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What is wrong with being a purist?

GUEST,Chanteyranger 28 Jan 05 - 02:01 PM
John C. 28 Jan 05 - 01:35 PM
GUEST,Art Thieme 28 Jan 05 - 01:19 AM
chris nightbird childs 28 Jan 05 - 12:03 AM
Amos 27 Jan 05 - 11:51 PM
M.Ted 27 Jan 05 - 11:34 PM
chris nightbird childs 27 Jan 05 - 11:27 PM
GUEST,Art Thieme 27 Jan 05 - 08:24 PM
Leadfingers 27 Jan 05 - 08:24 PM
PoppaGator 27 Jan 05 - 06:02 PM
GUEST,Frank 27 Jan 05 - 05:40 PM
Richard Bridge 27 Jan 05 - 05:02 PM
Amos 27 Jan 05 - 02:51 PM
kytrad (Jean Ritchie) 27 Jan 05 - 02:25 PM
GUEST 27 Jan 05 - 02:23 PM
John C. 27 Jan 05 - 02:12 PM
GUEST 27 Jan 05 - 02:06 PM
Leadfingers 27 Jan 05 - 01:27 PM
WFDU - Ron Olesko 27 Jan 05 - 01:25 PM
PoppaGator 27 Jan 05 - 01:16 PM
Blissfully Ignorant 27 Jan 05 - 12:20 PM
WFDU - Ron Olesko 27 Jan 05 - 12:20 PM
Once Famous 27 Jan 05 - 12:12 PM
GUEST 27 Jan 05 - 07:27 AM
Gurney 27 Jan 05 - 04:24 AM
alanabit 27 Jan 05 - 04:07 AM
alanabit 27 Jan 05 - 04:06 AM
Paco Rabanne 27 Jan 05 - 04:01 AM
Boab 27 Jan 05 - 03:41 AM
Boab 27 Jan 05 - 03:36 AM
Peace 27 Jan 05 - 12:27 AM
Malcolm Douglas 27 Jan 05 - 12:24 AM
GUEST,impurist 27 Jan 05 - 12:10 AM
Peace 27 Jan 05 - 12:09 AM
Peace 27 Jan 05 - 12:01 AM
Malcolm Douglas 26 Jan 05 - 11:33 PM
M.Ted 26 Jan 05 - 11:33 PM
chris nightbird childs 26 Jan 05 - 11:32 PM
nager 26 Jan 05 - 11:14 PM
Malcolm Douglas 26 Jan 05 - 10:59 PM
WFDU - Ron Olesko 26 Jan 05 - 10:49 PM
Bill D 26 Jan 05 - 10:41 PM
Once Famous 26 Jan 05 - 10:38 PM
chris nightbird childs 26 Jan 05 - 10:29 PM
WFDU - Ron Olesko 26 Jan 05 - 10:25 PM
Once Famous 26 Jan 05 - 10:05 PM
Malcolm Douglas 26 Jan 05 - 10:01 PM
Bill D 26 Jan 05 - 09:58 PM
Malcolm Douglas 26 Jan 05 - 09:45 PM
Bill D 26 Jan 05 - 09:44 PM
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Subject: RE: What is wrong with being a purist?
From: GUEST,Chanteyranger
Date: 28 Jan 05 - 02:01 PM

Along those lines, I like to think of sea chanteys as "portholes into our past." They connect, as many types of folk songs do, tangible things (ships, storms, "Judies," cruel mates, etc.) with intangible ideas (fear, courage, love, lust, longing for a better life, etc.) It is this quality of linking the tangible with the intangible that, for me, gives traditional folk songs their sense of immediacy as well as their sense of historical time and place. Modern songs written with traditional music sensibilities can do the same, such as some of Andy M. Stewart's and Richard Grainger's songs, for just a couple of examples. They have a way of making a nearly seamless link between the traditionalist and the singer/songwriter, at least to my ears.

GREAT article, Art Thieme!

