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'Real Folk' vs 'Stroke Folk'

AlistairUK 10 Apr 99 - 12:33 PM
Mo 10 Apr 99 - 01:08 PM
The Shambles 10 Apr 99 - 01:22 PM
puzzled 10 Apr 99 - 02:10 PM
catspaw49 10 Apr 99 - 03:42 PM
Tucker 10 Apr 99 - 05:18 PM
Susan A-R 10 Apr 99 - 11:12 PM
Allan S. 11 Apr 99 - 03:20 PM
puzzled 11 Apr 99 - 03:56 PM
Dr John 11 Apr 99 - 05:20 PM
Tucker 12 Apr 99 - 05:02 AM
AlistairUK 12 Apr 99 - 05:45 AM
Sam Pirt 12 Apr 99 - 04:30 PM
AlistairUK 12 Apr 99 - 04:33 PM
Ross 12 Apr 99 - 04:53 PM
Penny 12 Apr 99 - 05:13 PM
Bert 12 Apr 99 - 05:34 PM
Ross 12 Apr 99 - 06:14 PM
Willie-O 12 Apr 99 - 10:20 PM
Tucker 12 Apr 99 - 10:41 PM
catspaw49 12 Apr 99 - 11:23 PM
puzzled 13 Apr 99 - 12:59 AM
AlistairUK 13 Apr 99 - 05:49 AM
Dr John 13 Apr 99 - 02:07 PM
MAG (inactive) 13 Apr 99 - 02:08 PM
Lucius 13 Apr 99 - 08:21 PM
reggie miles 13 Apr 99 - 08:42 PM
reggie miles 13 Apr 99 - 10:35 PM
Banjer 13 Apr 99 - 10:48 PM
northfolk/al cholger 14 Apr 99 - 12:27 AM
Steve Parkes 14 Apr 99 - 03:26 AM
AlistairUK 14 Apr 99 - 05:20 AM
Tucker 14 Apr 99 - 06:12 AM
northfolk/al cholger 14 Apr 99 - 08:22 AM
Indy Lass 14 Apr 99 - 09:47 AM
Art Thieme 14 Apr 99 - 02:10 PM
Tucker 15 Apr 99 - 01:06 PM
Alex 16 Apr 99 - 02:52 AM
Roger the zimme 16 Apr 99 - 04:19 AM
MAG (inactive) 16 Apr 99 - 07:28 PM
LEJ 17 Apr 99 - 01:54 AM
dick greenhaus 17 Apr 99 - 05:38 PM
Mark Clark 17 Apr 99 - 07:50 PM
Art Thieme 17 Apr 99 - 08:20 PM
Art Thieme 17 Apr 99 - 08:39 PM
MAG (inactive) 20 Apr 99 - 05:45 PM
25 Apr 99 - 08:43 PM
Willie-O 25 Apr 99 - 09:10 PM
Rick Fielding 25 Apr 99 - 09:16 PM
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Subject: 'Real Folk' vs 'Stroke Folk'
From: AlistairUK
Date: 10 Apr 99 - 12:33 PM

I gots to thinking about some of the comments in the Corries thread and I got to thinking and thinking and thinking...and I came back to the age old argument about what the heck is "Folk" Music. Seems to me that folk music is to be enjoyed by both the performer and the audience. An interactive pastime that serves to entertain and inform people. Or to express an opinion (it seems since the advent of the 'protest'songs of the fifties). People often point to Woody Guthrie as a social commentarist in his songs, but even so his songs were to entertain at the same time. I have a terror of those performers that construct these wonderfully intricate performances and, write cutting, pithy songs just to demonstrate how bloody clever they are. ( Daymn gotta rein in the cuss words).

Anyway, I actually don't give a rat's a** about how bloody marvelous the singer or musician thinks they are ( and this isn't just restricted to folk music people), and to be quite honest ( I don't wish to offend the people out there that research these things, I personally think it's fascinating) I don't want to know how many versions of the song they are or the metaphores (sic) that may be contained in the third verse of 'She Moves Through The Fair', the forum is a good place for that, the stage or club isn't, I wanna be moved by the song, or the tune. I want to feel how much that song means to a performer through the performance and not through a ten minute preamble, and some times I just want to join in the chorus and have a bloody good singalong and share an emotion. Or hear a story in ryhme and with a melody.

