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What is Happening to our Folk Clubs

Jim Carroll 20 Oct 17 - 01:49 PM
Dave the Gnome 20 Oct 17 - 12:44 PM
Dave Sutherland 20 Oct 17 - 11:52 AM
Jack Campin 20 Oct 17 - 11:37 AM
Jim Carroll 20 Oct 17 - 11:14 AM
Backwoodsman 20 Oct 17 - 11:13 AM
akenaton 20 Oct 17 - 11:07 AM
Dave the Gnome 20 Oct 17 - 10:45 AM
Vic Smith 20 Oct 17 - 10:37 AM
Jim Carroll 20 Oct 17 - 10:36 AM
GUEST,henryp 20 Oct 17 - 10:30 AM
Vic Smith 20 Oct 17 - 10:25 AM
TheSnail 20 Oct 17 - 10:13 AM
Jim Carroll 20 Oct 17 - 09:15 AM
Jim Carroll 20 Oct 17 - 09:07 AM
Dave the Gnome 20 Oct 17 - 09:05 AM
Jim Carroll 20 Oct 17 - 08:41 AM
Backwoodsman 20 Oct 17 - 08:39 AM
Jack Campin 20 Oct 17 - 08:29 AM
Vic Smith 20 Oct 17 - 08:29 AM
Dave the Gnome 20 Oct 17 - 08:04 AM
Jim Carroll 20 Oct 17 - 07:46 AM
Dave Sutherland 20 Oct 17 - 07:39 AM
Vic Smith 20 Oct 17 - 07:20 AM
Jim Carroll 20 Oct 17 - 06:54 AM
TheSnail 20 Oct 17 - 06:10 AM
Jim Carroll 20 Oct 17 - 05:55 AM
TheSnail 20 Oct 17 - 05:39 AM
Jim Carroll 20 Oct 17 - 03:43 AM
Dave the Gnome 20 Oct 17 - 02:44 AM
Backwoodsman 20 Oct 17 - 02:18 AM
Jack Campin 19 Oct 17 - 08:58 PM
The Sandman 19 Oct 17 - 05:20 PM
Jim Carroll 19 Oct 17 - 03:35 PM
GUEST 19 Oct 17 - 03:35 PM
Raggytash 19 Oct 17 - 03:30 PM
Jim Carroll 19 Oct 17 - 02:50 PM
GUEST 19 Oct 17 - 01:57 PM
Jim Carroll 19 Oct 17 - 01:54 PM
Jim Carroll 19 Oct 17 - 01:38 PM
Big Al Whittle 19 Oct 17 - 01:17 PM
GUEST,Mudcat Moaner 19 Oct 17 - 12:52 PM
Jack Campin 19 Oct 17 - 12:46 PM
The Sandman 19 Oct 17 - 12:32 PM
The Sandman 19 Oct 17 - 12:30 PM
Jim Carroll 19 Oct 17 - 12:13 PM
Jim Carroll 19 Oct 17 - 11:57 AM
Big Al Whittle 19 Oct 17 - 11:07 AM
Jim Carroll 19 Oct 17 - 11:06 AM
Dave the Gnome 19 Oct 17 - 10:52 AM
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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 20 Oct 17 - 01:49 PM

So Jim, what precisely is the difference between 'I Don't Like Mondays' and, for instance, 'Freeborn Man' that makes one of those 'folk'
Are you deliberately ignoring what I have said as well Baccy?
I didn?t say it was ?folk? and MacColl always denied what he wrote were folk songs.
I said songs based on folk styles (you might add here ?folk speech)
Freeborn man was constructed entirely from interviewed from interviews with Travellers as were some of his best (in my opinion) songs - some of those interviews can be heard on the Radio Ballad, The Travelling People.
It was one of those songs taken up by the Travellers and claimed as their own
One Scots Traveller we recorded told us he had written it and sent it to Ewan, who published it under his name ? great ammunition for the grave dancers among us.
We recorded it from several Irish Travellers who claimed it was an old Irish Traveller?s song
Shoals of Herring was similarly conceived, based on actuality recorded from Sam Larner ? Sam said he?d been listening to the song all his life when in fact he was listening to his own words reflected back at him (we have the actuality the song was based on on the shelf here somewhere)
The tune was interesting for both of these songs as they came from the same source ? Gavin Greig?s ?Sweet William (Famous Flower of Serving Man Child 106)
Ewan would choose a tune that fitted a song he had written and whistle it around the house, adapting it until it was unrecognisable from the original (and he had driven the household screaming mad)
Both songs are based on folk forms and on vernacular speech
?Mondays ? you work it out for yourself ? obscurantist to the point of being meaningless, totally lacking narrative and form, certainly not the form that went into the making of our folksongs

