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'More pretentious than Bellowhead'

Will Fly 05 Oct 10 - 05:19 AM
GUEST,Ed 05 Oct 10 - 05:28 AM
Les in Chorlton 05 Oct 10 - 05:40 AM
GUEST,gluemania 05 Oct 10 - 05:45 AM
Will Fly 05 Oct 10 - 05:53 AM
Acorn4 05 Oct 10 - 05:56 AM
theleveller 05 Oct 10 - 06:10 AM
GUEST,Ed 05 Oct 10 - 06:19 AM
GUEST,Spleen Cringe 05 Oct 10 - 06:43 AM
Howard Jones 05 Oct 10 - 06:54 AM
GUEST,gloomman 05 Oct 10 - 06:54 AM
Will Fly 05 Oct 10 - 07:07 AM
theleveller 05 Oct 10 - 07:14 AM
GUEST,Foul Ole Ron 05 Oct 10 - 07:22 AM
GUEST 05 Oct 10 - 07:25 AM
GUEST,Spleen Cringe 05 Oct 10 - 07:26 AM
GUEST,gluer 05 Oct 10 - 07:40 AM
GUEST,Foul Ole Ron 05 Oct 10 - 07:52 AM
Richard Bridge 05 Oct 10 - 07:57 AM
Old Vermin 05 Oct 10 - 07:59 AM
GUEST,gluest 05 Oct 10 - 08:01 AM
RTim 05 Oct 10 - 08:27 AM
Les in Chorlton 05 Oct 10 - 09:41 AM
Tim Leaning 05 Oct 10 - 10:55 AM
treewind 05 Oct 10 - 02:11 PM
Continuity Jones 05 Oct 10 - 02:35 PM
squeezyjohn 06 Oct 10 - 05:11 AM
George Papavgeris 06 Oct 10 - 05:23 AM
George Papavgeris 06 Oct 10 - 05:25 AM
Rain Dog 06 Oct 10 - 05:44 AM
Les in Chorlton 06 Oct 10 - 05:53 AM
Will Fly 06 Oct 10 - 05:56 AM
GUEST,Ed 06 Oct 10 - 06:04 AM
Will Fly 06 Oct 10 - 06:10 AM
GUEST,glueman 06 Oct 10 - 06:58 AM
Will Fly 06 Oct 10 - 07:17 AM
GUEST,Ed 06 Oct 10 - 07:20 AM
Les in Chorlton 06 Oct 10 - 07:28 AM
GUEST,glueman 06 Oct 10 - 07:46 AM
Will Fly 06 Oct 10 - 08:07 AM
Brian Peters 06 Oct 10 - 08:12 AM
GUEST,Spleen Cringe 06 Oct 10 - 08:24 AM
SteveMansfield 06 Oct 10 - 08:27 AM
TheSnail 06 Oct 10 - 08:29 AM
Will Fly 06 Oct 10 - 08:30 AM
GUEST,glueman 06 Oct 10 - 08:32 AM
Howard Jones 06 Oct 10 - 08:47 AM
Phil Edwards 06 Oct 10 - 09:11 AM
Brian Peters 06 Oct 10 - 09:18 AM
GUEST,glueman 06 Oct 10 - 09:43 AM
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Subject: 'More pretentious than Bellowhead'
From: Will Fly
Date: 05 Oct 10 - 05:19 AM

I hope that GUEST, Catherine Foster will forgive me for hijacking her comments in the Peter Bellamy thread, in order to examine her theme here. To quote you, Catherine, you said:
    ... Shrewsbury FF is a FOLK FESTIVAL. It appeals to folkies and within those hallowed, insular walls each and every one of them can feel comforted that their mediocre tradition is safe in the hands of the even more mediocre Kerr, Fagan, Sartin, Hield, Kerfuffle, Causley etc. A more dull and less exciting, forward looking event would be hard to find.

    You may want to bring up the Afro Celts. Christ so would I. More pretentious than Bellowhead (and that's saying something), but musically inferior.

