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What is Happening to our Folk Clubs

Raggytash 29 Oct 17 - 08:48 AM
Backwoodsman 29 Oct 17 - 08:43 AM
Raggytash 29 Oct 17 - 08:33 AM
TheSnail 29 Oct 17 - 08:28 AM
Jim Carroll 29 Oct 17 - 08:21 AM
Iains 29 Oct 17 - 07:50 AM
Raggytash 29 Oct 17 - 07:49 AM
Big Al Whittle 29 Oct 17 - 07:25 AM
Vic Smith 29 Oct 17 - 07:19 AM
Jim Carroll 29 Oct 17 - 07:18 AM
Raggytash 29 Oct 17 - 07:06 AM
Backwoodsman 29 Oct 17 - 06:59 AM
Big Al Whittle 29 Oct 17 - 06:52 AM
Raggytash 29 Oct 17 - 06:27 AM
Vic Smith 29 Oct 17 - 06:22 AM
TheSnail 29 Oct 17 - 06:17 AM
Jim Carroll 29 Oct 17 - 06:16 AM
GUEST,Peter Laban 29 Oct 17 - 05:48 AM
Raggytash 29 Oct 17 - 05:44 AM
Big Al Whittle 29 Oct 17 - 05:42 AM
Jim Carroll 29 Oct 17 - 05:30 AM
GUEST,Nick Dow 29 Oct 17 - 05:30 AM
Raggytash 29 Oct 17 - 04:50 AM
GUEST,Nick Dow 29 Oct 17 - 04:46 AM
Jim Carroll 29 Oct 17 - 04:38 AM
GUEST,Nick Dow 29 Oct 17 - 04:19 AM
Backwoodsman 29 Oct 17 - 04:00 AM
Backwoodsman 29 Oct 17 - 03:58 AM
The Sandman 29 Oct 17 - 03:44 AM
Jim Carroll 29 Oct 17 - 03:41 AM
GUEST,Nick Dow 29 Oct 17 - 03:36 AM
Jim Carroll 29 Oct 17 - 03:18 AM
GUEST,Nick Dow 29 Oct 17 - 02:52 AM
RobbieWilson 28 Oct 17 - 10:15 PM
GUEST 28 Oct 17 - 10:11 PM
Big Al Whittle 28 Oct 17 - 08:58 PM
TheSnail 28 Oct 17 - 08:44 PM
Steve Shaw 28 Oct 17 - 08:08 PM
Jack Campin 28 Oct 17 - 07:39 PM
RTim 28 Oct 17 - 07:34 PM
Steve Shaw 28 Oct 17 - 07:15 PM
GUEST,Nick Dow 28 Oct 17 - 07:10 PM
RTim 28 Oct 17 - 07:02 PM
RTim 28 Oct 17 - 06:53 PM
Jack Campin 28 Oct 17 - 06:16 PM
GUEST 28 Oct 17 - 06:12 PM
Steve Shaw 28 Oct 17 - 05:52 PM
Jim Carroll 28 Oct 17 - 02:58 PM
GUEST,Nick Dow 28 Oct 17 - 02:00 PM
GUEST 28 Oct 17 - 01:59 PM
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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Raggytash
Date: 29 Oct 17 - 08:48 AM

My sentiments too Backwoodsman, not only out-dated but exclusive and elitist.


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Backwoodsman
Date: 29 Oct 17 - 08:43 AM

The 1954 'Definition' seems like the equivalent of the US Constitution's 2nd Amendment....

a) it has been rendered out-of-date by by many years of social and technological change.

b) many people understand that, and would be delighted to see it brought up to date and made fit for purpose in the 21st century.

b) those whom it suits to keep it static will not countenance any attempt to modernise it.

Modernise or die - never truer than now.


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Raggytash
Date: 29 Oct 17 - 08:33 AM

Jim, I've told you often enough I don't need a ******* definition.

Especially one that is not fit for purpose today and in all probability wasn't fit for purpose when it was written by what seems to be elitist and very select few.

I am damned if I am going to be dictated to by people who had no knowledge of modern technology. Luddites for some reason come to mind.


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: TheSnail
Date: 29 Oct 17 - 08:28 AM

Well Bryan is doing a sterling job, maybe we need to film some of the workshops?