The silicon chip inside her head
Gets switched to overload
And nobody's gonna go to school today
She's going to make them stay at home
And daddy doesn't understand it
He always said she was as good as gold
And he can see no reason
'Cause there are no reasons
What reason do you need to be sure
Oh, oh, oh tell me why
I don't like Mondays
Tell me why
I don't like Mondays
Tell me why
I don't like Mondays
I want to shoot
The whole day down
The Telex machine is kept so clean
As it types to a waiting world
And mother feels so shocked
Father's world is rocked
And their thoughts turn to their own little girl
Sweet sixteen ain't that peachy keen
Now, it ain't so neat to admit defeat
They can see no reasons
'Cause there are no reasons
What reason do you need oh, woah

Not much folk speech, melody or even vernacular utterance there
?and the latter by someone who set himself up as an arbiter of good taste in the folk-world?
Never put you down for one of the grave-dancers ? ah well!!
MacColl did no more than people are doing here ? expressing a view of what was a folk song and what made one good or bad
I suppose it?s easier to deny him the right to do that when he?s been dead for so long
That MacColl was listened to is due to his contribution to folk song ? I never heard him bad-mouth his fellow folk enthusiasts publicly the way some are still bad-mouthing him nearly three decades after his death ? he must have done something right to receive such attention from such people
I only know that, while other folk superstars were busily getting on with their careers, Ewan and Peggy were throwing open their home and giving their time (for free) to less experienced singers
Must be that I was a recipient of that generosity that I am so ready to stand up for an old friend
"I think we must be at polar opposites then, Jim."
Must be Dave - you tell me what folk song it resembles in performance
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 20 Oct 17 - 12:44 PM

I think we must be at polar opposites then, Jim. I don't see how you can say it doesn't resemble a folk song! As the twain shall never meet I suppose we must call it a day for that discussion. Not sure why you felt the need to take the piss out of his accent. He was born in Halifax but moved to Suffolk when he was a child. His parents were London born and his paternal grandparents Irish. Just out of interest.

DtG


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Dave Sutherland
Date: 20 Oct 17 - 11:52 AM

Since my wife and granddaughter are both big Ed Sheeran fans I have to say that I have, over the months, become quite familiar with his work (I'm only the driver) although I'm not sure that I'd ever attempt any of it in a folk club, even after I have eventually mastered the guitar! However he does appear to have some grasp on folk music or at least the Irish pub music scene as illustrated in his song "Galway Girl" although his reference to the song "Carrickfergus" surely can't be the same version of which I am acquainted?


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Jack Campin
Date: 20 Oct 17 - 11:37 AM

I hadn't heard "Nancy Mulligan" before, so I just followed that YouTube link.

I'm not fond of the arrangement (boringly stereotypical folk-rock beat), but the tune is in traditional Irish idiom and the lyrics tell much the same story as "Kisses Sweeter Than Wine", which is another folk-ish song that went feral in the pop world fifty years ago, and which some of the best-informed folkies the time certainly approved of. I can't imagine a situation where you could sing "Spancil Hill" but not "Nancy Mulligan".


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 20 Oct 17 - 11:14 AM

"You dismissed Ed Sheeran's Nancy Mulligan out of hand earlier "
Don't remember dismissing it Dave - just listened to it and I wonder how it in any way resembles a folk song
Love that Halifax accent though - Halifax, Nova Scotia maybe !!
Surely you've been involved in folk song long enough to recognise the various forms they take - can't see anything folky in that in any shape or form, but I don't decide about what goes on in clubs
I would say that would stand out from a night of folk songs like a turd on a banquet table - three of the would completely change the direction of any folk song session I've ever attended
For me, a good evening of songs requites continuity magnify that to what a club needs to attract a regular audience (for folk songs) and I believe you have some sort of answer
Ireland has no great history of folk clubs, certainly not the way Britain has/had
We have 'Singing Circles' here - pub sessions where anything goes
I've been to many - some are extremely enjoyable, others not so good - depends on where they are and who turns up, but they do not pretend what they are not - they are gatherings of singers, not folk clubs
If that's what you are aiming for - feel free - don't forget to invite me to the funeral of The Folk Song Revival
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Backwoodsman
Date: 20 Oct 17 - 11:13 AM

Forget the Birdie Song for a moment.

So Jim, what precisely is the difference between 'I Don't Like Mondays' and, for instance, 'Freeborn Man' that makes one of those 'folk' but not the other? Apart from the fact that the former was written by a foul-mouthed Irish Punk, and the latter by someone who set himself up as an arbiter of good taste in the folk-world, and who seems to have had you completely in his thrall?

This is a genuine question, BTW, I genuinely see (hear) no difference - they are both a commentary on the human condition which, to my mind, is one of the important elements of folk-song, they tell a story, and they both have a good tune. I'll grant that the poetry of Ewan's lyrics is vastly superior, but there are plenty of folk-songs that aren't poetically 'sparkling', yet they are universally accepted as being 'of the genre'.

I will also say that I have never liked Geldof as a persona, nor 'IDLMs' as a song, and I love 'Freeborn Man' so I, for one, am not fighting a corner for a personal favourite!

So, what precisely makes 'Freeborn Man' folk, and 'IDLMs' 'not folk'.


