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What is Happening to our Folk Clubs

Steve Shaw 01 Nov 17 - 07:29 AM
Steve Shaw 01 Nov 17 - 07:17 AM
Dave the Gnome 01 Nov 17 - 07:03 AM
GUEST,Hootennanny 01 Nov 17 - 06:53 AM
Raggytash 01 Nov 17 - 06:50 AM
Jim Carroll 01 Nov 17 - 06:43 AM
GUEST 01 Nov 17 - 06:38 AM
GUEST,Hootenanny 01 Nov 17 - 06:29 AM
Dave the Gnome 01 Nov 17 - 06:27 AM
Iains 01 Nov 17 - 06:21 AM
Dave the Gnome 01 Nov 17 - 06:15 AM
Raggytash 01 Nov 17 - 06:12 AM
Jim Carroll 01 Nov 17 - 06:09 AM
Dave the Gnome 01 Nov 17 - 05:51 AM
The Sandman 01 Nov 17 - 05:49 AM
Big Al Whittle 01 Nov 17 - 05:40 AM
GUEST,Nick Dow 01 Nov 17 - 05:28 AM
Jim Carroll 01 Nov 17 - 05:25 AM
GUEST 01 Nov 17 - 05:23 AM
GUEST,Keith Price 01 Nov 17 - 05:19 AM
GUEST,GEEZER 01 Nov 17 - 05:18 AM
Steve Shaw 01 Nov 17 - 05:18 AM
Dave the Gnome 01 Nov 17 - 05:08 AM
Steve Shaw 01 Nov 17 - 05:05 AM
GUEST 01 Nov 17 - 05:00 AM
Jack Campin 01 Nov 17 - 05:00 AM
Dave the Gnome 01 Nov 17 - 04:59 AM
GUEST,Keith Price 01 Nov 17 - 04:52 AM
Iains 01 Nov 17 - 04:31 AM
Dave the Gnome 01 Nov 17 - 04:22 AM
Jim Carroll 01 Nov 17 - 04:21 AM
The Sandman 01 Nov 17 - 04:19 AM
Jim Carroll 01 Nov 17 - 03:40 AM
Jim Carroll 01 Nov 17 - 03:32 AM
Jim Carroll 01 Nov 17 - 03:31 AM
Iains 01 Nov 17 - 02:57 AM
GUEST 01 Nov 17 - 02:07 AM
Stanron 31 Oct 17 - 11:34 PM
Big Al Whittle 31 Oct 17 - 09:28 PM
Big Al Whittle 31 Oct 17 - 09:15 PM
Jack Campin 31 Oct 17 - 08:04 PM
TheSnail 31 Oct 17 - 06:49 PM
Jack Campin 31 Oct 17 - 06:17 PM
TheSnail 31 Oct 17 - 06:11 PM
Iains 31 Oct 17 - 06:05 PM
GUEST,Hootenanny 31 Oct 17 - 06:04 PM
Big Al Whittle 31 Oct 17 - 05:57 PM
Raggytash 31 Oct 17 - 05:26 PM
Dave the Gnome 31 Oct 17 - 05:15 PM
Jack Campin 31 Oct 17 - 04:41 PM
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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 01 Nov 17 - 07:29 AM

"How can a part of something define the whole?"

Try these:

Number Ten

Westminster

The White House

The Pentagon

Thames House

All hands on deck

We need more boots on the ground

Just a way of earning a crust

Nice set of wheels you have there

Spokesman for the Palace


(Sorry, this thread has put me in a very silly mood...)


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 01 Nov 17 - 07:17 AM

Don't tell him, Pike. Er, I mean Jim...


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 01 Nov 17 - 07:03 AM

So, Jim, after all that, are you going to give us how you define what type of music you expect to hear at a folk club?

DtG


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: GUEST,Hootennanny
Date: 01 Nov 17 - 06:53 AM

Not on anyone's side Jim, just relating an incident that took place when I was present.


