quite a few others I think are worth listening to. Please - name someone who is respected as a singer who does NOT sing with emotion!

As far as analyzing someone's singing, picking it apart, I think it's what we do to figure out how they make the magic. I think figuring out someone's style can be interesting. When we pick at all the imperfections, it's because we're try to figure out why the magic's still there in spite of them. Voice is easy to hear - it's right out there. That indefinable 'something' is a lot harder to pin down.


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Subject: RE: Emotion 'junkies'
From: VIN
Date: 01 Oct 03 - 09:26 AM

Its all in the ear of the beholder!!


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Subject: RE: Emotion 'junkies'
From: Steve Parkes
Date: 01 Oct 03 - 10:01 AM

Did traditional singers - as collected and/or recorded all those years ago -- put much emotion into their singing? I haven't heard many actual field recordings, and those not for a long time, but I retian an impression that they didn't, particularly.

Steve


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Subject: RE: Emotion 'junkies'
From: alanabit
Date: 01 Oct 03 - 02:48 PM

I don't think anyone wants to hear singing which sounds like the Telephone Directory being read, Jeri. I think what various commentators are having a go at is singers who emote - that is over play and over dramatise the ballad. I think that good singing is like good acting. You can't really see how it's done. You just know that it is working and you believe it.


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Subject: RE: Emotion 'junkies'
From: Joybell
Date: 01 Oct 03 - 07:27 PM

I have a friend who is keen to recruit me into collecting oral histories and songs from the aging population around here. He sends me video tapes of people he has collected. Of course they are not as isolated as they once were but there is an old lady he has found who sings in the manner of the mountain singers in America. She shows no emotion and she uses a high closed-throat style that she said she got from her Scottish grandmother. There are subtle changes that you don't notice particularly but work on you all the same. My true-love and I found ourselves crying through "Barb'ry Allen" even though we know the song so well.
And Steve, yes I wondered about the compliment but my dear one just loves fish so I think it's ok.


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Subject: RE: Emotion 'junkies'
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 01 Oct 03 - 07:44 PM

"If you're honest with the song it will do its magic."

That says what I've been meaning, but much more elegantly and concisely. Thanks Harvey. I'd nominate that for a Mudcat collection of quotations.


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Subject: RE: Emotion 'junkies'
From: Joybell
Date: 01 Oct 03 - 07:54 PM

Yes me too! Count my vote in please.


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Subject: RE: Emotion 'junkies'
From: Amos
Date: 01 Oct 03 - 08:09 PM

Hand in hand with "Authenticity is all".

There's the deal. The kind of songs we sing come out of raw experience and should not be altered in that respect.

A


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Subject: RE: Emotion 'junkies'
From: Joybell
Date: 01 Oct 03 - 08:20 PM

Here Here!


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Subject: RE: Emotion 'junkies'
From: akenaton
Date: 01 Oct 03 - 09:45 PM

Iv read all the replies carefully,and I dont think were any nearer an answer to the Question of emotion in folk music.
The phrase which is repeated over and over,"authenticity is all," seems to be abit of a "red herring".The singersof the most effective anti -war songs,probably never had to go over the top under fire,but they sure know how to make us think!!!    The same case can be made for many folk song subjects,"authenticity " has nothing to do with it as far as I can see.
On the subject of "the Tradition"...Because a song happens to be old dosn't mean that its a good song.Too many entrenched opinions among the Tradies.
Im afraid some of these long ballads make me want to run for cover.
My origional question was ,how do we feel about the emotional content in folk music?...Its been lost in the mire...Ake


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Subject: RE: Emotion 'junkies'
From: GUEST,the old pooperoo
Date: 01 Oct 03 - 09:58 PM

Amos: i agree with you that there is nothing better than listening to real people, amateur or professional, singing about their own lives, or passing on good old songs to the rest of us, in a natural and upretentious way, especially in a small venue. these are the performers i seek out at the festivals, and they can be hard to find. what i dislike is urban white-collar people preaching in songs, belaboring themes that we all agree with anyway, and doing it badly, and especially when they write in the persona of someone whose experiences they couldnt possibly understand -- a first world war soldier, for instance. these performers seem to be the most popular with the "folk" crowd. also popular are performers who take simple folk-type material and work it up till it is unbearably slick -- a folk act. i wont mention names, but i have a big star or two in mind. why should folk music have stars anyway? and big stages with huge amplifiers and vast crowds? the whole concept seems paradoxical and contradictory, and i think the term "folk" should be dropped, except in reference to actual folkloric material. my favorite venue is a campfire. thanks for recommending the thread. i'll have a look at it. all the best, the old pooperoo


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Subject: RE: Emotion 'junkies'
From: Amos
Date: 01 Oct 03 - 09:59 PM

The authenticity is not a question of detailed experience. but of not pretending to feel things not felt. I cannot sing the Rebel Soldier without feeling really venomous about the Union Army. I find myself immersed in the images of Bull Run from the gray side. I don't feel the same way about Fields of Athenry, a song which I don't sing. It varies from song to song.

