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Alternative Folk Awards

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Big Al Whittle 22 Jun 14 - 06:01 AM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 17 Mar 12 - 07:44 AM
GUEST,CS 17 Mar 12 - 07:08 AM
YorkshireYankee 16 Mar 12 - 07:13 PM
GUEST 15 Mar 12 - 09:15 PM
Big Al Whittle 10 Feb 12 - 07:06 AM
Big Al Whittle 10 Feb 12 - 06:09 AM
GUEST,steve th 04 Feb 12 - 12:22 PM
Acorn4 06 Jan 12 - 12:15 PM
Howard Jones 06 Jan 12 - 11:32 AM
Big Al Whittle 06 Jan 12 - 10:32 AM
Howard Jones 06 Jan 12 - 08:56 AM
Big Al Whittle 06 Jan 12 - 08:33 AM
Big Al Whittle 06 Jan 12 - 01:10 AM
srothman 05 Jan 12 - 08:27 PM
Big Al Whittle 05 Jan 12 - 07:55 PM
Acorn4 05 Jan 12 - 07:02 PM
The Sandman 03 Jan 12 - 02:31 PM
Acorn4 03 Jan 12 - 02:13 PM
John P 03 Jan 12 - 02:09 PM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 03 Jan 12 - 05:04 AM
Big Al Whittle 02 Jan 12 - 02:23 PM
The Sandman 02 Jan 12 - 02:06 PM
Howard Jones 02 Jan 12 - 12:30 PM
Stringsinger 02 Jan 12 - 12:14 PM
Phil Edwards 02 Jan 12 - 12:00 PM
The Sandman 02 Jan 12 - 11:52 AM
Phil Edwards 02 Jan 12 - 11:45 AM
GUEST 02 Jan 12 - 10:18 AM
Big Al Whittle 02 Jan 12 - 10:02 AM
The Sandman 02 Jan 12 - 08:52 AM
Big Al Whittle 02 Jan 12 - 08:06 AM
Big Al Whittle 02 Jan 12 - 07:27 AM
Vic Smith 02 Jan 12 - 07:04 AM
Vic Smith 02 Jan 12 - 06:38 AM
Spleen Cringe 02 Jan 12 - 06:26 AM
Howard Jones 02 Jan 12 - 05:51 AM
Big Al Whittle 02 Jan 12 - 05:21 AM
Howard Jones 02 Jan 12 - 04:59 AM
Big Al Whittle 01 Jan 12 - 10:14 PM
Phil Edwards 01 Jan 12 - 07:27 PM
The Sandman 01 Jan 12 - 06:06 PM
GUEST,Guest Vivienne 01 Jan 12 - 05:35 PM
The Sandman 01 Jan 12 - 04:42 PM
Vic Smith 01 Jan 12 - 03:20 PM
The Sandman 01 Jan 12 - 03:07 PM
Vic Smith 01 Jan 12 - 02:55 PM
Mavis Enderby 01 Jan 12 - 02:55 PM
GUEST,Class War Warrior 01 Jan 12 - 02:24 PM
Big Al Whittle 01 Jan 12 - 02:18 PM
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Subject: RE: Alternative Folk Awards
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 22 Jun 14 - 06:01 AM

I was checking through my old threads looking at what Catspaw had said to me over the years. he's not on this thread.

still there was a sonovabitch called Rothman who called my website a mess, so not long after I ditched it, there was ten years work on it. I figured if people could hear my songs and stories - it was a bit pathetic putting them on cd. so I used to put them on the site.

the website had become big and unwieldly, and fasthosts had agreed to make it as big as I wanted but they hadn't reckoned on me keeping adding to it - so bits of it went missing - and anyway they were a weird lot. sometimes you waited half an hour for them to answer you on the phone - ican still hear that music when my mind is going into suicidal mode.

wonder who rothman was. probably stomping on puppies somewhere hoping it will endear him to his folk music heroes.


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Subject: RE: Alternative Folk Awards
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 17 Mar 12 - 07:44 AM

Yup - Hooray for Folk Police, though I was frankly baffled by our nomination - last time I looked we had something like 7% of the vote which amazed me that it was that much to be honest. I think other FP 'artistes' fared rather better than we did, but I'm not a great one for numbers, especially when my idea of having a Public Profile is to be snuggled in the corner of the backroom of The Moorbrook of a Friday neet with the great & the good of the North West (which last night featured Mudcat's own LesB) lobbing in the occasional ballad or else twanging my Doromb along to a few tunes.

