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What is Happening to our Folk Clubs

Iains 30 Oct 17 - 08:14 AM
Vic Smith 30 Oct 17 - 08:04 AM
Raggytash 30 Oct 17 - 07:38 AM
Jack Campin 30 Oct 17 - 07:35 AM
Jim Carroll 30 Oct 17 - 07:23 AM
Steve Shaw 30 Oct 17 - 07:09 AM
GUEST 30 Oct 17 - 06:45 AM
Raggytash 30 Oct 17 - 06:30 AM
Vic Smith 30 Oct 17 - 06:22 AM
Raggytash 30 Oct 17 - 06:00 AM
Jim Carroll 30 Oct 17 - 05:59 AM
Jim Carroll 30 Oct 17 - 05:52 AM
Vic Smith 30 Oct 17 - 05:46 AM
Steve Gardham 30 Oct 17 - 05:31 AM
Raggytash 30 Oct 17 - 05:28 AM
Raggytash 30 Oct 17 - 05:24 AM
Steve Gardham 30 Oct 17 - 05:22 AM
Jim Carroll 30 Oct 17 - 05:13 AM
Dave the Gnome 30 Oct 17 - 05:13 AM
Johnny J 30 Oct 17 - 04:37 AM
Steve Gardham 30 Oct 17 - 04:31 AM
Raggytash 30 Oct 17 - 04:16 AM
Jim Carroll 30 Oct 17 - 03:51 AM
Iains 30 Oct 17 - 03:46 AM
Backwoodsman 30 Oct 17 - 03:25 AM
Backwoodsman 30 Oct 17 - 03:23 AM
Jim Carroll 30 Oct 17 - 03:20 AM
Johnny J 30 Oct 17 - 03:14 AM
GUEST 30 Oct 17 - 03:11 AM
Backwoodsman 30 Oct 17 - 02:52 AM
Johnny J 30 Oct 17 - 02:41 AM
Jack Campin 30 Oct 17 - 02:39 AM
RTim 29 Oct 17 - 10:11 PM
GUEST 29 Oct 17 - 09:15 PM
Big Al Whittle 29 Oct 17 - 08:32 PM
Steve Shaw 29 Oct 17 - 08:14 PM
Joe Offer 29 Oct 17 - 08:02 PM
Jack Campin 29 Oct 17 - 07:25 PM
GUEST 29 Oct 17 - 07:07 PM
GUEST 29 Oct 17 - 06:54 PM
TheSnail 29 Oct 17 - 06:54 PM
TheSnail 29 Oct 17 - 06:48 PM
GUEST,Hootenanny 29 Oct 17 - 06:39 PM
Vic Smith 29 Oct 17 - 06:37 PM
Steve Shaw 29 Oct 17 - 06:31 PM
GUEST 29 Oct 17 - 06:12 PM
GUEST,Nick Dow 29 Oct 17 - 05:49 PM
Backwoodsman 29 Oct 17 - 05:23 PM
Dave the Gnome 29 Oct 17 - 05:15 PM
Steve Shaw 29 Oct 17 - 04:59 PM
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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Iains
Date: 30 Oct 17 - 08:14 AM

Iaian said that those holding left wing views should not be considered as telling the truth
He later went on to say that anybody who didn't share his tastes were stupid

Give me the time, date and thread where these supposed postings occurred, otherwise withdraw them.


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Vic Smith
Date: 30 Oct 17 - 08:04 AM

I did not "falsely" accuse you of anything last time, I mistakenly did so and apologised
Yes, you dealt with satisfactorily. However at 30 Oct 17 - 03:20 AM you accused me of "insults, dishonesty and evasion." I remain very unhappy about that and asked you to provide examples of each. You have not done so. If you are unable to do so, please could you withdraw the claim and give assurance that such accusations will not be repeated in future.


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Raggytash
Date: 30 Oct 17 - 07:38 AM

I wrote "Iains merely acknowledged the work you have done."

You replied "Iains has made clear where he stands on who should and should not have a say on these matters, just as he has on what he thinks of those who disagree with him "

No mention of his politics. It reads as if you are commenting on his reference to your collecting work.

Perhaps, as other people have already suggested, you should take a little more care before you post.

Finally though I might disagree with much of what Iains posts about politics, I will defend his right to post it.


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Jack Campin
Date: 30 Oct 17 - 07:35 AM

Jim will not put spaces between his different points. It can be confusing as we all know ........... so no change there.

Not confusing for me. I just read the first two lines and skip the rest.


