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Is it really Folk?

Related threads:
What is a Folk Song? (292)
Who Defines 'Folk'???? (287)
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Still wondering what's folk these days? (145)
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Big Al Whittle 05 Nov 06 - 11:06 AM
shepherdlass 04 Nov 06 - 02:48 PM
Don Firth 03 Nov 06 - 10:46 PM
GUEST 03 Nov 06 - 09:04 PM
GUEST,Shimrod 03 Nov 06 - 01:50 PM
GUEST,Shaneo 03 Nov 06 - 12:38 PM
GUEST 03 Nov 06 - 01:13 AM
GUEST,Art Thieme 02 Nov 06 - 11:32 AM
Big Al Whittle 02 Nov 06 - 05:21 AM
Folkiedave 02 Nov 06 - 02:26 AM
Roughyed 02 Nov 06 - 01:51 AM
Don Firth 01 Nov 06 - 10:11 PM
GUEST,Art Thieme 01 Nov 06 - 07:58 PM
Bill D 01 Nov 06 - 06:34 PM
Forsh 01 Nov 06 - 06:23 PM
GUEST,Captain Swing 01 Nov 06 - 05:38 PM
Big Al Whittle 01 Nov 06 - 04:58 PM
Don Firth 01 Nov 06 - 04:35 PM
Tom Hamilton frae Saltcoats Scotland 01 Nov 06 - 04:07 PM
GUEST,Rowan 01 Aug 06 - 02:48 AM
GUEST,Art Thieme 01 Aug 06 - 12:50 AM
The Sandman 31 Jul 06 - 06:46 PM
An Buachaill Caol Dubh 31 Jul 06 - 01:48 PM
Tim theTwangler 30 Jul 06 - 09:27 AM
Paul from Hull 30 Jul 06 - 09:10 AM
Rusty Dobro 30 Jul 06 - 05:51 AM
Bill D 29 Jul 06 - 10:41 PM
Big Al Whittle 29 Jul 06 - 06:42 PM
McGrath of Harlow 29 Jul 06 - 05:54 PM
GUEST,Shimrod 29 Jul 06 - 11:59 AM
Leadfingers 29 Jul 06 - 09:32 AM
Sandra in Sydney 29 Jul 06 - 09:07 AM
Anne Lister 28 Jul 06 - 04:18 PM
GUEST,Bee 28 Jul 06 - 01:18 PM
Paul from Hull 28 Jul 06 - 01:18 PM
GUEST,Bee 28 Jul 06 - 01:10 PM
An Buachaill Caol Dubh 28 Jul 06 - 10:18 AM
GUEST 28 Jul 06 - 09:24 AM
RobbieWilson 28 Jul 06 - 09:11 AM
An Buachaill Caol Dubh 28 Jul 06 - 07:56 AM
Les in Chorlton 13 Mar 05 - 04:08 AM
treewind 13 Mar 05 - 03:43 AM
GUEST,Rachel Wasbest 12 Mar 05 - 11:51 PM
Compton 15 Dec 03 - 03:56 PM
McGrath of Harlow 14 Dec 03 - 08:14 PM
GUEST,Li'l Aussie Bleeder. 14 Dec 03 - 07:37 PM
M.Ted 14 Dec 03 - 02:29 PM
GUEST 12 Dec 03 - 06:31 PM
harvey andrews 12 Dec 03 - 06:30 PM
Compton 12 Dec 03 - 06:27 PM
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Subject: RE: Is it really Folk?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 05 Nov 06 - 11:06 AM

I knew that Herder/Grimm crowd would lead me astray. It was them that got me smoking cigarettes, acting big and pretending I enjoyed straight sex.

The Noble Savages though... what a band. Will we ever see their likes again. I remember a gig in back in '64. The lead banjo player had OD'd on snakebites - they said, can you sit in Al - we're desperate and we neeed you.

As luck would have it, I'd lent my last banjo string to Jimmy Page, who was auditioning for Led Zeppelin that very night. What I mean is, I coulda bin a contender.....history shoulda bin different.


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Subject: RE: Is it really Folk?
From: shepherdlass
Date: 04 Nov 06 - 02:48 PM

"If you can break it down to one voice and an acoustic guitar, it's folk."

