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Advice to all singer songwriters

GUEST,Breedloveboy 16 May 13 - 07:50 AM
alanabit 16 May 13 - 09:04 AM
Steve Gardham 16 May 13 - 09:27 AM
GUEST,Chongo Chimp 16 May 13 - 09:40 AM
Midchuck 16 May 13 - 09:50 AM
Johnny J 16 May 13 - 10:12 AM
dick greenhaus 16 May 13 - 10:28 AM
GUEST,Lavengro 16 May 13 - 10:32 AM
Mr Happy 16 May 13 - 10:32 AM
Will Fly 16 May 13 - 10:44 AM
breezy 16 May 13 - 10:47 AM
Midchuck 16 May 13 - 11:15 AM
GUEST,Larry Saidman 16 May 13 - 11:27 AM
Leadfingers 16 May 13 - 11:28 AM
BobKnight 16 May 13 - 11:51 AM
breezy 16 May 13 - 12:05 PM
Johnny J 16 May 13 - 12:08 PM
nutty 16 May 13 - 12:15 PM
BobKnight 16 May 13 - 06:20 PM
Joe Offer 16 May 13 - 07:45 PM
Harmonium Hero 16 May 13 - 08:47 PM
Harmonium Hero 16 May 13 - 09:00 PM
Mark Ross 16 May 13 - 09:47 PM
Midchuck 16 May 13 - 10:11 PM
Mr Red 17 May 13 - 10:23 AM
Dave the Gnome 17 May 13 - 10:41 AM
dick greenhaus 17 May 13 - 10:43 AM
GUEST,Jon Heslop 17 May 13 - 10:59 AM
GUEST,sciencegeek 17 May 13 - 11:18 AM
GUEST,Spleen Cringe 17 May 13 - 12:26 PM
Midchuck 17 May 13 - 12:48 PM
Johnny J 17 May 13 - 12:50 PM
GUEST,JHW(cookie still on old computer) 18 May 13 - 06:07 AM
Marje 18 May 13 - 06:20 AM
Big Al Whittle 18 May 13 - 06:43 AM
Johnny J 18 May 13 - 06:57 AM
Uncle Tone 18 May 13 - 07:09 AM
GUEST,Blandiver 18 May 13 - 08:24 AM
Uncle Tone 18 May 13 - 08:38 AM
Johnny J 18 May 13 - 08:40 AM
Harmonium Hero 18 May 13 - 10:10 AM
GUEST,Larry Saidman 18 May 13 - 11:57 AM
GUEST 18 May 13 - 12:12 PM
GUEST,Breedloveboy 18 May 13 - 12:57 PM
Marje 18 May 13 - 01:23 PM
Dave the Gnome 18 May 13 - 02:16 PM
GUEST,Blandiver 18 May 13 - 02:35 PM
GUEST,John Foxen 18 May 13 - 02:52 PM
GUEST,Grishka 18 May 13 - 02:58 PM
Harmonium Hero 18 May 13 - 02:59 PM
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Subject: Origins: Advice to all singer songwriters
From: GUEST,Breedloveboy
Date: 16 May 13 - 07:50 AM

Give us a break. There too many of you and 90% of you are not that good


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Subject: RE: Origins: Advice to all singer songwriters
From: alanabit
Date: 16 May 13 - 09:04 AM

Thank-you Guest Breedloveboy. I feel chastened and shall never attempt to write a song again. (Nowt like being told, is there?)


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Subject: RE: Origins: Advice to all singer songwriters
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 16 May 13 - 09:27 AM

B
Twas always the case. Only time can weed out the dross. Nothing you say will make any difference. You can only vote with your feet.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Advice to all singer songwriters
From: GUEST,Chongo Chimp
Date: 16 May 13 - 09:40 AM

It bothers you that some people have a desire to express themselves through writin' songs? Well, if it bugs you that much, why not just focus on somethin' else instead? Take up a hobby. Get a job. Cut yer ear off like Van Gogh. Anything, really. In other words, go away.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Advice to all singer songwriters
From: Midchuck
Date: 16 May 13 - 09:50 AM

USEFUL (I think maybe)advice to all singer-songwriters:

Remember that your lyrics won't work if they're about problems or issues that are unique to you. There has to be some widespread, if not universal, appeal in what you're trying to say.