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Raggytash
Date: 01 Nov 17 - 06:50 AM

"What is your definition of a folk song? DtG"


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 01 Nov 17 - 06:43 AM

"I and a number of other people once witnessed Ewan MacColl attempting to physically attack Dominic Behan."
I didn't know MacColl half a century ago but I did know Dom well enough to know that in such confrontations he was equally as likely to have started such a fracas
I have a wonderful recording of an attempt by Ewan and Bert to attempt to form a consensus in the revival which was shouted down by Bob Davenport, who cut across hes fellow speakers and speakers from the floor until the whole shebang ended up in fisticuffs following the outrage to Davenport's claim that Jeannie Robertson was "a terrible singer"
Six of one, half a dozen of the other.
Quite often, deciding who is to blame in these events depends on whose side you are on.
"Sorry Jim, but not clearly enough to be understood by everyone. "
I have asked what you haven't understood - with examples - you fail to reply, but you and others understood well enough to (deliberately I believe) misinterpret what I have said
Despite my personal feelngs for some of you, I refuse to regard any of you as the lowest common denominator
"to be accused of being stupid is rather hurtful. "
Join the club Dave - you done your share of that here and have now resorted to "bad writer"
One of your number resorted to my being a mental deficient, another to a "boring old fart"
You lot responded to that with silent acquiescence - and you're hurt because I call you stupid!!!
Give us a break Dave
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: GUEST
Date: 01 Nov 17 - 06:38 AM

Sorry Jim. In one sense don't get me wrong. I have, after a few, posted stuff I can't even decipher myself then next day. You don't get that bad.

Still, you could add a bit of white space in your posts and opt to take a less aggressive stance on occasion. Both of these would help the willingness for some to read your posts and to consider what you have to say on a subject more carefully.


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: GUEST,Hootenanny
Date: 01 Nov 17 - 06:29 AM

From JC:

"In the twenty years I knew Ewan, I never once heard him attack a colleague, certainly not publicly, and very occasionally when he reciprocated to the stories
He regarded such behaviour beneath contempt, as I do now - people who behave like this need to crawl back into the sewers they crawled out of".

I and a number of other people once witnessed Ewan MacColl attempting to physically attack Dominic Behan. Dominic had suggested that Alan Lomax rewarded his Irish informants with only a bottle of guinness to which MacColl took exception. This was at a meeting of the Ballads and Blues at the Horsehoes in Tottenham Court Road. Fortunately Malcolm Nixon was able to pull them apart.

Re Shirley Collin's description above, I couldn't agree more. It is an opiniom which I have held for years well before he became grave stomping material.


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 01 Nov 17 - 06:27 AM

I'm not a fluent writer, but I believe I write clearly enough to be understood

Sorry Jim, but not clearly enough to be understood by everyone. In a past life I ran training courses on highly technical subjects. The maxim was always communicate to the lowest common denominator. It may annoy those at a higher level but it makes sure that everyone leaves with the same knowledge.

I fully accept that I may be the lowest common denominator here but to be accused of being stupid is rather hurtful. Which reminds me. The other maxim we always worked to was there is no such thing as a stupid question.

DtG


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Iains
Date: 01 Nov 17 - 06:21 AM

"At last we have another definition if a song can raise the hair on the back of your neck or cut to the emotions then it's a folk song !"

Try reading the original post! I stated /asked if it was a vital component of what constitutes a folk song.

Component = constituting part of a larger whole; constituent.

How can a part of something define the whole?


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 01 Nov 17 - 06:15 AM

What exactly have I written that you don't understand?

Again, keeping it simple. You have said that when you go to a folk club you expect to hear folk songs. What is the definition of a folk song that you measure this against?

DtG


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Raggytash
Date: 01 Nov 17 - 06:12 AM

Dave has posed a simply question for you at 05.51

"What is your definition of a folk song?"


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 01 Nov 17 - 06:09 AM

"which incidentally didn't even exist before the middle of the 19th century, then go ahead. "
The term folk came into bing in 1846 and replaced 'Popular' - of the people
Folk song wasn't researched until the beginning of the 20th century an that is basically the limits of our knowledge of how it worked
"You are expressing yourself very badly,"
Sorry - that is not the impression I am getting Dave
I'm getting exactly the reaction I expected - not of being misunderstood - thatr, being understood too well
Claiming to misunderstand is the old get-out
What exactly have I written that you don't understand?
Yours - and everybody elses attitude to what has been said here is perfectly clear in tyour total refusal to reply to it
Not just mine, Shilrley Collins', Ian Campbell's. Walter Pardon's, - all ignored
Did they express themselves badly as well - you'e al ***** ignored what tey have to say
How about the progammes on offer - have you decided they are proibably so badly put togethert that tyey are not worth a listen?
Ot is it that you are either not interested, or afraid of what they have to say?
I'm not a fluent writer, but I believe I write clearly enough to be understood - that's why people hide behind my typos rather than respond honestly
JIm Carroll


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 01 Nov 17 - 05:51 AM

Am I really expressing myself so badly that I have to keep repeating the same thing Dave - or is it you?

