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Why I like folk songs

GUEST,Puck 10 Jun 07 - 03:10 PM
Betsy 10 Jun 07 - 03:19 PM
The Borchester Echo 10 Jun 07 - 03:23 PM
Big Al Whittle 10 Jun 07 - 03:29 PM
The Borchester Echo 10 Jun 07 - 03:34 PM
akenaton 10 Jun 07 - 04:05 PM
Peace 10 Jun 07 - 04:08 PM
kendall 10 Jun 07 - 04:17 PM
GUEST,mg 10 Jun 07 - 04:18 PM
kendall 10 Jun 07 - 04:18 PM
Big Al Whittle 10 Jun 07 - 04:45 PM
Tootler 10 Jun 07 - 05:26 PM
Les in Chorlton 10 Jun 07 - 05:33 PM
pdq 10 Jun 07 - 06:02 PM
richd 10 Jun 07 - 06:10 PM
The Borchester Echo 10 Jun 07 - 06:21 PM
Les in Chorlton 10 Jun 07 - 06:38 PM
Ythanside 10 Jun 07 - 06:42 PM
Big Al Whittle 11 Jun 07 - 01:22 AM
Les in Chorlton 11 Jun 07 - 03:28 AM
stallion 11 Jun 07 - 04:28 AM
GUEST,Shimrod 11 Jun 07 - 09:15 AM
GUEST,puck 11 Jun 07 - 09:27 AM
GUEST 11 Jun 07 - 09:36 AM
The Borchester Echo 11 Jun 07 - 09:44 AM
KeithofChester 11 Jun 07 - 09:51 AM
jimL 11 Jun 07 - 09:53 AM
The Borchester Echo 11 Jun 07 - 09:58 AM
Bill D 11 Jun 07 - 10:45 AM
The Borchester Echo 11 Jun 07 - 10:59 AM
Jim McLean 11 Jun 07 - 11:32 AM
GUEST,Puck 11 Jun 07 - 11:47 AM
Marje 11 Jun 07 - 12:15 PM
GUEST,Puck 11 Jun 07 - 12:19 PM
GUEST,TJ in San Diego 11 Jun 07 - 12:52 PM
Ythanside 11 Jun 07 - 03:41 PM
Herga Kitty 11 Jun 07 - 05:08 PM
Ythanside 11 Jun 07 - 05:55 PM
Peace 11 Jun 07 - 07:31 PM
vectis 12 Jun 07 - 05:00 AM
bubblyrat 12 Jun 07 - 07:06 AM
Ythanside 12 Jun 07 - 11:29 AM
GUEST,Art Thieme 12 Jun 07 - 11:45 AM
The Borchester Echo 12 Jun 07 - 11:57 AM
GUEST,Puck 12 Jun 07 - 01:53 PM
GUEST,Diane 12 Jun 07 - 02:30 PM
The Borchester Echo 12 Jun 07 - 02:35 PM
GUEST,Art Thieme 12 Jun 07 - 02:42 PM
The Borchester Echo 12 Jun 07 - 02:56 PM
Don Firth 12 Jun 07 - 03:48 PM
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Subject: Why I like folk songs
From: GUEST,Puck
Date: 10 Jun 07 - 03:10 PM

I was travelling home from Southsea today in my car and I was listening to Radio 4 [HURRAH for radio 4], and that ol' fav 'I'm Sorry I haven't a clue' was on [HURRAH for [I'm S I H A C]. They were singing one song to the tune of another and one contestant [poor bastard] had to sing BeeGees 'Staying Alive' to the tune of 'My Grandfather's Clock'.
I've heard the B G's do 'S.A.' many times, not out of choice, incidentally, and always thought it was rubbish. Today for the first time ever I heard the lyrics clearly.
It is absolutely unadulterated nonsense like the lyrics of so many other modern 'songs'.
It pleases me to say that the lyrics of most folk songs can clearly be heard; they make sense; tell a tale; and the music is melodic, rhythmic, and satisfying to the soul within. Folk song requires the listener to focus on it's content and I wonder if this is why so many people dismiss it as somehow being naff, because it requires to be listened to, and is therefore too much work for the mindless masses.
For those of you who don't take my word for it you can 'listen again' on www.bbc.co.uk/radio4
I welcome your views.

