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Folk Music On PBS

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Jerry Rasmussen 04 Dec 02 - 12:13 PM
GUEST 04 Dec 02 - 12:23 PM
jimmyt 04 Dec 02 - 12:36 PM
GUEST 04 Dec 02 - 12:46 PM
jimmyt 04 Dec 02 - 01:00 PM
Ron Olesko 04 Dec 02 - 01:15 PM
GUEST 04 Dec 02 - 01:32 PM
GUEST 04 Dec 02 - 01:39 PM
Ron Olesko 04 Dec 02 - 01:39 PM
GUEST 04 Dec 02 - 01:46 PM
Ron Olesko 04 Dec 02 - 01:59 PM
GUEST 04 Dec 02 - 01:59 PM
jimmyt 04 Dec 02 - 02:09 PM
GUEST 04 Dec 02 - 02:12 PM
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
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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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