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Folk Music On PBS

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Dharmabum 28 Nov 02 - 08:48 PM
Genie 29 Nov 02 - 11:41 AM
katlaughing 29 Nov 02 - 12:39 PM
johnross 29 Nov 02 - 01:51 PM
John Hardly 29 Nov 02 - 02:32 PM
GUEST,Guest, ReformedRocker 29 Nov 02 - 03:27 PM
Ballyholme 02 Dec 02 - 09:47 AM
wysiwyg 02 Dec 02 - 09:56 AM
GUEST,Geordie 02 Dec 02 - 10:55 AM
BuckMulligan 02 Dec 02 - 11:07 AM
Rick Fielding 02 Dec 02 - 11:13 AM
BuckMulligan 02 Dec 02 - 12:07 PM
Genie 02 Dec 02 - 12:17 PM
Don Firth 02 Dec 02 - 01:00 PM
beadie 02 Dec 02 - 01:41 PM
Dharmabum 02 Dec 02 - 01:44 PM
Ballyholme 02 Dec 02 - 02:03 PM
Bev and Jerry 02 Dec 02 - 02:16 PM
Genie 02 Dec 02 - 02:54 PM
Ballyholme 02 Dec 02 - 03:07 PM
wysiwyg 02 Dec 02 - 03:14 PM
artbrooks 02 Dec 02 - 03:28 PM
Francy 02 Dec 02 - 03:41 PM
Ron Olesko 02 Dec 02 - 04:11 PM
euclid 02 Dec 02 - 04:20 PM
Ron Olesko 02 Dec 02 - 04:51 PM
SINSULL 02 Dec 02 - 05:06 PM
GUEST 02 Dec 02 - 05:15 PM
Ron Olesko 02 Dec 02 - 05:31 PM
jimmyt 02 Dec 02 - 05:38 PM
Ron Olesko 02 Dec 02 - 05:54 PM
jimmyt 02 Dec 02 - 05:58 PM
BH 02 Dec 02 - 06:33 PM
WFDU - Ron Olesko 02 Dec 02 - 07:26 PM
Lane 02 Dec 02 - 09:30 PM
Rick Fielding 02 Dec 02 - 09:49 PM
Sandy McLean 02 Dec 02 - 09:57 PM
DonMeixner 02 Dec 02 - 10:31 PM
Duane D. 02 Dec 02 - 11:20 PM
Rick Fielding 02 Dec 02 - 11:36 PM
Rick Fielding 02 Dec 02 - 11:41 PM
Barry T 03 Dec 02 - 12:12 AM
jimmyt 03 Dec 02 - 09:10 AM
Jeri 03 Dec 02 - 09:21 AM
Barney the Fifer 03 Dec 02 - 09:23 AM
Stilly River Sage 03 Dec 02 - 10:22 AM
jimmyt 03 Dec 02 - 10:27 AM
Kim C 03 Dec 02 - 10:31 AM
Barney the Fifer 03 Dec 02 - 10:39 AM
Ron Olesko 03 Dec 02 - 10:52 AM
Barney the Fifer 03 Dec 02 - 11:05 AM
Rick Fielding 03 Dec 02 - 11:28 AM
Genie 03 Dec 02 - 11:32 AM
Ron Olesko 03 Dec 02 - 11:39 AM
GUEST 03 Dec 02 - 01:18 PM
johnross 03 Dec 02 - 01:18 PM
GUEST 03 Dec 02 - 01:31 PM
pattyClink 03 Dec 02 - 01:56 PM
jimmyt 03 Dec 02 - 02:17 PM
Ebbie 03 Dec 02 - 02:28 PM
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GUEST 03 Dec 02 - 03:40 PM
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jimmyt 03 Dec 02 - 04:10 PM
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GUEST 03 Dec 02 - 06:05 PM
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JedMarum 04 Dec 02 - 10:35 AM
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Ron Olesko 04 Dec 02 - 11:08 AM
Amos 04 Dec 02 - 11:08 AM
JedMarum 04 Dec 02 - 11:16 AM
jimmyt 04 Dec 02 - 11:44 AM
GUEST 04 Dec 02 - 11:57 AM
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GUEST 04 Dec 02 - 12:23 PM
jimmyt 04 Dec 02 - 12:36 PM
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jimmyt 04 Dec 02 - 01:00 PM
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GUEST 04 Dec 02 - 01:32 PM
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GUEST 04 Dec 02 - 01:59 PM
jimmyt 04 Dec 02 - 02:09 PM
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jimmyt 04 Dec 02 - 02:20 PM
Rick Fielding 04 Dec 02 - 06:14 PM
jimmyt 04 Dec 02 - 10:04 PM
Richie 04 Dec 02 - 10:14 PM
JudyR 05 Dec 02 - 05:03 AM
GUEST,Phil 05 Dec 02 - 07:18 AM
GUEST,Karin 05 Dec 02 - 07:44 PM
GUEST 05 Dec 02 - 07:57 PM
GUEST,Karin 05 Dec 02 - 08:15 PM
Stilly River Sage 05 Dec 02 - 11:17 PM
GUEST 06 Dec 02 - 09:31 AM
Stilly River Sage 06 Dec 02 - 11:59 AM
GUEST 06 Dec 02 - 12:03 PM
BH 06 Dec 02 - 07:52 PM
BH 06 Dec 02 - 07:54 PM
Stilly River Sage 06 Dec 02 - 11:57 PM
GUEST,Logion 10 Dec 02 - 12:44 AM
GUEST,Guest 10 Dec 02 - 01:07 AM
Ron Olesko 10 Dec 02 - 09:57 AM
jimmyt 10 Dec 02 - 11:51 AM
GUEST 10 Dec 02 - 12:01 PM
GUEST 10 Dec 02 - 05:00 PM
Ron Olesko 10 Dec 02 - 05:23 PM
GUEST,Guest 10 Dec 02 - 10:42 PM
X 11 Dec 02 - 02:37 AM
GUEST 11 Dec 02 - 10:45 AM
X 11 Dec 02 - 11:37 AM
denise:^) 11 Dec 02 - 01:33 PM
Ron Olesko 11 Dec 02 - 01:39 PM
denise:^) 11 Dec 02 - 02:01 PM
GUEST 11 Dec 02 - 02:05 PM
Ron Olesko 11 Dec 02 - 02:10 PM
Don Firth 11 Dec 02 - 02:25 PM
Ron Olesko 11 Dec 02 - 02:48 PM
jimmyt 11 Dec 02 - 02:56 PM
Ron Olesko 11 Dec 02 - 03:18 PM
denise:^) 11 Dec 02 - 03:36 PM
Ron Olesko 11 Dec 02 - 03:50 PM
GUEST 11 Dec 02 - 04:04 PM
Ron Olesko 11 Dec 02 - 04:12 PM
GUEST 11 Dec 02 - 04:18 PM
Ron Olesko 11 Dec 02 - 04:36 PM
GUEST 11 Dec 02 - 06:14 PM
Don Firth 11 Dec 02 - 06:16 PM
Don Firth 11 Dec 02 - 06:26 PM
jimmyt 11 Dec 02 - 08:17 PM
catspaw49 11 Dec 02 - 09:44 PM
GUEST 12 Dec 02 - 10:33 AM
Art Thieme 12 Dec 02 - 11:29 AM
GUEST,Tinker 12 Dec 02 - 12:44 PM
Art Thieme 12 Dec 02 - 10:19 PM
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Art Thieme 16 Dec 02 - 05:20 PM
katlaughing 16 Dec 02 - 05:59 PM
GUEST,Frank Hamilton 16 Dec 02 - 06:26 PM
Big Mick 16 Dec 02 - 07:55 PM
Art Thieme 17 Dec 02 - 12:19 AM
DougR 17 Dec 02 - 01:12 AM
Art Thieme 17 Dec 02 - 12:56 PM
GUEST,Ray Bucknell 10 Mar 03 - 10:27 PM
Stilly River Sage 21 Dec 03 - 04:35 PM
Stilly River Sage 22 Dec 03 - 02:14 PM
George Seto - af221@chebucto.ns.ca 23 Dec 03 - 05:38 PM
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Don Firth 24 Dec 03 - 02:02 PM
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Subject: Folk Music On PBS
From: Dharmabum
Date: 28 Nov 02 - 08:48 PM

American Soundtrack;This land is your land.
This special follows the evolution of modern folk music,from it's roots in bluegrass to San Francisco coffee houses to Greenwich village clubs.
Hosted by the Smothers Brothers & Judy Collins,it features performances by Glenn Yarborough,The Highwaymen,Roger McGuinn,John Sebastian & others.

This two hour show will air at various times & nights starting this Saturday night 11/30 here in the northeast (NJ).

Check pbs.org for other areas.

DB.


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Subject: RE: Folk Music On PBS / American Sountrack
From: Genie
Date: 29 Nov 02 - 11:41 AM

I caught a bit of this in Seattle last Saturday night (Nov. 23). Heard Glenn Yarborough and The Brothers Four, saw the Smothers Bros. and Judy Collins hosting. Would love to hear the whole thing. Have to watch for it on other PBS stations over the next few weeks.

Genie


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Subject: RE: Folk Music On PBS
From: katlaughing
Date: 29 Nov 02 - 12:39 PM

Thanks, we'll watch for it.


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Subject: RE: Folk Music On PBS
From: johnross
Date: 29 Nov 02 - 01:51 PM

It's a fine program if your idea of folk music extends from The Kingston Trio to The Smothers Brothers. Feh.


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Subject: RE: Folk Music On PBS
From: John Hardly
Date: 29 Nov 02 - 02:32 PM

Hey, maybe it's a fine program if your idea of folk music extends TO, The Kingston Trio to The Smothers Brothers.


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Subject: RE: Folk Music On PBS
From: GUEST,Guest, ReformedRocker
Date: 29 Nov 02 - 03:27 PM

Hey, maybe it's a fine program if your idea of entertainment extends somewhere past the ghetto/porn mix that's polluting the airwaves these days. I'd rather hear the Smothers Brothers than all this commercially-produced illiteracy set to a drum machine.


deep breath... calming down now.

RR


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Subject: RE: Folk Music On PBS
From: Ballyholme
Date: 02 Dec 02 - 09:47 AM

Saw the program several times over the weekend. Seems to me the criterion for inclusion was based upon artists who had chart success in the 50s/60s. I gotta say it didn't do a thing for me but it must have been a great help to the clothing industry - all those black shirts!


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Subject: RE: Folk Music On PBS
From: wysiwyg
Date: 02 Dec 02 - 09:56 AM

Well, as was first posted, This special follows the evolution of modern folk music, from it's roots in bluegrass to San Francisco coffee houses to Greenwich village clubs..

Did you think they were going to resolve the "What is Folk" issue in one short show and give exhaustive examples going back to whenever YOU date its inception?

DB posts what's coming on TV, from time to time, and it's up to y'all if you tune in or not.

Thanks, DB.

~Susan


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Subject: RE: Folk Music On PBS
From: GUEST,Geordie
Date: 02 Dec 02 - 10:55 AM

Saw that, thought it was dreadful and wondered what Judy Collins was doing there ? I do believe that the artists present did make a significant contributionto commercial folk during the sixties but they have not contributed anything since. The whole thing seemed badly dated, poorly performed and offered nothing but the most cyncical aspects of nostalgia. Sorry folks, I hated it.
   In fact I think PBS is a mere shadow of it's former self..sort of like the CBC.


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Subject: RE: Folk Music On PBS
From: BuckMulligan
Date: 02 Dec 02 - 11:07 AM

It would perhaps more properly have been called something like "A Survey of What the Big Name Record Labels Were Putting out as Folk Music During The Great Folk Scare." Of course it had little (but not nothing) to do with "folk" music of the "rit-ti-doodle-fol-de-ro" school of purism. I'm sure some of the stuff sung by the slick groups of the 50s and early 60s had Child numbers. But like it/them or not, these groups had enormous influence on the immediately-pre-Hippie generation, as well as on their kid siblings who turned into the Hippies. Judy Collins was there because she was a huge part of that whole thing. It was a little sad to see so many groups with only one (or even fewer) "original" name/voice left. Overall, the whole endeavor was a little seedy, except for The Limeliters' (only Hassilev left) very witty "Generic Uptempo Folk Song" which is worthy of Bob Gibson. I loved the show. Guilty pleasure, nostalgia, sure, whatever, but we do like things that at least remind us of happy times & places in our lives, don't we? It was folks music because we high school and college kids of the time were folk, and by damn, we sang it.


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Subject: RE: Folk Music On PBS
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 02 Dec 02 - 11:13 AM

Thanks Dharmabum.

Wheww, wish I could say otherwise, but I thought it was simply abysmal. I had a lot of reservations about PBS's bringing the "British Invasion" folks back, and did a Mudcat thread on it, but my gosh it was wonderful compared to this. At least the Smothers Brothers look like they've actually been WORKING over the last few years, and still have their old skills. Much of it felt really painful to watch. Like the others in the series (The Doo wap Black Bands seemed to have survived the ravages of time the best) the constant focusing on the audience fascinated me. All folks of a certain age happily singing along. Glad they were having fun, but I found it sad.

Rick


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Subject: RE: Folk Music On PBS
From: BuckMulligan
Date: 02 Dec 02 - 12:07 PM

Agree about the excessive focus on the audience, but then, that's the point of the shows PBS has been doing for years now at pledge time (PP&M, DooWop, etc.) - trying to get the old farts at home (me, e.g.) to identify with the old farts in the hall, and shell out so the network can keep bringing us our youth back, or at least reminding us of it. Y'know, I'm not altogether sure any of those groups were any better in 1962 than they are now. Maybe we were a lot less sophisticated and discerning then - I know I was certainly more forgiving and enthusiastic about music that wasn't "Doggie in the Window" and Perry Como.


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Subject: RE: Folk Music On PBS
From: Genie
Date: 02 Dec 02 - 12:17 PM

Ballyholme, Yeah, one criterion for inclusion was ...chart success in the 50s/60s. But, as Geordie said, most of them have not contributed anything since. (Are
the Brothers Four and the Highwaymen still working as musicians?)   Collins and the Smotherses were there as much as emcees as they were performers.

Badly dated, poorly performed and offered nothing but the most cyncical aspects of nostalgia, yes. The emcees even admitted that they couldn't get some of the
bigger names like Baez to appear on the show. (Where were PP&M, Dylan, Paxton, Ian & Sylvia [or just Ian Tyson], Joni Mitchell, etc? As Rick hinted, it almost
seemed like most of the performers who can still draw an audience commercially declined to do the show. Many of them, we were told repeatedly, are on
the CD set that you get for a big donation.) But if this kind of show what brings in pledges from the great masses who loved the KT and tuned out "folk music" as
soon as the Beatles came on the scene, fine. PBS needs viewer support. It still beats what's on most network and cable shows.

I enjoyed watching it, but the only thing I taped was that Limelighters song, and I'm saving my pledge for another show, another time. I already have pretty much
all the music from this show in my collection of tapes and records.

Genie


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Subject: RE: Folk Music On PBS
From: Don Firth
Date: 02 Dec 02 - 01:00 PM

Nostalgia trip for Sixties kids. Kinda fun to hear some of that stuff again, but let's face it. It was folk-lite.

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: Folk Music On PBS
From: beadie
Date: 02 Dec 02 - 01:41 PM

For what its worth, Judy Collins IS still a working artist, playing dates refularly through the year. I saw her a year or so ago at the Lake Superior Bigtop Chautauqua. Great show, . . . just her, her guitar and a pianist.

Of course, she retains her political activism, as well. After the show, she slipped downstate to visit her brother who was hosting a political fundraiser for some local liberal candidates for statewide office.


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Subject: RE: Folk Music On PBS
From: Dharmabum
Date: 02 Dec 02 - 01:44 PM

I too was not very impressed.
I thought Glenn Yarborough was just plain sad.
I'd hoped McGuinn would add some redemption to an otherwise wasted 2 hours,but his set mainly consisted of Byrds radio hits.
Sorry PBS,You aint gettin' a nickel outta me for this one.

Nostalgia aint what it used to be.


       DB.


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Subject: RE: Folk Music On PBS
From: Ballyholme
Date: 02 Dec 02 - 02:03 PM

WYSIWYG: "Did you think they were going to resolve the "What is Folk" issue in one short show and give exhaustive examples going back to whenever YOU date its inception?"

What makes you think I expected that? When these guys were in the charts, I was growing up in Ireland, so when I saw the show advertised, I was intrigued to see what 50s and 60s American "commercial" folk groups were like. A few of them did have hits in Europe (Kingston Trio, Highway Men)and probably did influence a number of musicians on our side of the pond. As Don Firth said, it was folk-lite. Pretty banal, inoffensive stuff that, as I said, didn't do anything for me. Simply my opinion.

Give me Van Ron, Ochs, Seeger, Proffit, Watson, Hurt, any day of the week.


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Subject: RE: Folk Music On PBS
From: Bev and Jerry
Date: 02 Dec 02 - 02:16 PM

We didn't care for the program either. But, this was the music we liked in high school and college and it was the stuff that turned us on to folk music. How else would a couple of kids from Cleveland, Ohio, the rock and roll capital of the galaxy, ever get exposed to folk music?

