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What is Happening to our Folk Clubs

09 Oct 17 - 01:51 PM (#3881162)
Subject: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: GUEST,Mudcat Moaner

Has anyone else noticed the gradual decline in performance standards amoungst floor singers. It used to be the case that some degree of ability was required but it now seems we have breed floor singer who turns up with his printed word sheets, sings unaccompanied and thinks that's all that necessary


09 Oct 17 - 02:00 PM (#3881168)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Jack Campin

Has anyone noticed the decline in quality of whining on Mudcat? Used to be that peeves had some originality to them, but nowadays people just repeat the same whines we've had on dozens of threads before.


09 Oct 17 - 02:29 PM (#3881172)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Steve Gardham

Whining on Mudcat? Never!


09 Oct 17 - 04:09 PM (#3881180)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Tattie Bogle

Just the reverse in our area, re floor spotters, that is! They seem to get better all the time. Some of them otherwise sing semi-professionally as festival guests, even if it's not their main day job. On occasion, some have been known to outshine the main guest!


09 Oct 17 - 06:06 PM (#3881196)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Johnny J

Balerno FC(if you're talking about there) is very much "old school"...... Morag, Janet, the late Maggie C and others from the past would never have dreamed of using song sheets. It's obviously rubbed off on the newer floor spots too.
I'm not sure it's so good in other folk clubs though and certainly not in more informal sessions and gatherings.


09 Oct 17 - 06:14 PM (#3881198)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: GUEST,G-Force

I'm surprised to hear you consider standards are lower than before. Certainly our Club has many excellent performers: lots of enthusiasm and talent. Of course there is the possibility that none of us are exactly in the first flush of youth so have been performing for a good many years, some semi-professionally as with the previous post. Frankly if we can't turn out a decent performance now we should be ashamed of ourselves.


09 Oct 17 - 06:20 PM (#3881201)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Tattie Bogle

Johnny J, I was meaning Edinburgh & Lothians generally, and beyond in other areas of Scotland.


10 Oct 17 - 03:08 AM (#3881242)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Mr Red

Personally I have found that the average may have changed, but what has happened to some events is that the young dynamic singers/instrumentalists that would otherwise replace the ones at the other end of the conveyor belt have, by and large, followed a different fashion. Aspirations to be famous & rich is the current trend, which diminishes the pool of potential performers.

Add to that the club attendees & organisers have settled into a pattern and the organisers with flair have had to decamp. In one case I can cite, the driving force always had a project. The club cassette, folk plays, theme nights etc. He had a sabbatical and came back with a different venue and is doing the same kind of thing elsewhere. And the new club has a dynamism that the old club doesn't. Personalities play a big part - if they grow tired the drive dilutes with them.

My singing/wrongciting morphed into social Folk dancing, video documentation, audio history collecting, journalism and websites. After 120 written songs you notice a repetition/re-use that lacks freshness. Creative people may have butterfly minds!


10 Oct 17 - 03:35 AM (#3881244)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: GUEST,Orson Trap

Musicians (not folky strummers) have their music in front of them in orchestras, brass bands, jazz bands etc. Lots of Folk artists (?) have music stands in front of them on stages at festivals...even the likes of Bob Dylan etc. Ok, I don't like it when it sounds like they are 'singing by numbers' but does it matter if they are putting over the song in the right spirit?


10 Oct 17 - 03:56 AM (#3881250)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Richard Mellish

As with so many things, there is a spectrum.

At one end is the singer for whom knowing the song perfectly is a point of honour and who would therefore rather not sing at all than have any kind of prompt sheet. Unfortunately they may nevertheless sometimes forget the next line or the next verse: then they improvise, go "la-la", get a prompt from someone else in the room or just stop in the middle of the song.

Then there's the singer who refers to a prompt sheet (or a smart phone) if it becomes necessary.

At the other extreme is the singer who reads the words as if they've never seen them before, struggling even to make them fit the tune.

We can all have our points of view on this, but I know where I personally draw the line of acceptability.


10 Oct 17 - 04:53 AM (#3881261)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: GUEST,rewster

The Moaner is spot on for round here. People are running their own sessions to escape the crap in the clubs.


10 Oct 17 - 05:42 AM (#3881268)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Johnny J

Was it Karl Dallas who once said "Folk clubs exist so that one day they no longer need to exist..."?

Personally, I still see the value of folk clubs but there are so many other arrangements out there these days including "Open Mics", all manner of sessions, workshops..to learn your craft, Ceilidh nights, folkie concerts in Art centres and small venues and so on.

As such the format of many remaining folk clubs have changed somewhat. The larger ones adopt more of a concert style and often rely on "hand picked" floor spots or supports. Smaller clubs rely more on resident singers and musicians of varying standards. While they do have occasional guests, they don't tend to rely on "big names" may even book local amateur performers on occasion.

As such, the quality of both flor spots and guests is bound to vary but, thankfully, we can still pick and choose where to go...in my area, anyway.


10 Oct 17 - 05:44 AM (#3881269)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: TheSnail

Lead by example, GUEST,Mudcat Moaner. Show them how it's done. Give them something to aspire to. If you really can't bear to spend time with these inferior people, stay at home and watch yourself playing air guitar in the bathroom mirror.
Glad to hear it, GUEST,rewster. Most people who complain about how terrible the organisers/performers/floor singers/audience are tend to scuttle back under their stones when you suggest they try and organise something themselves.


10 Oct 17 - 05:55 AM (#3881271)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Johnny J

"Most people who complain about how terrible the organisers/performers/floor singers/audience are tend to scuttle back under their stones when you suggest they try and organise something themselves."

True, but it would be nice if the more constructive complainers had the opportunity to get their "foot in the door" and make suggestions and change within the organisation. Unfortunately, most clubs and organisations tend to be resistant to change. So, newcomers to committees etc often face an uphill struggle and either tend to give up and quit or, alternatively, conform and go with the flow.
So, nothing much really changes..sadly, I know from experience.

Setting up in competition is not always practical especially in a smaller town or where there already a surfeit of clubs and sessions. You really need to have a few good original ideas and lots of motivation. Not everyone can do this but their opinions should still be considered by existing organisations as long as they are presented tactfully and constructively


10 Oct 17 - 05:59 AM (#3881272)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: GUEST

Many venues are being dominated by singer-songwriters ,many of whom are very bad at both.i don't go to sessions much these days because of these people who write political rants or songs about how the girlfriend left them. I would like to see certain nights designated for this sort of thing, then I could avoid them and go and enjoy those other sessions which present a wider variety of music.


10 Oct 17 - 06:19 AM (#3881274)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: TheSnail

I think we all probably have very limited experience of what goes on in folk clubs and think that our experience is universal. I don't recognise much about the problems described here nor much in the way of "constructive complainers".
Going back to the beginning "Has anyone else noticed the gradual decline in performance standards amoungst floor singers."
No.


10 Oct 17 - 06:30 AM (#3881276)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Johnny J

"constructive complainers"

Not the best description, I suppose, and it was a bit tongue in cheek. ;-))

However, there are lots of people with good ideas out there whose input would be worthy of consideration. However, they might just not have quite enough motivation, ability, or experience to start their own club or whatever and it might not even be practical.


10 Oct 17 - 06:35 AM (#3881277)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: GUEST

Snail , I don't quite follow your reasoning! Are you suggesting that people who regularly attend folk clubs have very limited experience of what goes on there ?
Your post seems a bit unclear, perhaps you could have just stuck with "No".


10 Oct 17 - 06:58 AM (#3881280)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: TheSnail

Sorry Johnny J but I have a bit of a history of getting pissed off with the moaners who don't seem to be prepared to actually do anything themselves. Folk clubs only exist because of the people who DO have the motivation (most importantly) to actually do something. I don't feel that people like GUEST,Mudcat Moaner are actually coming up with good ideas worthy of consideration. In my experience, most organisers welcome ideas and contributions.

Anonymous GUEST, people who regularly attend folk clubs have a lot of experience of the folk clubs they regularly attend. I attend one club every week (I help to run it) and others when I have the time along with quite a few sessions and festivals. From that experience I would not be prpared to make sweeping statements about the state of Folk Clubs as if they were a single entity. For instance, "Many venues are being dominated by singer-songwriters" may well happen but it not something I have ever encountered in the last forty years.


10 Oct 17 - 07:10 AM (#3881283)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: GUEST

Well, Snail, that does not mean that it does not happen. You seem to be the one who is assuming that your experience is universal! But many others seem to feel differently, I do know that many people also make "constructive" suggestion, or work hard to improve things. not all criticism is mere moaning, is it ? anyway, I have probably said enough .


10 Oct 17 - 07:38 AM (#3881293)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: TheSnail

Anonymous GUEST, try reading what I've actually said.


10 Oct 17 - 07:39 AM (#3881295)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: GUEST

I have read it, thanks!


10 Oct 17 - 10:39 AM (#3881344)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: GUEST

An old fellow was resting on a rock just outside Athens.
A passing traveller stopped to chat, saying that he was on his way from Corinth and wondered what sort of people he'd meet in Athens. "What are the Corinthians like?" asked the old fellow. "Pretty dull, on the whole, when they're not being unfriendly or unhelpful." "That's a pity, I was thinking of moving out of Athens 'cos they're just like that there too."
A bit later, another chap passing by stopped to chat, saying that he was on his way from Corinth and wondered what sort of people he'd meet in Athens. "What are the Corinthians like?" asked the old fellow. "Oh, they're a great bunch, full of go, always willing to muck in and help." "You're in luck," said the old man, " that's just how I'd describe the Athenians."


10 Oct 17 - 11:30 AM (#3881358)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Jack Campin

In my experience, most organisers welcome ideas and contributions.

At the club local to me (which I haven't been to for years) you could go regularly for 10 years and never be told who the committee were, when they met or how to contact them. The whole process of organizing guest nights was made completely obscure to outsiders, so there was no possibility of making any suggestions.


10 Oct 17 - 12:27 PM (#3881373)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: The Sandman

ok, Jack but it is a mistake to generalise from one particular example


10 Oct 17 - 12:35 PM (#3881375)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: The Sandman

"True, but it would be nice if the more constructive complainers had the opportunity to get their "foot in the door" and make suggestions and change within the organisation. Unfortunately, most clubs and organisations tend to be resistant to change"
simple go off and try running your own club, when you have done it for over forty years like vic smith or ted poole or john taylor or clive pownceby, then you will have something to be proud of in the meantime ,if you are not prepared to do it,stop whingeing


10 Oct 17 - 12:36 PM (#3881376)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: TheSnail

At the folk club I help to run, the residents are listed on the website and our flyers as are the main contact details. All the committee were recruited from the audience (including me). The original founder has long since gone to the big singaround in the sky. Existing committee members range from 30 years service to two or three. We would welcome more.
Neither your example nor mine entitle either of us to make sweeping generalisations about what folk clubs are like.


10 Oct 17 - 01:11 PM (#3881379)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: GUEST,Mudcat Moaner

My initial post was a genuine observation of what I see at several Folk Clubs in my area. If clubs are to survive beyond being just a venue for floor singers, singing to each other, then quality needs to be encouraged and the unaccompanied word sheet holder is not the way to do it.


10 Oct 17 - 03:24 PM (#3881401)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: GUEST

Agree.


10 Oct 17 - 04:19 PM (#3881410)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Mr Red

Sorry to denigrate singing from music/lyrics sheets. But....

It is a lot harder to project with your head looking down, simple fact of mechanics of the lower jaw determining the sound chamber and the resonance of the larynx. It is harder to enact, embellish, illustrate - prettify the music if your eyes are demanding the biggest portion of your brain.

It is not about fashion - not about arbitrary rules, it is about functionality, it is .......... lets be honest, artistry.

And on the subject of "musicians" who read from music - soloists don't. Period. True - they practice 8 hours every day (that Aston Vanilla** are not playing).

If you are up there on your own, you are a soloist.



** easily licked.


10 Oct 17 - 05:33 PM (#3881418)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Johnny J

"simple go off and try running your own club,"

I've done that too or, at least, monthly folk nights which I ran on the same format as a folk club.
Also, I've been on committees and helped out in other folk clubs, festivals etc over the last 40 years myself. It's not always easy to change things although, most of the time, things worked fairly well. So, I didn't complain that much.


10 Oct 17 - 06:02 PM (#3881422)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Tattie Bogle

Jack's local club, which he hasn't been to for 10 years (I might take a guess at which one).....so who do you think it is who does the MCing, announcements and thanks, sells tickets on the door, raffle tickets, distributes raffle prizes, brings in the noticeboard, puts out the chairs, returns glasses to the bar?
And if you bother to take out membership, you'll get a membership card, which lists Committee members and their phone numbers on it. And they have an AGM where you can meet these elusive Committee members, and even vote them back into office.
AND 10 years on, they have a website (probably for the the last 6 or 7 years) and (more recently) aFacebook page, where you can find the same info.
Plus if you really wanted to know who was on the Committee, you could always have just asked!


10 Oct 17 - 06:02 PM (#3881423)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Big Al Whittle

'i don't go to sessions much these days because of these people who write political rants or songs about how the girlfriend left them'

you've obviously heard the latest folk classic what I have written

My girlfriend's gone away
And I don't like Theresa May
the thought of them, it really makes me sick
Theresa is prime minister, but the girlfriend's much more sinister
Anyway - they both get on my wick

then the refrain (written in the tradition)

So heave away me hearty
we're bound for the Conservative Party
Even now the Boris Johnson flies aloft
Down by the rolling sea
There I will have a wee
for the aching in my ball means I'm pissed off.


10 Oct 17 - 06:20 PM (#3881425)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: GUEST,Jerry Crossley

Whilst it's not the main point of this thread, another problem with crib sheets is that you cannot engage properly with your audience if you are staring down at a piece of paper or iPad. Anyone who has done public speaking and presentation training will know that if you ignore your audience, by avoiding eye contact, then they will ignore you too.


10 Oct 17 - 07:24 PM (#3881436)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: TheSnail

GUEST,Mudcat Moaner - "what I see at several Folk Clubs in my area"
Just so. It's the sweepung generalisations that I'm objecting to.


10 Oct 17 - 08:40 PM (#3881444)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Joe_F

I have finally decided on the antecedent of "our" in the title.


10 Oct 17 - 08:47 PM (#3881445)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Jack Campin

The people who made the bookings at our local club were just about never seen at it. I can't recall their names. It was a very weird way to operate.

The pub they meet in has a large free noticeboard. The folk club doesn't use it except to announce their fundraising ceilidhs. (The accordion and fiddle club doesn't use it at all). I'd been in the village a few years, and a regular at the pub, before we discovered the FC even existed - when we were told about it in a folk club in Bristol. Why on earth would you want to conceal your existence from everyone in your host village? How hard can it be to pin up a sheet of paper with the next few months' listings and a contact?

I have occasionally looked in the door, but I've usually got something else on that night.


11 Oct 17 - 03:19 AM (#3881469)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Mr Red

if you ignore your audience, by avoiding eye contact, then they will ignore you too.
Being an engineer I came at it from the mechanistic side, but I like this emotional aspect too. I will add it to my mantra.


11 Oct 17 - 04:01 AM (#3881478)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Big Al Whittle

yes - wait til you see the whites of their eyes, or the colour of their pantiees...

then get out the ringbinder and sing Streets of London.


11 Oct 17 - 04:21 AM (#3881482)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: GUEST

The pub they meet in has a large free noticeboard. The folk club doesn't use it except to announce their fundraising ceilidhs. (The accordion and fiddle club doesn't use it at all). I'd been in the village a few years, and a regular at the pub, before we discovered the FC even existed - when we were told about it in a folk club in Bristol. Why on earth would you want to conceal your existence from everyone in your host village? How hard can it be to pin up a sheet of paper with the next few months' listings and a contact?

Publicity? That might mean that you get an audience who actually expect to be entertained.


11 Oct 17 - 05:26 AM (#3881487)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Johnny J

I agree with some of what Jack says. It does make sense to advertise to the local community and not just within folkie circles.

Many folk clubs are guilty of this including Edinburgh FC at different points over the years. The sticking up of posters and delivering hand outs is, of course, a much more arduous and time consuming job in the city although you hire agencies to this for you these days. However, this comes at a cost.
In a local community, however, I suggest this is much more manageable. I don't know how much of this happens in Jack's village. Things may have changed in recent years.

Most clubs now tend to concentrate on social media these days to spread the word but I've not noticed that much difference in attendances as result. Many of the audience who read the publicity online would be coming anyway whatever the method of publicity. Of course, the posts gets loads of views and "likes" from meaning well meaning and often "wonderful" people but most of them won't bother to attend in a million years.


11 Oct 17 - 07:36 AM (#3881490)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: TheSnail

"Many folk clubs are guilty"

For F*%$#S SAKE! It makes you wonder why we bother.


11 Oct 17 - 07:49 AM (#3881491)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Johnny J

"Many folk clubs are guilty"

Do you have to take the literal and most extreme meaning out of the above comment?

And, anyway, there's a big difference between being guilty of a murder and a parking offence.


11 Oct 17 - 08:27 AM (#3881495)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Jack Campin

In a village like ours, about 2000 people with a compact centre, it doesn't take much effort to publicize with paper. A notice at each of the pub, library, post office and supermarket will do it. That will reach essentially everybody local who might be interested.

We also have village Facebook pages, as I suppose every village does, and a local radio station. I don't listen to the radio, but if there'd been a notice on the village FB pages of what the FC is up to I think I'd have seen it by now.


11 Oct 17 - 09:55 AM (#3881511)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: TheSnail

"Do you have to take the literal and most extreme meaning out of the above comment?"
Er? Yes. What else am I supposed to do? I can only work with what I read. "most extreme"? I quoted exactly what you said. Nice to know we're only guilty of minor offences.

Jack, if it doesn't take much effort, why not offer to help?

If you'll excuse me, I've got some work on the website to do and I'm getting behind on the bookings admin. Not to mention the small festival we've got coming up this weekend. It's being covered by the local paper.


11 Oct 17 - 11:17 AM (#3881521)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Big Al Whittle

Take my word for it! Its an alien invasion from the Planet Ringbinder. Quite often they fire their deathrays and then get the mothership to beam them up and away.

Its folk music Jim - but not as we know it!


11 Oct 17 - 11:53 AM (#3881535)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Jack Campin

Jack, if it doesn't take much effort, why not offer to help?

I did. They weren't willing to tell me anything so I could produce any leaflets or posters.


11 Oct 17 - 12:08 PM (#3881541)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Johnny J

The Snail,

I've been involved in working for folk music clubs and events, on and off, for many years although I'm "resting" these days. Of course, I probably haven't done anywhere near as much as yourself but everyone's contributions differ.

However, even if involved with an organisation, one is quite entitled to make observations and criticisms.


11 Oct 17 - 12:45 PM (#3881559)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: TheSnail

No Johnny J, I don't have wide experience. That was the point I was making. I know the club I help run and a little about a few others. That is why I would never make sweeping statements about "many clubs are like this ", "many clubs are guilty of that". How many? How do you know?
Of course everyone is entitled to make observations and criticisms but try and be constructive and just a little positivity every now and then would be nice.


11 Oct 17 - 01:05 PM (#3881568)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Mr Red

social media alerts the undecided. Keeps people interested. But attracting new faces - not so sure. Paper posters, local papers, local radio, libraries, TICs, shops you shop at. All free publicity.

Mr Red
Hon publicity Stroud Ceilidhs .co.uk


11 Oct 17 - 01:37 PM (#3881576)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: GUEST,Peter

"For F*%$#S SAKE! It makes you wonder why we bother. "

I wonder that sometimes. But editor of a local folk magazine it is because a significant minority of organisers seem determined to keep their events secret.


11 Oct 17 - 07:10 PM (#3881658)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Allan Conn

We use social media as well as a web presence and it does seem to attract new people. Not just visitors to the town but locals too. I share the event every week to the 247 people who follow our web FB page. So yes it keeps us in the minds of locals but we often get visitors through that too.


11 Oct 17 - 07:20 PM (#3881661)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Ged Fox

"If clubs are to survive beyond being just a venue for floor singers, singing to each other,"

That's a perfectly valid folk tradition.


11 Oct 17 - 07:22 PM (#3881662)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Tattie Bogle

The club that I think Jack, Johnny J are all talking about is pretty well attended almost every night: it runs every week throughout the whole year, with a monthly guest night, the other nights being sessions. Why would you need to do more publicity if it's already comfortably full and not in the red? Of the three of us, I'm probably the only consistent member. Ok to fire off criticisms provided they are based on fact! And we do get occasional very long distance visitors who have found us on the web, and are prepared to journey a bit out from the big city lights 10 miles away.


11 Oct 17 - 08:48 PM (#3881671)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Jack Campin

Was it Karl Dallas who once said "Folk clubs exist so that one day they no longer need to exist..."?

That day has come. The kinds of music that were, for a time, most easily heard in folk clubs, are not their monopoly any more. You see it most clearly in the careers of younger performers: many folk club members stil think that performing on one of their venues is an important first career step. In practice it's no so much harder now for a new act to get a booking in a folk club that most don't bother at all, or leave it long after they've ceased to be any sort of new act. For a performer under 30, a folk club gig is a pretty irrelevant career move compared with pub bookings, open mikes, festivals and CD or download sales.


12 Oct 17 - 04:19 AM (#3881705)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Big Al Whittle

i think maybe. folkclubs are a victim of their own success.
when i was a young boy, there wasn't a quaker meeting where we lived. we went to the nearby little town of spalding. we'd go there every week, and i knew the people there. i knew what they were going to be moved to get up and say.

then when i was fifteen i got a scholarship to a quaker school in Reading. Reading meeting was a real eye opener. all kinds of weird people getting up and saying bizarre things.

i think it was good training for being a folk club organiser. i learned to be tolerant. my own convictions about religion had to take a back seat. and in a similar way when i organised folk clubs - i learned that my deeply held convictions about the nature of folk music my own business - people who came to my club and offered to sing were, as much as possible, entitled to respect and their time under the spotlight,

in a way it's the toughest commandment from the sermon on the mount. judge not lest ye be judged.


12 Oct 17 - 04:29 AM (#3881711)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Mr Red

well judged!


12 Oct 17 - 04:44 AM (#3881717)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: TheSnail

I'm a little surprised to discover that the purpose of folk clubs is as a launch pad for the careers of professional performers although we're very glad when it happens. I can think of several we booked as teenagers who have gone on to stardom. Folk clubs offer a different product from pub bookings, open mikes, festivals and CD or download sales and exist in their own right.


12 Oct 17 - 04:45 AM (#3881719)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: GUEST

"If clubs are to survive beyond being just a venue for floor singers, singing to each other,"

That's a perfectly valid folk tradition."

That's a suicide note.


12 Oct 17 - 05:03 AM (#3881724)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Johnny J

The subtle difference between Folk clubs and the better sessions as opposed to Open Mics and the like is, or should be, that it is usually a more "sharing" experience. The audience and members usually encourage and appreciate(or at least pretend) what other singers or musicians are doing.

In the Open Mic/pub gig scenario, it's all about self promotion and singing or playing "at the audience". Quite often, the performers simply "B-gger off" after they've done their song, poem, or whatever and don't even have the courtesy to listen to the other acts or performers. Thankfully, such behaviour is still rare in folk clubs although some pre booked support performers sometimes do this. Of course, some may have other commitments so I maybe shouldn't generalise.


12 Oct 17 - 05:22 AM (#3881729)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: The Sandman

folk clubs are there[imo] for people to listen to songs ,not for songs to be background wall paper music


12 Oct 17 - 05:40 AM (#3881733)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: GUEST

Agree with that, "Sandman" - the difference between a folk club and a pub gig, or even "Open-mic" nights [ neither of which are what the original post was about ].


12 Oct 17 - 06:43 AM (#3881747)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Ged Fox

"That's a suicide note."

Folk clubs are just one manifestation of folk getting together to share music. The phenomenon of the folk club format is a mere blip in the history of folk music and of music in general. When folk clubs go the way of parlour gatherings or glee clubs it will be because they are no longer relevant to folk.

If folk clubs are reverting to a place for musicians making music for each other then that is a return to the roots of folk music, and far less a violation of their trade description than being a venue for professional and wannabe professional musicians to earn their crusts.


12 Oct 17 - 07:54 AM (#3881763)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: The Sandman

"If folk clubs are reverting to a place for musicians making music for each other then that is a return to the roots of folk music, and far less a violation of their trade description than being a venue for professional and wannabe professional musicians to earn their crusts." Too simplistic,Musicians can and do make music in their own homes without going to folk clubs, the roots of folk music are varied and have always included exchange of music for money or food, take a look at medieval troubadours or itinerant harpists like o carolan. the worrying thing is that standards are so low in some[not all] singaround clubs that no one would pay money to hear the unrehearsed songs tunes etc.


12 Oct 17 - 08:19 AM (#3881769)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Big Al Whittle

it isn't unknown for folksingers to have zero interest in their fellow performers.

my first paid gig bout 75/76 was three quid as a support to Nic Jones.
Nic stayed in the bar downstairs till it was his time to perform. it dismayed many local acts who had wanted to get a nod of approval from their hero.


12 Oct 17 - 09:04 AM (#3881777)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Ged Fox

Of course, Sandman, any line drawn about any aspect of music making is just a line drawn in sand waiting to be blurred by wind or tide. The essential element of folk music, however, is not that it be good music, only that it is performed by folk. Such music can be created at home or for profit, but the trade description of a folk club is only that the music is performed by folk together with other folk. The activity of making music together is much more important than insisting on an entry level quality based on whether or not anyone would pay to listen to it.


12 Oct 17 - 12:56 PM (#3881830)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: GUEST,Mudcat Moaner

I would suggest that making music together should be termed a Session, where we do all play together. However, many would argue that a Folk Club is a performance situation where you are expected to sit quietly and listen to the performer. My initial post was trying to make the point that the standard of performer is slowly going down. There are many reasons for this I just happen to think unaccompanied word sheet hold is one reason.


12 Oct 17 - 01:36 PM (#3881833)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: TheSnail

"what I see at several Folk Clubs in my area"
Since we don't know that area, it is impossible to comment. I and others have reported that it is not true in our experience.
I'm not sure what you are trying to achieve.


12 Oct 17 - 01:42 PM (#3881835)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Ged Fox

You may be right, I've no means of judging. Alternatively, since use of crib sheets implies a certain lack of experience then maybe an increase in crib sheet users might imply an increasing number of new people coming into folk clubs; people whose knowledge, confidence and expertise will improve if we are welcoming and supportive. Maybe folk clubs will, through them, continue when the sixties generation has finally fallen off the perch.


12 Oct 17 - 01:53 PM (#3881842)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Ged Fox

Sorry, TheSnail, you are right, of course. I was replying to the Moaner.


12 Oct 17 - 02:23 PM (#3881848)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: GUEST

Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 12 Oct 17 - 08:19 AM

it isn't unknown for folksingers to have zero interest in their fellow performers.

my first paid gig bout 75/76 was three quid as a support to Nic Jones.
Nic stayed in the bar downstairs till it was his time to perform. it dismayed many local acts who had wanted to get a nod of approval from their hero.
.

Al, I'm not sure that I can go along with your disapproval of artists who choose to be absent during opening spots. I can think of dozens of top level performers I have seen in the club which I helped run until recently, who prefer not to be in the audience during the opening act.

In many cases, I think it may be that they think their very presence might unnerve an inexperienced performer. In other cases, it might well be that they want to "psych" themselves up right up until the last minute before they take the stage.

I have no way of knowing for sure , but I would guess that the latter would have been the case as far as Nic Jones was concerned.


12 Oct 17 - 03:08 PM (#3881857)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: The Sandman

"then quality needs to be encouraged and the unaccompanied word sheet holder is not the way to do iT"
TRUE,unless prformers have practised with their sheets, and know what they intend to do before they get up, for example a good actor would be able to perform with word sheets, because he is experienced and practised at performing with them. the truth is.. it can be done but rarely is because frequently performers use it as an excuse to be unrehearsed.


12 Oct 17 - 11:12 PM (#3881910)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Big Al Whittle

i didn't suggest there was anything wrong in what Nic did. several folk clubs didn't want floorsingers at all.

obviously its up to you whether you want to listen to other singers.

i remember the boldmere in sutton coldfield used to occasionally get this trio who trotted out their 'funny' folk songs - in particular the one about the coachman in tight trousers and then they'd bugger up the evening for everyone else. Gerry Lockran was was virtually inaudible, as they talked drunken bollocks very volubly.

they even wore down Nick Fenwick, and he was bloody good with the heckler put downs.

min you some floorspots are very bizarre. one that always sticks in my mind is this bloke who , when it was his turn producer a ghetto blaster thing from a carrier bag, and said listen to this...he played a xassette of jack hudsoc


12 Oct 17 - 11:23 PM (#3881911)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Big Al Whittle

dunno why it did that - the bloke played a cassette of Jack Hudson. out of respect to Jack - they let him play one track - but when it transpired that he intended playing the whole album - things were said.

in Ilkeston, I remember this bloke , getting out a bit of paper from which he solemnly read the words of Crystal Chandeliers.

i think its like some people just want to be the centre of attention. in years gone by the church would let the read the lesson or ring the bell, calling folks to worship - nothing complicated. they could fit into a team of bellringers.

all these people have heard somewhere that any old shit is if not acceptable in folk clubs, not grounds for ridicule, ejection - or physical attack.


13 Oct 17 - 03:32 AM (#3881927)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Dave Sutherland

Puzzled about the situation regarding Nic Jones Al; not saying that it didn’t happen, but the numerous times that I went to see Nic or booked him at whichever club I was running I always found him most interested in the club and the floor singers/musicians that it presented.


13 Oct 17 - 03:57 AM (#3881931)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Big Al Whittle

I dunno - perhaps he had toothache that night. who knows? It was Toni Savages old club at The Three Barrels Ampersand.

I can remember recording one of Derek Brimstone's albums one night - Northampton or somewhere down the MI.

There was this posh bint onstage with three toadies singing Home James and Don't Spare the Horses. Every verse, remembered perfectly, accompany herself on coconut shells for the clip clopping....we even had a clip clop solo.

After about seven or eight minutes, Derek whispered, "Oh for godsake please shut up!"
I suppose they get to see a lot of that sort of thing.


13 Oct 17 - 04:06 AM (#3881935)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Will Fly

I seem to have read threads like this for the last decade or so - none of which really come to any conclusion. However, I’ll just add one comment, which is that folk clubs, like everything else in our world, change. Why should they not evolve over the years - or not evolve, as the case may be.

Three of the clubs in my area have either closed or altered their character over the last 2-3 years. My advice: either live with it, stay away or do something about it.


13 Oct 17 - 04:33 AM (#3881942)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: GUEST

"Change" can go in 2 directions. I'll take your 1st and 2nd option.


13 Oct 17 - 04:54 AM (#3881943)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Mr Red

crib sheet users might imply an increasing number of new people coming into folk clubs

some never leave the "newbie" stage then? But at the end of the day it all hangs on the performance. And that we can't see from this parish, but in person it is obvious who has practiced well. But giving yourself a chance includes learning the words/music.


13 Oct 17 - 05:19 AM (#3881948)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Big Al Whittle

why only two directions?


13 Oct 17 - 06:03 AM (#3881963)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: GUEST

Better or worse ?


13 Oct 17 - 06:55 AM (#3881981)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: GUEST,Mudcat Moaner

The Snail: Folk Clubs in my area ie Birmingham, have and are struggling for many reasons, Pubs closing or going up market, Open Mics syphoning off younger performers, the word Folk putting people off, the generally unwelcoming attitude of some clubs towards new people, the constant battle with where you can and can't sit. If you don't believe me go and ask them, they quite often will tell you they are struggling to keep their audience numbers up.


13 Oct 17 - 09:05 AM (#3882013)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: GUEST

"the constant battle with where you can and can't sit."...???????


13 Oct 17 - 11:29 AM (#3882067)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: GUEST,Mudcat Moaner

Yes. It is a fact many people in the Folk Club audiences, being well stricten in years like to sit in the same seats every week, you cut across that at your peril.


13 Oct 17 - 01:01 PM (#3882085)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: GUEST

... and people are asking why the clubs are struggling for audiences ?


13 Oct 17 - 07:53 PM (#3882154)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: TheSnail

Birmingham is a foreign country, they do things differently there. And this is all down to floorsingers using printed word sheets?
Apart from Moaning on Mudcat, what positive efforts are you actually making about this?


14 Oct 17 - 12:17 AM (#3882173)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Big Al Whittle

he's keeping the tradition alive... i suppose that's the theory.

its alright to be in a minority. its alright that English people cannot relate to their own folksong (remember Carthy's dictum - just because you're English, it doesn't mean you understand this stuff).

Its where this set of beliefs has taken us. And the public has voted with its feet. They want folk clubs. but they don't want what the intelligentsia has decided is their folk music.


14 Oct 17 - 05:49 AM (#3882198)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: GUEST,Mudcat Moaner

My point is that if Folk Clubs don't raise their game, they will eventually cease to exist in anything other than small groups woolly jumpered eccentrics, which just what a lot of people think they are anyway. If your happy with that fine, personally I'm not.


14 Oct 17 - 08:00 AM (#3882211)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Big Al Whittle

well i think its karma really. the river of life moves on.

you have to realise that the people who gave the folk clubs their artistic importance and position in our consciousness were people of charisma and talent.

to change the direction of the strange trajectory they are now following will take the emergence of equally charismatic and revolutionary thinkers.

be careful what you wish for!


14 Oct 17 - 12:25 PM (#3882241)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Mr Red

what positive efforts are you actually making about this?
taken up dancing.

It is a very firm policy at our Stroud Ceilidhs that we dance or we socialise. There is no song/morris spot normally because we want people to commune, to socialise and the man in red makes sure that people get the flyer for next month and new faces certainly get a conversation. It is social dancing and we want it to be just that - a scial event.
Another policy is to allocate a certain number of dances to plucking wallflowers off their seats. We like to dance with our chosen partners but for the series to buzz, we want everyone to have a dance.

I might add with a certain modesty (on our collective behalves) - it is working. That and copious publicity.

I always remember my first night at the local FC (I was new to the area too). It was with a neurotic wife (soon ex) and was attempting to cheer her up, it may have worked. But two of the organisers came up to me and asked if I wanted to sing. Well, apart from not having ever, imagine the embarrassment, on my behalf, that ex-wifey would have suffered. But the point is they cared, and both of them are no longer part of that club, and it shows.


15 Oct 17 - 04:01 AM (#3882331)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: TheSnail

I don't need to be happy with it Mudcar Moaner because it is not within my experience.
I'll ask again. what are YOU actually doing to raise the game apart from moaning on Mudcat?


15 Oct 17 - 05:18 AM (#3882338)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: GUEST

Snail, give it a rest . Moaner has stated his/ her case . You disagree, fine we get it!


15 Oct 17 - 05:40 AM (#3882340)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: The Sandman

mudcat moaner has not answered the question, what is he/ she/ it/ doing apart from being the hurler 0n the ditch


15 Oct 17 - 06:08 AM (#3882348)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: GUEST,Mudcat Moaner

In answer to your question Sandman and Snail, I am not doing anything about it. I was involved with my local Folk Club many years but eventually realised that nothing will ever change so I gave up, and moved on. I still occasionally visit and after 20 odd years they are still sitting in the same seats, singing the same old songs, telling the same tired jokes, the bottom line is Folk Clubs don't want change, so they will eventually cease to exist.


15 Oct 17 - 09:13 AM (#3882363)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: The Sandman

"they are still sitting in the same seats, singing the same old songs, telling the same tired jokes, the bottom line is Folk Clubs don't want change, so they will eventually cease to exist."
generalising from one particular example, moaner, you are negative inaccurate anable to put forward an intelligent point of view genralising from the particular is idiotic


15 Oct 17 - 09:42 AM (#3882364)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: GUEST,Mudcat Moaner

My observation and point is that the standards of Folk Clubs have deteriorated and that cannot be good in the long term. We have lost several clubs over the last few years, and many are just about surviving, if that is not the case what is Folk 21 all about?


15 Oct 17 - 11:27 AM (#3882384)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: GUEST

"Mudcat Moaner's" post - 3 up - mirror's my experience exactly. I'm playing as much music as ever - just not in folk clubs.


15 Oct 17 - 11:38 AM (#3882388)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: The Sandman

guest, your experience is different from mine and i have been playing in folk clubs for 43 years,i play folk music i do not what you play guest, my worst experiences are not in guest booking folk clubs but in some singaround type folk clubs, mainly unrehearsed performances from amatuers


15 Oct 17 - 01:21 PM (#3882414)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: GUEST

"i have been playing in folk clubs for 43 years" - not quite as much as me, then.
"i play folk music i do not what you play guest," -   I play traditional music.
" my worst experiences are not in guest booking folk clubs but in some singaround type folk clubs, mainly unrehearsed performances from amatuers" -   Agree 100%, the reason for my post above, and that I believe is the whole point of "MM's"original thread.
There's nothing new in any of this - all fairly pointless. Bye.


15 Oct 17 - 01:32 PM (#3882416)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: mickthemiller

If thar thinks tha can do better then tha should get thee sen up and do a turn. That's what I was once told anyway.


15 Oct 17 - 01:55 PM (#3882422)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Raggytash

Its strange, when I first ventured into a folk club aged 14 in 1969 the entire audience seemed ancient to me. Here I am 48 years later and now find myself one of the ancients.

During that time to standard of performance has increased tremendously, semi pro's of that era would be hard pushed to get a floor spot in some clubs today.

My tuppence worth!


15 Oct 17 - 03:20 PM (#3882439)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: GUEST,Mudcat Moaner

Thank you Guest, nice someone sees my point.


16 Oct 17 - 05:29 AM (#3882507)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Tattie Bogle

At a couple of our local clubs (SE Scotland) there is only one pre-arranged support or floor act per night: at the one, this will be the first half hour of the first half of the night, and at the other, 3 or 4 songs or tunes each half. These people may be professional, semi-pro, or amateur, but will come well prepared and be of highly acceptable standard.

At my own local club, there was a time when the MC tried to fit in anyone who was known to do floor spots, with the result that there was less time to hear the main guest: the Committee decided to restrict it to 3 or 4 "spots" per night, each doing only 1 or 2 items: anyone missed out should not feel aggrieved as they'd probably get a turn next month. The standard is fine, and we have a great mix of singers, accompanied or not, and instrumentalists to call upon.

As for clubs shutting down: I'm not sure I've heard of any in recent times, but I am aware of some rising above serious challenges (finding new venues, sudden unexpected death of key people) and if at least 3 new clubs starting up in the last 10 years. So all in all, our experience does not correlate with Moaner's.


16 Oct 17 - 06:25 AM (#3882521)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Johnny J

At the "other one", the 3 or 4 songs each half club, this practice was introduced some time ago due to the dearth of good local clubs singers and musicians who had tended to turn up late if not at all. So, the committee at the time thought it a good idea if someone was always there to start off the night.

When I started going to this club, we had loads of resident performers albeit of varying quality. There was never any need to pre arrange a support spot although visiting singers and musicians always received a welcome.

Things started to change in the eighties for a variety of reasons. There was a rise in more informal and session type opportunities in the Edinburgh area, competition from more rural clubs... many of the older hands actually resided out of town or moved there.

Also for a few years, EFC moved a lot from venue to venue though no fault of its own. This also put many of the regulars off.

Last, but not least, the club began to focus on a more "concert format" and it was felt that the support should reflect this too. After all, many people were coming to see a specific act and weren't as tolerant as the regulars when the likes of Senga McGlumpher and co might wish to do a turn.

Actually, the club still does feature one or two resident singers usually in the second half although our new compere likes to do a song or two himself these days. So, this also takes up time!


16 Oct 17 - 09:21 AM (#3882544)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Paul Reade

Heigh-ho, here we go again - the problem with folk clubs is floor singers. Readers of "Tykes' News" will know I've been banging on about this for years - this is an extract from a piece in 2012:-

Time to “nail my colours to the mast”. I’m a floor singer, and have been since 1965. A lot of my friends are floor singers, very talented musicians who can hold their own with any audience. Let’s not forget that some guests may not be all they’re cracked up to be – on more than one occasion I’ve sat through some quite well known act and thought “local singer / guitarist so-and-so could do as well as, if not better than this”. Yes there are floor singers who are not as good as others, but in my experience a lot of them are well aware of this and prefer to only perform on singers’ nights, and a good club will provide encouragement to improve. As for my own performances, I let the audience decide.