That said - I'm delighted by the critical reception of our album Songs from the Barley Temple, which really is our attempt at a Very Normal Straightforward Traditional Folk Album; it baffles me why people think it's anything different really. Weird? Hell - an an former member of Metgumberbone and Mastishaddhu I can assure assure you Weird doesn't come into it. All we're really bothered about is doing a few old songs and ballads for the hell of it really - no different from anyone else. See the new R2 (formerly Rock & Reel) for Rapunzel & Sedayne interview and track on the cover CD to hear & read our homespun homely DIY philosophy of Folk Music.

You can also buy the all-new WEREWOLF SONGS, a Swedish complilation of more conventional wyrd-psych folk on which we feature a self penned Idiomatic Trad Song we made called Winter / Werewolf (aka Fevered Prayer) which we occasionally do in singarounds & sessions without causing too much of a stir despite its Eastern European vibe. I've been doing this sort of thing forever really - any amount of strange little CD projects & ventures & projects that the media show little to no interest in but which contain the best music ever - like the Sonic Arts Newtwork CD I was on a few years back with such names as Brian Eno and Karlheinz Stockhausen (as Brian Peters once said - if you're going to drop names make sure they're good 'uns!); and Rapunzel & I (as Venereum Arvum) did our first back in 2000 when we were featured on the 4-CD Infernal Proteus Musical Herbal on Ajna in the USA with an 11-minute May Carol. Next up on Folk Police - The Weirdlore Compilation to tie in with the Weirdlore event in Bristol in the summer as well as two limited run 12" vinyl albums in America and another (possibly) in Japan. Times I might feel enough with the weird, but what the hell, eh?

As for awards? Hell, the music is award, and reward, enough.


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Subject: RE: Alternative Folk Awards
From: GUEST,CS
Date: 17 Mar 12 - 07:08 AM

Lovely to see special mention made on Spiral Earth there of Spleen Cringe's own baby The Folk Police:

"We also announce our 'Special Award' today, it is one from the editorial team at Spiral Earth that we present to recognise something extra special that has happened in the past year. This year the Spiral Earth Special Award goes to Folk Police Recordings.
Folk Police have put out some staggeringly good music over the past year, their magical ability to form collaborations between some of the best mainstream folk artists, and to discover edgy artists that challenge the norm is amazing.
We will have an in-depth feature with them in the coming weeks"

"The 'Special Award'
This is a special award that comes from the editorial team at Spiral Earth to recognise an outstanding achievement in the previous year. This year we have decided to award it to Folk Police Recordings.
We said a while back "Folk Police Recordings have really been delivering the goods this year with an eclectic and imaginative cast of acts. You've just got to click over to their site to see what cutting edge folk is all about. Label of the year? Could be." Well we were true to our word.
They have proven that you can be fresh, original and challenging."

***Yay for Spleen and chums!***


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Subject: RE: Alternative Folk Awards
From: YorkshireYankee
Date: 16 Mar 12 - 07:13 PM

Have been wondering about these... thanks for posting, Guest!


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Subject: RE: Alternative Folk Awards
From: GUEST
Date: 15 Mar 12 - 09:15 PM

The results...


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Subject: RE: Alternative Folk Awards
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 10 Feb 12 - 07:06 AM

From the Vernon website:-

April 12th Lucy Ward Local girl was our Special Guest

The evening started with regulars performing one song each in front of the largest crowd ever at the Vernon in our 9 year history.

All came to see our local lass Lucy Ward who entered the stage with her bright blond hair and her bright pink Doc Martins

looking every bit a star. Lucy has come a long way since first appearing at out little Folk Club when she was just 14 years old.

Her set was full of Trad songs and a nice mix of her own well penned songs and that Lucy fun and charm mixed in between songs.

Every song told a story and she had the crowd in her hands from the moment she said her first words "Ah Up"

We had to bring stools in from the main bar to get everyone seated and everyone listened and admired a star of the future.

We didn't want the night to end.

Those of you who want to hear more of Lucy can pre order her new CD out on June 13th click on the limk below.

www.navigator-store.com/product.php?id=487&categoryid=30

We all wish Lucy every success for the future. May she grasp every opportunity with both hands and we wish her every success with her NEW CD.

Let her never forget her roots ( This is not an advert for the hairdressers) She is alway welcome at our club and one day soon we hope we can say

"Ah up me Duck you've made it"


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Subject: RE: Alternative Folk Awards
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 10 Feb 12 - 06:09 AM

Yep! Lucy is the goods alright. A graduate of the The Vernon Arms folk club, Spondon, Derby - where I was proud to be a resident for many years.

For a long time, we didn't book guests - so we weren't considered a 'proper' folk club by the powers that be - not proper enough to be included in the whats on folk club guide. Plus the fact (it has to be added in the folk police's defence) - we did get some some exceedigly strange singers turning up. Lucy has actually written a song about it.