Bev and Jerry


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Subject: RE: Folk Music On PBS
From: Genie
Date: 02 Dec 02 - 02:54 PM

Ballyholme, how could you tape a live show with Ochs and Van Ronk?


beadie, yes, Judy Collins IS still a working artist, and so, I think, are the Smothers Brothers (occasionally). Tommy, Dicky, and Judy were, IMO, the headliners of the show. The Kingston Trio and The Limeliters, too, I think, are still touring (though each group has only one original member, and I'm not sure Bob Shane tours with the KT much any more).

Just think: Around 2045, there'll be a nostalgia Rap Show featuring old fogies such as Eminem, P. Diddy, Culio, etc.! Or how about a "boy band" reunion, with special guest Britney Spears still showing her navel (above the hip-hugger Depends)!


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Subject: RE: Folk Music On PBS
From: Ballyholme
Date: 02 Dec 02 - 03:07 PM

Genie,

I imagine there'd still be a lot more life in Ochs, Van Ronk, etc (you do know who Proffit and Hurt are, don't you) than in some of the people I saw on Saturday's show. McGuinn, as ever, was excellent. But then again, that's just my opinion.


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Subject: RE: Folk Music On PBS
From: wysiwyg
Date: 02 Dec 02 - 03:14 PM

No, I just think (because I am sick and crabby today) that pissing and moaning about it HERE is kinda silly.... write PBS!

In other words, I am pissing and moaning about pissing and moaning! *G*

I guess folkies are, by nature, alert to the negative so a protest can be written and/organized.

~Susan


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Subject: RE: Folk Music On PBS
From: artbrooks
Date: 02 Dec 02 - 03:28 PM

Regretably, the Albuquerque PBS station did not give me an opportunity to see the show and be able to express my opinion on it.


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Subject: RE: Folk Music On PBS
From: Francy
Date: 02 Dec 02 - 03:41 PM

I emailed PBS with my feeling...so I have to express them here also......It was absoluted ""awful". They should be indicted for their use of the words Folk Music.....Yukkkkkkkkkkkk
                Frank of Tolledo


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Subject: RE: Folk Music On PBS
From: Ron Olesko
Date: 02 Dec 02 - 04:11 PM

Don't blame PBS - blame all those people who bought the albums way back when.   If they didn't sell back then, there wouldn't have been a special today.

Frankly I enjoy some of the music of that commercial style.   While I enjoy a well cooked meal, a bag of cheese doodles sometimes is comfort food. This commercial pap is also comforting in its own way.

I do fault the producers of PBS for making it appear that the groups they presented represented the pinnacle of the folk boom. Of course the Kingston Trio and Limeliters were influential in their way, but the rest of the performers seemed to be filler.   I was shocked that Roger McGuinn participated.

The special was crap and I don't recommend it to anyone who loves folk music, but it was still better than watching "Wild On" on the E! channel. Well, maybe not.

Ron


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Subject: RE: Folk Music On PBS
From: euclid
Date: 02 Dec 02 - 04:20 PM

How does one write folk music? It seems sort of like writing a tradition.


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Subject: RE: Folk Music On PBS
From: Ron Olesko
Date: 02 Dec 02 - 04:51 PM

Someone has to write them!

Yes, I know all about the folk process and the endless stream of changes that occur - I'm just teasing!   

You are right Euclid, however as we all know the term "folk music" has evolved to encompass the tradition of the songwriters.


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Subject: RE: Folk Music On PBS
From: SINSULL
Date: 02 Dec 02 - 05:06 PM

My TV didn't pick up the PBS station, so I missed it. But it sounds as if it was exactly what I expected. Haven't any of you seen the Doo Op Bands PBS shows? Painfully dated right down to the matching pink silk suits and performed - well, by a bunch of out of shape old fogies. But the audience who paid (I guess) to see it, loved it.

I also expect I would have enjoyed seeing and hearing the Top Ten Commercial Folkies of the 60s. Before "Tom Dooley" by the Kingston Trio, my folk music was limited to family sings and some Burl Ives' recordings, and a pretty mediocre LP of Civil War songs. There was more out there. WOW! I, like a bunch of other 'Catters, am a product of the folk scare. I have come to terms with it and moved on.


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Subject: RE: Folk Music On PBS
From: GUEST
Date: 02 Dec 02 - 05:15 PM

Ron, I think it's okay to blame PBS, and to do it where they can hear it. They, like the networks, have a small insular clutch of people selecting programs to produce, fund, or purchase. Sometimes I think their policy is to buy programming from close personal friends and/or Ken Burns, everyone else is outside the fence.


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Subject: RE: Folk Music On PBS
From: Ron Olesko
Date: 02 Dec 02 - 05:31 PM

Guest,

I realize that. You missed my point. I was trying to say that this "special" would not have been produced if it wasn't for the fact that back in the early 1960's there were large numbers of records sold for this type of "folk" music. Sure we can blame PBS for airing it, but I was trying to say that we should also fault those who bought it, if we are looking to blame. Personally I think everyone is entitled to get pleasure from whatever they want.

Many people first discovered folk music through these artists and they should receive credit for that.   However the special did not exactly give an accurate portrait of the time or the music.

You are 100% correct in your opinion of PBS. I know a number of former PBS producers who can't find work because the network has become so insular and panders to a commercial audience.

Ron


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Subject: RE: Folk Music On PBS
From: jimmyt
Date: 02 Dec 02 - 05:38 PM

I also saw the show and was, I admit, a bit disappointed, as I also am when I have seen the old Do-woppers, a little sad, however, I think we need to keep in mind, that , Damn, people, these folks in both shows are getting a little old. WHat do you want to do with them, take them out and shoot them just because they happen to be getting a little long in the tooth? Oh yes, perhaps this music wasn't exactly "protesty enough" to suit some of you, perhaps some of these folks haven't "made any contributions"since the 60's, but they did make them then, and I for one, enjoy that type of music, as I do many many other types. If I had a chance to go hear a nostalgia group that I had liked back in the 60's I would probably do it, but I would also go hear a young singer-songwriter. Would I be a little disappointed at the nostalgia group? maybe, but hey, not every singer songwriter happens to be setting the woods on fire either. I suspect that the reason they put these shows on is that people...maybe not as "sophisticated musically"as you, but people, like to watch them. I imagine most folks are a little disappointed deep down, but they are still the ones who did the music in 1962 or whenever, and I think a lot of folks are willing to cut them a break and say, hey, he's not as young as he used to be. I play this music all the time to lots of audiences who are tickled to death to hear old weary old songs like Greenback Dollar and Tom Dooley. LOTS of folks (is it OK if I use the word folk here?) enjoyed Kingston Trio, Limeliters, Peter Paul and Mary. It was deep enough for them, although maybe a little too "commercial" for the folk masses, it beat Living Strings in 1964.


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Subject: RE: Folk Music On PBS
From: Ron Olesko
Date: 02 Dec 02 - 05:54 PM

Jimmyt,

I too listen, and play on my radio show, SOME of the artists that appeared on the show. I have a deep respect for the Kingston Trio and I think that the Limeliters have ALWAYS been good. The Limeliters continue to this day recording decent music.

I don't fault anyone for singing folk songs and getting others to sing. That should be applauded, even if their motives were commercial.   

I don't think anyone is faulting the program for showing aging performers. The problem that I had with the show is that they tried to pass it off as the "best" of what folk music had to offer during the folk revival.   That simply isn't the case. They presented a slice of a very commercial sound of folk music of the day. Where were the Greenbriar Boys? the New Lost City Ramblers? Pete Seeger? Joan Baez? any one of dozens of folksingers that represented folk music during the 1960s?

The fault we had is that the image they tried to present was not 100%accurate.

Ron


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Subject: RE: Folk Music On PBS
From: jimmyt
Date: 02 Dec 02 - 05:58 PM

Well, maybe they just happened to get the folks that were willing to come on? I agree that this was disappointing, however, I think there is a tone of "elitism" about any group that had commercial success that I find annoying. Sorry, just had to vent. I agree with you, though Ron


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Subject: RE: Folk Music On PBS
From: BH
Date: 02 Dec 02 - 06:33 PM

For what it is worth---I thought the show was pure "crap".

That said, I have to admit that some of those groups were what turned people---me included-- on to "folk" music---though, as it turns out they were really '5os and '60s commercial music that sold---and sold because of one of the groups that could not be represented---The Weavers. In hindsight--they were also commercial but with a difference once they left the Gordon Jenkins aegis.   Now I am getting too pedantic.

As to PBS. It is the annual---or it seems the almost daily shell game they play.   The Fund Raiser---present what they perceive the people want---then do their real quality programming in non fundraising times. Perhaps for truth in Advtsg they should do Nova, Frontline,etc; specials and pitch for that.

As to the filmed Audience: A standing ovation for every performer who graced the stage.   Perhaps they might have given one for the Brothers Four's bad toupees. That was pathetic.

I must say I pledged nada.   For my local NPR station I do---at least their fundraising is an honest presentation of what they do---as is the station I am affiliated with---like it or not this is what we do--that is our statement. You pledge for what you get.

And on radio you cannot see the bad wigs either.

PBS, sadly, wants to be everything to everyone. Does not work.

Bill Hahn


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Subject: RE: Folk Music On PBS
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 02 Dec 02 - 07:26 PM

Jimmyt - it is good to vent!   I agree with you about elitism. Your point about judging the performers on appearance was well put. It is not fair to make easy jokes about their wrinkles and toupees. That is not right. Take the music for what it was.   While I would not want a steady diet of it, some of it can be fun. It is chewing gum, but there is nothing wrong with that.

This has been said elsewhere, but some of these groups were the first "boy bands". Perhaps N'Sync owes more to them!

It's odd when you think about it. Back then groups that went "commercial" were frowned upon.   Today's generation of singer-songwriters seem bent on finding that commercial success. The only difference is today's crop of "folk" artists are not compromising their art.   I'm speaking in general, there are exceptions of course.

Ron


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Subject: RE: Folk Music On PBS
From: Lane
Date: 02 Dec 02 - 09:30 PM

Well... I missed the show and will see it on the repeat airing on Wednesday. But this thread has pretty much killed my enthusiasm, thanks. Jeez.... Mudcat has changed from the postive group that I used to see.... Hey, we've all played and listened to engough music to know that there is some we enjoy listening to and other that we don't, but its the vast variety of music and people playing music, some wonderful, some horrid and others in the middle... that makes it folk music. Heck, I've made a few people cringe as I played around the campfire as I learned - but they always said something nice, or said nothing at all...

Eliteists? Maybe its not PBS or the musicians from the 60s and 70s that I still happen to respect.... maybe the elitists are a little closer to home.


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Subject: RE: Folk Music On PBS
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 02 Dec 02 - 09:49 PM

Wow, this IS a negative thread ain't it? You'd think that at least fifty percent of the Mudcatters would say "Hey, give 'em a break, they did their best, I'd like to see YOU do better job yadda yadda yadda....."

But sometimes a project is simply So cynically done, and So poorly sung, and so blatantly commercial that almost ALL folks see through it. I love PBS (and CBC in Canada) but I doubt they'll get the donations they expected from this show.

Look I don't think all poetry has to be Shakespeare, but watching the Smothers Brothers WHO DO KNOW BETTER, introducing Barry McGuire (still) singing "Eve of Destruction" as if it were ever important, and not simply 'dreck' of the highest order....well, I found that sad.

If only the brothers had mentioned their fight to get Pete and "Waist Deep in the Big Muddy" on the tube.....and even if....."my heart be still"...Roger McGuinn had sung it on this program. Just imagine, a song that was completely relevant in the sixties AND currently.

Rick


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Subject: RE: Folk Music On PBS
From: Sandy McLean
Date: 02 Dec 02 - 09:57 PM

I have not seen the show in question so my comments are on past PBS folk legend / fundraising specials.
There was one on Woody done quite some time ago that I have on tape and often watch. It has Arlo discussing his father with some of Woody's friends such as Pete , Rambling Jack Elliot , Sonny Terry etc.
They would then jam with Arlo on some of Woody's songs. There were also later singers whom Woody influenced such as Joan Baez , Judy Collins, and Emmylou.
There was an excellent one on The Weavers , and another on Leadbelly.
They were great shows and perhaps they will be repeated some day.
My only complaint is that they only air this stuff when they are fundraising.
                   Slainte,
                      Sandy


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Subject: RE: Folk Music On PBS
From: DonMeixner
Date: 02 Dec 02 - 10:31 PM

Nice to hear Alex Hasilev and his back up band. The Brothers Four were still OK. Some was a nice trip down memory lane. Mostly it was pretty lame. I wanted more and better. Oh well.

Don


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Subject: RE: Folk Music On PBS
From: Duane D.
Date: 02 Dec 02 - 11:20 PM

I don't know how this program was presented in your respective localities, but it was used as a fundraising attempt here on channel 21 (cable)WLIW (Long Island, NY)PBS. I found it, at best, to be reminiscent of what I remember of the Hootenanny TV show I watched religiously as a kid. This was my introduction to what was considered (commercial)folk music of that era, before I learned better. What made this program experience worse, were the people who were trying to raise pledges during the long breaks, who didn't know their folk music from a hole in the ground. And, if you pledged at the $250 level, you would receive the 10 cd boxed set of the selections from the show plus scores of rock hits they had the audacity to call folk music. BTW, the producer of the boxed set was some young guy in his twenties, who obviously wasn't even alive when this music was new, and doesn't know any better. I'm disappointed with PBS's ignorance(or naivete).


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Subject: RE: Folk Music On PBS
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 02 Dec 02 - 11:36 PM

Jeez, DUANE! ONCE AGAIN you hit a home run! All the things that I tried to skip around a bit, you just came out and said. Bravo. And once again, you nailed a couple of "between the lines" things about that show that are SO accurate.

You don't say much, but yer a smart guy!

Rick


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Subject: RE: Folk Music On PBS
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 02 Dec 02 - 11:41 PM

Rick, Flaming Himself!!

Hey Fielding, do youse 'tink dat Duane's so smart 'cuz he agrees wit youse?

Ya....probably. But at least he REMEMBERS the old 'Hoot'nanny' Show. Remember how many great folk performers refused to go on 'cause they wouldn't let Pete Seeger on'? The Producer said "P.S. couldn't Hold an Audience!!!"

Cheers


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Subject: RE: Folk Music On PBS
From: Barry T
Date: 03 Dec 02 - 12:12 AM

I agree with Don Meixner... that it was a nice trip down memory lane. For a few moments I was in my university youth again, filled with fond memories of good friends and great times triggered by specific songs. I didn't care particularly if it was official folk or commercial folk or any-other-adjective folk. It was music that I liked back then and still do. That's all that counts to me.

I remembered the lyrics and could sing along with most of them from start to finish. After 30 years, that says something about those songs. See if that happens with today's pop drivel!

Quality of performance? Probably a C+ at best... but I still watched it!


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Subject: RE: Folk Music On PBS
From: jimmyt
Date: 03 Dec 02 - 09:10 AM

Barry T, You managed to casule what my feelings about this were without getting on the whining soapbox I did (I am sorry, I think I was retaining water yesterday) I think it was a little like a situation a couple weeks ago, I was at Epcot with my grandchildren, and in the France part, there was one of those crepe stands you find on every corner in Paris. Well, I thought about how great they were in Paris, stepped up and ordered a chocolate crepe, and it was nothing like the original ones I have eaten in Paris. A great disappointment. OK I guess I am rambling again. time to get back on my medicine. Sorry if I overreacted in yesterday's post. Jim


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Subject: RE: Folk Music On PBS
From: Jeri
Date: 03 Dec 02 - 09:21 AM

Stuff that airs on TV to the usual audiences is aimed at getting the biggest bang for the buck...er, the biggest buck for the bang, in this case. They go for the most popular, not necessarily the best (in our opinions) music or even the truth. Music isn't bad just because it's popular, but a show aimed at the widest audience is probably not going to include the obscure (to most) gems we love. Taking risks isn't good for finances.

As for our history of being nice to shows that include folk or folk-like music - remember discussions of 'Riverdance'? 'Brother Where Art the Kossoy Sisters on the CD'? Ken Burns' Jazz series? Ow...


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Subject: RE: Folk Music On PBS
From: Barney the Fifer
Date: 03 Dec 02 - 09:23 AM

The show was an embarrasment. Watching a bunch of 60+ year olds who didn't appear to have a learned a new song in 35-45 years.

Glenn Yarborough lip-synching "Baby The Rain Must Fall" was the worst. Did he think we wouldn't notice the missing orchestra and choir of backupo singers?

Now I know that Judy Collins and Roger McGuinn have progressed past what they showed on the show, but you sure couldn't tell.

It was a poorly done appeal to rich and aging pre-boomers and early-boomers.


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Subject: RE: Folk Music On PBS
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 03 Dec 02 - 10:22 AM

Trouble is that the "fans" won't tolerate new songs from these folks--they're all stuck in a time warp. Remember Rick Nelson's song "Garden Party?" There have been others making similar observations.

SRS


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Subject: RE: Folk Music On PBS
From: jimmyt
Date: 03 Dec 02 - 10:27 AM

Barney, What is the "rich and aging" reference supposed to mean? Are we to infer that "rich people have no musical taste? or that they in fact make donations to PBS? or maybe aging pre-boomers and early boomers make donations? or they also have poor musical taste? Sorry, but again, I get the feeling that there is an implied thought that if you are wealthy, you have substandard musical tastes.


