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Living 'Tradition' Standard Bearers?

Big Al Whittle 22 Apr 12 - 04:20 PM
Big Al Whittle 22 Apr 12 - 11:43 AM
GUEST,Shimrod 22 Apr 12 - 08:29 AM
greg stephens 22 Apr 12 - 07:57 AM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 22 Apr 12 - 07:24 AM
Phil Edwards 22 Apr 12 - 07:12 AM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 22 Apr 12 - 07:02 AM
GUEST,Shimrod 22 Apr 12 - 06:52 AM
GUEST,Shimrod 22 Apr 12 - 05:56 AM
r.padgett 22 Apr 12 - 03:30 AM
Big Al Whittle 21 Apr 12 - 04:46 AM
r.padgett 21 Apr 12 - 04:26 AM
Jim Carroll 20 Apr 12 - 06:10 AM
GUEST,Mr Tommy Atkins 20 Apr 12 - 05:49 AM
r.padgett 20 Apr 12 - 05:44 AM
johncharles 19 Apr 12 - 01:02 PM
GUEST,Durutti Column 19 Apr 12 - 12:56 PM
r.padgett 19 Apr 12 - 12:33 PM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 19 Apr 12 - 12:33 PM
Big Al Whittle 19 Apr 12 - 12:21 PM
Paul Davenport 19 Apr 12 - 12:05 PM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 19 Apr 12 - 12:02 PM
Jim Carroll 19 Apr 12 - 11:47 AM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 19 Apr 12 - 11:00 AM
Jim Carroll 19 Apr 12 - 10:37 AM
Dave Hanson 19 Apr 12 - 10:37 AM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 19 Apr 12 - 10:06 AM
johncharles 19 Apr 12 - 09:55 AM
johncharles 19 Apr 12 - 09:46 AM
Jim Carroll 19 Apr 12 - 09:40 AM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 19 Apr 12 - 08:55 AM
r.padgett 19 Apr 12 - 08:24 AM
johncharles 19 Apr 12 - 08:17 AM
GUEST,Sparrow Agnew 19 Apr 12 - 08:04 AM
selby 19 Apr 12 - 07:52 AM
Jim Carroll 19 Apr 12 - 07:09 AM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 19 Apr 12 - 05:20 AM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 19 Apr 12 - 05:04 AM
Jim Carroll 19 Apr 12 - 04:11 AM
r.padgett 19 Apr 12 - 04:03 AM
Big Al Whittle 18 Apr 12 - 07:20 PM
johncharles 18 Apr 12 - 06:51 PM
Steve Gardham 18 Apr 12 - 05:14 PM
Jim Carroll 18 Apr 12 - 03:26 PM
johncharles 18 Apr 12 - 02:35 PM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 18 Apr 12 - 08:24 AM
Jim Carroll 18 Apr 12 - 07:49 AM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 18 Apr 12 - 06:48 AM
glueman 18 Apr 12 - 05:47 AM
Jim Carroll 18 Apr 12 - 05:05 AM
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Subject: RE: Living 'Tradition' Standard Bearers?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 22 Apr 12 - 04:20 PM

'So Jim C reckons that the blessed Ewan was ignorant of Stalin's crimes till 1956. Strange how everyone else was perfectly familiar with the many and varied accounts of what had been going on. Especially in Communist circles, where such things were widely discussed and totally well-known (though obviously publicly denied).'

Can I respectfully suggest a book to you Greg. Its called In the Thirties by Edward Upward. Upward was Christopher Isherwood's greatest friend and literary mentor as a young man. Whilst Isherwood and Auden went off to America in 1939, Upward stayed in England working as a suburban teacher - and believing profoundly in Marxism and the Soviet model of society.

The trauma felt by English party members, dealt by Kruschev by denouncing Stalin and his crimes at the 20th party congress is dealt with in the book. let me assure you the sense of loss of an ideal was something that MacColl would not have been alone in feeling, and it was shared by millions of communists across the world.

My own father was extremely sceptical of the American line in the cold war - after all in the wartime the BBC had spoke of our ally as Father Joe Stalin - the volte face after Churchill's iron curtain speech took a bit of swallowing by anyone who was interested in politics. However my Dad had a fair bit of contact with the Russian troops and their sheer brutality scared him - and this was a guy who had fought all the way through France and the Low Countries in the Irish Guards.

