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User Name Thread Name Subject Posted
Harmonium Hero John Kelly (Harmonium Hero) - all OK? (46) RE: John Kelly (Harmonium Hero) - all OK? 02 Mar 15

Hi Al. I wasn't necessarily meaning strictly trad, although my understanding is that the clubs originally started with people wanting to get together and sing the old songs. That seems to have been the starting point both sides of the Atlantic. But it would seem that, at some fairly early stage, people started adding to the repertoire with songs 'in the style of'. Nowt wrong with that, although many of us, including me, think there is currently too much emphasis on singer-songwriters. I think that the present-day singer-songwriters have pretty well lost any real connection with the tradition. But that's another argument.
When I got involved with Folk, it was a pretty healthy mix of Trad, 'Contemporary Folk' and, to a smaller extent, Blues. How much Blues do you hear in the clubs now? A while back, I did a floor spot in a 'Folk and Blues' club. Only about three people did anything you'd call Folk, and there wasn't any Blues. As I was packing up, one of the other singers said: "Wasn't a bad night tonight was it?" Dodging the question, I said: "I was surprised I didn't hear any Blues. I thought there might have been some tonight, but there wasn't any". To which he replied: "No. There isn't any folk some nights either, but at least we had some tonight". Can Folk Clubs be taken to court under the Trades Descriptions Act?
But, whatever your tastes and preferences, it was still about the songs. That, I think, is the essential difference between folk and Pop. With Pop, it's about the singer; with Folk, it's about the song. Which is why it doesn't matter, in Folk, whether the singer is of the same gender as the person speaking in the song. The Folk singer is giving voice to the person in the song, while the Pop singer is pretending it's about them. Hence my earlier comments regarding songs, singers, awards, etc.
I'm just getting behind the settee before the flak starts flying.
Regards to Denise, by the way.
John Kelly

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