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Is traditional song finished?

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EBarnacle 11 Feb 11 - 11:34 PM
ruairiobroin 03 Apr 10 - 07:00 PM
Don(Wyziwyg)T 16 Mar 10 - 04:09 PM
Stringsinger 16 Mar 10 - 03:29 PM
Jim Carroll 16 Mar 10 - 08:28 AM
Banjiman 16 Mar 10 - 07:40 AM
GUEST,Ralphie 16 Mar 10 - 07:36 AM
Banjiman 16 Mar 10 - 07:18 AM
Jim Carroll 16 Mar 10 - 07:12 AM
Don(Wyziwyg)T 16 Mar 10 - 06:47 AM
TheSnail 16 Mar 10 - 06:17 AM
Jim Carroll 16 Mar 10 - 05:48 AM
TheSnail 16 Mar 10 - 05:22 AM
Jack Campin 15 Mar 10 - 10:02 PM
Don(Wyziwyg)T 15 Mar 10 - 09:29 PM
Don(Wyziwyg)T 15 Mar 10 - 09:22 PM
Don(Wyziwyg)T 15 Mar 10 - 08:46 PM
Jack Campin 15 Mar 10 - 08:31 PM
TheSnail 15 Mar 10 - 08:05 PM
glueman 15 Mar 10 - 06:56 PM
Jim Carroll 15 Mar 10 - 06:54 PM
Tootler 15 Mar 10 - 06:53 PM
TheSnail 15 Mar 10 - 06:41 PM
Jim Carroll 15 Mar 10 - 09:16 AM
The Sandman 15 Mar 10 - 08:05 AM
Will Fly 15 Mar 10 - 07:36 AM
TheSnail 15 Mar 10 - 06:20 AM
Jim Carroll 14 Mar 10 - 10:29 PM
Don(Wyziwyg)T 14 Mar 10 - 07:16 PM
The Sandman 14 Mar 10 - 05:11 PM
Crow Sister (off with the fairies) 14 Mar 10 - 05:10 PM
Crow Sister (off with the fairies) 14 Mar 10 - 05:09 PM
Crow Sister (off with the fairies) 14 Mar 10 - 04:45 PM
Jim Carroll 14 Mar 10 - 04:16 PM
TheSnail 14 Mar 10 - 01:28 PM
Jim Carroll 14 Mar 10 - 09:08 AM
Banjiman 14 Mar 10 - 08:26 AM
Jack Blandiver 14 Mar 10 - 06:36 AM
GUEST,raymond greenoaken 14 Mar 10 - 06:29 AM
glueman 13 Mar 10 - 04:43 PM
Jim Carroll 13 Mar 10 - 04:04 PM
Paco O'Barmy 13 Mar 10 - 02:36 PM
The Sandman 13 Mar 10 - 02:16 PM
Jim Carroll 13 Mar 10 - 01:18 PM
Jack Campin 13 Mar 10 - 12:07 PM
Jim Carroll 13 Mar 10 - 11:46 AM
TheSnail 13 Mar 10 - 11:35 AM
GUEST,Angel of the North 13 Mar 10 - 11:30 AM
The Sandman 13 Mar 10 - 11:26 AM
Crow Sister (off with the fairies) 13 Mar 10 - 10:59 AM
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Subject: RE: Is traditional song finished?
From: EBarnacle
Date: 11 Feb 11 - 11:34 PM

On WNYC's Soundcheck today, there was a performer performing Little Musgrave and Lord Barnard's Wife. It was nice to hear a traditional ballad on the radio. His version, however, ended with the execution of Lady Barnard, did not have the verse on burying them and repeated the opening verse in place of the final verse.

Considering the betrayals, sex and violence in the song, I see no purpose in leaving the final verse out. His performance was quite good but, as mentioned, his ending detracted from a very good job.


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Subject: RE: Is traditional song finished?
From: ruairiobroin
Date: 03 Apr 10 - 07:00 PM

I've been away and what a row I have missed and MtheGM ,telling me it's sad that I think Folk must be vulgar. It must, If something is expressed   in the language spoken by the people generally,it is in the vernacular or vulgar. That is not a criticism nor is it sad


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Subject: RE: Is traditional song finished?
From: Don(Wyziwyg)T
Date: 16 Mar 10 - 04:09 PM

"I don't believe I have been unfairly dismissive to anybody, but if I have, I apologise.""

Since every post I have made on this subject has been as a result of your initial unfair and dismissive lumping together of folk club organisers as "Anything Goes", and your continued unreasonable and arrogant responses to any argument against your entrenched disdain for people like myself.

You don't discuss, you pontificate. Every response from you is an affirmation of your belief that you are trying to communicate with well meaning idiots, and you speak of my "Hectoring" and Haranguing" tone. Must be like looking in a mirror.

In response to your entirely unnecessary comment ""I have been left with the distinct impression that, should Don and I have had this argument face-to-face (and should he have felt himself capable) I would have gone home with my teeth in my pocket, such is the violent tone of his postings."", you could not possibly be more wrong.

If I ever met you in real life, I would take you round to a dozen or more folk clubs, and destroy your argument entirely.

That, in my estimation, would do far more damage to your delusions of superiority, and infallibility, than a punch ever could.

Being the kind of person you are, I think it safe to assume that your above apology does not apply to me.

Don T.


