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'Purist - a pejorative?

MGM·Lion 06 Jan 12 - 12:59 AM
Big Al Whittle 06 Jan 12 - 01:05 AM
gnomad 06 Jan 12 - 04:15 AM
Phil Edwards 06 Jan 12 - 04:27 AM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 06 Jan 12 - 04:31 AM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 06 Jan 12 - 04:33 AM
GUEST,Shimrod 06 Jan 12 - 04:39 AM
Phil Edwards 06 Jan 12 - 04:47 AM
Will Fly 06 Jan 12 - 04:49 AM
Phil Edwards 06 Jan 12 - 04:52 AM
theleveller 06 Jan 12 - 05:18 AM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 06 Jan 12 - 05:20 AM
Will Fly 06 Jan 12 - 05:24 AM
theleveller 06 Jan 12 - 05:41 AM
Will Fly 06 Jan 12 - 05:45 AM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 06 Jan 12 - 05:56 AM
Mo the caller 06 Jan 12 - 05:57 AM
GUEST 06 Jan 12 - 06:15 AM
GUEST,Spleen Cringe 06 Jan 12 - 06:15 AM
theleveller 06 Jan 12 - 06:31 AM
Phil Edwards 06 Jan 12 - 06:33 AM
GUEST,Spleen Cringe 06 Jan 12 - 06:44 AM
Phil Edwards 06 Jan 12 - 06:51 AM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 06 Jan 12 - 06:56 AM
Musket 06 Jan 12 - 07:04 AM
MartinRyan 06 Jan 12 - 07:13 AM
theleveller 06 Jan 12 - 08:10 AM
Bernard 06 Jan 12 - 08:37 AM
GUEST,Spleen Cringe 06 Jan 12 - 08:51 AM
GUEST,999 06 Jan 12 - 08:52 AM
Will Fly 06 Jan 12 - 08:57 AM
GUEST,Spleen Cringe 06 Jan 12 - 09:04 AM
Phil Edwards 06 Jan 12 - 09:17 AM
theleveller 06 Jan 12 - 09:35 AM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 06 Jan 12 - 09:40 AM
GUEST,Spleen Cringe 06 Jan 12 - 09:49 AM
GUEST,Spleen Cringe 06 Jan 12 - 09:55 AM
theleveller 06 Jan 12 - 10:20 AM
Banjiman 06 Jan 12 - 10:26 AM
Spleen Cringe 06 Jan 12 - 10:38 AM
Big Al Whittle 06 Jan 12 - 10:45 AM
Phil Edwards 06 Jan 12 - 10:50 AM
Brian Peters 06 Jan 12 - 10:52 AM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 06 Jan 12 - 11:10 AM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 06 Jan 12 - 11:15 AM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 06 Jan 12 - 11:18 AM
Big Al Whittle 06 Jan 12 - 11:19 AM
The Sandman 06 Jan 12 - 11:25 AM
The Sandman 06 Jan 12 - 11:31 AM
MGM·Lion 06 Jan 12 - 11:37 AM
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Subject: 'Purist - a pejorative?
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 06 Jan 12 - 12:59 AM

"And I do wish people would stop using "purist" as a term of abuse. It says far more to the detriment of the users of the term, than about whose of us endeavouring to maintain reasonable standards of useful categorisation, whom they endeavour thus to disparage," I wrote on the ongoing MacColl/Dylan thread.

Opinions, please, on the pejorative use of this term.

~Michael~


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Subject: RE: 'Purist - a pejorative?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 06 Jan 12 - 01:05 AM

I see myself as better than the purists, more sort of virginal........


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Subject: RE: 'Purist - a pejorative?
From: gnomad
Date: 06 Jan 12 - 04:15 AM

It seems to me that almost any adjective can be used as a pejorative term, that it is all a matter of context.

Adjectival nouns share this quality, and the xxx-ist form seems almost made for the expression of dislike. It obviously has other uses, but there's something about the shape; try saying 'Organist' aloud a few times, it soon sounds like derision or contempt.

As for your specific dislike, well a purist is often only a hairsbreadth away from a fundamentalist, which is in its turn only a cockstride away from an extremist, and so onwards. The term may sometimes be appropriate, as may the actual attitude, but I feel that both should be used with restraint and due forethought.


