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Playing your own stuff at folk clubs

GUEST,Dg 09 Sep 06 - 10:01 AM
Les from Hull 09 Sep 06 - 10:10 AM
GUEST,Jon 09 Sep 06 - 10:15 AM
The Shambles 09 Sep 06 - 10:24 AM
Dave Earl 09 Sep 06 - 10:56 AM
Alaska Mike 09 Sep 06 - 11:35 AM
Rusty Dobro 09 Sep 06 - 11:45 AM
Leadfingers 09 Sep 06 - 11:52 AM
Dave the Gnome 09 Sep 06 - 12:21 PM
Clinton Hammond 09 Sep 06 - 12:58 PM
The Sandman 09 Sep 06 - 01:07 PM
kendall 09 Sep 06 - 01:45 PM
Clinton Hammond 09 Sep 06 - 01:49 PM
The Sandman 09 Sep 06 - 01:55 PM
Richard Bridge 09 Sep 06 - 02:01 PM
GUEST,Tunesmith 09 Sep 06 - 02:05 PM
Clinton Hammond 09 Sep 06 - 02:05 PM
GUEST,Dg 09 Sep 06 - 02:06 PM
Clinton Hammond 09 Sep 06 - 02:11 PM
Richard Bridge 09 Sep 06 - 04:08 PM
Bert 09 Sep 06 - 04:15 PM
GUEST,Jon 09 Sep 06 - 04:30 PM
GUEST 09 Sep 06 - 04:31 PM
The Sandman 09 Sep 06 - 04:49 PM
GUEST 09 Sep 06 - 04:54 PM
kendall 09 Sep 06 - 05:05 PM
Scoville 09 Sep 06 - 05:38 PM
Santa 09 Sep 06 - 05:42 PM
JamesHenry 09 Sep 06 - 06:09 PM
Richard Bridge 09 Sep 06 - 06:15 PM
GUEST,Dg 09 Sep 06 - 06:37 PM
Richard Bridge 10 Sep 06 - 03:24 AM
Roughyed 10 Sep 06 - 05:46 AM
GUEST,Dg 10 Sep 06 - 06:19 AM
GUEST,Shimrod 10 Sep 06 - 06:40 AM
Leadfingers 10 Sep 06 - 07:01 AM
Duke 10 Sep 06 - 09:03 AM
kendall 10 Sep 06 - 12:41 PM
GUEST 10 Sep 06 - 03:45 PM
kendall 10 Sep 06 - 04:19 PM
Pistachio 10 Sep 06 - 06:01 PM
GUEST 10 Sep 06 - 06:21 PM
Charley Noble 10 Sep 06 - 09:33 PM
GUEST,Bruce Baillie 11 Sep 06 - 01:27 AM
alanabit 11 Sep 06 - 01:36 AM
Liz the Squeak 11 Sep 06 - 03:24 AM
The Villan 11 Sep 06 - 04:37 AM
Liz the Squeak 11 Sep 06 - 05:03 AM
GUEST 11 Sep 06 - 05:11 AM
The Shambles 11 Sep 06 - 01:29 PM
GUEST,Dg 11 Sep 06 - 01:42 PM
The Sandman 11 Sep 06 - 01:58 PM
GUEST,Jon 11 Sep 06 - 02:17 PM
GUEST,John of Elsie`s Band 11 Sep 06 - 02:23 PM
GUEST,John of Elsie`s Band 11 Sep 06 - 02:31 PM
Ernest 11 Sep 06 - 02:34 PM
Tootler 11 Sep 06 - 05:51 PM
M.Ted 12 Sep 06 - 12:10 AM
Genie 12 Sep 06 - 01:16 AM
Genie 12 Sep 06 - 02:12 AM
GUEST 12 Sep 06 - 03:37 AM
Scrump 12 Sep 06 - 04:06 AM
Grab 12 Sep 06 - 07:49 AM
Tootler 12 Sep 06 - 12:13 PM
The Shambles 12 Sep 06 - 12:35 PM
Paul from Hull 12 Sep 06 - 03:18 PM
JamesHenry 12 Sep 06 - 04:13 PM
The Shambles 12 Sep 06 - 08:52 PM
GUEST,Jon 12 Sep 06 - 09:29 PM
Scoville 12 Sep 06 - 09:47 PM
Effsee 12 Sep 06 - 09:57 PM
GUEST 12 Sep 06 - 10:25 PM
JamesHenry 13 Sep 06 - 02:32 PM
greg stephens 13 Sep 06 - 02:51 PM
JamesHenry 13 Sep 06 - 03:03 PM
Grab 13 Sep 06 - 03:55 PM
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Subject: Playing your own stuff at folk clubs
From: GUEST,Dg
Date: 09 Sep 06 - 10:01 AM

Hello everyone,

I just thought I'd raise this and see what the consensus is...

