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Folk Process - is it dead?

Related threads:
what is the Folk Process (35)
The Folk Process (181)
Steps in the Folk Process (54)
The New Folk Process (youtube link) (19)
What does the term 'folk process' mean? (23)


Steve Gardham 08 Dec 16 - 09:11 AM
GUEST,DTM 08 Dec 16 - 07:13 AM
TheSnail 08 Dec 16 - 06:30 AM
SPB-Cooperator 07 Dec 16 - 02:46 PM
Steve Gardham 07 Dec 16 - 02:27 PM
leeneia 07 Dec 16 - 09:59 AM
Jack Campin 06 Dec 16 - 01:53 PM
Jim Carroll 06 Dec 16 - 12:31 PM
Jack Campin 06 Dec 16 - 05:23 AM
GUEST,al whittle 05 Dec 16 - 08:58 PM
GUEST,Melissa Pinol 05 Dec 16 - 03:39 PM
Banjiman 16 Mar 08 - 08:53 AM
Tootler 15 Mar 08 - 01:20 PM
Jim Carroll 15 Mar 08 - 01:19 PM
Banjiman 15 Mar 08 - 06:29 AM
Jim Carroll 15 Mar 08 - 04:02 AM
Banjiman 14 Mar 08 - 07:06 PM
Folkiedave 14 Mar 08 - 04:53 PM
Tootler 14 Mar 08 - 03:46 PM
Jim Carroll 14 Mar 08 - 03:41 PM
Banjiman 14 Mar 08 - 05:58 AM
Big Al Whittle 14 Mar 08 - 05:51 AM
Banjiman 14 Mar 08 - 05:22 AM
Jim Carroll 14 Mar 08 - 04:27 AM
Jim Carroll 13 Mar 08 - 03:51 PM
Big Al Whittle 13 Mar 08 - 12:49 PM
Banjiman 13 Mar 08 - 12:16 PM
GUEST 13 Mar 08 - 12:14 PM
TheSnail 13 Mar 08 - 12:12 PM
Banjiman 13 Mar 08 - 12:09 PM
Big Al Whittle 13 Mar 08 - 11:59 AM
Goose Gander 13 Mar 08 - 11:51 AM
TheSnail 13 Mar 08 - 08:39 AM
mattkeen 13 Mar 08 - 08:13 AM
The Sandman 13 Mar 08 - 05:57 AM
Banjiman 13 Mar 08 - 05:51 AM
Folkiedave 13 Mar 08 - 05:18 AM
Jim Carroll 13 Mar 08 - 03:45 AM
TheSnail 12 Mar 08 - 09:26 AM
Goose Gander 11 Mar 08 - 03:19 PM
Jim Carroll 11 Mar 08 - 03:12 PM
Brian Peters 11 Mar 08 - 12:37 PM
The Sandman 11 Mar 08 - 12:11 PM
Big Al Whittle 11 Mar 08 - 07:37 AM
Brian Peters 11 Mar 08 - 06:30 AM
GUEST,PMB 11 Mar 08 - 06:27 AM
Folkiedave 11 Mar 08 - 06:22 AM
Big Al Whittle 11 Mar 08 - 06:01 AM
Folkiedave 11 Mar 08 - 05:53 AM
Folkiedave 11 Mar 08 - 05:10 AM
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Subject: RE: Folk Process - is it dead?
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 08 Dec 16 - 09:11 AM

Okay, DTM, you go into a music shop and have to spend all day looking for what you want as none of the music has been classified, and all of the assistants are far too busy dealing with a long queue at the counter to give you any help?


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Subject: RE: Folk Process - is it dead?
From: GUEST,DTM
Date: 08 Dec 16 - 07:13 AM

Just to throw a wild card in here.
I like what I like and I don't care how it's classed as a song/tune whether folk, rock, MOR, C&W, it doesn't matter to me as long as I like it.
Mind you, if I DON'T like it, well that's a different story ;-)


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Subject: RE: Folk Process - is it dead?
From: TheSnail
Date: 08 Dec 16 - 06:30 AM

Perhaps Leslie Fish's "the whale is on the beach, he's dying" is a reference to Stephen Foster's "whale that is heard upon the shore".

Sorry.