The festival scene in the summer is already more-or-less a “closed shop”, so do we want to end up with only concert clubs in the winter with no audience / local singer participation? All we would have to do is pay our entrance fee, sit quietly like good little boys and girls and listen to the pearls of wisdom from the stage above. Well I’m afraid the folk scene isn’t like that, and never has been like that. Participation, including floor singers, has always been what differentiates a folk club from other forms of entertainment.


16 Oct 17 - 09:40 AM (#3882546)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Johnny J

In my experience, it's still quite rare for floor singers and support to be better musically and professionally than the main act although it happens occasionally.

Of course, the main act may not always be our cup of tea and a good floor spot can be a welcome distraction. However, in most cases, floor singers would be unlikely to sustain the same level for a whole night...i.e. two 45 minute sets or whatever.

So all this "better than the main act" stuff isn't necessarily so unless it's a professional or regular performing act appearing while "off duty".


16 Oct 17 - 12:22 PM (#3882577)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Big Al Whittle

well maybe you don't approve of the way folk clubs are going, but i'm sure it would be sad if they weren't there.


16 Oct 17 - 12:24 PM (#3882578)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: GUEST

Not at all.


16 Oct 17 - 12:38 PM (#3882581)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: akenaton

Paul's right, it was participation that made the clubs "fun",
I went to one last year and it was a dreary concert type of thing the audience were incidental and all of a certain social strata.

Society has changed and folkies didn't help much ...most of them wannabee's..... but the public made them because they thought these people were genuine.   In a lot of cases they were 100% wrong, now we are left with the folk snobs.

Sorry Johnny....Gie me Mrs McGlumphur and full hooses onny day!


16 Oct 17 - 01:15 PM (#3882586)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Tattie Bogle

Following on from my previous post, which mentioned just 3 clubs that I go to, there are perhaps more opportunities for "floor singers" in some of the other clubs around here, that have session nights for 3 out of 4 nights, and guest nights on the 4th. There are some among those that never come to the guest nights (mainly because they want to sing or play themselves), whereas others who support both (as they don't mind listening to professional guests!)
So, each club is on fact run in different ways, and each has its afficionados: some people prefer one format, other another, but all of them are, on the whole, well attended and much enjoyed.
Personally, I enjoy them all, and am flexible enough to do so and not worry about - "fings ain't wot they used to be" - as Will Fly said, accept that change happens.


16 Oct 17 - 01:26 PM (#3882588)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: TheSnail

Mudcat Moaner, I'm not sure what period the "20 odd years" refers to (since you last went?) but it suggests a degree of success.
As I have said several times, none of us can generalise our own experience to all folk clubs. Things are not going well in MM's neighbourhood but a number of other people have reported very different experiences.
Mudcat Moaner has made no contructive comments and clearly has no intention of doing so.
Just one last thing... "what is Folk 21 all about?". Folk 21 is about the idea that the purpose of folk clubs is to provide a living wage for professional folk performers. Floor singers are seen as detrimental to that purpose.


17 Oct 17 - 04:26 AM (#3882699)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: GUEST,Some bloke or other

Always an evergreen topic. More been said already than needs doing.

I notice that those complaining still turn up so something is being done right...

Folk enthusiasts have spent the last sixty years rattling on about living tradition and evolving oral process and all that, (although the explosion of multi outlet and media for hearing songs wasn't anticipated by the critics group when they were busy burdening a spontaneous expression of art with silly rules.

Folk clubs will change and evolve. If you hadn't noticed, there are many young performers out there who wish to share their passion and interpretation of traditional song but frankly, YouTube is a far more appropriate medium for them than crusty old folk supping soft drinks in the back room of a noisy pub. Almost forty years ago as a teenager I tended to be the youngest person in many of the local folk cubs. I still am!

Yes, the good night out is part of what younger singers miss but conversely, I recall once on holiday many years ago visiting a folk club in Dunoon and trying to sing a traditional song that some versions happen to have a chorus to, but not mine. No matter, the ignorant locals drowned me out with one after every verse anyway, then told me I sing it wrong....

Hey ho. I'm involved in a concert venue where we book those scraping a living most weeks. The concert format allows me to enjoy wonderful acts and we have a wealth of local club talent locally, so support acts aren't an issue either. Nice for people who sing in pubs mainly to have a stage, foldback, FOH lights to blind them and most importantly, people listening to them rather than the pig ignorant habit of leafing through folders of songs whilst others sing because of course, everybody in the pub is only there to listen to their off key warbling of songs they can't be arsed to learn properly. (Then pause to put their glasses on half way through, thinking it's funny to do so.)

(Bugger, the mask slipped there.)


17 Oct 17 - 04:31 AM (#3882701)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Raggytash

"Just one last thing... "what is Folk 21 all about?". Folk 21 is about the idea that the purpose of folk clubs is to provide a living wage for professional folk performers. Floor singers are seen as detrimental to that purpose"

I see a problems with this Snail, where do aspiring folk singers learn their trade if not doing floor spots. Where do club organisers find their next guest if not by watching and listening to aspiring floor singers.


17 Oct 17 - 04:46 AM (#3882707)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: TheSnail

I see problems with it too, Raggy. Don't ask me, ask Folk 21 but I doubt if you'll get a satisfactory answer.
Also, for many, singing floor spots is an end in itself without any aspirations to stardom.


17 Oct 17 - 05:36 AM (#3882712)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Jim Carroll

I usually get stamped on for commenting on British clubs because I now live in Ireland, but I was part of the folk scene from around 1961 right up to the mid 80s, when I finally left because my choice of what to listen to by most of the clubs adopting a non-definition of the term folk policy and a "near enough for folk" attitude to standards.
I have never lost the belief that the survival of folk song depends on how it is presented to the pubic - the clubs (not concerts) run by non professional enthusiasts has always been the key to this.
I can only reiterate what has happened in Ireland, where the music has moved from being a fringe, often unwelcome activity, to a vital part of Irish culture, now largely in the hands of young people who are playing as well as the masters I was listening to half a century ago.
This is largely instrumental music, but ther are now welcome signs that it is beginning to happen with singing.
This didn't happen by accident but was achieved by small groups of dedicated people who knew what the term 'traditional' meant and proceeded to build a foundation on what was available - the Irish Traditional Music Archive and the Willie Clancy Summer School were fore-runners in this.
At present, the music can look forward to two generations-worth of future and can come with experimentation, dumbing down, being taken up by the pop industry.... all the things that dominated the British scene and left behind a mess to be cleared up.
The foundations are there to remind us what the music is and where it stands in our lives.
Bickering like this only emphasises the need for someone to get a grip and make a start over your side of the Irish Sea.
You might start by removing the barriers to open discussion on what was achieved in the past and stop making 'what is folk song' a no-go area
"Stardom" should never have a place in these discussions - that is no reason to become involved in folk music
Jim Carroll


17 Oct 17 - 05:54 AM (#3882717)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Raggytash

""Stardom" should never have a place in these discussions - that is no reason to become involved in folk music"

One big star in the UK at the moment is Ed Sheeran, his song Nancy Mulligan has probably done more to introduce young people in the UK to folk music than any amount of pontificating on websites such as Mudcat.

Nancy Mulligan

Now you may not like it, but it is very catchy!!


17 Oct 17 - 06:19 AM (#3882720)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: GUEST

Great song Raggy, thanks for the link!


17 Oct 17 - 06:23 AM (#3882721)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Jim Carroll

Just listened to Nancy Mullingan
Oh dear - is that what passes for folk nowadays?
Jim Carroll


17 Oct 17 - 06:29 AM (#3882724)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Raggytash

We could set folk music in Amber if you prefer, however that would mean it was only listened to by people like yourself and time tells us that you are a dying breed, thus folk music you claim to love will die with you.


17 Oct 17 - 06:48 AM (#3882728)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Backwoodsman

Good post, Some Bloke Or Other - nailed it!

Usual disclaimers apply......IMHO, YMMV etc.


17 Oct 17 - 06:50 AM (#3882729)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: GUEST

It is a good song and is not attempting to " pass" for anything. You can't seal music into a mythical past, it Will just keep moving forward , creating new traditions and genres. I am not aware of any other style of music that has this constant bickering about definition. I am huge fan of opera, I do,t ever recall sitting around and arguing about is opera. Same goes for po. Why is this such an obsession with some folk enthusiasts .?


17 Oct 17 - 07:35 AM (#3882733)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Vic Smith

Same goes for po. Why is this such an obsession with some folk enthusiasts
Well, I'd rather have folk that po anyday. It sounds disgusting


17 Oct 17 - 08:09 AM (#3882734)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Vic Smith

Jim Carroll -
Oh dear - is that what passes for folk nowadays?

Sadly, Jim, this is an example of the way you twist what people have said. Raggytash wrote that Ed Sheeran's song has "probably done more to introduce young people in the UK to folk music than any amount of pontificating on websites such as Mudcat."
That is an opinion; not a claim that the song is in any way a folk song. I think that I am right in saying that Ed's background is London Irish. It sounds to me like a written song by a man who is exploring his roots. Compared with the average pop song today, it is intelligent, well-constructed and catchy and it is written with at least one eye on the type of modern Irish song written by those who look back to their predecessors. If, as is likely, Ed becomes a role model for younger singer-songwriters then we may be in far a period where there is a more thoughtful element in pop music.


17 Oct 17 - 08:24 AM (#3882735)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Raggytash

My sentiments exactly Vic, one of the problems I have perceived during my almost 50 year involvement in folk music is that "the old fogeys" still say "it was better in my day". The truth is it wasn't.

The young singers and musicians I see both in the UK and Ireland are far more accomplished than 50 years ago.


17 Oct 17 - 08:41 AM (#3882737)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Will Fly

A matter of opinion, Raggytash. I remember 50 years ago very well, when I played in the north-west and in London.

Are we talking about Davy Graham, Bert Jansch, Ann Briggs, John Renbourn, Martin Carthy, Dave Swarbrick, Robin & Barry Dransfield, Jo-Ann Kelly and the like here? All young and superb 50 years ago. Or are we talking about your average floor singers - many of whom I recall as being very skilled indeed. In some clubs you had to be damned good to get a floor spot.

I suppose it all depends on where you are/were...


17 Oct 17 - 08:51 AM (#3882738)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Jim Carroll

No twisting Vic - it is not a folk song, it does not sound like a folk song and if anybody came onto the scene expecting folk songs to sound like tat they would have been conned
You don't "compare it to "the average pop song today" - you compare it to the music you are attempting to promote.
"Why is this such an obsession with some folk enthusiasts .?"
Because the scene is over-0run by such idiocies as:
"You can't seal music into a mythical past, it"
There is nothing "mythical" about folk song - there os over a century's research into a very real genre - libraries of books written and thousands of miles of recordings of it.
I is a beautiful art form - as is oera, and equally as important - moreso, when you consider that it is the cultural expression of a people who largely have been ignored as creative.
I didn't comment on the quality of the particular piece as, as Raggy suggested, I find it a catchy piece, as I do 'Puttin' on the Ritz' (though I much prefer the 'Young Frankenstein' version
Nomatter what the aims of the performer, it is not, in any shape or form, folk - not in a thousand years, and, just like a Chinese meal, will have disappeared after a few belches
If that's what passes for folk you may as well forget the scene altogether
MacColl one told me in an interview that he believed the only thing that would ever kill off folk song was if it ever fell into the hands of people who didn't like it
I'm beginning to understand what he is getting at
Jim Carroll


17 Oct 17 - 08:58 AM (#3882740)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Raggytash

Will, all the performers you mention are very good, they were exceptional back then.

I find today that a good number of youngsters are as good if not better than them. The standard has improved across the board, long may it continue.

They have better access to information that allows them to perfect their playing and singing, information we could only dream of.


17 Oct 17 - 09:01 AM (#3882742)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Vic Smith

No twisting Vic - it is not a folk song, it does not sound like a folk song and if anybody came onto the scene expecting folk songs to sound like tat they would have been conned...... If that's what passes for folk you may as well forget the scene altogether

Jim, Jim. The only person who is comparing it with a folk song is your good self. Raggytash wasn't. I'm not. Your inability to reason from what has been stated is very frustrating. A person of your proven stature in the world of traditional song does not need to lower themselves to such techniques.


17 Oct 17 - 09:09 AM (#3882744)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Raggytash

Jim, have you come across Seamus O'Flaherty. He is only 18 and has already won 20 All Ireland titles for playing Harp, Concertina, singing in Irish, singing in English and Dance (and you should see him dance)

He is very, very good, but there are dozens of youngsters hot on his heels vying to better him. They'll have one hell of a battle to do so but sooner or later someone will and I would suggest it will be sooner.

I actually think folk music is in a very good place today, far better than at any time in my 50 years.


17 Oct 17 - 09:22 AM (#3882749)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Jim Carroll

"The only person who is comparing it with a folk song is your good self. Raggytash wasn't."
Then how can it introduce young people to folk song Vic?
The clue of all this is when somebody describes an attempt to discuss a subject as "pontificating"
What's the purpose of these forums if it isn't to discuss?
It certainly isn't to introduce young people to folk song, that's supposed to be the job of the clubs who should be winning over new audiences with half decent performances of something half-resembling folk song
I'm not a 'purist' - I'm more than happy to see new songs added to the repertoire - the performer I admire most probably wrote more new songs based on folk forms than any other artist on the scene   and throughout his life argued that the music would die without a constant new input
If folk song has had its day, as anonymous guest suggests, fime - let it RIP, but don't try to re-define it to put bums on seats.
For me, the reason for the revival was to promote a certain type of music, not give people somewhere to nip into if it happens to be pissing down with rain.
Lets face it, the folk scene will never be able to compete with pop - their artists take their music far too seriously - I've yet to hear anybody say, "near enough for pop".
Jim Carroll


17 Oct 17 - 09:28 AM (#3882754)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Jim Carroll

"He is only 18 and has already won 20 All Ireland titles for playing Harp,"
The competitive spirit as adopted by CCE has driven more people away from traditional music, both in Britain and Ireland
Some talented and detrmined musicians have risen above it and survived but far more have walked away when they didn't win 'the glittering prizes'.
It reamains to be seen whether the TG4 Awards will have the same effect - I sincerely hope not
Jim Carroll


17 Oct 17 - 09:41 AM (#3882756)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Raggytash

You and I will never agree on this. However both you and I are "old fogeys" and fortunately will not be able to hinder the youth of today for much longer.

You obviously haven't heard Seamus, nor are you likely to. I believe you would actively avoid any performance of his and his cohorts in the mistaken belief that "it's not proper folk"


17 Oct 17 - 09:45 AM (#3882758)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Raggytash

For all the others below is a sample track from Hightime, a group that Seamus is involved in.


Hightime - The Village of Cloch Bhui


17 Oct 17 - 10:04 AM (#3882768)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: GUEST,Derrick

Reading the constant arguments about what folk song and music is and how it should be performed and presented,reminds me of the similar arguments
in religious circles.
We all enjoy folk song and music but we all have our own ideas of what it is.
Christians all follow Christ in one form or another,as Muslims do with the Prophet,and of course their chosen way is the only proper way to do so.
At least the "what is folk" debate has't led to bloodshed so far.


17 Oct 17 - 10:13 AM (#3882770)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Jim Carroll

"However both you and I are "old fogeys" and fortunately will not be able to hinder the youth of today for much longer."
How depressing Raggy
I spent an entire lifetime learning from older people - particularly my musoc and song
I've become a little tired of the "pump up the volume' fascism' of youth culture - not being ably to switch on the radio without having music blasting out at me that will not be around in six months time because the market has decided it has outlived its shelf life
I can't even go into a shop to buy a pair of jeans without coming out with defective hearing
The number of times I've attempted to engage young people in conversation on music (when I've managed to drag them away from the latest edition of 'Grand Theft Auto') has drawn a blank as their level of interest in any form of music is to have something to shout over when they're talking to their friends.
Music is a commodity and the mass of the punters have become passive recipients of our culture rather than active participants.
Your link is to something I find rather bland, am unable to follow the lyrics or distinguish one instrument from the other - a pleasant sound.
TRY THIS FOR SIZE
The piper is the grandson of our late friend, Tom McCarthy - a piper, concertina player from south Clare who lived most of his life in London and brought his family up there - three daughters and a son, all fine musicians in their own right who married musicians, with the result that the Maccarthy is now entered into the third generation of virtuoso musicians.
OR THIS
Jim Carroll
All


17 Oct 17 - 10:16 AM (#3882774)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: GUEST,Derrick

That should be has not led to bloodshed so far


17 Oct 17 - 10:51 AM (#3882782)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Raggytash

"if a perfectly workable definition which has never been replaced still ecxists"

Why on earth should anyone want to define it!?

To me there are two kinds of music, music I enjoy, music that I don't. I don't need someone to stick a label on it or denigrate it because it doesn't "fit" into a "perfectly workable definition"

Honestly Jim it could easily be said that precisely that way of thinking that has turned so many people, especially the young ones, away from folk music.

I know you have spent many hours recording and logging the songs of the travellers amongst others and you should be thanked for that but you are also fully capable of turning people away from the very music you seek to promulgate.


17 Oct 17 - 11:09 AM (#3882787)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Big Al Whittle

Jim the 1980's was thirty years ago.

Life in England moves very very fast these days, Its a sort of microwave culture, I reckon. Most of our communities are unrecognisable from even 20 years ago.All the things MacColl disliked about Donovan in 1965. His youth, his accent that came from a council estate rather than a tenement or rural part of England, his professing to be a folk musician... they are history.

we have been singing his songs in folk clubs for damn nearly sixty years. they are deeply ingrained into folk clubs. twenty years ago there was Damian Rice. Paulo Nutini....kate Rusby. Now this Ed Sheeran character who handles a loop pedal as well as Peggy Seeger played guitar.

They have their place in the folk clubs. maybe its not your kind of folk music. but more folk in folk clubs know it than the dowie dens of yarrow.


17 Oct 17 - 11:20 AM (#3882789)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Allan Conn

I don't recognize the bulk of young people as being the airhead morons that is being suggested here. I find they are much more open to other influences than the current radio stations feed them. In the mid to late 70s I was a big punk fan myself but that didn't stop me investigating other genres (folk, jazz, symphonic, 60s) at the same time. Likewise if youngsters of today are into hip-hop or garage or whatever it doesn't mean they don't listen to other things too. Plus the idea that music of today won't be about in 50 years etc. Didn't they say that about the Beatles/Stones etc. Every era has its share of music that is largely forgotten and its music that is passed down to future generations.


17 Oct 17 - 11:37 AM (#3882793)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Jim Carroll

"Why on earth should anyone want to define it!?"
Because some of us wish to discuss it as well as perform it, and others of us want to turn up at a venue to find that what is on offer is what it says on the tin.
All music is defined as ifs all forms of literature and painting - why on earth should 'the Voice of the People' be in any way different?
For me, that fact that the People have never been considered as having a voice of their own makes it all that more important that we should be clear about what we mean.
"To me there are two kinds of music, music I enjoy, music that I don't."
Very Nihilistic - how do you choose you venues - do they put up a "Wot Raggy likes" sign?
I came into the music at the age of twenty, along with many thousands of my contemporaries - most of the old crowd went when the term 'Folk Club' became meaningless
We were lucky as our deeper interest in the subject kept our engine running at full speed and will continue to do so until we run out of puff
You don't do a music of any sort any favours by dressing it up in different clothes to put bums on seats - all that does is drive out one crowd and replace them with people who prefer something different
No art form can survive that opportunistic approach.
How on earth can I turn away people from what we have collected by saying its not what people want so we're going to give you something else instead?
That is, in essence, what you are arguing.
If people don't want it - tough - their loss
Our collection is archived on the basis that if it has no place in today's world, it might have on in the future
Our Clare collection remains one of our major achievements, when it was accepted by Clare County Library we were able to fulfil the undertaking we made to all our singers in keeping it alive long after they died.
When Clare Council appointed two singers in residence assigned to take traditional songs around the schools using our collection as a basis we are beside ourselves - the next lot would have a chance to hear Tom Lenihan, Martin Reidy and Nora Cleary and maybe get a fraction of the pleasure we got from them
Last week we heard that Limerick Uni is taking our collection, particularly of Traveller material, and making part of their 'World Music Department' and hopefully putting it on line as our Clare stuff is.
Hopefully, before we pop our clogs, we will find a home for twenty years worth of our friendship with Walter Pardon, though I doubt if it will be with any of the UK folk clubs
As things stand, it is more likely to be welcomed by someone in the Six Counties than it is in mainland Britain
"You have made some ridiculous statements about young people and music,"
Then demolish what I have said with argument
I have made no comment on young people, just how that are manipulated by the music industry - I doubt if there is anybody here who can claim they have not been subject to such manipulation at one time or another
"you have said that people are driven away from clubs and music because of awards."
I was part of the Irish music scene in Britain and say many young people walk away from the music because they had been forced into CCE competitions by parents trying to live their lives through their children.
Competitions are for winners, if you're lucky those who don't win become spectators but peer and media pressure makes that an extremely slim option.
Love for and understanding of the music is the only thing that will more-or-less guarantee that young people will hang around
Jim Carroll


17 Oct 17 - 11:44 AM (#3882794)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Jim Carroll

"Jim the 1980's was thirty years ago."
And in all that time nobody has ever come up with a workable definition to replace the one we have Al
The fact that nobody seems to want our music to have an identity of its own is exactly why it is not taken seriously
"Folk Music" has become a cultural dustbin in which anybody sticks whatever they wish to in order to avoid getting up off their arses and finding an identity for their own tastes in music - a hatstand for every unimaginative individual to hang their hat - from top hat to hoodie
Jim Carroll


17 Oct 17 - 11:48 AM (#3882796)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Vic Smith

Allan Conn's post reminds me of something that happened on the Sidmouth Folk Festival campsite about ten years ago. I was cooking a meal on our camping cooker. We were camped next to a circle of tents that were occupied by 'young people'. A loud ghetto blaster was blaring out thumpa-thumpa-thumpa. Irritated, I was wondering if these youngsters had come to the wrong festival. A young woman came out of one of their tents carrying dancing clogs, a stepping board and a bodhran. She handed the bodhran to a dreadlocked youth, put the clogs on and turned the ghetto blaster off. He beat out a complicated four bar sequence in 4/4 reel time. She copied it beat for beat with her clogs. He beat out another sequence with gaps in different places. Once again she matched him. This went on and on. She was using a series of traditional steps to produce the rhythm, an exciting way of developing and advancing a tradition. I was mesmerised. I very nearly burned the meal. I went and asked them where they were performing because I thought they were terrific and I wanted to see more of them.

"Oh! We are not performers.... we just do it for fun!"


17 Oct 17 - 11:52 AM (#3882797)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Raggytash

Just ponder this Jim and please don't jump to a knee jerk reaction.

If you and I had had a conversation about folk music 50 years I would in all probability never set foot in a folk club again.


17 Oct 17 - 12:07 PM (#3882800)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: TheSnail

I think I am safer keeping out of this but I'd just like to say that I cannot recall ever hearing a Donovan song in a folk club but Walter Pardon songs frequently.


17 Oct 17 - 12:26 PM (#3882803)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Vic Smith

I went to all the 3 singarounds at Lewes Folk Festival last weekend and here are the result:-

Walter Pardon songs 3 Donovan songs 0


17 Oct 17 - 12:39 PM (#3882806)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Jim Carroll

"If you and I had had a conversation about folk music 50 years I would in all probability never set foot in a folk club again."
If you and I had a conversation fifty years ago, it seems to me you would not be the slightest bit interested in the type of folk music that was accepted as such back then
You really are not responding to what I am saying Raggy - my interest is in making sure folk song (as defined and researched) has a future
It has given me a lifetime of pleasure as a performer and an audience member, but its future existence as part of my life is guaranteed by the fact that it has so much more than entertainment to offer
Why should I abandon that in the faint hope that I could fill clubs with people who don't share my tastes and interests?
I'd much rather place my money on the Clare schoolkids who are now listening to and learning the songs of the old crumblies we recorded.
You are talking about drawing people in fro the sake of drawing them in, and in doing so, the music seems to have become lost somewhere
I'm in the process of preparing a talk Pat and I are giving next month at Galway Uni - this is part of an opening to a section of the historical significance of folk song
How does it fit in with your ideas?

"Traditional songs - songs in general for that matter, are regarded largely as entertainment. This is certainly partly true, and has become more so as the tradition of making and singing them has disappeared. Nostalgia, a yearning for a bygone, gentler, more civilised world has done much to create the songs, nurture them and keep them alive, but I believe that it is something more that first breathed life into the songs and inspired the often unnamed song-makers to make these pieces. Many of the songs, I believe, arose from struggle, from anger, frustration, a sense of injustice, bitterness, despair and tragedy, (as for instance, with The Wreck of the Old 97, though I will admit, that that particular rendition sounds more like the celebration of a train crash rather than the lamenting of one). National and local pride also played a part in their making. Others came from whimsical observation, a desire to share something pleasant, humorous, or to express love, affection and a myriad of other reasons.
As a whole, I believe these songs have fulfilled a desire to record or comment on life as seen from the ground up, so to speak, many of them having passed from one generation to another because the subjects they dealt with have been important enough to later generations to keep the memories alive.    Often, though not always, we can go to the history books newspapers and records to research the cold facts of the past, but I believe it is to the songs that we have to go to find out what the ?ordinary? people were thinking, feeling and experiencing and what was important to them. Sometimes they dealt with events that never made the newspapers and history books and were of significance only to the communities in which they were made, and so would have gone otherwise unreported."

You didn't comment on the muscians and singer I put up - obviously not to your taste
Jim Carroll


17 Oct 17 - 12:50 PM (#3882808)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Raggytash

The music and musicians were champion Jim, I have no problem with them at all.

However I have heard dozens, scores, if not hundreds of singer/songwriters who's music and songs entertain me to a greater degree.

That is not to say they are better or worse, just different to your prefered choice of material.

Some of these you would possibly dismiss as not being "proper folk music"

And therein lies the problem with having a "definition" of folk music.


17 Oct 17 - 01:05 PM (#3882811)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Allan Conn

Snail I've heard "Colours" by Donovan every now and again in various clubs. Sure there must be others


17 Oct 17 - 01:37 PM (#3882824)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Jim Carroll

"subjective and odd."
Nothing odd or even new - people have been saying all my life things like, "I can't define it but I know what it sounds like"
I have a wider taste in all forms of music than most people I know - my tastes range from operatic arias (only ever managed to take one full opera) to kids street songs
None of this is an academic interest - I love listening to a wide range of music
As far as folk song is concerned my tastes include Mongolian throat singing, Rumainian Lament, Genoese Tralaleri, Bahaman Shanties and the North Carolina 'High Lonesome Sound'
I've listened to this music, sung it, played it to audiences, lectured on it and written on it
If, after a longish lifetime of listening to this music I foung myself unable to distinguish it from the output of the music industry, I would seek the comfort of the nearest gas stove to rest my weary head.
Are you really telling me that you can't tell the difference between folk music and the occupants of the current charts ?
If so, I'm sorry fro your trouble, as they say over here.
"A folk singer singing folk songs? That'll be Dave Burland singing "I don't like Mondays" "
Go tell Geldof that 'Mondays' is a folk song and therefore in the public domain and see how far it gets you - probably the nearest law court
No wonder you call yourself "Some Bloke or other" - I wouldn't like my name associated with such idiocy either!
Jim Carroll


17 Oct 17 - 01:45 PM (#3882826)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Backwoodsman

I believe in giving credit where it's due, SBoO! As I'm sure you know! 😉


17 Oct 17 - 02:08 PM (#3882831)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Big Al Whittle

I suppose if you never listen to anyone else - you could have missed out on all the songs that Donovan popularised in English folk clubs.

The late Barrie Roberts once said that the trouble with folksingers was they couldn't stand listening to one another. Obvious;y its true. But it makes a sensible discussion very difficult.

You see, Donovan popularised SO many songs on his first few singles and albums - not necessarily all his own compositions that he is alnost certainly one of the leading influences on the English folk club movement. At first it was just that 60's generation, but as time went on - it became the younger singers who had heard the songs from older singers.

If you don't go to folk clubs - please don't argue about stuff of which you very obviously know nowt. Going to folk concerts and sitting at home with your recordings doesn't count.


17 Oct 17 - 02:12 PM (#3882832)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: TheSnail

I don't doubt it, Allan. Folk clubs are may and varied. I was responding to Jim Carroll's "we will find a home for twenty years worth of our friendship with Walter Pardon, though I doubt if it will be with any of the UK folk clubs".


17 Oct 17 - 02:47 PM (#3882839)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Jim Carroll

Not sure of your reference to Walter's recordings Bryan
I have sought in vain for a home for our collection and am still doing so
Our's was the first British/Irish collection to be deposited at National Sound Archive (then The British Institute of Recorded Sound) and was the inspiration for their opening their remit from musicology to Folk song, yet, decades later all but a few recordings are accessible to the general public and they haven't even got our genders right on their indes - Pat has transmogrified into a feller.
Our deal with our singers was that we wanted their songs to stop them dying when they did - they may as well be dead as locked in some inaccessible vault.
I've offered our entire holdings to various places in the UK - so far, no takers
I offered them to one folk club which shall remain nameless and was left with the impression that I was trying to peddle hookey goods (we've never attempted to make a penny out off our collection)
It really does make sense of discussions such as this
Luckily, we have found an Irish University keen not only to take the collection but to put it on line as part of their 'World Music' project - their work on Travellers to date is beyond all oir expectations, so our lot will feel quite at home there
Jim Carroll


17 Oct 17 - 02:50 PM (#3882840)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Big Al Whittle

i think the real problem with what JIm calls traditional music is that not anybody can do it, and very few people can do it to performance standard. You need a Brian Peters or a Pete Coe.

He's right of course in saying that if our government did what they do in Ireland - it would be more popular. Who knows perhaps it would get to be as popular as big band music or avant gard jazz.

But in a way that's not what folk music has ever been about in our country. we are a mongrel nation - every so often along comes the Irish. the Jamaicans, the Rock and Rollers, the music hall artistes and each of them has a profound effect on how we try to express ourselves musically. I remember talking to Ian Campbell about his Da's singing - and Ian told me that his predominant influence had been Al Jolson. The material was trad Scots - but delivered not in a way that someone who had stayed in Bothies and Crofts would have performed those songs.

Its in our nature to change.


17 Oct 17 - 03:03 PM (#3882843)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: akenaton

Well I've got to admit it, the folk clubs of the revival depended heavily on the drink "culture" we used to pack them in, but only if there was a bar on the premises and as the night wore on the folkies got less and less inhibited, audience AND performers.
There was a large number of really heavy drinkers in Scottish folk music.

This bore no relation to the folk music of my boyhood 1950's when everyone in the community, old and young attended the weekly concerts and there was never any drink and all were encouraged to participate
The music was magic ...sacred almost, the old Gaelic songs passed from grandmother to sons and grand daughters. it was as much part of life as work, or keeping ourselves nourished.

Times have certainly changed and society with them, most of the youth groups have "learned folk", how to sing how to play how to be commercial. They all have a sameness about them, you'd be hard pressed to tell one from the other in the dark.....or even in
daylight.
The funny thing is that only one in a hundred IS commercial the feeling, emotion and inspiration has been surgically removed and only pap left behind.....folk should not be about how technically proficient you are or how commercial you sound. Good folk song should be humorous or profound or sad or full of joy. It should make you feel something.

In short we lost something as we became more prosperous less dependant on our neighbours, more personally insulated.
We have become emotionally deficient.


17 Oct 17 - 04:24 PM (#3882855)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Dave Sutherland

Sorry Al but apart from "Colours", and that was mainly from the Bushburys in the 90s, I don't think that I have heard a Donovan song in a folk club during the fifty one years that I have frequented them. As for his influence on folk clubs, when I arrived on the scene back in 1966 the folk clubs of the North East were managing to scrape by without his help or influence (although I'm sure that they thanked him for his kind offer) and, as far as I know, they still are. The club that I have helped run for the last twenty six years in Nottingham has, unless I am most mistaken, never featured one of his songs during that time.


17 Oct 17 - 04:39 PM (#3882856)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: The Sandman

I have been singing in many many folk clubs in over 50 years, i have heard.. gold watch blues and colours, about 6 times in all, that is not very often but very occasionally, i have not heard Walters songs that often, certainly more often than donovans, unfortunately what i have heard is more of the music hall type.
donovan does play guitar in a folk style, that of maybelle carter, and many years ago he was a regular at st albans folk club, he is a very pleasant person, who is interested in traditional music he turned up to see martin carthy at fastnet maritime festival 3 years ago.


17 Oct 17 - 05:18 PM (#3882865)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: TheSnail

Unlikely though it may seem, Jim, you offered your archive to me at one time. The trouble was that you added so many caveats and restrictions on attributions and what could be done with them that it became something of a poisoned chalice. Not so much peddling hookey goods as money laundering. Trying to hide the sources. We are not archivists so we would have sought to distribute the material to the right places. Your conditions made it impossible.


17 Oct 17 - 06:32 PM (#3882877)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Big Al Whittle

to be honest Dave - your club is Very traddy. That's not a bad thing. Its how some people like to view folk music. You book source and traddy revival singers and you do well with it. But it turns its back on what the mojority of English people think of as folk music. Its how the BBC Radio Derby folk programme died the death. For years they refused to feature singers clubs like the Pingle in Sutton on Ashfield. Smart move!

However - it does pressurise floorsingers into falling into line.

On the last 18 months or so - I've heard Colours, To Sing for You, Try for the Sun The Tin Soldier, Josie, and Catch the Wind.

Of the songs that Donovan introduced into the folk system via records with enormous sales . I heard variants of Keep on Trucking tonight in Dorchester. Reasonably recently I've heard his version of Candyman, Donna Donna Donna Donna, Universal Soldier and Gold Watch Blues.

The trouble with you guys you work on a different scale to the rest of the music industry and its interface with the population. I remember when Ewan and Peggy were on the the Decca label called Argo. Anyway the company decided to pulp their output including some great stuff like The Fight Game. Peggy was saying they asked the company if they could buy the records off them to sell at gigs. The company said no, they didn't fit in with what image they had in mind for the label.

Compare and contrast to a recording artist whose stuff has had major airplay. Whose albums were in thousands of homes. Of course more people will look to it, when they have the rudiments of the guitar down, more people will use it as a blueprint for how to do it - when they come to write songs about their own life.


18 Oct 17 - 03:49 AM (#3882921)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Jim Carroll

"The trouble was that you added so many caveats and restrictions on attributions and what could be done with them that it became something of a poisoned chalice. "
Not the case Bryan - I offered the collection, much of which is made up of material we as a workshop donated to a general pool for the use of singers, and some given by outsiders who thought it worthwhile to attempt to build a national archive independent of the official ones with no restrictions whatever regarding the use made by singers.
The only conditions put on its use outside of that was that material donated from outside be used elsewhere should be used with circumspection and that if necessary, the donors should be consulted first - that, to me, was common courtesy, not "a poisoned chalice" and it is disingenuous of you to suggest it is.
You were given lists of what we have and you know that we acquired material that we were not really entitled to hold, but were given in good faith on the understanding that it was used with circumspection - in your case by club members wishing to increase their knowledge and their repertoires
I felt at the time that such an offer would contribute to the dire condition that the club scene had slid into and I feel that even more strongly now
That offer remains open to any serious, traditional based club and the material has increased somewhat since then
Bryan's club has had their bite of the cherry and spat it out, no second chances, I'm afraid.
"i think the real problem with what JIm calls traditional music is that not anybody can do it"
Certainly not the case Al - at least it wasn't when I was on the club scene
It is a proven fact that , unless you are suffering a physical defect, anybody can sing and, if you are prepared to put in the work, anybody can sing well - the more you work at it, the better singer you become.
Most of the clubs I was involved with worked on the basis of having a team of residents capable of taking an evening, backed up by other singers with less experience and smaller repertoires who could take a less prominent part.
We expected a basic standard, which was that a singer could hold a tune, learn and remember the words without a crib sheet and handle themselves with a degree of confidence so as not to fall apart regularly in front of an audience - that was it really, no high standards, no prima donas, just a basic level of efficiency and commitment, which included an expectation that the singers had given a little thought and preparation to the evening beforehand.
Skills varied widely, but as a general rule, the audience went away having heard an evening of songs competently sung by singers who enjoyed and respected the songs they sang
The only really messy evenings I can remember were the very occasional 'You name it, we sing it' evenings, where audiences were asked to senf up SUBJECTS and the residents would attempt to pluck out a song to match it
One of the most memorable subjects sent up was "psychopathic brickie goes on killing spree when customer refuses to pay bill" - he wanted Lambkin and one of the team obliged
Outside of club evenings, we ran a workshop where those wishing to improve their singing or even start from scratch, were invited to take part - no stars or prima donas there either, just singers prepared to give their time to help others and in doing so, improve their own skills and understanding (That's where the archive I mentioned above came from)
We didn't go in for singarounds - we had a short 'singers from the floor' spot - guests were an occasional luxury - we never relied on them.
Ours were policy clubs - we all had a degree of understanding of what we meant by 'folk' and that formed the foundation of what we did, but it was not a hard-and-fast rule
New songs created in traditional styles were encouraged and regarded as essential if the music was to have a future
None of this is "difficult" Al - it lies well within the grasp of anybody prepared to put in the work - I was actually given a book for our workshop library by the brother of a "non singer" member we worked with who eventually became a singer - I was told "I never believed the bugger would be able to sing"
ANYBODY CAN BECOME A SINGER IF THEY ARE PREPARED TO PUT IN THE TIME, THOUGHT AND EFFORT
Jim Carroll


18 Oct 17 - 04:09 AM (#3882925)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: TheSnail

Our recollections clearly differ Jim.


18 Oct 17 - 04:44 AM (#3882931)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Jim Carroll

"Our recollections clearly differ Jim."
Obviously, but mine is a permanent policy and is based entirely on a commitment to those who donated material to our archive
I have no intention of ******* up this discussion by taking our disagreements further and I suggest you adopt the same line
Jim Carroll


18 Oct 17 - 05:11 AM (#3882939)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Jack Campin

Libraries are offered far more material than they can cope with. For any donation, a library has to ask "what is it going to cost us to accept this?" - cataloguing, shelving and conservation cost money. Adding a nontrivial complication with rights management could well tip the balance to rejection.

It would be easier if you could simply find an institution whose existing policies were acceptable to you; that way it won't incur any extra costs for them in doing something out of their usual routine. I assume the EFDSS has thought this through.

I am thinking of donating some of my stuff to a library - what I am intending to do is as far as possible to pre-catalogue it using their own standards. That way, they can check what they're getting more easily, and it'll be less effort to process.


18 Oct 17 - 06:11 AM (#3882960)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Big Al Whittle

Interesting Jack...you'd think in these days of indexing and storing things in cyberspace, libraries would have infinite storage space.


18 Oct 17 - 06:28 AM (#3882968)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Jim Carroll

"he said he only ever wrote one, what he would call a folk song, "
Then we'll go to Bob Geldof for our definition and burn the century of research that has been put into the subject
Yeah - sure we will!!!
A definition exists and our revival was floated on that definition
No jumped-up pop performer will ever change that, nor will any other individual
If your music has no identity it will not survive
Jim Carroll


18 Oct 17 - 07:01 AM (#3882975)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Big Al Whittle

Jim in the long run we are all dead, and Geldof's song has lasted damn nearly forty years and doesn't look like dying anytime soon.

You aren't actually claiming divine status for the 1954 definition, are you?