How do you feel about people playing their own songs at folk clubs?

I really want to start playing in folk clubs, but am worried that by playing my own stuff (I also play a few trad. songs as well) I'll be looked down upon.

Any opinions would be much appreciated!

Cheers,

-Dg


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Subject: RE: Playing your own stuff at folk clubs
From: Les from Hull
Date: 09 Sep 06 - 10:10 AM

Of course it all depends if your own stuff is any good!

Folk club audiences are normally very tolerant. But they have been subjected to lots of self indulgent 'singer-songwriters' over the years and might be quite wary. If you are doing a floor spot, try a traditional (or better-known) song first and then ask the audience if you can do one of your own songs (of course they'll say yes, they're a folk club audience). And then give them your best shot. You should get a reaction from this that should tell you whether your next song should be one of your own or not (if it's a three song spot). Also choose your clubs well. If a club is known only for its traditional outlook they may be against you to start with!

At the break or the end ask for criticism from the organiser or members of the audience.

Good luck!
Les


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Subject: RE: Playing your own stuff at folk clubs
From: GUEST,Jon
Date: 09 Sep 06 - 10:15 AM

I don't know how things are now but some clubs used to be more traditional that others...

Other that that, I'd say be sure that the stuff is original (see below) and that you could actualy imagine another person wanting to sing it.

I used to cringe when some people announced they were going to do their own song. I had a pretty good idea what it was coming - I've heard it 100s of times over with slight variation. It's nearly always sang in "tortured style", reflects their own woes inculing adolesence, girlfriends, etc. and it sends everyone else in the audience to sleep, that's if they haven't either gone to the bar or come in ready prepared with a razor blade.

If you can avoid that, I think all well and good, and good luck to you.


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Subject: RE: Playing your own stuff at folk clubs
From: The Shambles
Date: 09 Sep 06 - 10:24 AM

Don't tell them but just keep on singing them.

If anyone should ask - tell them they are obscure songs by well-known writers.

If everyone starts singing along or wants to sing them also - you can then tell them they are original.


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Subject: RE: Playing your own stuff at folk clubs
From: Dave Earl
Date: 09 Sep 06 - 10:56 AM

I disagrre Shambles.

Be honest and upfront about it all.

If you get heard and your stuff is worth listening to you know where you stand.


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Subject: RE: Playing your own stuff at folk clubs
From: Alaska Mike
Date: 09 Sep 06 - 11:35 AM

I sing almost all original songs. My audiences seem to enjoy them and usually sing along with the choruses. Sometimes they even request their favorite of my originals. As stated above, make sure your songs are interesting to listen to and avoid the "navel gazing". Good luck,

Mike


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Subject: RE: Playing your own stuff at folk clubs
From: Rusty Dobro
Date: 09 Sep 06 - 11:45 AM

I think it's probably safer to sing your own stuff, as witness the slice of autobiography below:



AS I WAS A-PRACTICING…                  Tune: 'Streets of Laredo'

As I was a-practicing 'Stairway to Heaven',
As I was a-practicing Zeppelin one day,
I turned up the volume to way past eleven,
Plugged in my old Fender and started to play.

Then forty bars in, I came to my senses,
Playing this stuff is a bit of a joke,
I ought to be out in a pub in the country,
I know I'll be happier playing some folk.

So I sold my electric and bought an acoustic,
Learned some new chords, C, G7, A,
I listened to records by Carthy and Swarbrick,
And found an old folk song I wanted to play.

So I learnt all the words of this famous old folk song,
All about fishermen out on the sea,
Then proudly I carried my nice new acoustic,
To a pub where the music was legendary.

I sat down by the fire with the rest of the players,
Suddenly everyone's glaring at me,
'You can't have that chair, it's reserved for old Charley,
He's sat there each night since 1903.'

So I sat down again at the end of the bar-room,
Waited my time to join in and play,
It got to my turn so I got up and started
My song about fishermen out in the bay.

I finished my song and I sat down to silence,
Somebody said, 'Can't you play it in A?
In the seventeenth verse you sang 'nets', we sing 'rigging',
And we play it slower 'cos we like it that way.'

And the chorus we play is a little bit different,
But ours is the right one, and yours is just wrong,
You can't come in here with your brand new acoustic,
And make such a mess of our favourite song.

Well I never went back to that pub in the country,
The pub where the music is precious and rare,
I found me a pub where there's squit on a Thursday,   
Where I can play rubbish, and I don't effing care.


(In Suffolk, 'squit' = 'rubbish')


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Subject: RE: Playing your own stuff at folk clubs
From: Leadfingers
Date: 09 Sep 06 - 11:52 AM

Where did Ralph McTell , Tom Paxton and George Papavgeris start ?