There you go, I have probably set myself up here for a tongue lashing...but I'm a man, I can take it...hey katlaughing what are you doing with that knife in your hand...shambles, put that chair leg down...I didn't mean it...no..no....aaaaaaaaaaargh!!!*


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Subject: RE: 'Real Folk' vs 'Stroke Folk'
From: Mo
Date: 10 Apr 99 - 01:08 PM

I know exactly what you mean! And I couldn't agree more. It's like - the difference between someone who is technically brilliant - knows all the right notes and sings/plays them in the right order but doesn't understand what the emotions behind the song are, and someone who sings/plays the odd duff note but is totally switched on to it.

Music is by definition an emotional thing otherwise why would we do it? And a performer has to feel/understand the emotions behind a song to really perform it. I once saw a video of Roy Williamson of Corries fame, singing The Loch Tay Boat Song - I was weeping my eyes out by the end - a couple of months later - same song sung by a young teenage girl - not a thing. The difference was Roy sung it like he had really loved and lost, the wee girl had evidently (thankfully at her age!)not experienced this pain, and could only sing the notes.

Mo


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Subject: RE: 'Real Folk' vs 'Stroke Folk'
From: The Shambles
Date: 10 Apr 99 - 01:22 PM

This is a nice uncontroversial subject to heal the wounds.

I'm in the corner of the two postings so far but I'll just be 'the cut man' and stay out of the ring, I am feeling bruised enough at the moment.

I think it is better to hear a comitted performance, even if it is not 'note perfect' than a technically perfect one. That does not excuse the performer from paying the audience the compliment of actually learning the words and how to play their instrument.


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Subject: RE: 'Real Folk' vs 'Stroke Folk'
From: puzzled
Date: 10 Apr 99 - 02:10 PM

The performers i really find troublesome are the singer/songwriters who explain the song for 10 or more minutes and then the song goes on and on and on and usually even has a moral to the story. Gag. Seldom is there a spark that fires up the audience when that happens.

In regards to perfect performances versus emotion. I may be prejudiced by the fact that i can never do a perfect performance but. . . When i play the audiences tap their toes, sing along, and look and act happy even if i make a mistake. I contrast that to a guitarist that I saw perform a couple of weeks ago that had amazing chops and the attention of three people in the audience. He was using digital tape loops and all kinds of effects. He was playing with himself. There was no feed back from the audience because they had already left the room even if they were still sitting there. He never made contact with them. Let me be less than perfect but let me have the audience responding and having a good time.


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Subject: RE: 'Real Folk' vs 'Stroke Folk'
From: catspaw49
Date: 10 Apr 99 - 03:42 PM

You have hit on both and one cannot be singled out...that is relations to song and relations to the audience. Neither one can be missing for a great performance, but technical brilliance is not required. Ever seen John Prine perform? Not folk, but Tom Petty is a good example too. There are lots of others, but the balance in these two is good. ......no audience diving or panty throwing and into the songs without navel contemplation.

Why am I commenting on this? Who the hell cares? Theree is no rhyme nor reason regarding tastes and opinions are like..........you know the rest. Screw it!

catspaw


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Subject: RE: 'Real Folk' vs 'Stroke Folk'
From: Tucker
Date: 10 Apr 99 - 05:18 PM

AlistarUK. you hit the nail on the head Lad. And the other's too. I have often disagreed with some black friends that you have to be black to sing the blues. If you have experienced pain, loss, ruin, whatever, and can translate that to song by God you can sing the blues. Likewise happy moments, funny things et al. Sure helps if you are a good performer too............


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Subject: RE: 'Real Folk' vs 'Stroke Folk'
From: Susan A-R
Date: 10 Apr 99 - 11:12 PM

I want it all. emotion, good chops, strong lyrics, interesting melodies, The energy is probably at the top of the list though. The tough thing is that I also want to find that in the groups or duos or whatever, that I sing with. Oh God, AlistairUK, I agree with you!! (smile) Susan


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Subject: RE: 'Real Folk' vs 'Stroke Folk'
From: Allan S.
Date: 11 Apr 99 - 03:20 PM

What burns my a** besides a flame 3 feet high is some young chick of all 20 yrs old who has never worked a day in her life. or done diddly squat in this world who writes a song and then goes on for ever with the song that she has just written that will save the world and correct all ills if we will just listen to her words of wisdom. bugger them all.