18 Oct 17 - 07:21 AM (#3882985)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Jim Carroll

"Jim in the long run we are all dead, and Geldof's song has lasted damn nearly forty years and doesn't look like dying anytime soon."
Age has nothing to do with tradition Al - we were recording traditional songs that had been made in the lifetimes of the singers and som of the Travellers stuff was no more than a few years old
On the other hand, our ballads and songs are centuries old and some of the motifs that went into their making date back as far as Boccaccio and Homer
I am claiming divine status for nothing - I am suggesting that at one time working people actively participated in our culture and produced our songs as expressions of their lives, those songs were widely taken up, took rrot elsewhere adapted to suit different localities, ages and circumstances, during the course of which their authors were largely forgotten - thay are your folk songs - nothing to do with age, style or subject matter.
The oral tradition breathed its last when 'progress' turned us into passive recipients - customers, rather than participants in our culture
'1954' was not a bad attempt to define those songs - not perfect and not written in stone - just a handy guide until a better one comes along
None has so far
I asked what would happen if someone were to take Geldof at his word and refuse to pay royalties for his song because it was "folk" - I received no reply
Waddy think yourself?
Jim Carroll


18 Oct 17 - 07:33 AM (#3882989)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Big Al Whittle

well I can't recollect anyone rushing to fill in a PRS form for singing any of my songs or Bob Geldof's.

When you write songs you become that part of the folk tradition of nobody paying you, whether you want to or not.

its a bloody good day when someone gets round to paying you.


18 Oct 17 - 08:02 AM (#3882996)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Dave Sutherland

"Its how the BBC Radio Derby folk programme died the death" The BBC Radio Derby folk programme, either Tup or Folkwaves, epitomised MOR folk and I'm sure that Mick Peat would not be offended at my description, so it wouldn't have been the traditional content that drove people away from the folk clubs. Alternatively when Roy Harris was running the BBC Radio Nottingham folk programme The Copperplate Music Show he was being constantly berated by the station management for continuing to play recordings by "these broken voiced old men" as they described traditional singers as it didn't fit their image of folk music. A bit like the MacColl and Seeger episode that was quoted.
Jim's description earlier of what should be expected of a resident or regular singer at a folk club is exactly as I understood it when setting out all those years ago and my definition hasn't changed during that time. I always maintain that the prime objective of a team of residents at a folk club should be to display to the guest singer the standard that is acceptable at their club and that is what he/she would be expected to at least match.


18 Oct 17 - 08:09 AM (#3882999)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Jack Campin

you'd think in these days of indexing and storing things in cyberspace, libraries would have infinite storage space.

Not really. Digitizing things is very labour-intensive, and possibly even more so with media that aren't paper - however you digitize a tape now, you can be sure there will be a better technology in the future that will extract more information from it, so if the thing matters you'll want to keep the original (filed in an archival box in a climate-controlled room). And for an audio or video tape the librarian may well have to preview it to make a track listing.

Two examples. I just found a floppy disk I've had since the early 90s, old-school Mac format. I don't have a machine that can read it, and I also don't know what word processor created it. It's the manuscript of a moderately well known book of the time, I was doing something with it for the author (no recollection of what). I can't see a library wanting it, given the hassle. The other: I bought a used memory stick from a charity shop and found it was stuffed full of mp3s of al-Qaeda speeches and sermons. I've only listened to a few but have found that some work and some are corrupted. Now, there are quite a few reasons why that might be interesting to several parties, but most of the interest would depend on looking at the original chip as an artefact. The mp3s are presumably not that hard to find on the web if you look hard enough; but the medium is the message. This channel of distribution is a kind of folk media for our time, only with MI5 doing what Doc Rowe does.


18 Oct 17 - 09:03 AM (#3883005)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Jack Campin

Sharpe the folklorist died in 1851. A bit early for your context.

You possibly mean Sharp, who did something relating to folk music in a different country.


18 Oct 17 - 09:29 AM (#3883014)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Jim Carroll

"Lots of definitions exist Jim."
None that are widely accepted or documented - any half with can make up a definition to suit themsselves
That you were not around at the time and have shown little interest is obvious - the name is Sharp - not Sharpe
The fact that this definition is old is the point surely - if we discarded definitions because we were "not around" we would burn every single dictionary on the shelves
I really am not interested in continuing this dialogue with you Muskett - you have shown your contempt for both the tradition and the older "tit-trousers" in the past and I have no intention of giving you a platform to repeat your performance.
You want to show Bob Geldof can write folk songs, give us an accepted definition that covers that imaginative phenomenon
The question here is "What is Happening to our Folk Clubs" - I would say without hesitation that your input is a pretty good representation of what is happening - the club scene has lost its way and "folk" has ceased to be a factor in what is happening in many clubs.
Add to that, Al's earlier point that people find folk songs too hard to sing and you have a scene that if heading for the buffers at high speed
We had no trouble singing our way though long ballads in the past, ornamentation came when we worked at it and interpretation was a formality to many singers
I've seen club audiences down in the bar arguing about the merits and demerits of one version of a ballad compared to another - the scene both from the performers and the audiences point of view, appeared to be going somewhere - but we did have a level of agreement as to what we meant by "folk song" then and we did set an acceptable standard of performance for our clubs
There is no need for the clubs to die if they respect the music and set standards - not doing so is self-harm
Al
Every song you write is subject to PRS and is protected by copyright should you wish to register it.
Up to now, folk song proper is immune to that law but if the term "folk" continues to become meaningless every club in the land with have to stump up the cash to pay the PRS and IMRO sharks for the right to sing the songs that are our heritage
Most of us are not in it for the money and the few that are have created the sword of Damocles that hangs over the clubs
I asked about Geldof - you didn't reply
How about putting out "Monday" on a commercial disc and see whether your feet touch the ground.
The law actually says that a song is protected by law for 70 years after being first made public - that we should all live so long!!
Jim Carroll


18 Oct 17 - 10:31 AM (#3883042)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Big Al Whittle

the law can say what it wants. its the servant of the rich. this is the law that keeps innocent people on remand for months because its too busy - and yet its enough free time to organise midnight hearings to sequester miners union funds.

I'm surprised Ewan never explained that to you.
most songwriters however and wherever they register their song don't get paid for people using it.
if Geldof has managed to get one of his songs off with a corporation that has enough clout to stand up for him - good luck to him. it probably has more to do with the successful hi profile persona, if he gets paid. famous people are harder to ignore.

i doubt if i arranged mondays and it got played on local radio it would make a penny for him or me.

Inter Milan Football Club used one of my songs and bought every existing copy, and played it on match days. none of the collection agencies got a cent out of the buggers. this is despite being owned by the company that owned the EMI book for Europe.

I was too small a fish. Like I was telling you about Peggy and Ewan with Decca.

in the end you just have to say - am i that fucking bothered about money? this is what I want to do. this is what i'm doing. fuck em!


18 Oct 17 - 10:57 AM (#3883049)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Jim Carroll

"I'm surprised Ewan never explained that to you."
He didn't need to Al - it was planted in my psyche long before I knew Ewan
What' your point?
A song cannot become folk until it goes through a process of dissemination and acceptance
A pop song can never become folk song because   that process no longer operates and the law protects it from ever becoming one anyway because it is the property of the composer
If Ewan and Peggy can point out that the songs they wrote were not folk songs you should have the good grace to accept that yours aren't
I really can't see why you are continuing this
Geldof song isn't a folk song, it doesn't sound like a folk song and it fits none of the definitions - unless you can point to one that it does.
You and Muskett are working on the basis that, if you choose to call a song "folk" it will miraculously become one (like Joe Heaney's steak miraculously turned into a fish to placate the priest on Friday)
So - where's your definition?
If you don't com up with one you have no case
Game over, I think
Jim Carroll


18 Oct 17 - 11:48 AM (#3883060)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Backwoodsman

The dinosaurs went extinct. Mostly.


18 Oct 17 - 12:07 PM (#3883066)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Jack Campin

The dinosaurs went extinct. Mostly.

I think whatever made them lose the will to live is currently stomping round the west of Ireland looking for another dominant species to start on.


18 Oct 17 - 12:51 PM (#3883081)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Big Al Whittle

i seem to remember Sir Thomas More saying something similar in A Man for All Seasons. Didn't do him much good either.


18 Oct 17 - 12:58 PM (#3883083)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Jack Campin

To dismiss his contribution as being something to do with foreign music shows a breathtaking lack of knowledge from one who growls at others.

I thought you were in the same country as me? The one Sharpe collected tunes in?


18 Oct 17 - 01:27 PM (#3883089)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: The Sandman

what is happening in our folk clubs...... people are making their own music they are socialising and they are enjoying themselves, sometimes they get their leg over something other than a zimmer frame, long may that continue


18 Oct 17 - 01:33 PM (#3883090)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Backwoodsman

Amen, Dick.
Someone will probably be along in a minute to tell us that the Zimmer Frame must comply with the 1954 design, otherwise it's not a Zimmer Frame. 😜😎


18 Oct 17 - 02:15 PM (#3883101)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Paul Reade

Ironically, Guest's comment above ("... zzzzzzzzz") answers exactly the question "What is Happening to our Folk Clubs".

While the folknerd pedants have been arguing the toss about what exactly folk is etc., they don't seem to have noticed that the audience has become totally bored ... and gone home!


18 Oct 17 - 03:15 PM (#3883118)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Big Al Whittle

a pubic hair on the toilet seat......

as Private Godfrey said, I don't like that sort of thing...


18 Oct 17 - 04:28 PM (#3883129)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Joe Offer

We expect civil behavior from all; but Guests are reminded that they are under special scrutiny. There were a number of combative Guest posts in this thread. I deleted most of the recent ones - along with some member responses. We can't have credible discussion of folk music with that sort of combat going on. Your mother should have taught you that when you are a guest, you should be on your "best behavior."
-Joe Offer, Mudcat Music Editor-


18 Oct 17 - 06:48 PM (#3883152)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: GUEST

If guests are allowed under the rules they should not be subject to any stricter rules than combative or obnoxious members! If all are not equal, change the rules, but do not carry out a double standard! The rules of "decorum" must apply to all, yes?


    If your identity is known, you suffer social consequences from the community when your behavior is out of line. If you hide behind anonymity, there are no such consequences. In addition, people often perceive anonymous remarks as threatening. Also, anonymous criticism can be particularly hurtful. Therefore, if there is even a hint of animosity in an anonymous post, I will not hesitate to delete it.
    Anonymity is granted only to allow occasional visitors a chance to contribute to a discussion when they are unable to become members for one reason or another. Anonymity is not a right. If you post anonymously, all your messages will be scrutinized. Don't like that? Then sign up as a member.
    -Joe Offer, Mudcat Music Editor-


18 Oct 17 - 07:39 PM (#3883161)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Big Al Whittle

with the best will in the world - i really don't think you need to bother too much about the sensibilities of the folks on this thread.

Jim Carrol doesn't reckon my Justin Beiber songs are folk music
I'm trying open his mind to hip hop and acid metal trance.

He reckons his ballads are where its at, full of street cred and a possible cure for my insomnia.


19 Oct 17 - 03:55 AM (#3883200)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Jim Carroll

Delighted that Joe intervened - I apologise for getting involved in the backbiting - put it down to the meds.
I do hope you're joking Al - in all sincerity, you really should try the real thing before out dismiss it out-of-hand.
If you haven't heard ten part 'The Song Carriers' series MacColl did in the sixties, you really should try it - it is, in my opinion, the finest and most accessible presentation of British and Irish folk song that was ever produced - 1964 and still not bettered, both enjoyable and informative
It still sets the hairs on the back of my head on end after a dozen times of listening
If you are in any way interested PM me with an e-mail address and I'll be happy to send you a set on Dropbox
Jim Carroll


19 Oct 17 - 04:02 AM (#3883201)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Jim Carroll

"I think whatever made them lose the will to live is currently stomping round the west of Ireland looking for another dominant species to start on."
Pease don't you join in the snide Jack - you are better than that
I've made my points as clearly as I am able - try addressing them
Jim Carroll


19 Oct 17 - 05:34 AM (#3883219)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: akenaton

Yes, you are quite right Jim, I noticed what was happening yesterday and withdrew from the discussion.....Joe is perfectly correct and I wish BS was subject to the same moderation.


19 Oct 17 - 05:39 AM (#3883221)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Backwoodsman

So do I.


19 Oct 17 - 05:56 AM (#3883229)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Vic Smith

If your identity is known, you suffer social consequences from the community when your behavior is out of line. If you hide behind anonymity, there are no such consequences. In addition, people often perceive anonymous remarks as threatening. Also, anonymous criticism can be particularly hurtful. Therefore, if there is even a hint of animosity in an anonymous post, I will not hesitate to delete it.
Anonymity is granted only to allow occasional visitors a chance to contribute to a discussion when they are unable to become members for one reason or another. Anonymity is not a right. If you post anonymously, all your messages will be scrutinized. Don't like that? Then sign up as a member.
-Joe Offer, Mudcat Music Editor-


19 Oct 17 - 06:21 AM (#3883239)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: GUEST,ST

I know I can't generalise from my own experience but, although I can't claim to have been an active participant in the early days of the revival in the 50s, I can claim to have been an active member of the folk community for half a century so here's my own, very personal viewpoint.

I want to try to separate the question of what's happened to folk clubs from the questions about folk song/music. I don't actually think that folk clubs have "died" because they failed to stick to the 1954 definition of "folk" (although I tend to agree with that definition in the absence of anyone coming up with something better: but that's not the discussion here.)

I believe folk clubs were a generational "social" phenomenon which, I think is now dying out with the "Folk Club Generation". I don't think there were any folk clubs to speak of in the UK before the Second World War. They emerged from the 1950s skiffle and cafe bar movement, grew in popularity throughout the 1960s and 1970s and started to decline in popularity (and, in my entirely subjective opinion, in standards) from the 1980s. There are still a few run and attended by the "Folk Club Generation" but they have largely been replaced by singarounds and acoustic and open mic evenings for the "active" participants and by larger scale concerts and festivals for the "audiences".   

I don't think the younger generations failed to start coming to the clubs because the clubs no longer "did what it said on the tin"; I just think they were of their time and were and are not suited to a different time.   Folk songs were once, perhaps, sung at family gatherings and harvest and hunt suppers before the artificial environment of our folk clubs was invented. They were not the only songs sung at these events. These pre-folk generation gatherings were of their generation; folk clubs were of mine and, for a short time they provided an environment where the "folk songs" were separated from the other types of song. This selective environment, for a short time, became quite fashionable. Now there are different generations and different formats are emerging with different performers who get their material, and inspiration, in different ways. Although the occasional folk songs gets sung in these gatherings they are no longer exclusively for folk songs and, perhaps are back to the more mixed repertoires of the pre-folk club generations.

The Folk Club Generation learned within the clubs as well as, occasionally, from books and LPs. The current generation has Youtube and various internet sources to learn from - they don't need to sit through a variety of performers to get to the bit they want to hear or emulate.   They can go to "open mic" evenings with the songs they learned off Youtube, have their 10 minutes of fame and then leave.   The better ones (and there are some really good ones out there) can put up their own videos and try to get bookings at festivals and in music bars.   In some cases they can be keeping traditional material alive but not in the folk club context in which we learned and experienced it.

In the late 60s and 70s there were plenty of clubs. They were filled to capacity mainly by teens and 20s and the clubs that I went to had few, if any, older or traditional/source singers attending regularly. (Mind you "old" used to mean anyone over about 35 in those days!) Many of the clubs could afford to invite regular "professional" or semi-professional guests: in some cases these were (older) source/traditional singers and musicians. Whilst the clubs had plenty of "audience" members who restricted their contributions to joining in choruses etc., there were also lots of floor singers, so many that you couldn't guarantee getting a floor spot each week and, if you didn't know your material, you certainly wouldn't get one the next week. You learned your songs from each other with the few having access to LPs and books bringing in a steady stream of new material. Later on, many of us had cassette recorders which allowed us to collect and learn songs from others more easily. The material at the clubs I went to was mainly traditional with just the occasional Bob Dylan etc. song.

From the mid-80s and over the next decade or so things changed. The "Folk Club Generation" thinned out as families and jobs got in the way of nights out. Venues became less available as pubs ripped out internal walls to become bars, often with large TVs on the wall, and others morphed into restaurants.   As audiences and performers decreased, the repertoire of the singers widened and more ?pop? was performed but still, the clubs I went to maintained a fairly traditional base. (This, of course was partly because I avoided clubs that didn't suit my taste in music.) As the clubs shrank in numbers and attendance I didn't notice much new blood entering.   The Folk Club Generation boom of teens and 20s became the diminished die-hards, now in their 30s and 40s.

Over the last couple of decades there have been other changes. There's been a continued decrease in venue availability with the closure of pubs now adding further to the pressures. I don't think actual participant numbers have decreased as much as might be expected since those leaving due to death (or finally having had enough) seem to have been replaced by others of the original Folk Club Generation reaching retirement age and, once more, having time to spare. Unfortunately that influx has brought its own problems. A number of those returning are the "chorus singing, audience only" attendees from the 60s. Now they're back and they see a chance to sing themselves. So far, so good, but they seem to have forgotten how the "performers" of those early days actually learned to perform and practiced before doing so. Many of them now resort to files of songs from which they read. My impression is that many feel an obligation to sing because they think it's a requirement (and this seems to be encouraged in some singarounds) - but they don't actually treat the songs with any respect: it's all person-centred and about the participation. This is a perfectly valid viewpoint although it's not quite how the 1960s clubs worked where, I believe, it was the songs that came first.

Sadly there's a critical mass effect in operation. Even some of those who were actually floor singers in the 1960s but left for family and work reasons now return and see that reading and not knowing your songs is the norm. Perhaps lacking confidence after a long absence, they blame ageing for no longer being able to remember words and seem to be prepared to buy into the "I haven?t had time to learn this one properly yet" ethos. As there's less real talent left in this smaller population, many "clubs" have become singarounds where no-one really even pretends to be any good anymore and you get your turn regardless of whether you know any songs or bother to practice them beforehand.   I can go to some clubs/singarounds where you're expected to know your songs and perform reasonably well (though perhaps not as some still let me sing). It seems attendees quickly pick up that, at these clubs, you need to aim for a certain level of performance. I go to other places where one or two start to read from sheets, forget what they're doing, say "I just found this one today and must try it out" and, if left unremarked upon, within a couple of months nearly everyone is taking the same approach. Noticeably, a few of the "better"? performers will have stopped attending by then so the effect is even more pronounced. I think this may explain why perceptions about the current state of standards varies. If you're lucky enough to live where the critical mass supports standards you?ll think they are OK, if you're not so lucky .
...
So, I think we're seeing the death of folk clubs along with those who started them. The younger generations are inventing their own ways of performing and keeping songs alive. Some of these performers are very good but whereas the Folk Club Generation went to clubs to share just "folk songs" with each other, to listen as well as to perform, I'm not sure that's the model for the current generation. I think most, raised on Youtube and the internet, expect to have an audience for their songs rather than share songs with each other. As I said, some are very good and at least as good as the best of my generation; they?re just doing a slightly different thing.


19 Oct 17 - 06:53 AM (#3883242)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Dave the Gnome

I think that is a good summation, ST. Folk clubs as an entity are artificial and came into being in the middle of the last century. Folk song and dance, however, is not artificial and has been going on since, well, man learned to sing and dance! We do not need folk clubs to preserve folk music as the music of yesteryear will either survive or fall by the wayside on its own merits. Folk clubs have evolved and while I have seen evidence of the OPs initial complaints I cannot say how widespread it is because I have a very limited, if lengthy, experience of only a handful of folk clubs. What I do know is that good music, of whatever genre, will survive in any environment.

My tastes are somewhat eclectic and I am more than happy to listen to any sort of music at the clubs I attend and, to be honest, I do not think I would enjoy an evening of nothing but traditional, unaccompanied song. I could be wrong and pleasantly surprised of course but to my mind, if you will excuse the cliche, variety is the spice of life. I was enamored of The Battlefield Band many years ago when the did their 'Saturday night ceilidh' set, explaining that the ceilidhs they attended in their youth were not the type we tend to think of here but were a collection of performance, dance, poetry and songs which included both traditional and modern. I think 'Johnny B Good' and 'Bad Moon rising' played on bagpipes is still one of the best things I have ever heard :-)

I certainly have no objection to the type of music performed. As long as it is good and the performers put in some effort to keep the audience entertained I will not complain. If I go to a venue where the music, however good, is not to my taste, I will go elsewhere. If I go to a venue where the music is to my taste but consistently performed to a poor standard, I will go elsewhere. I am sure I am not greatly different to most other people.

Just my 2p.

DtG


19 Oct 17 - 07:28 AM (#3883246)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Jim Carroll

Thanks for your input guest - sorry, but I feel I must disagree with most of it
Your argument may well describe what the clubs became, but they certainly didn't start out like that, not the ones I became involved with anyway
There was an element in what you describe in my first club, run by the Liverpool Spinners - a mixture of popularly performed folk songs and a social gathering.
I was a member for a couple of years and had just about had my fill of 'Fried Bread and Brandy' when they booked MacColl and Seeger, and I was introduced to an entire new world - a mixture of articulately presented traditional songs and (particularly) ballads alongside contemporary songs made on traditional forms.
I moved to Manchester and became part of the Terry Whelan, Harry Boardman, Tom Gillfellon, Teri Griffiths, Dave Hillary scene - a varied mixture of traditional songs that could knock your socks off.
By the time MacColl asked me to join the Critics Group I was an addict for life - not on the scene but on the songs - the social bit was an added bonus which you could take or leave.
MacColl, Lloyd and the pioneers all came to the music, very much influenced and inspired by McCarthy refugee, Alan Lomax
When he arrived in Britain Ewan and Bert were singing everything, including American songs that had been popularised by the material shipped in by Ken Colyer that set off Skiffle craze.
Lomax banged their heads together and pointed them at their home-grown folk songs, largely those collected by the BBC a few years earlier
What, Lloyd MacColl and others inspired became the serious and totally dedicated side of folk song
It produced new songs and new approaches to and uses of the old songs but it never really lost sight of their belief that Folk songs were the workers voice - The Voice of the People'.
There is a strange attitude that says you cannot be serious about your music and enjoy it at the same time
I'm working on a talk I'm giving in a few weeks and I'm using this quote by MacColl which answers that attitude for me perfectly - it's from an interview we did with him in in 1978.

"Now you might say that working and training to develop your voice to sing Nine Maidens A-milking Did Go or Lord Randall is calculated to destroy your original joy in singing, at least that's the argument that?s put to me from time to time, or has been put to me from time to time by singers who should know better.
The better you can do a thing the more you enjoy it. Anybody who?s ever tried to sing and got up in front of an audience and made a bloody mess of it knows that you?re not enjoying it when you?re making a balls of it, but you are enjoying it when it?s working, when all the things you want to happen are happening. And that can happen without training, sure it can, but it?s hit or miss. If you?re training it can happen more, that?s the difference. It can?t happen every time, not with anybody, although your training can stand you in good stead, it?s something to fall back on, a technique, you know. It?s something that will at least make sure that you?re not absolutely diabolical
The objective, really for the singer is to create a situation where when he starts to sing he?s no longer worried about technique, he?s done all that, and he can give the whole of his or her attention to the song itself, she can give her or he can give his whole attention to the sheer act of enjoying the song."

For me, our traditional songs are a vital part of our culture; performing them and listening to them has always given me enormous pleasure and I will be eternally grateful to the club scene that gave me the opportunity to do so - I wouldn't know they existed without them.
The clubs were set up to make these songs accessible to everybody - I only hope they survive to give future generations the same opportunity and pleasure they gave me
If I want to hear pop songs droned out by different performers 'just there for the craic' I can nip along to the local karaoke session
If people wish to offer a workable re-definition of the term "folk" they need to do so rather than saying "it is because I say it is" - that's just ill mannered boorishness.
I don't believe folk music is dead because it's a thing of the past any more than I believe Dickens or Shakespeare have had their day
They are all a part of our rich, vatal heritage and they all have something to say to us about ourselves
Long may they all thrive and prosper
Jim Carroll


19 Oct 17 - 08:19 AM (#3883256)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Jack Campin


Thanks for your input guest - sorry, but I feel I must disagree with most of it


You're illustrating what they said rather than disagreeing. Your autobiographical account describes a "where has this stuff been all my life?" encounter with the songs of traditional singers, and it was an experience common to many people of the same generation. It hasn't been an experience available to generations since - the motivating fire that got people together to form folk clubs and similar spaces for the music just isn't there. The source singers aren't around to feed in new stuff, and the recorded material has become familiarized with time.

There is a lot of source material which does genuinely sound like nothing you could ever have expected, but you'd never go to a folk club to look for it. YouTube and Spotify are a much better bet. But once you start looking at such vast and loosely categorized resources, you're unlikely to end up with such a sharp focus as you had. I don't think that's any bad thing. There is a lot of music out there and no laws to dictate which selections from it your own personal tastes should go for. Hence all over Britain you have things like Balkan bands, dhol groups and samba schools - which often have the same members as people who do English or Scottish traditional dance. There is so much creative energy out there that expecting folk clubs to host even a fraction of it would be like trawling for mackerel with a tadpole net and a jar.


19 Oct 17 - 08:24 AM (#3883259)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Jim Carroll

Can I just add to this is that what runs through these arguments like 'Blackpool runs through rick' is that our definition of "folk" should be based on personal tastes rather than what it is.
This is nonsensical and if it was applied to any other form of music "I don't like classical music so let's extend the term to include jazz and music hall" it would be laughed out of court
The future of our music depends on ir being taken seriously. by the potential listener, by the media, by those who control the purse-strings of the art world, by the student.... by society as a whole.
Shakespeare can survive and thrive without majority popular support, Dickens will continue to be read for centuries, though I have only met one person (Walter Pardon) who read all his novels....
An art form doesn't have to reach the top of the charts to remain significant, but it does have to be taken seriously.
I'm sorry to constantly hark baek to what is happening here, but Irish Traditional Music has been guaranteed two generations worth of future, first because a small number of enthusiasts smashed it's 'diddly di' stigma and later because thousands of young people took it at face value, smashed their way through the 'peer-pressure' problem and began playing like virtuosos
Twenty odd years ago we thought it would die when we did - not now, we don't
What is happening nowadays may not always be to our own personal tastes but I have never seen such a healthy and hopeful scene
jim carroll


19 Oct 17 - 08:38 AM (#3883264)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Dave the Gnome

The future of our music depends on ir being taken seriously. by the potential listener, by the media, by those who control the purse-strings of the art world, by the student.... by society as a whole.
Shakespeare can survive and thrive without majority popular support, Dickens will continue to be read for centuries, though I have only met one person (Walter Pardon) who read all his novels.


No it doesn't, Jim. It depends on it being good. Both Shakespeare and Dickens were popular in their own time. They are now certainly taken seriously by some but I suspect that the majority of Elizabethan theatre goers (can I call the Globe- trotters? :-) ) and most readers of pop-lit in Victorian times treated them as they were intended; popular entertainment. They have survived because they are good and have moved with the times. How many of Shakespeares plays and Dickens's books now have modern interpretations? Yet the originals still survive and go from strength to strength. It will be the same with folk music. The good will survive, the crap will be flushed and so it should be.

DtG


19 Oct 17 - 08:40 AM (#3883265)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Jim Carroll

"YouTube and Spotify"
Traditional music has always been a social activity based on personal communication - the Clubs were a compromise but a comfortable one (infinitely better than concerts), for instance
Youtube and Spotify puts them in display cases to be observed rather than shared - listen but don't touch
If I wanted just to listen I need ever need leave home - I have a large enough sound collection top hear whatever I want from wherever I want
I can still remember the buzz of sharing a pleasant experience I got from the clubs - nearly as much as I got from hearing the songs
The friendships I made from those nights were spin-offs from the music led to all sorts of things from amorous encounters to short and long term co-operation in research - in my case, even a lifelong partnership
Would never have got that from Spotify
I can listen to some of the finest Irish music on disc but none of itt beats a night at Friels or The Westbridge, or The Blonde's or any of the other weekly sessions in this town
Jim Carroll


19 Oct 17 - 09:27 AM (#3883274)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Jack Campin

Traditional music has always been a social activity based on personal communication - the Clubs were a compromise but a comfortable one (infinitely better than concerts), for instance

Youtube and Spotify puts them in display cases to be observed rather than shared - listen but don't touch


That isn't how it works. People use them as resources, to point out neat things to emulate or compete with; in some circles YouTube videos are uploaded as a "how am I doing?" or a brag from one of a small circle of performers. I've been playing this tune for years but would never have thought of doing it the way this guy does:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GduY4LDIytc

You'll note that it wouldn't be an easy thing to find. I was pointed to it by another player in a group I'm in.


19 Oct 17 - 09:35 AM (#3883278)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Jim Carroll

"No it doesn't, Jim. It depends on it being good."
Folk song is good dave - beautiful in fact - Shakespeare (son of a glove maker) was actually drawing from the tradition to make his plays, as were Bocaccio and Homer before him using the vernacular cultures to inform their own works
Whether its performance if good enough is something the clubs need to sort out
All were entertainment, but much more, and the further away they get from the present day, more that that "much more" becomes apparent.
I am up to my arse in the historical implications of our local "entertainment" in the form of songs
THe list I gave includes listener as it is they who expects entertainment, the rest covers the necessity to get folk song accepted by the art establishment because it is they who hold the wherewithal to getting our music out to a wider audience.
I have been told numerous times that the reason our collection at the British Library is not on line is because they haven't the money to put it up.
That was the constant moan throughout my briefish flirtation with EFDSS - no money to give them the extra space to even to accept huge bequeathments of books and broadside
A few years ago when the Celtic Tiger was roaring its loudest, you were pushing on an open door when you applied for grants for research into and performance of traditional music - I can never remember that happening back home
Even if them upstairs had money to spare they are not going to give it to a bunch of clowns who couldn't finf their 'folk' arse with both hands
We nerd them and it's about time we started persuading them they need us just as much
Jim Carroll


19 Oct 17 - 09:39 AM (#3883281)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Jim Carroll

All still a remote (and to those without internet access, as is the case in rural Ireland) inaccessible facility Jack
Give me the face to face atmosphere of a club any-day
If it's there, who let it die by neglect?
Jim Carroll


19 Oct 17 - 09:48 AM (#3883283)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: GUEST,Jim Knowledge

I `ad that Mudcat Moaner in my cab the other day. `e `ad a clipboard and `e`d put down chapter and verse about all `is local folk clubs, performance levels, crib sheets, music stands and whatever. Dunno where `e gets the time.
I said, "Morning Muddy, you`ve been busy and I see you`ve got all the usual suspects on that Mudcat scratching, bollowing and biting about the state of folk clubs."
`e said, "Well Jim, I reckon there all going down`ill. You and your band `ave been doing it for long enough. What`s your take on it?"
I said, "Muddy you`ve got to move with the times. If the punters now want "The Barley Mow" and "Lord Lovell" done with a saxophone, two fiddles and a Moog Synthesizer and go `ome thinking it`s folk, give it to`em. It`s still a nice little earner!!"

Whaddam I Like??


19 Oct 17 - 10:07 AM (#3883286)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Dave the Gnome

Folk song is good dave - beautiful in fact

That is where we will have to disagree, Jim. I would accept a lot of or even most of but what you seem to be saying is that because it is folk song, it must all be good. Apologies if that was not your intention but I do not believe it is all good. Just like I do not believe that all Jethro Tull songs are good, even though Ian Anderson is God :-) There is good and bad in every genre and we are not even going into matters of personal tastes. The good will survive naturally and the bad will fade away. Just natural selection.

DtG


19 Oct 17 - 10:38 AM (#3883292)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Jim Carroll

"what you seem to be saying is that because it is folk song, "
Nothin of the sort Dave
I believe that most folk songs, while varying in quality, have something to offer and entertain
I go along with MacColl to believe that the poetry of the ballads, in the main challenge Shakespeare.
Good and bad is a subjecting term - it doesn't mean we are all going to entertain us all equally, but the place that folksong occupies in our culture over-rides our personal tastes
I have become familiar with Mongolian throat-singing - not even its best friend would describe it as beautiful but it still makes the hairs on the back of my neck bristle - that's what I mean by "good"
Jim Carroll


19 Oct 17 - 10:45 AM (#3883297)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Vic Smith

A bit of personal experience.
Over the years, I reckon that most of the songs that we have sung in public have been starting off folk clubs as organiser/resident singers; beginning at college we ran weekly folk clubs for 50 years up until the end of 2014.
We have never been ones to seek for bookings for ourselves, we both had time-consuming careers outside music, but I'm pleased to say that plenty have come our way over the years. Back in the 1970s it was about a half singing, either as a duo of Tina and I or in various groups that we have been members of and the other half have been with the dance bands and for more than a quarter of a century this has been with our current band, the Sussex Pistols.
If I compare that with this year, the number of singing bookings had diminished - three festivals and a few folk clubs this year - whereas the number of dance gigs has grown greatly. We pass a lot of enquiries on to other local bands on dates where we are already booked. We are playing traditional tunes - singing the odd song when it is appropriate - and I am calling traditional and modern dances to people who have no involvement with or experience of traditional music. I would go further than that and say that many of the people that we play for at weddings, anniversaries, celebrations of all sorts, increasingly, have little experience of being in a room with live music being played and initially have no idea of the way they should react to it. They look embarrassed and take time to relax into it. This is very strange indeed to a live music junkie like myself; I get twitchy after a few days without the fix of being in a room with someone performing.
I put the change in the mix of gigs that we do down to function. A natural way of people celebrating is to dance together. Compared with that being at events that exhibit specialist singing and playing can seem artificial.


19 Oct 17 - 10:52 AM (#3883298)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Dave the Gnome

I believe that most folk songs, while varying in quality, have something to offer and entertain

That I can accept, Jim. It still follows that the the ones that do not have anything to offer will fall by the wayside. The songs in your definition will survive naturally. They were there before folk clubs came into being. They will be there long after folk clubs have evolved into something else.

DtG


19 Oct 17 - 11:06 AM (#3883299)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Jim Carroll

"It still follows that the the ones that do not have anything to offer will fall by the wayside."
If they had nothing to offer they would have fallen beside the wayside long before now
I'll give you an example of what I man
Shortly after we began recording here in Clare I used to put my head in my hands - "oh suffering jaysus, not another feckin' "Home I Left Behind" emigration dirge" - hundreds of the buggers
Then I began to read up on the period following the Famine and talk to the locals about how their families had been effected
I realised that we had never met an individual whose family had not been touched by forced emigration - not one.
THen all the songs began to fall into place thanks to the wider picture
I still don't like most of them as entertainment, but as carriers of information, atmosphere and sentiment they have no peers
They are inseparable from my interest in social history and politics
That's what I call "good"
Jim Carroll


19 Oct 17 - 11:07 AM (#3883300)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Big Al Whittle

thanks for the offer Jim.
my e-mail is unchanged
denise_whittle@yahoo.co.uk

I think what you are forgetting is that things DO change.

Would the members of the Original Dixieland Jazz Band recognise what Miles Davis did as jazz, or Ornette Coleman?

Would Mozart and Beethoven tecognise Benjamin Britten and Schoenberg as classical music, or Frank Zappa?

Martin Carthy himself said an important constituent of folk music is the vapid day to day stuff - he illustrated with a 19th century song about a fashion lady's hats made to look like dirigible balloons.

When mass shootings are such an awful phenomenon of today, what is so shameful and un-folk music about Geldof's song of nearly forty years of age.
You may have come to folk music via the ballads and Ewan MacColl - I've said this before but you don't seem to have taken cognisance of it. I grew up in Lincolnshire my weekend bike rides were past Bloodhound interceptor rockets and Thor rockets and Vulcan bombers armed with a nuclear bombs.
The first song I learned off the radio when I was 12 was , Where have all the flowers gone? And it spoke to me, and truth to tell it still does.
i feel there was nothing shameful or inadequate about my feeling that this was special music, this was folk music. if it doesn't fit the 1954 definition of folk music - its cos the definition stinks.


19 Oct 17 - 11:57 AM (#3883309)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Jim Carroll

"I think what you are forgetting is that things DO change."
Not really Al
THe Oral tradition began to decline with the advent of the industrial revolution and by the time Sharp got at it, it was on its last legs
When the Beeb came along the songs they collected were largely from singers remembering song learned from singers who (if you were lucky) learned them from members of an earlier generation who may or may not have been part of a living tradition
The radio put the kiss of death on community creativity - we became recipients rather than participants - that's why we are part of a revival (the second one)
When something dies, the only thing that happens to a corpse is it decays - call that "change" if you like
" Benjamin Britten and Schoenberg"
If you talk to a classist they would dismiss both out of hand as having nothing to do with classical music - all musical genres adhere to definitions.
"19th century song about a fashion lady's hats made to look like dirigible balloons."
is undoubtedly a broadside composition - most of which is "vapid stuff"
MacColl denied everything he ever wrote was folk song and he refused to call his club a folk club - it was always 'The Singers Club'
I do wish you'd stop referring top '54' as if it were some kind of Bible
Folk songs are what they are because of who made them and how they've travelled, not because a committee decreed what they were.

This is an interview we recorded with 'simple countryman', Walter Pardon not necessarily accurate, but an indication that he knew the difference

"J C         All right; take another song; take something like 'Marble Arch' and 'Maid of Australia,' both of which are fairly amusing, anyway, would you see any difference in them?

W. P.         Well yes, because there's a difference in the types of the music, that's another point. You can tell 'Van Dieman's Land' is fairly old by the sound, the music, and 'Irish Molly' and 'Marble Arch' is shortened up; they shortened them in the Victorian times. And so they did more so in the Edwardian times. Some songs then, you'd hardly start before you'd finish, you see; you'd only a four line verse, two verses and a four line chorus and that'd finish. You'd get that done in half a minute; and the music wasn't as good. Yeah, the style has altered. You can nearly tell by the old 'Broomfield Hill', that's an old tune; 'The Trees They Do Grow High', you can tell, and 'Generals All'.
Nine times out often I can get an old fashioned ten keyed accordion, German tuned, you can nearly tell what is an old song. Of course that doesn't matter what modern songs there is, the bellows always close when that finish, like that. And you go right back to the beginning of the nineteenth and eighteenth (century), they finish this way, pulled out, look. You take notice how 'Generals All' finish; that got an old style of finishing, so have 'The Trees They Do Grow High', so have 'The Gallant Sea Fight', in other words, 'A Ship To Old England Came', that is the title, 'The Gallant Sea Fight'. You can tell they're old, the way they how they... that drawn out note at finish. You just study and see what they are, how they work, you'll find that's where the difference is. And as that got further along; that's where I slipped up with 'Black Eyed Susan' I thought that was probably William the Fourth by the music, but that go back about to 1730, that one do. Well, a lot of them you'll find, what date back years and years, there's a difference in the style of writing the music, as that progressed along that kept altering a lot. Like up into Victorian times, you've got 'Old Brown's Daughter', you see, that come into Victorian times; well that style started altering, they started shortening the songs up, everything shortened up, faster and quicker, and the more new they get, the more faster they get, the styles alter, 1 think you'll find if you check on that, that's right."

And another
"J.C.         Do you think that when you started singing in the clubs and festivals, do you think you are singing any different than you were singing when you were younger?

W.P            Dash, yes, I think so.

J C         Do you know in what way?

W.P.         Oh, I don't know, put more expression in probably; I think so. Well, but you see, you take these, what we call the old type... the old folk song, they're not like the music hall song, are they, or a stage song, there's a lot of difference in them, I mean a lot of these... some ... it all depend what and how you're singing. Some of them go to nice lively, quick tunes, and others are... you don't do 'Van Dieman's Land'... If there's a sad old song you don't go through that very quick. Like 'Up to the Rigs' is the opposite way about.
I mean, we must put expression in, you can't sing them all alike. Well most of the stage songs you could, if you understand what I mean. According to what the song is you put the expression in or that's not worth hearing; well that's what I think anyhow. And as I never did sing them, you see, there was no expression I could put in."

And again
"J.C.         If you had the choice Walter... if somebody said to you one night they were going to ask you to sing say half-a-dozen or a dozen songs even, of all your songs, what would be the choice, can you think offhand what you would choose to sing?

W.P.         The Pretty Ploughboy' would be one, that's one; 'Rambling Blade' would be another one, 'The Rambling Blade' would be two, 'Van Dieman's Land' three, 'Let The Wind Blow High or Low', that'd be four, 'Broomfield Hill', that's five, 'Trees The Do Grow High', six, that'd be six."