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Subject: RE: Folk Music On PBS
From: Kim C
Date: 03 Dec 02 - 10:31 AM

Mister and I caught part of it while we were waiting on another show to start. We both agreed that some of what was shown, was not what he & I consider to be "folk" music. However, I have secretly had a crush on Tommy Smothers since I was a little kid, and I loved seeing them. (chirp chirp)

We enjoyed seeing Roger McGuinn, even if he did play old Byrds hits.

I have to say that our PBS affiliate in Nashville has a pretty diverse program slate. There's something for everyone. Nashville Public Television separated from government funding a couple of years ago, and is now entirely funded by the community.


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Subject: RE: Folk Music On PBS
From: Barney the Fifer
Date: 03 Dec 02 - 10:39 AM

Jimmyt,

When I said it was a poorly done appeal to rich and aging pre-boomers and early-boomers, I was referring to the fact that it was a fund raising special aimed at a specific demographic group who are now in their fifties and sixties. I used the word rich becuase the special was so devoid of artistic merit that it's usefullness was only in its appeal to specific people with money to throw at PBS in gratitude.

I do not believe that anyone's financial status predetermines their musical taste. In fact, I'd bet that most rich people are not big fans of the Brothers Four.

And Stilly River Sage, I disagree that fans don't let the artists progress. I've seen Peter, Paul and Mary many times and they always include a lot of new songs in their concerts.


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Subject: RE: Folk Music On PBS
From: Ron Olesko
Date: 03 Dec 02 - 10:52 AM

Hold on, there is a lot of generalization going on here.

First of all, you saw an EDITED broadcast. A producer (apparently one with little knowledge of folk music) decided what "highlights" to present.   The producer's purpose was to put together a show that might catch the interest of a viewer, not necessarily the sages of folk music that dwell here at Mudcat. The second purpose was to raise money for PBS. The producer decided those goals could be accomplished by having Glenn Yarbourgh sing his hit (was he lip syncing? I'm not positive.)   While I think the show gave the wrong impression of the folk revival, I do understand what the producer and PBS was trying to accomplish.   I was not inspired to donate after watching this show.

To say that these groups haven't done a new song in 30+ years is not correct. I have played recent recordings from the Limeliters.   They do have an audience that enjoys their music and yes, they do have to cater to that. You won't see the Limeliters headling Falcon Ridge but they will continue to perform around the country.

Roger McGuinn is writing great songs and giving outstanding performances. If any of you saw him at the Philadelphia Folk Festival you know that he isn't the lounge act that this TV special perceived these artists to be.

Be thankful that TV's still have dials - or buttons.

Ron


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Subject: RE: Folk Music On PBS
From: Barney the Fifer
Date: 03 Dec 02 - 11:05 AM

Ron Olesko,

What I said was that these groups didn't APPEAR to have learned a new song in 35-40 years. That's the impression you got from watching the show.

And I guess that Generic folk song that the Limeliters did might have been new. But it was a trite piece of fluff that was more denigration than wit.

I also said that I know that some of the artists, like Judy Collins and Rogere McGuinn, have progressed. You just couldn't tell from the show. And you can't blame it all on the producers. These artists all agreed to the concept and did shill bits on the show and inserts for the pledge breaks.

As to Glen Yarborough, he was either lip-synching or singing along to a pre-recorded orchestra and choir. He was alone on the stage but you could hear the orchestra and choir. It sounded exactly, I mean exactly, like his recording from 35+ years ago.


One thing that bugs me about PBS is that they regularly trot out folk music specials for their fundraising weeks. But its rare to find folk music there the rest of the year.


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Subject: RE: Folk Music On PBS
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 03 Dec 02 - 11:28 AM

On the other hand....Picture this friends:

PBS FOLK MUSIC CONCERT, FEATURING:

Doc Watson
John Herald
Tony Trischka
Hazel Dickens
Cathy and Marcy
Jean Ritchie
Tom Paxton
Bill Staines
Jay Unger

Damn, what a show! Now wouldn't you stay home to watch THAT?

Now...Pan to a 1000 folks (of a certain age) in the audience.....follow their lips as they sing along to "Nottamun Town", "The Lone Pilgrim...."....Oops, they don't appear to know the words.....Hmmmmmmm, looks like they've never heard of any of these folk performers either.

Net result? 67.35 collected in pledges! Dubya would be thrilled.

Aww what the heck, let 'em have what's left of The Kingston Trio.

Cheers

Rick


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Subject: RE: Folk Music On PBS
From: Genie
Date: 03 Dec 02 - 11:32 AM

(Tried to post this last night but gave up 'cause I couldn't get back on to the 'cat.)

Rick, "If only the brothers had mentioned their fight to get Pete and "Waist Deep in the Big Muddy" on the tube.....and even if....."my heart be still"...Roger
McGuinn had sung it on this program. Just imagine, a song that was completely relevant in the sixties AND currently."
Yeah, Rick, just imagine!   I'd have called in a pledge for THAT show!

Duane D, not only did they have the "audacity" to call rock numbers "folk," but they had the Bros. Four doing "Try To Remember" (from "The Fantasticks!") as
a "folk song," too.

Ballyholme, if you mean that old recordings of some of the great dead guys (and gals) would have more 'life' than the music of some still-extant folks, I'm with
you! I mentioned Ochs and Van Ronk because they were the only ones you cited that I was certain were deceased. (By "Hurt," I'm guessing you mean
Mississippi John. And at the moment I'm not connecting the name "Proffit" with anyone but a member of our local school board. [Could be the beer, or
maybe the Alzheimer's. Who knows?])

And, SINSULL, I LOVED the Doo-Wop retrospectives! Most of those folks still sound great (even if they are fat and bald)!


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Subject: RE: Folk Music On PBS
From: Ron Olesko
Date: 03 Dec 02 - 11:39 AM

Barney,

Yes "Generic Folk Song" was fluff, but that isn't the only "new" song they've done. I was pointing out that the blame belongs on the producer, not the group.   

Over the years the Limeliters have added songs from Phil Ochs, Harry Chapin, Stan Rogers, Bill Staines as well as originals from Red Grammer when he was with the group. I also would not fault them for singing old songs. Most folk songs are "old". I truly enjoyed their most recent CD.

Yes, the blame is on the producer - not the artists. The image the PRODUCER gave us was slanted. The special was not very well produced. I don't want to judge ANY of the performers based on that broadcast.   Yes, the performers agreed to do the show but it is extremely doubtful that any of them had any sort of editorial control. PBS and the producer would not agree to that. The concept and the pitching was fine, the execution was not. I would love to peak at all the material that did not make the broadcast. I bet we would have a slightly different opinion.

Ron


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Subject: RE: Folk Music On PBS
From: GUEST
Date: 03 Dec 02 - 01:18 PM

Well, I tuned in to Judy singing "Both Sides Now" and she sounded ab fab--truly, I was astounded at how good she sounded. The one and only time I saw her perform was at her infamous (well, to some of us with memories going back that far) Chicago gig, where the Marines in the front row got up and walked out when she started talking about the trial of the Chicago Seven. Her voice is as crystalline as it ever was, and she still has an amazing amount of her upper range. I don't know how old she is, but I know she is definitely old enough to have lost the upper range--she is a very lucky singer.

But my God, that program was awful--painfully so. I wasn't so embarrassed for Collins, McGuinn, and the Smothers Brothers, they all did fine. Apparently they were the only performers who are currently still enjoying professional music careers. As to the cynicism charge, well...what I found so painful was that PBS asked people who clearly shouldn't be performing in such a public way, to appear on this program. I was embarrassed for the others.

Now, as to this claim that this is how the boomer generation was exposed to folk music, I would have to strongly disagree with that statement. I'm not sure what the hell that music ever was, but it wasn't folk music. I got my television exposure to folk music watching very different music acts than the people on this program. From TV Gospel Hour, to Shindig (artists like Sam Cooke, Everly Brothers, Johnny Cash, Aretha Franklin, Byrds, Kingsmen, Lovin Spoonful, a ton of soul & R & B acts like Bo Diddley, Little Richard, Chuck Berry, etc.)

I also was introduced to folk music through tv programming for what was once called "music variety shows" which featured country music acts--from jugband to old time to bluegrass to hillbilly to rockabilly, from Roy Rogers and Gene Autrey and the Sons of the Pioneers, to Porter Waggoner Show to The Johnny Cash Show, Smothers Brothers, The Glen Campbell Show, to K-Tel commercials, etc.

But the "Folk Scare" artists of my youth, with the exception of Judy Collins, Roger McGuinn, Peter Paul & Mary, and the Smothers Brothers, weren't the people on the program in question. I don't really know who those dweebs were, as they were never really on my or my siblings radar musically when we were growing up, except that when "Tom Dooley" came on the radio, we'd turn it down or off.

The American "Folk Scare" artists of my youth were more likely to be seen on the rock/pop musical variety shows on tv. They include artists like Odetta, Seeger, Guthries, Ochs, Baez, Judy Henske, Barbara Dane, Fred Neil, the Farinas, Carolyn Hester, Dylan, Buffy St. Marie, New Lost City Ramblers, Koerner Ray & Glover, Tom Rush, etc.

Then, through the "folk rock" scene, I became familiar with British and Irish music--Bothy Band, Planxty, Steeleye Span, Pentangle, Sandy Denny, etc.

So, how I came into folk music as an American teenager is actually pretty damn complex, as the music came from so many sources--tv & radio, but also movies, live performances & concerts, through direct exposure to black gospel music, white church music, "ethnic" music (as we called the music we sang to at home and danced to at weddings and funerals) like polka music, swing, etc. Folk music, as I define it, came to me in my youth from all around me, really. But maybe I see it that way because I've never put up walls around the music I love that I know either was the roots of certain types of music, or a shoot that sprang from the root.

I just know that the majority of acts on that program didn't reflect "folk music" to me at all. Rather, it seemed to be that upper middle class, white college music of the late 50s and early 60s that got a lot of airplay on MOR stations. It ain't what I was listening to late at night in the dark that came out of Little Rock, I can tell you that!


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Subject: RE: Folk Music On PBS
From: johnross
Date: 03 Dec 02 - 01:18 PM

My earlier comment ("feh") notwithstanding, it's not the Mudcat audience that was the target for that PBS clambake.

In the same way that the fans of Ornette Coleman and the fans of Kenny G both consider themselves fans of "Jazz" but have little in common, those of us who have been part of the folk revival over the last 40 years (see the last 50 posts in this topic) have a very different idea of "folk music" from those who still love the Kingston Trio/Limelighters/Brothers Four. And neither group shares their taste with the people who moved toward folk-rock in the mid-sixties.

But much as we might dislike the idea, the commercial folk-scare fans have just as much right to see their favorites as we do. And I suspect that there's more opportunity for us to see and hear what we call folk musc--at festivals, on college and public radio, and at folk clubs--than there is for the fans of the New Christy Minstrels.

So let those people enjoy themselves. It's not hurting us--in fact, if they play the occasional song written by a "real" folk singer-songwriter like a Tom Paxton or a Utah Philips, they're subsidizing us.

We don't own the exclusive right to the words "Folk Music". And we're not the ones that the PBS nostalgia factory was trying to reach with this particular program.


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Subject: RE: Folk Music On PBS
From: GUEST
Date: 03 Dec 02 - 01:31 PM

johnross said:

"We don't own the exclusive right to the words "Folk Music". And we're not the ones that the PBS nostalgia factory was trying to reach with this particular program."

I agree 100%, as you might have guessed reading the post just above johnross' there. But still, I did feel embarrassed for a lot of those performers, as it felt very exploitative watching "the PBS nostalgia factory" aspect of the program. And let's face it, the fans of that music have a lot more money than most of us posting here, so there is a reason why we aren't reacting positively to the program. If you learned about folk music "in college" in the 50s or 60s, you were from an elite, fairly wealthy community. There just weren't that many "folk" (regardless of how you define the word folk)whose families could afford to send their children for an east coast college education in those days.


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Subject: RE: Folk Music On PBS
From: pattyClink
Date: 03 Dec 02 - 01:56 PM

Johnross, I see your point, but yes, it actually is 'hurting us'. Most people very rarely hear folk music, it's not on radio stations and it's certainly not on television. So when someone passes this kind of junky production off as This Is/Was Folk Music, it can have a huge effect in having thousands of young people decide they hate folk music, turning off another generation of coulda been folk fans.

What's needed is not more tolerance of this crap, but for somebody qualified to stick a brilliant, well-done concept for a folk special under PBS's nose and dare them to produce it.


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Subject: RE: Folk Music On PBS
From: jimmyt
Date: 03 Dec 02 - 02:17 PM

a lot of the last few posts pretty well sum up the situation: THey put this stuff on TV good or bad, and I will agree it was disappointing, for a reason, and that is to appeal to what you folks would probably call the "Vanilla flavored" folk enthusiasts. It is an attempt to target a group of folks that will probably have the resources to make a donation. I am one of those folks, I give to PBS and publec radio every year. I also happen to be a 55 year old white guy who's parents did not have the $ to send me to an east coast school, they were millworkers and I did it with student loans, which by the way I have paid back. I also like lots and lots of other artists that do not fall into the genre of those "commercial " groups that seem to make most of you sick. Someone bought their records, wonder who it was? I just get tired of the generalizations that rich white people have no redeeming social value to your community with the exception of paying high taxes and supporting every program that is available in the arts and social community. I have kept my mouth shut by and large on this site, and tried to listen to others view points, some of which I find valid, others I do not,but I do get tired of the constant references to rich white people being the enemy. Let's try to practice a little " we're all in this together" mentality rather than the stereotyping. SOrry to whine again today, but I just have to get this off my chest.


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Subject: RE: Folk Music On PBS
From: Ebbie
Date: 03 Dec 02 - 02:28 PM

" if you pledged at the $250 level, you would receive the 10 cd boxed set of the selections from the show plus scores of rock hits they had the audacity to call folk music. " Duane D, here in Juneau they set the amount at $350. Either way, I doubt they got many takers.

Rick, WOW! Let's lobby!

PBS FOLK MUSIC CONCERT, FEATURING:

Doc Watson
John Herald
Tony Trischka
Hazel Dickens
Cathy and Marcy
Jean Ritchie
Tom Paxton
Bill Staines
Jay Unger


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Subject: RE: Folk Music On PBS
From: jimmyt
Date: 03 Dec 02 - 02:31 PM

Ebbie, I think you missed the point Rick was making. Yes, this would be an absolute terrific show, but the audience would consist of us, and few others, and the fundraising would be poor. Complain as we might, but even public TV is income driven, and their is something to Boxoffice appeal.


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Subject: RE: Folk Music On PBS
From: BuckMulligan
Date: 03 Dec 02 - 02:34 PM

Ah, yes, that's the ticket: less tolerance all around. That's what the "real" folkies of the Scare were after.


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Subject: RE: Folk Music On PBS
From: GUEST
Date: 03 Dec 02 - 03:40 PM

Oh, I wouldn't say there is no audience for folk music on PBS. The Irish music specials have done very well. Then there is Mississippi River of Song, Austin City Limits, American Roots Music, Los Romeros: The Royal Family Of The Guitar, Accordion Dreams, Amazing Grace with Bill Moyers, Buena Vista Social Club, Joe Hill, Rock Jocks: The FM Revolution, Welcome to the Club: The Women of Rockabilly, and some of the other aforementioned programs that PBS/PBS affiliates have produced, is indicative of there being no audience for folk music on PBS.

Quite the contrary, I'd say. And jimmyt, you were obviously not only very fortunate to be able to educate yourself with student loans, you have, if you are able to afford donations to public broadcasting, are doing fairly well now too. But that doesn't change the fact that in the 2000 census data, only 26% of Americans over age 25 had earned a bachelors degree. Even today, that is still a pretty elite group, to my way of reckoning.

As to this forum being representative of "the folk" people will likely be shocked to find that the educational background of Internet users breaks down about roughly to this (courtesy of Internet Public Policy Network):

Education:

56% of users are college educated, but 26% of all Americans are college educated (E-Marketer);
40% of users are white collar workers (professional/managerial), but white collar workers make up only 18% of the population (E-Marketer);
28% of users have no college education, compared to 52% of the total population (Mediamark);
19% of people with a high school diploma or less have Internet access, (they make up 52% of the population). Meanwhile, 53% of people with a college degree have Internet access (they make up 23% of the population) (Baruch College Louis Harris and Associates, 1998 cited in the Benton Foundation's Losing Ground Bit by Bit).


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Subject: RE: Folk Music On PBS
From: Don Firth
Date: 03 Dec 02 - 03:52 PM

Well. Hmm. From the perspective of a geezer:—

My interest in folk music developed with early exposure. This exposure started when I was in my early teens (that would have been in the early Forties) with a couple of radio programs and a movie. One was Burl Ives, talking about the history of the Erie Canal, during which he told stories and sang songs. At the same time, a local character, Ivar Haglund had a radio program, telling stories about the early days in the Puget Sound area—and singing songs, accompanying himself on the guitar (The Old Settler's Song, e.g., "Acres of Clams" was his theme song). In the late Forties, I saw a movie starring Susan Reed, about a young girl from the Appalachians dragged off to sing folk songs in a New York night club. Then along came The Weavers. I became actively interested (learning songs and learning to play the guitar) shortly after I started at the University of Washington in fall of 1949. During my sophomore year, I met some folk music enthusiasts: Claire Hess, Walt Robertson, Sandy Paton, Dick Landberg, Bob Crabtree, and a couple of others.