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Subject: RE: 'Real Folk' vs 'Stroke Folk'
From: puzzled
Date: 11 Apr 99 - 03:56 PM

Now Allan, that's not any worse than the man i heard last week who is in his 40's, works because he wants to, spent $50,000 making his CD because he can, and explained in disgusting new age talk why his songs are important to the world. 15 minute intro's to 25 minute songs. And in truth, very cleanly played. But . . .


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Subject: RE: 'Real Folk' vs 'Stroke Folk'
From: Dr John
Date: 11 Apr 99 - 05:20 PM

I suppose folk music chronicles a time. It gives an everyday viewpoint of the people who don't appear in history books, but who lived and created the times. Christopher Hill's "Liberty against the Law" acknowledges this and them. Yet survives because it has something worth preserving even though the time has long gone - Child ballad stuff, whaling songs, dust bowl ballads etc. I suppose in some ways sound recording is bad news for folk music. The good stuff survived the folk process over the years just because it was good, the bad stuff was long ago kicked out while the medium stuff was honed and sharpened over the years. Sound recording preserves rubbish like "Be Bob A Lula She's My Baby" (still heard on radio 2) and what must be the pits of garbage "I'm Not A Juvenile Delinquent" (re-released by Bear Family). Without sound recording we wouldn't have to suffer such rubbish nor listen to Nic Jones singing "The Swimming Song" or Martin Carthy "Heartbreak Hotel". Well not stictly true as these are fairly contemporary but you get my meaning. However we would not be able to listen to Nic Jones, Woody Guthrie, Lead Belly either. -DrJohn-


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Subject: RE: 'Real Folk' vs 'Stroke Folk'
From: Tucker
Date: 12 Apr 99 - 05:02 AM

Much truth there Doc. I was in an "Odd Lots" the other day looking through their stock of music. There was stuff there that went through the roof in the Disco era, gathering dust (as well it should). Once in a great while I will find a diamond in the garbage, that's why I look.


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Subject: RE: 'Real Folk' vs 'Stroke Folk'
From: AlistairUK
Date: 12 Apr 99 - 05:45 AM

The tradition still hasn't died out \Doc. There's us and the others who still sing this stuff, we are very much in the tradition, everybody who loves the stuff and has a feeling for it changes it a bit, which is also the way of things. That's why I never acknowledge any version of a song over another, they are all legit because they meant something to someone at the time. When we get hold of them they do change a little even if we don't notice it.


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Subject: RE: 'Real Folk' vs 'Stroke Folk'
From: Sam Pirt
Date: 12 Apr 99 - 04:30 PM

You have brought up a good point. You can have a teqnically brilliant player, who also has no stage presence or no essence of performance. Thi scan occur in some of these modern Irish bands at the moment. They headline a festival but on stage (Yes they do play the most amazing fingerteqnics) but they just sit on one chair the whole performance and thats it.

Theres more to music than the notes on the page, and not everyone is born with it. (Well thats what I think you can decide for yourself)

Bye, Sam


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Subject: RE: 'Real Folk' vs 'Stroke Folk'
From: AlistairUK
Date: 12 Apr 99 - 04:33 PM

This is what I was trying to get at..'Stroke' in the sense of stroke mags...those performers who get up there and it's only them thats getting anything out of it, marvelling on how perfect they are.


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Subject: RE: 'Real Folk' vs 'Stroke Folk'
From: Ross
Date: 12 Apr 99 - 04:53 PM

Guess I've always thought that if a song needed too much introduction, it wasn't much of a song.


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Subject: RE: 'Real Folk' vs 'Stroke Folk'
From: Penny
Date: 12 Apr 99 - 05:13 PM

I've always remembered an introduction to a beautiful traditional song from a different area performed at our college folk club. I won't give the real version, to obscure the perpetrators, but it involved the Brazilian group being taught it by a couple of Greeks while hitching on a pick-up truck through Andorra. (Nothing is correct.)They managed to give the impression it was very difficult to track down, and that they had had a combination of great good fortune denied to the rest of us, and the skills to put this knowledge to good use. And I believed this until I tried the library next day, and found it straight away in a collection of folk songs from the area. Which has now become a standing joke with a friend in a variety of contexts.