Cheers Pee


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Subject: RE: Why I like folk songs
From: Betsy
Date: 10 Jun 07 - 03:19 PM

Puck , I just second your view . Simple as that.
Cheers

Betsy


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Subject: RE: Why I like folk songs
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 10 Jun 07 - 03:23 PM

Stayin' Alive

Mmmm, not exactly profound, I'd agree, but quite apposite. Many people feel they've been kicked around since they were born.

Life goin' nowhere, someone help me . . . I'm stayin' alive

Well, I can think of quite a few f*lk songs that say a lot less than that,
Fol de rol, tan tivvy, all around my hat . . .

And you've got to congratulate the BeeGees for The New York Mining Disaster. Martin Carthy did.


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Subject: RE: Why I like folk songs
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 10 Jun 07 - 03:29 PM

If you want the language of prosaic sense maybe the lyrics of songs aren't really your bag. perhaps a book on economics, or inorganic chemistry would be more to your taste.

many great folk songs don't make a hell of a lot of sense, or the meaning is lost in the mists of time. half the threads on mudcat are people disputing ferociously the exact meaning of various songs.

Either way the beegees music has given a lot of pleasure to a lot of people - some of them, fans of folk music. most songwriters would love to have written something which has given as much pleasure as any one of the Beegee's songs. My favourites were Nina Simone's To Love Somebody and Dionne Warwick's Heartbreaker. You don't attract artists of this calibre if your music is crap. The one you mention was called one the greatest r&b tracks ever - by Quincy Jones, no less.

if all folkmusic gives you is the urge to rubbish other artists in other genres, then it doesn't give you much.


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Subject: RE: Why I like folk songs
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 10 Jun 07 - 03:34 PM

Good grief, me and WLD agree.
Think I'd better be off to the pub to celebrate.
Actually, HOW long ago was Saturday Night Fever?
A 'modern' song? I don't think so.


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Subject: RE: Why I like folk songs
From: akenaton
Date: 10 Jun 07 - 04:05 PM

I agree too Diane
In fact it's almost as good as some of Sting's efforts.
Traditional music in my opinion should always be performed inthe traditional manner. Its all about concentration listening carefully to the tune or the words and as a performer to put real feeling into the performance.
Folk music on the other hand is a broad church and a lot of so called pop i would classify as folk.
I suppose the later work of the Beatles comes into that category.
Wouldn't we all call Eleanor Rigby a folk song?...Ake


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Subject: RE: Why I like folk songs
From: Peace
Date: 10 Jun 07 - 04:08 PM

"Folk song requires the listener to focus on it's content and I wonder if this is why so many people dismiss it as somehow being naff, because it requires to be listened to, and is therefore too much work for the mindless masses."

Many writers have done stuff that is more than worthy of deep consideration. Dylan, Paxton, Ochs. They aren't folk singers/writers. They were or are topical, giving perspectives that 'fit' the paths of their times. Good songs are good songs, regardless of the genre. To suggest that the only music worthy of our attention is folk is a blatantly foolish thing to say. The Bee Gees did some beautiful harmonies attached to some OK lyrics. And many of their songs were as deep/enjoyable/worthy as some traditional songs that have achieved respect. A ballad is a ballad. A story is a story. (OK. Their disco sucked, but then disco sucks.) I guess that makes me one of the 'mindless mass'. Would it be appropriate to seek your prescribed list of songs I should listen to? I wish to be enlightened.


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Subject: RE: Why I like folk songs
From: kendall
Date: 10 Jun 07 - 04:17 PM

Consider the crap that passes for music these days.
Now, try to imagine what the kids who lap that stuff up are going to do for nostalgia say, 30 years from now. Can you picture them standing around the old upright synthizer trying to recall two words from snoop doggy dog?


