mudcat.org: Different types of contemporary folk
Lyrics & Knowledge Personal Pages Record Shop Auction Links Radio & Media Kids Membership Help
The Mudcat Cafeawe

Post to this Thread - Sort Descending - Printer Friendly - Home


Different types of contemporary folk

Dave the Gnome 24 Feb 19 - 04:40 AM
Steve Gardham 24 Feb 19 - 04:45 AM
Dave the Gnome 24 Feb 19 - 05:07 AM
Johnny J 24 Feb 19 - 05:15 AM
GUEST,John from Kemsing 24 Feb 19 - 05:21 AM
GUEST,Hootenanny 24 Feb 19 - 05:36 AM
Iains 24 Feb 19 - 05:40 AM
GUEST,Sol 24 Feb 19 - 05:46 AM
Dave the Gnome 24 Feb 19 - 06:07 AM
GUEST,Gerry 24 Feb 19 - 06:09 AM
Dave the Gnome 24 Feb 19 - 06:21 AM
Johnny J 24 Feb 19 - 06:22 AM
GUEST,jim bainbridge 24 Feb 19 - 06:32 AM
GUEST,akenaton 24 Feb 19 - 06:33 AM
Dave the Gnome 24 Feb 19 - 06:52 AM
Johnny J 24 Feb 19 - 07:12 AM
The Sandman 24 Feb 19 - 07:24 AM
The Sandman 24 Feb 19 - 07:33 AM
Iains 24 Feb 19 - 07:45 AM
GUEST 24 Feb 19 - 08:28 AM
Stewie 24 Feb 19 - 09:36 AM
Steve Gardham 24 Feb 19 - 09:49 AM
GUEST,Rigby 24 Feb 19 - 10:11 AM
Jeri 24 Feb 19 - 10:12 AM
Steve Gardham 24 Feb 19 - 10:20 AM
Jim Carroll 24 Feb 19 - 10:41 AM
The Sandman 24 Feb 19 - 10:55 AM
Jeri 24 Feb 19 - 11:05 AM
punkfolkrocker 24 Feb 19 - 11:43 AM
GUEST,akenaton 24 Feb 19 - 12:19 PM
Dave the Gnome 24 Feb 19 - 01:11 PM
michaelr 24 Feb 19 - 02:24 PM
Dave the Gnome 24 Feb 19 - 02:29 PM
GUEST,Howard Jones 24 Feb 19 - 02:30 PM
The Sandman 24 Feb 19 - 02:39 PM
The Sandman 24 Feb 19 - 02:42 PM
Jim Carroll 24 Feb 19 - 02:46 PM
Steve Gardham 24 Feb 19 - 02:50 PM
michaelr 24 Feb 19 - 03:06 PM
The Sandman 24 Feb 19 - 05:21 PM
The Sandman 24 Feb 19 - 05:26 PM
Stewie 24 Feb 19 - 08:29 PM
Stewie 24 Feb 19 - 08:34 PM
Stewie 24 Feb 19 - 08:45 PM
Dave the Gnome 25 Feb 19 - 05:08 AM
Steve Shaw 25 Feb 19 - 05:14 AM
GUEST,jim bainbridge 25 Feb 19 - 05:17 AM
GUEST 25 Feb 19 - 05:38 AM
DG&D Dave 25 Feb 19 - 08:04 AM
Jim Carroll 25 Feb 19 - 08:09 AM
Dave the Gnome 25 Feb 19 - 02:11 PM
Steve Gardham 25 Feb 19 - 03:12 PM
The Sandman 25 Feb 19 - 04:49 PM
Dave the Gnome 26 Feb 19 - 08:41 AM
Iains 26 Feb 19 - 09:14 AM
Jim Carroll 26 Feb 19 - 09:53 AM
Jim Carroll 26 Feb 19 - 11:07 AM
Jim Carroll 26 Feb 19 - 11:17 AM
Dave the Gnome 26 Feb 19 - 11:40 AM
Jim Carroll 26 Feb 19 - 11:51 AM
Dave the Gnome 26 Feb 19 - 12:12 PM
Gozz 26 Feb 19 - 12:17 PM
Steve Gardham 26 Feb 19 - 12:59 PM
Dave the Gnome 26 Feb 19 - 01:32 PM
Dave the Gnome 26 Feb 19 - 01:40 PM
Jim Carroll 26 Feb 19 - 01:59 PM
Steve Gardham 26 Feb 19 - 02:19 PM
Steve Gardham 26 Feb 19 - 02:29 PM
Steve Gardham 26 Feb 19 - 02:39 PM
GUEST 26 Feb 19 - 02:47 PM
GUEST,Hootenanny 26 Feb 19 - 02:48 PM
Steve Gardham 26 Feb 19 - 03:33 PM
Steve Gardham 26 Feb 19 - 03:37 PM
GUEST,Hootenanny 26 Feb 19 - 05:50 PM
Dave the Gnome 27 Feb 19 - 03:46 AM
Jim Carroll 27 Feb 19 - 05:49 AM
GUEST 27 Feb 19 - 07:41 AM
GUEST,Hootenanny 27 Feb 19 - 07:43 AM
Jim Carroll 27 Feb 19 - 08:53 AM
GUEST,Hootenanny 27 Feb 19 - 11:01 AM
GUEST,jim bainbridge 27 Feb 19 - 12:38 PM
Jim Carroll 27 Feb 19 - 12:41 PM
Steve Gardham 27 Feb 19 - 03:15 PM
GUEST 27 Feb 19 - 03:35 PM
GUEST,Hootenanny 27 Feb 19 - 03:39 PM
GUEST,jim bainbridge 28 Feb 19 - 05:44 AM
Jim Carroll 28 Feb 19 - 07:08 AM
Jim Carroll 28 Feb 19 - 07:45 AM
GUEST,jim bainbridge 28 Feb 19 - 08:29 AM
GUEST,Hootenanny 28 Feb 19 - 09:26 AM
GUEST,Hootenanny 01 Mar 19 - 06:13 PM
Jim Carroll 02 Mar 19 - 02:39 AM
GUEST,Hootennanny 02 Mar 19 - 04:53 AM
Jim Carroll 02 Mar 19 - 07:59 AM
Richard Mellish 02 Mar 19 - 08:11 AM
Jim Carroll 02 Mar 19 - 08:27 AM
Jim Carroll 02 Mar 19 - 08:34 AM
Jim Carroll 02 Mar 19 - 08:39 AM
GUEST,jim bainbridge 02 Mar 19 - 08:52 AM
Jim Carroll 02 Mar 19 - 09:28 AM
GUEST,Hootenanny 02 Mar 19 - 10:44 AM
Iains 02 Mar 19 - 11:21 AM
Jack Campin 02 Mar 19 - 01:08 PM
Jim Carroll 02 Mar 19 - 01:39 PM
GUEST,Hootenanny 02 Mar 19 - 02:41 PM
Jim Carroll 02 Mar 19 - 02:47 PM
GUEST,Hootenanny 02 Mar 19 - 03:15 PM
GUEST,the other Jim 03 Mar 19 - 05:48 AM
Jim Carroll 03 Mar 19 - 06:46 AM
Jim Carroll 03 Mar 19 - 07:01 AM
Jim Carroll 03 Mar 19 - 07:45 AM
GUEST 03 Mar 19 - 09:05 AM
Jim Carroll 03 Mar 19 - 10:06 AM
GUEST,the other Jim 04 Mar 19 - 10:54 AM
Jim Carroll 04 Mar 19 - 11:11 AM
GUEST,LynnH 04 Mar 19 - 02:09 PM
Jim Carroll 04 Mar 19 - 02:50 PM
Jack Campin 04 Mar 19 - 04:26 PM
FreddyHeadey 04 Mar 19 - 04:48 PM
GUEST 05 Mar 19 - 05:32 AM
Jim Carroll 05 Mar 19 - 05:35 AM
GUEST,jim bainbridge 05 Mar 19 - 05:42 AM
Jim Carroll 05 Mar 19 - 07:08 AM
Johnny J 05 Mar 19 - 07:21 AM
Dave the Gnome 05 Mar 19 - 07:41 AM
Jim Carroll 05 Mar 19 - 08:23 AM
Johnny J 05 Mar 19 - 01:06 PM
GUEST 08 Mar 19 - 12:56 PM
Jim Carroll 08 Mar 19 - 02:12 PM
GUEST,ripov 10 Mar 19 - 08:56 PM
Jim Carroll 11 Mar 19 - 03:03 AM
GUEST,Observer 11 Mar 19 - 03:20 AM
Dave the Gnome 11 Mar 19 - 03:31 AM
Jim Carroll 11 Mar 19 - 07:23 AM
Dave the Gnome 11 Mar 19 - 07:50 AM
GUEST,Mark Bluemel 11 Mar 19 - 08:38 AM
Jim Carroll 11 Mar 19 - 08:42 AM
GUEST,jag 11 Mar 19 - 09:39 AM
Jim Carroll 11 Mar 19 - 10:36 AM
Iains 11 Mar 19 - 11:24 AM
GUEST,jag 11 Mar 19 - 12:18 PM
GUEST,ripov 11 Mar 19 - 08:50 PM
Jim Carroll 12 Mar 19 - 04:25 AM
GUEST,ripov 12 Mar 19 - 10:38 PM
Jim Carroll 13 Mar 19 - 03:18 AM
GUEST,ripov 13 Mar 19 - 07:08 PM
CupOfTea 16 Mar 19 - 01:59 PM
The Sandman 18 Mar 19 - 07:40 AM
GUEST,Some bloke 19 Mar 19 - 08:30 PM
The Sandman 21 Mar 19 - 05:02 AM
GUEST,matt milton 21 Mar 19 - 07:11 AM
The Sandman 21 Mar 19 - 10:27 AM
Dave the Gnome 21 Mar 19 - 10:53 AM
GUEST,Some bloke 21 Mar 19 - 01:37 PM
The Sandman 21 Mar 19 - 04:00 PM
Dave the Gnome 21 Mar 19 - 04:18 PM
GUEST,Some bloke 21 Mar 19 - 06:56 PM
The Sandman 22 Mar 19 - 02:13 AM
The Sandman 22 Mar 19 - 03:02 AM
The Sandman 22 Mar 19 - 03:16 AM
GUEST 22 Mar 19 - 05:15 AM
GUEST,Some bloke 22 Mar 19 - 01:49 PM
Steve Gardham 22 Mar 19 - 02:06 PM
GUEST,Some bloke 22 Mar 19 - 02:18 PM
The Sandman 22 Mar 19 - 03:03 PM
Share Thread
more
Lyrics & Knowledge Search [Advanced]
DT  Forum
Sort (Forum) by:relevance date
DT Lyrics:









Subject: Different types of contemporary folk
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 24 Feb 19 - 04:40 AM

On the thread about UK folk clubs a sub topic appeared that became of great interest to me. It has gone far beyond UK folk clubs and deserves a thread of its own so here we are :-)

Traditional folk is taken as read so, apart from a reference point, it is not part of this discussion. The contention is with contemporary folk only and relates to where individuals draw the line between contemporary folk and pop music, and why.

There are some contemporary folk songs that we can all agree are firmly of the folk genre. Ewan MacColl's "Dirty Old Town" and Cyril Tawney's "Sammy's Bar" being good examples. There are others however that are a bit of a grey area, such as Ralph McTell's "Hiring Fair" or Tom Paxton's "Last thing on my mind". Then there are those that are downright contentious and of those I cite Richard Thompson's "Vincent Black Lightning" or, more recently, Ed Sheeran's "Nancy Mulligan".

I am not citing any of these as perfect examples and there are many more from both sides of the Atlantic that I am sure we could use. The output of Simon and Garfunkel or Fairport Convention to name but two.

I have my own personal drawn line (a record shop with Led Zeppelin as folk rock crossed it :-) ) but generally my bar is pretty low, or high depending on your viewpoint. I like McTell and think most of his stuff sits comfortably in folk. Most of Sheeran's stuff is pop but of late I can see a lot of folk 'techniques' in some of his stuff. Not a big fan of Dylan but I can see that his output is significant in the folk world. Apart from personal preference I cannot say why some 'feel' like folk to me but some don't.

So, right back to the original question. Where do you draw the line between contemporary folk and pop, and why?

Thanks in advance for a good natured discussion :-)


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Different types of contemporary folk
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 24 Feb 19 - 04:45 AM

Dave there IS NO line. You draw your own lines as you suggest. Think Venn diagrams for music genres!

BTW I'd be quite interested in where people draw lines between traditional folk and pieces written say 1860 to 1910 and perhaps even later. (Sorry for early thread drift)


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Different types of contemporary folk
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 24 Feb 19 - 05:07 AM

No problem, Steve. Good answer by the way. Venn diagram is more accurate for my approach I think. "Does it contain..." ? Is probably a good way to look at it. Tune and lyrics will obviously feature strongly! Each circle could probably contain its own diagram too :-)


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Different types of contemporary folk
From: Johnny J
Date: 24 Feb 19 - 05:15 AM

"Traditional folk is taken as read"

Is it? How about traditional songs and tunes played in modern style and on different instruments? Also, as discussed, many songs and tunes we think of as traditional are not and I'm not just talking about the McTells, McColls and so on.

Anyway, we're talking about "Contemporary Folk" here. To me, this is more than just new songs or tunes writen in the "traditional idiom".

Over the years, contemporary folk might have included everything from Bert Jansch, Incredible String Band, Leonard Cohen etc, folk rock bands such Fairport, Steeleye and so on. Also, whether we like it or not, more modern artists such as Mumford and Sons, some Ed Sheerin songs and so on.
We might not all agree on what is appropriate and the artists themselves may not wish it to considered to called "folk" either of course!

However, I think the test is the music is enjoyed and/or performed by folk artists in general and is "heard" or generally accepted on the folk scene.