Sorry, but this is way too simplistic. As others have already pointed out, the piano can be just as folkloric an instrument as anything else.

I'd still like to take issue with the idea that folk music has to be simplistic. Tell that to your average Bulgarian folk musician turning out dance tunes in 15/16 or similar. The idea of it being linked to rusticity and simplicity has its roots in all that Herder/Grimm noble savage stuff.


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Subject: RE: Is it really Folk?
From: Don Firth
Date: 03 Nov 06 - 10:46 PM

I have. Quite a few, actually.

Stewball, The Strawberry Roan, I Ride and Old Paint, Doney Gal. . . .

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: Is it really Folk?
From: GUEST
Date: 03 Nov 06 - 09:04 PM

Folk songs is stories about folks--I never heard a story about a horse!!!


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Subject: RE: Is it really Folk?
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 03 Nov 06 - 01:50 PM

Yes, 'Guest, Shaneo' your point is too simple and gets us nowhere!


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Subject: RE: Is it really Folk?
From: GUEST,Shaneo
Date: 03 Nov 06 - 12:38 PM

Folk music is about Folks , you know , people ,Folk songs tell stories about people , is this point too simple ?


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Subject: RE: Is it really Folk?
From: GUEST
Date: 03 Nov 06 - 01:13 AM

The thing that is the most worrying is, folk, or not, the young people are just passive recipients--singing together isn't natural for them--it used to be that there were songs that everybody knew, without even knowing why they knew them or that they knew them. Not so any more.


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Subject: RE: Is it really Folk?
From: GUEST,Art Thieme
Date: 02 Nov 06 - 11:32 AM

Don,

I think it was meant with tongue-in-cheek, but Mark Twain is reported to have said: There has never been a life lived that wasn't a failure in the eyes of the one who lived it!

I had to shift gears long ago. It was obvious to me that changing paradigms were diminishing the scene all around me. In Chicago nightlife terms, that meant "folk music bars." I was lucky and found riverboats to play on and concerts to do for almost any group out there. Those that locked themselves into the nightlife music scene were destined to drink too much and too long. (That often ended with sad self-destruction.)

Now, it's sort of like being in limbo after death (of my music) and still being able to sit back and see/watch what life is evolving into. It's a fantastic panorama -- but not one I'd care to participate in and fight for a place in--for most the valid reasons you have put down. The new stuff is embraced, often, by them that do not know what they do---or are missing.

It's the way of the world. "Is what is"---as Gordon Bok has told me. To me, it's a gift to be here to see some of it----all the while me wishing the younger ones had the ability to see and feel what I know---the necessary empathy-------and then, the ensuing ecstasy.

Art


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Subject: RE: Is it really Folk?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 02 Nov 06 - 05:21 AM

actually the mabwags sound more my sort of thing, do they have a webpage?


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Subject: RE: Is it really Folk?
From: Folkiedave
Date: 02 Nov 06 - 02:26 AM

From personal experience, most of what is called folk music is in fact Mabwag music.

Then you should get out a bit more...........

Bah Humbug (just practising for Xmas)


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Subject: RE: Is it really Folk?
From: Roughyed
Date: 02 Nov 06 - 01:51 AM

From personal experience, most of what is called folk music is in fact Mabwag music. A much more accurate category. (That's Middle Aged Bloke With A Guitar music)


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Subject: RE: Is it really Folk?
From: Don Firth
Date: 01 Nov 06 - 10:11 PM

I hear you, Art. Bummer! My situation is not quite as rough as yours, but my shoulders are shot from using crutches all my life (polio at age 2), and because of range-of-motion problems, I can't play a full-size guitar anymore, hence the little canoe paddle shaped travel guitar.

I have a friend who is quite a good poet. And my wife is also. They've both gone the rounds of local poetry readings and have generally met with a great deal of polite indifference, despite the fact that lots of people really like their stuff.