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Subject: RE: Playing your own stuff at folk clubs
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 09 Sep 06 - 12:21 PM

As long as you are entertaining, people will enjoy it. There are those songwriters who take everything far to seriously and think everyone else should do the same. OK - Your songs may be deep and meaningful to you but the audience may not understand them. Throw in a couple of lighter ones. Laugh at yourself once in a while and people will forgive you most things.

Good luck

DtG


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Subject: RE: Playing your own stuff at folk clubs
From: Clinton Hammond
Date: 09 Sep 06 - 12:58 PM

I'd MUCH rather hear people sing good original songs, that tired old trad stuff that's been done and done and done the exact same way for 100+ years....


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Subject: RE: Playing your own stuff at folk clubs
From: The Sandman
Date: 09 Sep 06 - 01:07 PM

to lead fingers, Ralph mctell started as r Ralph May, doing Blind Blake imitations, in fact i saw him do a support act to Joe stead at Downe folk club in 1964, Downe folk club used to have as their resident singer Jeff Dale a great twelve string guitarist and blues singer.


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Subject: RE: Playing your own stuff at folk clubs
From: kendall
Date: 09 Sep 06 - 01:45 PM

Sandy Paton had a good description of the self indulgent pap, "Teenage philosophers moaning out their diary entries." Beautiful.


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Subject: RE: Playing your own stuff at folk clubs
From: Clinton Hammond
Date: 09 Sep 06 - 01:49 PM

"Teenage philosophers moaning out their diary entries."

Sounds like Mudcats own 'Little Hawk'.


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Subject: RE: Playing your own stuff at folk clubs
From: The Sandman
Date: 09 Sep 06 - 01:55 PM

little hawk seems very well informed and helpful.


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Subject: RE: Playing your own stuff at folk clubs
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 09 Sep 06 - 02:01 PM

Just play the relevant songs a few times. If everyone is joining in the chorus, adn some are askig for them, then tell them they are yours. THat way you get an unbiased opinion.


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Subject: RE: Playing your own stuff at folk clubs
From: GUEST,Tunesmith
Date: 09 Sep 06 - 02:05 PM

When folk club members start requesting your compositions - that's good, but when other performers - even floor singers - start "covering" your material - that's really good!!


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Subject: RE: Playing your own stuff at folk clubs
From: Clinton Hammond
Date: 09 Sep 06 - 02:05 PM

You're still new here C.B-eye...

You'll see soon enough, I'm sure, just what an omphaloskeptic whiner he really is


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Subject: RE: Playing your own stuff at folk clubs
From: GUEST,Dg
Date: 09 Sep 06 - 02:06 PM

Hi again,

Thanks for the comments, really informing stuff.

"I'd MUCH rather hear people sing good original songs, that tired old trad stuff that's been done and done and done the exact same way for 100+ years...." - That's a great thing to hear.

I would say my stuff is quite bluesy, most people who hear my stuff compare it to Bert Jansch (or Nick Drake if they don't know Jansch) - and it is definately not "Teenage philosophers moaning out their diary entries"!!

Anyway, I'll sign up and get an account here at Mudcat, so I can PM people my myspace page and hopefully get some feedback.

Cheers everyone.

Also, the closest FC to me is the Islington Folk Club - does anyone know anything about this one?


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Subject: RE: Playing your own stuff at folk clubs
From: Clinton Hammond
Date: 09 Sep 06 - 02:11 PM

What Tunesmith said!!

"when other performers - even floor singers - start "covering" your material - that's really good!!"

Hear hear!

"so I can PM people my myspace page"
Why not just post it here for everyone to see?


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Subject: RE: Playing your own stuff at folk clubs
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 09 Sep 06 - 04:08 PM

Jansch neat. Needle of Death, Dancing in the Sky, Route National 7.

Drake self indulgent schmaltz.


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Subject: RE: Playing your own stuff at folk clubs
From: Bert
Date: 09 Sep 06 - 04:15 PM

I've always asked if it was alright.


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Subject: RE: Playing your own stuff at folk clubs
From: GUEST,Jon
Date: 09 Sep 06 - 04:30 PM

Teenage philosophers moaning out their diary entries

I love it, Kendall.


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Subject: RE: Playing your own stuff at folk clubs
From: GUEST
Date: 09 Sep 06 - 04:31 PM

Many of the trad writers were teenage philosophers moaning out their diary entries. Funny how that works.

As to performing your own material, try it. See what happens.