I was hardly a member of "the elite." My father was a health professional, so we were doing okay, but we were not what anyone could call rich. In the early Fifties, tuition at the U. of W. was $53.00 a quarter for Washington State residents. So going to an eastern, ivy league college had nothing to do with it, at least around here.

For me and many of my contemporaries, the Kingston Trio, Peter Paul and Mary, the Limeliters, et al had nothing to do with our avid interest in folk music. By the time they came along, I had heard a lot of Folkways records and field recordings and had dug around in a lot of books. When these "pop-folk" groups came along, we recognized what they did as (to repeat myself) "folk-lite" and tended to regard them as usurpers—kind of phony at best. Compared to what we were used to listening to on records, this bunch was slick and gutless. A lot of the genuine folk songs they sang were subjected to pop arrangements ("filtered and made mild"), and others, such as Green Fields, Scarlet Ribbons, They Call the Wind Mariah, Try to Remember, etc. etc.), good songs though they may have been, were not folk songs at all, even though a lot of people were led to believe they were (I've got a little insight into this; I knew a guy who wrote songs for the New Christy Minstrels).

Granted, many people developed an interest in folk music as a result of the Great Folk Scare. But at the same time, a lot of people got a pretty screwed up idea of what folk music really is. This becomes pretty evident (I should probably go put on my Kevlar underwear before saying this) when you read through a lot of Mudcat threads and compile a list of songs of what a lot of folks here seem to regard as folk songs.

O-o-o-o-oh boy!! I'm in trouble now!!

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: Folk Music On PBS
From: GUEST,Guest
Date: 03 Dec 02 - 04:08 PM

Perhaps WE need to collectively urge Ken Burns to produce a documentary film on folk music: Past and Present. There's enough material here for at least a hundred episodes and it still wouldn't be complete.


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Subject: RE: Folk Music On PBS
From: jimmyt
Date: 03 Dec 02 - 04:10 PM

Guest, What the hell does only 26% of Americans over 25 having bachelors degrees have to do with these people being elitist? I commend them for getting off their asses, stopping whining and getting the damn degree.   I suppose the next comment will be that it is entirely socioeconomic. In this day and age in the United States, using the "I didn't have the opportunity to get an education" doesn't cut it. I went back to school when I was 28 with 3 kids, a wife and worked 3 jobs parttime, went to dental school, graduated with $90,000 in student loans that by the time I got them paid off, the pay off was about $250,000, and I did it to better myself and family. YEs, it is paid off, and I didn't hide behind some excuses either. A famious quote, "I know men in the ranks that will stay in the ranks. Ehy? simply because they haven't the ability to ge things done." I know this is major thread creep, I again apologise


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Subject: RE: Folk Music On PBS
From: Ron Olesko
Date: 03 Dec 02 - 04:11 PM

Please, not Ken Burns.   Ken burns sucked the life out of baseball and jazz in his documentaries.   Don't let him touch folk music!


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Subject: RE: Folk Music On PBS
From: GUEST
Date: 03 Dec 02 - 06:05 PM

Please, someone kill Ken Burns and all those associated with their color-by-number docudrama lite.

PBS producers need to do some serious woodshedding time with the BBC documentary folk.


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Subject: RE: Folk Music On PBS
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 03 Dec 02 - 07:27 PM

Well I for one have nuthin' against "wealthy folk fans". These, my friends, are the folks who literally allow the musicians we DO like (the non-commercial ones) to keep playin' year after year.

Seventy five percent of my gigs are "House Concerts" and I guarantee you that a nice big house, a decent cover charge, a good room to sleep in and a well connected host, make for a much better evening (for the musician at least) than fighting a bar owner for some ridiculously low fee......and wondering if they could turn the TV down.

This has become a very interesting discussion, but if I can just ratify my point a bit.....my objection (as it was for the "Geriatric British Invasion" show) was simply that most of the musicians (not all) seemed horridly dated (because of material) and were REALLY outta shape, chops wise.

Cheers

Rick


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Subject: RE: Folk Music On PBS
From: jimmyt
Date: 03 Dec 02 - 08:49 PM

Thank you, Rick, for that post, It is refreshing to have a bit of reality thrown in the pot from time to time. I also agree that watching this particular show was a bit depressing from a quality standpoint.


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Subject: RE: Folk Music On PBS
From: BH
Date: 03 Dec 02 - 09:01 PM

Briefly, all this brings me back to the original thought I presented. Show what you are about PBS---true "folk", Masterpiece Theatre, Lehrer News Hour, Frontline, etc;   Give up on the "crap' for what that you (PBS) think attracts the masses---it doesn't. You (PBS) are a nice broadcaster and should be proud to represent that niche---and give up on second rate presentations to a dying generation of commercial pap loving people.

Bill Hahn


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Subject: RE: Folk Music On PBS
From: johnross
Date: 03 Dec 02 - 09:42 PM

So it seems ass if we have two separate complaints about the PBS special:

1) The performers were all (or almost all) pop-folk acts rather than "real" folksingers.

and 2) They shouldn't call that stuff "Folk Music".

As much as it may be painful for the hardcore folkies to admit it, that early-sixties pop-folk was extremely popular, and an entirely valid genre for a nostalgia show. While dropping a Doc Watson or Tom Paxton into that crowd would have made as much sense as putting the Julliard Quartet into a Lawrence Welk special. It's just not what that audience wants to hear in that context.

So what do you call it? The people they wanted to reach think of that stuff as the "folk music" of their youth. Those people are ignorant cretins by our standards perhaps, but they're ignorant cretins who send money to public TV.


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Subject: RE: Folk Music On PBS
From: jimmyt
Date: 03 Dec 02 - 09:50 PM

You are correct John. I always enjoyed the Overtures to Wagner operas as well as Tchaikovsy's symphonies when I was a music major. "Real musician Purists" scoff at these works as pure drivel. I still like them, as well as the pop folk groups you refer to. When the symphonies come up with their repetoire for the season ticket holders, they better damn well have some Brahms and Beethoven in there for the folks that pay the bills to enjoy. They can throw in some Schonberg to keep the musicians interested, but Beethoven pays the bills.


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Subject: RE: Folk Music On PBS
From: GUEST,Argenine
Date: 03 Dec 02 - 10:23 PM

GUEST (" I don't know how old [Judy Collins] is, but I know she is definitely old enough to have lost the upper range--she is a very lucky singer.")

She's at least 60, I'm sure, but beyond being "lucky," she is a throroughly trained singer (and was long before she took to folk music). That makes a big difference in how much of your vocal capability you lose as you age. I've known some opera singers in their nineties that could still sing circles around most of us!

And, yeah, guest, it does seem to me that The Highwaymen and The Brothers Four were kind of "one hit wonders" even in the heyday of the "folk music revival" of the 60s!

And BTW, PBS in my town is airing an Irish folk Christmas show tonight with Maura O'Connell, The Chieftains (I think), U-2, Jean Ritchie (I think), and a few others.

Yeah, Don, you mentioned another show tune that gets passed off as "folk" - They Call The Wind Maria. It's from "Paint Your Wagon."


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Subject: RE: Folk Music On PBS
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 03 Dec 02 - 11:16 PM

Whew!!!!! I just read this whole thread for the first time. and it's hard to sort it out. Don, it's great that you had already heard Folkways and traditional music by the time the Kingston Trio and the Highwaymen arrived. You and another 100,000 people. The rest of us who didn't live in a large, urban environment (like me) had heard Rusty Draper (I bet no one remembers him)Frankie Lane, a little Burl Ives and some ridiculously COMMERCIAL recordings by the Weavers (which I loved, and didn't turn my nose up at because they had strings in the background.) The first "traditional" folk singer I heard was Lonnie Donegan, and while I loved his music and still love it, he sure wasn't traditional in style. No one crinkles their nose that he had electric guitar on his albums, but they sure will if you walk into a folk festival today, with one. Like many kids who grew up in a more rural section of the country, folk music WAS the Kingston Trio, The Cumberland Three and the Tarriers. I came to love folk music and have a thirst for more because of them, just as kids ten years later heard Peter, Paul and Mary and the Highwaymen.

For those who seek the glory days of the sixties, listen to the CD re-issues of McDougal and Bleeker Street. Very little of that stuff holds up any better than the Kingston Trio, to my ears. Bud and Travis? C'mon. Even Fred Neil, who I heard many times, and really enjoyed. I don't think he was any more "folk" than the Kingston Trio. Just a much better guitar player and a fine singer.

Not having seen the program, I can't comment on it. I did hear the Kingston Trio ten or twelve years ago, and what bothered me is that they'd had too much to drink and didn't respect their audience... they knew they just had to start singing Tom Dooley, and they would re-awaken the old memory box, and they could play it as sloppy as Hell. I wasn't irritated that they played their old hits. I was disgusted because they seemed to care so little about the music. Maybe that's how most of the people feel on this thread who watched the program. I might have felt the same way.

As for the Doo Wop shows.... Puhleeeeezzzze, don't the unwashed public realize that Doo Wop is a term that someone made up much later, and it's really rhythm and blues? :-) I personally have enjoyed the series (but never bought the CDs, because I have the originals and enjoy them better.) So what, if they've gotten a little long in the tooth? Geez! When I saw Mississippi John he was kinda hunched over.. not at all like he was when he first recorded in the twenties. I was always kinda hoping that folk music was the one form of music where age was honored. I sure as Hell tried to sound sixty when I was twenty. Now you tell me that folks look funny, when they get older?

I suppose I don't have any problem with any of the opinions expressed here. I probably agree with most of them... even the ones that seem diametrically opposed. I don't look to PBS to give an in-depth look at much of anything... even the Ken Burns shows... they give an overview (I stopped watching the Jazz series, even though in many ways it was wonderful, because they tried to cover too much ground and ended up short-changing too many musicians. But for 90% of America, the Kingston Trio and the Highwaymen WERE folk music. Not Tom Paxton(who is a friend, but 95% of America has never heard of.)
For some, like us, the Kingston Trio and others were a door into a wonderful world of music that has enriched our lives. Why knock the door you came through? Maybe others will come through that same door.. or through REM or Counting Crows, or The Dixie Chicks. One thing I know that grousing all the time doesn't attract much of anyone.

Jerry


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Subject: RE: Folk Music On PBS
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 03 Dec 02 - 11:32 PM

I like Ken Burns. . . ;-)


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Subject: RE: Folk Music On PBS
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 03 Dec 02 - 11:35 PM

I think that he's a genius, Stilly. I just wish he wouldn't try to do the history of the universe in ten easy installments..

Jerry


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Subject: RE: Folk Music On PBS
From: GutBucketeer
Date: 03 Dec 02 - 11:52 PM

I didn't see the show in quesion, as it sounded hokey from the get go. However, I did see part of the 4 part series on American Roots Music tonight, and it was fantastic (IMHO). I even found out that Georgia Tom, one of the founders of the Hokum Boys later became the Father of Gospel Music as we know it today. What do ya' know.

They also had a very good show on last night about early jazz.

Could it be that there is a certain bias in depiction on PBS. Anything that was mainstream, or "white bread" seems to be glossed over and sort of presented in a non-serious almost "look how quaint they were" fashion. However, anything that comes from the "oppressed" groups, or a background that has an associated "struggle" is presented as genuine, significant, and important.

JAB


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Subject: RE: Folk Music On PBS
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 04 Dec 02 - 12:12 AM

Dammit Jerry, I'm gonna grouse when I feel like it! And by the way, where'd ya get that tie!?

Rick

P.S. Sort of off the topic, but I think it's a tad funny. Our local PBS outlet is WBEN Buffalo New York. About two years ago they started to realize that almost NONE of the American folks in the Buffalo/Erie PA. area were watching: Masterpiece Theatre, or any of their British sitcoms, and precious few were even watching MacNeill/Lehrer News Reports. So they started subtly aiming their fundraising at Toronto where probably the vast majority of their viewers reside. Now it ain't even subtle. They throw in all sorts of bizzare "Canuck happy talk" to make us think that they know Toronto very well. They don't....but we appreciate the effort. I'm afraid that the level of programming has gone wayyyy down though.....far too many repeats. Guess they simply don't have the bucks.

Cheers

Rick


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Subject: RE: Folk Music On PBS
From: GUEST,Allan Terego
Date: 04 Dec 02 - 12:37 AM

I have to ask Ron Olesko what the problem is with Burns' series on baseball. I can understand why a few people were critical about the Jazz series, but I thought he did a decent job with the National game. What was your objection?

Al


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Subject: RE: Folk Music On PBS
From: GUEST
Date: 04 Dec 02 - 02:38 AM

Sigh. I looked for this thread for a couple of days, not having posted on this forum for many, many months, and couldn't find it. Guess you can't write "PBS Folk Music," and hope it'll come up -- too case sensitive. Anyway, by the time I get here, the number of replies are so many, I can't keep track.

Geez. I mean -- yeah, the music is or was hokey, and yeah -- I found myself asking, "Hey, where are the Weavers? Where is Pete Seeger? Where is Joan Baez? Where, even, are Bud and Travis or the Tarriers?" I answered myself (for one thing, I hear Seeger is not in the best of health these days, but not sure. Maybe the others are too big and too busy).

But hell, this was the music that the majority of my generation made the jump from, to "real" folk music. And when I did discover the real stuff, it was a pretty quick jump. But -- as others have said, what a trip for me down memory lane! I was just in college in 1959, and seeing the Kingston Trio, after hearing nothing but Paul Anka and Frankie Avalon on AM radio was -- a revelation!!! Suddenly, there was public radio and all these new sounds! The impact of this commercial folk music, with its democratic edge and a kind of "Ban the Bomb" underpinnings, was incalculable in turning me on to other forms. I was trying to remember where I was when "Michael, Row the Boat Ashore," came out, and near as I can trace it, I was just discovering those neat little dark coffee houses and folk dance enclaves that were to be so important in generating this musical movement. Sometime in there, I remember working as a waitress at a corny "Banjo Cafe," where players wore red-and white striped shirts, and thought that was real far-out.

What am I trying to say? Despite my boredom during many of the performances (and noticing that few original members but Hassilev were in those groups), this program had meaning for me. Like someone said earlier, I began to remember when even commercial music had a message, and when most people in America - can you believe it -- were leaned to the left.

Very soon, VERY soon -- I discovered old Child ballads at my university and at the AshGrove, saw Barbara Dane, heard Baez, Dobson, and the girl folksingers, and leapt from there to Jean Ritchie, who I felt was more real -- heard Van Ronk in 1962 (HUGE revelation!) and went on to discover Doc Watson, Robert Johnson, and the black blues singers. And then came the Koerner, Ray and Glover, the jug bands and the other folk music of our generation. Discarded Peter, Paul and Mary REAL quickly (btw, wish I had heard the Smothers Brothers at that time - I thought their "chirp, chirp" act on this show was brilliant! -- but I was too busy living life to watch TV).

And then when David Crosby came over to my house one time in 1964 or '65, with this new guy, Chris Hillman (I lived across the street from the Troubadour and they'd drop by to tune up), and insisted I change the station from Pacifica public radio to -- god good, AM! -- I was in shock. They were playing -- gasp -- folk-rock!

But this all preceded it. Maybe the presentation and idea behind this PBS show was clumsy and produced poorly -- but I am not ashamed to have soaked it up, with all those (yikes!) white-haired old codgers in the audience and on the stage.


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Subject: RE: Folk Music On PBS
From: GUEST,JudyR
Date: 04 Dec 02 - 03:52 AM

P.S. That was me, posting above. Why did it say I was a guest? I guess you have to sign in every time (how our memory dims when it's been almost a year).


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Subject: RE: Folk Music On PBS
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 04 Dec 02 - 08:10 AM

Excellent post, JudyR.

What tie you talking about, Rick? The string tie with the bull horns on it?

Jerry


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Subject: RE: Folk Music On PBS
From: Ron Olesko
Date: 04 Dec 02 - 09:57 AM

Allan,

My problems with Burn's baseball are probably minor, but as a fan of the game I was disappointed.   For a series that was supposed to document the 100+ year history of the sport, he chose to be selective in what he presented.   The last 3 decades were covered in one installment and the contemporary issues which have changed the game and the public so much were rushed through.   He did not interview enough baseball players and chose to offer commentary from Billy Cyrstal and other celebrities instead of the people who were alive and participating.   While I live in the NYC area and understand the importance of baseball in the area, you would think that the game was primarily a northeastern pastime from his view.   When he chose to talk about other teams, he was often sloppy. I remember there was a segment talking about the Gas House Gang and a picture of Stan Musial came across the screen. Stan was not playing at that time.   There were other "minor" problems from a fan point of view - footage that did not match the story, inaccurate "facts", etc.   I also thought that from a technical point of view, it was rather sloppy. The same images were repeated constantly.   There are so many photos of Babe Ruth, couldn't he have added a few more?