Chanteyranger


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Subject: RE: What is wrong with being a purist?
From: John C.
Date: 28 Jan 05 - 01:35 PM

The time travelling thing, spoken of so eloquently by Art Thieme and Amos above, gets it about right. The other night a friend sang a version of the 'Flash Lad' - an Eighteenth Century ballad about a thief who 'robbed Lord Golden, I do declare, and Lady Mansfield in Grovesnor Square' - and gets hung, on Tyburn Tree, for his pains. And I swear I saw a ragged lad running through Covent garden vegetable market - scattering cabbages, onions and apples in his wake - with 'Ned Fielding's Gang' of thief takers in hot pursuit...I don't get anything like that from hip hop or thrash metal or whatever - those are just intrusive noises to me - not time machines, not vehicles which link me to my ancestral past.
It's experiences like the one described above that keeps me interested in trad. songs - why I have to learn and sing them myself and why I love to hear them sung well. And, you know, the experience just seems to get better and more profound as I get older - every time I think I've got the measure of these songs I hear tune or a new set of words, or read an article (or a posting here - usually by Malcolm Douglas - thanks, Malcolm!) that blows my mind and sets me off on another journey of discovery.


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Subject: RE: What is wrong with being a purist?
From: GUEST,Art Thieme
Date: 28 Jan 05 - 01:19 AM

Amos,

For all the years I did it, that's what I told folks. We are going on a trip through time!! That was the long and the short of it. So I know what you're sayin'. And it's not necessarilly THE TRUTH of what went down. It's the fantasy and the reality all mixed up in the song. And you also get to see how they wanted things to be---what their agenda might've been. Their spin for all their ulterior motives and propaganda machinations shows up in it too.

Come all you good people who like to have fun,
Listen to me and I'll sing you a song,
Listen to me and the truth I'll declare,
As I sing all about the Pokegama Bear...

or...

Down in the scrub oak country of the south-east Texas gulf,
There used to ride a brakeman---and a brakeman double tough,
He worked the line from Kilgore and to Longview 12 miles down,
And the 'bos all said that East Texas Red was the meanest bull around...

or...

'Dobe Bill, he went a ridin' through the canyon in the glow
Of a quiet summer's evenin, and he wasn't riding slow,
Riding easy on his pinto that he dearly loved to straddle,
With his six-gun and sombrero that was wider than his saddle,
And he's ridin' as he's hummin' of a simple little song
That's a-boomin' through the canyon as he's galloping along...


or any of 5,000 other glimpses back that happen to have a good tune tossed into the mix.

As Utah Phillips is so fond of saying: "Hell, the past didn't go anywhere!" ----- No, it's there for the perusing---for the taking. And any of you out there can join Amos and me and so many others who know the secrets and the beauty of this way of being a trad purist.

Nothing at all is wrong with being a purist! I'm proud to own up to that good monicker. (And I like what this thread has morphed into.)

Art


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Subject: RE: What is wrong with being a purist?
From: chris nightbird childs
Date: 28 Jan 05 - 12:03 AM

If it comes from the heart and the mind... it's pure.


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Subject: RE: What is wrong with being a purist?
From: Amos
Date: 27 Jan 05 - 11:51 PM

Art:

I have mentioned a number of times on this forum the belief that au coeur folksingers are genuine time travelers. It's like this. I don't care if you'r e a beer-joint in SanFran or a roadhouse between Madison and Mount Carroll, the moment comes when you're doing "Lord Lovell", say, or as you do so well, "John Hardy" and you have your man there, standing on the Blackstone Bridge, so drunk he could not see.... and you're making your chords and runs and picking away and you close your eyes to remember that verse, see?

And there you are. Wet night, early autumn, cooling fast, drops of moisture on the stone rails and footways, and the sound of the river rushing underneath, and the sound of footsteps punctuating the night. The footsteps are heavy, but determined, a 250-pound sherriff sort of determination, marching on hard stone. And there's this deep voice, softened by whiskey, trying to get a job done with as much dignity as can be spared for the occasion, saying, "Johnny, boy, I thnk yoiu'd better come with me. Woddya say, lad. Ya don't want any more trouble than you got, son. Whyn't'you jes' come with me."

And that's where you are, traveling in time, purely located at the middle of the nineteenth century or mebbe 1910.

It isn't just a song anymore.

You're there, and that's what comes into your voice, and that's what the people in the night club hear and for just a minute, because you are a time-traveler, they are there too, breathing that river-wet night air and being in history right along side of you.

I am just an amateur time traveler, but that makes it no less vivid for me. I have walked those streets with Barbry Ellen and cried for Sweet William and made it heard so others could be there as well, just as I know you have. But you -- you were the real thing and the professional time traveler man.

So here's to you, mon brave.

The traveler through Time, Art Thieme.