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Subject: RE: 'Real Folk' vs 'Stroke Folk'
From: Bert
Date: 12 Apr 99 - 05:34 PM

Ross, you may be right but I often like to give a short introduction to a song. Whenever I sing "Woad", I like to point out that Ancient Britons were very brave and went into battle naked. Only those who have sampled the British climate can fully appreciate how brave they were:-)

Bert.


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Subject: RE: 'Real Folk' vs 'Stroke Folk'
From: Ross
Date: 12 Apr 99 - 06:14 PM

Bert, considerably braver than I.


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Subject: RE: 'Real Folk' vs 'Stroke Folk'
From: Willie-O
Date: 12 Apr 99 - 10:20 PM

Oh come on. When singing trad songs which contain a lot of unfamiliar dialect or Scots language, say, there's nothing wrong with the time honoured device of providing a _short, pithy_ summary of the plot (perhaps leaving out the ending) or setting the historical scene and providing a brief glossary-- helps the audience to focus. It should definitely be shorter than the song though. (Dick Gaughan please take note.) (Sorry, I know, that was heresy.)

If John Prine ain't "folk", he sure is folksy. His songs are sure folk when somebody else sings them. And many (now) accomplished folk artists broadened their horizons and got into the deep end when they'd had their fill of ten guitars around a campfire singing Prine songs--so we have that to thank him for too!

Bill


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Subject: RE: 'Real Folk' vs 'Stroke Folk'
From: Tucker
Date: 12 Apr 99 - 10:41 PM

Help me here folks, please. Was it John Prine who wrote and of course sang Mullenburg County? Talk about getting homesick. I'm an appalachian boy and I'd been in Germany 19 months, missing my hills and rivers. Along comes this song about my neck of the woods. real tear jerker. An aside.....one buddy who went across the other pond same time I went to Germany said that they weren't permitted to play "Green, Green Grass of Home". Any Vets there that can confirm that??????? Thanks. Tucker


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Subject: RE: 'Real Folk' vs 'Stroke Folk'
From: catspaw49
Date: 12 Apr 99 - 11:23 PM

Hi Bill---I guess my qualifier applied more to Tom Petty than John Prine, but I see how it could be read as Prine not being folk. Like you, I don't know what the hell he is either, but folk comes a lot closer than anything else. Unfortunately, there is no definition as to what folk is that all can agree on and we end up with another agreement to disagree. There is a large contingent that believe unless a performer sings about long dead folks...he ain't folk. Perhaps you saw Billy Connelly's HBO special a few years ago when he blasted his previous means of support...I damn near died laughing. One contingent draws the line in the early American period, while another stops with Woody. Some go on further, but very few allow present day folkies unless they have hung in like Tom Paxton or died for their work like Phil Ochs. I like both of them, but what about Prine...too country (a folk derivative)??? Sometimes these people lead us back to other more traditional players, but I don't believe they have to. Steve Goodman and Harry Chapin ought to fall in here somewhere. Doesn't folk music tell stories? Harry Chapin told great stories, and wasn't a navel contemplater either! And Steve Goodman? Speaking of.....what about Arlo??? I guess Harry and Steve have a leg up on him since they're dead. I understand the disdain for many singer/songwriters but sometimes they are simply dismissed out of hand because so many are into long winded explanations of truly simple ass songs. I can't take that bunch either, but it doesn't mean every singer/songwriter is a complete nabob because he doesn't feel compelled to sing about events and people long past. Anyone who has listened to the early work of Jim Croce would not deny the folk influence. Has anybody else heard the songs he was doing for his next album which were far more country/folk than rock...and he was looking to do a less produced sound and was working with some folks in Nashville. Hell, I'm not trying to sell Jim Croce as a folkie, but we dismiss so many out of hand without hearing more of their work.

