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This Forum & American Folk Music

Once Famous 01 Sep 04 - 04:46 PM
wysiwyg 01 Sep 04 - 04:50 PM
freightdawg 01 Sep 04 - 04:57 PM
Chris Green 01 Sep 04 - 05:03 PM
PoppaGator 01 Sep 04 - 05:04 PM
Big Al Whittle 01 Sep 04 - 05:09 PM
Jeri 01 Sep 04 - 05:17 PM
McGrath of Harlow 01 Sep 04 - 05:25 PM
wysiwyg 01 Sep 04 - 05:27 PM
greg stephens 01 Sep 04 - 05:45 PM
Mark Clark 01 Sep 04 - 05:52 PM
greg stephens 01 Sep 04 - 05:56 PM
The Borchester Echo 01 Sep 04 - 05:58 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 01 Sep 04 - 06:23 PM
PoppaGator 01 Sep 04 - 06:32 PM
Amos 01 Sep 04 - 06:36 PM
The Borchester Echo 01 Sep 04 - 06:38 PM
Ned Ludd 01 Sep 04 - 06:58 PM
McGrath of Harlow 01 Sep 04 - 07:10 PM
Mary in Kentucky 01 Sep 04 - 07:16 PM
Malcolm Douglas 01 Sep 04 - 07:33 PM
Bill D 01 Sep 04 - 07:51 PM
Joe Offer 01 Sep 04 - 08:51 PM
GUEST,.gargoyle 02 Sep 04 - 12:05 AM
GUEST,Parochialist 02 Sep 04 - 08:10 AM
Jerry Rasmussen 02 Sep 04 - 08:21 AM
Paco Rabanne 02 Sep 04 - 08:51 AM
The Borchester Echo 02 Sep 04 - 09:02 AM
Paco Rabanne 02 Sep 04 - 09:26 AM
Snuffy 02 Sep 04 - 09:28 AM
WFDU - Ron Olesko 02 Sep 04 - 10:14 AM
Chris in Wheaton 02 Sep 04 - 10:27 AM
GUEST,MMario 02 Sep 04 - 10:36 AM
Sandra in Sydney 02 Sep 04 - 10:41 AM
M.Ted 02 Sep 04 - 10:44 AM
wysiwyg 02 Sep 04 - 10:44 AM
greg stephens 02 Sep 04 - 10:49 AM
wysiwyg 02 Sep 04 - 10:58 AM
Dave the Gnome 02 Sep 04 - 10:58 AM
wysiwyg 02 Sep 04 - 11:01 AM
Once Famous 02 Sep 04 - 11:04 AM
jimmyt 02 Sep 04 - 11:43 AM
WFDU - Ron Olesko 02 Sep 04 - 11:51 AM
GUEST,Les B. 02 Sep 04 - 11:56 AM
jimmyt 02 Sep 04 - 11:58 AM
Once Famous 02 Sep 04 - 11:59 AM
ThreeSheds 02 Sep 04 - 12:02 PM
Steve-o 02 Sep 04 - 12:11 PM
jimmyt 02 Sep 04 - 12:22 PM
Once Famous 02 Sep 04 - 12:23 PM
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Subject: This Forum & American Folk Music
From: Once Famous
Date: 01 Sep 04 - 04:46 PM

It seems that this folk music forum is heavily weighted towards the British folk scene as opposed to the American folk music scene.

I am just interested in why that is so.

The topics deal more with British related folk topics, though not exclsively. Yes, we do see Pete Seeger threads and Woody guthrie threads, but really very little about American folk music and it's off shoots, bluegrass and traditional country music.

Just throwing this out for discussion.


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Subject: RE: This Forum & American Folk Music
From: wysiwyg
Date: 01 Sep 04 - 04:50 PM

I disagree, I think it swings back and forth. I'm not sure the daily thread list is an accurate measure.

I will say this, though. Folk with UK roots is certainly an ancestor of US folk musics, but the reverse is not so true. So it makes sense that even the USers would work on material of that source (UK), and keep renewing its acquaintance.

~Susan


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Subject: RE: This Forum & American Folk Music
From: freightdawg
Date: 01 Sep 04 - 04:57 PM

From what I have read, it is probably because the British "folk" scene is far more active at the grass roots level. Maybe its cultural, maybe it is because American folkies just haven't found the Mudcat, but it just seems to me that there are far more opportunities for just plain folks to get together and play or sing on the other side of the pond. I am amazed at reading about the number of places where aspiring musicians can play over there. Maybe its because of where I live, but I just don't see the same opportunities over here.