    It was folkie through and through with a capital F. What upsets me so much is that this is music that our entire nation should be celebrating and as long as we present it in this kind of way, Joe Public isn't going to sit up and take notice. No other nation would stand for their traditional music being treated as such.

Whenever I see comments like this in Mudcat or any other forum, I immediately think "beauty is in the ear of the listener". Whether you love or hate a band like Bellowhead (for example), your preference tells us more about you than it does about Bellowhead.

I find it interesting that you believe that the music of a "mediocre tradition" is "music that our entire nation should be celebrating". I've never believed, and never will, that the nation should be celebrating anything - particularly one genre of music. I've just had a thorough read of "The Imagined Village", as it happens, and the subverting of a musical genre - traditional song and dance in this case - to the differing "national" ideals of people like Sharp, Karpeles, Gardiner et al is definitely not to my taste.

The fact, whether you like it or not, is that traditional music - by which I mean tunes as well as songs - is strong enough and well enough as a recorded and documented body of music to withstand any periodic variations in performance, presentation, arrangement, interpretation, adaptation and augmentation. Decrying current trends in all these matters is to miss the point. The music exists in its own right, and no amount of proselytising for one trend or another will make a huge amount of difference, in our wired world, to its popularity or otherwise.

As it happens I almost never attend folk festivals, preferring on the whole to get my fix of traditional tunes from sessions which, because of the different people who attend, are each unique in flavour. However, it does seem rather pointless to belabour a folk festival because it appeals to "folkies" - whatever you mean by that word. I'd be interested to hear how you think traditional music should be presented, and what music you would include in the presentation. A difficult question to answer, I'm afraid, without starting up yet another tedious debate of the "what is folk music" type.

I should add that my personal musical tastes are extremely wide and that, as far as traditional music is concerned, I much prefer tunes to songs. Interestingly, the tune "canon", for want of a better word, has a much more fluid boundary than the song "canon". I recently picked up a book of fiddle tunes composed by the fiddler James Hill from the Bagpipe Museum in Morpeth - tunes arranged for small pipes keys, of course. The interesting word here is "composed". The tunes are either his tunes or ones that he was known for regularly playing - so a mixture of old and new. So I have no objection to the "canon" being added to.

I have to say, though, that after a quick listen to the Mumfords and Marling on Spotify, I'd rather have a couple of minutes of Elvis singing "Let's Play House", or Billy Briggs spitting his way through "Chew Tobacco Rag" than them. Which, of course, says more about me than the Mumfords and Marling...


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Subject: RE: 'More pretentious than Bellowhead'
From: GUEST,Ed
Date: 05 Oct 10 - 05:28 AM

Hear, hear, Will.

Those who do like Bellowhead may be interested to know that there's a 'Bellowhead Special' on Radio 2's Mike Harding Show this week.

And no, that wasn't an invitation to tell the world how crap you think Mike Harding is. If you can do better, do it. And give me a link to your podcast...

Ed


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Subject: RE: 'More pretentious than Bellowhead'
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 05 Oct 10 - 05:40 AM

Well said Will.

As for Bellowhead, I have a number of their CDs and they are ....... very good but I find Bellowhead live very exciting, as I do Whapweasel, Duncan McFarlane, The Boat Band, Peat Bog Faries and erm lots of others.

Bellowhead on CD cannot match what they do live because ......... well they just are amazing live. But i don't expect everybody else to like them

L in C#


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Subject: RE: 'More pretentious than Bellowhead'
From: GUEST,gluemania
Date: 05 Oct 10 - 05:45 AM

I agree with Catherine's broader point and like Bellowhead. There aren't nearly enough show bands doing old-style acoustic music and they're a very tight combo. A good night out, especially with beer. Is there a higher accolade?
On everything else Catherine was right.


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Subject: RE: 'More pretentious than Bellowhead'
From: Will Fly
Date: 05 Oct 10 - 05:53 AM

On everything else Catherine was right.

Well, I would like to see some evidence for her views and some practical options for change. Mere assertion is nothing.


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Subject: RE: 'More pretentious than Bellowhead'
From: Acorn4
Date: 05 Oct 10 - 05:56 AM

I can't think of many folk bands LESS pretentious than Bellowhead!