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Subject: RE: Why I like folk songs
From: GUEST,mg
Date: 10 Jun 07 - 04:18 PM

I don't think at all there is a requirement for folk music to be listened to for its content. At least I never heard of such a rule and I am sure I would have by now. Half the time I don't have an idea of what a song is about and the other half I have a vague feeling it is about a coal mine disaster or a shipwreck or global warming but don't really harken to the details unless I see the words in print usually. But that doesn't stop me from enjoying the music..oh bad word..enjoyment...mg


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Subject: RE: Why I like folk songs
From: kendall
Date: 10 Jun 07 - 04:18 PM

Someone referred to folk music as "Heavy Mental"


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Subject: RE: Why I like folk songs
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 10 Jun 07 - 04:45 PM

I'm sure we agree on many things Diane. My intention is never to upset you or be confrontational. If we ever get to meet, I'm in the chair that night - the drinks are on me.

I'll own to being a bit narrow minded and stupid in my old age.


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Subject: RE: Why I like folk songs
From: Tootler
Date: 10 Jun 07 - 05:26 PM

Originally, singable songs and choruses to join in with.

Also a bunch of songwriters who wrote intelligent songs, though many of them could also be classed as pop/rock singers, depending on your exact definitions.

my interest drifted then towards rock music, and then to baroque & renaissance music before coming back to folk music via the instrumental music which gave wonderfully tuneful, playable tunes and hence rediscovered the songs.


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Subject: RE: Why I like folk songs
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 10 Jun 07 - 05:33 PM

Ry Cooder asked some old country singer what was the esssence of (American ) country music, he replied: 3 chords and the truth.

Well, lets leave that alone but what is the essence of folk song?

Old and weird?


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Subject: RE: Why I like folk songs
From: pdq
Date: 10 Jun 07 - 06:02 PM

The quote "Country music is three cords and the truth." is usually credited to Harlan Howard, Nashville's greatest songwriter.


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Subject: RE: Why I like folk songs
From: richd
Date: 10 Jun 07 - 06:10 PM

They are always there when you need them. And they have a sense of other people having needed them too. You can sing them to yourself and feel better, and sometimes singing them to other people makes them feel better. They are like talking or listening to the past, in a good way.


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Subject: RE: Why I like folk songs
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 10 Jun 07 - 06:21 PM

Good grief (again).
Are you talking about a cardigan? A pair of slippers? A cup of cocoa?
Where are the stirring epic sea battles?
The tales of General Wolfe and Napoleon?
The amazing trips to Norroway and back?
The two magicians and Tam Lin and Robin Hood and cruel ship's carpenters and pirates?
And murderous siblings and ever so wicked Lord Thomas and false nurses . . .
I could go on but feel I must sell my fiddle and buy a pint of wine.


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Subject: RE: Why I like folk songs
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 10 Jun 07 - 06:38 PM

true enough the connection is Little Richard not slippers


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Subject: RE: Why I like folk songs
From: Ythanside
Date: 10 Jun 07 - 06:42 PM

Some addicts do heroin, some cocaine or amphetamines. Me, I do folk music. I go to meetin's an' everythin'.

My name's Ythanside, and I'm a folk junkie. :-)


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Subject: RE: Why I like folk songs
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 11 Jun 07 - 01:22 AM

I like folksongs because they belong to us. They're an artform that a rich guy can't buy and hang up on his wall. The performances are there in your head and your memory.

Often as songs, they are well written - sometimes because generations of people have have worked on the lyrics and melody. Other times the wit, invention and musical and performing ability of the artist can leave you with one of those special memories.

Also, a love of folksongs makes you part of a great community. We have our differences, but only in the way that fishermen argue about what is the best float to use, or whether its best to fish in the sea or the river. That feeling of being present when theres a great 'fish on the line' is pretty unmistakeable, and it doesn't come too often.


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Subject: RE: Why I like folk songs
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 11 Jun 07 - 03:28 AM

Sounds good to me drummer!


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Subject: RE: Why I like folk songs
From: stallion
Date: 11 Jun 07 - 04:28 AM

and so say all of us (repeat) WLD


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Subject: RE: Why I like folk songs
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 11 Jun 07 - 09:15 AM

For all I know many pop songs may involve lyrics of great beauty and profundity (possibly?? ... well, anything's possible I suppose ... stop laughing and give me the benefit of the doubt!). Anyway, the things is, how would you know? - the backing is usually so intrusive you can't hear what the buggers are singing!