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Subject: RE: 'Purist - a pejorative?
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 06 Jan 12 - 04:27 AM

Who could think 'purist' was a pejorative? Only some sort of polymorphously eclectic bricoleur. (Hang on, am I summoning Suibhne from the vasty deep?)


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Subject: RE: 'Purist - a pejorative?
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 06 Jan 12 - 04:31 AM

We've been here very recently, but I forget exactly where that was. I remember pointing out that all the self-styled Purists I've met were grudgeful dilettantes (at best) with little knowledge and very evident issues both personal & political, but always reactionary, with views that ran contrary to the nature of Folk of which they had precious little actual understanding or working knowledge. These were Railway Modellers who would most certainly not recognise a real train if they saw one; cretinous cultural autists for whom Folk is a means to a particular sort of ghastly tyranny & self-delusion. On the other hand, those many people I do know who may be deservedly called Purist would, I think, both hesistate to use the term themselves and be resentful of being so called. I know I would; after all, the more one delves, so murkier the waters become...


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Subject: RE: 'Purist - a pejorative?
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 06 Jan 12 - 04:33 AM

I must point out that was a cross post with Pip; murky deep vasty waters & all...


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Subject: RE: 'Purist - a pejorative?
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 06 Jan 12 - 04:39 AM

I've always thought of purists (I see no need to capitalise) as noble, finger-in-the-dyke types intent on preventing our musical genre and specialist area being inundated by a flood of 'guitar-based music which rocks' (which the world has far too much of already).


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Subject: RE: 'Purist - a pejorative?
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 06 Jan 12 - 04:47 AM

Blimey, that was quick.


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Subject: RE: 'Purist - a pejorative?
From: Will Fly
Date: 06 Jan 12 - 04:49 AM

From the Blessed Wiki:

A purist is one who desires that an item remains true to its essence and free from adulterating or diluting influences. The term may be used in almost any field, and can be applied either to the self or to others. Use of the term may be either pejorative or complimentary, depending on the context. Because the appellation depends on subjective notions of what is "pure" as opposed to "adulterating" as applied to any particular item, conflict can arise both as to whether a person so labeled is actually a purist and as to whether that is desirable.

According to the Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary, the term dates from 1706 and is defined as "a person who adheres strictly and often excessively to a tradition", especially "one preoccupied with the purity of a language and its protection from the use of foreign or altered forms."


There you have it folks - pejorative or complimentary, depending on the context.


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Subject: RE: 'Purist - a pejorative?
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 06 Jan 12 - 04:52 AM

Also, what Suibhne said. The touchstone for me on this one is Bellamy - that well-known singer-songwriter, Edwardian poetry buff, blues aficionado and Rolling Stones fan. He's seen as a purist now because he was committed to it - following the thread wherever it led him. He certainly wasn't a purist in the "I am a purist" sense of the word.


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Subject: RE: 'Purist - a pejorative?
From: theleveller
Date: 06 Jan 12 - 05:18 AM

"a purist is often only a hairsbreadth away from a fundamentalist, which is in its turn only a cockstride away from an extremist, and so onwards."

And extremist is next door to terrorist....folk terrorists - now that sounds like my cup of tea. Be afraid - be very afraid!


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Subject: RE: 'Purist - a pejorative?
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 06 Jan 12 - 05:20 AM

Who sees Bellamy as a Purist? No one saw him that way at the time, certainly not - er - Purists, like the hapless lads who booked him once and tried to impress him after the gig by playing Folk records back at the house. 'Got any Rolling Stones?' was his response. His music was pretty pure though, the pure drop in fact; like Jim Eldon, who, like Bellamy, is a master of his Traditional Craft only by dint of a far broader world view that many folkies would regard as anathema (I'd argue their very world view is defined by it). If, like Shimrod, you see folk as our musical genre and specialist area then Purism would seem the sensible option (though I'm with him on the singer-songwriter issue, but that's not Purism so much as cultural ecology). If, on the other hand, you see Folk as one tiny piece of the vast & wondrous jig-saw of the 50,000 year old tradition of human music making (singer-songwriters notwithstanding which is a piece we could do without) then you realise that Purism is a noxious idiotic pedantry, appealing only to the righteously inclined. As perfectly put by gnomad above only a hairsbreadth away from a fundamentalist.


