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Why Do Musicians Work For Nothing?

GUEST 12 Jun 14 - 01:15 PM
GUEST,Morris-ey 12 Jun 14 - 01:00 PM
Stanron 12 Jun 14 - 11:29 AM
GUEST,Peter Laban 12 Jun 14 - 10:22 AM
Dave the Gnome 12 Jun 14 - 08:50 AM
Nick 12 Jun 14 - 08:42 AM
Big Al Whittle 12 Jun 14 - 08:34 AM
GUEST,MikeOfNorthumbria(sans cookie) 12 Jun 14 - 08:19 AM
sciencegeek 12 Jun 14 - 07:40 AM
GUEST,Red Head 11 Jun 14 - 12:28 PM
GUEST 11 Jun 14 - 12:21 PM
Backwoodsman 11 Jun 14 - 12:14 PM
GUEST 11 Jun 14 - 12:06 PM
GUEST,Desi C 11 Jun 14 - 11:41 AM
GUEST,John Foxen 10 Jun 14 - 02:59 PM
OlgaJ 09 Jun 14 - 03:49 PM
GUEST 09 Jun 14 - 02:24 PM
GUEST,sciencegeek 09 Jun 14 - 02:06 PM
Dave the Gnome 09 Jun 14 - 02:02 PM
GUEST,sciencegeek 09 Jun 14 - 01:43 PM
Airymouse 09 Jun 14 - 01:23 PM
Doug Chadwick 09 Jun 14 - 12:48 PM
GUEST,Morris-ey 09 Jun 14 - 12:30 PM
GUEST 09 Jun 14 - 10:47 AM
Stanron 09 Jun 14 - 10:37 AM
GUEST,Alan - UK FOLK MUSIC website 09 Jun 14 - 10:10 AM
Stanron 08 Jun 14 - 07:44 PM
GUEST,sciencegeek 03 Jun 14 - 11:06 AM
sciencegeek 03 Jun 14 - 05:28 AM
Doug Chadwick 03 Jun 14 - 05:15 AM
Doug Chadwick 03 Jun 14 - 05:10 AM
Richard Bridge 03 Jun 14 - 04:41 AM
Big Al Whittle 02 Jun 14 - 05:10 PM
GUEST 02 Jun 14 - 03:46 PM
GUEST 02 Jun 14 - 01:00 PM
GUEST,Folkiedave 02 Jun 14 - 12:55 PM
GUEST,mg 02 Jun 14 - 12:34 PM
GUEST,semi Lizzie supporter 02 Jun 14 - 11:03 AM
Big Al Whittle 02 Jun 14 - 10:41 AM
Steve Gardham 02 Jun 14 - 09:26 AM
GUEST,Foliedave 02 Jun 14 - 09:02 AM
Megan L 02 Jun 14 - 07:28 AM
gnu 02 Jun 14 - 07:13 AM
Big Al Whittle 02 Jun 14 - 05:30 AM
Dave the Gnome 02 Jun 14 - 04:04 AM
Jim Carroll 02 Jun 14 - 03:47 AM
Big Al Whittle 01 Jun 14 - 09:44 PM
Big Al Whittle 01 Jun 14 - 09:13 PM
Steve Shaw 01 Jun 14 - 08:54 PM
Big Al Whittle 01 Jun 14 - 04:57 PM
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Subject: RE: Why Do Musicians Work For Nothing?
From: GUEST
Date: 12 Jun 14 - 01:15 PM

Arguements raised in a parallel debate in thread "Cinderford Festival not paying artists? "

may be of interest since the recent post there by an anonymous pro musician:

"Subject: RE: Cinderford Festival not paying artists?
From: GUEST
Date: 06 Jun 14 - 05:00 AM
"

Most of which may have been more relevant if it had been posted in this thread ?


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Subject: RE: Why Do Musicians Work For Nothing?
From: GUEST,Morris-ey
Date: 12 Jun 14 - 01:00 PM

Mike of Northumbria

No one, in any line of work, has any right, entitlement, or expectation to make a living from it except by providing a product, service, or skill that people are prepared to pay for.

