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Getting on the bottom rung

Eldergirl 16 Nov 13 - 04:29 AM
Phil Edwards 15 Nov 13 - 06:44 PM
Eldergirl 14 Nov 13 - 08:21 PM
GUEST,guest -Freddy Headey 13 Nov 13 - 06:44 AM
Phil Edwards 05 Aug 12 - 06:29 PM
GUEST,Phil E. sans cookie 17 Jul 12 - 06:24 AM
matt milton 17 Jul 12 - 06:00 AM
Richard Bridge 16 Jul 12 - 01:13 PM
Phil Edwards 16 Jul 12 - 12:38 PM
johncharles 16 Jul 12 - 12:29 PM
GUEST,Like a complete unknown 16 Jul 12 - 12:05 PM
johncharles 16 Jul 12 - 11:56 AM
Big Al Whittle 16 Jul 12 - 11:24 AM
Vic Smith 16 Jul 12 - 11:15 AM
Richard Bridge 16 Jul 12 - 10:49 AM
GUEST,matt milton 16 Jul 12 - 07:52 AM
Will Fly 16 Jul 12 - 07:22 AM
GUEST,matt milton 16 Jul 12 - 06:57 AM
Don(Wyziwyg)T 13 Jul 12 - 08:41 PM
Big Al Whittle 13 Jul 12 - 12:04 PM
Big Al Whittle 13 Jul 12 - 11:55 AM
GUEST,Blandiver 13 Jul 12 - 11:38 AM
Big Al Whittle 13 Jul 12 - 10:41 AM
GUEST,Blandiver 13 Jul 12 - 10:09 AM
Big Al Whittle 13 Jul 12 - 09:28 AM
Big Al Whittle 13 Jul 12 - 09:25 AM
GUEST,punkfolkrocker 13 Jul 12 - 09:06 AM
Vic Smith 13 Jul 12 - 08:53 AM
GUEST,Banjiman 13 Jul 12 - 06:28 AM
KingBrilliant 13 Jul 12 - 05:31 AM
GUEST,Blandiver 13 Jul 12 - 05:10 AM
treewind 13 Jul 12 - 04:13 AM
Richard Bridge 13 Jul 12 - 04:00 AM
GUEST,Banjiman 13 Jul 12 - 03:48 AM
Spleen Cringe 13 Jul 12 - 02:50 AM
Richard Bridge 12 Jul 12 - 07:02 PM
Phil Edwards 12 Jul 12 - 06:55 PM
Richard Bridge 12 Jul 12 - 06:18 PM
Big Al Whittle 12 Jul 12 - 06:09 PM
Richard Bridge 12 Jul 12 - 03:46 PM
GUEST,Blandiver 12 Jul 12 - 03:29 PM
GUEST,Like a complete unknown 12 Jul 12 - 03:15 PM
Big Al Whittle 12 Jul 12 - 02:44 PM
GUEST,Banjiman 12 Jul 12 - 01:43 PM
johncharles 12 Jul 12 - 01:41 PM
GUEST,Banjiman 12 Jul 12 - 01:37 PM
johncharles 12 Jul 12 - 01:26 PM
Big Al Whittle 12 Jul 12 - 11:31 AM
GUEST,FloraG 12 Jul 12 - 10:55 AM
GUEST,Blandiver 12 Jul 12 - 09:30 AM
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Subject: RE: Getting on the bottom rung
From: Eldergirl
Date: 16 Nov 13 - 04:29 AM

Cheers Phil. As my Dad used to say, no point flogging a dead horse. I wasn't after A Career, either, just an acknowledgment, or 2!! Well at least i'm on a Whittlebury CD, that might count for something!! LOL.


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Subject: RE: Getting on the bottom rung
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 15 Nov 13 - 06:44 PM

Didn't think we'd be seeing this thread again!

Eldergirl - thinking about the difference between the kind of people who get asked to do spots and the kind who don't (e.g. me), I think there are three ways of looking at it.

We don't get asked because...

1. We're just the wrong people: we don't have the looks, the charm, the ready banter, the knock-you-dead instrumental skills, the voice that you could listen to singing the phone book.

This is the most obvious explanation, but I think it's wrong. There are people out there with amazing instrumental skills, utterly beautiful voices or both (the bastards!), but there are others whose names we all know who have neither. And it can't all be down to looks and charm.

