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What is Happening to our Folk Clubs

The Sandman 24 Oct 17 - 02:31 AM
Joe Offer 23 Oct 17 - 08:48 PM
TheSnail 23 Oct 17 - 07:41 PM
Vic Smith 23 Oct 17 - 05:13 PM
Backwoodsman 23 Oct 17 - 05:11 PM
Jim Carroll 23 Oct 17 - 04:53 PM
Dave the Gnome 23 Oct 17 - 03:25 PM
The Sandman 23 Oct 17 - 12:43 PM
Jim Carroll 23 Oct 17 - 12:36 PM
Dave the Gnome 23 Oct 17 - 12:02 PM
Big Al Whittle 23 Oct 17 - 11:51 AM
Jim Carroll 23 Oct 17 - 11:38 AM
Jim Carroll 23 Oct 17 - 11:36 AM
The Sandman 23 Oct 17 - 11:28 AM
Dave the Gnome 23 Oct 17 - 10:48 AM
Big Al Whittle 23 Oct 17 - 10:28 AM
Jim Carroll 23 Oct 17 - 10:28 AM
Dave the Gnome 23 Oct 17 - 09:56 AM
GUEST 23 Oct 17 - 09:36 AM
GUEST,OldNicKilby 23 Oct 17 - 09:12 AM
Jim Carroll 23 Oct 17 - 08:25 AM
Dave the Gnome 23 Oct 17 - 07:20 AM
Rob Naylor 23 Oct 17 - 07:16 AM
The Sandman 23 Oct 17 - 06:44 AM
Jim Carroll 23 Oct 17 - 06:38 AM
Raggytash 23 Oct 17 - 06:27 AM
The Sandman 23 Oct 17 - 06:16 AM
Jim Carroll 23 Oct 17 - 05:57 AM
Howard Jones 23 Oct 17 - 05:53 AM
Jim Carroll 23 Oct 17 - 05:40 AM
Rob Naylor 23 Oct 17 - 05:17 AM
Raggytash 23 Oct 17 - 05:03 AM
The Sandman 23 Oct 17 - 04:45 AM
Jim Carroll 23 Oct 17 - 04:04 AM
Jack Campin 22 Oct 17 - 07:53 PM
Jim Carroll 22 Oct 17 - 07:27 PM
Jim Carroll 22 Oct 17 - 07:08 PM
TheSnail 22 Oct 17 - 07:05 PM
Jack Campin 22 Oct 17 - 06:29 PM
TheSnail 22 Oct 17 - 06:14 PM
TheSnail 22 Oct 17 - 05:38 PM
TheSnail 22 Oct 17 - 05:20 PM
Raggytash 22 Oct 17 - 05:04 PM
GUEST 22 Oct 17 - 05:02 PM
GUEST 22 Oct 17 - 04:09 PM
Ged Fox 22 Oct 17 - 03:59 PM
Backwoodsman 22 Oct 17 - 11:49 AM
GUEST,Howard Jones 22 Oct 17 - 09:15 AM
Jim Carroll 22 Oct 17 - 09:10 AM
Ged Fox 22 Oct 17 - 08:41 AM
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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: The Sandman
Date: 24 Oct 17 - 02:31 AM

"When once the forms of civility are violated, there remains little hope of return to kindness or decency."

? Samuel Johnson


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Joe Offer
Date: 23 Oct 17 - 08:48 PM

This thread is approaching closure. Keep it civil, and it will stay open longer.
-Joe-


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: TheSnail
Date: 23 Oct 17 - 07:41 PM

"It might be nowadays in an English club scene that couldn't find it's folk arse with both hands "
I made a conscious decision to take some time before responding to this so that I could calm down and make a measured response. I think I failed.
According to some estimates, there are around 300 folk clubs in the UK. Each of them takes several people to run, say three or four.
Jim Carroll has just been gratuitously offensive to around one thousand people.
That doesn't include the floor singers, whom he seems to regard with contempt, and the audience members who dare to want to be entertained rather than educated. That's tens of thousands of people insulted in one short sentence.
When Ged Fox responded in a manner that Jim had just established he got the response "Why do you people always revert to personal abusse". Sorry, Jim, but do you feel that you have some sort of license on being abusive not shared by ohers?
You later said of him "You are a self obsessed pratt". Nice.

What are you trying to achieve, Jim? Do you wish to bring about change in British clubs? If so, alienating everybody involved doesn't seem like a good start.


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Vic Smith
Date: 23 Oct 17 - 05:13 PM

I've been very busy in the last week or so what with festivals and preparing radio programmes so I've just caught up with this thread again.... it goes on a bit, doesn't it?

I was interested in the post on 22 Oct 17 - 04:09 PM
Now this was a post by GUEST though it was signed 'Jim Carroll' which means that it may or may not be from our friend in County Clare. The second sentence reads:-
Why do you people always revert to personal abusse
Hooray, I thought, now there's a sentiment that I can heartily support. Then Jim (or pretend Jim) manages two more sentences before typing:-
You are a self obsessed pratt
which to my mind is out of kilter with the point that we was making earlier in the post.