Why am I bothering? What I really wanted to say was Thank You Bill for having some insight into John Prine and where he's often led others. I just also want to reiterate.....he doesn't have too. When John, his guitar, and his bottle of Jack hit the stage, sit back and enjoy an evening of great "storytelling."

catspaw


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Subject: RE: 'Real Folk' vs 'Stroke Folk'
From: puzzled
Date: 13 Apr 99 - 12:59 AM

catspaw, I agree totally. and Might add that all of us here know singer/songwriters (even relatively unknown) of today that tell and sing wonderful stories. And sometimes they have to explain a little before singing. But The wonder comes from the song not the talking intro.
Woody said that folk songs should be about wheels and gears and things that were current to the working people of his day. I hear what he's saying. Seems to me that the songs that make me laugh or cry or. . .can be about the lives and situations of people today even about their computers. A good song that moves me - even written today - by someone that most of you may never hear is still folk music to my ears or "folksy". Those singer/songwriters are folk i like to know and spend time with.
PS I, too, still love Prine even if i get tired of playing his tunes around the bluegrass campfires. But that is a good time to introduce one of the last centuries old ballads for everyone to strum along to.


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Subject: RE: 'Real Folk' vs 'Stroke Folk'
From: AlistairUK
Date: 13 Apr 99 - 05:49 AM

If an introduction by a performer provides enhances the performance or enjoyment of the song...go for it. I have no problems, I actually love the stories that entertain. When a performer goes on and on and on with no intention but to show everybody that they like the sound of their own voice. Sorry, I'm outta there.

'Paw: please keep on bothering.


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Subject: RE: 'Real Folk' vs 'Stroke Folk'
From: Dr John
Date: 13 Apr 99 - 02:07 PM

We need the introduction and the notes all right. There's a wonderful song called (what sounds like) "Runnin' for the Yoddun"; I think my record is by Johnny Handle. Without an explanation of both the dialect and jargon would such a song have died out? It would certainly have been totally incomprehensible not only outside the North East of England but outside the mining community. DrJohn


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Subject: RE: 'Real Folk' vs 'Stroke Folk'
From: MAG (inactive)
Date: 13 Apr 99 - 02:08 PM

John Prine has so much folk flavor that I don't understand why there'e any question about it.

He took lessons at the Old Town School of Folk Music (I know I know Art; Fake Music) and people still talk about this kid from a blue-collqar suburb (Maywood?? Bellwood??) who showed up with his screaming blue-red plastic instrument. Steve Goodman as you know did a lot of arranging on his albums.

The anit-war movement in chicago loved John Prine because of songs like "Your flag decal won't get you into heaven anymore," and the hippies just went ape over "Blow up your TV."

The man has a definite way with a turn of phrase.

-- MA


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Subject: RE: 'Real Folk' vs 'Stroke Folk'
From: Lucius
Date: 13 Apr 99 - 08:21 PM

Yeah when Arlo Guthrie starts to go on--or worse--the late Steve Goodman, well it's already been said.


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Subject: RE: 'Real Folk' vs 'Stroke Folk'
From: reggie miles
Date: 13 Apr 99 - 08:42 PM

Intoductions are a way to connect with an audience before the melody and songs message begins. Intros can be as difficult or more so than actually performing a song. The way that I have learned many of the songs that I play is by listening to recordings. I don't think I'm alone in this. Most songs that have been recorded don't usually include an intro. It is therefore left up to the performer to develope this aspect of their performance as they see fit. If you don't like ramblin' intros you probably won't care for Ramblin' Jack Elliot. I myself love to use that portion of my show to do more than just expound the historical significance of any given song and some of my intros do seem, especially friends sitting in with me, to travel a bit. I think that's because the stories are directed at the audience and don't directly involve the bands paticipation. They'll learn, Reggie


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Subject: RE: 'Real Folk' vs 'Stroke Folk'
From: reggie miles
Date: 13 Apr 99 - 10:35 PM

Sorry, that part in the last sentence should have read: my intros do seem, especially to friends sitting in with me, to travel a bit. One thing I have been doing to keep the friends who sit in occupied is to vamp a lick or two as my intro progresses. This has resulted in some of the most amazing inprovisation on their part and has made the intros to some of my songs as powerful, musically speaking, as the song itself. Got to keep them boys and girls busy or they just get beside themselves. Reggie


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Subject: RE: 'Real Folk' vs 'Stroke Folk'
From: Banjer
Date: 13 Apr 99 - 10:48 PM

Tucker, Yes, John Prine did indeed write and perform Muhlenberg County, aka: Paradise. Just happen to know that cause that's one of the tunes I'm working on learning on my banjo.