You are expressing yourself very badly, Jim, and that is not just my opinion. It has been said by a number of people before. I will accept however that at least some of the communication issue lies with me as well so let us simplify it.

What is your definition of a folk song?

DtG


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: The Sandman
Date: 01 Nov 17 - 05:49 AM

"harry boardman a crooner" that is very funny and wildly inaccurate


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 01 Nov 17 - 05:40 AM

nobody was scrabbling after stardom, but a fair few musicians were managing to make a living performing a version of folk music that was understandable to the broad masses, and it became a mission statement to pour scorn on the situation.

by the 1970's, the damage had been done and by the star of the 1970's those that had the heart and committment to remain were managing to scrape a bare living by working for agents like Ann Dex who provided pub gigs for Scandinavia.

I think the ritual kicking the corpse of MacColl is probably poetic justice for the kicking so many folksingers got gigging the Scandi pubs, the legendary gulf gigs to uncomprehending Arabs.

However, I can't imagine anyone with a soul who wouldn't wish to have written and collected and achieved just a fraction of the stuff that Ewan did. He was a giant amongst human beings. I'm sorry he pissed off Shirley Collins. Everybody pisses off someone else though. And he was an old bloke, and she was a young person.

Really there aren't any heroes or villains. It was just the way it happened. Does the future of the folk clubs depend on our correct examination and analysisof the entrails of the past - I bleeding hope not.


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: GUEST,Nick Dow
Date: 01 Nov 17 - 05:28 AM

Jim it's not nice seeing those you admire and respect pulled to pieces. It's not pleasant thinking back to the Folk Clubs in their heyday and wondering where the interest has gone, but with the best will in the world nothing in this world stays the same, and many many times my musical heroes have proved to have feet of clay.
So let's be clear. The positive side of McColl is not portrayed too often here, and for me he was a teacher, an excellent broadcaster and writer, and superb songwriter. However he was also critical, self righteous, self important and to most music enthusiasts unapproachable. He was far too much of an actor when he sang, and his accents were risible.
He had his 'position' both politically and musically, and what went on at the singers club bore no resemblance to the diverse world of 'Traditional' singing, that I have encountered with numerous singers born to the craft. The old boys and girls I have met over the years would have looked at McColl singing up his sleeve and sitting back to front on his chair singing in a peculiar accent, and wonder if he had mental problems. I had a long chat with Belle and Sheila Stewart (who was a friend of my wife) and they were a little surprised and amazed by McColl. However they quite liked him even if they thought he was a bit strange and over enthusiastic (to quote Belle) By the way I've got a few quotes from Belle that make me laugh to this day! None of them about McColl.
No there would not be Folk Clubs if Bert and McColl had not instigated the second revival, but nothing stays the same, and lamenting for a golden past is of no consequence.
Sorry but McColl referred to Harry Boardman as a 'crooner' Johnny Handle as singing any song if it had a Geordie accent 'Weather it was poor or not' and we all know his views on Bob Dylan.
If you want to drop the word 'Folk' which incidentally didn't even exist before the middle of the 19th century, then go ahead. Nobody will be wildly bothered. The majority of persons who go to the clubs, will carry on without you, and will not feel in the least bit 'duped' by the informal use of the word Folk and sing some songs and buy some Ale and have a good time, just as the old boys used to when they sang in the pubs donkeys years ago.
So those of us who are interested in the tradition will simply sort out the songs as they are sung. Just like I did last night by the way.
All unaccompanied. We had Gaelic songs, a couple of long ballads some self penned songs, some great variants from a Newfoundland Collection sung by a well respected duo, a couple of songs from the Travelling community (not sung by me) the standard was not too bad at all. We all went home happy.
Just a thought Jim! Wasn't that the idea in the first place? If it wasn't it should have been.