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: akenaton
Date: 20 Oct 17 - 11:07 AM

I've been musing about the death of folk music, why the clubs are full of snobby boring old farts the music dreary and emotionless.
The revival brought people to folk music, gave them a shot of emotion, got them to participate made them belly laugh and cry sometimes....that's what it was about, then it changed into a search for something the kids would buy, but the kids are not interested. What do they know about life, it's trials, the pain and joy mixed up together? Kids deal in the now, the black and white now, they don't want to hear about lords and ladies long ago, the mores thereof, or Spencer the Rover......its all fairyland to our whizz kids.

But there is still good music being produced, its just another wonderful niche with only a few who can transmit the message.
Here's one by Linda Thompson who utilises an old tune to tell a modern tragedy......if this doesn't make the tears come you know nothing about folk.
Banks of the Clyde.


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 20 Oct 17 - 10:45 AM

That is just it though, Jim. The extreme examples you give are obvious but, apart from Vic's tongue in cheek suggestion, no one has answered my question. Who decides? You dismissed Ed Sheeran's Nancy Mulligan out of hand earlier but each time I listen to it I am more convinced it would be approved of in all but the most traditional of clubs! What makes that song so different from others done in the traditional style?

Once again, who decides?

DtG


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Vic Smith
Date: 20 Oct 17 - 10:37 AM

'I think that this is a bit unfair, Brian.'
No problem with The Singers' Club, Vyc.


Argh! I apologise to Bryan for spelling his name wrongly! I hope that he can find it in his heart to forgive me so that we do not have a mighty row when we next meet..... especially as that will be in a folk club in Lewes tomorrow night when the guests are Hazel & Emily Askew, still young sisters - they started as teenagers - whose repertoire is made up of traditional songs and tunes which they perform with skill, enthusiasm and great understanding of the tradition.


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 20 Oct 17 - 10:36 AM

"Don't tell me, tell Jim. He is the one who wants to exclude anything that is not folk from Folk Clubs. "
Will you please stop this dishonesty bryan - it's beneath you
I have made my position quite clear here and elsewhere
I do not wish to exclude non-traditional songs from the clubs - show me wheer I hav ever made such a claim
You are deliberately distorting what I say
THis is the type of behaviour that turns these discussions into slanging matches
If you can't tell the difference between I Hate Mondays or The Birdy Song and Freeborn man or Willie McBride, I suggest you go to the dry cleaners and get your cloth ears sorted out
The Birdie Song - give us a break

It?s a little bit of this (open and close your hands like a birds beak)
And a little bit of that (hold your hands in your armpits and wave your arms like wings)
And wiggle your bum (no prizes for guessing the accompanying action here)

Jim Carroll
Incidentally
There is a great deal of speculation about Barbara Allen based on no hard information whatever
Pepys described it as "an old Scotch song' which makes its origins even more obscure


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: GUEST,henryp
Date: 20 Oct 17 - 10:30 AM

More about Barbara Allen;

Barbara Allen: Broadside Ballad, Theatre Song, Traditional Song by Vic Gammon
Friday 27 October, 7?8.30pm, Chetham's Library, Manchester

Barbara Allen is a hugely successful popular song which was collected many times in the folk tradition. The first mention can be found in Pepys? Diary in the 1660s, being sung by an actress. Broadside ballads copies of the song can be traced dating from a decade or so later.

In this presentation Vic Gammon will explore the song?s history and resilience from the 17th century through broadsides, the stage, collections of traditional songs, literature and graphic art.


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Vic Smith
Date: 20 Oct 17 - 10:25 AM

Jim wrote -
"We could call them the Folk Poli...."
That's one of the most despicably nasty terms to have surfaced in the revival

... and I would agree, but it would take more than that to stop me introducing (or attempting to introduce) a bit of humour into situations or over-serious discussions. I spent more than three decades working at a senior level with some of the most violent and disturbed pupils around and I found that making jokes was a great social lubricant, so doing so is now very deeply ingrained.


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: TheSnail
Date: 20 Oct 17 - 10:13 AM

I think that this is a bit unfair, Brian.
No problem with The Singers' Club, Vyc. Don't tell me, tell Jim. He is the one who wants to exclude anything that is not folk from Folk Clubs. No I am not Bryan. Oh yes you are Jim. The "what is says on the tin line" is yours not mine. You then go on to say -
The club scene has become a venue for any type of song, without borders, and folk song has been the main victim
So what are the borders? As Dave the Gnome says "Who decides?". Once you have crossed the border out of the true definition of folk, it becomes entirely subjective. If Freeborn Man, why not I Hate Mondays or The Birdy Song for that matter. Barbara Allen was probably written for the stage in the 17C and can't have become a folk song until 1830 because the term hadn't been invented.
If you advertise yourself as a folk club, you commit yourself to providing something that loosely conforms to that description
"loosely conforms"
"loosely"?
Whaat?!
Yes Jim, you have used that anecdote about one incident involving one club around 25 years ago before. I wasn't involved in our club but I'm pretty sure you wouldn't have got that response from us. What about you Vic?