A


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Subject: RE: What is wrong with being a purist?
From: M.Ted
Date: 27 Jan 05 - 11:34 PM

Leadfingers-I like your story a lot!   I have been in a similar situation on more than one occasion--it is wonderfully humbling to be knocked off of your soapbox when someone plays a recording of an old 78--


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Subject: RE: What is wrong with being a purist?
From: chris nightbird childs
Date: 27 Jan 05 - 11:27 PM

I'm going to tell you what Folk Music did for me...

I used to be a Rock and Roller to the core. I used lots of distortion on me guitar, and played electrics exclusively. I played in bars, clubs, and what-have-you, and what I can tell you is, even in the rehearsal room, it GOT TOO F**KIN' LOUD!

This was my reasoning initially for switching to a softer, and more dynamic type of playing. Then, I noticed that through the din, the soul and meaning of my music had gone as well.

Needless to say, this would not do. I stopped, I quit/broke up my Rock band, and my Bass player and I started doing Acoustic gigs. I started, through some of the influences I had, to listen to some other things like Country Blues, older Country, like Hank Williams, Lefty Frizzell, and Bluegrass like, you guessed it, Bill Monroe.
I then took a closer look into some people I was already listening to like Dylan, Havens, etc.

My influences became more varied, and focused on a different genre. A type of music that I'd always heard as 'Folk' music. Meaning music from the folks by the folks about the folks. Of course, some of these were stories passed down from generations. Most of these musicians interpreted the music their own way. Like Blues songs are adapted, and sometimes twisted to suit who played them.

So... in short... I now write from the point of view of myself, and things that people I know experienced. 'Reality' music, as Chuck 'Tarheel' Hemrick would call it... 'Folk' music, as most people understand it to be.

- Chris Nightbird Childs


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Subject: RE: What is wrong with being a purist?
From: GUEST,Art Thieme
Date: 27 Jan 05 - 08:24 PM

I wasn't going to post this at Mudcat, but this seems to be the right time and place for it. It's my most recent on-line column for the website of the PLANK ROAD FOLK MUSIC SOCIETY west of Chicago. About a week or three ago, these thoughts were keeping me awake---so I jumped up and wrote 'em down...
--------------------------------------------------------------

The main job of a folksinger, I've always felt, is to explore the past. After skimming the scum of the present off the top of the historical pond, folksingers mine the depths for the artifacts that were lost --- some long ago and some more recently. They find, clean up, polish and sometimes enhance the overlooked found pieces of music and/or poetry so they can be shown to people here and now in a way that allows modern people to feel some of the emotions experienced by those that lived, loved, worked, fought, struggled and then died in that whole other time and place.

The extent to which the one calling themselves a folksinger does that, determines whether that person is, or is not, a folksinger.

Modern singer-songwriters stand here and now and look at today's personal ongoing dramatic situations and traumas. They also look, artistically and insightfully into the future for their inspiration, and then they speculate about how what we are doing might enhance or detract from those days to come. Some of today's songwriters will become legends --- famous and infamous --- rich or poor. But most, from where I sit, will not become folksingers.

Only when their presented music is a result of looking and studying about how people of the past turned their lives into art that chronicled that life, can the songs they uncovered be real folksongs.

It is all about the timeline!! In the future, what is made now may become a folksong. -- Then someone from that future, someone who understands the rules (yes, the rules!) finds the appropriate artifacts you or I may have thought little of --- and maybe tossed by the wayside. That gem when re-examined, could exhibit real, possibly ironic meaning for the folks of that new reality. --- If it is presented in a way that shows the connection between what is said in the lyric, maybe in-between the lines, older folklore artifacts can be instantly updated. --- A semi-comic line like, "Hey, here is a song from the last depression"---automatically makes an old song a way to see current hard times--or wars---or disasters from the Johnstown Flood and Nah's flood to our recent tsunami or 9/11.   Then, when that person who knew/knows what to look for brings it forth, it is and ought to be called an actual folksong --- and that individual is an actual folksinger.

Purist? Revivalist? Whatever. I just know I've spent a lot of time over the last half century trying to say this the right way. I do hope it means something true to you. But this is me--what it comes down to -- in a nutshell -- to me. It is only the way I see it---and some of why I see it that way---for what it's worth. I mean no offense to anyone. ------ People, I always considered myself to be a folksinger about 60% of the time---possibly a little more I hope. If Barry Bonds, with or without steroides, had batted as well, he would've hit 600. Not too bad!

