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Folklore: Songs with actions: An annoying fad?

GUEST,Shimrod 19 Aug 07 - 02:37 PM
Bernard 19 Aug 07 - 02:47 PM
GUEST 19 Aug 07 - 02:50 PM
katlaughing 19 Aug 07 - 03:10 PM
Megan L 19 Aug 07 - 03:21 PM
Bee 19 Aug 07 - 03:30 PM
Micca 19 Aug 07 - 04:02 PM
Rapparee 19 Aug 07 - 04:03 PM
SINSULL 19 Aug 07 - 04:37 PM
SINSULL 19 Aug 07 - 04:38 PM
Bert 19 Aug 07 - 04:47 PM
dick greenhaus 19 Aug 07 - 05:00 PM
Uke 19 Aug 07 - 05:03 PM
GUEST,Shimrod 19 Aug 07 - 05:05 PM
Dave Swan 19 Aug 07 - 05:06 PM
The Sandman 19 Aug 07 - 05:06 PM
DebC 19 Aug 07 - 05:25 PM
Ebbie 19 Aug 07 - 05:38 PM
Rapparee 19 Aug 07 - 05:54 PM
Richard Bridge 19 Aug 07 - 05:54 PM
Richard Bridge 19 Aug 07 - 05:56 PM
GUEST,mg 19 Aug 07 - 06:27 PM
Bill D 19 Aug 07 - 06:28 PM
SINSULL 19 Aug 07 - 06:34 PM
Giant Folk Eyeball (inactive) 19 Aug 07 - 06:47 PM
McGrath of Harlow 19 Aug 07 - 07:08 PM
Rowan 19 Aug 07 - 07:13 PM
DebC 19 Aug 07 - 08:33 PM
GUEST,Art Thieme 19 Aug 07 - 09:11 PM
Effsee 19 Aug 07 - 09:26 PM
Rapparee 19 Aug 07 - 09:36 PM
SINSULL 19 Aug 07 - 09:44 PM
Sorcha 19 Aug 07 - 10:06 PM
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moongoddess 22 Aug 07 - 06:47 PM
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Liz the Squeak 22 Aug 07 - 07:25 PM
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Subject: Folklore: Songs with actions: An annoying fad?
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 19 Aug 07 - 02:37 PM

I'm becoming increasingly annoyed with people in folk clubs who insist on singing 'songs with actions'. You know the sort of thing:

"I'm a little tea pot,
Short and stout,
Here's my handle (put left hand on left hip)
Here's my spout (extend right arm)"

Do such singers really expect the grown men and women in the audience to join in with this infantile type of nonsense? It seems as though they do - and anyone who refuses to join in (like me, for example) is regarded as some sort of 'killjoy'.

The fact is that I find it unfunny, embarrassing and demeaning to be expected to behave as though I am still an infant and, as far as I am concerned, such silly, childish ditties have absolutely nothing to do with folk music. What does anyone else think?


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Songs with actions: An annoying fad?
From: Bernard
Date: 19 Aug 07 - 02:47 PM

Childish, maybe, but nursery rhymes are as much a part of our folk heritage as, say, the Child Ballads (hah!).

Seriously, though, I agree that expecting grown-ups to join in without a very good reason is often inappropriate, but I sometimes do one if there are young children in the audience, as it helps them to feel involved. But I try to choose one that will amuse the adults, too, such as 'Okki-tokki-unga'.

No, you're not a 'killjoy'; if anything, those singers are more guilty, as they're wasting time which someone else could make better use of.

I suppose it's all down to why we go to folk clubs.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Songs with actions: An annoying fad?
From: GUEST
Date: 19 Aug 07 - 02:50 PM

Depends on the song. There are some songs that are good "hollerin' songs" which have been done to death and lost any semblance of meaning, but are still fun to sing. Eventually, these songs attract either "actions" or alternative words. The well known one is "The Sharks They Played Meldeons". If the alternative words and the daft actions evolve naturally and become attached to the song as it is performed by general consent in that group or club, fair enough.

However, a silly song with actions just for its own sake leaves me cold. Debra Cowan started a set with one such song when I went to see her, and I wish she hadn't because it was off-putting, although the rest of her set was good.

But then, when I go to a concert and get asked to "Put your hands together for this one!" I stand with arms resolutely folded, and a stern countenance.

I went to see BB King at Rock City a few years ago. His "warm up man" came on shouting, "Who is it you want to hear?" and about 10% of the crowd shouted, "BB King!".

The warm up man then shouted, "I can't hear you!" and 100% of the crowd shouted very loudly, "You deaf c***!"

Some of just don't like to be patronised...

(If anyone reading this isn't sure about what "patronised" means, don't worry your pretty little head about it my dear.)


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Songs with actions: An annoying fad?
From: katlaughing
Date: 19 Aug 07 - 03:10 PM

Gee, can't we all just be kids now and then?:-)

They are a blast with kids and I wouldn't mind them if the performer did them, mostly, and didn't insist the crowd join in, but really, if there are kids and adults, what's the harm? Or, even just adults...it's good to let our hair down now and then. Nothing too cutesy, though.

How's that for a wishy-washy answer? (Wringing hands while typing:-)


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Songs with actions: An annoying fad?
From: Megan L
Date: 19 Aug 07 - 03:21 PM

What a bunch of auld saurkraut I looks like McKenzie is gaun tae hae serious competition fur the Grumpy auld Begger award this year.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Songs with actions: An annoying fad?
From: Bee
Date: 19 Aug 07 - 03:30 PM

Some of us are just a bit inhibited: I don't care, at a concert, if everybody else is clapping to the beat, waving lighters about, or pretending to be teapots - I'd just as soon observe stolidly and clap later if I feel appreciation is due. With the exception of concerts actually for kids, where such activities (minus the waving about of flames) are enjoyed and serve to vent a little physical energy.

If a performer were insistent (and some are), I'd be annoyed.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Songs with actions: An annoying fad?
From: Micca
Date: 19 Aug 07 - 04:02 PM

Kat, I dont think you, or anyone else for that matter would regard the "gestures" that accompany "Swing Low, Sweet Chariot" in the UK as "childish!!!!", they are, if anything, distinctly too "adult"


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Songs with actions: An annoying fad?
From: Rapparee
Date: 19 Aug 07 - 04:03 PM

I'd agree with Bee. Except for "Itsy Bitsy Spider"....


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Songs with actions: An annoying fad?
From: SINSULL
Date: 19 Aug 07 - 04:37 PM

I too am inhibited and always get the actions wrong so I feel even more foolish. Leave me alone!


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Songs with actions: An annoying fad?
From: SINSULL
Date: 19 Aug 07 - 04:38 PM

Then again...remembering Edmund "Rolling Home" maybe we should have more action songs.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Songs with actions: An annoying fad?
From: Bert
Date: 19 Aug 07 - 04:47 PM

It is the duty of folk singers to pass along good songs which might otherwise be forgotten.

The main idea of singing such songs is that adults might go home and sing them to ther kids.

The one I use most is "One Finger, One Thumb", but I don't get too upset if not everyone joins in.

