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Beatles and Folk music

DigiTrad:
LET IT BE


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Betsy 10 Apr 04 - 10:32 AM
GUEST,Russ 10 Apr 04 - 10:54 AM
The Villan 10 Apr 04 - 10:56 AM
Les from Hull 10 Apr 04 - 01:36 PM
Strollin' Johnny 10 Apr 04 - 03:36 PM
The Villan 10 Apr 04 - 04:56 PM
Ed. 10 Apr 04 - 05:35 PM
McGrath of Harlow 10 Apr 04 - 05:45 PM
Lanfranc 10 Apr 04 - 07:19 PM
Bill D 10 Apr 04 - 07:19 PM
Once Famous 10 Apr 04 - 07:57 PM
McGrath of Harlow 10 Apr 04 - 08:06 PM
Art Thieme 10 Apr 04 - 09:47 PM
Midchuck 10 Apr 04 - 10:56 PM
Dave Hanson 11 Apr 04 - 04:05 AM
Gurney 11 Apr 04 - 04:47 AM
Les from Hull 11 Apr 04 - 08:35 AM
RichM 11 Apr 04 - 08:52 AM
RichM 11 Apr 04 - 08:53 AM
Sir Roger de Beverley 11 Apr 04 - 09:16 AM
Leadfingers 11 Apr 04 - 09:29 AM
GUEST,Cecil Blunt 11 Apr 04 - 09:42 AM
Bill D 11 Apr 04 - 10:16 AM
Art Thieme 11 Apr 04 - 11:17 AM
Les from Hull 11 Apr 04 - 11:34 AM
Once Famous 11 Apr 04 - 12:11 PM
McGrath of Harlow 11 Apr 04 - 05:47 PM
Once Famous 11 Apr 04 - 05:59 PM
GUEST,Crystal 11 Apr 04 - 06:39 PM
GUEST 11 Apr 04 - 06:45 PM
harvey andrews 11 Apr 04 - 07:26 PM
Once Famous 11 Apr 04 - 08:16 PM
Strollin' Johnny 12 Apr 04 - 03:54 AM
Betsy 12 Apr 04 - 09:38 AM
GUEST 12 Apr 04 - 09:41 AM
Big Mick 12 Apr 04 - 09:58 AM
GUEST,Crystal 12 Apr 04 - 12:32 PM
Art Thieme 12 Apr 04 - 01:33 PM
McGrath of Harlow 12 Apr 04 - 06:38 PM
GUEST,Pat Cooksey. 12 Apr 04 - 07:30 PM
Art Thieme 12 Apr 04 - 07:37 PM
Brakn 12 Apr 04 - 08:03 PM
Brakn 12 Apr 04 - 08:06 PM
GUEST,Captain Swing 12 Apr 04 - 08:34 PM
Dave Hanson 12 Apr 04 - 09:37 PM
George Papavgeris 13 Apr 04 - 03:05 AM
GUEST,Captain Swing 13 Apr 04 - 11:34 AM
IanC 13 Apr 04 - 12:18 PM
Betsy 13 Apr 04 - 12:58 PM
George Papavgeris 13 Apr 04 - 01:08 PM
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Subject: Beatles and Folk music
From: Betsy
Date: 10 Apr 04 - 10:32 AM

If, and only if, we can accept that Folk clubs have evolved into Acoustic music clubs-normally with their roots in traditional music is there a case for accepting that Beatles music being played(acoustically)in your club. After all the music has been around for more than 40 years now - sh*t is it THAT long some might say !!
Would it be welcome or is it a definite No-No ?
(For non-musicians - please be aware the songs are easy on the ear, but people like myself find some / most of these songs can be very difficult to play.


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Subject: RE: Beatles and Folk music
From: GUEST,Russ
Date: 10 Apr 04 - 10:54 AM

Mostly we do traditional music, but part of the evening is an "anything goes" session which is exactly what it says. We've been doing it for years and the idea has always been to let people express their current musical interests without constraints. For me it is always fun to hear what people are up to musically. I've heard everything from Misty to Suzie Snowflake.