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Subject: RE: 'Real Folk' vs 'Stroke Folk'
From: northfolk/al cholger
Date: 14 Apr 99 - 12:27 AM

This isn't going to be definitive, but after reading a years worth of debate about what is and ain't folk...I submit that Prine is...by this definition...He is involved in the "folk process", that being the handing down of song, to keep the process intact. The subtle difference with Prine is that he writes the songs that are handed down, as opposed to hundreds of others, who are merely a link in the "folk" chain.


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Subject: RE: 'Real Folk' vs 'Stroke Folk'
From: Steve Parkes
Date: 14 Apr 99 - 03:26 AM

Objection to "merely"!


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Subject: RE: 'Real Folk' vs 'Stroke Folk'
From: AlistairUK
Date: 14 Apr 99 - 05:20 AM

Sustained


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Subject: RE: 'Real Folk' vs 'Stroke Folk'
From: Tucker
Date: 14 Apr 99 - 06:12 AM

Kind thanks Banjer. I haven't been able to keep up with all the artist in recent years and my only exposure to Prine was that one song and seeing him do it on a Disney special about Irish Influnence on American music.


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Subject: RE: 'Real Folk' vs 'Stroke Folk'
From: northfolk/al cholger
Date: 14 Apr 99 - 08:22 AM

Objection so noted... No intention to minimize the folk...amend to "are links in the folk process"


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Subject: RE: 'Real Folk' vs 'Stroke Folk'
From: Indy Lass
Date: 14 Apr 99 - 09:47 AM

What was the Disney special on Irish influence on American music called? Would I be able to find a video tape of it perhaps?


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Subject: RE: 'Real Folk' vs 'Stroke Folk'
From: Art Thieme
Date: 14 Apr 99 - 02:10 PM

Mag,

Sure I'v called the place the Old Town School o' Fake Music---but generally it was an excuse to perpetrate yet another joke/pun. There's nobody who admires their perseverence and success more than yours truly. JIM HIRSCH has done an exceptional job there as the head man. The fundraising and renovation of their new digs is nothing short of miraculous in this era of volunteer organizations going under because of burnout. Yes, I often lament the changes from the trad to the glitz. But in this era, it's the glitz that gets the grease---there are few trains left with squaky wheels.

With tremendous admiration for the OLD TOWN SCHOOL OF FOLKMUSIC (even if the words "folk music" are often left off of their name).

Art Thieme


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Subject: RE: 'Real Folk' vs 'Stroke Folk'
From: Tucker
Date: 15 Apr 99 - 01:06 PM

Val, I think it was "The Irish in America" there are a couple of similar sounding shows. they usually air it around St. Patricks Day so if you think of it next year check to see if it's on. It has Mary Black, Luka Bloom, U2, The Everly Bros, John Prine, the Clancy Bros......hell too many to list here but be assured it is defineatly worth watching. good luck


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Subject: RE: 'Real Folk' vs 'Stroke Folk'
From: Alex
Date: 16 Apr 99 - 02:52 AM

I've looked into this thread several times, got annoyed each time, but refrained from dashing off a sarcastic missile up the ass of some of the respondents. Art Thieme always quoted (was it Bill BroonzY?) saying that he'd never heard animals sing so it must ALL be folk music. It is so rare to hear "FOLK" music on radio or see it on TV (and forget the GRAMMYS), if you don't like a particular style of folk music, I don;t think there is a law in any country in the world that forces you to listen to it. So don't. Go and support concerts by people YOU like, because if you don't, they'll have to stop touring. The ones you think are awful will stop, because if everybody else agrees with you, that act will go broke. The problem is categorization. We know what RAP is and we kow what ROCK is. Why? Because the commercial music indusrty needs definitions to say that THEIR arist is at the top of the Country charts or at #4 on the R&B charts. The more categories that can be defined, the better chance to claim commercial success. However, just because it is popular, can you really say that RAP is NOTthe contemporary folk music of the underprivelliged in the inner cities? Is it not a relative of the Blues? I suspect that "FOLK" music will never be defined because the definition is, like the music itself, is constantly changing. Have faith. If a peformer says he/she is a "folk" mudician. then believe it,