Shimrod, you'd probably enjoy "Don't you Hate it" by Modern Man.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Songs with actions: An annoying fad?
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 19 Aug 07 - 05:00 PM

Whatever works..........to coin a phrase.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Songs with actions: An annoying fad?
From: Uke
Date: 19 Aug 07 - 05:03 PM

"as far as I am concerned, such silly, childish ditties have absolutely nothing to do with folk music."

Some songs with actions, like 'John Brown's baby's got a cold upon his chest', have been around a long time (since the 1920s?) and used in all kinds of contexts - schools, community singing, parties etc. etc. - often spread by word of mouth. I'd reckon such a song has a good claim to be a folk song.

There's plenty of folk songs that are fairly nonsensical and maybe they haven't been given their due as a genre. Isn't nonsense always a bit subversive?


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Songs with actions: An annoying fad?
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 19 Aug 07 - 05:05 PM

Thanks everyone. I'm glad that I'm not completely alone on this one!

I know that many little kids love this sort of thing (which is good) - but I haven't been a little kid for quite some considerable time. I'm also quite serious and quite grumpy (it's my age, I suppose).


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Songs with actions: An annoying fad?
From: Dave Swan
Date: 19 Aug 07 - 05:06 PM

The advantage of songs with gestures, if there is one, is that it prevents people from holding song books.

D


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Songs with actions: An annoying fad?
From: The Sandman
Date: 19 Aug 07 - 05:06 PM

I think people who do this sort of thing,should be banned from folk clubs,but before they are banned, they should be made to drink double diamond/watneys red and then sing the Barley Mow stark naked.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Songs with actions: An annoying fad?
From: DebC
Date: 19 Aug 07 - 05:25 PM

Well.....

I do use a song with gestures at the beginning of my shows called the "Stars at Night". The reason I put it as the second song is because it gets people loosened up and GETS THEM JOINING IN!!!!.. I also see many smiles when we finish.

Here in the USA I am finding in many venues in which I sing, it's like pulling teeth to get folks to join in. It's not such an issue in the UK, but I do use the song over there as well and it seems to go down a storm. It's also a wonderful song for mums, dads, grannies and granddads to sing with little ones.

I think *some* songs with actions can be fun and do work with audiences. There are some that I have seen that don't. The "Teapot" is an example unless someone put a comic twist on it.

Deb
www.DebraCowan.com


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Songs with actions: An annoying fad?
From: Ebbie
Date: 19 Aug 07 - 05:38 PM

I rarely participate in such group shenanigans- and then of course I feel foolishly stuffy for not joining in.   

They make me uncomfortable, I'm not quite sure why. Some of the things are quite clever- I remember one performer exhorting the audience to contradance in their chairs. I don't remember how he accomplished it - and of course I just barely joined in (sob.

I know they feel they are icebreakers and that everyone is smiling afterward- but to me the smiles are of relief, not exhilaration.

There is one local song done here that drives me batty- It's something about 'and here comes the Moose' and everyone is supposed to raise their arms above their heads and create a mooserack they wave around. pfah!

However, in what I think is a Girl Scout kind of thing, once a group came on and their leader set one part of the audience to rubbing the palms of their hands together, another part stomped their feet- and I forget what the other third of the audience did. But it sounded like a heavy rainstorm. Very impressive and I didn't mind that at all.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Songs with actions: An annoying fad?
From: Rapparee
Date: 19 Aug 07 - 05:54 PM

I've made some gestures while singing along. Not the sort that the rest of the audience were making, though. My wife whacked me a good one for it, too.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Songs with actions: An annoying fad?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 19 Aug 07 - 05:54 PM

Oh, they just grow, which is part of the folk process.

Don't haul on the rope
Don't climb up the mast
Any if you see a sailing ship
It might be your last
Get your civvies ready
For another run ashore
And a sailor ain't a sailor ain't a sailor any more.

I bet you can all work those out....


And then of course the final chorus

Don't haul on the rope
Don't climb up the stick
You can't sing proper shanties
If you haven't got a dick
So if you'd be a shantyman
A-rising through the ranks
Take a pair of rolled up socks
And stuff them down your pants.

You might be able to work those out too....


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Songs with actions: An annoying fad?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 19 Aug 07 - 05:56 PM

Mind you, "Poor old Man" is very annoying.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Songs with actions: An annoying fad?
From: GUEST,mg
Date: 19 Aug 07 - 06:27 PM

I hate them now and hated them when I was a kid. I refuse to do them on command. if I ever get the desire to do them I will let someone know. mg


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Songs with actions: An annoying fad?
From: Bill D
Date: 19 Aug 07 - 06:28 PM

"All God's Critters Got a Place in the Choir"

'nuff said...and done. Nevermore.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Songs with actions: An annoying fad?
From: SINSULL
Date: 19 Aug 07 - 06:34 PM

"The Stars At Night" - another one I got all wrong. Joe Hickerson did one at his House Concert that I also got all wrong. People used to shudder when I showed up for folk dancing class - no coordination. But I do laugh at myself.

And if I am really uncomfortable I don't join in.

I can see Deb's point. It does get people in a more "singing mindset". Although that is rarely required at local song circles in Maine.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Songs with actions: An annoying fad?
From: Giant Folk Eyeball (inactive)
Date: 19 Aug 07 - 06:47 PM

Generally it should be avoided like the plague. However, honourable exceptions have to be made for the godlike genuis of Rolf Harris and the USA's greatest living writer of children's songs for adults, Jonathan Richman. I remember, years ago, standing in an audience of grown ups all pretending to be little aeroplanes at one of his gigs. I bet very few of them - me included - would have dreamed of doing it if it had been anyone but Jonathan.

Meanwhile, here come the martian martians...

Cheers

Nigel


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Songs with actions: An annoying fad?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 19 Aug 07 - 07:08 PM

I wouldn't describe Shimrod and Co's attitude as one of being killjoys. Just as being rather pompous maybe...

Of course with some songs the signing has the intention of reminding us of the fact that there are among us people who rely on sign language as their means of communication. Gestures of inclusivity like that seem to me an excellent development.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Songs with actions: An annoying fad?
From: Rowan
Date: 19 Aug 07 - 07:13 PM

"Horses for courses" comes to mind.

Although Scouts and Guides have been doing it for yonks I suspect a quite different cohort picked up the habit (in Oz) at Rocky Horror Show performances and, later on, at screenings of the film Blues Brothers. In both of these [regularly repeated] venues there was a lot of what must be called 'chorus' activity which was quite inventive and I suspect some of the frequently-repeated items in the folk scene just begged for similar treatment. When I first visited the Top End Folk Club 20-odd years ago I was surprised to see the songs that attracted this group activity as I'd not seen any similar treatments 'down south' at all. Unless you count Judy Small's Auslan translator; those performances of active singing were definitely well received.

Cheers, Rowan


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Songs with actions: An annoying fad?
From: DebC
Date: 19 Aug 07 - 08:33 PM

Well, Mary, if you got "Stars" wrong, I certainly didn't notice. I just want folks to have fun.

Deb
www.DebraCowan.com


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Songs with actions: An annoying fad?
From: GUEST,Art Thieme
Date: 19 Aug 07 - 09:11 PM

The hand and body gestures we used to do at the frat house while we were singing that old chestnut sing-along Roll Your Leg Over The Man In The Moon were simply WONDERFUL!!