MacColl of course saw the Russians in a different light - they were putting on his plays behind the Iron curtain. he must have had cultural ties with them. It must have been a kick in the guts to discover your work was being championed by a mass murderer.


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Subject: RE: Living 'Tradition' Standard Bearers?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 22 Apr 12 - 11:43 AM

'Face it Jim he was a great musician and totally 100% dishonest politically.'

I take issue with that. Stalin was a shite banjo player.


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Subject: RE: Living 'Tradition' Standard Bearers?
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 22 Apr 12 - 08:29 AM

" ... totally 100% dishonest politically."

Reminds me of the modern Labour Party!


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Subject: RE: Living 'Tradition' Standard Bearers?
From: greg stephens
Date: 22 Apr 12 - 07:57 AM

So Jim C reckons that the blessed Ewan was ignorant of Stalin's crimes till 1956. Strange how everyone else was perfectly familiar with the many and varied accounts of what had been going on. Especially in Communist circles, where such things were widely discussed and totally well-known (though obviously publicly denied). Face it Jim he was a great musician and totally 100% dishonest politically.


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Subject: RE: Living 'Tradition' Standard Bearers?
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 22 Apr 12 - 07:24 AM

As far as English Folk Song goes - I vote for ANYONE and EVERYONE who sings it and has sung it and will sing it out of the Pure Love of doing so. Vacuous lists of Folk Celebs? No thanks! Today I will place a wreath on the Tomb of the Unknown Folkie.


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Subject: RE: Living 'Tradition' Standard Bearers?
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 22 Apr 12 - 07:12 AM

I second Dave, and would add Bob and Sue van Gaalen, Matthew Edwards (no relation*) and the bloke who came to the Beech one night and sang the song about the pear tree, which I've never heard before or since.

*As far as I know; we're probably fourth cousins or something similar.


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Subject: RE: Living 'Tradition' Standard Bearers?
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 22 Apr 12 - 07:02 AM

I vote for Dave Bishop - as keen and authority and singer of English Traditional Song as I've been honoured to sit and listen to. Assuming by English musical styles that's the sort of thing we're talking about here, rather than the thousands of musical genres & approaches one can think of as being uniquely English these days, whatever their country of origin. Indeed, this is stamp of English Music - English Music is as the English People do.


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Subject: RE: Living 'Tradition' Standard Bearers?
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 22 Apr 12 - 06:52 AM

If we ever agree on a definitive list of - aahhemm! - "English Living Tradition Standard Bearers" (which we won't - even if this thread runs to a million posts) will anyone say to themselves:

"Wow! I'd never thought of Martin Carthy as an (how does it go?) 'English-Living-Tradition-Standard-Bearer' before! I'd always thought of him as a Reggae musician. Must revise my mental list!"


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Subject: RE: Living 'Tradition' Standard Bearers?
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 22 Apr 12 - 05:56 AM

I'm not sure that I see the point of fatuous lists - usually with the same names on them ...


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Subject: RE: Living 'Tradition' Standard Bearers?
From: r.padgett
Date: 22 Apr 12 - 03:30 AM

Yes Bert Weedon, Cyril Tawney, Lonnie Donegan, Mike Harding, Derek Brimstone, Copper Family, Jim Lloyd all have had a vital influence on English musical styles and delivery and promotion

Ray


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Subject: RE: Living 'Tradition' Standard Bearers?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 21 Apr 12 - 04:46 AM

Bert Weedon

He taught the world There is a Tavern in the Town and Bobby Shaftoe on the guitar.


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Subject: RE: Living 'Tradition' Standard Bearers?
From: r.padgett
Date: 21 Apr 12 - 04:26 AM

Song carriers (Traditional) is another term! Living song carriers
Nominated: English please!

Nick Jones
June Tabor
Bob Davenport
Jim Eldon
Mick Haywood
Martin Carthy
Martin Whyndam - Read
Roy Bailey

others
Ray


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Subject: RE: Living 'Tradition' Standard Bearers?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 20 Apr 12 - 06:10 AM

"Which is more than he did whilst the rest of the country was engaged tooth and nail with the 20th century's greatest evil. "
Been there- done that - interminably - read the threads, or the book.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Living 'Tradition' Standard Bearers?
From: GUEST,Mr Tommy Atkins
Date: 20 Apr 12 - 05:49 AM

"MacColl chose to be involved, as did many others, in what was happening in the world - Anti Apartheid, CND, Nam, the miners"

Which is more than he did whilst the rest of the country was engaged tooth and nail with the 20th century's greatest evil. As you say, even Stalin wasn't Stallin' on the front.