Interesting idea, Nick. I'm not OinC of the workshops but we are a committee. I don't think it would be anything like an equivalent of Man, Woman and Child. The workshops are for the benefit of the paying punters who might not feel comfortable being filmed for general publication.


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 29 Oct 17 - 08:21 AM

"The second sentence is arrant nonsense"
No it isn't Iains - it is the basis on which our folk songs were amde - that is why McTell, Bogle and McColl aren't folk composers - don't know about the other two but MacColl strenuusly denied that his songs were 'folk'
The definition was made to cover society in which sections of the population were active participants in the creation of a large part of it - the folk song - tale - dance.... reperoire
When that ceased to be the case the tradition as a creative force died
I know from experience that while remnants of the tradition of the remained, particularly with the Travellers, songs continued to be made - we missed the Irish rural tradition of song making aby about four decades.
Folk clubs do not represent either societies or even communities - they are gatherings of enthusiasts such as those who like, say Restoration Theatre or Elizabethan Music
While we can still appreciate it, we cannot claim to be a part of it
Why won't you listen to what I have said about the ******* definition Raggy?
It isn't a rule - it is an estimation of how something evolved.
A lot5 of us are happy to still get enjoyment from folk music - you are not and appear to want to re-define it on the basis of your own personal tastes
What if we don't like what you do - whose music is folk then - yours or ours?
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Iains
Date: 29 Oct 17 - 07:50 AM

""Folk music is the product of a musical tradition that has been evolved through the process of oral transmission."
It might have been a handy definition up until 1860 when the human voice was first recorded. Today, as a definition, it is simply pretentious.
It seems to me to be a genre that has multiple definitions that cause endless argument.
An example "music that originates in traditional popular culture or that is written in such a style. Folk music is typically of unknown authorship and is transmitted orally from generation to generation."

The first sentence I have no problem with, it happily includes
songwriters such as Ralph Mctell, Eric Bogle, Ewan McColl.
The second sentence is arrant nonsense and even if aurally is substituted for orally it is too narrow a definition in my opinion.


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Raggytash
Date: 29 Oct 17 - 07:49 AM

It would seem to me that as your work is being placed on-line at various universities and libraries that anyone learning from them through those sources is not conforming to the 1954 definition.

You can't have it both ways, really you can't.


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 29 Oct 17 - 07:25 AM

"Folk music is the product of a musical tradition that has been evolved through the process of oral transmission.2

and i've been trying to suck it up through my nose all these years. ah well, a life wasted...


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Vic Smith
Date: 29 Oct 17 - 07:19 AM

I must confess that I was rather sniffy about the Spinners back in the day. I think that the way they have been described as light weight earlier in the thread, sums up my feelings about them. However, there were several things that I know or have heard about them that really gains my respect.
* I was told by one of the organisers of the National Folk Festival as it as then was in the 1960s that the Spinners allowed their name to be put on the publicity for the event as it would attract people to the events at Keele University. They were not paid. in fact they bought their tickets and paid for their accommodation.
* I was also told - not by an NFF organiser so I cannot vouch for this - that one of the 1960s weekends lost money and there was a threat that it would not go ahead. The Spinners made up the deficit.
* As the editor of The Folk Diary, I used to get phone calls from them on the day they were to appear at a concert in Sussex. I was asked where the local folk clubs were and who the guests were so that they could announce the details at their concerts.
* When they were appearing at the Chichester Festival Theatre not long after it opened, they got to hear in the interval that the great old Sussex singer, George Belton, was in the audience. They called him up to do a couple of songs in the second half.
* The very fact that they were a black/white group at that time, certainly one the earliest and most prominent, was important in itself. They did a lot of conscious raising for the Ant-Apartheid Movement.


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 29 Oct 17 - 07:18 AM

"So, correct me if I'm wrong, if I identify something as a folk song, it then becomes a folk song because I have identified it as such"
You're wrong Raggy
It's like the story Joe Heaney used to tell about the Protestant man who married a Catholic girl on the understanding he would change his religion
One friday, a week after the marriage, the Priest visited the house and found the man tucking into a steak
Furious he reminded the man of his vow and told him he couldn't eat meat on a Friday
A week later he visited again and found the man about to tuck into a steak again, chanting "You're a fish, you're a fish"
That's a joke - apparently you are not joking.
Baccky is right - no harm in singing any song that fits the general description as long as you recognise they are not all the same - for communication purposes, if nothing else
Al
The Spinners did what they did well - it wasn't unskilled and deprived of instruments or technology - I dare say if it was available they wouldn't have used it - that's not who they were
For me they were a very welcome stepping stone but not enough to make me want to stick around forever
"thus not conforming to the 1954 definition of songs which states that:"
Why can't you accept that the definition has SFA to do with any of this?
You appear to be claiming that folk song as defined has no place in today's scene - if so - I'm sorry for your loss, but it has for a hell of a lot of other people
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Raggytash
Date: 29 Oct 17 - 07:06 AM