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Subject: RE: 'More pretentious than Bellowhead'
From: theleveller
Date: 05 Oct 10 - 06:10 AM

I think Ms Foster's statement is utterly stupid and ignorant. She may as well have said "I went to a Beer Festival and it was full of beer drinkers and I couldn't get a decent glass of wine".

BTW, how can a tradition be 'mediocre' or otherwise?

OK, she didn't like the music - so what kind of folk music does she like (if any)?


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Subject: RE: 'More pretentious than Bellowhead'
From: GUEST,Ed
Date: 05 Oct 10 - 06:19 AM

Looking at the posting history, it's clearly obvious that 'GUEST,Catherine Foster ', and GUEST,gluemania are the same person.

Quite why he/she has created these personae, I do not know.

As others have said, what would you do better?

Ed


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Subject: RE: 'More pretentious than Bellowhead'
From: GUEST,Spleen Cringe
Date: 05 Oct 10 - 06:43 AM

Ed: Gluemania is Glueman with and extra "ia" and has a much longer posting history than CF. And a totally different writing style.

I doubt we'll see CF again. I think she came in to blow off a little steam and has gone again. Whilst she's totally entitled to her opinions, right or wrong, about various players from the folk world, I do wonder why someone would complain that a FOLK festival is "folkie through and through"... what did she expect to hear? Death metal? X-factor pop? And as several people have rightly pointed out, why should we expect the entire nation to be celebrating a form of music that has all but died out as a vernacular idiom and is now the preserve of relatively small pockets of hobbyists and enthusiasts?

I'm also entertained and slightly perturbed by the line, "No other nation would stand for their traditional music being treated as such". I think when we get into the realms of a "national" traditional music, we get onto dangerous territory where folk music becomes subservient to the narrow, usually jingoistic political ends that people who concern themselves with notions like "national music" want it to serve. And in any case, many of the traditional songs and tunes of the British Isles are regional rather than national, whilst others transcend boundaries and are shared parts of say the English, Scottish and Irish traditions. It's even more fluid for tunes, what with the cross pollination with Scandinavian and French traditions, for example. And talking of the French, I'm not convinced that outside of Brittany or medieval re-enactment events, its that easy to come across traditional music being played, and god knows I've tried. In comparison, the UK traditional music scenes are very healthy.

In an earlier post on the Bellamy thread, CF invoked the names of Laura Marling and Mumford and Sons. If this is her alternative vision, I suspect she's missing the point. Nothing wrong with acoustic singer songwriters and acoustic indie-pop per se, but its a different sort of music to folk (though there's obviously a little cross fertilisation)... and these two are far from the best examples of either.


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Subject: RE: 'More pretentious than Bellowhead'
From: Howard Jones
Date: 05 Oct 10 - 06:54 AM

Well, it is a FOLK festival so to complain about it being too folky seems to rather miss the point.

So how should it be presented in such a way that "Joe Public" will sit up and take notice? It seems to me the usual approach is either to present the music in the latest "modern" style, or bland MoR by the likes of Foster & Allen. I find neither appeals to me very much.

However I think Catherine is unduly pessimistic. There is a young generation of performers trying new and different things - not always to my taste, either, but that's not the point. More importantly, the internet has allowed young people to be far exploratory where music is concerned and their tastes are probably much wider and less tribal than their parents' were. These are very likely to include folk in some form (although possibly, Jim, not as we know it). My own 20 year old son, who expresses considerable distaste for the sort of folk I play, seems to like the Mumfords, so I suppose there's a faint hope for him.

The reality is that folk music is never going to be part of the mainstream. However the same can be said for many forms of music, including sub-genres within "popular" music. I don't see it as a problem. It might be nice for it to attract the attention and money that other genres do, but then it probably wouldn't be folk, and we'd could lose much of what we find most attractive about it. Many of us like it for the very reasons which make it unattractive to "Joe Public".