Musicians are not a special case, nor should they be. Many people do regular jobs to suport a hobby and most folk musicians are hobbyists because they know how difficult it is to make a living from it and many/most do it because they love it and any payment is a rare bonus. The same is true of other types of musician and of those in the acting profession.

There is nothing to feel guilty about.


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Subject: RE: Why Do Musicians Work For Nothing?
From: Stanron
Date: 12 Jun 14 - 11:29 AM

As long as folk music is folk music it isn't Art with a capital A. Art with a capital A is making millions out of displaying a shark in a tank of formaldehyde. Some people consider this to be a con trick.

Sitting with a group of musicians and playing and listening is a pleasure. I am not fussed whether or not anyone considers this to be art. It's certainly culture and I don't mind non players listening if they want to. They also contribute with attention, encouragement, applause and the occasional,(but not required) free drink.


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Subject: RE: Why Do Musicians Work For Nothing?
From: GUEST,Peter Laban
Date: 12 Jun 14 - 10:22 AM

'music is both an avocation and a profession... it's art'

Well, it can be but is it always?

There was a similar sort of discussion elsewhere recently, started by a jobbing bagpiper who does funerals and weddings (in the US) he said, among other things (in the context of justifying his fees to the people who hire him) :

You are paying for a piece of heart, part of a soul, a moment of someone's life. More importantly, you are paying for the musician to have more time to do something that they are passionate about.

But really, if you are in the business of providing a service like that, aren't you really just a craftsman like any plumber, plasterer etc? You're hanging an aural wallpaper as a background to proceedings, you're not making statements about the nature of the human condition.

Not everybody turning up somewhere with a musical instrument is going to produce art, you're more often supplying a service, be it entertaining the company, providing background noises or put a rhythm under the dancers' feet.


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Subject: RE: Why Do Musicians Work For Nothing?
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 12 Jun 14 - 08:50 AM

We all know of many talented performers (and composers) who have tried, tried and tried again, yet still failed to make a tolerable living from their craft.

We do indeed, Mike, and it is a very good point. But surely this, and your point about making more abroad, is indicative that the music market in the UK is brimming with talent and only the very best actually make a living at it? Not deriding those that do not make it in the slightest. I have known many who are superb performers but they have lacked that final something that those who have made it display. I don't know what that is. Maybe presence? Going the extra mile? Lucky breaks? The X-Factor? :-)

Surely, as well, there are thousands, if not millions, of people (myself included) who have not made it in our chosen field and have had to work at something else to raise our families, pay our mortgages and put food on the table. Why make a special case for musicians? Why not writers or house decorators or computer programmers? It may be sad but it is true that we have to make compromises. And maybe that is another good reason why some musicians work for free. Because, even though they cannot make enough to get by, they still love music.

Cheers

DtG


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Subject: RE: Why Do Musicians Work For Nothing?
From: Nick
Date: 12 Jun 14 - 08:42 AM

I have always enjoyed Maura O'Connell's singing so it's sad to read this article.

Hard to believe that she will totally stop singing so I wonder whether she will sing for free and fun or just disappear?


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Subject: RE: Why Do Musicians Work For Nothing?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 12 Jun 14 - 08:34 AM

what has annoyed me in the past is the attitude of festival organisers.

I have known them get angry with acts that have organised a pub gig in the same area as their club or festival. Very often a pub gig will help subsidise a folk gig - and its a different approach and frequently different material that constitutes a pub act. and frankly - a lot of it is jealousy - neither they or their idols could do a pub gig as long as they had a hole in their arse.

Also they feel quite morally allowed to piss about lesser mortals on the folkscene - they forget to pay us, rearrange their appearance times, bicker about publicising you - when in fact all they have to offer you is publicity.

this is all done in front of your face, as they toady about to their idols - too high and mighty to provide their own PA system. they have muggins to do that.

okay its not all the time - but I have seen it done twice this year and I seethe with annoyance to see friends of mine humiliated by these bloody germs of humanity.


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Subject: RE: Why Do Musicians Work For Nothing?
From: GUEST,MikeOfNorthumbria(sans cookie)
Date: 12 Jun 14 - 08:19 AM

Hello everybody – I thought you'd all gone away!

Been following this thread with interest since the start, but too loaded down with other jobs to contribute before. Now here's my belated two-penn'orth.