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 20 Oct 17 - 09:15 AM

Incidentally
I've just put a few radio programmes into Dropbox for a participant in this discussion which I believe might be apposite to all this
They are:
The Song Carriers (10 programmes) Ewan MacColl
Songs of the People (13 programmes) an international survey by Bert Lloyd
Come All You Loyal Travellers (3 programmes) An Irish radio production on our work with Travellers
If anybody would like any or all of these please PM me your e-mail address and I'll link you to them
They's stay available untikl I need the space
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 20 Oct 17 - 09:07 AM

Sorry - premature ejaculation
Meant to add this
MUSIC
I have no objection to sharing material and ideas on the internet Jack - why on earth are you suggesting I have?
It's opened up a whole new world for all of us and made the impossible possible - I'm even able to talk to you fellers without moving away from home
The thing I find disturbing abut the net is its inclination towards alienation - it is replacing personal contact in many cases
I have become tired, even a little frightened of the growing tendency of having to stare at the top of people's heads in the street when I have to scurry out of the way of their way along the pavements - somewhat reminiscent of 'Invasion of the Bodysnatchers' with people clutching their giant pods.
As an addition to communication, technology is a godsend, as a replacement for personal contact - I fear it greatly
For me, technology will never beat the act of sitting in a room full of people listening to them sing to each other - not in my lifetime, I hope
"who decides whether or not it is in the traditional style? "
Based on what we have already, it should be a formality Dave - if other genres don't have a problem, why should we?
God knows, we have a century or so of research and recordings to base our ideas on.
The fact that it is possible to go into many folk clubs now and not hear anything resembling a folk song should ring enough alarm bells - couple taht with some of the arguments here.......
"We could call them the Folk Poli...."
That's one of the most despicably nasty terms to have surfaced in the revival and is usually flung about by people demanding that we should stop thinking about folk song and go with the flow - a sort of Folk SS
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 20 Oct 17 - 09:05 AM

Vic - :-D

Incidentally, apart from the odd spat which we can put down to misunderstanding or getting out of the wrong side of the bed, this seems to have been a remarkably civil thread on a subject that could have raised hackles and rancour to a level usually seen below the line.

As young Mr Grace would say. You've all done very well...

:D tG


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 20 Oct 17 - 08:41 AM

"Obviously Jim needs to burn his entire archive, given the attitude he has to learning from recorded materia"
Now you are mistiterpreing what I say
I learn from the internet and was delighted when our CLARE COLLECTION - also was put on line by our County Library
#Last week we were over the moon when Limerick Uni informed us that they would take our entire collection and poen a website to make some of it accessible
I have hopes that this will include a long-intended book of Traveller songs and stories I made a start on years ago and have never got round to finishing
Changes in the Irish library system have centalised everything to Dublin which has put the initiatives of many local libraries under threat - our Clare collection included - Limerick has provided us with a safety net - maybe now we can add our additional material that has been piling up unused


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Backwoodsman
Date: 20 Oct 17 - 08:39 AM

Yes, I thought exactly the same thing about ten seconds after I posted, Jack!

But my point remains true, AFAIC - that what we know as the Oral Tradition evolved because it was a readily available system of passing songs on at that time, but it is a method which has been consigned almost entirely to history (in the developed world, certainly) by the technological advances of the past sixty or seventy years.

Technology is here to stay. The Oral Tradition, sadly, can't compete as a methodology for musical transmission.

Usual disclaimers apply......IMHO, YMMV etc.


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Jack Campin
Date: 20 Oct 17 - 08:29 AM

If computers and the internet had been around 'back then', the Oral Tradition wouldn't have existed. The originators and carriers of what we regard as 'traditional' songs would have set them down for posterity using that medium, exactly as composers and performers are doing today. The Oral Tradition existed for no other reason than that was all they had.

I don't think that's quite true. People used song sheets centuries ago if they had them, as a supplement to learning directly from another person. We have many more technologies now that do the same thing more effectively, be it taking a video on your phone, listening to somebody's Soundcloud upload of last night in the pub, PDFs from collections on the web or whatever. But if I'm trying to learn a tune from a PDF of Kiselhof's 1938 klezmer collection on my phone, it's because I've personally heard somebody play it.

<Fe>Obviously Jim needs to burn his entire archive, given the attitude he has to learning from recorded material. All those rootless young townies sitting at home wanking to Stanley Robertson on the internet. Worthless, all of it.</Fe>

I am increasingly seeing younger people make very effective use of electronic resources in informal music-making situations. They have got something that the ageing crowd of folkies glued to their song sheets and tunebooks by declining vision and failing memory don't have. To some extent these portable electronic devices impose a minimal threshold of competence in using them, which filters out the most unlistenable fools better than using books does, but they do genuinely offer something new and effective.


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Vic Smith
Date: 20 Oct 17 - 08:29 AM

Dave wrote:-
Who decides?
What we need is an Authentication Standards Panel. We could call them the Folk Poli.... no, wait a minute.... forget that. It's not such a good idea after all.