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Subject: RE: Is traditional song finished?
From: Stringsinger
Date: 16 Mar 10 - 03:29 PM

There is the rest of the world. Every developing country (a bad descriptive choice) has folk music.

The academic notion of a "traditional song" might be finished but whenever (as was mentioned above) there is tradition, there will be a traditional song.

What is finished is this idea that somehow some contemporary writer can pass his/her material off as traditional folkmusic.


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Subject: RE: Is traditional song finished?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 16 Mar 10 - 08:28 AM

Ralphie-
As far as singing, you start be being able to hold a tune and remembering the words well enough to communicate them to a degree that they can at least makes sense to the listener.
That's a good enough start as far as I'm concerned - you can only go up from there
As I'm sure you are aware (I certanly am from failed efforts to learn concertina and flute), there's a little more to it when it comes to instrumental music (anybody want to buy a Lachenal English concertina, btw).
What do you find in any way offensive or unreasonable about that?
Jim Carroll
PS Thank you for making my point so succinctly Don (cross posted)- you couldn't have timed it better.


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Subject: RE: Is traditional song finished?
From: Banjiman
Date: 16 Mar 10 - 07:40 AM

Clearly not then Ralphie!


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Subject: RE: Is traditional song finished?
From: GUEST,Ralphie
Date: 16 Mar 10 - 07:36 AM

Oh for God s sake Jim...
Please define what is a good performance (On your terms, chapter and verse)
Do you know. If you ever heard me play concertina, I would take it as a compliment if you didn't approve.
I really would be flattered.


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Subject: RE: Is traditional song finished?
From: Banjiman
Date: 16 Mar 10 - 07:18 AM

Can we have a group hug now?


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Subject: RE: Is traditional song finished?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 16 Mar 10 - 07:12 AM

Thank you for that Bryan - for the record, I don't believe your club to be a bad one that adopts crass standards and I admire and am grateful for what you and your fellow organisers and enthusiasts have done and are still doing for folks song. I also am grateful for your communicating your knowledge of the present situation in the clubs, which has helped me fill in many of the gaps in my own experience.
Shit, now what are we going to fight about?
Also for the record:
"No need to reply to unfair dismissiveness in kind."
My last posting to Don(Wyziwyg)T was very much a rection to his bullying and aggression throughout our contact on this forum.
From the outset his postings directed at me have been ones of hostility and intimidation (don't take my word for this - read them through). His harranguing attitude has totally removed the possibility of reasonable discussion; his last being pretty much a repetition of the first, with all the ones in between delivered in a similar tone. I have been left with the distinct impression that, should Don and I have had this argument face-to-face (and should he have felt himself capable) I would have gone home with my teeth in my pocket, such is the violent tone of his postings.
I am quite aware of my own dogmatism and iritating persistence in pursuing what I believe to be important; I am also aware that I can be blunt to the point of rudeness on occasion, but I am not a bully who shouts people down and I resent others who do, especially when it is aimed at me.
These forums are for the exchange of ideas and experiences, sometimes delivered in friendly, agreeable terms, sometimes in heated argument. I have experienced great pleasure and gained not a little understanding through being part of Mudcat and I hope to continue to do so.
I don't believe I have been unfairly dismissive to anybody, but if I have, I apologise.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Is traditional song finished?
From: Don(Wyziwyg)T
Date: 16 Mar 10 - 06:47 AM

""Leave it, Don. Jim is an important figure in the folk revival. He and Pat have done some very valuable work. If it were not for that, I wouldn't have bothered with him.""

All very well Bryan but the day he shows me any respect, is the day I will stop hitting back.

He knows the square root of FA about me, what I think, how I operate, and how much respect I command from those with whom I interact in the real world.

Yet, from his high horse, he feels qualified to pontificate about the damage he feels I am doing to the music.

Earning respect requires somewhat more than barging in and telling everyone in sight they are doing it all wrong, and they must listen, because he is the expert.

For as many years as he has spent collecting the work of others, I have been out there, singing those songs, and facilitating the singing for others. I have booked dozens of wholly traditional first class acts, often making up any shortfall in takings out of my pocket.

In addition, I create songs, and whether they are good or bad is for others to judge, but I do get great responses from audiences of people who are traditionally oriented.

That is why I so bitterly resent the unfair, and unpleasant categorisation of what I do as rubbish.

Don T


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Subject: RE: Is traditional song finished?
From: TheSnail
Date: 16 Mar 10 - 06:17 AM

You've got to admire his staying power.


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Subject: RE: Is traditional song finished?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 16 Mar 10 - 05:48 AM