Americans, it would seem, are more interested in being entertained, rather than actually going out and finding that entertainment in playing music with others. Of course, I could be ridiculously wrong. Maybe Americans get together in each others' homes more often where others cannot see or hear what is going on. Or maybe it is done in the churches. But it just seems, using this forum as the measuring stick, that the folk music scene in England is just more active.

Freightdawg


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Subject: RE: This Forum & American Folk Music
From: Chris Green
Date: 01 Sep 04 - 05:03 PM

Speaking as an English-based catter I'd actually like to learn a bit more about folk music from the far side of the pond as it's something I know bugger all about! Anyone give me some clues as to what I should be listening to?


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Subject: RE: This Forum & American Folk Music
From: PoppaGator
Date: 01 Sep 04 - 05:04 PM

Well, the antidote would be for us Americans to post more stuff about "our" music -- right! You're from Chicago, aren't you, MG? So you should know the drill: Vote early and vote often!

Seriously, though, I've noticed the same thing. I first stumbled across Mudcat years ago, when the DT had first been moved here from Xerx PARC-- at that time, this was a prediminantly blues-oriented site, with mostly American participants. Over the years, I would peek in very occasionally, before joining up about two years ago. There's been a steady growth of "overseas" participation; not just the British, but Irish and Aussies and various others -- even an Icelander!

From what I've been able to observe and deduce, the Brits are closer to each other geographically than the Americans, they seem to have more clubs and events in which to participate, and more of them find ways to meet in "real life." The result is that they've become a tighter-knit group, in general. So be it, and more power to 'em.

I think that if you disregard the purely personal messages and the announcements of various events in the UK (festivals, club nights, etc.), the number of *musical* posts about US vs UK folk music is closer to equal.


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Subject: RE: This Forum & American Folk Music
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 01 Sep 04 - 05:09 PM

Hard to say, but I think you're right. I think maybe this is something to do with our societies - and the folk music phenomena in them.

A lot of people in the English folk scene, for various reasons, feel discriminated against and disenfranchised. People that you would assume to be respectable musicians making a decent living in a more meritocratic society like America, live lives of quiet desperation. A place like mudcat is somewhere for them to let off steam - to mainly like minded people, who see the issues as clearly as they do themselves.

When Peter Bellamy died I remember listening to Martin Carthy's obituary piece on the radio, and he spoke of the isolation that this particular pursuit of music imposed.

So when we get here - we're a mouthy lot. Sorry about that!


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Subject: RE: This Forum & American Folk Music
From: Jeri
Date: 01 Sep 04 - 05:17 PM

People don't start threads, for starters. We've lost or misplaced a few of the ones who used to discuss this - Rick, Sandy, Art, Jerry, Frank. If they're still around, they don't post much. There don't seem to be that many questions asked, and people who have the answers aren't always good at starting threads. Kendall probably knows a bunch of stuff. Many of the more recent threads have turned into debates instead of the sharing of knowledge or stories that would have been nice.

Start a thread or two, and see what happens. Maybe folks will want to talk.


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Subject: RE: This Forum & American Folk Music
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 01 Sep 04 - 05:25 PM

What determines the content of the threads, and the type of music discussed in them, is the individual choice of people posting. There is no kind of Mudcat policy involved.

I think there are probably far more Mudcatters in the USA and Canada than there are elsewhere, so it's strange if the music threads don't currently seem to reflect that.

Even if freightdawg is correct in surmising that the folk scene in America is less active, and that it might be skewed towards being listeners rather than participants and I think there's a question mark against whether that is true), I'd have thought that would just mean a different type of thread.

However I'm by no means sure that the imbalance actually exists - maybe someone should do a census of the threads. True enough, there's a batch of threads about English folk festivals at this time of year - but I suspect that this reflects the fact that this is a relatively small country, so that at a pinch any of us might get along to any festival, and hence they are all of common interest. From an American perspective, they are all local festivals.

But the rest of the music threads look as if there's a pretty sizeable American presence, and I have the impression that there is no shortage of American started threads. Before arguing too much about why something is the case, it's worth checking out that it actually is the case.


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Subject: RE: This Forum & American Folk Music
From: wysiwyg
Date: 01 Sep 04 - 05:27 PM

Don't think it's an argument, geeze, it's just a thing someone is wondering about, is all.