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Subject: RE: Living 'Tradition' Standard Bearers?
From: r.padgett
Date: 20 Apr 12 - 05:44 AM

lol

Off we jolly well go, flo!


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Subject: RE: Living 'Tradition' Standard Bearers?
From: johncharles
Date: 19 Apr 12 - 01:02 PM

Ray. Go with the Flo !


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Subject: RE: Living 'Tradition' Standard Bearers?
From: GUEST,Durutti Column
Date: 19 Apr 12 - 12:56 PM

Why is it that whenever I read the words "Ewan McColl" on a Mudcat thread it leaves me with a deep and dismal sense of weariness? Strangely, most of the former Stalinist versions of British Communism (not to mention the Trotskyites and their indeterminable internecine battles) have the same effect. It's enough to put a person off radical politics for life, if they didn't know better.

57 varieties


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Subject: RE: Living 'Tradition' Standard Bearers?
From: r.padgett
Date: 19 Apr 12 - 12:33 PM

I feel like Andy Capp!

Ray


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Subject: RE: Living 'Tradition' Standard Bearers?
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 19 Apr 12 - 12:33 PM

@Paul - shhhhhhh! Don't let Jim know we're on the same side, I doubt he could take it. Varigated I dig, however...


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Subject: RE: Living 'Tradition' Standard Bearers?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 19 Apr 12 - 12:21 PM

Because the leaves of this tree are variegated.


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Subject: RE: Living 'Tradition' Standard Bearers?
From: Paul Davenport
Date: 19 Apr 12 - 12:05 PM

I just read this thread from the top in one sitting. Extraordinary!
Starts with Ray asking about singers by differentiating using two meaningless categories then ends up with people on the same side taking shots at each other with no real answer given to the original query. Fabulous, vintage Mudcat.
Why is it that virtually every Mudcat discussion ends like this?


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Subject: RE: Living 'Tradition' Standard Bearers?
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 19 Apr 12 - 12:02 PM

Serenity Now!


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Subject: RE: Living 'Tradition' Standard Bearers?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 19 Apr 12 - 11:47 AM

"I think it's more a matter of when anyone dares offer even the slightest critique....."
You don't "offer a critique", you condemn out of hand, and not just MacColl - Lloyd, Sharp - you name them - you've bombed the best of them.
You offer no analysis - all that I gather from this particular exchangeis that you don't like (left) political songs - so what???
Your out-of-hand condemnations come with no alternatives, no wisdom of your own, just "you're/they're all wrong except me".
It's all been done before by infinitely better singers than you - about as "idiosyncratic" and individual as your singing.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Living 'Tradition' Standard Bearers?
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 19 Apr 12 - 11:00 AM

How is it then Suibhne that every time someone mentions Ewan MacColl someone like yourself comes along to try and pull down his achievements and sneer at him

I think it's more a matter of when anyone dares offer even the slightest critique of certain aspects of MacColl's work it becomes instant heresy and the usual fatwas are handed out. My opinion, for what it's worth, is based opn a lifelong love of MacColl as a singer of Traditional Folk Song & Ballad and when I actually got to see him being subject to the most dire self-penned songs with respect of his self-appointed status as political ideaolgue. Not that I wasn't involved with that struggle myself at the time - or else the music that was a part of it whilst the rest of Folk Scene was digging fecking Graceland - just that wasn't what MacColl was a master of. And he was a master of his craft - make no mistake about that. But Jim would even deny me that opinion! It's a madhouse!


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Subject: RE: Living 'Tradition' Standard Bearers?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 19 Apr 12 - 10:37 AM

