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'A Mighty Wind' on Irish TV tonight TG4

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Bonnie Shaljean 29 Dec 07 - 08:41 AM
catspaw49 29 Dec 07 - 08:45 AM
Cats 30 Dec 07 - 10:25 AM
mrmoe 30 Dec 07 - 10:32 AM
GUEST,Kiss Me Slow Slap me Quick 30 Dec 07 - 11:46 AM
Bonnie Shaljean 30 Dec 07 - 11:50 AM
Art Thieme 30 Dec 07 - 08:04 PM
GUEST,One who was there 30 Dec 07 - 08:27 PM
Art Thieme 30 Dec 07 - 09:14 PM
Big Mick 31 Dec 07 - 12:23 PM
GUEST,Kiss Me Slow Slap me Quick 31 Dec 07 - 04:12 PM
Big Al Whittle 31 Dec 07 - 04:29 PM
Don Firth 31 Dec 07 - 06:04 PM
Don Firth 31 Dec 07 - 06:06 PM
Art Thieme 31 Dec 07 - 07:19 PM
Big Mick 01 Jan 08 - 11:57 AM
Little Hawk 01 Jan 08 - 02:08 PM
Don Firth 01 Jan 08 - 04:38 PM
Little Hawk 01 Jan 08 - 05:54 PM
Art Thieme 01 Jan 08 - 09:22 PM
Little Hawk 01 Jan 08 - 10:06 PM
Don Firth 01 Jan 08 - 10:18 PM
Little Hawk 01 Jan 08 - 10:36 PM
Bonnie Shaljean 02 Jan 08 - 06:32 AM
Little Hawk 02 Jan 08 - 12:50 PM
Bonnie Shaljean 02 Jan 08 - 01:31 PM
PoppaGator 02 Jan 08 - 02:02 PM
Don Firth 02 Jan 08 - 03:05 PM
Little Hawk 02 Jan 08 - 04:22 PM
Nancy King 02 Jan 08 - 07:00 PM
Bonnie Shaljean 03 Jan 08 - 06:47 AM
Anne Lister 03 Jan 08 - 07:13 AM
Big Al Whittle 03 Jan 08 - 07:23 AM
Bonnie Shaljean 03 Jan 08 - 07:43 AM
Ian Burdon 03 Jan 08 - 08:17 AM
Big Al Whittle 03 Jan 08 - 10:04 AM
Kim C 03 Jan 08 - 10:13 AM
Bonnie Shaljean 03 Jan 08 - 10:28 AM
Ian Burdon 03 Jan 08 - 10:49 AM
Bonnie Shaljean 03 Jan 08 - 10:56 AM
Mr Happy 03 Jan 08 - 11:06 AM
Anne Lister 03 Jan 08 - 11:10 AM
Mr Happy 03 Jan 08 - 11:13 AM
Mr Happy 03 Jan 08 - 11:16 AM
Big Mick 03 Jan 08 - 11:19 AM
Little Hawk 03 Jan 08 - 11:24 AM
GUEST 03 Jan 08 - 11:58 AM
GUEST,Ian Burdon 03 Jan 08 - 11:59 AM
Little Hawk 03 Jan 08 - 03:23 PM
GUEST,Philippa 04 Jan 08 - 08:28 AM
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Subject: 'A Mighty Wind' on Irish TV tonight TG4
From: Bonnie Shaljean
Date: 29 Dec 07 - 08:41 AM

12:15 am (i.e. quarter past midnight) on the Irish-language TV channel TG4.

Their films are broadcast in the original language, which is almost a shame. Would LOVE to hear it dubbed in Irish!!


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Subject: RE: 'A Mighty Wind' on Irish TV tonight TG4
From: catspaw49
Date: 29 Dec 07 - 08:45 AM

I really have enjoyed "Mighty Wind." It shows another side to a lot of that "troupe." The latest one, "For Your Consideration" is probably my least favorite but it too kinda' grows on you.

Spaw


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Subject: RE: 'A Mighty Wind' on Irish TV tonight TG4
From: Cats
Date: 30 Dec 07 - 10:25 AM

A superb film. I eventually managed to buy a copy from somwehere quite obscure and delve into it on a regular basis now.


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Subject: RE: 'A Mighty Wind' on Irish TV tonight TG4
From: mrmoe
Date: 30 Dec 07 - 10:32 AM

....ah yes...."a mighty wind" seems to have become (to folk musicians) what "caddy shack" is to golfers!.....


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Subject: RE: 'A Mighty Wind' on Irish TV tonight TG4
From: GUEST,Kiss Me Slow Slap me Quick
Date: 30 Dec 07 - 11:46 AM

This is unmissable. Better still get the DVD and also enjoy all the extras and the TV concert in full.


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Subject: RE: 'A Mighty Wind' on Irish TV tonight TG4
From: Bonnie Shaljean
Date: 30 Dec 07 - 11:50 AM

Haven't watched it yet - saving it for later, along with the remains of the holiday wine...


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Subject: RE: 'A Mighty Wind' on Irish TV tonight TG4
From: Art Thieme
Date: 30 Dec 07 - 08:04 PM

Don't waste yer time. Not worth watching.


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Subject: RE: 'A Mighty Wind' on Irish TV tonight TG4
From: GUEST,One who was there
Date: 30 Dec 07 - 08:27 PM

Don't Miss it - it's a great film - it's funny and SO true in parts!

I've had it on DVD for some time now... and watch it over and over again, would have been better seller if they'd put a hole in the middle of the DVD though :)


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Subject: RE: 'A Mighty Wind' on Irish TV tonight TG4
From: Art Thieme
Date: 30 Dec 07 - 09:14 PM

Well, I was there too-----and thought it lame. Maybe we were watching 2 different films.
Such is life!
Art


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Subject: RE: 'A Mighty Wind' on Irish TV tonight TG4
From: Big Mick
Date: 31 Dec 07 - 12:23 PM

I'm with Art on this one. I thought it was poorly done.