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Subject: RE: Folk Process - is it dead?
From: SPB-Cooperator
Date: 07 Dec 16 - 02:46 PM

Maybe I need to read the discussions from 8 years ago, but in my view I have seen the 'folk process' as a justification for losing touch with verifiable, collected material to the extent that the collected versions (and styles of performance) begin to lose their relevance, and even become referred to some people as an authentic source with reference to the material it has moved away from.


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Subject: RE: Folk Process - is it dead?
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 07 Dec 16 - 02:27 PM

In answering this question it all depends (unfortunately) on which of the many usages of the word 'folk' you believe in and accept. If you follow the 54 definition religiously then yes the process is all but dead as the communities it then applied to are either no longer in existence or have been swamped with more modern types of music. If you use 'folk' in the wider sense used by the majority of the population, albeit heavily influenced by the media and commercial interests, similar processes are still operating, but within largely different communities (the folk-scene for instance). You can't begin to answer the OP's question without addressing this.

There are in pockets here and there still now communities where the 54 processes are still going strong. They are out of the main spotlight and totally ignored by people of the folk scene, but they exist even in places like England where we assume these processes have died out.


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Subject: RE: Folk Process - is it dead?
From: leeneia
Date: 07 Dec 16 - 09:59 AM

Back to folk music.

No the folk process isn't dead. I do it myself.


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Subject: RE: Folk Process - is it dead?
From: Jack Campin
Date: 06 Dec 16 - 01:53 PM

The point is that the sort of bollocks about Hillary Clinton that won Trump the election was not all made up by a central bullshit agency - given the initial impetus, the right-wing folklore machine amplified and elaborated it.


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Subject: RE: Folk Process - is it dead?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 06 Dec 16 - 12:31 PM

Nice one Jack, but lying and conniving politicians are deliberate, the folk process in natural, though both are unconsciously produced and instinctive on occasion
Even broadsides have to be passed through a creative process before beicoming 'folk'
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Folk Process - is it dead?
From: Jack Campin
Date: 06 Dec 16 - 05:23 AM

The "folk process" is not only alive, it's more significant than ever. That was what won Trump the election: the propagation of lies, misrepresentations and ever more mangled messages by his support network. Compared with that, a typical Jacobite balladeer was as straight-up as a court stenographer.

(If you've read a bunch of 17th century religio-political broadsides you'll see exactly where alt-right rhetoric comes from - truth, insight, elegance, wit and style didn't come into it; the only point was to be as brutally insulting as possible).


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Subject: RE: Folk Process - is it dead?
From: GUEST,al whittle
Date: 05 Dec 16 - 08:58 PM

i don't know the song - but if you want to sing about beached whales and/or waivering on the beat,
this sounds like a valuable and worthwhile addition to your repertoire.


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Subject: RE: Folk Process - is it dead?
From: GUEST,Melissa Pinol
Date: 05 Dec 16 - 03:39 PM

I think the Folk Process is clearly surviving in what people call "Mondegreens(sp?)" Or misunderstood lyrics.Even in copyrighted material this is apparent. For example, if you look up Phil Ochs "No More Songs" online, there seems to be a difference of opinion in one line in the last stanza.Some people think it says "he waivers on the beat, he's dying" others think it is "the whale is on the beach, he's dying". If you listen to him sing,in most cases it sounds like he is saying the interpretation about the whale, which fits with a reference to " a white bone in the sand" in other words beach imagery is being used ( there's also the fact whales also sing)But Mudcat's lyric archive has the "waivers on the beat"version. I learned the song from Leslie Fish,who wrote a mythic/ allegorical Phil Ochs tribute called " Chickasaw Mountain" and she sang the whale version. I actually found it touching, considering the helplessness of beached whales, and whalesong.I sang it that way for years, but at one event someone actually burst out laughing yelling "whale on the beach!" How rude!This is an example of the folk process in my opinion.


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Subject: RE: Folk Process - is it dead?
From: Banjiman
Date: 16 Mar 08 - 08:53 AM

Jim,

Indeed!

Geoff,

Thanks for kind words re "The Visitor" . You tube link here for those who haven't heard it and are interested.

I agree with your points with regards to the folk process. Whatever you want to call it, there is a process that is ongoing that is still creating some great music from both traditional and more contemporary sources.

Paul


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Subject: RE: Folk Process - is it dead?
From: Tootler
Date: 15 Mar 08 - 01:20 PM

Paul,

I agree that last Sunday's shanty sing was an excellent afternoon. Good singing, good choruses and a good mix of traditional and songs with known composers whether recent or otherwise.