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Subject: RE: Beatles and Folk music
From: The Villan
Date: 10 Apr 04 - 10:56 AM

Norwegian Wood, Let It Be, Eleanor Rigby, Here Comes The Sun, Youve Got To hide Your Love Away and a very topical one :-) When I'm 64, are the ones that spring to mind.

Why not, I would accept that. My fear is that unless you are really good, you may finish up second best and do more harm than good. I think whatever anybody thinks about the Beatles, they are a hard act to copy.


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Subject: RE: Beatles and Folk music
From: Les from Hull
Date: 10 Apr 04 - 01:36 PM

A couple of years ago one of our local clubs ((White Horse) Nellies in Beverley) had the great idea for a singers night - ONLY Beatles songs. It was a great opportunity for regular floor singers to do something different. Maggie and I had great fun doing 'I saw her standing there' in unaccompanied two-part harmony in a sort of fake Watersons style as well as other stuff. So you don't have to try to be Beatles copies - as Villan says you'll be second best, or even Pete Best.


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Subject: RE: Beatles and Folk music
From: Strollin' Johnny
Date: 10 Apr 04 - 03:36 PM

Yes, categorically yes.

Many years from now, when we are all dust, one or two of their songs will be introduced in folk clubs as 'Traditional, from the Twentieth Century'.

Bet that statement draws forth howls of protest.

Johnny :0)


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Subject: RE: Beatles and Folk music
From: The Villan
Date: 10 Apr 04 - 04:56 PM

Howl howl howl


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Subject: RE: Beatles and Folk music
From: Ed.
Date: 10 Apr 04 - 05:35 PM

one or two of their songs will be introduced in folk clubs as 'Traditional, from the Twentieth Century'.

That isn't going to happen. Unless some fiendish terrorist comes up with a mind control drug, performers will be aware that they're singing Beatles songs.

Sing whatever you enjoy singing. The (so called) source singers didn't fret. They just got on with singing...


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Subject: RE: Beatles and Folk music
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 10 Apr 04 - 05:45 PM

Unless some fiendish terrorist comes up with a mind control drug, performers will be aware that they're singing Beatles songs.

What difference would that awareness make? "Here is a traditional song from the 20th Century, which was originally written by a singing group that was popular at the time, known as 'the Beatles' "

It's all skiffle anyway.


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Subject: RE: Beatles and Folk music
From: Lanfranc
Date: 10 Apr 04 - 07:19 PM

I have a vivid memory of Paul McNeill performing "I've Just Seen a Face" at the Troubadour way back when the world was young. Initial (shocked?) silence was followed by almost total audience participation in the final chorus. What gave it added impact was that it came at the end of a mainly traditional set.

Hell, it's all folk music .....

Alan


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Subject: RE: Beatles and Folk music
From: Bill D
Date: 10 Apr 04 - 07:19 PM

well, Woodie Guthrie songs have become 'accepted' in many folkish circles, and I assume that Beatles songs will be too, some day....but being 'accepted' and enjoyed does not change the fact that they are not real, old, genuine traditional *folk*...There will always be a need to distinguish the genré, no matter what is played & sung--just so we have a way to refer to the older type.

Be honest....even though Beatles songs are loved and interesting and popular, they ARE different! They have a different 'feel' from songs written before commercial recordings and pop charts.

What is allowed in a venue is a matter to be determined by the hosts, and there is no reason there can't be Beatles Nights...as well as "NO Beatles Nights". If people want to have a club or evening that is limited to "Druid Madrigals" or "Bluegrass Gospel", they aren't gonna want "Yellow Submarine" included...so why include it in an evening where a group wants to do "Barbry Allen" and "Go Tell Aunt Rhody"?

Once more...it is NOT about what are good songs, it is about accepting that there ARE different notions of what categories exist, and how to allow folks with narrower notions the freedom to wallow in their own little worlds at times..*grin*..If you wanta start a club or evening open to **anything acoustic**, fine...just be aware of what that entails and advertise it honestly!