Mick


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Subject: RE: 'A Mighty Wind' on Irish TV tonight TG4
From: GUEST,Kiss Me Slow Slap me Quick
Date: 31 Dec 07 - 04:12 PM

Perhaps some found it too close to the truth. Perhaps the cap fitted too well.


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Subject: RE: 'A Mighty Wind' on Irish TV tonight TG4
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 31 Dec 07 - 04:29 PM

I thought it was quite subtle.

I felt there was a lot I didn't get, because I wasn't an American of a certain age. But certainly there was stuff - a bit too close to the truth for comfort.

Travelling songs for people who hadn't been anywhere. Virtually identical groups accusing each other of being sell-outs. Stealing the other guy's thunder by doing 'his' song. Folk music agents with NO interest in folksong. Songwriters writing about being miserable. Love unreturned by another group member. The totally unsuitable rubbish gig - done for commercial reasons. The pipe smoking bass singer with the sex change - well it was a banjo player.. I knew about.

yeh, someone's been there.


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Subject: RE: 'A Mighty Wind' on Irish TV tonight TG4
From: Don Firth
Date: 31 Dec 07 - 06:04 PM

What blows my mind is the number of folkies (who should know better) and others with a bit of nostalgia for the Sixties "folk scene" who missed the fact that this movie is complete leg-pull. There are a lot of gags in it that go right over a lot of people's heads

Such as the fact that it's supposed to be about typical folk groups in the Sixties and there is not one single folk song in the whole movie. Not completely unlike what was really going on.

Anybody recognize the clones of the Kingston Trio, the New Christy Minstrels, and Ian and Sylvia in the movie?

To close to the way it really was. . . .

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: 'A Mighty Wind' on Irish TV tonight TG4
From: Don Firth
Date: 31 Dec 07 - 06:06 PM

Also, listen closely to some of the lyrics of the songs. There are some real howlers and head-bangers in them. And this had to be intentional!

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: 'A Mighty Wind' on Irish TV tonight TG4
From: Art Thieme
Date: 31 Dec 07 - 07:19 PM

Lame = I didn't like it. That's all. The parody of it was obvious and silly fom my point of view. Shining light on it that way seemed unnecessary to me. I did have higher hopes for it.


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Subject: RE: 'A Mighty Wind' on Irish TV tonight TG4
From: Big Mick
Date: 01 Jan 08 - 11:57 AM

I'm still there with you, Art. I enjoy parody well done. I enjoy inside jokes well done. This was just not well done.

Mick


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Subject: RE: 'A Mighty Wind' on Irish TV tonight TG4
From: Little Hawk
Date: 01 Jan 08 - 02:08 PM

It had some amusing features, that film. I wouldn't take "Mitch and Mickey" as being anything much like Ian and Sylvia, though...I don't see much resemblance at all there in either their appearance or their performing style...all you can say it has in common with Ian and Sylvia is that it's a couple who are singing together, and there were a number of those over the years. I recall a South African pair named Marais and Miranda, for example, and much later there were Sonny and Cher but Mitch and Mickey don't look much like them either, I don't think. Nope...Mitch and Mickey don't remind me of any specific act I can ever remember seeing...but their part in the movie is definitely amusing.

All the supposed "folk" music acts shown in the movie (with the possible exception of Mitch and Mickey) positively reek of the specific period in collegiate folk music when groups of neatly dressed young men with short hair played an assortment of acoustic instruments with the ever present banjos and guitars, etc....in other words the period that preceded the folk phenomenon of the Sixties that was ushered in by new young singers and singer-songwriters....most notably Joan Baez, Bob Dylan, Judy Collins, Buffy Sainte-Marie, Gordon Lightfoot, Donovan, and Ian and Sylvia (many of whom were signed with Vanguard records at the time). Later came others, like Leonard Cohen and Joni Mitchell and Melanie...part of the same general movement of singer-songwriters doing original stuff.

As such, the music in "A Mighty Wind" is a parody of a kind of folk music that already seemed corny and passe to me...almost archaic...by about 1963 if not sooner! ;-) I was no longer listening to my Kingston Trio records by that time, although I had loved them a few years earlier. They had become totally uncool as far as I was concerned. They were replaced by Dylan, Baez, Judy Collins, Buffy Sainte-Marie and others of that ilk.

Since "A Mighty Wind" was therefore taking a humorous look and making a gentle parody of a style of folk music that had become redundant already to me by the time I was, oh, 15 years old, it didn't annoy me at all...it amused me.

This giant group...the "Neuftet"...briskly singing their bogus songs of life on the road (or not)...and all looking just so freshly scrubbed and enthusiastic while doing so! Ha! Very funny indeed.

Not that there weren't a lot of fine musicians back then, making fine music of that sort. There were. But it was a very brief window in time, and time moved on.

The movie, for some reason, chose to focus on that particular era of folk music...the pre-Baez, pre-Dylan, basically to all intents the pre-60's folk ethos.........a time that the word "hootenanny" stems from....the time of striped shirts, ties, short haircuts, plonky banjos, and songs that Mitch Miller and the gang might soon co-opt for their lifeless, bloodless choral renditions...as long as there was no hint of leftist political sentiment to be found anywhere in the lyrics.

God, how tiresome it seemed by just a few years later! If I were 10 years older I might see it differently, I suppose, but folk music really hit its stride for me with the new people that appeared from '59 on...Joan Baez being the first of those...and that coincided with the great social issues of the time...integration and Vietnam...and that made folk music serious business that went deep to the heart of things that really mattered.