Re Richard Thompson's "Vincent Black Lightning", the song is just a bit of fun and not to be taken too seriously. However, it is popular among many folkies and performers such as Dick Gaughan have regularly included it in their sets.
Also many other contemporary songs have been featured in folk artists' repertoires over the years. Lots of Beatles and Rolling Stones songs, for example, and many more"

e.g. Rubee Tuesday Dick Gaughan
    New York Mining Disaster   Martin Carthy
    I don't like Mondays    Dave Burland

The examples are endless. So, there's no reason why some of Ed Sheerin's songs shouldn't take hold in years to come either.

So, in my opinion, it's pointless to argue about what the music SHOULD be. There will always be some cross over and the occasional abberation. As long as we know what to generally expect when we attend a club, concert, singaround or session, that's all that matters.

Like many others here, I find that there is much about the music scene today which I don't like at all but, coversely, there's lot's of great things going on too.
There's actually more choice than ever these days and really no excuse for any of us not to find or do something which suits us. We have to broaden our horizons beyond sixties style folk clubs though.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Different types of contemporary folk
From: GUEST,John from Kemsing
Date: 24 Feb 19 - 05:21 AM

CONTEMPORARY ("of the time"). Surely all poetry, prose and songs were once contemporary. How one decides when they become traditional God only knows!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Different types of contemporary folk
From: GUEST,Hootenanny
Date: 24 Feb 19 - 05:36 AM

Personally I feel the same as Steve Gardham, there are no lines, certainly hard and fast ones only personal preferences.

I know of two people currenttly that draw lines, a certain Mrs May and a gentleman who regularly posts on such matters on mudcat. Neither of them convince me.

If you don't like it don't listen.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Different types of contemporary folk
From: Iains
Date: 24 Feb 19 - 05:40 AM

At the end of the day there is not much point getting worked up about contemporary folk boundaries. One man's poison is another man's poisson.
Once, apart from limited radio and TV exposure attendance at a folk club was the only comprehensive way of enjoying/learning........ the genre. Instruments are far more widely available today(personal observation-could be wrong), young people have many more means of obtaining exposure to different genres and I suspect boundaries are far more fluid. Some people simply like the music/songs. To like it does not mean you have to research the origins of the music to the nth degree. Some do, some don't. even when they do, some get it entirely wrong. I remember reading a thread about "Farewell, Farewell" where heated arguments arose over the songs origins.(We all know who wrote it)

We are fed this bucolic idea of how traditional music arose amid the hoary sons of the soil and transmogrified over county and country boundaries into a totally different beast. This mutilation over time and space seems to be inherent in the definition of traditional Folk.
I would ask how the same process can possibly occur in the modern age with instant, accurate electronic capture and transmittal.
Of course that dirty word commercial and perhaps copyright hangs over the modern scene like a dark stifling cloud according to some. The fact is that it represents the modern world. Very few can afford to work without payment. Is not composition work, and worthy of reward?
Is entertainment not worthy of having a price set on it?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Different types of contemporary folk
From: GUEST,Sol
Date: 24 Feb 19 - 05:46 AM

I'm not a lover of pidgeon-holing anything especially songs and music. As Satchmo once said "All songs are folk songs. I never heard a horse sing."
A song is a song is a song. Vive la difference (and la hybrids).


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Different types of contemporary folk
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 24 Feb 19 - 06:07 AM

I was hoping for explanations of what separates contemporary folk from the general pop chart rather than arguments about pigeon holing etc. I am not trying to categorise or set any rules. Just understand what sets it apart. I suppose that will come.

In the meanwhile I just say I disagree with the old horse phrase. It is obvious that not all music is folk music and I am sure whoever said it intended it as just a pun. Sorry Sol.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Different types of contemporary folk
From: GUEST,Gerry
Date: 24 Feb 19 - 06:09 AM

The horses came early this time.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Different types of contemporary folk
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 24 Feb 19 - 06:21 AM

Wish I would have had a fiver on it :-)


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Different types of contemporary folk
From: Johnny J
Date: 24 Feb 19 - 06:22 AM

Dave,

Arguments about "pigeon holing" are inevitable

I think the best way to look at things is whether or not a song, tune, or piece of music actually gets played or is generally accepted within so called "folk music circles"(another contentious description as opposed to its actual musical structure and/or content.

A contemporary folk song or tune is not merely a new piece which is written in the "Traditional idiom" as you have suggested. It also has to be "accepted" by performers and listeners to a greater or lesser extent.

Again what may or may not be regarded as "folk", traditional or contemporary, will also be dependent on location, the general company, and even individuals.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Different types of contemporary folk
From: GUEST,jim bainbridge
Date: 24 Feb 19 - 06:32 AM

Hooray Sol- you're spot on!
All this arguing about the nature & definitions of a folk song is OK- people always enjoy a POLITE discussion about it & good luck to you all.
I'll continue to enjoy and perform ANY song which takes my fancy - whether it's in line with some other bugger's definition does not concern me- I've always found most folk clubs are a very welcoming place for all varieties of music & I've never been told 'that wasn't folk'- or maybe folkies are just a polite section of society?
An eminent 'folk' reviewer once said this in a review of one CD I did....
'Jim just sings the songs he likes'
- so what's the alternative?- think I know what the reviewer meant but a lot could be read into that as a reference to the folk scene....


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Different types of contemporary folk
From: GUEST,akenaton
Date: 24 Feb 19 - 06:33 AM

There is no difference at all between "contemporary folk" and "pop" it's all personal preference......and a large slice of snobbery!
As usual I agree with Iains on the definition of "traditional music" which IS a separate genre, but as the lifestyles pertaining to it's place in society are almost gone, I see it being consigned to museums or a very small niche market.
Of course traditional music has always addressed the big issues. like love, death and the human condition.....but all of these things are being torn asunder as we blunder on in our search for a "truly equal society".........Traditional music or traditional values will be discarded.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Different types of contemporary folk
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 24 Feb 19 - 06:52 AM

Did I not say "Traditional folk is taken as read so, apart from a reference point, it is not part of this discussion." ?

Aside from that you make an interesting comment, Ake. Do you really think that there is no difference between contemporary folk and pop? I am pretty open minded about what I hear at folk clubs but I would be puzzled by someone playing Ava Max's "Sweet but Psycho", no matter how much I like it!

Interesting point by JohnnyJ about the acceptance of a song being part of it becoming contemporary folk. It does pose the question of at what point in time does it become accepted? If someone did start to play a modern composition before it was accepted as contemporary folk they may be accused of playing pop at a folk club. Then, at some mystical point in the future, it all becomes ok!

Getting plenty food for thought so far :-)


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Different types of contemporary folk
From: Johnny J
Date: 24 Feb 19 - 07:12 AM

"I would be puzzled by someone playing Ava Max's "Sweet but Psycho", no matter how much I like it!"

So would I.

Mind you, Talking Head's "Psycho Killer" quite often turns up in "folkie" sessions and I've heard it performed by bands and solo artists alike.

To me, it's not what I'd think of as folk music by any stretch of the imagination although I've always liked the song.

Mind you, I don't know how much of the material which gets introduced is just an an old folky's way of trying to convince the younger generation that he/she is still "in touch" ... i.e. like Gordon Brown claiming to be an Arctic monkeys fan...   as opposed to a conscious effort to introduce a new song into the folk tradition?

Last year at Linlithgow Festival, one of these old "bald, pony tail and earring" strummers even treated us to George Ezra's "Shotgun" which was very high in the charts at the time. Another good song but not necessarily one that we need to hear in a folk club or singaround.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Different types of contemporary folk
From: The Sandman
Date: 24 Feb 19 - 07:24 AM

there seems to be musically a melodic folk style that defines that which is normally accepted as folk style in the uk.
on analysis this involves the use of the dorian and mixolydian scale as well as the major scale not many other scales are used, one exception being one song of dave goulders that use the locrian scale, melodically they generally appear to stick wthin certain melodic boundaries , unlike jazz they do not generally involve improvisation.
as a general rule most songwriters writing in this uk contemp folkstyle, avoid twelve bar blues, occasionally there are exceptions.often musically they avoid diminshed chords.
to suggest any song is a contemporary folk is as daft as some of the twaddle we get from a regular poster on this forum   " we are all going on a summer holiday is a contemporary folk song", no it is not it is a naff pop song.
as for style of writing there semmes to be less constriction that the melodic boundaries that are often used


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Different types of contemporary folk
From: The Sandman
Date: 24 Feb 19 - 07:33 AM

there are always exceptions that break a rule ther occasional popular song that is written or when performed acoustically example" the shortest story harry chapin
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ix-Yj_Md2no


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Different types of contemporary folk
From: Iains
Date: 24 Feb 19 - 07:45 AM

Is it the melody of a song that defines it's contemporary folkiness,
the contained stanzas, or a mixture of both? Does it have to be a ballad?

Would a composition such as "Angie" by the stones satisfy the criteria?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Different types of contemporary folk
From: GUEST
Date: 24 Feb 19 - 08:28 AM

where does the Fields of Athenry fit in? it's a football song (much condemned!) in Glasgow, regarded as traditional in England & a big pop hit in Ireland...


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Different types of contemporary folk
From: Stewie
Date: 24 Feb 19 - 09:36 AM

Many years ago, I wrote the following in an introduction to a themed concert of mining songs. It may be of interest to Dave in this context:

I am drawn to Archie Green’s formulation of ‘folksongs’ in terms of ‘jewel’ and ‘glass’ symbolism. The early folklorists, who concentrated mostly on textual analysis, sought a song’s emotional core as ‘a luminous jewel locked within the poetry of the piece’ whereas Green prefers to place this element outside the song - in the mine shaft, in the mining shack, in the union hall, in the saloon - and view it rather ‘as a looking glass reflecting the joys and sorrows, or aspirations and fears, of a community’. This concept of ‘folksong’ as a mirror of the interplay of emotions within a community enables the incorporation of contemporary songs within a loose definition of ‘folksong’. I believe the traditional and contemporary songs I have selected for this presentation have the emotional core that Green describes and a few even reflect what folklorist, MacEdward Leach, has referred to as ‘an expressive form of intense beauty’.

Anyhow, that’s still my take on it.

--Stewie.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Different types of contemporary folk
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 24 Feb 19 - 09:49 AM

To go back to Dave's question about the difference between pop and c-folk, whilst I think most of us are agreed that we can't place finite boundaries, generally one way of looking at it is the first is written specifically for the pop-scene and the other is written for the folk-scene. Off hand I can't think of any writer who is consciously writing for both. For a pop song to enter the realms of folk is always possible and has always happened as far back as we have records for. This is perhaps where the contention comes in. How many established folk singers would need to perform a particular pop song for it to be accepted as folk by some of us? I say 'some of us' because everyone is going to set that parameter in a different place.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Different types of contemporary folk
From: GUEST,Rigby
Date: 24 Feb 19 - 10:11 AM

I'm not sure I hear anything that is specifically "folk" even in Dirty Old Town. It doesn't seem to draw on traditional structures or employ many of the melodic or lyrical devices that I'd identify with traditional music. Compare with, say, the songs of Alasdair Roberts, which are original but much more obviously connected to the tradition.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Different types of contemporary folk
From: Jeri
Date: 24 Feb 19 - 10:12 AM

The difference between contemporary folk and pop is whether or not the song becomes popular.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Different types of contemporary folk
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 24 Feb 19 - 10:20 AM

Stewie
Very interesting quote. I can identify with the looking glass approach but the jewel is typical of the 'early folklorists' who had a very romantic way of looking at the subject as opposed to the modern scientific approach. They tried to explain everyday phenomena in terms of ancient religion and the supernatural, almost to a man (or woman).
One of the best writers on folklore today is our very own Steve Roud who dismisses much of the romantic conjecture. (Sorry for thread drift)


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Different types of contemporary folk
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 24 Feb 19 - 10:41 AM

Bulldozing the Past again Steve
You forgot to add (in your opinion)
Jim Carroll


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Different types of contemporary folk
From: The Sandman
Date: 24 Feb 19 - 10:55 AM

jeri the problem with that is that a song like born today because it is poular cannot be a contemporary folk song , i disagree with that


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Different types of contemporary folk
From: Jeri
Date: 24 Feb 19 - 11:05 AM

I'd ask what you thought the difference is between a "contemporary folk song" and traditional one, but I'm not getting into that "what is folk" bull again.
I think what Dave meant by it is more about style than anything else. Newly written songs in a style that sounds traditional.

And for the record, I've come to believe a song is a song is a song, and "folk" has to do with oral tradition and/or style. Thinking about anything more than just "I like it" or "I don't like it". Leads to never-resolved opining on the internet, and, for me, that's a waste of time.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Different types of contemporary folk
From: punkfolkrocker
Date: 24 Feb 19 - 11:43 AM

DtG - haven't time to read this thread yet.. only your OP so far...

you know me by now.. very open minded and eclectic tastes in music...

In the 1970s in my early to mid teens I definitely considered Led Zep 111 to be a folk rock LP...

but then again, what did I know back then... my seductive gateway drug into 'folk' was Donovan and Lindisfarne.....


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Different types of contemporary folk
From: GUEST,akenaton
Date: 24 Feb 19 - 12:19 PM

I've said it before, "pop" is today's folk music. If you attend a folk club....don't know of any round here, you will listen to traditional music or popular music which appeals to people with an ear for the cadencies of traditional folk....road songs are a typical example Bobby Magee, Leaving on a Jet Plane, even Paperback writer, or any bluesy stuff from the stones that tells some sort of story,
A large slice of snobbery stops would be folkies from enjoying anything pop orientated.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Different types of contemporary folk
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 24 Feb 19 - 01:11 PM

Been sorting stuff out for my Mother's dementia care today and more of the same tomorrow followed by the local folk club so not much chance to assimilate the info until Tuesday. Some promising stuff on first glance. Dick's musical explanation looks interesting as does Stewie's piece.

