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Folk Artists - Wise up (or Fade away)!

Lowden Jameswright 15 Sep 05 - 10:15 AM
GUEST 15 Sep 05 - 10:33 AM
GUEST 15 Sep 05 - 11:02 AM
Jerry Rasmussen 15 Sep 05 - 11:27 AM
Lowden Jameswright 15 Sep 05 - 11:35 AM
GUEST,Art Thieme 15 Sep 05 - 12:06 PM
Don Firth 15 Sep 05 - 12:14 PM
Tam the man 15 Sep 05 - 12:16 PM
Lowden Jameswright 15 Sep 05 - 12:22 PM
Tam the man 15 Sep 05 - 12:43 PM
Tam the man 15 Sep 05 - 12:44 PM
GUEST 15 Sep 05 - 12:49 PM
Musique174 15 Sep 05 - 12:49 PM
WFDU - Ron Olesko 15 Sep 05 - 12:59 PM
GUEST,Art Thieme 15 Sep 05 - 01:39 PM
Don Firth 15 Sep 05 - 01:39 PM
Barry Finn 15 Sep 05 - 02:08 PM
WFDU - Ron Olesko 15 Sep 05 - 02:27 PM
Peace 15 Sep 05 - 02:29 PM
WFDU - Ron Olesko 15 Sep 05 - 02:34 PM
Bev and Jerry 15 Sep 05 - 02:40 PM
Tam the man 15 Sep 05 - 03:15 PM
Tam the man 15 Sep 05 - 03:17 PM
Barry Finn 15 Sep 05 - 03:21 PM
Tam the man 15 Sep 05 - 03:28 PM
Clinton Hammond 15 Sep 05 - 03:42 PM
WFDU - Ron Olesko 15 Sep 05 - 03:43 PM
Jeri 15 Sep 05 - 03:45 PM
Barry Finn 15 Sep 05 - 04:02 PM
Don Firth 15 Sep 05 - 04:27 PM
Le Scaramouche 15 Sep 05 - 04:51 PM
Clinton Hammond 15 Sep 05 - 04:54 PM
kendall 15 Sep 05 - 04:59 PM
Barry Finn 15 Sep 05 - 06:00 PM
GUEST,Justin Case 15 Sep 05 - 06:36 PM
Seamus Kennedy 15 Sep 05 - 06:41 PM
Jerry Rasmussen 15 Sep 05 - 07:07 PM
Big Al Whittle 15 Sep 05 - 09:33 PM
Jerry Rasmussen 15 Sep 05 - 09:52 PM
Tam the man 16 Sep 05 - 09:49 AM
Big Al Whittle 16 Sep 05 - 09:55 AM
Tam the man 16 Sep 05 - 10:10 AM
Big Jim from Jackson 16 Sep 05 - 10:12 AM
Tam the man 16 Sep 05 - 10:20 AM
rhyzla 16 Sep 05 - 10:25 AM
Tam the man 16 Sep 05 - 10:31 AM
Tam the man 16 Sep 05 - 10:33 AM
Tam the man 16 Sep 05 - 10:36 AM
Big Al Whittle 16 Sep 05 - 10:46 AM
Tam the man 16 Sep 05 - 10:50 AM
Jeri 16 Sep 05 - 11:02 AM
Don Firth 16 Sep 05 - 11:37 AM
Tam the man 16 Sep 05 - 12:03 PM
Tam the man 16 Sep 05 - 12:05 PM
kendall 16 Sep 05 - 12:30 PM
M.Ted 16 Sep 05 - 01:18 PM
Big Al Whittle 16 Sep 05 - 01:59 PM
Le Scaramouche 16 Sep 05 - 02:11 PM
kendall 16 Sep 05 - 02:16 PM
GUEST 16 Sep 05 - 02:43 PM
Barry Finn 16 Sep 05 - 03:09 PM
Tam the man 16 Sep 05 - 07:12 PM
Tam the man 16 Sep 05 - 07:13 PM
GUEST 16 Sep 05 - 07:34 PM
kendall 16 Sep 05 - 07:40 PM
bbc 16 Sep 05 - 08:41 PM
GUEST 16 Sep 05 - 09:48 PM
Scoville 16 Sep 05 - 10:02 PM
Jerry Rasmussen 16 Sep 05 - 10:39 PM
Mark Clark 16 Sep 05 - 10:42 PM
GUEST,punkfolkrocker 16 Sep 05 - 11:59 PM
GUEST,punkfolkrocker 17 Sep 05 - 12:01 AM
GUEST,Stephen L. Rich 17 Sep 05 - 12:26 AM
Don Firth 17 Sep 05 - 03:40 AM
Tam the man 17 Sep 05 - 04:48 AM
Big Al Whittle 17 Sep 05 - 04:50 AM
GUEST 17 Sep 05 - 07:47 AM
kendall 17 Sep 05 - 08:25 AM
Tam the man 17 Sep 05 - 08:53 AM
Tam the man 17 Sep 05 - 08:55 AM
GUEST,[life of a] Japanese Salesman 17 Sep 05 - 09:03 AM
Tam the man 17 Sep 05 - 09:05 AM
Big Al Whittle 17 Sep 05 - 09:16 AM
GUEST 17 Sep 05 - 09:30 AM
Deckman 17 Sep 05 - 09:37 AM
kendall 17 Sep 05 - 09:41 AM
GUEST,Justin Case 17 Sep 05 - 09:47 AM
Tam the man 17 Sep 05 - 09:47 AM
Jerry Rasmussen 17 Sep 05 - 10:05 AM
GUEST,Art Thieme 17 Sep 05 - 10:15 AM
GUEST,Art Thieme 17 Sep 05 - 10:34 AM
Big Jim from Jackson 17 Sep 05 - 10:39 AM
Tam the man 17 Sep 05 - 10:48 AM
Jerry Rasmussen 17 Sep 05 - 11:10 AM
Tam the man 17 Sep 05 - 11:16 AM
GUEST 17 Sep 05 - 11:44 AM
Jerry Rasmussen 17 Sep 05 - 12:04 PM
Tim theTwangler 17 Sep 05 - 12:46 PM
kendall 17 Sep 05 - 01:11 PM
Jerry Rasmussen 17 Sep 05 - 01:24 PM
GUEST,Boab 17 Sep 05 - 01:36 PM
kendall 17 Sep 05 - 02:04 PM
Hand-Pulled Boy 17 Sep 05 - 02:51 PM
Tam the man 17 Sep 05 - 06:01 PM
Le Scaramouche 17 Sep 05 - 06:38 PM
kendall 17 Sep 05 - 06:39 PM
Peace 17 Sep 05 - 06:42 PM
Susanne (skw) 17 Sep 05 - 06:53 PM
kendall 17 Sep 05 - 07:23 PM
Mooh 17 Sep 05 - 07:49 PM
GUEST,mines bigger than yours 17 Sep 05 - 09:06 PM
GUEST,Pat Cooksey. 17 Sep 05 - 11:19 PM
GUEST,Art Thieme 18 Sep 05 - 12:15 AM
GUEST,reggie miles 18 Sep 05 - 01:35 AM
GUEST,Boab 18 Sep 05 - 02:58 AM
jacqui.c 18 Sep 05 - 05:29 AM
My guru always said 18 Sep 05 - 05:33 AM
Tam the man 18 Sep 05 - 09:16 AM
Tam the man 18 Sep 05 - 09:32 AM
GUEST,DB 18 Sep 05 - 12:07 PM
Tam the man 18 Sep 05 - 05:02 PM
Tam the man 18 Sep 05 - 05:06 PM
Tam the man 18 Sep 05 - 05:17 PM
jacqui.c 18 Sep 05 - 05:17 PM
GUEST 18 Sep 05 - 05:18 PM
kendall 18 Sep 05 - 05:19 PM
Jerry Rasmussen 18 Sep 05 - 05:45 PM
Peace 18 Sep 05 - 05:52 PM
Don Firth 18 Sep 05 - 06:06 PM
Grab 18 Sep 05 - 06:32 PM
Sorcha 18 Sep 05 - 06:35 PM
PennyBlack 18 Sep 05 - 07:19 PM
GUEST 18 Sep 05 - 08:15 PM
Peace 18 Sep 05 - 10:00 PM
Richard Bridge 19 Sep 05 - 03:36 AM
Fibula Mattock 19 Sep 05 - 08:12 AM
kendall 19 Sep 05 - 08:13 AM
Gedpipes 19 Sep 05 - 08:17 AM
Barbara Shaw 19 Sep 05 - 08:17 AM
kendall 19 Sep 05 - 09:18 AM
Jeri 19 Sep 05 - 10:22 AM
GUEST,Art Thieme 19 Sep 05 - 10:45 AM
Lowden Jameswright 19 Sep 05 - 11:43 AM
Gedpipes 19 Sep 05 - 12:51 PM
GUEST,MikeofNorthumbria(athome) 19 Sep 05 - 01:48 PM
Big Jim from Jackson 19 Sep 05 - 01:54 PM
Bullfrog Jones 20 Sep 05 - 12:31 PM
kendall 20 Sep 05 - 12:52 PM
jeffp 20 Sep 05 - 01:21 PM
Tam the man 27 Sep 05 - 07:57 AM
Tam the man 27 Sep 05 - 08:07 AM
Tam the man 27 Sep 05 - 08:09 AM
kendall 27 Sep 05 - 08:20 AM
Tam the man 27 Sep 05 - 08:49 AM
Tam the man 27 Sep 05 - 08:59 AM
Tam the man 27 Sep 05 - 09:17 AM
Lowden Jameswright 27 Sep 05 - 09:31 AM
kendall 27 Sep 05 - 10:19 AM
Le Scaramouche 27 Sep 05 - 10:25 AM
Tam the man 27 Sep 05 - 11:13 AM
Tam the man 27 Sep 05 - 11:21 AM
Don Firth 27 Sep 05 - 11:48 AM
jacqui.c 27 Sep 05 - 12:03 PM
Tam the man 27 Sep 05 - 12:19 PM
GUEST 27 Sep 05 - 12:40 PM
Tam the man 27 Sep 05 - 12:51 PM
GUEST 27 Sep 05 - 12:59 PM
Don Firth 27 Sep 05 - 01:01 PM
Tam the man 27 Sep 05 - 01:03 PM
Tam the man 27 Sep 05 - 01:06 PM
Big Jim from Jackson 27 Sep 05 - 01:14 PM
Tam the man 27 Sep 05 - 01:25 PM
GUEST 27 Sep 05 - 02:00 PM
Joe Offer 27 Sep 05 - 03:47 PM
MuddleC 19 Oct 05 - 08:05 AM
kendall 19 Oct 05 - 08:31 AM
MuddleC 19 Oct 05 - 10:04 AM
GUEST 19 Oct 05 - 11:33 AM
MuddleC 19 Oct 05 - 07:22 PM
GUEST,weelittledrummer 20 Oct 05 - 12:01 AM
alanabit 20 Oct 05 - 09:16 AM
Donuel 20 Oct 05 - 05:10 PM
George Papavgeris 20 Oct 05 - 07:34 PM
Maryrrf 20 Oct 05 - 08:58 PM
Peace 20 Oct 05 - 09:02 PM
Uncle_DaveO 20 Oct 05 - 09:59 PM
Jerry Rasmussen 20 Oct 05 - 10:45 PM
GUEST,Rob Wright 21 Oct 05 - 06:28 AM
Jerry Rasmussen 21 Oct 05 - 08:10 AM
GUEST,wld 21 Oct 05 - 08:17 AM
jacqui.c 21 Oct 05 - 08:19 AM
Teribus 21 Oct 05 - 08:59 AM
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Subject: Folk Artists - Wise up (or Fade away)!
From: Lowden Jameswright
Date: 15 Sep 05 - 10:15 AM

If folk performers expect to get repeat bookings they really must get their act together, and I don't mean an off-the-shelf "one size fits all" one-off package! OK – so why the rant:

Last night I went to see a young lady at my local folk club, having seen her twice before and being quite well entertained, but was very disappointed and a little annoyed that she sang the SAME songs in the SAME order, interspersed with the SAME patter I'd heard on the previous two occasions. As a teacher she should know better – only 2 out of 10 for effort here.

As any teacher knows you must be able to adapt to all situations and present your material in varying and imaginative ways if you are to hold your audience. It's easy to learn the chords to a dozen songs and embellish the performance with a few anecdotes and humorous tales that have the audience tittering, then take the act on the road – but if you want repeat business folks you gotta push the boundaries out a little!

With CD's for sale I would assume the lady's repertoire extends beyond the handful of sings I've had the pleasure of hearing so far. Perhaps I should just buy them and forget about seeing her perform them live. She signed off last night with a "hope to see you in the area again soon" – well I for one won't bother going to see her again, unless I receive reports in the meantime that she's upgraded her act beyond VER1.0.

I perform in the same venue on a regular basis, and have been doing so for five years straight. Now the only way I get paid is if folks turn up to listen, and the only way I manage to keep it going is by having a substantial repertoire and variety of songs, and can cope with off the cuff situations calling for a varied approach to communicating with the audience. This lady wouldn't last 4 weeks with her limited offering – or she'd have to learn fast how to keep the cash flowing.

She has a great voice, a basic but reasonable guitar style and a smashing personality that's probably the key factor that keeps her in work, for now. However, folk venues are a finite resource that will dry up on her unless she wakes up to reality. Maybe she'll learn the hard way, but by then she may find the organisers politely declining her requests for bookings on the 3rd rotation of the folk club merry-go-round.

She's not alone of course – there are others guilty of the same complacency.


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Subject: RE: Folk Artists - Wise up (or Fade away)!
From: GUEST
Date: 15 Sep 05 - 10:33 AM

Have tried to help artists in the past by pointing out exactly the same things in a polite and helpful manner, they where not interested.

It's a shame but you can see there is talent. There loss, I don't go and see them anymore and I have noticed others don't either.


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Subject: RE: Folk Artists - Wise up (or Fade away)!
From: GUEST
Date: 15 Sep 05 - 11:02 AM

It is a fact that some people only have a limited amount of talent, for instance, they can do what they do, but can't move on. Performers often have one good album or act in them, but thats it, there aint no more.


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Subject: RE: Folk Artists - Wise up (or Fade away)!
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 15 Sep 05 - 11:27 AM

Having run a folk concert series for 27 years, I witnessed much the same thing, but only with a couple of artists. I think it's understandable that performers who spend most of the year on the road, often in second or third rate surroundings, go on autopilot after awhile. There is an extremely popular (or was extremely popular) performer I booked several times over the years who did "shows." That meant an almost identical set list, and memorized introductions. It gets pretty bad when you memorize "spontaneous" asides...

I also booked someone once (and only once) who taped every one of his performances so he could listen to them later, taking the jokes and "off-hand" comments he made that got the best response so that he could use them again. He was quite proud of his approach. He seemed to think that there was a perfect presentation that he could reach by honing every word that came out of his mouth. If he could ever reach that goal, he could do the whole evening, word for word and note for note. That approach seemingly is based on giving the audience what they want, yet at the same time ignores the individuality of audiences. As a performer, I reached the point where I only did an "idea" list, rather than a set list. After the first couple of songs, you start to get to know the audience of that night, and adjust your songs and introductions to fit them.

Performing is communicating. Once you start to standardize a performance, you minimize the communication.

As I say, I can understand this a little better (but don't like it) with performers who spend most of their year on the road. It's a hard grind, and it's no surprise that performers turn to alcohol to get them through. But, the "artist" who tape recorded his shows and memorized lines wasn't that heavily a traveled performer. He would have been better off trying to connect with the individual audience of that night rather than come up with a pre-packaged "show."

Jerry


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Subject: RE: Folk Artists - Wise up (or Fade away)!
From: Lowden Jameswright
Date: 15 Sep 05 - 11:35 AM

Good points Jerry, but this lady does covers only - so all she has to do is learn more songs (the chords aren't a problem because she has a grasp of the basic chords required for the type of songs she sings) and extend her line of patter. I suspect she may feel she has a winning formula so doesn't see the need to change it - a mistaken view if that is the case.

She's a teacher, and has a very attractive and magnetic personality so has no excuse really - surely it's down to making the effort and putting the time in. If she was a full time teacher I'd have sympathy, but she only teaches supply now on a part-time basis because she prefers the performing/singing.


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Subject: RE: Folk Artists - Wise up (or Fade away)!
From: GUEST,Art Thieme
Date: 15 Sep 05 - 12:06 PM

I admit to having fallen into this syndrome.

At the that time, though, I was falling apart physically. In order to stay closer to home, because my wife was also deteriorating, I took advantages of offers to play on steamboats on the Mississippi River every other day -- five months a year. That dovetailed nicely with school shows I did during the winter months. Also, I was doing festivals and concerts and some touring when it fit my schedule. But I was able to check in at home often too. It was impoortant.

In many of these situations, I had DIFFERENT AUDIENCES every time I played my songs. That made all the difference!! The river gigs had to be tight to hold the attention of retired folks with no real interest in "folk songs". The school performances were for pre-schoolers and older kids in the same audience--while also trying to satisfy teachers and principals varrying agendas and expectations.