Baseball, at least when I was young, was a passion - nearly a religion for some.   Burns was almost too reverential in his approach and the documentary, for me, lacked the humor and the excitement that the game evokes.   

With that said, I do think that the story he told about race relations and the sport as a reflection of our history was remarkable. This is a story that in 2002 is often forgotten. It is amazing to see where we've come and how different it was, not very long ago.   If Burns focused the documentary on that aspect alone and not tried to cover so much ground (and failing to do so), the documentary would have been wonderful.

I realize that the documentary was produced for a PBS audience and not an ESPN audience, but my feelings are that Burns tried to bite off more than he could chew.   Jazz was pretty much the same.

Ron


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Subject: RE: Folk Music On PBS
From: GUEST
Date: 04 Dec 02 - 10:01 AM

Well, I think we are having a problem with the definition of folk music in this thread, just as PBS did with this program. Wild numbers pulled down from heaven (whenever I see the phrase "90% of _______" I tend to stop reading because, as I interpret the use of such numbers, the writer is attempting to demonstrate that everyone agrees with their personal opinion) won't convince me that the music of the WASP mainstream in the late 50s and 60s receiving commercial airplay on MOR radio stations, is the "folk" music most Americans are familiar with, and I'll tell you why. I think many of us have our first encounters with folk music through the music of our ancestors, be it polka music or Tex Mex or strathspreys or klezmer or what have you. The problem with the definition is one of the dominant WASP culture defining the Limelighters and acts like that as "their folk" and by extension "American folk".

American folk music is incredibly diverse, and much of it has nothing to do with Child ballads and Appalachia. Or with 50s and 60s WASPs disconnected from the musical roots of their ancestors, and those attempting to assimilate into that dominant WASP culture, who also contracted the WASP ancestral amnesia of the day to fit in with the dominant culture.

For many of us living in urban areas, we were also exposed to the music of other cultures through friends, co-workers, school and community events, as well as on local radio stations and local TV programs (especially if you watched/listened to the Sunday morning church programs) which played much different music than the nationally WASP oriented MOR radio stations.

I suppose I'll get slammed for using the term WASP as quaintly inaccurate. But no one has come up with a better term to describe this "most Americans" cultural standard that many white Americans believe reflects an actual reality that doesn't even exist and never has. The majority of white folks in this country ain't WASPs. So I'll continue to use the term, because it is damn accurate.

Anyway, jimmyt, it isn't about the music being for rich white folks at all. In fact, if you read my post above again, you will see that I said "white middle class". Kingston Trio was the white middle class WASP and WASP wannabe form of commercial, MOR "folk" music, not the folk music of American folk. PBS has done much more inclusive and accurate portrayals of American folk music's diversity, in specials like Mississippi River of Song and American Roots Music. So we know that the crap "folk" special truly is nothing more than nostalgia music for WASPs and WASP wannabes wishing to applaud their youthful college memories. That is what this whole fundraising series, not just the This Land is Your Land program, has been about. To get PBS donors to throw money while applauding their personal memories. On my PBS outlet this week, they are running all these god awful music nostalgia shows (it was the Frankie Avalon and Peggy March set last night) during primetime for fundraising week.

It seems those of us who watch the more accurate, inclusive folk music specials on PBS don't donate much. Which is the whole problem with the way we don't fund public interest programming in this country in the way other countries do. Folk music of all stripes and ethnicities needs air time on PBS more now than ever, because of the six media conglomerates lock on the airwaves. There aren't any TV outlets that give us this programming. None. Zero, zip, zilch. PBS is it. So they truly are doing a great disservice to great folk and ethnic music traditions of this country by declaring this shit "folk" music when it ain't.

So yeah, I guess I'm dragging the conversation to the "what is folk" gutter, even though I don't want to. I just get so sick and tired of the nostalgic-WASPs-disconnected-from-their-ancestral-roots "folk" defining what folk music is going to be for those of us who actually grew up living in the center of our own ethnic cultures, or on the periphery of other ethnic cultures who were our neighbors, school mates, church congregations, etc. Mighty tired of the WASP folk standard.


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Subject: RE: Folk Music On PBS
From: JedMarum
Date: 04 Dec 02 - 10:04 AM

I couldn't watch. They originally booked The Brothers Four, the Smothers Brothers and the Beef Brothers - but when they cancelled the Beef Brothers (over a union contract issue) I decided I just couldn't watch!

;-)


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Subject: RE: Folk Music On PBS
From: Amos
Date: 04 Dec 02 - 10:15 AM

Hey, just wait until PBS puts on the Mudcat CDs!! It's happenin' any day now, my contacts tell me!! Well, sure, they're out-of-body contacts, but still, that's what they tell me!!

Ordered your copies yet? Beats the Brothers Four ALL hollow!!


A


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Subject: RE: Folk Music On PBS
From: GUEST
Date: 04 Dec 02 - 10:21 AM

Oh and one other thing about these nostalgia shows PBS is currently running. As I understand it, people pledged some minimum amount of money to buy their way into a seat in the audience of these programs. Which is fine, I suppose, considering the money will likely end up going to produce more of this same crap for future fundraising weeks.

Way to drive younger and niche audiences away, PBS!


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Subject: RE: Folk Music On PBS
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 04 Dec 02 - 10:32 AM

Dag-nab it! I think that it's time that us WASPS Unite. Who says we ain't folks? What should I be most embarassed about? Being white? I didn't realize I could have requested another color. Anglo Saxon?
Can I be Danish-Saxon, or Anglo-Danish? Protestant? Well excuuuuuuuse me. Even white bread Americans are folks. Sure 'nuff.

Funny, but the airwaves where I grew up weren't filled with Tex-Mex music or Klezmer music. There was enough polka coming out of our old Zenith to choke a horse, not just punch one. Being WASP, it didn't occur to me that Whoopee John Wilfahrt or Louis Bashell And His Silk Umbrellas was folk musicians. How was I to know... they didn't wear
red and white striped shirts. They were about as folk as Lawrence Welk.

Enjoy the day... it's not worth getting that upset about, Guest..

Jerry (a resident)


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Subject: RE: Folk Music On PBS
From: JedMarum
Date: 04 Dec 02 - 10:35 AM

... just kidding about the Beef Brothers!

But I must say I saw Judy singing Both Sides Now and she sounded great. Like GUEST said above, I too was astounded at how good she sounded; even better then when she was younger, if that's possible. What a magnificent voice, so effortlessly and beautifully used!

BUT ,I have to admit that, I could not stand watching much of it. I only caught the Judy Collins thing in passing, and stayed with it - but I just couldn't stand the hokey, crap formulaic approach that PBS put into this lame line up. Absolute Crap! And I don't mean to flush all the performers out with this comment. Certainly there were a few good ones - But much of this stuff was sh*t music 30 years ago, or at best medicore. It hasn't gained any quality with the passage of time! PBS should know better, damnit!! And Barry McGuire singing Eve of Destruction??? Give me a break!! What sort of IDIOT scheduled that???

Go for the nostalgia, go for the most bang for the buck, go for the lowest common denomonator - and give those old farts a chance to get teary eyed and glowing over the 'better times when they were young' sort of thing, and maybe they'll dig deep into their pocket and send PBS money. Maybe they'll talk about PBS's brave new approach to using TV for important work like telling the world about Folk Music. Well, PBS; don't do us any favors! This show was dreadful!

This sort of emotional play makes me angry (does it show??). We all know there was good folk music around in that era, as well as the schlock that was passed off as folk. Why the hell couldn't they have put some of that on? Why the hell didn't they call on their friend Ken Burns?? I am sure he'd have done a thousand times better.

And by the way, Ken Burns did more for folk music by accident then this show did on purpose. His marvelous choice of music for his various series has brought some beautiful music, beautifully performed to the forefront of public consciousness. He didn't even have to preach!

Now - before I reread this, to eliminate as many typos as I can find, and click enter, I need to say; I know there were a few gems among the list of songs and entertainers. I've already mentioned Judy Collins, I always loved the Smothers Brothers, I am sure Roger McGuinn did fine - so even though I am angry at PBS's perversion, I know there may have been some quality moments.


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Subject: RE: Folk Music On PBS
From: Amos
Date: 04 Dec 02 - 10:59 AM

Jed MArum suggest Go for the nostalgia, go for the most bang for the buck.

Mudcat Sampler CDs are DEFINITELY the indicated path!!


A


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Subject: RE: Folk Music On PBS
From: GUEST
Date: 04 Dec 02 - 11:00 AM

Jerry, the issue isn't whiteness or Protestantism, but it is the assumption that WASPness constitutes "the norm". The issue IS ethnicity and in ethnic music traditions, religion and religious music.

In fact, there is a serious problem with WASP/British music being considered the norm, because it often locks out the brilliant music traditions of many other cultures, and forces the young people of US to assimilate into the dominant WASP culture, rather than remaining with at least one steady foot in their own music cultures.

I'm not badmouthing the music or the culture of WASPs. I am complaining about it's dominance over the other ethnic and cultural music traditions, though. Therein lies the difference. I apologize for not making that clearer, as it isn't my intention to offend people by racializing the discussion. These are facts I believe to be salient in regards to PBS programming of folk music. It is one thing for the individual donors, and another thing entirely for the corporate and foundation funders who demand at least some recognition of the ethnic, racial, and cultural diversity of the US audience that needs to be served by PBS' public interest broadcasting.


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Subject: RE: Folk Music On PBS
From: Ron Olesko
Date: 04 Dec 02 - 11:08 AM

Jed,

I agree with you about Burn's choice of music.   I do find it mildly amusing that people now associate the Civil War with that "great old tune" - Ashokan Farewell which was written about 20 years ago to commemorate a summper camp!


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Subject: RE: Folk Music On PBS
From: Amos
Date: 04 Dec 02 - 11:08 AM

NPR is widely diverse in their programming -- they air segments devoted to artists from every stripe and hue. At least, that's been my experience.

A


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Subject: RE: Folk Music On PBS
From: JedMarum
Date: 04 Dec 02 - 11:16 AM

Yes Ron - I always get a kick out of people's response when they find out that Ashokan Farewell is NOT an old song. I too wondered the first time I heard it, if it wasn't an old song ...

Yes, Amos - you're correct. But even if they have to explore the boundaries of their market, I think they crossed the line into real schlock with this one!


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Subject: RE: Folk Music On PBS
From: jimmyt
Date: 04 Dec 02 - 11:44 AM

Guest. It seems that Norm is what is or seems Normal to you, or me or whomever. Sorry, but the masses out there tend to fall in a middle American group that eat at Mcdonalds, eat roast beef, and fried chicken, maybe have pancakes and eggs for breakfast. WHY? Because that is their norm. It is not a reflection on their being shallow, it is just what they do. They also tend to eat a lot of Italian and Mexican food, more and more in the last 3 decades than before. Is it "real Mexican or Italian? Hell no! It is Americanized, but it is what the masses want to eat, and if you are smart and open a resturant in America you won't get too "Authentic" if you want to sell food. Same goes with music. I enjoy travelling to other countries and experiencing their cultures as much as possible, but I have to admit, I am always happy to come home to things here that are comfortable to eat, listen to and experience. Is that shallow? Waspish? (by the way, I think that term is just as offensive as any other racial epithet, but if you insist on stereotyping,) I guess it is, but it seems that whereever people find themselves, that is the norm. If you tried to force your music and food of ontos someone in Tibet, they would probably not find it their "norm" Why can't we celebrate our differences in music, politics, religion, food, etc as part of someone else's culture without passing judgement?


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Subject: RE: Folk Music On PBS
From: GUEST
Date: 04 Dec 02 - 11:57 AM

I take it back, jimmyt. I am happy to offend with the term WASP.

It seems you are the one passing judgment on the rest of America's folk music traditions, not us passing judgment on you, for insisting not only that the Kingston Trio is folk, but that it is the Folk Music of This Great White McDonald's Beef Eating Nation.


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Subject: RE: Folk Music On PBS
From: GUEST
Date: 04 Dec 02 - 12:01 PM

In fact, now that I think about it, all these crap music nostalgia shows for PBS' fundraising music week seems to be target marketing that same wholesome, homogenously enriched Great White McDonald's Beef Eating on White Bread Nation demographic, doesn't it? The message they are sending is, whether you love the Four Freshman or Frankie Avalon, send in those pledges, WASP FOLKS! Jaysus, the age and race demographic at PBS is getting narrower and narrower, isn't it? How frightening.


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Subject: RE: Folk Music On PBS
From: jimmyt
Date: 04 Dec 02 - 12:02 PM

I also like your music, Guest. Maybe broadmindedness is caused from eating an occasional Big Mac. I guess I'll put a Kingston Trio CD on im my SUV as I drive home to the suburbs. Hey, have a nice day!


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Subject: RE: Folk Music On PBS
From: GUEST
Date: 04 Dec 02 - 12:13 PM

You have a nice day too, jimmyt! And just so's you'll feel safe, I'll stay put here in my inner city ghetto neighborhood, listening to and pickin' and squeezin' and sangin' with my neighbors of all musical stripes, while you feast in cultural isolation in the WASP wasteland of Starbucks, the mall, and white bread and burger cultural wasteland in the 'burbs!


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Subject: RE: Folk Music On PBS
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 04 Dec 02 - 12:13 PM

Racial stereotyping: applying negative qualities without discretion to all members of a racial group. WASP is just a four letter word.

I agree with you (actually) Guest, that if they were trying to do a representative sampling of folk music, they should have talked about the diversity of folk music in this country and included traditional musicians, along with the popularizers. That, I would have watched. It might not have brought in as many pledges, though. Public television can only survive if they pitch their Pledge Drives to us WASP types, with money just falling out of our pockets, what we throw at anything that sinks to our level. (As some posters seem to think.) If Public television doesn't survive, then the good programs that do focus on the diversity of music in this country in more depth would never be aired. And that would be a loss for you and me, and the rest of our Catter friends. Someone has to pay the bills. If Public television were to sink or swim based on the support of special interest groups like us, you'd hear the glub, glub from miles away. Us folks on Mudcat being unusually intellectshool and sophisticatted may be turned off by the narrow (and incorrect) labeling of folk music as just the popularized stuff during the 60's.
But then, I'd bet there are very few of us who support PBS... I used to, but don't watch television much any more (not out of snobbery, mind you.) I'm glad that there is Public Television. If they want to do a fund-raising special on lime green spandex suit music, be my guest. I hope they raise a ton of money, so they can do the kind of programming that you and I and all us Catters (and Guests who choose to shoot from behind the bushes) love.

Jerry


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Subject: RE: Folk Music On PBS
From: GUEST
Date: 04 Dec 02 - 12:23 PM

Nah, the problem I have with this sort of PBS programming is that they are acting like the only folks with money in the US of A are WASPs who love Frankie Avalon. I mean, isn't that what this sort of fundraising programming says?

Hell, there are plenty of Latino, African American, Asian and Pacific Islander folk out there with money falling out of their pockets! How come PBS ain't programming anything to bring them into the fold during fundraising week? Answer: god damn sheer laziness and insularity, that's what! Too many safe and sanitized Ken Burns documentaries, that's what! Too much programming being dumped into programs like Nova and Nature and Frontline and Masterpiece Theatre (excuse me, but just HOW OLD are those programs, in an industry where a 5 year run for ANY program is considered a long run?) at the expense of new, innovative programming.

Nah, the problem with PBS right now is much greater than just the This Land is Your Land version of American television programming. The problem is PBS has been taken over by too many WASPish leaning producers and executives who do exactly the same thing their predecessors did. PBS needs a serious, severe jolt to get it into the 21st century programming. I'd rather that some local, independent cable stations start doing more programming on national levels with the money being poured into PBS programming--they might even do a better job of it, if they were given a chance with even a quarter of the resources PBS has.


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Subject: RE: Folk Music On PBS
From: jimmyt
Date: 04 Dec 02 - 12:36 PM

It's not who has the $ GUEST its who is willing to DONATE IT! Ever see the comparative giving levels of professional athletes to the general public? It is terrible how little their charitable giving is.


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Subject: RE: Folk Music On PBS
From: GUEST
Date: 04 Dec 02 - 12:46 PM

Now jimmyt, I thought we just made up, and now he we go arguing at each other again!

I disagree. I think that the problem is, PBS keeps going after the same demographic of individual donors it has always gone after, and that their pool is shrinking because of BAD PROGRAMMING LIKE THE SHIT THEY PUT ON DURING THIS FUNDRAISING CYCLE!!!!!

Anyone who does fundraising nowadays absolutely shouldn't be doing it like they did 20 years ago. Same can be said for TV programming. You shouldn't be doing the same types of programming you were doing 20 years ago.

And after we kill Ken Burns (or maybe before) can we please kill everyone associated with the Red Green Show?


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Subject: RE: Folk Music On PBS
From: jimmyt
Date: 04 Dec 02 - 01:00 PM

Now,GUEST, I tend to agree with you about some issues.
1 They do attempt to fundraise the exact same way, and I think it is wrong
2 they are trying to appeal to the same (and shrinking) demographic pool. Once you make a donation to PBS, Red Cross, Heart Association, Cancer Etc, YOU are now the target market. It is not enough that you made a contribution, but the thinking is that if you gave once, you will give again and again in the same year if they can shame you in to making the donation.
3 as per Ken Burns needing killed...well, you inner city thugs may resort to assassination, we in the suburbs will just file a lawsuit or start rumors that he is a communist...grin   all the best. (I think I'll have some bree and another white zinfandel) by the way, wouldn't that constitute a "multicultural experience" for me? I think bree is from some foreign country, but I'm not sure about Zinfandel.