I won't go into details - but recently we saw Lucy do a gig in a village hall - down here in Dorchester. Denise and I nearly fell off our chairs - we KNEW the floor singer she was singing about. The reason i won't go into details - I would hate for the guy to widespread figure of fun and feel hurt by it.


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Subject: RE: Alternative Folk Awards
From: GUEST,steve th
Date: 04 Feb 12 - 12:22 PM

seems from this thread there are a lot of shite worryingly sober folk clubs out there wedded to mediocrity. must be a southern thing cos its not something i can relate to. last 3 folk club gigs ive been to have been acts equally at home playing in the local pubs as folk clubs. (same goes for number of the floor spots) . far as folk awards go , ok it all seems a bit competative with doesnt quite fit with folk music but its still a right buzz seeing acts ive followed, whove blown my socks off in whatever context, get a first nomination. spiral earth seems to get it right for me more often than bbc (maybe thats just me) . bbc doesnt always get it wrong though and im well chuffed to see lucy ward up for 2 awards.


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Subject: RE: Alternative Folk Awards
From: Acorn4
Date: 06 Jan 12 - 12:15 PM

Hang about! This has become another Ewan MacColl thread - slight bit of drift here!


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Subject: RE: Alternative Folk Awards
From: Howard Jones
Date: 06 Jan 12 - 11:32 AM

"Such a lot of the 'in the tradition' songwriting just plays the sedulous ape to older styles."

Isn't it following older styles that makes it "in the tradition"?

I don't disagree with what your saying, although I think the whole point of folk music is that it's not about the proscenium arch, it should be a more intimate and direct involvement with the audience (although a good performer can get that from the concert stage).

There's probably a lot of crap songwriters out there. Perhaps a weakness of the folk scene is that it allows them a platform whereas other genres might be more demanding. It's about standards again. But there are good songwriters too.


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Subject: RE: Alternative Folk Awards
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 06 Jan 12 - 10:32 AM

That's certainly one way of looking at it, Howard.

The thing that makes me doubt it though is the songwriting.

Ewan had this background in theatre and busking and God knows what else. Anyway he was used to seeing the proscenium arch. Its a sense that you develop as a song writer - you can imagine the theatre of expression - whether your song is coming out of a radio speaker, being sang from the stage of a theatre, sang in a night club, sang in a folk club, sang to your mates at work....whatever.

Any kind of songwriter has to develop that - not just folk. Such a lot of the 'in the tradition' songwriting just plays the sedulous ape to older styles.

Having a good idea for a song isn't enough. you have to be able to imagine that little gasp of delight, that light in the eyes that a good song has. i think I'm talking about inspiration, wanting not just to trigger that 'welcome you're a member of the club' sort of response.

Ewan had good ideas AND he could do the other thing. that's why so many other people do his stuff.


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Subject: RE: Alternative Folk Awards
From: Howard Jones
Date: 06 Jan 12 - 08:56 AM

"it is moving further and further away from the common voice of the English people."

You're probably right, although I think it's more that the English people are moving away from folk song. I don't think it's fair to blame the middle classes for that, the vast majority of whom are even further away from folk. Even if most of those who are interested in folk music are middle class, you've produced no evidence to support your argument. It seems to me to be simple prejudice.

It seems to me the English people fall into one of two groups - those who get folk music and those who don't. Class has nothing to do with it. What may be true is that middle class people may have more opportunities to come into contact with it (for example, via university folk clubs, in my day).


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Subject: RE: Alternative Folk Awards
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 06 Jan 12 - 08:33 AM

ps srothman.... any relation to the king sized fag?


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Subject: RE: Alternative Folk Awards
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 06 Jan 12 - 01:10 AM

could be


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Subject: RE: Alternative Folk Awards
From: srothman
Date: 05 Jan 12 - 08:27 PM

Message for BIG AL WHITTLE

Just been to your shambles of a website to see where you were playing next, just so I could report back here on your live show.

For a man of such experience you don't seem to have any gigs coming up, in "shitty" pubs or clubs or anywhere.

Could this be that, while you're a reasonable guitar picker you ain't got much of a singing voice? I reckon that if you turned up to play at my shitty local music pub the punters would be asking for the juke box to be turned on pretty smartish.


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Subject: RE: Alternative Folk Awards
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 05 Jan 12 - 07:55 PM

John P - there are no awards for agreeing with me. My argument is not with you. have you heard Will Fly's fabulous piece of work dissecting Bix beiderbeck's Singing the Blues and playing it on 4 string guitar. Of course- like Will, like myself, you have the perfect right to play whatever turns you on. Its a free country.

However - I really do feel that folk music is in the shit in a number of terrible ways and it is moving further and further away from the common voice of the English people. The more the middle classes annexe it and make the techniques more recondite, the tradition more coherent and deeper - the worse the situation gets.