I shall keep dipping in


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Different types of contemporary folk
From: michaelr
Date: 24 Feb 19 - 02:24 PM

DtG -- I'll try to answer your query "what separates contemporary folk from the general pop chart".

To my ear, it's mostly to do with instrumentation and production, as in: Acoustic instruments vs synthesizers; melodic lead vocals vs rap-style vocals; mellow percussion (perhaps on "World" instruments) vs thumping rhythms; smooth vocal harmonies vs gospel-shout backups.

Back in the day, all those characteristics could often be found on the same LP (Led Zeppelin III is a good example). These days, not so much, probably because marketing concerns have long superseded artistic ones in the music industry.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Different types of contemporary folk
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 24 Feb 19 - 02:29 PM

Not sure about that Michael. George Ezra, as mentioned earlier for instance, has all the attributes you list as folk style but does that make his stuff contemporary folk?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Different types of contemporary folk
From: GUEST,Howard Jones
Date: 24 Feb 19 - 02:30 PM

One way of looking at it whether a song is something you would not be surprised to come across in a folk club (I realise this is a circular argument, but you probably know what I mean). A song need not necessarily reflect traditional structures, but it should carry a coherent message or story and be presented in a way which is compatible with the folk club setting. It's probably music to sit and listen to, rather than to dance to or have in the background. As with so much to do with folk, it's easier to recognise than define. You can't say whether an individual song is "folk", but you do sometimes hear a performer sing a song and wonder "why are they doing that song here?"

The other approach is to ask yourself, if not in a folk club where else would I expect to hear this music? Once, a singer-songwriter with an acoustic guitar would probably once have been described as a folksinger, but so many pop performers also fit this description that it may no longer be valid. Some singer-songwriters have ended up being tagged as "folk" because for some reason their music doesn't comfortably fit into the "pop" category, however they can find a willing audience at a folk club. If there is a more natural audience for a song, it probably doesn't belong in a folk club.

When what is indubitably a pop song gets performed at a folk club it is usually simply as a bit of light relief, but sometimes the more intimate and stripped-down approach of a folk singer can bring a new perspective to a song which brings it into the "folk" circle. This should only be done sparingly, I don't suggest it offers carte-blanche to sing acoustic covers of pop songs, but with the right song and the right singer it can be acceptable, in moderation.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Different types of contemporary folk
From: The Sandman
Date: 24 Feb 19 - 02:39 PM

Jeri , that is my point about melody and use of certain modes , but then we perehaps need to adress style of writing, what is it about MacColls style and the style of Fiddlers green [john connoly]that has made them mistaken by a considerable number as folk songs ,then we have[ bring us a barrel] let us look at it
No man that's a drinker takes ale from a pin
For there is too little good stuff there within.
Four and a half is its measure in full,
Too small for a sup, not enough for a pull.

Chorus (after each verse):
Then bring us a barrel and set it up right,
Bring us a barrel to last out the night;
Bring us a barrel, no matter how high,
We'll drink it up lads, we'll drink it dry.

That poor little firkin's nine gallons in all,
Though the beer it be good, the size is too small.
For lads that are drinkers, like you and like I,
That firkin small barrel too will quickly runs dry.

Then bring forth the puncheon and roll out the butt,
Them's the beast measures before us to put.
Our pots will go round and good ale it will flow
And we'll be content for an hour or so,

and now the correctlyrics [not blankets but jumper]Fiddlers Green
As I walked by the dockside one evening so rare
To view the still waters and take the salt air
I heard an old fisherman singing this song
Oh take me away boys, my time is not long

Chorus (after each verse):
Dress me up in my oilskins and jumper
No more on the docks I'll be seen
Just tell my old ship-mates
I'm taking a trip, mates
And I'll see you someday in Fiddler's Green

Oh Fiddler's Green is a place I've heard tell
Where the fishermen go if they don't go to Hell
Where the weather is fair and the dolphins do play
And the cold coast of Greenland is far, far away

Where the sky's always clear and there's never a gale
Where the fish jump on board with a swish of their tail
Where you lie at your leisure, there's no work to do
And the skipper's below making tea for the crew

When you get back in dock and the long trip is through
There's pubs and there's clubs and there's lasses there too
Where the girls are all pretty and the beer is all free
And there's bottles of rum growing from every tree

Oh I don't want a harp nor a halo, not me
Just give me a breeze and a good rolling sea
And I'll play my old squeezebox as we sail along
With the wind in the rigging to sing me the song
do the two songs have something in common as regards style of writing?
is this why apart from melody they have been mistaken origin wise?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Different types of contemporary folk
From: The Sandman
Date: 24 Feb 19 - 02:42 PM

Jim Carropll
do you deny these are folk songs? the folk have consistently mistaken them for trad?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Different types of contemporary folk
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 24 Feb 19 - 02:46 PM

"the folk have consistently mistaken them for trad?"
No they didn't Dick - do you have any evidence they did
Even if they dod, you've just said they were mistaken, whic was mu point
Jim Carroll


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Different types of contemporary folk
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 24 Feb 19 - 02:50 PM

All this from actors, bank clerks and librarians! Wot, no ploughboys and milkmaids?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Different types of contemporary folk
From: michaelr
Date: 24 Feb 19 - 03:06 PM

DtG -- I'm not familiar with Ezra's stuff but had a quick listen to two of his YouTube videos. Seems that they are sort of hybrids of all the attributes I listed. I suppose you could call them contemporary folk. I hear a definite Mumford influence. He has also covered Mungo Jerry's `60s hit "In the Summertime", which, it could be argued, was contemporary folk (skiffle) at the time.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Different types of contemporary folk
From: The Sandman
Date: 24 Feb 19 - 05:21 PM

Jim, i have evidence


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Different types of contemporary folk
From: The Sandman
Date: 24 Feb 19 - 05:26 PM

your point is once again cods wallop, it comes down to usage ,if people think they are traditional or folk songs then they are, in contrast nobody thinks yesterday is tradtional or a folk song, in the end the folk decide what is folk, it is not decided by you or by a defintion written in 1954.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Different types of contemporary folk
From: Stewie
Date: 24 Feb 19 - 08:29 PM

Here's an example of the type of song that I would regard as a 'contemporary folksong'. It has an emotional core, is well-crafted, holds a mirror to a community and has a pleasant melody. It is written by Brian McNeil and Ed Miller. I have a mate who regards it as anti-religious, proselytising shite. De gustiness ...

Prince of darkness

--Stewie.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Different types of contemporary folk
From: Stewie
Date: 24 Feb 19 - 08:34 PM

I don't know what happened to my link.

Prince of darkness

--Stewie.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Different types of contemporary folk
From: Stewie
Date: 24 Feb 19 - 08:45 PM

And earlier that should have read 'De gustibus ...' Some sort of spell check changed it!

--Stewie.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Different types of contemporary folk
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 25 Feb 19 - 05:08 AM

I quite like degustiness. Sort of described the feeling when you are not quite disgusted :-)


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Different types of contemporary folk
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 25 Feb 19 - 05:14 AM

Some canards I've gleaned down the years:

It ain't folk if we know who wrote it

Folk can't be about cars, motorbikes, pension schemes or computers

Any apparently cheerful folk song ends with someone's death

It ain't folk if we learn it from sheet music

It ain't folk if it has a drum kit in it

Folk rock is just rock and roll with a fiddle in it

You can turn any song into a folk song by unplugging everything and singing it down your nose

It can't be folk if you're singing it poshly dressed

I'll get me (scruffy) coat...


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Different types of contemporary folk
From: GUEST,jim bainbridge
Date: 25 Feb 19 - 05:17 AM

Yes I agree Dick- the people will decide about whether a song becomes 'traditional' in your terms & probably not for years yet, so there's a chance for Buddy Holly - mind you his stuff seems well on the way to me, although his songs are not nearly as popular in 2019 as some if similar vintage- eg 'Que Sera' - I don't have a high opinion of that song, but it's not down to ME to decide.

It's only when you try to allocate songs to categories in advance of that process that you get into trouble!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Different types of contemporary folk
From: GUEST
Date: 25 Feb 19 - 05:38 AM

Only a few modern songs will become "traditional" in the sense that we understand it. That's not the same as whether they should be regarded as "folk" and acceptable to be performed in a folk club.

Dick said, "in the end the folk decide what is folk" - if by that he meant the people who go to folk clubs will decide, then I entirely agree. Ultimately, the question of what is admissible in a folk club will depend on the tastes of the audience of that particular club - there may be a broad consensus across the folk scene covering the large majority of material, but at the margins it will always come down to what the audience at a particular venue is willing to listen to.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Different types of contemporary folk
From: DG&D Dave
Date: 25 Feb 19 - 08:04 AM

Most of the clubs I have had involvement with have had audiences with a very liberal attitude as to what they will tolerate. Although, I have been to a couple of "Traditional" Music Clubs where the organiser would request details of a strangers songs before offering a floor spot. One organiser used to audition floor singers on the stairs leading to the clubroom.
For me, personally, it's about whether a song "Tells a story" or "Paints a picture" and withstands the test of time, that makes it a folk song. So, with the Beatles in mind, Eleanor Rigby - Yes, She Loves You - No.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Different types of contemporary folk
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 25 Feb 19 - 08:09 AM

"One organiser used to audition floor singers on the stairs leading to the clubroom."
I'd love to know where this happened
I's been claimed that The Singers Club used to do this, which is utter nonsense - it usually comes as 'interviewed in the passage outside'
Jim Carroll


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Different types of contemporary folk
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 25 Feb 19 - 02:11 PM

Westhoughton Folk Club used to audition potential singers for floor spots on guest nights. But not on the stairs or in a passage. The auditions happened in the club on a singers night. If you were not good enough, you did not get a spot on a guest night. Dunno If they still do it.

Bugger all to do with this thread but of interest to some I suppose.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Different types of contemporary folk
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 25 Feb 19 - 03:12 PM

Just remind me, whoever, are there hard and fast boundaries between other genres of newly created songs and contemporary folk song? And if there are what might those boundaries be?

And to those that don't accept the term 'contemporary folk song' what alternative are you offering for say MacColl's songs and similar?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Different types of contemporary folk
From: The Sandman
Date: 25 Feb 19 - 04:49 PM

her is another oneHEV YEW GOTTA LOIGHT, BOY? [HAVE YOU GOT A LIGHT, BOY?]
Allan Smethurst, "The Singing Postman," released 1966.

I had a gal, a really nice gal, down in Wroxham way.
She were wholly nice to me back in the old school days.
She would smile all the while, but Daddy didn't know all.
What she used to say to me behind the garden wall:
"Have you got a light, boy? Have you got a light?"

Then one day she went away. I don't see her no more,
'Til by chance I see her down along the Mundesley shore.
She was there twice as fair. Would she now be true?
So when she sees me passing by, she say, "I'm glad that's you!
Have you got a light, boy? Have you got a light?"

CHORUS: Molly Windley, she smokes like a chimney,
But she's my little nicotine gal.

Now you'll see her and me never more to part.
We would wander hand in hand together in the dark.
Then one night I held her tight in the old back yard.
So when I tried to hold her close, she say, "Now, hold you hard!
Have you got a light, boy? Have you got a light?" CHORUS

By and by, we decide on the wedding day,
So we toddles off to church to hear the preacher say:
"Do you now take this vow to honour all the time?"
Before I has a chance to stop her, she begins to pine:
"Have you got a light, boy? Have you got a light?" CHORUS

Now the doctor tells me a daddy I will be,
So when I ask him, "What's the score?" he say there's only three.
So here I go, cheerio, to see how she do fare.
I know what she will say to me as soon as I get there:
"Have you got a light, boy?"


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Different types of contemporary folk
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 26 Feb 19 - 08:41 AM

I read your description of the styles used, Dick, and even though I had to use Google to understand some of it, it did make sense. Not sure what you are trying to achieve by pasting random song texts here though :-S

To all and sundry.

We have to accept that all songs were written and/or arranged by someone. They did not spring out of thin air. The difference between folk and commercial songs is that, in the commercial world, someone makes money out them. We have seen, on many occasions, that the two worlds collide and a folk song starts to have some commercial sucess. Think Paul Simon and Scarborough Fair here. We also have commercial songs, IE those that were copyrighted with the specific intent of making money for the composer, that have become accepted as folk songs. The example here could well be Dirty Old Town but there are many more to chose from if that offends anyone!

We must accept therefore that there is an element of crossover and so there should be. I spent ages this morning trying to figure out where all this was leading me and concluded that, for me anyway, it seems to boil down to commercialism. To be in the folk camp means that it cannot be commercial. This, in my mind anyway, covers a lot of what has been discussed about copyright. Even songs within copyright are not making money if they are sung at folk clubs. Well, not yet anyway! So I think copyright is a red herring.

The next thing is what is acceptable to the audience at a folk club and that is where Dick's analysis comes in. There is a certain cadence to the music enjoyed at folk clubs. This combines with the lyrics to make only certain songs enjoyable for most of the audience. I am not saying everyone at a folk club will like all the songs but, chances are, a high proportion of them will enjoy a large percentage of the songs.

In a nutshell, I agree that there are no contemporary folk songs as such but there are many contemporary songs that are enjoyed at folk clubs. However, to most people such a distinction is purely academic so the shorthand "contemporary folk" will continue to be used. Songs within copyright will continue to be sung at folk clubs and no one is going to come and break legs for doing that. New songs will be written and introduced in folk clubs and if they go commercial, good luck to them. I doubt it any of the authors will say you can no longer sing them for free.

It is a complex and interesting topic with no right or wrong answers. Thanks to all who have contributed so far.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Different types of contemporary folk
From: Iains
Date: 26 Feb 19 - 09:14 AM

In a nutshell, I agree that there are no contemporary folk songs as such

That is where you, I and many others disagree!