As to the original question: how do we feel about the emotional content of folk music? Fine, thanks.

A


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Subject: RE: Emotion 'junkies'
From: VIN
Date: 02 Oct 03 - 08:35 AM

Ello old poop, i agree its nice listening to real people singing in a 'natural unpretentious way' but errr is it ok if a non, so-called, urban white collar type (whatever that is) preaches in a song? even if they too won't ever have experienced the subject matter first hand e.g. fought in the trenches, worked as a piecer at 12 yrs old, worked down t'pit, up a chimney, bin a 'jack tar' on a clipper ship or fought at gallipoli??

It's a bit presumptious i reckon to assume everyone already grees with the 'belaboured' themes. Folk song/music has always been presented in various ways and forms and in these 'technological' days it may appear 'slick' but hey, good or bad, that's modern life! For example, Kate Rusby's version of 'Wild Goose' is as enjoyable to me as hearing A L LLoyd's recording of the same shanty. The folk tunes that Vaughan Williams used in his compositions are, to me, as enjoyable as hearing Fairport or the Albion Band or a simple rendition by a lone troubadour in a folk club or 'round a campfire'.


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Subject: RE: Emotion 'junkies'
From: Steve Parkes
Date: 02 Oct 03 - 10:32 AM

I'm getting a bit disturbed by all this talk of "white collars". My dad was a welder, his dad was a brickie, and his dad worked down a pit: my working-class fides are pretty bona, I would have thought. And yet, I'm a professional working in IT at a university, so my Collar is most definitely White. (Actually, it's blue today, but you know what I mean!) What does that make me? (And it's not because I'm a particularly clever family member, just that I was the first one whose parents could afford for him to go to the grammar school.)

One thing that used to annoy when I was younger was the middle-class kid with a guilty social conscience; don't know why -- pure prejudice, I expect. Anyway, I never let it get in the way of friendships.

I've never had a problem with people singing songs from outside their experience (except for Roger Whittacker; I'm sure he's a nice chap, but I could never take his pain seriously. More prejudice!). We all have the ability to put ourselves in someone else's shoes; it's part of what makes us human, isn't it? Those who can't do that are autistic. I never miss Gardeners' question time, but I wouldn't dream of getting my hands dirty in the garden; I still think I'm entitled to sing The seeds of love!

Steve


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Subject: RE: Emotion 'junkies'
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 02 Oct 03 - 10:55 AM

Hamlet put it pretty well too: "It offends me to the soul to hear a robustious periwig pated fellow tear a passion to tatters, to very rags."


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Subject: RE: Emotion 'junkies'
From: Peg
Date: 02 Oct 03 - 11:27 AM

I think it is possible for a singer to intentionally create an emotional sound or type of phrasing for effect, and still have it remain authentic sounding. But it's a fine line, and one risks sounding affected and precious if one overdoes it or does not quite capture it in a sincere way. One can practice a song for   maximum emotional sound, but the performance itself cannot be "phoned in" and the presence of the singer is really what's at the heart of convincing emotional expression.


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Subject: RE: Emotion 'junkies'
From: Amos
Date: 02 Oct 03 - 11:48 AM

I take some exception to the implications of the phrase "Emotion junkies". True, there is a condition people get in to where for various reasons they ar enumbed up against feeling, and anything extreme enough to remind them of life is desperately sought from any source capable of penetrating their walls -- horror movies, drug trips, roller-coaster rides, or criminal careers.

But folkies for the most part do not sing in order to feed an unnatural habit, which is implied by the word 'junkies'. My view is that by and large they are more capable than average of facing and experiencing the full gamut of human emotion without either shuitting them off or dramatizing them (which is the same problem in another direction).

Akneton talks abouit wringing the last buzz out of a singer's voice which is rich with emotional complexity. I think he is making it sound worse than it is -- not an addict's behaviour, but the desire to fully understand a subtle communication, quite a different thing.

Just my 2cents' worth...


A


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Subject: RE: Emotion 'junkies'
From: akenaton
Date: 02 Oct 03 - 01:33 PM

Amos ...The handle on the thread " Emotion junkies" was not meant to be taken in a truly literal sense, but i feel that most lovers of folk music enjoy the emotional component,rather than ..say instrumental technique.I think it is the emotional content which makes "folk music" different from all other forms and keeps us so loyal. Arn't we all so proud to call ourselves "folkies" regardless of which branch of the genre we prefer.
As to a definition....its impossible to define,but to me its music which makes your emotions come alive,shakes you out of that everyday lethargy,that we all sink into ...I even see some Rod Stewart songs as "folk music". and who can say Stings' "fields of gold" and "work the black seam" are not "folk songs"
   Best Wishes brother and sisters....Ake


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Subject: RE: Emotion 'junkies'
From: Trevor
Date: 03 Oct 03 - 10:34 AM

I agree with Jeri up there. The thing that I find toe-curlingly embarrassing and irritating, as a listener, is the theatricality (is that a word) with which some singers, am and pro, feel it necessary to embellish their performance. I suppose there is an ego issue for anybody who 'performs' - I just hate it when somebody thinks they need to impress more with their delivery than what they are delivering.
As far as authenticity is concerned, does one have to have had the specific 'experience' in order to 'feel'. If that's the case, why do I always feel like crying when I hear 'The Last Leviathan'. I've never seen a whale die. I can however empathise with fear, loss, lack of hope. I have my own pictures when I hear or sing 'The Band Played Waltzing Matilda'.
And with regard to the perennial 'what is a folkie....' stuff, we just have another example of how restricting language can be. Who gives a rats arse what you call somebody or their music as long as it fits with what you enjoy? Who are we defining it for?