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 01 Nov 17 - 05:25 AM

"At last we have another definition if a song can raise the hair on the back of your neck or cut to the emotions then it's a folk song !"
Folk songs can do that Keith, and often do, but so can a well sung aria
It's an effect, not a definition

"Do we take it then that this is your definition of folk music?"
No (if your question made sense) how can an evening of songs become a folk song?
"Have you checked if the majority of people attending folk clubs accept your definition?
Have you?
The majority of people he have singularly failed to come up with anything resembling a definition apart from "something that happens in a folk club"
I've heard opera performed at a folk club - doesn't mean Nessun Dorma is a folk song

"that your definition of folk music is the right one"
You are wrong
The only existing researched and agreed working definition is the one accepted throughout the world by researchers - none other has been forthcoming
Libraries of books have been produced using that definition and hundreds of thousands have albums have been produced
There are magazines and journals throughout the world still using that definition as a guide
Ideas scribbled on a beer mat at a folk club and agreed only by the writer can only become a definition when it is widely accepted
You people can't even agree one among yourselves - most of you reject the need for a definition

Definitions do not apply to folk clubs (I really should get a rubber stamp made of that statement - I've got typers cramp repeating it)
A club calling itself folk should never adhere to any definition, but it should live up to its claim of presenting folk songs to some degree
Campbell articulated that far better than I could

Folk song is in itself an important part of our history and culture - it also presents enormous possibilities for creation and self-expression in the future
MacColl and the Radio Ballads team proved that beyond doubt by producing gems like Singing the Fishing, Song of A Road, The Big Hewer and The Travelling People - perfect examples of folk songs, newly written songs and the actuality of working people describing their lives
The experiment was repeated some time ago - I don't think that later ones were as good for avrious reasons, but they still worked as a combination of those elements
Am I really expressing myself so badly that I have to keep repeating the same thing Dave - or is it you?
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: GUEST
Date: 01 Nov 17 - 05:23 AM

Dubliners were important to me. For one and in particular, Barney McKenna was one big reason for me trying to learn the tenor banjo - for better or worse, a instrument I play in sessions - and his influence reached many (with some like me still wishing the could play as well as he did).


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: GUEST,Keith Price
Date: 01 Nov 17 - 05:19 AM

That's not my definition Guest Iains can take credit for that nonsense


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: GUEST,GEEZER
Date: 01 Nov 17 - 05:18 AM

we should feel lucky anyone still participates in the folk club scene, its taken such a hit over the years


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 01 Nov 17 - 05:18 AM

Well, Guest, I've heard some pop songs sung rather well in folk clubs. I've also heard a lot of Kathryn Tickell on Radio 3 and the exceptionally dreary Ashokan Farewell on Classic FM. And the Padstow Lifeboat, come to think of it. Folk clubs are owned and run by their members, who may be a dwindling band in many cases. They will put on what they will put on and "the punters" will vote either with their bums or their feet ((the latter in many cases). Folk clubs in dingy back rooms of pubs were never the heart of traditional music, any more than pub sessions are the heart of Irish traditional music. Folk clubs and sessions are Johnny-come-latelys, which may not necessarily be a bad thing, but it's still worth remembering. If every folk club disappeared tomorrow we'd still have folk song. It was there hundreds of years before clubs and will be there hundreds of years after clubs. It will ebb and flow, like everything else. Johann Sebastian Bach was virtually ignored for a hundred years after his death. Look at him now.


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 01 Nov 17 - 05:08 AM

We need a like button again, Steve :-)


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 01 Nov 17 - 05:05 AM

Nah. A folk song is a pop song with a fiddle in it.


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: GUEST
Date: 01 Nov 17 - 05:00 AM

I like the definition given by GUEST Keith Price - it eliminates anything by the Beatles and the rest of the pop songs sung badly in Folk Clubs.


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Jack Campin
Date: 01 Nov 17 - 05:00 AM

Karpeles and the rest of the committee in 1954 did a pretty good job.
That is one point of view. But. To accept it you also have to accept that most "commercial Folk Groups" such as the Dublin city Ramblers,Dubliners, strawbs etc largely sang synthetic folk and were traitors to the cause.
In a nut shell they were Folk singers that largely did not sing folk.


Nobody was being a traitor. Those groups made it absolutely clear what they were doing. When they started out, my paradigm of folk music was what Jean Ritchie did, and I didn't need to look past the album cover to see that they weren't doing anything like that, or anything I was very interested in.


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 01 Nov 17 - 04:59 AM

I am not sure about last week Iains but in general that sums it up. I thought a bit more about it and that raised more questions. The tune I played on the link I gave some posts back sounds, to me anyway, east European. Whether it is like an east European folk song or not I cannot say but as it was learned, by my Dad, from a traveling Gypsy band and then passed to me aurally it becomes a folk song by that definition.