Also, on the song "Waltzing With Bears"---the accompanying pantomime allowed the watchers to participate in the actual coming-of-age initiation ritual of stalking and killing, skinning and ultimately dismembering an actual surrogate bear. After the gig there was a wonderful to watch scrum of sorts to determine who amongst the throng got to take the stinking pelt home...

The surrogate bear was only identified several days (or weeks) later when, finally, the wife of the guy missed her husband because the lawn needed cutting yet again.

This'd make a wonderful American Life bprogram on NPR for Ira Glass, dontcha think???

Art Thieme


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Songs with actions: An annoying fad?
From: Effsee
Date: 19 Aug 07 - 09:26 PM

I am reminded of this:- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w8SETO8nrL8   
and Ray Fisher's "I am a miller tae my trade".


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Songs with actions: An annoying fad?
From: Rapparee
Date: 19 Aug 07 - 09:36 PM

Shucks, Art. You shoulda been there when we did "Bang Away Lulu."


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Songs with actions: An annoying fad?
From: SINSULL
Date: 19 Aug 07 - 09:44 PM

I had fun, Deb. By the way I do a mean "Teapot" with the singer forgetting the word spout and declaring she is a sugar bowl - both hands on hips.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Songs with actions: An annoying fad?
From: Sorcha
Date: 19 Aug 07 - 10:06 PM

Well, IMO, Seamus K is pretty damn funny and involves the audience when he does the dreaded Unicorn Song and I Am a Music Man (and I can play....) He manages to get the 'adults' involved!


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Songs with actions: An annoying fad?
From: Rapparee
Date: 19 Aug 07 - 10:14 PM

True story:

I was at a Conference of the Public Library Association and the keynote speaker was a conductor of classical music. To make a long story short, he managed to get about 5,000 public librarians singing the choral part to Beethoven's Ninth Symphony in German. Together.

THAT was impressive!


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Songs with actions: An annoying fad?
From: Joe Offer
Date: 19 Aug 07 - 10:45 PM

As some of you may know, I come from the Wisconsin Camp Song Tradition, so people expect me to do action songs - and generally, I hate them. I suppose part of the reason for that is that I'm hopelessly uncoordinated, so doing hand motions is an embarrassment.

My sister was a Girl Scout camp counselor in Wisconsin, and she does all sorts of hand motion songs. Drives me frickin' crazy.

I have four motion songs in my repertoire, "The Grand Old Duke of York," the "Hokey Pokey," "If You're Happy and You Know It," and a "toody-toddy" version of "Singin' in the Rain" that you have to see to understand. Note that all these involve body motions rather than hand motions - it's my small-muscle motions that are hopelessly uncoordinated. I can get the body motions down pretty well. Yes, I do these songs with adult groups, too. I figure if we expect kids to embarrass themselves with such songs, then we should also embarrass ourselves at times. And maybe a little embarrassment is good for the soul.

But I think ONE motion song is more than enough for an evening.

-Joe-

But hey, I'm from Milwaukee, so of course I do the Chicken Dance any time I can....


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Songs with actions: An annoying fad?
From: Maryrrf
Date: 19 Aug 07 - 11:26 PM

It's a matter of personal taste, but I'm with Shimrod on ths one. I don't like "motion" songs and cringe inwardly until they are over if I'm in the audience. I sometimes have to do the unicorn song when I'm gigging in a pub and it is requested, but I refuse to show people the motions (most of them already seem to know them anyway). I realize that some people enjoy it but it doesn't float my boat.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Songs with actions: An annoying fad?
From: GUEST,Bruce Michael Baillie
Date: 20 Aug 07 - 12:39 AM

...Believe me shimrod YOU ARE NOT ALONE! I even hate those psychotically cheerful bastards who decide that the entire evenings entertainment will be spoiled if I don't join in the chorus to their song! I mean if I want to sing, I'll sing! if I don't then that's up to ME, It's MY choice! And If I decide I don't want to join in a chorus then the last thing I want is some annoying twat up front with a guitar trying his/her best to belittle me with innane comments and pointed remarks!

...So there!


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Songs with actions: An annoying fad?
From: katlaughing
Date: 20 Aug 07 - 12:51 AM

What a bunch of stuffy ol' folkies.**BG** It's good to just let go and forget you're an adult, sometimes, imo. And, I'm not saying just because I've got a toddler grandson around all of the time. I've always enjoyed joining in.

Micca, over here, I only know Swing Low as a very reverent, slow gospel which someone sang every year at the school talent shows. I cannot imagine the hand gestures you speak of!Do tell!

I would suspect, as has been discussed before in some thread or another, a lot of audiences in the US are uncomfortable about this subject because we, as a nation, have forgotten it is okay for regular folks to sing, to participate, and not just watch. I think it's one more symptom of many causes...tv, less music programs in schools, nasty teachers telling a kid they can't sing, adults growing up hearing such nonsense. What joy then to coax them out of that tyrant-imposed shell and show they can sing, or clap along, or wave their hands in the air, etc.

Art! Yes, that'd be a GREAT show. Why don't you write to him and suggest it with YOU as a guest!

katactinglikeakid!


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Songs with actions: An annoying fad?
From: Genie
Date: 20 Aug 07 - 01:04 AM

Maybe I'm in the minority, but I find this "issue" to be a solution without a problem.   Just about the only time I ever use, am asked to use, or find my audience using gestures to illustrate or accompany songs is when there are children in the audience (e.g,, "The Unicorn") or I'm doing programs for, say, an Alzheimer's residence (where the best way to get participation is to do songs from people's childhood, e.g., "She'll Be Comin' 'Round The Mountain).

One exception to that rule, for me, is one that's more about sound effects than gestures.   I really don't find Tom Paxton's song "The Marvelous Toy" very much fun or all that entertaining if you just sing it straight ("It went zip when it moved and pop when it stopped and whirr when it stood still ... ") without the sound effects (e.g., a funny-sounding "pop" or "pfflllbbbt" and a real whirring SOUND -- instead of the WORDS "pop" and "whirr").   I also find that sort of acting out the kid in the song "makes" the song. At least I find my audiences -- of whatever age -- enjoy that song much more if I "camp it up" than if I just sing it "straight."

Similarly, I often do "Doggie In The Window" as a "bark-along song" at some of my assisted-living and memory care residents, and it's a great one for getting people to participate, laugh, etc. But I don't do it for "higher functioning" groups, such as the fregular folk crowd, pub audiences, or independent living facilities.

The point is, if the occasion calls for silliness, setting your "grown-up" status aside for a few moments, or reaching out to children (or "the child within"), a song with gestures or sound effects may work quite well.   Usually, though, in an "adults only" setting, I neither relish nor perform such songs.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Songs with actions: An annoying fad?
From: Genie
Date: 20 Aug 07 - 01:06 AM

Clarification: I just plain don't sing a song like "Doggie In the Window" unless I'm singing for children or those who, for one reason or another, want/need to "recapture their childhood."