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 30 Oct 17 - 07:23 AM

""Folk police personified."
Once again it was not addressed to you Vic - it was not attributed to anybody but wsas copied directly from Raggy's posting above
I did not "falsely" accuse you of anything last time, I mistakenly did so and apologised
"Are you ready to offer another apology?"
If you insist, but I would have thought an explanation would have done, given the circumstances
Sorry
"If you now consider you shouldn't have made the remark perhaps you should withdraw it "
I don't understand your point
Iaian said that those holding left wing views should not be considered as telling the truth
He later went on to say that anybody who didn't share his tastes were stupid
What is there to apologise for - I certainly have no intention of withdrawing my remark?
I find it interesting that you should defend such behaviour and go on to say "There is only one way and that's the Jim Carroll way"
That is patently not true, as is your implied accusations of my lying ""I wonder if you ever actually enjoy folk music"
I have stated over and over again that I do enjoy folk song, as a singer and as a listener - so I am not telling the truth - according to you
Who should apologise to whom Raggy?
No forget that
The amount of mud-slinging that has gone of here from all sides has created a situation that nobody should either demand or expect an apology
You are as guilty as abybody
Let's see if we can't move on without the abuse eh?
Jim Caarroll


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 30 Oct 17 - 07:09 AM

"Most enthusing about sessions in pubs are players, not singers. Whatever is played in a pub session is treated the same as background music as during the playing of it, conversations continue, drinks are ordered and there is no audience, those playing are playing entirely for their own amusement."

Hopefully true, though I'd rather say that there is a voluntary (as opposed to captive) audience rather than no audience. Our session lasted twenty years and survived several landlords and all participants got unlimited free beer all night. The gaffer even gave me my taxi fare home so that I could have a few pints. Now you don't get that if you are not significantly contributing to the ambience and getting lots bums on seats. So maybe not an audience in the strict sense, but a lot of appreciative people nonetheless. Filling a pub on a Friday night all year round in a remote area with a short tourist season was not our aim but we achieved it anyway. And on alternate Fridays we had several other village pubs in which we did the same thing.

"A Folk Club is different. It is normally held in a designated space that has been reserved for that specific purpose for that particular evening. All those present are there to listen and participate. The material performed to widely varying degrees of competence ranges from traditional to pop, and, no sorry the latter is NOT folk music, even if it is being sung, normally appallingly badly, by "folk"."

I think the club I was brought up in eventually lost its way, at least in part for the reasons you state. Incidentally, not everyone by a long chalk was there to participate. A good number of people were passive audience. The main difference is that in a folk club you are performing. I don't think that's true of pub sessions on the whole, bar the occasional song for which there was reverential quiet from the pub regulars. One other thing: the habit of booking folk music stars for gigs at clubs I always saw as a double-edged sword. Sure, it got people in (usually) and might have enlightened a few as to what they'd been missing. But it also puts career people on a pedestal, as does the issuing of slickly-produced fourteen-quid CDs in glossy boxes. To me, that runs against what true folk music should be about, even if the star performers often performed real folk music.


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: GUEST
Date: 30 Oct 17 - 06:45 AM

"Most enthusing about sessions in pubs are players, not singers."

I don't know it works out in this thread but I'd tend to be cautious about the "not singers" part. It might be just playing in the session but there are quite a few that may be singers on a different occasion.


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Raggytash
Date: 30 Oct 17 - 06:30 AM

No not you Vic, that was aimed at me. It just that Jim will not put spaces between his different points. It can be confusing as we all know ........... so no change there.


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Vic Smith
Date: 30 Oct 17 - 06:22 AM

Yet again in this thread, I am being accused (30 Oct 17 - 05:59 AM) by the same person of writing something that I did not write. Having been forced into an apology for a false accusation against me earlier in the thread, one might think that more care would be taken in future, but no.
I am being quoted as saying, "Folk police personified."
Check back. I did not write that. Are you still confused? Are you ready to offer another apology?
This is becoming remorseless.


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Raggytash
Date: 30 Oct 17 - 06:00 AM

Absolute bollocks you clearly typed:

"Iains has made clear where he stands on who should and should not have a say on these matters"

If you now consider you shouldn't have made the remark perhaps you should withdraw it ............ although I think we now have a clear picture of your beliefs. There is only one way and that's the Jim Carroll way.