"I would be curious to know if Jim Carroll has ever actually enforced the quality standards he advocates"
Depends what you mean by 'enforced' Jack.
We never ran singaround sessions, we had floor spots where singers put their names down to sing; at the Singers Club there were always plenty of these (surprisingly for such an unpopular club that was quite often full to overflowing).
Given the limited time, everybody who asked was given a spot. If they were obviously poor singers, that would be taken into consideration the next time they turned up; doesn't mean they weren't asked, but they weren't at the top of the list and if there were too many, they didn't sing.
The occurrence that started this argument was something different altogether.
We had a woman who regularly turned up who literally couldn't sing two notes that related - and she read her songs from a sheet of paper.
After the first hearing my reaction was not to ask her again until she had put in the work, which she obviouly hadn't at that point; other residents occasionally did. Over a year there was no sign of improvement whatever - tuneless readings. Those who asked her allowed her only one song. At the end of the year the committee received a written complaint that she wasn't given enough time and she should be allowed more.
I'm told that this was a one-off, but I have encounteres similar situations elsewhere, where the non-singer is encourages to sing. The time before last I visited a long-established club (not a singaround) in London I saw exactly the same situation with another singer.
Parallel with all the clubs I have been involved with we have run workshops, primarily for beginners; anybody who looks like they might want to sing were invited to join - it has never been a case of 'abandoning' a singer, but nor has it been one of encouraging people to practice in public - you owe that to your audiences, to those who have put in the work and to the music.
Don't forget, this argument first arose over the question of applying basic standards. For me the 'desire to sing' is not enough to encourage someone to stand in front of an audience and prove that they can't. For me, the clubs are the public face of our music and the future of it as a performed activity rather than a printed and recorded collection of texts and tunes will depend on how well it is performed and received.
Around here we have quite a number of public what they call 'song circles' basically singarounds, not necessarily traditional and the standard is variable.
I attend some of these regularly and have noticed that if a singer is particularly bad, and some are, the other people in the bar will ignore what is going on and begin to talk. If you have a number of bad singers, the talk will establish itself and eventually drown out the session altogether. I honestly don't know what I would do about that situation; for me these gatherings are as much social get-togethers where the singing isn't necessarily the main reason why people turn up. While I am happy that these social centres exist, it's not what I feel I want to do; probably why I have never involved myself in organising such sessions.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Is traditional song finished?
From: TheSnail
Date: 16 Mar 10 - 05:22 AM

Leave it, Don. Jim is an important figure in the folk revival. He and Pat have done some very valuable work. If it were not for that, I wouldn't have bothered with him.


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Subject: RE: Is traditional song finished?
From: Jack Campin
Date: 15 Mar 10 - 10:02 PM

If so, you are just another librarian, and librarians only need to be able to point customers toward what they are looking for. They don't have to understand the content.

Good ones do, and Jim seems to be a good one. No need to reply to unfair dismissiveness in kind.


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Subject: RE: Is traditional song finished?
From: Don(Wyziwyg)T
Date: 15 Mar 10 - 09:29 PM

""It's the English material that the question mark hangs over. I'm left with the impression that you and people like you wouldn't recognise or appreciate a traditional song if it ran up behind you with its hand over its ear and bit your arse - that's the stuff that'll probably stay on the shelf, because frankly, we can't think for the life of us who would possibly be interested in it - apart from the notable few; no sign of anybody here.
Come back and tell me about 'shelving for posterity' when you can match that. As they say "put your money where your rather loudly belligerent mouth is".
""

So what do we learn from this nonsense?

Well, the simple fact that you are jealous of anyone who has the creative talent and ability you so obviously lack, and as a result can't stand anything that shows up your lack. Keep your petty little library of songs which are already out here. You still won't be capable of any more than recording the talent of others.

Bye
Don T.


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Subject: RE: Is traditional song finished?
From: Don(Wyziwyg)T
Date: 15 Mar 10 - 09:22 PM

""No intention of shelving the tradition for posterity Don
Our collection is up for grabs in at least 4 publicly accessible archives (5th local one in the process of being set up) and has been so for at least thirty years - added to as it was collected - where are your songs?
""

You really are an obnoxious little bastard, aren't you Jim?

I create songs, and anybody who asks for lyrics or melody gets them, with my permission to perform as and when they choose. I do put the little c on them, purely so that they will be known as my creations, and for no other reason.

I have no intention of demanding payment for their use, either live, or recorded, as long as my authorship is acknowledged.

Tell me Jim, have you ever created anything other than recordings of other peoples work? If so, why, since you despise all contemporary creations except those belonging to composers who you happen to value.

""So far Peta Webb and Ken Hall, The Silly Sisters, June Tabor and several others who haven't needed to contact so we don't know who they are, have issued songs from our collection totally free from copyright - have any of yours been distributed in the same manner?""

Do you really think that these class acts would have been voiceless without your input? If so, you really are deluded!

My songs, of course, have not reached the audience that would be attained by these singers whom I too admire, but, wherever I go to clubs or festivals, I meet people who have heard my songs, and ask for them by title.

Can you say the same Jim, and if the answer is yes, tell me why you so despise us who do the same?

If the answer is no, then it is you who has no idea what you are talking about.

If so, you are just another librarian, and librarians only need to be able to point customers toward what they are looking for. They don't have to understand the content.

Don T.


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Subject: RE: Is traditional song finished?
From: Don(Wyziwyg)T
Date: 15 Mar 10 - 08:46 PM

""It is precisely discussions of this nature that do much to convince me of the wisdom of leaving our material on the shelves for posterity to decide.""

You really need to make your mind up Jim. Either you do, or don't, want us to promote traditional music in the way we always have.

Which is it Jim? Your constant changes of stance are confusing.

Don T.


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Subject: RE: Is traditional song finished?
From: Jack Campin
Date: 15 Mar 10 - 08:31 PM

And I have said many times that accepting no standards other than "wanting to" can and has led to unacceptably poor performances
Maybe it can; maybe it has, but that doesn't mean it always will. It hasn't at the Lewes Saturday Folk Club. Your analysis may be a little simplistic. There may be other factors to consider.


I go to sessions more than clubs. In the session scene, there is no doubt that standards have risen considerably over the last couple of decades (I don't except myself - I'm playing much better now than when I started). And this has taken place with a general ethos of "if you want to play, join in" - I've never heard of any session that imposed explicit standards for performing ability. So my experience chimes 100% with Brian's.