My friend [who's name, incidentally, is Dick Gibbons, and he wrote "Sully's Pail," which Tom Paxton has recorded. An internet search on the song credits it to a "Dick Giddens," which is a boo-boo. I've known Dick since the early Fifties, and I remember when he first came up with the song] commented the other day that "The poetry crowd doesn't like my stuff." Something I've heard Barbara say a lot, which is why she seldom participates in poetry readings these days. The "poetry crowd" seems to have a preconceived notion of what constitutes good poetry, and if someone reads something that doesn't conform to their idea, they tend to just dismiss it, no matter how much it appeals to people who don't share their preconceived notions.

When Dick made this comment a few days ago, a prelude to his saying that he was going to start a web site and publish his stuff on the internet (complete with mp3s of different people reading his poems, and he wants me to record several of them), it occurred to me that, in a way, I was in the same boat.

In 1967, when getting ready to sing one night in a local coffeehouse, one of the new crop of Bob Dylan singer-songwriter clones confronted me, saying, "You here again? Why do you keep on singing that old traditional shit? Man, the stuff you sing isn't socially relevant anymore!" Songs, some of which have been around for several centuries, kept alive because all that time people liked to sing them and hear them—and they're not "socially relevant" anymore. Well, excu-u-u-use me!!

I haven't heard anything quite that blatant since then, but when I hear a lot of the stuff being presented at open mikes and sung at folk festivals these days, I begin to feel a bit like a museum piece. With the exception of a few composed songs that I feel I can sing fairly well, my repertoire is almost entirely traditional material.

Other old geezers like myself and all sorts of people who aren't saddled with all the preconceive notions about what folk music is or is not supposed to be generally seem to like what I do. But like Barbara and my old friend Dick, many of the people who apparently constitute the "folk crowd" these days seem to be kind of indifferent to singers of mostly traditional songs, like me.

If I had it to do over again, I wouldn't knock myself out trying to go after the "folk crowd." I'd go for more general audiences. Maybe put together a recital of the oldest songs I know and go for the early music buffs. Then branch out from there.

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: Is it really Folk?
From: GUEST,Art Thieme
Date: 01 Nov 06 - 07:58 PM

Recently, I realized that, having outlived my own context, it was the perfect time for nature (my health) to rear it's ugly head and deprive me of the ability to play my music at all. It's a coincidence of timing---a cosmic joke of some kind. Some have called coincidences of this kind God's puns. Whatever.   Much of what people call folk truly, isn't. The state of our scene now does make my not being able to join in the party a smidgen more tolerable.

Art


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Subject: RE: Is it really Folk?
From: Bill D
Date: 01 Nov 06 - 06:34 PM

Forsh...did you bother to read the whole thread? Or just toss off a remark? In particular, read explanations under my name...

If I was in a group that was PLANNING to do "traditional folk", we'd be doing you a favor by putting up that sign, so you'd know not to bother.

All I ask is that others do me the favor of NOT calling it folk or traditional unless it really is....so *I* won't bother.

Plenty of room for lots of good music for everyone!


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Subject: RE: Is it really Folk?
From: Forsh
Date: 01 Nov 06 - 06:23 PM

Folk is wot Folk Want is Wot Folk Sing. Anything! Don't try telling folk what folk music & song is, or you'll loose them, in my uponion!
Puritans, go ahead and lock yourselfs in wee back rooms and put up a sign: "Traditional Folk Only"...you'll not see me there!


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Subject: RE: Is it really Folk?
From: GUEST,Captain Swing
Date: 01 Nov 06 - 05:38 PM

I hope it's not folk. The term 'folk' now carries the kiss of death. I've played to more folk since I left the folk music behind.


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Subject: RE: Is it really Folk?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 01 Nov 06 - 04:58 PM

I love a challenge, and I suspect to finish off your song, you could go

Kill, Kill, Killarney
Where I ate my sarni
With Big Fat Dave
And his brother Barney


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Subject: RE: Is it really Folk?
From: Don Firth
Date: 01 Nov 06 - 04:35 PM

KILL! KILL!


Don Firth


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Subject: RE: Is it really Folk?
From: Tom Hamilton frae Saltcoats Scotland
Date: 01 Nov 06 - 04:07 PM

what is Folk music anyway?