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 20 Oct 17 - 08:04 AM

The Singers Club catered for both - traditional songs and songs based on traditional styles

The only thing that puzzles me about that, Jim, is who decides whether or not it is in the traditional style? A song by Ed Sheeran, linked earlier by Raggytash, raised the comment from you 'so that is what passes for folk nowadays' or some such. Yet I believe, along with many others, that it is a song in the traditional style. So, by your own comment, you would not have this song at a folk club yet many others would.

Who decides?

DtG


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 20 Oct 17 - 07:46 AM

""The New City Songster" "
Peggy edited 20 editions of this, gathering new songs from as far afield as America and Australia - we have the full set (including volume 2a which was withdrawn because it contained a song too close in form to 'Eleanor Rigby' and might have infringed copyright laws).
When Peggy finally ended the series, she distributed a large bundle of songs which she had been sent but was not able to include - we have that too
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Dave Sutherland
Date: 20 Oct 17 - 07:39 AM

"The New City Songster" - there were some good songs in the various editions that I bought.


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Vic Smith
Date: 20 Oct 17 - 07:20 AM

Brian wrote -
You keep saying that folk clubs should only do what it says on the tin i.e. Folk Music not written sings. Apparently that now has the qualification "Unless you are Ewan Maccoll".

I think that this is a bit unfair, Brian. Back in the day, one of the Singers' Club's activities was to produce new song publication booklets (name forgotten but Jim will be here shortly to provide it) They were new songs mainly, but not exclusively, of a socio/political/protest nature. The writers included many who were not associated with their own immediate contacts. Clearly these new songs were being circulated with the aim that they should be sung in folk clubs. I remember providing the notation for Miles Wootton songs that were included.


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 20 Oct 17 - 06:54 AM

"You keep saying that folk clubs should only do what it says on the tin i.e. Folk Music not written sings."
No I am not Bryan
The Singers Club catered for both - traditional songs and songs based on traditional styles
What we are talking aout hre goes far beyond that - even to include Geldof
The club scene has become a venue for any type of song, without borders, and folk song has been the main victim
We are now at the stage of having to defend the definition of folk even though it is an extremely well-researched genre whose name goes back as far as the 1830s
If you advertise yourself as a folk club, you commit yourself to providing something that loosely conforms to that description
Folk clubs have become song clubs - the term "folk" no onger applies to many of them.
This forum has ben bombarded with complaints from peope who have turned up at a club describing itself as "folk" and being made ot feel unwelcome.
I have left a folk club after sitting through an evening of not having heard a folk song
I know you are aware of this story, but yr 'tis again.
Walter Pardon was booked to do a television interview in London as, as usual, he asked to stay with us.
Pat decided to do a mini-tour for him in th South East Clubs, and she contacted one on the list we had been fold would take him
She phoned up the organiser, who told her she had never heard of Walter Pardon, so Pat described who he was and what he sang.
"Sorry", was the reply, "we're a folk club, we don't do that sort of thing"
I get the impression that this is the stage the folk scene is at in Britain - and no - we all can't jump on a train and nip along to Lewes - life isn't like that
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: TheSnail
Date: 20 Oct 17 - 06:10 AM

Not talking about the politics, Jim.
"The so called 'rules' (actually practices) associated with the Ewan, Peg and the Critics were for our clubs, not anyone else's"
But that's exactly what you are doing. You keep saying that folk clubs should only do what it says on the tin i.e. Folk Music not written sings. Apparently that now has the qualification "Unless you are Ewan Maccoll".


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 20 Oct 17 - 05:55 AM

Of course he did Bryan and no - he didn't refuse to sing his own songs, though on a number of occasions he and others around him were told that the clubs that gave bookings were policy clubs who discouraged new songs and instruments
As far as MacColl et al were concerned, the clubs knew who they were booking and what they did and they took it or left it - their choice
One of the greatest obstacles was the political repertoire - we were constantly asked not to perform them (perfectly acceptable to sing a 19th century flag-wagging King and country song, but not a leftie song about today - never worked that one out.
The so called 'rules' (actually practices) associated with the Ewan, Peg and the Critics were for our clubs, not anyone else's, but we did feel free to comment as publicly as we felt necessary on such censorship - after all, some of England's oldest songs, dating back to the 12th century, were political songs
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: TheSnail
Date: 20 Oct 17 - 05:39 AM

Did Ewan Maccoll ever perform at places that called themselves Folk Clubs? If he did, did he refuse to sing his own songs?


