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Songs that should have been folk songs

George Papavgeris 02 Apr 05 - 03:44 AM
Sooz 02 Apr 05 - 04:13 AM
alanabit 02 Apr 05 - 05:03 AM
Celtaddict 02 Apr 05 - 08:28 PM
George Papavgeris 03 Apr 05 - 04:31 AM
The Unicorn Man 03 Apr 05 - 04:56 AM
GUEST,Little Robyn 03 Apr 05 - 03:45 PM
GUEST 03 Apr 05 - 03:46 PM
Maija 03 Apr 05 - 04:43 PM
McGrath of Harlow 03 Apr 05 - 07:34 PM
Haruo 03 Apr 05 - 08:57 PM
Eric the Streetsinger 04 Apr 05 - 12:58 AM
Gypsy 04 Apr 05 - 11:20 PM
alanabit 05 Apr 05 - 02:54 AM
George Papavgeris 05 Apr 05 - 03:55 AM
GUEST,Sidewinder. 05 Apr 05 - 04:01 AM
GUEST,PeterA 05 Apr 05 - 04:20 AM
Singing Referee 05 Apr 05 - 04:34 AM
HipflaskAndy 05 Apr 05 - 05:24 AM
Splott Man 05 Apr 05 - 07:36 AM
IanC 05 Apr 05 - 07:50 AM
alanabit 05 Apr 05 - 07:50 AM
Grab 05 Apr 05 - 08:00 AM
Linda Kelly 05 Apr 05 - 01:42 PM
Bill D 05 Apr 05 - 02:07 PM
GUEST,HipflaskAndy 05 Apr 05 - 02:30 PM
Wolfgang 05 Apr 05 - 02:56 PM
kytrad (Jean Ritchie) 05 Apr 05 - 03:22 PM
Once Famous 05 Apr 05 - 03:33 PM
DonMeixner 05 Apr 05 - 05:42 PM
Gypsy 05 Apr 05 - 10:28 PM
Pauline L 06 Apr 05 - 12:54 AM
GUEST,Jon 06 Apr 05 - 04:15 AM
Dave the Gnome 06 Apr 05 - 04:42 AM
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George Papavgeris 06 Apr 05 - 03:34 PM
GUEST,bfdk 06 Apr 05 - 04:46 PM
Celtaddict 06 Apr 05 - 07:14 PM
Severn 06 Apr 05 - 07:50 PM
Chris Green 06 Apr 05 - 07:59 PM
Margret RoadKnight 06 Apr 05 - 08:29 PM
Malcolm Douglas 06 Apr 05 - 08:54 PM
Alexander 06 Apr 05 - 09:09 PM
Celtaddict 06 Apr 05 - 11:39 PM
Severn 07 Apr 05 - 03:26 AM
Splott Man 07 Apr 05 - 03:38 AM
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Subject: Songs that should have been folk songs
From: George Papavgeris
Date: 02 Apr 05 - 03:44 AM

A special interest of mine is identifying songs that are created NOW, in our times, outside the domain of mainstream folk, yet they are "folk" in every other respect: They have a folkie theme (telling a good story, describing a trade or a historical event, focusing on ordinary people in a timeless way), a tune that can be easily learned and sung communally, perhaps a chorus... I know that the criteria are a little vague, so something that strikes me as "folky" might not pass muster for others. But do you have such songs that you could suggest?

Here are some of my "discoveries":

1. Mark Knopfler's "Sailing to Philadelphia" (the story of Paul Mason & Jeremiah Dixon)
2. Mark Knopfler's "Prairie wedding" (mail order brides)
3. Billy Joel's "And so it goes" (dilemma of opening up to love)

Can you add some?


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Subject: RE: Songs that should have been folk songs
From: Sooz
Date: 02 Apr 05 - 04:13 AM

Bob Geldoff's "I Don't Like Mondays"


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Subject: RE: Songs that should have been folk songs
From: alanabit
Date: 02 Apr 05 - 05:03 AM

Suzanne Vega's "Luka", which describes a situation which I fear may predate the song by several centuries, but which I hope does not survive long into the future.


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Subject: RE: Songs that should have been folk songs
From: Celtaddict
Date: 02 Apr 05 - 08:28 PM

Jerry Bryant's "Harbo and Samuelson" is an epic ballad about two young oysterman who rowed (that's right, rowed; no steam or canvas) across the Atlantic in the late 19th century. Full story, true, well told, highly singable chorus.


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Subject: RE: Songs that should have been folk songs
From: George Papavgeris
Date: 03 Apr 05 - 04:31 AM

Another one I remembered:

Billy Joel's "Southeaster Alexa" - great imagery, similar to "White squall" and other Stan Rogers greats.


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Subject: RE: Songs that should have been folk songs
From: The Unicorn Man
Date: 03 Apr 05 - 04:56 AM

That last song he plays with A PIANO ACCORDION as well, how fokie can you get.


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Subject: RE: Songs that should have been folk songs
From: GUEST,Little Robyn
Date: 03 Apr 05 - 03:45 PM

"Same Old Lang Syne"
Robyn


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Subject: RE: Songs that should have been folk songs
From: GUEST
Date: 03 Apr 05 - 03:46 PM

Long Black Veil


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Subject: RE: Songs that should have been folk songs
From: Maija
Date: 03 Apr 05 - 04:43 PM

Many of the songs from the German band Schandmaul are definitely very folky, for instance "Dein Anblick", "Seemannsgrab" and "Teufelsweib". The lyrics themselves might not be very modern (they have a medieval theme going), but the subjects of the lyrics surely are ;-) (Or, rather, timeless, I guess we can say.)

Link to the band: Schandmaul


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Subject: RE: Songs that should have been folk songs
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 03 Apr 05 - 07:34 PM

Of course Alan Price's Jarrow Song.

Quite a few Sting songs.


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Subject: RE: Songs that should have been folk songs
From: Haruo
Date: 03 Apr 05 - 08:57 PM

Peter Bellamy's Around Me Brave Boys, from the ballad opera The Transports.

Haruo


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Subject: RE: Songs that should have been folk songs
From: Eric the Streetsinger
Date: 04 Apr 05 - 12:58 AM

The Pushstar's
song
"Wild Irish Rose"


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Subject: RE: Songs that should have been folk songs
From: Gypsy
Date: 04 Apr 05 - 11:20 PM

Sailing, written in 1972 NOT by Rod Stewart!


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Subject: RE: Songs that should have been folk songs
From: alanabit
Date: 05 Apr 05 - 02:54 AM

That's certainly true about Sting songs. "We Work The Black Seam Together" and "Fields of GOld" could both be with us for a long time.


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Subject: RE: Songs that should have been folk songs
From: George Papavgeris
Date: 05 Apr 05 - 03:55 AM

Thanks, folks, for the contributions. Keep at it, let's see how many such gems we can gather from the muck of commercialism.


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Subject: RE: Songs that should have been folk songs
From: GUEST,Sidewinder.
Date: 05 Apr 05 - 04:01 AM

Bob Marleys "I Shot The Sheriff" and The Clash "Career Opportunities".

Regards.

Sidewinder.


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Subject: RE: Songs that should have been folk songs
From: GUEST,PeterA
Date: 05 Apr 05 - 04:20 AM

I think someone will come up with Steve Earle sooner or later in this thread, so I'd rather do it. The Mountain.


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Subject: RE: Songs that should have been folk songs
From: Singing Referee
Date: 05 Apr 05 - 04:34 AM

I've sung Lyin' Eyes and Desperado (Henley/Frey - The Eagles) under that pretext and got away with it. (Or so I believed at the time!)


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Subject: RE: Songs that should have been folk songs
From: HipflaskAndy
Date: 05 Apr 05 - 05:24 AM

Anorak alert!....but leading somewhere...

'Sailing' - not by Rod Stewart indeed!
Words and music were by Gavin Sutherland from the Sutherland Brothers - who toured and recorded extensively for a good while teaming up with the band 'Quiver' - whose guitarist, Tim Renwick, went on to tour twice as 'second' guitar' to Dave Gilmour in Pink Floyd (anyone remember the Live at Earl's Court footage?) - and Quiver's bass player Bruce Thomas played in the 'Attractions' for Elvis Costello...

...which brings me to my nomination...
Elvis C wrote the marvellous (and surely must be earmarked 'folk') 'Shipbuilding' - as made a minor hit by ex-Soft Machine drummer Robert Wyatt.
HFA


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Subject: RE: Songs that should have been folk songs
From: Splott Man
Date: 05 Apr 05 - 07:36 AM

Most of the Billy Joel album Storm Front would qualify, but then you knew that didn't you George?
I've been doing Leningrad from it for years. I'd do Downeaster Alexa but I can't reach those notes.

She's Leaving Home - The Beatles
Run Away - Slade, great singalong song.

I'll keep thinking.


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Subject: RE: Songs that should have been folk songs
From: IanC
Date: 05 Apr 05 - 07:50 AM

Im quite interested in the comment ... 'Sailing' - not by Rod Stewart indeed!(/i> as I thought that, a song being a folk song, it would be unimportant who sings it.

;-)


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Subject: RE: Songs that should have been folk songs
From: alanabit
Date: 05 Apr 05 - 07:50 AM

Yusuf Islam's "Mathew and Son" might qualify as a tale of everyday life from its time.