I like sandman's proposition, but I would go further and say it is not only the tune construction but also the lyrics make a contemporary folk song. Does a component of the old grey whistle test come into play perhaps?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Different types of contemporary folk
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 26 Feb 19 - 09:53 AM

"are there hard and fast boundaries between other genres of newly created songs and contemporary folk song?"
Nobody is attempting to create hard and fast anything any more that they are bandying '54 about
As to what a folk song is - as a researcher, you shouldn't need to ask that - it's part of the job description
"And to those that don't accept the term 'contemporary folk song' what alternative are you offering for say MacColl's songs and similar?"
How about contemporary songs using folk forms and functions
These have never been a problem as far as the clubs are concerned (only when researchers who should know better appear not to be able to tell the difference between newly-composed songs and the real thing -
The real bone of contention is the lack of connection between real folk and what has become a large block of material that has nothing whatever to do with or sounds like folk   
Jim Carroll


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Different types of contemporary folk
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 26 Feb 19 - 11:07 AM

Far more than commercialism Dave
The structure, sound and content of the songs and how they featured within the communities that made them their own identify them as what they are
We came to the folk scene drawn in by songs that had long been established as folk
- nobody went around with a rule book - they didn't have to - they sounded as they sounded and we took to them in thousands
People sang them, listened to them, wrote and argued about them - and went out and looked for more
Go through the lists - the BBC project, the hundreds of collections, the output of labels like Topic.... they are sogs of an identifiable type   
When you asked the source singers you got similar responses
Jean Richie summed it up perfectly when she wrote about her experiences in Ireland
"When you asked for the old songs you got everything from 'Home Sweet Home' to 'Danny Boy'.... then I sang them Barbara Allan; that's when the old folk songs came pouring out".
THey are of a related and identifiable type - nothing to do with the fact that some of them were commercially produced
Jim


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Different types of contemporary folk
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 26 Feb 19 - 11:17 AM

Can I just add here that this "anything goes" attitude is a very, very new kid on the block
A few years ago I began sending Steve Roud lists and examples of the songs we collected - quite correctly, he chose the traditional ones for his numbering system and ignored those that were not 'folk'
A typical example was a C and W song entitled John F Kennedy we'd recorded from a Traveller whose repertoire also included a version of the Seven Gypsies (from his mother) and several other genuine folk songs
To my knowledge, that has never been given a Roud Number (quite rightly) yet he now argues that everything a traditional singer sings is a traditional song - a screeching U-turn
What new information do we have that suddenly makes pop songs 'folk songs' deserving of Roud numbers - buggered if I can see any
Jim Carroll


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Different types of contemporary folk
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 26 Feb 19 - 11:40 AM

nobody went around with a rule book - they didn't have to - they sounded as they sounded and we took to them in thousands

Indeed, Jim. I think you have just summed up my point about what a "folk audience" takes to. Most people do not know the background of a song unless they have heard it on the TV or radio. When they go to a folk club and hear a song that sounds like a folk song to them, as far as they are concerned, it is a folk song. Whether it was handed down from horny hand to horny hand or whether it was written by an accountant last week does not concern them.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Different types of contemporary folk
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 26 Feb 19 - 11:51 AM

"Most people do not know the background of a song unless they have heard it on the TV or radio"
No-no-no
The songs that launched the revival were accessible on neither to a great extent
The mainstays were 'Lloyd/Vaughan Williams's 'Penguin Book of Folk Songs and MacColl and Seeger's 'Singing Island
Peoplew ere looking for an alternative to what was being pumped out by the media
The best of folk song was to be found on The Third Programme, which nobody but the toffs listened to
As Ewan and Peg entitled their four part article for Folk Review "And So We sang"
And yes - one of the side efects of the clubs was that people began to care where the songs came from - you need to dig out some of the magnificent articles from the time - Roy Palmer, Ian Campbell, Karl Dallas, Roy Harris.... a steady stream, sorely missed
You onle have to read the sleeve notes of the Topic or Folkways albums to see how deeply some people became - booklets in themselves, some of them (particularly Folkways)
Jim


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Different types of contemporary folk
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 26 Feb 19 - 12:12 PM

That's what I said, Jim. The songs sung in folk clubs were not generally on radio and TV and I believe that is still true. Most people have no idea where the songs are from. They only know if they like them or not.

I went to see Mark Dowding last night (us Lancastrians have to stick together!) He is very knowledgeable and has a vast array of songs as well as being a brilliant performer. He announced all his songs with the right credits and sang a range from traditional to contemporary. The range of contemporary songs were from writers as wide ranging as Harry Boardman and Stanley Accrington and included a few from Peter Bond and Mike Harding. Had they have not been announced I would have no idea, and cared little, if they were ancient or written last weekend. The point is, they were all right for the folk club. No one was making money out of them. They may have been in copyright but they were not commercial. They were folk songs.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Different types of contemporary folk
From: Gozz
Date: 26 Feb 19 - 12:17 PM

To support Dick's claim that people believe some song's are traditional, I would point to a story recounted in "Picking Sootie Blackberries" (the songs of Keith Marsden). The person who the story is told about was a respected folk singer in these parts and in Padstow over the May Day festivities. He had big arguements with his son-in-law about Bring us a Barrel, refusing to believe it was not trad until he was actually introduced to the writer.

Some years later, having sung the chorus many times in morris circles and not knowing the origins, I had also made the same assumption until I came to find the words to add it to my repetoire. That makes at least two of us.

Another song to be added to that category would be Dave Webber's May Song. It is a true story that is told there as well about the Padstow local who made comment about him singing it in the Ring O Bells at St Izzy because he wasn't a local. I am sure the list of such songs and stories about them could fill up many threads on their own, so I will just cite those true stories for now.

I would also like to comment on Vincent Black Lightening. It tells a story, from the viewpoint of someone who is outside of the normal boundaries of society, but from a sympathetic point of view. There is a tragic end and perhaps some sort of moral. All seem to me to be elements one would find in folk songs and to my mind more of such elements than I would expect in a pop song.

Just my two penneth.

Gozz


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Different types of contemporary folk
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 26 Feb 19 - 12:59 PM

I am beginning to detect a coming together here. I see nothing fundamentally wrong with what anyone has put in the last 20 or so posts.
If I can just be allowed a bit of pedantry (I'm trying to play devil's advocate just to clarify and hopefully move closer to a consensus). The movement is against using the term 'contemporary folk song': Jim suggests, 'contemporary songs using folk forms and functions' which is a mouthful even if it is a good description. If they are contemporary songs using Jim's description why can we not use for shorthand 'contemporary folk songs'? If not then it still needs a short phrase that can be trotted out.


Once again, off topic, but I can't let the nasty digs pass, Professor Child's collection was 'inclusive' and included a whole lot of material that didn't quite fit his parameters. The same applies to the Roud Index. It tries to be inclusive. If there are some inconsistencies in approach then such has ever been the case when it comes to material like ours. Arguably better to be inclusive than exclusive and upset a whole load of people whose songs were not included for whatever reason.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Different types of contemporary folk
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 26 Feb 19 - 01:32 PM

I can see the sense in using the known phrase "contemporary folk". Everyone knows what is meant and when discussing it in a more academic way such as this, we know of his shorthand for the longer description.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Different types of contemporary folk
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 26 Feb 19 - 01:40 PM

We know of his = We know it is

Damn you spill clicker


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Different types of contemporary folk
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 26 Feb 19 - 01:59 PM

'contemporary folk song'
I can see nthing wrong with this in the club context as long as it is applied to songs which have been made using folk form, thus achieving homogeneity and giving the audience what it came to listen to
It is when it is used to cram in anything that takes any fancy - the 'singing horse' school of non-thought
"digs pass,"
I don't do 'nasty digs' - I leave that to those who describe the pioneers as romantics and who suggest that Child couldn't tell the difference between his formal poetry and his folk ballads   
Roud shiftedf from just including folk songs to anything the source singers sand, not to make sure he missed nothing but - well- god knows why - it just didn't make sense, especially as he didn't include everything the source singers sang - how could he
THere is no justification whatever for giving a Roud number to an easily traceable composition of the early twentieth century by an American boxing promoter who had never set foot in England -especially as our last big souce singer has dismissed all such songs as 'not folk songs'
Jim Carroll


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Different types of contemporary folk
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 26 Feb 19 - 02:19 PM

>>>>>'It is when it is used to cram in anything that takes any fancy - the 'singing horse' school of non-thought'<<<<<< Whilst this would be impossible to police, Jim's perception of this as a massive problem is way off the mark. Folk music, as more people have witnessed than have denied, is alive and well in England albeit not so much in the earlier format of the folk club. Festivals, singarounds, weekend gatherings, sessions, concerts, etc., are all very healthy in all of the places I visit. Here's a new suggestion, Jim, have a look at the website 'Mainly Norfolk' which deals mainly with recordings. This aspect looks very healthy to me. A wide range of young performers performing largely traditional material with a sprinkling of contemporary folk.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Different types of contemporary folk
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 26 Feb 19 - 02:29 PM

Jim,
The Roud Index is simply a tool, a catalogue, primarily so we can find versions of songs, and we can compare and research versions. How does the fact that there are a few songs in there that don't tick somebody's box affect that usage?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Different types of contemporary folk
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 26 Feb 19 - 02:39 PM

>>>>>>I can see nothing wrong with this in the club context as long as it is applied to songs which have been made using folk form, thus achieving homogeneity and giving the audience what it came to listen to<<<<<<<.

I think we can call that consensus. Debate over.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Different types of contemporary folk
From: GUEST
Date: 26 Feb 19 - 02:47 PM

Jim

"The mainstays were 'Lloyd/Vaughan Williams's 'Penguin Book of Folk Songs and MacColl and Seeger's 'Singing Island"

In what years were these published please?

"The best of folk song was to be found on The Third Programme, which nobody but the toffs listened"
Toffs? amongst my family and friends this would have been seen as an insult. It's the first time I have been described as such.
This is the second time that you have mentioned that nobody listened to these programmes. I have no doubt that the audience wasn't large but I believe that the folk audience at that time was mainly interested in the American material which had become more well known via Skiffle. This was available in such programmes for instance as Guitar Club, 6.05 Special, Easybeat and blues programmes made by Paul Oliver.

You mention Folkways which being in New York issued mainly US material. In fact their Harry Smith collection did an amazing job in building a very large audience for folk music. And, it was made up of re-issues of commercial recordings.
Folkways were available in England but only clandestinely or on acetate dubs. At that time they were not licenced for issue here. As a consequence they were expensive. Shops such as Collets and Dobells were raided by customs and the "illegal" product confiscated.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Different types of contemporary folk
From: GUEST,Hootenanny
Date: 26 Feb 19 - 02:48 PM

Apologies the Guest above was me.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Different types of contemporary folk
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 26 Feb 19 - 03:33 PM

59 & 60 respectively.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Different types of contemporary folk
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 26 Feb 19 - 03:37 PM

The singing of trad English songs in Hull started about 1963 with the Watersons. I'm not aware of anything else in our archives before that. I came along in about 65 after a couple of years avidly listening to American stuff.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Different types of contemporary folk
From: GUEST,Hootenanny
Date: 26 Feb 19 - 05:50 PM

Apologies if you consider this as thread drift but Steve Gardham's post at 03.33 sent me to my bookshelf and there I found The Penguin Book of American Folk Songs with notes by Alan Lomax.
On the first page it states the following;

"Unless otherwise stated the songs in this book are drawn from previously copyrighted sources and, as composite versions, have been adapted and arranged by Alan Lomax, by John A Lomax or by other editors. They may not be reprinted, recorded, or used for commercial purposes without the written permission of the authors, through Ludlow Music Inc., Columbus Circle, New York, or Essex Music Ltd, London".

One song included here is what I believe was the first song recorded by the Carter Family in 1927. In which case it would have been copyrighted by Ralph Peer and A.P Carter. It would therefore still have been in copyright I believe, Whether it was written by Carter is questionable I believe. To me without checking it against the Carter recording I cannot see how it has been adapted.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Different types of contemporary folk
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 27 Feb 19 - 03:46 AM

I think, as per my earlier post, that copyright is a red herring when it comes to songs performed in folk clubs. I know it makes a massive difference for any commercial venture such as publishing or recording but I have never heard of anyone being sued under copyright law for singing a song at a folk club. Contemporary Folk (shorthand for longer meaning as discussed above) can be in copyright but depends on being the right 'type' of music for folk club audiences.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Different types of contemporary folk
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 27 Feb 19 - 05:49 AM

The Third Programmer was largely regarded as aimed at the educated elite - recognised for Classical Music and learned talks
The small listernership was a standing joke - I remember The Goons threatening someone to 'Ten years hard Third Programme listening'
"You mention Folkways which being in New York issued mainly US material"
Not the case - Folkways had a massive international catalogue
I think copyrighting arrangements was largely an American thing, though I know MacColl publicly criticised Luke Kelly for the Thee Dubliers attempts at it.
The first court case involving a traditional song occurred quite early over the authorship of 'Wreck of the Old 97'
Jim


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Different types of contemporary folk
From: GUEST
Date: 27 Feb 19 - 07:41 AM

Re Folkways I assumed that you were speaking of it in terms of material used in UK folk clubs; Woody Guthrie, New Lost City Ramblers etc. I am fully aware of the scope of Moe's recordings but I don't think any of his rain forest type recordings were available, or in demand in the UK legally or otherwise.

"I think copyrighting arrangements was largely an American thing, though I know MacColl publicly criticised Luke Kelly for the Thee Dubliers attempts at it."
DESPITE THE FACT THAT HE HAD DONE IT HIMSELF!?