I very much liked your Wife's song about the Robin Hoods Bay rescue. As well as being an excellent song in its own right, it is, IMHO, a good example of a recently composed song which has been influenced by traditional song.

As to the subject of the thread, I think some of the discussion around the nature of traditional song and the 1954 definition is something of a red herring. Surely the question is about whether the folk process is still operating both on traditional song and on more recently composed song.

I think that as long as people are singing songs from memory and interpreting them in their own way, the answer must be "yes" because inevitably individuals in interpreting the song will incorporate changes either deliberately, or because they forget something and have to improvise, or they because make a 'mistake'. Most of the changes will be lost, but sometimes they will be taken up and a variation of the song will arise. It is, I think, a natural evolutionary process and will occur in any popular genre of music where the convention is to sing from memory, but I think that changes are more likely to be accepted in folk music because that is seen as being a natural part of the form.

Incidentally I this applies as much to instrumental music as it does to song.

Geoff


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Subject: RE: Folk Process - is it dead?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 15 Mar 08 - 01:19 PM

"Meanwhile, is the "folk" process alive or dead?"
Isn't this where we came in?
Dead as mutton!
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Folk Process - is it dead?
From: Banjiman
Date: 15 Mar 08 - 06:29 AM

Jim,

OK, so I don't have a better definition at my finger tips and frankly life is too short to worry about it! These are only labels after all.

I would like to call a truce, you get on with what you enjoy as folk and I'll do the same. You have clearly done a lot of work around preserving traditional music, I do respect this.

Meanwhile, is the "folk" process alive or dead?

Paul


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Subject: RE: Folk Process - is it dead?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 15 Mar 08 - 04:02 AM

Paul,
If I have misunderstood, I apologise.
However, if the 1954 definition is out of date and irrelevant it surely must have been replaced by one more in keeping with the times - surely?
I look forward to hearing it............. nah, no I don't - couldn't possibly hold my breath that long!
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Folk Process - is it dead?
From: Banjiman
Date: 14 Mar 08 - 07:06 PM

Jim,

Out of context again....this was in response to the (your) 1954 definition of "folk" music, not the music itself.

Tootler,

I don't know about you but I thoroughly enjoyed almost everything served up last Sunday afternoon, a fair mix of trad, self penned and other stuff. It seemed to gel as a whole though. Shame I missed the glory years!

Paul


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Subject: RE: Folk Process - is it dead?
From: Folkiedave
Date: 14 Mar 08 - 04:53 PM

I am not aware that the situation has changed radically.

Starting with great books - the re-issue of Penguin as Classic English Folk Songs, the new edition of Marrowbones and Traveller's Joy are all excellent publications. As a s/h dealer Bronson will last for minutes on my shelves and I can sell all the complete sets of Greig-Duncan I can get hold of as well. These are emphatically not going to book collectors - I know every single person who has bought Bronson from me has used it, likewise the two sets of G-D I have sold. I currently have a customer who both sings and writes songs, contemplating purchasing the original Child. And they don't come cheap!!

I really think the folk process here is alive and doing well. Decent festivals with quality artists are legion. Loughborough last week was a sell-out, near as dammit, yes it had Lau (persoanlly I think they are great) - but it also had Geoff Wesley. It set out to use the "National" as a model for part of the festival. Yes it had a Distil Showcase - but it had that traditional strand too. And I don't see them as exclusive to each other anyway. And this from a strictly commercial enterprise. But that same succesful enterprise got a really good grant to take traveller culture into schools in the hopes of increasing understanding - with music and dance.

The scene has changed and in my opinion not always for the better but I suspect people were using similar words 50, 100, 150 and 200 years ago!! The difference is that we can now communicate it.







But of course it is much easier now to get at publications via the web.


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Subject: RE: Folk Process - is it dead?
From: Tootler
Date: 14 Mar 08 - 03:46 PM

What you haven't grasped Banjiman is that things aren't what they was.

You've hit the nail on the head, WLD. I detect more than a hint of "years ago when everything was perfect" about some of the posts in this thread.