It then got even more complicated. If we look at the German folk song 'muss i denn' or the Russian folk song 'Stenka Rasin', which have both been re-interpreted by pop artists, are they still folk songs? If Elvis was to play an acoustic version of 'Wooden Heart' or the Seekers did an acoustic 'Carnival is over' at a folk club, would they fit the folk song definition? It is for these very reasons that I came to the conclusion that definitions must be, by nature, very flexible. I think that the best way to decide what is a folk song or not is by popular opinion. Popular meaning the voice of the very folk who listen.

Will probably be a disputed definition but so will many others!

DtG


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: GUEST,Keith Price
Date: 01 Nov 17 - 04:52 AM

At last we have another definition if a song can raise the hair on the back of your neck or cut to the emotions then it's a folk song !


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Iains
Date: 01 Nov 17 - 04:31 AM

D the G. Being a sad person at times, I have reread all the posts on this thread. I quite like your take on the 1954 definition. I had previously missed it. If I can loosely paraphrase you (and please correct me if I have misinterpreted it) A song or tune written last week could qualify as folk if adapted and performed and re-requested.
I had not thought of such a wide interpretation and I quite like it.
For a song or tune to be selected it must push some buttons, strike some chords, have some kind of resonance with many people.
A couple of examples Garth Brooks: The River and If tomorrow never comes
I have heard both in sessions. My take is that they will become/are contemporary folk classics. (a C&W Folk meld) Such songs have the ability "raise the hair on the back of your neck), they cut to the emotions and play them like a harp. Surely this ability is a vital component of folk and runs in tandem with shuttle weavers songs etc.


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 01 Nov 17 - 04:22 AM

Jim - You say you expect a folk club to have "reasonably performed traditional songs coupled with new songs that have used traditional forms in their construction".

Do we take it then that this is your definition of folk music? If so, it is only one definition. Have you checked if the majority of people attending folk clubs accept your definition? If so, how long ago did you check?

This seems to be the crux of the matter. You seem to be saying, and apologies if I am wrong, that your definition of folk music is the right one while any others are to be disregarded. Is that right?

DtG


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 01 Nov 17 - 04:21 AM

Maybe Dick
This discussion isn't exactly devoid of exaggeration
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: The Sandman
Date: 01 Nov 17 - 04:19 AM

Jim,"I think the OP got a sound enough answer to his question - they are no longer folk clubs - that's what happened to them"
you are exaggerrating in a fashion., that weakens your point


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 01 Nov 17 - 03:40 AM

2Walter Pardon learned songs he liked. "
You haven't read a word I said about Walter Stanron - shame on you
Walter gathered all his family songs as a collector would - he wrote them down because they were his families' songs, not because he "liked them" but because he thought them important enough to preserve and pass on
Something I didn't put up from the 'Sinple Countryman' article

"Walter put great store on passing the songs on; on several occasions he said ?They?re not my songs, they?re everybodys?. This, to a degree, went against what had happened in the past, especially within his own family, where the singers had jealously guarded their songs, even to the extent of altering words or omitting verses if they thought there was somebody present trying to learn them. He was insistent that it was generally recognised that, at home, some songs ?belonged to? certain singers and that nobody else would sing them in the presence of the ?owner?. However, throughout his life he persisted with his belief in the common ownership of songs:

?I saw a chap at Happisburgh this summertime, he said he knew songs, he said, ?I always refuse to let anyone have them. Once you let someone else have them they aren?t yours?. Well, I say, that is true, but I say, when you die you take all the knowledge of the songs with you, so someone might as well have the benefit after you are dead?.

Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 01 Nov 17 - 03:32 AM

Should read
"and very occasionally when he reciprocated to the stories, privately"
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 01 Nov 17 - 03:31 AM

My, my my
It hasn't taken long to did MacColl up and guve him his ritual kicking
Had MacColl behaved towards fellow enthusiasts the way you people are still behaving towards him thirty years after his death, he would have deserved every inch of the hatred that has been poured over his head
In the twenty years I knew Ewan, I never once heard him attack a colleague, certainly not publicly, and very occasionally when he reciprocated to the stories
He regarded such behaviour beneath contempt, as I do now - people who behave like this need to crawl back into the sewers they crawled out of.
MacColl's main flaw was that if he was asked his opinion he gave it without pulled punches - he said what he felt, and usually offered friendly advice with it
I saw it over and over again at the Singers Club - singers from the floor would ask him what they thought of their performance - if it was good, he said it was good - and often ended up with a booking, If it wasn't he said so and said why he thought that
THat is not what hey wanted - they wanted to be told that they were the best thing since sliced bread