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Subject: RE: Playing your own stuff at folk clubs
From: The Sandman
Date: 09 Sep 06 - 04:49 PM

TO GUEST DG            The Islington folk club, is that the one that Bob Davenport, is involved with or used to be. Well I have to be careful what I say. It is probably if it hasnt changed, got a high standard of residents etc.[ they may not be as good as you[[ I havent heard your material]]. But they may or may not be welcoming to you or your songs. if they are not I wouldnt take it personally. It is some years since I have been there, and it may be totally different now.
    But in their own idiosyncratic fashion they have very definite ideas about what they like to hear, and singer songwriters in the mould of Nick Drake, I dont think is their cup of tea.


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Subject: RE: Playing your own stuff at folk clubs
From: GUEST
Date: 09 Sep 06 - 04:54 PM

DG: Visit the club first as an audience member. See the way it works. You'll know from that I'd think.


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Subject: RE: Playing your own stuff at folk clubs
From: kendall
Date: 09 Sep 06 - 05:05 PM

Just be sensitive to the reaction of the audience. If you know how to read them, you will do ok.


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Subject: RE: Playing your own stuff at folk clubs
From: Scoville
Date: 09 Sep 06 - 05:38 PM

I can even handle some teenage philosophers as long as they don't hog the singing time and whatever they moan, they moan with good tune and lyrics. Lots of good song ideas sunk by lack of melody and boring and/or contrived words. (Meant as a general statement, not aimed at Dg specifically.)

But, yeah, I agree--watch your audience response and go from there.


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Subject: RE: Playing your own stuff at folk clubs
From: Santa
Date: 09 Sep 06 - 05:42 PM

Don't ask us, ask the organiser at your nearest club. Even if he says the club wouldn't like your stuff (blues-influenced? Ohhhhh dear) he will be able to point you in the direction of another club that will. But I'd have thought most clubs would be willing to give you at least one try, though you might have to wait for a singers' night, depending upon the club.


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Subject: RE: Playing your own stuff at folk clubs
From: JamesHenry
Date: 09 Sep 06 - 06:09 PM

Rule No.1 Dg - never ask for a concensus.

Reading through the responses you have received, you have either been put off entirely as far as performing your original material in front of a folk audience is concearned or at best have decided to postpone the event until you have done some market research. It's you who has to have faith in your material. If you do then perform it and stand by the courage of your convictions. Listen to others' opinion of your work and learn from it.


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Subject: RE: Playing your own stuff at folk clubs
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 09 Sep 06 - 06:15 PM

Play it: just do not pre-empt reactions by saying who it's by.


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Subject: RE: Playing your own stuff at folk clubs
From: GUEST,Dg
Date: 09 Sep 06 - 06:37 PM

Thanks again for the responses.

Just a couple of things - I was intending to visit the Islington club as an audience member first, to check what it's like.

Also, after playing quite a few 'open mics' and various 'acoustic nights' (both paid and unpaid gigs), I've decided I would much prefer to play in a folk club environment (ie, without a PA and to an audience that has actually come along to listen to the music), which is why I asked here.

I haven't really been put off by any responses, as I mentioned - I do play a fair few traditional numbers and my stuff is certainly as 'folky' as anything I heard in the club tent at Cambridge this year.

I just wanted to guage what the overall view was - my first ever foray into playing live was at a folk club run by my Dad! But I haven't had much experiences of folk clubs for a few years.

Anyway, any more thoughts would be much appreciated, and this thread is certainly interesting for everyone's views...


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Subject: RE: Playing your own stuff at folk clubs
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 10 Sep 06 - 03:24 AM

Oh, heck, don't assume Cambridge has been anything to do with folk music for decades!


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Subject: RE: Playing your own stuff at folk clubs
From: Roughyed
Date: 10 Sep 06 - 05:46 AM

I was asked this year if I wrote my own songs and said that I did but I didn't think they were very good. The reply I got was "What the hell's it got to do with you?" Brilliant! Try them out. If the audience like them, great. If they don't, improve them. Most clubs I know are very tolerant and encourage new talent. If they don't, try another one or start your own. You'll find a musical home somewhere.


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Subject: RE: Playing your own stuff at folk clubs
From: GUEST,Dg
Date: 10 Sep 06 - 06:19 AM

"Oh, heck, don't assume Cambridge has been anything to do with folk music for decades!"

I knew someone was going to say that!


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Subject: RE: Playing your own stuff at folk clubs
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 10 Sep 06 - 06:40 AM

Whatever you do don't hog the stage with some 10 minute epic and then, just when everyone has lost the will to live, REPEAT THE LAST F...KING VERSE!!!!!

Seriously though, please get some honest feedback on what you're doing. For years I've attended singers' workshops and I am convinced that good, honest, positive criticism makes for better singers and, ultimately, more enjoyable nights at the folk club.