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Subject: RE: Folk Process - is it dead?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 14 Mar 08 - 03:41 PM

Banjiman:
You wrote :
"What is the point?....we're not ever going to agree...you appear to have a completely closed mind to anything that doesn't fit into a box that was defined in a previous era that can't possibly exist (or have any relevance)in the modern world. Please enjoy your museum."
You were spot on in your first bit though.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Folk Process - is it dead?
From: Banjiman
Date: 14 Mar 08 - 05:58 AM

WLD,

I wasn't around when things were what they was......maybe that's the problem!

Still, I'm happy in my own little world, got Tom Bliss, Franana & Robin Bailey on at KFFC tomorrow night and our own gig on Sunday at Loftus, KFFC Bluegrass (can I mention Bluegrass on Mudcat?) Special on Monday night.....and the process goes on!


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Subject: RE: Folk Process - is it dead?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 14 Mar 08 - 05:51 AM

What you haven't grasped Banjiman is that things aren't what they was. And people aren't what they was. Surgically remove the folk, the actual people of the 21st century from the equation and you've got bloody brilliant folkmusic - going on everywhere. In fact there it goes again.....


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Subject: RE: Folk Process - is it dead?
From: Banjiman
Date: 14 Mar 08 - 05:22 AM

Jim,

Please can you provide the quote where I suggested "our" songs are irrelevant.....I really can't remember saying that.

I repeat (ad nauseam) that I have a healthy respect for traditional songs, it's just not the whole story.

Within the community I live in, 3 small villages in a rural part of North Yorks, not to far from 2 smallish towns, we are doing a lot of work to involve "non-folkies" in what we are doing at Kirkby Fleetham Folk Club. I know from talking to my friends and neighbours what they find accessible (and inaccessible) about "folk" music. Agreed this is not an academic study, but if we get it wrong, the club will not survive. The "folk" population alone is too small to sustain it. I am not talking here about putting on 60's/ 70's pop/rock dressed up as folk but music that could broadly be defined as "within the tradition" (occasionally leaning towards modern "acoustic") but well sung/ played and well presented.

This has ranged from trad unaccompanied singers (which goes down well if the performer is good enough and makes good choices around material....and really turns "non-folkies" off when done badly) to self penned singer songwriter/ guitarist types writing on traditional and/or local themes and lots of other variants. I guess we are trying hard to open the doors of the "lodge" and yes, this does mean some compromise, but probably not as much as you think.

Paul


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Subject: RE: Folk Process - is it dead?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 14 Mar 08 - 04:27 AM

Bryan - (hate some of these tag names),
You may be right, don't get to clubs as much as I used to, but I still get in the odd visit when I get the chance (about a year).
I rely on forums like these and magazines like fRoots and The Living Tradition for my information nowadays - and the impression I am left with was the one I have expressed. The clincher for me was when a visitor here told us of the great night he had attended in his local FOLK club when they put on an evening of Beatles songs - where's me hat!!!
There is no club scene here in the west of Ireland, though there are a number of singing clubs, most of the ones we have visited, with few exceptions are..... well, nuff sed!
Can I clear up one point that seems to have crept in.
I have never made a good-or-bad distinction between the 'revival' and the 'tradition', or between 'the folk process' and the conscious role by (some) revival clubs to keep the old songs alive (and use their form to create new songs). In talking about the two as not being the same, it's a question of difference, not of quality or importance.
There exists an odd situation at present, two different languages being used to discuss the same subject; the one used by (some) clubs and the other spoken by those who research, collect and write - from learned tomes to dictionary references). The last major work to be published was 'The Greig-Duncan Folk Song Collection' (8 volumes), which presents folk song as I understand it, as did Bert Lloyd's 'Folk Song in England' forty years earlier and 'The Penguin Book of English Folk Songs' eight years earlier again.
Personally, I have a foot in both camps; while Pat and I have worked to get some understanding of how the tradition was, we have both got a great deal of enjoyment and satisfaction as performers and audience in the clubs. We dearly wish that others continue to get the same pleasure as we did.
In the eighties, the folk scene we were part of imploded, audiences disappeared and most of the clubs folded. I am not aware that the situation has changed radically. It seems to me that we stand a great chance in the not-to-distant future of losing entirely what Lomax, MacColl, Lloyd, and all the other pioneers set up half a century ago.
Here in Ireland the 'MUSIC' has been guarenteed a future with a huge influx of young players (80 odd teens and pre teens playing on last St Pat's parade in this town).
The same is not the case with the songs, the bulk of the singers being around my age, with no new blood coming into the scene.
It seems to me that, apart from some small pockets in the UK, the situation is pretty much the same (though I do suggest that the the standard of singing is far higher in Ireland than it is here). Please tell me this is not the case!
If we're going to salvage anything from what has gone before, it needs to be from a clear understanding of where we are and what we need to do (IMO).
Banjiman;
It's more than a little arrogant to speak on behalf of the population at large in describing our songs as 'irrelevant'.
In my experience, the 'ordinary' people (whoever they are), gained their impression of 'folk' from school music lessons, from the folk boom, Spinners Concerts, Christie Moore performances, Riverdance.... et al, not from what happens at folk clubs, most of which seem to be as remote and mysterious as Freemason's Lodges to the general public.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Folk Process - is it dead?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 13 Mar 08 - 03:51 PM