Backwoodsman, if you sing these songs you possibly learnt them from CD's or from Youtube thus not conforming to the 1954 definition of songs which states that:

"Folk music is the product of a musical tradition that has been evolved through the process of oral transmission. The factors that shape the tradition are: (i) continuity which links the present with the past; (ii) variation which springs from the creative impulse of the individual or the group; and (iii) selection by the community, which determines the form or forms in which the music survives"

This is where my problem lies because the definition pre-dates the advent of mass television and the computer era which has allowed a far greater access to material.


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Backwoodsman
Date: 29 Oct 17 - 06:59 AM

Raggy, I identify all of those you mentioned as writers of 'folk-styled songs' and I sing songs written by most of them. AFAIC, their songs fit into the repertoire of a folk-club very well, alongside songs which have come to us down the 'traditional' route.

The clubs which I attend and do my stuff in are all vibrant, happy places where a mix of those types of songs is the norm. Variety, as always, is the spice of life.


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 29 Oct 17 - 06:52 AM

i can't get much enthusiasm, for what is a folk song, Raggytash. i know that what i do will never be acknowledged as such. it hurt me when i was younger to realise that i didn't fit into the folk world anywhere, but really it doesn't matter. i do what i do, and i'm grateful that folk club audiences seem to like what i do in floor spots etc.

so if i were you, i shouldn't bother. it doesn't have to be important to us. Kate and all those other people, I'm sure, believe in what they do - just as I do. I've seen her sing in the session down at Fagans in Sheffield for free. Whatever anyone says, integrity doesn't fly out the window quite so easily.

You're right of course Jim that The Spinners etc. simplify folk music - rather in the same way that the Singing Together programmes did for us at school. All the grace notes and rhthymic complexity gets the elbow,
no doubt with much else that I don't pick up on.

Nevertheless I think you have to cut those guys some slack. They were having to learn other skills about making their project work, getting instruments in tune (who knew ANYTHING about guitars in those days!), PA systems, microphone and recording technique and getting publicity and gigs. All stuff that doesn't happen by magic. They had to do that for themselves - there were no performance colleges in those days.

I remember the late Derek Brimstone telling me, he was snowed in at Aviemore ski-ing resort for a week with The Spinners. Derek was really amused the way they took it in turns every day to make phone calls hustling radio stations to play The Spinners. Derek could remember the whole spiel....


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Raggytash
Date: 29 Oct 17 - 06:27 AM

From Jim "Nobody does - liking something doesn't make it a folk song - not any more. Does it matter that a song is not 'folk' if it's a good one - not to me, it doesn't. What matters in relation to this discussion is how it is identified"

So, correct me if I'm wrong, if I identify something as a folk song, it then becomes a folk song because I have identified it as such.


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Vic Smith
Date: 29 Oct 17 - 06:22 AM