Jim Carroll


19 Oct 17 - 12:13 PM (#3883316)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Jim Carroll

Incidentally Al
Something that has always intrigued me
Why do you want Geldof's song to be ""folk" - why not Jazz or classical or a standard or blues?
You obviously like the song - why not just call it a good contemporary song?
What's so important about "folk"?
Jim Carroll


19 Oct 17 - 12:30 PM (#3883319)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: The Sandman

blues is folk, jim,its a style of american folk


19 Oct 17 - 12:32 PM (#3883320)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: The Sandman

so are appalchian ballads and old timey, occasionally they over lap with blues, but they are all styles of american folk music.


19 Oct 17 - 12:46 PM (#3883322)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Jack Campin

All still a remote (and to those without internet access, as is the case in rural Ireland) inaccessible facility Jack
Give me the face to face atmosphere of a club any-day


You chose to ignore the whole point I was making.

I didn't get that YouTube link by sitting at this computer. I was shown the video on a laptop in the home of somebody who knows a immense amount about that kind of music. There are no clubs for it anywhere nearby - and that performer would never get a visa to play the UK anyway.

This has always happened when folk clubs were still relevant - people didn't actually pick up songs or tunes at folk clubs, they'd hear something and then go find it in a source that was reproducible enough to learn from. It's that after-the-gig phase that matters to keeping the tradition going, and it's irrelevant what stimulates it - the folk club was simply an advertising medium. The last couple of generations haven't needed folk clubs to show them what to learn or appreciate and they aren't any worse off for not using them.


If it's there, who let it die by neglect?

For the ones I know of: the organizers, who keep on booking the same performers doing the same acts year after year.


19 Oct 17 - 12:52 PM (#3883325)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: GUEST,Mudcat Moaner

The post by GUEST 19th Oct 06.19AM sums up the situation perfectly, for me at least.


19 Oct 17 - 01:17 PM (#3883328)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Big Al Whittle

the geldof song is nothing special to me. but even when i first heard it. i recognised it as something akin to folk. it was as much an attempt to write about the contemporary times of the writer as van diemens land or making whoopee.

that 'all the news that's fit to print' strand of the folk revival is something i always liked.


19 Oct 17 - 01:38 PM (#3883332)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Jim Carroll

"blues is folk, jim,its a style of american folk"
Ad shanties are maritime folk, waulking songs are Hebridean folk and Bothie songs Aberdeenshire folk - all are folk - what's your point Dick?
"who let it die by neglect"
Should read "why let it die of neglect - sorry
Your phetr point escapes my home or away - both require technology that is not possessed by the rightful inheritors of our local traditional songs - the farming community
They would rather swap songs in our local singing sessions (as I would)
JiCarroll


19 Oct 17 - 01:54 PM (#3883336)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Jim Carroll

Sorry about the mess there - my keboard is playing up
Should read And shanties are maritime folk
I should have added - blues isn't a style, it is the folk music of a specific section of the American population - the black population (unless specified as "white blues")
Your point escapes me - home or away.
Should have added, folk songs has always been a social activity, whether the social is a ship's crew, bothie workers, harvest suppers, singing pubs.... or, as Sam Larner claimed, "among family and friends or at sea "
The computer or laptop turns it into a somewhat onanistic exercise.
Jim Carroll


19 Oct 17 - 01:57 PM (#3883337)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: GUEST

https://youtu.be/NoweGN8cm5g


19 Oct 17 - 02:50 PM (#3883345)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Jim Carroll

Guest
Your point is?
Not only is Geldof "folk" but your wan's dancing is as far from the real thing as you can get
Jim Carroll


19 Oct 17 - 03:30 PM (#3883352)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Raggytash

Can you dance better than that Jim?


19 Oct 17 - 03:35 PM (#3883353)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: GUEST

"What is Happening to our Folk Clubs ?" - the clue is in the chorus, Jim.


19 Oct 17 - 03:35 PM (#3883354)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Jim Carroll

"Can you dance better than that Jim?"
Nope - neither can I do the Can-Can
I didn't say i was bad dancing - far from it
I just pointed out it wasn't traditional
Jim Carroll


19 Oct 17 - 05:20 PM (#3883366)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: The Sandman

Jim my point is that you appear to be inferring that blues are not folk songs, quote " Why do you want Geldof's song to be ""folk" - why not Jazz or classical or a standard or blues?" that is a clear inference that you consider blues as something different from folk


19 Oct 17 - 08:58 PM (#3883393)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Jack Campin

folk songs has always been a social activity, whether the social is a ship's crew, bothie workers, harvest suppers, singing pubs.... or, as Sam Larner claimed, "among family and friends or at sea "
The computer or laptop turns it into a somewhat onanistic exercise.


The only person who's mentioned computers as an assist to music transmission was me, when I described one being used in a friend of mine's living room with about 8 of us gathered round with our instruments over tea and snacks.

You're being a poisonous lying shit.


20 Oct 17 - 02:18 AM (#3883410)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Backwoodsman

If computers and the internet had been around 'back then', the Oral Tradition wouldn't have existed. The originators and carriers of what we regard as 'traditional' songs would have set them down for posterity using that medium, exactly as composers and performers are doing today. The Oral Tradition existed for no other reason than that was all they had.

The Oral Tradition has gone the way of the dinosaurs. As have the Luddites. Apart from, apparently, one remaining Luddite Dinosaur resident in Ireland.

The Times They Are A'Changing - get on board or get left behind.

Usual disclaimers apply......IMHO, YMMV etc.


20 Oct 17 - 02:44 AM (#3883413)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Dave the Gnome

I still don't like most of them as entertainment, but as carriers of information, atmosphere and sentiment they have no peers

Thanks for that, Jim, it gave me that Damascus moment! We are talking of two entirely different thing here then. Everything I have posted is about the entertainment value as that is what is important to me. There is also the academic side, which your point makes clear that you are referring to. Neither side is any better or worse than the other but they are different.

DtG


20 Oct 17 - 03:43 AM (#3883422)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Jim Carroll

"Neither side is any better or worse than the other but they are different."
Exactly - what I have been trying to say throughout these arguments Dave
It has always puzzled me how personal likes and dislikes have crept into these arguments
I will say that I don't think it either logical or particularly ethical to run "Folk Clubs" on a like-dislike basis
If you hang your shingle up saying you deal in something as specific as folk song, you have to give the punters what you say on your sign - not by any 'rule book definition' but at least an approximation of the term
I go along with MacColl when he said that if new songs weren't written the folk scene would die and the old ones retreat into archives and books.
Now I no longer sing as much as I did I've found myself resurrecting Shellback, Rambler From Clare, Tenant Farmer, O'Reilly and the Big MacNeill and Clayton Aniline - and I find they work for a rural Irish audience as well as they did for an Urban English one - and they all still turn me on.   
Of course you are right to say not all folk songs are 'good' - if you are using the term in the entertainment sense
I find 'Maid Freed From The Gallows' one of the most boring songs in the ballad canon, but when I examine its use of incremental repetition I find it an extremely useful example to understanding a common device in ballad-making
Even then, though I might not like that particular ballad, I can go to one of its offshoots, Streets of Derry and find a beautiful song which tells the same story using that device
That for me is the joy of folksong, there's always something else lurking around the corner.
I would add that it's not just academic
We made a point of asking as many of our singers as we could to define their songs - everyone we asked had their own term for songs I would call 'folk' or 'traditional'
Blind Traveller, Mary Delaney had a repertoire of over 100 songs, which she referred to as "my daddy's songs' - when we recorded her father, he knew less than ten
Mary was identifying her traditional repertoire by associating it with the type of songs her father sang - she could have doubled her repertoire with C&W songs, but when we asked her for them she refused, saying they weren't the ones we were looking for - "I only sing them 'cause that's what the lads ask for down the pub"
Traveller, Mikeen McCarthy carefully divided his repertoire into sections - "Come-all-ye's" - songs they all sang in the pub, "street songs" - the ones he had printed and sold at the fairs and "fireside songs" sung at intimate gatherings and almost exclusively traditional
Walter Pardon filled tape after tape explaining what was a "folk song" (his term) and what wasn't, and why
American singer, Jean Richie summed up this discrimination perfectly when she described her field trips to Ireland in the 1950s
She said, "if you asked for the old songs you got Danny Boy and something about colleens or something sentimental about Ireland, but if you asked them did they know Barbara Allen, that's when the beautiful old folk songs came pouring out."

"You're being a poisonous lying shit."
No I'm not Jack, and I'm disappointed to find it necessary to resort to such behaviour - maybe you're not "better than that"
I don't tell lies - nor do I try to avoid or distort points
I took your argument to imply that computers could be suitable substitutes for folk clubs - I said why I thought that not to be the case.
If I have misunderstood you, I apologise
Jim Carroll


20 Oct 17 - 05:39 AM (#3883441)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: TheSnail

Did Ewan Maccoll ever perform at places that called themselves Folk Clubs? If he did, did he refuse to sing his own songs?


20 Oct 17 - 05:55 AM (#3883449)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Jim Carroll

Of course he did Bryan and no - he didn't refuse to sing his own songs, though on a number of occasions he and others around him were told that the clubs that gave bookings were policy clubs who discouraged new songs and instruments
As far as MacColl et al were concerned, the clubs knew who they were booking and what they did and they took it or left it - their choice
One of the greatest obstacles was the political repertoire - we were constantly asked not to perform them (perfectly acceptable to sing a 19th century flag-wagging King and country song, but not a leftie song about today - never worked that one out.
The so called 'rules' (actually practices) associated with the Ewan, Peg and the Critics were for our clubs, not anyone else's, but we did feel free to comment as publicly as we felt necessary on such censorship - after all, some of England's oldest songs, dating back to the 12th century, were political songs
Jim Carroll


20 Oct 17 - 06:10 AM (#3883458)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: TheSnail

Not talking about the politics, Jim.
"The so called 'rules' (actually practices) associated with the Ewan, Peg and the Critics were for our clubs, not anyone else's"
But that's exactly what you are doing. You keep saying that folk clubs should only do what it says on the tin i.e. Folk Music not written sings. Apparently that now has the qualification "Unless you are Ewan Maccoll".


20 Oct 17 - 06:54 AM (#3883466)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Jim Carroll

"You keep saying that folk clubs should only do what it says on the tin i.e. Folk Music not written sings."
No I am not Bryan
The Singers Club catered for both - traditional songs and songs based on traditional styles
What we are talking aout hre goes far beyond that - even to include Geldof
The club scene has become a venue for any type of song, without borders, and folk song has been the main victim
We are now at the stage of having to defend the definition of folk even though it is an extremely well-researched genre whose name goes back as far as the 1830s
If you advertise yourself as a folk club, you commit yourself to providing something that loosely conforms to that description
Folk clubs have become song clubs - the term "folk" no onger applies to many of them.
This forum has ben bombarded with complaints from peope who have turned up at a club describing itself as "folk" and being made ot feel unwelcome.
I have left a folk club after sitting through an evening of not having heard a folk song
I know you are aware of this story, but yr 'tis again.
Walter Pardon was booked to do a television interview in London as, as usual, he asked to stay with us.
Pat decided to do a mini-tour for him in th South East Clubs, and she contacted one on the list we had been fold would take him
She phoned up the organiser, who told her she had never heard of Walter Pardon, so Pat described who he was and what he sang.
"Sorry", was the reply, "we're a folk club, we don't do that sort of thing"
I get the impression that this is the stage the folk scene is at in Britain - and no - we all can't jump on a train and nip along to Lewes - life isn't like that
Jim Carroll


20 Oct 17 - 07:20 AM (#3883473)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Vic Smith

Brian wrote -
You keep saying that folk clubs should only do what it says on the tin i.e. Folk Music not written sings. Apparently that now has the qualification "Unless you are Ewan Maccoll".

I think that this is a bit unfair, Brian. Back in the day, one of the Singers' Club's activities was to produce new song publication booklets (name forgotten but Jim will be here shortly to provide it) They were new songs mainly, but not exclusively, of a socio/political/protest nature. The writers included many who were not associated with their own immediate contacts. Clearly these new songs were being circulated with the aim that they should be sung in folk clubs. I remember providing the notation for Miles Wootton songs that were included.


20 Oct 17 - 07:39 AM (#3883480)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Dave Sutherland

"The New City Songster" - there were some good songs in the various editions that I bought.


20 Oct 17 - 07:46 AM (#3883482)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Jim Carroll

""The New City Songster" "
Peggy edited 20 editions of this, gathering new songs from as far afield as America and Australia - we have the full set (including volume 2a which was withdrawn because it contained a song too close in form to 'Eleanor Rigby' and might have infringed copyright laws).
When Peggy finally ended the series, she distributed a large bundle of songs which she had been sent but was not able to include - we have that too
Jim Carroll


20 Oct 17 - 08:04 AM (#3883483)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Dave the Gnome

The Singers Club catered for both - traditional songs and songs based on traditional styles

The only thing that puzzles me about that, Jim, is who decides whether or not it is in the traditional style? A song by Ed Sheeran, linked earlier by Raggytash, raised the comment from you 'so that is what passes for folk nowadays' or some such. Yet I believe, along with many others, that it is a song in the traditional style. So, by your own comment, you would not have this song at a folk club yet many others would.

Who decides?

DtG


20 Oct 17 - 08:29 AM (#3883488)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Vic Smith

Dave wrote:-
Who decides?
What we need is an Authentication Standards Panel. We could call them the Folk Poli.... no, wait a minute.... forget that. It's not such a good idea after all.


20 Oct 17 - 08:29 AM (#3883490)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Jack Campin

If computers and the internet had been around 'back then', the Oral Tradition wouldn't have existed. The originators and carriers of what we regard as 'traditional' songs would have set them down for posterity using that medium, exactly as composers and performers are doing today. The Oral Tradition existed for no other reason than that was all they had.

I don't think that's quite true. People used song sheets centuries ago if they had them, as a supplement to learning directly from another person. We have many more technologies now that do the same thing more effectively, be it taking a video on your phone, listening to somebody's Soundcloud upload of last night in the pub, PDFs from collections on the web or whatever. But if I'm trying to learn a tune from a PDF of Kiselhof's 1938 klezmer collection on my phone, it's because I've personally heard somebody play it.

<Fe>Obviously Jim needs to burn his entire archive, given the attitude he has to learning from recorded material. All those rootless young townies sitting at home wanking to Stanley Robertson on the internet. Worthless, all of it.</Fe>

I am increasingly seeing younger people make very effective use of electronic resources in informal music-making situations. They have got something that the ageing crowd of folkies glued to their song sheets and tunebooks by declining vision and failing memory don't have. To some extent these portable electronic devices impose a minimal threshold of competence in using them, which filters out the most unlistenable fools better than using books does, but they do genuinely offer something new and effective.


20 Oct 17 - 08:39 AM (#3883493)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Backwoodsman

Yes, I thought exactly the same thing about ten seconds after I posted, Jack!

But my point remains true, AFAIC - that what we know as the Oral Tradition evolved because it was a readily available system of passing songs on at that time, but it is a method which has been consigned almost entirely to history (in the developed world, certainly) by the technological advances of the past sixty or seventy years.

Technology is here to stay. The Oral Tradition, sadly, can't compete as a methodology for musical transmission.

Usual disclaimers apply......IMHO, YMMV etc.


20 Oct 17 - 08:41 AM (#3883495)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Jim Carroll

"Obviously Jim needs to burn his entire archive, given the attitude he has to learning from recorded materia"
Now you are mistiterpreing what I say
I learn from the internet and was delighted when our CLARE COLLECTION - also was put on line by our County Library
#Last week we were over the moon when Limerick Uni informed us that they would take our entire collection and poen a website to make some of it accessible
I have hopes that this will include a long-intended book of Traveller songs and stories I made a start on years ago and have never got round to finishing
Changes in the Irish library system have centalised everything to Dublin which has put the initiatives of many local libraries under threat - our Clare collection included - Limerick has provided us with a safety net - maybe now we can add our additional material that has been piling up unused


20 Oct 17 - 09:05 AM (#3883502)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Dave the Gnome

Vic - :-D

Incidentally, apart from the odd spat which we can put down to misunderstanding or getting out of the wrong side of the bed, this seems to have been a remarkably civil thread on a subject that could have raised hackles and rancour to a level usually seen below the line.

As young Mr Grace would say. You've all done very well...

:D tG


20 Oct 17 - 09:07 AM (#3883503)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Jim Carroll

Sorry - premature ejaculation
Meant to add this
MUSIC
I have no objection to sharing material and ideas on the internet Jack - why on earth are you suggesting I have?
It's opened up a whole new world for all of us and made the impossible possible - I'm even able to talk to you fellers without moving away from home
The thing I find disturbing abut the net is its inclination towards alienation - it is replacing personal contact in many cases
I have become tired, even a little frightened of the growing tendency of having to stare at the top of people's heads in the street when I have to scurry out of the way of their way along the pavements - somewhat reminiscent of 'Invasion of the Bodysnatchers' with people clutching their giant pods.
As an addition to communication, technology is a godsend, as a replacement for personal contact - I fear it greatly
For me, technology will never beat the act of sitting in a room full of people listening to them sing to each other - not in my lifetime, I hope
"who decides whether or not it is in the traditional style? "
Based on what we have already, it should be a formality Dave - if other genres don't have a problem, why should we?
God knows, we have a century or so of research and recordings to base our ideas on.
The fact that it is possible to go into many folk clubs now and not hear anything resembling a folk song should ring enough alarm bells - couple taht with some of the arguments here.......
"We could call them the Folk Poli...."
That's one of the most despicably nasty terms to have surfaced in the revival and is usually flung about by people demanding that we should stop thinking about folk song and go with the flow - a sort of Folk SS
Jim Carroll


20 Oct 17 - 09:15 AM (#3883505)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Jim Carroll

Incidentally
I've just put a few radio programmes into Dropbox for a participant in this discussion which I believe might be apposite to all this
They are:
The Song Carriers (10 programmes) Ewan MacColl
Songs of the People (13 programmes) an international survey by Bert Lloyd
Come All You Loyal Travellers (3 programmes) An Irish radio production on our work with Travellers
If anybody would like any or all of these please PM me your e-mail address and I'll link you to them
They's stay available untikl I need the space
Jim Carroll


20 Oct 17 - 10:13 AM (#3883522)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: TheSnail

I think that this is a bit unfair, Brian.
No problem with The Singers' Club, Vyc. Don't tell me, tell Jim. He is the one who wants to exclude anything that is not folk from Folk Clubs. No I am not Bryan. Oh yes you are Jim. The "what is says on the tin line" is yours not mine. You then go on to say -
The club scene has become a venue for any type of song, without borders, and folk song has been the main victim
So what are the borders? As Dave the Gnome says "Who decides?". Once you have crossed the border out of the true definition of folk, it becomes entirely subjective. If Freeborn Man, why not I Hate Mondays or The Birdy Song for that matter. Barbara Allen was probably written for the stage in the 17C and can't have become a folk song until 1830 because the term hadn't been invented.
If you advertise yourself as a folk club, you commit yourself to providing something that loosely conforms to that description
"loosely conforms"
"loosely"?
Whaat?!
Yes Jim, you have used that anecdote about one incident involving one club around 25 years ago before. I wasn't involved in our club but I'm pretty sure you wouldn't have got that response from us. What about you Vic?


20 Oct 17 - 10:25 AM (#3883526)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Vic Smith

Jim wrote -
"We could call them the Folk Poli...."
That's one of the most despicably nasty terms to have surfaced in the revival

... and I would agree, but it would take more than that to stop me introducing (or attempting to introduce) a bit of humour into situations or over-serious discussions. I spent more than three decades working at a senior level with some of the most violent and disturbed pupils around and I found that making jokes was a great social lubricant, so doing so is now very deeply ingrained.


20 Oct 17 - 10:30 AM (#3883531)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: GUEST,henryp

More about Barbara Allen;

Barbara Allen: Broadside Ballad, Theatre Song, Traditional Song by Vic Gammon
Friday 27 October, 7?8.30pm, Chetham's Library, Manchester

Barbara Allen is a hugely successful popular song which was collected many times in the folk tradition. The first mention can be found in Pepys? Diary in the 1660s, being sung by an actress. Broadside ballads copies of the song can be traced dating from a decade or so later.

In this presentation Vic Gammon will explore the song?s history and resilience from the 17th century through broadsides, the stage, collections of traditional songs, literature and graphic art.


20 Oct 17 - 10:36 AM (#3883536)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Jim Carroll

"Don't tell me, tell Jim. He is the one who wants to exclude anything that is not folk from Folk Clubs. "
Will you please stop this dishonesty bryan - it's beneath you
I have made my position quite clear here and elsewhere
I do not wish to exclude non-traditional songs from the clubs - show me wheer I hav ever made such a claim
You are deliberately distorting what I say
THis is the type of behaviour that turns these discussions into slanging matches
If you can't tell the difference between I Hate Mondays or The Birdy Song and Freeborn man or Willie McBride, I suggest you go to the dry cleaners and get your cloth ears sorted out
The Birdie Song - give us a break

It?s a little bit of this (open and close your hands like a birds beak)
And a little bit of that (hold your hands in your armpits and wave your arms like wings)
And wiggle your bum (no prizes for guessing the accompanying action here)

Jim Carroll
Incidentally
There is a great deal of speculation about Barbara Allen based on no hard information whatever
Pepys described it as "an old Scotch song' which makes its origins even more obscure


20 Oct 17 - 10:37 AM (#3883537)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Vic Smith

'I think that this is a bit unfair, Brian.'
No problem with The Singers' Club, Vyc.


Argh! I apologise to Bryan for spelling his name wrongly! I hope that he can find it in his heart to forgive me so that we do not have a mighty row when we next meet..... especially as that will be in a folk club in Lewes tomorrow night when the guests are Hazel & Emily Askew, still young sisters - they started as teenagers - whose repertoire is made up of traditional songs and tunes which they perform with skill, enthusiasm and great understanding of the tradition.


20 Oct 17 - 10:45 AM (#3883541)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Dave the Gnome

That is just it though, Jim. The extreme examples you give are obvious but, apart from Vic's tongue in cheek suggestion, no one has answered my question. Who decides? You dismissed Ed Sheeran's Nancy Mulligan out of hand earlier but each time I listen to it I am more convinced it would be approved of in all but the most traditional of clubs! What makes that song so different from others done in the traditional style?

Once again, who decides?

DtG


20 Oct 17 - 11:07 AM (#3883547)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: akenaton

I've been musing about the death of folk music, why the clubs are full of snobby boring old farts the music dreary and emotionless.
The revival brought people to folk music, gave them a shot of emotion, got them to participate made them belly laugh and cry sometimes....that's what it was about, then it changed into a search for something the kids would buy, but the kids are not interested. What do they know about life, it's trials, the pain and joy mixed up together? Kids deal in the now, the black and white now, they don't want to hear about lords and ladies long ago, the mores thereof, or Spencer the Rover......its all fairyland to our whizz kids.

But there is still good music being produced, its just another wonderful niche with only a few who can transmit the message.
Here's one by Linda Thompson who utilises an old tune to tell a modern tragedy......if this doesn't make the tears come you know nothing about folk.
Banks of the Clyde.


20 Oct 17 - 11:13 AM (#3883549)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Backwoodsman

Forget the Birdie Song for a moment.

So Jim, what precisely is the difference between 'I Don't Like Mondays' and, for instance, 'Freeborn Man' that makes one of those 'folk' but not the other? Apart from the fact that the former was written by a foul-mouthed Irish Punk, and the latter by someone who set himself up as an arbiter of good taste in the folk-world, and who seems to have had you completely in his thrall?

This is a genuine question, BTW, I genuinely see (hear) no difference - they are both a commentary on the human condition which, to my mind, is one of the important elements of folk-song, they tell a story, and they both have a good tune. I'll grant that the poetry of Ewan's lyrics is vastly superior, but there are plenty of folk-songs that aren't poetically 'sparkling', yet they are universally accepted as being 'of the genre'.

I will also say that I have never liked Geldof as a persona, nor 'IDLMs' as a song, and I love 'Freeborn Man' so I, for one, am not fighting a corner for a personal favourite!

So, what precisely makes 'Freeborn Man' folk, and 'IDLMs' 'not folk'.


20 Oct 17 - 11:14 AM (#3883550)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Jim Carroll

"You dismissed Ed Sheeran's Nancy Mulligan out of hand earlier "
Don't remember dismissing it Dave - just listened to it and I wonder how it in any way resembles a folk song
Love that Halifax accent though - Halifax, Nova Scotia maybe !!
Surely you've been involved in folk song long enough to recognise the various forms they take - can't see anything folky in that in any shape or form, but I don't decide about what goes on in clubs
I would say that would stand out from a night of folk songs like a turd on a banquet table - three of the would completely change the direction of any folk song session I've ever attended
For me, a good evening of songs requites continuity magnify that to what a club needs to attract a regular audience (for folk songs) and I believe you have some sort of answer
Ireland has no great history of folk clubs, certainly not the way Britain has/had
We have 'Singing Circles' here - pub sessions where anything goes
I've been to many - some are extremely enjoyable, others not so good - depends on where they are and who turns up, but they do not pretend what they are not - they are gatherings of singers, not folk clubs
If that's what you are aiming for - feel free - don't forget to invite me to the funeral of The Folk Song Revival
Jim Carroll


20 Oct 17 - 11:37 AM (#3883553)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Jack Campin

I hadn't heard "Nancy Mulligan" before, so I just followed that YouTube link.

I'm not fond of the arrangement (boringly stereotypical folk-rock beat), but the tune is in traditional Irish idiom and the lyrics tell much the same story as "Kisses Sweeter Than Wine", which is another folk-ish song that went feral in the pop world fifty years ago, and which some of the best-informed folkies the time certainly approved of. I can't imagine a situation where you could sing "Spancil Hill" but not "Nancy Mulligan".


20 Oct 17 - 11:52 AM (#3883556)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Dave Sutherland

Since my wife and granddaughter are both big Ed Sheeran fans I have to say that I have, over the months, become quite familiar with his work (I'm only the driver) although I'm not sure that I'd ever attempt any of it in a folk club, even after I have eventually mastered the guitar! However he does appear to have some grasp on folk music or at least the Irish pub music scene as illustrated in his song "Galway Girl" although his reference to the song "Carrickfergus" surely can't be the same version of which I am acquainted?


20 Oct 17 - 12:44 PM (#3883560)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Dave the Gnome

I think we must be at polar opposites then, Jim. I don't see how you can say it doesn't resemble a folk song! As the twain shall never meet I suppose we must call it a day for that discussion. Not sure why you felt the need to take the piss out of his accent. He was born in Halifax but moved to Suffolk when he was a child. His parents were London born and his paternal grandparents Irish. Just out of interest.

DtG


20 Oct 17 - 01:49 PM (#3883567)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Jim Carroll

So Jim, what precisely is the difference between 'I Don't Like Mondays' and, for instance, 'Freeborn Man' that makes one of those 'folk'
Are you deliberately ignoring what I have said as well Baccy?
I didn?t say it was ?folk? and MacColl always denied what he wrote were folk songs.
I said songs based on folk styles (you might add here ?folk speech)
Freeborn man was constructed entirely from interviewed from interviews with Travellers as were some of his best (in my opinion) songs - some of those interviews can be heard on the Radio Ballad, The Travelling People.
It was one of those songs taken up by the Travellers and claimed as their own
One Scots Traveller we recorded told us he had written it and sent it to Ewan, who published it under his name ? great ammunition for the grave dancers among us.
We recorded it from several Irish Travellers who claimed it was an old Irish Traveller?s song
Shoals of Herring was similarly conceived, based on actuality recorded from Sam Larner ? Sam said he?d been listening to the song all his life when in fact he was listening to his own words reflected back at him (we have the actuality the song was based on on the shelf here somewhere)
The tune was interesting for both of these songs as they came from the same source ? Gavin Greig?s ?Sweet William (Famous Flower of Serving Man Child 106)
Ewan would choose a tune that fitted a song he had written and whistle it around the house, adapting it until it was unrecognisable from the original (and he had driven the household screaming mad)
Both songs are based on folk forms and on vernacular speech
?Mondays ? you work it out for yourself ? obscurantist to the point of being meaningless, totally lacking narrative and form, certainly not the form that went into the making of our folksongs

The silicon chip inside her head
Gets switched to overload
And nobody's gonna go to school today
She's going to make them stay at home
And daddy doesn't understand it
He always said she was as good as gold
And he can see no reason
'Cause there are no reasons
What reason do you need to be sure
Oh, oh, oh tell me why
I don't like Mondays
Tell me why
I don't like Mondays
Tell me why
I don't like Mondays
I want to shoot
The whole day down
The Telex machine is kept so clean
As it types to a waiting world
And mother feels so shocked
Father's world is rocked
And their thoughts turn to their own little girl
Sweet sixteen ain't that peachy keen
Now, it ain't so neat to admit defeat
They can see no reasons
'Cause there are no reasons
What reason do you need oh, woah

Not much folk speech, melody or even vernacular utterance there
?and the latter by someone who set himself up as an arbiter of good taste in the folk-world?
Never put you down for one of the grave-dancers ? ah well!!
MacColl did no more than people are doing here ? expressing a view of what was a folk song and what made one good or bad
I suppose it?s easier to deny him the right to do that when he?s been dead for so long
That MacColl was listened to is due to his contribution to folk song ? I never heard him bad-mouth his fellow folk enthusiasts publicly the way some are still bad-mouthing him nearly three decades after his death ? he must have done something right to receive such attention from such people
I only know that, while other folk superstars were busily getting on with their careers, Ewan and Peggy were throwing open their home and giving their time (for free) to less experienced singers
Must be that I was a recipient of that generosity that I am so ready to stand up for an old friend
"I think we must be at polar opposites then, Jim."
Must be Dave - you tell me what folk song it resembles in performance
Jim Carroll


20 Oct 17 - 02:02 PM (#3883570)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Backwoodsman

You don't know what my opinion is of MacColl, Jim. He was indeed a major contributor to the folk-music scene, then and now. But he did have a reputation for being overbearing with his opinions, and sometimes 'difficult' as a performer. I never met him, so I have no opinion other than that. Out of respect, I deliberately refrained from referring to the usual insults and brickbats aimed at him - back-to-front chairs, finger-in-ear, conscription-dodger, fake name, yadda yadda - all completely irrelevant and beneath contempt. That should tell you something.

I didn't, and still don't, enjoy his singing - too 'light-operatic' for my taste - but I love his songs performed by others.


20 Oct 17 - 02:06 PM (#3883571)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Backwoodsman

And, with regard to the two songs under discussion, you have presented nothing of substance, just your own opinions which, of course, are nothing more than that - opinions, personal value judgments.

Why is your value judgment worth any more than anyone else's?


20 Oct 17 - 02:08 PM (#3883572)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Dave the Gnome

Must be Dave - you tell me what folk song it resembles in performance

Don't go changing the rules now, Jim. You have never mentioned 'in performance' before. I think you must be getting bad habits off someone on this forum ;-) But I will try to answer to the best of my ability. The song itself is, as Jack says, in the traditional Irish idiom and the lyrics tell a story, that of his grandparents I believe. Just like a folk song does. The performance as it stands may not be achievable in a folk club because of the studio production but stripped of the studio tweaks and using just voice, guitar, whistle and bodhran it could grace any room I was in. And I am not even that fond of Irish music!

DtG


20 Oct 17 - 02:14 PM (#3883573)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Jim Carroll

"You don't know what my opinion is of MacColl, Jim."
Arbiter of good taste in the folk world was a good enough clue for me Baccy
"You don't know what my opinion is of MacColl, Jim."
In the twenty years I knew him he was neither in my presence
"back-to-front chairs, finger-in-ear, "
Both techniques for relaxation and singing in tune unaccompanied - the latter is as old as history and is still used worldwide from muezzins to street singers
Fake name - like Dylan (whoops Zimmmerman), you mean
His attitude to WW2 is as complicated as that of the left of the time, especially in a Britain that had attempted to appease fascism until they were left with no choice
My old man came home from beign wounded and imprisoned in Spain to find he had been granted a "|Premature Anti-fascist' medal by MI5
Your personal choice is your own
jIm Carroll


20 Oct 17 - 02:47 PM (#3883577)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: GUEST

"What is Happening to our Folk Clubs ?"
Would anyone care to answer the question ? [ ignoring the last 100 plus posts from the "usual suspects" ]


20 Oct 17 - 03:11 PM (#3883581)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Jim Carroll

"You have never mentioned 'in performance' before. "
I thought it was what I have ben saying throughout Dave - it has always been my point
When Britten rewrote The Lyke Wake Dirge for Peter Pears, it lost its 'folk' form and became something else
When George butterworth took the Ballad 'Bonny Annie' and recreated it as the exquisite 'Banks of Green Willow' it became something else
The clear, clear voice of folk singing is, in my opinion, what distinguishes folk from any other vocal form (you'll find the opera buffs hate it and describe its "natural voice' as "ugly")
You have to couple this with a set of words that has come through a process, of course
Your singer doesn't "tell a story", he adopts a pop technique to achieve a musical sound
Neither does he attempt interpretation - his phony mid-Atlantic accent makes that obvious
It struck me while I was listening to it that, giving it the olk treatment might make it a passable song (not folk - but so what) - but your man doesn't even attempt that
Tell you what - try something I do while I'm messing about with my voice - take a wrod-based pop song with some degree of narrative and give it the folk treatement and see what works and what doesn't - some do, some don't
"ignoring the last 100 plus posts from the "usual suspects"
Perhaps if you took the trouble to read what was being written you might find a few answers
None so blind... as they say
Jim Carroll


20 Oct 17 - 03:52 PM (#3883584)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: GUEST

I did - more fool me. No answers, just same old. Yawn.


20 Oct 17 - 06:02 PM (#3883600)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Dave the Gnome

Neither does he attempt interpretation

I could be wrong but I think he wrote it. Why would he try to interpret it any other way? Still, as I said, we are polar opposites here with no common ground so no point in flogging this particular deceased equine.

What we can continue with though is your post take a word-based pop song with some degree of narrative and give it the folk treatment and see what works and what doesn't - some do, some don't Are you now saying that some pop songs are acceptable? I have heard many a modern song given the 'folk treatment'. My personal favourite is Lennon and McCartney's 'Blackbird' but that is just personal taste. Surely what you have been saying all along is that if such a song was performed at a folk club you would feel cheated somehow.

Let us know what is and is not acceptable in your book. And please answer my previous question - Who decides?

DtG


20 Oct 17 - 07:41 PM (#3883614)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Backwoodsman

Dave Burland gave 'I Dont Like Mondays' the 'folk treatment'. It worked.

So, summarising all that you've written since I asked the question, Jim, it's apparently all down to whether you consider a song worthy, and everyone who disagrees is wrong. Your master would be proud of you.

Well I know what I like. And I've spent a great deal of my life being 'wrong' in someone-or-other's eyes, so another 'someone' telling me I'm wrong is of absolutely no consequence to me. Let's call a halt.

Apologies for taking so long to respond, been out all evening having a good time banging a few songs out at my local folk club. Remember those?


20 Oct 17 - 08:06 PM (#3883618)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Jack Campin

When Britten rewrote The Lyke Wake Dirge for Peter Pears, it lost its 'folk' form and became something else

He didn't rewrite it. His setting is from 1943. This documents the Young Tradition version, which is probably the one you're thinking of: seems to have been created by Hans Fried in the early 1960s.

https://mainlynorfolk.info/peter.bellamy/songs/lykewakedirge.html

More here on Ian Pittaway's site:

https://earlymusicmuse.com/lyke-wake-dirge/

which also includes an unrelated tune written down in 1929. That makes three other tunes that don't sound anything like Britten's. I'd say Britten's sounds as folky as any of them; I could easily imagine it from a group of pub singers with the refrain lines done in chorus.


20 Oct 17 - 08:18 PM (#3883619)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: TheSnail

I do not wish to exclude non-traditional songs from the clubs - show me wheer I hav ever made such a claim

"Why on earth should anyone want to define it!?"
Because some of us wish to discuss it as well as perform it, and others of us want to turn up at a venue to find that what is on offer is what it says on the tin.

(A bit of an aside, but if I picked up a tin in the supermarket and it said "The contents loosely conform to soup" I think I'd put it back.)
You've been saying very much the same for years. Go back and read your own posts.

What I Hate Mondays, The Birdy Song, Freeborn Man and Willie McBride have in common is that none of them are folk songs according to the definition you cling to. All that separates them is personal taste. I chose The Birdy Song for its obvious absurdity. (You seem to be far more familiar with the words than I am.) By your logic it is just as acceptable in a folk club as Freeborn Man. Your taste, my taste, Dave the Gnome's taste, Raggytash's taste and Big Al's taste are equally legitimate. Nobody ever pauses to think, before singing a song or booking a guest, "Will this meet with Jim Carroll's approval?". As you said, "Can I just add to this is that what runs through these arguments like 'Blackpool runs through rick' is that our definition of "folk" should be based on personal tastes rather than what it is.
This is nonsensical ...
"

THis is the type of behaviour that turns these discussions into slanging matches... I suggest you go to the dry cleaners and get your cloth ears sorted out
I'll leave you to set the standard of behaviour shall I Jim?


20 Oct 17 - 08:37 PM (#3883622)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: TheSnail

Barbara Allen based on no hard information whatever
Pepys described [Barbara Allen] as "an old Scotch song'


No he didn't.
From this website - Barbara Allen

A diary entry by Samuel Pepys on January 2, 1666 contains the earliest extant reference to the song.[3] In it, he recalls the fun and games at a New Years party:[7]

    ...but above all, my dear Mrs Knipp whom I sang; and in perfect pleasure I was to hear her sing, and especially her little Scotch song of Barbary Allen.

From this, Roud & Bishop have inferred the song was popular at that time. They suggested that it may have been written for stage performance, as Elizabeth Knepp was a professional actress, singer, and dancer.[4]


"her little Scotch song" suggest either something she wrote or something that was written for her.

Excuse me if I place more confidence in Steve Roud's judgement than yours. I might ask him about it next time I see him.


20 Oct 17 - 08:42 PM (#3883624)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: TheSnail

OK Smith, we'll settle it this evening.
It is contested by another club but we reckon we gave Hazel & Emily Askew their first folk club booking. Almost sold out this time.


20 Oct 17 - 10:00 PM (#3883629)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Big Al Whittle

i think our differences are probably irreconcilable.
perhaps the best thing is that we work on our interpersonal skills and try to respect each other and our differences.

sad really....seeing as we all seem to believe in something called folk music.
i suppose its a bit like christianity or any belief system. if you're lucky, you don't live in a place where they kill each other over their differences.


21 Oct 17 - 04:04 AM (#3883642)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Jim Carroll

"No he didn't."
Little - old Scotch song - a bit pedantic Bryan
The point I was making is that nobody knew then or still does know the origin of the song and was is kite-flying to suggest that it was written for the stage, jus as it was kite flying to suggest that Trees the Grow so High was related to the marriage of Lord Craigston
The circumstances outlined in all of these songs is international and universal and could have originated anywhere at any point in history
Pepys entry suggests nothing of the sort
The Birdy Song, Freeborn Man and Willie McBride are not folk songs by a definition anybody clings to - the author of one of them stated quite clearly that his composition was not - who here has the right to contradict him?
In order to make them folk songs you need to re-define the genre and get that re-definition widely accepted - any blind man can call an elephant a rope.
The aim of all these arguments is to abandon all attempts at defining folk song so that the folk clubs can continue to be used as cultural dustbins
I confess I was somewhat disappointed when your club rejected my offer of our collection - I've come to the conclusion that we had a lucky escape.
"I'd say Britten's sounds as folky as any of them;"
I BEG TO DIFFER
"Jim, it's apparently all down to whether you consider a song worthy,
It doesn't quack, it doesn't waddle, it ain't a duck, and introducing it onto the folk scene lays all clubs open to PRS and IMRO charges
It bears no resemblance to any folk song not to any song written in the folk idiom
"No answers, just same old. Yawn."
None that suit you guest so why not go back to bed - you obviously have a problem staying awake
Jim Carroll


21 Oct 17 - 04:38 AM (#3883645)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Raggytash

Just who decided Willie McBride was not a folk song, no one consulted me or any of the people I know from the folk music world and to a man (or woman) we agree it is a folk song.

Who has the right to tell us it is not a folk song. The "folk police" have already been mentioned, I would think they've been at work here.