To do this tightrope walk, I fell into repeating too much "that worked"! Still, I rarely planned shows and did strive for off-the-cuff freshness in my shows. I always strove to relate recent events to the old songs from history I loved so much---just to show modern people we were all in the same boat, and, as Utah Phillips says, "The past didn't go anywhere!"

So now, to the consternation of some of you, I repeat myself too often here in this forum. ;-)

Art Thieme


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Subject: RE: Folk Artists - Wise up (or Fade away)!
From: Don Firth
Date: 15 Sep 05 - 12:14 PM

I can understand a person working up a set-list and sticking to it if they're on the road; that is, performing the same songs, same sequence, in different locations each performance. Among other things, this is a good way to polish a selection of songs in preparation for doing a CD. But once you've done it, you've done it. You need to keep a list of the programs you've sung and the locations in which you sang them and be sure not to repeat the same program in the same place. Just makes good sense.

I did concerts and a modicum of touring, but more often than not, I was singing in the same location (club or coffeehouse) two or three nights a week for as much as six months at a shot. In these circumstances, one had better have a pretty big repertoire. I did my damnedest to go through my entire working repertoire (adding to it all the time) before I repeated songs, and then went to great pains to make sure that I didn't repeat them in the same order. The only exceptions would be if I got requests for particular songs. Fortunately it happened a lot, so that helped stretch the interval out some. Also, it gave me a bit of a nice reputation:   I knew a few hundred songs (300, 350 maybe), but people thought I knew thousands! Good for the old image!

I kept a stack of 3" x 5" file cards with one song title per card, plus info like key, tempo, general mood (humorous, tragic, etc.), type (love song, ballad, sea chantey, etc.), duration, a word or two about the history of the song, and where I learned it. On my own time, I was constantly shuffling and dealing, programming sets—no two consecutive songs in the same key, variation of tempo, mood, et al., then writing the list on a slip of paper and keeping a stack of such lists handy to tape to the side of my guitar (don't use Scotch tape. Masking tape works pretty well:   the "goo" wipes off easily and it doesn't leave a mark on the finish.). BUT—always be ready to depart from the list if circumstances seem to call for it. Or if the mood strikes.

I have been to places where someone sang four sets an evening and each set was exactly the same! Song for song, word for bloody word! These people are not earning their pay.

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: Folk Artists - Wise up (or Fade away)!
From: Tam the man
Date: 15 Sep 05 - 12:16 PM

God I wouldn't like to ask you for any help, because I use songbooks, and I can only remember a handful of songs, maybe it's the same with this lady, there are people out there in folkworld that don't have a great memory, and maybe that's way she did the same stuff, By God you don't believe in giving people a chance do you.

God It must be terrible for you to have that much of songs to remember, but as I say there are people out there that like me can't remember that many songs.

God I wouldn't like to perform in Folk club, its a case of learn a set of different songs or we'll bloody kill you.

She's a teacher a full time one, maybe she doesn't have time to learn some new songs unlike you do.

Tam


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Subject: RE: Folk Artists - Wise up (or Fade away)!
From: Lowden Jameswright
Date: 15 Sep 05 - 12:22 PM

NO Tam - not a full time teacher (see my earlier post) - and she uses a music stand with song sheets (I have no problem with that) - so what is her excuse?


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Subject: RE: Folk Artists - Wise up (or Fade away)!
From: Tam the man
Date: 15 Sep 05 - 12:43 PM

Maybe she just doesn't have time to learn new songs, or maybe she's just starting out, as a part time teacher you're on stnd by anytime and be anywhere so you don't have time to learn new songs.

Tam


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Subject: RE: Folk Artists - Wise up (or Fade away)!
From: Tam the man
Date: 15 Sep 05 - 12:44 PM

Anyway if she does a good Job maybe instead of critisizing her maybe give some encoruagement


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Subject: RE: Folk Artists - Wise up (or Fade away)!
From: GUEST
Date: 15 Sep 05 - 12:49 PM

If its a "paid gig" she should be proffesional enough not to be using song sheets, and pro enough to learn new material for a paying audience.


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Subject: RE: Folk Artists - Wise up (or Fade away)!
From: Musique174
Date: 15 Sep 05 - 12:49 PM

My suggestion is pick out enough songs to do two full sets, right them out, tape the list, and then pick and choose which of those songs feel right in the moment. You don't have to know 100's of songs to give an interesting and new performance each time. Its also not nessicarily a bad thing to repeat some of the songs, but you want to keep it new for those repeat listeners, because they liked you enough the first time to come back... you want to make sure they like you enough the second time to want to come backthe third and forth etc.


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Subject: RE: Folk Artists - Wise up (or Fade away)!
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 15 Sep 05 - 12:59 PM

I think you have to put yourself in the shoes of the audience. If you are seeing the same performer again, you probably have an expectation of seeing something different.   However, for semi-professional musicians who may not have regular gigs and often only perform in an area once every few years, I see nothing wrong with honing a "show" that will make an audience happy.

At the same time, you do not want to come across as stiff nor do you wish to sound as if you are reading a script.   The type of performance we are discussing here is "entertainment" and the audience, especially if they are paying money, deserve to be entertained.   I don't think we would want to go to a theater to see "Death of a Salesmen" and find the dialogue has been changed. We have expectations, and when we go see a musician for the first time we expect to see a good performance.

With experience will come a comfortable level of communication and the ability to adapt and expand.


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Subject: RE: Folk Artists - Wise up (or Fade away)!
From: GUEST,Art Thieme
Date: 15 Sep 05 - 01:39 PM

"Death Of A Folksinger"

Changing those, and a few other words, within the play, you could probably do "Death Of A Salesman" in a way that resonates mightily and profoundly with those within our folk subculture.

On some levels, what are we if not salesmen?

Art


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Subject: RE: Folk Artists - Wise up (or Fade away)!
From: Don Firth
Date: 15 Sep 05 - 01:39 PM

Since I no longer perform with the kind of regularity that I used to, there are a bunch of songs I used to do a lot that I haven't sung for a long time. When I get together with Bob the Deckman and other people, I all too often find myself blanking out on a line in a song that I've sung hundreds of times. I wind up staring desperately at the ceiling in hopes that some benevolent gremlin will suddenly write the missing words up there, but no such luck!

[I've notice, however, that I'm not the only one.]

I don't like it when people sing out of a book. I don't mind a personal notebook used as a cue-sheet. After all, I've seen Luciano Pavarotti in recital on TV occasionally glance down at a music stand. He knows the song, but understandably he doesn't want to take a chance on going blank in front of a huge audience, especially if it's being taped for television. But if someone is reading a song out of Rise Up Singing, for example, that's just damned unprofessional.   I'm talking here about performances, not song fests, although even there I can get pretty exasperated with people who try to do a song they either don't know or know only vaguely by reading it out of a book like RUS. Learn the damned song! Then, if you need a quick cue, okay, but don't subject people to "I just heard this song the other day. I don't know the words and I'm not sure of the tune, but—aha!—here it is on page seventy-three. . . ."

I've bitten the bullet and am currently in the process of assembling a three-ring binder containing the words to all the songs I know. I will keep it handy on a music stand or propped somewhere in easy view. What I'm doing is being my own benevolent gremlin. I know the song, but if I suddenly realize that I don't remember how the next verse starts, a quick glance will get me back on track. And I won't be subjecting people to watching me stare at the ceiling and grope for the words.

I'm using one of those binders with a clear plastic cover so I can slip a sheet into it that says something like "EMERGENCY KIT. Open in case of Senior Moment."

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: Folk Artists - Wise up (or Fade away)!
From: Barry Finn
Date: 15 Sep 05 - 02:08 PM

I get out to a coffee house or concert (festivals, parties & sessions are different situations) maybe 3 or so times a yr. Well I sure as hell don't want to hear some one singing the same thing twice out of my 3 or so chances nor would I want to listen to some one sing from a book. My worst experience was while I was performing at Mystic Seaport. I was so excited to be on a line up with Oddetta (odd for a sea music fest but hey), a hero in my opinion. I hadn't heard her in probably 25/30 yrs anyway. Half way through the performance I left, almost with tears in my eyes. Most of her performance was EXACTTLY the same as in the 60's songs, intros, everything, it was heartbreaking.


Knowing enough songs to perform is more than learning a set quota. They should be songs that that really like, otherwise why "learn" them to start. They should be songs that others would consider worth crossing the street to hear. Songs that you've put your soul into & songs that you can come from your heart. Tall order I know but at least if one can keep site of what the listeners would care for out of a repertoire that you care to sing it'd be a far better experience all around.


Remembering songs enough to have a fair sized repertoire is also an issue that one would have to address but I don't think it's all that difficult (I may be about the worst memory floating in space). Take the songs that you really know, feel & love to sing it's a hell of a lot easier to remember them because you're doing them all the time, in your head, the car, the shower, enjoying & at the same time rehearsing all the while. A lot of songs (not so mush with worksongs though)have a story that's broken up by the verses so following that storyline also helps to refresh your memory of the song & if you have an idea of what you'd like to sing refresh it in your head a few days before or in the case of a performer, if they even need to, a few times before hand. The performer does have the luxury of having a large list to work from, which took some time to build but if they performing a lot at varied various places they're refreshing their repertoire all the time with ample allowance to add what they already do have. These are only a few suggestions that I have but they're many here that can offer plenty more. I'm just one of the many little fish here that swim in this mud creek & are in the company of whales that see fit to play here as well as in the ocean. Nice Thread


Barry


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Subject: RE: Folk Artists - Wise up (or Fade away)!
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 15 Sep 05 - 02:27 PM

Art, I would hope that Death of A Salesman could not be interepreted for folk music.   An aging salesman, plagued by his failures, blaming his young son for not living up to his expectations and ultimately dieing with few people attending his funeral.   Surely folk music is not a reflection of that!!!


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Subject: RE: Folk Artists - Wise up (or Fade away)!
From: Peace
Date: 15 Sep 05 - 02:29 PM

Continuance and growth.

Many performers will add songs to replace others as time goes on. A sage on the Mudcat once said he'd had the same ax for years--it had had three new handles and two new heads. Sets have to be that way. It takes a high degree of sophistication to do unplanned sets in front of an audience and 'get' the audience at the same time. One has to look at the mood of the audience, what mood has been created and where ya both want it to go from there. A gentle remark would be appropriate. A harsh one, no. IMO of course.


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Subject: RE: Folk Artists - Wise up (or Fade away)!
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 15 Sep 05 - 02:34 PM

Barry, I hope that your experience with Odetta was not typical. I have seen her a number of times over the years, and while there is some repition, I do find that she varies her performance.   However, she also performs to her standards as well as the expectations of the audience. She does not experiment with an audience.

I was also reminded of something I heard Steve Martin say many years ago. Before he hit the big time in the mid-70's, he had put together his act over many years - working out the jokes and patter so that he knew what would work.   Once he appeared on television, he quickly realized that his material was now stale - he could not repeat the jokes with the same effect.   In essence, his act became a casualty of his success. That was one of the reasons why he retired from performance.


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Subject: RE: Folk Artists - Wise up (or Fade away)!
From: Bev and Jerry
Date: 15 Sep 05 - 02:40 PM

We have done all kinds of gigs. One of them, which we have done for many years, is for the federal government and they insist that we cannot change the program without auditioning again. As a result, we have done the identical program more than 300 times but it's always a new audience. By remembering that they have not seen the program before, we manage to keep it sounding fresh. We should also say that one woman and her granddaughter came to eleven consecutive performances and clamored for more!

Mostly we have done school gigs and we had more than twenty set lists that we used regularly. By keeping careful records, we were able to assure that kids never saw the same program twice even if they saw us nine years in a row which some did. We never used a book or even a written set list on stage. There are three ways to keep up a large repertoire like that: practice, practice and practice.

We have also done more casual gigs. We have a concert coming up which we did two years ago and are agonizing over how many songs to repeat. If we do all new songs, people are sure to ask why we didn't do a cerain song that they heard last time.

The concept of honing a set until it's perfect and then sticking with it does not work because audiences differ from place to place and time to time. Utah Phillips, who is among the best performers ever, always varied his set, adjusting it to the particular audience. Saul Brody wrote his doctoral dissertation on that very topic. He toured with Phillips and recorded some of his concerts and then analyzed them to death. He was able to show, for example, that Phillips' signature story, "Moose Turd Pie", was carefully placed in each performance at the exact time that the audience was most receptive to it- sometimes near the beginning and sometimes near the end. Phillips used to always start his concert with a long version of "Cannonball Blues" which was interupted frequently with jokes. He once told us that this was a technique to guage the audience and see what makes them laugh and how bright they were.

End of ramble.

Bev and Jerry


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Subject: RE: Folk Artists - Wise up (or Fade away)!
From: Tam the man
Date: 15 Sep 05 - 03:15 PM

there is lot's of folk groups from Europe that use song sheets, and they get paid. there are people out there that don't have a good memory for songs.

So don't critise them, am I one of these people that you lot don't like, the reason is that I have a crap memeory I just remeber songs that well, but the people don't complain, I mean is it an offence to have song sheets, I mean classical artists ie Orcistras have music sheets, and you don't complain about them


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Subject: RE: Folk Artists - Wise up (or Fade away)!
From: Tam the man
Date: 15 Sep 05 - 03:17 PM

That's way I use song sheets, because I have a really bad memory, and I'm in a group, and there was another guy in the group who also used song sheets, so we all do things different.

Tam


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Subject: RE: Folk Artists - Wise up (or Fade away)!
From: Barry Finn
Date: 15 Sep 05 - 03:21 PM

Hi Ron

I hope not....but


If she couldn't have added something to her performance in 25 yrs she's IMHO not worth crossing the street to hear. It was the same old presentation, almost word for word as far as I can remember, shame on her. Who knows she may have thought that fans of sea music may not have been around in her hayday or that the differences in the types & styles of the music she does & what she may think others normally hear are in different worlds so far apart that doing her old stand by stuff would pass. Not likely, not from some one with her talent, no thank you.

Barry


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Subject: RE: Folk Artists - Wise up (or Fade away)!
From: Tam the man
Date: 15 Sep 05 - 03:28 PM

why are people like me that use songbooks not liked, as I said I have a rubbish memory for words to songs, and there are quite a lot like me that use song books in Europe and they get on fine in the Folk business, so why don't you like them, I mean that's the same with the clancy brothers, they used to concerts, and when they inrodudced a song they would give the same introuductions, and the same 'ad-lib' in the same place, and yet were they crap


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Subject: RE: Folk Artists - Wise up (or Fade away)!
From: Clinton Hammond
Date: 15 Sep 05 - 03:42 PM

"proffesional enough not to be using song sheets"
I've seee plenty of 'pros' use sheets, so blow it out your face...

"she sang the SAME songs in the SAME order, interspersed with the SAME patter I'd heard on the previous two occasions"
In what time span? Go on the road with any of the big names... If they're promoing a new CD, you'll get very nearly the exact same show with the same patter out of them for a year... and there's nothing wrong with that...

Or YOU try getting up in front of an audience several times a month with all new songs and all new 'patter'... And while yer at it, paint my house, and cure cancer, and rebuild New Orleans...

And whistle "Dixie"...


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Subject: RE: Folk Artists - Wise up (or Fade away)!
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 15 Sep 05 - 03:43 PM

The Chieftains have used the same routines and jokes, probably since they first began performing.   Paddy Maloney will come out and start speaking in Irish, catch himself "oh sorry, sorry sorry" and then speak in English. Their final number also features the same jokes and patterns. Yet, they always add something new each tour. The audience will put up with repition if the artists are giving 100%. The reason most people attend concerts for someone of that stature is due a certain familiarity with the material. The audience expects certain things.

One of the few concerts I walked out on was an Eagles "farewell" tour a few years ago. Their renditions of the songs were note for note copies of the original recordings. I felt cheated, as if I could have stayed home and listened to the CD's and save a few bucks. Still, I was in the minority of opinion.   Most of the audience LOVED to hear the songs and settings they expected.


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Subject: RE: Folk Artists - Wise up (or Fade away)!
From: Jeri
Date: 15 Sep 05 - 03:45 PM

Utah Phillips was someone I'd follow around when he was in the area. I think I saw him three times in the same weekend once, and dragged my mom to one of the shows. Yes, he repeated songs and stories and the in-between patter, but for some reason I never got tired of his act.

There was a sense that he was enjoying himself and playing to entertain me. Utah's just one example. I've heard other artists repeat material and most of their act and it didn't bother me. At other times, I left feeling cheated or even a bit angry. Why the difference?

The difference is in how it all comes off to their audience. When I saw Utah, he was in it 100%, rock solid, and it mattered to him whether you were there with him. Some I've seen didn't seem to give a rat's ass if you were enjoying yourself, because THEY were. At the extreme, they were in front of people, getting attention and feeling significant, and they cared more about that then whether they were any good. Sort of like Vogons and their poetry. That sort of act has a VERY short shelf life...at least as far as music gigs go.