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Subject: RE: 'More pretentious than Bellowhead'
From: GUEST,gloomman
Date: 05 Oct 10 - 06:54 AM

I think we all know what Catherine Foster meant. As a fairly regular festival attendee I identified with a certain wetness CF alluded to, though not with all her targets, some of whom I enjoy. Jim Causely may well be the fin de siecle Val Doonican and Bellowhead the Barron Knights of the nu-tradition but I own albums by both.

She was having a good rant and getting the usual targets frothing and we applaud her for it. As far as I know, I am not, nor ever have been, Ms Foster.


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Subject: RE: 'More pretentious than Bellowhead'
From: Will Fly
Date: 05 Oct 10 - 07:07 AM

Oh, I don't know, Oh Gloomy One - I'm not particularly frothy. Just curious as to what could have provoked such a reaction to a folk festival, and equally curious as to what she considers to be the remedy. As for applauding froth-raising, I don't think a general "we" may be the case... Or is it the royal "we" you're using? :-)


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Subject: RE: 'More pretentious than Bellowhead'
From: theleveller
Date: 05 Oct 10 - 07:14 AM

Errr...does the royal wee create a lot of froth? And how do you know?


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Subject: RE: 'More pretentious than Bellowhead'
From: GUEST,Foul Ole Ron
Date: 05 Oct 10 - 07:22 AM

If you ask me not that you woudl do this 'Catherine Foster' is an obvious speudonym pepople come on the Cat all the time using these unimgaginative psuedunyms and write provocative nonsenes to get pepole wound up its the oldest trick in the book. Don't feed the trolls is what i say not that you asked. Millneeniumm hand and shrimp.


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Subject: RE: 'More pretentious than Bellowhead'
From: GUEST
Date: 05 Oct 10 - 07:25 AM

In 1812, physicians caring for England's "Mad" King George III reported a bluish tinge to the King's urine that left "a pale blue ring upon the glass near the upper surface".

Blue blood and blue wee. No mention of froth though...


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Subject: RE: 'More pretentious than Bellowhead'
From: GUEST,Spleen Cringe
Date: 05 Oct 10 - 07:26 AM

In 1812, physicians caring for England's "Mad" King George III reported a bluish tinge to the King's urine that left "a pale blue ring upon the glass near the upper surface".

Blue blood and blue wee. No mention of froth though...


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Subject: RE: 'More pretentious than Bellowhead'
From: GUEST,gluer
Date: 05 Oct 10 - 07:40 AM

Ms Foster didn't appear to be trolling, though it's hard to be sure. She seemed to have a solid grasp on what she expected from a folk festival, which is more than can be said for most of us (well, er...me) and what she found didn't meet with her approval. Dunno why people think she expected heavy metal, perhaps she expected something 'folkier'.

When I first posted I was accused of trolling, so have a natural empathy with spontaneous responses. Weight of words rarely leads to enlightenment, much less truth.


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Subject: RE: 'More pretentious than Bellowhead'
From: GUEST,Foul Ole Ron
Date: 05 Oct 10 - 07:52 AM

altrenatively perhaps you actaully were trolling, ie posting stuff that was bound towind people up. Me i never find it that ahrd to tell when someone wants to discuss stuff and when they just want to say "this stfuf is all rbuish and youre all idiots for liking it". It's quit e abig difference if you ask me not that you woudl.


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Subject: RE: 'More pretentious than Bellowhead'
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 05 Oct 10 - 07:57 AM

It's internally self-contradictory tripe, and gives no clue what Ms Foster would have wanted. It contains about as much sense as putting a rant like that in the Peter Bellamy thread. That said, it has made me consider whether it might be worth going next year.


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Subject: RE: 'More pretentious than Bellowhead'
From: Old Vermin
Date: 05 Oct 10 - 07:59 AM

No way would I call, say, Paul Sartin mediocre. Of those listed, I've heard him much the most and he's bloody good. Likewise Bellowhead are excellent fun, and are the better for it. I deduce trolling or a very 'interesting' set of tastes.



Really wouldn't worry about it.


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Subject: RE: 'More pretentious than Bellowhead'
From: GUEST,gluest
Date: 05 Oct 10 - 08:01 AM

ican ausure u Ron missis foster and me arentt he sam persone.