"Stalin killed 15 - 20 million of his own people on the road. "
And Stalin was idolised by the Russian people, the "socialist sixth of the world" and most of the left in the west until Kruschev's statement in 1956, exposing his crimes.
MacColl's song reflected the ignorance of those crimes - I can just about remember when Stalin was still referred to as "good old Uncle Joe" and "the saviour of democracy" - a hangover from WW2 when Russia was our ally and was recognised as having made massive sacrifices; twenty three and a half million war dead, 13.9% of the population.
Hindsight is an extremely comfortable position to throw stones from.
"What is it about Ewan MacColl"
Maybe it has something to do with his reviving 137 Child ballads, the lifetime of pleasure he gave us as a singer, The Radio Ballads, songs like Freeborn Man, Joy of Living, Dirty Old Town...., his readiness to pass on the result of his researches, the years he devoted to helping new singers, his refusal to compromise his music for a quick buck, his willingness to get involved in what he believed to be worthwhile causes while other superstars were getting on with their careers, his insistence that folk song was worth making an effort for and not just adopting the "near enough" approach that was prevelant at the time.
None of this was blind adulation; I was lucky enough to have been a recipient of his generosity and I know that there was nobody else on the scene willing to offer advice, practical help, time and effort to progress a music he devoted his life to.
Small- minded snide comments like "second coming" only help to confirm that view.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Living 'Tradition' Standard Bearers?
From: Dave Hanson
Date: 19 Apr 12 - 10:37 AM

How is it then Suibhne that every time someone mentions Ewan MacColl someone like yourself comes along to try and pull down his achievements and sneer at him, what are your achievements ?

Do you find it impossible not to decry him ?

Dave H


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Subject: RE: Living 'Tradition' Standard Bearers?
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 19 Apr 12 - 10:06 AM

What is it about Ewan MacColl whereby he inspires such f/rigid devotion in his disciples even unto this day? He was, after all, just a man, but I get the impression of something a lot deeper here - as if his devotees await his Secong Coming on the Day of Righteous Judgement and Revolution when all that dared question his methods, myths & motives will be summarily dealt with with a bullet in the back on the head. And how dare I, or anyone else for that matter, stoop so low as to express so vile a thing as an opinion, which quickly gets seized upon, taken out of context and blown up into a heresy in a whirlwind of such humbling devotion and righteous ire. I'm impressed, Jim - seriously your fundamentalist fury confirms my general feelings on the religiosity of cerrtain aspects of Folk in which no one dares hold an opinion without having first been told what to think in advance. Meanwhile, out here in the real world, one may question the historical basis of Anti Arpartheid, or of CND, or Nam, or the legality of the miner's strike if it comes to that, but in the simplistic monochrome world of MacCollist Absolutism one would not dare differ from the party line in dread fear of the consequences. Discussion ends, it would seem, quite literally, right here.


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Subject: RE: Living 'Tradition' Standard Bearers?
From: johncharles
Date: 19 Apr 12 - 09:55 AM

Joe Stalin was a mighty man, a mighty man was he,
He led the Soviet people on the road to victory.
(ewan Macoll)
Stalin killed 15 - 20 million of his own people on the road.


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Subject: RE: Living 'Tradition' Standard Bearers?
From: johncharles
Date: 19 Apr 12 - 09:46 AM

Ray. try the british library sound archive of traditional english music.
much of this is not accessible.


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Subject: RE: Living 'Tradition' Standard Bearers?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 19 Apr 12 - 09:40 AM

Sorry Sub - just comes out as the old usual anti-MaColl garbage as far as I'm concerned
The Radio Ballads did give working people a genuine voice on the media, not done before and seldom since.
The Travellers took to some of the songs like ducks to water - had their tradition survived portable televisions I have no doubt whatever that they'd collected in versions by people who were wondering where the came from."which has no experience of such matters first hand."
Which just about sums up a large portion of classical literature - or did Dickens narrowly escape the guillotine, and maybe Hugo fought at Waterloo!!
There was an organisation in the 60s called Folksingers For Freedom in Viet Nam - got the list of folkies who were involved somewhere - who knows, you might find some of your heroes on it. Of course, none of those would qualify as SB's, no doubt.
Right-wing sour grapes - as usual.
MacColl chose to be involved, as did many others, in what was happening in the world - Anti Apartheid, CND, Nam, the miners.....
Safer to sit in your armchair and sneer at those who care enough to act.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Living 'Tradition' Standard Bearers?
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 19 Apr 12 - 08:55 AM

It really would be a whole lot easier to discuss these matters if you didn't persist in insulting me at every turn. But, in the spirit of general bonhomie, & some much needed clarification...

Your opening comment on MacColl was - ""MacColl was a highly selective agenda driven left-wing propagandist"
Given the subject in hand, this is your argument for him not being a "standard bearer".