What is happening to our folk clubs?
At the risk of destroying the peace that has broken out in the last few hours, it depends what you mean by 'folk clubs'.
No, I am not asking for a definition; that way lies as many problems as another definition that I could mention. The fact is that what is meant by the words 'folk club' has changed a great deal from the type of uniformity of the way they were presented when I first started going to folk clubs when I was at school back in 1962. In the subsequent 57 years the form has mutated quite naturally into a variety of approaches that enables survival in the very different world of 2017.
Their development and change has resulted mainly through a relatively small band of local movers and shakers; the people who are prepared to give a lot of time and thought to the organisation and policy. Tina and I stopped running a weekly folk club in 2013 having started our first one together (I had been involved in my college folk club before then) soon after our marriage in 1966. I could not count for you the number of people who have said to us in the last four years, sometimes almost accusingly, "We do miss your club at the Royal Oak, you know." to which my reply of "Well, we are not the only people capable of running a club. How about having a go yourselves?" brings that conversation to a rapid close.
So now folk clubs range from everything from what are in effect regular concerts through to the loosest of social gatherings that get together to sing songs and play tunes. At both ends of this wide spectrum there are problems. At the formal concert end everything depends on financial viability, booking the right artists that will draw an audience that will cover the many costs involved. The limited number of sure-fire hall fillers on the folk scene is limited. Eventually this leads to a problem of the 'same old names' appearing too frequently increasing the financial pressure. The end happens in two ways. Either they become unprofitable and therefore not viable or the organiser becomes in effect a concert promoter and any pretense of being part of folk music disappears. There are two successful former folk club organisers in our area who are now concert promoters.
At the other end of the scale in the anything goes, anyone is welcome to have a go singarounds. There the problems are often to to with small cliques developing, of performance standards dropping, of the inability to attract new blood to invigorate. Audiences are not attracted by these ventures.
The ideal would seem to be somewhere in the middle. Somewhere where is a discernable policy,* where it is possible for outside performers to be booked at least occasionally to inject fresh ideas and approaches and as a performance standard guidelines are demonstrated.

Reading carefully through this before I post it (as we all should do) I can see that I am speaking in general terms and that there will be a number of exceptions and additions to what I have written, but I think that this should provide a brief overview. The fact that no-one actually tried to develop a basis for discussion earlier in the thread now seems surprising to me

* I wish that I could find the 'Aims & Objectives' policy document that I drafted and brought the initial meeting of the 5 of us who were going to be involved after our move to the Royal Oak in 1990. We spent the evening thrashing it out but having agreed it the 5 - all amazingly still involved in 2013 - never felt the need to change it.


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: TheSnail
Date: 29 Oct 17 - 06:17 AM

Well, Raggytash, at the Lewes Saturday Folk Club you'd hear the songs of several of those often. Some I've heard of but don't know the work of. One I've never heard of. Two we've booked, one of them frequently.


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 29 Oct 17 - 06:16 AM

"I suspect the producer of that record, Phil Coulter, was the culprit Jim referred to."
Thanks again Peter - he was
Christie is one of the most principled people I have ever met, both when it comes to giving credit and his humanity
His support for Travellers is exemplary
"Who decides if a John Tams, Dougie MacLean, Dick Gaughan or Kate Rusby song is a folk song."
Nobody does - liking something doesn't make it a folk song - not any more
Does it matter that a song is not 'folk' if it's a good one - not to me, it doesn't
What matters in relation to this discussion is how it is identified
"middle classes"
I'm talking about the origins of our song Al, not who helped popularise it
Charles Parker was one of the most middle-class people I ever knew but he did more for folk song than most
I'll tell you some stories of Charles's middle-classness some time - kept us entertained for hours (some of them came from him) - did you know he once bombarded King Farouk's Palace by mistake when he was in the Navy?
Never considered Ewan Middle Class, there again, I spent many happy hours talking to his mam who was a cleaner during the Depression - I know his old man was an iron moulder who had the distinction of being 'transported' out of Australia for his Trades Union activities
Luke the same - a working class lad made good
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: GUEST,Peter Laban
Date: 29 Oct 17 - 05:48 AM

'Did you mean Christy Moore - I didn't know he'd copywrited it.'

I suspect the producer of that record, Phil Coulter, was the culprit Jim referred to.


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Raggytash
Date: 29 Oct 17 - 05:44 AM

I'm still confused.

Who decides if a John Tams, Dougie MacLean, Dick Gaughan or Kate Rusby song is a folk song.


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 29 Oct 17 - 05:42 AM

i can see what you mean about the roots Jim.

However
i think that the middle classes have made a significant contribution - from Sharp recording Joseph Taylor to all the things that MacColl did, and really middle class boys like The Dubliners. I'm sure they'd be pleased to be thought of as boys!

A few posts ago you mentioned someone copywrighting the Well Below the Valley. Did you mean Christy Moore - I didn't know he'd copywrited it.

The composition of society means in a way that the presnce of folk music in our society is increasingly going to be about the middle classes and their understanding of it - i think.