Besides, being wound up is not compulsory. Traditional certainly, but not an inevitable consequence of different views.


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Subject: RE: 'More pretentious than Bellowhead'
From: RTim
Date: 05 Oct 10 - 08:27 AM

As someone who has been involved with "Folk" music for over 40 years and have a very wide appreciation of many styles, I find this thread interesting.
I have never been a fan of Peter Bellemy, but we live in a broad church and I have no problem that others loved him.
Similarly, I can't say I like Bellowhead, but I haven't seen them live!
But if they are liked by many, so be it, there is still plenty to love within our music.
And that is what I really love - it is or can be OUR music, we can contribute at many levels.

Tim Radford


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Subject: RE: 'More pretentious than Bellowhead'
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 05 Oct 10 - 09:41 AM

I try to set a standard at the Beech which others can rarely get below. This is not a popular strategy in some quarters but it has it's strong points

L in C#


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Subject: RE: 'More pretentious than Bellowhead'
From: Tim Leaning
Date: 05 Oct 10 - 10:55 AM

Lc. Good 4 u. :-)


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Subject: RE: 'More pretentious than Bellowhead'
From: treewind
Date: 05 Oct 10 - 02:11 PM

I'd like to see Catherine Foster give a specific example of what or who she thinks is good in folk music (whether from this country or another) so we can get an idea of where she's coming from.

It's one thing to write off various luminaries of the folk scene as dull, pretentious or unmusical, but you haven't really nailed your colours to the mast until you've had the courage to nominate something or someone that does get your enthusiastic approval, and thereby created some sort of scale of comparison.

(And be prepared to be challenged by dissenters, of course.)

Otherwise there's nothing to discuss: It's just a re-statement of Sturgeon's Law.

Anahata


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Subject: RE: 'More pretentious than Bellowhead'
From: Continuity Jones
Date: 05 Oct 10 - 02:35 PM

I think Bellowhead are horrible. But then, I've only seen them live once and not heard their album(s). If I met any of them in a dark alley and they smiled smugly at me I may just have to tread on their toes.


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Subject: RE: 'More pretentious than Bellowhead'
From: squeezyjohn
Date: 06 Oct 10 - 05:11 AM

Thanks Continuity!

A threat of violence because we've chosen to make some music that you can choose to listen to or not? I'd say that was probably a bit of an over-reaction.

John Spiers

;-)       <- my attempt at a smug smile to see if it's true


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Subject: RE: 'More pretentious than Bellowhead'
From: George Papavgeris
Date: 06 Oct 10 - 05:23 AM

Funny how some threads go quiet suddenly...


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Subject: RE: 'More pretentious than Bellowhead'
From: George Papavgeris
Date: 06 Oct 10 - 05:25 AM

B*ll*cks, I thought John's message was dated yesterday, so my own smug sarcasm ended up with poo all over it. Just as well I am not pretentious. Pas moi!


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Subject: RE: 'More pretentious than Bellowhead'
From: Rain Dog
Date: 06 Oct 10 - 05:44 AM

Are you typing at me?


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Subject: RE: 'More pretentious than Bellowhead'
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 06 Oct 10 - 05:53 AM

I would say to anyone - anyone at all folkie or none folkie - go and see Bellowhead they are very exciting, very accomplished and original.

I have enjoyed other groups and individuals more but so what.

On here we say go and see xxxxxx - you will enjoy them.

Go and see Bellowhead, Duncan McFarlane, The Boat Band, Calan, Chris Wood, Les Barker ...... their are hundreds of great singers and groups to be enjoyed.

What is the point of saying I didn't like yyyyyy? That conversation is going nowhere.

L in C#


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Subject: RE: 'More pretentious than Bellowhead'
From: Will Fly
Date: 06 Oct 10 - 05:56 AM

For those that care to read my original post in this thread, can I repeat that Bellowhead was used as purely as an example of the love/hate relationship of music to individuals. In other words, if you say you detest the music of Nic Jones - for example - I believe it says more about you than the music of Nic Jones. Gerrit? I thought it was sufficiently clear in the original post that the thread was about far more than the music of one particular performer or performers. But then some people just don't read threads thoroughly. The thread title is a quote from another post... sigh!