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Subject: RE: Songs that should have been folk songs
From: Grab
Date: 05 Apr 05 - 08:00 AM

Rather than "songs that should have been folk songs", it's often easier just to see who's a successful singer-songwriter. If they are, chances are that many of their songs are going to become folk songs given time, because most singer-songwriters transcend the standard categories. Mark Knopfler is one; others are Suzanne Vega, Ani DiFranco, Tracy Chapman, Joan Armatrading, Chris Rea, John Prine, Steve Earl, Bob Seger, Billy Joel, etc, etc, etc.

Graham.

PS. If you were considering it, don't buy MK's "Shangri-La". Very disappointing album.

PPS. On the MK front, "Money for Nothing" is very possible as a solo acoustic number on a single guitar. Try that one at your local folk club! :-)


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Subject: RE: Songs that should have been folk songs
From: Linda Kelly
Date: 05 Apr 05 - 01:42 PM

Mad World tears for Fears and the Bee Gees 19-- New York Mining Disaster also Cyndi Lauprs Time after Time


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Subject: RE: Songs that should have been folk songs
From: Bill D
Date: 05 Apr 05 - 02:07 PM

¾ of everything Craig Johnson ever wrote...
"Way Down the Road"
"Keewanah Light"
etc....


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Subject: RE: Songs that should have been folk songs
From: GUEST,HipflaskAndy
Date: 05 Apr 05 - 02:30 PM

Ian, I took Gypsy's posting 'written in 1972 NOT by Rod Stewart' to mean it just that - that it wasn't written by him - hence my detail as to who did write it.

I'm with you - it matters not who, goes on to sing any song - and I assume/hope Gypsy meant the same. Nothing sinister I'm sure.
Cheers! HFA


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Subject: RE: Songs that should have been folk songs
From: Wolfgang
Date: 05 Apr 05 - 02:56 PM

A couple of M. Theodorakis songs and Rembetiko (German transliteration) songs from known composers.
Though I only know the stories they tell from translations.

Wolfgang


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Subject: RE: Songs that should have been folk songs
From: kytrad (Jean Ritchie)
Date: 05 Apr 05 - 03:22 PM

Happens to me often; e.g. my, "Now is the Cool of the Day" was recently 'collected' as an old spritual and a choral arrangement made and marketed at music conferences...I think the arranger still believes that it was an old spritual!

Another e.g. my, "The L&N Don't Stop Here Anymore" has been mistaken many times as trad. Some have even recorded and claimed to have 'helped to write it,'namely one Bill Phillips of Black Mountain, NC.


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Subject: RE: Songs that should have been folk songs
From: Once Famous
Date: 05 Apr 05 - 03:33 PM

Holiday In Cambodia by the Dead Kennedys.


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Subject: RE: Songs that should have been folk songs
From: DonMeixner
Date: 05 Apr 05 - 05:42 PM

Most of Ewan Macoll's Radio Ballads as mistaken for being trad.
The Shoals of Herring
The Big Hewer
The Lag's Song
School Days Over
The North Sea Holes
The Thirty Foot Trailer

and

Many songs by Gordon Bok, Utah Phillips, Bill Staines. Alice Gerarde
Rosalie Sorrells, Jim Ringer, Mary McCaslin, the list goes on....

But which ones should have been? Wait awhile and in some form they will be.

Don


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Subject: RE: Songs that should have been folk songs
From: Gypsy
Date: 05 Apr 05 - 10:28 PM

Yer right, HipFlask Andy.........I love this tune, and i even like alot of what Stewart writes, but didn't appreciate him trying to take credit (however briefly) for something he didn't write. Same goes for "Morning has Broken" which might fit in this catagory......i think it is about 100 years old, so fairly recent. And certainly precedes Cat Stevens.


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Subject: RE: Songs that should have been folk songs
From: Pauline L
Date: 06 Apr 05 - 12:54 AM

I agree that many songs written by contemporary singer-songwriters will some day be considered folk songs. In fact, some of us who sing and play them consider them folk songs now. I would include:

Edmund Fitzgerald
Early Morning Rain
Carolina Pines
Teach Your Children Well
Gone Gonna Rise Again
If I Were a Feather Bed
Lay Down Your Weary Tune (The lyrics to this sound one or two centuries old.)


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Subject: RE: Songs that should have been folk songs
From: GUEST,Jon
Date: 06 Apr 05 - 04:15 AM

Can I be controversial (again) and ask when is a song a "Folk" song?
Does it have to be:
a) Over 100 years old?
b) Of forgotten origin?
c) Reflecting the the daily lives of ordinary folk?
Personally, I vote for c).
Just because we know the authors name and (perish the thought) they may even be still alive, does not prevent their music from being "Folk".
I'm thinking of great artists such as Ewan MacColl, Harvey Andrews, Kieran Halpin......the list goes on.
What say the rest of you?


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Subject: RE: Songs that should have been folk songs
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 06 Apr 05 - 04:42 AM

Up the Junction - Squeeze(?)
Mighty River - Jimmy Nail

I'm sure there are loads more that I can't immediately remember.

Cheers

DtG


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Subject: RE: Songs that should have been folk songs
From: GUEST,Guest, Bernie
Date: 06 Apr 05 - 04:46 AM

`Nothing Ever Happens' from Del Amitri


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Subject: RE: Songs that should have been folk songs
From: Seaking
Date: 06 Apr 05 - 08:07 AM

'Kathy's song' and 'Clare to Here' - depending on whether or not you classify Ralph Mactell and Paul Simon as 'Mainstream Folk'

-and the less obvious, Rod Stewart's 'Only a Hobo'


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Subject: RE: Songs that should have been folk songs
From: George Papavgeris
Date: 06 Apr 05 - 03:34 PM

Jon,

"folk" is "folk", and despite there being sevral interpretations, most people agree that the term casts a very wide net, from traditional to Dylan, from Mark Knopfler to bluegrass, from blues to ragtime, from music hall to spirituals, oh I could go on for hours. The "anon" or "at least so many years old" limitations apply to a song being called "traditional", rather than simply "folk". There are threads with a lot more detail on this subject, if you are interested.

I am pleasantly overwhelmed by the response to my request in this thread. You see, there is so much "folk" written (and listened to) outside the "mainstream folk circles" (folk clubs, folk festivals etc), that I wonder - are we folkies not missing a trick by not embracing such songs more warmly, and perhaps attracting a wider audience? Not for discussion in this thread either - other threads do it better.

The reason for my request is that I want to start building, apart from my own songs, a repertoire of such "near miss folk" material. Stuff that many folkies would not listen to simply because of its origins, yet I believe to belong in the folk category. Like, for example, the gorgeous ballad by Metallica (yes, Metallica!) "Nothing Else Matters".


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Subject: RE: Songs that should have been folk songs
From: GUEST,bfdk
Date: 06 Apr 05 - 04:46 PM

"Six Ribbons" by Aussie rocksinger Jon English - from the TV series "Against the Wind".
Text here: http://www.lottaworld.com/personal/songindex.html.

An, eh, slightly alternative version can be found here: http://music.kulichki.net/txt/v/victims_of_noah/six_ribbons.shtml. Enjoy ;-)


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Subject: RE: Songs that should have been folk songs
From: Celtaddict
Date: 06 Apr 05 - 07:14 PM

I agree, lots of Gordon Bok, and also Bob Dylan's "Lay Down Your Weary Tune" which is the one Bob Dylan song that should be sung by traditional singers who do not do Bob Dylan. Also, several of Eric Bogle's not only should be but are well on the way, the (probably obvious) "The Band Played Waltzing Matilda" and "No Man's Land" but also some slightly less heard ones like "Leaving the Land." John Prine's "Paradise" and "Angel from Montgomery." Bill Staines' "River" and "Roseville Fair." John Denver's "Country Roads" is virtually there too, as is Steve Goodman's "City of New Orleans." Like Jean/kytrad's work, John Connolly's "Fiddler's Green" is often presented as folk, and Larry Kaplan's "Old Zeb" is too.
And, of course, the one Grateful Dead song that I think will be sung as "traditional" a hundred years from now, "Ripple."


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Subject: RE: Songs that should have been folk songs
From: Severn
Date: 06 Apr 05 - 07:50 PM

It's also a matter of what the song gets used for. I'd say anything used as a lullabye to a child, as the child has memories of a family member, friend guardian or nurse and a song they hold special. If enough mothers sing an Elvis song, say "I Can't Help Falling in Love With You" to their kids, it becomes as valid as my Grandmother singing "Aunt Rhody", or me, when my daughter wouldn't go to sleep, and exhausting all the lullabies I knew would sing ANYTHING soft and slow that came to mind until she did.

The same thing would apply to any song a traditional dance would be danced to, if it's danced ofen enough.

You and your lover's favorite song, if you stay together long enough, becomes a personal tradition with attendant rituals. Anything from anywhere sung often enough by family or friends on car trips might be, too.

Hey! Is "The Hokey Pokey" considered a folk song yet because of all the odd social situations it pops up in in your life both as a kid or parent?

Enough For Now,

Severn


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Subject: RE: Songs that should have been folk songs
From: Chris Green
Date: 06 Apr 05 - 07:59 PM

I would suggest anything from "Levelling the Land" by the Levellers. It was that record that turned me on to trad stuff in the first place.