Cap'n
Glad to see you back - thought we'd pissed you off
More later - off to Joe Ryan's funeral and a long-long-long-long-long night of music
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Folk Process - is it dead?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 13 Mar 08 - 12:49 PM

You are obviously a newcomer, we have established by lengthy debate and common consent that my work falls outside 'the tradition'.


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Subject: RE: Folk Process - is it dead?
From: Banjiman
Date: 13 Mar 08 - 12:16 PM

Guest....only in a community of navel gazers who have never been recorded or had any contact with the modern world. LOL


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Subject: RE: Folk Process - is it dead?
From: GUEST
Date: 13 Mar 08 - 12:14 PM

Would such a song fall within the folk tradition?


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Subject: RE: Folk Process - is it dead?
From: TheSnail
Date: 13 Mar 08 - 12:12 PM

weelittledrummer

Dou know you guys have inspired me. I'm going to write a song about contemplating navels.

Your own or someone else's?


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Subject: RE: Folk Process - is it dead?
From: Banjiman
Date: 13 Mar 08 - 12:09 PM

WLD,

Don't forget the fluff!!!!!

Paul


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Subject: RE: Folk Process - is it dead?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 13 Mar 08 - 11:59 AM

Dou know you guys have inspired me. I'm going to write a song about contemplating navels.


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Subject: RE: Folk Process - is it dead?
From: Goose Gander
Date: 13 Mar 08 - 11:51 AM

Kevin Mitchell had some interesting comments regarding singing v. the instrumental tradition in this interview first published (I believe) in Living Tradition.

"Great players, of course, but that's all some of them want to do - play. They don't seem to know the tradition, the 'rule' that you give people space, that you put down your instrument and listen to an unaccompanied song, maybe. Many youngsters, I'd say, don't have any real understanding or respect for the singing. Not just youngsters either. Still, I'm not downhearted. Here in Glasgow, Colin MacAllister and Owen Kelly of Comhaltas are running regular mixed-age workshops on Irish song. At these - they're packed out, by the way - youngsters learn what the tradition means, including respect for other performers and different musical styles. That's a good way forward, I believe."


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Subject: RE: Folk Process - is it dead?
From: TheSnail
Date: 13 Mar 08 - 08:39 AM

I've had a browse through the "Folk clubs - what is being sung " thread and, as far as I can see, (I'm not very good at lists) it consists largely of traditional songs with a proportion of songs written "in the tradition". There are a few oddities like Led Zeppelin and the Grateful Dead but, for the record, 'Blue Suede Shoes' and 'Yellow Submarine' are not mentioned. In over thirty five years, I have never heard them in a folk club.

Jim Carroll's response was -
Have been out of the club scene for some time. This thread has convinced me that I have not missed much.

In this thread he says -
I'll settle for an occasional evening of a good mixture of traditional songs and newer ones made using traditional poetic forms and musical styles, sung to a reasonable standard by people who sound that the enjoy and understand them.

That is the current folk scene that I know, on top of which, I have seen at least six out of Jim's list locally (Sussex, England). Most recently Roisín White. Two 45 minute sets of unaccompanied singing that kept a packed club spellbound. His nightmare scenario of navel contemplating guitarists singing pop songs may exist somewhere but I don't see it. They certainly don't dominate the scene that I know about.

When did you last go to a folk club, Jim? Drag yourself away from Taggart and get out more.

Apropos of nothing, for those who don't know, my name is Bryan Creer. One of the versions of Barbara Allen was collected from Ellen Creer of Castletown, Isle of Man. I haven't tracked down whether she's a relative.