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 29 Oct 17 - 05:30 AM

Nick
I think that CDs and videos are fine for those who have had a degree of contact with folk song - we have huge archive and I'd be happy to supply anything needed from what we have
I think introducing people fresh to the genre is a different thing altogether and needs to be a one-to-one exercise starting from the ground up
We are waiting with bated whatsits to find if the two teachers who have been employed to stale traditional singing around the Clare schools, using our collection as a basis, have achieved anything
Songs of the People were among the best the Beeb ever presented
I admit, his Eastern European stuff was for the aficionados, but we're all entitled to be fed
Raggy
Some of those you mention already do fit into all this - the ones that base their song making on traditional styles.
John Taams acted as music advisor to a film I believe to be the best example of the use of traditional music ever - Ill Fares the Land
As far as what is being discussed here, I don't think they do fit in particularly
If folk song is to continue to function, it has to do so on a foundation based on its roots - you can take it wherever you want after that.
It's not a case of either-or but one of the order you need to do things.
THis is not a "love in" - it's a search for common ground, I hope
Don't agree with you about Bert Nick - I think Folk Song Virtuoso and
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: GUEST,Nick Dow
Date: 29 Oct 17 - 05:30 AM

Just trying to bring the discussion back to a less aggressive thread that's all.


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Raggytash
Date: 29 Oct 17 - 04:50 AM

Gentlemen, when you have quite finished your "love-in" could someone please tell me where people like Stan Rogers, Eric Bogle, John Tams, Harvey Andrews, Peter Bond, Dave Wilson, Mike Harding, Alan Bell, Leon Rossellson, Pete Coe, Anthony John Clarke and many many other great song writers fit into the folk world.


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: GUEST,Nick Dow
Date: 29 Oct 17 - 04:46 AM

Thinking further about a DVD. The problem from a Video/TV point of view is that straight singing is not visual. It's OK if you are jumping round the stage with a guitar like a demented baboon, but maybe this is why we don't see so much Folk on the TV. That said the Doc. about Sara Makem was wonderful, however I doubt weather the equally important film of Walter Pardon and his friends in song ever made it to the screen. There were a few tech. problems with that production but nothing that could not be ironed out in an hour or so. Bert made it to TV more than a few times but was never an interesting presenter. Sorry about that but I worked as a presenter for the Beeb for 32 years so I feel justified in that remark. Maybe I'm barking up the wrong tree?


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 29 Oct 17 - 04:38 AM

"My experience is that in Ireland song writing about local happenings   "
There's no reason to believe that that was not the case with England Dick
We have recently become aware of hundreds of locally-made songs in Ireland made about local events over the last century
They have always been there but they were neglected because they didn't fit into the recognised traditional reperoire
We know writers like Tommy Armstrong and Joe Corrie were making similar songs in England and Scotland as were weaver poets in Lancashire - there are songs a
bout mowing matches and sporting events in both Britain and
Ireland is a mixture of British and Irish culture and has been for egt centuries
The similarities are far more important than the differences as far as I am concerned
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: GUEST,Nick Dow
Date: 29 Oct 17 - 04:19 AM

So the different approach might be working. Onward and upward! Ok any ideas? A commercially available DVD as an introduction to Folk Song? Is that a barmy idea? I've got three out now on Folk Arts (painting) and they sell.


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Backwoodsman
Date: 29 Oct 17 - 04:00 AM

That referred to the post of 03:18 AM


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Backwoodsman
Date: 29 Oct 17 - 03:58 AM

Now THAT was a fine post, Jim - well done! You got your points over perfectly, well set-out, without aggression, without accusation, without the 'spittle-flecked ranting' (to quote your mate Terror-bus) at anyone who dared to have a different view to yours, and without the insults.

Had you done that from the beginning, the bitter arguments may well not have erupted, and this thread would have been a far nicer place.

Nobody doubts that you're devoted to traditional music and song, and that you have a depth of knowledge and experience few, if any, of the rest of us have, and we respect that. You really don't need to resort to all that vitriol to get it across. It achieves nothing, except the alienation of those who would otherwise be in general, even if not specific, agreement.


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: The Sandman
Date: 29 Oct 17 - 03:44 AM

England and Ireland are two countries that are very different culturally.
My experience is that in Ireland song writing about local happenings    is much more prevalent, traditional music and song is much closer to the mainstream and is not ridiculed as much by comedians and establishment media.
I believe the strength of English folk clubs is the opportunity it gives for home made music., long may that continue whether its skiffle blues or Child ballads, whilst people are making their own music, socialising and interacting in the ways people have done for hundreds of years, there is hope.