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Subject: RE: Is it really Folk?
From: GUEST,Rowan
Date: 01 Aug 06 - 02:48 AM

In all the Richard Thompson music I've heard, I've never heard him play/sing anything from what used to be called Yugoslavia. But I've never heard him play live. The reason for this opening line is that, when I was in Beograd years ago I heard a young bloke (and no, I don't know the linguistically correct term in Beograd for "bloke") play, at an evening of classical music, a piece of music he'd written. It was (to my ear) identical in structure to traditional Macedonian music with which I was familiar at the time and which was regarded by other musicians as folk music. It was performed and well received in a contex we'd understand as "classical" music. It featured at that time on pop music programs as a very popular item.

When I hear people agonise over definitions/descriptions/criteria for belonging to "the club with only one member" I'm reminded of this event. By being accepted as part of all these (commonly regarded as separate/distinctive/mutually exclusive/etc) genres it well and truly confounded would-be pundits. While some find the repeated reappearance of the debate tiresome, it strikes me that. like adolescence, it's something that everyone has to endure/enjoy/participate in/etc so that you come out of the process having learned something useful by the experience. And everyone will take something from it; for some, what they take will have overlaps with many others while, for others the overlaps might be less obvious.

Mostly, it's the spirit in which the conversation is held that counts. Keep it up!

Cheers, Rowan


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Subject: RE: Is it really Folk?
From: GUEST,Art Thieme
Date: 01 Aug 06 - 12:50 AM

I was a folksinger for 40 years. About 70% of the time I sang folksongs. Other than that, all I can say is that now I prefer to stay away from these threads. Guess I'm just tired of watching things I care about morphed.

Respectfully,

Art


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Subject: RE: Is it really Folk?
From: The Sandman
Date: 31 Jul 06 - 06:46 PM

To LEADFINGERS it wasnt Burl Ives but Louis Armstong.Iknew a fellow one time and he said to me, its easy to define trad. anything before 1900. so if itwas written on dec 31 1899 it was traditional, if it was written on 2jan 1900 it wasnt ,HILARIOUS.


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Subject: RE: Is it really Folk?
From: An Buachaill Caol Dubh
Date: 31 Jul 06 - 01:48 PM

No, it wasn't really a "derogatory" term, although I'd guess that many of the English collectors (nineteenth-century), being gentlemen themselves, would indeed have regarded the music and song of the rural populace which they termed "folk song" as indeed rather "below them"; not quite Tennyson set by Quilter, old boy. But, keeping to consideration of the Thing Itself, whatever Words may be used, here's (approximately) what Robert Burns wrote in 1788 about such "de haut en bas" reactions to the Scottish Traditional songs he and others had collected by then, and to which he added many more of his own in a Traditional idiom:

"Ignorance and Prejudice may, perhaps, affect to sneer at the Simplicity of some of the following pieces; but, their having been for Ages the Favourites of Nature's Judges - the Common People - was to the Editor a sufficient Test of their Merit."


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Subject: RE: Is it really Folk?
From: Tim theTwangler
Date: 30 Jul 06 - 09:27 AM

Hey who gives a monkeys what it is called if you like it and wanna listen/play /sing/it ?
I have not heard the album in the original posting.
But if the man himself thinks it is folk or the people who listen and buy it do then great.
As to the piano jibe well each to his/her own.
I suspect that the term "Folk" was originally applied as a derogatory term by those rather silly people who think that by describing themselves as lovers of high art they are making themselves sound more important.


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Subject: RE: Is it really Folk?
From: Paul from Hull
Date: 30 Jul 06 - 09:10 AM

Ah yes, thanks Rusty Dobro, I'd forgotten this was about RT too!

Similarly, a good few years back, I had a friend by the name of Richard Thompson, who had HEARD of his famous namesake, but hadnt really heard any more than a couple of his songs, if that, & those not very representative of RT even (this guy hadnt strayed very fair from the mainstream of music that might likely appeal to a guy in his 20's, in the 1990's, though he was more receptive than most!)

While he didnt go big on everything I subsequently played him, certainly not being overwhelmed by Fairport, as I recall, he was pleased to find a rich vein of music which, but for me, he would never have likely discovered at all.