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Subject: RE: Songs that should have been folk songs
From: Margret RoadKnight
Date: 06 Apr 05 - 08:29 PM

Many of Australian bard Ted Egan's compositions.
John lennon's "Imagine"
Buffy Saint-Marie's "Johnny Be Fair" (fooled me)


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Subject: RE: Songs that should have been folk songs
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 06 Apr 05 - 08:54 PM

Some songs "sound traditional" because people mistake 1960s -or later- revival styles for traditional ones. Both Johnny be Good and Lay Down Your Weary Tune were set to much older melodies; whatever their artistic merits, the lyrics of neither really stand up as "traditional style" on their own (particularly Dylan's) if you're not hearing the borrowed tune in your mind at the same time.


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Subject: RE: Songs that should have been folk songs
From: Alexander
Date: 06 Apr 05 - 09:09 PM

I second that vote for John Denver's "Country Roads"


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Subject: RE: Songs that should have been folk songs
From: Celtaddict
Date: 06 Apr 05 - 11:39 PM

Good points, Severn, about what can be steps in the becoming of folk. (This is a little like The Velveteen Rabbit, or How Toys Become Real, isn't it?) My kids got a fairly eclectic bunch of lullabyes too, The Great Silkie of Shule Skerrie, Brid Og Ni Maille, anything my daughter described as a "long, calm song." I agree absolutely that a song being around long enough that people learn it from other people singing (or better yet, feel they have "always" known it), and that people have forgotten who wrote it, can certainly signal that a song has become "folk" (much looser definition than "traditional") but there are surely other paths.


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Subject: RE: Songs that should have been folk songs
From: Severn
Date: 07 Apr 05 - 03:26 AM

Also, if some songs can't become folksongs, or at least have to log in some time before they do, a parody of that song passed aeound from kid to kid or soldier can become one almost instantly. You can argue the merits of professional singer-songwriters all you want, but as long as there are children and soldiers there will be potential folksongs produced by the minute.


Severn


.....Gone to children and soldiers, every one,
When will we ever learn?....."

From kindergarten to infantry and possibly to adultry. It's a natural growth process.


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Subject: RE: Songs that should have been folk songs
From: Splott Man
Date: 07 Apr 05 - 03:38 AM

Talking of children's songs...

Bananas In Pyjamas


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Subject: RE: Songs that should have been folk songs
From: The Beast of Farlington
Date: 07 Apr 05 - 08:23 AM

Many of Steve Earle's songs could be nominated.

Even stuff off 'The Revolution Starts Now' which only came out last year.

'Home To Houston' tells the story of a civilian truck driver in Iraq. It's a war song, a modern take perhaps, but a topic covered by much older folk songs than this and, alas, newer ones too probably.

ANother good candidate is 'Tom Ames' Prayer' as well as 'Valentine's Day'....oh, I could go on and on for ours.

'Harlan Man' is a Trade Union song about mining off the album 'The Mountain', the title track off that album was mentioned previously. Just about any track on that album coul have been folk because, as bluegrass, arguably it is already!


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Subject: RE: Songs that should have been folk songs
From: Paco Rabanne
Date: 07 Apr 05 - 08:31 AM

Dare I mention Cat Stevens here?


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Subject: RE: Songs that should have been folk songs
From: GUEST,HipflaskAndy
Date: 07 Apr 05 - 08:51 AM

Must be Ok Ted.
He got two mentions earlier.
One for a song he did, one for a song he didn't write.
Go right ahead matey. He wrote some fine songs - for sure. HFA


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Subject: RE: Songs that should have been folk songs
From: Alexander
Date: 07 Apr 05 - 08:58 AM

flamenco ted? Allah will not permit the name of Cat Stevens to be mentioned here. However, please feel free to mention Yusuf Islam. Allahu Akhbar!!!


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Subject: RE: Songs that should have been folk songs
From: Alexander
Date: 07 Apr 05 - 08:58 AM

Oops!! I did mention that infamous name!!! One thousand pardons Effendi!!! LOL


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Subject: RE: Songs that should have been folk songs
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 10 Apr 05 - 12:38 PM

One that's been running through my head for ages, just a snippet but I just couldn't pin it down is this one- then I traced today when I suddenly remembered it was Mike Oldfield who wrote it, is "Moon Shadow", which was a great record, and a monster hit, when sung by Maggie Reilly back in 1983. That's a long time ago, and I think it deserves singing in the odd session or club.

So here are the words (from here) - and here is a pretty good midi version of the tune and arrangement.

The last that ever she saw him
Carried away by a moonlight shadow
He passed on worried and warning
Carried away by a moonlight shadow
Lost in a riddle that Saturday night
Far away on the other side
He was caught in the middle of a desperate fight
And she couldn't find how to push through

The trees that whisper in the evening
Carried away by a moonlight shadow
Sing a song of sorrow and grieving
Carried away by a moonlight shadow
All she saw was a silhouette of a gun
Far away on the other side
He was shot six times by a man on the run
And she couldn't find how to push through

I stay, I pray, see you in heaven far away
I stay, I pray, see you in heaven one day

Four AM in the morning
Carried away by a moonlight shadow
I watched your vision forming
Carried away by a moonlight shadow
Stars move slowly in a silvery night
Far away on the other side
Will you come to talk to me this night
But she couldn't find how to push through

I stay, I pray, see you in heaven far away
I stay, I pray, see you in heaven one day

Far away on the other side

Caught in the middle of a hundred and five
The night was heavy and the air was alive
But she couldn't find how to push through

Carried away by a moonlight shadow
Far away on the other side


I wonder if there's a real story behind it?


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Subject: RE: Songs that should have been folk songs
From: John Hardly
Date: 10 Apr 05 - 02:21 PM

Lonesome Road -- James Taylor
Lean On Me -- Bill Withers


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Subject: RE: Songs that should have been folk songs
From: alanabit
Date: 10 Apr 05 - 02:44 PM

Just casually looking over the lyric of Moonlight Shadow, I wondered in passing if it might not be a veiled reference to the killing of John Lennon, who was shot six times. At any rate, it certainly does sound like a folk song.


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Subject: RE: Songs that should have been folk songs
From: Severn
Date: 10 Apr 05 - 04:09 PM

"Somewhere Over The Rainbow" is another one that can turn folk for all the different uses we all put it to (and 'cause we all know it by heart).


"Brother Can You Spare A Dime" was not written as a folksong as such, but has been used by countless folksingers as not only thr ultimate period piece, but as a constant reminder it could become current again at some future time or two and still not sound too dated. A once and future period piece? Hmmmmmm.........


But on a happier note, most of us could get through "Accentuate The Positive" if asked to, and many have in public.


Even stuff from TV (however much we post denials to threads, we somehow all get the Shatner jokes, don't we), but we all know the Robin Hood (see another current thread) or Popeye songs, to name two.
Hell, the four boys walking down the tracks and singing "Have Gun- Will Travel" in "Stand By Me could have an argument for having used it in a folk context, if kids ever consciously thought about that.
Of course it's the fact that they don't that puts it in or near the context anyway.

Severn


Folkness, much like the act of being wonderful, when one achieves it, is sometimes done best when not consciously trying.


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Subject: RE: Songs that should have been folk songs
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 10 Apr 05 - 04:25 PM

That's an idea, alanabit. Mind, December 8th 1980, when John was shot, was a Monday, but "Lost in a riddle that Monday night" wouldn't scan properly, and that kind of thing is maybe more important for a song than historical accuracy. (NB I mistyped the song title as "Moon Shadow" which is a different song entirely, by the artist formerly known as Cat Stevens - goo dsong, but I like "Moonlight Shadow" is better.)
........................................

"Somewhere over the rainbow" - Lonnie Donegan used to sing that. So did Alex Campbell, but I don't know if he ever got it on record, it'd be worth hearing.


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Subject: RE: Songs that should have been folk songs
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 10 Apr 05 - 05:17 PM

I found this about Moonlight Shadow on this interesting enough looking site:

4.2 Is Moonlight Shadow about the murder of John Lennon?

Maybe Mike was influenced by the murder of John Lennon, which might have found a way into the song, but it was not specifically written about it. Mike himself said he doesn't know exactly, it should be taken without a deep meaning. When Mike was interviewed for the mailing list (see http://tubular.net/articles/95_06.html), this question was asked too. He replied that the song was originally inspired by a very old film called 'Houdini', a Paramount picture filmed in 1953, directed by George Marshall with Tony Curtis in the title role. Additional information is available from:
http://uk.imdb.com/M/title-exact?Houdini%20%281953% 29.


Myself, I remember at the time I took it as being maybe related to the Troubles in Northern Ireland.


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Subject: RE: Songs that should have been folk songs
From: Wrinkles
Date: 10 Apr 05 - 06:13 PM

I'm kinda surprised that in the context of story-songs no one has mentioned Harry Chapin, although his tunes could hardly be called "folk" his theames certainly were.

Jim Croce's story songs were quite folky/bluesy; "You Don't Mess Around With Jim" has been in my set for more years than I care to remenber ;-)


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Subject: RE: Songs that should have been folk songs
From: GUEST,Sidewinder.
Date: 10 Apr 05 - 10:45 PM

Hi,

I seem to be reading a lot about Steve Earle recently? So being the discerning musicologist I am, I would put forward "Justice in Ontario" as a fine example of a folk song in the Rock idiom.