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Subject: RE: 'Purist - a pejorative?
From: Will Fly
Date: 06 Jan 12 - 05:24 AM

Folk terorists, eh? Sounds good to me!

I imagine hordes of good folk wielding concertinas, roaming the streets and kneeling down at letterboxes to sing "Lord Randall" and "Nottamun Town" to the terrified householders.


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Subject: RE: 'Purist - a pejorative?
From: theleveller
Date: 06 Jan 12 - 05:41 AM

Too right, Will. I'm planning an explosive rendition of The Lambton Worm in the centre of York this weekend.


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Subject: RE: 'Purist - a pejorative?
From: Will Fly
Date: 06 Jan 12 - 05:45 AM

Better drink plenty of Black Sheep bitter and consume a few pickled eggs beforehand, eh?


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Subject: RE: 'Purist - a pejorative?
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 06 Jan 12 - 05:56 AM

Collected from a toilet wall in Sunderland, circa 1971:

One Sunday morn as I was a fishing in the Wear -
I caught a fish upon my hook that tasted very queer;
I then ran home because I had a dose of diarrhea -
And all that night I couldn't sleep for the itching up my rear!
Wheest, lads - had yer gobs - and I'll you all an awful story;
Wheest, lads - had yer gobs - and I tell you about my worms.


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Subject: RE: 'Purist - a pejorative?
From: Mo the caller
Date: 06 Jan 12 - 05:57 AM

I'm not sure that I use the term, but there are contexts that are suitable for being a purist and contexts that aren't.
E.g.
If I'm calling at a dance club I will try to emphasise the pleasures of dancing in time to the music, and using correct moves.
If I'm describing/demonstrating a 'Strip the Willow' at a wedding ceilidh I end up by saying that variations, deliberate or accidental, are fine as long as you end up at the bottom of the set with your partner.

Folk is meant to be a pleasure, and as you learn more you get that pleasure in different ways. Romping at a ceilidh; dancing a complicated dance at a festival with a roomful of experts; joining in and raising the roof on a simple tune or chorus song; listening to someone making their fiddle sing. It's the FOLK you do it with that make it what it is, so I suppose the term I'd use as perjorative would be 'exclusive'.


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Subject: RE: 'Purist - a pejorative?
From: GUEST
Date: 06 Jan 12 - 06:15 AM

I'm not convinced by your stance on singer songwriters, Suibhne. Two words at you: 'Bob' and 'Pegg'...

**************

I've no issue with self-styled purists who are quietly and introspectively pure. I do struggle a little with those who see themselves as being on some sort of evangelical purity crusade (like the individual who emailed me in disgust about The Woodbine & Ivy Band and how dare these people do that to our music...).

'Purist' as a perjorative term is all a matter of degree - there's a continuum (several, really) of alleged purity. I might think someone's a bit of a purist - someone else might think I am, another person might think they are and so on. Some 'purists' might want to distinguish traditional music from the contemporary folk singer songwriters and see one as good and one as bad. Some might want to distinguish between 'good' trad music played on fiddles and melodeons and 'bad' trad music played on electric guitars and squeaky analogue synths. Some 'purists' might draw imaginany lines in the sand between professional and amateur performers, or folk club and arts centre performers. Some 'purists' might want to draw a line between singer songwriters who write 'in the tradition' and those who don't (which is a highly subjective and ultimately pointless excercise anyway) or those who perform on the folk scene and those who don't. Then you get the diction fetishists, the unnaccompanied-versus-accompanied brigade, the 'sing in your own voice' versus 'inhabit a role' lot and so on. Ultimately it makes the whole concept of purism so subjective as to render it meaningless. I suspect it's just an excuse to get cross for people who enjoy getting cross, a reason to label things by people who like labels and an excuse for heated debate for people who like heated debates - and I make no value judgements about any of these groups.

Personally, I'm a big fan of impurity, but on my terms. Anyone else's purity or otherwise is their business and their right to indulge in - unless they decide to try to impose it on me and tell me what I should believe. A bit of reasoned discussion's cool, though.


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Subject: RE: 'Purist - a pejorative?
From: GUEST,Spleen Cringe
Date: 06 Jan 12 - 06:15 AM

Sorry, me above. In dispute with the cookie monster.