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Songs with actions: An annoying fad?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 20 Aug 07 - 02:57 AM

Swing (arms swung as cradle, chest high)
Low (ditto, lower)
Sweet (motion as drawing long hair from lips)
Chariot (hands as if driving horse drawn cart furiously)
Coming (motion as if masturbating well endowed male)
For (Four fingers in air)
To (Two fingers, back of hand outwards - NB in UK this indicates "fuck off")
Carry (cradle, chest high)
Me (point to self)
Home (form pentroof with hands)

I (point to self)
Looked (hand screening eyes from sun, peering)
Over Jordan (rippling motions with fingers to indicate water)
And what (draw question mark in air, or scratch head in puzzlement)
Did I (indicate self)
See (peering)

Coming (etc)

A band (play imaginary trombone)
of Angels (bend arms tight and flap like chicken wings)
Comin (as before)
After Me (indicate self)

After that I forget the words.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Songs with actions: An annoying fad?
From: Ebbie
Date: 20 Aug 07 - 03:14 AM

Wow!


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Songs with actions: An annoying fad?
From: Liz the Squeak
Date: 20 Aug 07 - 03:28 AM

There's a time and place for everything... do not attempt the above actions whilst in church. Not unless you want to do a LOT of explaining to the congregation afterwards and CPR on the elderly organist.

LTS


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Songs with actions: An annoying fad?
From: GUEST,micca
Date: 20 Aug 07 - 04:27 AM

Richard, it takes on a complete new dimension when there are 20 or 30 people all doing the "actions" simultaneously,(this is sometimes referred to as the "deaf and dumb chorale society) except for a coupla people who are a gesture behind the rest,(when asked why they replied "we are doing the harmonies"!!!)
see if you can imagine how thiis is done as "cod sign language" I have given some clues.
Eye must go and leaf you Nancy, your the girl that eye a door


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Songs with actions: An annoying fad?
From: Megan L
Date: 20 Aug 07 - 04:47 AM

Liz what an auld fuddy duddy ye are hen :p wan o oor bairns yesterday taught an action song(Strict join in if you want policy) amid much hilarity it ended with almost everyone well those who werent collapsed in a heep laughing doing the hand jive.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Songs with actions: An annoying fad?
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 20 Aug 07 - 05:38 AM

I once heard/saw someone sing a 20 verse ballad with actions. No-one in the audience joined in but just glared at the singer (which, in my opinion, she richly deserved!). One verse went something like this:

"Hey Earl Brand I see (shade eyes with fingers of right hand) your heart's blood (clap hands to left breast)

Hey lilly, ho lilly etc.

'Tis only the glint (hold hands above head and open and close fingers)
O my scarlet hood (make hooding motion with hands over head)

In the brave nights etc. etc."

And so on for verse after verse.

Words failed me then and fail me now ...


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Songs with actions: An annoying fad?
From: s&r
Date: 20 Aug 07 - 06:11 AM

Couldn't agree more

Stu


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Songs with actions: An annoying fad?
From: lady penelope
Date: 20 Aug 07 - 08:13 AM

FYI The above animation was done by a 9 or 10 year old boy.

Anyone who attempts to do actions to a twenty verse ballad, frankly deserves whatever they get. But having a giggle with an occasional song, especially if it's one that seems to lend itself to such silliness, is harmless.

I agree that you can have too many, and it really does depend on what kind of gig or session you're in, as to whether it's appropriate at all.

But any style of song could be subject to the same predjudice. At some sessions you swear you're gonna wring the neck of the next singer who does a shanty/border ballad/acapella pop number/spinning song/whatever you hate people murdering..... it's all subjective.

If you go to the gigs of artists who are known to indulge in audience participation, then really it's up to you. Why should the artist change their set just to please one individual, when in general they get a good response?

On the whole, folk music is generally seen as music that tends to invite participation. There are obvious individual circumstances when this is not the case, but most things with a chorus are seen as an invitation to join in. If you object to being invited to join in, maybe you're in the wrong place?

Just a thought....


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Songs with actions: An annoying fad?
From: 8_Pints
Date: 20 Aug 07 - 08:17 AM

Brilliant Stu!

Bob


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Songs with actions: An annoying fad?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 20 Aug 07 - 08:57 AM

Hell, I thought Spiers and Boden were better than that....


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Songs with actions: An annoying fad?
From: Mr Happy
Date: 20 Aug 07 - 09:01 AM

Sounds to me like you folks need to chill & loosen up a bit - have some FUN!!

I don't get it why lots of you say you feel embarrassed? - why?

If you're some place to enjoy yourself - then go ahead!

The likes of the Spinners years ago & Keith Donnelly these days'd've died the death on stage if all'd been too 'embarrassed' to join in.

Life's too short not to act daft sometimes!


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Songs with actions: An annoying fad?
From: GUEST,Russ
Date: 20 Aug 07 - 09:14 AM

Don't care for the sort of action songs castigated here.

BUT, everybody in the audience loved it when a real square dance caller called a short seated square dance.

Russ (Permanent GUEST and old fart)


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Songs with actions: An annoying fad?
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 20 Aug 07 - 09:19 AM

Mr Happy,

The key word is "sometimes". This 'songs with actions' thing is becoming far to frequent for my liking, and I also believe that it is a symptom of a general 'dumbing down' in folk clubs.

Oh yes, and I reserve the right to feel embarrassed whenever I like!


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Songs with actions: An annoying fad?
From: Liz the Squeak
Date: 20 Aug 07 - 09:33 AM

It's actually quite a skill making the finger in cheek 'pop' sound at the right time in the verse (the ring from her finger she instantly drew), without it sounding like a popgun version of the 1812 Overture.

Very hard to do with long fingernails or a mouth full of beer.

LTS


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Songs with actions: An annoying fad?
From: Mr Happy
Date: 20 Aug 07 - 09:38 AM

..........so you can only be demonstrative on-line?


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Songs with actions: An annoying fad?
From: SINSULL
Date: 20 Aug 07 - 09:39 AM

The Unicorn Song? How does that work?


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Songs with actions: An annoying fad?
From: Rapparee
Date: 20 Aug 07 - 09:49 AM

I dunno, Liz. Both could be interesting and add a whole new dimension to a song.

But I'd rather just sing along (e.g., the chorus to "Barrett's Privateers") than do some sort of action. Unless it involves drinking, of course, and the singer buys the beer.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Songs with actions: An annoying fad?
From: Mr Happy
Date: 20 Aug 07 - 10:14 AM

I also recall many years ago the Clancy Bros indulging in the 'annoying fad' of encouraging audience participation.

I guess it was more satisfying for them to play to live people rather than qa lot of dummies.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Songs with actions: An annoying fad?
From: katlaughing
Date: 20 Aug 07 - 10:48 AM

Sins, remember the Black Adder skit with the Mother Superior, was it(?), and her Unicorn...**bg**:

"Mother: Alas, the corruption of the world...

Sara: Yes, alas, Mother Superior.

Mother: I'm tired and weary. You may leave me now.

Sara: Very well.

Mother: Alas...

Sara: So presumably you won't be needing the unicorn tonight.

Mother: No, not tonight, Sara."

Stu, thanks for the link..hillarious!