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Subject: RE: 'More pretentious than Bellowhead'
From: GUEST,Ed
Date: 06 Oct 10 - 06:04 AM

I'm sorry, Will, if my initial response made it a 'Bellowhead' thread.

But such is the nature of conversing online...


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Subject: RE: 'More pretentious than Bellowhead'
From: Will Fly
Date: 06 Oct 10 - 06:10 AM

No Ed - 'twas not a pop at ee!


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Subject: RE: 'More pretentious than Bellowhead'
From: GUEST,glueman
Date: 06 Oct 10 - 06:58 AM

Why does disliking a performer tell you more about the person doing the disliking? The folk revival is predicated on a reaction to the commercial music around at the time, the whole thing was created by 'haters'.
I happen to think Bellowhead are a good night out but I reserve the right to dislike all kinds of music and musicians for all kinds of reasons. The woman whose quote triggered this thread was cheesed off with what she heard, her tastes may not be honed to the revival or she may have a very elevated musical palate. Either way it's her right to gob off on an internet forum. That's what it's there for, unless someone knows different?


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Subject: RE: 'More pretentious than Bellowhead'
From: Will Fly
Date: 06 Oct 10 - 07:17 AM

I don't believe there are absolutes in music, or any other kind of art (which is not another way of saying there are no standards), and that to say what you don't like is some guide to what you do like.

Read the post quoted again - it's at the top of this thread. It contains the words:

...the even more mediocre Kerr, Fagan, Sartin, Hield, Kerfuffle, Causley etc. ... You may want to bring up the Afro Celts. Christ so would I. More pretentious than Bellowhead (and that's saying something), but musically inferior.

This is not just saying you don't like something - of course anyone can like or dislike whatever they want to - it's saying that the music is mediocre and/or pretentious. But disliking something and saying it's pretentious is not the same thing, and the two may not be logically connected. One man's pretention may be another's avant garde...

If you believe that something is mediocre and/or pretentious, you should be able to justify it, rather than just assert it, and you might want to offer an alternative "something" to make your point. But to say - for example - "the artist James McNeill whistler is total crap" is a totally subjective and meaningless statement. And it does give an indication of what you and your critical faculties might be like.

And of course you can "gob off" - but what's the point?


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Subject: RE: 'More pretentious than Bellowhead'
From: GUEST,Ed
Date: 06 Oct 10 - 07:20 AM

Dead god, glueman.

I can only be thankful that I'm not as bitter as you. I don't have time to refute your ridiculous assertions, as I'm going out.

Take a 'chill pill' as modern parlance has it.

Ed


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Subject: RE: 'More pretentious than Bellowhead'
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 06 Oct 10 - 07:28 AM

"the whole thing was created by 'haters'"

This simply isn't true.

L in C#


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Subject: RE: 'More pretentious than Bellowhead'
From: GUEST,glueman
Date: 06 Oct 10 - 07:46 AM

No, it isn't universally true Les, but like most stereotypes, there's something in it. My observation of the 60s revival, i.e. the one most people still alive hooked on to, is that it was indeed a reactionary movement.
As for bitter Ed, on the contrary. A neater summary of my position is I find most live and recorded folk music a bit derivative in performance terms, mediocre if you like. One of the things Bellowhead are not, is derivative, or at least derivative of what the man in the street's expectation of folk music might be. Which is no doubt one of the reasons why they enjoy commercial success and some posters want to step on their toes.

The fact is music appreciation in the UK has been factionalised as long as I can remember, so let's not feign outrage because someone says like/dislike without a thesis behind their caprice.


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Subject: RE: 'More pretentious than Bellowhead'
From: Will Fly
Date: 06 Oct 10 - 08:07 AM

It's not a question of "feigning outrage" because of a stated like or dislike. I'm rarely outraged these days.