I would be curious to know if Jim Carroll has ever actually enforced the quality standards he advocates, and if so how he (or the club he belonged to) did it. Did a panel of judges rule on whether singers were up to scratch, with a team of bouncers on hand to throw out the ones that didn't measure up? How was it actually done? [Script it as if for a film, with full dialogue and body language written in.]


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Subject: RE: Is traditional song finished?
From: TheSnail
Date: 15 Mar 10 - 08:05 PM

Jim Carroll

You have my basic expectations for a folk club.

You are most kind.

Just to clarify a point, my understanding is pretty much the same as yours; other people's understanding is different based on precedents going back seventy years or more and neither you nor I nor anyone else has the right to tell them they are wrong.


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Subject: RE: Is traditional song finished?
From: glueman
Date: 15 Mar 10 - 06:56 PM

Has it never occured to anyone that when a community has finished with a song it had served its purpose? The 'collectors and other thieves' refers to the elevated role of the collector in the folk process (every word in inverted commas). Surely the only compiler note to accompany anon is 'anon'?
If I've missed something feel free to point out what.


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Subject: RE: Is traditional song finished?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 15 Mar 10 - 06:54 PM

Bryan;
You have my basic expectations for a folk club.

"Q "Do I, as potential audience, have any right to expect anything remotely resembling the accepted definition of folk song which my, and just about everbody I was involved with's understanding of the term is based on?
A "No, you do not because other people's understanding is different."
The rest has been covered interminably and will not be responded to by me again.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Is traditional song finished?
From: Tootler
Date: 15 Mar 10 - 06:53 PM

600


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Subject: RE: Is traditional song finished?
From: TheSnail
Date: 15 Mar 10 - 06:41 PM

Jim Carroll

Then why did you tell me you couldn't give me what I'm looking for?

I didn't.

And I have said many times that accepting no standards other than "wanting to" can and has led to unacceptably poor performances

Maybe it can; maybe it has, but that doesn't mean it always will. It hasn't at the Lewes Saturday Folk Club. Your analysis may be a little simplistic. There may be other factors to consider.

Despite our differences I include your name among the noted few Bryan and have done since I first communicaed with you.

Thank you, Jim, for your support over the last couple of years but I'd rather not be counted amongst the noted few if you don't mind. That would involve accepting your damning assessment of all the other excellent clubs in the country.

My statement was addressed directly to Don (Wyziwyg)T (read it) whose bullying and haranguing has done little to back up his own arguments, let alone dissuade me of mine.

You would leave your work on the shelf just because one person has annoyed you? Actually your statement ends "apart from the notable few; no sign of anybody here." so I think you may have had rather more people than Don in mind.

I get no feedback whatever from our English material (a kind offer from an old friend on Mudcat but no idea if there is a call for what we have).

You seem to have completely forgotten the ballads thread on which you said "The number of hits on this thread should lay the ghost that nobody sings ballads anymore - thanks for that CS."

A correspondant on another thread has just lumped me under the collective description of "collectors and other thieves" - all very inspiring.

Yes, one of the "I haven't been to a folk club for thirty years because I know how crap they are" brigade. Please do not hold anybody else responsible for anything Glueman says.

And the disinterest and antipathy I have encountered on Mudcat towards the music I have been listening to for the last half century and the suggestion that it takes no effort on the part of the performers before it is placed before the public, and the equating of it with pop-pap....... etc. saddens me.

That's because you blank out of your mind anything that doesn't fit your built in prejudices.


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Subject: RE: Is traditional song finished?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 15 Mar 10 - 09:16 AM

"I think you would probably enjoy an evening with us."
Then why did you tell me you couldn't give me what I'm looking for?
"I have said many times that our policy does not lead to poor standards."
And I have said many times that accepting no standards other than "wanting to" can and has led to unacceptably poor performances - seen it, described it, been told about it by performer friends and even seen it argued for on Mudcat.
"Charmed I'm sure."
Despite our differences I include your name among the noted few Bryan and have done since I first communicaed with you.
"Jim - what a rancorous and ill-willed statement."
My statement was addressed directly to Don (Wyziwyg)T (read it) whose bullying and haranguing has done little to back up his own arguments, let alone dissuade me of mine.
"Will there be no new tunes - no new songs - "
There certainly will be, there are at present, but what they have not done is loose sight of the traditional base.
There is an extremely healthy situation here in Ireland as regards traditional music, but this has in no way prevented new songs and tunes being made, on the contrary, it has encouraged this enormously. I have persistantly advocated here on Mudcat that the making of new songs is essential for the continuance of our traditional music - that is not lip-service, it has been part of my activities almost from day one (not as a writer unfortunately).
At nearly 70 years of age I and Pat are faced with a mass of material (ours and the work of others) which we have to decide how to handle in our remaining years.
We have been given carte blanche to publish collections of our Irish Traveller material; there is a possibility of publishing our Clare recordings as song and story collections.
I get no feedback whatever from our English material (a kind offer from an old friend on Mudcat but no idea if there is a call for what we have).
A correspondant on another thread has just lumped me under the collective description of "collectors and other thieves" - all very inspiring.
When push comes to shove - where would you put the neccessary effort in this situation?   
"this statement of yours disgusts me."
And the disinterest and antipathy I have encountered on Mudcat towards the music I have been listening to for the last half century and the suggestion that it takes no effort on the part of the performers before it is placed before the public, and the equating of it with pop-pap....... etc. saddens me.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Is traditional song finished?
From: The Sandman
Date: 15 Mar 10 - 08:05 AM

I am interested in traditional songs ,jim,and I know Bryan Creer is as well.