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Songs with actions: An annoying fad?
From: Tattie Bogle
Date: 20 Aug 07 - 11:31 AM

Well I just loved the "action" version of "Twa Recruiting Sergeants" chorus as seen at Keith Festival this year.
Over the mountains (big swoop up and down forwards with both hands) and over the main (several gentler swoops of both hands)
Through Gibraltar (like first part of breast-stroke swimming)
Tae France (left hand indicate left) and Spain (right hand indicate right, as air stewards indicating emergency exits on plane)
Wi' a feather tae yer bunnet (2 fingers up behind R ear)
And the kilt aboon yer knee (double-handed lifting movement as if lifting kilt in front)
Enlist ma bonnie laddie and come awa' wi' me (pretend to march awa' while sitting)
And then there's "Wild mountain Thyme".........!
TB


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Songs with actions: An annoying fad?
From: GUEST
Date: 20 Aug 07 - 12:07 PM

You should have been with me yesterday, when I had 80 fine professional educators all dancing and waving their arms and singing along at the top of their lungs to the lively old spiritual "Over My Head"! Couple of lawyers in the bunch as well.;~)


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Songs with actions: An annoying fad?
From: HouseCat
Date: 20 Aug 07 - 12:08 PM

Woops, GUEST was me, lost my cookie.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Songs with actions: An annoying fad?
From: Phil Cooper
Date: 20 Aug 07 - 12:09 PM

I'm all in favor of audience participation on chorus songs. I, too, feel uncomfortable as an audience member if the performer is trying to cajole, ridicule, or coerce my participation.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Songs with actions: An annoying fad?
From: lady penelope
Date: 20 Aug 07 - 12:21 PM

I think to a large extent performers (be it at a gig or session) should be able to guage how well this kind of participation will go down, but there are always occasions when even the best get it completely wrong.

Any performer ridiculing the invited participation of an audience member deserves a smack in the mouth. That's just plain rude.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Songs with actions: An annoying fad?
From: The Sandman
Date: 20 Aug 07 - 12:47 PM

I am unaware of this new craze.
I have been on tour in England twice in the last year,and have been fortunate to avoid it,Though I had lots of good chorus participation,particuarly at the Wilsons Folk club,and at liverpool folk club.
does it mean that if I were singing the Three Butchers/Sportsmen,
Women in the audience have to take their clothes off.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Songs with actions: An annoying fad?
From: Liz the Squeak
Date: 20 Aug 07 - 01:40 PM

Only if the men suit the actions to 'Bonny Black Hare'...

LTS


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Songs with actions: An annoying fad?
From: Joe Offer
Date: 20 Aug 07 - 01:59 PM

I think it would be an overstatement to call it a "craze," Dick. If I see an action song once every five evenings of music, I'd be surprised. Shimrod, how often does this happen? I'd certainly be annoyed if there were two or three action songs every song session or concert I attended, but that isn't the case.

In Northern California, Ed Silberman does the "Swing Low, Sweet Chariot" song - so nobody else does. I've seen it a couple of times. That's enough. The novelty of such songs wears off quickly. I think that goes for any novelty song - if you've sung it for the same audience twice, that may be too often.
So, I keep looking for new audiences for "The Key of R."

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Songs with actions: An annoying fad?
From: M.Ted
Date: 20 Aug 07 - 02:10 PM

I will clap, gesture, wave, or sing along with nearly anything if we are all having fun. However, I don't like it when anyone tries to coerce any kind of response, from singing to gestures, to laughter, or applause(which is usually the intent of the other things), and I simply don't respond.

My non-responsiveness can make me a bit of a pariah.

Once, at a banquet, I was seated at the same table as the stand-up performer. After the meal, he did twenty minutes of unfunny material, and he telegraphed the punch lines with fervent mugging and hand gestures. I did not laugh. Afterwards, he refused to return to the table until I had been moved.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Songs with actions: An annoying fad?
From: GUEST,Art Thieme
Date: 20 Aug 07 - 02:21 PM

A thousand bottles of beer on the wall,
A thousand bottles of beer...

The fun comes when you get down into negative territory:

Minus one bottle of beer on the wall,
Minus one bottle of beer,
If none of those bottles should happen to fall,
Minus ONE bottles of beer on the wall...

...and on and on (and on and on)... OVER AND OVER AND OVER!

The gestures start when everyone gives the perpetrator the finger!

And then they leave the poor bastard all alone to continue with his dumb compulsion!!

Art


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Songs with actions: An annoying fad?
From: Rapparee
Date: 20 Aug 07 - 03:05 PM

Isn't throwing rotten fruits and things also audience participation?

Likewise ladies throwing "unmentionables" on stage?

I'm reminded of the story of the theatre group in the small town Out West. The leading lady was taken ill and her replacement was one of the local ladies of the evening.

At one point in the mellerdramar the villain shoots the lady and then drops the pistol, and asks, "Oh, what have I done?"

At which point a local cowboy stood up and replied, "You've just shot the best whore in Texas, that's what!"

I must admit that at times I've been sorely tempted....


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Songs with actions: An annoying fad?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 20 Aug 07 - 03:12 PM

Another good reason for gun control


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Songs with actions: An annoying fad?
From: katlaughing
Date: 20 Aug 07 - 04:30 PM

LOL, Art & Rapaire. And, thanks to Richard for the low down on Sing Low!

Me? I am going to join my Morgan at his class this Friday and have at it with the kids in teaching them, while touching the mentioned body-parts

Toe-Knee Chest-nut
Nose Eye love you,
Toe-knee nose,
Toe-knee chest-nut
Nose Eye love you
That's what toe-knee nose.

You don't have to join in if ya don't wanna!


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Songs with actions: An annoying fad?
From: Genie
Date: 20 Aug 07 - 04:49 PM

Kat, your post reminds me of a silly "action song" my mother taught me when I was little:

The "straight" words would be;

Oh, Chester, have you heard about Harry,
Just got back from the Army.
I hear he knows how to wear a rose,
Hip, hip! Hooray for the Army.

But, with the rather obvious gestures (mostly pointing to various body parts), it goes like this:
Oh, CHESTer, have you EARed about HAIRry,
CHEST got BACK from the ARM-ME,
EYE EAR 'e NOSE how to WEAR A ROSE,*
HIP, HIP, hooray for the ARM-ME.

*Pat oneself where a lapel would be


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Songs with actions: An annoying fad?
From: katlaughing
Date: 20 Aug 07 - 04:51 PM

LOL! I'll have to try that with Morgan, Genie. Thanks!


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Songs with actions: An annoying fad?
From: Genie
Date: 20 Aug 07 - 05:05 PM

Sinsull, elementary-school kids (at least out here in Oregon and Washington) do a series of hand gestures "acting out" each animal named in the "green alligators and long-necked geese, humpty-back camels ..." chorus.   I don't recall if they use gestures on the verses as well.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Songs with actions: An annoying fad?
From: SINSULL
Date: 20 Aug 07 - 05:11 PM

Oh good lord - just shoot me! Thanks genie.

I am amazed at the instant attention this thread has earned. I guess people really feel strongly on both sides. As long as I don't get asked to lead (totally traumatized at being commanded to lead a CHEER at insurance sales training), I am while I flail around confused. Of course it could be related to the amount of wine I have consumed.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Songs with actions: An annoying fad?
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 20 Aug 07 - 05:16 PM

Well, I have a fond recollection of the late Stan Hugill "acting out" while he sang "A-Roving" with the (perhaps) unwilling assistance of a young lady seated next to him on stage.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Songs with actions: An annoying fad?
From: katlaughing
Date: 20 Aug 07 - 06:58 PM

I think this could apply as well to singing:

"Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up."