That is what I honestly feel. My sincere belief. Who knows - perhaps you will be the artist that redeems this music and return us to the situation where people are queueing round the block to get into folk clubs?

I hope so.

On the other hand - perhaps I am wrong. certainly i am in a minority on this forum. i accept that. If I were you - Ishould continue doing what makes you happy - life is very short - enjoy it as best you can. You ,in your small corner; I, in mine.


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Subject: RE: Alternative Folk Awards
From: Acorn4
Date: 05 Jan 12 - 07:02 PM

Voting is now starting on these - I've just voted in the categories where I feel able to make a judgement. I did it on my laptop which I don't do email from - is it not possible to multi-click on a site like this which makes it a bit open to abuse - I may be wrong - do these things check your mac address or something like this?

PS didn't see that one GSS - LOL!


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Subject: RE: Alternative Folk Awards
From: The Sandman
Date: 03 Jan 12 - 02:31 PM

acorn 4 and your not even 21, out of little acorns oak trees grow


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Subject: RE: Alternative Folk Awards
From: Acorn4
Date: 03 Jan 12 - 02:13 PM

Sorry, actually clicked on "send" due to trying to use "Mudcat" at same time as "Facebook" - should have known better than to attempt such multi-tasking at my age!


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Subject: RE: Alternative Folk Awards
From: John P
Date: 03 Jan 12 - 02:09 PM

Hmmm . . . I grew up poor as dirt -- definitely lower class working-man stuff. Now I'm sort of middle class, in that I own a home and have a job.

I have played extensively in crappy little working-man pubs (where I leaned to deal with drunkenly rude audiences), at festivals (where I learned to deal with short sets with no sound check), at concerts (where I learned to put a song across), in the street (where I learned that it's a terrible way to make money), at folk dances (where I really learned how the tunes are supposed to work), in the living room (where I have learned most of my music from other musicians), etc etc etc. I have played rock, blues, jazz, folk (of many kinds), medieval, swing, and new age.

I don't get my music from the radio, don't give a damn about music awards, don't care if the person who books a venue doesn't want what I offer. I don't pay any attention to the "folk establishment". I just play the music I love wherever and whenever I can.

These days I play almost entirely traditional folk music but don't consider myself a revivalist, in that I have no interest in reviving anything. I have played traditional music at house concerts with no amplification, and have played it on stages with electric guitar, bass, drums and synthesizers, and everything in between.

I think the idea of folk "stars" and awards is silly, so I don't pay any attention to all of that, either.

So, Al, where do I fit into your world view? If I'm understanding you correctly, I'm exactly the kind of musician you think is "real" or properly experienced, or whatever, and I completely disagree with your perceptions.


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Subject: RE: Alternative Folk Awards
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 03 Jan 12 - 05:04 AM

From a post-revival perspective the term Traddy (to give it its official spelling) is used by those whose muse is embedded in the old singers rather than the new ones. The orthodoxy of folk is a revival orthodoxy however - lumpen and conservative on one hand; easy listening MOR on the other - which sits uneasy with the essentially fluid & feral nature of traditional song as far as we may understand it from the available taxidermy & fossil record. Problem is, the Academic Approach is concerned with a taxonomy of the taxidermy rather than a more philosophical speculation on the nature of the beast itself and how that intersects with other forms of Popular Music which one could argue evolved directly from them. This approach sees Tradition as a dynamic, fluid, and constantly evolving phenomenon, a living process rather than something which endlessly repeats itself out of a sense of reverence for something which, in all probability, never existed in the first place. It's like seeing BIRDS as creatures that evolved from DINOSAURS; it celebrates continuance rather than bemoaning extinction. As a Post-Revival Traddy I believe in the Traditional Nature of all music, with the possible exception of Folk, which is perhaps too a little self-consciously precious in respect of its own correctness to be truly dynamic and, therefore, truly traditional in a way that other musics just are in terms their constantly shifting idiom / genre / call it what you will. How else might me compare (say) Freddy and the Dreamers to Joy Division? They were both Manchester rock 'n' roll bands with lead singers who were noted for their onstage antics, but otherwise...

At the end of the day, it's all a matter of pragmatics and preference. To many Traditional simply means Old Fashioned, as in Traditional Fish and Chips or In the Tradition and that's fine too, so there'll be some Traddys who'll see things differently. That's they key - seeing things differently, or at least appreciating that there will always be different ways of seeing things; new ways, old ways, but all them traditional, one would hope.


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Subject: RE: Alternative Folk Awards
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 02 Jan 12 - 02:23 PM

perhaps I'll get an award one day for being the biggest folksinger.

so far , there doesn't seem to be an award based on size.

Personally speaking I think the basis for these awards are naively qualitative - focussing merely on abstract and notional views such as talent and originality.