Regards.

Sidewinder.


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Subject: RE: Songs that should have been folk songs
From: The Beast of Farlington
Date: 11 Apr 05 - 09:19 AM

Well, I keep mentioning Steve Earle a lot so that might be why.

And he also has a new(ish) album out and is on tour perpetually.

And he's very good.


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Subject: RE: Songs that should have been folk songs
From: GUEST
Date: 11 Apr 05 - 10:56 AM

I think that a lot of Jethro Tull stuff would qualify, especially Heavy Horse, great song.


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Subject: RE: Songs that should have been folk songs
From: GUEST,noddy
Date: 11 Apr 05 - 11:58 AM

A lot of the early stuff by Barclay James Harvest.


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Subject: RE: Songs that should have been folk songs
From: George Papavgeris
Date: 11 Apr 05 - 12:35 PM

Jethro Tull - of course... "Songs from the wood", "Steel Monkey", "Jack in the green".....


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Subject: RE: Songs that should have been folk songs
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 11 Apr 05 - 07:15 PM

I remember the House Band at Sidmouth doing a great version of Bruce Springsteen's "No Surrender". Quite a lot of his songs would fit in a song session.

Then there's the Sawdoctors - I'd count them as a kind of folk anyway.

And how about Meatloaf's Bat out of Hell?


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Subject: RE: Songs that should have been folk songs
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 11 Apr 05 - 09:35 PM

Hardly. Meatloaf's material is overblown, pompous, sub-operatic stuff (though he did manage some adequate Gospel covers before he became famous, if memory serves).

I used to play Springsteen's My Home Town occasionally. people usually thought it was a Richard Thompson song they hadn't heard before. Might have been my accent, of course.


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Subject: RE: Songs that should have been folk songs
From: GUEST,Sidewinder.
Date: 11 Apr 05 - 09:56 PM

Some of Hendrixs' stuff could be interpreted in a folkie styling for example "Hey Joe", "The Wind Cries Mary","Little Wing" etc. And I hark back to my bugbear about The Beatles producing numerous folk songs that have all the hallmarks of greatness and will be performed in Folk Clubs around the world for eternity without a shadow of a doubt.You can make up your own lists on that one because we are all entitled to our own preferences and opinions, aren't we? I still think "Norwegian Wood" is one of the best folk songs of the 20th Century though!

Regards.

Sidewinder.


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Subject: RE: Songs that should have been folk songs
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 29 Nov 06 - 04:46 PM

I remembered this thread when I came a cross a YouTube clip of a song I brought into the discussion - Maggie Reilly singing Mike Oldfield's Moonlight Shadow.

So I thought I'd refresh the old thread and put in the link. I've always liked this song.


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Subject: RE: Songs that should have been folk songs
From: GUEST,DriveForever
Date: 29 Nov 06 - 06:28 PM

'The Ballad of Spider John' by Willis Allan Ramsey,

or

'Texas Trilogy' by Stephen Fromholz


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Subject: RE: Songs that should have been folk songs
From: Ragman
Date: 29 Nov 06 - 07:12 PM

Many years ago, I heard someone quoted as commenting "It's folks that sing songs, I've never heard horses singing songs, so every song is a folk song".

I've always wondered why people should feel they have to categorise songs as 'folk' or whatever. Audiences want to be entertained.

In most of the sessions and clubs I take part in, any type of song will work, so long as the audience like it.

We often have Eagles, Beatles, Richard Thompson,and occasionally we have had some jazz classics. In between, we may have singer-songwriters testing out their new material, and instrumentals with pipes, mandolins, fiddles, and penny whistles. Sometimes we will have visitors from other countries, and they will sing songs from their own culture. When performed well, the audience is content.

When exposed to a range of styles and music, performers and audience of all ages and experience can expect to hear sonething new, and something different.

We also like to encourage newcomers, so anyone can have a shot. Less experienced singers can often only sing a limited range of songs. If they clash with what the audience wants, then it will be harder for them to get another shot. It's as simple as that.

If it's a good song, it should work almost anywhere. Good performers will be able to 'read' the audience and know when a song will or will not work.


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Subject: RE: Songs that should have been folk songs
From: GUEST,Jaze
Date: 29 Nov 06 - 07:25 PM

Circle Game by Joni Mitchell


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Subject: RE: Songs that should have been folk songs
From: Joe_F
Date: 29 Nov 06 - 08:21 PM

"Waltzing with Bears" (in *two* copyrighted versions) has passed into oral circulation and accreted many additional stanzas.


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Subject: RE: Songs that should have been folk songs
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 29 Nov 06 - 08:31 PM

Enjoyed that video.

Whats the words to Moonlight Shadow? anybody know?


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Subject: RE: Songs that should have been folk songs
From: GUEST,Nick
Date: 29 Nov 06 - 08:32 PM

Well I can think of a buch of original tunes by Great Big Sea that would fit the bill, even they do folk & trad also, perhaps they realy are folk to begin with but I nominate...

"Helmet Head", the loves and travels of a minor leauge hockey player.
"Boston & St Johns" just beautiful
"A Boat Like Giddeon Brown" about generations of a family dreaming of a nice fishing boat
"Barque In The Harbour" about a dalliance in a far off land
"French Perfume" smuggling in New Foundland.

I'm sure there are more from this band.

And I nominate Jefferson Airplain's version of Wooden Ships for everything!


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Subject: RE: Songs that should have been folk songs
From: GUEST,nick
Date: 29 Nov 06 - 08:40 PM

sorry realy should have spell checked that last post... too late now
Nick


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Subject: RE: Songs that should have been folk songs
From: Bee-dubya-ell
Date: 29 Nov 06 - 08:46 PM

A couple of Norman Blake's originals, "Last Train From Poor Valley" and "Ginseng Sullivan", come to mind.


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Subject: RE: Songs that should have been folk songs
From: GUEST
Date: 30 Nov 06 - 01:12 AM

How about: "Sixteen Tons" and "Dark as a Dungeon" by Merle Travis, and Billy Edd Wheeler's "Coal Tattoo"

. . . and thanks for refreshing this thread.

michael


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Subject: RE: Songs that should have been folk songs
From: GUEST
Date: 30 Nov 06 - 02:27 AM

Khe Sahn (Don Walker/Cold Chisel)

I left my heart to the sappers round Khe Sanh
And my soul was sold with my cigarettes to the blackmarket man
I've had the Vietnam cold turkey
From the ocean to the Silver City
And it's only other vets could understand

About the long forgotten dockside guarantees
How there were no V-dayheroes in 1973
How we sailed into Sydney Harbour
Saw an old friend but couldn't kiss her
She was lined, and I was home to the lucky land

And she was like so many more from that time on
Their lives were all so empty, till they found their chosen one
And their legs were often open
But their minds were always closed
And their hearts were held in fast suburban chains

And the legal pads were yellow, hours long, paypacket lean
And the telex writers clattered where the gunships once had been
But the car parks made me jumpy
And I never stopped the dreams
Or the growing need for speed and novacaine

So I worked across the country end to end
Tried to find a place to settle down, where my mixed up life could mend
Held a job on an oil-rig
Flying choppers when I could
But the nightlife nearly drove me round the bend

And I've travelled round the world from year to year
And each one found me aimless, one more year the more for wear
And I've been back to South East Asia
But the answer sure ain't there
But I'm drifting north, to check things out again

You know the last plane out of Sydney's almost gone
Only seven flying hours, and I'll be landing in Hong Kong
There ain't nothing like the kisses
From a jaded Chinese princess
I'm gonna hit some Hong Kong mattress all night long

Well the last plane out of Sydney's almost gone
Yeah the last plane out of Sydney's almost gone
And it's really got me worried
I'm goin' nowhere and I'm in a hurry
And the last plane out of Sydney's almost gone


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Subject: RE: Songs that should have been folk songs
From: Paul from Hull
Date: 30 Nov 06 - 04:41 AM

There are plenty of songs not within the folk canon that work brilliantly well when 'folkified', & not just those from those songwriters or performers who were folk influenced (Mark Knopfler being a prime example of one who WAS).

I suppose it all hinges on the thorny old issue of 'what is/isnt Folk anyway', & the best definition I can come up with, & I've said it before on here is that folk can be 'anything that goes down well with a folkie audience...except for those things that do, but clearly arent!'

There is also the things that plainly are, but I have noticed a couple of posts in this thread that put forward stuff that is to my mind, beyond question, notably stuff thats not Trad. but without doubt (to my mind anyway) fits the folk idiom, & which, I would assume, most people would share my opinion that it does.


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Subject: RE: Songs that should have been folk songs
From: The Sandman
Date: 30 Nov 06 - 05:20 AM

William Brown.not the [richmal crompton characterWilliam Brown[the description of the capitalist system].


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Subject: RE: Songs that should have been folk songs
From: Scrump
Date: 30 Nov 06 - 06:29 AM

This is an interesting thread started by George, that I've only just seen thanks to it being refreshed by McGrath of Harlow.

It seems to me there is a bit of muddying of the water between contemporary singer-songwriters who are already regarded as being in the folk category, and others who definitely are not.