To begin with the obvious – this has been a very useful discussion. We owe Lizzie a debt for starting it (even those of us who disagree with her opinions or dislike her rhetoric). But although many sensible and relevant points have been made, something still seems missing.

Agreed: there are many acceptable reasons for playing gratis –supporting a worthy cause – bringing some neglected or undervalued music to a wider audience – getting a foot on the first rung of the professional ladder – or just for the fun of it…

Also agreed: in showbiz, as in any other biz, market forces prevail - if your name on the bill puts bums on seats, some entrepreneur will pay you for showing up - if not, then not. (It may not be nice and it may not be fair, but we don't live in Utopia.)

And yet … and yet … there's a question lurking here that we haven't confronted. Please bear with me while I try to explain.

We all know of many talented performers (and composers) who have tried, tried and tried again, yet still failed to make a tolerable living from their craft. Most of them eventually returned to the conventional labour market and got on with their lives fairly successfully. But too many – including some of the most gifted – have fallen into despair, and then into drink, or drugs, or suicide. (We can all make our own lists, but the name that comes first to my mind is Peter Bellamy's.)

A few of these tragic figures were acquaintances of mine, and one or two were friends.   Thinking about them now, I ask myself (and anyone out there listening) are we 'music lovers' partly to blame for what happened? Are we guilty of expecting to get too much and give too little in our favourite leisure pursuit? And if so is it the same everywhere else?

Well, many Brits who perform 'our' sort of music (please let's not try defining it now) have said in interviews that when working abroad they are usually better paid (and treated with more respect) than they are at home. (Over the years a fair number have said this to me in person.) Some of them have eventually graduated from extensive overseas touring to full-time expatriate status – not from choice, but from sheer economic necessity.

Do we just shrug and say 'so it goes'?   Or do we need to think again about our priorities and our obligations?

What do you think?

Wassail!


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Subject: RE: Why Do Musicians Work For Nothing?
From: sciencegeek
Date: 12 Jun 14 - 07:40 AM

Unlike processing paperwork or serving customers, music is both an avocation and a profession... it's art.

Some of the hardest working musicians- both vocal and instrumental- are studio musicians who show up and have no creative control over what they do. They're hired guns with a single job to do...

Our world is saturated with commercial music and very little of it appeals to me. What I do enjoy is found in the folk and traditional venues... which are off on the fringe and the as big names ( those recognized by the average person) no longer perform, it gets less and less attention. In my office of well over 100 people, maybe a dozen even know of Pete Seeger.

The point being that we are tiny... and bickering amongst ourselves is not helping anything. The way to stay viable is to keep visible.. and give folks something to enjoy so that they have a reason to want more.

This weekend the general public that decides to visit Mystic Seaport will not only see the regular exhibits, but will also see some of the finest musicians around. Paid performers and dedicated volunteers will keep things lively... and it's the young people who show up and join in that will keep it alive.


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Subject: RE: Why Do Musicians Work For Nothing?
From: GUEST,Red Head
Date: 11 Jun 14 - 12:28 PM

.. then there are Tory musicians...

smug egotistical ****s * who are only in it for the ££$$...

They can't give a toss about anyone else, as long as there's a profit in it for them.


[* fill in favourite insulting expletive]


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Subject: RE: Why Do Musicians Work For Nothing?
From: GUEST
Date: 11 Jun 14 - 12:21 PM

You you by any chance the doped up deadbeat who once gave me a lecture on how music should be "free" when he couldn't get into a concert by a top pro musician?


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Subject: RE: Why Do Musicians Work For Nothing?
From: Backwoodsman
Date: 11 Jun 14 - 12:14 PM

Because many (most?) of us don't regard making music as 'work', it's 'pleasure' (something the Bread-Heads don't appear to understand).