21 Oct 17 - 04:44 AM (#3883646)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Johnny J

"Who has the right to tell us it is not a folk song?"

Interestingly, in the early days of the revival, the source singers didn't think of their repertoire as folk music. In fact, the collectors would ask them to sing an "old song" as they wouldn't have known what was meant by a folk song.


21 Oct 17 - 05:02 AM (#3883649)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Jim Carroll

"the source singers didn't think of their repertoire as folk music."
Walter Pardon used that term specifically and every source singer we questioned Traveller and Irish rural singers, carefully set aside their tradiional song and designated them their own title
I've gone into this at some length in the past.
Jean Richie's statement again
"She said, "if you asked for the old songs you got Danny Boy and something about colleens or something sentimental about Ireland, but if you asked them did they know Barbara Allen, that's when the beautiful old folk songs came pouring out."
This is one of the great mistakes people make - nobody ever bothered to ask them their opinions in any depth, or if they did, they never made the answers public
"Just who decided Willie McBride was not a folk song, "
The only existing definition did Raggy - if you disagree, you'll have to come up with one of your own
Jim Carroll


21 Oct 17 - 05:13 AM (#3883653)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Raggytash

Well let's get something straight first. The title of the song is not Willie McBride, the title given by the writer is No Man's Land.

If it doesn't "qualify" as a folk music to the "Folk Music Police" and their definition of what folk music is I can only conclude their definition is absolute bollocks and not worthy of further discussion.

I would go further and say it is supremely detrimental to the continuing health of the folk music world and that the people who cling to it are also doing a massive disservice to the folk music world.


21 Oct 17 - 05:24 AM (#3883655)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: GUEST

Also, how could anyone deny that the songs written by Stan Rogers are folk songs. all this nonsense about definitions is absurd and, if I may say so, I am sick to death of Ewan Macoll .. Let's just move on and enjoy the music.


21 Oct 17 - 06:01 AM (#3883661)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Dave the Gnome

I think Jim is saying that No man's land is a folk song, Raggy, while 'I don't like Mondays' (even given the 'folk treatment) and Ed Sheeran's 'Nancy Mulligan' are not. This is what I don't get. Who decides? To date I have had no answer.

DtG


21 Oct 17 - 06:01 AM (#3883662)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Jim Carroll

""Folk Music Police"
Not you Raggy, for ****'* sake - the fok police are those who impose their own view on others against all will or reason - nobody is doing that here (apart from the troll eejit following you who doesn't waqnt to take pert in this discussion and is demanding that those who do desist immediately as it is spoiling his breakfast
A definition is a point people have in order to communicate with one another on
If you don't accept the existing one, come up with another and get a general consensus on it
Otherwise, it is you who is a folk bobby
Jim Carroll


21 Oct 17 - 06:05 AM (#3883664)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Raggytash

I think you're mistaken Dave, Jim posted "Just who decided Willie McBride was not a folk song, The only existing definition did Raggy - if you disagree, you'll have to come up with one of your own"


21 Oct 17 - 06:07 AM (#3883665)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: GUEST,Mudcat Moaner

It's reasonably obvious to me, that as long as many of the above self appointed guardians of Folk Music continue to argue amongst themselves, nothing in the Club world will change, other than its eventual demise.


21 Oct 17 - 06:10 AM (#3883667)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Raggytash

Personally Jim I don't NEED a definition to tell me what is folk music. I have ears and I use them.

In this instance a definition is counterproductive and instead of being a solution it has become part of the problem.

"Those who impose their own view on others against all will or reason" are people like yourself who claim, erroneously in my mind, that songs like No Man's Land are not folk song.


21 Oct 17 - 06:29 AM (#3883671)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Dave the Gnome

Maybe you are right Raggy. I was just going off this comment

If you can't tell the difference between I Hate Mondays or The Birdy Song and Freeborn man or Willie McBride, I suggest you go to the dry cleaners and get your cloth ears sorted out

And assuming it meant the first and second were not folk songs while the third and fourth were. Can you clarify that please Jim?

DtG


21 Oct 17 - 06:41 AM (#3883675)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Jim Carroll

"Personally Jim I don't NEED a definition to tell me what is folk music."
Presumably you don't run a folk club or need to seek one our when you want to listen to folk songs
Those who do need to know what they are going to get when they turn up on a night with the rain pissing down after a twenty miles drive
When that stopped happening I stopped going to "folk" clubs and so did a lot of other peeople
I need it as a researcher and collector so I can pass on whet we found - without a defeinition it would all ahve been a waste of time
Can I get something straight
The 'Arthur McBrides" (recorded and sung regularly under that name) are not the problem here
They fit in perfectly well with an evening of folk song, the language and the tune does not jar with the standard reperoire
The problem is with opening the floodgates to include anything anybody cares to bring along - that is trying to please all the people all the time
I don't want to sit through shittily sung versions of indifferent pop songs any more than a pop fan wants to sit through an excellently executed rendition of a Sean N?s song
If I talk or write about folk song I will specify as accurately as necessary what I mean
If I turn up to a half decent club that offers a night of folk song and ones written within the traditional forms I shall enjoy myself and go home happy
The definition is not counterproductive - it is the abandoning of any definition that has turned the folk scene into the mess it has become
I spent thirty odd years in folk clubs without ever hearing '54 mentioned in any of them - it was taken for granted what we meant by folk song in those days
It's those who dislike folk song who have fucked up the scene
Jim Carroll


21 Oct 17 - 06:48 AM (#3883676)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: The Sandman

if new songs are copyrighted and always sung as written, can they become folk songs according to 1954 definition?. which suggests or says that part of the definition is that they have to be changed and sung by members of a community,
this aspect of the definition means some poor quality football chants are the new folk songs, well thank god the WHEELBARROW SONG is not sung in folk clubs, that would surely mean the complete demise of folk clubs particularly as it is not only not wort listening to but notts county have so few supporters.


21 Oct 17 - 06:55 AM (#3883677)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: The Sandman

"The problem is with opening the floodgates to include anything anybody cares to bring along - that is trying to please all the people all the time"
So we must not let poor quality football chants be sung in folk clubs, the irony is that under the 1954 definition they are folk songs.


21 Oct 17 - 07:04 AM (#3883678)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: The Sandman

"It's those who dislike folk song who have fucked up the scene"
an over simplification and only partly true, it has been fucked up by unrehearsed performance,lack of available venues,clubs excluding american folk songs,folk agents, and people who cannot get on with each other.
in the late 1960s, a group which included ewan maccoll, alex campbell bob davenport and a l lloyd were worried about the state of the uk folk club scene, this meeting ended up in a fracas, partly due to alcohol and partly due to peoples egos, nearly 50 years later there is still a uk folk club scene despite the efforts of many people to fuck it up


21 Oct 17 - 07:34 AM (#3883681)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Johnny J

Tomorrow I'm going to hear and see the great Ralph McTell.

I've enjoyed his music immensely for almost fifty years and I don't give a shit whether it's considered to be folk music or not.
Arguably, many of his songs have passed into the folk repertoire though..


21 Oct 17 - 07:59 AM (#3883684)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: The Sandman

I agree he has written some fine songs and is a good performer


21 Oct 17 - 08:08 AM (#3883685)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Jackaroodave

For reference's sake, here's an account of "the 1954 definition" from a 2011 discussion, where it appeared to be accepted as accurate. I noticed that the key defining terms--"musical tradition," "oral transmission," "variation," "community"--themselves submit to widely varying and fundamentally contested interpretations.

Frankly, it reads like an attempt to succinctly articulate a rough consensus already shared by its audience rather than argue a position.

As Sandman pointed out, many songs that could be paradigm cases would probably never be performed at a folk club, while some paradigms of folk club songs--fiddle tunes?--don't fit the definition nearly as comfortably.

One position I don't understand in this discussion is simultaneously insisting on this definition while embracing (certain) folk-like original, contemporary compositions that clearly do not meet the first or third criterion. I would think such ersatz impostors would be anathema to the keepers of the flame.

I found the thread fascinating; you can find it here: What is the 1954 definition?

==============================================

Subject: RE: Folklore: Folk, 1954 definition?
From: MGM?Lion - PM
Date: 24 Mar 11 - 11:44 AM

Folk Song Definition

In 1954 the International Folk Music Council defined folk music as "the product of a musical tradition that has been evolved through the process of oral transmission. The factors that shape the tradition are: (1) continuity which links the present with the past; (2) variation which springs from the creative impulse of the individual or the group; and (3) selection by the community which determines the form or forms in which the music survives."
The International Council also stressed the fact that the term folk music, which includes folk songs, can be "applied to music which has originated with an individual composer and subsequently has been absorbed into the unwritten living tradition of a community." Present-day collectors use the term as all-inclusive, covering many varieties of music of the common people.

{Copied from article by Isabelle Mills found by googling}

~Michael~


21 Oct 17 - 08:09 AM (#3883686)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Jim Carroll

Agree on some of those Dick, but not all
"if new songs are copyrighted and always sung as written, can they become folk songs according to 1954 definition?."
They became folk songs by passing through a process that no longer excists
Copyright has nothing to do with their definition one way or another - it's just a malignant force used to pick your pockets as far as folk clubs are concerned
"nearly 50 years later there is still a uk folk club scene despite the efforts of many people to fuck it up"
Sort of - and very much under threat, as can be seen here
Jim Carroll


21 Oct 17 - 08:28 AM (#3883688)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Big Al Whittle

THe trouble with this is you are abusing each other, and that's what is at the root of our problems. the lack of mutual respect.

Okay JIm you went to folk clubs expecting trad folk songs. But for every one of you there were a dozen people interested enough tpo go to folk clubs because of what they'd seen on the telly.

For ages they could go two or three folk clubs in most English towns. There they would find Seekers, and Spinners style folk groups, guitarist folksingers like Tony Capstick, Derek Brimstone, Jansch, Gerry Lockran...

Then along comes Karl Dallas and in the influential Melody Maker folk pages. He announces we have an English Bob Dylan called Martin Carthy - in the words of the late Derek Brimstone (he would never have been so damaging in public to a folk club movement that he loved and gave his life to, but he said this in private). I used to go round folk clubs that had been running for six or seven years, and the week Martin had been round the place was empty - people were bored shitless by an evening of purely traditional folksong.

Karl Dallas probably meant his adulatory review of Martin kindly, but set against the backdrop of MacColl spitting vitriol against Donovan et al, and really encouraging people like yourself to get on the high horse - it bloody well did for the mass folk club phenomena which was such a terrific thing about being a teenager in the 1960's.

There are alternative histories to the one you keep saying. I saw awful things in the 1960's. I saw an audience yelling at Fred Jordan to get off stage - he was on a sort of folk package show (modelled I guess on the Rock and Roll package show) with Jansch at the top of the bill. Things that weren't right. I saw the Journeymen , the residents at The Jolly Porter being horribly rude talking volubly through the set of a fabulous young American folksinger called Marc Roberts.

It was then all this disrespect of each other started. And its bloody well time it finished.

I mean in real life do you go round yahboo-ing ang and telling other people they're talking bollocks. Most of us don't. Its not the sort of world any of us want to live in.


21 Oct 17 - 08:48 AM (#3883691)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Jim Carroll

"Okay JIm you went to folk clubs expecting trad folk songs"
Stop doing this Al - I never went expecting eny such thing
How many times do I have to say I believe we would be wasting our time if we didn't produce new songs?
Have a bit of "respect" for what I am saying
I expect the songs I here to be of a comparable type relating to or actual folk songs - not a mish mash of elvis imitators, Cliff copiers, or whatever one leave feeeling they would like to do
I must have at least 60 non-folk songs in my repertoire that I would be happpy to sing at any folk club knowing I would not offend any but the most 'purist' of clubs.
For me, the music is what took me to the clubs and a realisation of the importance of that music has kept me at it for as long as it has.
As far as the media is concerned, they can no longer find their folk arse with both hands, though there was a time when you heard the best of it on the BBC (a couple of examples on the way to you)
The 'anything goes' attitude that now pervades the club scene put a stop to that and now 'anything goes for the media
Here in Ireland, I can turn tele or the radio on virtually any night of the week and can find music that interests me and some that doesn't all falling under the general heading of folk, because a few people here took the trouble to establish a foundation that guaranteed its survival - they took it seriously so the media now does
Traditional music schools and weekends have now become part of the tourist economy - a couple of moths ago this town was full of visitors for a week all there to listen to and learn to play traditional music
WCSS
This little one-street town has survived the downturn of the economy because we have visitors all through the year coming to listen to well played traditional music
Jim Carroll


21 Oct 17 - 09:18 AM (#3883695)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: GUEST,Some bloke

Oh bollocks


21 Oct 17 - 09:32 AM (#3883697)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Big Al Whittle

i apologise if you think i've been disrespectful. i DO respect you immensely. Ewan and Peggy were kindness personified to me. I envy your close relationship with them. No disrespect was intended.

One day I will teach you to can can. You can borrow one of my old dresses.


21 Oct 17 - 10:10 AM (#3883700)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Jim Carroll

No problem Al - I just wish people (not just you) would address what I am saying rather than shuffling around it
"One day I will teach you to can can."
Can you wait till my new hip settles in?
Jim Carroll


21 Oct 17 - 10:41 AM (#3883706)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: GUEST,jim bainbridge

I think 'Somebloke sums it up- what a lot of bollocks.

Reading Mr Carroll, you'd think Ireland was still a 'lost world' of traditional music. It isn't....
There is a lot of music- I live in a musical area, but the curse of Country & Irish' still rules & actually a lot of it is no worse than the trad supergroups which proliferate on RTE- commercial local stations are worse except for occasional weekend programmes by serious people like Vincent Hearns.

Some great singers and musicians here, but like everywhere else there's an awful a lot of pretentious and tuneless/rhythmless 'traditional' music. The 'Irish traditional music' scene is jealously guarded and financed, and rightly so but if the result is Beoga and Gatehouse, was it really worth it?

Can't say I'm struck by modern performances of the people's music from other cultures- think I'll stick with my 1960s LPs and occasional gigs in UK folk clubs- still the best place to perform- ask any Irish performer of any kind of subtlety.


21 Oct 17 - 10:43 AM (#3883707)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Big Al Whittle

just managed to access the first mp3. the second one keeps sticking.

i think the first that grabs me about the hunter's mp3. is the similarities that bind us together as musicians.

you see that facility at firing off songs, and holding the audience. that's what the best of us all aim for.

the travellers on your tape were surrounded by traditional ballads. and that's what they absorbed like a sponge. we felt the same kind of passion for our music, which we were pleased to call folk. we wished to see that same light in our listeners' eyes. we sought that same sort of power over our audiences.

i think maybe we'd get on pretty well with those old travellers. i don't see the reason for hostility or animosity. we're very similar people.

the indifferent floorsingers and learner who seek approbation - they are a pain in the arse - but its our duty, as the eminence gris, to be as kind as we can.


21 Oct 17 - 11:06 AM (#3883712)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Raggytash

Just for your information Jim, I ran several clubs in various parts of the country. My good lady and I started and ran possibly the most successful club in a big city before I relocated.

In that club I endeavoured to appeal to a wide audience so a guest every week on a three week "rota" we tried to have a trad singer one week, a contemporary singer another, and a bit of a mix on the third. When we passed it on we passed it on with a very healthy bank balance.

In order to select guests we probably visited 3 to 4 other clubs every week.

Finally it is difficult to discuss what is folk however with some who confuses "Willie McBride" (No Man's Land) with Arthur McBride.


21 Oct 17 - 11:40 AM (#3883720)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Jim Carroll

"I think 'Somebloke sums it up- what a lot of bollocks."
Reciprocated, I'm sure Jim
"Beoga and Gatehouse"
Who ?
I prefer the thousands of young kids who are taking it up independently and the Clancy Summer school and the Irish Traditional Music archive as my examples
You only have to turn TV or radio on any night of the week to see the results of the present influx of youngsters - maybe the media hasn't made it up as far as you!
Nowt much wrong with this for
PRIME TIME TV
"Willie McBride" (No Man's Land) with Arthur McBride
Sorry Raggy - a slip
I know what song you are talking about - I used to sing it until it got sung to death
Personally, I prefer Bogles 'Waltzing Matilda'
Jim Carroll


21 Oct 17 - 11:49 AM (#3883722)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: GUEST

https://youtu.be/S6QRcAUt6ic


21 Oct 17 - 11:50 AM (#3883724)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: GUEST

https://youtu.be/QjVr2m0Hw7w


21 Oct 17 - 01:22 PM (#3883742)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: The Sandman

uk folk clubs are the best places to perform, along with irish singers clubs, because people listen, the trouble with irish singers clubs is they are few and far between


21 Oct 17 - 02:02 PM (#3883749)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: The Sandman

I had a lovely afternoon sitting in an old fashioned pub near tenterden with jim bainbridge playing a few tunes singing a few folk songs, to non folk club goers, it was appreciated by everybody.


21 Oct 17 - 02:08 PM (#3883751)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Big Al Whittle

how do you know we got 300?

its all a matter of taste. YOU like folk clubs, but i like pubs. the technology makes some places better than they used to be - i love these new little hi power PA systems.

folk clubs are okay, but you have this middle class audience, and you have conform to their expectations, which is okay for a 15 minute floorspot. but i used to genuinely feel sorry for my mates who were doing this sort of gig - not to mention the enormous journeys they undertake.


22 Oct 17 - 06:35 AM (#3883824)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Jim Carroll

"the trouble with irish singers clubs is they are few and far between"
Maybe in your part of Ireland Dick
Up here there is a proliferation of them - they don't pretend to be folk or traditional, which is why they style themselves 'singing circles' and make it clear that there is no restriction on what is sung
They seldom, if ever book guests but rely solely on local talent
I've counted over a dozen here in Clare and more keep appearing all the time
Ireland never has had a strong folk club scene - in my opinion it could do with more clubs that specialise in traditional songs, but more power to the elbows of tha 'circles'
Jim Carroll


22 Oct 17 - 07:12 AM (#3883830)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Tattie Bogle

It said 299 on the list of threads, so I claimed the 300 slot! Now my totally polite and uncontoroversial post has disappeared. Why?
It's up to 303 now.


22 Oct 17 - 08:41 AM (#3883838)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Ged Fox

"they style themselves 'singing circles' and make it clear that there is no restriction on what is sung
They seldom, if ever book guests but rely solely on local talent"

That, apart from the name, and that instrumentalists are also welcome, would be a fair description of my local "folk club." The fact that my local club has the self-contradictory name of "Broadside Folk Club" merely serves to point up the fact that, on this side of St George's Channel, "folk" is a term used fairly loosely.

It seems to me that you are only quibbling over the name, not the phenomenon, of English folk clubs.


22 Oct 17 - 09:10 AM (#3883843)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Jim Carroll

"would be a fair description of my local "folk club.""
It might be nowadays in an English club scene that couldn't find it's folk arse with both hands
There are a few folk 'Clubs' in Ireland - The Goil?n and 'The Night Before Larry Was Stretched' at the Cobblestone (wonderful singing club run by talented young people).
Dick will confirm that The Cork singers club at 'The Spalp?n Fanach' is still still operating
There used to be more, but Ireland has never had a strong Folk Club scene
The Circles are different, no residents, no policy, no organising committee and usually no publicity.
They are there for the locals and depend entirely on the good-will and co-operation of the publican
Most I have been to have no M.C. - the singers jump in whenever the mood takes them
They can be enjoyable, they can be diabolical
Jim Carroll


22 Oct 17 - 09:15 AM (#3883845)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: GUEST,Howard Jones

The main difference I see between the folk clubs I used to visit and the ones now is the frequency of guest nights. The clubs I used to go to had guests most weeks and gave floor spots to anyone who asked. The standard of floor spots was usually pretty good - appearing on the same stage as well-known professional performers was an incentive to improve. Now most clubs seem to put on a guest only every few weeks, and then support is limited to a few of of the regular residents. Is this a failure of confidence, or is that audiences aren't willing to pay enough to hear professional performers on a regular basis?

As for getting Young People involved, this is a problem faced by clubs in most fields (with the possible exception of organised sports) and doesn't just affect folk clubs. Young People today don't seem to be much interested in clubs, they have different ways of meeting up. In particular they aren't very interested in joining in with people old enough to be their parents or even grandparents. Although folk music will always be a minority interest, I don't think we need to worry that younger generations are not discovering it, but they are finding their own ways to perform and enjoy it. It's just that these generally don't include the folk clubs that for our generation were the core.


22 Oct 17 - 11:49 AM (#3883869)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Backwoodsman

Good post, Howard.


22 Oct 17 - 03:59 PM (#3883896)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Ged Fox

"that couldn't find it's folk arse with both hands"
At least, in the clubs I go to, we don't mistake it for a balaclava helmet, i.e. something to stuff your head into.

"no residents, no policy, no organising committee and usually no publicity.
They are there for the locals and depend entirely on the good-will and co-operation of the publican"
That's still a close enough description of the club I go to most often. I doubt anyone would be remotely offended if you popped in one night and said that in Ireland we'd be called a Song Circle rather than a Folk Club. Someone might suggest that in older times we'd be recognised as a glee club, and before that we'd have been the ones huddled round the latest broadside. When most of us first started to drink in pubs we'd simply have been that bunch who like to make a racket on a Wednesday night. "Folk club" is a convenient label that prevents us from being mistaken for a choir or an orchestra or a gathering of electro-technology dependant musicians.

But you've no excuse to abuse our knowledge and ability. Some of us are professional or semi-professional musicians of skill and experience, others are improving tyros, (self not included in either category.) Good performances are frequent and welcomed, but so are good tries.
We've a pretty fair idea of what traditional folk is, and where we are in relation to it. None of us is within that elite group of primitives that you would admit to being "folk;" no gypsies, ploughboys* or mill-workers, as far as I know, though we do have a good leavening of deep-water seamen. Some of us, being of the sixties generation, sing sixties songs. Some of us, being middle-class, sing songs of that golden Victorian age of middle-class music. Sneer if you want to, but we are true to our roots.   We sing and play the songs and music that suit our background and preferences, which is all that can be said for your Travellers.


*Not quite correct; at least one knows the difference between a slade and a sidecarp.


22 Oct 17 - 04:09 PM (#3883901)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: GUEST

"At least, in the clubs I go to, we don't mistake it for a balaclava helmet, i.e. something to stuff your head into. "
Why do you people always revert to personal abusse
I commented on the state of folk clubs compared to the thirty years I was involved - the one I helped to build and maintain
"But you've no excuse to abuse our knowledge and ability. Some of us are professional or semi-professional musicians of skill and experience, others are improving tyros, (self not included in either category.) "
You are a self obsessed pratt - my revival was built on volunteer enthusiasts not career seekers
Jim Carroll


22 Oct 17 - 05:02 PM (#3883906)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: GUEST

Someone might suggest that in older times we'd be recognised as a glee club, and before that we'd have been the ones huddled round the latest broadside.

Ah, good, that's the 'place in social history' angle I had been wanting to ask about. Folk getting together with like-minded folk to sing a few songs, including the popular songs of the day and maybe 'old songs' - some of which were the popular music of another day.


22 Oct 17 - 05:04 PM (#3883907)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Raggytash

What? You mean people like McColl ??


22 Oct 17 - 05:20 PM (#3883908)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: TheSnail

I'm sure that a lot of people will be glad to know that Vic Smith and I didn't come to blows last night (Me: At least Jim spells my name right.)
It would have rather put the mockers on an absolutely slendid evening with The Askew Sisters. It has to be admitted that they did do some pieces that weren't "folk". They also do early and medieval music.
Spoilt for choice for floorsingers. Not one I felt uncomfortable about putting before a paying audience.


22 Oct 17 - 05:38 PM (#3883910)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: TheSnail

Gosh!
Jim has accused me of being pedantic!
I just thought it was best to start from what Pepys actually said rather than what you'd have liked him to have said.
her little Scotch song of Barbary Allen
Presence of HER, absence of OLD.


22 Oct 17 - 06:14 PM (#3883913)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: TheSnail

Beoga and Gatehouse
There's much worse.
Celtic Woman


22 Oct 17 - 06:29 PM (#3883915)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Jack Campin

her little Scotch song of Barbary Allen

We'd use the same locution today, to imply no more than that she was particularly associated with the song. Which might well be the case even if it had been written 200 years before.

One reason to think it might be at least somewhat older than its first occurrence in print is that the the earliest broadside says it's to be sung to the tune of Barbara Allen. Which is not included. Steve Gardham has a "nowt so queer as folk" attitude to that, but it does make sense if the song was already current and the point of the broadside was to appeal to people who knew the tune but needed some help getting the words straight. (And I can't think of any other interpretation that maks sense of that).


22 Oct 17 - 07:05 PM (#3883919)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: TheSnail

We'd use the same locution today, to imply no more than that she was particularly associated with the song. Which might well be the case even if it had been written 200 years before.
Indeed, but there is nothing in Pepys' quote that implies that.

the earliest broadside says it's to be sung to the tune of Barbara Allen.
Date please.
Was Barbara Allen only ever sung to one tune? I honestly don't know.


22 Oct 17 - 07:08 PM (#3883921)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Jim Carroll

"I just thought it was best to start from what Pepys actually said rather than what you'd have liked him to have said."
No you didn't Bryan - you thought you might score a few points
"What? You mean people like McColl ?)"
I assume that was addressed to me Raggy
MacColl and Seeger gave a night a week to younger singers for around eight years while the rest of the superstars got on with their careers
They lived modestly and worked at their interests, taking on bookings only to pay their bills - whenever I stayed with them, they gave me their son Calum's bedroom (when I moved to London, for nearly a month)
Most of the hundreds of songs they wrote between them were passed on free of charge to other singers (Peggy once showed me a list of the people who recorded First Time Ever and had never paid royalties)
That song lay dormant for fifteen years before it was taken up and made money for them
MacColl died being owed many thousands in Royalties for his plays - never collected
They never adapted their music to follow the trends and I know that they refused to write a song for an oil company advert.
Of all the performers I ever knew, they were the least career driven and the most dedicated to the music they loved.
Ewan fell out with Luke Kelly once because of the Dubliner's attempts to copyright some of the "arrangements" of traditional songs he and Peggy had collected.
I never came across two people more generous with their time, material and hospitality - and I never came across an individual who got more flak for his dedication - and his tendency to speak his mind.
Jim Carroll


22 Oct 17 - 07:27 PM (#3883929)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Jim Carroll

"Was Barbara Allen only ever sung to one tune?"
There are alittle short of 200 variants of Barbara Allen in Bronson and dozens of different tunes
It was common practice with broadsides to either not give a tune to to pick one that was flavour of the month at the time
The practice was continued right into the mid 1950s in Ireland by the Ballad sellers
A traveller we recorded had three tunes and sets of words to it
The 'died for love' theme is as old as literature itself - it would be peculiar if there were no earlier versions that Pepys's
Jim Carroll


22 Oct 17 - 07:53 PM (#3883932)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Jack Campin

the earliest broadside says it's to be sung to the tune of Barbara Allen.
Date please.


I was quoting Steve Gardham, who displayed it on the screen during a talk about it. I'l take his word for it that the sheet he had was in fact the earliest known one. Not long after Pepys, anyway.


Was Barbara Allen only ever sung to one tune? I honestly don't know.

Certainly not (more like 200 of them), but mentioning it like that in the song sheet implies that at that time and place the printer had a particular one in mind and expected their buyers to know it. (I'm not sure when the earliest printing of a tune for it was - I suppose it's documented in Bronson).


23 Oct 17 - 04:04 AM (#3883971)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Jim Carroll

It really needs to be said that the first published text is no indication whatever of the age of a song, particularly in relation to themes like this, which deal with subjects that were general to all sections if society and all times.
The same goes for 'Trees they Grow so High' and the academic conceit of linking it to Craigton or 'The Laird of Craigs Town
These were universal subjects - people were still making songs about arranged and enforced marriage right into the twentieth century in Ireland
The versions of these song are like birds in flight' unless they carry definite information we have no idea where they started out and even then, we don't know they haven't been adapted from elsewhere.
We recorded a cante-fable type story from Travelling man, Mikeen McCarthy, a prose version of the Child Ballad, Get up and Bar the Door.
The earliest published version of this is said to be the version in Johnson's 'Scots Musical Museum' (1787-1803)
We found a version of the tale in a collection which gave it as "an Indian tale of the greatest antiquity" (Lee's Folktales of the World)
More recently, we came across the same tale from Ancient Egypt, telling of two tomb robbers sitting in an opened tomb eating stolen figs and arguing who should get up and cover the entrance in case they were discovered.
I really do belive it is an exercise in the pointless to try and date most of these songs/stories
Jim Carroll

There was a brother and sister one time, they were back in the west of Kerry altogether, oh, and a very remote place altogether now. So the water was that far away from them that they used always be grumbling and grousing, the two of them, now, which of them'd go for the water. So they'd always come to the decision anyway, that they'd have their little couple of verses and who'd ever stop first, they'd have to go for the water. So, they'd sit at both aides of the fire, anyway, and there was two little hobs that time, there used be no chairs, only two hobs, and one'd be sitting at one side and the other at the other side and maybe Jack'd have a wee duidin (doodeen), d'you know, that's what they used call a little clay pipe (te). And Jackd say:
        (Sung)
        Oren hum dum di deedle o de doo rum ray,
                Racks fol de voedleen the vo vo vee.

So now it would go over to Mary:
        (Sung)        
        Oren him iren ooren hun the roo ry ray,
                Racks fol de voedleen the vo vo vee.

So back to Jack again:
        (Sung)
        Oren him iren ooren hum the roo ry ray,
                Rack fol de voedleen the vo vo vee.

So, they'd keep on like that maybe, from the start, from morning, maybe until night, and who'd ever stop he'd have to go for the water.

So, there was an old man from Tralee, anyway, and he was driving a horse and sidecar, 'twas' they'd be calling it a taxi now. He'd come on with his horse and sidecar, maybe from a railway station or someplace and they'd hire him to drive him back to the west of Dingle. So, bejay, he lost his way, anyway. So 'twas the only house now for another four or five miles. So in he goes anyway, to enquire what road he'd to take, anyway, and when he landed inside the door, he said: "How do I get to Ballyferriter from here" and Mary said:

(Sung verse)

So over he went, he said, "What's wrong with that one, she must be mad or something", and over to the old man. He said, "How do I get to Ballyferriter from here"

(Sung verse)

So he just finished a verse and he go back over to Mary and he was getting the same results off of Mary; back to Jack. So the old man, he couldn't take a chance to go off without getting the information where the place was, so he catches a hold of Mary and started tearing Mary round the place, "Show me the road to Ballyferriter", he go, and he shaking and pushing her and pull her and everything:

(Sung verse)

And he kept pulling her and pulling her and tearing her anyway, round the place, and he kept pucking her and everything.

"Oh, Jack," says she, "will you save me"

"Oh, I will, Mary," he said, "but you'll have to go for the water now".


23 Oct 17 - 04:45 AM (#3883979)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: The Sandman

Jack and Mary, a classic example of the sort of people that feck up folk clubs, two people who go through life being negative the sort of people that cannot go to a folk club and socialise without tearing the club to bits, no wonder they lived on their own who would want to marry those two selfish negative twats


23 Oct 17 - 05:03 AM (#3883987)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Raggytash

Great Jim, well done Mr McColl .............. just how much did he earn in royalties for Roberta Flacks version by the way.


23 Oct 17 - 05:17 AM (#3883992)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Rob Naylor

Howard Jones: As for getting Young People involved, this is a problem faced by clubs in most fields (with the possible exception of organised sports) and doesn't just affect folk clubs. Young People today don't seem to be much interested in clubs, they have different ways of meeting up. In particular they aren't very interested in joining in with people old enough to be their parents or even grandparents.

Yes and no. Yes, young people are indeed "not much interested in clubs" in the traditional sense. As you rightly say, there are other ways of meeting up or arranging things now than pre-arranging a monthly or fortnightly meeting in a pub or a coffee shop.

But it's not true that they're not interested in joining in with older people.

My climbing club was moribund until we moved away from "physical" meetings to organise trips. We'd had a website since the late 1990s, and an email contact list, but the demographic was still ageing at about a year per year until we really started making an effort to use Facebook AND "WhatsApp" as a means of organising meetings and trips away. We now have a very healthy mix of young people and older ones attending meets....the only criterion of whether youngsters and oldsters "mix" being the oldsters' willingness to embrace new technology. ie, those who won't use "WhatsApp" are by definition now excluding THEMSELVES from 90% of the club's activities.

It's the same on the music side. When I go to local venues normally populated by younger people, I'm invariably made welcome. People talk to me, and are interested in why more older people don't go along. Conversely, when I used to take younger people along to local folk clubs and sessions in my home town (and I made a very concerted effort for 3-4 years) they generally felt excluded/ unwelcome and rarely came back.


23 Oct 17 - 05:40 AM (#3883997)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Jim Carroll

"just how much did he earn in royalties for Roberta Flacks version by the way."
I've no idea Rag - but he didn't write the song for money - he made it over the phone to Peggy because he missed her - it wasn't taken up by Flack or anybody
I always wonder why people begrudge MacColl and Seeger their good luck yet are happy to open the doors of folk clubs to professional non folk performers who bring with them the liability of payments to PRS and IMRO to add yet another burden on an already treading-water scene.
It's commercialisation that has always bugged the folk scene, right back to the Folk Boom days
Jim Carroll


23 Oct 17 - 05:53 AM (#3884002)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Howard Jones

Rob, I phrased it badly. What I should have said is that young people tend to be put off clubs which they perceive as being full of old people, and perhaps hidebound by rules. I agree that if you can break down those barriers ,and especially if you show the young people that they will be treated with respect, then they will often participate fully.

Climbing clubs are exactly what I had in mind, based on my own club's experience and comments on UKClimbing. For my generation, clubs were a natural way to meet other climbers and arrange activities, for many young people now they are irrelevant.

In folk music, the older and younger generations are both organising music events but are advertising them in ways which, intentionally or not, excludes the other.


23 Oct 17 - 05:57 AM (#3884003)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Jim Carroll

"it wasn't taken up by Flack or anybody"
Soulsd read "till a decade and a half later
Jim Carroll


23 Oct 17 - 06:16 AM (#3884012)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: The Sandman

commerciailsation is a double edged sword, but it has good aspects too lets take the Spinners They did make a certain number of people aware of the music a few of whom went on to less commercial folk music , does that apply to you jim?


23 Oct 17 - 06:27 AM (#3884015)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Raggytash

The Spinners were much maligned but I would suggest did far more to bring folk music to "the masses" in the UK than did any other performer, including McColl or Seeger.


23 Oct 17 - 06:38 AM (#3884021)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Jim Carroll

"I would suggest did far more to bring folk music to "the masses" in the "UK than did any other performer, including McColl or Seeger."
THey were my introduction to folk song, but, as I said, they were so lightweight, I was out within two years.
MacColl, like all good art, was an acquired taste, but if you le
listened and thought about what was happening you were hooked
He breathed life into 137 Child ballads - that's contribution fro me
The reest introduced people to a somewhat dumbed down form of folk song and never provided anything else.
You might as well say Cecil Sharp's 'Folk Songs for Schools' introduced more people to folk song or Mantovani introduced more people to orchestral music - which is probably true, but it never kept them there
The secret is not to get bums on seats but keep them there - that's what Ewan, Bert, and all the others did
It's quality, not numbers that count
Jim Carroll


23 Oct 17 - 06:44 AM (#3884023)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: The Sandman

"You might as well say Cecil Sharp's 'Folk Songs for Schools' introduced more people to folk song or Mantovani introduced more people to orchestral music - which is probably true, but it never kept them there" that is debatable, I disagree, I know a substantial number of people over 50 who go to folk clubs and who were introduced to it by Sharp. Jim , you have said in the past that The Spinners introduced you to folk music and that you went to their club.


23 Oct 17 - 07:16 AM (#3884031)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Rob Naylor

Howard Jones: Climbing clubs are exactly what I had in mind, based on my own club's experience and comments on UKClimbing. For my generation, clubs were a natural way to meet other climbers and arrange activities, for many young people now they are irrelevant.

Ah, you're THAT Howard! Hadn't twigged before, despite your UKC profile mentioning folk music

Yes, completely agree....I'm in the middle of organising what I think is the 17th "Previously UKC but now mainly former UKC Members Annual Scottish Winter Climbing Trip". All done via Facebook and WhatsApp, whereas formerly they were actually organised through the UKC Forums!


23 Oct 17 - 07:20 AM (#3884034)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Dave the Gnome

I think my first folk concert was the Spinners at the Free Trade Hall one Christmas. I enjoyed it and some years later went on to run a folk club and festival for over 30 years. Nothing wrong at all with lightweight. There is something wrong with the snobbery associated with being more highbrow. In my opinion.

I also went to the Manchester Apollo for a live recording of one of Wally Whyton's folk shows. Another popular lightweight. People were queueing round the block.

DtG


23 Oct 17 - 08:25 AM (#3884048)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Jim Carroll

"Nothing wrong at all with lightweight."
I didn't suggest there was Dave - I too am grateful for the Spinners introduction, but, as I said, it introduced me to a watered down version of a complex and thought consuming music
If it hadn't been for a lucky accident I would have spent a n enjoyable year or so and moved on
The Folk Boom introduced many thousands om people to the same watered down version, lost interest when there was no more profit to be made and found something else to sell, and so did so many of the punters
WE reached a stage in the seventies of a fair number of people going for the real thing - people like George Deacon and Vic Gammon straddled both sides of the fence, performer and researcher - that was my own position.
WE had our own magazines, dozens of them, and a ready outlet for our music and ideas, albums, redio programmes devoted to folk music - most 'easy listening but some serious (I still have recordings of a couple of hundred radio programmes on folk music
Now the performance side has largely been taken from us in what I believe to be a hostile takeover - there are constant complaints on this forum that you can't find clubs to sing or listen to unaccompanied songs anymore
WE can't even discuss traditional song on a forum claiming to be about "Traditional music, collecting and community" without meeting "finger in ear folk police hostility and open abuse
I am involved in one side of the music but I care deeply that people are given the same opportunity I had to enjoy it in all its aspects
The added thing with me that it is a wonderful example of what working people like me are capable of producing
I'm not saying the watered down version shouldn't be there for those who want it, of course I'm not - that has happened here in Ireland and the new scene is now catering for all levels of interest
I refuse to put water in my whisky, why should I need to water down my music?
JIm Carroll


23 Oct 17 - 09:12 AM (#3884054)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: GUEST,OldNicKilby

I remember an article in the Guardian that claimed that Ewan and Peggy had netted ?5,000,000 from "F T E ". I was at a Wedding the next week and got lumbered with the Brides Father who turned out be a cousin of Ewan's. When I re-counted the Guardian article "Must get in touch with him" he said


23 Oct 17 - 09:36 AM (#3884059)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: GUEST

I wonder if back, in the day, there were traditionalists who complained about the watered down, commercialised, versions of songs people were getting on the broadsides. That someone was printing them to make money.


23 Oct 17 - 09:56 AM (#3884061)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Dave the Gnome

"Nothing wrong at all with lightweight."
I didn't suggest there was Dave


I know you didn't use that phrase, Jim, but you did say

they were so lightweight, I was out within two years.

and

The reest introduced people to a somewhat dumbed down form of folk song and never provided anything else.

It is that type of looking down on 'lightweights' that puts people off traditional folk at times. I know it may not be what you meant but both phrases come across as you believing that the type of music you like is superior to that provided by the popular acts. You may believe it is superior but that is purely a matter of taste. You should try to chose your language more carefully if you want to avoid unnecessary conflict.

DtG


23 Oct 17 - 10:28 AM (#3884067)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Jim Carroll

"they were so lightweight, I was out within two years.
They were lightweight and I was on my way out because of that - what else should I say?
It's not "looking down on them", it's putting them where I believe in the grand order of things.
I've become a little tired of being told I shouldn't thing about these songs or that we shouldn't even be discussing them (go see how many times it's been said durning these discussions
I believe I'm talking to intelligent people (mostly) heer, not raw recruits we have to patronise and wean into the songs
I'm also becoming tired of hearing about "too long" or dreary ballads.
The idea that people aaate too thick to accept these songs without bing molly-coddled frightens the life out of me - if it is true, we may as well all fold up our tents and take up macrame - or lie back and listen to Bob Geldof.
I helped run enough workshops for new singers to know that most people who come to the music superficially are open to being introduced to the deeper side of the songs with the right approach
Here I seem to be having to persuade people who have been in the game for 30 years
Jim Carroll


23 Oct 17 - 10:28 AM (#3884068)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Big Al Whittle

' People were queueing round the block.'