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Subject: RE: Beatles and Folk music
From: Once Famous
Date: 10 Apr 04 - 07:57 PM

I believe that I have supported this arguement before.

Beatle music is folk music that originated in the mid 20th century.

All of the songs mentioned above, plus Yellow Submarine is a children's folk song are now folk songs that all folks know.


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Subject: RE: Beatles and Folk music
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 10 Apr 04 - 08:06 PM

The songs will change. They already have - the thing about folkies singing the Beatles, they tend not to try to sound like the original, and they don't. Over the years that difference will grow, and the words people will sing will change too, because otherwise they won't match the language people use when they talk.

I suppose you'll get purists who will try to insist they have to be sung the way they were sung to start with, but nobody will take too much notice of that.


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Subject: RE: Beatles and Folk music
From: Art Thieme
Date: 10 Apr 04 - 09:47 PM

If I want to hear Beatles I put on one of their films or the Beatles Anthology---the videos and/or the CDs.

But when I want to hear folk music, I go to a folk festival or concert where I fully expect to hearmainly the real thing. If someone wants to do an evening concert of Bing Crosby songs or Edith Piaf songs or Perry Como songs or Beatle songs or even my favorite tenor John McCormack's songs etc. etc., they will most assuredly not have me and many of my friends in that audience for the rest of the festival.

Art


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Subject: RE: Beatles and Folk music
From: Midchuck
Date: 10 Apr 04 - 10:56 PM

Herewith copy of my post to UMGF in a thread on the Everly Brothers, which may be relevant:

It has been explained thus:

All modern rock derives, to some extent, from the Beatles.

The Beatles often gave credit to the Everly Brothers as the source of their harmony sound.

Anyone who's ever heard the Louvin Brothers will notice how much the Everly Brothers' sound derived from them.

Ira Louvin is no longer with us, so it isn't right to pick on him.

Therefore: Charlie Louvin is the one responsible for modern rock music!


Peter.


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Subject: RE: Beatles and Folk music
From: Dave Hanson
Date: 11 Apr 04 - 04:05 AM

I'll get my coat.
eric


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Subject: RE: Beatles and Folk music
From: Gurney
Date: 11 Apr 04 - 04:47 AM

(Windows seized up just as I was going to post. Didn't know Bill Gates was a traddie!)

Let it be, let it be... They wrote good songs, and a lot of those songs are just out of my capability. Unfortunately.
I can't see any difference between their songs and those of Jim Croce, James Taylor, and other writers of songs about the human condition. But then, I like folk songs, you know, the songs that folks know and like. I just don't believe that you have to go to a folk club/festival to be folks.
Like Lanfranc, I've been there when someone performed L&McC songs to a 'Folk' audience. We all knew the chorus' AND the words.


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Subject: RE: Beatles and Folk music
From: Les from Hull
Date: 11 Apr 04 - 08:35 AM

Ah but the Louvin Brothers said that they learnt from the Delmore Brothers!


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Subject: RE: Beatles and Folk music
From: RichM
Date: 11 Apr 04 - 08:52 AM

I admit I'm a shameless song slut.

If a song appeals to me, I sing it!

I like
Irish trad
beatles
broadway songs
appalachian trad
cape breton
quebec
cowboy
scottish ballads
singer-songwriter stuff, including my fave angsty depressive performer: Lynn Miles!
rocknroll, new and old
pop
hindu classical sitar stuff
bollywood dance scene music
Inuktituk throat singing
schaltzy american irish stuff
country pop
traditional bluegrass
jazz in its many flavors
modern bluegrass
modern folk, whatever that is

I like it all!


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Subject: RE: Beatles and Folk music
From: RichM
Date: 11 Apr 04 - 08:53 AM

...and the LouvinDelmoreRighteousEverly Brothers too!