Tam, I'm sorry, but if a person is playing at a paid gig, they bloody well should make the time to learn material that people will enjoy. I can see how someone who's just starting out hasn't learned this yet, but then, the criticism would help her be better. It may help other people be better too. Having said that, people have different trigger points for feeling affended by condescension or inanity. An artist has to guage what the majority will enjoy or tolerate because a minority will always either love everything they do or hate everything.


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Subject: RE: Folk Artists - Wise up (or Fade away)!
From: Barry Finn
Date: 15 Sep 05 - 04:02 PM

Hi Tam

If you're using sheets to help you get a jump start before diving in or to plug up a gap or two or three you fear will come up that's fine IMHO but to sing at a professional gig knowing you don't know the song before you sing it & you're gonna read from a book you ot'a save your self some energy & bring a cd with you & lip sync instruments & voice & all else you would save the audience some money & while you're at it edit in their applause & it'll be a great practice session to be held by all. Providing that there are those willing to pay. Another option would be to have every one bring in the bible "Rise Up Singing", that way every body gets a chance to sing along from books.
.

Sorry if I'm a bit harsh here but I personally really enjoy hearing music by a person or group who can play &/or sing their stuff like love it & they knew it well. If I want to hear a story being read to me I'll go to a local library during circle time. If I'm gonna really have to pay give me the respect & really play, I don't deserve the act.


This may be a topic for a seperate or a prior thread? Sorry if I caused a bit of thread creep.


Barry


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Subject: RE: Folk Artists - Wise up (or Fade away)!
From: Don Firth
Date: 15 Sep 05 - 04:27 PM

Tam, it's a matter of—what shall I call it?—interpretation, I guess. Any halfway decent song, be it Schubert lied, operatic aria, Broadway show tune, pop song—or folk song—has an emotional subtext. Sometimes that subtext is not so "sub." And I've heard singers in all genres who can take a song and wring your heart with it. I've also heard singers who can sing the same song and put their audiences to sleep (and I'm not talkin' "lullabye" here!). An actor can read Hamlet's "To be or not to be" soliloquy and it sounds like he's reading the contents of a can of soup. Another actor can take the same speech and nail you to the wall with it ("My God! This guy is trying to decide whether to commit suicide or not! He's really stressed!").

Way back when, I took some voice lessons from a teacher who didn't ask me to learn a pre-canned bunch of songs just as vocal exercises. He asked me to bring my guitar to the lessons and we worked with the songs I actually wanted to sing. As I sang, he would often stop me and say, "Now that last line: what, exactly, does that mean?" It was not that he didn't know. He just wanted to be sure that I knew. And to sing it as if I knew. Not just by rote. Color the word. Color the line. Feel it. To sing it like I'm really there. I learned a lot more from this man than just vocal technique.

What I'm saying is, if you're going to really put a song across to an audience, you have to fully understand the song, including that emotional subtext. You've got to feel the emotion in the song (but not so much that you get choked up, burst into tears, or fall down laughing), and transmit that emotion to your audience. But it has to be done carefully. This sort of thing can really be overdone, and it can get almost embarrassing when it is. I don't see how a person can do that (to the right degree) without knowing the song thoroughly, and that includes memorizing it.

Now, once you have thoroughly absorbed the song and understand it, the chances that you will forget it are greatly diminished. But if you do blank out on a line from time to time, having a song sheet handy, not to read from, but to glance at if need be, can save you blowing the song by having to stop and stare at the ceiling and pray that the words come back to you.

Part of the process I use in learning a song is to write out the words. It's not that difficult to copy it (type it into the computer and print out a neat, readable copy—pick a type face that's easy to read without having to have your nose within six inches of it) and stick it into a three-ring binder. Put it where you can see it (but don't hold it in front of you like a choir boy), unobtrusively flip it open to the song you want to do, and you're all set. Safety net in place. Again, unobtrusively turn the page to your next song, and so forth. Tab the pages if necessary.

I've seen people walk into a song fest with a big armload of song books loaded with songs they don't really know. The armload is a dead giveaway. Much easier, and less of a red flag, to carry one notebook containing songs you do know, even if, from time to time, you might feel a bit of fuzziness about the specific words. No sweat. You have them right there. If you need them.

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: Folk Artists - Wise up (or Fade away)!
From: Le Scaramouche
Date: 15 Sep 05 - 04:51 PM

I went to a David Broza concert, part of a tour he was doing because of the double-CD collection. It was two terrific hours. People I know went to some performances in different venues where he played a similar set-list, but by no means rigid. He always adds something fresh, something new. Have several live recordings, DVDs, etc, you are never disappointed. A set list should be like public speaking, have it written down, but don't be slavish.


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Subject: RE: Folk Artists - Wise up (or Fade away)!
From: Clinton Hammond
Date: 15 Sep 05 - 04:54 PM

Slavish...

good word!


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Subject: RE: Folk Artists - Wise up (or Fade away)!
From: kendall
Date: 15 Sep 05 - 04:59 PM

There are two schools of thought about song sheets. Personally, I never use one because I've been around so long that I have about 500 songs that I have commited to memory. One can't expect a beginner to know that many songs.
I have a friend, a folksinger, who coined the phrase, "Those fucking book people". He has no tolerence for poor memories.


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Subject: RE: Folk Artists - Wise up (or Fade away)!
From: Barry Finn
Date: 15 Sep 05 - 06:00 PM

Thank you Jeri & Ron


Touchy subject matter, eh?


"Blow it out my face"? Uncalled for.


The few times I've painted houses, you did refere to painting your house, didn't you, I've tried like hell (my old farm & my present home included) to do a "professional" job so as not to grow tired with it over the yrs. Pretty much the same when it comes to being a pro, no? Don't worry I won't be asking you for a paint job. You may expect some similarities between jobs but don't go around the world, country, region or county repeating your self. You end up with a bunch of boring housing developments. Change up a bit on your landscape, design or architecture or the presentation or style, try appeal &/or customize a tiny bit in your world & ours, try to sing as if you want the paying public (like Jeri) to say "I've heard them do that before & I can't help it but I love the way they do that & along with some of the other stuff they do" not "what a bore, that's the last time I go to hear them". You're right, there is a big difference on the road or pushing a CD. Most of those that can tour successfully, hone their craft to a point where they can repeat & know when they can repeat & already have enough material to chose from when they feel they should, yet they also are aware enough to still stay fresh at all the different venues & places all the while knowing how & when to satisfy the tastes of those willing to pay.


"Or YOU try getting up in front of an audience several times a month with all new songs" that's uncalled for. Seeing as you asked though I have sung at different festivals along the New England sea coast over the yrs solo & with my partner Neil as Finn & Haddie. I/we didn't & still don't actively seek gigs & have no intentions of earning a living from performing but over the past 20 odd yrs we/me have 'always' tried to give 110% to those that we/ve joined or have joined us or for those that have ask us & hope I/we've done well enough to be considered worth while hearing again. I'm not one of those big time perfomers that you refere to & most likey will never be. I am happy with what I can do & give others & I don't give a care if I don't get the same back in return but I still do feel as if I've gotten far more than I'll ever be able to give in return. I love listening to beginers, amateurs, greats & pro's there's alway's something worth hearing or sharing & ya never know what you may hear in the future from a newbie who you may have incouraged some where along, that's better than..... It's just that I expect more from a pro whose asking me for money.

About hearing Oddetta. I did not say " on the previous two occasions", from my mid teens back in the 60's I grew up hearing her at Newport, at concerts or local clubs & coffeehouses she was always my hero. You have no need to attack me personally, please if you don't agree with my opinions please attack my constructive criticisms instead, you'd find me much more opened to that.

Start another thread if you'd care to continue.


Thanks

Barry


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Subject: RE: Folk Artists - Wise up (or Fade away)!
From: GUEST,Justin Case
Date: 15 Sep 05 - 06:36 PM

Odetta can do it any way she wants to. Doesn't matter to me because I can't listen to her anyway.


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Subject: RE: Folk Artists - Wise up (or Fade away)!
From: Seamus Kennedy
Date: 15 Sep 05 - 06:41 PM

After over 30 years of performing professionally - I've never been a 'day-jobber' - I've come to realize that my audiences expect a lot of my familiar songs and routines. If I leave out something, a funny intro to a song, perhaps, they'll ask me why. I get requests for comedy routines and songs for heaven's sake, from people who've heard them hundreds of times.
I wondered how someone could sit through a routine to which they know all the punchlines! And one of the answers is: they like to watch other people laugh at the material. They love to sing along with their old familiar favorites.
By the same token, I'm constantly adding new songs and bits because over time they will/may become audience favorites too.
There's a comfort in ritual. Look at Johhny Carson's old Carnak routine, or Art Fern or any of his characters.
The audience knew exactly what was coming but they all laughed anyway.
I saw the Dubliners, The Clancys (with Tommy Makem) and the Corries many times back in the '60's, and they did pretty much the same show each time, with a few new bits thrown in. It's knowing what your audience wants, giving it to them and adding something new to make them want to come back.
I don't use a music stand or song book or a set list.
If I screw up a lyric, I can usually improvise something pretty damn close on the fly.
By a somewhat different token, I've seen opera singers - Pavarotti is a good example singing from a little notebook, and the great Irish tenor John McCormack used to do it all the time at his concerts. He did it in his movies whose names escape me at the moment.
That's OK for them.
But I have a little difficulty with a country, bluegrass or folk performer (alright, let's make that a Full-time professional country, bluegrass or folk performer) using a book or music stand.
Just my taste, I suppose.

Seamus


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Subject: RE: Folk Artists - Wise up (or Fade away)!
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 15 Sep 05 - 07:07 PM

In the male chorus I sing in, whenever we learn a new song, the Director first asks us all to speak the lines of the song. It is his way of initially having no concern about melody or harmony so that we can focus on the words and absorb their meaning and power. I think that it's a great way to try on a new song, and assimilate the meaning. To me, songs are much more than words, melodies and rhythm. They are first of all, an expression of ideas and beliefs, and a wonderful means of communicating with (and entertaining others.)
You can get all the words right, hit every note, have impeccable rhythm and miss the song completely. I'm with those who feel that you should learn a song until it becomes a part of you. If you're concerned about forgetting a line, as we all do, having a lyric sheet unobtrusively placed nearby on a song or two that you haven't fully assimilated, or done in a long time, that's fine. I don't think that you're really ready to become a part of the performer/audience connection if you need to have a lyric sheet nearby on every song.

Let's hope that performing is something more than just not making mistakes...

Jerry


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Subject: RE: Folk Artists - Wise up (or Fade away)!
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 15 Sep 05 - 09:33 PM

Anyway terrific advice from the originator of this thread.....

If you want to continue making a huge income out of folk music, you gotta get your nose to grindstone, shoulder to the wheel, keep your eye on the ball, and above all smile at the audience!

Eyes and teeth!


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Subject: RE: Folk Artists - Wise up (or Fade away)!
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 15 Sep 05 - 09:52 PM

That sounds very uncomfortable, Weelittle... have you ever tried singing and playing guitar with your nose to the grindstone, your shoulder to the wheel and your eye on the ball... all while you're smiling at the audience? You'd have to be a contortionist.. :-)

Jerry


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Subject: RE: Folk Artists - Wise up (or Fade away)!
From: Tam the man
Date: 16 Sep 05 - 09:49 AM

So I'll just give in because I just can't remember any songs, the reason is I have a really rubbish memeory, no matter how many times I practise a song, I just really remember it and as for all the folk singers and groups from Europe should give as well, as I say I don't a good memory for songs, so what you lot are saying is I should just give up singing then because I can't remember song too well, I know a few songs off by heart, Oh and by the way I don't have a CD.

I think a lot of you don't have any tolerence for poor memories, I just do it because I like to sing a new song every time I perform, and I don't have time to learn it. At the Folk Club that I go to the people there sometimes ask me if they could use my muisc stand and that is some of the guests, so they must be shit as well.

Och here's me going my dinger again, getting Angry, I just like a good singer, I don't care if they have a songbook or not, I just like a good song that's all.

Tam


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Subject: RE: Folk Artists - Wise up (or Fade away)!
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 16 Sep 05 - 09:55 AM

Tam you could taking this stuff too much to heart. It's the internet. Really we're all just cyber entities. None of us really have any existence outside your computer. We are nasty goblins come to afright you....some of us more than others.

Realise that,and all will be well.


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Subject: RE: Folk Artists - Wise up (or Fade away)!
From: Tam the man
Date: 16 Sep 05 - 10:10 AM

OK, I just don't like being inulted Oh and by the way I haven't being singing for 20 years, I don't have cd's and the wee group that I'm in only does concerts every now and then which doesn't give us much time to learn new songs, the bit I hate are these singers that come to the folk clubs/festivals and start to sing a song and half way through they get a mental block, or the sing the same verse twice, where if they had songbooks in front them this would never happen, I'm just not as smart as some of you, I have diffuculty in remember things, I mean I keep notes on almost everything, Including e-mails that I got from 5 years or more.


OK I'll relax and try and remember that some of you not all are nice people


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Subject: RE: Folk Artists - Wise up (or Fade away)!
From: Big Jim from Jackson
Date: 16 Sep 05 - 10:12 AM

In a song sung by Johnny McEvoy titled "The Hedgehog Song" part of the chorus goes something like, "You can sing all the words and play all the notes, but you never quite learned the song......" I think that is partly what Jerry is saying. I can't help but believe that if a song has meaning to the singer, it shouldn't be a major task to commit it to memory. I don't doubt Tam the man's difficulty with remembering stuff, but I can't help wondering if it is not related, at least in part, to skiping from one new song to another. I have some friends who can play tons of songs but rely on the words being right in front of them. And when they sing the songs there is no depth of feeling behind the words. They have great voices and command of their instruments, but there is a lack of feeling and conviction in their performances that is noticable.


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Subject: RE: Folk Artists - Wise up (or Fade away)!
From: Tam the man
Date: 16 Sep 05 - 10:20 AM

so you lot haven't had mental blocks in your life, and the songs I do sing do have meaning to me and I try to put that feeling I have for the song over, as I said I just have a shit memory, so what you lot are saying is that all these musicians should all just give up, Since when was a crime to sing songs out of a book, God I feel like the condemed crimal here, and I have commited a terrible crime along with the others that rely on songbooks, as I said we are all different.

Tam


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Subject: RE: Folk Artists - Wise up (or Fade away)!
From: rhyzla
Date: 16 Sep 05 - 10:25 AM

Having the words and/or chords in front of you means - "never having to say you're sorry"

For me, it's forgivable for an artist to have a memory aid, whether it's a music stand, or an autocue.

But's it's a pain in the arse when an artist breaks down in the middle of a song - there's not normally any excuse!

But to play the same songs and tell the same jokes is bloody lazy!!


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Subject: RE: Folk Artists - Wise up (or Fade away)!
From: Tam the man
Date: 16 Sep 05 - 10:31 AM

So you lot haven't forgotten a verse or the tune, I mean Sean Cannon does it all the time, he goes de da dum, and that's just to remember the tune and the key.
God I feel like the condemed man that has this illness, like aids or HIV or something like that, we're all different, Anyway I wished I haded opened this thread now.
And I'm sorry if I can't remeber words, and I do try put what the feeling of the song means to me, and if I have to use songbooks then That the way I'll do it, there are lot of singers that do this, or you going to condem them as well, Why is it wrong to use songbooks, I mean how to do practice new songs, you must use Songbooks, OK not in concert, but you must use them at home surely.

Anyway I'll just stick to using songbooks when I perform, oh by the way I don't get paid ( well sometimes) Peter Seeger once used a blackboard and an easel at on of his concerts, and sometimes he sticks the words to songs on his microphone.

Tam


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Subject: RE: Folk Artists - Wise up (or Fade away)!
From: Tam the man
Date: 16 Sep 05 - 10:33 AM

Thank you very much rhyzla, someone how understands


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Subject: RE: Folk Artists - Wise up (or Fade away)!
From: Tam the man
Date: 16 Sep 05 - 10:36 AM

well I thought you understood, I think I'll just go an hang myself on my musicstand, and the world would be a better place, because it loooks like certain people on this thread don't like me and think I'm talking shit


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Subject: RE: Folk Artists - Wise up (or Fade away)!
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 16 Sep 05 - 10:46 AM

You miss the point
A real artist who works within comedy acquires grace and power of his delivery of a joke by rehearsing it and doing it time and time again. Check out Lenny Bruce at the height of his powers.

Connolly too, was better and sharper and more disturbing when he worked to set pieces like The Crucfixion.

How the hell do you think Peter Ustinov and Victor Borge got so good - you think they just made it up five minutes before they went on stage?

Part of the reason people like carrott and Cobnnolly and Mike harding got out of the working mens clubs was to get away from arseholes at the back shouting 'heard it!'

In the 70's these artists developed a discursive style of humour in folk clubs. And personally I'm bloody sorry they didn't prove to be trtadition that continued. They were a bloody sight more interesting than some of the folksongs that did survive.