MacColl never "taught" anybody - when he was approached by singers to start classes, he refused
Instead, he offered to help set up a self-help group where singers would work on each other's singing using friendly, positive criticism and advice - he chared the sessions, no more
At the end of the work he would quite often talk on an aspect of folk song - he didn't write much but those talks contained some of the finest dissertations on traditional song I have ever heard and merit revisiting - If I have my way, one day they will, but I doubt if they will interest anybody here with their contemptuous attitude to folk song proper.
I have recordings of over 100 of these meetings which, I hope, have now found a home among serious lovers of folk song.
This really is the pits and the fact that you are not ashamed of yourselves hakes you what you are and explains why the club scene has become what it is.

"but have yet to find a coherent intellectual argument"
There's hardly been room for one Stanron - this has been almost entirely a case of attack and defence - not much room for intellect in that situation
I've said what I believe folk song to be - the songs created to reflect the experiences and feelings of working people down the centuries - to repeat - 'The Voice of the People'
I have offered what I believe to be the two best analyses of British and International flolk song in the form of then and thirteen haldf hour radio programmes respectively accompanied by an hour long programme of the finest examples traditional styles
I was nearly crushed to death in the stampede - not!!!
I put up what our last traditional singer had to say about his art - far superior to anything that has been offered here - I have been underwhelmed by the response
I put up Ian Campbell's view of how contemporary songs were necessary to the folk scene - I was deafened by the silence
Shirley Collins class analysis of her songs have yet to elicit a comment.
Discussing folk song proper on this forum has always been a minefield of "folk-police", "finger-in-eat" abuse - discussing MacColl's ideas rather than his name change and war record has been out of the question, as displayed here in oll its glory.
Do you honestly expect an intellectual discussion in these circumstances - not in this squalid cock-pit I'm afraid.

I've said over and over again what I expect from a folk club - I can offer a few dozen examples from our archive of recordings, but not to this mob of stone-throwers.
I expect a folk club to live up to the name it chooses to sell itself under - an evening of reasonably performed traditional songs coupled with new songs that have used traditional forms in their construction - I spent twenty odd years of my life in London viiting clubs like that - The Singers, The Herga, The Stratford Cub at The Railway, Croydon, The Empress of Russia (at its best), The West Lond Traditional Club and The Tradition Folk Club
Before that there Was The Wayfarers in Manchester, any of Harry Boardman's clubs (I was resident at a couple of those)
I still get a blast from the past in Dublin when I go to The Goil?n - now getting out of the qustion because of the price of accommodation there.
The most hopeful sign on the horizon for over twenty-odd years in 'The Night Before Larry Was Stretched' at the Cobblestones - glorious nights run by youngsters mainly in their twenties (and tolerating us oldies with respect), bring both love and skill to traditional songs without pretension and without the scrabbling search for stardom that id now part of the British scene.

There's been a great deal of personal abuse here and there's even been open displays of hatred for the traditional songs and, most disgustingly the "tit-trousered boring old farts" who were generous enough to pass them on
I think the OP got a sound enough answer to his question - they are no longer folk clubs - that's what happened to them
How can you have folk clubs which no longer cater for folk songs?
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Iains
Date: 01 Nov 17 - 02:57 AM

Karpeles and the rest of the committee in 1954 did a pretty good job."

That is one point of view. But. To accept it you also have to accept that most "commercial Folk Groups" such as the Dublin city Ramblers,Dubliners, strawbs etc largely sang synthetic folk and were traitors to the cause.
In a nut shell they were Folk singers that largely did not sing folk.

I prefer Big Al's take on the subject and agree with most if not all he has to say on the subject.
Wikipedia(although definitely not the last word on anything)describes Gordon Lightfoot as an "International Folk Legend". But he penned a lot of his own material. SO is wikipedia totally wrong? I have no problem with the description - others regard it as sacrilege.
No matter how you define folk, you will here contemporary material in a folk club.
There seems little point in having a narrow "academic definition" when the lie of it is exposed in every folk club. Majority rules in a democracy - the argument is answered by numerical superiority probably every time a folk club meets unless it specifies traditional only.


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: GUEST
Date: 01 Nov 17 - 02:07 AM

Having heard the man, I cannot see why any singer in their right mind would have approached Ewan McColl in the hope of being "taught" how to sing.