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Subject: RE: 'Purist - a pejorative?
From: theleveller
Date: 06 Jan 12 - 06:31 AM

"Collected from a toilet wall in Sunderland, circa 1971:"

The folk process in its purist form!


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Subject: RE: 'Purist - a pejorative?
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 06 Jan 12 - 06:33 AM

like the individual who emailed me in disgust about The Woodbine & Ivy Band and how dare these people do that to our music...

Sorry about that, I hadn't had my coffee.


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Subject: RE: 'Purist - a pejorative?
From: GUEST,Spleen Cringe
Date: 06 Jan 12 - 06:44 AM

Ha!


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Subject: RE: 'Purist - a pejorative?
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 06 Jan 12 - 06:51 AM

I used to think of myself as a bit of a purist - I liked the traditional stuff, and if you were writing new stuff or singing somebody else's new stuff then that wasn't traditional and I didn't like it. Simple.

Then I discovered Lal Waterson and Ewan MacColl and Robert Burns and Peter Bellamy and Bellamy's settings of Kipling (in roughly that order), and things got complicated. Not to mention the whole question of just how 'traditional' a song is when you've found it in a library and put your own tune to it (e.g. Miles Weatherhill).

Now I just like songs that do that thing, which of course I can't define & can barely even describe. Quite a lot of old songs ring the bell, and very few new ones, so it's certainly got something to do with a quality of traditionalidocity, but it's not one-to-one by any means. "Songs that sound as if they've always been there and as if they've just been written" - something like that.


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Subject: RE: 'Purist - a pejorative?
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 06 Jan 12 - 06:56 AM

I'm not convinced by your stance on singer songwriters, Suibhne. Two words at you: 'Bob' and 'Pegg'...

I could throw several more: Robin Williamson Peter Bellamy Jim Eldon even Dave Cousins (at times though some of his forays into the realm of ballad have had catastophic results) - like Bob Pegg they're all fine singers, all fine songwriters, but singer songwriters? It's the SS idiom I despise; the MOR reactionary righteous easy listening preachy mawkish torpor of it all that people think of as being Real Folk - hence the Real Folk Police, because I see a lot more Policing from that lot than from Traddys. Consequently I think of it as Grey Squirrel Folk in that its far too aggressively ill-mannered and pompously beligerent in its Puritan Prosletysing (not just BAW I might add, though he's typical) for our more delicate native Red Squirrel Folk, the ecology of which is as vulnerable & precious as a centuries old hedge before a JCB. And no, for sure, the two can't live together. To quote another great songwriter & singer: all we doing is defending.


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Subject: RE: 'Purist - a pejorative?
From: Musket
Date: 06 Jan 12 - 07:04 AM

Purist as a withering isolating term or purist as a compliment; still calling someone a purist.

So unless someone wishes to define (yet again..) the word "pure?"

A girlfriend once said she needed a man in her life. When she had some bad news and called her friend for a friendly chat, her friend pointed out that she did have someone whose shoulder she could cry on, I reckon she meant me. My girlfriend said "He's just a man."

So; Man. Pejorative or term of endearment?

Same ruddy thing isn't it?


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Subject: RE: 'Purist - a pejorative?
From: MartinRyan
Date: 06 Jan 12 - 07:13 AM

The problem with reported speech is that you can't hear the inverted commas...

Regards


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Subject: RE: 'Purist - a pejorative?
From: theleveller
Date: 06 Jan 12 - 08:10 AM

"they're all fine singers, all fine songwriters, but singer songwriters? It's the SS idiom I despise"

I'm afraid that your semantics elude me.

"And no, for sure, the two can't live together"

Only if one accepts your analogy, which I don't. I find that, in my repertoire, they live together quite comfortably.It's simply a continuation of the tradition.


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Subject: RE: 'Purist - a pejorative?
From: Bernard
Date: 06 Jan 12 - 08:37 AM

Purist, pedant, perfectionist, pejorative... wonder why they all begin with the letter 'p'?!

I'll get me coat...


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Subject: RE: 'Purist - a pejorative?
From: GUEST,Spleen Cringe
Date: 06 Jan 12 - 08:51 AM

Lev... I think the problem arises with the dual meaning of the term 'singer songwriter'. Here wot I think.