That era and the political ferment that it was inextricably tied to was not even commented on by "A Mighty Wind". They chose instead to focus on something that had preceded it by a few years, something which was most evident in the years of the Kingston Trio's greatest commercial success, I would think.

Was it "folk music"? Yeah...I guess...it was a sort of folk music, but it wasn't what comes first to my mind when I hear the term "folk music". It was one single narrow drawer in a very large storage cabinet that you could label "the history and offshoots of folk music in the English-speaking world of the 1900s".


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Subject: RE: 'A Mighty Wind' on Irish TV tonight TG4
From: Don Firth
Date: 01 Jan 08 - 04:38 PM

"It was one single narrow drawer in a very large storage cabinet. . .  ."

Verily!!

My observation on the similarities between the singers and groups in the movie and what may be construed as their real-live counterparts is a generality—which I think the writers intended—and did not mean that they were exactly the same.

Case in point:   The New Christy Minstrels always had at least one perky, bouncy girl wearing pigtails. It wasn't always the same girl. There were frequent personnel changes in the NCMs. I had two friends who had been in the group for awhile, and they informed me that Randy Sparks was something of a tyrant, not unlike the guy in the movie, and he would sometimes go on firing jags and replace the singers he sacked with look-alike/sing-alikes.

Mitch and Mickey were not exactly like Ian and Sylvia, but there again, another friend was singing in a Vancouver, B. C. club where Ian and Sylvia were also performing, and he said that they were constantly fighting backstage, and broke up and got back together about an half-dozen times during the two weeks they sang there.

It's not hard to draw parallels, even if the lines are a little squiggly. Such is the nature of parody.

Incidentally, I heard Marais and Miranda at the 1964 Berkeley Folk Festival and had a chance to meet and chat with them for awhile. Other than that they were a man and wife who performed together, there were absolutely no resemblances or parallels between them and Mitch and Mickey. A delightful and charming couple, obviously very much in love after being together for many years.

That particular period (early 1960s), contrary to popular belief, was a royal pain in the ass to many singers such as Bob Nelson, Walt Robertson, and myself here, and undoubtedly elsewhere, who were seriously interested in the music itself. One typical manifestation out of many was when, after singing "The Wreck of the Sloop John B." during coffee house gig in answer to a request, the requester informed my that I hadn't sung the song right. "What do you mean?" I asked. "You didn't sing it like the Kingston Trio!" he complained.

I had learned the song from Carl Sandburg's American Songbag in 1954, possibly before the members of the Kingston Trio even met. If anyone wasn't singing it right, it was the Kingston Trio! That sort of crap was happening all the time.

Some who seem to think the early 60s "folkoid spasm" constituted a "Golden Age" of folk music have tried to claim that singers such as myself owed the "pop-folk" singers for the fact that we found singing jobs and had receptive audiences. But the coffee house phenomenon had come into existence in the late 1940s and early 1950s in New York, Boston/Cambridge, and Berkeley/San Francisco, and it spread up the West Coast to Portland and Seattle in the mid to late 1950s (this, of course, is not taking into consideration the coffee houses that sprang up in London during Charles II's reign, or the ones in Boston where guys like Thomas Paine and Benjamin Franklin hung out). Many of them had entertainment, and folk singers were favored, because it was lot cheaper to hire a guy or gal who was self-accompanied than it was to hire a jazz combo or other group. When the pop-folk singers appeared on the national scene, their fans did swell the audience a good bit, but these newcomers were more fickle than the hard-core audience that was already there, and moved off with the next change in pop-music taste.

I got most of my early gigs from people who hired me because they heard me sing at a party (or "hoot" in a small hall or private home—in the early 1950s, long before carpetbaggers pre-empted the word "hootenanny."). And that included doing a television series on folk music for the local educational TV channel, funded by the Seattle Public Library. From that point on, gigs came fairly thick and fast. Other than the fellow from the library who asked me to do the series, if I owed anyone, it was Walt Robertson, whose locally produced television show (1952-53) had already stimulated an audience for folk music in the Puget Sound area.

I felt that "A Mighty Wind" did at least a fair job of skewering a phenomenon that deserved a bit of skewering.

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: 'A Mighty Wind' on Irish TV tonight TG4
From: Little Hawk
Date: 01 Jan 08 - 05:54 PM

Yes, Don, I would tend to agree. ;-) But they were kind enough to skewer it in a rather gentle fashion, weren't they?

As to which version of any specific song that someone (anyone) thinks is "the right" version......! Well, that's a totally subjective thing. It usually means

"The way I heard it first...which is, of course, the right way to do the song. Any fool can see that!"   (grin)

The stuff one hears in one's teens and early 20's is usually the stuff that fairly much sets one's taste for life. I think you'll find that is true with most people, and that's why one generation usually has a bit of trouble or a lot of trouble fully appreciating another generation's favorite music.

For instance, my Dad loved Big Band music, and I basically can't stand it. I hear a bunch of those horns blaring and it just hurts my ears. Nor do I like Sinatra one bit (though I do recognize his talent). Nor do I like most Jazz much. The reason? Well, they came from a previous era, and they seemed not to express what I was interested in, that's all, whereas Dylan, Baez, et all DID express exactly what I was interested in, and deeply so. It's a shift in cultural viewpoint that occurs, and it's reflected in changing musical styles and changing expectations.

That doesn't mean that Dylan or Baez's music was any better than jazz or Big Band or Sinatra...or that there would be any use trying to even make such a comparison...it was just that I could relate better to their music, due to the moment, the time, and who I was at the time. And the effect, of course, has endured, as a love of Big Band music endured for my Dad.