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Subject: RE: Folk Process - is it dead?
From: mattkeen
Date: 13 Mar 08 - 08:13 AM

What Banjimam has been saying expresses what I feel about the subject.

Thread goes to prove that when viewed from outside of the folk community we are our own worst enemies.


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Subject: RE: Folk Process - is it dead?
From: The Sandman
Date: 13 Mar 08 - 05:57 AM

Jim,your post tells me a lot about yourself.
all the singers you mention are unacccompanied singers.
I too can listen to a good unaccompanied singer for a whole evening providing they vary their material, tempos,keys,and story of songs.
I am also quite happy to hear skilfully accompanied traditional/modern[ with trad influence] songs.
I think that the unaccompanied singer[because he/she is relying entirely upon the voice]has to be very conscious of good presentation of the material,has to be able to stimulate audience partricipation[ maybe30/40 percent chorus songs],because many modern audiences are not familiar with unaccompanied singing,and might find an hour of it ,hard going.
I do not believe the folk process is dead ,it may change,the way we acquire new information may change [via the computer, even learning by ear via the computer],but people will still go on learning the old songs,as well as modern songs.Dick Miles


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Subject: RE: Folk Process - is it dead?
From: Banjiman
Date: 13 Mar 08 - 05:51 AM

Paul with big pants, painted on smile and red nose here, oh and I've just fallen over.

Jim,

How long have you worked for the Sun? I assume you are quoting me when you mention "finger-in-ear" and "97 verse ballads". This is out of context as we were discussing what puts "the public" off attending folk clubs not what has intrinsic value as a folk song.

I like and value traditional music (and very scarily, I found myself with my hand cupped around my ear last Saturday night when involved in a mass sing at a Front Room Folk gathering), but it is not the whole story.

Even more scarily I agree with you that "Yellow Submarine & "Blue Suede Shoes" would not be my choice of listening (even when they are dressed up as "folk" songs).

I maintain that there is still a process of adoption, adaption and creation of a form of music that sounds to me very like "folk" within a community that I am part of. This involves a lot of traditional material as well as "newer ones made using traditional poetic forms and musical styles, sung to a reasonable standard by people who sound that the enjoy and understand them".

I struggle to understand why this being part of a revival or an unbroken line of tradition makes it sound any better or worse? Please feel free to educate this arrogant little upstart.


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Subject: RE: Folk Process - is it dead?
From: Folkiedave
Date: 13 Mar 08 - 05:18 AM

Jim,

I have argued long and hard about the relevance of traditional music to today and indeed said so in the EFDSS magazine (Xmas issue). I have also argued long and had for standards to be high and higher.

But if all those people (many of them people I have heard and admired too) are still singing then I would suggest the process is going on.

Either that or all of them have stopped learning songs.


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Subject: RE: Folk Process - is it dead?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 13 Mar 08 - 03:45 AM

Snail,
"Do you want people to sing the songs or not?"
That's what I have spent the greater part of my life trying to make happen - too late in the day to change my mind now, even if I wanted to.
The question was: "Folk Process - is it dead?".
My answer is 'yes it is' and I have given my reasons for believing so.
Others have said it isn't - as long as you include in the definition forgetting the words and making it up as you go along; or if you are prepared to abandon any definition of the term 'folk' completely - sorry, won't do that!
I agree entirely that I went to the wrong clubs; the problem is (from the 'what is being sung in folk clubs' thread, it is these clubs that dominate the scene now.
What do I want ? Weellllll..... I'd like a wall-to-wall session of good singing from Kevin Mitchell, Len Graham, Antaine ó Farachain, Jim McFarland, Terry Yarnell, Bob Blair, Sheila Stewart, Alison McMorland, Joe Aitken, Roisín al Safti, Pádraigín Ní Uallacháin, John and Tim Lyons, Con 'Fada' O'Driscoll, Rosie Stewart, Roisín White (if there is a predominance of Irish singers here, this isn't necessarily my personal taste, just what's available to me nowadays)... and all the other singers who give me a buzz... Failing that, I'll settle for an occasional evening of a good mixture of traditional songs and newer ones made using traditional poetic forms and musical styles, sung to a reasonable standard by people who sound that the enjoy and understand them.
What I don't want is evenings of 'Blue Suede Shoes' and 'Yellow Submarine'.... and all the other songs that appear to pass as 'folk songs' in some peoples minds.
Neither do I want arrogant clowns using terms like 'finger-in-ear' and '97 verse ballads', whose own tastes run to songs that apparently come with a sell-by date and a break-off point of three minutes, telling me that the music I have been listening to "could not possibly have any relevence today".
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Folk Process - is it dead?
From: TheSnail
Date: 12 Mar 08 - 09:26 AM

