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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
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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 :-)


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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)


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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 :-)


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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.


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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!


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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.


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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?


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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).


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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.


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

The horses came early this time.


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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 :-)


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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.


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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....


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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.


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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 :-)


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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.


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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


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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


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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?


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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...


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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.


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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.


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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.


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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.


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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)


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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


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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


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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.


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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.....


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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.


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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


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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.


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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?


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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.


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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?


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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?


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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


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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?


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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.


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

Jim, i have evidence


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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.


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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.


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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.


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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.


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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 :-)


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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...


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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!


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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.


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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.


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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


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