People's chauvinism can be seen when they assert that ONLY the style of music they like is any good...they seemingly have no idea how fickle and subjective their tastes in things really are when they make such assertions.


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Subject: RE: 'A Mighty Wind' on Irish TV tonight TG4
From: Art Thieme
Date: 01 Jan 08 - 09:22 PM

Thanks for those last posts, L.H. and D.F.,

You said most of what I was, hopefully, inferring but don't have the energy or inclination to write out.

Art


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Subject: RE: 'A Mighty Wind' on Irish TV tonight TG4
From: Little Hawk
Date: 01 Jan 08 - 10:06 PM

It was a treat for me to hear your memories about the New Christy Minstrels, Don, and the scene back in the 40's and 50's that you allude to, since all that stuff happened a bit...or maybe more than a bit...before my time. I'd heard of the New Christy Minstrels, of course, but I never really listened to them at all that I can remember. The first folksingers I ever listened to were The Weavers (liked them a lot).

It's true that Ian and Sylvia had a rather rocky relationship offstage, but they managed to handle things pretty well when it came to the professional performing end for a good many years. I've heard it said that one of the things that distinguished them from much of the competition in the early days was that they actually prepared (gasp!) for their shows by doing much rehearsal and practice beforehand! ;-) It paid off.

Having seen them both numerous times after they split, I'd say they did equally fine music apart as they did together or maybe even better. Ian's cowboy song albums are marvelous.

Another famous folk couple were Mimi and Richard Farina. Richard unfortunately died very young or I'm sure we would have heard a lot more from him. Mimi later teamed up with Tom Jans for a bit, and I saw them do a show once at the Riverboat in Toronto. In later years she performed as a solo act, and did it very well.


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Subject: RE: 'A Mighty Wind' on Irish TV tonight TG4
From: Don Firth
Date: 01 Jan 08 - 10:18 PM

I guess people's musical preferences are sometimes a bit like baby ducks imprinting on the first thing they see. My musical background was pretty eclectic. I grew up listening to pop music programs ("Your Hit Parade"), the Longines Symphonette (light classics), the Metropolitan Opera, and The Grand Ole Opry, plus I used to listen to a classical music radio station when I did my homework because I found it more conducive to studying than a lot of the pop stations that teenagers listened to (up-tempo pop tunes and nattering DJs that I found distracting.

I became an opera nut when I was in my late teens (weird kid!) and even took a couple of years' singing lessons from a retired opera singer, but I had no idea what I would ever do with my singing, if anything. Then, in college, I fell in with questionable companions (Sandy Paton was living in Seattle at the time) and developed an interest in folk music. This was 1952 or so. I heard Walt Robertson in a live concert, and that's what really got me turned on. Just like listening to a medieval troubadour holding an audience enthralled for about two hours worth of songs and ballads, most of which I had never heard before. I decided on the spot, "I want to do that!" I hit Walt up for guitar lessons the following Monday.

When the Kingston Trio and other such groups started appearing on the national music scene, I sort of put them in the same category as pop singers like Giselle MacKenzie, an American-born Scottish lassie who often sang songs like "Charlie is my Darlin'," (non-historical, non-political version) while wearing a kilt and a tam (unsophisticated audiences were oblivious to the fact that she was wearing male attire, but they accepted it as "Scottish"—or "Scotch," which is not a nationality, but a whisky) and interspersing a few steps of the Highland Fling between verses. Cute, but not exactly what you would call "authentic." I had no idea the Kingston Trio would catch on like they did, but I guess that was some people's first exposure to folk music in any form.

Joan Baez blew me away the first time I heard one of her records (her first record on Vanguard, opening cut, "Silver Dagger"). Wow! I met her during the Seattle Worlds Fair in 1962, then again at the 1964 Berkeley Folk Festival. Nice gal! I heard an interview with her recently, in which the interviewer tried to put her on the spot, asking her what singers she particularly listened to and liked currently. She chuckled and said, "I listen to a lot of opera these days." (!) I had often wondered, with that voice of hers, if she had ever been tempted to haul in a lungful of air and belt out something like Casta Diva or Sempre Libera!

I'm afraid I never did learn to appreciate Bob Dylan. But then, I like Richard Dyer-Bennet, who is not everybody's cup of tea. Matters of taste, I guess.

I have preferences, as does everyone, but all music has value. To claim it doesn't demonstrates merely that one has shrunk one's focus, and says nothing about the music itself.

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: 'A Mighty Wind' on Irish TV tonight TG4
From: Little Hawk
Date: 01 Jan 08 - 10:36 PM

I was similarly blown away by Joan's first Vanguard album, Don. It was like everything that had gone before ended and something brand new came along. Just incredible!

Not everyone liked Dylan's sound, that's for sure, but Joan sure did. She thought he was the most talented young voice/writer in the business and still thinks so to this day. Just a matter of whether you could warm up to his sound or not.

I think there's a lot to be said for your "baby ducks imprinting on the first thing they see" analogy. It is a lot like that. Then too, there is excellence to be found in every style of music (I mean there are always some great performers)...so there's always something of real value waiting there to imprint any new young minds that are coming along.

We don't have even the slightest idea what kind of music people will be listening to in 50 or 100 years from now, and I bet if we heard it we'd be just shocked or very puzzled...but to them it would sound just right.


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Subject: RE: 'A Mighty Wind' on Irish TV tonight TG4
From: Bonnie Shaljean
Date: 02 Jan 08 - 06:32 AM

Interesting posts, you guys (I should haul out TG4 listings more often!)

Don, did you ever hear Joan singing the Villa-Lobos Bachianas Brasileiras No.5 (complete with the 8 cellos)? She makes a fine job of it, and gets that high Bb (? I think it's a Bb) with the effortlessness of a swan floating on a mill pond. It's on an early album, cover photo of her outdoors in the Monterey/Carmel area, standing by a historic tree. I think that was about her 3rd or 4th LP.