I agree wholeheartedly with GUEST,PMB. Jim Carroll's "200-odd plus identifiable versions of Barbara Allen" didn't arise spontaneously and independantly in 200 different traditions. The song was passed from singer to singer and community to community over the centuries. I doubt if either the original song or the original community from which it came still exist. Of course, if that original song still existed, it would not be a folk song under the 1954 definition. Society changes, communities rise and fall, generally depending on how they earn their living, but the songs and the music go on.

I really don't understand what you want, Jim. You complain that people are not singing the songs but then tell those who do that they are not folk singers because they are not part of the tradition. You say "It really pisses me off when somebody describes our work as 'museum keeping'." and then say "Nowadays, our best hope is to archive our recordings and make them available that way."

Do you want people to sing the songs or not? If so, you're in luck because I hear them on a regular basis. On another thread you said "There is some (not enough, for my taste) excellent singing here from people who respect and enjoy the songs enough to put in the effort. Didn't get that in my last few experiences in the UK - sorry."

I'm sorry, Jim, you went to the wrong clubs.


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Subject: RE: Folk Process - is it dead?
From: Goose Gander
Date: 11 Mar 08 - 03:19 PM

The persistence of the instrumental tradition (in Ireland, West Virginia, etc.) is an interesting phenomenon. Is playing an instrument somehow more 'romantic' or otherwise appealing in comparision to unacccompanied singing? It certainly takes a good deal more effort, and yet it seems to be much more vigorous.


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Subject: RE: Folk Process - is it dead?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 11 Mar 08 - 03:12 PM

Dave,
Tom M was right - he spent fifteen years collecting memories (as we did)
Walter was right - no more singing in Knapton.
Kennedy was also largely collecting memories (song carriers MacColl called them).
Music situation is not clear cut - I know, it happens on my doorstep.
More later
Jim


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Subject: RE: Folk Process - is it dead?
From: Brian Peters
Date: 11 Mar 08 - 12:37 PM

Too bad, Dick - you have been an effective agent provocateur.


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Subject: RE: Folk Process - is it dead?
From: The Sandman
Date: 11 Mar 08 - 12:11 PM

Subject: RE: Folk Process - is it dead?
From: Brian Peters - PM
Date: 11 Mar 08 - 06:30 AM

>> i think its catchier and has more purchase on the sensibility of a modern audience. <<

You are posing an interesting question here, and one that ties in with the "complex arrangments" thread. Is what we now call 'folk music' high art or mass entertainment? Does it belong in the concert hall or the tap room? Should it appeal to the afficionado or the casual listener?

Someone should start a new thread (or has this one already been done?)....

Captain??? .
I am off to play music ,Ihave given up on these futile discussions.Dick Miles


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Subject: RE: Folk Process - is it dead?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 11 Mar 08 - 07:37 AM

"Does he say why he imitated her talking voice? "

I got the impression it was for the pleasure of recalling - as one does. You know, you think of your mate down the road and you copy his intonation to illustrate his character.

You might be entertaining the masses Brian - it tends to be a solitary pursuit in our house. Not even the wife likes it that much. As is the case with so much in life....(as they say).


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Subject: RE: Folk Process - is it dead?
From: Brian Peters
Date: 11 Mar 08 - 06:30 AM

>> i think its catchier and has more purchase on the sensibility of a modern audience. <<

You are posing an interesting question here, and one that ties in with the "complex arrangments" thread. Is what we now call 'folk music' high art or mass entertainment? Does it belong in the concert hall or the tap room? Should it appeal to the afficionado or the casual listener?

Someone should start a new thread (or has this one already been done?)....

Captain???


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Subject: RE: Folk Process - is it dead?
From: GUEST,PMB
Date: 11 Mar 08 - 06:27 AM

re-drawing your terms of reference, and claiming 'traditional' for revival singers

Agreed

(1) that the "old" singers usually died out without handing their songs on to anyone else in their local communities.