Alternatively, perhaps:

2. We're not doing the right things: making the rounds of the local (and less local) clubs, being seen at festivals, identifying five or six numbers that go down well and concentrating on them - and let's not forget actually letting it be known you'd like to do a spot.

And perhaps we're not doing those things because we don't want to badly enough, or at all. Personally I like learning new songs, I like having my weekends free and I'm quite fond of getting seven hours' sleep - so I don't repeat songs a lot (even if they went down well the first time), I don't go to festivals & I don't do that many weeknight singarounds. Which means that nobody outside a couple of overlapping groups of singers knows who I am - & nobody ever asks me to do a spot. As my Dad used to say, you pays your money and you takes your choice.


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Subject: RE: Getting on the bottom rung
From: Eldergirl
Date: 14 Nov 13 - 08:21 PM

The bottom rung? Oh, yeah. It would be nice to be asked because you like what I sing. just a 20 minute spot of my own..
Well, a girl can dream I suppose.


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Subject: RE: Getting on the bottom rung
From: GUEST,guest -Freddy Headey
Date: 13 Nov 13 - 06:44 AM

@stallion
Elle Osborne
www.elleo.com/


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Subject: RE: Getting on the bottom rung
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 05 Aug 12 - 06:29 PM

Footnote to this thread:

I had also met Graham Bond (RIP) (...) Graham had a true, shining heart which beat music. I was a weedy sprog, but he gave me his full attention and the best, the only true, advice I've ever had in music, which was simply that you Have to do what you Have to do. (...) I mean to say by all this that Graham showed me life would, in the future, be complicated... but that one had to retain some kind of inner strength in order for it to make sense, or to be worthwhile. This is - even if it has been something of a digression - my long-overdue public thank you to him. It is boundless. If I had not met Graham and, through him, been connected to Pure Music I very much doubt that I would have retained my (still current) enthusiasm, interest, commitment, whatever to or for Doing Stuff.

From Peter Hamill's notes on the 1997 reissue of his/VdGG's first album The Aerosol Grey Machine. Wise words mate.


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Subject: RE: Getting on the bottom rung
From: GUEST,Phil E. sans cookie
Date: 17 Jul 12 - 06:24 AM

whenever I listen back to recordings I end up thinking "god, do I really sound like that?!"

The first time I heard my voice recorded I honestly thought there was something wrong with the tape-recorder. As for the first time I heard my sorry attempts at playing an instrument...

I find the trick is to record and forget, then spring the recordings on yourself at a later date - play a batch of recordings while you're doing the ironing or something. I've had recordings I thought were complete failures improve miraculously in the space of 24 hours not listening to them.

The performance does have to be that much better, at least technically, if you're recording - playing live you can blow past the bum chord or the fluffed line and nobody minds. Yet another hurdle for poor aspiring wallabies ("but I won't have to be perfect on the night...").

Latest frivolity: The Crow on the Cradle. Pro tip: if it sounds like rubbish, leave it 24 hours and try again.


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Subject: RE: Getting on the bottom rung
From: matt milton
Date: 17 Jul 12 - 06:00 AM

"You do hit a brick wall though if you don't have recordings to show for yourself. I'm occasionally asked if I have an EP or album, or even a business card. (Just occasionally, minf, not often enough for me to harbour any illusions about my popularity.) I always feel a bit ridiculous saying I don't; I get the impression I'm probably the only musician in the world who doesn't in 2012."

"I admire you for that, Matt."

Thanks Richard, though in my case it's less integrity than simply the fact that whenever I listen back to recordings I end up thinking "god, do I really sound like that?!"

and want to junk it immediately.

I think the rough and tumble of live youTube footage is the way forward for me.

Mind you, I am about to sink a phenomenal amount of money on an amazing Elysian guitar, handmade in Blackheath by master luthier Matthew Carter. If I buy it, I will absolutely HAVE to pull my socks up.


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Subject: RE: Getting on the bottom rung
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 16 Jul 12 - 01:13 PM

Good heavens, is that Brigadier Lethbridge-Stuart?


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Subject: RE: Getting on the bottom rung
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 16 Jul 12 - 12:38 PM

Combine the two - Mule Train!


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Subject: RE: Getting on the bottom rung
From: johncharles
Date: 16 Jul 12 - 12:29 PM

I thought it was bodhran accompaniment!