One meaning is simply a broad descriptor for anyone who sings songs they write themselves (an incredibly huge category that can span from the sort of stuff you or Bob Pegg write to Adele to Nick Drake to Joni Mitchell to Jonathan Richman. Some of it is broadly folktastic, some of it isn't. Everyone draws the line in the sand in a different place depending on personal preferences and, uh, degree of 'purism').

The other meaning - which I think Suibhne is alluding to and which I've had the odd on-line pukefest about in the past - is the far narrower singer-songwriter genre of post James Taylor MOR navel-gazers and its British variants (James fecking Bl*nt, anyone?). Of course, there's also those people who turn up to folk clubs with not-very-good acoustic MOR pop songs - originals and covers - of various levels of mawkishness. Is this a particularly Lancastrian phenomenon, I wonder? Endless sub-Matchstick Men gloopfests about clogs, cobbles, hotpot and mills?


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Subject: RE: 'Purist - a pejorative?
From: GUEST,999
Date: 06 Jan 12 - 08:52 AM

"Purist - a pejorative?"


'Ignorant people think it is the noise which fighting cats make that is so aggravating, but it ain't so; it is the sickening grammar that they use.'

Mark Twain


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Subject: RE: 'Purist - a pejorative?
From: Will Fly
Date: 06 Jan 12 - 08:57 AM

Is this a particularly Lancastrian phenomenon, I wonder?

Wash your mouth out, you bad, bad boy! Mawkishness goes on everywhere - just with different regional characteristics. I'll set Mike Harding on you if you're not careful.


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Subject: RE: 'Purist - a pejorative?
From: GUEST,Spleen Cringe
Date: 06 Jan 12 - 09:04 AM

Ah... but Mike Harding did it pretty well! It's those groups who were like the folktastic equivalent of Brotherhood of Man that I'm boggled and nonplussed by. I almost think we should call for a revival. Say cheese!


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Subject: RE: 'Purist - a pejorative?
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 06 Jan 12 - 09:17 AM

Careful what you wish for.


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Subject: RE: 'Purist - a pejorative?
From: theleveller
Date: 06 Jan 12 - 09:35 AM

Thanks, Spleen, I understand now. Yes, I largely agree with that and, no, it's not just a Lancashire phenomenon - we get it this side of t'Pennines as well. We also have some exceptionally fine local song craftspeople whose songs are firmly rooted in the locale.


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Subject: RE: 'Purist - a pejorative?
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 06 Jan 12 - 09:40 AM

Got it there pretty much, Spleen, but there's the oirish element to be factored in to the whole inglorious equation; weeping into its hot pot to strains of The Fields of Athenry (oh no! not the fields of Athenry! If I hear it one more time I think I'll die...). I don't mind any music really, but the bullying menace of Message / Sentiment is rather more than my fragile Traddy soul can bear I'm afraid. Always been the same with me - even back when I saw June Tabor for the first time back in 1975; I was 14, and whilst I wept to The Plains of Waterloo I threw up at The Band Played Waltzing Matilda. It was this disparity (all consuming in Folk Realms I'm afraid) that taunght me early on I maybe wasn't blessed with the Folk Gene, thus I was resistant to such Mawkish schlock, and so-called comedy, however so appreciative I might of the occasional cunning parody.

I accept this is entirely subjective; it's my own thang, but from my perspective I find it a tad off-putting to say the least. In Lancashire it is pretty much the norm to go into Folk Clubs and not hear anything you could call Folk. It's weird, and can actually be wierdly compelling too. At one Folk Club the MC said 'You can finish the night, but only if you do Danny Boy'. She put us on second last, but we still jammed in with a mass Danny Boy though - hell, I'm not that up myself.

Truth is though, Trad is regarded as something of a Marmite Specialism in the Folk World as a whole, which is seen as a minority adjunct of Easy Listening / MOR as a whole. Coming to the myriad splendours of Traditional Song via free improv, ethnomusicology, prog and experimental roots it's a still a shock even after 35 years to realise the truth of that. I suppose all this makes me a sort of Purist, because to me Folk means Traditional Song and (at a push) Idiomatically Traditional Creative developments from the Third Ear Band to Peter Bellamy & beyond.

*

It's simply a continuation of the tradition.