Which is my point. Jim maintains that dilution of real folk music is what caused all the ills that heralded the decline of folk clubs. Its simply not how I remember it.


23 Oct 17 - 10:48 AM (#3884079)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Dave the Gnome

Suit yourself, Jim. I took your terminology as being somewhat disparaging. Other people will have done the same. You can either take that on board or not. Up to you.

DtG


23 Oct 17 - 11:28 AM (#3884085)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: The Sandman

"I refuse to put water in my whisky, why should I need to water down my music?"
And all the time i thought you were a pioneer, jim,
for the record whisky was watered down to 40 per cent after the second world war.
Commercialism has forced a situation where venues are no longer available easily or cheaply for folk clubs , at the same time a lot of young people seem absorbed in mobile internet gadgets and seem to socialise in different ways than going down to a pub going in to a back room and listening, sometimes some of them only wantto communicate through their internet gadgets or if they go out they want to shout above back ground music


23 Oct 17 - 11:36 AM (#3884088)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Jim Carroll

"Jim maintains that dilution of real folk music is what caused all the ills that heralded the decline"
Sorry Al - you miss my point
I don't believe dumbing down played any part in the decline - that was right at the beginning - things improved from there
Some time in th late seventies an article appeared in The Folk Review entitled "Crap Begets Crap", initially complaining about poor organisation and noisy audiences, but over the editions if dovetailed out to what was being presented as 'folk' at clubs and the lowering of standards of performance
Around that time a pamphlet appeared by Birmingham student, Trevor fisher, entitled, 'We're Only in n For the Money' based on an interview he had recorded from a folk superstar at Loughborough who, when asked why he performed the way he did, he replied "for the Money"
Things seemed to go downhill from there - crappy singing from singers who couldn't be arsed to learn their songs, long, interminable singers from the floor spots which often deprived those residents and guests who had made the effort of a chance to sing - until finally, it became a reguar occurrence to leave a night at a folk club without hearing a folk song.
I was lucky - I had the Singers Club, which had a fairly firm policy and a level of performance that showed respect for the songs and audience.
We even had a venue to bring our singers to, Walter Pardon, Mikeen McCarthy, Bobby Casey, Tom McCarthy..... I was lucky enough to see Joe Heaney. Paddy Tunney and Mike Seeger there.
I used to go out four times a week to different clubs, eventually it was just the Singers, till Ewan died and it closed.
Crap had truly begotten crap
"I took your terminology as being somewhat disparaging. Other people will have done the same"
I hope others will take what I have written as being honest Dave - please allow others to speak fro themselves.
"And all the time i thought you were a pioneer, jim,"
Wash yo' mouf out boy!!
"for the record whisky was watered down to 40 per cent after the second world war."
The the Scots malt I drink Dick
Jim Carroll


23 Oct 17 - 11:38 AM (#3884089)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Jim Carroll

Can I just add that I have alwayss believed that the sign of a good club lies in its residents, not its guest policy - that was always the icing on the cake
Jim Carroll


23 Oct 17 - 11:51 AM (#3884095)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Big Al Whittle

didn't know that about whisky. what strength was it before the war?


23 Oct 17 - 12:02 PM (#3884099)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Dave the Gnome

Honest and disparaging are not mutually exclusive, Jim. A lot of people say Trump is just being honest! Not likening you to Trump in any way. Just commenting that the language we use on forums such as this can give a misleading impression. As I said, take it or leave it. No skin off my nose.

I would far prefer a folk club that entertains me to one that educates me. Call me shallow for that if you like because maybe I am. But I am not the only one. The clubs that do both are great and thrive. The clubs that just entertain may not come under your definition of a folk club but they also thrive. The clubs that stick firmly in the past fall by the wayside.

DtG


23 Oct 17 - 12:36 PM (#3884113)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Jim Carroll

"Honest and disparaging are not mutually exclusive, Jim"
You have the answer in the songs Dave
They ane made anodyne by their performance,
Don't know if you remember the old Classic Comics - Hamlet, MacBeth, Moby Dick, Tale of Two Cities - all in comic strip format
They had their place in my life until I managed to get my head around the real thing
Same with the music
"I would far prefer a folk club that entertains me to one that educates me."
Do you really believe the two are exclusive from one another - can't you learn and be entertained at the same time?
You have my deepest sympathy.
I find that the more I find out about the song, the more I enjoy it
I thoroughly enjoyed the months I spent annotating our songs for the Clare Library website
A couple of examples below
Education and enjoyment as far as I'm concerned
Jim Carroll

Banks of the Nile (Roud 950 Laws N9) Pat MacNamara
The theme of this song ? a woman asking her soldier or sailor lover to be allowed ro accompany him to battle or to sea, is not so unbelievable as it might first appear.
Armies once trudged their way around the world accompanied by ?camp-followers?, mobile settlements of women, children and tradesmen all running risks not too different of those taken by active soldiers.
Following the defeat of the rebels at Vinegar Hill in 1798, British troops rounded up and massacres the camp-followers who has assisted the rebels during the fighting.
Camp following lasted into the nineteenth century and continued to be a common part of army life into the 19th century.
The same went for seamen; in 1822 an anonymous pamphlet suggested that members of the Royal Navy were taking as many as two women apiece aboard the ships. These women also proved useful in that they fought alongside their lovers at the Nile and Trafalgar during the Napoleonic wars.
The well-known saying ?show a leg? is said to have originated from the practice of officers in the Royal Navy clearing the crew from their hammocks and bunks by demanding that the occupant sticks their leg out to show whether they were male or female.
?Banks of the Nile? is probably the best known song of women accompanying their lovers into battle or on board ship.
Though this version refers to the practice happening among the Irish military forces, the song is just as popular in England and probably originated there

Farmer Michael Hayes (Roud 5226) John Lyons
John Lyons spoke before singing the song:
This song, I got the tune of it years ago, from Willie Clancy and I had the words all the time collected from an old scrapbook I had, but I didn?t actually hear the tune until later. The song was Farmer Michael Hayes. It?s a song about a true incident about a tenant farmer who killed his landlord in a Tipperary hotel when he was evicted, and he went on the run and he finally escaped to America where, I believe, he was never caught.
As a young man, Tom Lenihan heard the ballad of Farmer Michael Hayes sung by his father and by local ballad seller, Bully Nevin, but never knew more than a few verses. In 1972 he obtained a full text, adapted it to what he already knew and put it to a variation of the tune he had heard. We believe it to be one of the best narrative Irish ballads we have ever come across; Tom makes a magnificent job of it.
The story, based on real events, tells of how a farmer/land agent with a reputation for harshness is evicted from his land and takes his revenge on the landlord, in some cases by shooting him, and in Tom?s version by also killing off the landlord's livestock.
He takes off in an epic flight, closely followed by police with hounds and is chased around the coast of Ireland as far as Mayo where he finally escapes to America. We worked out once that the reported chase is over five hundred miles of rough ground. Tradition has it that he eventually returned home to die in Ireland.
As Georges Zimmerman points out, this ballad shows how a probably hateful character could become a gallant hero in the eyes of the oppressed peasants.
It is a rare song in the tradition, but we know it was sung in Kerry in the 1930s; Caherciveen Traveller Mikeen McCarthy gave us just line of it:

?I am a bold ?indaunted? fox that never was before on tramp?
My rents, rates and taxes I was willing for to pay.

When he heard it sung in full in a London folk club he said, ?That?s just how my father sang it?.
Ref;
Songs of Irish Rebellion; Georges-Denis Zimmermann 1967

Lady in Her Father's Garden - Peggy McMahon undated
See also: Lady in Her Father's Garden ? Tom Lenihan Recorded at singer?s home, July 1980
This is probably one of the most popular of all the 'broken token? songs, in which parting lovers are said to break a ring in two, each half being kept by the man and woman. At their reunion, the man produces his half as a proof of his identity.
Robert Chambers, in his Book of Days, 1862-1864, describes a betrothal custom using a 'gimmal' or linked ring:
'Made with a double and sometimes with a triple link, which turned upon a pivot, it could shut up into one solid ring... It was customary to break these rings asunder at the betrothal which was ratified in a solemn manner over the Holy Bible, and sometimes in the presence of a witness, when the man and woman broke away the upper and lower rings from the central one, which the witness retained. When the marriage con?tract was fulfilled at the altar, the three portions of the ring were again united, and the ring used in the ceremony'.

                            Illustration            

The custom of exchanging rings as a promise of fidelity lasted well into the nineteenth century in Britain and was part of the plot of Thomas Hardy?s ?Far From The Madding Crowd?.
These 'Broken Token' songs often end with the woman flinging herself into the returned lov?er's arms and welcoming him back
Tipperary Travelling woman, Mary Delaney who also sang it for us, knew it differently and had the suitor even more firmly rejected:

"For it's seven years brings an alteration,
And seven more brings a big change to me,
Oh, go home young man, choose another sweetheart,
Your serving maid I'm not here to be."

Ref: The Book of Days, Robert Chambers, W & R Chambers, 1863-64.
Other CDs: Sarah Anne O'Neill - Topic TSCD660; Daisy Chapman - MTCD 308; Maggie Murphy - Veteran VT134CD.


23 Oct 17 - 12:43 PM (#3884114)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: The Sandman

same strength as woods rum is now 57 per cent ,i understand.
jim is right about good residents , unfortunately in my experience they evntually move on or get seduced by the idea of making money doing gigs and often become less available.
however clubs like the wilsons folk club seem to be an exception, most of the clubs with strong residents in my experience seem to be in the north east, two others in my experience of note are birmingham trad and bodmin


23 Oct 17 - 03:25 PM (#3884133)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Dave the Gnome

Do you really believe the two are exclusive from one another - can't you learn and be entertained at the same time?
You have my deepest sympathy.


Do you really not read what people post, Jim? Never get past the headline?

I did say I would be prefer to be entertained that educated. I never suggested the two were mutually exclusive. In fact, if you would care to go 2 sentances past that line I said "The clubs that do both are great and thrive."

In a discussion about folk clubs would you not expect to get comments from all points of teh compass?

DtG


23 Oct 17 - 04:53 PM (#3884152)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Jim Carroll

"I did say I would be prefer to be entertained that educated."
What does that statement mean if not that the two are exclusive
I am both educated and I enjoy listening and singing - I don't have to make a choice - why do you?
The clubs definitely are not thriving, a few may be surviving - hence conversations like this
The scene is fucked up by indifference and hostility - you have a list of what we used to have and no longer do - am I making it up?
It hreally does not have anything to do with "entertainment" some of us great pleasure out of policy clubs that gave us what we wanted - we enjoyed it and we were so taken up with it we didn't need Bob Geldof, or any of the shit that's being called for here
I read owhat you wrote and I've just re-read it - youi said what I thought you said
You couldn't be entertained and educated at the same time - your loss
"I would far prefer a folk club that entertains me to one that educates me"
"The clubs that stick firmly in the past fall by the wayside"
"Call me shallow for that if you like because maybe I am"
If you insist - you're shallow
Jim Carroll


23 Oct 17 - 05:11 PM (#3884157)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Backwoodsman

"The scene is fucked up by indifference and hostility"

Says the bloke who, by his own admission, hasn't attended folk-clubs for years, and gets as shitty as a shitty thing with anyone who disagrees with him.

Oh, the delicious irony!


23 Oct 17 - 05:13 PM (#3884158)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Vic Smith

I've been very busy in the last week or so what with festivals and preparing radio programmes so I've just caught up with this thread again.... it goes on a bit, doesn't it?

I was interested in the post on 22 Oct 17 - 04:09 PM
Now this was a post by GUEST though it was signed 'Jim Carroll' which means that it may or may not be from our friend in County Clare. The second sentence reads:-
Why do you people always revert to personal abusse
Hooray, I thought, now there's a sentiment that I can heartily support. Then Jim (or pretend Jim) manages two more sentences before typing:-
You are a self obsessed pratt
which to my mind is out of kilter with the point that we was making earlier in the post.


23 Oct 17 - 07:41 PM (#3884174)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: TheSnail

"It might be nowadays in an English club scene that couldn't find it's folk arse with both hands "
I made a conscious decision to take some time before responding to this so that I could calm down and make a measured response. I think I failed.
According to some estimates, there are around 300 folk clubs in the UK. Each of them takes several people to run, say three or four.
Jim Carroll has just been gratuitously offensive to around one thousand people.
That doesn't include the floor singers, whom he seems to regard with contempt, and the audience members who dare to want to be entertained rather than educated. That's tens of thousands of people insulted in one short sentence.
When Ged Fox responded in a manner that Jim had just established he got the response "Why do you people always revert to personal abusse". Sorry, Jim, but do you feel that you have some sort of license on being abusive not shared by ohers?
You later said of him "You are a self obsessed pratt". Nice.

What are you trying to achieve, Jim? Do you wish to bring about change in British clubs? If so, alienating everybody involved doesn't seem like a good start.


23 Oct 17 - 08:48 PM (#3884177)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Joe Offer

This thread is approaching closure. Keep it civil, and it will stay open longer.
-Joe-


24 Oct 17 - 02:31 AM (#3884190)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: The Sandman

"When once the forms of civility are violated, there remains little hope of return to kindness or decency."

? Samuel Johnson


24 Oct 17 - 03:49 AM (#3884194)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Jim Carroll

"Jim Carroll has just been gratuitously offensive to around one thousand people.
No I have not - I have never been "gratuitously" offensive to anybody
I have responded to being talk down to - sometimes badly, but I have always kept my responses within the subject
I have no intention of breaking that habit here
I get angry and frustrated occasionally, but it is usually in response to being insulted
For instance
"You are a self obsessed pratt" was a response to "we don't mistake it for a balaclava helmet, i.e. something to stuff your head into. "
Over the top on my part maybe, but a reaction to what I believe to have been an insulting remark
The original poster on this forum made a comment on what he/she believed to be the declining standards on the folk scene - the immediate response was "Has anyone noticed the decline in quality of whining on Mudcat?"
I see no rush of protest to object to that particular piece of nastiness
On this thread, Bryan Creer responded to a reasonable, calmly laid out argument with
"For F*%$#S SAKE! It makes you wonder why we bother."
We are all prone to losing it occasionally - Bryan included
I have dedicated my time over the last half century to finding out about the music from the people who kept it alive and generously passed it on to us (the "tit-trousers, according to one contributor here - a remark aimed at elderly people like Walter Pardon and Fred Jordan, whose sartorial tastes obviously don't meet up with those of the writer)
Was there a howl of protest at that particular piece of nastiness aimed at our source singers - there was not
The writer was, as far as I could make out, that same thing that many people are saying here - that folk music as documented has had its day and it's time it was replaced with something else.
In arguments like this I have been called "finger in ear", "folk police", "folk fascist" "dinosaur".... par for the course on this forum
When I lose my rag and respond in kind, as I sometimes do, you all leap up on your chairs, highly offended
Give us a break lads
I believe the folk scene has moved away from the music that inspired it in the first place, and nothing that has been said here has convinced me otherwise
I find no respect for the music that brought me to the folk revival here, on the contrary, in places I find contempt for it.
I didn't spend my life recording the last of our old singers in order that they should be confined to archives - I hoped to pass it on to others who I thought might get something from it - arguments like this have shown me I am wasting my time
Our recordings of Walter Pardon have been locked away in a cupboard somewhere at the B.L. for over twenty years and for the life of me, I can't think of anybody who will ever want to use them in Britain - perhaps The World Music Group at Limerick University, who is planning to take our collection will put them on line
I believe the music I know as folk music is an important part of our culture and our history and I have done my limited best to pass on what evidence we have gathered to back up that belief
If the definition of folk song has changed, nobody has ever offered an alternative one
There are constant complaints like that of the OP on this forum which all boil down to the same thing - there are very few places in Britain now where you can go to sing or listen to folk songs reasonably sung - as limited as my experience now is, that is my opinion too, and that of many old friends in Britain who have given up in despair
Arguments like this, that I should be prepared to take Bob Geldof as a substitute for Sam Larner, Harry Cox or Phil Tanner, only confirm that opinion
If that is not an opinion you all share, where are your howls (or should I say "whines" of protest
The folk song revival I knew would have confined such suggestions to the dustbin it merits.
If folk song has changed, what has it changed to, and where do the songs defined as "folk" fit in to the grand scheme of things   
Jim Carroll


24 Oct 17 - 04:15 AM (#3884201)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: The Sandman

"Was there a howl of protest at that particular piece of nastiness aimed at our source singers - there was not"
I did not protest, Jim, because the comment was below contempt, some of us remain silent but it does not mean we agree., it means I think the comment is not worth the effort of bothering with


24 Oct 17 - 05:05 AM (#3884210)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: GUEST,Chris Wright

I've given this a great deal of thought in the last ten years, so here's my two cents (distilled into a couple of short paragraphs to save my sanity!):

Folk music has become increasingly professionalised and institutionalised, and this is continuing at a seemingly accelerating rate. This in turn has produced a self-reinforcing process whereby emerging musicians and singers who want to play professionally (usually self-identified as 'folk' musicians) have increasingly learned to take their cues from the worlds of high art and popular culture as opposed to folk culture, this partly being demanded by the criteria of funders and broadcasters. The folk music industry's increasingly insatiable thirst for novelty has created a commodity which privileges the *performer* and their *product* - since these are the most easily packaged and transmitted - over the communicative *process* that folk music facilitates, and which is limited by participation in a small, face-to-face group setting.

The prevailing philosophy among the movers and shakers in the industry also appears to be that syphoning public funds for the popular presentation of folk music on television, again on the terms of the broadcasters, will somehow lead to a kind of 'trickle-down folkonomics', thus encouraging take up in musical traditions. While it *might* be true that it's helped popularise instrumental folk music to some degree, it certainly hasn't done anything for traditional singing, as there are very few young Scots/English singers in Scotland, not to mention almost no young *male* singers, and very very few *good* young singers. Part of the reason might also be that there's an incredible lack of genuine critical dialogue in the folk music industry itself, leading to some very mediocre performers with high-self confidence, and very little self-awareness. The bottom line is that there's no industry analogue for the casual apprenticeship that characterises the pedagogic tradition in folk culture.

The above reasoning was why I became very dissatisfied with the offerings at EFC and stopped going; I'm not sure if it's changed direction in the intervening years. Instead, I decided to found a different sort of club, where participation was central, and where professionalism was irrelevant. That's how The World's Room started in 2012.


24 Oct 17 - 05:07 AM (#3884211)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: The Sandman

knowing both Bryan asnd vic smith I think they would agree with me about that comment


24 Oct 17 - 06:03 AM (#3884224)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Ged Fox

"a reaction to what I believe to have been an insulting remark"
Indeed, Jim, and I'm not complaining. I responded to what I considered a generally abusive comment with a personally abusive comment and you responded to me in kind. 'Nuff said, on the subject of abuse, at least.

As for discussion on folk music, folk scenes or whatever, we move in separate planes that intersect somewhere about a shared liking of old songs. You denigrate, frequently and at length, the current English folk scene. I have no knowledge of, or particular interest in the Irish traditions that you have devoted your life to.

The demise of the sixties folk revival does not bother me in the least. Although I was around at the time, I was put off by the contempt expressed then for CJS, S B-G and all those other stalwarts of the earlier folk revivals.
Quite wrongly, as I am prepared to admit, I saw the sixties folk revival as a pretty fake departure from true folk music, epitomised for me by one song that was and is still very popular among folkies.   Originally, there was a genuine Scottish folk-tune; the poet Tannahill (of the early C19th folk revival) wrote words to it; in the sixties folk revival a chap with an Irish name ditched the folk tune and set a version of Tannahill's words to another tune. I love the song, the "Wild Mountain Thyme," but it is not remotely "folk."


24 Oct 17 - 06:09 AM (#3884225)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Ged Fox

Blast, carried away again by my own rhetoric. "not, I feel, remotely folk." Call it what you like, I'd rather sing it with you than argue about it.


24 Oct 17 - 06:35 AM (#3884229)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Jim Carroll

"You denigrate, frequently and at length, the current English folk scene."
As someone with a foot in both camps (research and performance - now more enjoyment than participation), I question what it has to do with folk song as I know it and how it is documented Jed - hence my uncalled for outburst, for which I apologise.
I don't approach song as an intellectual exercise, I still sing and still get great pleasure in listening to good singing.
My active experience of the revival (a quarter of a century) was one with no contradiction between research and performance - one fed, even relied on the other.
THat is no longer the case and the research side has become the loser - even the cracks are beginning to show there.
If the gap is now unbreachable, we really need to know and a good start might be that we be told what now passes for folk music nowadays.
Chris Wright's contribution makes sense to me, though I have to say, commercialism hadn't taken the grip when I left that it has now.
The revival, through the skiffle scene, was a reaction to the pap pop music industry of those days - a chance for Everyman to become a creative performer - now it seems Mammon has his foot firmly in the door as you pointed out in your earlier post "Some of us are professional or semi-professional musicians of skill and experience,"
With the greatest respect, the secen was not about those who wished to make a living from it - it was not a problem, but neither was it an objective - now it appears to be just that for so many - too many.
I have no problem with new songs - I sing them and I see tham as essential to the future of our music - the people I respect most made more new songs than any other performer in the revival.
THe demise of the revival bothers me because without it everything I have done over the last half century will be, like your balaclava "something to stuff my head into".
We recorded from live performers who had something to say about our lives, our culture and our history - understanding their message cannot happen as an academic exercise.
I disagree with something else you just said
"Wild Mountain Thyme," but it is not remotely "folk."
The song is an excellent example of how a written and published song can become part of an oral tradition - I suggest you dig out Elizabeth's Cronin's 'Braes of Balquidder' to see what I mean
Jim Carroll


24 Oct 17 - 06:47 AM (#3884232)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: GUEST,Nick Dow

With the best will in the world I don?t think that things are as bleak as you suggest Jim and Chris. I can honestly say that I am rather encouraged by the interest shown in traditional songs in traditional style by some of my contemporaries and especially by the younger singers who I have encountered. The sterling work done by those of my own generation still slogging round the clubs and holding body and soul together is well documented. With regard to the next generation I have given songs to Jim Moray, Cohen (Granny?s Attic), worked with Bryony Griffith and Paul Sartin, and the interest is generally there.
Perhaps marginally more important is the legion of club singers old and young who are looking for new traditional songs to sing. There is not anybody on this thread who would not willingly share their songs and be happy for other singers to perform them There really is a dedicated audience for recordings of Traditional singers, and especially Walter Pardon, and all the others that you mentioned. My evidence for this is the blank amazement I felt when I was persuaded to produce a CD of unaccompanied songs. Yes the reviews were great, but the most refreshing reaction was from numerous club singers (old and young) who wanted to sing but played no instrument and could not read music who snapped up the CD and gave the general comment that ?We?ve been waiting for something like this! Can I sing one of them??
The answer was of course a resounding yes.
Well OK bully for me! The point I am making is that the interest is still there, just look at this thread! However unless sombody like those who have posted above helps a budding singer to understand what to listen for in a performance by Walter Pardon for example, then it is just an old man singing Folk Songs and very probably not as interesting as who ever is on at your local club. Then the dedicated audience will eventualy dwindle of course, but it aint looking that bad to me. To me the rule is if somebody shows an interest (and that usually becomes plain and a gig) actively encourage them to take songs from you, liberate those recordings from wheresoever they are Jim (or anybody else) and make them available. How about a workshop at a festival? Try and Email singers who you think have an interest, and please try not to be dissillusioned. My opinion for what is is worth.
kind regards


24 Oct 17 - 06:52 AM (#3884233)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: GUEST,Nick Dow

Sorry about all the rouge ??? question marks above. My key board has gone bonkers (along with me)


24 Oct 17 - 07:01 AM (#3884236)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: TheSnail

Just for the record, Jim Carroll's "folk arse" comment was in response to this post from Ged Fox -

Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Ged Fox - PM
Date: 22 Oct 17 - 08:41 AM

"they style themselves 'singing circles' and make it clear that there is no restriction on what is sung
They seldom, if ever book guests but rely solely on local talent"

That, apart from the name, and that instrumentalists are also welcome, would be a fair description of my local "folk club." The fact that my local club has the self-contradictory name of "Broadside Folk Club" merely serves to point up the fact that, on this side of St George's Channel, "folk" is a term used fairly loosely.

It seems to me that you are only quibbling over the name, not the phenomenon, of English folk clubs.


He seems to think that gives him good reason to insult the entire British folk community.


24 Oct 17 - 07:35 AM (#3884241)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Jim Carroll

"He seems to think that gives him good reason to insult the entire British folk community."
If questionin what is happening on the folk scene is "insulting", I wonder how those who voted for Trump and Brexit should be regarded
Is your position really so untenable that you should resort to such nonsense Bryan?
The proof of the pudding lies in the discussion
"Where have all the folksongs gone"
I sincerely hope your experiences are reflection of the scene as a whole Nick - little sign of it here, I'm afraid
Jim Carroll


24 Oct 17 - 07:40 AM (#3884242)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: TheSnail

Jim Carroll
I didn't spend my life recording the last of our old singers in order that they should be confined to archives - I hoped to pass it on to others who I thought might get something from it - arguments like this have shown me I am wasting my time
Possibly constantly insulting the very people who might be able to help you is not the best way of going about it.

This sheds some interesting light on the matter -
http://www.mustrad.org.uk/articles/pardon2.htm
Scroll down to the Introduction.
This is a nice read as well -
http://www.eatmt.org.uk/walter_pardon.htm
The Wikepedia entry for Walter Pardon is worth a look -
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Walter_Pardon


24 Oct 17 - 07:57 AM (#3884248)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: TheSnail

If questionin what is happening on the folk scene is "insulting",
Can I just remind you of what you said Jim -
It might be nowadays in an English club scene that couldn't find it's folk arse with both hands
I don't think it's nonsense to find that insulting and it doesn't seem to be questioning anything.

You see little sign of what Nick describes because you choose not to. You have been repeatedly told that things are not as you describe and you ignore it.


24 Oct 17 - 08:05 AM (#3884252)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Ged Fox

" "Wild Mountain Thyme," but it is not remotely "folk."
The song is an excellent example of how a written and published song can become part of an oral tradition - I suggest you dig out Elizabeth's Cronin's 'Braes of Balquidder' to see what I mean."

Yes. I had met "Braes of Balquidder" (in a book) before the sixties. Quite likely, (and I expect I am speaking heresy to you now,) as the daughter of a schoolteacher, Elizabeth Cronin got the song from a book too.

But here the divergence of planes that I mentioned earlier. I can appreciate that "the oral tradition" is of great importance to you and others, but I cannot feel in my guts that there is any great difference in moral quality, as it were, between oral/aural transmission and other kinds. The first "real" folk song that I can remember hearing was "Richard of Taunton Dean" sung by an old fellow in a pub in Devon - not in a folk club, just the usual village crowd gathering round the piano on a Thursday night, (their favourite was "I'm forever blowing bubbles.") Later on, I learnt the song from "The Oxford Song Book." Much later on, I realised that my copy of "The Oxford Song Book" was older than the old fellow (well he was older than forty anyway) who had sung the song. Did he learn it from a book or his granddad? If someone learns it from my singing, is it back in the oral tradition? Does it matter?

Fifty years on, I agree that "Wild Mountain Time" in the McPeake version, has probably entered the oral tradition and might be classed as "folk" assuming that one can admit that the sort of people who go to folk clubs are "folk."
At the time, however, I felt that McPeake had thrown away the truly folk part of the song, kept the art part and added a new part. I did not appreciate that he had copyrighted his arrangement as well, but had I known that it would have confirmed my view that it was not folk. Whether anything with a known, and living, author can be "folk" is an old and fruitlessly debatable point, but it definitely can't be "folk" if you are denying folk free use of it.


24 Oct 17 - 08:29 AM (#3884256)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Backwoodsman

Nowhere has anyone suggested that you 'should be prepared to take Bob Geldof as a substitute for Sam Larner, Harry Cox or Phil Tanner'. You made that up - your standard, goalpost-moving tactic when someone has a different point of view to you, and you can't keep a grip on that foul temper of yours.

What was suggested was that there is room for a modern composed song, e.g. IDLM, alongside others such as 'Freeborn Man'. That's all.

Please quote where I said what you're claiming, or STFU.

You really need to stop posting made-up shit, Jim. It's deceitful, it's disgusting, and it should be beneath you. Shameful.


24 Oct 17 - 08:51 AM (#3884262)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: The Sandman

I came across a new phenomenon today a venue that does not accept floor singers even if they are professional or semi professional performers who do gigs, this is the first time i have encountered this in 50 years


24 Oct 17 - 08:56 AM (#3884264)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Backwoodsman

Never come across clubs that do that, but I've known a number of performers who decline having support-artists on their gigs.


24 Oct 17 - 09:04 AM (#3884268)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Jim Carroll

""the oral tradition" is of great importance to you and others, "
Please don't minimise this by confining it to just a few of us - it is very much an essential element of what constitutes our folk music and has been since the genre was first documented
As far as Balquhidder is concerned, it has firmly established itself as traditional, among non-literate Travellers and field singers, in Britain, Ireland and America, to earn it the description 'Folk' or traditional - it's even been awarded a Roud number, which works fine for me.
I'm sure that you are aware of the court case involving the ownership of 'Wild Mountain Thyme' by the McPeake Family
I have to say that, despite its origins, 'Taunton Deane' has always left me with the impression of the townie's view of the idiot country yokel
All of which goes to show that there is a degree of pleasure to be got from academic discussion
"I don't think it's nonsense to find that insulting and it doesn't seem to be questioning anything."
The nonsense lies in your argument that to challenge something that is apparently wrong is to insult those involved Bryan - it is an argument used by populists to defend that most extreme actions by the most exxtreme people
Let's face it, today's folk scene drove away far more people that it retained, so technically, it is you who is in the minority and, by your own logic, it is you who is doing the insulting.
Even the few of you remaining can't stump up a workable definition and agree among yourselves, risible to say the least.
Jim Carroll


24 Oct 17 - 09:14 AM (#3884270)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Jim Carroll

"You made that up"
I think you read back on that one Baccie
The usual suspect who brought up Geldof here suggested that if they turned up at a club today they should "sit back and watch how it should be done"
"You really need to stop posting made-up shit, Jim."
You asked the difference between freeborn and The Birdie song - I replied politely
You were not the first to mention 'Birdie' - any further comments were addressed to all, not you
You need to stop complaining about others if you are going to resort to insulting people yourself
I may mistake what is being said but I make up nothing - you are now sinking to the level of Teribus - I thought you above that sort of thing - my mistake
Jim Carroll


24 Oct 17 - 09:22 AM (#3884273)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Johnny J

I'm starting to lose the will to live a little with this thread now.
;-))

As for the original post, I think we can all agree that there is sometimes an issue with some floor singers in certain folk clubs.

However, as TB and one or two others have pointed out, there is much more choice(In our area, anyway. We may be lucky)of different arrangements.
Some of the more rural clubs encourage floor singers more so than the city venues although there is a very good traditional, mostly unaccompanied, club "The World's Room" in Edinburgh which caters for the die hard traditional song afficianodos.
Of course, the regular folk clubs also feature this in their programmes but also a much wider variety of "Folky"(using the term loosely) music.

Also, there is quite a large informal session scene where we are with all variety of opportunities and levels. Many singers(and musicians) prefer these to formal clubs.

In fact, to restrict the discussion to folk clubs is probably not that informative. These days, there isn't really a typical folk club.
Certainly much of what happens therein isn't for the purists, in many cases, but a lot of what happens in the wider field often is.


24 Oct 17 - 09:43 AM (#3884279)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Backwoodsman

More made up shit, Jim. What I actually said was, "Forget about the Birdie Song".

I asked why 'Freeborn Man' is 'folk-style' and 'IDLM' isn't. I also said that I consider 'FM' to be greatly superior as a song to 'IDLM', and that I love the former, but dislike the latter.

You, however, chose to mis-represent that as saying that you 'should be prepared to take Bob Geldof as a substitute for Sam Larner....yards yadda'. A bare-faced lie.

You see, when you post made up shit in order to try to 'win', you need either a good memory, or to carefully re-read what's actually been said.

Distorting and mis-representing what someone says is, of itself, a deep insult. I reserve the right to return the compliment however and whenever I see fit.


24 Oct 17 - 09:44 AM (#3884280)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Jim Carroll

" purists,"
Not the most helpful of phrases and one which has become an epithet rather than a description
Expecting to know what to expect at a folk club is not "purist" - it is simple common sense and the fact that it is no longer applicable has led to the mess the clubs appear to be in.
JIm Carroll


24 Oct 17 - 09:53 AM (#3884284)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: TheSnail

The nonsense lies in your argument that to challenge something that is apparently wrong is to insult those involved Bryan
Not an argument I have ever used, Jim.

You can't stump up a workable definition either, Jim. If you were applying for funding, I don't think "something that loosely conforms to that description" would really hack it.

It might be nowadays in an English club scene that couldn't find it's folk arse with both hands counts as challenging something that is apparently wrong does it? That gives us a lot of leeway in what we can say to you.

If you want help with your archive, try being nice to people.


24 Oct 17 - 09:58 AM (#3884285)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Johnny J

"Expecting to know what to expect at a folk club"

It's never been the case that all folk clubs have soley focused on traditional song, accompanied or otherwise, although there may have been more of it in the past.
Over the years I've heard lots of blues, jazz influenced music, "folk rock", contemporary singer songwriters and so on. Even comedy, although I'm glad that's not as much to the fore...the great Billy Connolly honed is act in the folk scene but, unfortunately, he encouraged a lot of imitators!


24 Oct 17 - 09:58 AM (#3884286)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Jack Campin

But the clubs aka singing circles in your part of the world are not in a mess, despite doing exactly the same sort of thing as their opposite numbers round where I live (Edinburgh/Midlothian) and in pretty much every other region of Britain where people own acoustic guitars?

they style themselves 'singing circles' and make it clear that there is no restriction on what is sung. They seldom, if ever book guests but rely solely on local talent

They don't hold enough interest for me to visit very often, though I think their social and educational role is important and I wouldn't want to see them go. I don't suppose you've ever been to one in your life - what do you fantasize is the difference between British and Irish ones?


24 Oct 17 - 10:03 AM (#3884288)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Dave the Gnome

I think what we are saying is that clubs in general are not in a mess, Jim. Ones like you used to run and attend all those years ago may no longer exist but they have been superseded by something different and, quite possibly, better. Those new clubs, the ones that are more acceptant of a looser definition of folk music, are thriving. The ones described in the opening post may be in decline, and rightly so, but the better ones either pull floor singers up with them or restrict the poor ones to times where they do least damage!

DtG


24 Oct 17 - 10:09 AM (#3884291)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Raggytash

Something for you to ponder on Jim, if folk clubs just had to rely on people like yourself for an audience I doubt if many, if any, would be open today.

The people you freely disparage are the backbone of the folk world week in week out in the 21st century.

Few have any notion of an archaic and outdated "definition" of folk, a definition drawn up before the introduction of television for the majority of the population, before the advent of the computer era, a superb way of disseminating information that a majority of us take for granted.

Now you may believe it still has credence but I'm afraid you are in a VERY small minority.


24 Oct 17 - 11:57 AM (#3884304)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Jim Carroll

"if folk clubs just had to rely on people like yourself for an audience I doubt if many, if any, would be open today."
If the clubs refuse to adhere to what they claim to present, does it matter?
I joined this mans army to promote the music, not to give somewhere to go on a rainy night.
"I think what we are saying is that clubs in general are not in a mess, Jim. "See my comments above Dave"
It all depends on what you belive the role of the clubs to be
If they are to put bums on seats, the general belief appears to be that there aren't anywhere enough of them and those are declining as we fall off the twig.
If they are there to promote folk music, the fact that nobody seems able to say what that music is is a clear indication that they have failed dismally - a rudderless ship.
"Not an argument I have ever used, Jim."
How else have I insulted "thousands" if it is not through challenging what goes on in today's folk clubs?
"You can't stump up a workable definition either, Jim"
Of course I can Bryan - I have repeated over and over again that, flawed as it is, the '54 one will do till a better one comes along, Steve Roud in his 'Folk Song in England' says exactly that.
"If you were applying for funding, I don't think "something that loosely conforms to that description""
I know what the problems of getting a grant for furthering folk song are in Britain first hand, I was part of a team that once tried to set up a national archive
"something that loosely conforms to that description" would be as as successful as trying to quench the sun with a bucket of water.
Even The National Sound Archive at the B.L. is totally stymied in making available its folk song holdings through lack of money,
A dilettante approach such as the one you suggest would be laughed all the way up the Euston Road.
"If you want help with your archive, try being nice to people."
That's a two-way street Bryan I'm sure you have found out.
I have given up seeking help in Britain - I managed to get it locked in a cupboard, so as far as I am concerned the ball's in your court, otherwise, posterity will have to sort it out.
"It's never been the case that all folk clubs have soley focused on traditional song,"
Despite some of the misrepresentations here, nobody has ever sought to create a situation where "all folk clubs have solely focused on traditional song," - certainly nobody I ever worked with and respected.
Back in the day, we peacefully co-exited with the Zimmerman school of thought, they did their thing and we did ours -there was even a degree of crossover, certainly not the hostility I find here
"But the clubs aka singing circles in your part of the world are not in a mess"
No they are not (some of them are a mess, but that's a different argument)
The don't cater for one specific type of music nor do they claim to - would that that level of integrity crossed the Irish Sea
You did of course -- you referred to I Don't Like Mondays - my apologies
"More made up shit, Jim."
Doesn't make too much difference to the fact that your boorish bad manners makes you a bullying lout though   
"Now you may believe it still has credence but I'm afraid you are in a VERY small minority."
Am I?
I have a definition to work to - you people appear not to have even been able to cobble one together between you
That makes it that there are far more of me than there are you,
When push comes to shove we "are all in a VERY small minority."
The type of shenanigans that are well represented here has meant that, by and large the British public don't give a toss about folk song - real or ersatz, and who can blame them?
We have even lost the ground we once won.
Jim Carroll


24 Oct 17 - 12:12 PM (#3884308)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Raggytash

You know Jim (you're not going to like this one bit) but you sound just like Teribus, Akenaton and KAOH.

A little Englander sitting there saying "the youth of today mutter, mutter, mutter........ " "it wasn't like that in my day mutter, mutter, mutter ........"

The definition you cling to, like a drowning man to a straw doesn't work any more.

People don't learn through an oral tradition anymore. They buy CD's, they go on-line, they listen to YouTube, watch television or listen to the radio.

The oral tradition is for the most part, dead, deceased, no more, it's expired, gone to meet its maker, bereft of life, joined the heavenly choir ..........


24 Oct 17 - 12:12 PM (#3884309)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Jim Carroll

"something that loosely conforms to that description""
Sorry Bryan - I mistook your point, but the thrust of my argument remains the same
I would never dream of applying for a grant on the basis of such terminology
You need to apply very specifically for what you want - we found the Irish Arts Council very generous on two occasions when we did
The end result was a musical and textual transcription of our work with Travellers and a book of Tom Munnelly essays produced by a History group I was involved with - successful on both occasions
Jim Carroll


24 Oct 17 - 12:20 PM (#3884311)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Backwoodsman

"Doesn't make too much difference to the fact that your boorish bad manners makes you a bullying lout though"

ROTFLMAO! More delicious irony from the man whose furious, bellicose rants are legend here. Words like 'pot' and 'kettle' is the kindest response I can make to that little gem, Jim.

"o wad some power the giftie gie' us
To see oursels as ithers see us!"