My comment was actually made in response to Ray saying that McColl was a possible standard bearer nominee for his song writing and historical preservation of the Social history of working life through song. I disagree with this, for the reasons stated. But I've no problem at all with his with Traditional material - material which is, essentially and entirely, one hopes, a-political and the common reserve of us all, one which engenders individuality rather than the consumptive collectivity imposed upon the working-classes by Left and Right alike.

wonder how you would react to right wing songs - given the evidence - not a lot.

A reference to my fondness for Kipling no doubt? Well, I doubt his stuff is as political as you like to think, though I do object to Left-wing Folkies insisting The Land is some sort of Socialist Polemic, or that the Humanism manifest in A Pigrim's Way is anathema to Kipling's political stance and therefore indicative of more left-wing sensitivities. I'm not a Kipling apologist though - I find most of it utterly nauseating, patronising, imperialistic, sexist & racist bullshit - The Land included to be honest, which is why I sing it, as a perfect commentary on the nature of the sort of English Apartheid that underwrites our culture in general and the patronising nature of the (bourgeois) Folk Revival in particular.

Surely you can have no objection to anybody making songs for that reason; or would you object to countrymen "whining" about being shipped to Australia for trying to feed their families by stealing game from land that was originally theirs but was enclosed by the local squire.

If the songs are generated by direct experience of such matters then fine. If they are, on the other hand, just romantic formulations of right-on middle-class songwriters then I think I'm justified in being a bit sniffy. This is my interest in Traditional Folk Song by the way - as an expression of working-class creativity. Precisely as you say: advocating that folk song was the product of the (largely rural) working class; a poetic distilation of their lives and experiences.. Absolutely, Jim. Hell, I'm still just about naive enough to believe the old songs are formed by working-class experience - certainly the songs of Tommy Armstrong were and I sing them avidly.

I really don't see any great problem with that idea - perhaps the view of the tradition is different from the comfort of your armchair?

Not at all, just I fail to see what that working-class experience has to do with the political song-writing of Ewan MacColl et al which has no experience of such matters first hand. Perhaps you might like to enlighten me?

It seems your objection here is that the idividuals in question's politics don't coincide with your own - nothing more.

On the contrary - I appreciate only too well that there a myriad different political perspectives flying around - and that there is as much blood on the hands of the Left as there is on the Right, and that Left-wing Governance is no guarantee of the sanctity of human rights. Neither Left nor Right has done much to empower the working-classes of our country, and Revival Folk remains largely the reserve educated middle-classes. Exceptions there are, for sure, but exceptions only serve to prove rules. The odd thing I find is that where you do get a lot of working-class folkies, there's not much interest in Traditional Song as such.

You certainly don't sound like any traditional singer I have ever listened to or met.

True, but then again I'm not claiming to be a Traditional Singer. I'm just a bloke who sings traditional songs in his own idiosyncratic fashion, as we all must really - those of us who are moved to sing the bloody things anyway. Actually, I'd say my singing style owes as much to my asthma as Ewan MacColl; it was actually better in the days I used to smoke and demolish chimney breasts to clear out impacted decades of jackdaw nests. I blame all this bracing sea air myself.


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Subject: RE: Living 'Tradition' Standard Bearers?
From: r.padgett
Date: 19 Apr 12 - 08:24 AM

Name names Sir lol

Yea probably had some trouble accessing an odd site, Sheffield maybe, or could be wrong! Unless yoiu are an academic registered somewhere

Ray


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Subject: RE: Living 'Tradition' Standard Bearers?
From: johncharles
Date: 19 Apr 12 - 08:17 AM

it is surprising how many of these standard bearers for music of the people, both singers and collectors, manage to ensure their works are copyrighted. In the case of a number of collectors one finds their material is inaccessible unless you are a member of a higher education establishment which subscribes to the archive.


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Subject: RE: Living 'Tradition' Standard Bearers?
From: GUEST,Sparrow Agnew
Date: 19 Apr 12 - 08:04 AM

Jim Moray
Dick Miles
Kate Rusby
Sting
Dick Gaughan
Martin Carthy
Big Al Whittle
And the two Queens of folk 'n' pop 'n' rock 'n' roll:
June Tabor & Loreena Mckennitt


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Subject: RE: Living 'Tradition' Standard Bearers?
From: selby
Date: 19 Apr 12 - 07:52 AM