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Backwoodsman
Date: 23 Oct 17 - 05:11 PM

"The scene is fucked up by indifference and hostility"

Says the bloke who, by his own admission, hasn't attended folk-clubs for years, and gets as shitty as a shitty thing with anyone who disagrees with him.

Oh, the delicious irony!


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 23 Oct 17 - 04:53 PM

"I did say I would be prefer to be entertained that educated."
What does that statement mean if not that the two are exclusive
I am both educated and I enjoy listening and singing - I don't have to make a choice - why do you?
The clubs definitely are not thriving, a few may be surviving - hence conversations like this
The scene is fucked up by indifference and hostility - you have a list of what we used to have and no longer do - am I making it up?
It hreally does not have anything to do with "entertainment" some of us great pleasure out of policy clubs that gave us what we wanted - we enjoyed it and we were so taken up with it we didn't need Bob Geldof, or any of the shit that's being called for here
I read owhat you wrote and I've just re-read it - youi said what I thought you said
You couldn't be entertained and educated at the same time - your loss
"I would far prefer a folk club that entertains me to one that educates me"
"The clubs that stick firmly in the past fall by the wayside"
"Call me shallow for that if you like because maybe I am"
If you insist - you're shallow
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 23 Oct 17 - 03:25 PM

Do you really believe the two are exclusive from one another - can't you learn and be entertained at the same time?
You have my deepest sympathy.


Do you really not read what people post, Jim? Never get past the headline?

I did say I would be prefer to be entertained that educated. I never suggested the two were mutually exclusive. In fact, if you would care to go 2 sentances past that line I said "The clubs that do both are great and thrive."

In a discussion about folk clubs would you not expect to get comments from all points of teh compass?

DtG


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: The Sandman
Date: 23 Oct 17 - 12:43 PM

same strength as woods rum is now 57 per cent ,i understand.
jim is right about good residents , unfortunately in my experience they evntually move on or get seduced by the idea of making money doing gigs and often become less available.
however clubs like the wilsons folk club seem to be an exception, most of the clubs with strong residents in my experience seem to be in the north east, two others in my experience of note are birmingham trad and bodmin


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 23 Oct 17 - 12:36 PM

"Honest and disparaging are not mutually exclusive, Jim"
You have the answer in the songs Dave
They ane made anodyne by their performance,
Don't know if you remember the old Classic Comics - Hamlet, MacBeth, Moby Dick, Tale of Two Cities - all in comic strip format
They had their place in my life until I managed to get my head around the real thing
Same with the music
"I would far prefer a folk club that entertains me to one that educates me."
Do you really believe the two are exclusive from one another - can't you learn and be entertained at the same time?
You have my deepest sympathy.
I find that the more I find out about the song, the more I enjoy it
I thoroughly enjoyed the months I spent annotating our songs for the Clare Library website
A couple of examples below
Education and enjoyment as far as I'm concerned
Jim Carroll

Banks of the Nile (Roud 950 Laws N9) Pat MacNamara
The theme of this song ? a woman asking her soldier or sailor lover to be allowed ro accompany him to battle or to sea, is not so unbelievable as it might first appear.
Armies once trudged their way around the world accompanied by ?camp-followers?, mobile settlements of women, children and tradesmen all running risks not too different of those taken by active soldiers.
Following the defeat of the rebels at Vinegar Hill in 1798, British troops rounded up and massacres the camp-followers who has assisted the rebels during the fighting.
Camp following lasted into the nineteenth century and continued to be a common part of army life into the 19th century.
The same went for seamen; in 1822 an anonymous pamphlet suggested that members of the Royal Navy were taking as many as two women apiece aboard the ships. These women also proved useful in that they fought alongside their lovers at the Nile and Trafalgar during the Napoleonic wars.
The well-known saying ?show a leg? is said to have originated from the practice of officers in the Royal Navy clearing the crew from their hammocks and bunks by demanding that the occupant sticks their leg out to show whether they were male or female.
?Banks of the Nile? is probably the best known song of women accompanying their lovers into battle or on board ship.
Though this version refers to the practice happening among the Irish military forces, the song is just as popular in England and probably originated there