I hope he kept up the interest & broadened it further, I havent seen him for 10 years at least.


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Subject: RE: Is it really Folk?
From: Rusty Dobro
Date: 30 Jul 06 - 05:51 AM

Back to RT: remember him?

I just introduced a friend to RT's music via eight tracks which would,IMHO, belong on any 'Best Of...' album, and realised that because I date back to watching Fairport at the early Hyde Park free concerts, I have them mentally pigeon-holed as 'folk'. Any new listener, though, would surely only list 'Beeswing' that way - the rest are an elusive 'something else' which is closer to rock than folk.

Anyway, who cares? Listen to him - if you like it listen some more. If not, not.


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Subject: RE: Is it really Folk?
From: Bill D
Date: 29 Jul 06 - 10:41 PM

I am an indigenous RESIDENT life form, and I'm pleased to tell you that Martin Carthy & Pete Seeger were pretty good models....now why couldn't you half as well with some of the others pods...who MUST be alien?

I suspect that on Zog, the horses did sing, and were true folk. Too bad you didn't bring some, so that we wouldn't have to hear that silly comparison again!


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Subject: RE: Is it really Folk?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 29 Jul 06 - 06:42 PM

okay i admit it. I sing. I'm not a real folk. I just try to pass myself off as one.

I am in fact an alien life form from the planet Zog. We have planted several alien pods like Martin Carthy and Pete Seeger into the folk music continuum.

The only way you can identify us is the glowing microchip penile implant.

One day we will rule the world.


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Subject: RE: Is it really Folk?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 29 Jul 06 - 05:54 PM

As the saying goes "A map is not the territory"

Maps help you get to some places and avoid others, and that matters; and the same is true of terms like "folk music". It's important that maps and words should be consistent and easy to understand. They involve making use of conventions which are in a sense arbitrary, but if they are used arbitrarily they cease to be useful as a guide.

But what really matters is the territory represented by the map, and the music identified by the terms.


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Subject: RE: Is it really Folk?
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 29 Jul 06 - 11:59 AM

There are (at least) 3 particularly boneheaded 'definitions' of folk music that I hate and which always get my back up. These 'definitions' are as follows:

(i) "I like contemporary popular music and I like folk music, therefore contemporary popular music must be folk music."

(ii) The marketing man's definition which is anything 'acoustic' (but including 'folk rock' and excluding 'country' - which is another category) and anything which doesn't fit easily into any other category eg. military bands.

(iii) The "I ain't heard no horse sing it" 'definition' - variously attributed to Louis Armstrong, Leadbelly and, now, Burl Ives (thanks Leadfingers - you're a star - or something - possibly ...).

We should really start with Anahata's statement, above, about folk music being a process. But then you have to think a lot, and review the evidence, and listen to traditional singers, and be prepared to change your mind ... and it's usually all too much for people who like rock music and want to replace folk music with it ... isn't it?


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Subject: RE: Is it really Folk?
From: Leadfingers
Date: 29 Jul 06 - 09:32 AM

I think it was Burl Ives , who , on being asked how he knew a song he had just performed was a 'Folk Song' , replied - "I've never heard a Horse sing it!"


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Subject: RE: Is it really Folk?
From: Sandra in Sydney
Date: 29 Jul 06 - 09:07 AM

But (and I'm sure, in this erudite gathering, that if I'm wrong someone will correct me) I think that many of the source singers who have inspired many of our best revival singers had repertoires that ranged from the "old" traditional songs to far more recently acquired ones, so not much changes. Except the names and faces of the people debating whether or not it's folk music!
............

Australian traditional singers Carrie Milliner & Maysie Tucker sang everything from traditional ballads to advertising jingles & everything in between. They have been collected by researchers from the National Library Oral History & Folklore collections

In the 20's Carrie & her siblings learnt songs from family members - alive & dead. Some songs went back to the mid 19th century & had been passed on from great grandfather. Her archive has been mined by a number of current performers, especially Jason & Chloe Roweth (Sleepers - a snapshot of songs collected from traditional, unaccompanied singer Carrie Milliner - traditional ballads, early country songs, musical hall humour, heart songs)

Maysie has contributed around 600 songs, and I'm sure she's still remembering stuff as she was doing so at Easter when I last saw her.