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Subject: RE: Folk Music On PBS
From: Ron Olesko
Date: 04 Dec 02 - 01:15 PM

Hey guest,

Don't go knocking the suburbs! Some of my best friends work in malls!!!

Ron


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Subject: RE: Folk Music On PBS
From: GUEST
Date: 04 Dec 02 - 01:32 PM

Well, I eat Wisconsin brie sometimes. I don't drink Zinfandel though because I have a policy of never consuming anything that rhymes with infidel.

Me, I prefer my nice $10 Sangiovese from Tuscany with the walnut pate I get from my ghetto food co-op here in St. Paul.

And Rick, hey--I've LIVED THERE! But the suburbs have long since lost their appeal to me. The things I love are wilderness far beyond the burbs, and the arts, culture, and diversity of people and experiences the marginalised areas of the inner cities offers. I only visit the suburbs nowadays, and I NEVER go to the malls anymore, so TAKE THAT you bloody burban swines!

And screw yer SUVs too! You can't scare me, I'm sticking with bus!


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Subject: RE: Folk Music On PBS
From: GUEST
Date: 04 Dec 02 - 01:39 PM

Oops sorry Ron, it was you I was responding to, not Rick. But my stand against the burbs still stands! Vive notre cite!


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Subject: RE: Folk Music On PBS
From: Ron Olesko
Date: 04 Dec 02 - 01:39 PM

Wow guest, looks like you have some issues to work out!!

I hate it when people sterotype people on the basis of where they live. Shame shame!!   If you want diversity, the burbs have them!

And what do you have against beer?   Wine is just old grapes, beer is complex!

Isn't it amazing what folk music brings out?

Ron
yes, I drive an SUV and I've been known to shop in malls. Proud of it too!


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Subject: RE: Folk Music On PBS
From: GUEST
Date: 04 Dec 02 - 01:46 PM

No issues Ron, I'm just teasing. But I have no regrets whatsoever about leaving the burbs. I don't find much diversity there, so maybe it is a difference of locales, or maybe it's a difference of definition of diversity.

And hey--I shopped at the malls all the time when I lived there too. Where the hell else is there to shop in the burbs?


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Subject: RE: Folk Music On PBS
From: Ron Olesko
Date: 04 Dec 02 - 01:59 PM

I'm just teasing too Guest.   I do think it does have a lot to do with where you live. I define diversity as a sharing of culture, race, religion and lifestyle. Here in the NYC area, Northern New Jersey specifically, I feel that there are numerous ethnic communities that flourish and share their culture.   Heritage, art, history and culture are celebrated - and we are only minutes away from NYC.

Malls? Well they are convenient, but I do try to support local business. Unfortunately it is a sign of the times.

The SUV? Well, I suppose it isn't great for the environment, but neither was my oil burning gas guzzler that I previously drove. It is very handy though!

I still like beer over wine! And my definition of folk music is very complex too!
:)
Ron


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Subject: RE: Folk Music On PBS
From: GUEST
Date: 04 Dec 02 - 01:59 PM

I love beer too, BTW. But nowadays I only ever drink Sam Adams. I'm definitely choosing to consume fewer of the finer things in life, rather than consuming copious amounts of mediocre products for the same price.


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Subject: RE: Folk Music On PBS
From: jimmyt
Date: 04 Dec 02 - 02:09 PM

Consumption of the finer things...will it be a republican plank next?


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Subject: RE: Folk Music On PBS
From: GUEST
Date: 04 Dec 02 - 02:12 PM

Nope. If Republicans had ever truly cornered the market on finer things, we wouldn't be allowed to enjoy folk music!


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Subject: RE: Folk Music On PBS
From: jimmyt
Date: 04 Dec 02 - 02:20 PM

We would fill all the malls with Folk Muzac! I can see it all now, The Living Strings do folk lite!


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Subject: RE: Folk Music On PBS
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 04 Dec 02 - 06:14 PM

Holy Cow!! I go off to teach a fine young woman some three finger banjo and all hell breaks loose!!

Hi GUEST from St Paul (is it Janet R.?)..Fortunately I'll never be able to afford an SUV, so temptation is at a minimum....but I'm definitely into the Walnut Pate!

Now Red Green is another story altogether....He used to be Steve Smith from Hamilton (a stone's throw from here) and just another folksinger....except his jokes got longer and his songs got shorter! Unfortunately PBS picked up the show LONG after it had lost it's edge, and oh boy, for a couple of years did it have an edge!! What I've seen of it on PBS is pretty commercial.

Cheers

Rick (who goes out of his way to avoid MacDonalds when he's travellin')


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Subject: RE: Folk Music On PBS
From: jimmyt
Date: 04 Dec 02 - 10:04 PM

I take it all back! I still take offense at all the rich middleage WASP slurs, but I just caught the end of the special in discussion, and... yeah, it was pretty sucky. Mea Culpa. Guest. I still will tend toward conservative economics, but I have to admit, this was a bit smarmy. Jim


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Subject: RE: Folk Music On PBS
From: Richie
Date: 04 Dec 02 - 10:14 PM

PBS is filming a special of the Doc Watson, Earl Scruggs, Ricky Skaggs performance this Sat, Dec. 7, 7:30 Reynolds Aud. in Winston-Salem, NC.

I'll post an update when the special is aired. Avideo is alos being made.

-Richie


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Subject: RE: Folk Music On PBS
From: JudyR
Date: 05 Dec 02 - 05:03 AM

Just one more post from this little white WASP (actually, I'm Jewish, and never liked Frankie Avalon!)

Someone in the music business was telling me today of how Prestige Records would cater to purists in the era we're talking about. When Ramblin' Jack or Van Ronk would record a country song, he said, the liner notes would always call it, "a hillbilly number in the folk tradition." And the beat goes on.

(Thanks, Jerry -- liked your posts, too).


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Subject: RE: Folk Music On PBS
From: GUEST,Phil
Date: 05 Dec 02 - 07:18 AM

JudyR,

Your friend in the music businness was either full of crap or a liar.

I have all of Dave Van Ronk's Prestige albums. Dave did not record any country songs on them and there is no reference "a hillbilly
number in the folk tradition."

As for Ramblin' Jack Elliott, when he made an album of country songs on Prestige, it was called "Country Style." They really tried to pull the wool over the folkies' eyes with that title.

Phil


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Subject: RE: Folk Music On PBS
From: GUEST,Karin
Date: 05 Dec 02 - 07:44 PM

"For what its worth, Judy Collins IS still a working artist, playing dates refularly through the year."

The Kingston Trio still tour extensively as well.


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Subject: RE: Folk Music On PBS
From: GUEST
Date: 05 Dec 02 - 07:57 PM

"The Kingston Trio and The Limeliters, too, I think, are still touring (though each group has only one original member, and I'm not sure Bob Shane tours with the KT much any more)."

Hello! If it weren't for Bobby Shane, there would BE no Kingston Trio today. He was the one who reformed the group a year after it broke up in 1967, under the name "The New Kingston Trio", bought the rights to use the KT name from fellow founding member Nick Reynolds and former manager Frank Werber (Dave Gaurd had sold his interests in KT, Inc. when he departed in 1961, as did John Stewart did when the group disbanded) in the mid-'70's, and has led the group ever since, on a full concert schedule, sometimes paired with the Smothers Brothers. The band has a web site, www.kingstontrio.com, plus an on-line store, run out of Phoenix, Arizona, where Shane now lives.

Regarding the "original" members, Nick Reynolds actually returned to the group in late 1988, replacing Bob Haworth (who used to sing with the Brothers 4), but advancing age and health concerns led him to depart again in 1999. Haworth returned to the group, and still plays with them to this day.


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Subject: RE: Folk Music On PBS
From: GUEST,Karin
Date: 05 Dec 02 - 08:15 PM

"Well, I tuned in to Judy singing "Both Sides Now" and she sounded ab fab--truly, I was astounded at how good she sounded. Her voice is as crystalline as it ever was, and she still has an amazing amount of her upper range. I don't know how old she is, but I know she is definitely old enough to have lost the upper range--she is a very lucky singer."

For the record, she's 63. Yeah, she sounded great... until she flubbed the last verse and threw in a line from the second to try and cover herself. As if the majority of the audience didn't know she had screwed up on a song she's been singing for almost 40 years! I can't understand why they didn't do a re-take, b/c that kind of mistake is USUALLY embarrassing to the performer in question.


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Subject: RE: Folk Music On PBS
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 05 Dec 02 - 11:17 PM

Someone a couple of miles of posts back mentioned the music on NPR, so I'll segue a bit here--did anyone else hear The Diane Rehm Show on NPR this morning? She interviewed music historian Steve Turner about his book on the song "Amazing Grace". John Newton (sp?) had an interesting history before he wrote the poem in 1772. It was put to various tunes over the years before the current one stuck.

My Real Player plays the program here.

They played quite a few versions--as I was driving toward work I was in tears by the time they got to the bagpipe version. I'd missed the earliest part of the program, so I have it on now as streaming audio. I told my boss about the program, and as we spoke, I mentioned the bagpipe version. He became very animated, and told me about hearing a performance in Scotland (to do with something called a "Tattoo?") at which many groups of bagpipers met and performed in unison, but then it became still and dark and one bagpipe played "Amazing Grace," and he (and most of the audience) was in tears--and was in tears all over again telling me this story (as I was). Very interesting program, but also makes me wonder where the power of the bagpipes come in in playing this song? Other versions of the song are quite powerful--and here's another connection coming back to this thread--Judy Collins is the one who really gave this song a new life. After her performance many other artists recorded it. And Collin's version will at the very least send shivers up my spine, if not tears to my eyes. I'm glad to read that she sounds as good now as she did back then.

SRS


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Subject: RE: Folk Music On PBS
From: GUEST
Date: 06 Dec 02 - 09:31 AM

SRS, have you ever seen the PBS program Bill Moyers did on Amazing Grace? Judy Collins is on that one too.


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Subject: RE: Folk Music On PBS
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 06 Dec 02 - 11:59 AM

I catch Moyers in his new program only once in perhaps every six weeks. It's on fairly early here on Fridays, when I'm out running kid-related errands. But he has produced so many excellent series in the past that I wouldn't be surprised if he discussed this song along the way. A lot of these programs can be tracked down through the PBS website.

SRS


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Subject: RE: Folk Music On PBS
From: GUEST
Date: 06 Dec 02 - 12:03 PM

The one I'm talking about is an old Bill Moyers special. It is available still on video and dvd. Here is Reel.com's page on it:

http://www.reel.com/movie.asp?MID=8487

If you haven't seen it, you might want to track it down.


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Subject: RE: Folk Music On PBS
From: BH
Date: 06 Dec 02 - 07:52 PM

Stilly River Sage---the Moyers Special a while back was a wonderful history of the song---I taped the audio of it.   Featured, among many others in interviews Jesse Norman.

I, too, heard the program with Turner that was webcast on the Dianne Reahm show.   Intersting---though she seems a bit stilted. The explanation that he gave about how the word "wretch" was changed to "soul" and really did not hold the significance then that it should--"wretch" being a better word in the song seemed, to me, incorrect. My understanding is that Paul Robeson changed it to "soul"--as he changed other lyrics (Old Man River for one) to convey a purer thought---his comment--as I understand it is--"...we are not wretches we are all God's souls"

Bill Hahn


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Subject: RE: Folk Music On PBS
From: BH
Date: 06 Dec 02 - 07:54 PM

By the way---no ones, as far as I note, has mentioned the Robeson version of the song---just wonderful. As, also, is the Crofut version. I was not really happy with the --was it "hip hop" that was on the Reihm program

Takes a lot to ruin that song--but that did


Bill Hahn


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Subject: RE: Folk Music On PBS
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 06 Dec 02 - 11:57 PM

Occasional ardent christians called in and promoted religion instead of strictly discussing the song--I can find it an incredibly moving song even without practicing christianity myself. As they discussed "wretch" some interpreted it as a sort of shorthand for "original sin," while others commented that it could refer to the pettyness that can be in all of us if we don't pay attention to how we treat others. I personally thought the latter explanation fit better.

I think I have heard this Moyers special you speak of. On another thread fairly recently (favorite singers, or something like that) I posted a remark about Jesse Norman singing "Amazing Grace" as one of my all-time favorites. I know I heard it on one of the Kennedy Center Honors programs, but I'm pretty sure I also heard at least part of the Moyers special.

I was prepared to dislike the various versions if they weren't my particular favorite (since they didn't play the Norman version--which had tears streaming down Bill Clinton's face when he listened to Norman sing it at Kennedy Center), but in fact, I thought they were all very nice. Different, but nice. The last one you didn't like I found to be a pleasant surprise. They had very good voices, and interesting harmony.

SRS


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Subject: RE: Folk Music On PBS
From: GUEST,Logion
Date: 10 Dec 02 - 12:44 AM

Just for the record, Bob Shane ALWAYS tours with the Kingston Trio, and up until just a couple of years ago, so did Nick Reynolds (so 2/3s of the originals were active, playing, etc.). Anyone who followed the Trio even casually knew that Bob's voice was the foundational vocal sound anyway. If you go to a Trio website, you'll see they're quite engaged all over the place, and pursue a substantially active year-'round touring schedule, even an Alaskan Cruise in 2001 with the Limeliters. Bob owns the Trio name, and makes it his business to see that the songlists and show reflect the Trio spirit (folk-scare naysayers be damned).

Meanwhile, read any bios (like Dylan's) and countless others and you'll see groups like the Kingston Trio influenced as well as opened the proverbial floodgates to popular accessibility to "folk music," both serious, and ethnic, as well as the Top-40's stuff. While they weren't everyone's cup of tea, they practically single-handedly pulled C.F.Martin and Co. from sinking beneath the radar, not to mention Vega (of Boston) long-necks, an interest in banjo playing ranging from Bluegrass to frailing. I have seen many shows over the years, including ones in the 90's, and the Trio members were far from drunk, disinterested and looking to drug the audience on an opiate of nostalgia. Try being the Kingston Trio and Omitting "Tom Dooley" some time. Like asking Sinatra not to sing "My Way" or somesuch.


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Subject: RE: Folk Music On PBS
From: GUEST,Guest
Date: 10 Dec 02 - 01:07 AM

So---who was out there selling millions of records that were scooped up by the nations high-school and college intellegensia in such "record" numbers that it created a phenonmenon? The Weavers? Terry Gilikson & The Easy Riders? ---Phil Ochs? Ian Tyson? Bobby Dylan? Bob Gibson?

For millions of the boomers, The Kingston Trio, and it's long entourage that followed--The Limelighters, Journeymen, Peter, Paul & Mary, The Modern Folk Quartet, Cumberland Three, Travelers Three, Brothers Four, paved the road, and built the stage a bit higher. David Guard was a innovative banjo-player, arranger and music-researcher. Get beyond the pop-fluff that sold the albums, and listen to lesser-known tracks--really listen. Were they all pristine, venerable folk-music chestnuts? Well, some were. Many weren't. The tuned in and turned on a generation of acoustic musicians with something to say, and by gawd they said it. Bob Shane remains one of the classiest vocalists around, and never deluded himself with visions of being a folk-artiste. How many of the other great folk musicians would have labored in dingy little Village bistros, unknown to but a handful of loyal admirers were it not for the "great folk scare"? Guess who made a major contribution by their music so that was literally the road not taken?


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Subject: RE: Folk Music On PBS
From: Ron Olesko
Date: 10 Dec 02 - 09:57 AM

Guest -

You make a valid point, in my estimation.   As I have said here on Mudcat and on my radio program (where I've played many of the groups you mentioned), this is an important link in folk music. Yes it was commercial, yes some of the music was watered down, some of it was cheesy, but there were some gems thrown in there. The Kingston Trio learned "Tom Dooley" from a recording made by Erik Darling, who learned it from the Warner collection, who learned it from Frank Proffitt, who learned it from - the source. Many people will say that the folk process can only be learned in an oral tradition, that once a song is recorded or written down it ceases to be a folk song. I don't buy that, I feel that folk music is communicated in a form that is fitting for the time - in the late 50's and early 60's the artists that you mentioned helped to perpetuate the traditions. It is a living tradition, and while there are elements that I don't personally enjoy, it is something to be respected.

I would guess that 90% of the Mudcatters (at least those in the U.S.) owe a part of their interest in folk music to those groups. There are many songs that they have sung that I enjoy listening to (and playing on the radio) and I also think that they may have created an interest that drives people to further explore the music. Even if they don't choose to explore, they are hearing something that was and is a bit more interesting and thought provoking than the usual pop mix.

On another level, folk musicians also inspired people to MAKE music instead of just listening. (The inspiration came from ALL of the groups mentioned as well as the Woody Guthries, Dylans, Seegers, Weavers, and many others) Unfortunately there aren't as many people making music today, but the numbers were far greater during their heyday. Music is meant to be participatory, not simply observed.

That said, I still feel the PBS special was a cheap and misleading program. I fault the producers for giving a slanted view of what folk music was and labeling the groups that they presented as the pinnacle of the folk revival. No one program can do that in such a short setting.