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Subject: RE: Why Do Musicians Work For Nothing?
From: GUEST
Date: 11 Jun 14 - 12:06 PM

Most people seem to ignore an important word in the title:

"WORK"


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Subject: RE: Why Do Musicians Work For Nothing?
From: GUEST,Desi C
Date: 11 Jun 14 - 11:41 AM

Well, I think you'd find if they didn't even more would be unemployed. It may sound unfair but for many, most in fact festivals are very hard to get work at. Hence many festivals offer unpaid spots for musicians to put their work on show so to speak. The alternative is busking (which for a good hard worker can pay fairly well) But playing free at festivals puts them on show to the right people, and with the increase in recent years of paying festivals, free ones are a very good stepping stone, as are the many unpaid open Mic clubs. It's quite simply a nessessay way to get your name out there


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Subject: RE: Why Do Musicians Work For Nothing?
From: GUEST,John Foxen
Date: 10 Jun 14 - 02:59 PM

We'll be playing at the Wittfest at Long Wittenham on Sunday. We won't be paid and would not dream of asking for money from a free festival that aims to raise cash for some good causes.
If any Catters feel strongly that I should receive something for playing there they are welcome to come along and buy me beer at
Wittfest


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Subject: RE: Why Do Musicians Work For Nothing?
From: OlgaJ
Date: 09 Jun 14 - 03:49 PM

Stanron;

Thanks for that

We played at Wirral too for nothing. We get good money playing for weddings etc which is 'work' sometimes hard work, so we can afford to go and enjoy the things we really like doing - playing to people who appreciate us and meeting up with lots of really nice musicians and singers - unlikely to happen in the 'professional music' circles where its probably dog eat dog, don't really want to go there.

Quite happy to do festivals for money though if anyone thinks we are good enough :)


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Subject: RE: Why Do Musicians Work For Nothing?
From: GUEST
Date: 09 Jun 14 - 02:24 PM

"I Like figs - How do they fit in?

:D tG"


Not with too much discomfort if you use plenty of vaseline.

But Syrup of Figs taken orally is probably more effective ???


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Subject: RE: Why Do Musicians Work For Nothing?
From: GUEST,sciencegeek
Date: 09 Jun 14 - 02:06 PM

well.... some folks just don't give a fig...


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Subject: RE: Why Do Musicians Work For Nothing?
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 09 Jun 14 - 02:02 PM

I Like figs - How do they fit in?

:D tG


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Subject: RE: Why Do Musicians Work For Nothing?
From: GUEST,sciencegeek
Date: 09 Jun 14 - 01:43 PM

from comparing apples to oranges, we now go onto bananas...

apples: the right of a performer to expect payment for their services

oranges: the right of a performer to donate their services if they so chose.

bananas: the right of the copyright holder of a recording to expect fiscal compensation when said recording is played at a public venue or sold as part of a service.


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Subject: RE: Why Do Musicians Work For Nothing?
From: Airymouse
Date: 09 Jun 14 - 01:23 PM

Our local paper ran an article today in its "opinion" section. It is entitled "The piper must be paid" and was written by T Bone Burnett, who the paper informs us is a 13-time Grammy Award-winning musician and songwriter. Here are some excerpts. "For the last 20 years we have witnessed an assault on the arts by the technological community - especially when it comes to music. This devaluation is troubling because music is not only the creation of people who make this art; it is how they make a living.....
It turns out that recordings made before 1972 are protected by state law and newer recordings are protected by federal law..It shouldn't take a lawsuit or a bipartisan bill introduced in Congress last week to make clear that businesses that include pre-1972 recordings in the playlists they deliver to their customers should pay the creators who brought those recordings to life."


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Subject: RE: Why Do Musicians Work For Nothing?
From: Doug Chadwick
Date: 09 Jun 14 - 12:48 PM

That is not nice GUEST, Morris-ey.

Everyone is entitled to express their opinion, even if others disagree with them. Such comments as yours are insulting and un-called for.

DC


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Subject: RE: Why Do Musicians Work For Nothing?
From: GUEST,Morris-ey
Date: 09 Jun 14 - 12:30 PM

Lizzie is mentally ill and should not be encouraged by responding to her irrational posts....


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Subject: RE: Why Do Musicians Work For Nothing?
From: GUEST
Date: 09 Jun 14 - 10:47 AM

It's basically a culture clash that so many fail to appreciate or understand.

'Music Business' versus 'Folk'.

At one extreme are such serious 'pros' who wouldn't even scratch their own arse
unless someone payed them to do it;

at the other extreme most of us lot

- many of whom would be quite happy to scratch each others arses if asked
as a shared gesture of friendship and good camaraderie..


errmm.. figuratively speaking of course.......