On the same subject albeit slightly different tack I for one and I suspect a few contributors have encouraged their children to absorb the folk tradition. The kids have had masterclasses in singing dancing and musicianship from a very early age with some great artists and enthusiasts the kids appear to put their own spin on things if you asked the same question 30 years hence the answer may well be very different. I listened to a young man play Man in the Moon and he acknowledge Scan Tester the young mans playing was faultless I played the track to him off Scan Tester,s LP and the two where slightly different, listening to both there was nothing to choose but the music had evolved. Back to the thread, surely they are both in their own way Standard Bearers.
Keith


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Subject: RE: Living 'Tradition' Standard Bearers?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 19 Apr 12 - 07:09 AM

You appear to be bullshitting again - as usual
Your opening comment on MacColl was - ""MacColl was a highly selective agenda driven left-wing propagandist"
Given the subject in hand, this is your argument for him not being a "standard bearer".
It is you who "whines on" about left politics - wonder how you would react to right wing songs - given the evidence - not a lot.
As far as his music went MacColl's politics fell into two parts - he was from a working class family and he grew up during the depression in one of the poorest cities in Britain - (Engles wrore a book based on it).
His politics were formed by his background, and when he found he was capable of doing so, he wrote songs expressing his opinions formed by his experiences - plenty of historical precedent for that. Surely you can have no objection to anybody making songs for that reason; or would you object to countrymen "whining" about being shipped to Australia for trying to feed their families by stealing game from land that was originally theirs but was enclosed by the local squire.
Harry Cox did his share of "whining" about just that - you really should try to dig out Lomax's beautiful recording of him doing so.
So MacColl's (Bert's or anybody's) left wing politics should disbar them from being considered musically important enough to be conssidered a "standard bearer".
The other side to MacColl's, Lloyd's, Hendersons....et al's politics was their advocating that folk song was the product of the (largely rural) working class; a poetic distilation of their lives and experiences.
Having spent thirty odd years ploutering around Traveller sites, or taking songs from East Anglian fishermen or carpenters, or Irish land labourers, fishermen or small farmers, or London Irish building workers.... I really don't see any great problem with that idea - perhaps the view of the tradition is different from the comfort of your armchair?
It seems your objection here is that the idividuals in question's politics don't coincide with your own - nothing more.
Jim Caroll
PS "Do I feel part of it? Not really"
Having listened to your singing - if it waddles and quacks it's almost certainly a duck. You sound like a folkie architype to me, no matter how you may see yourself. You certainly don't sound like any traditional singer I have ever listened to or met.


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Subject: RE: Living 'Tradition' Standard Bearers?
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 19 Apr 12 - 05:20 AM

PS owing to cross-post:

'breathed life into'
Never struck me that this has been Sub's contribution to the revival - he seems neither to like it or to trust it.


For the record, I think it's far more important we breath live FROM the old songs, not follow the conceit that we're breathing life INTO them, which is palpably untrue. The best Revival singers - MacColl, Bellamy, Jim Eldon - are all examples of this; they are mediums through which the life of the old songs flow. They are not giving the songs life, the songs are giving them life.

As for The Revival itself, I really think I was born too late. Do I like it? Partly. Do I trust it? Partly. Do I feel part of it? Not really. Soon as I set foot into a folk club I knew I was Post-Revival by default and I feel no differently today really. The common ground is a continuity of Popular Traditional Song & Balladry, anything else is pretty much by the by really.


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Subject: RE: Living 'Tradition' Standard Bearers?
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 19 Apr 12 - 05:04 AM

What you appear to be saying is that folk enthussiasts should not hold political opinions - or at the very least, should not express them publicly in song.

Opinions are really too simplistically subjuctive to be of any use; I'm more interested in the objective interaction & experience of the human whole than the agendas of single-minded politico song-writers hell-bent on their own self-righteousness where the ideology comes first and the music is just a means to that end. Of course when the central issue is Humanity, then that struggle is manifest as a common cause without the likes of MacColl telling people what to think or else seeking to ostracise those who just happen to disagree - which most people do anyway. At the bottom line I find such an approach patronising in the extreme and hardly conducive to any sort of progress at all - least of all in the real world, at least the real world I know, where nothing is clear-cut. Hell, one of my favourite singers is Robert Wyatt but I switch off once he starts coming on political.

Can we have an essentially reactionary music embodying radical politics anyway? Or does that just serve as a nice soft comfort blanket for the converted? It's been suggested that the radical aspirations of Folkies stands in diametric opposition to their innate musical & cultural conservatism. I must hold my hand up here - in my love & usage of Traditional Song and Ballad I'm hardly being in any way radical. Indeed, I've always sought out Folk Clubs to get away from reality, a form of bucolic escapism which is as true today as it was back in 1973. But then again entertainment has always been escapism for the working-classes, and I'd argue a similar escapism exists with the concerns of politicos singing songs about things that don't really affect them. One thinks immediately of Ewan's South African numbers.   