People don't come to watch, and hear, you tune your guitar. Don't go on stage 'till you're ready to play, and be very sparing of alternate tunings, unless you want to do the Garnet Rogers thing and haul several guitars around.

And, as so often is the case, Utah said it best:

I walked through the swinging doors of my local music store, my 1935 Gibson slung low on my hip. And there he was in the street, waiting for me: the kid. He plugged his Ovation guitar into his effects box, leveled it at me, and sprayed me with a burst of highly autobiographical, metaphorical verbiage. I flinched. Slowly I raised my 1935 Gibson and plugged him with the first two verses of 'Red River Valley.' He fell to the ground, stunned by the simplicity of an authorless folk song. I looked at him, lying there in a widening pool of angst. I slowly lowered my 1935 Gibson guitar and muttered under my breath, 'OK, who's next?' as I turned and stalked into the postmodern deconstructionist night.

Peter


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Subject: RE: Origins: Advice to all singer songwriters
From: Johnny J
Date: 16 May 13 - 10:12 AM

The output of even some of the very best songwriters is about 90% mediocrity....

For most people, the best way to go is to perform a balance of traditional material and/or covers along with a few of your own better songs...if you must.

Generally, most fair minded audiences won't mind an artist "trying out" one or two new songs during the evening and, if they are good, they will catch on in due course and become an accepted part of the folk/singers/performers repertoire.

Unless you are a really talented writer, very few listeners want to suffer a whole evening comprising songs "wot you wrote yourself". There's only so much shecht most of us can take at a time.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Advice to all singer songwriters
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 16 May 13 - 10:28 AM

Best advice: Don't quit your day job


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Subject: RE: Origins: Advice to all singer songwriters
From: GUEST,Lavengro
Date: 16 May 13 - 10:32 AM

90% of all artists, whatever their field are not that good. 90% of doctors, teachers, shopworkers, mechanics, civil servants, constuction workers, barstaff etc. are "not that good". Welcome to the world, and thanks for the heads up!


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Subject: RE: Origins: Advice to all singer songwriters
From: Mr Happy
Date: 16 May 13 - 10:32 AM

OP, consider, if there were no songwriters, there'd be no songs!


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Subject: RE: Origins: Advice to all singer songwriters
From: Will Fly
Date: 16 May 13 - 10:44 AM

90% of doctors, teachers, shop workers, mechanics, civil servants, construction workers, bar staff etc. are "not that good".

Umm.. just to quibble a bit... the BIG difference between singer-songwriters and doctors (for example) is that a doctor has a minimum training - otherwise he might kill somebody.

I haven't actually heard of a singer-songwriter killing someone - yet.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Advice to all singer songwriters
From: breezy
Date: 16 May 13 - 10:47 AM

Do you have a qualification in expressive english writing?

No!

Bog off

and even 'good songwriters ' are capable of writing shite

and then some


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Subject: RE: Origins: Advice to all singer songwriters
From: Midchuck
Date: 16 May 13 - 11:15 AM

the BIG difference between singer-songwriters and doctors (for example) is that a doctor has a minimum training - otherwise he might kill somebody.

And some do, anyway.

Peter.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Advice to all singer songwriters
From: GUEST,Larry Saidman
Date: 16 May 13 - 11:27 AM

There are enough great songs in the world that have been 'undiscovered' (or barely uncovered) that unless you have something special to say it.....or a unique way of saying something that's been said before......you'd be giving people a much better service by discovering, uncovering, or recycling a song that's already been created......instead of manufacturing more garbage to go into the song landfills of the world.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Advice to all singer songwriters
From: Leadfingers
Date: 16 May 13 - 11:28 AM

Some people can put words together, some can wite tunes , a lucky few can do both , snd some people are just negative about other people they probably just envy .


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Subject: RE: Origins: Advice to all singer songwriters
From: BobKnight
Date: 16 May 13 - 11:51 AM

Oh dear, so that's what I've been doing wrong. Maybe some of the critics could try writing a few of their own and show us poor singer - songwriters how it's done. :)


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Subject: RE: Origins: Advice to all singer songwriters
From: breezy
Date: 16 May 13 - 12:05 PM

some critic/singers have more sense and recognise their own limitations.