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Subject: RE: 'Real Folk' vs 'Stroke Folk'
From: Roger the zimme
Date: 16 Apr 99 - 04:19 AM

I always thought it was my idol,Louis Armstrong who said "All music gotta be folk music ain't never heard a hoss sing" (aren't you glad you can't hear my impression?!) RE:Prine. UK listeners can hear him on Tom Paxton's BBC radio 2 programme next week. Hope I remember to tune in!


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Subject: RE: 'Real Folk' vs 'Stroke Folk'
From: MAG (inactive)
Date: 16 Apr 99 - 07:28 PM

Yes, Art, and I for one was always a great admirer of your intro. for "Bury me Not on the Lone Prairie," wherein you delineated why it was so much more than a hackneyed old cowboy song that we had to learn in grade school.

and my uptight WASP heritage does prevent me recognizing humor sometimes, even when I want to be in on the joke soooo badly ... took me alla my youth getting that out of my system ...

-- MA


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Subject: RE: 'Real Folk' vs 'Stroke Folk'
From: LEJ
Date: 17 Apr 99 - 01:54 AM

Whether or not Prine is a "folk" artist, I believe his Muhlenberg County is destined to pass into our musical tradition as a folk song. It evokes a time, a place, and a tragic event with a memorable melody that will probably be remembered long after Dear Abby and Space Monkey have been forgotten. And whatever you think about John Denver and his career, certain songs like Country Roads will endure in the folk tradition. Ditto Paul Simon with Homeward Bound and The Sounds of Silence .

Woody Guthrie most likely considered himself as a "singer/songwriter" of his generation, and not a contributor to the great oral tradition of Folk Music, but many of his songs transcended his time to become part of that tradition. My 10 year old daughter can sing This Land is your Land , but has only a vague notion of Woody's life and times. And perhaps that is how it should be.


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Subject: RE: 'Real Folk' vs 'Stroke Folk'
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 17 Apr 99 - 05:38 PM

The most important thing is sincerity. Once you learn to fake that, you've got it made.


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Subject: RE: 'Real Folk' vs 'Stroke Folk'
From: Mark Clark
Date: 17 Apr 99 - 07:50 PM

Lot's of 'real folk' music has enjoyed commercial succes and quite a few commercial tunes have entered the domain of oral tradition. In the final analysis I think any song that is: a) accessible to average amateur musicians, b) sufficiently interesting to attract an audience, and c) attractive in some sense to performers, either *is* or will become a 'folk' piece.

The first time I heard what we might call folk music was as a boy in 1950 or 1951 traveling on vacation with my parents and brothers. I can't remember whether we had a car radio or whether we just listened to the juke boxes in the truck stops where we ate but the Weavers had commercial recordings of "Goodnight Irene" and "On Top Of Old Smokey" and our family sang those songs half way across the country and back. I din't know they were folk songs and I'll bet Lead Belly didn't think he was writing a folk song.

In the forties I used to lie awake in bed and listen to Gene Autry on the radio. I wasn't supposed to have it on but I loved the music and the conversation too. Many people would rank "That Silver Haired Daddy Of Mine" as a folk song but Gene probably thought of it as a commercial piece written and performed for a partcular market.

In the final analysis I suspect the term 'folk music' is just another meaningless category designed to separate people rather than unite them. (For example, I suspect the use of the term on this forum helps to discourage those with no interest in the content here.) The term was certainly important in a university where folk material could not be included in a fine arts curriculum but might be studied as liturature or social science. If you and your friends like a song enough to sing it often when you get together, it's probably on its way to becomming a folk song. IMHO.