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Subject: RE: Beatles and Folk music
From: Sir Roger de Beverley
Date: 11 Apr 04 - 09:16 AM

And Buddy Holly started off playing and singing like the Louvin Brothers (with Bob Montgomery)

r


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Subject: RE: Beatles and Folk music
From: Leadfingers
Date: 11 Apr 04 - 09:29 AM

Dont forget that a lot of Victorian Parlour Ballads were picked up and remembered by 'The People' and preserved in the oral tradition
and their composers forgotten except by the music reading arty types.

I see no reason why the same thing shouldnt happen with 'Good' Pop
music over a number of years , despite the wealth of recorded music
on vinyl, tape , or disc.


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Subject: RE: Beatles and Folk music
From: GUEST,Cecil Blunt
Date: 11 Apr 04 - 09:42 AM

"...composers forgotten except by the music reading arty types...."

And how exactly would music have been preserved prior to mechanical recordings if not by notation? All that cycling out on May mornings clearly means nothing to such inverted snobs.


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Subject: RE: Beatles and Folk music
From: Bill D
Date: 11 Apr 04 - 10:16 AM

Y'all just do what ya want...Art Thieme & I are going off to a concert together.

So many simply ignore my point. There IS a difference between the older music and the stuff since ...oh, the 1950s & 1960s or so...SOME of us want to be able to specialize in the older satuff...What shall we call it if you keep stuffing every thing that is remotely acoustic and has the vaguest of connections to it under the 'folk' label? Why can't YOU at least call modern singer-songwriter and Beatles music "folk derivative" or "pop acoustic" or something? **FOLK** meant something once, but it was co-opted. Then we tried saying explicitly *TRAD**...but now, you want to call Dylan and the Beatles trad.
   What IS a poor old purist snob to do? Hmmm? *grin*


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Subject: RE: Beatles and Folk music
From: Art Thieme
Date: 11 Apr 04 - 11:17 AM

And Perry Como, Bing Crosby, Edith Piaf, John McCormack, Tiny Tim, Big Mabelle, Little Richard, Fats Waller, Moose Mahem, so many others, and, yes, the beatles were all "good" too------even great if you will.

But not folk.

Never were.

Never pretended to be.

Never wanted to be.

Just allow that these categories exist and like youth always has done, you are trying to push the envelope even before the older generation is dead and cannot answer you in this good forum.
If, after we are dead you manage to get a huge majority of people to agree with your assumptions you will still be way off the mark. I know that isn't democratic, but it is true. Just wait a bit more and those after you will possibly/probably return to the seriously considered and thought-full posings of those that did the first collecting. From deep within the soil on which you tread so willfully and unknowingly, I will chortle quietly.

I hope you read this then -- and hear me guffawing to myself beneath your feet. Yes, Max's spiritual children will still be making the last hundred years of this forum available.

Art Thieme


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Subject: RE: Beatles and Folk music
From: Les from Hull
Date: 11 Apr 04 - 11:34 AM

Bill - as far as I am concerned trad is trad. To me that means somebody must've written this song but we don't know who. And then it got changed around a bit as people remembered it in different ways. If a song is not 'trad' then people here will tell you, rightly so as we should always point out who wrote a particular song.

There are a few songs that are 'almost trad', in that somebody wrote it and almost everyone doesn't know who. There's a current thread on 'Rocky Road to Dublin', a song I would have called 'trad', but know I know different.

But songs don't write themselves. It just that we forget who wrote them, and they come down through the oral tradition in different versions; somebody might change the tune, somebody might write an extra verse, somebody might mishear a word or two.

It's best not to get too tied down to labels. I know we need them if someone asks us 'what sort of songs do you sing?' But then we get into another discussion about 'what is folk music?' Don't go there!

I applaud your aim to specialise on traditional material. I love traditional music. But it's not the only music that I love. Because I use bouzouki or melodeon for accompaniment, and because both I and my partner Maggie love harmony singing, any song we do will be a bit different to any recorded version.

I'll sing owt, me!