If another artiste sings a song of yours then quit while your ahead If he sings more than one then well done.

By this yardstick George Papavgeris did well.

Will someone stop him !


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Subject: RE: Origins: Advice to all singer songwriters
From: Johnny J
Date: 16 May 13 - 12:08 PM

Don't take things to heart Bob and I do know that you have written quite a few good songs yourself.

However, my view is(Not shared by everyone, I know) that it's probably better for a singer or performer to offer a "balanced" set of material to an audience, at least in the early stages until he or she has honed their craft. That way, they are less likely to alienate a potential audience and may even build up a good following in the meantime.

Then, when they have established a good repertoire of their own material this can become a much bigger part of the act. In some cases, an artist may eventually have built up a very large back catalogue of original material and can rely on this alone without resorting to perfroming traditional material or covers/interpretations if this is what they choose.

Of course, there's nothing wrong with song writing and we always need new songs. However, I've never really been happy with it as a genre in its own right to the exclusion of everything else. In my opinion, the best song writers and composers are those who have also familiarised themselves with the music of others prior to embarking on their own ventures.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Advice to all singer songwriters
From: nutty
Date: 16 May 13 - 12:15 PM

Songwriting is a craft that has to be learned in the same way as learning to play an instrument.

There are few natural instrumentalists - most have to work damned hard at becoming profficient. The art of songwriting requires the same amount of dedication.

When I look back on my first attempts I am appalled at how crass they were but fortunately I had friends who continued to gently encourage me and some of my songs were eventually taken up by some well respected singers.

Even so - its still a case of "one man's meat" I don't expect everyone to like my material and admit that I am not always the best person to be singing certain songs even though I have written them.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Advice to all singer songwriters
From: BobKnight
Date: 16 May 13 - 06:20 PM

Don't worry John, the tongue was firmly in the cheek - I was mildly amused by it. :)


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Subject: RE: Origins: Advice to all singer songwriters
From: Joe Offer
Date: 16 May 13 - 07:45 PM

Gee, that's a hard issue to address. I have to admit that I stay away from "singer-songwriters." I really don't give them a chance, although I know that some of them write some good songs.
I generally stick with people who perform mostly traditional stuff, or at least they do songs that are at least 50 years old.

But then there are people like Bill Staines and Kate Wolf and Tom Chapin and Si Kahn and some others that I accept without question, so maybe I'm not as prejudiced against singer-songwriters as I think. Many singer-songwriters, however, have one song in ten or one in twenty that are worth a listen.

-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: Origins: Advice to all singer songwriters
From: Harmonium Hero
Date: 16 May 13 - 08:47 PM

I pretty much agree with what Johnny J said (half a dozen posts in). Just to state my credentials, I started in this game in 1968, singing mostly my own songs. I would always include a couple of trad songs, and maybe a tune or two, for variety and familiarity. My thinking was that not everybody would want to listen to a whole programme of unfamiliar new stuff. I didn't know much in the trad line, but was on the lookout for more, as I loved it, and my own songs were written in a style that would sit comfortably alongside the old stuff. It certainly wasn't navel gazing or 'teenage angst'; I was already an old geezer in my 22nd year! After a couple of years, I ran out of inspiration, and was getting deeper into trad songs, and gradually became a traddy. So it isn't as if I have anything against singer/songwriters. But I do agree that there is too much emphasis on new songs. As has been said above, most songs hit the ground nose first; they always did. A few stay around and keep re-surfacing. Eventually, they get called folk songs. Every generation should be adding to the collective repertoire, but in the long run, it's the public who decide what survives. And it isn't a conscious decision. They just know what appeals to them. What generally seems to work best (unless you are the new Tom Paxton or Ewan McColl) is, as has been suggested, to mix your own songs with trad or established contemporary songs - or blues. This way, people will probably remember more of your stuff than they would otherwise. And some people might be more inclined to come and listen to you than they would if you were only singing your own songs. You get a reputation as a singer of somgs, some of which happen to be your own.
Trust me - I know stuff.
John Kelly.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Advice to all singer songwriters
From: Harmonium Hero
Date: 16 May 13 - 09:00 PM