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Subject: RE: Why Do Musicians Work For Nothing?
From: Stanron
Date: 09 Jun 14 - 10:37 AM

Before retiring I played gigs for decades and got paid for them. In folk music not all playing is in gigs. There are 'sessions' as well. There are sing around sessions, tunes sessions and all in jam sessions. These are as much for the participants as for the audience. In fact a good session doesn't particularly need an audience as such. The participants are their own audience. I go to festivals for the sessions rather than to listen to concerts.


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Subject: RE: Why Do Musicians Work For Nothing?
From: GUEST,Alan - UK FOLK MUSIC website
Date: 09 Jun 14 - 10:10 AM

In a previous life, before becoming a folkie - I used to play in 60's groups on the pub/ club circuit.
We always got paid for playing for a couple of hours and providing entertainment for audiences. I still find it hard to accept the folk music way of playing for FREE or for exposure.


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Subject: RE: Why Do Musicians Work For Nothing?
From: Stanron
Date: 08 Jun 14 - 07:44 PM

Thought I'd revive this zombie thread to say I've just got back from Wirral Folk Festival where I played for free and thoroughly enjoed myself. Happy days.


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Subject: RE: Why Do Musicians Work For Nothing?
From: GUEST,sciencegeek
Date: 03 Jun 14 - 11:06 AM

I mentioned one venue that had gone under here in the Rochester, NY area (McGraws)... and I just read in the paper that another wonderful venue will have it's final concert the weekend we are away at Mystic.

After 10 years, Ralph & Judy are giving up the Heartland Concert Series. If they couldn't fit an artist into a hall, they often held a house concert instead... and more than one Mudcatter has performed for the series.   

I guess it gives them more time to spend with family & grandchildren.

Thank you, guys... you done good.


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Subject: RE: Why Do Musicians Work For Nothing?
From: sciencegeek
Date: 03 Jun 14 - 05:28 AM

Al, in answer to your post...

"still it can't be nice with everyone snarling at her. I mean if she was a floorspot - you'd say, very nice dear and go out to the bog."

Here is one of Miss Lizzie's immature responses to another poster.

"So, pooOOOOOOoooo to your statement above...."

This came after she completely misinterpreted his completely innocent remark about how he feels about volunteers involved in the folk scene.

This behavior has been seen throughout any number of threads that she has posted to. What's that punchline...? Oh yeah, he hit me back first! Well maybe if you stop hitting out at folks, they might not feel the need to hit back. We are none of us saints to always turn the other cheek.


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Subject: RE: Why Do Musicians Work For Nothing?
From: Doug Chadwick
Date: 03 Jun 14 - 05:15 AM

I didn't touch anything, honest! It just posted of it's own accord in the middle of my typing.
Here, hopefully, is the whole post:


There are other reasons:

4. The musician doesn't want to be tied to the money-making mill. If everything is down to money then a pleasure can quickly become a task.

5. Playing for free gives you more choice over what you play. He who pays the piper calls the tune.

DC


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Subject: RE: Why Do Musicians Work For Nothing?
From: Doug Chadwick
Date: 03 Jun 14 - 05:10 AM

There are other reasons:

4.he musician doesn't want to be tied to the money-making mill. If everything is down to money then a pleasure can quickly become a task.

Playing for free gives you mo


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Subject: RE: Why Do Musicians Work For Nothing?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 03 Jun 14 - 04:41 AM

People do things for nothing for, mostly, three reasons:

1. They can't get paid for it
2. They like doing it
3. They feel they are supporting something worthwhile.

For example, I was at a minifestival (mostly folkie but not much 1954 definition) over the weekend. The sound rig - quite a good one - was provided by a professional sound engineer who also had overall supervision of the volunteer sound-desk-jockeys (including me). He did it for nothing. He brought his wife and young daughter along. Obviously none of them paid for their tickets (I suppose). And he kept telling me and everyone else what a wonderful time he was having, such lovely welcoming people, great atmosphere, lovely patch of countryside, terrific musicians (some of the time). He was hoping to be allowed to provide the sound rig, free, at future events. Giving something back to the community (etc).