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Subject: RE: Folk Artists - Wise up (or Fade away)!
From: Tam the man
Date: 16 Sep 05 - 10:50 AM

I think I'll just leave, one more thing before I go is one of the reasons is on the Club night, I lkie to try out a new song, which I just got the words to and never had time to learn it properly.
I'm sorry but I just a bit stupid, I'm sorry if I have upset evryone.
I think I'll leave now.

SORRY


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Subject: RE: Folk Artists - Wise up (or Fade away)!
From: Jeri
Date: 16 Sep 05 - 11:02 AM

Tam, the thread WAS about folk PERFORMERS doing paid gigs where people expect to hear a professional quality performance. It was NOT about folk clubs and people taking turns singing. You keep saying you don't have a CD, you don't do paid gigs, well fine - I'm the same situation.

As this thread is about paid performers and performances, and "If folk performers expect to get repeat bookings...", neither of us is being criticized.   

If I pay to see a performer who constantly screws up, relies completely on song sheets and generally seems to believe he's there because it's HIS chance to be a 'star' and doesn't appear to give one shred of an iota of a shadow of a shit about whether the audience is actually enjoying him, he IS going to 'Fade Away' because those of us who are bothered by this apathy are not gong to intentionally put ourselves through that torture again. It's irrelevent whether anyone thinks that's right or wrong. It's going to happen.

On the other hand, if I hear that a person has made an effort to improve, I may give them another chance.


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Subject: RE: Folk Artists - Wise up (or Fade away)!
From: Don Firth
Date: 16 Sep 05 - 11:37 AM

Tam, for Chrissake stop pissing and moaning, feeling sorry for yourself and feeling insulted! If you'd read one damned word of what I wrote, you'd note that I've given you a workable alternative to carrying around a stack of books.

I'll say it again, louder.

TYPE OUT THE SONGS YOU'D LIKE TO SING AND PUT THE SONG SHEETS IN A THREE-RING BINDER. STUDY THE SONGS. LEARN WHAT WORDS MEAN. THINK ABOUT THEM. KEEP THE BINDER WITH YOU WHEN YOU GO TO SONG FESTS, OPEN IT, PUT IT WHERE YOU CAN SEE IT, AND TRY TO SING THE SONGS WITHOUT LOOKING AT THE WORDS, BUT IF YOU HAVE TO, GO AHEAD AND LOOK!

SING! ENJOY!

Nobody's insulting you. If you have trouble memorizing, then I have sympathy for you, and so, I believe, does everbody else. Don't give up.

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: Folk Artists - Wise up (or Fade away)!
From: Tam the man
Date: 16 Sep 05 - 12:03 PM

THANK YOU DON, YOU JUST HAVE EXPLAIN THINGS TO MEA BIT UNLIKE YOUR EARLYER POST.

I WILL TRY THAT,


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Subject: RE: Folk Artists - Wise up (or Fade away)!
From: Tam the man
Date: 16 Sep 05 - 12:05 PM

I'm not feeling sorry for myself or anything like that, I just forgot to read your earlier post that's all.

THANK YOU DON


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Subject: RE: Folk Artists - Wise up (or Fade away)!
From: kendall
Date: 16 Sep 05 - 12:30 PM

What Jeri said.


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Subject: RE: Folk Artists - Wise up (or Fade away)!
From: M.Ted
Date: 16 Sep 05 - 01:18 PM

It is all show biz--which means that the performer must script, rehearse, and act in order to achieve the sense of spontaneity and sincerity that is expected.

At any rate, Lowden, you needn't worry, as those folk entertainers who never get their acts together ultimately figure out how to fade away without need of advice--


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Subject: RE: Folk Artists - Wise up (or Fade away)!
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 16 Sep 05 - 01:59 PM

i would just like to add that to my mind theres more verbal grace in most Derek Brimstone song introductions than there is in half the oxford book of Verse


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Subject: RE: Folk Artists - Wise up (or Fade away)!
From: Le Scaramouche
Date: 16 Sep 05 - 02:11 PM

Hedgehog Song, that's a great Incredible String Band number!


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Subject: RE: Folk Artists - Wise up (or Fade away)!
From: kendall
Date: 16 Sep 05 - 02:16 PM

"The secret of success is sincerity. Once you can fake that you are a success." (George Burns)


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Subject: RE: Folk Artists - Wise up (or Fade away)!
From: GUEST
Date: 16 Sep 05 - 02:43 PM

Tam, lighten up will you? This thread isn't about you.
It's about giving good money to see artists who are getting paid to perform. If they don't know their material, or don't have enough of it to vary their shows, they are not doing their job. If learning new stuff is really THAT much of a trauma, why go onstage?


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Subject: RE: Folk Artists - Wise up (or Fade away)!
From: Barry Finn
Date: 16 Sep 05 - 03:09 PM

Hi Le Scaramouche


There's also an excellent & extremely comical Hedgehog song that I believe was penned by Heather Wood

Barry


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Subject: RE: Folk Artists - Wise up (or Fade away)!
From: Tam the man
Date: 16 Sep 05 - 07:12 PM

FOR THE VERY LAST TIME OVER HERE IN EUROPE THERE IS A TRADTION OF SINGERS AND GROUPS THAT USE SONGBOOKS ON STAGE AND THEY TRAVEL THE WORLD AND THEY GET PAID AND THEY DO FESTIVALS AND NO ONE OVER HERE GIVES A SHIT ABOUT THAT.

SO GOODBYE


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Subject: RE: Folk Artists - Wise up (or Fade away)!
From: Tam the man
Date: 16 Sep 05 - 07:13 PM

OH I FORGOT TO TELL YOU THAT I COME FROM EUROPE AND I'M JUST KEEPING UP A TRADTION THAT WE HAVE HERE

GOODBYE AGAIN


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Subject: RE: Folk Artists - Wise up (or Fade away)!
From: GUEST
Date: 16 Sep 05 - 07:34 PM

I just wish some people would just accept the fact that certain folk artists use songbooks on stage, that's their style, if you can't accept them then I think you lot should take a good look at yourselves, I mean how many europian tours have you lot done, not many, and yet there are groups as Tam the man said who have done a lot of europian tours and no one gives a shit just as long as they put on a great show.


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Subject: RE: Folk Artists - Wise up (or Fade away)!
From: kendall
Date: 16 Sep 05 - 07:40 PM

Culture clash?


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Subject: RE: Folk Artists - Wise up (or Fade away)!
From: bbc
Date: 16 Sep 05 - 08:41 PM

Getting back to the original topic & speaking as an audience member, I learned the hard way to leave some time between concerts by the same performer. On a concert tour, it seems that many performers do the same group of songs in the same order & that makes sense. If I've paid several dollars, though, I'd prefer some variety. I think that's all our original poster was saying. Most good concerts that I've attended, by performers whose music I know, have been a mix of their well-known music & their newer music, but, from concert to concert, the songs & order of songs varies. If a performer stays in the same area, I agree that s/he had better keep bringing in at least some new material or folks will simply get bored & not bother attending. I think this thread topic is worthwhile.

best,

bbc


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Subject: RE: Folk Artists - Wise up (or Fade away)!
From: GUEST
Date: 16 Sep 05 - 09:48 PM

Tam/Guest 7:34 - if you're going to shout Goodbye, then mean it and shut up.


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Subject: RE: Folk Artists - Wise up (or Fade away)!
From: Scoville
Date: 16 Sep 05 - 10:02 PM

I'm late getting here, but I'd still rather see songsheets than hear the same performance every time, especially if it's someone local whom I'm likely to run across again and again. I have a good memory until I get onstage and get nervous, and then everything goes blank. I don't usually need help any more but I used to write out bits of dulcimer tab on napkins as cues in case something escaped.

I'm not a professional but I used to do odd gigs and open mics, and I was always careful to have at least 33% new material, or, in a pinch, played old stuff that I hadn't performed in at least six months. Of course, I didn't often have a big set to do, and I'd repeat stuff if somebody wanted to hear it, but I never repeated sets one time after another. Yawn. There were several otherwise great performers I knew whom we all came to dread because they'd been playing the same ten songs for ten years.


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Subject: RE: Folk Artists - Wise up (or Fade away)!
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 16 Sep 05 - 10:39 PM

So, why didn't Elvis, and Frank Sinatra, and Sting and Ella Fitzgerald and Peggy Lee and the Beatles and Dire Straits and....
use song sheets? Or Hank Williams or Doc Watson or Mississippi John Hurt, or.... They would have feared for their lives. Why should we expect less when we go to see someone performing professionally, doing folk music?

I think that you're right, Kendall. This has to be culture class.

As for forgetting words, I've done it, and so have the best of them I've heard. When the concert is over, most people don't leave thinking about a line that someone messed up. It's the connection that's made between performer and audience.

I've also been on both ends of the equation when I've forgotten a line and someone from the audience sang it out (and we all had a good laugh) or when a performer has forgotten a line and I've sung it out (and we all had a good laugh.)

I second what bbc says, too. If I go hear someone a second time over a short period of time, I go understanding that it may be a very similar set list. I expect that the introductions will be at least somewhat similar too, as it's difficult to come up with a unique introduction every time you sing a song. I don't expect an evening of music that seems phoned in. If a performer is going to repeat introductions (and asides) word for word, put it out on a DVD and I'll throw it in the machine and watch it at home.

Jerry


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Subject: RE: Folk Artists - Wise up (or Fade away)!
From: Mark Clark
Date: 16 Sep 05 - 10:42 PM

Fascinating discussion, glad I found it.

I tend to think the way a singer handles the issues in discussion here can vary according to the way the singer presents himself. If a singer presents himself as one who is keeping a tradition and passing that tradition on the best way he or she can, then I think there is an understood responsibility to have learned every aspect of every song: Its history, its meaning(s), its lyrics and certainly its performance details. People presenting themselves as folksingers have assumed that responsibility. Such singers place more importance on the song itself than on themselves as artists.

If a professional vocalist is presenting a program that includes interpretations of folk-derived songs for which scores have been prepared, I see no problem with the vocalist singing from the score. In this case the material is understood to be secondary and only a foil for the performer.

Thirty plus years ago, I took my bride to be to a Chicago showcase club called The Quiet Knight to see Dory Previn, a singer who was popular at the time. Because Dory was very popular and lots of people wanted to see her, they ran two shows an evening and turned the house over between shows; an unusual step for that club. The Quiet Knight was managed by friends of mine so they asked if we'd like to sit through for the second show and we accepted.

Ms. Previn did a nice show with good patter and one song in particular had a rather long lead in that went by without notice in the first show. We were surprised to discover that the second show was identical to the first in nearly every respect. Same songs in the same sequence with the same patter, the same impromptu assides, the same inflections; her whole show was like a dramatic role in a play, well rehearsed and precisely executed... except for one small thing. During the lengthy lead-in, identical to the first show, she lost her place or her concentration or something and literally could not get to the song. She was probably eight minutes into a ten minute speech and wound up starting the whole lead-in speech from the beginning, with practiced assides and inflections, because it was the only way she could get to the next song. We and the staff may have been the only ones to know how pathetic she seemed.

I know big name rock bands hit the road only able to perform their most recent CD plus a couple of greatest hits as encores but you don't really expect that from an individual performer in an intimate setting.

      - Mark


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Subject: RE: Folk Artists - Wise up (or Fade away)!
From: GUEST,punkfolkrocker
Date: 16 Sep 05 - 11:59 PM

and dont be too surprised to discover how many big stadiun
bands and famous solo singers perform their entire set
to a midi click track that not only keeps the drummer and band tied to a rigid predetermined
performance setlist..

but also drives a video autocue screen hidden low on stage behind the monitor speakers..

all the lyrics to every song scrolling along in time
for the benefit of these now increasingly 'aging' megastars..


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Subject: RE: Folk Artists - Wise up (or Fade away)!
From: GUEST,punkfolkrocker
Date: 17 Sep 05 - 12:01 AM

.. but David Bowie at least cheerfully admits in public
to his need for onstage notes to help him remember the lyrics to his own songs..


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Subject: RE: Folk Artists - Wise up (or Fade away)!
From: GUEST,Stephen L. Rich
Date: 17 Sep 05 - 12:26 AM

This is , sadly, not an uncommon phenomenon in any genre. I've worked in several over the years and have seen it countless times. Some of the previously mentioned explainations make a good deal of sense. There are a few other factors to consider.

This can happen with performers who don't work more than a few clubs or small fest in any given year. This cuts down the pressure to learn or create new material. Not all of us are driven to constantly try new things or stretch our own limits. this leads to another reason.

There's a comfort to the familiarity of tested and reliable songs and patter for both performers and large portions of thier respective audiences. Back in the days of vaudeville many a performer would learn a three to five minute act and build a career on it. They would travel the country for twenty years or more with that material.

There are some who, believe it or not, actually fear any change in thier performances. While I don't completely understand why, I know for a fact that the condition exists. I currently know one or two performers who are like that.

In the lng run, as long as club owner, festival bookers, and, most importantly, audiences are willing to actively support it by continuing to book said acts, or attend thier shows the phenomenon will not go away. Unfortunately, this is unlikely to happen.

Stephen Lee


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Subject: RE: Folk Artists - Wise up (or Fade away)!
From: Don Firth
Date: 17 Sep 05 - 03:40 AM

I guess people get into performing for different reasons. I can understand why someone who is "success driven" would want to stick with a winning formula. Hell's bells, that's what runs the television entertainment industry: a drama or sitcom that really works tends to spawn a whole gaggle of imitations. Same with movies.

But often, when I hear a song, it hits me in a way that I have to learn it. Something like lust sets in. I've often bought a record or a CD that I didn't particularly want because it had one song on it that I did want. And once I've learned it, naturally I want to sing it for others. Sure, when I was performing actively, I would repeat material. But I was constantly adding new stuff to the repertoire. One of the kicks, for me, is springing new stuff on people, songs they probably haven't heard before.

But—one of the biggest thrills of my life was at a thirty-year reunion concert of a bunch of regulars who had sung at Seattle's "Pamir House" in the University District back in the early Sixties. The concert was packed with lots of old patrons. They were a bit greyer, but most of them were pretty recognizable. It was heavy nostalgia time.

One of the bits I used to do consisted of two songs I had put together: Copper Kettle segueing right into a particularly mournful version of Moonshiner that I'd learned from Rolf Cahn. At the reunion I opened my set with this, and when I sang the first line, the audience broke into applause. They remembered it!

Man! That's heady stuff! But you can't plan that sort of thing. It just happens when it happens.

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: Folk Artists - Wise up (or Fade away)!
From: Tam the man
Date: 17 Sep 05 - 04:48 AM

At least someone understands, and the reason why I was shouting was for out of the 16 times I have posted I told you about Europe, but you wern't listing, so I thought If I shouted then maybe you would undestand.

Because none of you read my post either or you would of noticed that I was talking about EUROPE.

Tam


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Subject: RE: Folk Artists - Wise up (or Fade away)!
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 17 Sep 05 - 04:50 AM

one one level I disagree.

my feeling about singing is that it's a form of expression that calls for committment to the material, at least to the point of knowing the words - but really far beyond. And no one finds word learning easy, but with experience you learn the process and the feeling of being at one with the lyrics.

an actor must know his words as though they were the next thing that came to his mind to articulate, and a singer should perform as though those lyrics are at the root of his being - right next to his heart.

Jack Hudson once explained to me, You must inhabit the songs!

However if someone reading stuff to you entertains you, fair enough.

As for David Bowie if his sodding lyrics meant anything in the first place, perhaps remembering them wouldn't present such a problem.


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Subject: RE: Folk Artists - Wise up (or Fade away)!
From: GUEST
Date: 17 Sep 05 - 07:47 AM

If you can't remember the sodding lyrics, study your sodding book and sheets until you do. Then leave them home. You can not connect with an audience while staring at a sodding book.


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Subject: RE: Folk Artists - Wise up (or Fade away)!
From: kendall
Date: 17 Sep 05 - 08:25 AM

When I first started performing I was as nervous as a Christian scientist with a severed artery, so I used a stand and crib sheets. I felt the disconnect with the audience and so did they.

I see a big difference between a performer and an entertainer. I decided to be the latter.


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Subject: RE: Folk Artists - Wise up (or Fade away)!
From: Tam the man
Date: 17 Sep 05 - 08:53 AM

be god you must have a better memory than me guest please I don't, and I do connect with the audience because if I didn't they would soon let me know


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Subject: RE: Folk Artists - Wise up (or Fade away)!
From: Tam the man
Date: 17 Sep 05 - 08:55 AM

why don't you tell us your sodding name guest are you scared, I'm not.
Anyway we all do things differently over here in EUROPE,

God it's like hitting your head off a brick wall on this thread.


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Subject: RE: Folk Artists - Wise up (or Fade away)!
From: GUEST,[life of a] Japanese Salesman
Date: 17 Sep 05 - 09:03 AM

anyone for Trad Folk KAREOKE..!!???


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Subject: RE: Folk Artists - Wise up (or Fade away)!
From: Tam the man
Date: 17 Sep 05 - 09:05 AM


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Subject: RE: Folk Artists - Wise up (or Fade away)!
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 17 Sep 05 - 09:16 AM

Tam - this is the first time I've ever felt like euro-sceptic


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Subject: RE: Folk Artists - Wise up (or Fade away)!
From: GUEST
Date: 17 Sep 05 - 09:30 AM

Very few people use their real name here, including Tam the man. What sort of name is that? Are you in the phone book? Could I call you or visit with just that made up non name?