Ron


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Subject: RE: Folk Music On PBS
From: jimmyt
Date: 10 Dec 02 - 11:51 AM

Ron and Guest. I think you summed up the crux of the matter, and I wish I could have put it into words that well. Yes, the show itself was a disappointing show, and it is painfully obvious that the producer had little regard personally for this music, but was wanting to churn out another Do-wop type special.   The other issue is that love them or hate them, these early 60s "commercial " groups had a profound influence on many other folk musicians in hte US as well as helped move the audience in to an appreciation for this whole area of music. I may personally not care for Robert Schumann, but to say it is bad music or even more to deny that Schumann had a big influence on hiss musical art form is pure ignorance. Thank you for the posts.


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Subject: RE: Folk Music On PBS
From: GUEST
Date: 10 Dec 02 - 12:01 PM

Well I enjoyed it and make no apologies.It was better than anything else on tv that night. I enjoyed it for what it was-nostalgic music from my youth.Just listened and watched as I wrote out Christmas cards . Where else but on PBS do you get any shows about music that doesn't include J Lo et al? The "Vision Shared" and "O Brother Where Art Thou" specials never aired on anything but PBS. Maybe if we did support it they would be able to bring better programs. What scares me is that there is a movement afoot around here to stop all funding for public tv and radio.(Master Bush and his ilk dislikes dissenting views,you know). God he scares me. And where are all the damn protest singers anyway?


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Subject: RE: Folk Music On PBS
From: GUEST
Date: 10 Dec 02 - 05:00 PM


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Subject: RE: Folk Music On PBS
From: Ron Olesko
Date: 10 Dec 02 - 05:23 PM

Guest,

There is no need to apologize. I enjoyed SOME of it, and yes I sat through the whole thing. My faults were for what it proclaimed to be - encompassing the best of the folk revival. It was also done on a shoestring budget and could have been so much better.

Your other commments about PBS are well founded. The PBS that I grew up with and found inspiration in has all but vanished. The middle of the road philosophy with PBS effects the type of programs they fund.

Where are the protest singers? They are out there, but are people willing to listen?

Ron


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Subject: RE: Folk Music On PBS
From: GUEST,Guest
Date: 10 Dec 02 - 10:42 PM

I read with great interest the posts on this thread.

I am a huge fan of "commercial folk music" as it is referred to in this site, especially the Kingston Trio. I'm only 31 years old. I''ve seen the current group live about 4 times and they put on a decent show.

Now, I'm very familliar with the "us. vs. them" mentality that purists do seem to possess but if you must know, even die-hard KT fans aren't THAT thrilled the show. What was representative of the KT that night was good but not as good as they could be. The three men that make up the Kingston Trio now(and yes, Bob Shane is one of them) are talented people. This show only showed a fraction of their talent.

Now, before some of you purists freak out, I also have other artists that are less commercial in my collection.

As much as the boomers preached love and tolerance for their fellow man, why doesn't it extend to the "commercial folk" sector? If it doesn't than those words are hollow.

One of the coolest things about music whether it be classical, folk, country, bluegrass or Gospel is that it feeds the soul. Celebrate that moment instead of tearing down those that you disagree with.

For the people that suggest writing to PBS to focus on "real folk", I say,"great idea"! If you see something you don't like, change it..and FWIW, I would watch a show with lesser knowns..if only, they could ressurect Sister Rossetta Tharpe...


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Subject: RE: Folk Music On PBS
From: X
Date: 11 Dec 02 - 02:37 AM

I fell asleep ZZZzzzz.


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Subject: RE: Folk Music On PBS
From: GUEST
Date: 11 Dec 02 - 10:45 AM

Hey there other guest. I think it might be a bit too judgmental to think that only purists might not like KT. I'm not remotely close to the purist end of the spectrum, and I just plain have never liked that sort of music. Not when it was new, and not now that it is nostalgia music.

And I wish the local PBS station would stop frightening the children by playing this special OVER AND OVER AND OVER.

At least last night I had my girls the Dixie Chicks as an alternative!


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Subject: RE: Folk Music On PBS
From: X
Date: 11 Dec 02 - 11:37 AM

I didn't fall asleep during the Dixie Chicks special.


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Subject: RE: Folk Music On PBS
From: denise:^)
Date: 11 Dec 02 - 01:33 PM

I only saw a little bit of it--I was out giving dulcimer lessons!--but I think Tommy Smothers said it best: "Where else on TV are you going to hear anything like this?"

Sad, but true--whether it's the folk you like, or the folk you don't, it's about all you're going to see on television! You can support it or not--I, personally, find it annoying that they only try to show "really good" stuff (no matter what your opinion, it's THEIR "Sunday best") when they are asking for money...but I'd rather watch this than ANY sitcom I've seen in the last 10 years, or any "real" cop show, or--well, you get the idea.

If you're complaining here, or coming up with brilliant ideas for future shows, I hope you're writing to your local stations... I know that our local public *radio* station, where I often answer phones during the pledge drive, takes *listener* suggestions seriously--espeically when they come with a donation! (Special form, and everything...)

denise:^)
...who always hates it when folks try to figure out "the way people are" by race, ethnicity, gender, etc.--and who has a last name that usually fools those types into thinking she's 'something' that she's not...and lets them make a fool of themselves for awhile before she clues them in...


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Subject: RE: Folk Music On PBS
From: Ron Olesko
Date: 11 Dec 02 - 01:39 PM

Denise - you make a great point about PBS and local radio listening to pledges.   I know WLIW increased their Irish programming a few years ago after they (and WNET) did so well with Riverdance during a fund-raiser.

My radio station also reacts to listener pledges - it really is a way of voting. Why present a program that no one will support when another program will have more people that will support it? It doesn't mean going commercial but rather finding another niche market. There are so many groups and types of programs that need outlets, and while the choices have exploded, there are still limits as to finding homes for these shows.

Ron


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Subject: RE: Folk Music On PBS
From: denise:^)
Date: 11 Dec 02 - 02:01 PM

Basically, what it amounts to, is that we're "buying" our programming on the public stations--doing what the advertisers do on network tv.

I realize that sending in a check won't guarantee that WDET (radio) will bring back Prairie Home Companion, but it's a good way to get a vote in--and WDET is still my head-and-shoulders-above-the-rest choice when it comes to radio programming.
Public television lags a bit behind in that respect--there are cable channels I enjoy watching--but it still, as a rule, beats out network programming! (Although I could use a lot less of those 'organic food' gurus, and self-help swamis, of which there seem to be an abundance between 9-11pm!)

denise:^)


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Subject: RE: Folk Music On PBS
From: GUEST
Date: 11 Dec 02 - 02:05 PM

Here in Minnesota, many of us feel like we can't get rid of Prairie Home Companion, no matter how hard we try.


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Subject: RE: Folk Music On PBS
From: Ron Olesko
Date: 11 Dec 02 - 02:10 PM

Denise, you are 100% correct - we are buying our programs! I don't look at that as a negative however.   Yes, it replaces what the advertister do on TV, but that is the only way the programming can get on the air.

Nothing is free. On cable and DBS you pay a fee, on network TV you watch the sponsors ads and end up buying the product, and on public TV you pledge.

The only free entertainment is what we make ourselves - maybe we do need more of that!

Ron


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Subject: RE: Folk Music On PBS
From: Don Firth
Date: 11 Dec 02 - 02:25 PM

On the PBS pledge break issue, it strikes me as a bit less that honest that instead of playing regular programming (what they normally offer), they put on a lot of specials (not what they normally offer) during pledge weeks. And recently, they've been putting on a bunch of shows made especially for pledge breaks. I normally watch Masterpiece Theatre and Mystery and Nova and Frontline and Bill Moyers' Now and various music programs and I follow a couple of Britcoms. Then along comes a pledge break, disrupting my usual viewing schedule, and offering me such things as Wayne Dyer telling me how to be successful, or Caroline Myss giving me warmed-over Christian Science, or various weird permutations on the initially good Three Tenors. Isn't that what they call "bait-and-switch?"

[Rant On] Purist schmurist!!!   If you slap a label (e.g., "purist") on someone, it makes it a lot easier to put that person's viewpoint down. But that doesn't mean that person's viewpoint is any less valid. A "purist" is someone who wants the real thing, not some watered-down knock-off. [Rant Off]

I enjoyed parts of the "folk" show—in the same way I might enjoy a near-beer if the real stuff isn't available.

But picture this:—

1960. Coffeehouse called "The Place Next Door." Next door to the Guild 45th Theater (classed as an "art" movie house) and owned by the same guy who owns the theater. Capacity maybe a hundred and fifty people. Nice. Clean. Tables with red checked tablecloths, candle on each table, big espresso machine with eagle on the top in the kitchen, a couple dozen different types of coffees and teas, large selection of quality pastries, light snacks (sandwiches, cheese boards) available. No cover charge, but you'll pay whole 85¢ for a cappuccino (it's 1960, remember). At the time, it's one of the few places in Seattle where you can hear folk music. It draws lots of students from the nearby university, and it also draws the after-show crowd. Along with the jeans and sweatshirts, later in the evening one sees an occasional tux or evening gown. Open mike on Sunday evenings. I sing there on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday evenings. Good gig, good venue. The audience is attentive and it pays fairly well.

A customer requests The Wreck of the Sloop John B. I learned the song from my prized copy of The American Songbag compiled by Carl Sandburg (Harcourt, Brace and Co., New York, 1927) about five years before, so I sing it. After my set, the customer complains that I didn't sung the song right. "What do you mean?" I asked. "You didn't sing it the way the Kingston Trio does it!" he gripes.

This sort of thing happened all the time, and not just to me.

One of the problems with the Great Folk Scare is that although it indeed did increase the fan-base for singers of folk songs and it did inspire many people to join in, the power of the media (mostly records) tended to lock the songs and their manner of performance into a rigid form. I learned Tom Dooley from a Frank Warner record before the Kingston Trio even met and got groused at because I didn't sing the "I stabbed her with my Boy Scout knife" line that the Kingston Trio did. And Judy Flenniken sang a version of the Great Selchie of Sule Skerry that was not the same as the one that Joan Baez recorded, and people used to bitch at her about it, so she eventually dropped the excellent version she sang and learned the Baez version.

Not only was this a royal pain in the ass to the singers who learned their songs from sources other that the pop-folk records flooding that market, but for obvious reasons it stifled the normal folk process. If you were singing for audiences at all, once a song had been recorded by a pop-folk group, you'd better sing it the way they sang it, or people would give you a lot of grief.

That was one of the down-sides of the Great Folk Scare.

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: Folk Music On PBS
From: Ron Olesko
Date: 11 Dec 02 - 02:48 PM

Don - Contrary to the popular rumor, the Kingston Trio did NOT learn Tom Dooley from Frank Proffit. Their version was picked up (almost verbatim) from a recording made by Roger Sprung and Erik Darling in the early 50's. My understanding is that Sprung and Darling picked it up from the Warner collection, and they picked it up from Proffitt.

Ron


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Subject: RE: Folk Music On PBS
From: jimmyt
Date: 11 Dec 02 - 02:56 PM

Excellent points you make, Don, however, a larger problem would have been if there had been no venues for your folk music in the 60's which is a strong possibility without the influence of the Popfolk groups helping create a larger albiet watered down folk audience. Don't you agree? I guess the whole point I am trying to make is that we should be sharing the good points of all the folk influences , not nitpicking on whether Peter, Paul and Mary were better musicians than Tom Paxton. I saw a bumpersticker recently that said Celebrate Diversity, attatched to the slogan was a rainbow, so I guess the point being about gays and non-gays sharing the same planet and finding common ground. It seems to be appropriate to the context of this thread also.


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Subject: RE: Folk Music On PBS
From: Ron Olesko
Date: 11 Dec 02 - 03:18 PM

Well put Jimmyt.   There seems to be a lot of "folkier than thou" threads going on here lately.   

The bumpersticker you saw celebrates more than just sexual preference and gender - it also celebrates race, religion and thought. Music should be the same. Folk music has always celebrated diversity.

You don't have to like everything and everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but let others enjoy what they choose.


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Subject: RE: Folk Music On PBS
From: denise:^)
Date: 11 Dec 02 - 03:36 PM

I agree, Ron--I don't think it's negative that we have the opportunity to support the kind of programming WE prefer on the public television and radio stations--I'm glad that there's *someone* out there, willing to listen to us and try to give us what we want! Or, at least, something better than the norm... (but I really can't take Wayne Dyer...;^) I agree, too, that the 'specials' should maybe be a little more spread out, so that they don't ALWAYS mean "Pledge Drive Time is Here Again."

As far as being told you're singing a folk song the "wrong" way--I wasn't even BORN in 1960, but I've been told that plenty-o-times!
No matter where you are, no matter what you're doing, there's going to be someone who knows "better than you" how it should be done! I've had that at school (I'm a teacher), at church, and, yes, at our local folk club--whether I'm singing or organizing an event, there's always someone who knows "better" words, or "the original" version,or saw it done a much better way at___________. The Kingston Trio didn't invent that--I think it's called "human nature..."

denise:^)


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Subject: RE: Folk Music On PBS
From: Ron Olesko
Date: 11 Dec 02 - 03:50 PM

You are right Denise, there are always those who know it better. Considering that Francis Child collected dozens of versions of many of these songs, it amazes me that there are still people who can only hear ONE version. This is a living tradition, accept what you like!


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Subject: RE: Folk Music On PBS
From: GUEST
Date: 11 Dec 02 - 04:04 PM

Well, come on now. Some here have said they enjoyed a song here or a song there on this program. But pretty much every poster who saw it said the program was pretty appallingly bad, and that it seemed at the very least, exploitative of some of the former (to some people) "greats" like the KT. This sort of PBS nostalgia programming is not what will make anyone I know pledge money, if this is what it is supposed to be about. QUALITY PROGRAMMING is supposed to make us want to donate. If they give us this sort of schlock for programming week, well...

So here is my question. My local affiliate showed 'This Land is Your Land' three or four times during pledge week. Now, maybe huge numbers of PBS viewers pledged money during the program, but does anyone suppose they might have gotten more pledges had they shown the 4 part "American Roots Music" series instead. It can't be a question of which program was more affordable to run I don't think, because my local affiliate will start rerunning "Aemrican Roots Music' this Saturday, for the next four Saturday nights.

Interesting question, which "folk" music program would actually draw more in the way of pledges and viewers.


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Subject: RE: Folk Music On PBS
From: Ron Olesko
Date: 11 Dec 02 - 04:12 PM

We may not like the quality of the program, but obviously there are people who liked it enough to pledge.   It may not have inspired any Mudcatters to donate, but obviously we aren't the audience they were aiming for.

Yes, it could be a question of which program was more affordable to run. Remember that most of these productions are made by independent producers who sell the programs to PBS.   Each makes their own deals.


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Subject: RE: Folk Music On PBS
From: GUEST
Date: 11 Dec 02 - 04:18 PM

I agree with what you are saying Ron, that we weren't the target audience. I'm saying that for my particular PBS affiliate (TPT), they will start running American Roots this Saturday--the day after the pledge drive ends. So since TPT obviously could afforded to have run it locally (instead of just taking the PBS feeds), and considering that there is a strong and vibrant folk music community here in Minnesota, wouldn't they have been better served using the 'American Roots' special instead of this schlocky piece?

They make their own deals, of course, but what I'm wondering is if anyone has even bothered to do the market research of which program was more likely to pull in viewers who pledge.


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Subject: RE: Folk Music On PBS
From: Ron Olesko
Date: 11 Dec 02 - 04:36 PM

I would bet that they did the market research and the "This Land" special came out as the better choice FOR PLEDGES. I'm not saying they are right, but they could very well be.

Also, if my fading memory serves me right, American Roots has been making the rounds of PBS for over a year now and "This Land" is new. Repeat broadcasts are not going to pull as high of a number as a new show.

If you or I had our choice we probably would go with American Roots, but that doesn't mean we are in the majority.

Look at the bright side, at least your PBS station knows enough to put on a quality program like American Roots. I would be glad that it is on without all the pitches - you get to watch it uninterrupted.

Someone mentioned bait and switch earlier. That is a tough call because PBS is "event" driven as opposed to "series". Sure there are series like Nova that are the meat and potatoes for PBS, but they DO fund-raising.   The specials are events they put on to tweak viewers - having viewers tune in that might not do so. They aren't shutting out the regulars, merely trying to widen their audience.


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Subject: RE: Folk Music On PBS
From: GUEST
Date: 11 Dec 02 - 06:14 PM

I just remembered this--Maryl Neff's great 1996 study of American folk music. This page of her great site treats the very subject of the 'This Land' program:

http://www.coe.ufl.edu/courses/EdTech/Vault/Folk/revival.htm

You Tom Dooley fans should definitely give this one a read!