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Subject: RE: Playing your own stuff at folk clubs
From: Leadfingers
Date: 10 Sep 06 - 07:01 AM

Dg - As Roughyed said , most clubs are welcoming though in my opiniuon sometimes a little too sympathetic to new performers ! But fortunately , the 'You cant bring a guitar in here , this is a FOLK club' attitude that some 'traddy' clubs used to have is now a thing of the past , and in my experience ANY form of acoustic music that is well presented will be at least listened to ! And if Islington is your nearest club , you have a fair few others within easy reach by Public Transport !


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Subject: RE: Playing your own stuff at folk clubs
From: Duke
Date: 10 Sep 06 - 09:03 AM

Just play your music. A good song is a good song no matter who wrote it. I must admit that I find it hard to listen to youngsters singing about the woes of life before they have even lived it.


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Subject: RE: Playing your own stuff at folk clubs
From: kendall
Date: 10 Sep 06 - 12:41 PM

The tired old traditional stuff is still around because it is good. The jury is still out on the new stuff. If it's good, it will survive. Otherwise it will die.


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Subject: RE: Playing your own stuff at folk clubs
From: GUEST
Date: 10 Sep 06 - 03:45 PM

If they like your songs you will get great applause. If not, mild applause. When I performed, I did write many of the songs I sang. However, I always made room in various sets for some traditional music that I liked and owed homage to. Even when I reached a point in some places that people would come to hear the songs I'd written, I always found it important to include other folks' material and stuff from bygone eras. That included things the audience could sing along with, and on occasion do the whole song with only guitar input from me. Go sing your songs. You'll find out the way we all find this stuff out: experience. Best of it all to you.


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Subject: RE: Playing your own stuff at folk clubs
From: kendall
Date: 10 Sep 06 - 04:19 PM

Just don't forget why they are called Folk Clubs.


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Subject: RE: Playing your own stuff at folk clubs
From: Pistachio
Date: 10 Sep 06 - 06:01 PM

I attended a 'local' event last night and recognised some of the comments made above - if you sing your own song(s) it really helps if you consider a brief explanation of the song/story and remember to sing clearly so your audience can understand your words and the sentiment of the song. A nervous performer played his guitar well but unfortunately mumbled his way through words and made me jump when, at the end of the song he used the 'mike' to say a very loud 'thankyou'. Had he only used the mike and clear diction I'm sure I would have enjoyed his performance more. Audiences are 'forgiving' and recognise newcomers nerves but like Shimrod said above, don't make it go on and on.
Whatever you do Dg, enjoy your performances.


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Subject: RE: Playing your own stuff at folk clubs
From: GUEST
Date: 10 Sep 06 - 06:21 PM

"Just don't forget why they are called Folk Clubs."

Kendall is right. There's folk in there and they want to be entertained and get away from many of their cares and worries for an evening. YOU can help them do that. If you do, they will become 'fans' of you and your music. And one more remark from me before I leave this thread: NO ONE ever died from a bad performance. They are part of the business, part of the learning and part of the process. GO DO. And above all, have fun.


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Subject: RE: Playing your own stuff at folk clubs
From: Charley Noble
Date: 10 Sep 06 - 09:33 PM

I think Dg's gonna do just fine, and may even compose a song based on some of these posts.

Reconnaisance is essential, via Mudcat but best by direct observation (wearing dark trenchcoat with the collar turned up and your hat brim tilted low over your eyes).

ClintonH- ;~) Where can we get a chance to hear you sing?

Good luck!
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Playing your own stuff at folk clubs
From: GUEST,Bruce Baillie
Date: 11 Sep 06 - 01:27 AM

...From what I've seen of the folk circuit these days there aren't many people who don't do their own stuff!


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Subject: RE: Playing your own stuff at folk clubs
From: alanabit
Date: 11 Sep 06 - 01:36 AM

I would have to plead guilty to most of the charges, which are laid against the beginner singer songwriters, when I started out. A bit of busking and several years of Irish Pubs cured me of those habits. I like to say: The audience is there to forget about their troubles -not to hear about yours. It has been my motto for some time. I think in folk clubs, essentially people want songs which add to the sum of stories and characters, whom they can hear about.
At one time, back in the seventies, there was very much a vogue for the personal, confessional song. I think that was more a pop music thing though. Oddly enough,although a lot of those writers felt they were being very original - and the critics did at the time too - they now all sound remarkably like the same self obsessed person.
Folk club audiences are usually very generous. If you are trying to improve, they will give their best to support you.


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Subject: RE: Playing your own stuff at folk clubs
From: Liz the Squeak
Date: 11 Sep 06 - 03:24 AM

The absolute best compliment is when someone steals your song and then it goes the rounds, coming back to you at another event where it gets introduced as a 'trad' song! (I'm not naming names but it happened!)