I've known you to use the term 'folk police' before now

Only in reference to Spleen's record label, surely?

I can think of nothing more police-ish than to attempt to remove a whole aspect of people's lives and concerns - especially one that has been part of our song repertoire for at least a millenium.

The co-opting of the suffering and struggle of the working-class & other oppressed majorities / minorities is hardly a concern, surely? Rather, it is a fashion of the intelligentzia, of an elite. In other words, MacColl's politics betoken the very schisms and privileges he whines on about, much less conradict his insistence that we 'sing our own'. It's about as relevant to the lives of the working-class as offerings of brown rice and tofu to the families of striking miners back in 1984.   

I wonder if you have the grace to admit that it is thanks to the efforts of MacColl and Lloyd in introducing them to the revival

Already acknowledged. But my love of ballad & folk song idioms is rooted a wee bit deeper than that, mostly in volumes that were published long before wee Jimmy Miller was even a gleam in his father's eye. My main interest has always been the Traditional singers of such material on both sides of the Atlantic, and how one might apply their example to the older, unsung ballads, many of which I used the read in childhood in huge great volumes of the things. I'm sure Ewan was coming from a similar place. But for the record I regard Ewan MacColl as one of the master interpreters of Traditional Song & Balladry of The Revival and really wish he'd evidenced that on the rare occasions I saw him instead of singing his dreadful songs about South Africa.

well worth the description "Standard Bearer" any day, in my book.

In the sense of the Living Tradition of The Revival I couldn't agree more. A key figure, without whom etc. but one with whom, for me at least, there will always be other issues, which is what we're talking about here.


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Subject: RE: Living 'Tradition' Standard Bearers?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 19 Apr 12 - 04:11 AM

'breathed life into'
Never struck me that this has been Sub's contribution to the revival - he seems neither to like it or to trust it.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Living 'Tradition' Standard Bearers?
From: r.padgett
Date: 19 Apr 12 - 04:03 AM

Ooer!

getting interesting again, spleen bursting stuff again!

Not heard from the Scots yet as to a definition of Living Tradition Standard Bearer

Seem to have got into an arguement on the merits of Ewan MacColl had been alive, would have qualified as a singer of Traditional Scots songs certainly

now LIVING SB Traditionalist (lol) singers can we start a list and add to and no unnecessary comments perhaps?
Ray


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Subject: RE: Living 'Tradition' Standard Bearers?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 18 Apr 12 - 07:20 PM

well some of us are getting old an we haven't understood anything for years - in fact I was bewildered and understood very little even before I got old and gnarled.


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Subject: RE: Living 'Tradition' Standard Bearers?
From: johncharles
Date: 18 Apr 12 - 06:51 PM

It seems even speaking the same language does not guarentee we understand each other.


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Subject: RE: Living 'Tradition' Standard Bearers?
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 18 Apr 12 - 05:14 PM

Jim,
I think 'breathed life into' is a particularly apt expression here.


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Subject: RE: Living 'Tradition' Standard Bearers?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 18 Apr 12 - 03:26 PM

"I'm not rubbishing anyone"
Yes you are - why should you change the habit of a lifetime now?
What you appear to be saying is that folk enthussiasts should not hold political opinions - or at the very least, should not express them publicly in song.
The earliest collection of English songs is to be found in Thomas Wright's 'Political Songs of England From the reign of John to that of Edward II' - half in Latin, half in very difficult to follow English.
I've known you to use the term 'folk police' before now - I can think of nothing more police-ish than to attempt to remove a whole aspect of people's lives and concerns - especially one that has been part of our song repertoire for at least a millenium.
Nobody demands that you listen to MacColl's songs or accepts his politics - but please don't attempt to impose your own dislikes on others.
"I know exactly what we owe to these people"
Do you really?
You appear to have an interest in ballads, yet I wonder if you have the grace to admit that it is thanks to the efforts of MacColl and Lloyd in introducing them to the revival, that you, and others with similar tastes, have an audience for these ballads - you should read what Bronson had to say about their groundbreaking series 'The English and Scottish Popular Ballads'.
MacColl breathed life into and passed on to us 137 of the 305 Child Ballads - well worth the description "Standard Bearer" any day, in my book.
"What did you do in the Revival Daddy?"
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Living 'Tradition' Standard Bearers?
From: johncharles
Date: 18 Apr 12 - 02:35 PM

How about Billy Bragg?