No it isn't, and not without very good reason. Even writers of Idiomatic Trad at least will respect that much, one hopes. Folk is about modellers & enthusiasts, not the navvys, railway workers, engine drivers, firemen, station masters & signalmen for whom it was once harsh daily reality rather than sepia tinted nostalgia and 00-gauge authenicity. Or should that be P4-gauge seeing we're talking about Purism?


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Subject: RE: 'Purist - a pejorative?
From: GUEST,Spleen Cringe
Date: 06 Jan 12 - 09:49 AM

Exactly! When it comes to songwriters I suspect there are two sorts: good songwriters and crap songwriters. Of course, one person's golden nugget is another person's steaming dogpoo and vice versa. And then there are those awkward sods who write some good songs and some crap ones muddying the waters... I suspect they do it on purpose to keep us on our toes.


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Subject: RE: 'Purist - a pejorative?
From: GUEST,Spleen Cringe
Date: 06 Jan 12 - 09:55 AM

That last one was back at Leveller...


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Subject: RE: 'Purist - a pejorative?
From: theleveller
Date: 06 Jan 12 - 10:20 AM

"It's simply a continuation of the tradition.

No it isn't"

Well, I see it in different light. So, for example, when I write a tongue-in-cheek song about my greatx4 grandfather who was 'drowned at sea' after falling in Hull Old Harbour whilst drunk, that is as relevant to me as, say, your Porcupine in a Sycamore Tree is to you. Whether it's 'folk' or not doesn't really bother me, but it is about someone who knew the harsh daily realities of life just as your navvies, railway workers and engine drivers.


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Subject: RE: 'Purist - a pejorative?
From: Banjiman
Date: 06 Jan 12 - 10:26 AM

Suibhne Astray-

I could have sworn you do some self-penned songs and are no more "traddier than thou" than most acts doing the rounds in folk clubs?

The vast majority of acts I saw/ booked/ heard last year do a mixture of trad and written songs and I absolutely disagree with your assessment that singer/songwriters are any more "purist" than traddies....... as with most things there are extremist nutters at both ends of the scale.

There are "singer/songwriters" I like and Trad artists I like..... and those I don't. I suspect that is true for most people.


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Subject: RE: 'Purist - a pejorative?
From: Spleen Cringe
Date: 06 Jan 12 - 10:38 AM

Lanky Spoken Here


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Subject: RE: 'Purist - a pejorative?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 06 Jan 12 - 10:45 AM

You red squirrel purist bastards, I coming after you....and your nuts....and your habitat!

Not one of you can hold a candle to James Last plays the James Blunt Folksong Collection. that's what i call folk music in its purest form. Folk music for the people!

Roll on the revolution!


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Subject: RE: 'Purist - a pejorative?
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 06 Jan 12 - 10:50 AM

Now I just like songs that do that thing, which of course I can't define & can barely even describe.

I wasn't going to get into specifics, but Banjiman's comment moves me to mention that the Porcupine is on the list, as is Rachel's sublime Outlaws. Shelve alongside Fine Horseman, First Girl I Loved, the Black and Bitter Night, Ballad of Accounting, St Helena Lullaby, Boots of Spanish Leather and Now Westlin Winds... maybe one shelf down from that last one.


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Subject: RE: 'Purist - a pejorative?
From: Brian Peters
Date: 06 Jan 12 - 10:52 AM

"all the self-styled Purists I've met..."

I'd be surprised if many folkies, even the most blinkered, would volunteer willingly for such a label. Anyone with half a brain who's spent ten minutes thinking about folk song would be very hard put to define its 'pure' form. So in my book the term 'purist' is always pejorative in our world, since it suggests that the recipient doesn't understand their own subject.

Of course it's quite possible to prefer old songs, unaccompanied singing, acoustic instruments, or whatever, on grounds other than purity.


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Subject: RE: 'Purist - a pejorative?
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 06 Jan 12 - 11:10 AM

All along here I've spoke about Tradition Songs as being distinct from New Songs in the Traditional Idiom. Make no mistake - I value model railways; I would even have one if time / space allowed for it (I dream of a scratch built P4-gauge layout based on the Backworth Colliey network of my childhood circa 1970). As revival performers of Traditional Material it's inevitable that we'll start writing our own stuff to a greater or lesser extent (as I did with Porcupine, but that was an accident...) but in no way is this continuing The Tradition any more than me singing a traditional song is keeping The Tradition alive. In a revival context the whole concept of The Tradition and folklore is too proscriptively self-conscious to be considered in any way real - thus do I talk of model trains, and feel sure that the MOD won't be sending The Sealed Knot out to Afghanistan any time soon.