This is pretty much what Frank Hamilton said in this thread too I think. It's the excitement of the treasure hunt---and then finding a piece of the Grail here and there--every so often. That's what being a folksinger is all about! This is what made and makes it an academic discipline for so many of the purist Catters and ballad scholars---as exhibited in the best threads this place has to offer.

Art Thieme


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Subject: RE: What is wrong with being a purist?
From: Leadfingers
Date: 27 Jan 05 - 08:24 PM

When I was first seriously into British Traditional Jazz I was a most definate Purist - NO saxophone , NO Guitar , NO Piano ! Just trumpet clarinet trombone front line and banjo bass drums for rhythm ! Then I bought a reissued album of Louis Armstrongs first recordings with King Olive - March / April 1923 !! Lil Harding on piano , johhny StCyr playing a Six String banjo tuned as guitar and Stump Evans on Alto Sax . Stopped me being a 'Purist' on the spot !
It seems to me that far too many people who qualify for the 'purist' label in Folk simply havent opened their ears and their minds to enough good music !!


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Subject: RE: What is wrong with being a purist?
From: PoppaGator
Date: 27 Jan 05 - 06:02 PM

Richard Bridge,

Whatever the particular issues the initial post may have addressed, I think that *all* the comments here (well, almost all of them) have been interesting and valid observations on a fairly wide range of differences between "strict-constructionist" folkies and "moderists."

It it were *possible* to restrict the discussion to responses directly relevant to JohnC's particular initial concerns, there would have been much less "food-for-thought" here for us to digest and debate.

Of course, it's not possible to censor the membership that strictly, which is a good thing, isn't it?

I do not at all object to your restating the original case, though. It's good to be reminded that we began with a complaint about a particular conflict in English folk clubs. However, I don't think there's anything objectionable about the wider-ranging discussion that ensued.


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Subject: RE: What is wrong with being a purist?
From: GUEST,Frank
Date: 27 Jan 05 - 05:40 PM

What is a "purist"?

First comes the music. Then someone makes up the rules.

It's simple. If you don't like a certain music it means:

1. You don't know enough about it.
2. You have prejudices.
3.   You may understand some music and still not like it.
4. You may attribute to it false subjective standards.
5.   You've got an axe to grind.
6. You haven't listened to it long enough.

What I hear in John C's statement is that he has been criticized for liking certain music or mislead in the adverts about what the music was supposed to be.

If he defines the kind of music he likes as "purist" then how can anyone argue with this? There's nothing wrong with that.

i don't have any problem with music that I like or think is good.
Why should anyone else?

But it's intolerant to judge another person's taste in music just because you don't like it.

I don't like heavy metal or some hip hop but I'm not going to say that it's not good music. In fact I admire much music that I don't like because the expertise that it takes to produce it in my view is to be admired.

Frank


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Subject: RE: What is wrong with being a purist?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 27 Jan 05 - 05:02 PM

I think many posters need to re-check the initial post.

The point that is escaping is that (over-sweeping generalisation follows) the AGB tend to label anyone who does any significant number of folk songs at all as a "purist" and them blames them for the decline of folk clubs - whether or not they in fact welcomed non-traditional singers and players.

My experience is that this is true. You can see examples from Don (WYZIWIG) Thompson on the English folk club thread.

You will also see from the original post that the experience was specifically stated as being found in English clubs. So, dear MG, if you don't have the experience you don't have the knowledge and you are not in the position to express an informed or therefore rational opinion. That, however, rarely stops you so I don't suppose it will stop you now.

SRS, you know better, I think and hope.


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Subject: RE: What is wrong with being a purist?
From: Amos
Date: 27 Jan 05 - 02:51 PM

Thanks, Jeannie, and wisely said!


A


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Subject: RE: What is wrong with being a purist?
From: kytrad (Jean Ritchie)
Date: 27 Jan 05 - 02:25 PM

Purist to me is a label. I have been labeled a "purist" all my singing life, and nothing can be further from the truth. The music I inherited is just dearer to me than all other, and people expect me to perform it, and I feel most comfortable with it- it's part of me. But I like most other kinds of music, for listening, and for joining-in- have written "modern" songs myself, and sung them to- have folks say after hearing one of them, "Oh,wonderful old song!"

And Bill Monroe, whose name keeps cropping up here as so traditional was, in his day,the biggest innovator of us all- didn't he INVENT bluegrass?