Shirley Collins was 100% correct in her assessment of the man - "He was self-invented; there seemed nothing truthful about him" - truly a legend in his own lunchtime.


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Stanron
Date: 31 Oct 17 - 11:34 PM

This is not a simple subject but my heart is with Big Al rather than with Jim Carroll. ( At least in part because I don't actually get what Jim Carrol really wants to say.) I would prefer to follow an intellectual path rather than an emotional one but have yet to find a coherent intellectual argument.

Walter Pardon learned songs he liked. He classified songs he liked into different groups. He put labels on these groups. This is what I have done throughout my life. It is what any spotty kid does when he picks up a guitar and learns whichever innocuous pop song moves him. One of the labels is 'folk music'. It is a label.

For me the action of singing the songs and playing the tunes is far more important than waging a labels war. But it seems to me that this thread is about a war of labels. I prefer music.


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 31 Oct 17 - 09:28 PM

as for Americana, you didn't win that war thirty years back.

what you did was stop a working class movement in its tracks by turning up and insisting on doing music people couldn't understand and was made even more difficult to understand by doing it to weird rhythms, and harmonies. it was jurassic park. you let the monsters out to scare the picnic -ers., whom you still think have no right to be there.

God alone knows how many young people were lost as professional musicians as the venues disappeared. I think you would have understood the scale of the tragedy if it had been working opportunities and workplaces for electricians that had gone to the wall.

All that said, i understand your point of view Jim - I just wish you would try and understand it from where I'm standing.


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 31 Oct 17 - 09:15 PM

oh well - what we've got to is pretend that jazz never evisted - none of have ever heard Louis Armstrong, Django Rhejnhardt, Miles Davis.
forget the songs our parents danced to, and they sang whilst washing the dishes, and falling in love.

totally ignore our roots, because you reckon the key to folk music is a few fishernen and gypsies living on the fringes of the fringes of society. songs delivered in a way that as Woody Guthrie said about his own delivery -soda jerks would think the radio's broken - if the radio played my records.

can you really not see why folk club have an army of divisive argumentative characters sharing such views strategically placed in every gathering called a folk club have all but wrecked a flowering of working class creativity in the mid '60's?

you are of course entitled to a view of folk music - but you weren't and aren't entitled to get this snotty with everyone who didn't agree with you and MacColl's vision.


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Jack Campin
Date: 31 Oct 17 - 08:04 PM

Shirley's point about the poisonous influence of theatrical technique is spot on. It's a put-down for all the forms of spontaneous delivery those songs traditionally got: if you haven't been to drama school you've got no business singing a lullaby to your infant.

The analogue for instrumental tunes is what jazz-trained people do to them. Music that developed as something for working class gatherings to dance to, played by one or two musicians using whatever technique would do the job of getting their feet moving, gets dressed up in syrupy harmonic arrangements designed to anaesthetize the besuited white American elite in sleazy cabarets.


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: TheSnail
Date: 31 Oct 17 - 06:49 PM

Here's another quote from Shirley Collins -
Guardian article

Shirley Collins: singer instrumental in the English folk revival of the 1960s and 70s

Ewan had quite a pernicious influence on folk music, I think. People who went to the Critics Group [a study group for singers held at MacColl's home] ended up being moulded by him, sounding the same. Folk music should be about reflecting music from the regions, the different voices, the roots of it. You couldn't differentiate anything with his approach.

I first met him when I was 20 and my antenna went up straightaway. I genuinely don't want to be unpleasant, but he was unpleasant to me, quite sexist, and pretentious and pompous - words that should never be applied to a folk singer. He said to me that I shouldn't wear nail varnish. What a wretched thing to say to a young woman with an interest; what a way of putting someone down.

He was self-invented; there seemed nothing truthful about him, and that's always concerned me greatly. He was an actor, really, even as a singer. The way he'd turn his chair, sit astride it, put his hand to his ear... my heart would sink. I know it's not fair as he's not here to defend himself, but I've had my opinion since I first met him, and I've not seen any reason to change it.

He was a talented man, yes - you can't get away from that - who made some fine pieces of work, but he could never reach me like a traditional singer could, someone like George Maynard or Harry Cox. His influence now? Things have opened up. Nobody has to listen to what other people are saying. People are going their own way. That's the way it should be.


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Jack Campin
Date: 31 Oct 17 - 06:17 PM

is anyone brave enough to attempt to define what folk music is in the western world?

Karpeles and the rest of the committee in 1954 did a pretty good job.