I liked (still like) Richard Dyer-Bennet too, and learned a lot from following his songs and their origins. In high school that sort of thing was definitely infra-dig, but then so was I. It was great to have a whole secret-world alternative to the law of the teen jungle, which is what my music and books were to me. So I'll always be grateful to the old folk "troubadours'.


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Subject: RE: 'A Mighty Wind' on Irish TV tonight TG4
From: Little Hawk
Date: 02 Jan 08 - 12:50 PM

Yeah, that was Joan Baez/5 from 1964, and it was a great album.

The one she did that I liked best of all was "Farewell Angelina" the year after that. She really made the title song her own, as she also did with Dylan's "Love Is Just a Four Letter Word" (an inspired title, if ever there was one...). I think the year 1965 was the peak of Dylan's lyrical brilliance, and it was the peak of Joan's adaptations of his songs as well.

After that things kind of fragmented in some very strange directions. It was like the whole scene had hit such a high octane by '65 (for Dylan especially) that things just overloaded. He got very alienated with the over-attention he was getting, and there was that big falling out with the folk establishment as it existed then, starting with the events at Newport in '65.

It seems quite odd in retrospect, but people were under a lot of pressure at that time, mostly, I think, because of fallout from the Vietnam War and the Civil Rights movement. There was a tremendous impulse toward something new and wonderful that had to do with freedom and truth and nonviolence....and an equally tremendous effort by reactionary governmental forces to quash all that utterly.

Those reactionary forces have been killing people wholesale right to this day, mostly Third World people in Latin America, Africa, Asia, and the Middle East, and they are quite busy continuing to do so right now...wherever there are dollars to be made, national resources to steal, populations to enslave.

None of that, however, has much to do with the movie, "A Mighty Wind", so I guess I'm causing major thread drift here.


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Subject: RE: 'A Mighty Wind' on Irish TV tonight TG4
From: Bonnie Shaljean
Date: 02 Jan 08 - 01:31 PM

> [Dylan] got very alienated with the over-attention he was getting

Yes, I always thought so too. I didn't have a problem with the electric guitars, rock-oriented songs, etc, and always liked the majority of his stuff. It wasn't his music or how it was played; it was his attitude towards people which - even at the time - struck me as rather arrogant, and too detached from those he was supposedly singing to and about and FOR. I couldn't get the feeling that he really gave a toss about them one way or another, for all that he was the voice of an age (and he WAS). He seemed to just live inside a little bubble of himself and be content for that to be his horizons - even though the world outside was giving him a damn good living and a lot of praise.

Baez' autobiog bears this out. So does "Positively 4th Street" (the book, not the song). Looks like yet one more case of Don't confuse the artist with the man. And before I get slammed by someone telling me to just appreciate his work and what he gave us: I do appreciate it. But I think an artist has the same moral responsibility as the rest of us regarding how they treat their fellow man/woman.


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Subject: RE: 'A Mighty Wind' on Irish TV tonight TG4
From: PoppaGator
Date: 02 Jan 08 - 02:02 PM

The "drift" here has been much more interesting than the originally-intended topic. Thanks, Art, Don, LH, Bonnie et. al.

A footnote to the discussion of how much or how little "Mitch & Mickey" might have been modeled upon Ian & Sylvia:

Check out the "DVD extras" packaged with the film "Festival Express" and look for the interview segments featuring the latter-day Sylvia Fricker commenting on her long-ago experience. It's difficult to believe that Catherine O'Hara didn't watch that same footage and digest it thoroughly as she worked up her "Micky" character for AMW. Lots of the same mannerisms, etc.

Of course, the real-life Ian Tyson probably has much less to do with Eugene Levy's spectacularly neurotic "Mitch," so the parallel between the real-life performing couple and the fictional one is far from complete. But there is certainly enough commonality to argue that M&M are, to some extent, "based on" I&S.


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Subject: RE: 'A Mighty Wind' on Irish TV tonight TG4
From: Don Firth
Date: 02 Jan 08 - 03:05 PM

Yes, Villa-Lobos Bachianas Brasileiras No.5. The first time I heard the piece was on a record a friend of mine had, "Duets with the Spanish Guitar" with Brazilian classical and jazz guitarist Laurindo Almeida. Almeida played on every piece, but alternated between flutist Martin Ruderman and mezzo-soprano Salli Terri. One of the songs Salli Terri did was the Bachianas Brasilieras No. 5, for which she received a Grammy nominated in 1959 for "Best Classical Vocal Performance." Beautiful! After Salli Terri's performance of it, it was pretty darned gutsy for Joan Baez, not an "ordained" classical singer, to tackle it (accompanied, not by guitar, but by eight cellos, the way Villa-Lobos wrote it)—but—she brought it off! I have her record.

I'm afraid I have a hard time separating a person's on-stage performances with their behavior off-stage. If a person is rude to people off-stage or acting "prima donna-ish," I can't help but let it color my response to their performances, no matter how good they are.

There is one operatic soprano who has an absolutely exquisite singing voice (in addition to being very nice to look at), but backstage and off-stage she was a pluperfect bitch, rude to the other singers and the stage crew, and so difficult to work with that the general manager of the Metropolitan Opera got totally fed up with her and simply fired her ass. And since then, no other opera house in the world will book her. She has this lovely voice, but she managed to ruin her career because of her off-stage behavior. And even though I see her in video clips on Classic Arts Showcase fairly often, and she sings beautifully, I can't forget what I've heard about her off-stage behavior and the way she treated people.