Mudcatters seem to love labels and lists: Threads for, The Best This, The Worst That...The Most Popular...so now are we going to have a Who's a Purist? list? I sincerely hope not- it's a waste of time.


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Subject: RE: What is wrong with being a purist?
From: GUEST
Date: 27 Jan 05 - 02:23 PM

The trouble with being a purist is that it's so easy to become obsessed with the "impure" to the extent that you become more identified with what you're against than with what you're for. It's a syndrome we are seeing again in the religions of the world.The more fundamenatlist in outlook the more negative the vibes given off.


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Subject: RE: What is wrong with being a purist?
From: John C.
Date: 27 Jan 05 - 02:12 PM

Brilliant stuff! I never imagined that my, slightly mischievous (but deadly serious), question would generate so many interesting and thought provoking answers - plus a smattering of abuse - but, hey, sticks & stones etc.
For the record, and speaking as a sad git...sorry, 'purist', I've always thought that the British Folk Scene of the 60s/70s wasn't destroyed by evil mastermi...sorry, 'purists', like me, but by the 'folk-into-rock' phenomenon. You see you just couldn't fit all those amplifiers and cables etc. into the back room of the average pub - so it all had to go onto the concert stage where the intimacy was lost...right, I'll be off then...


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Subject: RE: What is wrong with being a purist?
From: GUEST
Date: 27 Jan 05 - 02:06 PM

"America has identifiable, unbroken strands of folk music - bluegrass, country and cajun to name just three."!!! WHAT UTTER BULLSHIT!!!


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Subject: RE: What is wrong with being a purist?
From: Leadfingers
Date: 27 Jan 05 - 01:27 PM

Poppa-gator - I was on the fringes of the great british Blues revival in the late sixties ! My blues guitar playing freinds were always amused at the people lamenting the fact that they could the same sound
out of their Gibsons and Martins as was on some of the old records .
But suggest that they try a 'Cheap' guitar and they loked at you with scorn !


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Subject: RE: What is wrong with being a purist?
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 27 Jan 05 - 01:25 PM

PoppaGator - good points. Another example would be the Irish fiddler Michael Coleman. After his recordings came out, many fiddlers learned from the records and everyone began sounding the same. Luckily the various regional styles have lived on, thanks to the work of folklorosts.


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Subject: RE: What is wrong with being a purist?
From: PoppaGator
Date: 27 Jan 05 - 01:16 PM

Despite my total ignorance of what goes on in folk clubs in England, I'm finding most of this discussion quite interesting, and have another couple of cents' worth to offer:

My immediate reaction to a so-called "purist" is to allow that everyone is entitled to his/her own opinion ~ each to his own taste, so to speak.

However: there is one particular strain of trad orthodoxy that I find obnoxious and essentially anti-musical. I refer to those who insist upon blindly aping, note for note, a particular early-twentieth-century recording. There's a lot of this going on among traditional-jazz enthusiasts and some (but thankfully not many) folk-blues players, and I suspect that the "just-like-Bill" bluegrassers that Martin was complaining about are up to the same ignorant nonsense.

Don't these people realize that the recordings they so slavishly imitate represent nothing more than the way their idols played a particular number ONCE, on the day they happened to be recorded?

Early jazz, especially, was nothing if not spontaneous ~ group improvisation ~ but some of these worshipful "recreators" treat a given recording as if each note were engraved in stone. I have the same complaint about acoustic-blues performers who drop a beat from the same measure of the same verse every time they sing a particular song because that's the way Blind So-and-so sang it one afternoon in the 1920s when someone dropped by with recording equipment.

I would hope that those traditionalists who are devoted to *older* forms that predate the emergence of recording technology avoid falling into this trap, but I'm willing to bet that there are some who cling desperately to the earliest *recorded* versions of their favorites, despite the fact that they are attaching themselves to early-20th-century versions of songs from the 19th, 18th, and earlier centuries.

OK ~ rant over...


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Subject: RE: What is wrong with being a purist?
From: Blissfully Ignorant
Date: 27 Jan 05 - 12:20 PM

Why stick a label on yourself, anyway?


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Subject: RE: What is wrong with being a purist?
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 27 Jan 05 - 12:20 PM

The same is true about so-called "contemporary" folk music. Some musicians feel that just because they are strumming a tune on a guitar it is suddenly "folk music".