~Susan


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Subject: RE: This Forum & American Folk Music
From: greg stephens
Date: 01 Sep 04 - 05:45 PM

I have been on Mudcat only about 3 years, and I say it has certainly gone more British in this time. You used to get more Rick Fielding, Art Thieme etc, more blues. more discussion of guitar picking and stuff. Presumably that will swing back, there are more Americans around than British. It's just they seem more keen on talking about Iraq and Bush than Doc Watson, but presumably that is only a momentary obsession.
   The previous point, that Britain is smaller, is also I'm sure important. people are using Mudcat as a way of talking with each other, everyone being a part of an entity you might call the "Brirish folk scene". So people do chat on all the time about "Seee you in Hull on Thurs" or "who's going to nantwich" or whatever.That sets up a lot of background noise on Mudcat, it's not really musical discussion, but it sort of looks like it. I am only reinforcing what McGrath of Harlow has said here, which is what I normally do: agree with McGrath, but do it more longwindedly!


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Subject: RE: This Forum & American Folk Music
From: Mark Clark
Date: 01 Sep 04 - 05:52 PM

I am one, perhaps one of a very few, whose musical tastes include traditional and roots-based music from nearly every part of the world. The fact that I don't start threads outside of my own experience doesn't mean I don't look forward to learning.

I confess I don't really think this should be the place performers keep their fans up to date on their performing schedules. Perhaps we could have a special page with links to performers' own websites where news of their coming gigs could be found. Song circles, jams and hootennanies should also be listed on a special page rather than in threads.

Still, this is the first place I know of to hold a world wide song circle and I remember thinking back those many years ago that it was a very cool thing.

The Web has other boards where discussion is limited to particular musical idioms and traditions but this is the only one that welcomes discussion of everything.

I disagree with Susan about the east-to-west direction of traditional influence. British and Celtic performers have included American traditions in their musics as well as African, Mid-East, and Asian influences. The same thing happens here in the US.

I, for one, really appreciate the idea that people from all over the world see The Mudcat Café as a place where their music and traditions can be discussed. I'm just as anxious to learn as I am to share. Sure, not that many people, worldwide, want to discuss bluegrass, blues, or Kentucky thumbpicking but that's also true if the discussion were limited to Americans. The music I love most just isn't that popular. Maybe that's one reason I love it.

      - Mark


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Subject: RE: This Forum & American Folk Music
From: greg stephens
Date: 01 Sep 04 - 05:56 PM

I think all of us Brit performers over 50(not a few of us on Mudcat!) will all have cut our teeth on American folksongs to start with(via skiffle). So there's plenty of us who do talk about American songs and singers when anyone starts a thread.


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Subject: RE: This Forum & American Folk Music
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 01 Sep 04 - 05:58 PM

To be concise, so do I (agree with McGrath usually) ;-)

I've been around only about a year on Mudcat and have to admit I often involve myself in 'parish pump' discussions. It hasn't occurred to me before, but I really hope our transatlantic friends don't feel excluded because of them. I for one would love to hear more about just what goes on in the US. For one thing, when I have visited I have found it really hard to get any information about traditional music, other than large concerts like the Millenium Stage in Washing or NY's Madison Square Gardens or Carnegie Hall.


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Subject: RE: This Forum & American Folk Music
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 01 Sep 04 - 06:23 PM

The balance seems OK to me. I am also glad to see posts of non-English songs as well as the whole English-speaking world. They all contribute to my understanding.

Threads publicizing performance dates and local events perhaps should be segregated into a special page, as Mark suggests. They are of little value to anyone beyond commuting distance.

I object to use of the 'Lyrics and Knowledge' threads to say "Hey, Thomasina, I'm going to the bash in Wigglebottom on Bumwater- will you be there?" Use the Personal messages or Email.


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Subject: RE: This Forum & American Folk Music
From: PoppaGator
Date: 01 Sep 04 - 06:32 PM

I, too, almost always find myself in agreement with the always agreeable McGrath of Harlow. I think it's interesting that this is one very rare time when I don't -- he apparently senses that there are more American Mudcatters while I still feel like there are more Brits.

Probably just a simple matter of "the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence"!

When I first started checking in here on a daily basis, I was astounded at the wealth of activities available to pickers and singers there across the pond. I was (and still am) envious! There may not be as many opportunities in the UK as in the US for making good money as a performer, but there *certainly* seem to be more opportunities in the UK and in Ireland to perform and participate for one's own enjoyment.

And, insofar as the Mudcat can serve as a clearinghouse for information about such activities, it is certainly fitting, right and just, that it should perform that function.

