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User Name Thread Name Subject Posted
GUEST,Tom Bliss Is traditional song finished? (621* d) RE: Is traditional song finished? 12 Mar 10


"If folk/traditional song is to sink or survive, surely it has to be allowed to under it's own flag?"

But where, Jim Carroll, is the poor beleaguered organiser to draw the line? What may he permit in his club for it to be 'flying the flag,' and therefore exempt from your opprobrium?

When you have been asked this before you have consitently quoted the 54 as being the only true and valid definition. You've made it very plain, on numerous occasions, that unless a song conforms to the 54 definition, it is not Folk - and then you've said something like what you just said to Paul, or stronger.

But now it emerges that you DO allow some music to be 'Folk' enough to 'fly the flag' even though it doesn't conform to the 54. How you justify this to yourself remains a mystery.

I've struggled to find a way of expressing this shift in your position, and the best word I can find which manages to hide the depth of my feelings about it is 'convenient.'

But you have cited "Tawney, McGinn and MacColl" as being not 'in the canon' but never-the-less acceptable.

Now, we know that Tom Bliss is not acceptable.

Leaving aside my feelings, this is important because most people would, I think, say I was in the style of those writers (if not perhaps as gifted). So perhaps I might serve as a useful bench-mark for anyone wishing to avoid your disapproval, or worse.

So it would be very useful if you would kindly answer these questions:

Is Tom Bliss a fraud for performing in Folk Clubs because:

a) He is not good enough? (Don't hold back - I can deal with it)

b) His songs are not sufficiently close in style to The Tradition? (and please explain how if so)

c) His songs have not been taken up by enough people? (how many people would be required, by the way, bearing in mind that many songs by the writers you cite were never taken up - and could you also explain how a songwriter gets to have his songs taken up if he may never play in Folk cubs - or was this only permissible at the start of the Revival)?

d) You have never heard them, so you don't know (in which case, why the condemnation of fraud)?

e) MacColl did not give him a stamp of approval (I only ask because a few people have suggested this one, and perhaps you'd like a chance to rebut it).


Then moving on from that, perhaps you could give us a clear idea of where you DO draw the line - beyond which, if clubs do book the writer, the organiser is not 'flying the flag' so must remove the word Folk from the title of his club.

Is Jez Lowe ok? Bryn Phillips? Dave Evardson? Allan Taylor? George Papavgeris? Paul Metsers? Jimmy MacCarthy? Steve Tilston? Steve Knightly?

I am well aware of your very impressive, but now somewhat distant, CV. You plainly believe it accredits you to pronounce on these matters, so I hope you will feel able to.

If you can't, or choose not to, those who think that really and truly your actual idea of what's acceptable as Folk is no more than the songs you enjoyed in your youth, are going to draw the wrong conclusion.

Tom Bliss


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