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 20 Oct 17 - 03:43 AM

"Neither side is any better or worse than the other but they are different."
Exactly - what I have been trying to say throughout these arguments Dave
It has always puzzled me how personal likes and dislikes have crept into these arguments
I will say that I don't think it either logical or particularly ethical to run "Folk Clubs" on a like-dislike basis
If you hang your shingle up saying you deal in something as specific as folk song, you have to give the punters what you say on your sign - not by any 'rule book definition' but at least an approximation of the term
I go along with MacColl when he said that if new songs weren't written the folk scene would die and the old ones retreat into archives and books.
Now I no longer sing as much as I did I've found myself resurrecting Shellback, Rambler From Clare, Tenant Farmer, O'Reilly and the Big MacNeill and Clayton Aniline - and I find they work for a rural Irish audience as well as they did for an Urban English one - and they all still turn me on.   
Of course you are right to say not all folk songs are 'good' - if you are using the term in the entertainment sense
I find 'Maid Freed From The Gallows' one of the most boring songs in the ballad canon, but when I examine its use of incremental repetition I find it an extremely useful example to understanding a common device in ballad-making
Even then, though I might not like that particular ballad, I can go to one of its offshoots, Streets of Derry and find a beautiful song which tells the same story using that device
That for me is the joy of folksong, there's always something else lurking around the corner.
I would add that it's not just academic
We made a point of asking as many of our singers as we could to define their songs - everyone we asked had their own term for songs I would call 'folk' or 'traditional'
Blind Traveller, Mary Delaney had a repertoire of over 100 songs, which she referred to as "my daddy's songs' - when we recorded her father, he knew less than ten
Mary was identifying her traditional repertoire by associating it with the type of songs her father sang - she could have doubled her repertoire with C&W songs, but when we asked her for them she refused, saying they weren't the ones we were looking for - "I only sing them 'cause that's what the lads ask for down the pub"
Traveller, Mikeen McCarthy carefully divided his repertoire into sections - "Come-all-ye's" - songs they all sang in the pub, "street songs" - the ones he had printed and sold at the fairs and "fireside songs" sung at intimate gatherings and almost exclusively traditional
Walter Pardon filled tape after tape explaining what was a "folk song" (his term) and what wasn't, and why
American singer, Jean Richie summed up this discrimination perfectly when she described her field trips to Ireland in the 1950s
She said, "if you asked for the old songs you got Danny Boy and something about colleens or something sentimental about Ireland, but if you asked them did they know Barbara Allen, that's when the beautiful old folk songs came pouring out."

"You're being a poisonous lying shit."
No I'm not Jack, and I'm disappointed to find it necessary to resort to such behaviour - maybe you're not "better than that"
I don't tell lies - nor do I try to avoid or distort points
I took your argument to imply that computers could be suitable substitutes for folk clubs - I said why I thought that not to be the case.
If I have misunderstood you, I apologise
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 20 Oct 17 - 02:44 AM

I still don't like most of them as entertainment, but as carriers of information, atmosphere and sentiment they have no peers

Thanks for that, Jim, it gave me that Damascus moment! We are talking of two entirely different thing here then. Everything I have posted is about the entertainment value as that is what is important to me. There is also the academic side, which your point makes clear that you are referring to. Neither side is any better or worse than the other but they are different.

DtG


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Backwoodsman
Date: 20 Oct 17 - 02:18 AM

If computers and the internet had been around 'back then', the Oral Tradition wouldn't have existed. The originators and carriers of what we regard as 'traditional' songs would have set them down for posterity using that medium, exactly as composers and performers are doing today. The Oral Tradition existed for no other reason than that was all they had.

The Oral Tradition has gone the way of the dinosaurs. As have the Luddites. Apart from, apparently, one remaining Luddite Dinosaur resident in Ireland.

The Times They Are A'Changing - get on board or get left behind.

Usual disclaimers apply......IMHO, YMMV etc.


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Jack Campin
Date: 19 Oct 17 - 08:58 PM

folk songs has always been a social activity, whether the social is a ship's crew, bothie workers, harvest suppers, singing pubs.... or, as Sam Larner claimed, "among family and friends or at sea "
The computer or laptop turns it into a somewhat onanistic exercise.


The only person who's mentioned computers as an assist to music transmission was me, when I described one being used in a friend of mine's living room with about 8 of us gathered round with our instruments over tea and snacks.

You're being a poisonous lying shit.


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: The Sandman
Date: 19 Oct 17 - 05:20 PM

Jim my point is that you appear to be inferring that blues are not folk songs, quote " Why do you want Geldof's song to be ""folk" - why not Jazz or classical or a standard or blues?" that is a clear inference that you consider blues as something different from folk


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 19 Oct 17 - 03:35 PM

"Can you dance better than that Jim?"
Nope - neither can I do the Can-Can
I didn't say i was bad dancing - far from it
I just pointed out it wasn't traditional
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: GUEST
Date: 19 Oct 17 - 03:35 PM

"What is Happening to our Folk Clubs ?" - the clue is in the chorus, Jim.


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Raggytash
Date: 19 Oct 17 - 03:30 PM

Can you dance better than that Jim?