Some of the performers were I suppose paid. One came down from Newcastle mostly for the crack (well, beer). Many were not, and were jostling to play, because it's fun! One such set of young performers have a single coming out soon, and they posted later on the event's facebook page to say what a wonderful time they had had. I've played there in the past. All the performers, including those who don't get paid, love doing it and being there. People who get a slot in the "friends" section get a reduction in their camping fee but those who simply do the open mic or sessions do it for love - because they want to. If nobody played except for a "full rate" fee the event could not happen, and we'd all be heartbroken.


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Subject: RE: Why Do Musicians Work For Nothing?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 02 Jun 14 - 05:10 PM

still it can't be nice with everyone snarling at her. I mean if she was a floorspot - you'd say, very nice dear and go out to the bog.

I think what she doesn't understand is that there is a certain amount of pleasure in screwing a living out of the dull earth. being a musician is sort of like that -its not the civil service, with a regular pay packet. you visit the publisher in his office and know that the money he's done you out of has paid for one of those Porsche's in the parking lot - but hey! you did it ! you got to make music. the crooks only make money.

anyway. regrets, I have had a few - but being a musician isn't one of them.
there's a gig tomorrow night - I don't know what it will be like, but i'm looking forward to it.


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Subject: RE: Why Do Musicians Work For Nothing?
From: GUEST
Date: 02 Jun 14 - 03:46 PM

I used to frequent a driving forum that was frequented by a millitant cyclist. Most of his posts were rants that attracted a lot of understandable abuse. The trouble was that his occasional valid point was treated with the same abuse as the crap. To the point where people went into denial about his rare accurate facts.

Why do threads started by Lizzie make me think of him?


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Subject: RE: Why Do Musicians Work For Nothing?
From: GUEST
Date: 02 Jun 14 - 01:00 PM

150 posts because it is an intrinsically interesting and relevant topic;
no matter who might have started it...

But obviously it could have be a fair bit less than 150, if the posters had stayed on subject.


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Subject: RE: Why Do Musicians Work For Nothing?
From: GUEST,Folkiedave
Date: 02 Jun 14 - 12:55 PM

Indeed Steve it is I.

Al, Lizzie gets people's back up because she knows all about what musicians think, how to run a festival, folk club, etc.

When people who really do know about these things and have done them for many years (and in the case of this thread actually ARE musicians) tell he she is wrong - see second letter in this thread then she prefers to ignore what they have to say and persist in her own ill-conceived opinions - even to the extent in the past of upsetting the artists she purports to love.

She will then switch the argument - quote people out of context and eventually when those with more knowledge and experience tell her (once again) that she is wrong - she will accuse them of bullying - and flounce off the board never to write on it again. And she will do this for the umpteenth time with no personal lack of shame.


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Subject: RE: Why Do Musicians Work For Nothing?
From: GUEST,mg
Date: 02 Jun 14 - 12:34 PM

it can't bore everyone since there are over 150 posts...mg


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Subject: RE: Why Do Musicians Work For Nothing?
From: GUEST,semi Lizzie supporter
Date: 02 Jun 14 - 11:03 AM

Biggest prolem with Lizzie is that she can be such a relentlessly obnoxious bore.

Which is a shame, because sometimes she proves capable of revealing a very incisive eloquent talent
for promoting positive valid arguements
from an alternative or unpopular standpoint.

Unfortunately, she is her own worse enemy, constantly undermining her credibility & reputation
with abject streams of unrestrained self indulgent wrong headed drivel.



None of us can sustain a life/persona as rejected martyrs and victims
for such a length of time, it's not healthy...


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Subject: RE: Why Do Musicians Work For Nothing?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 02 Jun 14 - 10:41 AM

I don't understand why you're all so nasty and down on Lizzie.

its true she talks a fair amount of bollocks - red Indians etc, but in truth, we all talk a fair amount of bollocks.


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Subject: RE: Why Do Musicians Work For Nothing?
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 02 Jun 14 - 09:26 AM

Hi Dave
Thy K hath vanished if 'tis indeed thou.

The OP was answered immediately and precisely by Joe. The thread has taken another twist based ultimately on the meaning of life (x sorry! 'folk') yet again.