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Subject: RE: Getting on the bottom rung
From: GUEST,Like a complete unknown
Date: 16 Jul 12 - 12:05 PM

"the best way to gets lots of gigs is to have a full diary of gigs and make sure that they go well"

That faint thudding noise you can hear is my head hitting the desk...

I started this thread in the first place because...well, mainly because I was feeling riled up and sorry for myself and wanted someone to give me one good reason not to be. But also because for me--and probably quite a few other Catters--"getting lots of gigs" is about as big a problem as "doing lots of TV" or "publishing lots of novels". There I was surrounded by people talking about doing whole strings of the things, and yet I didn't seem to have a chance of getting even one gig, even half a gig--why? why, O Lord, why? (That's how it seemed to me at the top of the thread, anyway.)

Thanks (again) to everyone--most recently Will and Matt--who has pointed out that (a) there is actually loads of stuff I could be doing to improve my chances, and more importantly (b) making music for the sake of getting gigs is the wrong way round--it's as if you wrote a book because you liked the smell of printer's ink.

And now I really am off, before the secret of my identity gets any opener.


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Subject: RE: Getting on the bottom rung
From: johncharles
Date: 16 Jul 12 - 11:56 AM

for folk21 as I understand iy you need to prove a least six recent bookings.


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Subject: RE: Getting on the bottom rung
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 16 Jul 12 - 11:24 AM

Look theres plenty of room for us failed folksingers on the bottom rung. You can even apply for resident status here. Theres no rush - and there are many ways to approach your calling.

Have you thought about Folk21? There is an almost unlimited need for hewers of woods, drawers of water, 'providers of PA to the stars' (all unpaid).

Just don't get above yourself....right?


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Subject: RE: Getting on the bottom rung
From: Vic Smith
Date: 16 Jul 12 - 11:15 AM

I would think that the vast majority of our barn dance band gigs come through people coming up at the end of the dance and saying how much they enjoyed the evening and could we give them a card because they had a wedding/birthday party/anniversary etc. coming up in their family or their works/school PTA/social club etc. would probably like to have a dance.

I know that it is not the most useful advice, but the best way to gets lots of gigs is to have a full diary of gigs and make sure that they go well.


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Subject: RE: Getting on the bottom rung
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 16 Jul 12 - 10:49 AM

I admire you for that, Matt.


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Subject: RE: Getting on the bottom rung
From: GUEST,matt milton
Date: 16 Jul 12 - 07:52 AM

the majority of gigs I've played have come about as a result of people hearing me at an open mic and offering me a gig. I got offered a gig through some busking at the South Bank recently too. And a gig might lead to a different gig: a fellow performer might put on a different night that they'll invite me to play at.

You do hit a brick wall though if you don't have recordings to show for yourself. I'm occasionally asked if I have an EP or album, or even a business card. (Just occasionally, minf, not often enough for me to harbour any illusions about my popularity.) I always feel a bit ridiculous saying I don't; I get the impression I'm probably the only musician in the world who doesn't in 2012.


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Subject: RE: Getting on the bottom rung
From: Will Fly
Date: 16 Jul 12 - 07:22 AM

Here's an example of how persistence, luck and a bit of je-ne-sais-quoi can get you gigging. It may not work in the folk world, but it works elsewhere.

Four years ago, I decided to run an acoustic session in my local pub - second Sunday of the month - a mixed, eclectic session with anybody and everybody welcome, and anything musically that people fancied. So I put a notice to that effect on the inside of the pub's front door. The first few sessions were very sparsely attended, as you might expect and, some evenings, there were just two or three of us. But we persisted. One evening, Di, who lives a couple of miles away turned up with her guitar, and with Chris, her guitarist partner - who turned out to be a damned good guitarist. I liked his style and he liked mine. Slowly the session grew to its present level of about 10 participants - more than enough for the small public bar we play in.

At Christmas two years ago, the landlady asked if I could organise some rock'n roll in the pub for the village's late night shopping evening. I said I could and got together with Di and Chris to do a couple of early evening hours as part of the night's fun. A great success - why, we even got paid! And we repeated the evening last Christmas. Various people heard us play and Chris and I were asked to do various functions - a local birthday party, a community centre bash in Brighton, and recently an evening of electric jazz for the civil partnership post-ceremony bash of some neighbours. The jazz went down OK, and the landlady has asked us to play one Sunday lunchtime a month. We've also done a local Gardens & Arts weekend, and we're booked to play at a mini-beer festival at a pub up the road. And we have a couple of charity freebies lined up.