- Mark


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Subject: RE: 'Real Folk' vs 'Stroke Folk'
From: Art Thieme
Date: 17 Apr 99 - 08:20 PM

Aye Mag---"Bury Me Not On The Loan Prairie" jumped out at me as being about more than it seemed when we had to put an elderly aunt into a nursing home with emphasema after she ran her car into the air-conditioning system of the local Holiday Inn at 3:00 AM (Evensville, Indiana) and jumped out of her car completely naked screaming that she wanted a hair dresser! Lack of oxygen from 70 years of smoking did that. But she was aggry as hell at her LOSS OF CONTROL !!!

And THAT is what the song was about to me--trying to keep some last shread of control for his own life as he lay dieing. "Bury me not on the lone prairie..."---But the guys MUST DO WHAT THEY MUST. They promise him they won't bury him there---but then they DO BURY HIM THERE. Given the situation, they tell hi whatever he wants/needs to hear to keep him calm during his last moments.

And we had to put our aunt into the nursing home...

Art


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Subject: RE: 'Real Folk' vs 'Stroke Folk'
From: Art Thieme
Date: 17 Apr 99 - 08:39 PM

And often I'd give a long intro to one o' the shortest songs I knew. I was striving to show that between the lines, there's often more info than in the song itself. For instance:

"My Sweetheart's A Mule In The Mines"
I drive her without any lines,
On the bumper I sit and tobacco I spit,
All over my sweetheart's behind.

This spare lyric is about a guy who spends more time with his mule than with his own wife and family---ie. the mule is his sweetheart. He's underground working for ALL of the daylight hours. He's proud of the fact that, after years of practice, he has perfected the talent of hitting a fly on the mule's butt with his tobacco juice!

I'd use it in workshops I'd do for teachers in Northern Illinois schools to show how they can use folksongs to teach history---but they have to put thought into the process. They need to bring their knowledge of the given historical era to their reading of the lyric to show the students how folksongs are truly a window into the past.

Art


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Subject: RE: 'Real Folk' vs 'Stroke Folk'
From: MAG (inactive)
Date: 20 Apr 99 - 05:45 PM

Yeah, like in storytelling we say you can tell any story if you know how to frame it right. Intros and stage business are part of the show; look at Rosalie Sorrels.


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Subject: RE: 'Real Folk' vs 'Stroke Folk'
From:
Date: 25 Apr 99 - 08:43 PM

I posted this message on April 24 last year on the "Demise of Folk Music" thread. It might be of interest here:

Regardless of how we want to define "folk" music, I think we *might* all be able to agree that

1) much instrumental and vocal music circulates (through writing or through hearing, or both) as one-line melody.

2) much of this music is diatonic, containing no accidentals at all, or none but what would be b-flat if the music were transposed to a staff with a key signature showing the key of C. (That doesn't mean the music itself is in the key of C, just that the staff has no sharps or flats in its key signature.)

3) much of this music starts out in a certain key or mode and stays there throughout.

4) much of the music described in (1) (2) and (3) is used for dancing.

5) much of the dance music referred to in (4) is in identifiable genres such as waltz, two-step, reel, jig, hornpipe, strathspey, march.

Much of the music referred to as "folk" music has the features enumerated above.


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Subject: RE: 'Real Folk' vs 'Stroke Folk'
From: Willie-O
Date: 25 Apr 99 - 09:10 PM

More on Prine, I've been away from the computer for a week...

The powers that be might construe him as "too folk fer country", but you can't be too country for folk. Or is it officially urban folk music now?

One thing I notice, Prine has a real dark side and it comes out to a greater or lesser extent in most of his songs--but he does it with a sense of irony that's pretty much socially acceptable, in most quarters. Remember that early anthem "There's a hole in Daddy's arm where all the money goes..." ("Sam Stone")--you don't hear that anymore and I'm sure his best-known song, that's pretty much entered the pantheon of Official Campfire Songs, would be "Paradise" which of course is an environmental lament--but one that inexplicably makes everybody singing it feel good. Go figure. Maybe its because they found somebody to blame for the loss of paradise, that damn Peabody.

Who was it did the short song rewrite,

"Bury me not on the lone prairie, Cause I ain't dead."

Yet.

Bill


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Subject: RE: 'Real Folk' vs 'Stroke Folk'
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 25 Apr 99 - 09:16 PM

Prine seems to manage that "effect" with a lot of his songs. When I sing "Hello in There" (about old age and lonliness) everyone sings along happily. Takes skill.


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