Farmer Michael Hayes (Roud 5226) John Lyons
John Lyons spoke before singing the song:
This song, I got the tune of it years ago, from Willie Clancy and I had the words all the time collected from an old scrapbook I had, but I didn?t actually hear the tune until later. The song was Farmer Michael Hayes. It?s a song about a true incident about a tenant farmer who killed his landlord in a Tipperary hotel when he was evicted, and he went on the run and he finally escaped to America where, I believe, he was never caught.
As a young man, Tom Lenihan heard the ballad of Farmer Michael Hayes sung by his father and by local ballad seller, Bully Nevin, but never knew more than a few verses. In 1972 he obtained a full text, adapted it to what he already knew and put it to a variation of the tune he had heard. We believe it to be one of the best narrative Irish ballads we have ever come across; Tom makes a magnificent job of it.
The story, based on real events, tells of how a farmer/land agent with a reputation for harshness is evicted from his land and takes his revenge on the landlord, in some cases by shooting him, and in Tom?s version by also killing off the landlord's livestock.
He takes off in an epic flight, closely followed by police with hounds and is chased around the coast of Ireland as far as Mayo where he finally escapes to America. We worked out once that the reported chase is over five hundred miles of rough ground. Tradition has it that he eventually returned home to die in Ireland.
As Georges Zimmerman points out, this ballad shows how a probably hateful character could become a gallant hero in the eyes of the oppressed peasants.
It is a rare song in the tradition, but we know it was sung in Kerry in the 1930s; Caherciveen Traveller Mikeen McCarthy gave us just line of it:

?I am a bold ?indaunted? fox that never was before on tramp?
My rents, rates and taxes I was willing for to pay.

When he heard it sung in full in a London folk club he said, ?That?s just how my father sang it?.
Ref;
Songs of Irish Rebellion; Georges-Denis Zimmermann 1967

Lady in Her Father's Garden - Peggy McMahon undated
See also: Lady in Her Father's Garden ? Tom Lenihan Recorded at singer?s home, July 1980
This is probably one of the most popular of all the 'broken token? songs, in which parting lovers are said to break a ring in two, each half being kept by the man and woman. At their reunion, the man produces his half as a proof of his identity.
Robert Chambers, in his Book of Days, 1862-1864, describes a betrothal custom using a 'gimmal' or linked ring:
'Made with a double and sometimes with a triple link, which turned upon a pivot, it could shut up into one solid ring... It was customary to break these rings asunder at the betrothal which was ratified in a solemn manner over the Holy Bible, and sometimes in the presence of a witness, when the man and woman broke away the upper and lower rings from the central one, which the witness retained. When the marriage con?tract was fulfilled at the altar, the three portions of the ring were again united, and the ring used in the ceremony'.

                            Illustration            

The custom of exchanging rings as a promise of fidelity lasted well into the nineteenth century in Britain and was part of the plot of Thomas Hardy?s ?Far From The Madding Crowd?.
These 'Broken Token' songs often end with the woman flinging herself into the returned lov?er's arms and welcoming him back
Tipperary Travelling woman, Mary Delaney who also sang it for us, knew it differently and had the suitor even more firmly rejected:

"For it's seven years brings an alteration,
And seven more brings a big change to me,
Oh, go home young man, choose another sweetheart,
Your serving maid I'm not here to be."

Ref: The Book of Days, Robert Chambers, W & R Chambers, 1863-64.
Other CDs: Sarah Anne O'Neill - Topic TSCD660; Daisy Chapman - MTCD 308; Maggie Murphy - Veteran VT134CD.


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 23 Oct 17 - 12:02 PM

Honest and disparaging are not mutually exclusive, Jim. A lot of people say Trump is just being honest! Not likening you to Trump in any way. Just commenting that the language we use on forums such as this can give a misleading impression. As I said, take it or leave it. No skin off my nose.

I would far prefer a folk club that entertains me to one that educates me. Call me shallow for that if you like because maybe I am. But I am not the only one. The clubs that do both are great and thrive. The clubs that just entertain may not come under your definition of a folk club but they also thrive. The clubs that stick firmly in the past fall by the wayside.

DtG


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 23 Oct 17 - 11:51 AM

didn't know that about whisky. what strength was it before the war?


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 23 Oct 17 - 11:38 AM

Can I just add that I have alwayss believed that the sign of a good club lies in its residents, not its guest policy - that was always the icing on the cake
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 23 Oct 17 - 11:36 AM

"Jim maintains that dilution of real folk music is what caused all the ills that heralded the decline"
Sorry Al - you miss my point
I don't believe dumbing down played any part in the decline - that was right at the beginning - things improved from there
Some time in th late seventies an article appeared in The Folk Review entitled "Crap Begets Crap", initially complaining about poor organisation and noisy audiences, but over the editions if dovetailed out to what was being presented as 'folk' at clubs and the lowering of standards of performance
Around that time a pamphlet appeared by Birmingham student, Trevor fisher, entitled, 'We're Only in n For the Money' based on an interview he had recorded from a folk superstar at Loughborough who, when asked why he performed the way he did, he replied "for the Money"
Things seemed to go downhill from there - crappy singing from singers who couldn't be arsed to learn their songs, long, interminable singers from the floor spots which often deprived those residents and guests who had made the effort of a chance to sing - until finally, it became a reguar occurrence to leave a night at a folk club without hearing a folk song.
I was lucky - I had the Singers Club, which had a fairly firm policy and a level of performance that showed respect for the songs and audience.
We even had a venue to bring our singers to, Walter Pardon, Mikeen McCarthy, Bobby Casey, Tom McCarthy..... I was lucky enough to see Joe Heaney. Paddy Tunney and Mike Seeger there.
I used to go out four times a week to different clubs, eventually it was just the Singers, till Ewan died and it closed.
Crap had truly begotten crap
"I took your terminology as being somewhat disparaging. Other people will have done the same"
I hope others will take what I have written as being honest Dave - please allow others to speak fro themselves.
"And all the time i thought you were a pioneer, jim,"
Wash yo' mouf out boy!!
"for the record whisky was watered down to 40 per cent after the second world war."
The the Scots malt I drink Dick
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: The Sandman
Date: 23 Oct 17 - 11:28 AM