So many people asked us for a card - which we didn't have - that we had to jot down telephone numbers on scraps of paper! So I got some cards printed and decided that, if we were going to do it more regularly, a website and a sample batch of audio files would be a good idea. So, I picked a domain, set up a website, and made some recordings to put on Soundcloud (to be embedded in the website).

So, here we are - making music, getting a few gigs, trousering some cash to pay for beer, petrol and strings - and (very importantly) having fun! None of it would have happened without the urge to do it - whatever it is...


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Subject: RE: Getting on the bottom rung
From: GUEST,matt milton
Date: 16 Jul 12 - 06:57 AM

I'm pretty sure I know who you are, Mr Complete Unknown.

How many folk clubs have you actually ASKED for a gig? They don't come to you. You have to go to them.

Start by compiling one CD of your TEN best songs. Be ruthless in whittling these down. You want the ones that showcase you at your most impressive. Don't necessarily pick them yourself. Ask a friend or family member, or someone whose taste in music you respect. But someone who is critical and hard to please.

Make that CD look like a handsome package. A strong, eye-catching cover. Think about good design.

Get an interesting photo of yourself to go with it. Doesn't matter if you're not young and pretty; you just want an interesting photo that shows something of who you are.

Film some youTube clips. Don't put them up unless you're sure they show your singing in a good light.

Send out your press packs and your album to promoters and festivals. Start locally (but a bit further afield than the clubs you "always" sing at: they will just think of you as a local floor singer)

You might even consider getting your "ten best songs" album professionally mixed and mastered. It's really not that expensive these days. PM me if you want some suggestions.


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Subject: RE: Getting on the bottom rung
From: Don(Wyziwyg)T
Date: 13 Jul 12 - 08:41 PM

Folk festivals are the most likely place to come into contact with large numbers of club organisers.

My first gig arrived when one of them sat in on the Bedford Hotel session at Sidmouth many years ago. He booked me for a folk club twenty miles from my home in Kent.

Years later the same session produced a triple venue booking in Stafford as part of the S.M.A.R.T. 2002 One Day Festival.

Don T.


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Subject: RE: Getting on the bottom rung
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 13 Jul 12 - 12:04 PM

Sad to think, that militia were probably the guys that did for the Pentrich rioters.


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Subject: RE: Getting on the bottom rung
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 13 Jul 12 - 11:55 AM

Ah you should hear my Johnny Cash tribute that I'll be singing at the Portsmouth Hoy in Poole tonite. My Ring of Fire is a sensation.

I've been thinking of adding the theme from Rawhide.

Obviously the audience sings 'Get 'em up!' after I sing Move 'em on! After then, Ithink its the orders to run mad as one of the war poets put it.


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Subject: RE: Getting on the bottom rung
From: GUEST,Blandiver
Date: 13 Jul 12 - 11:38 AM

Well I'm impressed.


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Subject: RE: Getting on the bottom rung
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 13 Jul 12 - 10:41 AM

Don't think so - Tufty died not long after. Don't think it was my studio that killed him off - but you never know. When I say a meal - my culinary skills are somewhat limited. It almost certainly was just baked spuds, baked beans and cheese.

Very sad - looking back. the album was called You'll Never Die for Love. And it was some tunes that the local forces of repression had for their pipe band round about 1810. Tufty had discovered a cache of this stuff in old piano stool - or something like that. When I say local - Ithink the tunes were from Ripley, Codnor - someplace like that.

They guys worked like mad at the project. I suppose its the sort of thing you hope will write your name in the halls of fame. They were all terrific guys. The recording engineer was called John Gil - not to be confused with the bloke from Please Yourself Skiffle band.


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Subject: RE: Getting on the bottom rung
From: GUEST,Blandiver
Date: 13 Jul 12 - 10:09 AM

Big Al going for maximum kudos in the credibility stakes there I see...


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Subject: RE: Getting on the bottom rung
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 13 Jul 12 - 09:28 AM

Give my regards to Jim. Ask him if he remebers making an LP for Topic in a garage with Tufty Swift. I owned the studio in a garage. I made them a meal afterwards. About 1984.


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Subject: RE: Getting on the bottom rung
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 13 Jul 12 - 09:25 AM

I remember Shergold - you had to buy little things the size of 20 packs of fags - modules that changed the sound. Nice looking guitars. You never saw many of them though. never tried one.