Oh, and as Mr Happy said (in so many words) they were all written by somebody. In fact, contrary to what the folk song collectors seemed to think, they weren't all written by Jim the Carter's Lad, or by some Village Folk Song Committee (what sort of drivel that committee could have turned out, one shudders to think). It turns out that most of them originated on Broadsides, turned out by hacks for a fee, and aimed at a popular market. And I don't think navel-gazing or teenage angst would have sold very well. Hangings, drownings, 'orrible murders; That's the stuff that sells!
Hee Hee Hee!
John Kelly.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Advice to all singer songwriters
From: Mark Ross
Date: 16 May 13 - 09:47 PM

Sturgeon's Law: 90% of everything is bullshit. And he had the grace to include his own work.

Mark Ross


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Subject: RE: Origins: Advice to all singer songwriters
From: Midchuck
Date: 16 May 13 - 10:11 PM

Sturgeon's Law: 90% of everything is bullshit. And he had the grace to include his own work.

...which he shouldn't have. Almost everything he wrote is worth a read.

He and Utah were equally great storytellers in their respective media - and equally "different" by orthodox societal standards.

P.


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Subject: RE: Advice to all singer songwriters
From: Mr Red
Date: 17 May 13 - 10:23 AM

As Georg Bernard Shaw said so succinctly

"The Golden is that there are No Rules"

And as Benny Green opined:

"Lyrics are rubbish, until they marry the music"

Context is all.

call me a pedant I believe Theodore Sturgeon said it thus "9 tenths of everything is crud". And I found his work an exception to this too. But isn't this a close cousin to the 80/20 rule that gets bandied about. Very fitting in the context of "Folk" IMNSHO.


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Subject: RE: Advice to all singer songwriters
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 17 May 13 - 10:41 AM

In general I would concur with the opening statement. Maybe not 90% but certainly a high proportion. Thing is, the small percentage that are brilliant seem to make the dross worth putting up with :-)

Cheers

DtG


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Subject: RE: Advice to all singer songwriters
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 17 May 13 - 10:43 AM

The composing and singing of one's own songs is everyone's right. AS is the choice of not bothering listening to them.


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Subject: RE: Advice to all singer songwriters
From: GUEST,Jon Heslop
Date: 17 May 13 - 10:59 AM

Oh Bugger! I've been rumbled at last.


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Subject: RE: Advice to all singer songwriters
From: GUEST,sciencegeek
Date: 17 May 13 - 11:18 AM

"Sturgeon's Law: 90% of everything is bullshit. And he had the grace to include his own work."

always loved that line... and agreed with him & others that you need to have "lived and done things" before you actually have something worth saying.

made the mistake of saying at an open mic, that the hubby was a singer-songwriter... even though he is, he reacted as if I had lumped him into the 90%... lol oh well...

but we always do a mix of traditional and "will probably enter the tradition soon even though we know who wrote it" songs... :D and have "folk processed" a few others. The best compliment he feels is if someone asks where he got the song from....

the biggest danger with singer songwriters is they can start to sound like they are rewriting the same d**n song over and over again... that's when you want to ask if they even listen to themselves?!?


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Subject: RE: Advice to all singer songwriters
From: GUEST,Spleen Cringe
Date: 17 May 13 - 12:26 PM

I'd rather risk a whole raft of rubbish singer songwriters in order to hear the one that blows me away than sit through "safe" and "balanced" mixed sets of originals, covers and traddish stuff. I get being a traditional singer - and some are really really good and I get being a singer songwriter, but I don't get being a human jukebox light entertainer. There's nothing wrong with it, I s'pose, but it's not for me.

As far as I can see, most of the best singer songwriters have little or no connection with the folk scene.


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Subject: RE: Advice to all singer songwriters
From: Midchuck
Date: 17 May 13 - 12:48 PM

Tom Russell, Ian Tyson, Utah, Jim Ringer, Guy Clark, Gordon Bok...the list of Singer-Songwriters whom I consider great would go on quite a bit longer. And I'm not intentionally being sexist, I just think first of the ones that I personally steal from the most.