Their definition has nothing to say about what the remit of an organization with "folk" in its name ought to do. You might as well complain that most Easter eggs don't come out of chickens' arses.


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: TheSnail
Date: 31 Oct 17 - 06:11 PM

AS not a single individual has come up with a workable and agreed description of what I can expect to find in a folk club

Neither have you, Jim.


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Iains
Date: 31 Oct 17 - 06:05 PM

Just to really muddy the waters, is anyone brave enough to attempt to define what folk music is in the western world? There are enough contributors to this forum, with extensive knowledge and experience, to cobble together a definition that would embrace both traditional and contemporary folk music.


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: GUEST,Hootenanny
Date: 31 Oct 17 - 06:04 PM

Re JC's post at 02.45.

Appears to be another piece of incorrect information. MacColl was one of the first to set up a folk Club about 1956, yes but he didn't run it until 1989.

I assume that he is referring to the Ballads and Blues Association Club. In 1961 Ewan and Peggy decided to leave the BBA and set up their own club. This was The Singers Club. The Ballads and Blues weekly Hootenannies carried on until May 1965.

It isn't the first time Jim has got things wrong but bear in mind he wasn't into what most of us accept as folk music until he heard The Spinners and knew nothing about the BBA but "knows someone who did.

Somewhere above Jim also implied that someone ran off with the club's takings. The BBA's takings that is. I asked him about this and surprisingly got no response. Just another case of him not being there but again he probably "knew someone who was".

If anybody is interested I was at the BBA from around 1957 to 1965 and took over the bookings in September 1961.


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 31 Oct 17 - 05:57 PM

just supposing (God forbid!) that I took it into my head tonight to pick up my guitar , or a sitar or a kazoo and noseflute, and re-wrote I don't like Mondays. Made it about making jam in Somerset.

Are the PRS going to arrive jackbooted at my door and do me a mischief?

I think not.

Intellectual property is a game for people with lots of money. It means jackshit to 99% of musicians and songwriters.

I think you are making a mistake, making it such a cornerstone of your thinking and philosophy.


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Raggytash
Date: 31 Oct 17 - 05:26 PM

I've already said to him he can't have it both ways. ............

That, as you can imagine fell on very stony ground.

But hey ho, Jim knows all about the folk music scene, not only in Ireland, but all across the UK and according to him it's all c**p.

Carved in stone, set in aspic or amber are the expressions that come to mind.

But having said that , what do you and I know. The fact that between us we have over a century of experience (one of his favoured exprssions) we sadly know **** all !


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 31 Oct 17 - 05:15 PM

The suggestion 'I don't like Mondays' came up quite early in this discussion
That is legally "owned" by Bob Geldof - where does that fit into your "I do not think folk songs belong to anyone"
You are about as consistent as anybody else here.


I have never said 'I don't like Mondays' is a folk song though have I, Jim. I am not sure who is being inconsistent but it is not me.

From: Jim Carroll - PM
Date: 31 Oct 17 - 03:13 AM

"folk medium is now sterile and consequently in it's death throes"
They said exactly the same thing about Shakespeare during various periods of history and there he is still filling theatres and infesting our televisions

From: Jim Carroll - PM
Date: 31 Oct 17 - 02:45 PM

You are selling a pig in a rapidly shrinking poke
By trying to please all of the people all of the time you are conning the people all of the time
Your idea of folk song lack logic and it lacks principle - and it's fucked up a folk scene that had all of those things


Which is it to be? Folk music will survive, as Shakespeare has, or folk music is a rapidly shrinking fucked up scene? You can't have it both ways.

And folk song does not belong to one particular social or economic group either. To suggest it does is exclusivity in the extreme. Folk music belongs to everyone and everyone is entitled to their opinion about it. You stick with your heroes by all means but do not presume to insist that yours is the only valid view and opinion. That is the route to tyranny.

DtG


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Jack Campin
Date: 31 Oct 17 - 04:41 PM

We generally don't depend on definitions to understand or use words correctly.
We dio if we wish to talk to each other intelligently.


Ever seen a classical music concert advertised as being classical music? I don't think so. You are meant to have the common sense to work out what genre Monteverdi or Mark-Antony Turnage belong in.

The only genres I can think of that like labelling themselves and seem to benefit from it are jazz and instrumental/electronic dance music. The dance music scene is very fragmented and it probably does help to tell the punters exactly what flavour they'll get; jazz is unusually cohesive and rather easy to label.


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