I am well aware of the Old 97 too. Norm Cohen gives a full account of it and all the claims, counterclaims and appeals in his book Long Steel Rail.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Different types of contemporary folk
From: GUEST,Hootenanny
Date: 27 Feb 19 - 07:43 AM

Damn,

I did it again. The above post was me.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Different types of contemporary folk
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 27 Feb 19 - 08:53 AM

" rain forest type recordings were available, or in demand in the UK legally or otherwise."
They were - and they extended far beyond South America - still have some Eastern European albums
Some of MacColls early Ballads also appeared ion the label - three of them were among the first I bought and were instrumental in converting me to the real thing
Be interessted to learn what traditional stuff MaColl copyrighted
Jim Carroll


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Different types of contemporary folk
From: GUEST,Hootenanny
Date: 27 Feb 19 - 11:01 AM

Jim,

Re Folkways availability I am referring to the days before you entered the folk music world if we can believe your own telling that you first encountered it in 1966.
Did I say that Folkways were NOT available? No. I explained that they were and the situation at the time.

It was a copyright of an "arrangement" that you referred to I have a publication dated 1957 (again pre-dating your interest by nine years) which includes the song "Rothesay-O", "Traditional", "Words and Music arranged by Ewan MacColl". Ditto for the song "Calton Weaver" which doesn't include the description "Traditional".


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Different types of contemporary folk
From: GUEST,jim bainbridge
Date: 27 Feb 19 - 12:38 PM

I remember going to Collet's in New Oxford Street about 1964 and being delighted to find the Folkways (cardboard cover) LPs of the Elliotts of Birtley and the Borders LP featuring Willie Scott et al, so they were available then.
There were also LPs on the same label of Ewan MacColl, singing the bothy ballads he'd recorded from Scottish singers. It struck me then that it would have been more acceptable if those original singers had been on the record, rather than the collector's version....


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Different types of contemporary folk
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 27 Feb 19 - 12:41 PM

Don't think so Hoot - I was well into it by then
I joined the Spinners Club in Liverpool in 1961/2
Don't know what your publication was, but nothing I have by MacColl, going back to 'Scotland Sings (1953) is copyright (both of those you mentioned are in 'Scotland Sings' and Personal Choice (1962) and are attributed to the collections they came from)
Jim


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Different types of contemporary folk
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 27 Feb 19 - 03:15 PM

My copy of Travellers' Songs Of E & S clearly states ' @ Ewan MacColl and Peggy Seeger 1977'. Oh, and several pop stars appear in the Acknowledgments.



By the way, I'm being facetious deliberately. On p31 under the title 'Copyrights' they state. 'The modern practice of copyrighting traditional songs is a subject of continuing controversy. It is our opinion that if copyright MUST be assigned, then it should be to the singers.

My own view is much more simplistic. They are public domain and therefore impossible to copyright. You can only copyright a particular arrangement.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Different types of contemporary folk
From: GUEST
Date: 27 Feb 19 - 03:35 PM

Jim Carroll:

The time I am speaking of is still before your involvement by four years. I apologise for getting the date wrong I think 1966 was when you said you came to London.

The publication I have was as I said above dated 1957. So obviously Ewan changed his mind after 1954 and back again at a later date and again according to Steve's posting.

Jim Bainbridge:

Yes Folkways were available in 1964 but my first was a ten inch acetate dub by Woody Guthrie with Sonny Terry purchased from Colletts New Oxford Street shop probably 1957. I have a similar dub from a Folkways dub of New Orleans Jazz recordings.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Different types of contemporary folk
From: GUEST,Hootenanny
Date: 27 Feb 19 - 03:39 PM

This is becoming a habit.

The post above was me.

Steve;

You are probably already aware of this but if Ewan and Peggy recorded a song on a commercial disc and it got played in public and or broadcast then they were entitled to royalties through PPL provided that they were registered with them. Registration cost nothing then. I guess it still costs nothing.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Different types of contemporary folk
From: GUEST,jim bainbridge
Date: 28 Feb 19 - 05:44 AM

maybe that financial incentive is why we never got LPs of the original singers rather than the EM version- he didn't do it on the Elliotts' LP but maybe he was happier copying Scottish stuff than mining songs from Durham?
Getting a bit off the subject this, and although I don't recognise 'contemporary folk' as any more of a genre than folk or trad, I can't see why there would be any problem with a folk or trad performer adding their own version of a modern song to their repertoire- we can't just STOP the development of the music!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Different types of contemporary folk
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 28 Feb 19 - 07:08 AM

"My copy of Travellers' Songs Of E & S clearly states "
The book is copyrighted because it was edited by Ewan and Peggy - all such works belong to their editor
The individual songs most certainly are not, which is what we are discussing - the new 'Penguin Book of English Folk Songs is copyrighted to Steve Roud and Julia Bishop
Hoot quoted an earlier book - I though I had all MacColl's publishes stuff - I'd love to add this one to the collection   
Another bit of MacColl necrophobia bites the dust, it would appear

"Financial incentive"
MacColl, Seeger and Parker were paid by the BBC for the work they did on the programme - not for the songs
"we never got LPs of the original singers rather than the EM version"
After two of the radio ballads, MacColl and Seeger dited two of teh best albums ever produced of field recordings - 'Now is the Time for Fishing' after 'Singing the Fishing' and 'The Elliots of Birtly' after 'The Big Hewer'
There was to be a third on The Stewarts of Blair after the Travelling People (we have the edited recordings), but Folkways never issued it.
The Radio ballad team made a verbal contract with all those recorded at the end of the interviews - again, we have the actuality
I have no idea whether the BBC or Folkways ever honoured those contracts - I assume they both did (though I do know from experience that the BBC only paid a pittance and most of the record companies weren't much better, if they paid at all)
It was never really about money in those days and with some of us, it still isn't
Do you have the title of that 1957 publication Hoot - my two, containing the two songs you mentioned, are dated 1953 and 1964 - not copywriter either side of your date ?
It's become a 'must get' (there is no evidence of it on either the MacColl site or in 'The Essential MacColl' lists of publications
A mystery indeed
As far as our own collecting goes, we credit the songs as being traditional but the versions attributed to them (not copyrighted)
Jim


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Different types of contemporary folk
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 28 Feb 19 - 07:45 AM

Interesting to not that Neither Alasdaire Clayre (Seeds of Love) and Frank Puslow (Hammond and Gardiner Collection) never got around to copyrighting their arrangements - very much a phenomenon of tthe pseudo-folk scene
Off to see Hamlet -- see y'all tomorrow
Jim


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Different types of contemporary folk
From: GUEST,jim bainbridge
Date: 28 Feb 19 - 08:29 AM

I was have always wondered why on earth EM did not use the original singers on that Folkways CD of Scottish ballads rather than record his own version, as he did.
The information that payment was due to PPL registered SINGERS rather than the recording company for broadcast songs just made me wonder whether this lay behind the decision to do that- the fact that EM & PS issued many recordings of 'source' singers later is not in dispute.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Different types of contemporary folk
From: GUEST,Hootenanny
Date: 28 Feb 19 - 09:26 AM

Jim Carroll

"Hoot quoted an earlier book - I though I had all MacColl's publishes stuff - I'd love to add this one to the collection   
Another bit of MacColl necrophobia bites the dust, it would appear"

Could you state clearly what you are implying here?

Can I ask for a straightforward answer?
ALSO I didn't mention a book put a publication. I know you are a stickler for correct description.

Jim Bainbridge:

Re PPL; Peforming singers/musicians get royalties as do the recording companies. They too have to register. If the record company doesn't register neither get royalties.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Different types of contemporary folk
From: GUEST,Hootenanny
Date: 01 Mar 19 - 06:13 PM

Surprise, surprise ???

Re my question above; No answer.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Different types of contemporary folk
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 02 Mar 19 - 02:39 AM

"Could you state clearly what you are implying here"
I'm not "implying anything Hooy - I asked yo to name the bokk you said you had containing the two songs you claimed MacColl had copyrighted songs - no implication - just a simple request
Sve claims thheir Traeller songs were copywriter - - the book, 'The Songs of the English and Scottish Travellers' was copyrighted (as was 'The New Penguin Bokk of Folk Songs') - the individual songs certainly weren't - they remain in the Public Domain, as they should   
"Surprise, surprise ??? Re my question above; No answer.."
I've been away since Thursday and arrived back rather later than I intended - what are you implying
Still like to know what the publication was
I have become rather bored with all the 'MacColl stories" - most unsubstantiated and virtually all which painted a picture of somebody I never knew and bore little resemblance to the MacColl I met in the mid sixties and who I came to regard as a friend and source of ins[piraition over the twenty-odd years I knew him - that goes for his partner, who I still regard the same
I'm really not interested in the opinions of those who didn't know him, nor their largely unsubstantiated stories - I am interested in the wealth of research and ideas that he left behind - the fact that it is virtually impossible to discuss those ideas because of a mountain of "name-change - war record" garbage, interests bme deeply
I sat with two friends yesterday, both singers and both fascinated by the work Pat and I described we did in Ther Critics Group - we had to put coats on to protect ourselves from the blast of two open minds
Jim


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Different types of contemporary folk
From: GUEST,Hootennanny
Date: 02 Mar 19 - 04:53 AM

Jim,

When did you ask me for the name of the book or the bokk?

As I pointed out above it is not a book , I said publication.

You stated that you would like to add it to your collection. With your wonderful ability in the field of research you should be able to locate a copy without too much trouble. It is the last eleven words of your comment that puzzle me.

So, will you please answer my question? I doubt it. Obfuscation appears to be your stock in trade. I was implying that you never come up with a straight simple answer.

It's reassuring to know that you spent a day with two people with open minds. Hopefully some of it rubbed off on you.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Different types of contemporary folk
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 02 Mar 19 - 07:59 AM

"I said publication."
How can I locate it if you won't tell me the name ?
Irt seems it is to remain your secret - think we're finished with that particular MacColl legend, don't you ?
Try getting a discussion on MacColl's actually work without the usual garbage and the clouds will soon lift

I have spelled out exactly what I mean by folk song here a dozen times along with precedents, sources and clear definitions
I have yet to nearer than Ray Davis and the Kinks to date
Petrhaps you might care to offer yours ?
Jim


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Different types of contemporary folk
From: Richard Mellish
Date: 02 Mar 19 - 08:11 AM

This thread has gone a long way towards answering a question that I was thinking of starting a new thread for: for those who are happy to apply the label "folk" broadly, rather than narrowly to traditional material, what are their criteria for what qualifies?

Steve's
> Dave there IS NO line. You draw your own lines as you suggest. Think Venn diagrams for music genres!

> BTW I'd be quite interested in where people draw lines between traditional folk and pieces written say 1860 to 1910 and perhaps even later. (Sorry for early thread drift)

is helpful and reminiscent of Steve Roud's discussion in the Introduction to The Book.)

The first time I heard Vincent Black Lightening I had some trouble following the plot, which suggests that it isn't quite as pared down to essentials as some of the big ballads, but it does tell a story, through a combination of description and dialogue.

The pop world is a closed book to me, my main experience being the songs that one is exposed to in shops, hairdressers, etc, characterised by much repetition of a few words (if the words are audible at all above all the other noise) and much percussion. But I get the impression that that is one end of the pop spectrum, with the other end shading into "contemporary folk" or whatever we want to call that.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Different types of contemporary folk
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 02 Mar 19 - 08:27 AM

CONTEMPORARY FOLK SONG
Made circa 1925/30, somehere in North Clare, probably Corofin, composer unknown; celebrating the new women' hairstyle which replaced the custom of wearing the hair long and hanging down the back
Jim Carroll


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Different types of contemporary folk
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 02 Mar 19 - 08:34 AM

ANOTHER FROM A DECADE EARLIER
Jim Carroll


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Different types of contemporary folk
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 02 Mar 19 - 08:39 AM

CONTEMPORARY SONG USING TRADITIONAL FORM
Jim Carroll


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Different types of contemporary folk
From: GUEST,jim bainbridge
Date: 02 Mar 19 - 08:52 AM

Jim C- I do not understand the mention of Ray Davi(e)s & whether you consider his work of any value?

Also, nobody wants another argument about Ewan MacColl- we know your views about that.
As far as I can see, there are no 'unsubstantiated stories' about him on this thread, so when there has been no criticism, such a stout defence of the man seemsseriously over the top, so just get that chip off your shoulder & stop provoking arguments when they do not exist!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Different types of contemporary folk
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 02 Mar 19 - 09:28 AM

Ask whoever raised The Kinks as a contender for the folk scene - try the next thread
I have no interst in arguing about MacColl though I do find it arrogant for somebody to claim nobody wants to argue about him - did you conduct a survey maybe?
You are aloowed to discuss whatever you want which falls under the remit of the forum, which I understand is the traditional arts
If I said similar there'd be howls of 'folk police' from here to Ulan Bator
"As far as I can see, there are no 'unsubstantiated stories' about him"
We've just had one along with a reluctance to substantiate it
Until we are given substantiation it will remain unsubstantiated
You brought in the subject of miners songs and money recently - care to substantiate that one
Refusing to discuss te work and ideas of one of the greatest contributors to folk song is about as far over the top as it gets
Jim


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Different types of contemporary folk
From: GUEST,Hootenanny
Date: 02 Mar 19 - 10:44 AM

Jim C:

Hardly a secret? I can't believe that I have the only copy.

Use your researching talent and find it.

Hint: It was published in 1957. It is not a bokk or a book.

MacColl legend?

And still no straightforward answer to my question.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Different types of contemporary folk
From: Iains
Date: 02 Mar 19 - 11:21 AM

This link takes the discussion to a whole new level:

https://folkways.si.edu/magazine-summer-fall-2016-rap-and-hip-hop-bring-folk-music-to-a-new-audience/article/smithsonian

Written by an academic. It MUST be right!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Different types of contemporary folk
From: Jack Campin
Date: 02 Mar 19 - 01:08 PM

I'm not sure I hear anything that is specifically "folk" even in Dirty Old Town. It doesn't seem to draw on traditional structures or employ many of the melodic or lyrical devices that I'd identify with traditional music.