If a more quantitative method of deciding how to distribute these awards was used - I think I would be a strong contender in terms of mass and density.


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Subject: RE: Alternative Folk Awards
From: The Sandman
Date: 02 Jan 12 - 02:06 PM

And who are the judges, here? Are they qualified to designate awards? It depends on the award. Some are awarded by committees or panels, some by a handful of individuals, some by public vote. All have their strengths and weaknesses and no system is perfect. This being the folk world, no one is going to agree however the awards are chosen.
   in other words the awards do not count for very much, however I would like to congratulate all the winners, I am sure they are all good performers, I know of Lucy Ward, but not all the others.
as for anonymous guest,if you understand anglo saxon, then go and F###Off


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Subject: RE: Alternative Folk Awards
From: Howard Jones
Date: 02 Jan 12 - 12:30 PM

I think most people who might be labelled "traddie" recognise a distinction between revival singers performing traditional songs and "proper" traditional singers. "Traddie" is just a convenient label to distinguish intepreters of traditional songs from singer-songwriters.

Why not give awards for quality in performance as singers, songwriters or interpreters?" Isn't that what all the awards are aiming to do?

And what would they be alternative to? In this context, alternative to the BBC awards

And who are the judges, here? Are they qualified to designate awards? It depends on the award. Some are awarded by committees or panels, some by a handful of individuals, some by public vote. All have their strengths and weaknesses and no system is perfect. This being the folk world, no one is going to agree however the awards are chosen.


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Subject: RE: Alternative Folk Awards
From: Stringsinger
Date: 02 Jan 12 - 12:14 PM

It appears that this is a Brit thing. It also smacks of a folk-star system which seems oxymoronic. Most real folk singers who have a traditional cultural background are not known by the general public.

That said, I don't think the "traddie" view works either. You can't be something that you're not and an attempt to be that is specious.

I think folk awards are doomed to interpretive failure.

Why not give awards for quality in performance as singers, songwriters or interpreters?
And what would they be alternative to? And who are the judges, here? Are they qualified to designate awards?

This sounds to me like a house of cards.


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Subject: RE: Alternative Folk Awards
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 02 Jan 12 - 12:00 PM

for us a ten minute spot in a folk club is like driving a racing car - audience intelligent, not completely pissed - and we eat those places. Piss rings round their crummy efforts.

Do you? I've known folk clubs where apologising in advance ("I only finished it this afternoon"), reading the words off a bit of paper, mumbling into your chest because you're concentrating on getting the chords right, forgetting the chords halfway through anyway (and so on) isn't just tolerated - it's actually welcomed: that's the kind of thing the regulars expect. Hitting the back wall, doing ten or twelve verses straight through, engaging the audience with witty banter and so on is all very well, but it's a bit like showing off. (And heaven forfend that you should try and get a chorus out of them.)

But this doesn't have anything to do with traddie vs singer-songwriter, or with Harding-Folk vs alt-folk, or with class for that matter.


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Subject: RE: Alternative Folk Awards
From: The Sandman
Date: 02 Jan 12 - 11:52 AM

anonymous guest, what a ridiculous post.
no Al, it explains why trad music is closer to the mainstream in ireland,
secondly you express your ignorance of the irish education system, there are protestant schools and catholic schools, protestant vicars are allowed to marry, catholic priests are not,irish trad music is encouraged in protestant primary schools as well as catholic ones, finally it is a minority of catholic priests who have abused children, and sodomy has never been on anyones curriculum.
for example in this area there are both protestant and catholic schools, in ballydehob, schull durrus, etc etc, furthermore it is in the irish constitution, that minority christian denominations such as protestant [in mainly catholic areas and vice versa]are bussed to thenearest school of their religion, so your remark is inaccurate and irrelevant


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Subject: RE: Alternative Folk Awards
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 02 Jan 12 - 11:45 AM

Dear GUEST,

I think you should fit right in. In fact, I think you have already been posting here for some time, although you've been using the name of

%!%%%%£%%

NO CARRIER


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Subject: RE: Alternative Folk Awards
From: GUEST
Date: 02 Jan 12 - 10:18 AM

Dear Sir

I have a very fixed view of what I like in music and have decided to call this type of music "Folk music". Unfortunately I find this term has been used incorrectly and extensively for the last century by everybody else and they now refuse to accept my definition and fall in with my views as to what is good and acceptable. Since I am not prepared to listen to other peoples views and insist that they all listen to me instead I am finding this very irritating. I also believe that these people are conspiring against me to prevent my perfectly reasonable take-over of the term and, what is worse, they are not exactly the sort of people that I would wish my servants to mix with.

Do you think that this is the right forum for me to feel at home?