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Subject: RE: Beatles and Folk music
From: Once Famous
Date: 11 Apr 04 - 12:11 PM

Art and others,

It's not that the Beatles were folk singers. They weren't. I don't think anyone is saying that. But their music has woven into the fabric of people's lives over generations. That makes them folk songs. Songs of a period and of a culture. Songs that are easily recognized and many words are known to. Comparing to Edith Piaf and Perry Como is really way out in left field. No one plays guitar and sings songs by the likes of them.

The real question is, is that tradionalism has no time cut-off and is strictly nothing more than a state of mind.


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Subject: RE: Beatles and Folk music
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 11 Apr 04 - 05:47 PM

No one plays guitar and sings songs by the likes of them.
Edith Piaf is part of the French Chanson tradition, which involves people playing guitars and singing the songs in informal settings, and in which songs pass around by oral transmission as much as anything. And chansons even bob up every now and again in English speaking folk circles. It's a genre that sort of overlaps with folk music proper.

It's premature to talk about the Beatles as "folk". In time, who knows? The songs are already in our common memory, in the same way as music hall songs are, and like music hall songs, thye fit well into the folk scene. In time I imagine they'll be collected in different versions from people who have never heard of the Beatles, and they'll have changed along the way. By that time it might be appropriate to class them as folk songs.


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Subject: RE: Beatles and Folk music
From: Once Famous
Date: 11 Apr 04 - 05:59 PM

Yep, I would strongly assume that some of the Beatle songs are on their way. But specifically, what time frame throws the switch?

Certainly a song like This Land is Your Land was probably considered a true folk song years before the 40 or so years some Beatle music has been around. Did Guthrie and Dylan songs have to wait that long? In fact, did they wait any time at all?


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Subject: RE: Beatles and Folk music
From: GUEST,Crystal
Date: 11 Apr 04 - 06:39 PM

The most popular of the songs which my mother, sister and myself sing in clubs is "There you Go" By Buddy Holly.
It takes allsorts.


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Subject: RE: Beatles and Folk music
From: GUEST
Date: 11 Apr 04 - 06:45 PM

The Beatles' melodies are catchy but their lyrics are generally fatuous, pandering to the teeny bopper taste loved by commercialism. I think it was Sammy Cahn who said that if he ate Alphabet soup he could shit better lyrics than the Beatles wrote.


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Subject: RE: Beatles and Folk music
From: harvey andrews
Date: 11 Apr 04 - 07:26 PM

Guest Crystal...by "there you go" by Buddy Holly I take it you mean "it doesn't matter anymore" written by Paul Anka.
And there folks, you have, encapsulated, the beginning of the process that creates a folk song. It goes on and will go on.
The folks decide what folk songs are.


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Subject: RE: Beatles and Folk music
From: Once Famous
Date: 11 Apr 04 - 08:16 PM

Sammy Cahn was quite the jealous old fool for making that statement.
A good if not great songwriter, who's thunder was stolen and his heyday, past.


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Subject: RE: Beatles and Folk music
From: Strollin' Johnny
Date: 12 Apr 04 - 03:54 AM

Les, McGrath, Martin, Harvey - all right on the mark. It's the 'best' songs that survive the years that become 'traditional'. We have no way of knowing the thousands (maybe millions??) of songs sung in other centuries which never made it through time, were composed, sung, forgotten - only the best ones survived into the 20th and 21st Centuries.

The blurring of precisely how certain songs came into being is already starting with 20th-century songs as Harvey pointed out with his reference to 'It Doesn't Matter Anymore', and as witnessed in the 'Fiddler's Green' thread. I wonder how many people can name the writer of, for instance, 'Tipperary'? (June Tabor fans may not enter this competition!) - a very small percentage I'll bet. The traditionalisation process is under way - and in a couple of hundred years, who knows..........................??