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Subject: RE: Is traditional song finished?
From: Will Fly
Date: 15 Mar 10 - 07:36 AM

I'm left with the impression that you and people like you wouldn't recognise or appreciate a traditional song if it ran up behind you with its hand over its ear and bit your arse - that's the stuff that'll probably stay on the shelf, because frankly, we can't think for the life of us who would possibly be interested in it - apart from the notable few; no sign of anybody here.

Jim - what a rancorous and ill-willed statement. It's "people like" Bryan and his friends and colleagues in Lewes - and in other clubs - who most certainly know a huge amount about traditional English music, and who promote it and perform it wonderfully well in their clubs. I go to many of these clubs and I can vouch - as an experienced musician and performer in many genres of music over 45 years - for the excellence of their evenings and their support over many years for traditional music as defined by you and others of your ilk. I'm more than willing to respect you for the hard work you've done yourself in the field, and I usually try not to rise to the level of personal insult we regrettably see too often on Mudcat but - frankly - this statement of yours disgusts me.

You bang on constantly about the public performance of many young Irish children who perform their traditional music in the traditional way. What will they be performing in 50 or a 100 years' time? Will there be no new tunes - no new songs - will nothing have developed or changed or altered or been added to? Will it all be, as I described it in an earlier post, pickled in aspic? If you can't accept that music changes and transmutes - which means people writing new stuff in the idiom and adding their mite - then what a dull world it would be. However, I note that, time and time again, when challenged to define how far new writing/composing in the "folk idiom: should go - there's a reluctance on your part to admit any kind of formal preference or commitment. When challenged to consider how tunes, not songs, can develop and embrace the old and the new, there's an equal reluctance to come up with a viewpoint or a statement.

I can understand such a reluctance but, to smear genuinely hard-working club performers, organisers and others in the English folk world with the sort of statement I've quoted at the head of this post does you no credit.


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Subject: RE: Is traditional song finished?
From: TheSnail
Date: 15 Mar 10 - 06:20 AM

I know I shouldn't but -

Jim Carroll

All I have ever asked for is to be able to go to a club and be given an evening of folk songs sung to a reasonable standard - your reply
Q ""Do I, as potential audience, have any right to expect anything remotely resembling the accepted definition of folk song which my, and just about everbody I was involved with's understanding of the term is based on?
A "No, you do not because other people's understanding is different."


Correct. As I have pointed out, the word "folk" has been used with diferent shades of meaning since at least the 1940s. Every club will use it in the way that makes sense to them and they will, almost certainly make it clear in their advertising what you can expect.
For instance, Chorlton Folk Club's web site says "acoustic singers/players/poets/songwriters/clog dancers/painters/surrealists/time travellers....welcome...." I don't think it would be too hard for you to work out that it wasn't quite your sort of club.
Our publicity says "Our interest is mainly (but not exclusively) in British traditional music and song and contemporary folk music/song derived from the tradition." I think you would probably enjoy an evening with us.

You answered the first bit earlier by saying that a desire to sing is all that is expected from singers who turn up at your club.
I didn't attack your club - you did.


I have said many times that our policy does not lead to poor standards. It is you who seem to believe that wanting to sing automatically disqualifies someone from being able to do so. Please don't hold me responsible for something you have said.

Having expectations from a club, a concert, a film, a book.... whatever, is not "pissing" on them,

and in the latest post -

It's the English material that the question mark hangs over. I'm left with the impression that you and people like you wouldn't recognise or appreciate a traditional song if it ran up behind you with its hand over its ear and bit your arse - that's the stuff that'll probably stay on the shelf, because frankly, we can't think for the life of us who would possibly be interested in it - apart from the notable few; no sign of anybody here.

Charmed I'm sure.


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Subject: RE: Is traditional song finished?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 14 Mar 10 - 10:29 PM

No intention of shelving the tradition for posterity Don
Our collection is up for grabs in at least 4 publicly accessible archives (5th local one in the process of being set up) and has been so for at least thirty years - added to as it was collected - where are your songs?
None of our songs are marked with a little (c), so they are all public property to be taken and recorded by whoever wish - free of charge. So far Peta Webb and Ken Hall, The Silly Sisters, June Tabor and several others who haven't needed to contact so we don't know who they are, have issued songs from our collection totally free from copyright - have any of yours been distributed in the same manner?
The same applies with our recordings which have been used in radio and television programmes, been published in collections without our knowledge and which we are delighted to know have been put within reach of whoever wishes to sing them (or tell them - stacks of stories as well). Any fees from public performances of our recordings are automatically donated to the archives so that they will still be available long after we have popped our clogs.
The songs we have recorded from Walter Pardon, The Irish Travellers, Duncan Williamson, the Norfolk fishermen, and the people from West Clare who were generous to pass them on to us will be available for centuries to come thanks to the fact that The British Library, The Irish Traditional Music Archive, The Irish Folklore Society, The Pipers Club, and eventually The West Clare Heritage Group (in the process of being established) have been generous to give them shelf space. All have been given full permission to make them freely available on the web. The Roud Index has listed and located many of the songs we have collected so people now know where to find them should they want them.
Nobody who has ever asked for copies of our material has been turned down - ask around.
The only question that remains at present is how much more time we are going to be able to put in to make our work more accessible. No problem with our Irish stuff, they respect their tradition and are making it work. Just got back from the annual St Patrick's Day Parade in town were there were stacks of youngsters playing traditional music to a standard that most of them would be an asset to any folk club. Went into the pub later and took part in a singing session which lasted for three hours and was still going strong when we left.
It's the English material that the question mark hangs over. I'm left with the impression that you and people like you wouldn't recognise or appreciate a traditional song if it ran up behind you with its hand over its ear and bit your arse - that's the stuff that'll probably stay on the shelf, because frankly, we can't think for the life of us who would possibly be interested in it - apart from the notable few; no sign of anybody here.
Come back and tell me about 'shelving for posterity' when you can match that. As they say "put your money where your rather loudly belligerent mouth is".
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Is traditional song finished?
From: Don(Wyziwyg)T
Date: 14 Mar 10 - 07:16 PM