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 19 Oct 17 - 02:50 PM

Guest
Your point is?
Not only is Geldof "folk" but your wan's dancing is as far from the real thing as you can get
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: GUEST
Date: 19 Oct 17 - 01:57 PM

https://youtu.be/NoweGN8cm5g


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 19 Oct 17 - 01:54 PM

Sorry about the mess there - my keboard is playing up
Should read And shanties are maritime folk
I should have added - blues isn't a style, it is the folk music of a specific section of the American population - the black population (unless specified as "white blues")
Your point escapes me - home or away.
Should have added, folk songs has always been a social activity, whether the social is a ship's crew, bothie workers, harvest suppers, singing pubs.... or, as Sam Larner claimed, "among family and friends or at sea "
The computer or laptop turns it into a somewhat onanistic exercise.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 19 Oct 17 - 01:38 PM

"blues is folk, jim,its a style of american folk"
Ad shanties are maritime folk, waulking songs are Hebridean folk and Bothie songs Aberdeenshire folk - all are folk - what's your point Dick?
"who let it die by neglect"
Should read "why let it die of neglect - sorry
Your phetr point escapes my home or away - both require technology that is not possessed by the rightful inheritors of our local traditional songs - the farming community
They would rather swap songs in our local singing sessions (as I would)
JiCarroll


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 19 Oct 17 - 01:17 PM

the geldof song is nothing special to me. but even when i first heard it. i recognised it as something akin to folk. it was as much an attempt to write about the contemporary times of the writer as van diemens land or making whoopee.

that 'all the news that's fit to print' strand of the folk revival is something i always liked.


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: GUEST,Mudcat Moaner
Date: 19 Oct 17 - 12:52 PM

The post by GUEST 19th Oct 06.19AM sums up the situation perfectly, for me at least.


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Jack Campin
Date: 19 Oct 17 - 12:46 PM

All still a remote (and to those without internet access, as is the case in rural Ireland) inaccessible facility Jack
Give me the face to face atmosphere of a club any-day


You chose to ignore the whole point I was making.

I didn't get that YouTube link by sitting at this computer. I was shown the video on a laptop in the home of somebody who knows a immense amount about that kind of music. There are no clubs for it anywhere nearby - and that performer would never get a visa to play the UK anyway.

This has always happened when folk clubs were still relevant - people didn't actually pick up songs or tunes at folk clubs, they'd hear something and then go find it in a source that was reproducible enough to learn from. It's that after-the-gig phase that matters to keeping the tradition going, and it's irrelevant what stimulates it - the folk club was simply an advertising medium. The last couple of generations haven't needed folk clubs to show them what to learn or appreciate and they aren't any worse off for not using them.


If it's there, who let it die by neglect?

For the ones I know of: the organizers, who keep on booking the same performers doing the same acts year after year.


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: The Sandman
Date: 19 Oct 17 - 12:32 PM

so are appalchian ballads and old timey, occasionally they over lap with blues, but they are all styles of american folk music.


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: The Sandman
Date: 19 Oct 17 - 12:30 PM

blues is folk, jim,its a style of american folk


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 19 Oct 17 - 12:13 PM

Incidentally Al
Something that has always intrigued me
Why do you want Geldof's song to be ""folk" - why not Jazz or classical or a standard or blues?
You obviously like the song - why not just call it a good contemporary song?
What's so important about "folk"?
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 19 Oct 17 - 11:57 AM

"I think what you are forgetting is that things DO change."
Not really Al
THe Oral tradition began to decline with the advent of the industrial revolution and by the time Sharp got at it, it was on its last legs
When the Beeb came along the songs they collected were largely from singers remembering song learned from singers who (if you were lucky) learned them from members of an earlier generation who may or may not have been part of a living tradition
The radio put the kiss of death on community creativity - we became recipients rather than participants - that's why we are part of a revival (the second one)
When something dies, the only thing that happens to a corpse is it decays - call that "change" if you like
" Benjamin Britten and Schoenberg"
If you talk to a classist they would dismiss both out of hand as having nothing to do with classical music - all musical genres adhere to definitions.
"19th century song about a fashion lady's hats made to look like dirigible balloons."
is undoubtedly a broadside composition - most of which is "vapid stuff"
MacColl denied everything he ever wrote was folk song and he refused to call his club a folk club - it was always 'The Singers Club'
I do wish you'd stop referring top '54' as if it were some kind of Bible
Folk songs are what they are because of who made them and how they've travelled, not because a committee decreed what they were.

This is an interview we recorded with 'simple countryman', Walter Pardon not necessarily accurate, but an indication that he knew the difference

"J C         All right; take another song; take something like 'Marble Arch' and 'Maid of Australia,' both of which are fairly amusing, anyway, would you see any difference in them?