Johnny :0)


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Subject: RE: Beatles and Folk music
From: Betsy
Date: 12 Apr 04 - 09:38 AM

Ok - we've had a go so far .........
Now, as I started the Thread - I wanted to know how long it would take before some of you started to put their own time contraints and parameters on how long it takes for a song to become accepted in the Folk Club Scene.Whilst some of you have sought to defend Tradition - which I applaude , are you tying yours (and our) hands somewhat in dismissing the Beatles ( timewise )and telling them to wait for other conditions to arise before they evolve into Folk Music.Then I suppose you may say that we MUST accept "The Flower of Scotland " / Ewan McColls songs etc.,as a bone Fida Folk Songs although they were getting written at roughly the same time as the Beatles were writing their songs .
Doesn't it tell us about the genre that we support "Folk" Music??
in that, Folk Music has minority appeal and "Pop" has Popular appeal to the general populate and never the twain shall meet ?.
Two of my favourites are "She's leaving Home " and "In My Life" the former of which should be attempted by all us Singer guitarist to appreciate the difficulties in playing such a seemingly easy - song and tune.
Martin Gibson - Well said re:- Sam Cahn - surely he relented / repented somewhere along the way.I hope so .


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Subject: RE: Beatles and Folk music
From: GUEST
Date: 12 Apr 04 - 09:41 AM

What pontificating horseshit, on either side, sign off and play yer feckin' guitars fer chrissakes!!!


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Subject: RE: Beatles and Folk music
From: Big Mick
Date: 12 Apr 04 - 09:58 AM

I have always struggled with this whole argument. I love and respect Art, but I still don't quite get what, for him, constitutes folk. Art, does your view of it mean there will be no more folk songs? Since the age of computing, we will always know who wrote what. Does it mean that Seeger's "Where Have All The Flowers Gone", Guthrie's work, MacColl's work, et al, are not folk songs? Please get my context, as I am not being contentious. I just don't quite get the distinguishing factor. I have been around this place almost as long as anyone (With a few notable exceptions) and I just never understood the rigid definition.

To the original question, I believe that renditions can be done of some of these beautiful songs that are folk oriented, but as to if they will become part of the folk music collection ..... hell, I don't know. My head hurts .......

All the best,

Mick


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Subject: RE: Beatles and Folk music
From: GUEST,Crystal
Date: 12 Apr 04 - 12:32 PM

:Guest Crystal...by "there you go" by Buddy Holly I take it you mean "it doesn't matter anymore" written by Paul Anka.

Possibly, I'm not sure who wrote it.
I first learnt it at school.


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Subject: RE: Beatles and Folk music
From: Art Thieme
Date: 12 Apr 04 - 01:33 PM

Mick,

I love ya and totally respect you. My answer to you, though, is simply: I don't know.

Art


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Subject: RE: Beatles and Folk music
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 12 Apr 04 - 06:38 PM

There's a big difference between "is it folk music?" and "is it acceptable in this folk club?" I suppose there are clubs where the answer to the second question is unequiivocally dependent on the answer to the first question being "Yes".. But not too many.


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Subject: RE: Beatles and Folk music
From: GUEST,Pat Cooksey.
Date: 12 Apr 04 - 07:30 PM

Mick you have hit the nail on the head, I live in Germany but I
play many nights in front of a sould out audience, and I likr it.
The Beatles were and allways was the greateasts that ever was,
please forgive my speling, I am filled with Jamesaon, Slainti/


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Subject: RE: Beatles and Folk music
From: Art Thieme
Date: 12 Apr 04 - 07:37 PM

Mick, my head is hurting too. I don't belong in this thread or any other thread discussing Beatles music. I enjoy a bunch of what they do, er, did. I have to hear everything they did and all that McCartney does now 'cause Carol has always been a fan and came to Chicago to see (if not hear) 'em twice. ---At White Sox Park and at the International Amphitheater --- right next to Upton Sinclair's Union Stock Yards---still aromatically THERE when they played 20 feet away. Sorry if I've bothered anyone. I suspect it comes down to the old adage "I know what I like". I'll leave it at that since when I say something isn't folk it upsets so many. Is what is !