""in the right corner we had the Crustacean Snail,in the left corner we had JC ""

There's a lot more than just Snail in that corner Dick, and we have no intention of allowing JC to shelve the tradition for posterity. We are posterity (though JC hasn't noticed), and it's our tradition too.

I know he can't get his head round it, but Snail and I do run clubs where traditional music and song plays a major part. We both know the market in which we operate, as, I suspect almost all Club organisers do. Those who did not, have long since gone to the wall.

Don T.


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Subject: RE: Is traditional song finished?
From: The Sandman
Date: 14 Mar 10 - 05:11 PM

for many rounds the barefisted pugilists ,battered it out,not one fighter could deliver the knockout punch,after many posts they were still locked in verbal combat,far too exhausted to engage in witty repartee,bludgeoning each other and everyone else into a state of comatose inertia
in the right corner we had the Crustacean Snail,in the left corner we had JC


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Subject: RE: Is traditional song finished?
From: Crow Sister (off with the fairies)
Date: 14 Mar 10 - 05:10 PM

Oops. Last post - wrong thread.


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Subject: RE: Is traditional song finished?
From: Crow Sister (off with the fairies)
Date: 14 Mar 10 - 05:09 PM

"So - maybe time for a rethink."

How would you propose beginning to rethink all this stuff?
I reckon it's time for box of coloured crayons and a giant sheet of paper, and an afternoon kneeling on the floor like a kid..

That's the way I used to approach essays.


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Subject: RE: Is traditional song finished?
From: Crow Sister (off with the fairies)
Date: 14 Mar 10 - 04:45 PM

"Great, life forming days that left their fingerprints all over you. I can't honestly imagine how our music would have brought us to where we are or how it could possible continue without them - long may they survive!
Jim Carroll"

Echoing Banjiman there, a nice post.

I like the singaround formula for simiar reasons I think. Even though the material may be more eclectic, the community aspect and spirit of sharing is key.


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Subject: RE: Is traditional song finished?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 14 Mar 10 - 04:16 PM

Bryan:
All I have ever asked for is to be able to go to a club and be given an evening of folk songs sung to a reasonable standard - your reply
Q ""Do I, as potential audience, have any right to expect anything remotely resembling the accepted definition of folk song which my, and just about everbody I was involved with's understanding of the term is based on?
A "No, you do not because other people's understanding is different."
You answered the first bit earlier by saying that a desire to sing is all that is expected from singers who turn up at your club.
I didn't attack your club - you did.
Having expectations from a club, a concert, a film, a book.... whatever, is not "pissing" on them, even if that club is unwilling or unable to meet up to those expectations; it is asking them at least to make an effort to meet up with expectations.
"No more - no more" (as the song says).
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Is traditional song finished?
From: TheSnail
Date: 14 Mar 10 - 01:28 PM

Jim Carroll

And still you say you can't offer me what I require - traditional and traditionally based songs sung to a reasonable standard - or so you tell me - hmm, have to think about that one.

I thnk I could probably see you in court for that one but as proof of the fact that you don't even bother to read what I say it's pretty impressive. It's bad enough that you criticize a club that you have never been to but to accuse me of trashing the club that I help run is well out of order.

To avoid any further doubt -

At the Lewes Saturday Folk Club you can hear traditional and traditionally based songs sung to a reasonable and often high standard every week. This also true of other clubs that I know.

Sorry Bryan; am not going to become entangled in one of your equally interminable spirals.

Jim you have a persistent habit of pissing on the efforts of UK folk club organisers in general and me in particular. ("crass", "dumbing down", "promoting crap standards", comparing me to Goebbels, little things like that.) I think I have a right to answer back.


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Subject: RE: Is traditional song finished?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 14 Mar 10 - 09:08 AM

Thanks Paul - certainly not less good - all about enjoying ourselves, which was primarily what we're here for.
Can I add another.
One night we were listening to Ewan and Peggy at the Singers when, just towards the end of a song, the door opened and the cherubic-faced, red- cheeked figure of Bert Lloyd peeped around the door and in he and his wife Charlotte entered, both in evening dress, Bert clutching one of those large brandy glasses, half full, on their way home from a reception at the Rumanian Embassy (Bert was an honoury fellow of the Rumanian Folk Music Society).
As the song finished, Bert, full of the joys of - something - weaved his way over towards the stage.
He had nearly reached it when the commanding voice of Charlotte pierced the air - "Al-bert". Bert spun on his heel, returned to the side of his spouse, and dutifully remained there till the interval.
As you say Paul - great days.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Is traditional song finished?
From: Banjiman
Date: 14 Mar 10 - 08:26 AM

From: Jim Carroll - PM
Date: 13 Mar 10 - 04:04 PM

Beautiful post Jim. They sound like great days.