If Islington is on your beat, then why not go a little further along the Euston Rd and up to Cecil Sharp House on a Tuesday. Despite the stuffy image of the club derived over the years, it's not at all like that.

LTS


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Subject: RE: Playing your own stuff at folk clubs
From: The Villan
Date: 11 Sep 06 - 04:37 AM

>.where it gets introduced as a 'trad' song! (I'm not naming names but it happened!)
<<

Like Fiddlers Green from John Conolly


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Subject: RE: Playing your own stuff at folk clubs
From: Liz the Squeak
Date: 11 Sep 06 - 05:03 AM

Or as Les Barker says, 'here's a traditional one what I wrote'....

LTS


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Subject: RE: Playing your own stuff at folk clubs
From: GUEST
Date: 11 Sep 06 - 05:11 AM

There seems to be an attitude from some quarters that 'folk' songs emerged from the ether many centuries ago and were not actually written by anyone. That or they have been subject to the 'folk tradition', which to my mind means badly misheard by some member of the audience, who then rewrites the song and passes it off as his/her own. I sing 'trad arr.' as well as my own stuff. A good song is a good song, an old song isn't always....


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Subject: RE: Playing your own stuff at folk clubs
From: The Shambles
Date: 11 Sep 06 - 01:29 PM

The tired old traditional stuff is still around because it is good. The jury is still out on the new stuff. If it's good, it will survive. Otherwise it will die.

The bottom line is that if you don't sing your own songs - no one else is going to - are they? So if you don't sing them - they will die before they are born. Should there be any real chance that having gone to the trouble of writing them that you are not going to sing them.

The reason I suggest that you just sing the songs but don't tell the audience that they are your originals - is because that is about the only way you will ever get an honest opinion and be able to gauge the strength of the song.

For as demonstrated to an extent here - rather than encouraging it - there often appears to be a lot of jealousy involved towards new performers singing their own material. Sometimes to the extent that a good original song will meet with a less than honest and sometimes a hostile response - from those who perhaps may secretly wish that they had been able to write it. It is difficult to understand this approach but it would be foolish to pretend that it was not there.

To my mind, an honest introspective navel-gazing self-penned effort is often more entertaining than a safe but uninspired rendition of a well-tried classic. The main point to remember is that it is the song and the performance that is more important than boosting the ego of whoever may be singing it.


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Subject: RE: Playing your own stuff at folk clubs
From: GUEST,Dg
Date: 11 Sep 06 - 01:42 PM

Thanks again for the advice everyone - especially liked the post by Shambles.

What this thread has made me realise is that I need to add a few more Trad tunes to the repetoire. I'm working on a couple at the moment!!


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Subject: RE: Playing your own stuff at folk clubs
From: The Sandman
Date: 11 Sep 06 - 01:58 PM

Shambles i agree with you, Liz t s iagree with you too. Nic Jones and The halliard did exactly that with Dorothy Drew and others.
   If I HAD A CHOICE OF CLUBS I would go to Sharps too ,good on you Sheila Finn.


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Subject: RE: Playing your own stuff at folk clubs
From: GUEST,Jon
Date: 11 Sep 06 - 02:17 PM

there often appears to be a lot of jealousy involved towards new performers singing their own material

While I'm sure we have all heard words we would have like to have (or to have been able to have) written, I can't say I've ever been aware of anyone being jealous of a song that bores everyone else to death.

To my mind, an honest introspective navel-gazing self-penned effort is often more entertaining than a safe but uninspired rendition of a well-tried classic.

Not to mine, I and others can at least sing (if only to ourselves) to the well tried classic.


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Subject: RE: Playing your own stuff at folk clubs
From: GUEST,John of Elsie`s Band
Date: 11 Sep 06 - 02:23 PM


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Subject: RE: Playing your own stuff at folk clubs
From: GUEST,John of Elsie`s Band
Date: 11 Sep 06 - 02:31 PM

Right on Cap`n Birdseye. Downe was an excellent club run by Jeff Dale who, I understand , is still playing in Sevenoaks from time to time. Also "!Four Square Circle" were regularly booked there and they gave a great night with "trad." as well as their own material and everyone seemed to appreciate it.


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Subject: RE: Playing your own stuff at folk clubs
From: Ernest
Date: 11 Sep 06 - 02:34 PM

Guest DG,

after what I have read from you here you seem to care for the audience (very important) and you are prepared to present a good mix of original and traditional or covered stuff.

I am sure you will be successful that way.

Good luck!

Ernest


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Subject: RE: Playing your own stuff at folk clubs
From: Tootler
Date: 11 Sep 06 - 05:51 PM

I don't write songs, but I do compose tunes. Before I started playing my own tunes, I tried to establish myself as a competent player of traditional tunes. I then started to slip one or two of my own in and I have been quite pleased with response. Quite a few people seemed to like the tunes I wrote, which encouraged me to keep going.