Yours

Top Folk Music Expert



P.S. Don't take this personally.


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Subject: RE: Alternative Folk Awards
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 02 Jan 12 - 10:02 AM

yeh, but being sodomised be the priest used to be on that curriculum not long ago.

Dangerous example!


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Subject: RE: Alternative Folk Awards
From: The Sandman
Date: 02 Jan 12 - 08:52 AM

as far i am concerned, my problem lies with the education system, i believe folk music[ a misnomer,maybe its better called roots music] should be on the primary school national curriculum, i mean the roots music of these islands, plus roots music from other countries, an international approach that includes[english scottish irish welsh].
i look at the irish education system, and i notice irish trad music is included


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Subject: RE: Alternative Folk Awards
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 02 Jan 12 - 08:06 AM

PS Did I say I had a gripe....?

The world is so full of a number of things
I'm sure that we all should be happy as kings.


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Subject: RE: Alternative Folk Awards
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 02 Jan 12 - 07:27 AM

Strangely enough I was in an open mic last night and a youngish quartet played Matty Groves. Complete with Djimba drum, heavy metal guitar, words on an i-pad!

Noisy room - young men giving it large at the bar.

went down great!

no absolutes means no absolutes!


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Subject: RE: Alternative Folk Awards
From: Vic Smith
Date: 02 Jan 12 - 07:04 AM

Howard Jones posts:-
"I think this is the first time you've actually set out clearly what your gripe is" about Al Whittle's clarification of his position.


Yes, I would agree that he makes his position more clear, though there is still confusion in his thinking. We can see that his gripe is with those who "have kids at university, a new car, a pension plan, a big house" along with their expensive instruments. One of their characteristics - he claims - is that "They have an exercise book, with the words in -they have busy lives, and frankly whats the point of knowing a song all the way through. Some of them have stands to attach their I-pad with the words to the mic. stand."
I would have to agree with him that performing a song in public whilst reading the words is simply not good enough, especially where an audience has paid money to be entertained, but if Al thinks that this practice is confined to the better off people who attend folk clubs, open mics etc. then in my experience he is wrong.

Let those who need to read their lyrics go where they belong - to karaoke nights.


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Subject: RE: Alternative Folk Awards
From: Vic Smith
Date: 02 Jan 12 - 06:38 AM

"you know very well, you could not sing matty groves, on one april morning,willy of the winsbury,tam linn, reynardine, barbara allen,thomas the rhymer,claudy banks etc, without getting at best [what the f## is this turn]

Sadly, I have been in places that call themselves folk clubs where you might get a similar reaction. We were asked to finish an Open Night at one such establishment in Sussex not all that long ago - and I started off by asking if it was all right to sing a couple of traditional songs as there hadn't been any in the evening up until that point.


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Subject: RE: Alternative Folk Awards
From: Spleen Cringe
Date: 02 Jan 12 - 06:26 AM

Al, if you think there's a traditional folk conspiracy against singer songwriters, you're living on a different planet to me. You only have to look at the charts, listen to the radio, look at sales figures and so on to see that as a whole, singer songwriter stuff is far more popular and accepted by the mainstream media and music industry than traditional music. There's far more of it about too. Your gripe seems to be about the small corner of the world where there is a space for traditional music (some folk clubs, some folk festivals, one national radio show) and you seem to think that singer songwriters should have that too. Why should they?

I'm by no means a traddie (I'd put money on my tastes being far more eclectic than yours!), but even I can see that there's nothing wrong with people who like traditional folk having somewhere to play it and listen to it and a small music industry to support it. Where's the problem?


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Subject: RE: Alternative Folk Awards
From: Howard Jones
Date: 02 Jan 12 - 05:51 AM

I'm not sure what you're trying to say regarding your second paragraph. I agree with every word of it.

The ordinary people gave up folk music of their own free will. No one is keeping it from them, not even the BBC. With the internet, there's now masses of it out there, on YouTube, Spotify and a hundred other websites, most of it for free. When people come across folk music, at a wedding ceilidh or when they find a pub session in full flow, they always seem to enjoy it. But, apart from a tiny minority of us, it doesn't resonate, it doesn't become music they seek out or put on their ipods.

If you really prefer to take the music to the sort of venues you describe, then good luck to you. I'm sure it's very rewarding when you do manage to make a connection. As a musician in a ceilidh band I often play to non-folk audiences, and it's great to see people who start the evening rather cautiously having a great time by the end. However it's even better to play to a folk audience which understands and enjoys the music.

Folk audiences are easy to please, and are perhaps too forgiving of poor performances (as has been discussed endlessly on here, so let's not start that one again), so it's true that many folk performers won't have the skills needed to handle a tough and hostile audience. That doesn't make what they do any less valid. And they do it for the same reasons that you set out - because the songs are important to them.