W. P.         Well yes, because there's a difference in the types of the music, that's another point. You can tell 'Van Dieman's Land' is fairly old by the sound, the music, and 'Irish Molly' and 'Marble Arch' is shortened up; they shortened them in the Victorian times. And so they did more so in the Edwardian times. Some songs then, you'd hardly start before you'd finish, you see; you'd only a four line verse, two verses and a four line chorus and that'd finish. You'd get that done in half a minute; and the music wasn't as good. Yeah, the style has altered. You can nearly tell by the old 'Broomfield Hill', that's an old tune; 'The Trees They Do Grow High', you can tell, and 'Generals All'.
Nine times out often I can get an old fashioned ten keyed accordion, German tuned, you can nearly tell what is an old song. Of course that doesn't matter what modern songs there is, the bellows always close when that finish, like that. And you go right back to the beginning of the nineteenth and eighteenth (century), they finish this way, pulled out, look. You take notice how 'Generals All' finish; that got an old style of finishing, so have 'The Trees They Do Grow High', so have 'The Gallant Sea Fight', in other words, 'A Ship To Old England Came', that is the title, 'The Gallant Sea Fight'. You can tell they're old, the way they how they... that drawn out note at finish. You just study and see what they are, how they work, you'll find that's where the difference is. And as that got further along; that's where I slipped up with 'Black Eyed Susan' I thought that was probably William the Fourth by the music, but that go back about to 1730, that one do. Well, a lot of them you'll find, what date back years and years, there's a difference in the style of writing the music, as that progressed along that kept altering a lot. Like up into Victorian times, you've got 'Old Brown's Daughter', you see, that come into Victorian times; well that style started altering, they started shortening the songs up, everything shortened up, faster and quicker, and the more new they get, the more faster they get, the styles alter, 1 think you'll find if you check on that, that's right."

And another
"J.C.         Do you think that when you started singing in the clubs and festivals, do you think you are singing any different than you were singing when you were younger?

W.P            Dash, yes, I think so.

J C         Do you know in what way?

W.P.         Oh, I don't know, put more expression in probably; I think so. Well, but you see, you take these, what we call the old type... the old folk song, they're not like the music hall song, are they, or a stage song, there's a lot of difference in them, I mean a lot of these... some ... it all depend what and how you're singing. Some of them go to nice lively, quick tunes, and others are... you don't do 'Van Dieman's Land'... If there's a sad old song you don't go through that very quick. Like 'Up to the Rigs' is the opposite way about.
I mean, we must put expression in, you can't sing them all alike. Well most of the stage songs you could, if you understand what I mean. According to what the song is you put the expression in or that's not worth hearing; well that's what I think anyhow. And as I never did sing them, you see, there was no expression I could put in."

And again
"J.C.         If you had the choice Walter... if somebody said to you one night they were going to ask you to sing say half-a-dozen or a dozen songs even, of all your songs, what would be the choice, can you think offhand what you would choose to sing?

W.P.         The Pretty Ploughboy' would be one, that's one; 'Rambling Blade' would be another one, 'The Rambling Blade' would be two, 'Van Dieman's Land' three, 'Let The Wind Blow High or Low', that'd be four, 'Broomfield Hill', that's five, 'Trees The Do Grow High', six, that'd be six."

Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 19 Oct 17 - 11:07 AM

thanks for the offer Jim.
my e-mail is unchanged
denise_whittle@yahoo.co.uk

I think what you are forgetting is that things DO change.

Would the members of the Original Dixieland Jazz Band recognise what Miles Davis did as jazz, or Ornette Coleman?

Would Mozart and Beethoven tecognise Benjamin Britten and Schoenberg as classical music, or Frank Zappa?

Martin Carthy himself said an important constituent of folk music is the vapid day to day stuff - he illustrated with a 19th century song about a fashion lady's hats made to look like dirigible balloons.

When mass shootings are such an awful phenomenon of today, what is so shameful and un-folk music about Geldof's song of nearly forty years of age.
You may have come to folk music via the ballads and Ewan MacColl - I've said this before but you don't seem to have taken cognisance of it. I grew up in Lincolnshire my weekend bike rides were past Bloodhound interceptor rockets and Thor rockets and Vulcan bombers armed with a nuclear bombs.
The first song I learned off the radio when I was 12 was , Where have all the flowers gone? And it spoke to me, and truth to tell it still does.
i feel there was nothing shameful or inadequate about my feeling that this was special music, this was folk music. if it doesn't fit the 1954 definition of folk music - its cos the definition stinks.


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 19 Oct 17 - 11:06 AM

"It still follows that the the ones that do not have anything to offer will fall by the wayside."
If they had nothing to offer they would have fallen beside the wayside long before now
I'll give you an example of what I man
Shortly after we began recording here in Clare I used to put my head in my hands - "oh suffering jaysus, not another feckin' "Home I Left Behind" emigration dirge" - hundreds of the buggers
Then I began to read up on the period following the Famine and talk to the locals about how their families had been effected
I realised that we had never met an individual whose family had not been touched by forced emigration - not one.
THen all the songs began to fall into place thanks to the wider picture
I still don't like most of them as entertainment, but as carriers of information, atmosphere and sentiment they have no peers
They are inseparable from my interest in social history and politics
That's what I call "good"
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 19 Oct 17 - 10:52 AM

I believe that most folk songs, while varying in quality, have something to offer and entertain

That I can accept, Jim. It still follows that the the ones that do not have anything to offer will fall by the wayside. The songs in your definition will survive naturally. They were there before folk clubs came into being. They will be there long after folk clubs have evolved into something else.

DtG


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