Then there are all the kids who've been writing bad poetry about how unhappy they are because the Universe doesn't appreciate them, and find that they have better luck getting people to listen if they chant it while banging on some poor guitar that never did them any harm.

And there's Dylan, the bridge between the two groups...

Peter


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Subject: RE: Advice to all singer songwriters
From: Johnny J
Date: 17 May 13 - 12:50 PM

Would you describe this man as " a human jukebox light entertainer"?


http://www.dickgaughan.co.uk/songs/index.html


I know I used the word "covers" but in our kind of music, I prefer the description "interpretations". Obviously, if the actual performance is original, there's no harm in including other people's songs.

Songs are surely intended to be performed by other singers rather than the composer, are they not? If they are good enough, they will be.


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Subject: RE: Advice to all singer songwriters
From: GUEST,JHW(cookie still on old computer)
Date: 18 May 13 - 06:07 AM

Long ago in a songwriters workshop on Redcar Pier, Vin Garbutt explained how (something like this) a good song idea would come along now and then. The other guy insisted that if you're really a songwriter you get up every day and write a song. He has written lots of songs but no more good ones than Vin.

A singer-songwriter who sings ONLY his own songs wears heavy on me. Far better he sings only his good ones along with good ones from the pens of others and of course anon.


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Subject: RE: Advice to all singer songwriters
From: Marje
Date: 18 May 13 - 06:20 AM

I find most singer-songwriters tedious, but there are some great modern songwriters out there and we wouldn't want to lose them. So, to try to be constructive, here are a couple of things I notice about good/bad songs:

One thing that I regard as a bad sign is when the songwriter introduces the song by telling you how he came to write it and what it's about. A good song, especially a modern one, should stand alone and not need explaining beforehand. More than that, a good song will speak to different listeners in different ways because it will be written to give a general appeal - sometimes songwriters are genuinely surprised when a listener tells them what he/she thinks the song means.

And "Show, don't tell." You may well have a serious point to make but don't spell it out in a finger-wagging way. Illustrate the point in the story and details of the song, and allow the listeners can reach the conclusion for themselves.

Marje


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Subject: RE: Advice to all singer songwriters
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 18 May 13 - 06:43 AM

its a calling. you do it because life is better for you as a writer of songs than being a person who doesn't write songs.

like Charles Strickland says in 'the moon and sixpence' - if you have to swim - it doesn't matter whether you do it well or badly - you have to do it. its your lot in life.

if you don't enjoy singer songwriters, tough bananas - finding the occasional floorspot in a folk club not to your taste is a common misfortune. mostly amongst those people who go to folk clubs.

I am a self confessed member of the dross party.


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Subject: RE: Advice to all singer songwriters
From: Johnny J
Date: 18 May 13 - 06:57 AM

Just taking this opportunity for a quick plug here....   :-)

Edinburgh Folk Club have their own Song Competition on 7th June and, for one night only, I'll keep my opinions about singer song writers to myself and leave it to the judges.:-))


http://www.edinburghfolkclub.co.uk/index.php/articles/26-edinburgh-folk-club-song-competition


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Subject: RE: Advice to all singer songwriters
From: Uncle Tone
Date: 18 May 13 - 07:09 AM

All songs with 'I' or 'me' in the lyrics, written by teenagers, should be drowned out immediately.

If you write a song and sing it, and someone else hums it afterwards you might have written a good one (OGWT). If folks ask you to sing one of your own songs you might be getting somewhere.

If somebody else sings one of your songs, then you might be getting further.

If you start to make money out of your songs then you might have arrived.

If you choose not to make money out of your songs, then you won't be disappointed.

If they get up and go to the bar when it's your turn to sing, then take the hint.

Tone


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Subject: RE: Advice to all singer songwriters
From: GUEST,Blandiver
Date: 18 May 13 - 08:24 AM

Advice to all singer songwriters...

Ignore pretty much everything written above. It represents the worst pseudo-muso know-it-all bullshit that typifies a certain loud-mouthed factor in the folk world who, despite their evident lack of qualification, nevertheless think themselves qualified to make such turgid observations. These people generally 'know' about things like 'The Tradition' and what constitutes 'Real Ale' and other levels of folkish correctness which will have them voting UKIP on the sly in the hope of preserving the jingoistic righteous realms of their grim little hobbyist vision of an England that never was. Oh - and they don't that 'Rap Music' either, or much else from what I can make out, unless it doesn't appeal to their other autistic MOR folk pals hung up on a prescriptively pedantic cultural correctness which has little to do with what's happening out here in the real world.