For example, many of Joni Mitchell's songs have been sung in folk clubs since the 1960s, and although there are always hardcore traddies who would say her songs are not folk music, I think I'm right in saying that most of us would regard a lot of her early output in particular as being in the folk domain. Likewise, Bob Dylan, Harvey Andrews and Suzanne Vega have been associated with the folk scene in their time (whether or not you agree that they should have been is another matter entirely, that I don't want to get into in this thread).

Whereas artists like Rod Stewart, Slade, Billy Joel, Cindi Lauper and Dire Straits would not normally be regarded as having anything to do with folk. Yet, as people have said in this thread, some individual songs by these artists can be imagined sung in a folk setting.

I'm not sure where you draw the line between 'people who are sort of folky already' and 'people who have nowt to do with folk music', but I guess as always this would be subjective.

By coincidence, last Saturday I had the radio on in the car and the DJ played Slade's "Far Far Away" and I remarked to Mrs Scrump that I could imagine singing a 'folky' version of it, something I hadn't thought of before, even though I'd heard the song before many times over the years.

I'm not sure what it is about a 'non-folk' song that gives it 'folk possibilities'. I think perhaps sometimes it's the lyrics, which may be dealing with something different than the usual 'lurve' subject matter - perhaps they tell an interesting story, or deal with topical issues; or maybe the tune has a 'folky' feel to it somehow. I think the Slade one I quoted above is probably in the latter category, but I'm not really sure why.

I have seen people do 'non-folk' songs in folk clubs (e.g. I saw someone do The Beatles' Eleanor Rigby, which raised a few eyebrows when the singer announced it, but it has a (sort of) story to it and it seemed to go down well with the audience in spite of the possible misgivings (he did give it a 'folky' arrangement on acoustic guitar which helped its 'folky' credentials).


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Subject: RE: Songs that should have been folk songs
From: melodeonboy
Date: 30 Nov 06 - 06:49 AM

Much of Ian Dury's repertoire. "Billericay Dickie" in particular


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Subject: RE: Songs that should have been folk songs
From: GUEST,Nicholas Waller
Date: 30 Nov 06 - 10:45 AM

"Rain, Steam and Speed" by The Men They Couldn't Hang may be borderline as they're folk-rock anyway, but it is about building Brunel's stuff so fits in with the OP's interest in working songs. And it looks forward at the end to the channel tunnel.

But also a few less immediately obvious types --

Wishbone Ash, "Leaf and Stream", unusually acoustic for them:

"Alone I've walked this path for many years,
Listened to the wind that calls my name.
The weeping trees of yesterday look so sad,
Await your breath of spring again."

Crowded House, "Four Seasons in One Day":

"It doesn't pay to make predictions
Sleeping on an unmade bed
Finding out wherever there is comfort
There is pain only one step away
Like four seasons in one day"

Procol Harum's "A Salty Dog":

"Upon the seventh seasick day we made our port of call
A sand so white, and sea so blue, no mortal place at all"

Crash Test Dummies and "God Shuffled His Feet":

"And what with God there, they asked him questions
Like: do you have to eat, or get your hair cut in heaven?
And if your eye got poked out in this life
Would it be waiting up in heaven with your wife?
God shuffled his feet, and glanced around at them
The people cleared their throats, and stared right back at Him."

I've always had a soft spot for Pink Floyd's (Syd Barrett's) whimsical "Bike":

"I've got a bike.
You can ride it if you like.
It's got a basket, a bell that rings
And things to make it look good.
I'd give it to you if I could
But I borrowed it."

And back to whaling, Mountain's "Nantucket Sleighride":

"Starbuck's sharpening his harpoon
The black man's playing his tune
An old salt's sleeping his watch away
He'll be drunk again before noon"


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Subject: RE: Songs that should have been folk songs
From: Gwenzilla
Date: 30 Nov 06 - 11:45 AM

Several of Dougie Maclean's songs come to mind, including the ubiquitous "Caledonia," but I'd also give a nod to "Singing Land."


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Subject: RE: Songs that should have been folk songs
From: Scoville
Date: 30 Nov 06 - 12:03 PM

Without arguing about what is and isn't folk, these at least are not traditional:

PeterA beat me to it but I was going to say Steve Earle. Almost anything by Steve Earle.

Second "Sixteen Tons", "Dark as a Dungeon", and "Coal Tattoo". Add Wheeler's "Red-Winged Bird", as well.

Norman Blake's "Billy Gray"
Lucinda Williams' "Concrete and Barbed Wire"
Gillian Welch "Everything is Free" and "One Morning", among many others
A lot of stuff by Slaid Cleaves
OCMS "Wagon Wheel"


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Subject: RE: Songs that should have been folk songs
From: Bill D
Date: 30 Nov 06 - 12:48 PM

I have just watched "Moonlight Shadow" in 3 versions, and I have to say that, although it is an interesting and 'intense' song with several virtues, it just doesn't 'feel' like what I associate with 'folk'.
The rhythm, tune pattern, and evocation of images are a modern 'pop-rock', singer-songwriter combination. I am not good enough at dissecting these things to spell out every nuance, but the song just 'drives' in a way I don't associate with folk. As performed, it doesn't feel like a song I could sing, or that someone would just sit in their living room and sing with friends.
   Could it be done more simply, without all the added images and drums? Perhaps...but it just feels like a song to be performed, not shared.

As you see, (and many remember about me), I take a fairly narrow view of what ought to be called folk. I like many other songs, I just prefer my favorite category to not be diluted by everything that gets popular or is considered 'good'.


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Subject: RE: Songs that should have been folk songs
From: Big Mick
Date: 30 Nov 06 - 12:52 PM

You know, Bill, and I hate to admit this, but you are finally winning me over. Especially that last post. I do many songs that are not folk songs, but are played in the folk style. I know of many songs that folkies love me to play (The Dutchman, The Rare Old Times, Hiring Fair, etc and on and on) that are not folk songs. I have come to agree that we need to keep what is folk a bit pure, but not react so angrily at folks that play folk styled music.

Mick


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Subject: RE: Songs that should have been folk songs
From: GUEST
Date: 30 Nov 06 - 01:38 PM

"Dignity" Deakon Blue


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Subject: RE: Songs that should have been folk songs
From: akenaton
Date: 30 Nov 06 - 02:58 PM

Road Rage by Catatonia has an earthy folky sound!   I bet Cerys Mathews started off singing folk.

Anything by the Kaiser Chiefs, their songs are so infectious.(no sarky comments please)
Their concerts remind me of the atmosphere at the big folk clubs way back then


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Subject: RE: Songs that should have been folk songs
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 30 Nov 06 - 03:03 PM

Why should any of these songs have been folk songs?
"Folk" isn't a value judgment, any more than "Pop" is.

There are good songs and bad songs in any genre, and I fail to see what is gained by continuing this water-muddying.


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Subject: RE: Songs that should have been folk songs
From: Bill D
Date: 30 Nov 06 - 03:08 PM

Ok, Mick, thatnk you..*smile*...that's all I have tried to say for years. Sometimes I said it too much like a 'purist snob', but I just wanted to have a way to identify stuff with a basic 'feel' to them.

You (and I) sing many things which are clearly not strict or traditional folk, (and the "guilty pleasures" workshop at the Getaway clearly acknowledged the differences), and 'good' songs SHOULD be done, but "Songs that should have been folk songs" ought to be a pretty tight category...that is, they need to come close to fooling us about their origins.

   Interestingly, I just listened to a recording of "Shawnee Town" done by Johnny Collins & Jim Mageean (about moving a river boat with oars & poles) which was done 'right'...with the rhythm, meter and 'feel' of the job it was written about. Compared to some of the high-speed 'bouncy' versions I have heard the last few years, it really felt good. There are many characteristics which swing a song into or out of, the 'folk' mode, and sometimes the lines are blurry, but that shouldn't keep us from looking for the lines when we want to make certain kinds of lists.


(gee....there I go again...*grin*)


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Subject: RE: Songs that could yet be folk songs
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 30 Nov 06 - 03:42 PM

Basically what determines it, for me, is when a song gets passed on by people who may have no idea who wrote it and recorded it, they just heard someone singing it and liked it enough to sing it themselves.

Once that happens a few time, it's into the oral tradition, which is what counts.

But I quite agree with dick greenhaus that "folk" shouldn't be used as a value judgement - plenty of great songs that aren't folk songs yet, and plenty of great songs that will never become folk songs; and a fair number of songs that are undeniably folk sings that aren't that good.

And I also agree that "should have been" is the wrong word - "could yet be" might be better, which is why I modified the heading in this post.


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Subject: RE: Songs that should have been folk songs
From: Bill D
Date: 30 Nov 06 - 05:24 PM

That's a very useful 'part' of a good test, Kevin, but as phrased, it would allow things like "Itsy-Bitsy, Teenie-Weenie, Yellow Polka-Dot Bikini", or "Ragg Mopp" to be called 'folk' if they are learned from the oral tradition, and I have a few "itsy-bitsy,teeny weenie" philosophical issues with that...*grin*

I just think that subject matter, melody style, age...and a few more ought to be considered IF it becomes an issue...like whether to included it in the Digital Tradition database. And, as a matter of fact, I'm sure Dick & Susan do subjectively use criteria like that when adding to the database, even if they don't consult some detailed list.