I know of a rather well-known contemporary singer-songwriter who was asked to participate in a workshop at a festival. She found some of the best childrens songs she knew to share at the workshop, and then was shocked to find out that the workshop on Child Ballads was not what she thought!!!!


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Subject: RE: What is wrong with being a purist?
From: Once Famous
Date: 27 Jan 05 - 12:12 PM

boab is right on about the antique parallel.

As an avid collector of many antiques, too many I have come in contact with think that if it is old, it's worth a lot.

Not true in most cases.


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Subject: RE: What is wrong with being a purist?
From: GUEST
Date: 27 Jan 05 - 07:27 AM

Chris (Nightbird) - a mate of mine regularly turns up at folk sessions and plays his guitar and sings VERY interesting songs - On
one occasion , when I asked whose song it was , it was from a VERY loud rock band , but done at a sensible volume without the heavy bass and drums it was a Bloody Good Song . Same thing goes for gary Numan ,Buddy holly ,the Beatles and a whle scad of other 'Good Songs' than can be performed as acoustic pieces . Sadly , a lot of (Though NOT all) people who could be described as purists would claim this is NOT what Folk Clubs are there for . MY answer to that is PIFFLE !
Folk Clubs are there for Folk To Make Music together and wether the music is 'Traditional' or singer/songwriter in origin it doesnt Bloody Matter A Damn .


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Subject: RE: What is wrong with being a purist?
From: Gurney
Date: 27 Jan 05 - 04:24 AM

John C, I understand you! I've been like you, felt like you, about the same tradition, too.

35 years on, I dont really care where a song comes from. Like several people have said, my preferences are A/ I like it a lot, B/ I like it, C/I don't much like it, and D/ I'm not listening to that, thank you.

I think the rot set in when I discovered Coventy library had a full set of 'Folk Song in England(Britain?) a BBC issue of field recordings collected from 'real' folk singers. Several LPs. 95% boring, to me. Possibly to other folkies too, as I've only ever heard a couple sung in all this time.

I promise you, however, that you will not get poisoned by including in your repertoire ANYTHING else, and you won't forget the Trad, either.


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Subject: RE: What is wrong with being a purist?
From: alanabit
Date: 27 Jan 05 - 04:07 AM

I should also say I think there is nothing wrong in being a purist.


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Subject: RE: What is wrong with being a purist?
From: alanabit
Date: 27 Jan 05 - 04:06 AM

I was interested to read Pat Cooksey's post about the decline of folk clubs in the UK. This theme has been discussed on Mudcat. I think the polarisation of different ends of the folk scene does have something to do with it. As I have stated elsewhere, I also believe that in cultures such as the current England and Germany, we have no real folk culture of our own. I believe that is one of the reasons why Pat Cooksey and other Irish acts are popular in Germany (and, of course, the fact that they are good!
I don't want to spout too much about something I don't know about first hand, but it does seem that America has identifiable, unbroken strands of folk music - bluegrass, country and cajun to name just three. Because these are unbroken traditions, you have never really felt you needed to define what was folk and what was not in the same way that many Brits find important.
I do not want to identify too strongly with either camp in the purist debate. I think it is more important to try to bring people into a folk culture which they feel a part of. When I ran a college folk club years ago, we deliberately took it out into the village. We embraced all performers - good, bad and appalling. After a few months, the people who had originally come in to see their mates strumming John Denver songs, were cheerfully singing away with the traditional songs again. Get groups of people singing together frequently and they will begin to sing good songs too. If we do not revitalise the culture and context, the old songs will disappear when the cliques who guard them die off. I do not want that to happen.


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Subject: RE: What is wrong with being a purist?
From: Paco Rabanne
Date: 27 Jan 05 - 04:01 AM

john C,
      I have absolutely no problem with you being a purist. When I was a little lad in Primary school, we were were taught English Folk songs ias part of our music lessons. Now, a lot of schools don't teach music at all, so all the old songs will eventually be forgotten. Bat on old fruit!


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Subject: RE: What is wrong with being a purist?
From: Boab
Date: 27 Jan 05 - 03:41 AM

And in risking the "purist wrath"--traditional folk music and song has its parallel in the antique business. Somebody digs up a 150-year-old jam jar; it's a genuine antique! --But it's a bloody jam-jar, for pete's sake---it should have been left buried. More than one traddie has dug up something in exactly that category.