I don't think anyone's complaining, and certainly not accusing the Mudcat Cafe itself of maintaining any discriminatory policy -- we're all just making observations.


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Subject: RE: This Forum & American Folk Music
From: Amos
Date: 01 Sep 04 - 06:36 PM

Actually the great Folk Scare was kind of a reverse feed, as far as origins go, and a great deal of genuinely American music has found its way back to England to start a second life as a source of inspiration. Rambling Jack Elliot is one example, certainly. There are many others.

A


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Subject: RE: This Forum & American Folk Music
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 01 Sep 04 - 06:38 PM

er..apologies to Washington. I didn't mean to imply it was a laundromat...

On the contrary, Q, I personally am glad to know what's happening in Bumwater (though not particularly in whether or not Thomasina is going), because I may just drop by there one day and it would be useful to know when and where they hold their session/ceilidh.

I also like to know who is getting gigs where, and how they've been received. Such reports from venues far away can alert you to watch out for up-and-coming artists when they appear near you. I'm sure this sort of information is useful for visiting transatlantic mudcatters too (well, I hope so...).


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Subject: RE: This Forum & American Folk Music
From: Ned Ludd
Date: 01 Sep 04 - 06:58 PM

Since I started looking in I think the balance has changed and as the way music changes as it crosses the pond is one of my interests, I hope it's a swings and roundabouts thing.
We don't seem to hear as much from some of the big posters from over there at the moment.


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Subject: RE: This Forum & American Folk Music
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 01 Sep 04 - 07:10 PM

I'm just going by the Mudcat Locator in guessingthere are more American Mudcatters. And when there has been the occasional "where are you?" thread it seems to suggest the same.

But there are a lot more people around from this side of the water - largely, I suspect, because of the way the Internet connections have got much easier here, but also because word of mouth has got around through people meeting each other in festival singarounds and suchlike.

"Argument" didn't imply any kind of conflict in my earlier post, just a discussion between people presenting different points of view. But before getting into the enjoyable activity of rival explanations of the facts, it's as well to have the facts themselves clarified.

Mind, we do seem to have a knack of turning such discussions into battle royals sometimes... Not just on the Mudcat, folk musicians generally - I've got two friends who've not spoken to each other for years, or played together either (which is a lot worse in my book), all because of a fight they got into over what was the right key for some tune.
.................

Nice to have people say things like that about me. Though at any moment I expect to see someone heaving into sight balancing things up. ("McGrath? Don't mention that man's name, I can't stand him...")


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Subject: RE: This Forum & American Folk Music
From: Mary in Kentucky
Date: 01 Sep 04 - 07:16 PM

duellingbouzoukis, you could start here with Jean Ritchie's books. She explains how the same songs and ballads found in England, Scotland and Ireland showed up in the southern Appalachian mountains. And IMO, they are some of the most beautiful ballads. It's interesting to study the different variants. Of course, as I stated here before, I'm primarily a tune person, so I'm fascinated with these.


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Subject: RE: This Forum & American Folk Music
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 01 Sep 04 - 07:33 PM

When I first came across the place, a little over 5 years ago, Americans were far and away in the majority here. Many reasons for that; quite apart from anything else, the technology was a lot more expensive in the British Isles, and most of us had to rely on costly, slow and unreliable dial-up connections.

That has changed. We still have to pay more than you do in the US, but the difference isn't so great, and fewer of us now are economically excluded from participation in forums like this. The balance has shifted, I suspect, to something closer to the true "folk music" demographic.

Martin only started posting here in April 2004, and presumably won't be very familiar with the way things were back in, for example, July 1999, when I tentatively made my first contribution. The default assumption back then was that everyone, unless they said otherwise, was American.


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Subject: RE: This Forum & American Folk Music
From: Bill D
Date: 01 Sep 04 - 07:51 PM

since Martin started this thread, and he is more oriented toward Bluegrass & Country, I'm sure it is a bit lop-sided for him...I do know that both Bluegrass & Country, although they have folk roots, are often narrow fields over here, and have their own focused web sites and festivals and discussions. We don't have a 'lot' of Mudcatters who will start an extended discussion of Bill Monroe or Waylon Jennings, though they may reply if they see one.

Mudcat has people who know a bit about all sorts of things, and if a Bluegrass question pops up, it will get replies, but many of the serious American 'folkies' realize that the roots of their music is often in the UK, and end up following a lot of the UK focused threads also.