"I refuse to put water in my whisky, why should I need to water down my music?"
And all the time i thought you were a pioneer, jim,
for the record whisky was watered down to 40 per cent after the second world war.
Commercialism has forced a situation where venues are no longer available easily or cheaply for folk clubs , at the same time a lot of young people seem absorbed in mobile internet gadgets and seem to socialise in different ways than going down to a pub going in to a back room and listening, sometimes some of them only wantto communicate through their internet gadgets or if they go out they want to shout above back ground music


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 23 Oct 17 - 10:48 AM

Suit yourself, Jim. I took your terminology as being somewhat disparaging. Other people will have done the same. You can either take that on board or not. Up to you.

DtG


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 23 Oct 17 - 10:28 AM

' People were queueing round the block.'

Which is my point. Jim maintains that dilution of real folk music is what caused all the ills that heralded the decline of folk clubs. Its simply not how I remember it.


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 23 Oct 17 - 10:28 AM

"they were so lightweight, I was out within two years.
They were lightweight and I was on my way out because of that - what else should I say?
It's not "looking down on them", it's putting them where I believe in the grand order of things.
I've become a little tired of being told I shouldn't thing about these songs or that we shouldn't even be discussing them (go see how many times it's been said durning these discussions
I believe I'm talking to intelligent people (mostly) heer, not raw recruits we have to patronise and wean into the songs
I'm also becoming tired of hearing about "too long" or dreary ballads.
The idea that people aaate too thick to accept these songs without bing molly-coddled frightens the life out of me - if it is true, we may as well all fold up our tents and take up macrame - or lie back and listen to Bob Geldof.
I helped run enough workshops for new singers to know that most people who come to the music superficially are open to being introduced to the deeper side of the songs with the right approach
Here I seem to be having to persuade people who have been in the game for 30 years
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 23 Oct 17 - 09:56 AM

"Nothing wrong at all with lightweight."
I didn't suggest there was Dave


I know you didn't use that phrase, Jim, but you did say

they were so lightweight, I was out within two years.

and

The reest introduced people to a somewhat dumbed down form of folk song and never provided anything else.

It is that type of looking down on 'lightweights' that puts people off traditional folk at times. I know it may not be what you meant but both phrases come across as you believing that the type of music you like is superior to that provided by the popular acts. You may believe it is superior but that is purely a matter of taste. You should try to chose your language more carefully if you want to avoid unnecessary conflict.

DtG


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: GUEST
Date: 23 Oct 17 - 09:36 AM

I wonder if back, in the day, there were traditionalists who complained about the watered down, commercialised, versions of songs people were getting on the broadsides. That someone was printing them to make money.


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: GUEST,OldNicKilby
Date: 23 Oct 17 - 09:12 AM

I remember an article in the Guardian that claimed that Ewan and Peggy had netted ?5,000,000 from "F T E ". I was at a Wedding the next week and got lumbered with the Brides Father who turned out be a cousin of Ewan's. When I re-counted the Guardian article "Must get in touch with him" he said


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 23 Oct 17 - 08:25 AM

"Nothing wrong at all with lightweight."
I didn't suggest there was Dave - I too am grateful for the Spinners introduction, but, as I said, it introduced me to a watered down version of a complex and thought consuming music
If it hadn't been for a lucky accident I would have spent a n enjoyable year or so and moved on
The Folk Boom introduced many thousands om people to the same watered down version, lost interest when there was no more profit to be made and found something else to sell, and so did so many of the punters
WE reached a stage in the seventies of a fair number of people going for the real thing - people like George Deacon and Vic Gammon straddled both sides of the fence, performer and researcher - that was my own position.
WE had our own magazines, dozens of them, and a ready outlet for our music and ideas, albums, redio programmes devoted to folk music - most 'easy listening but some serious (I still have recordings of a couple of hundred radio programmes on folk music
Now the performance side has largely been taken from us in what I believe to be a hostile takeover - there are constant complaints on this forum that you can't find clubs to sing or listen to unaccompanied songs anymore
WE can't even discuss traditional song on a forum claiming to be about "Traditional music, collecting and community" without meeting "finger in ear folk police hostility and open abuse
I am involved in one side of the music but I care deeply that people are given the same opportunity I had to enjoy it in all its aspects
The added thing with me that it is a wonderful example of what working people like me are capable of producing
I'm not saying the watered down version shouldn't be there for those who want it, of course I'm not - that has happened here in Ireland and the new scene is now catering for all levels of interest
I refuse to put water in my whisky, why should I need to water down my music?
JIm Carroll