Nobody, no matter how talented or how great an artist they are, is so good they can be gratuitously rude to other people.

I think it's a real measure of a performer when they are willing to take the time to by pleasant and friendly to their fans (after all, without their fans, they're nuthin!), and especially to be willing to advise and encourage young folks who are aspiring to do what they do. In 1954, after a concert in Seattle, Pete Seeger and I sat cross-legged on someone's living room floor at two o'clock in the morning while he showed me some tricky guitar licks. And Richard Dyer-Bennet talked with me for about half an hour backstage after one of his concerts in 1957. These folks, and a number of others, were very friendly and encouraging to me early on—and I really appreciate that.

If I've learned anything in all this time, one of those things is that I'm obligated to pass that kind of encouragement along.

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: 'A Mighty Wind' on Irish TV tonight TG4
From: Little Hawk
Date: 02 Jan 08 - 04:22 PM

I understand your viewpoint on Dylan's attitude, Bonnie. According to everything I've heard (and seen on film) from that period (mid-sixties) he could be alternately either an arrogant, waspish little bastard...or absolutely charming. It seemed to depend on his mood at the time or who he was dealing with or what set him off in which direction.

There are some interesting interview sections with the contemporary Joan Baez in Scorcese's superb documentary film, "No Direction Home". If you haven't seen it, do get it and watch it. It's a great film.

What Baez says about the time they spent touring together (mostly in '64, I think, maybe a bit in '65) was that she was doing all these shows with him, night after night, and how it went all depended on whether he was in an up and cheerful mood...or in a dark mood. She says that when he was in a positive mood, the shows were just wonderful, exhilarating, and everything about it was wonderful...but when he was in a dark mood he was totally unreachable...and he would play as if with his back to people as if he simply didn't care whether they existed or not.

And in spite of it, she says, his performances were always riveting, but when he was in one of those dark moods he was, as you say, "off in his bubble", and the rest of the world could just go to hell.

I agree that it's much nicer and more agreeable when an artist makes the effort, as Baez always has, to show full respect and appreciation for their audience. They have, as you say, "the same moral responsibility as the rest of us regarding how they treat their fellow man/woman."

Exactly.

That's why, if I had the choice, I'd opt for Bob Dylan's talents, but I'd take Joan Baez's general approach to relating to other people when she's performing for them...I'd show full respect and appreciation to my audience EVERY time and go the extra mile for them, just like Joan always does. If not, why bother doing it at all?

I think Bob hit a point partway through '66 when he was asking himself that same question: "Why bother at all?" He just didn't want to do it anymore, and he didn't for 8 years...from the time of the motorcycle crash until his return to touring in '74.

Joan never stopped wanting to get her message out, because it was like she was on a holy mission to do what little she could to improve the world with the gifts she had. I admire that spirit of service in her tremendously. Such dedicated idealists are very, very rare.

*****

Back to Mitch and Mickey. It could be that Marilyn O'Hara's character is quite a bit more like Sylvia Fricker/Tyson than I realized....but Mitch's behaviour doesn't resemble Ian Tyson in the least! ;-) However, people here may be right that the Mitch and Mickey combo was inspired primarily by the example of Ian & Sylvia.


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Subject: RE: 'A Mighty Wind' on Irish TV tonight TG4
From: Nancy King
Date: 02 Jan 08 - 07:00 PM

Back to the subject of the movie for a minute...   I saw it when it first came out several years ago, and I was kinda disappointed. It was moderately amusing, to be sure, but not as boffo hilarious as I'd hoped it would be. I'm not sure what I'd expected, but whatever it was, it wasn't in the flick. I think maybe it was because the movie centered on what I think of as "pop folk," rather than the real folk music I was (and still am) interested in. Actually, I thought the funniest part was the montage of record album covers.

If you haven't seen it, by all means do -- then make up your own mind!

Nancy


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Subject: RE: 'A Mighty Wind' on Irish TV tonight TG4
From: Bonnie Shaljean
Date: 03 Jan 08 - 06:47 AM

Well, finally watched it at long last. My reaction has been pretty much summed up by Nancy and several of the others in this thread. It was amusing, engaging, I stayed with it to the end, but . . .

I too liked the little side-bits best, the LP covers (that "Sunny Side Up" one!!!) and - as Don points out - the song lyrics, which were hilarious but subtle. You really did need to listen carefully to catch them (sort of like in The Simpsons when they show a quick flash of Rev. Lovejoy's church marquee advertisements, or Marge's magazine covers). Way, way too easy to miss. And when that's the best part of the whole show . . .

(Hmmm, both paragraphs above end with " . . ." - that says something right there about my reaction.) I would like to hear the whole TV concert, but I'm not tempted to buy the DVD just for that. Extras sound interesting too, but ditto. There just isn't enough force in the original to persuade me to spend the dosh.

The main problem for me was that it didn't generate sufficient momentum to MOVE it in any direction. The only real "story" centres on the will-they/won't-they saga of Mitch & Micky, and yes, I did get interested enough to care about what happened to them. They provided the film's only real forward drive, and herein lies my problem. Mitch was just too broad a satire to ever come alive for me, and - though it shouldn't matter in a movie that is itself satire - it does. Perhaps if the humour and a whole parade of other interesting distractions were flying thick and fast, one would never notice. But they weren't, and I did. Satire has to amuse and interest, and I found Mitch boring and one-note and vaguely unpleasant, not helped by his   e x t r e m e l y   s l o w   speech. You wait forever for every sentence, and when it finally comes out, it's a non-event, like a joke with no punchline. I could not for the life of me see what charisma he held for Micky, who was clearly still in thrall to him (or her vision of him). But it takes two for this dynamic to work - and her character did, but his didn't. It was like listening to one half of a duet. Apart from the clever song lyrics and album covers, this was the main ballast of the film. I don't know how much of it was acting and how much was the monotone way the Mitch part had been written, but he was just too one-dimensional to carry the weight put on him by the script and the other characters. Micky - as usual, one suspects - was left in a void.