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Subject: RE: Folk Artists - Wise up (or Fade away)!
From: Deckman
Date: 17 Sep 05 - 09:37 AM

This is being a very good thread! Bob(deckman)Nelson


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Subject: RE: Folk Artists - Wise up (or Fade away)!
From: kendall
Date: 17 Sep 05 - 09:41 AM

We could usew a bit more tolerence.


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Subject: RE: Folk Artists - Wise up (or Fade away)!
From: GUEST,Justin Case
Date: 17 Sep 05 - 09:47 AM

It's always interested me that so many people can't tell a joke or remember more than a few songs.
What I've noticed is that they screw up a joke because they can't remember to tell it exactly like it goes. To paraphrase kills it.

The other thing is, if you can remember one song, or two, or half a dozen, why can't you remember a hundred? Where is the cut off? Can anyone explain this?


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Subject: RE: Folk Artists - Wise up (or Fade away)!
From: Tam the man
Date: 17 Sep 05 - 09:47 AM

All right my real name is Tom Hamilton what's yours


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Subject: RE: Folk Artists - Wise up (or Fade away)!
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 17 Sep 05 - 10:05 AM

Justin Case.. you any relation to Justin Time?

Jerry


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Subject: RE: Folk Artists - Wise up (or Fade away)!
From: GUEST,Art Thieme
Date: 17 Sep 05 - 10:15 AM

I be me--real name and all! I've been wising up for all of my 64 plus years. And I show no signs of fading away--even though I once dropped 100 lbs. All but 30 of those pounds found their way back onto my current visage. I ain't proud, but I am now smart enough to see it isn't worth worrying about. When I do finally fade away, I will finally lose the weight.

folk ART-ist THIEME !!!
(and now you know who to ask for when you buy my CDs from Folk Legacy Records at www.folklegacy.com or from Camsco)


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Subject: RE: Folk Artists - Wise up (or Fade away)!
From: GUEST,Art Thieme
Date: 17 Sep 05 - 10:34 AM

Hi, Jerry---and Ruth too!

Love to ya both,

Art


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Subject: RE: Folk Artists - Wise up (or Fade away)!
From: Big Jim from Jackson
Date: 17 Sep 05 - 10:39 AM

Art, is that new CD ready yet? Or has it already come out and I missed it?


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Subject: RE: Folk Artists - Wise up (or Fade away)!
From: Tam the man
Date: 17 Sep 05 - 10:48 AM

what the hell is a non name can't you speak english, It's a nick name not a non name whatever hell that is,

Anyway why are certain people won't give out there names even if it's a made up name I mean what are they trying hide, do they work for the secret sevices you know the mudcat CIA or MI5/MI6.

Tom Hamilton


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Subject: RE: Folk Artists - Wise up (or Fade away)!
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 17 Sep 05 - 11:10 AM

Good for you, Tom:

Maybe it really is a cultural difference between you folks over in Europe and us young' uns over here. But, I appreciate your openness and honesty. You sound like someone I'd like to know.

And what the heck, my wife Ruth and I are packing right now for a 17 day trip of Europe, leaving this Friday.

Perhaps I should pack a songbook? :-)

All the best..

I have a photographic memory. I never forget a photograph..

And we love ya too, Art..

Jerry


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Subject: RE: Folk Artists - Wise up (or Fade away)!
From: Tam the man
Date: 17 Sep 05 - 11:16 AM

Thank you very much


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Subject: RE: Folk Artists - Wise up (or Fade away)!
From: GUEST
Date: 17 Sep 05 - 11:44 AM

If you are looking for a dustup, there are those who will oblige you.


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Subject: RE: Folk Artists - Wise up (or Fade away)!
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 17 Sep 05 - 12:04 PM

Wass a dustup? Anything like a brushoff?

Jerry


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Subject: RE: Folk Artists - Wise up (or Fade away)!
From: Tim theTwangler
Date: 17 Sep 05 - 12:46 PM

I have just recently started playing in public and still having guitar lessons.
I only sing and play my own stuff(have heard all the songs I like done so well that there is no point in me trying them)
And even after all the time spent writing editing adjusting and practicing I still have problems with remembering them in front of an audience.
I never hope tp play for pay sbut would still like like eventualy to be a little more professional I guess some of us are just a little slower.
Luckily the main venue I play at has an audience of the most supportive and enthusiastic music fans you could wish for and are never ever unreceptive to new songs,poems etc.
I am just atarting to get 2 or 3 of my own things in memory and these are now the ones I feel most comfortable playing and feel I give a decent perforance with maybe in Time We could all reach the 300 song mark,but then some of us do it for the joy not the statistics


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Subject: RE: Folk Artists - Wise up (or Fade away)!
From: kendall
Date: 17 Sep 05 - 01:11 PM

Pete Seeger is 85 years old.


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Subject: RE: Folk Artists - Wise up (or Fade away)!
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 17 Sep 05 - 01:24 PM

100, unless somebody beats me to it..

Jerry


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Subject: RE: Folk Artists - Wise up (or Fade away)!
From: GUEST,Boab
Date: 17 Sep 05 - 01:36 PM

Tam----Ye really are "gaun yer dinger"! [Great to see that auld Ayrshire kant on the net!] But --while i do have some sympathy a,and some agreement --with the points you make. I think ye'd better haud yer horses, or Joyce, Anne , Big Davey and even Maw Burns will stop talking to you. To all the guys and gals who are so critical of repeated repertoires, quips and asides, etc., I would suggest that there's not ONE regularly performing artiste who doesn't "sin" often in that respect. If you honestly examine your own progress, I think you will probably find that when you are performing before a familiar, oft-faced audience you WILL make a concious attempt to avoid repetitive intros etc. The repertoire can be somewhat different. Many of you will be EXPECTED to sing a song which you sand the week before, and theweek before that---- Quips and asides are different. Something goes down well, you say to yourelf "I'll use that again"; but it would be foolish to use it before the same audience. One , just for instance, which I drop regularly to new Canadian audiences is " ---bien' jist aboot the only yin here that talks normal---". Works once---don't go back there next month with the same patter. And I know local audiences. They come to hear us perform familiar material, alongside any "new" stuff we may spring upon them. I'm sure all the "old hands" must have very similar experience. Tam, you tell all the folks in the Golf Hotel that big Boab frae Canada is asking for them!


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Subject: RE: Folk Artists - Wise up (or Fade away)!
From: kendall
Date: 17 Sep 05 - 02:04 PM

There is a big difference between a performer singing a song twice in the same venue because he/she has a request, and someone like Mac Wiseman who does exactly the same program time after time like he was miming one of his own records.


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Subject: RE: Folk Artists - Wise up (or Fade away)!
From: Hand-Pulled Boy
Date: 17 Sep 05 - 02:51 PM

excellent thread.


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Subject: RE: Folk Artists - Wise up (or Fade away)!
From: Tam the man
Date: 17 Sep 05 - 06:01 PM

As part of the wee group I'm in is that, they ask me what the next verse is or next line, mind you I don't use a songbook, in other words I can remeber their songs because they sing them all the time, but me I only try a sing the one song once and then move on unless I get a request which I often do.

So I must be doing something right, I can remember their songs but I find it diifecult to remember my own.

Tam

I'm like big Davy, he's the same he can help other people out to remember verses however he can't remember his own stuff, or maybe he's like me need that songbook as a guide, what I do is have the song book in front of me and if I see the first line then away I go, however at the Golf hotel there are times when I can't even see the book, but as soon as I start a verse then it all comes back to me, it like a comforter the songbook, it's like these people that must have their mobile phones with them that goes to the toilet.

Tam
So you see I really don't need the words at all, it's just nice to have them in front of you just to promt you like an autoque for the news.

Tam again


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Subject: RE: Folk Artists - Wise up (or Fade away)!
From: Le Scaramouche
Date: 17 Sep 05 - 06:38 PM

Even if you do use song-sheets, that's not the problem. The problem is, say, at one venue you performed Black Velvet Band, Wild Rover with a joke about bodhrans and Belfast pubs, followed it up with Whiskey in the Jar and closed the gig with Wild Mountain Thyme. Now say you repeated it EXACTLY for the next dozen gigs or so. A little varietion, a little sponteneaty, are you an automaton or a performer.


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Subject: RE: Folk Artists - Wise up (or Fade away)!
From: kendall
Date: 17 Sep 05 - 06:39 PM

The ability to remember other people's songs, and the ack of ability to remember one's own is pretty common.


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Subject: RE: Folk Artists - Wise up (or Fade away)!
From: Peace
Date: 17 Sep 05 - 06:42 PM

Tell me about it.


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Subject: RE: Folk Artists - Wise up (or Fade away)!
From: Susanne (skw)
Date: 17 Sep 05 - 06:53 PM

I agree with Kendall's last sentence. It happens to me a lot, and it's got to do with the pressure on yourself when you're expected to sing and the lack of it when you're not.

Anyway, Tam, I don't know which part of Europe you're in. I've lived all my life in Northern Germany and been to see many folk acts, from Britain, Ireland, the US, France, Germany, Austria, the Netherlands and Scandinavia, in big halls and intimate venues. Never have I encountered a PROFESSIONAL (or even semi-professional) artist who used songsheets to any degree. Some use them the way Don Firth suggests, but even that is rare. Please give us some proof for your claim. I can't think of any!

It may be ok for you if your audience doesn't mind, but I still think it isn't ok for people who lay a claim to being professionals. Mother's little helpers may be the norm in the pop and rock world; they're not in folk music where very few performers use playback. Of course it isn't grand if somebody dries up during a good song, and it happens to the best of them, but it happens rarely and I take it as an indication of their humanity and the uniqueness of that performance. Audiences seem to mind less than the performers themselves (unless it happens with every other song, of course).

Some of that uniqueness gets lost if a performer does the same set night after night. Most of the people I can think of took care not to do that, though they've got different methods of achieving this. One guy wrote out a set list with three alternatives for every song every night and put it on the floor next to the mike. As far as I could see he didn't need it most of the time. He also said that audiences in general reacted unfavourably if you included too much unfamiliar material. He put the limit at 10 to 15 per cent and extended his repertoire accordingly.

Performers can defeat themselves in other ways. I remember the only Corries gig I managed to get to, some years before Roy died. They were very lively and all, and the audience seemed to enjoy them, but my impression was that it was all too pat, worked out beforehand and delivered on cue. I felt rushed, as theough they were eager to get it over with and be on the way home. There are others, like The McCalmans or Iain MacKintosh and Hamish Imlach, or some German artists, whose patter was very familiar after some years. But they still managed to deliver it as though they'd just thought of it, and it got extended and changed in the process. Not boring at all, and certainly not pat.


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Subject: RE: Folk Artists - Wise up (or Fade away)!
From: kendall
Date: 17 Sep 05 - 07:23 PM

I know quite a few people who use song books and sheets. However, none of them are pros.


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Subject: RE: Folk Artists - Wise up (or Fade away)!
From: Mooh
Date: 17 Sep 05 - 07:49 PM

Some folks, like me, don't remember things well, but I do remember a thread about this previously.

I use cheat sheets, sometimes more than other times, but if I'm singing, or playing solo, I keep them as discrete as possible. I dislike the music-stand-up-in-the-face approach as both audience member and performer, but I don't mind the stand out of the line of sight. If I'm playing back-up for someone else, I still keep the stand low and/or to the side a bit. For tunes I have memorized I simply don't refer to the stand. Usually only reminders are required anyway, so constant staring at the music isn't necessary.

If I have the djembe with me it doubles as a music stand.

I heartily dislike scripted stage patter and have heard it often at festivals and concerts. It doesn't take a genius to work in some variety, spontaneity, and off the cuff adaptation to the moment. However, it wouldn't by itself turn me off a performer unless it was excessive.

Peace, Mooh.


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Subject: RE: Folk Artists - Wise up (or Fade away)!
From: GUEST,mines bigger than yours
Date: 17 Sep 05 - 09:06 PM

Folk musician A: my memory for a magnificent huge number of songs is so much bigger than yours..

Folk musician B: sorry.. I've got a really shit memory for songs..
but I've been fucking the living daylights out of your wife
while you've been memorising all those mouldy old songs
you sad old sanctimonious small dick bastard cuckold..


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Subject: RE: Folk Artists - Wise up (or Fade away)!
From: GUEST,Pat Cooksey.
Date: 17 Sep 05 - 11:19 PM

I find this thread very confusing, this person Tam the Man who
ever he is, speaks continually of Europe, which part of Europe
does he mean.
I live and perform all the time in EUROPE, and while I agree that
many of the bands Isee here rely on notes, music stands and the like,
I do not.
I am very much of the persuation Seamus Kennedy enounced earlier.
There is a world of difference between a profi, and a hobby musician, when large numbers of people pay to hear you they expect
a different standard to an occasional singer in a session.


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Subject: RE: Folk Artists - Wise up (or Fade away)!
From: GUEST,Art Thieme
Date: 18 Sep 05 - 12:15 AM

To those interested, nope, the new CD isn't out yet. It's being worked on and tweaked by Dennis Cook. Time will tell....

Art


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Subject: RE: Folk Artists - Wise up (or Fade away)!
From: GUEST,reggie miles
Date: 18 Sep 05 - 01:35 AM

I've done it both ways. I have so many songs that I've written of late that I do get a little impatient about getting them out into other ears and so I've tried to bring my song book along to various events. On most poorly lit stages where I've played, I found out that it really didn't help. I couldn't see the words anyway.

I've tried reading the stuff that I had not committed to memory from my song book but I've always enjoyed presenting it more after having a song or aside memorized. I guess I should just write songs and stories with fewer words. ;o)

I caught Eric Clapton in a performance reading notes of some kind from a nearby stand. I don't know if it was musical structure or lyrical prompts. I also caught Dolly Parton on a morning talk show appearance lip sync one of her songs and do a good job of messing it up. She sang off key and forgot her lyrics. It was after seeing Dolly's goof that I became more inspired to try to organize more of my own material and perfom it. I figured if she could make a mess of presenting one of her compositions on national television, I should be able to muddle through some of mine at a local open stage or two until I had them down.

When out and about performing I try to stick to the stuff I know, but I can still have that momentary lapse every now and again. I've never strictly used a set list but I will jot down songs that I'd like to play before hand as an aid to remembering them. There are so many songs that I enjoy playing and singing and so many that I never seem to get time enough to present.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Guest, mines bigger than yours, LOL! Here's one of my latest.

It's Not The Size Of Your Slide...

It's not the size of your slide it's the slide of your size
Ain't no need to get jealous of the other guy's
Boys you better get hip to this tip to the wise
It's not the size of your slide it's the slide of your size

A long time ago it used to be slick
To walk real soft and carry a big stick
But I'm here to remind all you big stick guys
It's not the size of your slide it's the slide of your size

All you misters have heard sisters testify
It ain't the meat it's the motion that satisfies
I'd like to confirm that notion and dispel the lies
It's not the size of your slide it's the slide of your size

All you hicks diggin' me pick my licks
The way that I slip and glide
If you want all the girls to roll their eyes
It's not the size of your slide it's the slide of your size

All you boys, makin' all that noise
I hope you now realize
Don't apologize for your merchandise
It's not the size of your slide it's the slide of your size

If you listen to the words of this simple song
You'll know it don't matter if your length ain't long
Yes, I may be wrong, but I surmise
It's not the size of your slide it's the slide of your size


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Subject: RE: Folk Artists - Wise up (or Fade away)!
From: GUEST,Boab
Date: 18 Sep 05 - 02:58 AM

For the record--Ihave seen Ken McKellar use a wee surreptitious [guid word!] slip of written notes while singing---on t.v.!


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Subject: RE: Folk Artists - Wise up (or Fade away)!
From: jacqui.c
Date: 18 Sep 05 - 05:29 AM

In 2003 I went to see Eric Bogle perform at Watford on his UK tour. I was so blown over by the performance that, when he came back to the area, to Hitchin, I went to see him again a couple of months later. Whilst some of the songs were sthe same he varied the act and the patter was different for quite a lot of the performance. Bearing in mind that he was on a whistle stop tour round the country I would not have been surprised if he had repeated the same act again, even though he was probably performing to a number in the Hitchin audience who had been at Watford. To be quite honest I so enjoyed the Watford concert that I would have happily sat through the same set again. However, the Hitchin performance did allow me to hear more of his songs, a real bonus. To my knowledge he did not use any notes on stage. On the other hand I went to see a well known performer a while later whose act pretty well followed his latest CD to the letter - rather disappointing, considering the supposed calibre of the artiste.