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 23 Oct 17 - 07:20 AM

I think my first folk concert was the Spinners at the Free Trade Hall one Christmas. I enjoyed it and some years later went on to run a folk club and festival for over 30 years. Nothing wrong at all with lightweight. There is something wrong with the snobbery associated with being more highbrow. In my opinion.

I also went to the Manchester Apollo for a live recording of one of Wally Whyton's folk shows. Another popular lightweight. People were queueing round the block.

DtG


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Rob Naylor
Date: 23 Oct 17 - 07:16 AM

Howard Jones: Climbing clubs are exactly what I had in mind, based on my own club's experience and comments on UKClimbing. For my generation, clubs were a natural way to meet other climbers and arrange activities, for many young people now they are irrelevant.

Ah, you're THAT Howard! Hadn't twigged before, despite your UKC profile mentioning folk music

Yes, completely agree....I'm in the middle of organising what I think is the 17th "Previously UKC but now mainly former UKC Members Annual Scottish Winter Climbing Trip". All done via Facebook and WhatsApp, whereas formerly they were actually organised through the UKC Forums!


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: The Sandman
Date: 23 Oct 17 - 06:44 AM

"You might as well say Cecil Sharp's 'Folk Songs for Schools' introduced more people to folk song or Mantovani introduced more people to orchestral music - which is probably true, but it never kept them there" that is debatable, I disagree, I know a substantial number of people over 50 who go to folk clubs and who were introduced to it by Sharp. Jim , you have said in the past that The Spinners introduced you to folk music and that you went to their club.


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 23 Oct 17 - 06:38 AM

"I would suggest did far more to bring folk music to "the masses" in the "UK than did any other performer, including McColl or Seeger."
THey were my introduction to folk song, but, as I said, they were so lightweight, I was out within two years.
MacColl, like all good art, was an acquired taste, but if you le
listened and thought about what was happening you were hooked
He breathed life into 137 Child ballads - that's contribution fro me
The reest introduced people to a somewhat dumbed down form of folk song and never provided anything else.
You might as well say Cecil Sharp's 'Folk Songs for Schools' introduced more people to folk song or Mantovani introduced more people to orchestral music - which is probably true, but it never kept them there
The secret is not to get bums on seats but keep them there - that's what Ewan, Bert, and all the others did
It's quality, not numbers that count
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Raggytash
Date: 23 Oct 17 - 06:27 AM

The Spinners were much maligned but I would suggest did far more to bring folk music to "the masses" in the UK than did any other performer, including McColl or Seeger.


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: The Sandman
Date: 23 Oct 17 - 06:16 AM

commerciailsation is a double edged sword, but it has good aspects too lets take the Spinners They did make a certain number of people aware of the music a few of whom went on to less commercial folk music , does that apply to you jim?


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 23 Oct 17 - 05:57 AM

"it wasn't taken up by Flack or anybody"
Soulsd read "till a decade and a half later
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Howard Jones
Date: 23 Oct 17 - 05:53 AM

Rob, I phrased it badly. What I should have said is that young people tend to be put off clubs which they perceive as being full of old people, and perhaps hidebound by rules. I agree that if you can break down those barriers ,and especially if you show the young people that they will be treated with respect, then they will often participate fully.

Climbing clubs are exactly what I had in mind, based on my own club's experience and comments on UKClimbing. For my generation, clubs were a natural way to meet other climbers and arrange activities, for many young people now they are irrelevant.

In folk music, the older and younger generations are both organising music events but are advertising them in ways which, intentionally or not, excludes the other.


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 23 Oct 17 - 05:40 AM

"just how much did he earn in royalties for Roberta Flacks version by the way."
I've no idea Rag - but he didn't write the song for money - he made it over the phone to Peggy because he missed her - it wasn't taken up by Flack or anybody
I always wonder why people begrudge MacColl and Seeger their good luck yet are happy to open the doors of folk clubs to professional non folk performers who bring with them the liability of payments to PRS and IMRO to add yet another burden on an already treading-water scene.
It's commercialisation that has always bugged the folk scene, right back to the Folk Boom days
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Rob Naylor
Date: 23 Oct 17 - 05:17 AM

Howard Jones: As for getting Young People involved, this is a problem faced by clubs in most fields (with the possible exception of organised sports) and doesn't just affect folk clubs. Young People today don't seem to be much interested in clubs, they have different ways of meeting up. In particular they aren't very interested in joining in with people old enough to be their parents or even grandparents.