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 30 Oct 17 - 05:59 AM

"Folk police personified."
Folkie invective personified
"Am I I being placed in a lose-lose situation here?"
No Vic - you are being asked your opinion on the merits of Shirleys statement - not whether she believed what she said
You still haven't replied
How can you "lose" anything by replying unless you believe your answer would incriminate you in something?
Folk song has already been defined and remains so to everybody involved with the exception of a dwindling number of clubs
As far as the clubs are concerned, it has nothing to do with definition, just living up to a promise
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 30 Oct 17 - 05:52 AM

"Who the **** do you think you are to state that Iains should not have a say in the matter!!"
I didn't Iains
I said any comments by you are not welcome given your track record
"Folk clubs since their inception have always had a mixture of traditional and contemporary songs "
Which is wahat I have suggested throughout
What has changes is that the contemporary that bears no resemblance in any shap or form to traditional has ousted the real thing and taken over - I think it's called acculturation, but I prefer 'a hostile takeover'
"entertain and sing good songs"
Subjective enough to me meaningless
'Folk in Hull' specifies a type of music so how can you "ram" the type of music people have been drawn in to listen to down their throats, unless you consider their choice of music a bad one in the first place and the role of the club is to wean prospective punters off folk.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Vic Smith
Date: 30 Oct 17 - 05:46 AM

I can only say that I have little to add to my statement at 29 Oct 17 - 06:37 PM.
I was taunted into a response about Shirley's statement about her background - Hard not to notice that Shirley Collins; statement has been ignored - ven by her fellow Sussex by the Sea-ers so I responded saying that I thought that Shirley's statement was honest. I wrote That was exactly her background.
The response was you don't have to come running at Collin's statement, you were asked to respond to what she said - you still haven't. Eh? Am I I being placed in a lose-lose situation here?
In addition, I am accused of insults, dishonesty and evasion. I must say that I strongly resent that accusation in giving the honest response that I was asked to make and would like to be given examples of where I have insulted, been dishonest or where I have evaded an issue. The normal procedures of interchange of ideas seem to have been abandoned here.

Could I add just one thing. I have no desire at all to pursue a definition of folk song. To produce one has defeated better and more knowledgeable brains than mine. I am happy to go with my gut instinct of the aspects of the music that I find emotionally and intellectually stimulating. Not everything that I hear in folk clubs pleases me but there is enough that meets my criteria for me come back for more. It could be that defining folk song is like juggling with sand - simply not possible. It could also be that insistent repeated demands for a definition are being used here as a smokescreen.


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 30 Oct 17 - 05:31 AM

...singing from the same sheet...

I did notice the irony of using that metaphor.


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Raggytash
Date: 30 Oct 17 - 05:28 AM

Actually your remark was not surprising really.

You have a repressive "do as I say" attitude.

Folk police personified.


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Raggytash
Date: 30 Oct 17 - 05:24 AM

"Iains has made clear where he stands on who should and should not have a say on these matters"

Who the **** do you think you are to state that Iains should not have a say in the matter!!


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 30 Oct 17 - 05:22 AM

Folk clubs since their inception have always had a mixture of traditional and contemporary songs and I don't think this has changed much over the 60 years. That goes for the repertoires of floor singers and professionals. I don't think anyone here, Jim included, would say that that is not healthy. Even those who throw in the odd pop song from their youth still largely sing material from the folk scene. (Dave Burland for instance).

The OP was asking about the gradual decline in floor singer standards. I don't go into folk clubs that often simply because I prefer the total involvement of a session (I'm hyperactive), but I have seen the singarounds go from strength to strength in introducing newcomers and improving the standards of performers already there and some of these do go to folk clubs. If floor singer standards are starting to fall in some areas then that is perhaps a matter for the organisers to address. A lively scene has a good mixture of sessions, singarounds, clubs, workshops, concerts etc.

Nearby York and Sheffield have always had a lively scene thanks to a few dedicated souls like Roland Walls and Ron Day. In Hull we have started to address this in the last 5 years partly by setting up a charity 'Folk in Hull' so we are all singing from the same sheet. There are plenty of young people involved. Currently most of them just want to entertain and sing good songs and we are not trying to ram English traditional material down their throats, though they are beginning to take an interest in where the songs come from.