The tune is very similar to "I was born under a wandering star" as sung by Lee Marvin. They both come out of the cowboy song genre.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Different types of contemporary folk
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 02 Mar 19 - 01:39 PM

"he tune is very similar to "I was born under a wandering star""
Dirty Old Town was made for a theatrical production about six years before Wand'ring Star, written for Lerner and Lowe's Paint your Wagon appeared on Broadway
More likely to be based on 'The Water is Wide' knowing how Ewan worked - Peggy was never able to work it out

"Hardly a secret? I can't believe that I have the only copy."
You made the accusation - you say you have the publication - produce your evidence and stop floundering
"bokk"
Typos - we really are drowning aren't we ?
And another one bites the dust, I think
I've answered every single question - you can't manage a single one to date
Jim


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Different types of contemporary folk
From: GUEST,Hootenanny
Date: 02 Mar 19 - 02:41 PM

Jim Carroll;

Just what are you on about?

I have made no accusation I merely reported the existence of some printed matter the contents of which contain something that doesn't fit your tunnel vision belief. If you don't want to believe that it exists then that's OK. It's no more than I would expect from you.

And what is all this "Biting the dust" bit? you must have been watching too many Saturday morning westerns.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Different types of contemporary folk
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 02 Mar 19 - 02:47 PM

Almost certainly 'Water of Tyne - one of islka Cameron's songs -
Ewan and Isla were involved in the same theatre productions around the time the song was made
"I merely reported the existence of some printed matter"
Actually you said you had it yet you refuse to identify it, which says what needs to be said and is no more than I have come to expect from MacColl necrophobes - these stories are no fun when you're asked to substantiate them
Jim Carroll


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Different types of contemporary folk
From: GUEST,Hootenanny
Date: 02 Mar 19 - 03:15 PM

Jim,

There is no point in having a childish tantrum and throwing more accusations and insults around. Calm down.

As I made clear three days back I DO HAVE THE PUBLICATION. It is here on my shelves.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Different types of contemporary folk
From: GUEST,the other Jim
Date: 03 Mar 19 - 05:48 AM

Jim C, you're still intent on an argument about MacColl. You're enytitled to do that, of course, but it is very much out of the intention of THIS thread.
You don't accept the general view that, on his own terms, he was a great collector, songwriter and contributor to the tradition, but that others have serious reservations- no-one is 100pc perfect.

I don't recall my criticising his 'mining' songs record- I presume you mean the Elliotts LP?. I'm very grateful he did that & didn't attempt a Birtley accent & record 'Little Chance' himself.

It's a valuable recording and all credit to him & PS for doing it.

You've interpreted my perfectly reasonable query about why he didn't issue his Folkways recordings of Scottish source singers as a personal attack- do you know why?

You avoided any sensible comment on the writing of Ray Davies, so Hootenanny if you think mere EVIDENCE will get anywhere with this particular closed mind, think again -   over and out.......

ps 'Water of Tyne' is 'one of'islka (sic) Cameron's songs'- really?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Different types of contemporary folk
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 03 Mar 19 - 06:46 AM

" 'Water of Tyne' is 'one of'islka (sic) Cameron's songs'- really?"
Not any more of course - she's dead - but it certainly was one of hers
I have a recording of her singing it
I've not avoided anything Ray Davis doesn't interest me any more and his singing bears no resemblence to folk song in any shape or form
"I'm very grateful he did that & didn't attempt a Birtley accent & Why the hell shouud he - he didn't appear on the album and hads necver sung with a North East accent to my knowledge - only the one he heard at home
Bit more grave-dancing, I think
Never heard him sing Little Chance anywhere
Folkways nevber explained why the Stewarts album was never released it was an excellent compilation of songs, stories and talk as where the other two
Jim Carroll


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Different types of contemporary folk
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 03 Mar 19 - 07:01 AM

Try the @Still I Love Him Album for Isla singing Water of Tyne


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Different types of contemporary folk
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 03 Mar 19 - 07:45 AM

Incidentally
MacColl's name appeared on the OP posting and two others mentioned him before I did
If you are going to discuss 'contemporary folk songs', why should the 300 odd he wrote be out of bounds ?
You have participated fully in the ensuing discussion - why should it be me who is pursuing it
And by what authority should you decide what it permissable on somebody elses thread - if I did it I'd be one of the fopolkie boys in blue !!!
Jim Carroll


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Different types of contemporary folk
From: GUEST
Date: 03 Mar 19 - 09:05 AM

Isla C may have sung the song but it was not HERS- an important distinction which you should have made.
Ray Davies' work isn't folk- so its of no value- that's the implication there....oh dear
No MacColl didn't ever sing 'Little Chance' maybe because he couldn't do the accent- if you don't even refer to the right Folkways LP- it featured songs from various source singers of NE Scotland & would have been much more valuable if EM had issued the originals rather than his own inferior versions.

I have not 'participated fully' in the discussion- have just dropped the odd comment and-I have no wish to waste time arguing with anyone as intransigent as yourself- all you want is an argument really, isn't it?
Don't know who the fokolpie boys in blue are, think your fingers are running away with you, and I'd suggest you sit in a corner with a nice cup of tea and keep your crap to yourself, while others get back to the subject


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Different types of contemporary folk
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 03 Mar 19 - 10:06 AM

"HERS- an important distinction which you should have made."
Don't be silly Guest - nobody suggested it was anything but a traditional song
Desperation disguised as pedantry creeps in, I think
"that's the implication there....oh dear"
Wgo said that - I saidf it had no place in a folk club - you put the value judgement on it - oh dear indeed
You assume MacColl didn't sing Little Chance because he couldn't manage the accent - do you know that
In fact he did a pretty good Geordie accent from his stage days - he tended not to sing accents other than those he felt comfortable in culturally
"it featured songs from various source singers of NE Scotland & would have been much more valuable if EM had issued the originals rather than his own inferior versions. "
What on earth are you talking about - the Elliots of Birtley was a survey of the songs and lore of the Elliot Family - I should go and tell their grandchildren that their songs were inferior
Typos again - I would have thought my to was fairly obvious folkie boys in blue was what I should have written
Try thinking outside the box - none of us are skilled writers
Have you anything important to say ?
Jim


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Different types of contemporary folk
From: GUEST,the other Jim
Date: 04 Mar 19 - 10:54 AM

You have misconstrued almost everything I've said here, probably because you didn't read it properly.
You've answered questions which were never asked, ignored all the ones which were and avoided all efforts to instil some rationality to this discussion, so I can see little point in continuing it... maybe others can now get back to the world outside Ewan MacColl.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Different types of contemporary folk
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 04 Mar 19 - 11:11 AM

"You have misconstrued almost everything I've said here, probably because you didn't read it properly.
Y"
No I havcen't and I've answered every point you made
The onl irrationality here is from those arguing for folk clubs that don't do folk song
No we can't get away from Ewan MacColl - you were quite happy to discuss him when you were taking swings at him You want to list the questions I've avoided or misconstrued - fee free and I'll do my best, but please sttop telling me what I can and can't post - that's the behaviour of one of those "folk policemen" everybody keeps talking about

"As I made clear three days back I DO HAVE THE PUBLICATION. It is here on my shelves."
Then why don't you identify it ?
Jim Carroll


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Different types of contemporary folk
From: GUEST,LynnH
Date: 04 Mar 19 - 02:09 PM

Does it really matter? A quick look at the lists of songs collected from our revered singers of yesteryear suggests that they sang what they liked, irrespective of whether it had been handed down through the generations or was a current popular 'hit' of the day.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Different types of contemporary folk
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 04 Mar 19 - 02:50 PM

"Does it really matter?"
Yes it does Lynn
If you want to know why I suggest you read through the threads
If welsh miners sang arias from Aida in their opera societies (as they most certinly did) would they be valid candidates for a fplk night ?
Jim Carroll


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Different types of contemporary folk
From: Jack Campin
Date: 04 Mar 19 - 04:26 PM

Getting a bit closer to the original point - why would any performer, promoter or venue operator today want to use "contemporary folk" as a description? Surely there are better options? I don't think any non-anglophone culture would use such a term. (I find it much easier to locate the kinds of music I'm after in a Turkish record shop than in a British one).


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Different types of contemporary folk
From: FreddyHeadey
Date: 04 Mar 19 - 04:48 PM

If anyone fancies a break for half an hour there's a programme on radio 4 which I think might refresh you.
... improving our dialogue is good for everything ...
link & comments thread.cfm?threadid=165751 


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Different types of contemporary folk
From: GUEST
Date: 05 Mar 19 - 05:32 AM

You're right Lynn H but he's not listening


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Different types of contemporary folk
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 05 Mar 19 - 05:35 AM

Would I have replied if I wasn't listening
Perhaps you might do the same
I spent half a lifetime recording what traditional singers thought were folk songs
No matter whatever else they sang they considered their folk songs different
Jim Carroll


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Different types of contemporary folk
From: GUEST,jim bainbridge
Date: 05 Mar 19 - 05:42 AM

Jim Carroll, you're deluded- I certainly have a view on MacColl but my only questions here have been genuine queries about his behaviour which YOU as a self- stated admirer and friend may be able to answer.

I have DELIBERATELY avoided 'swings at him' and any reader would see that I recognise what he did, with reservations-

- your post again bears no relation to the questions I posed earlier, and I've little hope you will ever do so, and in order to avoid any more OH YES I DID and AND OH NO YOU DIDN'T I'm off now & I suggest you go and have that cup of tea & calm down.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Different types of contemporary folk
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 05 Mar 19 - 07:08 AM

"I have DELIBERATELY avoided 'swings at him'"
Inferior versions of songs etc...
You have never avoided the opportunity Jim and you know it
Your suggestion of my not posting about him on a thread like this is enough - he wrote more contemporary songs in the folk style than any other singer
I have deliberately avoided insulting people as you just have - I have never been deluded neither have I ever felt calmer in my life, in fact I'm quite enjoying this
I'm not sure what question you posed earlier - maybe you posted under The Other Jim or Guest - both were concerning N.E. English songs ?
Jim Carroll


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Different types of contemporary folk
From: Johnny J
Date: 05 Mar 19 - 07:21 AM

Jack asks

"why would any performer, promoter or venue operator today want to use "contemporary folk" as a description? "

I quite agree. "Contemporary folk" was a very sixties term and was basically used to describe those artists who frequented the folk scene and clubs and composed their own material which may or may not have been intended to be in a "traditional idiom". The "Greenwich Village" scene in New York, "Yorkville" in Toronto etc.
It was also very prevelant in The UK, of course.

These days, it's not really thought of as a genre in its own right although new songs and tunes by "non trad folkies" will still find their own way into traditional musicians' repertoires.
However, many good traditional singers and players will also compose new and original material. However, I wouldn't necessarily want to describe this as "contemporary folk".


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Different types of contemporary folk
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 05 Mar 19 - 07:41 AM

I think we came to a conclusion about the term some time back JohnnyJ. To save you trawling through, here is the summary for Steve Gardham.

The movement is against using the term 'contemporary folk song': Jim suggests, 'contemporary songs using folk forms and functions' which is a mouthful even if it is a good description. If they are contemporary songs using Jim's description why can we not use for shorthand 'contemporary folk songs'? If not then it still needs a short phrase that can be trotted out.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Different types of contemporary folk
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 05 Mar 19 - 08:23 AM

There are surely other alternatives Dave
As things stand, what you and others have suggested are suitable for a folk club suggests that 'song clubs' is as good as any
Mine wasn't a suggestion for a label -none of my business what others call their music - all I'm interested in is finding folk songs when I turn up at folk clubs
MacColl never called any of his clubs 'folk' just as he never claimed the title for any of his songs - he didn't have to, in those days we could more or less know what we would hear when we turned up at one
Now the clubs are not the only problem of course
When your researchers go AWOL and declare pop songs to be 'folk' you have problems on all fronts
This last is neither oogical, notr is it consistent - if it was 'The Birdie Song' would have a Roud number - maybe I speak too soon - early days yet !!
Jim


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Different types of contemporary folk
From: Johnny J
Date: 05 Mar 19 - 01:06 PM

OK. Thanks, Dave.

I've been paying less than full attention to the thread as it has grown.
:-)


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Different types of contemporary folk
From: GUEST
Date: 08 Mar 19 - 12:56 PM

it's got less interesting-


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Different types of contemporary folk
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 08 Mar 19 - 02:12 PM

"I've been paying less than full attention to the thread as it has grown.
:"
I noticed
"it's got less interesting-"
It would be far more interesting if people began responding to what has been written with their own arguments
Jim


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Different types of contemporary folk
From: GUEST,ripov
Date: 10 Mar 19 - 08:56 PM

Different types of "contemporary folk"?
How about:

Newly composed
1. Instrumental/choral compostions for several voices
2. Songs/tunes that cannot sensibly be performed without instrumental backing.
3. As 2 above, but suitable for dance, modern or traditional/social
4. Songs/tunes that can be 'performed' by one person, the tunes not necessitating an instrument, but can be whistled or hummed.

I was tempted to mention copyrighting. A composition can hardly be regarded as "folk" if no-one is free to play it. But equally, if no copyright is claimed, it is easy for the commercial world to exploit this; which doesn't prevent the "folk" connotation, but is manifestly unfair. So to be "contemporary folk" there has to be some freedom for others to perform, but not necessarily profit from, the new work.