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Subject: RE: Getting on the bottom rung
From: GUEST,punkfolkrocker
Date: 13 Jul 12 - 09:06 AM

Kinda reminds me of the eccentic quirky British Manufacturing companies
who designed and produced wonderfully crafted products,
but vainly believed there was no need for wasting good time & money
on 'American style' consumer research, marketing & advertising...

"The product is good enough to speak for itself"

Then sat back on their arses
going bankrupt while they waited for the world to come eagerly knocking at their factory doors....


Sad Case example -

Obit: Shergold Guitars.


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Subject: RE: Getting on the bottom rung
From: Vic Smith
Date: 13 Jul 12 - 08:53 AM

Jim Eldon is one such - I don't suppose there's anything in the least bit ironic about Jim's take on popular material, though I can't help thinking it whilst watching stuff like THIS, if only because of what I perceive as his transcendent genius.

Oh man! Jim Eldon FTW! Some people were born to make us happy.


I agree totally with both these comments and cannot resist adding:-

ROYAL OAK
3 Station Street,
Lewes
BN7 2DA
Enquiries: - (01273) 478124 or 881316
Email tinvic@globalnet.co.uk.
THURSDAYS 8.pm - PROMPT START
***********************************

Jul 19th * £7.00 * JIM & LYNETTE ELDON
A very welcome return for the Brid fiddler and his clog-dancing champion wife. Jim & Lynette's straightforward performances are a delight.


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Subject: RE: Getting on the bottom rung
From: GUEST,Banjiman
Date: 13 Jul 12 - 06:28 AM

"But, according to your own words above - only if they ask."

Indeed, why would I make assumptions about what someone wants to do with their music? As yourself and Blandiver make clear, there is huge ambivalence in the folk scene about wanting paid gigs (well, that's what is said, I can't say I'm convinced though).

I'm also not convinced that getting more paid gigs in the folk scene is about going down an MOR route. Seems to me it's more about being good at what you do..... and making it clear that you are available. And part of being "good" does usually mean being "entertaining", though entertainment comes in many, many different forms.


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Subject: RE: Getting on the bottom rung
From: KingBrilliant
Date: 13 Jul 12 - 05:31 AM

Oh man! Jim Eldon FTW! Some people were born to make us happy.


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Subject: RE: Getting on the bottom rung
From: GUEST,Blandiver
Date: 13 Jul 12 - 05:10 AM

And why does singing folk songs have to be put in the same category with sex, so it's called prostitution if you sell it?

As Camus says, A man's work is nothing but this slow trek to rediscover, through the detours of art, those two or three great and simple images in whose presence his heart first opened.

We do well to bear that in mind midst the rush and clamour for celebrity status, or allow ourselves to become seduced by the glamour of a paid spot at a Folk Club, or even consider compromising ones craft to get such a gig by knocking out Dylan songs by way of 'reaching out'. Of course for every rule there must be exceptions. Jim Eldon is one such - I don't suppose there's anything in the least bit ironic about Jim's take on popular material, though I can't help thinking it whilst watching stuff like THIS, if only because of what I perceive as his transcendent genius. To nick what Mingus said about Rahsaan: This man is what Folk is all about. And even adopting such a popularist approach Jim is about as far from MOR easy listening, and prostitution, as you could wish to get.


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Subject: RE: Getting on the bottom rung
From: treewind
Date: 13 Jul 12 - 04:13 AM

Point about "fecking business plan" taken, but I think that was directed at the sort of act that's all marketing and no talent. If you want gigs in a competitive market you have both to have something to sell and to be prepared to sell it. In reality very few make it with one and not the other. And why does singing folk songs have to be put in the same category with sex, so it's called prostitution if you sell it?


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Subject: RE: Getting on the bottom rung
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 13 Jul 12 - 04:00 AM

But, according to your own words above - only if they ask.


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Subject: RE: Getting on the bottom rung
From: GUEST,Banjiman
Date: 13 Jul 12 - 03:48 AM

"I'd have thought that a folk club organiser - who is definitely in some sort of business" - oh yeah, right, my profits from running folk events rival an investment bank!

"would be very keen to keep a wary eye out for any new singer to ring the changes maybe without great expense" - Well strangely, I do keep my eye out for new acts, and I pay everyone we put on - we don't do floor spots as there are plenty of singers nights locally for people (including me) who want that more informal entertainment. We do main act and booked (paid) support (we've given quite a number of people their first paid gigs).