I do know I have picked up on many UK performers I never heard of by seeing posts on Mudcat, partly because almost everyone in the UK knows the same ones. Here in the USA, there are entire folk scenes in different parts of the country which seldom meet each other. Mudcat has allowed some more cross-fertilization of the music scene, and will no doubt do more yet...

(So...when ARE others besides Joe Offer gonna come see us in the east?)


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Subject: RE: This Forum & American Folk Music
From: Joe Offer
Date: 01 Sep 04 - 08:51 PM

I really like bluegrass and classic country songs, but I don't know that they lend themselves to in-depth discussion quite as readily at the English songs do. Most of these songs have a known composer; so there is a definitive text for a song, rather than a wide variety of versions and variations. A large number of the actual "traditional" songs in the U.S. have English roots - so they end up fitting into discussions of English songs.

Also, I don't think that Mudcat has the saturation here in the U.S. that it has in the U.K. Portland/Seattle and Washington DC seem to have concentrations of Mudcatters, singers who see each other regularly at Mudcat and in person. I know lots of people in the San Francisco Folk Music Club who have visited Mudcat and posted regularly, but only a small handful are "regulars" at Mudcat. There are Mudcatters scattered all over the center of the U.S., but no concentrations. So, I think that's another reason.

But even if there isn't the balance some people might like, it seems we get around to discussing every aspect of folk music in most of the English-speaking world. I've sometimes wondered what it is that starts an interesting thread. I think all it takes is an intelligent question that doesn't have an easy answer - a question that hasn't been asked and answered before. I think that questions start good discussions more readily than the simple posting of lyrics. If I post the complete lyrics to Joe Hill's Last Will," what else is there to say about it? Besides, we already have the song in the Digital Tradition, and it's a composed song with few variations from the original text. There's a DTStudy thread called Songs of Joe Hill, so it's probably best to add to that study instead of starting a new thread. We can use more Joe Hill songs, and a deeper discussion of Joe's life and death.

So, I think that's it - an intelligent question on a new subject, or a subject we haven't explore full. If you want to tip the scales toward your favorite aspect of folk music, post a question.

-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: This Forum & American Folk Music
From: GUEST,.gargoyle
Date: 02 Sep 04 - 12:05 AM

This is a sociology-student's-thesis

The pieces are in one place....all waiting ANALysis

First we were American Folk, than we were BLUES, then the wiccans invited the sick ones, and in a continual spiral .... the MudCat was spun away into the abyss.

Sincerely,
Gargoyle

THE MANTRA OF HIGHER EDUCATION....First we were scholarly, then we went dollarly, now we take.... whatever we can get.


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Subject: RE: This Forum & American Folk Music
From: GUEST,Parochialist
Date: 02 Sep 04 - 08:10 AM

I've never been to the US, but I get the impression that whereas UK had great pubs and great beer, US just has bars with lousy beer and the TV on.

No wonder UK has a more active folk scene.


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Subject: RE: This Forum & American Folk Music
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 02 Sep 04 - 08:21 AM

You zare right, Martin:

There isn't enough conversation going on in here about American folk music. The only way to correct that is to start more threads about it. Thanks for starting this one.

Now, I'll start one.

Jerry


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Subject: RE: This Forum & American Folk Music
From: Paco Rabanne
Date: 02 Sep 04 - 08:51 AM

I use this site because my daughter pointed me in its general direction, and lo, all the English Folkies I know use it too. A reverse question if I may: Why are all us ENGLISH bodies using an AMERICAN site?
Do you all use another site in England that I know nowt about?


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Subject: RE: This Forum & American Folk Music
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 02 Sep 04 - 09:02 AM

Lots of us also hang out at:

uk.music.folk

BBC Folk & Acoustic

eceilidh


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Subject: RE: This Forum & American Folk Music
From: Paco Rabanne
Date: 02 Sep 04 - 09:26 AM

Wow! Thanks for that countess. I am still a beginner with bloody computers.


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Subject: RE: This Forum & American Folk Music
From: Snuffy
Date: 02 Sep 04 - 09:28 AM

But we are British. Do those sites seem to have a huge number of American posters, in the same way that Mudcat can sometimes seem anglocentic?


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Subject: RE: This Forum & American Folk Music
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 02 Sep 04 - 10:14 AM

Maybe Brits have more time on their hands to discuss such things??