I am what Kendall's friend calls 'one of those fucking book people'. I got into folk performing at song sessions (I sing songs but do not consider myself to be a singer) about five years ago and am still learning a lot. I don't even try and sing a song unless it 'speaks' to me, otherwise I can't put into it the necessary feeling that actually makes it a SONG. It takes quite an effort to learn the words and, up to a year ago I did not have time to learn many new sons so did use a crib sheet. The songs I sang the most got committed to memory at song circles. Nowadays I have more leisure and, when I want to learn a song, I have the words on the kitchen counter and sing through each individual verse until I have got it down. However, I am still not totally sure that I will remember the songs so have a crib sheet on my lap - like Don I have a loose leaf binder with transparent pockets which is my security blanket. I do not feel that by doing this I am being lazy or uncaring and can't really say that I have felt criticised by this thread, By the way I am English and now live in the USA so have been exposed to both cultures as far as folk music is concerned.

I know that, in the UK, there are quite a lot of people who do look down on those using crib sheets, as can be seen from other threads on the subject. I was even given an Avril Betts Award Mudcat badge by Dave Bryant who, despite his present situation, gave me yet another lecture on the necessity of learning the song by heart before performing it in public, when I visited him in hospital just over a week ago. From my perspective there really isn't that much difference between the two cultures on the matter.

By the way, my 'real' name is Jacqui Morse - jacqui.c was my name pre-marriage to Kendall and was my real first name with the first letter of my surname at the time tacked on. And I agree with Tam on this - anonymous guests don't really deserve too much attention if all they are trying to do is stir up trouble with insults.


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Subject: RE: Folk Artists - Wise up (or Fade away)!
From: My guru always said
Date: 18 Sep 05 - 05:33 AM

I have to say I agree with Susanne. I live in England, well Europe actually, and haven't seen much of this stated European tendency for using songbooks from professional singers. Having spent 20 weekends at folk festivals in the UK so far this year I'm fairly certain that they don't. The odd prompt perhaps, discretely perhaps, a notebook or a list maybe.... but a songbook, on stage? No.

I also have to say that I'd be unhappy if our friends across the pond were left with the impression from this thread that it's a culture clash.

It took me quite a while to learn the songs I love well enough to be able to put my prompts aside, but having done so I feel that I can really sing those songs and can concentrate on putting those songs across to others. If a song is worth singing, it's worth singing well.


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Subject: RE: Folk Artists - Wise up (or Fade away)!
From: Tam the man
Date: 18 Sep 05 - 09:16 AM

Well I live in Scotland, and I heard the Ian McCalman who was at our club on night and he said that there are groups/singers that use music stands.
Anyway who bloody cares wither they use a songbook or not, I mean as long as they put on a good show that's all that matters, If you don't them then don't go and see them, I couldn't give a shit wither they used a songbook or not, just as long as they give a good show and at the end of the night you leave happy, Last night there was a clip of Lonnie Donegan on stage and he couldn't remeber a verse, however if he had the words with him, then he would made look like an idiot, and then in Australia they laid on a tribute concert for the memory of Slim Dusty and most of the Australian country singers were there on national televison and a singer called Jimmy Little was on stage in front of millions with the words to a song, and then a actor chappie came on and read the words to a poem.

Tam
As I say as long as they put on a great show who really cares it's only a bloody songbook, that's there style and I don't a problem with that.

That's my grip over again until the next time
Love and God Bless cause that's his job
tam frae Scotland


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Subject: RE: Folk Artists - Wise up (or Fade away)!
From: Tam the man
Date: 18 Sep 05 - 09:32 AM

I'm just a very nervous person that's all, that's why I do it,
As for Europe, I'm telling you what I heard, I haven't any proof, but if you don't believe me just ask The McCalmans, an see what they say.
And anyway no has answered me yet why is it wrong to use a songbook brass bands use them Classical performers sometimes use them orchasters use them, so proffecnial use them ie session band players, still they get paid, are they being wrong, I think I'm losing the argument here, I think I'll just leave now and give up,

Not the singing (I'm not a great singer/musician) after all I play guitar and the Bordhran, so much for me eh!,
It's these Banjo players who claim to be musicians (only kidding)


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Subject: RE: Folk Artists - Wise up (or Fade away)!
From: GUEST,DB
Date: 18 Sep 05 - 12:07 PM

I am strongly of the opinion that a singer should learn a song by heart and not sing from a book. Listening to such a singer is like watching a high-wire artist equipped with a safety line or a parachute! Singing is a form of communication involving passion and other strong emotions - and communicating such emotions necessarily involves courage. To communicate such strong emotions you need to be bold - and singing from a book is timid! It's also lazy and disrespectful to the audience.
People keep telling me that learning the words is difficult - well, yes, it can be; who said it should be easy? I find learning the words difficult, and it gets more difficult as I get older - but it's not impossible, if I put my mind to it.
For what it's worth my trick for learning the words is based on the idea that, if it's a song I like, I find that I always know some of the text - even if it's only a couple of lines. I write these down and then, over the course of the next few days/weeks/months (years, in at least one case!), fill in the gaps. The effort (work!) involved in doing this means that eventually I have the whole song in my head. I still occasionally dry up, though - scary stuff!!


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Subject: RE: Folk Artists - Wise up (or Fade away)!
From: Tam the man
Date: 18 Sep 05 - 05:02 PM

FOR THE LAST TIME, why is is it a crime to use a songbook, there's a group called the Sangsters from Fife in Scotland and they use a songbook, Some of us do and some of us don't, myself as I said a number of times is I have a rotten memory, I can remember other people's songs but when I'm up on in front of an audidance I just get scared and I just forget the words unless they are in front of me.
God you make these people that use songbooks bloody muderers or somthing like, It is like hitting you're head against a brick wall,
WE ARE ALL DIFFERENT if you can't accept that then tough shit.


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Subject: RE: Folk Artists - Wise up (or Fade away)!
From: Tam the man
Date: 18 Sep 05 - 05:06 PM

No one has had the courage to answer my question why is it so worng to use a songbook, please answer me, you lot keep advoding the question please remember we were all learners in the first place, God you lot are fucking clever out there, I would like to ask you lot for fucking help as I said If you don't like them THEN DON'T FUCKING GO AND SEE THEM.

JESUS CHRIST, AND I THOUGHT I WAS DAFT


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Subject: RE: Folk Artists - Wise up (or Fade away)!
From: Tam the man
Date: 18 Sep 05 - 05:17 PM

I won't be here for a week, thank god says you, anyway some of you from what I read is if you treat these people like if they a terrible illness, they have their way of doing things and you have your way some of can remember songs better than others. I just wish you lot would listen, I feel as I losing the battle here I just wish you lot would give these people a chance and some help, instead of condming them, and don't say you don't because you do. for example most of you say that in your opinon that using a songbool on stage will performing is wrong, or lazy. Well that maybe so but please give them a chance, instead of being horrible to them.
Nae wonder I get angry sometimes
I think I'll just give in, its hard trying to defend people that use songbooks on stage when it feels that the whole folk world is against you, don't say you're not and then rant and rave about the use of songbooks on stage is wrong, a bit hypocritcial I think, at least I'm trying to be honest here, I mean don't you lot not use songbooks to practise your songs, and if you do then you condem those that use them on stage.

Tom Hamilton frae Scotland

Goodnight, I just hope this thread will jsut fade away or gets closed.


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Subject: RE: Folk Artists - Wise up (or Fade away)!
From: jacqui.c
Date: 18 Sep 05 - 05:17 PM

Tam. This thread was not aimed at you but at professional performers. Why take it so personally?

Everybody has a right to their own opinion. If it does not agree with yours that does not mean that they are having a go at you or that their opinion is any less valid. It just means that they have a different point of view on the matter. They are as entitled to that as you are.

I don't see anyone accusing you or making fun of you over this issue. Probably no-one really gives a toss whether or not you use a songbook.

There appears to be a feeling that paid performers who use cribs or don't vary their perfomances at all are not giving good value. That is their opinion and I think that you are wrong in reacting the way you are to that.


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Subject: RE: Folk Artists - Wise up (or Fade away)!
From: GUEST
Date: 18 Sep 05 - 05:18 PM

You dont go to a restaurant and expect the Chef to be sat their reading a recipe book

You dont go to college or school and expect a teacher to be reading everything out of a book

You dont get in an airoplane and expect the pilot to be reading "how to fly a plane"

When you go and watch a play you dont expect the actors to be reading there lines from a book

SO when you go to a concert/gig you dont expect the artist/s to be reading from a songbook.

Because as is the case for all of the above they should be proffesional enough to have learnt there craft.


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Subject: RE: Folk Artists - Wise up (or Fade away)!
From: kendall
Date: 18 Sep 05 - 05:19 PM

Calm down Mate. Your question was answered, but apparently you don't want to see it.
Now hear this: When a folksinger stands up in front of an audience and he/she has a book in front of them, it indicates that they haven't done their home work, and they appear to be too lazy to do the work. Whether or not that is always true is questionable, but it is the APPEARENCE that counts.You are allowing something to come between you and your audience, and many listeners resent the lack of intimacy which is so important in folk music.

Now, that being said, personally I don't have strong feelings one way or the other, but many do, and that is what "Book people" must face up to.

Does that answer you question?


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Subject: RE: Folk Artists - Wise up (or Fade away)!
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 18 Sep 05 - 05:45 PM

I just went back and read the opening thread, which set the discussion parameters. It made no mention of using songbooks. Somehow, this thread has been hijacked by you, my man Tam in a very defensive way. No matter how many times posters have pointed out that the thread was about professional performers who don't vary their repertoire and set lists, and who commit introductions, and even casual asides to memory, you keep turning it back to yourself.
This thread wasn't started as a criticsm of you, and the comments are not personal to you. They are a matter of opinion, as are yours. In retropsect, maybe it would have been better to start a thread on singing from a songbook.

Without going back and cutting and pasting (which I find irritating)
it seems like you enjoy doing new songs all the time before you've had a chance to memorize them. Am I stating that correctly? If not, blame it on my faulty memory, and not on any desire to be offensive.
If someone gets up to perform a song that they haven't had a chance to learn, then the issue of having a poor memory is a non-issue. If you enjoy introducing new songs before commiting them to memory, and then move on to other new songs, it would seem that you could never develop any memory skills.

Another thread that would be more to your point (and I don't want to open up in this one) is how we approach not only learning new lyrics, but in teaching choruses to audiences.) 'Smatter of fact, I think I'll just do that little thing. If you have a desire to improve your ability to remember words, maybe some of the suggestions would be helpful to you. If you prefer continually doing new songs without doing the serious work of learning the lyrics, then the thread won't be for you..

Most of all, please stop taking all of this as a personal attack. Folks have a different opinion on this issue than you do. That doesn't mean that you should do all the melodramatic things you suggest.

After all, you're not a cereal killer.

Meant in good will..

Jerry


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Subject: RE: Folk Artists - Wise up (or Fade away)!
From: Peace
Date: 18 Sep 05 - 05:52 PM

I worked on many stages over the years. Some songs gave me trouble. One was Dylan's "Stuck Inside of Mobile (WtMBA). I would tape the first lines of the stanzas to the up side of my D-28. If anyone asked, I showed 'em. I have done everything from being booed off stage to receiving standing ovations from large crowds.

I generally followed no set list, but I did have about ten songs to choose from to open with and close with. The stuff in the middle depended on where I felt the audience wanted it all to go and where I felt like going. If anyone thinks that's not pro, fine.

Relax. Enjoy your music, and commit as much of it to memory as you can.


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Subject: RE: Folk Artists - Wise up (or Fade away)!
From: Don Firth
Date: 18 Sep 05 - 06:06 PM

Geez, Tom, lighten up!

It seems that you want a whole bunch of people to tell you that it's okay to stand there on stage and sing out of a song book, and when they tell you that it's not okay, you go up in flames. You want our approval.

Okay, one more time. Listen up!

If you are a professional, charging people admission to hear you sing, it most definitely is not okay. As people have already pointed out numerous times, it indicates that you don't' really know your material, and that indicates that you haven't done your homework, and on that basis, charging people to hear you perform verges on cheating them. If you want a career as a professional performer, that would be highly self-defeating, because you're not going to get much repeat business. You may even have people walk out and demand their money back.

If, however, you want to sing for fun at a song fest, then go ahead. But you're taking a chance that you will not be highly regarded by others there who have memorized their material. Now, if you do study the songs you want to do carefully and you do try to memorize them, but you still can't get your memory around them, do as I have said above:   put song sheets for the songs you have studied and tried to memorize into a three-ring binder or something similar, mention to the group before you sing them that you have a very leaky memory, hence the "crib sheets" in case you forget a line or two, and go ahead. Chances are this will be okay. But don't stand there holding the notebook in front of your face like one of the Vienna Choir Boys. In fact, the Vienna Choir Boys don't even do this. They're just kids, and when they perform, they know their material!

But—if you walk into a session with an armload of bound songbooks from the book story shelves or the public library, and you get up in front of the group, then fish around in the books trying to find something to sing, and if you pick one that you've maybe just glanced at a time or two but have not really tried to learn it—expect your audience to be highly unimpressed, if not downright hostile.

I'm sorry! But these are the facts of life! Get used to it!

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: Folk Artists - Wise up (or Fade away)!
From: Grab
Date: 18 Sep 05 - 06:32 PM

Tam, if you read as much as you typed, maybe you'd see there have been 120 posts answering your question. Or maybe 90 posts and another 30 posts from you saying "but why"... ;-)

Lest forgetting words or tunes be considered a crime, Eric Clapton arsed up the start of "Layla" on his Unplugged show. And then had the balls to release it as-is to the public without getting it "fixed" in editting. Someone on Mudcat (can't remember who) pointed that out as a wonderful example of the guy's confidence, that he wasn't scared to screw up occasionally and didn't mind people knowing. It wasn't something I'd noticed until it was pointed out, but when I read that it was a "YES!" moment.

Re the "rehearsed performance", I guess many people do it. Tom Paxton certainly does - having bought his songbook which includes some of his anecdotes, when I saw him in Cambridge I could pretty much quote word for word how it was going to go.

But I don't think the "learned patter" is necessarily bad. Yes, maybe you know some of them, but that's not always bad. The Secret Policeman's Ball version of the Dead Parrot Sketch was just as good as the original, and just as well appreciated in spite of everyone knowing it. If the patter is accepted as part of the performance (as TP's is), then it works. I guess what makes the difference is that even if you *have* rehearsed the patter, you can't rehearse a connection to the audience, and TP really feels like he cares about making the audience enjoy the show.

FWIW, my favourite performers are Show of Hands. Never mind the music, but although they clearly have some prepared lines, they don't let it get in the way. So one of them fluffs a word in a pre-prepared link, the other takes the piss, and it stays as a running joke to the end of the gig. You can't practise that, and my favourite musicians to see live are all in that vein. Whatever the music is like, it's got to be a good *show*, and I think the quality of character is something that you can't fake in folk music.

Graham.


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Subject: RE: Folk Artists - Wise up (or Fade away)!
From: Sorcha
Date: 18 Sep 05 - 06:35 PM

Tam, a PERFORMER/ENTERTAINER needs to focus on the AUDIENCE, NOT a silly book. Nuff said.


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Subject: RE: Folk Artists - Wise up (or Fade away)!
From: PennyBlack
Date: 18 Sep 05 - 07:19 PM

You don't go to a restaurant and expect the Chef to be sat their reading a recipe book
Several do! - Some should! - Same meals every time I go to the restaurant about time they they got some different ones

You don't go to college or school and expect a teacher to be reading everything out of a book
Oh come on you're telling me my old history teacher actually new all that history?


You don't get in an aeroplane and expect the pilot to be reading "how to fly a plane"
OK yea! but he has got auto-pilot

When you go and watch a play you don't expect the actors to be reading there lines from a book
What about the little bloke at the front doing all the asides, and the auto cue?

SO when you go to a concert/gig you don't expect the artist/s to be reading from a songbook.
not bothered if I enjoy the concert


Because as is the case for all of the above they should be professional enough to have learnt there craft

So why is it that the Folky that has learnt his "craft" a set of songs, introductions, comments and backings is being criticised for repeats - would you do the same to the examples above?

off the the old Folkies Home now.   ;-)

PB


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Subject: RE: Folk Artists - Wise up (or Fade away)!
From: GUEST
Date: 18 Sep 05 - 08:15 PM

If a guy wanted to be a famous race driver, but couldn't remember how to shift gears, should he throw a tantrum because no one wanted to watch him?


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Subject: RE: Folk Artists - Wise up (or Fade away)!
From: Peace
Date: 18 Sep 05 - 10:00 PM

That would depend on whether there were no ears to hear.


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Subject: RE: Folk Artists - Wise up (or Fade away)!
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 19 Sep 05 - 03:36 AM

I'm not a professional. I'm in England (part of Europe). I think I may have been paid to play once or twice in about 15 years since I've been folking (not counting whenI was young). I do think it is important to know a song well enough to do it without words/chords/dots as otherwise there inevitably comes an interruption in the flow of the performance as the concentration on capturing what one is about to do from the paper exceeds the concentration on the actual delivery.

The paper actually spoils the performance.

It also looks very slap-dash. It is certainly not the norm among professional performers I have seen.

Nonetheless, if a song is to be done before it is really ready, or has to be dug out of history because of a request, then it may be better to have the prompt to hand than to have to stop and start again (if you can't improvise). But to appear to be reading and to sound as if one is reading will be awful.