The best "serious" part of the whole thing for me was when they were in the dressing room before the show, and the camera is behind them so we only see their faces reflected in the two mirrors. Each of them is carefully boxed off and isolated from the other by framed lights, and all the things they are not able to say to one another become painfully evident in the void that separates them. They're both trapped in little boxes and they will go on being trapped, he in an 8x10 hospital room and she in a marriage to a fool and a diminishing trail of background-music-only gigs.

But such moments were few and far between, and if I couldn't have constant comedy then I wanted more engaging drama, but by and large didn't get it. Too much simply bordered on slapstick without the pratfalls and pies in the face.

Don't know whether I should admit this or not, but [gulp] I really quite liked one of the songs (the neuftet obviously liked it too, enough to rip it off). It was a perfectly-done, absolutely convincing pastiche that I'm SURE I heard on the radio 45 years ago ;-)   That's the sign of good parody, when you can almost "remember" it. I'm referring to the travelling-song-by-people-who-hadn't-been-anywhere (great description, weelittledrummer) complete with pretentious lyric about the train from hell, or whatever it was. My 12-year-old-self would have probably bought the record.

So: Three stars out of a possible five for the movie. But - on the other hand - it has sure generated some great Mudcat posts!


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Subject: RE: 'A Mighty Wind' on Irish TV tonight TG4
From: Anne Lister
Date: 03 Jan 08 - 07:13 AM

I don't know .. I get the impression from some posts on this thread that some of you are taking the film way too seriously. We saw it on its first release and loved it, as did the cinema audience, and bought the DVD to re-watch. My husband, with no folk music history in his life, finds it as funny as I do, so it's not important for the humour to be able to identify who the characters might or might not be based on. What do we find funny? First and foremost, the lyrics to the songs, which are brilliantly awful. Secondly, some of the discussions within the theatre about the set-up - I'm sure I've been present at some of these myself. Third - the overall notion of the acts, and however true to real and identifiable people they may or may not be I'm sure I've met all of them at some point in my career. I have even been made to sit on straw bales to sing for a tv show (ouch).
We used "A kiss at the end of the rainbow" as our contribution to our wedding ceilidh, but of course the problem was that very few people realised it was meant to be a cheesy parody so it slightly mis-fired!
But all of the Chris Guest output is similarly bitter-sweet - we've just watched "For Your Consideration", which has even fewer belly laughs but which was well worth seeing, if only to wonder just how true it is to the way things happen in the movie world. None of his films make us chuckle all the way through, not even Spinal Tap - it's more like Ricky Gervais with "The Office" and "Extras", which is why he fitted really well into "For Your Consideration". It's the kind of vision that can make you squirm with embarrassment as much as laugh uproariously.
There's still room for a better movie, if anyone wants to make it ...

Anne


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Subject: RE: 'A Mighty Wind' on Irish TV tonight TG4
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 03 Jan 08 - 07:23 AM

I'd say watch it again - there are lots of little bijou masterpieces in there.

The awful unfunniness of the 'funny' songs - eat at 'oe's...

The way they theatrically mop the brow having done a list song - SO reminiscent of John Denver's line - I even kissed Aunt Lou, ooh! -in Grandma's feather bed...and quite as unfunny every single time!

The kids are coming to us and saying, .....you rock! (Shit! I've been listening to that line, from consecutive media hyped folk stars for the last thirty years......)

Its not Rowan and Martin's laugh in... I mean did you guys get Spinal Tap?


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Subject: RE: 'A Mighty Wind' on Irish TV tonight TG4
From: Bonnie Shaljean
Date: 03 Jan 08 - 07:43 AM

Yes, agreed, lots of little bits are great, especially song-lyrics. Just that for me they weren't enough to sustain the length of time spent watching - hence the taking-seriously, I suppose! Those were the leftover parts and there were a lot of them.

It would probably help if I saw the DVD and could hear the rest of the TV concert. (Tab - next time I'm at your house, could we... ?)

Yeah, I got Spinal Tap. Brilliant. Don't really think this one's quite in the same league.


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Subject: RE: 'A Mighty Wind' on Irish TV tonight TG4
From: Ian Burdon
Date: 03 Jan 08 - 08:17 AM

I loved A Mighty Wind from the moment I saw it and the DVD extras simply make it better.   It differs from Spinal Tap (which wasn't directed by Guest but by Rob Reiner)in that it goes for the gentle incision of the stiletto rather than the broader piss take of Spinal Tap.

However one of the underlying intents behind the film which has not been fully appreciated on the various threads here (and I've just been through them all) is that Guest's subjects are not the genuinely talented and ground breaking artists who arose during the sixties, but those who *weren't* especially talented but thought that they were and took themselves way too seriously both when they were 'active' and when they are given a second chance at the limelight. A bit like reading Mudcat really.

There was a second point in Guest's mind.   He traveled from London to Greenwich Village in the sixties looking to play bluegrass and was not comfortable with what he found. He has said "Those kind of people were trying to make money at it. For someone who played bluegrass it couldn't have been worse: it was taking something that I thought was good to begin with and ruining it. It became smarmy and unpleasant; it's how jazz became muzak. There's nothing particularly wholesome about real folk music - all the songs are about people getting their throats slashed and being dumped in a river, and hung and shot. But those songs were then homogenised and pasteurised".