As Big Al says : its a calling. you do it because life is better for you as a writer of songs than being a person who doesn't write songs.

As Big Al Crowley says : Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law. Amen to that.

If they don't like it, the fault is entirely their own.


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Subject: RE: Advice to all singer songwriters
From: Uncle Tone
Date: 18 May 13 - 08:38 AM

"If they don't like it, the fault is entirely their own."

Precisely the attitude of crap singer-songwriters with their heads up their own *rses.

Somebody should write a song about it.

Tone


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Subject: RE: Advice to all singer songwriters
From: Johnny J
Date: 18 May 13 - 08:40 AM

"other levels of folkish correctness which will have them voting UKIP "

Not up here, pal.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-22571724


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Subject: RE: Advice to all singer songwriters
From: Harmonium Hero
Date: 18 May 13 - 10:10 AM

Something has just struck me. As I said in an earlier post (stating the bleedin' obvious), all the songs we sing were written by somebody, and most of the trad stuff turns out to have been written by hacks for a fee, and aimed at a popular market. The stuff that survives, is obviously the stuff that hit the target. The difference between these (mostly anonymous) hacks and the modern singer/songwriters, is that the hacks were writing songs in the hope that they would be sung by Mr. and Mrs. J. Public. They were churning the stuff out, and, inevitably, some of it hit the target. But the point is that they were getting paid to write the songs, not to sing them; they were for the people to sing. Yer singer/songwriter who gets up in a club and does two 45-minute spots which is entirely his/her own work, is likely to be singing at least some songs which will go in one ear and out of the other. These ain't going to become folk songs. In fact, at the point at which the songs are first launched, none of them can be called folk songs. Without wishing to poke the embers of the perennial debate yet again, I would define folk songs as 'the ones that survive'. By definition, a new song is not in this category. And somebody singing only their own songs, therefore, is not singing folk songs. As I said earlier, every generation should be adding to the repertoire; and you can only do that by writing songs and launching them , and then watching what happens. As canalwheeler a few posts back was more or less saying, if others take up your song, it's on the way to becoming a folk song. Perhaps the problem with some singer/songwriters (working in the folk field) is that they are writing songs for themselves to sing, rather than with any idea of them becoming folk songs. In which case, one has to wonder why they are choosing to work in folk clubs rather than in the wider poular music arena. I remember a time when, to get bookings in the folk clubs, it seemed that you had to be a stand-up comic. Once these comics got into television, they ditched the folk clubs, and I can remember some of them, in susequent interviews, saying that they had started in the folk clubs because it was easy to get started - anybody could get up and do a floor spot - and easy to get work, but that it had just been a stepping stone. I wonder whether SOME of the current singer/songwriters are doing the same thing.
BEFORE THE SNIPING STARTS, AND PEOPLE START WEIGHING IN AND CALLING ME A BORING OLD TRADDY-FADDY WHO WOULDN'T KNOW A GOOD SONG IF HE WAS LOCKED UP IN A DARKENED ROOM FOR A YEAR WITH IT PLAYING CONSTANTLY AT 140 DECIBELS, READ MY FIRST POST. TWICE.
John Kelly (folksinger/occasional songwriter).


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Subject: RE: Advice to all singer songwriters
From: GUEST,Larry Saidman
Date: 18 May 13 - 11:57 AM

I agree with Harmonium hero.

If everybody only sang their own songs (and it's coming down to that now in the music business, with restrictive and expensive 'copyright' policies), then all those songs that are being written (including the really good ones) are going to die....because they won't be spread.

That's why I have so much respect for singers who find a great, relatively unknown song, and recycle it.


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Subject: RE: Advice to all singer songwriters
From: GUEST
Date: 18 May 13 - 12:12 PM

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qhqDFMow20g

Okay Harry's good but, poor Mr Tanner.