For our 30th anniversary I bought Carol every Beatles video and CD I could find---and there were a ton of 'em. So it must be real love!!

Art


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Subject: RE: Beatles and Folk music
From: Brakn
Date: 12 Apr 04 - 08:03 PM

Folk music? the beatles, everleys, iggy pop, zappa, wild man fischer, sex pistols, luke kelly and alex harvey.


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Subject: RE: Beatles and Folk music
From: Brakn
Date: 12 Apr 04 - 08:06 PM

Apologies for the last message........well hammered long weekend.


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Subject: RE: Beatles and Folk music
From: GUEST,Captain Swing
Date: 12 Apr 04 - 08:34 PM

Does it matter? Given the current average age of folk performers (about 55 I would guess in the UK (add 5 years for East Yorkshire)). One would expect that folk music as we know it will disappear naturally, long before the Beatles' material leaves the popular consciousness.

Cheers - Captain Swing


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Subject: RE: Beatles and Folk music
From: Dave Hanson
Date: 12 Apr 04 - 09:37 PM

I don't think so Captain Swing, folk music has been doing OK for several hundred years already, no reason to think it won't carry on so.
eric


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Subject: RE: Beatles and Folk music
From: George Papavgeris
Date: 13 Apr 04 - 03:05 AM

Agreed eric. Also: In 20 years, when many of us will have ceased singing (and probably other functions reserved for the living also), the average age of the folk singers will simply drop to around 40, as the likes of Graham Pirt, Benji Kirkpatrick, Eliza Carthy, John Spiers, Jon Boden, John Thompson/Nicole Murray(Cloudstreet), Vicky Swann, Kate Rusby etc become "folk establishment" themselves.

It's just that there is a continuity break of about a generation or so, because there are comparatively few 30-50 year olds involved in folk today (in the UK). But as the older ones have continued past normal retirement age, the gap is bridged. And the music will go on.


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Subject: RE: Beatles and Folk music
From: GUEST,Captain Swing
Date: 13 Apr 04 - 11:34 AM

I'm not so sure that folk music has done that well in England over the last hundred years. It had all but died out until it was revived by a small bunch of enthusiasts in the early part of the last century. The revival gained impetus in the fifties, sixties and early seventies. However, this revival was still carried by these enthusiasts as a hobby. Most of the songs and tunes performed in our folk clubs are unknown to the general public ( as are the various associated arts such different types of dance ). Very little of this stuff has been absorbed back into popular culture. In this sense the folk music revival has failed dismally and remains, on the whole, a rather obscure pastime with little relevance to most people.

Like it or not, the body of work produced by the Beatles is common currency across the ranges of age and class and does not seem to be diminshing in its influence. And while I agee that much of it is lyrically fatuous it is now an intrinsic element in society and in this sense is now part of the real folk music.

I say all this as a previously passionate folk fan and club organiser and Beatles fan also.

Cheers - Captain Swing


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Subject: RE: Beatles and Folk music
From: IanC
Date: 13 Apr 04 - 12:18 PM

George/Capt S.

I don't share the views of either of you ... it's a mistake to think that folk music (or whatever you want to call it) is just what can be seen. Nowadays, all people seem to see is high profile "performers" like Kate Ruby and Eliza Carthy. Previously, people didn't see anything at all, perhaps, so maybe it's better now. All I can say is I haven't seen Kate Rusby round at the Rose & Crown recently (though no doubt she'd be more than welcome if she did appear).

"Folk" song and music, though, was going on in pubs and other places up and down the country ... not just in pubs (like The Ship at Blaxhall) where the music making got recorded or by people like Sam Larner, Cyril Poacher and Harry Cox who people "discovered". There were "singsongs" every week during the 1950s and 1960s in the pub in my little village in Cambridgeshire. The people there knew nothing about "folk clubs" or "revivalists" and never had. Neither would they have ever thought of going to a folk club if anyone suggested it.