The point I'm (obviously laboriously) trying to make is that, if you choose to insult somebody on a discussion board by calling their music dull or pretentious or inferior or mediocre - particularly a board which the persons concerned are likely to read - then some justification for the insult might be a reasonable thing to do. I thought John Spiers' wry comment here was very restrained.

I wouldn't call differences in musical taste "factionalised", either. Of course there are differences in taste - there always have been and always will be - but, so what?


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Subject: RE: 'More pretentious than Bellowhead'
From: Brian Peters
Date: 06 Oct 10 - 08:12 AM

"the whole thing was created by 'haters'"

No - it was created by music lovers, many of whom had very broad tastes. There was to some extent an anti-capitalist agenda - Lloyd and MacColl liked to draw a distinction between 'folk' and 'commercial' music - but even that hid a more nuanced analysis when it came to, for instance, commercial recordings of old country music.

"let's not feign outrage because someone says like/dislike without a thesis behind their caprice"

If Catherine Foster has the right to "gob off" on this forum then people are entitled to gob back. Far from outrage, the counter arguments merely invited her to say what she does like. The odd thing about her original post was that it took aim specifically at the younger generation. So perhaps she's a Critics' Group diehard? Seriously, anyone who thinks Nancy Kerr or Paul Sartin are "no better than eager amateurs" is grinding some kind of axe.


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Subject: RE: 'More pretentious than Bellowhead'
From: GUEST,Spleen Cringe
Date: 06 Oct 10 - 08:24 AM

"The whole thing was created by 'haters'"

Obviously, as a mere slip of a middle-aged man, I wasn't around at the height of the folk revival in the sixties and seventies. But I've read plenty of books that cover it (most recently "Dazzling Stranger" - the Bert Jansch biography - and "Electric Eden" by Rob Young) and listened to plenty of the wonderful albums this era produced. I can't see how the likes of Bert Jansch, Nic Jones, Mr Fox, Anne Briggs, Shirley Collins, Peter Bellmay etc etc could possibly be described as "haters" - all sorts of human emotions are present in their work, but that's not the immediate one that springs to mind. I've sure the same could be said of most of the people who got pleasure from listening to their records or seeing them perform.

And in my admittedly local experience of people who were around at the height of the revival and are still involved in singarounds and folk events now, again I cannot possibly attatch the word "haters" to them. The one thing that shines more strongly than anything else is the absolute joy and pleasure singing, playing and listening to this music gives them. The thing is, it's all too easy to issue a blanket dismissal people online and forget we're dealing with real people with all their individual strengths and foibles.

So I'm with Les on this one.

I would respectfully suggest, G, that you're conflating the pig-headed views of a small handful of Mudcat contributors with the participants in the revival as a whole.


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Subject: RE: 'More pretentious than Bellowhead'
From: SteveMansfield
Date: 06 Oct 10 - 08:27 AM

4 star review for the new album in The Guardian.

This album is clever and enormous fun. - no mention of pretentiousness funnily enough ...


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Subject: RE: 'More pretentious than Bellowhead'
From: TheSnail
Date: 06 Oct 10 - 08:29 AM

We haven't booked all of the people on the list - Kerr, Fagan, Sartin, Hield, Kerfuffle, Causley - yet. But when we have booked some of them, the room has been generally packed out with people we don't see the rest of the time. Joe Public seems to be sitting up, standing up and hanging out the windows to take notice.

We've booked Boden and Spiers as well with the same result.


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Subject: RE: 'More pretentious than Bellowhead'
From: Will Fly
Date: 06 Oct 10 - 08:30 AM

Well, I was around - and performing in folk clubs - in the mid-60s and for a few years after. In the north and in London, mainly, and I met and jammed with quite a few of the performers of that time. And, as the esteemed Spleen says, all that was ever cared about was the music - and having a good time.

As you can see, I'm now very old and may have shortly to be put down for being an old '60s folk luvvie... In my defence, I should add that I also spent 10 years playing mainstream jazz, 13 in a 1950s rock'n roll band and 15 in a New Orleans/Memphis soul funk'n boogie band.

It's a good life if you don't strengthen.