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Subject: RE: Why Do Musicians Work For Nothing?
From: GUEST,Foliedave
Date: 02 Jun 14 - 09:02 AM

Lizzie must be delighted watching one of her threads deteriorate off the subject she so provocatively started and then changed the subject once it was pointed out that she was talking about something she knew nothing about - not unusual.

If Mudcat wanted to save its reputation one way would be to stop Lizzie starting threads. NOT to stop her contributing - just stop her starting threads that invariably sound like disgusted of Torquay going "Why Oh Why......................?

On the other hand she stands as a an example of a perfect keyboard warrior.

Tell me Lizzie which singers have you ever booked, which folk clubs have you ever run, what have you EVER done of folk music part from sit at a keyboard and pontificate?


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Subject: RE: Why Do Musicians Work For Nothing?
From: Megan L
Date: 02 Jun 14 - 07:28 AM

Al thinking of you both anti inflamitories can be a beggar hope things settle


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Subject: RE: Why Do Musicians Work For Nothing?
From: gnu
Date: 02 Jun 14 - 07:13 AM

Big Al... I am sorry to hear about your wife's problem. My thoughts and prayers are with you both.


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Subject: RE: Why Do Musicians Work For Nothing?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 02 Jun 14 - 05:30 AM

sorry bout that - I wasn't playing the sympathy card -honest.

I received nothing but kindness from Ewan and Peggy. iloved her instrumental and songwriting work. that autoharp thing she did on Peggy Gordon was a particular favourite. her guitar part for just as the tide was flowing ...and that song

the rambling man was weary and wet
down by the side of the fire she set

they thought I was bonkers, but a lot of people have come to that conclusion. I remember feeling really sorry for them when Argo decided to pulp all the copies of the radio ballads - they wouldn't sell them Ewan to sell at gigs. Apparently it didn't fit with the label's new image.

my point was that Ralph had no real expectation of great wealth when he must have been soaking up folksongs like a sponge. he and his disciples are part of the continuum, the same artistic movement that weall are engaged in. I love his industry and devotion to the craft.

going back to your earlier comment about the well below the valley - I always associated it with John Reilly - did you say that someone had now claimed authorship?

as for my wife - we are in crisis at the moment - bad reaction to an anti inflammatory. things are never less than iffy - this week they're in meltdown. I value your friendships.


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Subject: RE: Why Do Musicians Work For Nothing?
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 02 Jun 14 - 04:04 AM

My apologies, Al, and hope your wife gets better soon. You did not use the term 'neurotic failure'. I interpreted, obviously incorrectly, that being neurotic as an alternative etc. meant that said neurotic had failed at 'reality'. I am still not sure what you meant by it but I accept that you did not mean failure.

Cheers

DtG


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Subject: RE: Why Do Musicians Work For Nothing?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 02 Jun 14 - 03:47 AM