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Subject: RE: Alternative Folk Awards
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 02 Jan 12 - 05:21 AM

Yes as a novice - it is welcoming. that's how it should be.

Howard - how do you think these songs with their enduring qualities were forged and created. Its not because they were stored in a library somewhere. Its because they had such importance to someone unlettered that they decided to create dynamic performances of them. That takes technique and determination. Stuff you don't acquire unless its REALLY important to you.

Most people have got more in their lives nowadays - families - stuff like that.

The muso is an aberrant strain of human kind. Not sure I like him myself - despite being one.


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Subject: RE: Alternative Folk Awards
From: Howard Jones
Date: 02 Jan 12 - 04:59 AM

Al, the reason you keep having to restate it is because it isn't obvious to the rest of us. In fact, I think this is the first time you've actually set out clearly what your gripe is - perhaps you'd assumed it was all too clear. Sorry, but to me at least it wasn't.

If that's been your experience, then I'm sorry for you; I think you've been unfortunate. It's certainly not been mine - I've found the folk scene to be friendly and welcoming. As a novice, with not much technique and little performing experience, I found that club organisers and more experienced musicians were welcoming and encouraging - Geoff and Pennie Harris in particular, and also Dick Miles. Even the top-flight professionals have always been accessible, and similarly free with advice and encouragement. Audiences are attentive and appreciative, and on the whole I've found that both punters and fellow musicians respect talent when they see it. Of course, folk has its share of arseholes, and perhaps you've encountered more than your fair share of these.

I've never considered trying to make a living from music, but I've been semi-pro for 30 years and during that time I've appeared on the same stage as many of the musicians I most admire. I've never played the main stage at Cambridge either, but I've performed at many of the country's other leading festivals. How many other genres can offer those opportunities to ordinary musicians?

What I don't accept is your implied assertion that playing to an audience which doesn't get the music is somehow more "real" than playing to an appreciative one, or that the skills this requires (which I acknowledge are both difficult and hard-won) are the most important measure of a musician.


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Subject: RE: Alternative Folk Awards
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 01 Jan 12 - 10:14 PM

Pip. I'l explain, or should I say expand on what the resentment is about.

Please take note still not ranting, despite having to state and restate what is obvious to anyone inhabiting this goldfishbowl we call the folkscene.

There is a folkscene and they appear. Taylor and Lowden guitars, sometines a Martin. The lowlier members of the club perhaps have Gibsons or Fyldes. They have an exercise book, with the words in -they have busy lives, and frankly whats the point of knowing a song all the way through. Some of them have stands to attach their I-pad with the words to the mic. stand.

Needless to say most of them have kids at university, a new car, a pension plan, a big house.

And they hate us.

Because we have devoted our lives to folksong and worked as musicians anywhere we could. Because we can do our stuff with a modicum of grace and expertise. because for us a ten minute spot in a folk club is like driving a racing car - audience intelligent, not completely pissed - and we eat those places. Piss rings round their crummy efforts.

Because there are no brownie points in saying, I was getting pissed with Dick Miles and Big Al Whittle. Because we've never been on the Mike Harding Show and appeared on the mainstage at Cambridge.

Get it...? I doubt it. Well at least I tried. and tried, and tried, and tried....


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Subject: RE: Alternative Folk Awards
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 01 Jan 12 - 07:27 PM

A bunch of us went to do some songs and tunes at a local social club a couple of years ago. It was a free event, but it was a weeknight and nobody had done any advertising, so the audience consisted of regulars plus whoever wandered in. I was a bit greener than I am now, and when I did my song I went on with a bit of a "sod what you want, this is Folk Music" attitude; I did the Bonny Hind, unaccompanied. I wouldn't do that now - but you know what? I bloody nailed it. They all listened, and they all clapped. You can find an audience in some surprising places if you try.

But I honestly don't know what you're complaining about any more, Al. You seem to be setting up some kind of opposition between working-class songwriters who play pubs and clubs and know how to work their audiences, on one hand, and a middle-class traddie mafia selling theatre tickets to Guardian readers on the other. But that's not reality - it's a caricature of a caricature. To throw in a couple of names I know you and I both appreciate, which side of the line would you put John Kelly, or Tony Capstick? John's set is as trad as it comes, and Capstick never wrote a song of his own. Effete middle-class awfully-nice traddies?

Just make the music and take it to whoever will listen. That's all that any of us are doing.