I thought I'd share some of my descriptions of what we get up to. Different....certainly, any less good or "authentic"?..... I don't really think so!

"I must mention the singarounds again....I walked into the bar at one point on Saturday and the beautiful sound of singing completely blew me away....2 Black Sheep, Keeper's Fold, Young 'uns, Mick McGarry and everyone else in the room all singing their heads off with perfect harmonies together.....the hairs on the back of my neck were standing on end....the very essence of "folk" music...perfect!"

"Sing around still going strong when I left at 1.15 a.m. top hearty trad stuff from Mick McGarry and his mates from Hull & beyond...and lots of good stuff from guys and girls with their guitars...oh and dulcimers, banjos (4s & 5s) mandolins, recorders, whistles, accordions etc, etc....... cool as f*ck actually. Folk music, cool?......oh yes!)"

"110 paying punters (thank you, thank you, thank you!) + bands, locals and assorted organisers meant that Saturday night was hot, sweaty and really pulsing in both the singaround (still going when I left at 1.30ish) in the bar and in the concert in the club room.........I really quite enjoyed myself!"


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Subject: RE: Is traditional song finished?
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 14 Mar 10 - 06:36 AM

Here's Jane Turrif singing Jimmy Rodgers' Away Out on the Mountain accompanying herself on the harmonium.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sn2UTXDIDCA


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Subject: RE: Is traditional song finished?
From: GUEST,raymond greenoaken
Date: 14 Mar 10 - 06:29 AM

I also heard Cathie Stewart sing 'She Wears Red Feathers'. - JC

There must have been some pretty unhappy bunnies there that night.

Just looking in!


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Subject: RE: Is traditional song finished?
From: glueman
Date: 13 Mar 10 - 04:43 PM

"the interminable, small-minded nastiness of Glueman."

As opposed to the same from JC presumably. I expressed what I felt to be unproblematic self-evident truths when I first dropped in on this forum and was met with school playground bullying from the old boys.
Your logic is flawed Jim and you cover your trail in cheap shots at those who point out the fault lines.
The nastiness you perceive is your own folk world view being held up for appraisal and found wanting. I'm normally deferential to those who've put the hours and footwork in but you're talking bollocks.


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Subject: RE: Is traditional song finished?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 13 Mar 10 - 04:04 PM

CS - Clubs
Virtually all of us involved in folk song are here because of our experiece in clubs - I can't conceive of a better way to hear them.
The club is a balance between the intimate (private) situation of the home, mainly the kitchen/living area, which, in Ireland certainly, was the original venue for singing, dancing, music and storytelling - and the impersonal setting of the concert platform.
I had some of my warmest moments in the clubs - as a member of the audience and as a singer.
Wonderful memories - like the night Harry Cox sang, the first couple of songs somewhat withdrawn and uncomfortable; then, after turning his back and discreetly spitting his new false teeth, which were giving him problems, into a handkerchief, sat back and gave us a magnificent night of singing.
Then the time I arrived too late to get a seat at the Singers Club and had to sit on the platform facing the crowd. Ewan sang Sweet Thames for the first time, in my hearing anyway (and most of the audience's) and I watched the audience breathe in time to the song.
Nights with Joe Heaney, Seamus Ennis, The Stewarts, Paddy Tunney...
Or when The Dubliners turned up en masse half way through the second half and Ewan and Luke greeted each other like long-lost brothers. Then we stayed in the bar till 3 oclock in the morning and listened to Ewan, Peggy and Luke and his mob sing and reminisce .
Or when we took Mikeen McCarthy to take part in a Travellers evening, how he went pale when he saw Jasper Smith walk through the door because he'd once sold him a dodgy horse. Or Mikeen again (all five-foot nothing of him) staring up at Belle Stewart in reverence and saying "Jeeze missus; you're a magnificent woman".
Or the time Peggy and Joe Heaney got into a heated debate about the role of women in society.
We'd never have been part of that other than at a club.
We watched as our late friend, the piper Tom McCarthy, develop from a shy, self-effacing man into (over a couple of years) a wonderful storyteller who could hold an audience in the palm of his hand with his description of his life and music back home in Clare.
Or his friend Bobby Casey, one of Ireland's finest fiddlers, who, used to play on automatic pilot because he was used to noisy pub audiences, but the minute he saw somebody listening at a club his shoulders would go up and he'd lift the top of your head off with his playing.
The clubs gave a platform to some of our finest singers and musicians who we would never have heard otherwise; it also produced some of our finest academics and researchers - Vic Gammon, Bob Thomson, George Deacon...
I wouldn't have missed them for the world, and wouldn't begrudge anybody in the future getting the same pleasure we did.
Great, life forming days that left their fingerprints all over you. I can't honestly imagine how our music would have brought us to where we are or how it could possible continue without them - long may they survive!
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Is traditional song finished?
From: Paco O'Barmy
Date: 13 Mar 10 - 02:36 PM

No, it isn't.