I used to do quite a bit of debating, and have won cups for it. It is quite literally fatal to effective debating to read a speech. At most a series of cue cards to provide a route map is tolerable. Comparably, if you need words or chords to hand, it is better to keep them inconspicuous, and to refer to them only as necessary (and make sure they are big enough and clear enough to be useful at a hurried glance).

An exxact repeat of previous routines and introductions will rapidly become boring if familiar. The comment of Brimmo "Even the introductions are honed to perfection" is a snide compliment that turns on the fact that exact repetition is not always good. Variation is highly desirable - but some things are hard to change because of their uniqueness - like "Queen Jane" being the only folk song I know about congenital syphilis, and Richard Mattheman's "Run the Tide" the only folk-style song I know about senile dementia. Or who wrote a song.

Balance, perspective, and moderation seem to be needed on this thread, but I would tend to agree that a semi-pro singer really ought to be looking to performing without song-sheets, and to having enough repertoire that repeat audiences could find significant freshness in each performance.

Some very big names might also like to remember that while an informative introduction is a great benefit, the audience is there mostly for the songs, so talking more than singing is not a good thing!


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Subject: RE: Folk Artists - Wise up (or Fade away)!
From: Fibula Mattock
Date: 19 Sep 05 - 08:12 AM

Um, I was just going to add that the song tradition in Ireland is an oral tradition (just like the music - and you couldn't take sheet music to a session) so a part of that oral tradition is therefore learning the song by heart, not least because perhaps the people who sung it in the past couldn't read or write.
(This is just an observation, mind.)


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Subject: RE: Folk Artists - Wise up (or Fade away)!
From: kendall
Date: 19 Sep 05 - 08:13 AM

It looks like we have a consensus


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Subject: RE: Folk Artists - Wise up (or Fade away)!
From: Gedpipes
Date: 19 Sep 05 - 08:17 AM

no we don't! Richard. When did England become part of Europe? ;-)


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Subject: RE: Folk Artists - Wise up (or Fade away)!
From: Barbara Shaw
Date: 19 Sep 05 - 08:17 AM

We have a five-member band and usually use a book of lead sheets (some musicians call it charts) on a music stand near the single central mic. This allows everyone to see and remember the arrangement, which is more complex than a single performer would use, including who kicks off the song, who does breaks when, who does a tag at the end and so forth. Sure, most bands do not use a book, but on the other hand, we're not like any other band I've ever seen.

Our concerts are always different, and I've got the set lists from the past 6 years to prove it, never two alike, and always including new songs every month or so. The talk between songs is always ad libbed, varying with the audience, the antics of the band, current events, whatever.

People seem to like us and keep inviting us back, despite the book.

Musicians in other genres often use books, including jazz combos, certainly classical ensembles, pianists, etc. I feel that the book helps rather than detracts from our concerts. On the other hand, when we perform before a strictly die-hard bluegrass audience, we ditch the book or they wouldn't take us seriously, seriously! But then we have to confine ourselves to the old chestnuts that we know so well we're sick of playing.

At our jams, we always use our songbook, and it helps us not only remember the lyrics but also other songs to sing. People jokingly refer to us as "the book people" but then start compiling their own books. Many of our friends are now "book people."


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Subject: RE: Folk Artists - Wise up (or Fade away)!
From: kendall
Date: 19 Sep 05 - 09:18 AM

Barbara, I wouldn't care if you were to read from the Talmud, I still enjoy your music, and you really are different!


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Subject: RE: Folk Artists - Wise up (or Fade away)!
From: Jeri
Date: 19 Sep 05 - 10:22 AM

Gedpipes, when did Europe and England become part of the US? Officially, I mean. (Haha)

What it all boils down to is whether the printed stuff interferes with the audience's enjoyment. Most people don't deal with paper well, and it comes off as clumsy and obvious and weak. It's like watching a very bad magician.

The biggest sin a performer can have is a lack of confidence, as perceived by the audience. Reading from paper can come accross like that. I've done it. While it might be a good idea to have the words if you need them, if I try to use them when I don't need them, it messes me up. Instead of flowing into the next line, I wait until I can look down and my eyes find it on the paper. I swear I forget lines simply because I expect them to be on the paper and not in my head.

I'm not saying this is universal. Other musicians use paper for dots or words, and they can do it very well. The funny thing is, I think it's because that, just like a from-memory performer must practice recalling and playing/singing, a from-paper performer has to prectice playing/singing while reading.

I also think that if you're performing piece and either the piece, the style or the setting are traditional or have a tradition, anything you do that goes against that tradition is going to be noticed, and possibly really annoy some listeners. Like the Far Side cartoon I keep in my fiddle case that shows a violin player sitting in the orchestra. As the conductor raises his baton, the voilinist turns to the person next to him, and referring to the music score, says, "Gee...look at all the little black dots." Then there are those sea shanty groups with the operatically trained singers heaving and hauling in prettily arranged 4-part harmony. Of course they'd need to wear black tuxedos and have a conductor. I heard a speak-o yesterday on the radio, and in the future, I'll be referring to all sea music performed like this as "barbership" music.

In the end, the short version of this post comes down to this: If it bothers people that you use written music, you shouldn't use it.


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Subject: RE: Folk Artists - Wise up (or Fade away)!
From: GUEST,Art Thieme
Date: 19 Sep 05 - 10:45 AM

As Bobby once wrote, "I'll know my song well before I start singing."

To an extent, though, I was lucky in that I always had a place where I could sing and work on my songs while I was becoming comfortable with newer things in my rep. That was my oasis/home place, the No Exit Coffeehouse in Chicago where I played for 37 years. But we never had notes or books to sing from!!! That was unheard of then, and I woulld hope that it would be, and should be, unheard of now.

The sad thing is having this practice get a foot in the door, and soon bad manners become the norm.

It's just a dumbing down. And that, I think, is sad.

Art Thieme


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Subject: RE: Folk Artists - Wise up (or Fade away)!
From: Lowden Jameswright
Date: 19 Sep 05 - 11:43 AM

It seems the issue of using/not using songbooks/prompt sheets has overtaken the thread - fair enough. Tam obviously has taken some of the criticisms to heart and I'm sorry he's been upset by some comments made here.

I never intended to crucify the performer mentioned in my opening thread, but make the point that repeat business in the folk-hiring fair will be less likely if performers don't vary their act. This lady has been on the circuit for quite some while now and has appeared in at least 3 different venues within our area (approx 7 or 8 square miles) during the last 2 years. She knows there's crossover between folk clubs (especially in this area) and the same enthusiasts are likely to turn up.

I felt embarrassed for her (at the 3rd time of hearing) and I feel she has to "fake it" in the sense that her performance appears so natural and almost instinctive - certainly it seemed that way to me the first time I saw her. Maybe she isn't as confident as she appears, and feels the need to rely heavily on well-honed material. I can understand that if you're just starting out, but after a few years I think it's time to develop. I certainly hope she does, because I would like to see her, say, on an annual basis if she can offer some variety. Others who've seen her much further afield say she always does the same thing - so I'll just wait and hope she (eventually) learns to add new songs to her list.

As regards her use of music stand and song sheets - no problem. She did not need to keep dropping her head to remind her where she was. They were there as a safety net, and that's fine - she certainly did not seem to have any problem at all engaging her audience.


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Subject: RE: Folk Artists - Wise up (or Fade away)!
From: Gedpipes
Date: 19 Sep 05 - 12:51 PM

nice one Jeri


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Subject: RE: Folk Artists - Wise up (or Fade away)!
From: GUEST,MikeofNorthumbria(athome)
Date: 19 Sep 05 - 01:48 PM

A fascinating thread, which makes many valuable points about two separate but related issues.   And there is a hidden link between the two themes - it's fear!

Many fine professional actors, singers, and comedians suffer terribly from pre-performance nerves. Some even throw up in the dressing room every night before going on stage. Not a few have been driven to drink, drugs or self-destruction by the pressure which the continual fear of failing puts on them. (The late great Tony Hancock was one famous example.)

A performer's worst nightmare is losing your hold on the audience. If that's the fear that haunts you, it's very tempting to stick with material that has worked for you many times before.   That could be the reason why some of the artists who've been criticised in this thread don't revise their acts more frequently.

The other great fear is of loosing your grip on your material. Memory lapses can hit the best prepared actors – that's why theatrical productions usually have a prompter on hand.   Likewise, some folk performers prefer to keep the full text of every song within reach, while many others have brief notes on cards up their sleeves, or taped to the side of their guitars. Why not ? Most drivers travel with a spare wheel on board, even though they hope not to need it.   

Even so, IMHO, performers should keep their eyes on the audience as much as possible, and only refer to books or notes in an emergency. Nervous beginners may feel that they'll never manage without these supports – just as many non-swimmers find it hard to believe that the water really will hold them up. But memory is like a muscle. If exercised regularly, it will get stronger.   

Wassail!


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Subject: RE: Folk Artists - Wise up (or Fade away)!
From: Big Jim from Jackson
Date: 19 Sep 05 - 01:54 PM

You know, Tam, you keep saying that this is the last time your are going to say such-and-such, then you come back and say such-and-such again. You keep going back and making your points again and again. I am beginning to suspect bear baiting here. Are you just harping over and over the same points to try to get some of these fine (and amazingly patient!) folk to respond to your sniveling and tirades for a laugh? These people have given you enough advice about performing for you to write a thesis on the subject.
Secondly, I have come to strongly suspect your claim of "poor memory" is just a ploy to get attention and to further the above agenda. I suspect I am stating what the other 'Caters are reluctant and too kind hearted to state. Perhapse you are waiting for someone to finally be boorish enough to write the above and are testing to see just how long it would take for someone to finally loose their patience. Well, here I am. Please note: The fine people who have responded trying to help you in this thread (which was not its intended purpose, until you hijacked it) are, in many case, professional entertainers and know what they are talking about. And this is to say, if I may state it bluntly, you don't. Instead of copping excuses, why not work on your memory skills, if in fact you even have a problem. The several people who have sided with you seem much more genuine in their responses than you.
I await your responding tirade. Go ahead; vent your spleen; I need a good laugh.
To all the responders in this thread, does the word "troll" ring a bell?                     Jim


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Subject: RE: Folk Artists - Wise up (or Fade away)!
From: Bullfrog Jones
Date: 20 Sep 05 - 12:31 PM

No, Jim, I think Tam really does have a bad memory --- that's why he keeps making the same bloody point over and over again!

BJ


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Subject: RE: Folk Artists - Wise up (or Fade away)!
From: kendall
Date: 20 Sep 05 - 12:52 PM

His question has been answered. Maybe that's all he needed.


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Subject: RE: Folk Artists - Wise up (or Fade away)!
From: jeffp
Date: 20 Sep 05 - 01:21 PM

On the 18th he said he was going away for a week. That would be the 25th.


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Subject: RE: Folk Artists - Wise up (or Fade away)!
From: Tam the man
Date: 27 Sep 05 - 07:57 AM

Opera singers well some of them and classical musicians some of them are proffesional and yet according to some of you they are amtuers, what is good for them is good for us (songbook people).

And that's defenty my last word on this subject.

I promise, Big Jim


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Subject: RE: Folk Artists - Wise up (or Fade away)!
From: Tam the man
Date: 27 Sep 05 - 08:07 AM

Oh I forgot to say Why bother because you don't listen, so Goodbye.

And I'm not taken this personal I'm just trying to explain why some people need to use books that's all.

And As I said opera singers and claacical musicians and some choirs don't get paid and yet the use songooks, so if they can use songbooks why can't folksingers.

I mean some of you use songsheets and yet when I use a songbook, I use them and when I'm at the club sometimes the paid artist ask me if they could use my musicstand.

So I must be doing something right. And one of the reasons I repeat myself is because when I'm on this website, something else comes to my mind that I need to say.

Goodbye

Tam frae Scotland,


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Subject: RE: Folk Artists - Wise up (or Fade away)!
From: Tam the man
Date: 27 Sep 05 - 08:09 AM

I forgot to metion that on a Tuesday night at a pub in Irvine near where I live, we have a session, and quite a few us there use songbooks, and no one complains and we've doing this for 10 years.

Tam


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Subject: RE: Folk Artists - Wise up (or Fade away)!
From: kendall
Date: 27 Sep 05 - 08:20 AM

Apples and oranges, Mate.


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Subject: RE: Folk Artists - Wise up (or Fade away)!
From: Tam the man
Date: 27 Sep 05 - 08:49 AM

I'm just a simple man, I have simple means, I'm just a stupid git are you now please with that. I mean what's the use I feel as I'm skelping my heid against a brick wall, you have you're opinions and I have mine.

Tam frae Scotland the land of the Trolls.

I just get worked up that's all, and when I do I just keep repeating myself, I have a mental Illness, I'm not looking for any sympathy because you lot wouldn't give it, but I just worry all the time that's all.

I see a psyhcirtsts, you a head doctor, I there are sometimes I just can't cope with this.

I'm sorry if I have upset you but if I have then I'M SORRY.

TAM THE MAN


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Subject: RE: Folk Artists - Wise up (or Fade away)!
From: Tam the man
Date: 27 Sep 05 - 08:59 AM

That's all true.

Tam the man

I'M SORRY I BELIEVE IN LET BYGONES BE BYGONES, LET'S AGREE TO DIFFER.

As I said I just get angry sometimes, and then I just rant and rave and write things down before thinking about it.

Tam the man


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Subject: RE: Folk Artists - Wise up (or Fade away)!
From: Tam the man
Date: 27 Sep 05 - 09:17 AM

I just go off my head sometimes that's all.

Tam The man.

I'm sorry if I was being a troll, I didn't mean to I just got carried away, I realize that I was just being daft, I'm all right now, as I say I just get carried away and I just don't when to stop. I'm sorry.

Tam the man,

Some of you will be saying aye he should be carried away in the back of a wee white van.


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Subject: RE: Folk Artists - Wise up (or Fade away)!
From: Lowden Jameswright
Date: 27 Sep 05 - 09:31 AM

Tam - very good luck to you mate - each to their own. I use a music stand and songsheets, mainly because I have to draw on anything up to 350/400 songs in order to keep the performance varied (I play the same venues on a regular basis). If I'm doing a one-off paid gig then I practice a couple of dozen songs so I can perform without the props, but as I posted earlier I have seen pro's use sheets + stand and turn in a brilliant performance (including the lady I referred to in my opening thread post.)

Enjoy the music Tam and don't take comments made on the forum too seriously or personally..
Cheers


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Subject: RE: Folk Artists - Wise up (or Fade away)!
From: kendall
Date: 27 Sep 05 - 10:19 AM

Tam, do it your way. The rest of us do.

However, if you want approval, don't ask for an opinion.


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Subject: RE: Folk Artists - Wise up (or Fade away)!
From: Le Scaramouche
Date: 27 Sep 05 - 10:25 AM

PB,

"'You don't go to a restaurant and expect the Chef to be sat their reading a recipe book'
Several do! - Some should! - Same meals every time I go to the restaurant about time they they got some different ones"

I should hope the chef isn't sitting there going. "Oh, hell, it's a quarter to one!!! They'll be wanting lunch soon. Quick, where is that chapter on bearnai- urr, uh, umm, bearnais sauce, yes that's it. I guess."

Nothing wrong with a chef experimenting or reading recipe books, but I hope he does it well in advance of actualy cooking the thing.

"'You don't go to college or school and expect a teacher to be reading everything out of a book'
Oh come on you're telling me my old history teacher actually new all that history?"

I'd rather he works out what the subject is and reffers to the book only when the need arises. Droning on with head stuck inside the textbook is the way to send a class to sleep.

"'You don't get in an aeroplane and expect the pilot to be reading "how to fly a plane"'
OK yea! but he has got auto-pilot"

Auto pilot doesn't mean pilot substitue. He had better know his stuff!!

"'When you go and watch a play you don't expect the actors to be reading there lines from a book'
What about the little bloke at the front doing all the asides, and the auto cue?"

It's a memory aid, in case they forget the lines. Better that than stopping in the middle. "Umm, err, anyone out in the audience remember how Richard's Soliloquy goes?"

"'SO when you go to a concert/gig you don't expect the artist/s to be reading from a songbook.
Because as is the case for all of the above they should be professional enough to have learnt there craft'
So why is it that the Folky that has learnt his "craft" a set of songs, introductions, comments and backings is being criticised for repeats - would you do the same to the examples above?"

People are complaining about performers give you the exact same set-list, the exact same routine, the exact same 'spontaneuos' banter or asides every gig.


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Subject: RE: Folk Artists - Wise up (or Fade away)!
From: Tam the man
Date: 27 Sep 05 - 11:13 AM

I'm not looking for an approval, Kendall. however Lowden, thank you


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Subject: RE: Folk Artists - Wise up (or Fade away)!
From: Tam the man
Date: 27 Sep 05 - 11:21 AM


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Subject: RE: Folk Artists - Wise up (or Fade away)!
From: Don Firth
Date: 27 Sep 05 - 11:48 AM

I've written everything I care to write on this subject. If anybody needs a refresher, it's all up there.