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Subject: RE: Alternative Folk Awards
From: The Sandman
Date: 01 Jan 12 - 06:06 PM

I prefer the music that i hear in folk clubs.
but as folk music is a minority taste it is a misnomer to call it folk music, because the vast majority[and particularly people who attend working mens clubs do not appear to like folk song]
now since a couple of the forefathers[Lloyd/ MacColl] of the UK folk revival had this idea that they wanted to further[for political purposes]That folk music was the music of the proletariat, this clearly not true, because the proletariat as demonstrated in working mens clubs clearly prefer other music, but not matty groves, or anything that requires much thought.
there are several reasons for this , the uk capatalist system does not want a well educated working class that analyses and thinks, the establishment believes a diet of bums tits sport and commercial musak is the best thing for EVERYBODY including the working class,
The establishment have stopped folk music in primary schools[when i was at school it was part of the national curriculum], the last reason might be that it is unfamiliar, requires concentration on lyrics, and is very strange compared to the popular music of the charts, so is rejected because of its unfamilarity.
let me tell you a story, i was giggng in the midlands some years ago, the bonny lass of anglesea[carthy],was on the jukebox, so i put it on......the reaction was interesting, the pool players in the pub stopped what the f###is this, reply o its that jazz singer


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Subject: RE: Alternative Folk Awards
From: GUEST,Guest Vivienne
Date: 01 Jan 12 - 05:35 PM

I think I've lost the plot of this argument! Are BAW and GSS trying to say that Working Men's Club audiences are "real" folk music and folk clubs are not?


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Subject: RE: Alternative Folk Awards
From: The Sandman
Date: 01 Jan 12 - 04:42 PM

ok vic, but you are still missing my point, yes barn dances might work in working mens clubs on occasions, but you know very well, you could not sing matty groves, on one april morning,willy of the winsbury,tam linn, reynardine, barbara allen,thomas the rhymer,claudy banks etc, without getting at best [what the f## is this turn]


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Subject: RE: Alternative Folk Awards
From: Vic Smith
Date: 01 Jan 12 - 03:20 PM

No suggestion that you were indulging in any criticism of any artist or act. No suggestion that folk dance and folk club material call for the same response - though my view is that they are closer than some would suggest. Merely trying to suggest that "people were there specifically to see them," might not be accurate on this particular occasion.

.... and Working Men's Clubs... well, I called and played for ceilidhs/barn dances for quite a number over the years at clubs where the committee take a broader view of what entertainment should be provided. They can be hard work and they can be quite rewarding. The most bizarre one was quite a few years ago when there was bingo during the interval.


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Subject: RE: Alternative Folk Awards
From: The Sandman
Date: 01 Jan 12 - 03:07 PM

Vic, I am not criticising any event or any artist, i did in fact ask jim to correct me if i was wrong., he has not commented
but yet again, we are no comparing like with like dancing and bopping around, is not the same as asking a folk club revival singer to see how his repertoire would go down in a working mens club is it?and i tell you why its not the same Vic,because folk club material requires people to listen to words[it is not and should not be wall paper music] bopping about does not require the same mental concentration, it is not the same as asking a working mens club audience to listen to matty groves.


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Subject: RE: Alternative Folk Awards
From: Vic Smith
Date: 01 Jan 12 - 02:55 PM

Idont doubt CARTHYS AND JIM MORAY HAD A GOOD GIG, but those people were there specifically to see them,

This would seem to betray a misunderstanding of the make-up of this particular event. The very expensive tickets entitled those who attended to a wide range of events ranging from the classics to silent discos in virtually every nook and cranny of the South Bank Centre. All of these presentations had to compete for their own audiences. A pick-up Britfolk band asking people to ceilidh dance to Detroit sounds was hardly going out of its way to attract its core audience. I would think that it was chosen because it had every chance of having a wide appeal amongst very attractive events featuring a good range of top performers.

Jim is mentioned in my quotation at the top and he has contributed to this thread so is clearly aware of what is being written. It would be interesting to hear his view on the make-up of those who danced at the Motown Ceilidh - and if it did involve people who would not usually be seen at a folk dance, then bloody good for them.


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Subject: RE: Alternative Folk Awards
From: Mavis Enderby
Date: 01 Jan 12 - 02:55 PM

I can't recollect attacking Spiral Earth

didn't say you did. Fair to say your tone towards the awards has been less than positive though? I was referring mainly to your attacks on musicians who you think don't deserve the recognition they get. In this respect Carthy, Welch and Pine seem very odd targets indeed!


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Subject: RE: Alternative Folk Awards
From: GUEST,Class War Warrior
Date: 01 Jan 12 - 02:24 PM

Don't back down Al, you're right to have a go at Gillian Welch, Sebastian Coe and whoever the third one was as they are ALL middle class spongers, sponging off you and me.


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Subject: RE: Alternative Folk Awards
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 01 Jan 12 - 02:18 PM

Like I say - I stopped caring back in the days of cassette albums - so should you stop caring. That way lies madness!


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