Thankfully, such events continue or restart, often unnoticed (thank God perhaps) by the "folkies". The Beatles, Stones, Kinks, Animals, Troggs etc. are sung and played in them just as the "classic" English pub music of the 1920s and 30s (and the 1950s) included pop music from less than 20 years before (seems like we're a bit historically conservative at the moment). This hasn't changed any ... Ralph Vaughan Williams and Cecil Sharp were busy ignoring the more modern pieces as being "of little value" when they "revived" traditional music and song in the 1890s and 1900s.

Actually, all the "revivals" there ever have been are sitting on the back of traditional (in the sense of traditional practices) singers and musicians. The idea that the "revivalists" in some way kept the tradition going is, to me, somehow laughable. I'm inclined to agree with James Hogg's mother who told Walter Scott, after she found out he'd written her songs down and published them, that he had fairly ruined the lot of them.

10 years ago, I started a "Folk Session" in a pub in our village. It's village-based, though we welcome anybody who comes (so long as we don't fail to notice them). Hardly anyone who goes there has ever been to a folk club and none of them regularly attend one. Most of us don't go to any other session (though I admit that I attend one other fairly regularly). Our repertoire is varied (and sometimes we forget it altogether), including a fair bit of traditional material and the (very occasional) self-penned number which we all know and join in with. I regret having described the session as "folk" really, but there it is.

:-)


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Subject: RE: Beatles and Folk music
From: Betsy
Date: 13 Apr 04 - 12:58 PM

Sympathies to Ian C with his last sentence above - but it sounds to me you know what you're doing , which reminds me of another situation that in the 60's there were 2 factions in the Folkclub those who proudly wore their EFDSS Badges and often wore shirts and ties / presentably dressed , and the others duffle coats / jeans type of thing.
The "Badges" definitely had an air of superiority over the rest of us but it never spolit our enjoyment of the weekly Folk nights.
Ian C seems combination of the good bits of the factions described , so , keep up the good work and enjoy yourselves.


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Subject: RE: Beatles and Folk music
From: George Papavgeris
Date: 13 Apr 04 - 01:08 PM

IanC,
I agree with your point about folk not being just the "visible" (in the media) part, that is just the tip. I was referring to the "star" names in the sense of their having a following, which will hopefully get together in some sort of organised fashion (clubs?), at some sort of venue (anything goes here) to emulate their "idols". I should have explained better.

Will it happen as I predict? Er...dunno really, but I am basing my optimism on the existence of future "stars" for others to follow.

On the point that revivals happen on the back of traditional musicians: Mmm, not sure about that being always the case. In the US for example, much of the revival was led by non-traditional singers and songwriters. In the UK the pattern seems to be as you state. I am not sure that it always HAS to be so, but I think that the majority of the "star" names I mentioned above belong in the category of "traditional practices" musicians, so the chance is there...

The advent of the Internet, more than anything else, has sent thousands (millions?) of people searching their past, their history, cultures, exchanging knowledge etc. Nowadays we are all much more aware of the world and its traditional music. I think this renewed interest will still be there, and it will help the music carry on.

Commercialism might provide some nails for the coffin of the traditional "folk process". But we are seeing the breakdown of the old stranglehold by the record companies, as downloading of music opens the floodgates. (What that will do to copyright and future songwriting incentives is anybody's guess, of course; it may be that the professional songwriter has a limited lifespan now and we might end up going to the pre-commercial days of people writing their songs for the heck of it, just because they want to communicate that way). Whether or not songwriters and copyright become victims of the opening of the Internet Pandora's box, however, I think the music itself will thrive.

What I cannot predict at all is the format to which today's club-and-concert will mutate. I think many of us who have become fans of the participatory club format through the last 40 years are scared of their demise (and I count myself in that group). To counter that, I only have my belief that people are social animals and they will want to share their music with each other - despite all that commercialism and the media have been doing to drive us to passive entertainment (or perhaps as a reaction to that).

It may not be the "folk scene as we know it, Jim". I just wish I could hang around to find out...


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