We do tend to book acts who have pretty well developed social skills and who appear to be professional about what they do though......


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Subject: RE: Getting on the bottom rung
From: Spleen Cringe
Date: 13 Jul 12 - 02:50 AM

Who or what is a shirt murderder?


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Subject: RE: Getting on the bottom rung
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 12 Jul 12 - 07:02 PM

Yes one can log out but some mudelf will likely post to say who you really are based on your IP address.   Yes, one can use a poxy server but it is a major pfaff.

The shirt murderer is big enough and ugly enough (and gets enough paid gigs) to take a bit of joshing.


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Subject: RE: Getting on the bottom rung
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 12 Jul 12 - 06:55 PM

I might wish to cite as disastrous some self publicists (not necessarily you, shirt murderer)

???

In my experience going cookieless is a bit of a faff, but it is doable with persistence.


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Subject: RE: Getting on the bottom rung
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 12 Jul 12 - 06:18 PM

Al, your ability speaks for itself.

The fundamental question is whether one is in commerce or not.

Look what commerce has brought us these last few years.

Principle is better.


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Subject: RE: Getting on the bottom rung
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 12 Jul 12 - 06:09 PM

Richardit's not some of us prostitute ourselves. We just happen to like wearing fishnet tights and mini skirts - some of us are just that kind of girl.....


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Subject: RE: Getting on the bottom rung
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 12 Jul 12 - 03:46 PM

I'd have thought that a folk club organiser - who is definitely in some sort of business and not ipso fatso an "artist" - would be very keen to keep a wary eye out for any new singer to ring the changes maybe without great expense. Certainly when I co-ran a folk club I regarded it as part of my job to pursue those I thought would be good for the club as performers. I still refer, to those who run clubs I go to, people who I think might not be on their radar and who I think would be good for the clubs.

I still think that this whole thread would have been better with a cloak of anonymity. I might wish to cite as disastrous some self publicists (not necessarily you, shirt murderer) and some might feel I was boastful if making recommendation. After all who am I to condescend?

I do however know one excellent unaccompanied singer whose "marketability" has increased hugely by teaming up with an excellent guitarist and very able vocalist (one person). Each alone was fine. The two together do indeed benefit from synergy. I'd have suggested finding your way to "knock 'em dead" and then wait to be asked.

If you want to be a prostitute then keep punting your wares. I've booked people who did that, did good floorspots, had good demos - then turned up with a different lineup and were dogshit. I've seen people booked who cannot do a good floorspot, have no decent demo - and are far worse but got there by chutzpah. Better to be honest.


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Subject: RE: Getting on the bottom rung
From: GUEST,Blandiver
Date: 12 Jul 12 - 03:29 PM

Our Mr Rungbottom is asking for experience, which is exactly what I'm offering here. The only practical thing is getting your shit together; and that means dedicating yourself to your craft & taking it very seriously, and joyfully, indeed.

Folk Music is gardening. I'm sitting looking out over my mum-in-law's beautiful garden in which her skills & familiarity with 'the tradition' of gardening are manifest in a blaze of beauty & carefully nurtured wilderness interacting with wildlife, seasons, experiment, invention, etc etc. A true labour of love. Who else gets to see it but us lot?

So, good folkies all, and Kevin Rungbottom, whoe'er ye may be, go forth and sow the seeds of love and let that be an end in itself. Nurture your Nature, and seek out like minds (if possible) amongst your local Traddies. Talk to other singers in singarounds about ladders & ambitions. When I think of all the great singers I've known - true gardeners all, happy just to sing a few songs & sup a few pints; those to whom 'stagecraft' is anathema to the truth of the music which lives and breathes in another dimension to the dreary WMC dottle being offered here by those 'in the know'.

Lord protect us from any music that's been developed according to a fecking business plan...

Jack Blandiver
(Aka Sedayne; The Mudcatter still known as Suibhne O'Piobaireachd until Joe Offer honours my request for a name-change.)

PS - The Rapunzel & Sedayne Sing Peters & Lee CD will be out in the autumn on EMI; we gave Folk Police first refusal but they've got more integrity than we have. Of course no one in the Folk Scene gets to hear this; I'm being interviewed tomorrow by the Financial Times about the role we are playing in the upcoming Harry Smith event in London - naturally no mention will be made of our 'darker side', nor will I use the the F-word at any point, careful to maintain our hard-won (& much resented) credibility out there on the outer margins of the wyrdfolk fringe.