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 29 Oct 17 - 03:41 AM

Sorry Nick - cross posted, though my post contains a little of what you asked
The songs of Joseph Taylor et al have survived, sometimes for centuries, because of their universal and timeless themes - they talk about something that touches and moves us all
I remember Ewan at a meeting describing Phil Tanner's lovely rendition of 'Banks of Sweet Primroses' as sounding like "a young man, full of life, going out looking for his oats on a Summer morning"
Been there - done that - that's what our folk songs still provoke in me.

I once sang too many songs too many times - I learned a lot of them because I needed them for the amount of singing I did
Now I've come back to some of them, I find they work differently - I'm singing to move me, not the audience
A couple of times I've found myself choking up in a song because of the sheer power of its words - I can never remember that happening in the old days.

When we recorded the blind Traveller, Mary Delaney, she would break down in some of her songs, describing them as "too heavy" - particularly her Lord Randal' "Buried in Kilkenny"
WE thought it was a technical problem - it wasn't - it was an emotional one
Similarly, she would burst out laughing in her funny songs - it took four goes for us to get 'Donnelly" (The Jolly Tinker') and Kilkenny Louse House.
She moved herself and in doing so, she moved her listeners
That's the uniqueness of folk songs for me - you can make them your own - part of you
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: GUEST,Nick Dow
Date: 29 Oct 17 - 03:36 AM

I watched all Man woman and Child on YouTube. Loved it. Now where is the UK equivalent? Well Bryan is doing a sterling job, maybe we need to film some of the workshops?


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 29 Oct 17 - 03:18 AM

Robbie Wilson's post is where this should have been from the very beginning - a breath of fresh air, as far as I am concerned.
I like he, walked away from the scene when it failed to live up to what it promised - that for me, is the only relevance to a definition as far as I am concerned, though people have brought it up as an argument as if it was a hard and fast rule book - in fifty odd years, I have never seen '54 used as such - in policy clubs, that was a guide to the type of sound you would hear if you walked through the door.
Taking the arguments here at face value, that is no longer the case - not in England anyway.
I have no interest in hip-hop or heavy metal or 'the sound of the sixties' (anymore) - I don't suppose any of the devotees to that side of music have any interest in Harry Cox or Joe Heaney, or Sam Larner.
That is why it is a con to claim one is the other - it's getting people though the door on false pretences

"i also think, the hatred of people like the spinners"
It's never been a question of "hatred" Al - certainly not with me
I was introduced to folk music by The Spinners, who sang a basic and simplified version of folk song - I was grateful for that introduction, but after a couple of years I grew a little bored with the sameness, and was moving on when I was introduced to a wider and more absorbing aspect of folk song - that's why I stayed around until now

I find folk song one of the most pleasureable and thought-provoking forms of song there is as an entertainment - for me, there is a wider side to it, but that's me, I don't expect others to share myinterest in that side of it.
At the same time, I do expect that when I go to a folk club I am given something that lives up to its title to some degree - the impression I get here is that many clubs have decided that folk songs isn't for them but the club scene is a handy venue for their type of music and usurped both the clubs and the title
That does nobody any favours.

I believe there is still a great deal of mileage in folk song at its best as an entertainment
Ireland has always had a reasonable following for its national song, particularly the emigration and the political songs
A few years ago, a couple of singers/researchers from Wexford, with the co-operation of The National Library of Ireland, embarked on a project entitled 'Man, Woman and Child' and put on a series of free daytime concerts of unaccompanied Child Ballads in various parts of the country
All of a sudden, these ballads were springing up like mushrooms, in clubs and in singing sessions.
They are now moving towards what I believe Britain has moved away from - a revival of traditional folksong as an entertainment
It's never too late - I hope
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: GUEST,Nick Dow
Date: 29 Oct 17 - 02:52 AM

Good point Al. So how do we present Joseph Taylor as anything other than and old man singing songs to those who may be interested. McColl did the song carrier programmes which changed my life, but I was already trying to sing then. Jim you must have some positive ideas here surely?


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: RobbieWilson
Date: 28 Oct 17 - 10:15 PM

Sorry, that was me. I hate posting annonymously


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: GUEST
Date: 28 Oct 17 - 10:11 PM

Have lost hours of my life reading this thread, People who I would be with in your average group of 100 slagging each other over minute differences, compared to the chart, loving, X Factor, Karaoke loving majority.