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Subject: RE: Folk Music On PBS
From: Don Firth
Date: 11 Dec 02 - 06:16 PM

Jimmyt, coffeehouses were probably the most stable venues for folk music in the late Fifties and early Sixties, but I don't agree that the pop-folk groups had all that much to do with coffeehouses or many other venues. I had heard of coffeehouses in the Bay Area in the early Fifties. Rolf Cahn started a place called "The Blind Lemon" in Berkeley early on, where he sang, along with Barbara Dane, Jo Mapes, and others. There was "The Place," "The Brighton Express," and a couple of other places in San Francisco. This was well before the Kingston Trio got started. And there were places in Boston and Greenwich Village which had been operating long before that. People like Ed McCurdy, whom I first heard of in 1954, were singing in various clubs and coffeehouses around New York. The places were already there, a small number of very good singers were already there, and the audiences were already there. It was different from the usual fare, and audiences were really hungry for this sort of thing.

In Seattle, the first coffeehouse was the "Café Encore," opened by a guy from New York who had come to Seattle to open an antique store, but when he found there were no coffeehouses here, he started one. Several singers, including me, who's interest had been initiated by Burl Ives, Susan Reed, Richard Dyer-Bennet, and the Weavers; (all pre-Kingston Trio), dropped in and sang there. The Café Encore was so successful that Bob Clark, who owned the Guild 45th Theater (specializing in foreign films), wanted a piece of the action and opened the second coffeehouse in Seattle: "The Place Next Door." That was probably the biggest and nicest coffeehouse in town. On weekends, people lined up around the block to get in.

Pop-folk groups had little or nothing to do with this. The coffeehouse / folk singer connection had been established for at least a decade by the time the Kingston Trio had its first big hit in 1958. What they did was hop on their surfboards and ride a wave that was already cresting. With Tom Dooley as a hit song, suddenly folk music was big money. Hit Parade. Radio. Juke boxes. Television. ABC Hootenanny. New coffeehouses everywhere. New folk trios 'til hell won't have it, all learning from each other's records or writing their own "folk songs." Like most popular fads, it flared like a meteor and faded out. The afterglow still exists (witness this thread). But the main stream of folk music was there long before, perturbed a bit in the Sixties by something akin to Greshams Law. But that main stream, if it's healthy, which I think it is, will keep right on going.

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: Folk Music On PBS
From: Don Firth
Date: 11 Dec 02 - 06:26 PM

GUEST, excellent website! I discovered this a couple of months ago. Good stuff. Here's a LINK.

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: Folk Music On PBS
From: jimmyt
Date: 11 Dec 02 - 08:17 PM

Don, I stand corrected. I am relatively a newcomer to folk music, and I learn a lot by reading from folke like you , Ron Olesco, Jerry Rasmussen, Rick Fielding, etc. as well as catching hell from others like guest. I appreciate your information as well as correction. It is nice to learn from folks who have "been there" from the beginning...I guess that is oral tradition, huh?


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Subject: RE: Folk Music On PBS
From: catspaw49
Date: 11 Dec 02 - 09:44 PM

I am enjoying the comments here from all as usual. The thread is a whole lot better than the show of course.

I had decided to take a pass on the show as I knew what it would be from reading about the lineup. So Sunday night I'm at Connie's and her boys were really excited that it would be on when Uncle Pat was there because they knew I wanted to see it...........oy........so I sat through it and discussed with them the differences in folk/trad and the sanitized folk we were watching. And fortunately also in my van was my set of Frank Proffitt tapes so during dinner we played those.......Made for an interesting evening and perhaps they learned a bit.

BTW, I did enjoy Tommy and Dick but I always did.....they alays had a cute act for the most part.

Spaw


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Subject: RE: Folk Music On PBS
From: GUEST
Date: 12 Dec 02 - 10:33 AM

So who caught the Bravo special on the political controversies surrounding the Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour? I thought that was a pretty good show, and it was very interesting to hear the perspectives of Tom & Dick themselves.


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Subject: RE: Folk Music On PBS
From: Art Thieme
Date: 12 Dec 02 - 11:29 AM

Pap be pap whatever anybody says. 'Twas pap then and is still that now. Ten million people might do and like dumb stuff, but that does not make it better than it is/was. Does it pass the pap test? That is the question.

Art Thieme


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Subject: RE: Folk Music On PBS
From: GUEST,Tinker
Date: 12 Dec 02 - 12:44 PM

Hey, Art, it's the Tinker from Molly's Place, where you played many a year ago (as well as with us at WFMT). Yes, pap is still pap, but until we all agree on a definition for pap, we're back to matters of taste. Every performer has people who hate their music; they're just not as vocal as the ones who like it.

It's like when my brother used to brag about the people who came up to him after Mass and complimented his sermon. I told him there were just as many people in the parking lot, grumbling about it.

But gang, if PBS was going to disinter the Highwaymen, who are so out of the picture that another group successfully stole their name (Willie Nelson, Johnny Cash, et al.), couldn't they have re-assembled an extremely popular group from the Scare days whose member are all still alive? The Chad Mitchell Trio, I mean, whose original guitarist was none other than Roger (Jim) McGuinn.

And how can Glenn Yarborough "reunite" with people he never performed with? And why do the Limeliters consistently avoid mentioning Ernie Sheldon, the guy who really did replace Yarborough? One wonders.


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Subject: RE: Folk Music On PBS
From: Art Thieme
Date: 12 Dec 02 - 10:19 PM

Aye, Brian, I bow to your fine logic. And it's great to hear from you----even if we are doing some blatant thread creeping. Glad to know you're lurking out there and got to see me blowing my cool in public here---like I do every so often.
Someone who was through here not long ago was on their way to do a show at your place. Either that or they had just done one. So much for my memory. -------- I do know you're right on this pretty much. But still, if I didn't live up to being the curmudgeon you all expect me to be, well, I'd not be able to live with myself.

Love to Ms Molly, and to all.

Art


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Subject: RE: Folk Music On PBS
From: Art Thieme
Date: 13 Dec 02 - 10:12 PM

But I'm right.

Art ;-)


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Subject: RE: Folk Music On PBS
From: Art Thieme
Date: 16 Dec 02 - 05:20 PM

PLEASE disregard EVERYTHING I have posted to this thread up to this post. I was dumb, opinionated, off the mark and any other denigrading term you might care to choose to describe me and my silly, unwaranted opinions.

I WAS WRONG !!!!!


I just now, finally, watched a video of the show. It was just fine. It was great to see that all those musicians and singers have survived and are still playing the music. The picking was just great. McGuinn and McGuire (or however you spell it) sounded as good as ever. I loved the updated words for "EVE OF DESTRUCTION". The harmonies of the Limelighters never sounded better to my ears---much better than I had remembered. It was just a kick and a half to see Glenn back with Alex Hasselev. And hearing them do Bob Gibson's "I Come For To Sing" reminded me how very many songs Gibson gave to the revival of the 50s and the 60s. His arrangements and his songs run all through the records of not only the Limelighters, but the Chad Mitchell Trio, Joan Baez, Judy Collins, the Kingston Trio, the New Wine Singers, and so many more.

Yeah, some of this was mediocre. The editing could've been done a lot better----and I do wish they had broadcast the entire show instead of destoying the group's sets. So many of the "sidemen and sidewomen" on the show should've been noted and given credit for their role in things way back in those times that were. Many were legendary in their own right. Jim McGuinn noted the presence of Mike Settle in his band. Mike Settle was a good songwriter, musician and singer who wrote good song called "Settle Down" back then. At least his name was mentioned.........I remember watching him for a few nights at a strange coffeehouse on Rush Street in Chicago called THE FICKLE PICKLE. It was at that club that I first realized the music world was changing forever when a dynamite waitress walked past me and announced loudly for all to hear, "BOY, WOULD I LIKE TO BALL A BEATLE !!"

Alas, Middle Earth was no more. Bilbo was in the Grey Havens. And Jim Kirk was dead.

I'M SORRY for being such an opinionated a-hole. As I said, "I was wrong." It was simply fun to wallow in the nostalgia that was this little program.

Art Thieme


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Subject: RE: Folk Music On PBS
From: katlaughing
Date: 16 Dec 02 - 05:59 PM

We watched a little bit of it. A lot of what they were calling folk, I would consider more pop(ular). I have to say I couldn't stand the rendition of Eve of Destruction..it seemed to take away all of the power and oomph of the song as I remember it. I also have a hard time considering, was it the Byrds, who were included as folk singers? I still love their music, though.**bg** The best bit, IMO, was the end with Tommy and Dick Smothers doing their madrigal music routine. I still have that tune in my head. And, Judy Collins singing Amazing Grace wow, what a voice, still!


Art, this whole crew is an opinionated lot, if we weren't it'd be very boring around here!

kat


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Subject: RE: Folk Music On PBS
From: GUEST,Frank Hamilton
Date: 16 Dec 02 - 06:26 PM

Art,

In a way, everyone associated with performing folk music is in show business in one way or another. As soon as you start playing for the public professionally, you are in show business.

Show business is a tricky and fickle thing because it is about catering to a marketable taste. Pete Seeger is one of the greatest show business personalities that ever hit the stage but he would probably abhor my saying so. I admire him for this gift. His ability to communicate is phenomenal regardless of whether he was accepted by the media or not.

The point is, it's a matter of taste. Some like Elvis or Pete or both. But there is such a thing as a cultivated taste. Many other factors come in to play such as one's upbringing and values.

But the bottom line is that everyone is entitled to their opinion as to what they think is good or bad and it's OK not to like something for personal reasons. My view is that there's something pretty good in everything that surfaces professionally whether I like it or not.
But I'm also entitled not to like it for X reasons. Art, you don't have to apologize to anyone.

I don't care that much for Jimi Hendrix but I would have to be a fool to say that he wasn't incredibly great at what he did. But I can say also in the same breath that I found his music somewhat monotonous. But that's me. I find a Woody Guthrie song fascinating and there are those who would be bored to tears with it.

So, Art, you get to be as opinionated as anyone else on Mudcat without having to apologize. Keep it coming.

BTW it should be mentioned that Tom Dooley was popularized by the member of the Folksay Trio, Bob Carey, with Roger Sprung and Erik Darling. Bob was the one that came up with the little hiccup in "hang down your head Tom (hiccup) Dooley which was the hook that propelled the KT's version to fame and fortune. I think that hiccup sold more records than Frank Profitt could've imagined it doing.

Frank


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Subject: RE: Folk Music On PBS
From: Big Mick
Date: 16 Dec 02 - 07:55 PM

Art is one class act.

Mick


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Subject: RE: Folk Music On PBS
From: Art Thieme
Date: 17 Dec 02 - 12:19 AM

People,

I was trying to say that, now that I've seen the show, I see both sides of my own polemic. Roger McGuinn learned from Frank Hamilton at the Old Town School of Folk Music and was in the trio with John Carbo & Louie McDonald at the Sunday Gate Of Horn hoots when I first heard him. I felt all that nostalgia while watching the show probably because I was there then. Kat, McGuire added appropriate updated messages to his old song kind of, and I thought that interesting.

I think you know that, even though the program provoked a pleasant nostalgic response from me, I'll not ever mistake it for real folk music. Those mesmerizing times still were seminal for me. So was seeing neon lights reflected on the night wet streets of Chicago after a Kerouac poetry reading or an Odetta concert or a Frank Hamilton set at Navy Pier or even a joint lecture by James T. Farrell and Nelson Algren; --- then going home hand in hand with someone just met two or three drinks before. The sounds on this program brought back Norm Pellegrini and Ray Nordstrand's old Midnight Special radio shows on WFMT when this folk "pap" (as I called it) was regularly mixed with actual ballads and lore. And it did surprise me that the old pap stuff could seem some better for having become old. Might just be an anomaly in the space-time continuum. As such is was the soundtrack of my youth. When both sides of this coin/paradox showed valuable aspects---it simply surprised the hell out of me. Could be I'm more open to the diversity of our music than I had thought ----- or wanted to admit.

Love,

Art


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Subject: RE: Folk Music On PBS
From: DougR
Date: 17 Dec 02 - 01:12 AM

I saw the show on TV last night in Dallas. Just my opinion, but I thought it was pretty bad. Most of those folks who I thought were pretty great in the 60's are well past their prime. I can understand for nostalgia's sake why some found it interesting and fun though.

DougR


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Subject: RE: Folk Music On PBS
From: Art Thieme
Date: 17 Dec 02 - 12:56 PM

Doug, while you thought these folks were good years ago, back in the sixties I thought these people were terribly bad ! To me, it seemed they were decent entertainers who were all taking the tradition and not extending it but were milking it for all the dollars they could get while bastardizing it and glitzing it up with a star system that smacked of capitalistic how biz in it's most blatant and negative forms. On this program, here and now, they had their musical chops very well pacticed from all of those years of concert touring. The musical riffs had been standardized and turned into cliches we had heard over and over through the years. Add the actual scores of years to the mix, and you can easily account for the nostalgia I dredged up. "Tambourine Man" is a great song. Put McGuinn's clanging and distorted Rickenbacher 12-string intro in front of it and you have all that was terrible with the 1960s folk rock of the era. The same sound, enhanced a bit by the passing of the years of my life, had become nostalgic to me now.

Art Thieme


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Subject: RE: Folk Music On PBS
From: GUEST,Ray Bucknell
Date: 10 Mar 03 - 10:27 PM

Well, now it's time for the next quarterly Pledge Drive, so PBS has been airing This Land Is Your Land again (at least in the New York/Long Island area). I saw the show the first time around but hadn't seen this thread before. I've now read through the entire thread and must say that the program was generally disappointing to me as well, though perhaps not for all the same reasons that some of the other participants have mentioned.   I was a small child during the "folk scare" and the more commercial acts of the time were my introduction to the genre.   My biggest complaint about the program was not the song selection - although I agree wholeheartedly that the producer hadn't got a clue as to what might remotely qualify as "folk" music. I expected to hear those hackneyed songs because those were the songs that the groups appearing on the show had been best known for singing. My problem was the overall lack of quality in the performances. I did enjoy the Smothers, Limeliters and Judy Collins. Some of the rest of them were actually painful to watch.

    Tinker, you asked why they didn't have the Chad Mitchell Trio, a group whose members are indeed still alive and who McGuinn played behind for a couple of years, on the show.   Rumor has it that the CMT were indeed supposed to be involved in the program, but balked when little Mr. Twentysomething Producer insisted that they sing only their three "best selling hits" (which would include the John Birch Society, a song the Trio doesn't sing anymore because it's too dated).   The fact that they did not appear on the show leads me to believe that the artists were not given any creative control whatsoever and refusal to comply with the producer resulted in banishment. It's a shame the CMT weren't there; at least they would have given a credible performance of what many of you call "folk lite." I still cringe when I recall that guy whistling off-key during Michael Row the Boat Ashore.

    Another problem I had has also been mentioned in passing; many of those appearing on stage were never introduced or acknowledged. I would have liked to know who they were, seeing as I managed to sit through the entire program.   The worst had to be when the producer is sitting there touting the $250 box of CDs and all the "great folk music" in it, when anyone can see it's mostly rock material and, what's worse, Tom and Dick Smothers are sitting right there going along with all the BS!!! (Oops, I forgot. They'd have been banished too had they dared to disagree. Almost like what happened to them at CBS about 30 years ago. Guess they learned their lesson!).

    I doubt PBS made enough in pledges from this show to warrant producing the second one they were talking about, but if they should try another it might be wise to book artists who can still give a decent performance and allow them to chose material they are comfortable performing.   Perhaps a little artistic freedom would get them a better crop of artists.   And I bet Tom Paxton would do the show if the Chad Mitchell Trio were there. Nobody covered his songs better than they did!

                                        Ray


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Subject: RE: Folk Music On PBS
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 21 Dec 03 - 04:35 PM

I'm reviving this thread because it is more or less on the subject I want to post. The Glen Mitchell Christmas Blockbuster (DERA-FM, Dallas, Texas) is on all day today until Midnight (Central Time) and can be listened to via the internet.

He plays a huge variety of stuff, folk, classical, blues, rock, country, lots of trivia, interviews, stories. He already played one of my favorites, the John Henry Faulk story that was first broadcast years ago on Morning Edition.

http://www.kera.org/radio/holidays2003/

SRS


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Subject: RE: Folk Music On PBS
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 22 Dec 03 - 02:14 PM

So my typing skills stink. That was KERA-FM, though the link was correct.

The holiday "Blockbuster" program was only available live, there isn't a recorded version of it (his weekday programs are available on demand, which is why I'm sending this note). He did record a two-hour holiday music program last week that was going out over PRI (Public Radio International) for those who want to look for it.

SRS


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Subject: RE: Folk Music On PBS
From: George Seto - af221@chebucto.ns.ca
Date: 23 Dec 03 - 05:38 PM

Apparently they DID do a second show:

This Land is Your Land - The Folk Rock Years


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Subject: RE: Folk Music On PBS
From: GUEST
Date: 23 Dec 03 - 08:53 PM

Let me see, now.......I want to produce a show that will make bucks for PBS. So, I want to target an audience that has money. The people who were listening to '60's music are in their 60' (for the most part) now. They've gone out and made their money and are comfortably retiring and have enough time to watch a little television. So........Wait! I got it! I'll do a special featuring the people who had some commercial success selling records to this same audience! It will bring back great memories for the geezer crowd and will pry open their wallets at the same time. I won't let them sing any new stuff. They will just sing their tried and true oldies.   Damn, I'm cleaver!


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Subject: RE: Folk Music On PBS
From: Don Firth
Date: 24 Dec 03 - 02:02 PM

Beaver Cleaver? Sounds a bit cynical, there, GUEST.

Don Firth


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