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Subject: RE: What is wrong with being a purist?
From: Boab
Date: 27 Jan 05 - 03:36 AM

I think a legitimate question would be "What makes the 'purists' think they are 'purists'"? They certainly haven't travelled back in time to check their theories out! Some attempts at "purism" [ to coin a word--] I have heard in my time have come across as excruciating murder of what are potentially decent songs. In many cases it has seemed plain to me that the original song was sung in a completely different way. There seems to be a tendency among self-described "purists' to assume that old-time folks had no sense of rhythm. I tend to believe the opposite; look at the folk dancing worldwide---the kind that predates the waltzes and the soulful ballet.No lack of rhythm there! There are many songs which were intended to be sung as slow airs but not---tell Martin Carthy---too many of them for pete's sake!


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Subject: RE: What is wrong with being a purist?
From: Peace
Date: 27 Jan 05 - 12:27 AM

LOL


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Subject: RE: What is wrong with being a purist?
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 27 Jan 05 - 12:24 AM

There wouldn't be enough of them to fill a table, so it wouldn't matter.

Pesto and turnips? Weird, but thanks for explaining. I'd need to come up with something that would fit comfortably in between (in terms of flavour and texture) before it'd make a meal.

Now, wait a minute... HAGGIS!


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Subject: RE: What is wrong with being a purist?
From: GUEST,impurist
Date: 27 Jan 05 - 12:10 AM

if you selected the severest purist from each and every folk club in the land
and sent them all off for a weekend conference..


would they get on with each other ?

or would they compete and fight for top position of absolute purity ??


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Subject: RE: What is wrong with being a purist?
From: Peace
Date: 27 Jan 05 - 12:09 AM

BTW, pine nuts are an important ingredient in pesto sauce of the basil persuasion. They are the seed of the pinyon pine tree.

Rutabagas--basically, think turnip. You could use one where you would the other with no harm done to the recipe. (Both turnips and rutabagas are members of the mustard family.)


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Subject: RE: What is wrong with being a purist?
From: Peace
Date: 27 Jan 05 - 12:01 AM

"hamburger mixed with pine nuts and rutabaga, covered with sauerkraut and jalepenos, and served on a bagel"

What's the recipe for this? It sounds good.


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Subject: RE: What is wrong with being a purist?
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 26 Jan 05 - 11:33 PM

I said so far as I can tell. Obviously I can only speak from my own experience. If your experience is different, by all means enlighten us. You may have been unluckier than me.


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Subject: RE: What is wrong with being a purist?
From: M.Ted
Date: 26 Jan 05 - 11:33 PM

I had something important to say that would have cleared this all up in a minute--but, BillD's bagel with all that weird stuff on it is more interesting, because I think I ate that somewhere once, and they did call it "traditional"--as to that traditional Italian Thai fish sauce pasta place , there was an article about it in the "Washingtonian" last month and it is the hot new "place to be seen"--


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Subject: RE: What is wrong with being a purist?
From: chris nightbird childs
Date: 26 Jan 05 - 11:32 PM

Yes MG... cluster-fuck.


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Subject: RE: What is wrong with being a purist?
From: nager
Date: 26 Jan 05 - 11:14 PM

``Under achieving performers ... out of wounded vanity..."

Come on Malcolm, that's the biggest load of bullshit you have written so far in this thread - and that's saying something!


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Subject: RE: What is wrong with being a purist?
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 26 Jan 05 - 10:59 PM

Call me a "Brit" and I'll call you a "Yank", Ron. I don't like either term, but people will insist on using them. I wish they wouldn't.

The point is that we don't as a rule segregate between "traditional" and other forms, though of course every venue will have its own preferences and there are a small number that specialise. The only people who complain about "purists", "folk police" and so on are under-achieving performers who do so out of wounded vanity, so far as I can tell.

Where it comes to tradition, we're still talking about very different things, so it isn't surprising when we find ourselves at cross purposes. I have no real idea, for instance, what "pine nuts and rutabaga" might be, though I gather that they are both probably vegetables, more or less, and can be eaten by those who care for that kind of thing. Americans are equally puzzled, I expect, by "faggots" (a kind of skinless haggis but with a higher meat content), "pikelets" and so on.

When we get to edible things like Samphire, I don't expect even many people over here to know what I'm talking about. That's diversity, though; which is also traditional.


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Subject: RE: What is wrong with being a purist?
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 26 Jan 05 - 10:49 PM

BillD - I never suggested that EVERYTHING was good. I don't think that the original intention of this thread was to say that everything was acceptable.