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Subject: RE: Why I like folk songs
From: GUEST,puck
Date: 11 Jun 07 - 09:27 AM

I wholeheartedly agree with WLD


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Subject: RE: Why I like folk songs
From: GUEST
Date: 11 Jun 07 - 09:36 AM

'Ere you Diane Easby ...

"Well, I can think of quite a few f*lk songs that say a lot less than that,
Fol de rol, tan tivvy, all around my hat . . ."

What's not to understand about "All around my hat"?

The song as popularised is entirely understandable, and elsewhere in Mudcat we find that green willow stands for constancy.

Jim


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Subject: RE: Why I like folk songs
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 11 Jun 07 - 09:44 AM

Jim Carroll, I have but one thing to say to you:

Ma ba and the lili ba

(as the Outlandish Knight so eloquently put it).


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Subject: RE: Why I like folk songs
From: KeithofChester
Date: 11 Jun 07 - 09:51 AM

And you've got to congratulate the BeeGees for The New York Mining Disaster.

The three part harmony and the very simple backing on that song are stunningly good.

I'm often amused to observe how when a "pop" song occasionally gets re-voiced and rearranged some people's barriers to listening to it come down. I did bump into one or two people that had never listened to Rubber Soul until Rubber Folk appeared.

The converse is also true. Stick a bit of jingle jangle on Sound of Silence and suddenly it is "popular". Lots of the differences between "pop" and (contemporary) "folk" is about the arrangement and the prominence given to the vocals. The ultimate intentions of the writers of the lyrics of Greensleeves and I Want To Hold Your Hand towards the songs' subjects are not that different. The language is however expressed somewhat differently and the arrangements are certainly different.


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Subject: RE: Why I like folk songs
From: jimL
Date: 11 Jun 07 - 09:53 AM

Wrong Jim - sorry - I so rarely post here, and I wasn't logged in.
Anyway, I refute your cogent argument, so there !!!!!


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Subject: RE: Why I like folk songs
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 11 Jun 07 - 09:58 AM

To all Jims everywhere:

Oh that I was where I would be
Then I should be where I am not
Here I am where I must be
Where I would have been I cannot go
Oh liddle oh the liddle, oh liddle o day
Oh the liddle o hi o day


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Subject: RE: Why I like folk songs
From: Bill D
Date: 11 Jun 07 - 10:45 AM

I like folk music because we can differ on versions and still have fun... ;>)

"Oh that I was where I would be
Then would I be where I am not
Here am I where I must be
Go where I would I cannot.
Oh liddle all the day,
Up ti-lol-i-day,"

and no matter what the topic, we have a song to fit.


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Subject: RE: Why I like folk songs
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 11 Jun 07 - 10:59 AM

Then there is this one, but I don't think it's the same Katy Cruel. Too scrubbed up and moralistic:

All that I am that I would be
Then I would be what I am not
But I am what I must be
What I would be I can not
Oh little lallie day
Oh the little lee oh day
I know who I am
I know who's goin' with me
I know who I love
But the Lord knows if I'll marry


In the DT there are two American versions described as American trad and another described as a 'Scottish version'. Has anyone investigated the history of this song because it would seem to me to predate the American Civil War by a long way. I tend to think of Katy Cruel as a sort of Mother Courage.


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Subject: RE: Why I like folk songs
From: Jim McLean
Date: 11 Jun 07 - 11:32 AM

As kids we used to sing :

I know where I'm gaun,
I know who's gaun wi' me,
I'll buy a big sheep's heid
An' keep the teeth for Jimmie.


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Subject: RE: Why I like folk songs
From: GUEST,Puck
Date: 11 Jun 07 - 11:47 AM

Nice one.... Ythanside.
In reply to 'Peace', folk song lyrics do require to be listened to.
A story unfolds or some historical/social reference is made, which quite often provides an insight into long forgotten working or living practices, or, reference is made to bye-gone customs or historical events as the song is sung. They educate us all! There is a point to them! If you do not listen closely you will miss the point!! As WLD says, as time passes traditional songs are honed and shaped by little tweaks and shavings, slowly evolving, they emerge as vintage. They belong to us all, unlike certain modern commercial 'music' the lyrics of which are in large part indecipherable . There is so much money to be made that record companies promote bland songwriting because poor content can be hidden away behind loud confusing backing, and clever sound mixing, so words become an irrelevance.... it's about making money not music.
If a song has words then they should be able to be heard and understood. Nothing wrong with nonsense songs - Pink Floyds 'BIKE' is a great example, but every word is clear, and you can then make of them what you will.