Hence the New Main Street Singers, weird religion, ex pornstars and and all were carefully constructed "They're bubbling over with something that is almost psychotic...I wanted to have this group that was collectively kind of mentally ill"

Ian


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Subject: RE: 'A Mighty Wind' on Irish TV tonight TG4
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 03 Jan 08 - 10:04 AM

"Hence the New Main Street Singers, weird religion, ex pornstars and and all were carefully constructed "They're bubbling over with something that is almost psychotic...I wanted to have this group that was collectively kind of mentally ill"

I dunno....that could be most groups I've been in.


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Subject: RE: 'A Mighty Wind' on Irish TV tonight TG4
From: Kim C
Date: 03 Jan 08 - 10:13 AM

Sure, it's a silly movie, but it makes me HOWL every time I watch it. What I think is impressive is that all the songs were written especially for the movie, and all the actors really played instruments and sang.

It's not a bad way to waste a couple hours when your brain is too full for anything serious.


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Subject: RE: 'A Mighty Wind' on Irish TV tonight TG4
From: Bonnie Shaljean
Date: 03 Jan 08 - 10:28 AM

Sorry if being serious offends you, Erstwhile and Ian. But it's a respectful reaction to the film. I don't see why the fact that it's a comedy means you can't apply the same critical judgment as for dramas. And it was good, just not (IMHO) as good as it might have been.


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Subject: RE: 'A Mighty Wind' on Irish TV tonight TG4
From: Ian Burdon
Date: 03 Jan 08 - 10:49 AM

Bonnie, being serious doesn't offend me nor do I think that critical judgement should be suspended: where did I say that?

Ian


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Subject: RE: 'A Mighty Wind' on Irish TV tonight TG4
From: Bonnie Shaljean
Date: 03 Jan 08 - 10:56 AM

In writing "a bit like reading Mudcat really" right after "those who *weren't* especially talented but thought that they were and took themselves way too seriously both when they were 'active' and when they are given a second chance at the limelight". This impression was reinforced by Erstwhile's quoting you and then making his other coment. If I took your remark wrongly, my apologies.


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Subject: RE: 'A Mighty Wind' on Irish TV tonight TG4
From: Mr Happy
Date: 03 Jan 08 - 11:06 AM

http://www.tg4.ie/


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Subject: RE: 'A Mighty Wind' on Irish TV tonight TG4
From: Anne Lister
Date: 03 Jan 08 - 11:10 AM

Bonnie, yes, when you're next here we'll sit and watch it (with some of the extras - hey, we've even got the song book!). That's if we're not sidetracked by "Priscilla Queen of the Desert" or "The Princess Bride" - or even "Best in Show"!

And the New Main Street Singers made me think of the group I once saw at a Folk Alliance guerrilla showcase singing "White Cockade" so very chirpily and sweetly I realised they hadn't got the first clue what they were singing about...

Anne


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Subject: RE: 'A Mighty Wind' on Irish TV tonight TG4
From: Mr Happy
Date: 03 Jan 08 - 11:13 AM

More here: http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=TOM7mUaOgtI


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Subject: RE: 'A Mighty Wind' on Irish TV tonight TG4
From: Mr Happy
Date: 03 Jan 08 - 11:16 AM

.............& here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mighty_wind


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Subject: RE: 'A Mighty Wind' on Irish TV tonight TG4
From: Big Mick
Date: 03 Jan 08 - 11:19 AM

Bonnie, "Erstwhile" is just an old member with an axe to grind. The snide comments are dead giveaways. I wouldn't associate these comments with anyone.

...and, to address your comment, I agree. 'A Mighty Wind' has its moments, but at some point it just got boring. That is always a danger in parody, as well as satire. A good one, in these genres, causes you to go back and watch it again and again, each time finding something else to chuckle about. I own this DVD, am glad I do. But I wasn't left with the need to go back and rewatch it. It just wasn't that deep, or clever.

...and Erstwhile, perhaps its because your life lacks meaning and your view of your talent is greater than others who simply find you amusing, that you find the need to try and take shots at folks trying to make a difference? I have seen many folks that attempt to gain self worth (smugness??) by attacking the motives of others. Think about it. I won't be responding to you anymore, in this thread. You are attempting to hijack it, due to that axe needing grinding.

Mick


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Subject: RE: 'A Mighty Wind' on Irish TV tonight TG4
From: Little Hawk
Date: 03 Jan 08 - 11:24 AM

Excellent post up there, Ian Burdon. The New Main Street Singers, "bubbling over with something that (was) almost psychotic"....expresses it very well! It's downright hilarious and sort of really creepy at the same time.

The songs were very well written in that they sound so much like the stuff they are parodying, but are just given that little twist a degree or so into the bizarre.

I love the movie "For Your Consideration". As far as I'm concerned, it says everything about the gross and creepy side of Hollywood that really needs to be said...and it has the peerless Nina and Monk in a scene or two, and that's worth the price of the whole danged movie.


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Subject: RE: 'A Mighty Wind' on Irish TV tonight TG4
From: GUEST
Date: 03 Jan 08 - 11:58 AM

Little Hawk, kind of you to say so but the quote was from Christopher Guest, not me.

Ian


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Subject: RE: 'A Mighty Wind' on Irish TV tonight TG4
From: GUEST,Ian Burdon
Date: 03 Jan 08 - 11:59 AM

oops - that last guest was me but with cookie failure

Ian Burdon


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Subject: RE: 'A Mighty Wind' on Irish TV tonight TG4
From: Little Hawk
Date: 03 Jan 08 - 03:23 PM

Yeah, okay. ;-) Anyway, I liked what you had to say in your post.


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Subject: RE: 'A Mighty Wind' on Irish TV tonight TG4
From: GUEST,Philippa
Date: 04 Jan 08 - 08:28 AM

it was on too late for me, I did watch a bit but found it disappointing


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