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Subject: RE: Emotion 'junkies'
From: Jeri
Date: 03 Oct 03 - 11:02 AM

All a listener has to go on is their own perceptions. If a performer is intentionally singing a certain way to get the emotion across doesn't really matter. It's whether or not it SEEMS that way.

Someone can mean every word they sing and just be putting their own feelings into it and come off as a manipulative ham. Another person has carefully thought out the song - "at this point I will get very quiet and slow down to show sadness" - but does the song with finesse. You're so into the song that you don't notice. I guess the really unforgivable sin is being unsubtle.


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Subject: RE: Emotion 'junkies'
From: VIN
Date: 03 Oct 03 - 11:15 AM

Some great points there Roger, but i don't reckon embellinshing a song or performance is a problem so long as it's not too 'over the top' (which is a matter of opnion anyway i s'pose) but then if that's how the deliverer of the song/tune/poem wants or feels it should be done then hey..........I sometimes attend a club where a regular performer and co-MC does a lot of Jack (can't spell it properly) Brel stuff very dramatically but does it very well (in my umble opinion) and its kind of good so....
An un-embellished whistle or fiddle tune would sound pretty dead and so would a lot of un-accompanied songs i reckon.


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Subject: RE: Emotion 'junkies'
From: Steve Parkes
Date: 03 Oct 03 - 11:22 AM

Everyone embellishes a tune, however slightly: if we didn't, it would sound very mechanical, like a midi. It's impossible not to vary the timing, the volume, and/or even the pitch just a little bit. There's a pleasing point of equilibrium between "mechanical" and "over the top"; or rather a range of equilibrium, where we feel happy listening to a tune/song; slip outside the range and we're not happy. When our range overlaps with the performer's, everybody's happy.

Well, I think so, anyway!

Steve


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Subject: RE: Emotion 'junkies'
From: Uncle_DaveO
Date: 03 Oct 03 - 11:26 AM

Bill D said:
I own the 2 record set by John Jacob Niles....I think I have have played it maybe twice in 20 years. 'Nuff said...

You played it twice? What are you, some kind of masochist or something?

Dave Oesterreich


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Subject: RE: Emotion 'junkies'
From: Amos
Date: 03 Oct 03 - 11:51 AM

Thanks, Ake. I guess we agree.

A


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Subject: RE: Emotion 'junkies'
From: GUEST,ClaireBear
Date: 03 Oct 03 - 12:15 PM

Jeri asked, above, that we "name someone who is respected as a singer who does NOT sing with emotion!"

Since you've asked, it always used to bother me that Judy Collins (Is she respected?) sang so beautifully and yet so unemotionally. Even when she was clearly singing about something she pulled from her own life ("My Father"), she seemed to me to be entirely detached from the material. In concert, she seemed to be an ice queen...

Just my opinion. And by the way I loved her material, her arrangements, and her voice -- apart from that one issue with her delivery style.

Claire


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Subject: RE: Emotion 'junkies'
From: Trevor
Date: 04 Oct 03 - 05:01 AM

Yeah, when I talked about embellishment I wasn't meaning from a musical point of view and, of course, and as far as the improvisation that musicians use to express themselves, well, I generally enjoy that - unless, to my ear, it becomes a technical test rather than an expression of soul or feeling. It's the ego stuff that I hate, and I guess that judgement about whether it's over the top or insincere is based on the arbitrary, probably subjectively-based, criteria that we all have for measuring what we prefer. And who's Roger?


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Subject: RE: Emotion 'junkies'
From: Jeri
Date: 04 Oct 03 - 06:55 AM

Claire, on Judy Collins: maybe. I think the SOUND of her songs is more emotional than she herself seemed the one time I saw her, although they're still definitely on the bland side.

Trevor: nail/head/BAM! It's all SO subjective!
When we're kids, we're all hams. I tend to think that as we begin as singers, we often work on weeding out emotion from our singing rather than working one expressing it well. We try to get rid of all those "tremors, cracks and dents" mentioned in the first post which, if we learned how to feel comfortable with them, would add to our individual styles. We can learn how to use our own voices, then just sing.


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Subject: RE: Emotion 'junkies'
From: GUEST,erinmaidin
Date: 04 Oct 03 - 07:43 AM

Songs are stories. Stories are meant for listening. Sing the story in a way that causes people to listen. Otherwise they are merely conversation and most conversations are finished once the sound stops...or in many cases..during.


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