I do like some BeeGees songs. That particular song 'S, A.' is not the issue, it was merely hearing it out of it's normal cammouflage of it's loud and gaudy musical backing and hearing it sung much slower enabling the lyrics to become crystal clear. It caused me to think about it and having thought I realized it's poorly crafted as a peice of work   - in my opinion.
It is a peice of music that I would never choose to listen to, but I may hear it by 'accident' 10 times a year for the last God knows how long since it came out. You'd think I would know it inside out by now, but it just wafts past like some bad smell, more of an irritant than a peice of music because of it's lyrical inaudability .

I am NOT telling you folk is best.
I think you are allowed to think what you like. If you think 'Staying alive' is great musical entertainment you are allowed to beleive it, and I'm allowed to feel sorry for you Peace.
As regards supplying you with a list of approved music I don't feel the need - each to his own. There's plenty of rubbish about out there, find your own!!
Pee


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Subject: RE: Why I like folk songs
From: Marje
Date: 11 Jun 07 - 12:15 PM

One thing I read (posibly in the Oxford Book of Carols, but I could be wrong)that rang a bell for me was that the folk process had created "hardwearing" songs. That sounds a bit worthy and dull, but it's very true, and to me it's one of the reasons the songs are often so compelling.

All that tweaking and editing that has taken place over the years, cutting out some of the rubbish and sometimes adding improvements, has left us with lyrics and tunes which are strong enough to stand on their own and be used and interpreted in different ways without losing their identity.

Many pop songs, by comparison (and let's leave the Beatles out of this for the moment, they're a bit of an exception) depend largely or entirely on one interpretation or one chacteristic guitar riff or backing vocal; once you deconstruct the pop song a bit, you often find you're left with nothing of substance (as in the Bee Gees example you gave).

Traditional songs (and tunes), on the other hand, have often evolved and developed an integrity and an inner strength that enables them to be performed by a single voice or instrument, by an informal group, or by a multi-piece band, and still survive as recognisable songs or tunes. That's one thing I love about them.

Marje


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Subject: RE: Why I like folk songs
From: GUEST,Puck
Date: 11 Jun 07 - 12:19 PM

In a nutshell Marje. Well done
Pee


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Subject: RE: Why I like folk songs
From: GUEST,TJ in San Diego
Date: 11 Jun 07 - 12:52 PM

I started listening to folk songs circa 1950. Initially, I liked them because they were simple, straightforward stories set to music. As I began coffee house performing later in that decade, the songs resonated with young people because anyone could connect with them and most people, with minimal instrumental training, could actually perform a lot of them. In club settings, especially, the audience felt a part of the performance. I play songs now for my young grandson, who finds them a lot of fun to sing, just as I did. They are timeless, aren't they?


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Subject: RE: Why I like folk songs
From: Ythanside
Date: 11 Jun 07 - 03:41 PM

Music has always intoxicated me to some degree or other. Opera, rock, jazz or even, dare I say it, pop can give me a brief 'shot of whiskey' buzz. Folk songs, however, just blow me away. Hearing or singing them makes me feel intensely alive, of the moment and eternity in the same instant.


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Subject: RE: Why I like folk songs
From: Herga Kitty
Date: 11 Jun 07 - 05:08 PM

What Marje and Ythanside said. I was introduced to my local folk club when I was 15 and was instantly hooked. And later, came the high from singing in the Cellar at Bracknell.....

Kitty


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Subject: RE: Why I like folk songs
From: Ythanside
Date: 11 Jun 07 - 05:55 PM

And there's nothing quite like that 'high', is there, Herga Kitty?
Ythanside


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Subject: RE: Why I like folk songs
From: Peace
Date: 11 Jun 07 - 07:31 PM

Are you saying that songs like "Mr Tambourine Man" or "Hard Rain's a Gonna Fall" don't make people think? Jaysus! To me, they are as worthy as most folk songs. And yes, you're right that many folk songs make a guy think. And as for your condescending remark, shove it up yer arse, mate.