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 30 Oct 17 - 05:13 AM

"Just exactly what would you like to see happen in British Folk Clubs?"
Wind back about thirty years and you find it there Steve
A mix of traditional and new songs being created on traditional models were the norm throughout the scene
The scene I know were made up of my age who already had families and were looking around for ideas of how to get them involved - the Campbell sprogs ormed a pop group I seem to remember
The mass of people walked away because of declining standards and the shortage of folk songs in the clubs - the period was recorded in detail by an article entitled 'Crap Begets Crap, and a long series of responses in Folk Review
Your claim of young people turning to traditional folk song is contradicted by virtually everything agued here and your own circular definition that folk is what happens in folk clubs
One wonders where young people would go for traditional material and encouragement to sing it - certainly not the clubs represented here on hate fests like this one
If the above definition is your idea of what folk song is I have little doubt that there is no difficulty in finding it - plenty of karaoke venues around
"I'm not sure if that's true. It all depends on how we define "folk music"."
It's not "how we define it" Johnny it's whether we do - not much of that here
Nobody is insisting that we confine the clubs to traditional song - which really doesn't cover a "multitude of sins" and is quite unique among all other vocal forms - the aim was that we use the old songs to create new ones to provide a comfortable mix of old and new.
That is what has been ousted and replaced by "a multitude of sins and styles"
Folk and traditional when applied to song are synonymous terms - not separate ones
"Iains merely acknowledged the work you have done."
Iains has made clear where he stands on who should and should not have a say on these matters, just as he has on what he thinks of those who disagree with him
I consider praise from such people unnecessary and unwelcome just as I would if it came from somebady who had to ask "I wonder if you ever actually enjoy folk music, "
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 30 Oct 17 - 05:13 AM

Jim, if the definition you give of folk music is the list you provided earlier then folk music can never happen in folk clubs again. I think everyone on that list is dead so unless you go to folk clubs to listen to recordings how do you expect adhere to that definition?

I could list what I count as folk music and you would undoubtedly find something wrong with it.


DtG


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Johnny J
Date: 30 Oct 17 - 04:37 AM

"you know next to SFA about folk music in the 21st Century"

I'm not sure if that's true. It all depends on how we define "folk music".
The "What is folk music?" thing has been done to death on many occasions before. So, the arguments in this thread aren't particularly new.

It's much easier, I think,but still problematic to identify what "traditional music" or a country's indigenous music is.

For me, I'm content to accept that "folk music" covers a multitude of sins and styles of which traditional music and song is just part.

If we wish to insist that clubs should soley focus on traditional music and song, then maybe they should be renamed accordingly? Otherwise, I expect a wide variety of music at folk clubs and festivals which I can either enjoy or choose to ignore.


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 30 Oct 17 - 04:31 AM

Jim,
Just exactly what would you like to see happen in British Folk Clubs?

The clubs started to decline around about 1980 when the mainly young people who populated them started bringing up families. Since then we have seen massive changes in technology and social habits, much much more to to compete with for our time. The folk scene has progressed/regressed, depending on your viewpoint, in other ways since then.

Personally I see many many good young performers turning to traditional folk song, singing in folk clubs and at festivals and taking an interest in the academic side. More of us, including the young ones, are going into schools and other institutions to spread the word. The scenes in Yorkshire are vibrant and varied and there is plenty of interest in the tradition.


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Raggytash
Date: 30 Oct 17 - 04:16 AM

For **** sake, Iains merely acknowledged the work you have done.

What do you do in your arrogance but throw it back at him.

You really are an insufferable boor.

Would you rather he had said that Jim Carrolls done sweet FA for folk music.

I wonder if you ever actually enjoy folk music, I have a mental picture of you sitting at the back of the room, making mental criticisms of all the players and performers. You criticise everything about it.

You criticise folk clubs in the UK even though you haven't set foot in one for decades, you criticise the audiences of which you have had no knowledge for decades, you criticise the performers, including a 20 time All Ireland winner, in fact you criticised the All Ireland titles, full stop. You criticse any modern singer/songwriter. You criticise everything except yourself.

You are not perfect, you don't know all the answers, I would go further and say you know next to SFA about folk music in the 21st Century.

An arrogant, elitist pain in the arse.


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 30 Oct 17 - 03:51 AM

" I will concede a debt is due to Jim for collating "
Please don't patronise me Iain's, we didn't do what we did for the likes of people who are as likely to send the heavy mpb to kick down workers doors wwhen they step out of line as they are to silence the voice of 'lefties' who speak their minds (or call peole who don't like the same things they do "stupid and divisive"
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Iains
Date: 30 Oct 17 - 03:46 AM

Back in the day when we wore flares and were long haired scruffy gits,the hit parade had numerous "folk" contributions by such as the
Strawbs, Pentangle, Donovan, Steeleye Span etc etc.... I think for many this coloured our definition of folk. This can be argued back and forth by the purists for ever and will progress the theme not one iota. I fail to see what place sessions have in this particular thread. If you want to discuss the ins and outs of sessions go elsewhere. It is obvious there will be no agreement as to what constitutes folk so further banging the drum for each viewpoint is fairly pointless. I suspect the majority describe folk music with a far broader paintbrush than the purists and although I will concede a debt is due to Jim for collating , archiving and researching material, this does not give him any right to dictate his interpretation of folk music on the rest of us. He is vastly outnumbered judging by the contributions here.
If you take the purist view then folk music is as dead as monty pythons pet parrot, and people are endlessly performing with a corpse.
I prefer to believe the genre is alive and kicking and modes of generation and transmittal reflect the world we live in today, not that of 200 year old yokels..