I have a strong interest in traditional folk song. I used to live in Wolverhampton and was always disappointed that clubs which described themselves as Folk Clubs offered so little that I would consider folk ( you'll notice that I have not offered my definition of folk).

I moved to Southampton and fell in with some Morris men who sing much more of what I consider Traditional English songs and I enjoy singing with them. I go to 3 local sessions which each describe themselves as folk clubs. Each is very different. Each is a reflection of the people who are willing to keep the opportunity for others to come and show what they've got open.

That's the reality. It's got nothing to do with what is correct or anything else. It's a niche where people who are willing to make the effort run things to their own taste and you can't blame them for doing so.


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 28 Oct 17 - 08:58 PM

well in answer to Nick - i think the answer is in the way we disseminate our history.

theres a sort of museum of fishing in Yarmouth - no mention of Sam Larner in it. none of the songs.

You could go to Brigg in Lincolnshire and never see any mention of Joseph Taylor.

we really need to raise the consciousness of folksong. people should know their local songs, and make it part of the pride we have in where we come from.

i also think, the hatred of people like the spinners, the corries, the yetties who tried to make folk songs understandable to the man in the street has been counterproductive. I love the way American folksingers don't seem to have to strain to sound 'ethnic' in the way that our revivalists do. its not edgy, or clever - its bloody dull conformity to an aesthetic that dispossesses the working classes of their heritage.


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: TheSnail
Date: 28 Oct 17 - 08:44 PM

Absolutely splendid evening with The Dovetail Trio. Three young people with their hearts firmly rooted in the tradition as well as being superb performers.

Excellent collection of floor singers as well.

The sort of evening that makes you realise why you do it.


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 28 Oct 17 - 08:08 PM

That's it in a nutshell, Jack.

But the bloody thing got me going at 41...


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Jack Campin
Date: 28 Oct 17 - 07:39 PM

the folk club ethos, with its encouraging atmosphere and lack of judgementalism (is that a word?), is fertile ground for getting people going

I was once, but it's been the victim of a cohort effect, with the majority of regulars now being the ones who never did get going. Whereas the ones who did get going (like you) got up and went.


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: RTim
Date: 28 Oct 17 - 07:34 PM

Not a Finger in The Ear Show on video - for those, like me who didn't see it first time around.......
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OOlunxBdw2M


Tim Radford


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 28 Oct 17 - 07:15 PM

The only thing that troubles me slightly about that, Jack, is that, way back in 1992, when I was railroaded into picking up my out-of-tune six-quid Hohner Weekender in C to play Star Of The County Down, aged 41, I was utter shite. But the bloody folk club gave me the chance, and they clapped and cheered and I spent the next week hiding in my bedroom in case I bumped into anyone in Bude who'd either heard me in person or ridiculed me to his mates. That's how I reacted for years until I realised that I wasn't that bad after all (after a lot more woodshedding), and it was OK to keep my eyes open when I was playing, etc. But an awful lot of floor-spotters thought that the very fact that they were called up meant that they were shit-'ot. The folk club ethos, unfortunately, was incredibly non-judgemental, which led to many people acquiring the misguided feeling that they were dead good. But being even ever so slightly judgemental would have been so alienating that the club would have collapsed. A bit of a conundrum. So we endured a fair smattering of complete shite, though real jewels lurked in that crock of shite. As I said, the majority of the people in the back room had come to listen, not to play. They'd bought their expensivo pints on a Friday night yet were expected to keep quiet for long stretches. On a Friday night. Having paid mucho dough for their pints. I was playing, but even I thought that was a bit of a bugger. It isn't religion, is it. Is it??

What I'm saying is that damn near everyone who sticks their heads above the parapet, musically speaking, for the first few times may be utter shite, but that the folk club ethos, with its encouraging atmosphere and lack of judgementalism (is that a word?), is fertile ground for getting people going. Well, maybe. I haven't been in one for a long time. It's a bit like being a cradle Catholic. It got you going, gave you your moral compass, etc., but you couldn't abandon it fast enough once you grew up. Having cheerfully moved from a folk club in its demise to a really successful and long-lived pub session (in which purists were frowned on, I hasten to add), I found fun. Real fun. And, actually, just as much truly traditional music, if not more. I mean, what's life all about?