Jim, the original "Birdie Dance" - the Canary - has never become "folk", even though well known in the early dance movement (but don't they make it so SERIOUS). So I doubt the modern one will!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Different types of contemporary folk
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 11 Mar 19 - 03:03 AM

"Newly composed"
None of which belong or are made by 'the folk' but are composed or belong to somebody - the antithesis of folk song, which makes the term 'folk' meaningless
Jim


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Different types of contemporary folk
From: GUEST,Observer
Date: 11 Mar 19 - 03:20 AM

Jim Carroll
Date: 11 Mar 19 - 03:03 AM


Well said Jim.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Different types of contemporary folk
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 11 Mar 19 - 03:31 AM

Why has this suddenly come up again? Because :

A) Copyright is a red herring. Even if in copyright, songs can be performed at folk clubs. Give us chapter and verse on people being sued for singing at folk clubs and maybe it can be used as an argument.

B) Go back to Date: 26 Feb 19 - 09:53 AM where Jim suggested using "contemporary songs using folk forms and functions" and shortly after where both Steve and I agreed it was a good description. There has already been a general agreement that they are not folk songs.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Different types of contemporary folk
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 11 Mar 19 - 07:23 AM

" Copyright is a red herring."
Nothing to do with copyright apart from the fact that once we sang anonymous songs and could claim them as our own, now we can't
Stop complicating things with legalities
Jim


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Different types of contemporary folk
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 11 Mar 19 - 07:50 AM

That's what I said, Jim. Copyright is a red herring. I'm agreeing with you and it wasn't me that brought it up.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Different types of contemporary folk
From: GUEST,Mark Bluemel
Date: 11 Mar 19 - 08:38 AM

"None of which belong or are made by 'the folk' but are composed or belong to somebody"

I'm sure I'm going to regret this, but I find it hard to imagine songs not being composed (or perhaps better expressed as "originated") by somebody - the idea of some form of spontaneous emergence seems unlikely.

Over time, they evolve and are accepted into the common culture, but I'm sure the majority start off with one person or perhaps a very small "few people",


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Different types of contemporary folk
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 11 Mar 19 - 08:42 AM

"composed (or perhaps better expressed as "originated") by somebody"
Yes- of course they did, but we don't know who they are and they never laid claim to them, which allowed them to pass from community to community and constantly be claimed and remade wherever they landed - 'the folk process'   
Why should you regret asking
Jim


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Different types of contemporary folk
From: GUEST,jag
Date: 11 Mar 19 - 09:39 AM

we don't know who they are and they never laid claim to them

If we don't know who they are how do we know they never laid claim to them? They may have been very cross if their contemporaries stole their songs.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Different types of contemporary folk
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 11 Mar 19 - 10:36 AM

"If we don't know who they are how do we know they never laid claim to them? "
It all happened so long ago that its no longer relevant - ownership onluy lasts for so long by law0
This is a bit of a red herring,don't you think
modern songs can never be claimed as folk because someone owns thm - the term is meaningless whan applied to them
Jim


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Different types of contemporary folk
From: Iains
Date: 11 Mar 19 - 11:24 AM

modern songs can never be claimed as folk because someone owns thm - the term is meaningless whan applied to them

Is that still true when the copyright expires?
In Ireland song copyright outlives the author an additional 70 years


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Different types of contemporary folk
From: GUEST,jag
Date: 11 Mar 19 - 12:18 PM

I would argue that they haven't been 'claimed by the folk' until they are being sung in social settings other than clubs or concerts with audiences. If it is done in an ad-hoc setting - granny's birthday party or around campfire etc - then copyright won't be hindrence. Authorship or origins may not be of interest.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Different types of contemporary folk
From: GUEST,ripov
Date: 11 Mar 19 - 08:50 PM

Jim - with respect - this post is about contemporary (presumably contemporary with us),and therefore "newly composed" music. If it didn't have a composer it wouldn't exist (Hebrews 3:4), and neither would the music you specialise in. Whether the composers names are forgotten or not is really irrelevant. Should O'Carolan's works be disregarded, out of almost the entire Irish folk repertoire, because we know his name. Or Neil Gow's from the Scottish, or James Hill's from the English (or even Purcell for that matter - eg "The Hole in the Wall")?

Please let different folks' concepts of what folk music is lie peacably alongside each other. We are all musicians (and not excluding singers, poets, actors), from whatever subdivision of the art, classical, folk, jazz, pop even. We play music for our pleasure, and hopefully the pleasure of those around us. Some, like you, have had the privelege (and I know also the hard work) of being able to make a study of a part of the wide musical spectrum, and so added to our understanding and apreciation. And we are all the richer for it.

Regarding copyright.
Iains - Once you've let a tune loose in the wild, you don't really "own" it. You may have the right to be the only person who is allowed to play it. But see if anyone else cares! Although to be fair, people have always asked if I mind them playing my tunes. Whether they actually do play them of course is another matter!

DtG - Most venues will have a licence (PRS?) So that performance there of copyright works is legal (I believe).

Perhaps as has been said, copyright is a "red herring". But it is a difficult matter for those of us who write tunes or songs that we would love others to play or sing, rather than just to buy. Because always at the back of the mind (and often in the advice of family and friends) is the thought that if it becomes really popular, someone else will make a vast profit, and we will lose out.

Ultimately, of course, the great public (or a subset thereof) will decide whether the music lives on and becomes a contender for being called "folk" music.. Probably not in our lifetime though.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Different types of contemporary folk
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 12 Mar 19 - 04:25 AM

"Please let different folks' concepts of what folk music is lie peacably alongside each other."
Only if it makes sense and doesn't distort and confuse, surely
If we are going to discuss something we leed a consensus to communicate with each other ; that goes, not just for music, but right across the board
If you call anything you wish 'folk' then the term becomes meaningless- which from recent discussion, it has
If you decide to involve yourself in and art form (that's what folk music is) then you take on the responsibility of preserving the integrity of that form otherwise you will damage its identity
In my opionion, folk song, in particular is an extremely important art for because it has been created, sustained and passed on by a people who are largely regarded as artless - that's why it has always been referred to as 'the voice of the people'
Even Child referred to his gatherings as 'popular ballads' - the ballads of the people
Once you move away from that highly documented and long accepted identity and submerge it in the music you personally want to perform and listen to you lose the real thing.
I sing what I want when the mood takes me - - if I sing at a venue that styles itself 'folk' I sing folk songs
The problem with what appears to have happened to the English folk scene is that they have no perceivable identy any more - they once had - no longer
That doesn't mean you can't stretch the barriers, but you need to remember those barriers exist if you do
I have always wanted to see new songs made using folk forms - it's the only way we will ever create a new tradition, if that's possible
People turned away from the scene in their thousands because the sound they were being given was no longer what they had come to expect
I went to as many folk clubs as I could manage - I wouldn't go anywhere near avenues that are being suggested in the course of these discussions
If you don't like folk song proper or don't think it important enough to prserve, you need to say so, but please don't ignore the damage that is being done to it
Jim


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Different types of contemporary folk
From: GUEST,ripov
Date: 12 Mar 19 - 10:38 PM

Jim, I wouldn't argue with you on any of those points.
My feelings are firstly that, as (in the broadest sense) Folk Artists, we have a responsibility to find and preserve the music, song, and customs of vanishing societies, as you are doing; and to do our best to be able to demonstrate them in their original form. To research their roots; and then to build on these, according to our abilities, to produce new "sports" that reflect their origins , and yet are novel, and relevant to current society. Two seperate facets of the same jewel.
We all have different talents. And we tend to see things according to these, or maybe, as we mature, according to our recognition of our deficiencies.
I am a fiddler from the "classical" side, and my initial interest in the folk scene (many years ago) was a belief that I could inform my playing of, in particular Bach, by finding out how music contemporary to him was played. Alas, I discovered that, folk or classical, no-one had the faintest idea! But my point in mentioning this is - your area is particularly folk-song. Mine is tunes, a great number for dance. So we approach the concept of "folk" from different directions.
Regording folk music in england, I said, long ago (a little tongue in cheek) that it is mainly "eurotrash" - southern english, that is, not the northern tradition. But how could it be anything else? Our trade, our comings and goings, were with France (with apologies to the Bretons), Spain, Austria, Bavaria
and so on. Culturally southern england is part of Europe, whereas the north is allied to the Scandinavian countries. But happily the scandinavian/northern english music is being revived in the south, by people such as John Offord and Christine Dyer.
And there I will stop. The only cans left are 6% cider. And I will start writing rubbish - or at least say things I wish I hadn't!!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Different types of contemporary folk
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 13 Mar 19 - 03:18 AM

"we have a responsibility to find and preserve the music, song"
And there seems to lie the difference
How about actually enjoying singing and listening to it.
That's what brought me to it and that's what's kept me at it.
I stopped singing for quite a long time - if you are intensely involved in something like collecting and have a full time job you have to make a choice which one you are going to make a priority - collecting won hands down
I had a repertoire of over 300 songs that, for a long time, only existed as a list in a notebook
About six years ago the opportunity opened up here to sing again and I was stunned at how the songs had survived in my memory and, when I started resurrecting them, how they were actually more enjoyable than they ever were before
The work we did with MacColl enabled me to tackle some of the 'age' problems, loss of range, breathlessness... but I find now that, with a few run-throughs I can remember all the songs in the book to sing publicly, the only problem being that now I find difficulty in controlling the emotions contained in the songs - I have to work hard at maintaining the balance between technique and emotianal interpretation - I found out last week that a fine singer I put up as an example on the other thread has the same problem
I enjoy research, I enjoyed collecting, but singing is an opportunity to tell others how I feel about certain things - that's what the folk songs were made for and that's what they did for me.
These songs are not there to be preserved, they are there to be sung, and I argue as I do in the hope that others get the same opportunity that I had to wade in a fantastic river of songs - and I want to be there to hear them do it
It's beginning to happen in Ireland with youngsters finding the songs as we did - it's not going to happen in England unless somebody gets their finger out
Jim


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Different types of contemporary folk
From: GUEST,ripov
Date: 13 Mar 19 - 07:08 PM

Jim sorry, I wasn't meaning that the songs should be written down and put in a big stack never to be looked at, but rather that we (them that can sing and are blessed with a good memory for the words, that is - which is not me, these days I can't always remember the right "B" part to play) should be able to perform them pretty well as they were sung when they were collected, as well as giving our own "take" on them. A counsel of perfection, unattainable probably; but something to aim at. And well understood by wider society, with tribute bands, cover versions and someone elses arrangements.
The other side of that coin of course is that if we keep that original form too strongly in our mind, the almost random variation that is the "folk process" doesn't have room to operate, and the only variation that occurs is deliberate, a totally different thing.

And - of course we should keep singing and playing. And hopefully derive a great deal of pleasure from doing so, however imperfectly. How many times have I argued in this forum that the important part of a "folk festival" is the informal gathering in churches, halls and pubs where we sing and play together, talk, drink, and maybe sometimes think. And perhaps pass on our enthusiasm and love of music to those who stop to listen.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Different types of contemporary folk
From: CupOfTea
Date: 16 Mar 19 - 01:59 PM

I am astonished that the American view seems absent in this thread, though much of is back-and- forth between a few fellas. I'm not sure it's resolved any of the "drawing a line" issues, but in the venn diagram sorting out of contemporary folk there is a large group we call "Singer-songwriters." Within that designation, there is also a large spectrum, which in this context, could be looked at as "taste"

--On the shallow end of content, you have what Sandy Paton used to call "omphaloscopists" - entirely self refferential, no background in trad, just willing to play an acoustic guitar. A sub-set of these are people who style themselves"folk" to get booked into nice folk venues only until they make the jump to larger halls and big tickets. Got played by booking a couple of these.

-- On the deeply traditional end, you have writers who come out of the tradition, sing traditional, and expand it with traditionally styled songs. Si Kahn, Ian Robb, Jean Ritchie, David Weber, Craig Johnson, Gordon Bok, Andy M. Stewart, Jennifer Cutting - just a few who come to mind as illustrations.

-- Then there are those who are genre-spanning, trad-folk-pop-rock-jazz-blues-world adventurers. Lots of exciting people in this category, Richard Thompson at the top of that list, with staunch fans in both trad folk and rock camps. I got a kick out one concert where you could tell where all the traddies were sitting: we were the ones who got the jokes about Morris Dancers.

Gordon Lightfoot is definitly pop- rock, yet his ballad "Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald" has become traditional Great Lakes ballad.The Irish and maritime music I enjoy has a plethora of rock-pop/ folk-rock: Gaelic Storm, Great Big Sea. England had Fairport and Steeleye Span.

And there are those who take trad, and singer-songwriters and package them up as pop. in the US, on PBS we get "Celtic Women"(Barbie has a bódhran) "Irish Rovers" and "Peter, Paul & Mary" on endless repeats during pledge drive. Some of this makes my teeth ache, but it illustrates part of what the "folk music audience" encompases.

I am quite comfortable with using "Trad Folk" for them 'as gots a pedigeee & history, "Contemporary Folk" for genre spanning, and of them "Singer Songwriters" more specificly for those who mainly perform their own songs, no matter how traditional sounding or not. This is how I differentiate my tastes in folk song. (Too tired to mention tunes in the trad/contemporary debate)

As always, your milage may vary- this is not a debate, it's my opinion, solely.

Joanne in Cleveland (who ironicly gets billed as "our traditionalist" at open mics, where I tend to sing lots of the singer-songwriter material)


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Different types of contemporary folk
From: The Sandman
Date: 18 Mar 19 - 07:40 AM

jim you are a silly billy, hootennay did identify it


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Different types of contemporary folk
From: GUEST,Some bloke
Date: 19 Mar 19 - 08:30 PM

Nothing to see here.

Think of the song not the performer or even the style.

Led Zeppelin sang Gallows Pole. A folk song by any definition and all. Martin Carthy sang Cum on Feel the Noize. A pop song by any definition and all.

You see, folk is a style. This nonsense about being old songs that have passed down generations being folk and something I wrote last week being not... Pish.