I still take the approach of mixing a few of my own tunes with mainly traditional material (using the term fairly loosely as a fair proportion of what I play has been written by people who are still alive or only fairly recently dead).

I reckon as you gain confidence and, if people like your material, you can gradually increase the proportion of your own material.

My 2p worth FWIW.


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Subject: RE: Playing your own stuff at folk clubs
From: M.Ted
Date: 12 Sep 06 - 12:10 AM

Take what you've got and do it--you'll know soon enough what the audience likes--then you have two choices, either do more of what they like, or ignore them and do whatever you feel like doing.


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Subject: RE: Playing your own stuff at folk clubs
From: Genie
Date: 12 Sep 06 - 01:16 AM

My advice:

Never choose one of your own compositions just because you're close to the songwriter.

Unless the song needs an introduction that identifies the source, just sing the song and observe -- uncontaminated by TMI -- how the audience reacts.
(Often people will ask where the song comes from. If they don't, it's not always important to tell them.)

If you tell people in advance that you're doing one of your own songs, you won't get honest feedback untainted by the desire to be nice.

If YOU really like a song, go ahead and perform it -- even if you happend to write it.

Genie


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Subject: RE: Playing your own stuff at folk clubs
From: Genie
Date: 12 Sep 06 - 02:12 AM

The Shambles said: "The bottom line is that if you don't sing your own songs - no one else is going to - are they? So if you don't sing them - they will die before they are born."

Word to that.

Writing songs and not letting the audiences hear them is a bit like having kids and keeping them locked up in your house away from the world.

(Of course, if they've no idea how to behave in proper society, that might actually be the preferred course of action.)

;-D


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Subject: RE: Playing your own stuff at folk clubs
From: GUEST
Date: 12 Sep 06 - 03:37 AM

My two pennorth would be to go for it. I do trad,parody and original and I don't carry a strange shaped case.Just me and I'm still 'ere! Nil Carborundum Illegitimus.


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Subject: RE: Playing your own stuff at folk clubs
From: Scrump
Date: 12 Sep 06 - 04:06 AM

I'd agree that it's best at first just to slip in a song of your own amongst the other material - which doesn't have to be traditional by the way, it could be from other contemporary songwriters you admire, possibly those who might have influenced your own writing. Of course it depends on the venue/club as to what would go down well - I echo the advice of others and if you can, go along first to observe whether the club has a bias towards trad or other material, and see what goes down well there (this may not always be possible, for example if you're visiting a different area for a short time and only have one chance!)

I also agree it's best not to mention that the song is your own, at first, until you've established yourself as a performer. That might prejudice people either way, for or against the song, before they've even heard it. Let the song speak for itself. If it's any good people will express an interest and probably ask who wrote it. If it's not so good or doesn't go down particularly well, maybe you could learn from that too!

If you are any good as a writer, over time people will get to know this and you will be able to start introducing new songs you've written without any need for undue modesty. Slowly but surely wins the race - don't try to 'break' yourself too quickly. But of course you might be an exceptional writer and if so you could probably get away with it!


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Subject: RE: Playing your own stuff at folk clubs
From: Grab
Date: 12 Sep 06 - 07:49 AM

Shambles and Genie dead right. If you've written it, sing it. Just make sure you think it's up to the same standard as everything else you're singing - don't give a song special privileges just bcos you (or a friend) wrote it. And if it has all the impact of a week-old haddock when you perform it, maybe it's not quite as good as you thought it was. ;-)

My way of protecting the public from any rubbish I produce is that I leave it a few weeks and then come back to it when the immediate attachment to the song has faded. I wrote one a few months back (based on the Lancashire myth of Peg o'Nell) - it seemed to write itself, and I was really impressed that I could do that. Then I looked at it the other day, and realised why it seemed to write itself - the fact that was a derivative load of balls was why! Hey ho, rewrite time.

Graham.


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Subject: RE: Playing your own stuff at folk clubs
From: Tootler
Date: 12 Sep 06 - 12:13 PM

If YOU really like a song, go ahead and perform it -- even if you happend to write it.

There's the rub. You might like it, but will others? On the other hand there may be a song which you did not think one of your best but which goes down really well. There's always an element of uncertainty.

One of my tunes that has had the most positive feedback was not one of my personal favourites when I wrote it. Although it seems to move along quite nicely, I thought I had made it a little too repetitive, but others seem to like it.


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Subject: RE: Playing your own stuff at folk clubs
From: The Shambles
Date: 12 Sep 06 - 12:35 PM

Tootler - the assumption is that you are playing your own tunes in a conventional performance setting, rather than in a session - is that the case?