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Subject: RE: Living 'Tradition' Standard Bearers?
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 18 Apr 12 - 08:24 AM

all of whom you have rubbished at one time or another

I'm not rubbishing anyone, just being realistic that's all. I know exactly what we owe to these people, but I'm also interested in their wider humanity too which God knows isn't flawless. The cultural / class issues are complex and far from clear cut - how can you expect them to possibly be otherwise? As for Ewan's songs, they don't interest me in the slightest, but that's as much by way of personal preference as it is by way of being suspicious of the efforts & pet causes of Priviledged Lefty Luvvies to put words into the mouths of the working class. The working-class have always had a musical voice, they still have, just one the Folkies weren't too interested in listening to because it didn't fit into their antiquarian agenda.

I might go back to the musical members of the communities I grew up with in the South-East Northumberland & Durham Coal fields, none of whom were dealing in anything anyone here would call Folk, but were highly valued for their talents in the field of truly Popular Music and Song. The same is as true today as it was then.


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Subject: RE: Living 'Tradition' Standard Bearers?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 18 Apr 12 - 07:49 AM

"Do the working-class need the representation of likes of Ewan & A L Loyd".....
We certainly wouldn't be here if it wasn't for the likes of their efforts - plus those of Sharp and his mob - all of whom you have rubbished at one time or another and replaced with what - your own scintillating (for scintillating - substitute destructive) thoughts and efforts.
"What Did You Do in the Strike, Daddy?"
Like in all forms of art - there are all types and standards to be judged and preferred
As Hamish Henderson said; "anybody who gave us 'The Joy of Living' cannot be said to have contributed nothing" - he might have said that about Freeborn Man, or Shoals of Herring or Dirty Old Town or Shellback...... or any of the many hundreds of songs made by Ewan and the other lefties who set the ball rolling again all those years ago.
Wish I had that for my tombstone - don't you?
Do you know the Irish term 'begrudgers'?
One of the first things you learn in the building trade is that it's far easier to pull something down that somebody else has put up than build something yourself.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Living 'Tradition' Standard Bearers?
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 18 Apr 12 - 06:48 AM

all would fall at Subs first fence

Ha! Maybe they would at that. Do the working-class need the representation of likes of Ewan & A L Loyd to gather their raw primary experience under their highly partial propagandist umbrellas? Much less dare to speak for such experience in their divisive songs i.e What Did You Do in the Strike, Daddy?, which given Mr MacColl's own less than heroic approach to such - ahem - Theatres of Human Conflict - methinks stands as more than tad hypocritical somehow.

All well off topic though

Never a bad thing on Mudcat, surely?


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Subject: RE: Living 'Tradition' Standard Bearers?
From: glueman
Date: 18 Apr 12 - 05:47 AM

"Atheism is founded on an all inclusive universality..."

I beg to differ. It's either a straightforward disbelief in a deity (no problem from me there, some of my best friends, etc.). Or it's part of the materialist scientific hegemony with all the unpleasant ideological chicanery that goes with it (lots of issues with that fashionable political nonsense.)
All well off topic though.


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Subject: RE: Living 'Tradition' Standard Bearers?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 18 Apr 12 - 05:05 AM

"agenda driven left-wing propagandist" "mythologised the struggle of the working class"
Bang goes Harry Cox from the traditional list - you should have heard him talk about about the transportations and the enclosures when he sang Van Dieman's Land.
As for Harry's "that's the way they treated us" when he sang Betsy the Serving Maid.... doesn't bear thinking about!
Walter Pardon often spoke with pride of his family's connection with George Edwards' re-establishing the Agricultural Workers Union - shame on him
I think Sub believes that the question should include "and who didn't hold any political views if they didn't coincide with my own".
And the way Irish Travellers mythologised their history - "making the nails for Christ's hands" and "descended from Irish kings"
Surely it's about time we judged people's contribution to tradititional music by their - well - contribution to traditional music, without putting them through a witch-hunt - Lomax, Lloyd, Seeger (Pete and Peggy), Guthrie.... all would fall at Subs first fence.
Jim Carroll


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