There ARE versions of "Scarborough Fair" that are truly wonderful, and I would not mind hearing someone do a rendition of "Roseville Fair" in the same evening.


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Subject: RE: What is wrong with being a purist?
From: Bill D
Date: 26 Jan 05 - 10:41 PM

Ron..of course no sane person would call that recipe traditional...I said IF they offered it to you (maybe a better example would be going to an Italian restaurant and finding they used Thai fish sauce on their pasta, with a sign saying 'traditional since 1998')....but I have heard people call "Scarborough Fair" done to a bouncy beat with electronic effects 'traditional'....it was interesting, but barely recognizable....and I had to go home and bring in a book to convince these people that it was OLD!


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Subject: RE: What is wrong with being a purist?
From: Once Famous
Date: 26 Jan 05 - 10:38 PM

Did I say cluster-fuck?


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Subject: RE: What is wrong with being a purist?
From: chris nightbird childs
Date: 26 Jan 05 - 10:29 PM

HAHAHAHAHAHA......... etc.


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Subject: RE: What is wrong with being a purist?
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 26 Jan 05 - 10:25 PM

Well I never heard a horse sing it!! Go ahead, abuse me all you want!!!!!!!

"If someone offers you a 'traditional' meal, and you find out it is hamburger mixed with pine nuts and rutabaga, covered with sauerkraut and jalepenos, and served on a bagel..(all VERY traditional food, in their way), you'd maybe be willing to listen to some discussion of why we bother with categories in food, as well as music."

That is a horrible analogy. No one would call it a "traditional" meal served like that because we know the proper way to serve the dish. Each of those foods are items that I have enjoyed - AT THE PROPER TIME. If you mix it all together IN THE SAME MEAL, then you have crap.

Maybe I'm just a "Yank" (you Brits have the cutest expressions! How droll!)and will never understand what occurs in a UK folk club, but if you have such segregated music clubs - then by all means, keep the trads and the Anything Goes Brigade separate. Why would you want to socialize together anyway???

Here in the colonies I think our clubs and "sings" are more open than what you are describing. Sure people have their favorite styles of music, but no one walks out when someone sings a song they do not care for.   I think our culture is probably stronger that we can listen to a John Gorka navel gazer and still find room in our souls for Shady Grove.


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Subject: RE: What is wrong with being a purist?
From: Once Famous
Date: 26 Jan 05 - 10:05 PM

Malcom you are right. I don't know much about the British folk music scene. Judging from what I've read here, I'm kind of glad. It sounds, for lack of a better expression, like a cluster-fuck.

At least the Bill Monroe type of bluegrassers can do some hot picking and harmony. No warbling for sure! No guitars pretending to be lutes, either.


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Subject: RE: What is wrong with being a purist?
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 26 Jan 05 - 10:01 PM

Sudden rush of posts, there. Hasn't it been a fast-moving thread? I only went out for a while (two sessions; one to play, one to listen and catch up with people and drink more beer), and there it all was when I got back.

The Numan song was Down in the Park, though quite a few of his would have worked as well: remove the synthesizer and substitute a drone and simple fiddle riff and you're away; though I used cittern at the time. As a rule, people thought it must have been a Richard Thompson song they weren't familiar with. The ones who hadn't listened to the words probably thought it was mediæval.


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Subject: RE: What is wrong with being a purist?
From: Bill D
Date: 26 Jan 05 - 09:58 PM

well, nightbird...I saw a young fellow win the mandolin contest at Winfield many years ago with a tune no one could identify...they liked it a lot, but were puzzled.....so, at the awards ceremony, he explained that he had played Fritz Kreisler's "Mozart Rondo" in Bluegrass style...

so...there are many things that go into making a song or tune 'tend' toward trad...*grin*


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Subject: RE: What is wrong with being a purist?
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 26 Jan 05 - 09:45 PM

Cross-posted with Bill, who has some very sensible things to say. I agree entirely about that "horse" business. It's cheap, trite, glib, ignorant, and wrong. Anybody who quotes it yet again (and they usually get the attribution wrong) deserves all the abuse they will certainly get.


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Subject: RE: What is wrong with being a purist?
From: Bill D
Date: 26 Jan 05 - 09:44 PM

good advice, Malcolm....there are, in truth, very few 'extreme' purists who have rigid ideas about precisely how a tune or song should be done.


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