-Pablo Picasso


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Songs with actions: An annoying fad?
From: Genie
Date: 21 Aug 07 - 02:38 AM

Good one, that, Kat.

Of course, I confess that after a long session of sitting (listening to singers or even singing along), I can be quite refreshed by a stirring round of "The Noble Duke Of York," complete with all its "When they're up they're up, and when they're down they're down, and when they're only halfway up they're neither up nor down" excercises!

That'll keep me awake for at least another half hour!

*g*


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Songs with actions: An annoying fad?
From: GUEST,Jim Carroll
Date: 21 Aug 07 - 02:43 AM

"I once heard/saw someone sing a 20 verse ballad with actions. No-one in the audience joined in but just glared at the singer (which, in my opinion, she richly deserved!)".
It seems all my fears about what's happening in the clubs are fully justified. I think it's called 'regression'.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Songs with actions: An annoying fad?
From: manitas_at_work
Date: 21 Aug 07 - 04:01 AM

I can remember doing this with the Middle Bar Singers in Sidmouth about 20 years ago so I think the phrase 'new craze' is a bit OTT.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Songs with actions: An annoying fad?
From: The Sandman
Date: 21 Aug 07 - 07:02 AM

As a professional singer and musician ,I work hard at my music and take it seriously.
I dont believe actions are necessary at folk clubs and festival concerts.
On one occasion in a rowdy pub at a maritime festival,I used actions,to get a non folky element on my side,it worked [no performer likes to die a death].
so horses for courses,
If other people want to use actions,and get fun and enjoy themselves doing this while performing a song,who am I to stop them..Dick Miles


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Songs with actions: An annoying fad?
From: Silver Slug
Date: 21 Aug 07 - 08:53 AM

I feel the same way about performers who use actions to hide their shortcomings as I do about the Mexican Wave at cricket grounds. I want to shoot the perpetrators for ruining my day with their daft antics.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Songs with actions: An annoying fad?
From: Ruth Archer
Date: 21 Aug 07 - 09:06 AM

when I was in a pub "Irish" band in NJ, many moons ago, I made up some silly gestures to help us get through The Fields of Athenry. As you're inevitably going to get asked to sing it, I reasoned, you might as well subvert its onverblown sentimentality. Soon everyone in the pub where we played knew the gestures to do in the chorus, and it went down a treat.

Which was fine till I sang it at a Republican pub in Dublin, with my mates doing the gestures. The locals didn't find it so funny, somehow...


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Songs with actions: An annoying fad?
From: Midchuck
Date: 21 Aug 07 - 09:57 AM

The idea that "The Unicorn" (a brilliant children's song written by an American Jew) is an Irish song for adults is bad enough. The gestures the audience is supposed to make, make it worse.

Once, in a bar, when the evening was well along and so was I, I came up with a way to deal with the bands who do "The Wild Rover," and want you to clap, you know...

And it's no, nay never...

(clap, clap, clap, clap)

No, nay, never, no more...

(clap, clap)

Will I play the Wild Rover...

(clap)

No, never, no more.


I unilaterally modified the chorus to a call-and-response, to wit:

And it's no, nay never...

F*** ALL YOU GUYS!

No, nay, never, no more...

F*** YOU!

Will I play the Wild Rover...

F***!

No, never, no more.


I was younger then, and a wee bit drunk. But it was very satisfying at the time.

Peter


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Songs with actions: An annoying fad?
From: GUEST,Crazy Man Michael
Date: 21 Aug 07 - 12:50 PM

Growing older is mandatory, growing up is optional
a wonderful example of adults having a really great childish time is to be found on Steeleye Span's Now We Are Six record

The St. Eleye Primary School Junior Choir, vocals on Now We Are Six and Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star.

as most now know the "Junior Choir" was infact Steeleye Span themselves....


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Songs with actions: An annoying fad?
From: MMario
Date: 21 Aug 07 - 01:29 PM

I get annoyed sometimes at motions and or vocal additions to various songs - especially when harrassed and heckled to join in...

I prefer 'Wild Rover' without the clapping or the additional comments some add to the chorus; I prefer 'Holy Ground' without the shouted 'Fine Girl you are'; I definatively prefer "what do you do with a drunken sailor" without the audience doing 'the wave' during the chorus. 'Rolling home' I can do without the hand gestures - though occassionaly it is fun to watch people attempt them.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Songs with actions: An annoying fad?
From: GUEST,Crazy Man Michael
Date: 21 Aug 07 - 03:13 PM

"totally traumatized at being commanded to lead a CHEER at insurance sales training"

sung to the tune of The Seven Bold Insurance Adjusters


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Songs with actions: An annoying fad?
From: Liz the Squeak
Date: 22 Aug 07 - 01:34 AM

There's having fun and there's being childish... the two are different.

Doing the actions with a group of people who do them because they've always done them gets a bit wearing after a while. It's good to get away from them, although after a few pints of ginger beer shandy, it's difficult - they're like stray cats... buy 'em one beer and they're yours for life.

Anyway... doing them because the group has always done them is not a reason for doing them. Sometimes it's good to just sit back and listen to the song for what it is, rather than the opportunity to make grossly obscene hand gestures in a public place and get away with it. When I participate in the actions for 'Swing Low', I use the Bowdlerised version - indicating 'come here' instead of the more usual masturbatory gesticulations - although that is dependant on how much beer I've had and whether I'm in church or not.

As for being cajoled by the performer into gesticulations and hand clapping - I don't do it. If you ever take me to a happy clappy Pentecostal-style church where everyone is required to raise their hands and leap about, I'll be the one sitting quietly and contemplating. I'll clap if I want to, and I'll gesticulate with the best of 'em, but only on my terms.

Changing tack somewhat - Roy Bailey performs a song 'May there always be sunshine' which is nigh impossible to do without actions - but they're the standard Sign Language actions - a pretty little song that adults and children alike can do, and one with real meaning to the actions. He ends up singing it in silence, just the guitar and several hundred people signing it back to him.

LTS


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Songs with actions: An annoying fad?
From: Trevor
Date: 22 Aug 07 - 08:50 AM

Well for my part, I really enjoyed Keith Donnelly's "How I need you baby...." at a festival and I've shamelessly nicked it. The point is, it's got to be at the right time, with the right audience. Get it wrong and you come across as a prat, and the audience will use gestures of their own design.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Songs with actions: An annoying fad?
From: Rapparee
Date: 22 Aug 07 - 09:27 AM

The next time I sing "Wild Rover" and I come to the line "No never no more" I'm going to shut up and stop singing. Maybe I'll change "play" to "sing."


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Songs with actions: An annoying fad?
From: moongoddess
Date: 22 Aug 07 - 06:47 PM

I have recently returned from Vocal Week at Augusta where I learned a neat audience participation song for kids and adults.