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Backwoodsman
Date: 30 Oct 17 - 03:25 AM

That was for unnamed GUEST.


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Backwoodsman
Date: 30 Oct 17 - 03:23 AM

The sessions I go to are mostly 'mixed' - a tune or two, a song, a couple more tunes, a song, yadda yadda. Mostly in pubs with the boozers and gassers present.

However, I occasionally go to one almost totally tune session, held in a private room, and I go to one song session (same idea as a tune session, one person 'leads' a song, everyone else plays/sings as they wish), again in a private room.

The folk clubs I go to are mostly in private rooms, roughly 50/50 performers/audience, mostly 'modern folk-styled' songs with some trad, mostly very well-performed. But I also go to a club in a pub with boozers and gassers present, who booze and gas right the way through the performances.

Which all goes to show that stereotyping sessions/clubs, as with stereotyping people, often doesn't work.


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 30 Oct 17 - 03:20 AM

" I hesitate to repeat my claim about the person who thinks the world revolves around himself "
Why do you resort to this personal shit Vic - you really were once better than that, or I thought you were?
You are no different that the rest of this pack with their insults, dishonesty and evasion
This has never been about me except when people like you choose it to be - it is about the music as far as I'm concerned - the same music that was recorded in the early 1950s and launched us all off on this wonderful voyage of discovery
You have all lied and distorted when you claim that my argument about clubs was based on the '54 definition - it never has been - '54 is a guide for research, no more, and even then it is one that needs revisiting.
You were offered my definition in example, over and over again - you ran like frightened sheep from it - a few took up my offer, but none of the bullies and strutters here - not interested in real argument when faced with a case to respond to
No - you don't have to come running at Collin's statement, you were asked to respond to what she said - you still haven't
I didn't ask for a thumbnail sketch of her history - I knew some of it anyway
Bryan stumps up a three year old article as if she was saying something different then - she wasn't - not about the music anyway
You have attempted to censor and denigrate my opinions by suggesting I have hi-jacked this thread - I had a lot to say, sure, but that could have been sorted out by responding to it with honest answers - none were forthcoming
I was told there were many definitions of folksong - the only one proffered was the mind-numbing "what happens in folk clubs" - how pathetic is that?
Your responses went from bad to worse when Iains arrived with his ' nobody has a right to an opinion unless they salute the flag and love Mad Maggie' level of rejection of argument and his 'you're stupid if you don't like the same things I do'
My definition is as it has always been -
Sam Larner singing Henry Martin
Phil Tanner singing Banks of the Sweet Primroses
Walter Pardon singing the Rambling Blade
Ned Adams sing The Bold Princess Royal
Cecilia Costello singing The Grey Cock and The Cruel Mother (she's worth two)
Mary Delaney singing What Will We do and Buried in Kilkenny (so is she)
And Sheila Stewart singing the beautiful folk tragedy that rivals Hamlet, Tiftie's Annie
They are the tip of the giant iceberg of folk songs that represent 'The Voice of the People' for me
Geldof doesn't even get a look in the window, never mind a seat by the folk fire, even if the laws of copyright allowed him to take one up.
The OP asked what has happened to our folk clubs - he and I got our answer - they have fallen into the hands of people who no longer know what folk song is and care even less.
I see a number of postings saying what a great time people have had at folk clubs, but fail to describe what they listen to
It's always intrigued my that a Forum that describes itself as this one does has made serious discussion of folk song a no-go area peppered with abuse and personal insult
Here its sunk to the level of describing criticism of the status quo as 'mental instability'
You people really do need to take a serious look at yourselves when you allow discussion to reach that level without comment
As far as the club scene, I see much common sense in Jack Campin's last posting
Theyare not places I would wish to take someone I wished to introduce to folk song either - not any more, they're not
Jim Carroll
JIm Carroll


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Johnny J
Date: 30 Oct 17 - 03:14 AM

"rarely recent phenomenon" Sorry, I meant to say FAIRLY recent phenomenon. ;-))

Backwoodsman,

I also enjoy myself fine in sessions where nothing is offered or expected. It's the music(or song) which is the important thing.


