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User Name Thread Name Subject Posted
GUEST,the old pooperoo Emotion 'junkies' (76* d) RE: Emotion 'junkies' 01 Oct 03

dear amos, thank you for your reply. i was making 2 points. 1. folk music is the product of a folk culture -- that is, one that is reasonably independent of mass culture, such as have existed until recently in parts of the american south, in urban ghettoes, and thruout the 3rd world. in any other context, the term "folk music" is so ill-defined as to be meaningless. the misuse of the term got a big boost in the 50s, when some brave and well-meaning people started applying it to newly-written compositions which they hoped would improve the world. the works of the modern songwriters are not folksongs. they are simply songs -- topical songs, exploitation songs, propaganda songs, "neo-traditional country" songs, "acoustic" songs -- and their composers are what i call singer-songwriters. The likes of Ochs are more closely related to the world of student parody and political campaign, and perhaps more distantly to cabaret singers like Georges Brassens and Amalia Rogriguez. back around 1960 it was common for the "folk" crowd to scoff at rock&roll and country music -- i remember one night become enraged at hearing dear Joanie making fun of "Let the Good Times Roll" -- when the stuff they were sneering at was directly derived from our country's folk music, while the stuff in the coffee houses varied a great deal on that score. note that Dylan, who had a deep knowledge and appreciation of folk song, and who used folk elements in his compositions, never called himself a folk-singer (altho hank williams did). i'm not a folksinger either, altho i use folk song and style often, and prefer the non-affected delivery. this means opening oneself to the power of the song, and letting it work if it will, on oneself and the listener. once a song gets a bit old, it's time to let it rest. sensitive listeners can tell when you're faking.
2. the other issue is that of standards, and is not necessarily related. the "folk" audience seem to have a tolerance for performances that are poorly done, by people who havent taken the trouble to really understand their material. compare the standards of performance in jazz and even country music. The singer-songwriters seem to depend on audience sympathy for the cause -- saving the environment, stopping war, etc -- rather than on well-crafted songs, and their songs are usually tuneless strings of cliche-ridden doggerel. There are some great songwriters around, like the ones i mentioned, but a lot of them dont seem to be considered "folk".
does it depend on the crowd you're with? all the best, the old pooperoo

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