Dave rightly put contemporary in the title here. In that sense, I’d perhaps argue that the performer isn’t the genre but the style might be. You listen to someone you are familiar with with expectation. Dylan goes electric anyone???? But that performer might slip in songs and styles that are different. Ralph McTell writes excellent songs in a folk, blues, jazz and crooning style, depending on the song. Richard Thompson is as important to my son, a rock musician as he is to me, a folkie with a trouser waistband getting perilously close to my tits.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Different types of contemporary folk
From: The Sandman
Date: 21 Mar 19 - 05:02 AM

no folk is not just a style, if i wanted i could sing, we are all going on a summer holiday unacompanied in Sean-nós style that still does not alter the dreadful lyrics
We're all going on a summer holiday
No more working for a week or two.
Fun and laughter on our summer holiday,
No more worries for me or you,
For a week or two.
We're going where the sun shines brightly
We're going where the sea is blue.
We've all seen it on the movies,
Now let's see if it's true.
Everybody has a summer holiday
Doin' things they always wanted to
So we're going on a summer holiday,
To make our dreams come true
For me and you.
For me and you.
1.this song was written in 1962, at that time londoners were going on working holidays in the kent hopping fields. let us compare hopping down in kent and the the two sets of lyrics.
HOPPING DOWN IN KENT

(Mary Ann Haynes, Sussex, 1974. Noted by Mike Yates)

Now hopping's just beginning,
We've got our time to spend.
We've only come down hopping,
To earn a quid if we can.
With the tee-i-ay, tee-i-ay, tee-i-ee-i-ay.

Now early Monday morning,
The measurer he'll come round.
"Pick your hops all ready,
And you'll pick them off the ground".
With the tee-i-ay, tee-i-ay, tee-i-ee-i-ay.

Now early Tuesday morning,
The bookie he'll come round;
With a bag of money,
He'll flop it on the ground.
Saying, "Do you want some money?"
"Yes sir, if you please,
To buy a hock of bacon
And a roll of mouldy cheese".
With the tee-i-ay, tee-i-ay, tee-i-ee-i-ay.

They say all hopping's lousy,
I believe it's true.
Since I've been down hopping,
I've got a chat or two.
With the tee-i-ay, tee-i-ay, tee-i-ee-i-ay.

Early Saturday morning,
It is our washing day.
We boil 'em in our hopping pot,
And we hangs 'em o'er the ground.
With the tee-i-ay, tee-i-ay, tee-i-ee-i-ay.

Hopping is all over,
The money is all spent.
I wish to God I'd never done
No hopping down in Kent.
With the tee-i-ay, tee-i-ay, tee-i-ee-i-ay.

I say one, I say two,
No more hopping shall I do.
The tee-i-ay, tee-i-ay, tee-i-e-i-ay.Now some say hopping's lousy I don't believe it's true
We only go down hopping to pick a hop or two
    Chorus:
    With me tee-aye-I, Tee-aye-O, Tee-aye-ee-aye-o.

Now when I went a hopping, hopping down in Kent
I saw old Mrs. Riley a-sweeping out her tent.

Now every Monday morning just at six o-clock
You'll hear the old hoppers calling: Get up and boil your pot

Now Sunday is our washing day, don;t we wash it clean
We boil it in our hopping pots and hang it on the green

Now do you want any money? Yes sir if you please
To buy a hock of bacon, a pound of mouldy cheese

Now here comes our old measurer, with his long nose and chin
With his ten gallon basket, and don't he pop 'em in!

Now when our old pole-puller he does come around
He says: Come on you dirty ol' hop-pickers, pick 'em up all off the ground

Now hopping is all over, all the money spent
And don't I wish I never went a-hopping down in Kent

or

tWhen you go down hopping
Hopping down in Kent
See Old Mother Riley
Sitting on the fence
With a T I O and a T I O and a T I E I O

Some say hoppings lousy
I don't believe it's true
We only go down hopping
To earn a bob or two
With a T I O and a T I O and a T I E I O

Sunday is our washing day
And don't we wash em clean
We boil em in the hopping pot
And hang em on the green
With a T I O and a T I O and a T I E I O

Now do you want some money?
Yes sir, if you please
To buy a Hock of bacon
And a mouldy lump of cheese
With a T I O and a T I O and a T I E I O

Now Hopping is all over
Money is all spent
Don't I wish I'd never been
A hopping down in Kent
With a T I O and a T I O and a T I E I O
I suggest you study the two songs. content wise
to say that contemporary folk song is just about style is an over simplification , and frankly is codswallop, balderdash and poppy cock


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Different types of contemporary folk
From: GUEST,matt milton
Date: 21 Mar 19 - 07:11 AM

I think it's actually fairly simple. The threshold between contemporary (singer-songwriter) folk and traditional folk is pretty recognisable to anyone who is gets really into traditional folk music - like most of the people on this forum.

Martin Carthy's treatment of certain pop and theatre songs (New York Mining Disaster, His Name was Andrew, The Wife of the Soldier) is a really good example. He clearly picks songs that have certain aspects in common with the folk tradition in their words and perhaps music, and that's presumably why he was attracted to them. He sings them with a delivery and arrangements that make it consonant with his other material.

Then there's the next degree of difference: singer-songwriters like the early Bob Dylan, Bert Jansch, Ralph McTell or Nick Drake, who are clearly very influenced by traditional music (who may even play a fair of traditional music) but who mostly play originals.

Then there's pop music that happens to be played on acoustic instruments (Mumford & Sons et al). We've all got ears here; you can call it folk if you like - most people do - but acoustic pop is probably a better term.

Isn't it just as simple as that?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Different types of contemporary folk
From: The Sandman
Date: 21 Mar 19 - 10:27 AM

fairly good matt, well done.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Different types of contemporary folk
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 21 Mar 19 - 10:53 AM

I agree with that too, Matt. However, the phrase you used, "you can call it folk if you like - most people do", does complicate issues. If someone who believes Milford and Sons to be folk and go into a folk club expecting to hear that music, they may be disappointed. They may be pleasantly surprised too of course:-) Worse still, if a youngster learns a Mumford song and plays it at a folk club they may received some hostility from died in the wool traditionalists. That is where some guidance may be needed.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Different types of contemporary folk
From: GUEST,Some bloke
Date: 21 Mar 19 - 01:37 PM

Aye but the issue as ever Dave is that we tend to know what we think we know and are comfortable with. We see it in more than just music.

If you or I type BBC into a search engine we expect The British Broadcasting Corporation. A teenager in The USA smuggling his iPad under the covers at night expects a rather different acronym....

When I used to give talks with traditional ballads thrown in I used to say why go to a museum and see 200 year old ploughs when listening to the songs puts you in the mind, hopes, dreams, fears and aspirations of the people living then?

Contemporary songs can carry this on. Deep Purple’s Smoke on the Water describes an event in time, ditto Boomtown Rats I don’t like Mondays. You could argue that a 350 year old love ballad tells us nothing other than blokes were nursing semis when thinking of their lovers back then.

I go back to my point. It’s a style or set of styles. A genre even. Roots is a term that more of us are becoming comfortable with as it separates the value to future generations from enjoying the noise it makes.

Dave. We must argue this out again at Whitby? It’s a couple of years since we had a pint.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Different types of contemporary folk
From: The Sandman
Date: 21 Mar 19 - 04:00 PM

[ go back to my point. It’s a style or set of styles.@]
its no reiterating this, neither is it relevant going onbout trousers up to the tits.
i could sing going on a sunner holiday umaccompanied in sean nos style that does not make it a contemporary folk song


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Different types of contemporary folk
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 21 Mar 19 - 04:18 PM

We must, Musket! I am in Whitby in July but the festival is not on then :-( I am finishing work in July as well though so, hopefully, will be able to get out more :-)


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Different types of contemporary folk
From: GUEST,Some bloke
Date: 21 Mar 19 - 06:56 PM

Sorry Dick but it’s a style or a set of styles. Tunes have no words so that kind of pisses on your chips.

You’ll note that neither Steve Roud nor I have trousers up to our tits just yet. Probably because neither of us get hung up on it. He is a learned scholar in the field and I’m just an amateur hobby level researcher into the epidemiology of song.

I’ll stick with what people who don’t let ignorance and personal use of precious words get in the way. Out of interest, whenever I’ve seen you play I have enjoyed the noise it makes. I’ve even borrowed an arrangement of yours on a song. But you do come out with some daft comments on Mudcat. A pity really.

Dave. I retired fully last September. Far more free to make excuses to get around a few more places. Mind you, since retiring I’ve spent time in Thailand and am presently in Canada. I tell the kids I’m spending their inheritance.....


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Different types of contemporary folk
From: The Sandman
Date: 22 Mar 19 - 02:13 AM

you can think what you like ,but i already said some time ago about certsin modes being CONTRIBUTORY,[ if you paid attention instead of masking puerile irrelevant remarks about tits and trousers, but that is all it is contributory art of it. you are WRONG summer holiday will never be a folk song even if it was sung in aunaccompanid sean nos style, becaouse it is more than style


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Different types of contemporary folk
From: The Sandman
Date: 22 Mar 19 - 03:02 AM

imo,this song written by harry chapin is a contemporary folk song despite his style and treatment of the song
i was born today the shortest story, compare the lyrics as well as the tune.,
and ignore the style harry does it in.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ix-Yj_Md2no it is more than the style a song is performed in. am born today
The Sun burns a promise
In my eye
Mama strikes me
And I draw a breath and cry
Above me a cloud
Slowly tumbles through the sky
I am glad, to be alive
It is my seventh day
I taste the hunger
compare it to summer holiday
We're all going on a summer holiday
No more working for a week or two.
Fun and laughter on our summer holiday,
No more worries for me or you,
For a week or two.
We're going where the sun shines brightly
We're going where the sea is blue.
We've all seen it on the movies,
Now let's see if it's true.
Everybody has a summer holiday
Doin' things they always wanted to
So we're going on a summer holiday,
To make our dreams come true
For me and you.
For me and you.
And I cry
My Brother and sister
Cling to Mama's side
She squeezes her breast
But it has nothing to provide
Someone weeps, I fall asleep
It is twenty days today
Mama does not hold me
Anymore
I open my mouth
But I am to weak to cry
Above me a bird slowly crawls across the sky
Why is there nothing
Now to do but die?
you see contemporary folk song is about content as well as form as well as style


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Different types of contemporary folk
From: The Sandman
Date: 22 Mar 19 - 03:16 AM

compare it to summer holiday
We're all going on a summer holiday
No more working for a week or two.
Fun and laughter on our summer holiday,
No more worries for me or you,
For a week or two.
We're going where the sun shines brightly
We're going where the sea is blue.
We've all seen it on the movies,
Now let's see if it's true.
Everybody has a summer holiday
Doin' things they always wanted to
So we're going on a summer holiday,
To make our dreams come true
For me and you.
For me and you.

The Sun burns a promise
In my eye
Mama strikes me
And I draw a breath and cry
Above me a cloud
Slowly tumbles through the sky
I am glad, to be alive
It is my seventh day
I taste the hunger
And I cry
My Brother and sister
Cling to Mama's side
She squeezes her breast
But it has nothing to provide
Someone weeps, I fall asleep
It is twenty days today
Mama does not hold me
Anymore
I open my mouth
But I am to weak to cry
Above me a bird slowly crawls across the sky
Why is there nothing
Now to do but di


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Different types of contemporary folk
From: GUEST
Date: 22 Mar 19 - 05:15 AM

time you all went on a summer holiday


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Different types of contemporary folk
From: GUEST,Some bloke
Date: 22 Mar 19 - 01:49 PM

Fred Jordan used to laugh when I introduced him as a real folk singer due to wearing his trousers up to his tits. In fact Tom Brown tried it for a while till Bertha put her foot down. I tend to wear a waistcoat on stage but rather than living the dream, it's somewhere to put picks, capo, tuner etc.

Although Fred only did so to perform....

Harry Chapin was comfortable being referred to as a folk singer as is his mate Bruce Springsteen.

Note the use of comfortable. Possibly because its a style or set of styles....


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Different types of contemporary folk
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 22 Mar 19 - 02:06 PM

Dear old Fred played the game set up by others. He simply did what was expected of him. His own culture rejected his songs as old-fashioned as happened to many others in isolated communities. He saw chanty groups of teachers and bank clerks wearing fairisle jumpers and seamen's caps, and others wearing waistcoats and other old-fashioned stuff and thought 'I'll have a piece of this.' He had his old farming gear with his trousers tied up with string and it got him bookings all over the country. It was his persona, trade mark if you like, and why not?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Different types of contemporary folk
From: GUEST,Some bloke
Date: 22 Mar 19 - 02:18 PM

Absolutely Steve.

Hence him loving it when I (and many others) took the piss when we were comperes.

Performers of any genre should let the music be serious but never ever believe it puts you the person on the same level as your art.

Happy memories of being lucky enough to live down the road from Tom and Bertha Brown as a teenager and accompanying them to many traditional festivals and club bookings, meeting those who influenced my own take on "trad"


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Different types of contemporary folk
From: The Sandman
Date: 22 Mar 19 - 03:03 PM

tom brown nice man , but not mucgh of a singer in my oipinion, not in the same league as harry cox or phil tanner, as for the song he sang my second name is clarence,poking fun at gay people and transvestites thoroughly nasty song


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate
  Share Thread:
More...

Reply to Thread
Subject:  Help
From:
Preview   Automatic Linebreaks   Make a link ("blue clicky")


Mudcat time: 23 April 6:11 AM EDT

[ Home ]

All original material is copyright © 1998 by the Mudcat Café Music Foundation, Inc. All photos, music, images, etc. are copyright © by their rightful owners. Every effort is taken to attribute appropriate copyright to images, content, music, etc. We are not a copyright resource.