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Subject: RE: Why I like folk songs
From: vectis
Date: 12 Jun 07 - 05:00 AM

Some pop songs will eventually pass into the folk tradition just as a few of those from the 1890s to 1940s have. The good will survive the dross will not. That is the beauty of folk.


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Subject: RE: Why I like folk songs
From: bubblyrat
Date: 12 Jun 07 - 07:06 AM

My main interest is folk music, rather than song, although I do really enjoy a good shanty chorus after a few pints of cider !! I am not averse to a bit of "pop" music ; I always liked Rick Nelson, and I thought the Hollies were very accomplished, too !! ( showing my age ).For me, it"s the SOUND made by "traditional" acoustic instruments that is the "buzz", not the subject matter.I never really liked the Beatles , for example ( sorry !! ), but I LOVE their music when played by The Charles River Valley Boys, a la mode Bluegrass !! I also love church music, and the sound of voices singing in harmony--in that respect, Steeleye Span singing Gaude Te will always "do it " for me, whereas when I first heard The BeeGees, I thought it was some kind of wind-up !!!( grown men singing in high,squeaky,tremulous voices were never more disparaged than in Her Majesty"s Navy !!! )


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Subject: RE: Why I like folk songs
From: Ythanside
Date: 12 Jun 07 - 11:29 AM

Only time will tell if Guthrie, Seeger, Dylan, McColl and a host of others have given us what may one day be classed as 'Folk Music'. Meanwhile I make do by playing and singing their stuff to people who love it as much as I do.


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Subject: RE: Why I like folk songs
From: GUEST,Art Thieme
Date: 12 Jun 07 - 11:45 AM

I agree with Diane Easby. For me it has always been about the great story told in the songs. If they had a great tune, it was just an extra added perk. Having great tunes available in the oral tradition made it acceptable and easy for Woody and Dylan to utilize those grand, and often beautifully emotional tunes. ---- On occasion I would take a tune from an old song and do a whole other "ballad" with it. And it made a song that others in these latter times would listen to with more open ears and minds.

I did that with my performance and recordings of "Robin Hood's Death." The tune I took and used was Frank Hamilton's tune that he used on "Geordy."

Also, I did that with the American lumber camp ballad "The Pinery Boys"---as collected by Franz Rickaby. The tune was the one Pat Foster had used for "The California Boy"----almost exactly the same song narrative. BOTH of those songs came from the older song, "The Sailor Boy" from Britain. You could track that song from East to West as it was transmitted, via the oral tradition, from England to Wisconsin to the California gold rush of 1849. Indeed, I created a folksong map of the USA that had no place names on it---just song titles that reflected the migration of the songs and/or the lives of the people in that geographical small part of America.

I did that for over 30 years in the schools and festival workshops, mainly in the six counties in and around the city of Chicago---and beyond.

Another song I truly loved where I took a tune from a Trad ballad: "The Shanty Boy On The Big Eau Clair" that I got from Paul Clayton in the back room of the Gate Of Horn folk (night)club in Chicago around 1960. The tune I used was from Joe Heaney's singing in Chicago of the grand ballad "Morrissey And The Russian Sailor."

This might wind up on a CD for Folk Legacy to possibly be called "On The River"----combined with a few live tracks from show I did in Winfield, Kansas.

That's all of 'em I think. At least it's all I can recall right now. ---- It was about the story for me--- the history and the herstory---as reflected in the folk songs.

'nuf said,

Art Thieme


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Subject: RE: Why I like folk songs
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 12 Jun 07 - 11:57 AM

Thank you Art Thieme for seeing my point.

If folksong is nothing else, it's the telling of the story of your people, adding to it and passing it on. It's a singer's duty and privilege.

Is your map of the US by song title published?


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Subject: RE: Why I like folk songs
From: GUEST,Puck
Date: 12 Jun 07 - 01:53 PM

Peace seems to have got the wrong idea altogether.
Somehow thinks I am promoting folk music above all other genres as being elitist. It was not the point of the thread, but might be the conclusion drawn from it by others. I was commenting on 'why I like folk music' and how it is different, thank God, from other mass media music.
I am the first to admit that not all folk songs are great.