Seriously, I think Freightdawg's comments are right on target. From what I see at various U.S. festivals, the Folk Alliance and doing my radio show - there is still a huge emphasis on the singer-songwriter aspect of folk music.   During the 80's and 90's the word "folk" became a "4 letter word". Musicians would call themselves "acoustic" or "singer-songwriter". Traditional music seemed to go underground.   In recent years the appreciation for traditional music seems to be growing again. I receive many trad CD's now of American folk music that did not seem to exist a few years ago.   

However, there still seems to be less involvement with traditional music. As someone said earlier, Americans would rather be entertained and not as many people are actively researching and studying the music as they once were.

As Susan said, our folk heritage can be traced back to other countries so we do tend to end up back "home".

Ron


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Subject: RE: This Forum & American Folk Music
From: Chris in Wheaton
Date: 02 Sep 04 - 10:27 AM

This is a great forum - there is no other place that I, in Chicago, can ask a question on Welsh folk music and get an answer usually within an hour. (Thanks Sian and others)
Interesting letter in this Sing Out, the prior issue referred to folks from Ireland and Scotland as English - obviously, not correct and the same would be true for the Welsh.
Do you folks in the UK have a preference?
Also, anyone in the Great Midwest should consider going to the Fox Valley Folk Festival this weekend - good weather predicted, Art - will you be there? Nothing like sitting on the island, looking at the river, and listening to great music.
Chris (that's why we moved back to Wheaton)


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Subject: RE: This Forum & American Folk Music
From: GUEST,MMario
Date: 02 Sep 04 - 10:36 AM

with barely 400 years maximum under our belt - there is almost not time enough for us to *HAVE* traditional music!!!! Especially if you are of the school that it needs to be of the "unknown author - orally transmitted" variety. ;)

Consider the fact that even in the 1800's much of the US was "frontier" -

I do a Dickons Festival set in 1842 - at that time the village we are set in had a population that was 90% immigrants! 90%!

Another thing is the amount of immigration:(for example) in my family Mid 1800's really only puts us back to my great-grandparents. Of My 8 great-granparents - one was a Norwegian immigrant, 4 Italian (and still in Italy for another generation), 1 American/Dutch; 1 German-American; 1 English/American.

point being - there hasn't been that much time to file off the serial numbers of folk songs and make them "american" rather then English, or Scots, or whatever.


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Subject: RE: This Forum & American Folk Music
From: Sandra in Sydney
Date: 02 Sep 04 - 10:41 AM

Super Ted - 2 more UK based sites, both run by Jon who often pops into Mudcat. Both are mentioned on Mudcat Help (www.help.mudcat.org) as alternatives to Mudcat when it is down.

Folkinfo is a music site
http://www.folkinfo.org/forum.asp -

The Annex is a non-music site for Mudcat members only.
http://www.jonbanjo.com/forum/default1.asp

sandra


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Subject: RE: This Forum & American Folk Music
From: M.Ted
Date: 02 Sep 04 - 10:44 AM

The UK folks seem very well organized when it comes to doing sessions--

We have perhaps too many genres to choose from(Blues, Bluegrass, Old Timey, Jug Band, Hawaiian, Rockabilly, and nine kinds of jazz) and often have trouble getting a quorum--When you do, one of two things happens:

1) Someone knows of a gig, and half the session turns into a band while the other half wander off with hurt feelings

2) The two people who have been coordinating everything suddenly leave to start a drumming circle.

Excepting, of course, if it is a Chanty sing;-)


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Subject: RE: This Forum & American Folk Music
From: wysiwyg
Date: 02 Sep 04 - 10:44 AM

And another thing-- at the risk of causing a big thread lurch....

Before the BS went below-line, it seems to me a lot of people frequenting the forum would skim the daily thread list looking for interesting topics. If you were bored, and had no fresh music ideas of your own to start a thread over, you'd open up music threads to see what the heck someone was talking about. As often as not, a music thread title would be as interesting as what later came to be labeled a BS topic.

So these music threads would be opened and sometimes some pretty interesting discussions emerged.... sometimes these would lead to links back to other real interesting music threads..... a really cool thing would be when people didn't actually know much about the music topic of the thread, and they'd ask questions, and people would come along in time and answer them, and all KINDS of cool stuf would get added to the thread, or links to stuff elsewhere like sound samples....

I miss that stuff. I like BS threads and I like the forum split, but I wish people would look above-line more and even just open random music threads and participate in the discussion beyond the "me too" or "hey Jane your panties are showing" kinda posts in them.