Both Carrie & Maysie sometime had trouble remembering their family version of a song when later singers had popularised another version.

Folk lives!

sandra


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Subject: RE: Is it really Folk?
From: Anne Lister
Date: 28 Jul 06 - 04:18 PM

Just as rock or pop music (or jazz, or classical, or blues) tend to have multiple sub-categories (try asking someone in their teens or twenties to tell you the difference between garage and funk, frex) I personally have no problem with sub-categories of folk. So it's perfectly OK by me to differentiate traditional folk from contemporary, or "Celtic" (whatever that means - and that's a *whole* other area of argument - sorry - discussion or heated debate). I've seen some very oddly assorted people on MySpace and elsewhere claim all sorts of labels which to my mind simply don't fit at all, so as in nearly all things the only way to know if a concert labelled "folk" is what I'd like to hear is by going to listen to it and making up my own mind. There's even a category of psychedelic folk, which oddly enough doesn't sound at all like the Incredible String Band. I have always, however, had a problem in defining my own blend of folk, especially as some of my songs (most famously but not only "Icarus") have travelled around the world in a totally traditional manner, from singer to singer rather than only on CD.
But (and I'm sure, in this erudite gathering, that if I'm wrong someone will correct me) I think that many of the source singers who have inspired many of our best revival singers had repertoires that ranged from the "old" traditional songs to far more recently acquired ones, so not much changes. Except the names and faces of the people debating whether or not it's folk music!
One last point .. have just driven home listening to a CD given to me at WOMEX of some Italian folk songs. I'm struck by how many melody lines seem familiar, how many themes seem familiar and how many arrangements seem to owe a lot to the Carthys and Nic Joneses of the English revival. Traditions travel and change and grow, just as they should, otherwise they'd be museum pieces.

Anne Lister


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Subject: RE: Is it really Folk?
From: GUEST,Bee
Date: 28 Jul 06 - 01:18 PM

I hope no one is offended by the above - I'm in a rush and may have worded poorly. I'm off to a Bluegrass festival for the next few days, so I'll apologise if necessary when I return. :-}


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Subject: RE: Is it really Folk?
From: Paul from Hull
Date: 28 Jul 06 - 01:18 PM

There have been many definitions stated here, & elsewhere, & on other ocasions, that work for me, but here is a one 'of my own' so to speak, which doesnt work in all instances (ie: may fit my definition, but fly right in the face of a different, but equal or more valid definition).

"Anything that goes down well with a folk club audience"


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Subject: RE: Is it really Folk?
From: GUEST,Bee
Date: 28 Jul 06 - 01:10 PM

An Buachaill Caol Dubh:

Your opinion (re: collectors and the changing state of labour) works for me. I am also somewhat reminded of the 'history' of clan tartans in Scotland. There are thousands of 'folk' who take such things seriously indeed, and I suppose 200 or so years is enough to install a righteous tradition, possible whole cloth or not.

I enjoy a great many of the older, probably traditional, songs discussed here. The style suits me, they are all 'singable' by anyone with an average or better voice (which may be the most significant predictor of future folk). Whether someone calls them folk or not does not concern me too much. If calling them folk serves to make them more widely known, so much the better, and I appreciate the effort and care that goes into preserving anything old and valuable.


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Subject: RE: Is it really Folk?
From: An Buachaill Caol Dubh
Date: 28 Jul 06 - 10:18 AM

In the Wikipedia article, have a look at the section in "Defining Folk Music" entitled "Fieldwork and scholarship on folk music". It begins, "Beginning in the nineteenth century, interested people - academics and amateur scholars - started to take note of what was being lost...". Don't believe everything you read in Encyclopedias.


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Subject: RE: Is it really Folk?
From: GUEST
Date: 28 Jul 06 - 09:24 AM

Folk is just a label. Judge it as music. If you don't like it, fine, but don't not like it just because it doesn't fit your pre-conceived notion of what is "folk".