I suppose the thread is about songs requiring integrity of musical and lyrical content to be a truly outstanding. However, any song, just about, from any genre, can enter realms of becoming ageless and timeless if it meets those requirements, and those songs will end up being sung in folk clubs. It's as though certain songs are just so good that they save themselves for posterity, to be sung by 'folk'.
Simple as that.
As regards Dylan and Paxton,I would most certainly call them folk musicians; and 'Mr Tambourine Man' and 'Hard rain's gonna fall' would be considered by most people to fall under the folk umberella. Both songs are there on merit, and I have heard them performed many times in folk venues!

You can have great lyrics and a poor tune and get away with it; or a fine tune and rubbish words and just about get away with it,but these songs don't endure.
Staying alive just happened to be the song I used in general terms as an example. It is not high on the list of candidates for immortality, for the reasons I gave, nor will I hold my breath whilst waiting to hear it performed at any folk club. If you disagree - fine.


I welcome all veiws, including those from Peace who has a lovely turn of phrase!
I have to tell him however that the orifice he refers to in my case is EXIT only.... but I have found a use for his comments as long as I print them off first!!!
Pee


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Subject: RE: Why I like folk songs
From: GUEST,Diane
Date: 12 Jun 07 - 02:30 PM


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Subject: RE: Why I like folk songs
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 12 Jun 07 - 02:35 PM

That wasn't me. I've got a lot more to say than that.


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Subject: RE: Why I like folk songs
From: GUEST,Art Thieme
Date: 12 Jun 07 - 02:42 PM

That last post was me! Sorry! I thought I was starting a post to Diane but I was actually filling in the "From" field without looking at the screen. THEN it posted of it's own volition. Very Weird!! --
What I was trying to say is.......

Diane,

The map, at least the eastern portion, is one of the items on my folk photo site. You can print it out and hold it to read the song titles most easily.

Go to http://rudegnu.com/art_thieme.html


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Subject: RE: Why I like folk songs
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 12 Jun 07 - 02:56 PM

Thank you, Art.
You can pretend to be me when posting any time you like!


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Subject: RE: Why I like folk songs
From: Don Firth
Date: 12 Jun 07 - 03:48 PM

I think I've always been aware that there was something out there called "folk music." When I was a wee sprat, I think I may have heard Alan Lomax's folk music program on "American School of the Air" in the late 30s, early 40s, just because I listened to the program regularly. Then, when I was in my early teens, I remember listening to a radio program one Sunday afternoon, in which Burl Ives was talking about the Erie Canal, telling the real history, interspersed with legends, tall tales, and lots of songs. I think I learned more about the Erie Canal in that hour than I ever did in school.

When I was in my second year at the University of Washington, I was going with a young woman who became interested in folk music through a friend of hers she lived with in the women's dorms. Fortuitously, she inherited a fine old George Washburn parlor guitar (made 1898) from her grandmother and set about teaching herself how to play it. She showed me a few chords (G, C, and D7) and I figured, "Heck, I can do this." I bought myself a cheap guitar and started learning to play it, and learning some of the same songs Claire was learning (out of A Treasury of Folk Songs compiled by John and Sylvia Kolb – Bantam Books, 1948 as I recall – 35˘).

Then, one evening, Claire and I took in a concert given by Walt Robertson, a local folk singer who had a weekly television program. During the course of that two hours or so, I saw guitar playing (switching back and forth between a 6-string and a 12-string—I didn't know until then that there was such a thing!) that I never imagined possible. And I heard a whole bunch of songs I had never heard before. Ballads (story songs), love songs, work songs, sea chanteys, humorous songs. . . .

And contrary to most of the songs that were being pumped out of radios and juke boxes, there was something very real about these songs.

Blew my mind, as the saying goes. I sat there with my eyes wide, my jaw slack, and my ears cocked forward. The following week, I ran into Walt in a University District restaurant and hit him up for guitar lessons.

I thought long and hard about Walt's concert. The idea of holding an audience as enthralled as Walt had that evening seemed like magic. Then I decided. "I want to do that!"

That was in the early 1950s. I've been at it ever since.

Don Firth


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