Yes and no. Yes, young people are indeed "not much interested in clubs" in the traditional sense. As you rightly say, there are other ways of meeting up or arranging things now than pre-arranging a monthly or fortnightly meeting in a pub or a coffee shop.

But it's not true that they're not interested in joining in with older people.

My climbing club was moribund until we moved away from "physical" meetings to organise trips. We'd had a website since the late 1990s, and an email contact list, but the demographic was still ageing at about a year per year until we really started making an effort to use Facebook AND "WhatsApp" as a means of organising meetings and trips away. We now have a very healthy mix of young people and older ones attending meets....the only criterion of whether youngsters and oldsters "mix" being the oldsters' willingness to embrace new technology. ie, those who won't use "WhatsApp" are by definition now excluding THEMSELVES from 90% of the club's activities.

It's the same on the music side. When I go to local venues normally populated by younger people, I'm invariably made welcome. People talk to me, and are interested in why more older people don't go along. Conversely, when I used to take younger people along to local folk clubs and sessions in my home town (and I made a very concerted effort for 3-4 years) they generally felt excluded/ unwelcome and rarely came back.


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Raggytash
Date: 23 Oct 17 - 05:03 AM

Great Jim, well done Mr McColl .............. just how much did he earn in royalties for Roberta Flacks version by the way.


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: The Sandman
Date: 23 Oct 17 - 04:45 AM

Jack and Mary, a classic example of the sort of people that feck up folk clubs, two people who go through life being negative the sort of people that cannot go to a folk club and socialise without tearing the club to bits, no wonder they lived on their own who would want to marry those two selfish negative twats


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 23 Oct 17 - 04:04 AM

It really needs to be said that the first published text is no indication whatever of the age of a song, particularly in relation to themes like this, which deal with subjects that were general to all sections if society and all times.
The same goes for 'Trees they Grow so High' and the academic conceit of linking it to Craigton or 'The Laird of Craigs Town
These were universal subjects - people were still making songs about arranged and enforced marriage right into the twentieth century in Ireland
The versions of these song are like birds in flight' unless they carry definite information we have no idea where they started out and even then, we don't know they haven't been adapted from elsewhere.
We recorded a cante-fable type story from Travelling man, Mikeen McCarthy, a prose version of the Child Ballad, Get up and Bar the Door.
The earliest published version of this is said to be the version in Johnson's 'Scots Musical Museum' (1787-1803)
We found a version of the tale in a collection which gave it as "an Indian tale of the greatest antiquity" (Lee's Folktales of the World)
More recently, we came across the same tale from Ancient Egypt, telling of two tomb robbers sitting in an opened tomb eating stolen figs and arguing who should get up and cover the entrance in case they were discovered.
I really do belive it is an exercise in the pointless to try and date most of these songs/stories
Jim Carroll

There was a brother and sister one time, they were back in the west of Kerry altogether, oh, and a very remote place altogether now. So the water was that far away from them that they used always be grumbling and grousing, the two of them, now, which of them'd go for the water. So they'd always come to the decision anyway, that they'd have their little couple of verses and who'd ever stop first, they'd have to go for the water. So, they'd sit at both aides of the fire, anyway, and there was two little hobs that time, there used be no chairs, only two hobs, and one'd be sitting at one side and the other at the other side and maybe Jack'd have a wee duidin (doodeen), d'you know, that's what they used call a little clay pipe (te). And Jackd say:
        (Sung)
        Oren hum dum di deedle o de doo rum ray,
                Racks fol de voedleen the vo vo vee.

So now it would go over to Mary:
        (Sung)        
        Oren him iren ooren hun the roo ry ray,
                Racks fol de voedleen the vo vo vee.

So back to Jack again:
        (Sung)
        Oren him iren ooren hum the roo ry ray,
                Rack fol de voedleen the vo vo vee.

So, they'd keep on like that maybe, from the start, from morning, maybe until night, and who'd ever stop he'd have to go for the water.

So, there was an old man from Tralee, anyway, and he was driving a horse and sidecar, 'twas' they'd be calling it a taxi now. He'd come on with his horse and sidecar, maybe from a railway station or someplace and they'd hire him to drive him back to the west of Dingle. So, bejay, he lost his way, anyway. So 'twas the only house now for another four or five miles. So in he goes anyway, to enquire what road he'd to take, anyway, and when he landed inside the door, he said: "How do I get to Ballyferriter from here" and Mary said:

(Sung verse)

So over he went, he said, "What's wrong with that one, she must be mad or something", and over to the old man. He said, "How do I get to Ballyferriter from here"

(Sung verse)

So he just finished a verse and he go back over to Mary and he was getting the same results off of Mary; back to Jack. So the old man, he couldn't take a chance to go off without getting the information where the place was, so he catches a hold of Mary and started tearing Mary round the place, "Show me the road to Ballyferriter", he go, and he shaking and pushing her and pull her and everything:

(Sung verse)

And he kept pulling her and pulling her and tearing her anyway, round the place, and he kept pucking her and everything.