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Subject: RE: Playing your own stuff at folk clubs
From: Paul from Hull
Date: 12 Sep 06 - 03:18 PM

Shambles, while I agee with some of your comments on this, I don't see much jealousy in this thread. Care to point a few names out? You arent usually one to spare peoples blushes...

Dg, unlike many on here, am not a songwriter or a musician, nor am I much cop as a singer! If I was anything, when I was going to Clubs, sessions & Festivals frequently, I was a Professional Audience Member....*G*

That said, I would be more certain in my own mind of GIVING an honest opinion if I heard the song before knowing it was original. Folkies being folkies, politeness seems to abound, other than among those who need to be often brutally honest, like Club & Festival organisers.

Unless somebody performing was REALLY crap, I cant see many people being partiularly negative..... & that would be doing the 'less-than-competent' performer a disservice really.

It sounds like none of the above applies to yourself though, so think what an impression you will make if one of your own works goes down really well, then the audence find they have just raved over the 1st Club performance of an original work, by its creator....


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Subject: RE: Playing your own stuff at folk clubs
From: JamesHenry
Date: 12 Sep 06 - 04:13 PM

Dg, will you just go and sing your songs.

After four days debate I'm dying to hear how they went.


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Subject: RE: Playing your own stuff at folk clubs
From: The Shambles
Date: 12 Sep 06 - 08:52 PM

Shambles, while I agee with some of your comments on this, I don't see much jealousy in this thread. Care to point a few names out? You arent usually one to spare peoples blushes...

I think the whole 'girls singing their diaries' put-down is now a sad cliche which has an appeal based entirely on jealousy and is made by people who should really know better.


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Subject: RE: Playing your own stuff at folk clubs
From: GUEST,Jon
Date: 12 Sep 06 - 09:29 PM

I think the whole 'girls singing their diaries' put-down is now a sad cliche

Possibly the "now" is relevant in my case. I've hardly been to a folk club in the past 5 or more years.

which has an appeal based entirely on jealousy

No, based entirely on past experience which includes watching the reactions of others.

I try not to do jealousy but if I'm going to have feelings on the "wish I could do that" side, it is invariably brought on by a musician who is so much better than me, but given there are so many of them, I don't worry about it for too long...

I'm pretty "tune orientated" (and sometimes don't even bother listening to words) and while there are some words written that I'd like to think I might have been capable of writing, I can't say I've ever had any wish to be a songwriter, let alone get jealous over someone being or trying to be something I've no desire to be.

Even if I did want to be a song writer, I can assure you I'd wanting to be writing stuff that is well received...


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Subject: RE: Playing your own stuff at folk clubs
From: Scoville
Date: 12 Sep 06 - 09:47 PM

I've slipped in a couple of TUNES I made up, after I'd tested them on unsuspecting music buddies and gotten approval, but never sung anything I wrote. I don't write many songs with words. My best one is much too long for most performances (eleven verses); it's a good song and doesn't sound conspicuously "wrote", nor is it personal, but most audiences just don't want to sit through something like that.

I'm perfectly aware that I don't have any talent for "singing my diary" so I, personally, would never subject an audience to something like that (I'd probably never even write something like that--I tend to write ballads that have nothing to do with my personal life), but if you're good at it, what the heck.


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Subject: RE: Playing your own stuff at folk clubs
From: Effsee
Date: 12 Sep 06 - 09:57 PM

Scoville, ..."I don't write many songs with words"...umm, just what other kind of songs are there?


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Subject: RE: Playing your own stuff at folk clubs
From: GUEST
Date: 12 Sep 06 - 10:25 PM

4 : a distinctive or characteristic sound or series of sounds (as of a bird, insect, or whale)
5 a : a melody for a lyric poem or ballad b : a poem easily set to music


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Subject: RE: Playing your own stuff at folk clubs
From: JamesHenry
Date: 13 Sep 06 - 02:32 PM

I've never seen a whale performing one of its own songs in a folk club GUEST. Although on second thoughts.......


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Subject: RE: Playing your own stuff at folk clubs
From: greg stephens
Date: 13 Sep 06 - 02:51 PM

Whaat about the famous and very wonderful NE singer Benny"the Whale" Graham?


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Subject: RE: Playing your own stuff at folk clubs
From: JamesHenry
Date: 13 Sep 06 - 03:03 PM

Last I heard greg, Benny was due to have his hat surgically removed.

Great singer.


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Subject: RE: Playing your own stuff at folk clubs
From: Grab
Date: 13 Sep 06 - 03:55 PM

I think the whole 'girls singing their diaries' put-down is now a sad cliche which has an appeal based entirely on jealousy and is made by people who should really know better.

Still enough of them around to make you realise why the cliche started in the first place. More often guys than girls though.


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