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: GUEST
Date: 30 Oct 17 - 03:11 AM

Most enthusing about sessions in pubs are players, not singers. Whatever is played in a pub session is treated the same as background music as during the playing of it, conversations continue, drinks are ordered and there is no audience, those playing are playing entirely for their own amusement.

A Folk Club is different. It is normally held in a designated space that has been reserved for that specific purpose for that particular evening. All those present are there to listen and participate. The material performed to widely varying degrees of competence ranges from traditional to pop, and, no sorry the latter is NOT folk music, even if it is being sung, normally appallingly badly, by "folk".


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Backwoodsman
Date: 30 Oct 17 - 02:52 AM

Never seen a tip jar at any of the sessions I've been to. Never been offered payment, a pint, or even a cup of tea. Zilch.

Had a great time though!🚚


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Johnny J
Date: 30 Oct 17 - 02:41 AM

Jack says

"PUB SESSION

Tip jar."

This seems to be a rarely recent phenomenon with which I have great reservations.

Firstly, it is an excuse for the bar management to pay a mere pittance to the musicians in the case of so called "paid sessions".

If the session is unpaid and the musicians are playing for their own amusement and enjoyment, why should they expect payment? Passing around a "tip jar" is akin to busking if not begging, in my opinion.

If the punters enjoy the music, they can always offer to buy the musicians a drink or put some money behind the bar for this purpose. This is a lot more sociable!
Of course, many sessions are now full of tea totallers these days but surely they can still accept a soft drink or even a cup of tea or coffee if offered? Rather than seeking pocket money.....


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Jack Campin
Date: 30 Oct 17 - 02:39 AM

There is no market in the U.S. for traditional folk music. None. NOBODY can make a living here as a folk musician

Bruce Molsky? Rhiannon Giddens?


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: RTim
Date: 29 Oct 17 - 10:11 PM

What's up with you guys - are you all in Bed........I am wired after a great night at a Folk Club.........

Tim Radford


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: GUEST
Date: 29 Oct 17 - 09:15 PM

Maybe some of it is that we are all different, Steve? For me a session is relaxed and (with the proviso that you know whatever is going round) you can come or go as you please - at least mostly, I'm no session leader (or usually not skilled enough to be that and with a limited repertoire, although aim to fit in) but sometimes you want to start a set or two going. Rarely for me but sometimes you can find yourself having to step forward a little more but you go with the flow (some of which can be your own). Things works themselves out on the night.

It's (to me anyway) quite a contrast to working out what you might do on the night, worrying about when you get called to do it, etc. And while it's nice to get applause and even better, to feel what you did really did go down well, I'm less interested in that side.

Others of course may have different intrests, eg. the response or introducing others to something new...


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 29 Oct 17 - 08:32 PM

you just reminded me - i've got to go to the folkclub on tuesday - i owe a bloke twenty quid.


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 29 Oct 17 - 08:14 PM

Trouble is, Snail, though I hear of your indefatigable work in making your club a success, which I honestly consider to be admirable, you are not listening. Over several posts I have told you how much I owe to folk clubs. The polarisation here means that you didn't see that bit. You only saw the bit that you didn't want to see, the negative bit. Well I am by no means negative about the folk club scene. But your challenge is to tell us what, if anything, is wrong with our analysis, honestly put, that folk clubs can be a bit stultifying, a bit inward-looking and a bit exclusive-feeling. I didn't say your club. Though, if you don't recognise what I'm saying, well maybe you haven't been to enough clubs. Indeed, neither have I. So tell me how you know. Finally, my post was constructive. Yours was defensive. Why do you worry so?


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Joe Offer
Date: 29 Oct 17 - 08:02 PM

On 24 Oct, Chris Wright said: Folk music has become increasingly professionalised and institutionalised, and this is continuing at a seemingly accelerating rate.

I don't think the same is true for the U.S. There is no market in the U.S. for traditional folk music. None. NOBODY can make a living here as a folk musician, although there are living-room audiences all over the country who love traditional music and are very enthusiastic supporters of house concerts.

Folk music has left the commercial realm here in the U.S., and it has been left to the people who really love the music. One can't make a living in folk music anymore in the U.S. - but it sure is good to just make music for the fun of it.

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Jack Campin
Date: 29 Oct 17 - 07:25 PM

To add to Steve Shaw's summary (29 Oct 17 - 06:31 PM):

FOLK CLUB

Raffle.

PUB SESSION

Tip jar.