~Susan


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Subject: RE: This Forum & American Folk Music
From: greg stephens
Date: 02 Sep 04 - 10:49 AM

Susan Wizzything: I firmly look at Mudcat with the BS and music mixed, as it it used to be. It does mean you get the crap from Iraq mixed with the Dorian mode analysis, but I like it that way. It is an option all can use, though I cant actually remember what it is you press to change from one mode to the other.


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Subject: RE: This Forum & American Folk Music
From: wysiwyg
Date: 02 Sep 04 - 10:58 AM

gs, I forgot we can do that. I don't remember how either. Maybe it's in the FAQ.....

~S~


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Subject: RE: This Forum & American Folk Music
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 02 Sep 04 - 10:58 AM

Anyone interested in listening to some American Folk could do worse than listen to the folk channel on Netscape radio. Free download - Lots of good channels. Dunno if it representative but I realy enjoy the (mainly) American Folk on there.

Parochialist - I dunno if your post was tongue in cheek or not. Am I loosing my 6th sense;-) Just in case it was serious, from my last trip to the States (Chicago, St Louis, various bits other bits of Illinois and Arkansas) there are some great bars there! Most with good beer and all I visited had live music at least twice a week - More often with most.

Perhaps I was just lucky or had a good guide :-P

Cheers

DtG


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Subject: RE: This Forum & American Folk Music
From: wysiwyg
Date: 02 Sep 04 - 11:01 AM

http://www.mudcat.org/threads.cfm?mixbs=yes is supposed to do it if one is not logged in (from FAQ)...

BS-viewing options if logged in (click MEMBERSHIP up in the topmost page banner):

BS filter Yes No If "Yes," filters threads designated "BS / non-music" out of Threads listing

Mix Music & Non-music Yes No If "Yes," mixes music and non-music threads in the Threads listing

~S~


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Subject: RE: This Forum & American Folk Music
From: Once Famous
Date: 02 Sep 04 - 11:04 AM

Jerry Rasmussen

thanks for responding to my thread. I will look for the one you started and see if there is anything I can add.

It is good to see that my observations are not alone on this.

I do believe that Americans do like to be entertained and that the musicians actually like to entertain.

When I do a gig, solo or with a group, the people sitting out there as your audience have a right to be entertained. they like to sing along. They like to have memories invoked by old songs. They want to FEEL GOOD and why as an artist, you wouldn't want them to feel this way is a bit mind blowing just to satisfy your own needs.


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Subject: RE: This Forum & American Folk Music
From: jimmyt
Date: 02 Sep 04 - 11:43 AM

This is an interesting thread, Martin, and actually one like this that was my first post to the mudcat. Let me make some generalizations that I am sure will be argued, but I think you need to remember that just because things are different in your small town or area, they may not be that way elsewhere in the USA.

America doesn't have pubs. Now before you all go off on this, remember that the pubs in UK are pretty much extensions of the living room and serve as a daily forum for the people of the community. There are areas that do not fit this discription but there are the exception and not the rule, Incidently, where these type areas are, there is often a more active folk community.

There may be truth in that Americans wish to be entertained, and not just entertained, they don't even want to listen quietly. We have sort of a culture nowadays that makes music, even live, sort of muzac. We have played at least 2 jobs where the audience actually liked what we did a lot, but they were talking with friends, laughing, etc with almost no perceptable interest in what we were doing. THose performances are absolutley devastating to folk musicians, as it seems a personal rejection of our music, when in reality, it is more af a mind set of the younger generation where this is socially acceptable.

My group performs mostly 60s Kingston Trio, Limeliters, Peterr, Paul and Mary music with a smattering of Irish music where I play whistle in addition to our 4 part harmony. Most of the time, when I play the whistle lots of people want to know what it is. They have never been exposed to this type of music at all. We do have an audience of loyal followers, mostly 45-80 year olds who remember all the old stuff and enjoy singing along, but there is little recognition from younger folks, although they seem to like it.

There is a much larger community of Bluegrass folks, as well as blues and jazz, but they do not tend to overlap as much as our griends in UK seem to . just some ramblings for thought


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Subject: RE: This Forum & American Folk Music
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 02 Sep 04 - 11:51 AM

We do not have pubs in the U.S., but we do have bars. Bars are not exactly family oriented establishments (I don't think pubs are either) and folk music does not exist on the jukeboxes.

Folk music is presented in churchs and schools by primarily volunteer organizations. There are commercial establishments that feature folk music, but I would argue that they are not the primary venue these days.

There is an audience for "folk" music, in all it's various forms. Getting back to Martin's original point, I just don't think that many people discuss it on this forum.