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Subject: RE: Getting on the bottom rung
From: GUEST,Like a complete unknown
Date: 12 Jul 12 - 03:15 PM

I keep meaning to take up my cookie and walk, but I want to respond to some of the comments above.

I'm getting two very strong messages--they aren't totally compatible with each other but they both seem valid. One is "if you want something to happen, how about doing something to make it happen?"; the other is "if you want to make music, how about concentrating on the music?". I have a lot of sympathy for the second one, but I do think the first is useful too. What's interesting is that they're both totally at odds with dreams of being plucked from obscurity and sour grapes about somebody else getting the breaks, which is the kind of attitude I came into this thread with. They're both positive attitudes, in other words, and not just in the painted-on-smile Must Not Think Negative Thoughts sense. So thanks, all--it's been useful, and not just in a musical sense.

Now I'm off to put my stupid human suit back on. TTFN.


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Subject: RE: Getting on the bottom rung
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 12 Jul 12 - 02:44 PM

Tommy Dempsey - the Irish/Birmingham singer used to do a great unaccompanied gig.


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Subject: RE: Getting on the bottom rung
From: GUEST,Banjiman
Date: 12 Jul 12 - 01:43 PM

I see that now JC :-)


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Subject: RE: Getting on the bottom rung
From: johncharles
Date: 12 Jul 12 - 01:41 PM

Banjiman you are of course correct I was attempting to point out that as you say practical measures are needed for any hope of one's dreams coming true the dream in itself will not be enough.


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Subject: RE: Getting on the bottom rung
From: GUEST,Banjiman
Date: 12 Jul 12 - 01:37 PM

Surely this whole thread is about dreams coming true? And that's a good thing.

I can't believe that LACU can't organise him (her?)self a 20-30 minute slot somewhere....... it's really not an impossible dream.

I come back to the need to let people know that this is what him(her)self wants.

So just make it easy and ask (and it really isn't vulgar...... as an organiser I would be highly unlikely to book anyone who didn't let me know they wanted a gig...... how would I know?).

And if you do score the gig...... just be as "professional" as you can.


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Subject: RE: Getting on the bottom rung
From: johncharles
Date: 12 Jul 12 - 01:26 PM

So LACU you could adopt some of the sensible and practical advice from many of the posters or rely upon your dreams coming true. Do not bet heavily on the latter. John


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Subject: RE: Getting on the bottom rung
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 12 Jul 12 - 11:31 AM

Somebody ought to do a thread about it - best unaccompanied singer gig.

At the top, I'd put Ian Campbell. So clever about folk music. so thoughtful. Wonderful songwriter. great stories about the old days. Hell of a singer. Very unexpected as well. Roaring into bits of nonsense like The Barnyards of Delgaty, then he'd do a song from Benjamin Britten.

And the weird thing was - I don't think a lot of people saw him like that as he was mostly with the band.


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Subject: RE: Getting on the bottom rung
From: GUEST,FloraG
Date: 12 Jul 12 - 10:55 AM

Have you thought of comparing?

I think you have to be exceptionally good or very funny to hold an audiece for 20+ mins with unaccompanied singing - theres just not enough variety for most people. Comparing would give you a chance to develop the funny.
FloraG


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Subject: RE: Getting on the bottom rung
From: GUEST,Blandiver
Date: 12 Jul 12 - 09:30 AM

I now try to stick with the view that the best thing one can do for a friend is to give them clear and unambiguous feedback.

One person's clear & unambiguous feedback is another's jaundiced opinionated bullshit designed to obfuscate & misdirect, even subsconsciously, whereby the dark mechanism of mere OPINION is really best left out of the equation altogether. Thus do dreams become reality, and vice-versa, and one simply deals with the pure truth of one's calling without muddying it with anything so base as ambition or desire for material gain.

Our musicality is akin to our sexuality - it's a gift which defines us by pure joy with respect of a more occult menchanism of Tradition or Procreation, but there's no second-guessing these things, which is why it's best to keep things are pure as possible. This is maybe getting back to something Richard said earlier, which makes a sort of sense, though this isn't to reject either whores or professional musicians, just recognise the simple fact that there's only one of you & this life is all you get, so best spend it in the pursuit of happiness, and thinking not of tomorrow least ye disappointed be.

As Stan Laurel said, life's not short enough.

Let silly season commence!


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