Sorry to hear your wife is ill Al, hope she improves soon.
Sorry also that we can't agree on a singer - it happens all the time; the nature of our different involvement, and, of course, personal taste.
I met McTell on a number of occasions, as I said, he used to turn up at the Comhaltas session in Fulham where we were regulars.
He seemed a nice feller; I remember someone complementing him on his 'Streets of London' and his replying, "I made far more money out of it than the homeless ever did" - I respect that.
His personality aside, comparing what he did with Peggy, Charles or anybody is a little facile - apples and bananas - different fruit altogether.
Personally, his singing did nothing for me, English singers who sing in an assumed American accent seldom do - I find myself not being able to take what they are saying seriously.   
He is a skillful enough performer of the genre of songs he has chosen, and he has a large following for that type of songs, but so what, so do a lot of others, nothing special, as far as I can see.
Nothing of what he songs has anything to do with the type of songs I have been listening to, performing (for a time) collecting and researching for the last half century.
I can't think of a single singer of the older generation we have taken songs from or interviewed, to whom his songs would have made the slightest difference.
For me, the real contribution people make to folk music is in what they leave you, what difference they make to your love and understanding of the songs.
I was drawn into folk song by accidentally (out of boredom really) going into a club run by a nationally (later internationally) known Group, and being entertained week after week for a couple of years, until I found that what I was listening to was beginning to sound rather samey, so I began to lose interest.
This was in pre-Beatles Liverpool, with a thriving Jazz and C&W scene, so we weren't short of places to go.
The club invited Ewan and Peggy along as guests one night - who?
It plunged me into a world of song I had never heard and knew nothing whatever about.
I became hooked on their songs, their approach, their knowledge and their incredible generosity in sharing what they had and the time they were prepared to devote to working with people like me who had nothing but our interest to offer (all for free).
This discussion is about being paid as a performer - I have never met anybody else on the scene who was prepared to devote a night a week for nearly a decade, to turning over their home to work with inexperienced singers who wished to learn more about folk song in order to become better at what we were doing.
When I got to know them later I stayed with them half a dozen times and was let loose on their collection of recordings and books - they'd converted their son Neil's bedroom into somewhere people like me could sleep in and record what they had, even providing a couple of tape recorders to enable us to do so.
Each time we visited, Neil was evicted into his brother Calum's room next door.
Later, when Ewan asked me to become a member of the Critics Group, they fed me and gave me a bed for a month until I found work and somewhere to live.
They weren't particularly well-off at the time; they lived in a three bedroom maisonette, sang for little more than expenses at the Singers Club, got occasional radio work from the BBC, and did regular tours when they needed to.
What real money they did make came much later when one of the songs they had written was accidentally taken up by the music industry (ten years or so after its composition).
I later found the same generosity throughout their particular group of followers, a desire to talk about and pass on what they had - I stayed with Charles a few times, in Birmingham, and later in Leominster, and was greeted with exactly the same incredible hospitality.
If I got anything from working with these people, it was the knowledge that these songs weren't mine, or anybody's in particular - as Walter Pardon once told us, "They're not my songs, they're everybody's".
For me, one of the uniquenesses of folk songs is that they came into existence to be passed on; ideas rather than commodities.
Sorry - gone on far too long
Best wishes to you both
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Why Do Musicians Work For Nothing?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 01 Jun 14 - 09:44 PM

sorry bot that steve! but my wife's very ill and I am up late - you don't get sparkling wit at 2.40 am!

I was going to bed, and then it struck me.

hasit never occurred to Jim that you don't get to be Ralph McTell without singing and playing hundreds of folk songs. certainly many more than the Copper family have in those exercise books.

you don't get to be that good a guitar accompanist - without spending hours of practice on ethnic styles. Many more than Peggy Seeger has done.

lookat his most famous song - that has a hybrid of several folk styles - streets of London . on the C chord he is he is playing piedmont east coast style, then when he rolls into the e shape - its a sort of Broonzy roll.

his Derek Bentley song - that is a tuning D major - sometines called vestapol - a corruption of Sebastopol. it came originally in the 19th century from England.

McTell has fascinated and drawn more people into folk music than Charles Parkers disciples have ever done - and yet you and they seem to think they are superior to them.
he's done it without being rude and telling anyone he is superior - he's just got on with it.


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Subject: RE: Why Do Musicians Work For Nothing?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 01 Jun 14 - 09:13 PM

yes indeed!

Steve 'largely not up his own bottom' Shaw! didn't you used do that floorspot lighting your own farts and singing 'Ring of Fire.....

I thought it was derivative of the Crapper family of St Neots.

or was that your brother...?


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Subject: RE: Why Do Musicians Work For Nothing?
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 01 Jun 14 - 08:54 PM

I should just like to point out, pointlessly, that I like Ralph McTell a great deal and I don't give a monkey's flying fart whether you, me, he or anyone else wishes to, or does not wish to, call his stuff "folk music". I do try to live my life largely not up my own bottom, you know.


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Subject: RE: Why Do Musicians Work For Nothing?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 01 Jun 14 - 04:57 PM

well a happy memory of visiting the club would have done for a start. s friendly and welcoming atmosphere. instead, more than once, I felt that I had brought my friends to an enclave musical Stalinists. rude, dismissive arrogant - and supremely ignorant of the world of working people. and frankly disinterested in the way they express themselves. only this abstract 'folkmusic' mattered - and -they needed to be told, which music the regime approved of.

folk is people. before its music. one is a noun - the others just an adjective. a very questionable one at that.


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