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Subject: RE: Is traditional song finished?
From: The Sandman
Date: 13 Mar 10 - 02:16 PM

John Brune also collected songs from the Stewarts.
I suspect Walter was an eccentric,I agree Jim we are indebted to Walter.I think Jack has a valid point too.


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Subject: RE: Is traditional song finished?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 13 Mar 10 - 01:18 PM

"thanks to MacColl and Seeger"
Hamish Henderson and his visits to teh Berryfilelds I think you'll find Jack.
Folk clubs never were intended to be ethnomusicalogicical centres - we came together to share folk songs - I honestly never at anytime witnessesd a singer being told what to sing or not to sing - saw many of them being given requests for songs which they were happy to comply with.
I once asked Sheila to sing Drumallachie - which she 'appeared' to be happy to oblige me with - could be wrong.
I also heard Cathie Stewart sing 'She Wears Red Feathers'.
Walter spoke of his 'choosing' folk song while those of his age group went for the pop songs of the day; so much so that he was the only one in the family to retain his family repertoire - lucky old us!
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Is traditional song finished?
From: Jack Campin
Date: 13 Mar 10 - 12:07 PM

I can only say to people who share your views Jack, and look on collectors as cynical manipulators - you really needed to have been there.

I didn't say there was any cynicism or manipulation involved. Simply that this was a situation where the observer can't help but perturb the apparatus.

We know pretty well what Belle Stewart's repertoire was (thanks to MacColl and Seeger) - all kinds of stuff, as you found with Pardon. Stewart sang the music-hall/pop material for friends and family. She wouldn't have done it for a folk club audience, since they were NOT friends or family, and she knew what they wanted. Simple as that.


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Subject: RE: Is traditional song finished?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 13 Mar 10 - 11:46 AM

CS
At my stage of life you really need to sort out priorities and direct your work and material to where it will be put to the best use - too much stony ground here for me.
Bryan;
No, I would rather direct you to Jack Campin's 13 Mar 10 - 08:30 final sentence and the interminable, small-minded nastiness of Glueman.
"and you aren't in a position to say whether or not he agreed to them being issued on CD."
Of course I'm not - and have never claimed otherwise. I am only in the position to know how he thought about them - that's all I have communicated here.
"I go to two folk clubs almost every week......"
And still you say you can't offer me what I require - traditional and traditionally based songs sung to a reasonable standard - or so you tell me - hmm, have to think about that one.
Sorry Bryan; am not going to become entangled in one of your equally interminable spirals.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Is traditional song finished?
From: TheSnail
Date: 13 Mar 10 - 11:35 AM

Cheers, Bryan - I'll take you up on that some day.

Looking forward to it. Didn't mean to seem as if I was getting at you but there is really a lot of good stuff going on, just maybe not everywhere.

Bryan


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Subject: RE: Is traditional song finished?
From: GUEST,Angel of the North
Date: 13 Mar 10 - 11:30 AM

Where does this leave John Tams, Billy Bragg or Jim Boyes, etc?
Much of this argument comes back to Norma Waterson's observation about singers singing stuff about whose provenance they know little and which they can't be bothered to explore. Do they necessarily need to in order for a performance to be credible or touching?
            Some people evidently see "traditional" as a mood or a language rather than as a de facto pedigree.
          The answer to some of this may be in Stan Hugill's writings about shanties.


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Subject: RE: Is traditional song finished?
From: The Sandman
Date: 13 Mar 10 - 11:26 AM

From: GUEST,Ralphie - PM
Date: 13 Mar 10 - 04:47 AM

I actually went to McColls Singers club (Something of Pindar??...too long ago to remember).
But I do remember that it was the most unwelcoming, unfriendly, most exclusive room that I'd ever been to. I didn't play at the time (1973??) but watching floor singers having to go through the X Factor bit, with Ewan sat behind them on stage, almost taking notes.
It almost made me give up on the folk scene.
Luckily as a musician, I found other outlets.
And am very glad that I did.
my sentiments exactly,I also agree with you about all this 1954 rubbish.


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Subject: RE: Is traditional song finished?
From: Crow Sister (off with the fairies)
Date: 13 Mar 10 - 10:59 AM

"It is precisely discussions of this nature that do much to convince me of the wisdom of leaving our material on the shelves for posterity to decide."

Gosh, I can't recall the amount of times I've heard you repeat this, but you do for some reason? I appreciate you get frustrated with some people's comments about 'collectors' - but I hope such threats are not in response to objecting to the fact that others might have differing opinions to you about folk clubs and the revival? As I've said myself, the revival as a particular phenomenon, is of far less interest to me than the songs themselves.

I don't buy the notion of an ongoing tradition (no offence to those who write new songs 'in the style' of the old) as it's muddied the waters dreadfully for anyone new to the scene. I'd rather see traditional music treated as a discreet body of material and area of study and exploration by those with a focused interest in them. In fact I think this is an increasing inevitability in the years to come, as older members of the revival toddle off this mortal coil leaving the revival philosophy to be either ditched or reinvented by increasing numbers of young people interested in discovering this common treasury and exploring it for themselves. And also as official bodies start to recognise this material as a representing a significant part of our common cultural heritage worthy of support and patronage.

Others are telling you that the music is in safe future hands, and personally I say you should be willing to trust those hands will genuinely care for the music - without necessarily expecting that they must agree with all your opinions. All you can do is to show people the evidence supporting your arguments, and allow that they have intelligence and sensitivity enough to come to their own conclusions from it.


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