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Subject: RE: Advice to all singer songwriters
From: GUEST,Breedloveboy
Date: 18 May 13 - 12:57 PM

I'm not anti singer songwriters, just the bad ones and there a lots of bad ones, many on the Festival curcuit. There are so many good songs out there in all sorts of places if you care to do your research. I personally do not understand why people want to write something which, however generous you are, is a only pale imitation.

Singer songwriters tend to collect together in little mutual admiration societies, all complimenting each other until eventually they all start to believe each others hype and think well maybe I am quite good. Many would be better spending their time learning to play more than three or four chords, and consequently, develope a more interesting sound, but to improve as a player takes real dedication.


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Subject: RE: Advice to all singer songwriters
From: Marje
Date: 18 May 13 - 01:23 PM

Harmonium Hero is right, folk songs are "the ones that survive". For that to happen, the songs have to be taken into the hearts and memories of others who will want to hear them again and perhaps learn them and sing them. When a song is young and new, a sort of evolutionary process begins, by which the good songs are passed on and cherished, and the bad ones rejected.

The trouble with recent songs is that they have not had time to be subject to this process, so all the dross is still in there along with a few gold nuggets. Some writers could help the process along by being a bit more self-critical and prepared to consider whether the song is being appreciated by their audience. Some clearly neither know nor care, persisting in offering self-indulgent outpourings to a hapless audience. If you're doing it just to express yourself, it's seldom good enough for anyone else to want to hear. But if your audience are responsive and ask for more, you must be doing something right.

Marje


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Subject: RE: Advice to all singer songwriters
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 18 May 13 - 02:16 PM

C'mon Blandthingy, say what you really think. Everyone who likes traditional music is an idiot? Is that it? All who appreciate Morris Dance must be Nazis? Yes? Those who do not like your songs must be braindead? Maybe? Not that a forward thinking liberal who likes Rap would ever dream of being prejudiced against a whole swathe of people...

:D tG


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Subject: RE: Advice to all singer songwriters
From: GUEST,Blandiver
Date: 18 May 13 - 02:35 PM

No - I just think it's a matter of each their own. I love all manner of so-called 'folk music' (up to & including the appreciation of morris) but I'm all too aware of the issues with respect of Tradition and Revival to be swept along the narrow road to Authenticity Land. My position is appreciating what people are moved to do in reality rather than lamenting what they don't do in theory. Simples.

JB

PS - You weren't born from stone were you, DtG?


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Subject: RE: Advice to all singer songwriters
From: GUEST,John Foxen
Date: 18 May 13 - 02:52 PM

As someone who is occasionally guilty of writing songs I try to remember Ernest Hemingway's wise words: "The most essential gift for a good writer is a built-in, shock-proof, shit detector."
And if you can't trust your own radar then watch the audience. Are they singing along or falling asleep?
I once asked Sid Kipper why he had dropped certain songs. "They weren't getting the laughs," he said.
By all means write songs but we should all try to be our own sternest critics - although that's hard given the levels of criticism you can get from some Mudcatters :-)


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Subject: RE: Advice to all singer songwriters
From: GUEST,Grishka
Date: 18 May 13 - 02:58 PM

Although the OP is obviously meant as a mere provocation, there is an interesting aspect worth discussing:

Who is more likely to produce a good song:
  • (singer-)songwriters (including teams of such, like Lennon/McCartney)
  • or teams of specialized lyricists, composers, and singers?
There are many examples, good and bad, in either category, but this may be due to the specific multi-talents of the persons involved, or lack thereof.

As for old European folk songs, I guess in the overwhelming majority of cases the lyricists differ from the composers. This includes many songs that are particularly cherished for their good match of lyrics and tune. Often the gifted "matchmaker" was neither the poet nor the composer.


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Subject: RE: Advice to all singer songwriters
From: Harmonium Hero
Date: 18 May 13 - 02:59 PM

I was writng a reeponse to something Marge said, and had just about finished, when I inadvertantly deleted the whole post. Meanwhile there have been several more posts. I hate computers and the people who invent, sell, design or even like the accursed things. I'll be back when I've calmed down enough to tell you the brilliant idea I had while writing the post which, no doubt is still retrievable if I send the hard drive to some git in Africa, but which I can't find. GRRR
JK


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