(and if anything tells a new arrival that the conversation at the bar is going to be about hip replacements, it's having a raffle. Who started that? I kinda doubt it was MacColl since his paradigm performance situation was the theatrical show, and you didn't get a raffle at the interval when Ibsen or Brecht were running the gig).

These days I am mostly playing music that may be rehearsed in a back room pub session or in somebody's house, but the focus is on doing it publicly at some point. I see little interest in playing anything unless I'm trying to win over an audience which won't have heard anything like it before. Pub sessions can do that, but there are many other alternatives.


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: GUEST
Date: 29 Oct 17 - 07:07 PM

(perhaps better qualify standards above, out of time drums and thrashing wrong chords on guitar in a session are intolerable and can throw a whole group but I don't see things the same way if someone is giving a song)


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: GUEST
Date: 29 Oct 17 - 06:54 PM

Not me, Steve. I don't get out often and when the chance comes am picky. Favourite would be a session in the city. A more mixed affair with 50% tunes would be my next (and often only) option and it again give opportunities to join in a lot of the time and group participation is a lot to me.

The more formal folk club is to far down my own list for it to have happened in a long while. Nothing wrong with the city folk club but the last time I went there was several years ago when someone I first met in a Bangor session was the guest - he's very good but it was to say hello after several years as much as anything. In different circumstances I'd get out more.

I'm probably less concerned about standards than you. It's more a run eg. of Dulyn, etc. style singers (/songwriters) don't always appeal to my tastes.


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: TheSnail
Date: 29 Oct 17 - 06:54 PM

Steve Shaw
First off, I'm not qualified. I haven't set foot in a folk club for twenty years. However...

I am not qualified. But here's my impressions:


Interesting that the most vociferous in their condemnation of folk clubs are those who haven't been to them for decades because they know that they are "shite, shite, shite, shite, shite...."


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: TheSnail
Date: 29 Oct 17 - 06:48 PM

OK I was wrong. This is the Mudcat equivalent of 'The Mousetrap'
More like Groundhog Day.


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: GUEST,Hootenanny
Date: 29 Oct 17 - 06:39 PM

Folk clubs thriving in 1954 ? I don't think so but I am ready to be corrected BUT, only by somebody who was there and didn't just "know someone who was".

The songs and music existed long before the advent of folk clubs and it won't die now that there are fewer around. It has always been a minority sport and will continue to be so.


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Vic Smith
Date: 29 Oct 17 - 06:37 PM

Hard not to notice that Shirley Collins; statement has been ignored - ven by her fellow Sussex by the Sea-ers
What are we supposed to do? Spring to attention and respond immediately because we have received the call from County Clare. I hesitate to repeat my claim about the person who thinks the world revolves around himself but I would submit this as further evidence. It's the subversive nasty edge to Jim's comments that I object to. Why does he continue to make provocative comments? This is not meant to be a side-taking snide comment competition. Ideally, it would be a fair and open minded debate. Some hope.....

I first met Shirley 53 years ago in 1964 and have become very friendly with her. Tina and I are delighted that in her recent books and records, we have received dedications from her. We have worked with Shirley in many ways over the intervening years, worked with her on developing and delivering all her multi-media shows, most notably a huge Arts Council funded tour of her "America Over The Water" multimedia shows that took us to major venues in five countries in 2007/8. It gave us some of the most memorable and enjoyable experiences in all our decades in folk music.
Now, I take it that Jim wants a response to the comments -
"Folk song belongs the despised and neglected people of the hard-working classes
They deserve to be known
My grandparents and my mum came from the labouring classes"

That was exactly her background just as it was mine; my father a docker, my mother a cleaner. Shirley's mother was an intensely involved Communist party member and the teenaged Dolly & Shirley were expected to spend their Saturdays selling The Daily Worker in the main shopping streets of Hastings, a thing that they found embarrassing to do and both resented intensely. Shirley's political interests are certainly of the left; from what I have heard her say, she seeks equality of opportunity and treatment for all but despises cant. rigidity and dogma both of the left and of the right. In many thousands of miles that Tina and I have driven her to gigs in our cars, there has been a wide range of discussions and one repeated topic was her deep loathing of the way she was treated as a young singer by both Lloyd & MacColl. She talked of put-downs, dismissive comments and what amounted to plain misogyny from the pair of them. I found this difficult to listen to because I had admiration for both men, but we are now surrounded by evidence of the treatment of young women by older men of that generation so who am I to doubt it. Yet when her relationship with Alan Lomax developed, she felt that there was jealousy that it was Alan and not Ewan that she favoured.