"Oh, Jack," says she, "will you save me"

"Oh, I will, Mary," he said, "but you'll have to go for the water now".


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Jack Campin
Date: 22 Oct 17 - 07:53 PM

the earliest broadside says it's to be sung to the tune of Barbara Allen.
Date please.


I was quoting Steve Gardham, who displayed it on the screen during a talk about it. I'l take his word for it that the sheet he had was in fact the earliest known one. Not long after Pepys, anyway.


Was Barbara Allen only ever sung to one tune? I honestly don't know.

Certainly not (more like 200 of them), but mentioning it like that in the song sheet implies that at that time and place the printer had a particular one in mind and expected their buyers to know it. (I'm not sure when the earliest printing of a tune for it was - I suppose it's documented in Bronson).


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 22 Oct 17 - 07:27 PM

"Was Barbara Allen only ever sung to one tune?"
There are alittle short of 200 variants of Barbara Allen in Bronson and dozens of different tunes
It was common practice with broadsides to either not give a tune to to pick one that was flavour of the month at the time
The practice was continued right into the mid 1950s in Ireland by the Ballad sellers
A traveller we recorded had three tunes and sets of words to it
The 'died for love' theme is as old as literature itself - it would be peculiar if there were no earlier versions that Pepys's
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 22 Oct 17 - 07:08 PM

"I just thought it was best to start from what Pepys actually said rather than what you'd have liked him to have said."
No you didn't Bryan - you thought you might score a few points
"What? You mean people like McColl ?)"
I assume that was addressed to me Raggy
MacColl and Seeger gave a night a week to younger singers for around eight years while the rest of the superstars got on with their careers
They lived modestly and worked at their interests, taking on bookings only to pay their bills - whenever I stayed with them, they gave me their son Calum's bedroom (when I moved to London, for nearly a month)
Most of the hundreds of songs they wrote between them were passed on free of charge to other singers (Peggy once showed me a list of the people who recorded First Time Ever and had never paid royalties)
That song lay dormant for fifteen years before it was taken up and made money for them
MacColl died being owed many thousands in Royalties for his plays - never collected
They never adapted their music to follow the trends and I know that they refused to write a song for an oil company advert.
Of all the performers I ever knew, they were the least career driven and the most dedicated to the music they loved.
Ewan fell out with Luke Kelly once because of the Dubliner's attempts to copyright some of the "arrangements" of traditional songs he and Peggy had collected.
I never came across two people more generous with their time, material and hospitality - and I never came across an individual who got more flak for his dedication - and his tendency to speak his mind.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: TheSnail
Date: 22 Oct 17 - 07:05 PM

We'd use the same locution today, to imply no more than that she was particularly associated with the song. Which might well be the case even if it had been written 200 years before.
Indeed, but there is nothing in Pepys' quote that implies that.

the earliest broadside says it's to be sung to the tune of Barbara Allen.
Date please.
Was Barbara Allen only ever sung to one tune? I honestly don't know.


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Jack Campin
Date: 22 Oct 17 - 06:29 PM

her little Scotch song of Barbary Allen

We'd use the same locution today, to imply no more than that she was particularly associated with the song. Which might well be the case even if it had been written 200 years before.

One reason to think it might be at least somewhat older than its first occurrence in print is that the the earliest broadside says it's to be sung to the tune of Barbara Allen. Which is not included. Steve Gardham has a "nowt so queer as folk" attitude to that, but it does make sense if the song was already current and the point of the broadside was to appeal to people who knew the tune but needed some help getting the words straight. (And I can't think of any other interpretation that maks sense of that).


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: TheSnail
Date: 22 Oct 17 - 06:14 PM

Beoga and Gatehouse
There's much worse.
Celtic Woman


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: TheSnail
Date: 22 Oct 17 - 05:38 PM

Gosh!
Jim has accused me of being pedantic!
I just thought it was best to start from what Pepys actually said rather than what you'd have liked him to have said.
her little Scotch song of Barbary Allen
Presence of HER, absence of OLD.


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: TheSnail
Date: 22 Oct 17 - 05:20 PM

I'm sure that a lot of people will be glad to know that Vic Smith and I didn't come to blows last night (Me: At least Jim spells my name right.)
It would have rather put the mockers on an absolutely slendid evening with The Askew Sisters. It has to be admitted that they did do some pieces that weren't "folk". They also do early and medieval music.
Spoilt for choice for floorsingers. Not one I felt uncomfortable about putting before a paying audience.


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Raggytash
Date: 22 Oct 17 - 05:04 PM

What? You mean people like McColl ??


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: GUEST
Date: 22 Oct 17 - 05:02 PM

Someone might suggest that in older times we'd be recognised as a glee club, and before that we'd have been the ones huddled round the latest broadside.