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Subject: RE: Is it really Folk?
From: RobbieWilson
Date: 28 Jul 06 - 09:11 AM

I'm not sure why I am joining in this largely sterile discussion. Wikipedia has a fairly clear and concise description of the main uses of folk music. folk music

Like any other use of language the point is to convey meaning. Generally I have always known what people mean from the contextin which they refer to folk music. If you can't work it out and it is important to you then ask the person using the term.

IMO Mock Tudor and indeed all of RT's musicclearly falls into the modern usage of "culturally descended from and influenced by traditional folk music. The world we live in changes and so does the language we use to describe it.


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Subject: RE: Is it really Folk?
From: An Buachaill Caol Dubh
Date: 28 Jul 06 - 07:56 AM

In English, I'd guess "Folk Song" was first used towards the end of the Nineteenth Century, when people like Cecil Sharp were collecting material from "the ordinary people" living in the countryside; see, also, what Thomas Hardy writes about "Wessex" traditions in an early chapter of "Tess of the d'Ubervilles", as well as in many other places in his novels and indeed his poetry. My own view is that this collecting was spurred primarily because of the belief that, as rural life changed with the introduction of more machinery and larger, more obviously businesslike farms, so too the longstanding cultural practices - the traditions - of the people would change too. It's likely that the regret felt by gentlemen about the disappearance of the old ways, and the less Romantic nature of up-to-date rural labour, was not much shared by the people who actually did the work. No doubt more detail could be got from the publications of The English Folk-Song Society.

I derive what I've written above from drawing a parallel with the collecting activities of four people in the Eighteenth Century, each of whom in various ways made these points about change in employment and conditions leading to changes in "manners" leading in turn to changes in occupations and, ultimately, a loss of the "auld sangs" (we're talking Scotland here). Although none of them uses the specific term "Folk Song", nevertheless the consciousness is clear. The four people are, from the 1780s, John Pinkerton, from the 1790s Joseph Ritson, from the 1770s until his death in 1796 Robert Burns, and the chief amang them all, David Herd, whose two collections date from 1769 and 1776 ("Ancient and Modern Historical Songs, Heroic Ballads, Pastorals..." in two volumes, with a Preface). One thing that was particularly admired was the "Simplicity of the air and words of many of these pieces"; very different from the learned, "Poetic Diction" of contemporary polite verse, and thought capable of affecting the emotions more immediately, more deeply because more naturally.

It's true that there are earlier publications in which some "traditional" material appears - for instance, Percy's "Reliques of Ancient English Poetry" 1765, Ramsay's "Evergreen" and "Tea-Table Miscellany" of the 1720s (some tidying-up and provision of new words for old went on in that one, by a team of "ingenious young gentlemen") and James Watson's collection of Scots songs and poetry from 1708, the year after the Union with England was forced upon the Scots by that aristocratic "parcel of rogues in a nation". That the activity of collecting "Folk" material occurred in Scotland more than a century and a half before any comparable level of activity in England, though the pace of agricultural change was, if anything, faster in the South than in the North, strongly implies that regret for the passing of old ways and the loss of traditional songs was not the only motivation of collectors, and I argue that there was in Scotland a national dimension entirely absent from England, due largely to the hatred of the Union felt by the majority of people. The Jacobites expolited this hatred for their own purposes (popular songs as part of a protest movement doesn't belong only to the 1960s!), and as Andrew Fletcher of Saltoun put it some three centuries ago, if you can make all the ballads of a nation, it doesn't matter who makes the laws.

The making of a similar link between a "national consciousness" and the "untutored productions of the unlettered people" may be found in German literary theory from the 1770s onwards (it gathered pace during the domination by France following Napoleon's victory in 1806 and the subsequent "War of Liberation" of 1813-15), and it is in the writing of the linguist Herder from this period that the first usage of "Volkslied", in the sense indicated above above, occurs. Some years ago, I made these points and more as one part of a doctoral thesis at a Scottish University, so if anyone wants to trace this origin of the term "Folk Song" and related material, add a wee posting to this thread and I'll give details on how to trace the whole shooting-match.


Of course, you could put it another way; they're called "FolkSongs" because Folks sing them............

An Buachaill Caol Dubh, feilach.