All of this is water that has long since passed under the bridge, and I only write it here because it has been called for. I fully expect to hauled over the coals for writing this but in my defence, I only write what I have heard because I have been asked to comment.


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 29 Oct 17 - 06:31 PM

What can any of you tell us about the folk clubs of today? How many folk clubs are there in this country? How many have you actually been to? How many have closed down?

I am not qualified. But here's my impressions:

FOLK CLUB

Earnest.
In-crowd.
Quiet.
Worthy.
Same old.
Frequent poor-quality floor spots.
Non-judgemental even in the face of frequent mediocrity.

PUB SESSION

Everybody plays almost all the time as much as they want to. Within reason, of course.
Far more traditional music played and heard than in any folk club.
Democratic.
A bit noisy.
Brings in the crowds.
Atmosphere.

FUN.

Comparisons are invidious. I'm biased. There are good things about folk clubs and bad things about sessions, I've seen all that. Just ask yourself how many clubs there are that are actually thriving. And whether they actually perform the function of keeping folk music alive and kicking, given the in-crowd, exclusive, precious ethos that may or may not prevail but which is their abiding image. I have my severe doubts. Keeping folk music alive is in the hands of, er, folks. And by no means do all of them go to folk clubs.


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: GUEST
Date: 29 Oct 17 - 06:12 PM

Same old issues?

To pick on the simplest. Like Steve, I'm happiest in an (in my case Irish and at least mostly instrumental) session environment. Although it is where I started, I tend to loose interest more when things move to the more formal style clubs, eg, with floor singers getting up and doing sets of 3 but that's just me.

Harder are the never resolved "what is folk"? issues. I've had different opinions at different times but prefer the 1950s type idea to define a folk song (and even that is enough to get one involved in rows and you wind up getting fixed on on aspect, defending a view to the hilt?). I might also even debate the naming 'folk club' - perhaps "folk and acoustic" would be better in some cases?

But I think realities are 1. that any "folk club" I'm likely to get to or most of that sort of thing I've been to is some form of mix (some more to my tastes than others) and 2. if there every were any doors to be closed, the horses bolted long ago, although if for example, an event wanted to run "purely traditional", "purely unaccompanied", etc. they should be free to do so without criticism for not being "all inclusive".

I think, although a minority interest, "folk" is a big area and that there is room for different approaches. Rightly or wrongly, I also feel that having some diversity is healthy.


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: GUEST,Nick Dow
Date: 29 Oct 17 - 05:49 PM

OK I was wrong. This is the Mudcat equivalent of 'The Mousetrap'


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Backwoodsman
Date: 29 Oct 17 - 05:23 PM

We do, Dave. Well, I do for one.


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 29 Oct 17 - 05:15 PM

Sorry again, Steve, but what can Jim tell us about the folk clubs of today? A man who readily admits that he has not set foot in folk club for many years and left England for a life in the Emerald Isle is not really in a position to understand what the issues are in 2017. OK, we may say that in 1954 the folk clubs were thriving so if we went back to whatever they were were doing then, they will thrive again. But we all know that that is not true. Don't we?

DtG


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 29 Oct 17 - 04:59 PM

"I have got to stop reading this thread - it gets more confusing with every post - I know longer know who is saying what why or when - maybe it is time to close it down, because it is not going anywhere.

Tim Radford"

It is very odd, Tim. I'm a definite outsider in all this. A folk club got me going and I'm eternally grateful, but I grew out of folk clubs twenty years ago. That sounds bloody arrogant but it isn't meant to be. Playing in a pub session with an incredibly democratic bunch of blokes got me playing ten times more traditional tunes than ever I would have played or heard in a folk club. And a lot of non-traditional tunes too. And a few songs, mostly of the Pete St John non-traditional variety, but then we were mostly all about Irish tunes, not songs. But let me just say summat. I love traditional music. Dunno whether you in-crowd guys consider Shirley Collins to be traditional, but I'm a Shirley completist. Is Woody traditional? Dunno. I'm a Woody completist too. I know bugger all about Morris or set dancing but I love to see it and can't be dragged away. Dare I admit that I also love the Pogues, Christy, Planxty and the Bothies? Beatles? Vaughan Williams? But when it comes to going out to play, I have one bloody aim. To have fun. I thoroughly respect tradition. But if I want to thoroughly respect something and NOT have fun I'll just go to Mass, thanks. The polarisation in this thread is mesmerising and it survives the occasional oasis of calm. I could do with a touch more knowledge, but I have enough to be able to glean that Jim loses the lot of you. Don't antagonise a man of such passion and you might actually learn something. There, that's me being all soddin' polarising. Damn.


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