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: Folk Artists - Wise up (or Fade away)!
From: jacqui.c
Date: 27 Sep 05 - 12:03 PM

Same here Don - this guy's just a troll looking for a reaction. Maybe this thread should be closed.


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Subject: RE: Folk Artists - Wise up (or Fade away)!
From: Tam the man
Date: 27 Sep 05 - 12:19 PM

Please believe me when I say I'm not a troll, whatever that means I never meant to upset anyone believe me. And what I said was true about me going off my head I do get carried away sometimes, I don't mean to be a troll.


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Subject: RE: Folk Artists - Wise up (or Fade away)!
From: GUEST
Date: 27 Sep 05 - 12:40 PM

So this your reaction, you don't have to guts to accept him saying that he's sorry, well Tam I accept that you're sorry.


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Subject: RE: Folk Artists - Wise up (or Fade away)!
From: Tam the man
Date: 27 Sep 05 - 12:51 PM

Thank you very much guest


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Subject: RE: Folk Artists - Wise up (or Fade away)!
From: GUEST
Date: 27 Sep 05 - 12:59 PM

For Pete's sake, when you ask a question and you get half a dozen similar answeres, what more do you want?


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Subject: RE: Folk Artists - Wise up (or Fade away)!
From: Don Firth
Date: 27 Sep 05 - 01:01 PM

GUEST, it's not a matter of guts. it's a matter of caution and not getting sucked into a pointless argument. No apology is necessary from Tam. If he's sincere, then he'll heed the advice everyone has offered him. If so, more power to him. If not, then to hell with it.

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: Folk Artists - Wise up (or Fade away)!
From: Tam the man
Date: 27 Sep 05 - 01:03 PM

OK RIGHT I'LL STOP NOW OK I GOT 'ANSWERS'


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Subject: RE: Folk Artists - Wise up (or Fade away)!
From: Tam the man
Date: 27 Sep 05 - 01:06 PM

That's all I needed to know thank you I will heed the advice.


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Subject: RE: Folk Artists - Wise up (or Fade away)!
From: Big Jim from Jackson
Date: 27 Sep 05 - 01:14 PM

Tam the Troll, please read the next to last line of your own post on Sep 27 05 at 7:57 AM. Then count the number of times you broke your "promise".
Go back and re-read ALL your posts: You only made two points (over and over, ad nauseam)--- you have a poor memory, and you use song books/song sheets while you play.

               Billygoat Gruff (He had to deal with trolls, too)


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Subject: RE: Folk Artists - Wise up (or Fade away)!
From: Tam the man
Date: 27 Sep 05 - 01:25 PM

I promise this time and I mean it.


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Subject: RE: Folk Artists - Wise up (or Fade away)!
From: GUEST
Date: 27 Sep 05 - 02:00 PM

Tam the man, Just keep your promises this time ok, because you have upset some folk, you got your answer.
Tam the man, I think a troll is someone that just becames a pest, have you asked Joe Offer to close this thread.


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Subject: RE: Folk Artists - Wise up (or Fade away)!
From: Joe Offer
Date: 27 Sep 05 - 03:47 PM

I had a request to close this thread because it was getting contentious, but I can't really see a reason to at the present time.
But be nice to each other, hey?
-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: Folk Artists - Wise up (or Fade away)!
From: MuddleC
Date: 19 Oct 05 - 08:05 AM

Jesus H Christ!
What are you guys getting so het up about?
I look at it this way, if it is the way you earn your 'bacon', then the performance has to be a little planned. If it is to be part of a tour , well, yes it may have or , i.e be very similar, or be a repeat performance. -If you don't produce the goods, you don't get paid.
The more famous you are the more you can get away with.. to a point.

If you are singing for your own sake, but not to earn money, it then depends if you are pushing yourself or the song. If it's yourself, learn it!-look 'good', if it's the song, try to 'present' it well, and if that means words sheet or music, fine,.. do it enough times and you may even learn it totally.
But sometimes a song only gets trotted out once, just for an airing.. here I'm talking about taking one from the pages of a book where it has lain neglected for many many years. If you can sight read , okay, but as I can't, I concentrate on the keeping the melody in my head and leave the words on the paper. Some ome old songs have verry interesting timimgs and 'ornamentation', even rhyming!

I am a 'book person' and try to resurrect songs that have fallen by the wayside, I personally transfer songs that I want to do again onto 'notepad' sized sheets, bound into a small folder. When I sing, if I need to look at the words, I glance at the ones a line or too ahead of where I'm actually singing to avoid stop/start staccato .
When I listen to others sing, besides listening to how they 'present' the song, I often 'acquire' it for myself .. I don't worry if they screw up performing it, I feel justified in listening because I might not have come across it otherwise... hell, they are up there -trying when others either are scared off by peer pressure or the need to 'conform'.
If you don't enjoy singing give it up, if you don't enjoy listening, get earplugs, go to the restroom, go get another drink, you sometimes have to experience bad to appreciate good! and if the difference lies in the presence of a 'song/book/sheet so what? -go up and congratulate them for trying so hard to bring you something


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Subject: RE: Folk Artists - Wise up (or Fade away)!
From: kendall
Date: 19 Oct 05 - 08:31 AM

I was hoping this thing had died.


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Subject: RE: Folk Artists - Wise up (or Fade away)!
From: MuddleC
Date: 19 Oct 05 - 10:04 AM

the music will if we don't all try in our own way. I have been to around ten different venues recently, the thing in common is the average age of the attendees, I can count the number of people under 35 on one hand, 40 needs two hands,..unless we encourage and stop bickering over stupid 'perceptions' or 'the folk rulebook' then it all goes. I'm off to the Baring-Gould study break in Devon(England) next week, where I will probably sing a few new songs.. from old books!!


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Subject: RE: Folk Artists - Wise up (or Fade away)!
From: GUEST
Date: 19 Oct 05 - 11:33 AM

Someone once said of wine, "If it's not fit to drink, it's not fit to cook with." Same with songs,
"If it is good enough to to sing, it's good enough to learn."


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Subject: RE: Folk Artists - Wise up (or Fade away)!
From: MuddleC
Date: 19 Oct 05 - 07:22 PM

'If it's got no taste, we'll freeze it, hype it and sell it'

never tried decent beer then.. at room temperature, no top pressure, straight from the cask

Someone once said, ' ..for every proverb, there's another one contradicting it'


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Subject: RE: Folk Artists - Wise up (or Fade away)!
From: GUEST,weelittledrummer
Date: 20 Oct 05 - 12:01 AM

Just want to say I saw Eric Taylor tonight and he had a folder full of songs with him as he sang, and it was a terrific gig - totally brilliant.

Now this contradicts everything I've said before on this thread, but that just goes to show I'm an opinionated middle aged asshole, and my opinions are not really quite as devastatingly insightful as i think.

However, that said, I'm really enjoying those albums Jerry.

Check out Jerry Rasmussen everybody - he's rather good!


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Subject: RE: Folk Artists - Wise up (or Fade away)!
From: alanabit
Date: 20 Oct 05 - 09:16 AM

Jerry Rasmussen is one of the treasures of Mudcat. There is that fine, confident voice, which radiates contentment, the clear, uncluttered picking and the simple resonant songs, which carry their celebration of life into every corner they are heard. Rick Fielding recorded his "Handful of Songs" - and not everbody got a song on a Rick Fielding album.
His contributions to the performing and songwriting threads here are one of the reasons I log on. I am saying all this behind his back so as not to embarrass him, because I believe he is away on holiday at the moment.


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Subject: RE: Folk Artists - Wise up (or Fade away)!
From: Donuel
Date: 20 Oct 05 - 05:10 PM

As far as one trick pony acts go, I feel the same way about Bob Dylan.


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Subject: RE: Folk Artists - Wise up (or Fade away)!
From: George Papavgeris
Date: 20 Oct 05 - 07:34 PM

Trying to return the thread to its original intention - discussing variety in one's "act" over a period:

I have only been gigging for some 2 and a half years, so usually my audiences are new, so whatever tried-and-trusted sets and patter I have usually work OK there. But...

I have already had some repeat gigs; clearly, I could not do the same material, I would feel as if I am cheating people. In such cases, while I retain the strongest songs (that some people might like to hear again anyway) I try to change the patter for them, and also try to introduce something new. In a typical repeat gig I would have 30-50% "new" songs. Also...

When appearing at festivals and doing multiple sets, I try to have a minimum of overlap between them, so that audiences can come to more than one of my sets without being bored. At Otley festival recently I had 5 sets to do in 3 days (each with 7 songs). I repeated 4 songs 3 times and 3 songs twice, using in total 24 different songs. I also varied the position of songs in the set, as I tried to vary the "mood" I was trying to create with the set. Which leads me to...

...construction of a set is an art form in itself, and I have much yet to learn on this, but I already have had some useful hints from friends: Plan the emotions you will take your audience through, not just fast-slow-fast alternations. Use contrasts to great effect (a humorous or irreverent song right after a wrist-slasher). Plan in advance if you want to leave them on a "high" or a "meditative" state - both can be very effective. Plan which songs you will drop in advance and do timechecks to see if you can use them or not. etc etc.

But most important of all, I NEED to vary my sets for my own sanity and pleasure. Let's face it, if I was doing exactly the same set every time I'd get bored soon; that would in turn show in my performance (I am not such a professional that I can "turn it on" like Vin Garbutt and other masters). I need to be enjoying what I do if the audience is to enjoy it too. Perhaps that is because of the kind of performer that I am, "heart on sleeve" like.

At gigs I do not use song sheets - there have been 2 or 3 exceptions only, when I wanted for some reason to sing a particular not-often-used song at that venue for specific reasons. Typically, in my CD launch concerts at "home" I end the set with an out-of-yhe-CD song, most often the newest song I have written; the song sheet is needed then, but as it is an exception, I don't think audiences mind. But normally I would not use safety nets, because they distract and limit my ability to interact with the audience.

But apart from a gigging performer I am also a folk club member. At singarounds in my "local" clubs I like to bring out the newest songs, to "try them out", and get some early reactions. They are often in a still-evolving stage, and typically yet unlearned, so song sheets are the norm there. But in a singaround that is not too much of an issue, one is not performing so much as sharing, and I believe the other club members understand and excuse my use of song sheets at such times.


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Subject: RE: Folk Artists - Wise up (or Fade away)!
From: Maryrrf
Date: 20 Oct 05 - 08:58 PM

I would classify myself as semi professional - office job that pays the mortgage but I do gig once or twice a month and get paid for it. I have a song book that I bring along to use for pubs or parties (I get booked for a fair amount of "Irish themed" parties and sometimes in pubs) because I take requests, and this allows me to have a pretty extensive repertoire including a lot of songs that I don't particularly care for and really don't want to spend time learning by heart. At a pub or a party I think that is acceptable. I used to work entirely without cheat sheets but find as I get older I can't remember as many songs as I used to. For a concert, I would either use no lyric sheets or just bring along some discreet "cheat sheets" to be glanced at in case of a senior moment.   I don't think that detracts from the performance. I don't script the patter but I do have a pretty good idea of what I'll say to introduce each song. I almost never do the same set twice. At some points I've had weekly pub gigs and many customers commented on the fact that my sets were always different. Especially in a situation where you're coming back to the same place regularly, I think it's important to have a variety of songs, while always doing some songs that you know are "favorites". I've had the experience of seeing performers do the exact same set over and over and I don't like it. If I do two sets at a festival, say one in the morning and another in the afternoon, I always make sure they are completely different just in case somebody stops by to see me again. Not sure that really happens very much, but just in case!


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Subject: RE: Folk Artists - Wise up (or Fade away)!
From: Peace
Date: 20 Oct 05 - 09:02 PM

Jerry's work is awesome. No question at all about that. BTW, he's back.


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Subject: RE: Folk Artists - Wise up (or Fade away)!
From: Uncle_DaveO
Date: 20 Oct 05 - 09:59 PM

This may end up a bunch of disjointed comments, but here goes:

Number one, I'm not a professional, but I AM an entertainer! When I sing, I make it a point to make eye contact with audience members, all over the house, with an appropriate smile or shrug or pensive look. And if the house is too dark to do that, I'm still looking all around as if I were actually in eye contact, and it comes across to the audience. I am telling EACH OF THEM a story, from myself.

I am not giving them "this is what's written down here in the book"; I'm telling them what I know, what I feel. No way I could do those things if I were reading the song from a book.

The essence, the heart, of ANY of the performing arts is not so much in the technicalities, the breath control say, or the voice quality, or whatever (valuable as those things may be as tools), but the essence, I say, of a performing art (acting, singing, dancing, standup comedy, magic--you name it) is the projection of the performer's personality.   
If the performer can't give his material to the audience as if it were his own, he's going to be a failure, in my book, as an entertainer.   If he CAN project his personality and make that personal audience contact, his technical shortcomings, if any, will be unnoticed, or forgotten, or forgiven.

Dave Oesterreich


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Subject: RE: Folk Artists - Wise up (or Fade away)!
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 20 Oct 05 - 10:45 PM

Thanks, Alan and Peace:

Sheesh, turn your back for a minute, and people start talking about you. I guess how I feel about this whole discussions is that there are many reasons why people sing. I think of the song Bob Gibson wrote, long agao : "I Come For To Sing." That's about as simple a reason as I know... some people just like to sing... nothing more than that. If someone just likes to sing, I suppose they can rightfully sing from a book. Performing from a book is another story, in my mind, and should be done in extreme moderation.

Many people in the folk community see singing a song to others as an important contribution to carrying on the tradition and keeping songs alive. That's a valid reason for singing, too. But, if you're trying to keep a song alive, you'd better make in "alive" when you sing it. A scholarly rendition of a song for the purpose of passing it on to others probably isn't going to accomplish a whole lot... unless someone hears something in the song that makes it come "alive" for them.

And then, we all to varying degrees sing because we all have egos.

From song to song, I suppose that the reasons for singing vary, but if you're up on stage, two things are basic to a performance. Entertainment and putting yourself into the song. Songs are far more than notes and words and chords. And even the oldest songs can speak to us... the opening lines, "I woke up this morning, in the Spring of '65. I thought myself quite lucky to be found alive" rings true to me. I can feel that, and relate to it.

Most of all, you have to believe in the song. Colin K and Leadfingers were hear a couple of days ago, and Colin and I had a long discussion about believing in what you sing. I think that's all a part of ingesting a song and making a part of yourself. Just singing words from a printed page can never bring a song to life, for me.

Jerry


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Subject: RE: Folk Artists - Wise up (or Fade away)!
From: GUEST,Rob Wright
Date: 21 Oct 05 - 06:28 AM

The duo Taggart and Wright who have been together since 1999 have NEVER repeated the same set! As their manager and roadie I have been to almost all their gigs over the years so can speak authoritatively. I try to get them to stick to a set list for at least a few gigs in a row but they just get up there and do their thing. They have themes in their banter but it is never the same and always very funny.

www.sky-web.net/taggartandwright/


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Subject: RE: Folk Artists - Wise up (or Fade away)!
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 21 Oct 05 - 08:10 AM

One thing that strikes me as rather odd. For a group of people who so value tradition, what is the aversion to repeating songs? I'm not talking about identical set lists. Some put such merit to always introducing new songs that they avoid repeating wonderful songs. If folk music had always been driven by performing in folk clubs, there would be no oral tradition, and countless songs would have been forgotten in the desire to always do new ones.

Seems contradictory to me..

A good song is worth repeating, many times.

Jerry


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Subject: RE: Folk Artists - Wise up (or Fade away)!
From: GUEST,wld
Date: 21 Oct 05 - 08:17 AM

the guys probably got brain damage and hasn't noticed they sing the same song all night

I had a manager like that once


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Subject: RE: Folk Artists - Wise up (or Fade away)!
From: jacqui.c
Date: 21 Oct 05 - 08:19 AM

I agree Jerry, but I used to go to a session where one particular person had a total of about six songs that they would sing and would trot out the same songs week after week after week. When you've heard Summertime being sung every week for a year in exactly the same way it can get a little monotonous.

I always tried to keep a note of what I was singing at any particular venue and give that particular song a go by for a few weeks there. IMHO it gives more variety, both to the performer and the listeners to do that.


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Subject: RE: Folk Artists - Wise up (or Fade away)!
From: Teribus
Date: 21 Oct 05 - 08:59 AM

From GUEST 17 Sep 05 - 09:30 AM - We got this aimed very firmly at Tam the man

"Very few people use their real name here, including Tam the man. What sort of name is that? Are you in the phone book? Could I call you or visit with just that made up non name?"

Well Guest it stikes me that I can easily identify anything Tom Hamilton has posted to this forum - which is more than I can say about yours.

Secondly to the thread at large, just in case you'd be interested to know it, I think I have heard Tam the Man perform, with music stand, book of words the lot. Time and place - Marymass Folk Festival - two or three years back - thoroughly enjoyed it, the material he selects is certainly not run of the mill - good on you Tam and whatever anybody says don't pack it in.

Just to confirm - Tam you play the guitar left handed - Correct?


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