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Subject: RE: Songs that should have been folk songs
From: Stower
Date: 30 Nov 06 - 06:39 PM

A song with a story? Songs that lots of people have remembered and sung? Songs where people don't know / care who wrote it?

Two Little Boys
Ernie (The Fastest Milkman in the West)
Tie A Yellow Ribbon
Lola


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Subject: RE: Songs that should have been folk songs
From: Bunnahabhain
Date: 30 Nov 06 - 07:05 PM

Another of the great singer-songwriters, writing about things that will still ring true centuries from now.

Leonard Cohen.


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Subject: RE: Songs that should have been folk songs
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 30 Nov 06 - 07:32 PM

"Ragg Mopp"? Never heard of it.

"Itsy-Bitsy, Teenie-Weenie, Yellow Polka-Dot Bikini" I doubt if many people outside the generation that grew up with it will be likely to ever sing it. I should probably have included that in my rule of thumb. Out of the thousands of Victorian parlour songs and music hall songs, or only a relative handful have made it through in that way. And the same goes for other types of soings that were populat in their day.

If it does pass that test, I'd class it as a folk song - well, I did say that there are some folk songs that aren't much good.


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Subject: RE: Songs that should have been folk songs
From: oldhippie
Date: 30 Nov 06 - 09:34 PM

"The Saints Who Have Never Been Caught" - Larry Jon Wilson

THE SAINTS WHO HAVE NEVER BEEN CAUGHT

by Aaron Allen and Lee Fry
Beacon Light Music (BMI)
recorded by Larry Jon Wilson on
"Sojourner"


If a man ever yields to temptation
And breaks some tradition or law
They look for no good in his makeup
And Lord, how they look for his flaws

Chorus:

I'm a sinner, Lord how I know it
I'm weak, and I've blundered, I've failed
And I've tossed around on life's ocean
Like a ship so lost in a gale

They don't ask how he was tempted,
Or allow for the battles he's fought
His name becomes food for the jackals
All the saints who have never been caught

Chorus

Temptation is a whispering mistress
Like others I've heard her sweet call
I've yielded to the fire of the moment
I've known the shame in the fall

Chorus

I'm willing to trust in the Lord's mercy
Do the best my conscience has taught
But deliver me, Lord, from the judgment
Of all the saints who have never been caught


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Subject: RE: Songs that should have been folk songs
From: Scrump
Date: 01 Dec 06 - 03:57 AM

One of those coincidences that makes you wonder if they really are coincidences: after reading this thread for the first time yesterday, last night I saw Phil Beer sing Billy Joel's "Downeaster Alexa" (mentioned by George Papavgeris above). He did it in great style too - this was Phil's solo spot in the current Show of Hands tour. It took me by surprise because I've seen SOH twice before on this tour, and he did different songs on the previous two occasions - this one was by far the best of the three IMO.

Or maybe it isn't a coincidence after all, and Phil's a Mudcatter too? ;-) Unfortunately I didn't see Phil afterwards this time, or I would have asked him.


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Subject: RE: Songs that should have been folk songs
From: ossonflags
Date: 01 Dec 06 - 06:33 AM

"if I was a blackbird" by Ronnie Ronalde


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Subject: RE: Songs that should have been folk songs
From: GUEST,JT
Date: 01 Dec 06 - 08:10 AM

" The Perfect Mark of Cain" Jeff Finlin.


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Subject: RE: Songs that should have been folk songs
From: GUEST
Date: 01 Dec 06 - 01:21 PM

Lotof Jethro Tull, Songs from Thw Wood, Heavy Horses, Jack In The Green and so on. I have always felt that His music has been highly underated over the years.


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Subject: RE: Songs that should have been folk songs
From: GUEST
Date: 01 Dec 06 - 01:24 PM

Working Man by Rita MacNiel, a great song, it has already reached folk status in many parts of Atlantic Canada.


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Subject: RE: Songs that should have been folk songs
From: Fidjit
Date: 01 Dec 06 - 03:27 PM

Mary Ellen Carter, Stan Rogers

Chas


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Subject: RE: Songs that should have been folk songs
From: Scoville
Date: 01 Dec 06 - 03:32 PM

RAGG MOPP! I haven't heard that in years! I was forced to learn it almost at gun-point by my fourth-grade music teacher!


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Subject: RE: Songs that should have been folk songs
From: M.Ted
Date: 01 Dec 06 - 04:17 PM

One point that some people seem blissfully unaware of, is that the sound that we think of as appropriate for "folk" music is really of a very recent innovation--whether the sound, and the music played in the fashion, will persist, is a fair question though.

My thought is that the present day music that lasts will be reinterpreted in new musical styles that have yet to evolve, and, likely, many of us will not like--


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Subject: RE: Songs that should have been folk songs
From: mattkeen
Date: 12 Sep 07 - 07:50 AM

Ghost Town - The Specials
Londons Calling - The Clash
White Riot - The Clash
(Virtually everything else by the Clash)
Ian Dury (lots of)


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Subject: RE: Songs that should have been folk songs
From: GUEST,Jonny Sunshine
Date: 12 Sep 07 - 08:09 AM

Dancing Queen by Abba (not necessarily an upbeat disco-pop song when handled with care)


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Subject: RE: Songs that should have been folk songs
From: Bryn Pugh
Date: 12 Sep 07 - 08:35 AM

I remember getting GBH of the ear'ole from the great god McColl for mistakenly announcing 'Jowl and listen, lads' (Tommy Armstrong ? Jack Elliott ?) as traditional.


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Subject: RE: Songs that should have been folk songs
From: GUEST,TJ in San Diego
Date: 12 Sep 07 - 12:28 PM

My witty deskmate hit the enter key again. Sorry.

I recall so many spats between "traditionalists" and "inclusionists" over the years that I have, more or less, tuned it out. We have come, historically, to a point far beyond where songs were used as a primary form of news dispersion between widely scattered settlements. The "folk tradition" includes many (perhaps, mostly) composed songs, albeit not in the sense we might think of today. If someone writes, or composes and performs a song that commemorates or celebrates an event or person or circumstance, and that song resonates with enough other "folks," I would regard it as a legitimate entry.

We may not have any "John Henrys" or the like in contemporary life, but we have many heroes and villains to write and sing about. Who is to say, if such things are widely accepted, that they cannot become viewed as music of the "folk?"


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Subject: RE: Songs that should have been folk songs
From: Cool Beans
Date: 12 Sep 07 - 01:14 PM

From Broadway:
"More I Can Not Wish You" (Frank Loesser, "Guys and Dolls")
"Edelweiss" (Rodgers & Hammerstein, "The Sound of Music") No,it's not a traditional Austrian anthem.
"Tomorrow Belongs To Me" (Kander & Ebb, "Cabaret")


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Subject: RE: Songs that should have been folk songs
From: GUEST, Mikefule
Date: 12 Sep 07 - 02:00 PM

To come from outside of "folk" and make it "into folk" the song needs to be memorable, eminently singable, held in general affection, and probably tell a bit of a story. If you're in the pub and start to sing it and some of the locals join in, it may be on its way to becoming a folk song.

The obvious one is "(Why why why) Delilah."

Ones that sometimes work:

"Johnny, remember me"
"Puff the Magic Dragon"
"Two Little Boys (had two little toys)"

One that might almost work: Lynyrd Skynyrd's "Gimme Three Steps"http://www.sing365.com/music/lyric.nsf/Gimme-Three-Steps-lyrics-Lynyrd-Skynyrd/08FCF927B631FB68482569EB0011464E

Another that nearly works: Ace of Spades (Motörhead) which fits nicely to a slight variant of the tune of the Lincolnshire Poacher.


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Subject: RE: Songs that should have been folk songs
From: maeve
Date: 12 Sep 07 - 03:38 PM

Most of Archie Fisher's contributions, I would say, are already over the bow and into the ship's hold of folkdom, swimming alongside music from Gordon Bok, Chris Smither, Cindy Kallet, Dave Mallett, Bob MacQuillen, Dave Goulder, and others mentioned earlier.

maeve


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Subject: RE: Songs that should have been folk songs
From: MystMoonstruck
Date: 12 Sep 07 - 07:14 PM

I cannot believe that all of my work has been wiped out! I was about ready to post this when something happened and~ZAP! My post disappeared!

What I was listing were songs of the Fifties and Sixties, as well as more recent that are modern-day ballads. That is, they're written by contemporaries. Let's try this again. Off the top of my head comes this list (again~if I can remember all of them again):
Big Iron
Running Gun
Ride Cowboy Ride
Five Brothers
Don't Take Your Gun
Ghost Train
Jimmy Martinez
They're Hanging Me Tonight
Saddle Tramp
Ballad of the Alamo
Three Bells
Big Bad John and Cajun Queen (They're mainly spoken, so I'm not sure they count.)
Sink the Bismarck
Battle of New Orleans
The Master's Touch
Faleena
El Paso
El Paso City
The Hanging Tree
Run Softly, Blue River
Moody River
Take a Message to Mary
The Devil Went Down to Georgia
The Ballad of Paladin
Rawhide
Yellow Bird
Scarlet Ribbons (for Her Hair)
Coward of the County
Valley of the Moon
Sergeant Buffalo (I'm still looking for my 45 to supply the lyrics in the unresolved thread.)
Johnny Yuma~The Rebel
North to Alaska
The Ballad of the Alamo
The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance
Ode to Billy Joe
Fancy
The Ballad of Cat Ballou
My Rifle, My Pony and Me
Rio Bravo
Sugarfoot

Face it: Cowboy movies of the Fifties & Sixties are loaded with ballads: 3:10 to Yuma (1957), Rancho Notorious, Gunfight at the OK Corral (1957), and The Man from Laramie. I found three sites that address these songs. Here's a link to one site:
http://www.rootsandrhythm.com/roots/COUNTRY/country_cowboy.htm
I occasionally watch The Western Channel, and I noticed all of these songs in the storytelling tradition of ballads. Most are average, but some are rather interesting, with not-all-that-bad melodies.