24 Oct 17 - 12:55 PM (#3884317)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Jim Carroll

""the youth of today mutter, mutter, mutter........"
Now you are sinking to the level of the insulters Raggy - shame on you
We are not discussing "the youth of today", we are discussing what should be a specific type of music and its importance in our culture - we are supposed to be adults, so far I see little sign of that
Your flailing about and looking for a weakness really isn't a substitute for either defining what your interpretation of the term is or why it is not important - both are preferable but either will do
I don't "cling to a definition" - I went out to test if if hold water and you know what - it did.
If Walter Pardon, Tom Lenihan and the Travellers can sort the wheat from the chaff in terms of identification and hold their music as important, I see no reason why a bunch of adults here can't do the same
I've put Walter's statement on how he discriminated between his different types of songs man times - I'll put it up again when I can lay hands on it
Now - we've has all the childish abuse - how about some real adult argumet
Jim Carroll


24 Oct 17 - 12:58 PM (#3884319)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Jim Carroll

"More delicious irony from the man whose furious, bellicose rants are legend here"
None of those Baccy and now you have sunk to the level of borrowing from Teribus's script
My suggestion to Raggy goes to you as well
Grow up - it's a long way from the schoolyard
Jim Carroll


24 Oct 17 - 01:07 PM (#3884320)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Raggytash

I did not say you actually said the youth of today but that you sound like an old man with an idea from time gone by firmly fixed in his head, that nothing but nothing will shift. The same sort of discussion we get from Teribus, Akenaton and KAOH.

The world of communication has moved. We communicate electronically and you and I are doing so now. We learn from the television, the radio and more importantly the internet.

I'll give you an example, I Was sitting in a pub listening to a duet (who you wouldn't classify as folk) when they sang a song which sent the hairs on my neck up like a bristle. At the end of the gig I asked if they had a CD with it on and could I use the song. They said yes to me singing it but that it wasn't on a CD as yet. However they put it on their website for 24 hours only so I could download it.

Ours way of communicating have changed beyond all measure, the world wide web was in it's infancy when Walter Pardon died. I wonder if he would have used it had he had the chance.


24 Oct 17 - 01:08 PM (#3884321)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Backwoodsman

Stop digging Jim. You're making yourself look stupid. Pity, I thought better of you.


24 Oct 17 - 01:21 PM (#3884324)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Jim Carroll

"Stop digging Jim. You're making yourself look stupid"
Yep - Teribus always resorts to that as well - "Jom" on the way, I suspect
Come on Raggy - the world wide web!!!!!
Wonder how Shakespeare managed!
You have the documented definition, you have my arguments - were are yours?
I'm getting a little bored with the abuse
I've often wondered if Walter would be subjected to this type of abuse id he stated his beliefs - I'm beginning to get my answer
Jim Carroll


24 Oct 17 - 01:30 PM (#3884325)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: TheSnail

How else have I insulted "thousands" if it is not through challenging what goes on in today's folk clubs?
It might be nowadays in an English club scene that couldn't find it's folk arse with both hands
You don't know what goes on in today's folk clubs.

That's a two-way street Bryan I'm sure you have found out.
I do my best to be reasonable with you, Jim, but you don't make it easy.

I have given up seeking help in Britain - I managed to get it locked in a cupboard, so as far as I am concerned the ball's in your court, otherwise, posterity will have to sort it out.
No, Jim. Your archives are your responsibility.

Sorry Bryan - I mistook your point, but the thrust of my argument remains the same
I would never dream of applying for a grant on the basis of such terminology

It was very entertaining to see you rubbishing your own words. The fact remains that you have not come up with a workable definition of what is acceptable in folk clubs but you still demand that others do.
For the record, here is the first sentence on our website -
Our interest is mainly (but not exclusively) in British traditional music and song and contemporary folk music/song derived from the tradition.
Rather better than "loosely conforms" I think.


24 Oct 17 - 01:46 PM (#3884327)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Backwoodsman

Jim, you complain about what you claim are insults, but you're constantly insulting me. Not only me, but others here too. You distort and mis-interpret what I say, and respond on the basis of those distortions and mis-representations. Worse than that, I caught you telling a bare-faced lie. Then, because I have the temerity to defend myself against your onslaughts, you accuse me of being a 'boorish, bad-mannered, bullying lout'.

If anyone is using Teribus-tactics here, it sure as hell isn't me. It's all here, on this thread, for everyone to read.

And I call you 'Jim', always have, always will. If you'd care to point me towards anywhere where I've called you 'Jom', I'd love to see it. Name-calling is something even a boorish, bad-mannered, bullying lout like me is able to rise above.

Now, I'll advise you again - stop digging.


24 Oct 17 - 01:59 PM (#3884330)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: The Sandman

I would like to thank all the unsung heroes who have run folk clubs, some for over 40 yars TED POOLE, VIC and Tina SMITH, clive pownceby,wilsdon family, john taylor,roger and patti [st neots], ernie warner,my apologies to anyone i have forgotten, these people are more important than all the talk here


24 Oct 17 - 02:00 PM (#3884332)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Jim Carroll

"You don't know what goes on in today's folk clubs. "
I know plenty of people who do and your behaviour pretty well confirms what I have been told
I saw the skids going from under the Club scene long before I left England - which is why I and thousands like me left when we did
ho appointed you in your tiny corner of the universe to speak on behalf of thousands a=of people - I speak for myself, you appear to think you speak for the world - there's a name for that
"No, Jim. Your archives are your responsibility."
I tried with your club and was left with the feeling that I was trying to peddle iffy goods
I've tried elsewhere
I'm too old to take up pissing against the wind
"I do my best to be reasonable with you, Jim, but you don't make it easy."
If that's your best - god help the child!!
"It was very entertaining to see you rubbishing your own words."
Just as it is entertaining watching your display of ungraciousness in attempting to making capital of a mistake n the face of an apology - more of "your best", no doubt
"Now, I'll advise you again - stop digging."
Give it a rest Baccy - you've made your point - or not, as the case may be!!
Jim Carroll


24 Oct 17 - 02:05 PM (#3884334)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Backwoodsman

{{{{Deep, heartfelt sigh}}}}


24 Oct 17 - 02:37 PM (#3884341)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Jim Carroll

"{{{{Deep, heartfelt sigh}}}}"
I know hat you mean
G'night all
Jim Carroll


24 Oct 17 - 02:38 PM (#3884342)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Raggytash

You decry the world wide web Jim but if someone were to offer to put all your past work on it, for all to access, I reckon you would jump at the chance.





And if why why not.


24 Oct 17 - 04:17 PM (#3884354)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: The Sandman

"I saw the skids going from under the Club scene long before I left England - which is why I and thousands like me left when we did"
I left England BECAUSE I WANTED TO GET AWAY FROM THATCHER.
i miss the uk folk scene,i miss morris dancers, especially female morris dancers.


24 Oct 17 - 04:39 PM (#3884359)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Backwoodsman

Annnnddd.....400!


24 Oct 17 - 06:23 PM (#3884368)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: GUEST,Nick Dow

Just a thought Jim. If it is all so hopeless, and the revival is doomed to be swamped under a flood of Americana, and your contemporaries have given up in despair, and nobody respects British traditional music and song, and the clubs have lost their way, and your field recordings are locked away in a library and your efforts were treated with contempt and you are too old to be pissing against the wind and the importance of the music is ignored in our culture and those who believe otherwise are fighting a hopeless rear-guard action and todays folk scene drove away more than it retained and we can not come up with a workable definition of Folk song and you are tired of the abuse and the English club scene can not find it's arse with two hands and god knows what else, could you please answer me one question. It's a very simple question. Why the bloody hell are you bothering to post on Mudcat at all?


24 Oct 17 - 07:05 PM (#3884374)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Tattie Bogle

I just wonder how many hours some of these posters spend on here? Get a life: go and listen to some CURRENT live music and stop pontificating!


24 Oct 17 - 07:07 PM (#3884375)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Tattie Bogle

P.S. if this were Facebook, I'd be "liking" Nick Dow's and Johnny Jay's posts.


24 Oct 17 - 07:17 PM (#3884377)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Raggytash

Thanks Nick, I couldn't have phrased it better if I'd tried.


24 Oct 17 - 07:26 PM (#3884381)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: RTim

Well done Nick - this thread has got totally out of hand.............

Tim Radford


24 Oct 17 - 08:14 PM (#3884385)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: TheSnail

I and thousands like me
Yikes!


24 Oct 17 - 08:16 PM (#3884387)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: TheSnail

Yep. I'm with Nick Dow.
Go away Jim and leave us alone.


25 Oct 17 - 02:45 AM (#3884417)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Backwoodsman

Great post, Nick. Nail, head.


25 Oct 17 - 03:25 AM (#3884424)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Jim Carroll

"You decry the world wide web Jim "
No I don't - I use it regulary - depend on it for some things
It has nothing whatever to do with the definition of folk songs, nor does it claim to - it is simply a source for passing on information
If you care to look up The Carroll Mackenzie Collection at Clare County Library, you'll find a part of our collection there, but that took the dedication and hard work of two librarians who slogged at it for two years because they thought it important
You Might try reading THIS to see what we have in the British Library or
HERE
OR HERE
What kind of argument is that ?
We take this music seriously because we love it and we think it worth disseminating - we have held that opinion for half a century
When we're pushing up the daisies people will be listening to Walter Pardon, Mikeen McCarthy, Tom Lenihan and the rest because somebody bothered to put them up of the WWW - Limerick University are now planning to put some more of our recordings - with a bit of luck that will include Walter Pardon - the singer who can't find a home in his native country because nobody is interested any more - too busy putting bums on seats
You lot can't even describe what you do, let alone pass it on
You've hi-jacked the clubs simply to put bums on seats - we did that as well - we ran clubs, but those who came did so because they shared our love of the songs
These songs were made by working people down the centuries to describe their lives and experiences - some date back centuries, in the case of the Travellers, they were still being made up to the 1970s
Why do I post on Mudcat Nick - because this litle crowd of nomarks on this particular thread don't own the forum and are not the only ones here
The subject interests me and I have something to say about it - are you suggesting I should not be allowed to?
I respect you work - it interests me and I'm grateful for your input into my understandings of Travellers
I would have thought that anybody with similar interests would be happy to share views
At one toime the clubs were part of this passing on of songs and information and I was part of that scene - that's why I bother
Now, apparently, it's been taken over by a bunch who neither understand or particularly like the music that put them together in the first place
Jim Carroll


25 Oct 17 - 03:26 AM (#3884425)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Jim Carroll

I should have added - that's my answer to the OPs question
In my opinion, that' what's happening to our folk clubs
Jim Carroll


25 Oct 17 - 03:30 AM (#3884426)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Dave the Gnome

Excellent post Nick.

Good idea Tattie but do you seriously expect some on here to listen to anything less than 50 years old? :-)

because this litle crowd of nomarks on this particular thread don't own the forum

From someone who says he never uses insults. No so blind as those that will not see.

You really have lost it, Jim. Sorry. I have tried and tried to be reasonable but when it is met with hostility, invective and sheer bloody mindedness I will eventually react. You have become Teribus.

DtG


25 Oct 17 - 03:51 AM (#3884431)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Backwoodsman

"You have become Teribus".

Never a truer word.


25 Oct 17 - 04:03 AM (#3884435)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: GUEST

No, Dave he has not become Terribus.Terribus present facts and logical argument. Jim just blusters , insults and bullies. He hears no voice but his own and denigrates those who disagree with him. He has contempt for the rest of the music lovers here because they don't turn on the same narrow pivot on which he turns .


25 Oct 17 - 04:11 AM (#3884440)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Dave the Gnome

I have never disputed any facts, Guest, but the aforesaid poster also "blusters , insults and bullies. He hears no voice but his own and denigrates those who disagree with him."

DtG


25 Oct 17 - 04:15 AM (#3884441)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Jim Carroll

What a sad, sorry bunch you really are - no definition, no objective for your clubs - reduced to name calling - no wonder the club scene is a mess
I've shown you mine lads - where's yours?
Jim Carroll


25 Oct 17 - 04:18 AM (#3884443)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: GUEST

I have not accused you of disputing facts Dave, I have suggested that your comparison of Jim to Terribus was inaccurate and gave the reason I thought it was inaccurate. So I am not sure what your post means .


25 Oct 17 - 04:33 AM (#3884447)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Dave the Gnome

My post means that they both bluster, insult, bully, hear no voice but their own and denigrate those who disagree with them, Guest. Whether one gives facts or not does not detract from that. The two traits are not mutually exclusive.

Jim

What a sad, sorry bunch you really are - no definition, no objective for your clubs - reduced to name calling

Can you not even see the irony in that? As said, I have tried and tried to be reasonable. If you want examples of name calling and insults I suggest you look a little closer to home.

As to "I've shown you mine lads - where's yours?" Just what is it that you have shown us? I ran a club and festival for over 30 years until I moved out of the area. My club was Swinton Folk Club. You will see that the web site has not been updated for 7 years. There is a good reason for that but it is not one we need go in to here. You will also see that there are very clear definitions on format and what to expect. Most clubs I know of have something similar.

DtG


25 Oct 17 - 06:08 AM (#3884450)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: The Sandman

UK FOLK CLUBS to some extent mirror changes in uk society.


25 Oct 17 - 06:10 AM (#3884451)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: GUEST

You have missed my point totally Dave. My point is that one of the people you mention gives hard facts and presents a reasoned argument , the other gives his rather singular opinion and denigrates those who disagree. Yes , they both can be very rude at times.


25 Oct 17 - 06:12 AM (#3884453)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Jim Carroll

The bullying blustering and insulting has come from you people - you don't wish to define folk song so instead you stamp your feet and call names
I have given you my arguments, I have outlined what I believe to be folksong and why - not a single one of ou has hasd the good grace to respond with a half decent answer
My approach is not "narrow" - it is a world wide view of what folk song is and what it represents - it is as solidly researched and documented as any other musical form
It is, in my opinion, more important than any other musical form as it is the voice of working people, not the educated elite or the overpaid under-talented pop icons - ordinary working man and women
A challenge to all of you - if you have the bottle.
I've just posted two series of radio programmes which for me, present a picture of what folk song is.
The first is a ten part series on the folk songs of these islands - in my opinion, the finest analysis to date
The second is an international view, giving examples from all over the world
I haven't taken them out of Dropbox yet, so if any of you care to take up my challenge I'll leave them in and link them to anybody interested - those who are can PM me with an e-mail address
I'll even throw in a programme on the very finest and most skilful examples of folk singing.
Let's see who has the balls to listen to the real thing
Jim Carroll


25 Oct 17 - 06:28 AM (#3884456)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: GUEST

How do you know it is a world wide view   . That is a pretty bold statement, I would like some evidence that the "wide world " shares your views!
why do you equate being educated with being elite ?
You may not believe it Jim, but there are many very talented people in all genres of music, including pop!
You speak disparagingly of "you people" and you refuse to accept that many who post here are every bit as passionate, knowledgable and respectful of music as you are.


25 Oct 17 - 06:32 AM (#3884459)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Raggytash

"My approach is not "narrow" - it is a world wide view of what folk song is and what it represents"

Utter nonsense Jim, what evidence do you have it is a "world wide view"

The posting on here show you it is not a "world wide view at" The posters on here clearly demonstrate that. Those same posters who have been involved with folk music for just as long as you in some cases.

But then you seem to consider all other posters idiots as you have made abundantly clear on numerous occasions.

You definition was drawn up 63 years ago, many people, myself included, think it is not fit for purpose. I have explained why I think that and all you can do it blabber "give me a better definition" again and again.

One more time I don't need a definition I have got ears.


25 Oct 17 - 07:02 AM (#3884468)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Dave the Gnome

Jim, the discussion is about folk clubs and what is happening to them. As an argument you challenge people to sit through a radio series on folk music of the British Isles and the world beyond. Sorry but no matter how enjoyable (or otherwise) that experience would be it is an irrelevance. I can guarantee that your next step will be to say that no-one has taken you up on it so you have won. Keith has taught you well.

Can you not see that the main caller of names in this thread is you? A few people may have insulted you but only after you managed to alienate everyone on this thread (this litle crowd of nomarks) and the whole UK folk scene in general (It might be nowadays in an English club scene that couldn't find it's folk arse with both hands) and yet you still insist it is you that is hard done by.

Out of interest I have downloaded some stuff from you in the past. I have 'had the bottle' to listen to it and I enjoyed most of it. I really do not want to lose you as, if not a friend, a good mentor on all things folk related. But your hypocritical approach to insult and invective coupled with your inability to see any viewpoint but your own is becoming tedious.

I have defined folk song as being anything that sounds like folk to me. Subjective maybe but honest. I have never stamped my feet and before you go on about calling names look at yourself first.

Yes, you have given your arguments and have outlined what you believe to be folksong and why. Many people have given you their ideas of what they think it should be. The fact that you say "not a single one of ou has hasd the good grace to respond with a half decent answer" is very telling. By half decent answer you mean one that you agree with.

DtG


25 Oct 17 - 07:30 AM (#3884473)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Jim Carroll

"Can you not see that the main caller of names in this thread is you?"
No - I most certainly can't
Throughout this argument I have given my own experiences in the club and what I belive has happened to them
You people have now reduced this to childish name calling
You refuse to provide a definition for your 'product' whih is folk song, and when you are given one - the one that is accepted internationally and has been documented as such, you run around like headless chickens and hurl abuse
If you call yourselves folk clubs, you need to be able to state what you are presenting in clear terms otherwise you are conning the public
A fol song iss something specific - ifit has another meaning than that documented, then you are committed to saying what it now means
The '54 definition was accepted internationally as a guide to what folksong means
That remains the case
Steve Roud has just produced a massive tome on English Folksong - in an early chapter entitled 'Is there Such a Thing as a Folksong Anyway' he writes of the congress that devised the definition, agreed on by International researchers;
"apart from a quibble with "oral" in the first sentence, if I had been at the conference I would have happily voted in favour of the resolution"
This is an internationally accredited and widely accepted definition, and until it is replaced by another, it will remain a reasonable description of what a folk song is.
I can pull you about a hundred collections of folksongs from all over the world from our shelves, all conforming to that definition, - Britain, America, Canada, Norway, France Italy.....
Likewise, I can pull far more examples of examples of Folktales from all over the world - the title of the genre makes the link between the songs and tales
Folklore, folk dance, folk music..... all designating these as creations of the working people of Britain - all inked
You have offered nothing other than - there is no such identifiable thing as a folk song
Yes there is - I've give you what they are
I've made my offer - a ten part radio series on British folk song ans a thirteen part series of international folksongs
"I would like some evidence that the "wide world " shares your views! "
You are included in this offer - the proof is there for the taking - nothing so far
"I have defined folk song as being anything that sounds like folk to me."
How can you define fok by comparing it to something you can't define Dave?
That is a nonsensical statement
Jim Carroll


25 Oct 17 - 07:32 AM (#3884475)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: TheSnail

Since this thread is now useless for anything it is trying to discuss, I might as well use it for a bit of advertising.
This Saturday we have The Dovetail Trio at the Lewes Saturday Folk Club.
Matt has recently produced a solo CD of traditional songs collected in Sussex called The Brighton Line.


25 Oct 17 - 07:35 AM (#3884476)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Backwoodsman

Playing the victim - the last resort of a scoundrel.


25 Oct 17 - 07:35 AM (#3884477)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Dave Sutherland

Big Al provided my answer around a couple of hundred posts further back "to be honest Dave - your club is Very traddy. That's not a bad thing. Its how some people like to view folk music. You book source and traddy revival singers and you do well with it."
Is that not what the Singer's Club used to do?


25 Oct 17 - 07:35 AM (#3884478)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Dave the Gnome

No point in continuing, Jim. You have proven everything that I have said over and over again. Everyone but you can see it. It is impossible to have a sensible conversation with you any more so I will no longer attempt it. Sad to see you go down this route but it is your own choice.

DtG


25 Oct 17 - 08:06 AM (#3884484)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Dave the Gnome

Now I have got that out of the way I can progress with something more sensible. The last line of the 1954 definition seems to have been overlooked for too long.

The term does not cover composed popular music that has been taken over ready-made by a community and remains unchanged, for it is the re-fashioning the re-creation of the music by the community that gives it its folk-character.

So, yes, by that definition 'Blackbird' by the Beatles is not a folk song. However, a chap at our club plays an acoustic version that he learned by ear and that has now become a Swinton standard in its now mutated form. By the 1954 definition, that version is now a folk song. No Man's land, as recorded by Eric Bogle, would not be a folk song but your version, Raggy, and many others would be as it has been re-created and re-fashioned many times. The same can be done to many songs and, while 'I don't like Mondays' is not as likely to be re-fashioned in the folk style it does not mean it cannot become a folk song.

Now, going back to the opening post. Those who sing from crib sheets to ensure that they sing it in just the same way as it always has been are indeed restricting the folk process. Those who use crib sheets as an aide-memoir are doing no such thing. So, maybe those who insist on re-creating folk songs exactly as they always have been done are indeed contributing to the demise of folk music and putting people off attending folk clubs.

DtG


25 Oct 17 - 08:08 AM (#3884486)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: GUEST,Nick Dow

Curious to know what you believe you have achieved with your posts on this thread Jim. Did you have anything in mind when you contributed to it?


25 Oct 17 - 08:15 AM (#3884487)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Raggytash

My earliest memory is sitting on my Grandmothers knee and her singing to me "he comes to our window and whistles me out, his hands in his pockets his shirt hanging out" I was probably under three years of age. Thus I have been involved all my life.

I have already posted that had I met Jim when I first went to a folk club in 1969 I would probably never ventured into one ever again.

That more than anything is the most telling part.

I know he has done much work in collating songs and stories over many years but I wonder how many people he has deterred from visiting folk clubs and singing folk song.


25 Oct 17 - 08:23 AM (#3884489)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Jim Carroll

No replies, no definition, just abuse, not even an attempt to take up my offer - all from a tiny and diminishing number of clubs run largely by people who are failing to draw in a new generation when we move on
I don't think I heve ever encountered such evasion and dishonesty
Blackbirds can never become a folk song because it is owned and was created by the Beatles
You can play it in your clubs and open the door to PRS charges, if that's what you want, but if you attempt to use it outside those walls, you will pay heavily for thr privilege
One of the best features is that is in the public domain and is yours by right - that is what you people have destroyed
As you say Dave nothing more to be said
I've made my offer - like the true heroes you all are, you've all scrambled to take advantage of it
It is nice to talk to people with open minds - not
Jim Carroll


25 Oct 17 - 08:29 AM (#3884492)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: GUEST,Nick Dow

On the subject of no replies.....re above post?


25 Oct 17 - 08:41 AM (#3884495)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Dave the Gnome

Hi Nick - As I know you are following this thread (with a bucket and shovel?) I thought I would ask her. A song that you used to do was mentioned the other day, "The Ballad Of Lumley Kettlewell", a pop song if i ever heard it ;-) I had the album it was on for years but have no idea where it went. Is it available on CD or MP3 download?

Cheers

Dave


25 Oct 17 - 08:43 AM (#3884496)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: TheSnail

I know it's futile but I'll ask again, what, Jim, is your workable definition of what is acceptable in folk clubs? As you've agreed "loosely conforms" isn't good enough.


25 Oct 17 - 08:44 AM (#3884497)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: GUEST,Nick Dow

Can't help laughing! While reading all this gloom and doom from Jim I had an Email from a folk club in the midlands about ten minutes ago offering me a double header concert with Cohen Braithwaite-Kilcoyne. I am 65 he is in his twenties. We will both be singing traditional songs in traditional style. Looking forward to it! (That's a thought...Looking forward, must try it more often)


25 Oct 17 - 08:49 AM (#3884500)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: GUEST,Nick Dow

I'll send you the Album Dave. Contact me on thetraditionbearer@hotmail.co.uk


25 Oct 17 - 08:55 AM (#3884502)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Backwoodsman

" while 'I don't like Mondays' is not as likely to be re-fashioned in the folk style it does not mean it cannot become a folk song."

Too late, Dave, it already has been - by Dave Burland on his album 'Rollin', and by a number of others I've heard who sing a folk-style version in folk clubs. But, as Jim never goes to folk clubs, he's unlikely to have heard it.

"It is nice to talk to people with open minds - not"

The most delicious piece of irony yet, from the man with the most closed mind on this thread.

You've let yourself down badly with your behaviour here, Jim, and I'd bet you've lost some fans. Now - stop bloody digging!


25 Oct 17 - 08:59 AM (#3884505)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Dave the Gnome

Cool - Thanks Nick. Sent you a mail. Anything I can do for you just ask by return email.

Cheers

Dave


25 Oct 17 - 09:12 AM (#3884507)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Raggytash

Ah, that's good too see. The conservation between Nick & Dave tells me all is well with the folk world.


25 Oct 17 - 09:21 AM (#3884510)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Jim Carroll

Sorry Nick, missed it
We were asked to comment on the state of the clubs - I did just that, what more could I do?
I was in the club scene from the early sixties in those days they regarded their job as to promote a specific type of music in an entertaining way
That happened for about twenty years - we played and sang, we had our magazines and record labels, Neil Wayne and others had shops specifically selling "folk"
Gradually we lost all that, in my opinion, because the role of the clubs changed to include other musics and the scene in general became dominated by professionals
In all this, the music that inspired the revival got lost
I have encountered indifference to, ignorance of and even open hostility to the music I regard as 'folk'
The accusation that I am a lone voice is nonsnse, maybe I am in this small insignificant thread, but I have libraries of books, archives, articles, definitions, even fellow disciplines like 'folk dance', 'folk lore', 'folk tales', 'folk music'..... to back up the fact that the term 'folk' still has a distinct identification, nationally and internationally.
I suggest that those who doubt the existence of a definition seek out the massive 8 volume 'Greig Duncan Folk Song Collection' - thousands of songs from one Scottish parish - and see what is generally regarded as folk song outside the protective and rapidly diminishing bubble that is the club scene
Or try Steve Roud's newly published 'Folk Song in England', a 700 plus page examining the phenomenon
There are literally hundreds of works of this type - Child, Bronson, Sharp, Thomson, Shields, Sam Henry,
In the States you have Lomax, Cazden, Cox.... dozens more
In Canada you have Fowke and Creighton
Go further afield and you have a massive library of collections - from Bartok onwards - all adhering to a fairly common description of folk song,
At one time the folk scen I belonged to was a part of all this, thanks to indifference, ignorance and hostility that is lo longer the case
The folk scene in England has gone AWOL and reached a situation that it can no longer define what it is about
Dave's description sums it up perfectly
"I have defined folk song as being anything that sounds like folk to me."
How can you define something you can't define?
If you don't know what folk is - you can't say that what you are doing sounds like folk - that is utter nonsense.
You people don't want a "sensible argument" - if you dis you'd offer facts of your own that contradict and disprove mine - nothing like that here - just evasion and abuse
Whatever you think of what I've said, you can't claim I haven't backed it up with facts and examples
I've just made an offer of two monumental series of programmes describing my view of folksong
No response whatever
That, for me, proves you have no case because you are simply not interested in real argument or real examples
I love this music and will go on arguing for its importance as long as I have the puff to do so
As a member of a forum that claims to be about folk song, this seems as good a place as any
My arguments are there to be shot down - my offer of examples remains, though I doubt if any of you people have the balls to take up either
As the man in the film said "you can't handle the truth"
Jim Carroll


25 Oct 17 - 09:22 AM (#3884513)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Jack Campin

Now, going back to the opening post. Those who sing from crib sheets to ensure that they sing it in just the same way as it always has been are indeed restricting the folk process. Those who use crib sheets as an aide-memoir are doing no such thing. So, maybe those who insist on re-creating folk songs exactly as they always have been done are indeed contributing to the demise of folk music and putting people off attending folk clubs.

That connects with my problem with floor singers (and for that matter headline acts as well). I don't have a problem with fumbling and mistakes so long as the performer is communicating something new. An exact clone of a performance from 25 years ago - whether by that performer or somebody else - is something I'd run a mile from, and it doesn't matter in the least whether the material is traditional or recently composed. Slickness is death. The sort of perfectionism Jim and the OP are advocating is exactly what keeps me away.


25 Oct 17 - 09:43 AM (#3884517)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Dave the Gnome

That, for me, proves you have no case

Sorry but the devil in me sees that as 'You lose' :-)

Glad to see it does qualify the statement with 'for me' though.

DtG


25 Oct 17 - 09:52 AM (#3884520)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Raggytash

You just cannot, even remotely, consider that it is people like yourself with the narrow, turgid, bombastic approach to what is or isn't folk music that may have been a cause of the limited appeal of the genre can you.

I have used the word pontificating before and I will use it again, you merely pontificate about a world you don't even know exists.

Folk music as it is known to thousands of people the length and breadth of the country is doing very well.

Your version has a very limited appeal, and more to the point you know it.


25 Oct 17 - 09:57 AM (#3884522)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: GUEST,Nick Dow

Jim you don't think you are being overly harsh then when you say that professionals have been partly responsible for the demise of interest in that which you consider to be Folk.
I have yet to meet a traditional singer who does not have a wide interest in all forms of music. Old Bill House played Cornet in a brass band, Bob Copper loved the Blues etc. etc. and above all I have yet to meet a singer who does not know how to enjoy himself.
The collector who decries a singer because he or she sings a country and western song alongside a 19th century song and values both accordingly is frowned upon. It's a poor Folklorist who is not part sociologist. The old songs that fall into that definition of Folk that leaves me a bit baffled, were never sung in glorious isolation. They may have been collected that way. I have not had the benefit of very much formal education. I was on the road at 17, so anything I know about songs and the Folk Arts I have had to teach myself, and my spelling is still atrocious and turn of phrase is strongly influenced by my book reading especially Bert Lloyd. So where are we with a rear-guard action, or even re-action when we consider Bert's wonderful view of a universal classless global music, that may become nobler than its antecedents? (Thank God for the spell checker!)
You see things are not as bad as you think-honestly!


25 Oct 17 - 10:08 AM (#3884525)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Dave Sutherland

Wasn't it Bert Lloyd himself who stated, words to that effect, that it was as easy to define what is a folk song as it is to pinpoint the exact moment that dawn breaks and night turns into day?


25 Oct 17 - 10:10 AM (#3884526)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: GUEST

You have mentioned many collectors in your thread just above Jim, many of whom have been dead for a very long time..are you claiming that these people share your narrow definition of folk ? surely not ?


25 Oct 17 - 10:13 AM (#3884528)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: GUEST,Nick Dow

The very same! So I return to my usual answer to this 'Dragon' of a question as Bert called it. I don't know what Folk song is, but I know what it isn't. That does not mean that it cannot exist happily alongside other forms of music. It all comes from the same 'creative need', to quote Sam Richards.


25 Oct 17 - 10:24 AM (#3884531)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Jim Carroll

Nick
I don't decry anything - I know what Travellers sing - I tried to get Mary Delaney, or best Traveller singer toi sing her Country and Western songs for us and she refused point blank - she said they weren't the old ones and she'd only learned them because that's what the lads wanted down the pub
We were not musicologists or social historiands (we were nly doing what we did in our spare time) - we were Folk Song collectors, though we did collect much more in terms of information - in some cases we filled more tapes with talk that we did with songs.
Folk clubs, by defining themselves as such take on a responsibility of presenting a certain type of song - it was once our showcase for the songs we loved and felt important - it no longer is
I have wide musical tastes, jazz, blues, classics mainly, but my main interest lies in the songs of the people - that's what Topic called their magnificent series and that's what they are
"narrow, turgid, bombastic approach"
How ***** dare you
I have told you what folk music is as defined worldwide and I've offered you examples
If you believe the music I am attempting to promote is "turgid" you have no right to a claim of having to do anything with folk
MacColl one told us that the scene would crash when it fell into the hands of people whoi didn't like folk music - he must have had people like you in mind.
I don't give a shit of my music has a limited appeal - I'm not in it for fame and fortune
Shakespeare has a limited appeal, compared to the rest of popular culture, so does Dickens and Hardy and classical music ..............
Your "limited appeal" is laughable coming from a tiny number of diminishing folk clubs that are generally run by people of our age who have failed miserably to attract supporters who will take over.
If you are can't stump up a description of your music and value it by the number of bums you manage to put on seats...... how shallow can you get
This music is important because o what it is as well as how it entertains
You want to fill your clubs - go and book the flavour of the month on the pop scene (whoever that is - it will be somebody else in a few months time
Turgid my arse
Where is your definition if you people think I am wrong
Jim Carroll


25 Oct 17 - 10:24 AM (#3884532)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Dave the Gnome

I am more than happy with the phrase "it is the re-fashioning the re-creation of the music by the community that gives it its folk-character."

"Those were the days" by Mary Hopkin while being 'folky' would not fit that definition but crowds singing "Home and away my friend, we are the Stretford end" does :-) Tickles me anyway.

DtG


25 Oct 17 - 10:36 AM (#3884535)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: GUEST

So, are you claiming that all of the collectors you mentioned abide by your "definition". I would surely like an answer to that Jim.


25 Oct 17 - 11:22 AM (#3884552)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Jim Carroll

"So, are you claiming that all of the collectors you mentioned abide by your "definition""
I am saying there is a consensus among academics and researchers
That doesn't mean that all collectors collect just folk songs - we tried to collect C and W songs from Mary Delaney but she dismissed them as unimportant
Walter Pardon did the same with his large repertoire of music hall songs and Parlour ballads - we have a long interview with him describing how he regarded them as different from his traditional repertoire   
If you want the tradition English repertoire, google the Roud index and work your way through it
"That does not mean that it cannot exist happily alongside other forms of music."
Of course it can Nick, but not in a folk club - why not run music clubs or song clubs - I've enjoyed plenty of those
When you suggest that one is the other, you blur the lines but What is being argued here is that those lines don't exist.
The old singers thought they did - hence Jean Richie's story
Jim Carroll


25 Oct 17 - 11:30 AM (#3884554)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Big Al Whittle

Definition of turgid

1 :excessively embellished in style or language :bombastic, pompous turgid prose
2 :being in a state of distension :swollen, tumid turgid limbs; especially :exhibiting turgorerter

just in case like me you weren't sure quite what it meant in this context. i remember it being used in biology applied to plants, but its not a word i reach for.

i can see what the guy means. it is a very embellished style of singing. every singer adds embellishments, but that style of ballad singing is very 'ornate' - Peggy Seeger called Sean Cannons delivery - presumably trying to sound like a trad ballad singer. it is what it is - not everyone will like it - turgid isn't a bad word if you're not a fan. do you really think all folk songs have to sound like this Jim?


25 Oct 17 - 11:50 AM (#3884558)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Jim Carroll

Guest
To answer your question directly - all the collections I listed did fit in with the established definition of folk, even collections like 'Greig' which were gathered in the 1920s, thirty years before the definition was agreed on
The term folk has been clear and specific since the 1830s
All folk sons don't sound like anything Al they as varied as any other form of music - even more
The style you are describing bears no relation to any traditional sty
You have the Song Carriers - go listen to Sheila McGregor (Stewart) singing Tifty's Annie (prog 2 I think) and tell me that is "turgid"
Listen to the mouth music from the Hebrides
Or Charlie Wills
or Sam Larner
or Maggie McDonagh
Turgid my arse
Jim Carroll


25 Oct 17 - 11:58 AM (#3884561)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Raggytash

Correction Jim. PLEASE NOTE. I did not say the music was narrow, turgid, bombastic. I clearly said YOUR approach to the music was turgid, narrow and bombastic.

I stand by that, now did you found the "folk police" yourself because that is the way you are coming across to me, and I would suggest most other people.

Pity we can't put it to a vote, I think you would surprised.

PS Please do not try and twist my words, I'm used to that with other posters on this site.


25 Oct 17 - 11:58 AM (#3884562)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: TheSnail

"That does not mean that it cannot exist happily alongside other forms of music."
Of course it can Nick, but not in a folk club - why not run music clubs or song clubs - I've enjoyed plenty of those

So are you now saying that you cannot have contemporary songs (such as Maccoll's songs) in a folk club?
If you can, what is your "workable definition" of what is allowed?


25 Oct 17 - 12:05 PM (#3884566)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: GUEST,Nick Dow

So all you are saying is when you go to a Folk Club you expect to hear Folk Music. No problem with that in principle. In my experience it has not a lot to do with the real world where the songs were sung before the revival got hold of them. I can't get that worked up about what people sing in Folk Clubs. I am quite happy to hear a song by KT Tunstall at Skipton Folk club on Monday last and get up and sing 'The Foggy Dew' after it. Nobody else seemed bothered either and they enjoyed both equally. Trish Nolan sings plenty of modern songs plus her uncles 'Well below the Valley' and the rest of his repertoire (I think). I just don't have a problem with it, and I am having a great time everywhere I go. The word Folk means one thing to academics and another to the general public. Who cares? That does not somehow mean I am insincere or demeaning the song tradition, it means that I have total faith in the survival of any tradition be it song or craft in a changing world. That's more or less what Bert said all those years ago. (Grovelling apologies if you don't know Trish Nolan as Jim and I do. She is John Reilly's niece. He sang 'The well below the Valley and 'Tipping it up to Nancy'-go on have a listen on YouTube it's worth it!)


25 Oct 17 - 12:37 PM (#3884569)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: TheSnail

Just to continue the self promotion, last week we had The Askew Sisters. We more than sold out.
The week before that Jackie Oates and Tristan Seume. Also a sell out as part of our little folk festival with comcerts by The Young Coppers (sell out) and Shirley Collins & Ian Kearey (sell out).


25 Oct 17 - 12:41 PM (#3884572)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Jim Carroll

"So are you now saying that you cannot have contemporary songs (such as Maccoll's songs) in a folk club?"
No I am not and you know that Bryan
I have said over and over again that unless the fol scene can produce material based on folk styles it will be little more than a museum
I'm not even saying that clubs shouldn't include other forms - occasionally = plenty of music hall songs in the clubs I used to go to
I have never advocated absolutes
We are talking about folk music being edged ot
MacColl wrote more songs than any other performer on the scene - according to Peggy, his posthumous collection included about half of his repertoire
No club needs a workable definition - it needs a committee theat lives up to its promise of folk songs -- not at the exclusion of anything else but as a rule of thumb - if you are anything to go by, obviously not yours
"I clearly said YOUR approach to the music was turgid, narrow and bombastic."
No it isn't - I am a singer and resear
cher - I ing both traditional and contemporary songs, the latter based on the first
Unless you regard traditional songs as turgid - my approach is not turgid.
As a researcher, I write and talk about traditional songs - if I compare them to others I define the two as being different
You are suggesting that that is "turgiud"
Would you expect a lecturer on operas to get up and talk about Mick Jagger - then why expect me to get p and talk about Bob Geldof because that's what goes on in folk clubs
This is the stupidity of your argument
You obviuouslky don't give a toss for the importance of folk song, I don't get the imprssion that you even like it
You ahve shown no interest in taking up my offer (a couple of people have), so I assume you don't intend to try to understand what I am talking about - and you dessscribe me as "rigid"
Go look in a ****** mirror if you want to se rigid
"Pity we can't put it to a vote, I think you would surprised."
Put it to a vote where
The vast majority of people in Britain wouldn't no what you were talking about
Your miniscule club members don't even have a consensus among themselves - some complain about the lack of opportunity to sing traditional songs, some look on clubs as a social gathering, some make a career out of them and the rest of you can't scratch up a decent definition between you
You are actulally a minority of a minority
At least I have the literature and a mass of recordings put together over the last half centurr to back up what I claim
You have nothing
You can't "like" or "vote" a definition into existence - a thing is what it is and a definition defines and articulates what it is
You have reduced this to likes and dislikes - would you do that about any other art form
Is classical music not classical music because not enough people like it
Utterly insane
Jim Carroll


25 Oct 17 - 12:57 PM (#3884578)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Dave the Gnome

No point in continuing the discussion with Jim, Raggy. I came to the conclusion a few posts back that we seem to be speaking a different language. I know what I mean. I know what you mean. You know what I mean. Jim knows what he means but I don't think either you or I ever will. You go and play some music, which everyone in the world bar one knows is folk. I will go and play my accordion tonight and toddle off to Malham with the grandkids tomorrow. Jim can do whatever it is he does and we will all be happy. No point in continuing the discussion.

DtG


25 Oct 17 - 01:10 PM (#3884583)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: RTim

Jim - You throw so much ink at the paper (or screen in this case) that I can't always follow your point - this plus you mix in other peoples words - again I can't always follow your point......In fact, with your last few posts - I no longer know what your point is...........
Earlier you seemed to say Folk Clubs should only contain folk songs...and yes, you try in your words to define what that is.......but not everyone agrees with you - and you don't like it. So you have had our say, and you are persuading very few...why continue?
You now say that new songs in the Folk Idiom (my words not yours) are OK - but not all of them - only the ones deemed by you to be appropriate - that is not fair, particularly if you no longer go to the clubs you are being critical of.