(2) that this means that the songs can no longer develop within those communities.

(3) that therefore those lines of "the folk tradition" have died out.

But that's claiming a lot more for "the folk tradition" than most would agree with- that a tradition can not be transferred to another community, and that a tradition only exists within a defined economic group. The isolated peasant farming communities of the west of Ireland, small scale fishing, sailing ships and cowboys- all disappeared as economic conditions changed (in Ireland only the isolation really changed for many).

If a tradition can't transfer to a new community, the Appalachian songs collected by Sharp and Karpeles weren't traditional. Unless of course some communities have a mysterious stamp of approval.

If the traditions are bound to economic conditions their demise is inevitable, and must have happened many times in the past. So no music has ever been traditional?

And you are still ignoring the undeniable vibrant and triumphant existence of the Irish instrumental music tradition (for one)- which illustrates the point that you can't really tell the difference between "tradition" and "revival"....




... unless we're going to have a new full- hour session on how and when diddlydiddley segued from the one to the other.....


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Subject: RE: Folk Process - is it dead?
From: Folkiedave
Date: 11 Mar 08 - 06:22 AM

to be honest I liked the way Joan Baez taught us all Geordie say, more than Martin carthy's attempt to convey how the lady he learned it off used to sing it.

No I didn't say he imitated her singing voice - her talking voice.

Clearly you don't see a contradiction there. I think it was an easy mistake for me to make, to assume that you meant her singing.

Does he say why he imitated her talking voice?


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Subject: RE: Folk Process - is it dead?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 11 Mar 08 - 06:01 AM

No I didn't say he imitated her singing voice - her talking voice.

Why not get the dvd - its very good. he talks a lot about his abandonment of the current folkstyles of the 1960's. Particularly the trendy DADGAD guitar tuning - how he tried to stop the guitar dictating the tune - rather than accompanying it. Which is what I was tryting to say.

he says the there was no tradition of English folk guitar playing and he had to try and make it. Its as though he believes the songs simply didn't fit those Baez patterns - not really!

All I was saying, was that I'm damn glad I heard Baez singing henry Martin before I heard The Lofty Tall ship. i think its catchier and has more purchase on the sensibility of a modern audience. I can't see that my observation is even controversial.


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Subject: RE: Folk Process - is it dead?
From: Folkiedave
Date: 11 Mar 08 - 05:53 AM

Sorry about that I pressed the wrong button.

Cecil Sharpe went around collecting just less than 100 years ago because he believed the songs were dying out.

The Folk Song Society believed there were virtually no more songs to collect in 1931.

Walter Pardon "put the death of the tradition in his area to two years before..... [WWII] " ;

Peter Kennedy started collecting after the death of Stanley Slade (about 1952)

It seemed to have died in Winterton around 1960 and amongst the travellers you were talking to in 1972.

Tom Munnelly thought it was a race with the undertaker in 1975 - but went on racing for another 15 years.

The collection from tradition bearers has slowed down and may end eventually - though in my opinion has been greatly exagerrated time and time again - as those descriptions show. And there are tradition bearers as young as 29. I met one the other week as I said. Learnt his music and songs through his family and the part of his village community that was interested in that sort of thing. Even went on family holidays singing and playing with uncles and aunts. As he said - "All my friends were going to Mallorca and Greece for their summer holidays, I was going to Skye to learn music with my uncles". Incidentally his father is still passing traditional muscic on - someone contacted me after the interview and told me shortly after the show.

But we are not talking about collecting - we are talking about the folk process of - to put it simply, adaptation and change.
It may not be adapting and changing in the rural villages, or the travelling communities as mch as it was - though with the hunts it still happens in at least two areas to my certain knowledge. And there are a number of shepherd meets locally.

When I started carolling in 1972 I went to one particular pub. Shortly afterwards the pub changed building structure and the pianist died and a couple of the main singers died and the carolling stopped. All the evidence pointed to the death of the tradition and all for the usual reasons.

I didn't conclude that the carolling tradition had died out. Just as well since it was thriving in Padstow; Glenrock in Pennsylvania where a direct line to England could be traced; Odcombe in Somerset and of course two miles up the road. And that tradition is still adapting and changing and still has tradition bearers singing at it.


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Subject: RE: Folk Process - is it dead?
From: Folkiedave
Date: 11 Mar 08 - 05:10 AM

Jim,

You are answering the wreong


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