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Subject: RE: 'More pretentious than Bellowhead'
From: GUEST,glueman
Date: 06 Oct 10 - 08:32 AM

Well as CF disappeared we shall never know. I do wonder why Bellowhead raise such ire on this board? Their musicianship and that of many new folk acts is beyond reproach, B'head members could do a fair impression of a Stax house band or a string quartet but choose English vernacular as their route.
Perhaps their accomplishment and versatility leads folkies to believe they're on their territory? Posters are fully entitled to ask her for an explanation of someone's viewpoint, but in the end its taste with varying degrees of erudition to back up the fancy, and CF's broadside shouldn't mark her out as less informed, neither should being informed matter a toss to appreciation.


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Subject: RE: 'More pretentious than Bellowhead'
From: Howard Jones
Date: 06 Oct 10 - 08:47 AM

glueman, I'm more interested in your assertion that you "find most live and recorded folk music a bit derivative in performance terms" Derivative of what? Derivative of a certain style? "Folk" in its wider sense is defined as much by style of performance as it is by anything, so surely that is to be expected?


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Subject: RE: 'More pretentious than Bellowhead'
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 06 Oct 10 - 09:11 AM

the pig-headed views of a small handful of Mudcat contributors

Could I respectfully suggest that when people posting elsewhere start pointing fingers at those awful, closed-minded, reactionary Mudcatters, posters on Mudcat refrain from joining in?

I've already pointed out the sad irony in Joan Crump and Ian Anderson rejecting the "not like those boring old folkies" shtick with which new acts are perpetually garlanded, then reviving it in the next breath so as to hang the BOF label on Mudcatters. It saddens and annoys me to see fRoots 'othering' Mudcat, so I certainly don't want to see Mudcat posters 'othering' this mysterious small handful of nasty people. Apart from anything else, who knows who Ian or Joan - or Spleen, for that matter - has in mind?

Department of Curious And Doubtless Meaningless Coincidences:

Ian Anderson, 3/10 3.52: the typical Mudcat braindead who think they know everything but don't really know anything about anything and have beans in their ears, the ones who rarely contribute anything to the scene other than the foetid air of kneejerk renta-opinions

Ian Anderson, 3/10 5.02: I'm sure most readers will know exactly who I mean (by name and by type). Hence Joan's earlier remark. At least four of them are among the half dozen banned here for variations on offensive trolling.

fRoots forum registration page, 6/10: "Sorry, but this e-mail address has been banned."

I've written to the admin asking if they can explain (or, better still, unban). In the mean time, I'm finding it a bit hard to give remarks like Ian's the charitable reading which they probably deserve.


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Subject: RE: 'More pretentious than Bellowhead'
From: Brian Peters
Date: 06 Oct 10 - 09:18 AM

"I do wonder why Bellowhead raise such ire on this board? Their musicianship and that of many new folk acts is beyond reproach"

One poster on this thread said they were "horrible". Another didn't care much for what he'd heard, but was prepared to give them another chance. Everyone else defended them. Most of the other comments I've ever read on here about Bellowhead have been positive.

The person who was really rude about Bellowhead and several other new folk acts was, of course, Catherine Foster. Yet you value her opinions so much, you offered to buy her a pint. Curious.


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Subject: RE: 'More pretentious than Bellowhead'
From: GUEST,glueman
Date: 06 Oct 10 - 09:43 AM

What I admired BP, is her willingness to voice a strong opinion without feeling the desire to elaborate. Most of the stuff that passes itself off as judgement, even discernment on Mudcat, is opinion in a frilly hat. I like Bellowhead enough to attend their concerts and buy their albums while respecting the opinion of those who might think Bellowhead are a complete crock. What makes my heart sink is the direct or covert inference that the folk revival is a branch of history. It's a genre, no more, no less and as such you like it or you don't.

I may have indirectly answered your question Howard, but it'd proven to my satisfaction that a lot of folk music performances (we won't argue numbers) are versions of earlier revival performances. How much that matters depends largely on how much value one attributes to the original (sic) delivery.
I feel I know what the poster meant by Bellowhead having pretentions, I happen not to be disturbed by what they are pretending to, which is a modern spin on some old classics.


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