Pizza Hut (form the shape of a house with your hands in front of you)
Pizza Hut ( make house)
Kentucky Fried Chicken (put your hands under your armpits and flap your arms)
And a Pizza Hut (make house)
MacDonald's (form two big arches, one with each hand, meeting in the middle of your body)
MacDonald's (make arches)
Kentucky Fried Chicken (flap arms)
And a Pizza Hut. (make house)

I think audience participation songs are neat. At least I get some exercise between drafts.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Songs with actions: An annoying fad?
From: GUEST
Date: 22 Aug 07 - 07:10 PM

I'm with Shimrod. Performers pushing action songs is right up there with performers trying to turn outdated pop music into folk songs.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Songs with actions: An annoying fad?
From: Liz the Squeak
Date: 22 Aug 07 - 07:25 PM

There's a folkie version of the Pizza hut song...

A mandolin, a mandolin (clutch imaginary mandolin to chest and play)
A little penny whistle (play imaginary penny whistle)
and a mandolin (clutch imaginary mandolin to chest and play)
A banjo, a banjo (stamp foot vigorously on ground as if stomping out a fire and wave fist energetically)
A little penny whistle and a mandolin

LTS


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Songs with actions: An annoying fad?
From: moongoddess
Date: 22 Aug 07 - 08:08 PM

Thanks, Liz...I like your song, too, especially the part about the banjo. I have so many friends that are banjo players that I will be able to sing this to them until the cows come home.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Songs with actions: An annoying fad?
From: Rapparee
Date: 22 Aug 07 - 08:56 PM

I don't think anything should be forced. If the audience wants to sing, they'll sing -- especially if the performer has given them a good time already and they're "into" the thing.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Songs with actions: An annoying fad?
From: Giant Folk Eyeball (inactive)
Date: 23 Aug 07 - 03:30 AM

Re the Pizza Hut/KFC/McDonalds song a few posts up: is this here Vocal Week at Augusta sponsored by 'The Guild of Purveyors of Crap Food of America'?

Or maybe childhood obesity isn't the same problem in the USA as it is here in Britain...

Cheers

Nigel


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Songs with actions: An annoying fad?
From: stallion
Date: 23 Aug 07 - 05:02 AM

I am intrigued by LtS's obscene actions to "Swing Low", When everyone is singing "Coming for to carry me home" Do you sing YES YES YES (in harmony of course)

now where did I put me mac


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Songs with actions: An annoying fad?
From: Betsy
Date: 23 Aug 07 - 05:32 AM

There's a time and a place for everything.
I wouldn't clap or whatever during someone singing the Wild Rover .
Jeez, I clapped and banged over 40 years ago when it was relatively unknown . Time and circumstance Eh ?


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Songs with actions: An annoying fad?
From: Leadfingers
Date: 23 Aug 07 - 07:58 AM

Whats the correct action for a 100th post ??


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Songs with actions: An annoying fad?
From: Betsy
Date: 23 Aug 07 - 08:41 AM

Can the 100th be classed as AN ANNOYING FAD ? - Point in case, it certainly seems to have kept you happy Leadfingers - you must have been lying in wait for my message 99 !!
Cheers

Betsy


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Songs with actions: An annoying fad?
From: RamblinStu
Date: 23 Aug 07 - 08:54 AM

A great song with actions to either play, or be in the audience, is the Australian classic "Gum trees"
A quantity of lubricating juice is sometimes required to find the more subtle elements of the actions but well worth the effort of learning

Childish? Naar
Fun? Certainly

Seek and find (I know it's a bit old know, but it is folk)


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Songs with actions: An annoying fad?
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 23 Aug 07 - 02:30 PM

As long as we're all having fun - that's all that matters ... isn't it?

Trouble is, try as I might, I'm NOT having fun!


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Songs with actions: An annoying fad?
From: GUEST
Date: 18 Jan 20 - 05:44 AM

What about 'Daphne Cochrane'- she's the one wha pits the lids on Robertson's marmalade...

accompanied by appropriate actions- it's folk music, and if the folk can't participate, where are we?


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Songs with actions: An annoying fad?
From: GUEST,Gerry
Date: 20 Jan 20 - 03:15 PM

My Hat, It Has Three Corners
action song performed by Gondwana Voices, Australia’s national choir for treble singers aged 10-17.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Songs with actions: An annoying fad?
From: The Sandman
Date: 20 Jan 20 - 04:44 PM

so sad , many of the contributors have pssed on,


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Songs with actions: An annoying fad?
From: EBarnacle
Date: 20 Jan 20 - 04:52 PM

Macintyre
Alice, who the fuck is Alice?
When the audience wants to participate, let them.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Songs with actions: An annoying fad?
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 20 Jan 20 - 04:58 PM

Gesture in entertainment, particularly singing, has a long tradition behind it. 19th century comics and clowns like Grimaldi and Cowell made a living out of it. Most of the actual songs they sang were pretty dull things, but they made them into highly popular entertainment, by their antics and gestures, grimaces etc.

However coercing the audience into doing actions is somewhat naff, and should be confined to young children. it reminds me too much of all the theatrics in some church congregations.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Songs with actions: An annoying fad?
From: GUEST,Observer
Date: 20 Jan 20 - 05:07 PM

Couldn't agree more Steve G.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Songs with actions: An annoying fad?
From: GUEST,Gallus Moll
Date: 20 Jan 20 - 05:07 PM

Many years ago, can't remember if at Girvan or Edinburgh or where - a folk festival session somewhere - a woman who by day is a teacher of hearing impaired youngsters, taught us all how to SIGN The Lampton Worm. My recollection is hazy, perhaps half signed while half sang? Then swapped over..? It was great fun, everyone really enjoyed the experience! The ultimate action and communication song.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Songs with actions: An annoying fad?
From: Jack Campin
Date: 20 Jan 20 - 05:40 PM

Anybody got the actions for "The Dark Island"?


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Songs with actions: An annoying fad?
From: GUEST,jim bainbridge
Date: 21 Jan 20 - 05:14 AM

Don't think Ian MCLachlan was able to initiate actions to the tune while playing the accordion...

I'm wee aware of old Davy Stewart's version of 'I am a miller tae my trade' while simulating the sound of the mill wheel by using his hand & elbow to simulate the sound of the mill wheel- can't remember how he did it, or I might have a go sometime- very effective & entertaining- from a source singer & certainly not an 'annoying fad'.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Songs with actions: An annoying fad?
From: Jack Campin
Date: 21 Jan 20 - 05:45 AM

I think the Dark Island actions come from the Mod choral scene. The Lothian Gaelic Choir can do them in unison.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Songs with actions: An annoying fad?
From: GUEST,jim bainbridge
Date: 21 Jan 20 - 08:42 AM

I haven't seen these actions- I thought it was a joke! Is it on youtube?


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Songs with actions: An annoying fad?
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 21 Jan 20 - 08:51 AM

Hi Jim,
Yes I never saw, Davy, do it but many times saw Ray Fisher do her interpretation. On the Blaxhall Ship video is a superb rendition of the Cobbler with all the actions, but the big point of difference here is the performer including actions (I've done it myself) and coercing the audience into taking part.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Songs with actions: An annoying fad?
From: GUEST,jim bainbridge
Date: 21 Jan 20 - 01:29 PM

Yes Steve, I get the point about coercion- never a good idea with free- spirited folkies?