This is about half of what I had. *SIGH* If I'd been working in Text Document, perhaps it would have saved it.


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Subject: RE: Songs that should have been folk songs
From: MystMoonstruck
Date: 12 Sep 07 - 07:21 PM

I do with I could edit. I made an error in my list.

The Master's Touch should be The Master's Call. Oops!

Marty Robbins, Johnny Cash, Johnny Horton and others did wrote and/or sang many ballads.


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Subject: RE: Songs that should have been folk songs
From: GUEST, Sminky
Date: 13 Sep 07 - 06:50 AM

The Stones: Ruby Tuesday
Clifford T Ward: Gaye, Home Thoughts From Abroad
anything by Bert Jansch


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Subject: RE: Songs that should have been folk songs
From: GUEST,Volgadon
Date: 04 Feb 08 - 04:54 PM

Shir Hashayara (Caravan Song), by Arik Einstein and Yehuda Poliker. It's about immigrants, and the tune is rembetiko-esque.
Beryozy, Ty Nesi Menya Reka, and most anything else by Lyubeh.


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Subject: RE: Songs that should have been folk songs
From: GUEST,Volgadon
Date: 04 Feb 08 - 04:54 PM

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ognpAGWu8A0&feature=related


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Subject: RE: Songs that should have been folk songs
From: GUEST,Volgadon
Date: 04 Feb 08 - 05:24 PM

Oh, I take it back, it actualy is a rembetiko song. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fGqGwZHYy5E


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Subject: RE: Songs that should have been folk songs
From: GUEST,Rich
Date: 04 Feb 08 - 05:51 PM

George, not quite what you asked for maybe, but check out Declan O'Rourke's 'Marrying The Sea - Till Death Us Do Part' for a modern song written in a traditional, timeless style. I don't think he is generally considered to be a folk artist, but given the style of this track, I think he must have roots in folk music.

There is a video on YouTube that uses it as a soundtrack if you want to hear it, sadly the video is about a young man who died in the sea, posted by his best friend. The video is called '15 april the following day'.


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Subject: RE: Songs that should have been folk songs
From: The Sandman
Date: 04 Feb 08 - 07:00 PM

Munich air disaster.


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Subject: RE: Songs that should have been folk songs
From: cptsnapper
Date: 04 Feb 08 - 11:54 PM

Hello In There by John Prine


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Subject: RE: Songs that should have been folk songs
From: GUEST,Acorn4
Date: 05 Feb 08 - 04:40 AM

Re the reference to Slade earlier, I've done "How does it Feel" unaccompanied and just about got away with it, also "Run Run Away" and "My Oh My" are great singalongs- quite a lot of their later stuff did have a "folksy" edge so the contribution of Messrs Lea and Holder to the tradition is not quite so absurd as first suggestion might imply.

What about "Someday I'll Be Saturday Night" by Bon Jovi -seems to fit the criteria!

But is it folk, Miranda?


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Subject: RE: Songs that should have been folk songs
From: mattkeen
Date: 05 Feb 08 - 06:18 AM

I would say these ARE folk songs:

White Riot - Clash
London Calling - Clash
Ghost Town - Specials
Plus many others from the post punk era in the UK inc. many by Ian Dury
Waterloo Sunset - Kinks
Penny Lane - Beatles


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Subject: RE: Songs that should have been folk songs
From: kendall
Date: 05 Feb 08 - 08:38 AM

I've been known to sing "Those were the days" at folk festivals.

John McCutcheon's "Old Brown's Head Light" qualifies in my opinion.

It seems to me that the decision of what is or is not folk, is a matter of opinion. To me, any song that has a Dm in it and is in 3/4 time is a candidate.


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Subject: RE: Songs that should have been folk songs
From: GUEST,Acorn4
Date: 05 Feb 08 - 03:17 PM

There are some strange ones - although it ticks most of the boxes, Elvis's "In the Ghetto" doesn't feel like a folk song - Buddy Holly seems to be accepted in folk circles, but not Elvis, although I think Martin Carthy did do a vwersion of Heartbreak Hotel.


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Subject: RE: Songs that should have been folk songs
From: GUEST,Volgadon
Date: 05 Feb 08 - 04:21 PM

Those Were the Days is a Russian folk song. "Dorogoy Dlinoyu".


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Subject: RE: Songs that should have been folk songs
From: GUEST,Life's A Riot Between The Wars
Date: 05 Feb 08 - 05:56 PM

Days - The Kinks


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Subject: RE: Songs that should have been folk songs
From: paula t
Date: 06 Feb 08 - 01:03 PM

Bruce Springstein's "work Song". We sing it in four part harmony. Great words. Short and to the point.


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Subject: RE: Songs that should have been folk songs
From: kendall
Date: 06 Feb 08 - 01:43 PM

The Wayward Wind by Gogi Grant
Almost anything by Gordon Bok


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Subject: RE: Songs that should have been folk songs
From: SouthernCelt
Date: 07 Feb 08 - 01:23 PM

I've always thought "39" by Queen on their "Night at the Opera" album would qualify as a folk sounding song although it's SciFi in context.


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Subject: RE: Songs that should have been folk songs
From: GUEST,Suffolk Miracle
Date: 08 Feb 08 - 10:24 AM

"I remember getting GBH of the ear'ole from the great god McColl for mistakenly announcing 'Jowl and listen, lads' (Tommy Armstrong ? Jack Elliott ?) as traditional."

Before this escapes from the thread and turns into an urban myth, I believe Jowl Jowl IS traditional. Certainly not by Armstrong or Pop Elliot. Collected from a miner called Natrass in the 50s or early 60s I think.


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Subject: RE: Songs that should have been folk songs
From: GUEST,The Mole Catcher's Apprentice
Date: 08 Feb 08 - 02:44 PM

My Brother Makes The Noises For The Talkies - The Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band

You Gotta Go Ow! - Spike Milligan and The Massed Alberts

Charlotte (my pink half of the drainpipe)


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Subject: RE: Songs that should have been folk songs
From: GUEST
Date: 08 Feb 08 - 02:55 PM

Another short list of folk "wanna be's" or "coulda been's" might include:
Jim Croce's "Workin' at the Car Wash Blues"


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Subject: RE: Songs that should have been folk songs
From: GUEST,TJ in San Diego
Date: 08 Feb 08 - 03:02 PM

"Guest" stole one of mine! I like the Croce song too. Also, "Pony Man" by Lightfoot, "Pancho & Lefty," "Nobody Knows You When You're Down and Out," Shel Silverstein's "Beans Taste Fine," Marty Robbins' "El Paso" and "Big Iron," among others; perhaps even the late Frankie Laine's "Mule Train and "Rawhide" (we'll omit "Blazing Saddles this time) and, last but least, "Tie Me Kangaroo Down" by Rolf Harris. Oh, yes - and "Ghost Riders in the Sky," by anyone but Vaughn Monroe, AKA "Old Mushmouth," as named by my mom many years ago.


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Subject: RE: Songs that should have been folk songs
From: GUEST,irishenglish
Date: 08 Feb 08 - 03:26 PM

Couldn't bother to look at the entire thread, so apologies if it's been mentioned, but as the Oysterband said when THEY covered New Order's Love Vigilantes,it is a folk song, and I tend to agree!


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Subject: RE: Songs that should have been folk songs
From: GUEST,Mike B.
Date: 09 Feb 08 - 01:33 AM

Darcy Farrow (Steve Gillette)
The Highwayman (Phil Ochs)
Ramblin' Boy (Tom Paxton)


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Subject: RE: Songs that should have been folk songs
From: Stringsinger
Date: 09 Feb 08 - 11:17 AM

Hey Kytrad, please don't leave out "Black Waters". It's a brilliant song. You are one of America's foremost folk poet/songwriters in my opinion.

"Aragon Mill"-Si Kahn

"Paradise'-John Prine

Any Woody's song.

Steve Earle's songs particularly the one about "Dead Man Walking"

"Cape Ann"-Gordon Bok and the Hutchinson Family (different versions)

"Venezuela" and "I Wonder As I Wander" (written by John Jacob Niles)

"We Shall Overcome" (but I think of it as being a folk song already)

"Mary Ellen Carter", "Barrett's Privateers" and almost any Stan Rogers song.

Tommy Sand's songs (a great Irish songwriter) "There Were Roses", "Music of Healing'

"No Man's Land", "The Band Played Waltzing Mathilda", "Gentle Annie"-Eric Bogle (a master)

Actually, Merle Travis wrote "16 Tons" and "Dark As A Dungeon" (should be folksongs)

Elizabeth Cotton wrote "Freight Train".