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Subject: RE: This Forum & American Folk Music
From: GUEST,Les B.
Date: 02 Sep 04 - 11:56 AM

When I first stumbled on to Mudcat (or whatever it was back then) it was at a site supported by Zerox - then it disappeared and soon reappeared - I think about 1997.

At that time my impression of the data base was that it was heavily skewed toward British Isle songs - not that there's anything wrong with that - although I would like to see a few more traditional and old timey American songs there.

In terms of participation on the discussion forum I felt it was pretty evenly spread across English speakers - England, Ireland, Britain, Australia, the US, some South American, a few German, Iceland, etc. Which is pretty darned neat.

One of the supprises to me - for a site supposedly oriented to the "blues" - was so little evidence of them - either in the data base or in discussion.

The discussions back then seemed to be basically requests for lyrics, then off-the-wall-humor with people like Catspaw, and then later, when some expert pickers showed up - like Rick Fielding and Art Thieme - some really informative discussions about instrument technique.

Once in a great while there would be an in-depth discussion of the origin of a particular song, or about the use of modes, etc. There were, and are, some real scholars present on this forum.

Although there was always a bit of truculence, and some hurt feelings, it doesn't seem that major imbroglios and personal attacks were a part of Mudcat until the last few years. The "below the line" BS division was, to my mind, a brilliant way to separate the chaff from the wheat.

To sum up; the Mudcat will never entirely be what any one person wants it to be, British or American, pure music or BS, but, if you're willing to go with the flow, it's still one of the most interesting sites about folk music on the internet.


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Subject: RE: This Forum & American Folk Music
From: jimmyt
Date: 02 Sep 04 - 11:58 AM

Or, Martin, as I have found out, there is quite a difference of opinion of the dreaded question, "What is folk music" Our UK friends do not seem to struggle with the definition of what trad music is. Here in AMerica, we have a lot of variations and some folks are very firm about the definition.


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Subject: RE: This Forum & American Folk Music
From: Once Famous
Date: 02 Sep 04 - 11:59 AM

jimmyt

I cut my teeth on the folk era stuff you mentioned. Actually learned to play guitar from all of those old Kingston Trio albums on Capitol records. I have lived in a large city (chicago) where there has always been a thriving folk community, pubs, concert venues, coffe houses, etc. and the home of one of the longest running folk music based organizations, The Old Town School. I do recognize that many other communities, even large cities do not have these resources.

I also recognize that the English pubs mentioned are a big part of their community.

However, if you are going to play a show, it is the artist's/entertainer's job to win over the semi attentive or non attentive audience. True, there can be problems with a room such as a bad PA or no PA at all. If this is the case, you still have to shut-up and play and do what ever it takes to own the audience.

There used to be an expression called "working a room." the real pros know how to do this.


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Subject: RE: This Forum & American Folk Music
From: ThreeSheds
Date: 02 Sep 04 - 12:02 PM

When I was first introduced to Mudcat I thought it was a Hull and East Riding site with contributions mainly from insomniacs it took some time to appreciated that it originated elsewhere hence the daft time keeping


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Subject: RE: This Forum & American Folk Music
From: Steve-o
Date: 02 Sep 04 - 12:11 PM

This question has been in the back of my mind too, MG...thanks for posting it. Lots of good responses here, and I think they are mostly right on. I am guilty of scanning titles like "What's on in the Middletwitch?" and "To busk or not to busk" and rapidly losing interest. It's sort of a vicious cycle. I can't help but miss the interesting posts of the past from people like Justa, Catspaw, and, God knows, Rick.


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Subject: RE: This Forum & American Folk Music
From: jimmyt
Date: 02 Sep 04 - 12:22 PM

Problem is, MArtin, I am an entertainer. My three compadres, however are pure folk players and since they played in the 60s when people sat and listened to the words, they can't figure out why the inattentative nature of some venues exists.

My premise is that when this happens, we are playing the wrong place. It is always amazing when you perform a song, let's say, Don't Think Twice, and someone immediately requests something like Proud Mary, or The Devil Went Down to Georgia. It isn't like they are being rude, but it is a lot like me going into a hardware store and asking them if they have a head of cabbage. "Son, you are in the wrong store."


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Subject: RE: This Forum & American Folk Music
From: Once Famous
Date: 02 Sep 04 - 12:23 PM

Maybe all of the good topics have been discussed.

I experienced this on another fan based folk music web forum.

After some years, there really wasn't much left to talk about.

Maybe Americans like to let their music do the talking. I' rather play than talk about it!


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