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: GUEST,Nick Dow
Date: 28 Oct 17 - 07:10 PM

Tell you what, lets try another approach. There is a lot of bad singing going on in clubs and there is a lot of woeful ignorance about the Song Tradition as well. Now the question is how are we to get persons of any age interested again in this beautiful music of the people. Well I suggest not by rowing among ourselves for a start. If I was a young man interested in folk Song I would have run a mile by now if I had seen this thread. So does anybody have any ideas? Could something like the 'Not the finger in the ear' TV show updated be of any use? I know it was decades ago and had a silly title but it might be a start. Maybe a documentary featuring all the younger performers around might help. I am just grasping at straws here, and somebody else with a more considered post might weigh in here. When it comes right down to it we all want the same thing don't we?


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: RTim
Date: 28 Oct 17 - 07:02 PM

Oh - I guess I should say that I am a Time Served Sheetmetal worker........(haven't done it for 45 years..........) and Jim - this is NOT a dig against you...........

Tim Radford


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: RTim
Date: 28 Oct 17 - 06:53 PM

What we need is a Video Camera in every Folk Club, and a Committee sitting in a central location deciding if the act is good enough or not.
If you fail the test, your performance is passed to all club organisers and you will be banned if you even try to enter an event?.

That will sort the wheat from the chaff!

Tim Radford
(Someone mentioned 1984 recently.........but I do have my tongue in my cheek)
You can't do smily Emoji on Mudcat............


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Jack Campin
Date: 28 Oct 17 - 06:16 PM

This is the nearest to a half decent discussion on the meaning of "folk song" that anybody has even been able to manage

I'm not very interested in that, and it's quite irrelevant to the the original poster's point - which Steve Shaw picked up on a few messages back: a lot of what happens in folk clubs and singarounds is shite. This has nothing to do with whether it's genuinely traditional or not. It's to do with whether it's shite or not. You can decide whether or not to be shite no matter if you're doing a Child ballad or something you wrote last week.


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: GUEST
Date: 28 Oct 17 - 06:12 PM

You call this a "half decent discussion" ?
Why should a "time-served electrician" be classed as "ordinary" ?


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 28 Oct 17 - 05:52 PM

Let's just see if it can be sweetened a bit first, Joe. I personally am no guardian of any "folk scene." I'm a guardian of going out having a damn good time playing/singing music IN THE SPIRIT of our long legacy but refusing to be hidebound. Not pretending that Pogues or Dylan or Geldof are "folk" or anything remotely like it. I neither think they are, would claim they are, nor give a damn whether they are. I know what's folk and what isn't, more or less, and, as a sort of eclectically-minded bloke (though sod jazz), I enjoy anything that's rendered well. And I don't think that any tradition worth its salt need feel threatened by incursions by other influences. Life's rich tapestry an' all that. "Worth its salt" being the operative phrase. Discuss...


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 28 Oct 17 - 02:58 PM

"Give over Jim! It was a joke!"
Sorry Nick - the effects of shell-shock
" still the guardians of folk argue among themselves,"
There are no "guardians of folk"
" Please put an end to this now."
Why?
This is the nearest to a half decent discussion on the meaning of "folk song" that anybody has even been able to manage - long may it thrive as far as I'm concerned
If it can't here, then where?
""ordinary people" "
Just explained that to Al
I'm a time served electrician (rtrd.) - nothing patronising, smug or superior here, though some may quibble about bastard, I'm fighting my own corner.
I would normally use the term 'working class' but that would awaken all sorts of sleeping giants
I'll try to remember the inverted commas or exclamation marks in future
Jim Caaarroll


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: GUEST,Nick Dow
Date: 28 Oct 17 - 02:00 PM

Give over Jim! It was a joke! Stop taking yourself so seriously.
kind regards
'Stomping Nick Dow'


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: GUEST
Date: 28 Oct 17 - 01:59 PM

"Wow over 600 posts, and still the guardians of folk argue among themselves, keep it up lads and we could get to 1000 at this rate!!"
Glad that you're happy.
As was said above, in a slightly different but relevant context, it's about quality, not quantity, and there's been far too much of the latter, and very little of the former. Glad also to see that the moderators have woken up. I don't ever recall so much personal abuse on any discussion on "Mudcat". Please put an end to this now.
And a personal peeve - could you please all stop using the phrase "ordinary people" ? Anyone using it, ever, is a patronising, smug, superior bastard in my book.


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