Charles "Badger" Clark wrote "Spanish Is A Loving Tongue".

These are some that are very much in a folksong style. That in itself might qualify them
to be folk songs although scholars of folklore argue about that.

Frank Hamilton


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Subject: RE: Songs that should have been folk songs
From: GUEST,HiLo
Date: 09 Feb 08 - 11:34 AM

Isnt Gentle Annie by Stephen Fosters, as is Hard Times, both of which would make my folk song list.As would a number of songs by the McGarrigle sisters.


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Subject: RE: Songs that should have been folk songs
From: GUEST,The Mole Catcher's Apprentice
Date: 09 Feb 08 - 11:50 AM

and another thought.....

Some of the material by The Band surely must qualify.

Charlotte (across the great divide)


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Subject: RE: Songs that should have been folk songs
From: SouthernCelt
Date: 10 Feb 08 - 11:32 AM

There are a number of songs written and performed by Slaid Cleaves (or written by others in his circle of musical friends) that I find to be folk lyric type songs although some sound modern due to electrified instrumentation. For example:
"Breakfast in Hell"
"Below"
"Horses Quick as Dreams"
"Lydia"

The same could be said of a number of Ian Tyson's "cowboy" songs over the years. For example:
"M.C. Horses"
"Big Horns"
"Barney" (that song just tears me up!)
"Claude Dallas" (Lyrics such as "In the land the Spanish once had called the Northern Mystery...)
"La Primera"

Love 'em all, try to sing some of 'em when I can.

SC


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Subject: RE: Songs that should have been folk songs
From: AllanW
Date: 10 Feb 08 - 11:45 AM

"Some of the material by The Band surely must qualify"

Charlotte, you're talking my language here. In my naivity, I think of The Band's entire output as the history of American folk music. It's a world I enjoy. I sing The Weight and Cripple Creek and a bunch of others believing them to be folk songs. I'm happy with that.

Allan (up on cripple creek without a paddle)


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Subject: RE: Songs that should have been folk songs
From: GUEST,The Mole Catcher's Apprentice
Date: 10 Feb 08 - 03:43 PM

"The Band's entire output as the history of American folk music"


The irony, of course, is that The Band were three quarters Canadian

Indeed, Robbie Robertson's Christmas Must Be Tonight has been recorded by both The Albion Band and The Albion Christmas Band

Charlotte (deck the piano stool)


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Subject: RE: Songs that should have been folk songs
From: Stringsinger
Date: 10 Feb 08 - 04:01 PM

this dangerously encroaches on that dreaded topic, "what is a folk song?"

As far as the "Band" is concerned, their output in my opinion is not the history of American folk music but a popularization of a kind of rock music.

I think Stephen Foster is a lot closer to that history than the "Band". But Foster aside,
there is so much to the history of American folk music that is not being presented even here.

American folk music may be one of the most misunderstood forms of expression
in the world today.

On Mudcat, there are people with varying tastes in music but few of them really
know much about the history of folk music. There are some here who do.
Others are content to express their opinions and these are based a lot by what they hear on the radio and the alternative media. I think American folk music by in large is being ignored by those who claim to know what it is.

On Mudcat, opinions are plenty but many are short on study or fact.

Frank Hamilton


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Subject: RE: Songs that should have been folk songs
From: GUEST,The Mole Catcher's Apprentice
Date: 10 Feb 08 - 04:06 PM

"being ignored by those who claim to know what it is."

I don't claim to know any such thing, nor do I pretend to.

Charlotte (facts are like playing the piano, everything must be at your finger tips)


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Subject: RE: Songs that should have been folk songs
From: AllanW
Date: 10 Feb 08 - 07:13 PM

Oh dear, do I have to get my old folk song manuals out and learn about 19th century farmers? Can't I just continue to think of The Band as folkies Frank, am I really harming anyone?

I take it you've broke the news to the kids about Santa not being real?


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Subject: RE: Songs that should have been folk songs
From: Celtaddict
Date: 10 Feb 08 - 08:14 PM

I'm glad someone introduced Townes Van Zandt ('Pancho and Lefty') as I think some others of his qualify; 'Tecumseh Valley' particularly.
'1952 Vincent Black Lightning' has the obviously modern motorcycle motif but is classic ballad form, boy meets girl, love at first sight, he is a bad lot, dies young.
Some of Larry Kaplan's songs tell stories very well, too, though not all are as singable as 'Old Zeb' which has taken on a life of its own. 'Hard Way to Peacham' certainly comes to mind (young family lost in snowstorm in unsympathetic world).
I agree that a singable chorus helps a lot in the process of a song becoming 'folk'.


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Subject: RE: Songs that should have been folk songs
From: GUEST,The Mole catcher's Apprentice
Date: 11 Feb 08 - 11:10 AM

Actually if you open your mind and listen to The Band, you'll find that their music is a combination of Rock, Soul, Country, AND Folk.

Charlotte (an open ear on the past)


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Subject: RE: Songs that should have been folk songs
From: GUEST,TJ in San Diego
Date: 11 Feb 08 - 11:50 AM

When I hear a song such as "City of New Orleans," and can relate to the story within - the loss of the "name" trains of my childhood like the Santa Fe "Chiefs," etc., I think of it as a folk song. Gordon Lightfoot's "Edmund Fitzgerald" evokes the pain of loss and the memory of bold sailors doomed every bit as much as sailing songs of years past. One major difference is in the instrumentation and playing skill of performers. We think of this music as too "polished" or the chord structure too "modern" somehow, especially when amplified and skillfully mixed. Go past that veneer and look at the soul of the song.


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Subject: The working man
From: GUEST,Rita Mac Niel
Date: 27 Mar 08 - 05:17 PM


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Subject: RE: Songs that should have been folk songs
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 27 Mar 08 - 06:25 PM

If any of you bastards turn my songs into folksongs I have made a special provision in my will that the mafia will come and whack you.

Even unto the the tenth generation.

So be warned.

They might drown you in the bath.(cos I'm a psychopath)
http://www.bigalwhittle.co.uk/id22.html


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Subject: RE: Songs that should have been folk songs
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 27 Mar 08 - 06:27 PM

And that means anybody wearing a Grandad shirt, fisherman's smock or sticking his bloody finger in his ear. Or taking early retirement on full pension, and running a folk club that books the local folk radio dj.


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Subject: RE: Songs that should have been folk songs
From: Bert
Date: 27 Mar 08 - 07:37 PM

Hee Hee, I just listened to that song wld. So I might just steal it and ignore your warning. I'll tell folks that "I collected it".


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Subject: RE: Songs that should have been folk songs
From: Arkie
Date: 27 Mar 08 - 11:02 PM

Some of James Keelaghan's songs could be taken for folk songs. For Instance:

Hillcrest Mine
Small Rebellion
Fires of Calais
Jenny Bryce

Also David Massengill's Fairfax County.


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Subject: RE: Songs that should have been folk songs
From: GUEST,Larry
Date: 28 Mar 08 - 07:40 AM

I heard someone doing a really sweet version of

Anarchy in the UK

sometime back. She was a glaswegian accompanying herself on the guitar, can't remember her name though. But I think it fits the criteria.
Most of Springstein's back catalogue probably warrants consideration.


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Subject: RE: Songs that should have been folk songs
From: matt milton
Date: 28 Mar 08 - 09:31 AM

Whenever i listen to the brilliant album 'Germ Free Adolescents" by the punk band X Ray Spex, I always think their songs are crying out for a folk cover or two. They often have these really modal-sounding vocal liness, and their singer, Polly Styrene, does these little vocal ornamentations that sound unwittingly (I assume) like traditional southern Irish trills. A cover of "Germ Free Adolescents" or "The Day the world turned Dayglo" on bouzouki and guitar, or maybe squeezebox, would sound amazing...


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Subject: RE: Songs that should have been folk songs
From: Edgware
Date: 11 Apr 08 - 02:11 AM

Surprised that nobody has mentioned Lennon & McCartney as a source of ssongs that should have been folk music. Two examples that stick out are 'Hey Jude' & 'Yellow Submarine'


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Subject: RE: Songs that should have been folk songs
From: GUEST,Quokka
Date: 23 Jul 08 - 10:02 AM

'The Last Resort' by the Eagles - brilliant song, brilliant story. If I have time soon I'll post lyrics
Cheers
Quokka


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Subject: RE: Songs that should have been folk songs
From: MystMoonstruck
Date: 24 Mar 10 - 11:09 PM

Forgive me if these are repeats:
Wolverton Mountain ~ I recall this being so popular that there were two replies: I'm the Girl from Wolverton Mountain and, if I recall correctly, I'm the Man from Wolverton Mountain (from her father's viewpoint).
Lifeboat Mona ~ I've only heard The Dubliners' version.
Brandy (You're a Fine Girl) by Looking Glass
The Night the Lights Went Out in Georgia
Running Bear by Johnny Preston
The Ballad of St. Anne's Reel
Judy Mae by Boomer Castleman
Uncle Tom's Cabin by Warrant
Swamp Witch by Jim Stafford
Wildfire by Michael Murphy
Timothy by The Buoys


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