Ah, good, that's the 'place in social history' angle I had been wanting to ask about. Folk getting together with like-minded folk to sing a few songs, including the popular songs of the day and maybe 'old songs' - some of which were the popular music of another day.


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: GUEST
Date: 22 Oct 17 - 04:09 PM

"At least, in the clubs I go to, we don't mistake it for a balaclava helmet, i.e. something to stuff your head into. "
Why do you people always revert to personal abusse
I commented on the state of folk clubs compared to the thirty years I was involved - the one I helped to build and maintain
"But you've no excuse to abuse our knowledge and ability. Some of us are professional or semi-professional musicians of skill and experience, others are improving tyros, (self not included in either category.) "
You are a self obsessed pratt - my revival was built on volunteer enthusiasts not career seekers
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Ged Fox
Date: 22 Oct 17 - 03:59 PM

"that couldn't find it's folk arse with both hands"
At least, in the clubs I go to, we don't mistake it for a balaclava helmet, i.e. something to stuff your head into.

"no residents, no policy, no organising committee and usually no publicity.
They are there for the locals and depend entirely on the good-will and co-operation of the publican"
That's still a close enough description of the club I go to most often. I doubt anyone would be remotely offended if you popped in one night and said that in Ireland we'd be called a Song Circle rather than a Folk Club. Someone might suggest that in older times we'd be recognised as a glee club, and before that we'd have been the ones huddled round the latest broadside. When most of us first started to drink in pubs we'd simply have been that bunch who like to make a racket on a Wednesday night. "Folk club" is a convenient label that prevents us from being mistaken for a choir or an orchestra or a gathering of electro-technology dependant musicians.

But you've no excuse to abuse our knowledge and ability. Some of us are professional or semi-professional musicians of skill and experience, others are improving tyros, (self not included in either category.) Good performances are frequent and welcomed, but so are good tries.
We've a pretty fair idea of what traditional folk is, and where we are in relation to it. None of us is within that elite group of primitives that you would admit to being "folk;" no gypsies, ploughboys* or mill-workers, as far as I know, though we do have a good leavening of deep-water seamen. Some of us, being of the sixties generation, sing sixties songs. Some of us, being middle-class, sing songs of that golden Victorian age of middle-class music. Sneer if you want to, but we are true to our roots.   We sing and play the songs and music that suit our background and preferences, which is all that can be said for your Travellers.


*Not quite correct; at least one knows the difference between a slade and a sidecarp.


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Backwoodsman
Date: 22 Oct 17 - 11:49 AM

Good post, Howard.


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: GUEST,Howard Jones
Date: 22 Oct 17 - 09:15 AM

The main difference I see between the folk clubs I used to visit and the ones now is the frequency of guest nights. The clubs I used to go to had guests most weeks and gave floor spots to anyone who asked. The standard of floor spots was usually pretty good - appearing on the same stage as well-known professional performers was an incentive to improve. Now most clubs seem to put on a guest only every few weeks, and then support is limited to a few of of the regular residents. Is this a failure of confidence, or is that audiences aren't willing to pay enough to hear professional performers on a regular basis?

As for getting Young People involved, this is a problem faced by clubs in most fields (with the possible exception of organised sports) and doesn't just affect folk clubs. Young People today don't seem to be much interested in clubs, they have different ways of meeting up. In particular they aren't very interested in joining in with people old enough to be their parents or even grandparents. Although folk music will always be a minority interest, I don't think we need to worry that younger generations are not discovering it, but they are finding their own ways to perform and enjoy it. It's just that these generally don't include the folk clubs that for our generation were the core.


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 22 Oct 17 - 09:10 AM

"would be a fair description of my local "folk club.""
It might be nowadays in an English club scene that couldn't find it's folk arse with both hands
There are a few folk 'Clubs' in Ireland - The Goil?n and 'The Night Before Larry Was Stretched' at the Cobblestone (wonderful singing club run by talented young people).
Dick will confirm that The Cork singers club at 'The Spalp?n Fanach' is still still operating
There used to be more, but Ireland has never had a strong Folk Club scene
The Circles are different, no residents, no policy, no organising committee and usually no publicity.
They are there for the locals and depend entirely on the good-will and co-operation of the publican
Most I have been to have no M.C. - the singers jump in whenever the mood takes them
They can be enjoyable, they can be diabolical
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Ged Fox
Date: 22 Oct 17 - 08:41 AM

"they style themselves 'singing circles' and make it clear that there is no restriction on what is sung
They seldom, if ever book guests but rely solely on local talent"

That, apart from the name, and that instrumentalists are also welcome, would be a fair description of my local "folk club." The fact that my local club has the self-contradictory name of "Broadside Folk Club" merely serves to point up the fact that, on this side of St George's Channel, "folk" is a term used fairly loosely.

It seems to me that you are only quibbling over the name, not the phenomenon, of English folk clubs.


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