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Subject: RE: Is it really Folk?
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 13 Mar 05 - 04:08 AM

No natural cut off points exist between one type of music and another. To a greater or lesser extent one type morphs into another.

The songs and tunes we call folk are generally old, passed through the oral traditon and have no known origin. But these three are not essential because as treewind points out folk is a process.


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Subject: RE: Is it really Folk?
From: treewind
Date: 13 Mar 05 - 03:43 AM

Folk is't a type of music, it's a process.

Anahata


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Subject: RE: Is it really Folk?
From: GUEST,Rachel Wasbest
Date: 12 Mar 05 - 11:51 PM

Can't be folk as it is not at least two hundred years old. Q E D.


Rachel


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Subject: RE: Is it really Folk?
From: Compton
Date: 15 Dec 03 - 03:56 PM

How about this!!..anything that isn't called Pop, Rock, Classical,Jazz or Music Hall can be called Folk ?? Seriously, any kind of music is anything you want it to be!


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Subject: RE: Is it really Folk?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 14 Dec 03 - 08:14 PM

As I understand it, in India there is "classical music", which was passed down orally, which is distinct from "folk music", which is much more improvised, and of the day.


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Subject: RE: Is it really Folk?
From: GUEST,Li'l Aussie Bleeder.
Date: 14 Dec 03 - 07:37 PM

My interpretation (loosly) of say the difference between classical (old) and folk (old) is that Folk music was passed on oraly and in that process evolved and changed. Classical music was written down, thence becoming fixed as written or scored. Currently, I am involved in a folk art--quilting--in which I see technics being handed on and changed before my eyes and evolving constantly. Also ideas being exchanged but not written down or recorded in any way. Also adapting and exchanging of ideas constantly. However the original purpose being retained.
Well that's in my experience anyway!!
L


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Subject: Lyr Add: LET'S CALL THE WHOLE THING OFF (Gershwin)
From: M.Ted
Date: 14 Dec 03 - 02:29 PM

For the record:
                
Let's Call The Whole thing Off Lyrics
Copyright 1936
Music:George Gershwin
Lyrics: Ira Gershwin

Things have come to a pretty pass,
Our romance is growing flat,
For you like this and the other
While I go for this and that.

Goodness knows what the end will be;
Oh, I don't know where I'm at...
It looks as if we two will never be one,
Something must be done.

You say either and I say eyether,
You say neither and I say nyther;
Either, eyether, neether, nyther,
Let's call the whole thing off!

You like potato and I like potahto,
You like tomato and I like tomahto;
Potato, potaeto, tomato, tomahto!
Let's call the whole thing off!

But oh! If we call the whole thing off,
Then we must part.
And oh! If we ever part,
Then that might break my heart!

So, if you like pajamas and I like pajahmas,
I'll wear pajamas and give up pajahmas.
For we know we need each other,
So we better call the calling off off.
Let's call the whole thing off!

You say laughter and I say lawfter,
You say after and I say awfter;
Laughter, lawfter, after, awfter,
Let's call the whole thing off!

You like vanilla and I like vanella,
You, say sasparilla and I say sasparella;
Vanilla, vanella, Chocolate, strawberry!

So, if you go for oysters and I go for ersters
I'll order oysters and cancel the ersters.
For we know we need each other,
So we better call the calling off off!


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Subject: RE: Is it really Folk?
From: GUEST
Date: 12 Dec 03 - 06:31 PM

So...
Compton is saying, folk is a swear word for people who don't like classical or pop music?
Just joking.
:)


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Subject: RE: Is it really Folk?
From: harvey andrews
Date: 12 Dec 03 - 06:30 PM

The potato/potato sketch was by John Fortune.
If you want to hear what the folk have taken to sing today listen to the football songs from the terraces. These are young men who care not a jot for our categories and they sing songs based on songs dating back to the First World War, to music hall, to 60's pop, from many sources,(how they've found some of them baffles me), but to my ears, hardly anything from popular song of the last two decades.


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Subject: RE: Is it really Folk?
From: Compton
Date: 12 Dec 03 - 06:27 PM

Folk is a four letter word for people who don't like Classsical or Pop Music


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