I did find Ray on Youtube doing it, but sound only- was it as Davy did it when you saw her? or was it another method?


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Songs with actions: An annoying fad?
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 21 Jan 20 - 02:11 PM

Obviously some years ago in folk clubs and as I said I don't know how Davy did it. I remember it involved mainly arm movements to represent the clacking machinery in the mill, and maybe a bit of slapping.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Songs with actions: An annoying fad?
From: GUEST,jm bainbridge
Date: 22 Jan 20 - 05:38 AM

Steve, I did see Davy doing it several times & it involved elbow & side of the hand on a hard surface- can't remember exactly how, as I said earlier.
Only version I've heard apart from the one by Davy on the 'Festival at Blairgowrie LP on Topic is the audio one I found by Ray Fisher on YouTube. There is a clattering sound, which could be a drum of some sort or Ray tapping her guitar, or did she do it a la Davy Stewart.
As you said you'd seen Ray perform it several times (I never did) I was just curious HOW she did it- or was it someone else?


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Songs with actions: An annoying fad?
From: Nigel Parsons
Date: 22 Jan 20 - 09:05 AM

Over 100 posts and no mention of "Heads, shoulders, knees and toes".
As the song goes on to mention "eyes and ears and mouth and nose" the actions definitely add to the song.
The actions are also a necessity if you sing multiple verses, as on the second verse you only come in on 'shoulders', and 'knees' in the third verse. As the number of lines sung gets fewer (and the tempo often increases) it is only by following the actions that you can keep pace with where the entries are going to be.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Songs with actions: An annoying fad?
From: GUEST,mg
Date: 22 Jan 20 - 02:24 PM

i just refuse to do them period.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Songs with actions: An annoying fad?
From: GUEST
Date: 22 Jan 20 - 02:37 PM

bit like making a protest by not standing for the national anthem/


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Songs with actions: An annoying fad?
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 22 Jan 20 - 04:17 PM

Ray used the back of her guitar resting the face of it on her lap.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Songs with actions: An annoying fad?
From: GUEST,crumbly
Date: 24 Jan 20 - 05:18 AM

I was at a gathering of singers in Scotland last year- one singer started that fine old traditional song 'Twa Recruiting Sergeants' - this was accompanied by actions from the listeners to suit the words e.g.

'Over the mountains & over the main' was accompanied by pointing both arms Upwards to a point (mountains) and a level waving motion with both arms (the main) & so on!

It maybe wouldn't be appropriate to do this for many songs, but this is a pretty cheerful song- there was no coercion, it was all spontaneous and great fun


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Songs with actions: An annoying fad?
From: robomatic
Date: 24 Jan 20 - 04:17 PM

Baby Shark doo doo doo doo doo. . .


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Songs with actions: An annoying fad?
From: GUEST,Mrr inside
Date: 25 Jan 20 - 10:14 PM

One of my nieces when very small used to call the gestures "instruments" - but these are an evolutionary holdover from before spoken language when we would have "sung" with our hands, then we developed spoken language and the gestures remained but simplified, like the telephone game.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Songs with actions: An annoying fad?
From: Joe Offer
Date: 25 Jan 20 - 10:44 PM

I wonder if this Peter Murgatroyd performance is where Ed Silberman got his hand motions for "Swing Low, Sweet Chariot":


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Songs with actions: An annoying fad?
From: GUEST,DrWord
Date: 26 Jan 20 - 03:05 PM

Re: thread title—I understand the (potential) annoyance ~ haven’t read the whole ‘07 > present thread. BUT, given music’s powerful mnemonic tentacles, it’s a grand way to teach/learn vocabulary in ASL or British Sign Language. While some lyrics are a challenge to the interpreter, other songs flow beautifully organically. Many folk appreciate the “choreography” of a well-executed interpretation. It is a specialized type of Sign Language interpreting—excuse the slight thread drift. My only suggestion: if you do use more than a “gesture” or two, try to find the ASL   Cajoling works better than coercion for audience participation:)
Yes, it’s hard to sign and play an instrument simultaneously and at the same time [redundancy courtesy Chet Atkins]
continue to play an instrument daily
Dennis [saw the back of your left hand with your right hand in manual letter W shape] = [Woody]


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Songs with actions: An annoying fad?
From: GUEST
Date: 29 Jan 20 - 05:37 AM

que?


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Songs with actions: An annoying fad?
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 29 Jan 20 - 05:53 AM

I'd do me back in these days if I tried doing the standing-up bit in the third part of Dingle Regatta, but begod I'd still try!


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Songs with actions: An annoying fad?
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 29 Jan 20 - 05:57 AM

Yep, those are the actions, Joe. I've know them since I was a student in the late sixties, learned when Imperial College rugby club invaded the Union Bar...


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Songs with actions: An annoying fad?
From: Joe Offer
Date: 29 Jan 20 - 06:03 AM

Nigel Parsons, I thought of "Head and shoulders, knees and toes" long ago, but I resisted. I see you didn't. [grin]
-Joe-


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Songs with actions: An annoying fad?
From: Jack Campin
Date: 29 Jan 20 - 07:03 AM

This is probably the grandest version of the idea ever attempted:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Inori_(Stockhausen)

video of a performance


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Songs with actions: An annoying fad?
From: Black belt caterpillar wrestler
Date: 29 Jan 20 - 07:49 AM

There seems to be a sort of person who is always urging everyone else into clapping along etc. who is convinced that everyone else finds it enjoyable. Why should it be?

I don't dance as I seem to have no coordination below the knees (can't use hiking poles as I trip over them), don't ride a bike as I can't steer and make hand signals and don't clap along as it just makes my arms and hands sore.

And where did this "fun run" thing come from.

Robin:)


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Songs with actions: An annoying fad?
From: The Sandman
Date: 30 Jan 20 - 02:34 AM

so are wegoing to have actions to the game of all fours?


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Songs with actions: An annoying fad?
From: GUEST,John from Kemsing
Date: 30 Jan 20 - 06:04 AM

"Hands, knees and Boomps-a-Daisy....." At this point the participants bumped their backsides together. Very popular activity in the Music Hall era.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Songs with actions: An annoying fad?
From: Acorn4
Date: 30 Jan 20 - 09:36 AM

I seriously think one should await the nursing home before joining in with The Birdie Song!


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Songs with actions: An annoying fad?
From: GUEST,crumbly
Date: 02 Feb 20 - 08:46 AM

All songs with actions and other methods of actually participating in folk music performances should be stamped out immediately

We can't have people actually enjoying themselves- folk music is far too important for that- I think all this joining in the chorus has to be rather suspect as well- people seem to like that too- I once saw someone smile at a folk club- disgraceful


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Songs with actions: An annoying fad?
From: GUEST,Starship
Date: 02 Feb 20 - 11:26 AM

Has anyone mentioned YMCA by the Village People?


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Songs with actions: An annoying fad?
From: Tattie Bogle
Date: 03 Feb 20 - 11:03 AM

I did find myself falling into the trap of putting actions to the chorus of a song I was singing yesterday: it was a longish, rather wordy chorus which nobody knew, so it wasn't quite sign language but a visual aid to get the words. In hindsight, I probably looked rather silly!


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