It is also my considered opinion that the same Tradition that gave us The Old Songs, Ballads & Broadsides is alive and well today; it thrives in the myriad genres of Popular Music, forever morphing and moving on, just as the Old Songs morphed in glorious fluidity from one performance to the next. Tradition in this sense is not synonymous with Old Fashioned; Tradition is a living dynamic process of popular creative music making unbroken for the last 50,000 years. As a Traddy I have a love of the Old Songs and the Diverse Idioms thereof; just as I love old folklore, collieries, cathedrals, parish churches, bench ends, misericords, Green Men, the Herefordshire School of Romanesque Sculpture, Anglo-Saxon hoards, the Roman Wall, Ley Lines, Glastonbury, Stone Circles, Hill Forts, Cup and Ring Carvings, passage graves and bog bodies - but I also know the difference between Reality and Nostalgia. Folkore is a living thing, it is everywhere, it belongs to everyone, which is a very different to Folky Folklore, which takes a selective view of the antiquarian aspects, which, as I say, I love very dearly, however suspicious I might be of various aspects of it, but that's a story for another day.

Do what thou wilt, but keep it in perspective...


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Subject: RE: 'Purist - a pejorative?
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 06 Jan 12 - 11:15 AM

Rachel's sublime Outlaws

Rachel just did the music for that, the words are pretty much as Bonnie Parker wrote them:

http://www.poemhunter.com/poem/outlaws-billy-the-kid-and-clyde-barrow/


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Subject: RE: 'Purist - a pejorative?
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 06 Jan 12 - 11:18 AM

PS

That's Bonnie at her most evidently Kiplingesque, I think - it certainly has that ring to it. One wonders how Bellamy would have approached it. Talk to Rachel and she'll tell you she was mostly inspired by Ennio Morricone's music from Once Upon a Time in the West - Cheyenne's Theme in particular


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Subject: RE: 'Purist - a pejorative?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 06 Jan 12 - 11:19 AM

'keep it in perspective... '

Lets see how your perspective holds up when my teeth are on your nuts! Ginge!


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Subject: RE: 'Purist - a pejorative?
From: The Sandman
Date: 06 Jan 12 - 11:25 AM

It seems to me that almost any adjective can be used as a pejorative term, that it is all a matter of context."
HA HA, like brillant, fabulous, wonderful, excellent, good, very good,exhilarating, marvellous.


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Subject: RE: 'Purist - a pejorative?
From: The Sandman
Date: 06 Jan 12 - 11:31 AM

look i have only got half a brain, but its agood half cos it s the half that plays music and sings, so can I be the first one to volunteer to be a purist, i know its a silly game but if theres a prize , Iwant to be the first purist.


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Subject: RE: 'Purist - a pejorative?
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 06 Jan 12 - 11:37 AM

Brian ~~ You seem to me to be reinforcing my OP point with your word "blinkered". It is not blinkered to be aware of the existence of categories within which artefacts may be usefully placed in order to facilitate communication. It need not be a value-judgment; and categories of the sort that the word 'purist' presupposes need not be entirely self-contained, but can be straddled. But I once wrote, in a Defence Of Categories piece for Folk Review, "If every article of household furniture was called a chair, we wouldn't know where to park our arses." I remember Peter Bellamy, who has been much mentioned on this thread, liked my formulation & used often to quote it. It didn't alter the fact that he would rather hear the Stones than a folk record after a gig; and once, when visiting us, as we played Scrabble, he asked for a record which was anything but folk and enjoyed the Brandenburg Concerto that I opted for; but he admitted that differentiating these categories, recognising their differences and not indulging in the syllogism, also part of that FR article, of "I like folk; I like Cole Porter, ∴ Cole Porter is Folk. I happen," I continued, "to like both eating and the works of Jane Austen; but that doesn't mean that I mistake Mansfield Park for a chip butty."

It is surely in recognising these distinctions, without necessarily making value judgments or denouncing anyone else's preferred categories, that 'purism' lies. What is 'blinkered' about that?

~M~


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