I have always been (for over 40 years) a singer of songs - If I like a song and I think it will somehow fit - then I sing it - and that is the way it should be, and in my view - it has always been.
Folk Clubs - Song Cubs - Music Clubs - what ever you call them are the only opportunity to do this. Only Professionals or Semi-Pros get to sing in Concerts or Festivals....Just let the other venues be.........

Tim Radford (who has experience on both sides of The Atlantic)


25 Oct 17 - 02:06 PM (#3884591)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Jim Carroll

"Earlier you seemed to say Folk Clubs should only contain folk songs"
Nope - how may times have I mentioned MacColl as having written more new songs?
What seens to be the confusion here id tha fact thai I do both - I sing and I research - on one I am happy to sing and listen to folk songs proper and new songs based on folk styles - IN A FOLK CLUB
Elsewhere, my tastes cover as wide a range of music and song as anybody here
I look on new songs as a possibility of kick-starting a song-making tradition again - not in the miniscule and incestuous world of folk cluns where nowadays everybody knows one another, but in the wider community
I live in a town where in the first half of the twentieth century communities were generating their own traditions and producing songs that were being absorbed into everyday life (largely anonymously)
As a researcher, I need to be accurate in what I talk and write about if I am going to make sense of what we have done since 1973 and pass it on.
That is wheer a definition comes in.
If you are a folk singer, yo need to sing something that roughly resembes folk song if you are going to honourt what you call yourself - no rigid rule book
If your punters are paying at the door to come in, you are conning them if you don't
You are damaging folk song in the process - not one of you have had the decency to deny or defend that fact
"Only Professionals or Semi-Pros get to sing in Concerts "
Utter nonsense
The country is fiull of amature operatic societies or choirs - South Wales miners are famed for them
If you sing a song that you think will fit into an evening of folk songs nobody is stopping you - as I said, no rule book
If on the other hand you just use a folk club to perform anything you choose you are just using that club without concern for either folk song or audience who have turned up to hear a certain type of song - the type you advertise
If your club adopts an anything goes policy it has simply sold out and it using a meaningless title
"No point in continuing the discussion with Jim"
You have done nothing but insult me personally as you are doing here and insulting my intelligence by suggesting you are putting forward evidence when all you are doing is saying what you like
If yo have a dn alternative definition - give it
If you are happy with a situation where the term "folk song" is meaningless say so
If you think I'm wrong, prove I am with intelligent arguments
But please do not slander and denigrate my arguments with none of these things
You offer nothing other than insults - I really did believe you were better than that
If the club scene is populated by people like you we may as well all pack it in and wait for the next Beyonce hit
The flk scene was created to allow us to escape from the arrogant oppression of the pop conveyor belt - people with your attitude place us right back on the assembly line

Stop being so ****** insulting - you have my arguments if you don't want to respond to them, stop tring to persuade others formn having a go - that is exactly what you are doing
"No point in continuing the discussion with Jim, Raggy."
Where have you responded honestly to a single thing about folk song - that goes for most of you?
till no more takers on my offer - your minds are tighter closed than ducks arses - and you call me intransigent!!!!
Jim Carroll


25 Oct 17 - 02:53 PM (#3884599)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: TheSnail

No club needs a workable definition - it needs a committee theat lives up to its promise of folk songs -- not at the exclusion of anything else but as a rule of thumb
Well there you are peeps. You have it from the man himself. It's entirely up to you. If you think it sounds like folk, you can put it on.

- if you are anything to go by, obviously not yours
Have you been following my recent postings about what's going on at the Lewes Saturday Folk Club? What is there that you consider inappropriate for a folk club? In a couple of weeks we've got Niamh Parsons & Graham Dunne. If they're good enough for the Frank Harte Festival, they are good enough for us. A little later we've got Brian Peters who will be doing us a melodeon workshop and a ballad forum as well as his evening performance. Not folky enough for you?

Some gems from the latest post -
If you are a folk singer, yo need to sing something that roughly resembes folk song if you are going to honourt what you call yourself - no rigid rule book
"roughly resembes"!
If you sing a song that you think will fit into an evening of folk songs nobody is stopping you - as I said, no rule book
"that YOU think"!


25 Oct 17 - 03:04 PM (#3884602)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Jim Carroll

"If you think it sounds like folk, you can put it on.If you think it sounds like folk, you can put it on."
So?
You need to know what folk song sounds like, which probably excludes you
Such a decision requires an understanding of and commitment to folk song
If MacColl, Rossleson, Pickford, Bogle, Jack Warshaw et al can work it out I'm sure you can find someone to work it out for you Bryan
Niamh Parsons & Graham Dunne.
Not heard Graham Dunne by I know Niamh and I know her to be an excellent singer
Enjoy
The rest is just typical nastiness
JIm Carroll


25 Oct 17 - 03:22 PM (#3884604)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: RTim

Jim - I no longer know what to say to you............and I think others are of the same opinion.
In your last note you insult someone who makes a perfectly valid point ....do you check what you write afterwards? You certainly don't correct your typing or spelling - but I assume you will think I am insulting you if I say that.....

We all hear what you are saying - BUT we don't all agree with you!

You have already decided - sometime ago - not to go to clubs....so don't let it bother you in the way it seems to. It isn't your problem anymore. Don't get so bent out of shape with an argument that cannot be won.
We had a procedure when I was a Union Shop Steward at my old factory job - Lets Agree to Disagree - or enter a Failure to Agree notice.

I hope you enjoy your continuing part in "Live Music"......I and others will continue to be involved and enjoy our own........

Keep Music Live and Alive!

Tim Radford


25 Oct 17 - 03:44 PM (#3884609)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Big Al Whittle

'if the club scene is populated by people like you we may as well all pack it in and wait for the next Beyonce hit'

absolutely - put a ring on it!


25 Oct 17 - 03:44 PM (#3884610)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Dave the Gnome

You have done nothing but insult me personally as you are doing here and insulting my intelligence by suggesting you are putting forward evidence when all you are doing is saying what you like

I could of course ask for evidence of my insulting you Jim but I know you will not come up with any. I could, as you often do elsewhere, come up with a list of insults and invective as long as your arm that you have delivered on this thread alone. I could also ask where anyone suggested I was putting forward any evidence. I have never done so. All I have offered are my honest opinions. But you in answer to any of that you will simply rant and rave in what seems to me, and others as we have seen, in a very confusing manner. Hence my point that there is no mileage in taking this any further.

I am more than happy to take Tim's advice and agree to disagree. Will you do the same?

DtG


25 Oct 17 - 03:45 PM (#3884612)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Raggytash

Get something clear in your head Jim, I do not need anyone to persuade me to "have a go"

I am quite clear that you and your approach to folk music are narrow, turgid, bombastic.

You cannot even agree with yourself, for example in your post of

1. "roughly resembes folk song"
2. "no rigid rule book"
3. "as I said, no rule book"
4. "your minds are tighter closed than ducks arses"

You ask people to look in a mirror.

You have denigrated nearly every poster on this thread, you have denigrated almost every folk club and folk club organiser in the UK, of which you have no knowledge.

You have denigrated everyone who doesn't fit into your narrow, turgid and bombastic version of folk music.

I know you have done valuable work in collecting folk music and folk lore. That does NOT give you a right to talk down to people.

I reaaly didn't intend to fall out with anyone on this thread but I will go further.

You are so far up your own arse you could clean your teeth from the inside.


25 Oct 17 - 04:37 PM (#3884621)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: akenaton

Jim is Jim, he behaves in exactly the same way below the line but you all cheer him on there and say what a fine fellow he is.
Arse Lickers.


25 Oct 17 - 04:57 PM (#3884629)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Vic Smith

Has it occurred to Raggytash that after producing reasoned, detailed and valid descriptions of his protagonist's distain for other posters that this has been spoiled by his last sentence.
You will never be able to to reason with him; that is beyond the power of mortals. Discussion - the acceptance of reasoned arguments and modifying a point of view - is beyond him. He is to Mudcat what Julius Caesar is to Shakespeare -
I could be well moved if I were as you.
If I could pray to move, prayers would move me.
But I am constant as the northern star,
Of whose true-fixed and resting quality
There is no fellow in the firmament.
The skies are painted with unnumbered sparks.
They are all fire and every one doth shine,
But there?s but one in all doth hold his place.
So in the world. 'Tis furnished well with men,
And men are flesh and blood, and apprehensive,
Yet in the number I do know but one
That unassailable holds on his rank,
Unshaked of motion. And that I am he
Let me a little show it even in this:
That I was constant Cimber should be banished,
And constant do remain to keep him so.
(Act 3, Scene 1)

To insult him is to descend to his low level.
To insult him is also to confirm his view that the whole world hates and misundertands him.
To insult him feeds into his persecution complex.


25 Oct 17 - 05:08 PM (#3884633)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Raggytash

Yes Vic, I understand where you are coming from.

My apologies to everyone else, except perhaps Akenaton who I perceive is trying to stir things.

I could go further but perchance I have said enough tonight.


25 Oct 17 - 05:11 PM (#3884634)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Dave the Gnome

I have already said, Vic, withdrawal seems to be the only option at this juncture. Sad really because it had been going so well. I think now that it has attracted the attentions of a certain well known shit stirrer and jeerer from the sidelines this thread has had it's day. Still, some good did come out of it and it was very enjoyable for a while.

DtG


25 Oct 17 - 05:55 PM (#3884644)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Jim Carroll

"We all hear what you are saying - BUT we don't all agree with you!"then why not put uop an argument Tim
A definition would do, failing that, a reason why folk clubs should be allowed to be swamped until it becomes uncomfortable to sing folk songs in them
Simples
"so don't let it bother you in the way it seems to"
We are part of setting them up for the enjoyment of folk songs - Lloyd, MacColl, Seeger McCulloch and Campbell, The Campbell Folk Group
The early guests wer Harry Cox, Sam Larner, Jeannie Robertson - all Folksingers
"I could of course ask for evidence of my insulting you Jim but I know you will not come up with any."
"No point in continuing the discussion with Jim, Raggy. I came to the conclusion a few posts back that we seem to be speaking a different language. "
"No point in continuing, Jim. You have proven everything that I have said over and over again. Everyone but you can see it. It is impossible to have a sensible conversation with you any more so I will no longer attempt it. Sad to see you go down this route but it is your own choice."
" I can guarantee that your next step will be to say that no-one has taken you up on it so you have won. Keith has taught you well. "
"My post means that they both bluster, insult, bully, hear no voice but their own and denigrate those who disagree with them, Guest. Whether one gives facts or not does not detract from that. The two traits are not mutually exclusive."
"You really have lost it, Jim. Sorry. I have tried and tried to be reasonable but when it is met with hostility, invective and sheer bloody mindedness I will eventually react. You have become Teribus."
Want any more Dave?
"I am more than happy to take Tim's advice and agree to disagree. Will you do the same?"
Of course I will Dave - why wouldn't I?
That does not stop me from expressing my opinion on the clubs though, nor does the lack of arguments here change my opinion one iota
AS far as I am concerned folk music is what it is documented to be
If I din't understand that I have several centuries wiotrth of documentation to back me up -
The track record of those who set up the scene would be good enough for me if I hadn't spent most of my life listening to it
I only need Walter Pardon's word to convice me - or the singing of the Travellers, or Tom Lenihan or any of the singers on our website or The Stewarts......
Whose word would I take - theirs or someone who can't tell the difference between Tifty's Annie and I Don't Like Mondays
Tough one that!!
Your dedication to folk song is clear from the scramble to take up my offer of two of the best series on folk song ever made!
Of course, I fully realise that if you had taken them you would have had to tear them to shreds in order to prove your point
Ah well - you win some, you lose some
" exactly the same way below the line but you all cheer him on there and say what a fine fellow he is."
And you7 spend you time attacking homosexuals praising fascists and demanding refugees be forced to wear yellow stars like Donald Trump below the line
Folk song - an undefinable musical form - new one on me lads
Wonder why I wasted my life
G'NIGHT ALL
Jim Carroll
By the way Vic - there is no argument here - if there is, show me where it is


25 Oct 17 - 06:41 PM (#3884649)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Vic Smith

Jim Carroll -
the lack of arguments here change my opinion one iota
AS far as I am concerned folk music is what it is documented to be


Julius Caesar -
I am constant as the Northern Star

The most common interpretation of Shakespeare's portayal of Caesar is that men who are incapable of listening to reason, who are incapable of modifying opinion in the face of facts are dangerous.
Of course, Will was talking about the Roman Empire's equivalent of Hitler (killed millions). Stalin (killed millions ) and Trump (working on it).
By 'dangerous' the bard was talking about the inability to bend in those who wield political power. The inability to bend amongst those who have done great work in collecting the folk traditions of - and advocating the human rights of - Irish travellers..... well, those sort of people are much more harmless.


25 Oct 17 - 07:02 PM (#3884652)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: GUEST,Nick Dow

I have not got a clue why because I think I am wasting my time, but I am going to have one last go at trying to make some simple points as easy to understand as possible.
1. There is an academic definition of Folk Song. (Not going any further on that.)
2. There is an informal definition of Folk Song, subscribed to by most Folk Clubs and the general public.
3. There is an informal subdivision. Traditional or Contemporary. Most clubs welcome both.
4. Jim feels that the word Folk should not be used informally.
5. Jim feels that the Contemporary has swamped the Traditional, and is sad and angered by this perception.
6. The majority of the contributors to this thread believe that the situation is really not as bad as that.
7. Jim simply does not believe it and point blank refuses to accept our word for it.
So I will put myself forward as a target for Jim and say that after an average of 45 Gigs a year in Folk clubs and Festivals for donkeys years travelling from the top to the bottom of the UK, singing almost exclusively traditional songs, I can honestly say I have found a constant respect, support, and interest not only in me, but my contemporaries and Traditional Music generally.
I have already said this in a previous post.
Right! Either I am telling the truth or I am lying through my teeth mistaken and deluded. Quite honestly Jim if you opt for the latter and just dismiss forty years of experience as you did with my last post I am afraid I can't be bothered with your opinions from now on which saddens me. I and many others who post here have travelled the clubs and festivals recently Jim, you have not, and there is the rub. Forget the abuse, all anybody is suggesting is that you might not be entirely correct in your conclusions. Stranger things have happened you know.
Please if you wish to reply, do me and this thread the courtesy of commenting on the post as a whole , please don't pick out one sentence
and go off on one as you have done above. I am either right or wrong-end of...


25 Oct 17 - 07:11 PM (#3884655)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Jim Carroll

Simple question to you all
How difficult would it have been to take my offer and listen to the examples?
That, as far as I am concerned indicates how much confidence you have in your own arguments
That - my friends, proves beyond any doubt, how highly you regard folk music
And you accuse me of having a closed mind
Sure I have!!
Sleep tight
What reason Vic - wheer is teh arument I asked you to provide
Anybody can point to something that is not there
Jim Carroll


25 Oct 17 - 07:32 PM (#3884659)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: RTim

Can I have the last word....................I bet I can't.

Tim Radford


25 Oct 17 - 07:50 PM (#3884664)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: TheSnail

I agree with Vic. Let's not descend to Jim's standard. I think Raggytash's last post was spot on except the last two lines.

Jim has rather excelled himself with -
You need to know what folk song sounds like, which probably excludes you
Such a decision requires an understanding of and commitment to folk song
If MacColl, Rossleson, Pickford, Bogle, Jack Warshaw et al can work it out I'm sure you can find someone to work it out for you Bryan

The rest is just typical nastiness


Niamh Parsons & Graham Dunne.
Not heard Graham Dunne by I know Niamh and I know her to be an excellent singer

Really?! We only booked them because we thought they were Britain's Got Talent winners.

We can't book MacColl 'cos he's dead. I don't think Eric Bogle is touring anymore and Ed Pickford and Jack Warshaw don't seem to have come our way. Being a folk club booking secretary is more a matter of selecting rather than seeking.

I asked Jim "Have you been following my recent postings about what's going on at the Lewes Saturday Folk Club?". Clearly,his answer was "No and I have no intention of doing so.". Don't let the facts get in the way of an entrenched position.


25 Oct 17 - 10:31 PM (#3884686)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Big Al Whittle

i listen to what all of you say and i can see that all of you care about something or other.

but what's more important; human beings or some idea of folk music?
When the traddies grabbed the folk clubs in 1970's and 1980's, I felt a bit like Emperor Hirohito, the situation has turned out not necessarily to my advantage. the folk music that i loved was bob dylan, pete seeger, dave van ronk, etc.

however i got the point. you guys needed the feeling that singing about jolly sailors, hunting the fox, and communing with silkie and the Steele Span songbook gave you. it made you feel superior to the bay city rollers fans, in the same way that dylan had made me feel there was more to life than craig douglas and ronnie carrol.

the point is that folk clubs serve a need . they are called folk clubs rather than folk music clubs.

folk are important. more important than any mere idea, or what you personally want. it stopped doing what i wanted. it stopped doing what Jim wanted. It doesn't mean its valueless.

Times passes on, and the leaves that are green turn to brown.


26 Oct 17 - 03:11 AM (#3884701)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Allan Conn

Good post Big Al but some of this thread just leaves me glad that I like music in general and don't get too hung up over genres. We normally get a maximum of three songs, often two, at our normal floor spot evenings and though it can change dependent on the night and audience I normally have a trad song, one of my own, and a more modern folk or popular song in mind. People as a whole seem to like the variety.

In regard to performers surely each generation in folk music since the revival has had its more traditional performers as well as those who'll push the boundaries of what folk is and what can be done with folk songs? Both Sheila Stewart and Hamish Henderson seemed to embrace Martyn Bennett's musical experiments - but that doesn't mean they'd turn their backs on the traditional. They were open enough to see his mixing of genres in some ways helped introduce the songs to a new audience.

Likewise there is always going to be crossover and people sharing and discovering music. I love June Tabor's version of Joy Division's "Love Will Tear Us Apart". There will be Joy Division fans who discover June's other music and folk music in general through that - and folk fans who perhaps listen to some more Joy Division through that. It is great to discover music.

And tying in with the other thread in regard to the Oral Tradition. Does it really matter how we learn the songs now? As long as we learn them! Three regulars I do are John Riley, North Country Maid and Cousin Jack.

I have since discovered it has been recorded by others but I was introduced to John Riley by hearing Tom Bliss play it at a gig at our club.

I took North Country Maid from a Youtube clip of The Watersons.

I learned Cousin Jack from another local and by the folk process by the time I got round to hearing the Show Of Hands original the tune I was playing was quite different apart from the chorus. I prefer and stick to the tune I was doing.

As long as I do these to the best of my limited abilities does it matter where I got them from?


26 Oct 17 - 03:33 AM (#3884705)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Dave the Gnome

If you believe you have not insulted anyone, Jim, then the list of so called insults you provide from me are not insults either. Sorry, but you cannot have one rule for yourself and one for everyone else. You say you were merely reacting honestly. So was I. I did start to go through what I considered to insults by you and lost the will to live when I got to number 20.

So let us put that behind us and go to your challenge.

How difficult would it have been to take my offer and listen to the examples?
That, as far as I am concerned indicates how much confidence you have in your own arguments
That - my friends, proves beyond any doubt, how highly you regard folk music


I already have. You sent me a many hours of radio programs some years back and I listened with interest. Some I enjoyed, some I didn't. I am sure that these will be no different but I am happy to give them a try. Again. But let me challenge you in return. Tell me how it is going to tell us what is happening to our folk clubs? Will they introduce me to anything I do not already know? List the artists on them for us to see if they give us anything we do not already know.

Bear in mind that although I do not have your age and experience I have already seen, live, multiple, traditional artists who are or were considered by everyone to be at the top of there game. Including may I add, Nick Dow, (Like the advert Nick? :-) ) Fred Jordan and The Watersons to name but three.

But we are talking tastes here and, as the phrase goes, there is no accounting for that.

Post a playlist for your radio programmes and we can let you know if we are already aware of what is on there and tell us how it helps your case that folk clubs are now crap.

DtG


26 Oct 17 - 03:43 AM (#3884708)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: GUEST

Gee Dave , you were always supportive of Jim,s nastiness below the line. What has changed. Guess he insulted you, did he?
In any case, reason, facts or civil debate will not change Mr. Carroll,s mind, He is right and we all wrong,!


26 Oct 17 - 03:48 AM (#3884710)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Dave Sutherland

Just like to add that we have Niamh Parsons and Graham Dunne at our place the night after they have been at Bryan's club; and Brian Peters next February www.tigerfolk.com


26 Oct 17 - 03:59 AM (#3884712)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Teribus

Now this may come as a shock:

I have sympathy and an understanding of the message that Jim Carroll has tried to put across. This by him I know definitely rings a bell and strikes home:

"A definition would do, failing that, a reason why folk clubs should be allowed to be swamped until it becomes uncomfortable to sing folk songs in them"

Experienced that feeling many times, and Jim is right IF that prevails then you kill off the traditional side and are left with something that you could only honestly describe as being "attempts at pop that didn't quite make it".


26 Oct 17 - 04:06 AM (#3884713)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Jim Carroll

"Have you been following my recent postings about what's going on at the Lewes Saturday Folk Club?"
I saw it and consider it irrelevant Bryan - the world does not start and end in Sussex
You once suggested that if we wanted to hear good folk song we should come to your club, even more impractical than the philosophy adopted in Britain that if we want good theatres and museums we can always go to London - at least those in Newcastle can do that on one train.
It was a crass suggestion when you first made it and it remains just as crass
Of course you can't book MacColl, Bogle and Pickford, but those of you with any nouse can learn by example, by listening to what they said and did instead of relying on the crap some of you appear to have replaced folk song with.
MacColl died nearly thirty years ago yet he is still dug up regularly to be given a ritual kicking
A serious discussion on his contribution and ideas has always been a no-go area on forums such as this, almost as taboo as a serious discussion on folk song
Of all the pioneers, MacColl was the most successful in using traditional song to deal with contemporary subjects and create new songs using contemporary forms.
His, Seeger's and Parker's groundbreaking Radio Ballads stand unchallenged, as social history documents, as introducing the working man and woman's voice to the nation, as a serious commentary on working lives, and as a possible future use for our song traditions
They stand as monuments to some of our finest singers - Sam Larner being the foremost.
"Jim has rather excelled himself with -"
My unpleasant comments were made in anger, your ongoing nastiness seems a built in part of your character - you seem incapable of addressing any comment I make, reasonably or otherwise, without snide and abuse - that has been your attitude of several years, yet, as now, you are up on your chair screaming "insult" when your own behaviour is thrown back at you.
I sincerely apologise for sinking to your level - it's one of my weaknesses.
Back to the argument (nope - I haven't given up yet and don't intend to).
There are never winners and losers in these arguments - that's not the point of them anyway, though a number of cocks here have climbed onto their dunghills and crowed that I have lost and they have won.
I set out to find if my suspicions on what has happened on the folk scene was accurate - sadly I got my answer in spades.
The revival I was part of was an attempt to escape from the crap of yesterday's pop scene and create a situation where those of us who had no interest in seeking fame and fortune could make our own music
Now we have a club scene that is being used by people who regard it as a pathway to the bright lights and who judge their sucess in how many albums they sell and how many bookings they get rather than presenting a recognisable form of folk song
There's actually a thread going at present discussing what rates should be charged at gigs.
By adopting the "anything I say is folk music, is folk music" attitude, which seems to be the only definition anybody has come up with so far, the door has been opened wide to the PRS and IMRO jackals that take out money and give it to the superstars first leaving the folkies with only the small change - our folk music has been handed over to the predatory music industry on a platter.
Many of our traditional songs have been "arranged" and copyrighted
One of the great finds over the last forty odd years was from impoverished Traveller John Reilly with his 'Well Below the Valley"
John died of malnutrition after being found in e derelict house, his song was arranged and copyrighted by a well heeled musician and entrepreneur.   
At one time our folk scene was based on real folk music; seek out the Topic/Caedmon Folk Songs of Britain series, or the magnificent Tangent School of Scottish Studies series, or Mike Yates's beautiful examples of the remainder of our song Traditions, or more recently, the wonderful 'Voice of the People' series' again by Topic.
If you have any doubt as to what constitute folk song - you'll find your answer there.
Our revival was floated on the mopping-up campaign embarked on by the Beeb in the 1950s, despite the dishonest misuse and of that collection, it gave us our raw material and inspired us to seek out our own native traditions.
In today's revival you can't give it away, as has been proved by the somewhat cowardly response to my offer
One of the series I put up for grabs is the finest analysis of British Folk song ever made - our folk song repertoire was summed up beautifully by the presenter;
"Well, there they are, the songs of our people. Some of them have been centuries in the making, some of them undoubtedly were born on the broadside presses. Some have the marvellous perfection of stones shaped by the sea's movement. Others are as brash as a cup-final crowd. They were made by professional bards and by unknown poets at the plough-stilts and the handloom. They are tender, harsh,, passionate, ironical, simple, profound.... as varied, indeed, as the landscape of this island.
We are indebted to the Harry Coxes and Phil Tanners, to Colm Keane and Maggie MaccDonagh, to Belle Stewart and Jessie Murray and to all the sweet and raucous unknown singers who have helped to carry our people's songs across the centuries."

That's my definition of folk song - I still have to be given another - certainly not by anybody here.
Vic Smith, who I once respected as an advocate for folk song proper, accuses me of ignoring the arguments here
There have been no arguments - plenty of abuse, plenty of denials, but the only thing that has come out of it is "we have your clubs and we'll use them for whatever music we choose"
He quotes Shakespeare to claim I am ignoring what has been said
When I ask him to tell me what I have ignored, his non-response brings to mind something else Shakespeare wrote
                                                                     
       "And the rest is silence"
Jim Carroll


26 Oct 17 - 04:15 AM (#3884717)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Jim Carroll

"When the traddies grabbed the folk clubs in 1970's and 1980's, "
The Traddiress didn't "grab the clubs" Al - Lomax, MacColl and Lomax started them in the 1950s
Probably the first folk concert ever held in Britain was at The THeatre Royal, Stratford, East London around that time
The theatre Royal was the venus or MacColl and Joan Littlewood's 'Theatre Workshop'
The Traddies were on the club scene first - the rest of you became hangers on later
Jim Carroll


26 Oct 17 - 04:23 AM (#3884719)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: GUEST,Nick Dow

Ask for a yes or no answer and you get no comment. Sorry can't be bothered any more. As big a relief to Jim as it is to me.


26 Oct 17 - 04:24 AM (#3884720)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: The Sandman

"I learned Cousin Jack from another local and by the folk process by the time I got round to hearing the Show Of Hands original the tune I was playing was quite different apart from the chorus. I prefer and stick to the tune I was doing."
well done.


26 Oct 17 - 04:28 AM (#3884722)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Jim Carroll

"As big a relief to Jim as it is to me."
Truly sorry to see you go Nick
Sorry - some questions merit more than a yes/no answer
Jim Carroll


26 Oct 17 - 05:37 AM (#3884735)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Dave the Gnome

Guest 26 Oct 17 - 03:43 AM

Gee Dave , you were always supportive of Jim,s nastiness below the line.

I have never been supportive of any nastiness anywhere and challenge you to prove that assertion. I know you cannot.

Teribus, this may come as shock too but I agree with you! If that were allowed to happen it would be a tragedy. But, as far as I can see and as far as the posts on here confirm from other folk clubs around the country, it is not happening and does not look likely to do so.

DtG


26 Oct 17 - 05:49 AM (#3884739)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: GUEST,Hootenanny

If I remember correctly when Lomax (only one of them I believe) was involved at the Theatre Royal one of the "Traddies" was Rambling Jack Elliott who often shortly after would appear at the Ballads & Blues Club singing an obscure traditional number "I Belong to Glasgow". It was also around this time that Ewan and Peggy sung in a skiffle group singing such well known old folk songs as "Hard Case" and "Dirty Old Town" using the traditional line up of 5 string banjo,two guitars Clarinet, Double Bass plus two girl singers.

I realise that this precedes by a few years Jim Carroll's interest in folk music so he couldn't be there to know BUT, he probably knows someone who was.


26 Oct 17 - 05:57 AM (#3884740)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: TheSnail

Is there any point? No, but what the hell.

"Have you been following my recent postings about what's going on at the Lewes Saturday Folk Club?"
I saw it and consider it irrelevant Bryan - the world does not start and end in Sussex


You had previously said -
No club needs a workable definition - it needs a committee theat lives up to its promise of folk songs -- not at the exclusion of anything else but as a rule of thumb - if you are anything to go by, obviously not yours
To which I replied -
Have you been following my recent postings about what's going on at the Lewes Saturday Folk Club? What is there that you consider inappropriate for a folk club? In a couple of weeks we've got Niamh Parsons & Graham Dunne. If they're good enough for the Frank Harte Festival, they are good enough for us. A little later we've got Brian Peters who will be doing us a melodeon workshop and a ballad forum as well as his evening performance. Not folky enough for you?
You replied that you didn't know Graham Dunne but did know Niamh which doesn't really answer the question.

I'l try again. The list of recent and coming performers I gave was -

Jackie Oates and Tristan Seume
The Askew Sisters
The Dovetail Trio
Niamh Parsons & Graham Dunne
Brian Peters

We also have Jody Kruskal and we are having a carol concert of traditional Sussex Carols supplemented by tunes from Sussex village band manuscripts. This is reviving an idea started by Vic Gammon some decades ago. We are taking it around a number of other venues as we have for a few years now.
You have directly attacked our club as being part of the problem. Which of the above do you feel constitute "the crap some of you appear to have replaced folk song with."?

You once suggested that if we wanted to hear good folk song we should come to your club
It is one of the many places.
the world does not start and end in Sussex
No it doesn't. These performers get quite a lot of bookings as Dave Sutherland has pointed out. Some of them (whisper it not) make a decent living at it. You would have us believe they don't exist.

My unpleasant comments were made in anger
Some of us get quite angry with you Jim.

Previously you said "You need to know what folk song sounds like, which probably excludes you".
Perhaps you would like to have a look down this webpage, Jim, and then have a browse round the rest of the site and then stop patronising me about what constitutes folk song.
Sussex Traditions

If we're into Shakespearian quotes, how about -

Come, gentlemen, we sit too long on trifles


26 Oct 17 - 06:39 AM (#3884752)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Dave the Gnome

Sitting on trifles could get messy.

DtG


26 Oct 17 - 07:06 AM (#3884759)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: GUEST

I was about to construct a post illustrated by a variety of quotes but find Dave the Gnome :Date: 25 Oct 17 - 12:57 PM sums it up. "I came to the conclusion a few posts back that we seem to be speaking a different language."   
One side here is using one definition and the other (rather more numerically supported?) is using another definition. Nick Dow 25 Oct 17 - 07:02 PM has summed this up perfectly.    In case there are others who are swamped by the volume of comments here I'll add to it by repeating just the first part of what he wrote. (At least you won't then need to go searching for it.)
"1.        There is an academic definition of Folk Song. (Not going any further on that.)
2.        There is an informal definition of Folk Song, subscribed to by most Folk Clubs and the general public."

(Jim Carroll Date: 25 Oct 17 - 11:22 AM "I am saying there is a consensus among academics and researchers":
Jim Carroll Date: 25 Oct 17 - 02:06 PM ?"As a researcher, I need to be accurate in what I talk and write about if I am going to make sense of what we have done since 1973 and pass it on. That is wheer a definition comes in."   
Nick Dow Date: 25 Oct 17 - 12:05 PM "The word Folk means one thing to academics and another to the general public.")

Just to anticipate this point; Jim Carroll Date: 25 Oct 17 - 12:41 PM "You can't "like" or "vote" a definition into existence - a thing is what it is and a definition defines and articulates what it is", it's worth considering how dictionary definitions are arrived at. "When modern lexicographers define words or find words to add to dictionaries, they tend to approach their work from the angle of descriptivism. That is, they observe how the language is being used, and then write definitions based on that research." Thus, while there may be an "academic" definition which may remain constant once agreed upon by the academics, the dictionary definition, based on common usage, may be different to this. Most here seem to be using the "common usage definition" and suggesting that the academic definition is not relevant to what is happening in folk clubs.   

I rather like the academic definition and is the one I tend to use, using the terms contemporary (see Nick Dow 25 Oct 17 - 07:02 PM again) or acoustic to describe material or clubs that don't match the academic one - but I don't really expect others to do the same.

As to whether the definition question has anything to do with what's happening to our folk clubs: if any decline in attendance was directly related to people being confused when the clubs fail to live up to their definition, would that depend upon how widely the definition was known and used? If few people use the academic definition then few would turn up at these "non-folk clubs" and be disappointed since they wouldn't be expecting "academic definition folk". If everyone was using the "academic folk song" definition then it could well be that they stopped going when they found the clubs were not giving what they went there expecting.


26 Oct 17 - 07:10 AM (#3884761)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: GUEST,ST

Trapped again by a sensitive mouse pad! That was me wot just posted.

Since I'm back I'll add that, in his latest EFDSS ?Classic Folk? programme , Mike Norris says he's concentrating on tracks from the "folk revival". As our memories fail us and we need spectacles these days (which tend to be rose coloured when it comes to looking behind us) it might be useful to take the opportunity to listen to what we used to be listening to in those halcyon days.

In any case - I thought it was a great programme.


26 Oct 17 - 07:24 AM (#3884762)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Jim Carroll

" BUT, he probably knows someone who was."
I do indeed - Ewan and Peggy for a start
I have pointed out several times that it was Lomax who took Ewan and Bert by the scruff of the neck and asked them why they weren't singing their own native songs
"Have you been following my recent postings about what's going on at the Lewes Saturday Folk Club?"
And as I pointed out - Sussex isn't the centre of the Universe (and then went on to comment on your previous suggestion of our all jumping on the train and going down to your club)
My point remains
I have no doubt that there are a few clubs which adher to a proncipled policy and yours may well be one of them - that is not my concern
What concerns me is that the majority of them seem to have taken on the 'folk is what I call it' policy that proliferates here
"It is one of the many places."
See above
At one time, we didn't have to drag out oour passports to find a folk club that went in for folk songs
Some of us get quite angry with you Jim."
As I know to be the case with you
I try not to be gratuitously nasty, not always successfully - you have yet to adopt that approach
I have no intention of getting into a pissing "he stared it sir" contest with you Bryan - I'd just rather argue as an equal, if it's all the same with you.
"Come, gentlemen, we sit too long on trifles"
Agreement at last
My above points remain unresponded to - hopefully not forever, so "In freendship's name' perhaps we can get on with it
Jim Carroll


26 Oct 17 - 08:28 AM (#3884772)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Raggytash

"What concerns me is that the majority of them seem to have taken on the 'folk is what I call it' policy that proliferates here"

The ONLY person here who has that policy Jim is yourself.

Not one other poster has said anything remotely akin to that. Not myself, not Dave, not Nick Dow, not Al Whittle, not the Snail, not RTim, not Vic Smith, not the Sandman or Hootenanny or any other poster.

You alone state what is folk is or what isn't.


26 Oct 17 - 08:42 AM (#3884777)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Big Al Whittle

Lewes my not be the centre of the universe - but then again - neither was the club that MacColl started. Barrie Roberts started his folk and skiffle club in walsall in early 1958.

now THAT was the centre of the universe. the omphalos of the world . the nearby Toe of Vishnu curry house was the source of all human experience and knowledge.

surprised you didn't know that....


26 Oct 17 - 08:46 AM (#3884779)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: TheSnail

Thanks for the heartfelt apology Jim and the grovelling admission that you were completely wrong about your assumption of what happens at the Lewes Saturday Folk Club and my assumed understanding of folk music.

I have no doubt that there are a few clubs which adher to a proncipled policy and yours may well be one of them
BREAKTHROUGH!
- that is not my concern
Why not? I would have thought you would have been glad of news that "proper" folk music (or something that loosely conforms or roughly resembes it) is alive and well in the UK.

I'd just rather argue as an equal, if it's all the same with you.
Then do so. You are constantly in attack mode and refuse to listen to what people say.

O brave new world that has such people in't!


26 Oct 17 - 10:14 AM (#3884790)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Jim Carroll

"Thanks for the heartfelt apology Jim and the grovelling admission that you were completely wrong about your assumption of what happens at the Lewes Saturday Folk Club"
Is it the bracing sea air that makes you behave as you do?
You really are the nsty piece of work I have been warned against, aren't you
I had no assumptions of what ahhens oat your club and have vnever commented on such matters
I have never been and, if your behaviour is reciprocated in others, nor would I want to.
I do listen to what people say and respond to it which is more than you or others do
"neither was the club that MacColl started."
Who said it was Al?
Don't you start
I said that the early crowd who started the scene were "traddies" who used traditional song as a basis for what they did - they were not the interlopers who you suggested"grabbed the folk clubs in 1970's and 1980's"
The revival
The revival started dedicated to traditional song - it was your crowd who were the invaders
"Barrie Roberts started his folk and skiffle club in walsall in early 1958."
Which would be around the time of the Stratford concerts
I know there is a great deal of dispute as to who opened the first folk club, The Topc Folk Club in Bradford seems to be the front runner in 1956, but the traditional ground had been laid before that with Ewan and Bert's ballad set for Folkways, and the WMA and H.M.V were releasing traditional stuff even earlier.
Your lot were late runners.
"The ONLY person here who has that policy Jim is yourself. "
Will you please stop this Raggy
I don't "call it" anything - folk song is far too well documented to need anybody to identify it as an individual and has been since at least the beginning of the twentieth century
Please stop making things up - it only weakens your case
Y choose not to recognise that is your particular choice
Jim Carroll


26 Oct 17 - 10:29 AM (#3884796)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Raggytash

I know you're knocking on a bit Jim and I wonder whether you are reading things clearly and correctly.

You typed ""What concerns me is that the majority of them seem to have taken on the 'folk is what I call it' policy that proliferates here"

It is only you that DEFINES folk music. No one else has, and as far as I can make out actually no one else wants to define folk music, certainly not according to a 63 year old definition that was out of date when it was written.

I gone over the numerous reasons why it is no longer fit for purpose, you, as usual, have ignore them or pretended I have not supplied them.

Your loss, completely.

You have absolutely no idea about the folk music scene in the UK yet you continue to pontificate, yes pontificate, about it ad nauseum, castigate it, run it down, as you have done with the club organisers, performers, the audiences and all the other posters on here. Jim knows best. (excuse the french Bollocks)

It would seem, according to you, that you are the only person left alive who KNOWS anything about folk music.


26 Oct 17 - 10:34 AM (#3884797)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: RTim

Here is something for you all to read - an article by a friend - Jin Cowdrey on "Defining Folk Music" - https://bibliolore.org/2017/10/26/defining-the-folk/ - this then has a link to his article - here - http://www.rilm.org/historiography/cowdery.pdf
http://www.rilm.org/historiography/cowdery.pdf

Read and conclude???

Tim Radford


26 Oct 17 - 10:53 AM (#3884802)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: TheSnail

I had no assumptions of what ahhens oat your club and have vnever commented on such matters

Previously -
You need to know what folk song sounds like, which probably excludes you

No club needs a workable definition - it needs a committee theat lives up to its promise of folk songs -- not at the exclusion of anything else but as a rule of thumb - if you are anything to go by, obviously not yours


Goodbye, Jim. I don't know what you are aiming to achieve or whether you just enjoy a good rant. All you do achieve with each post is to further convince people that you are a mad old git with a massive grudge about something.

("You really are the nsty piece of work I have been warned against, aren't you". Curious. I wonder who has said that. I'll have to ask an old member of the Critics group next time we book one. The only one we have mentioned you to so far sprayed a mouthful of coffee over the breakfast table and was quite entertaining on the subject.)

((Find out how to use a spell checker and do a bit of proof reading before you send for goodness sake.))


26 Oct 17 - 11:23 AM (#3884815)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Steve Gardham

Tim,
Brilliant article. What it mainly demonstrates in relevance to this thread is that some of the greatest folklorists of the 1950s from all over the world could not really reach agreement, even after 6 years of deliberation.

The problem as I see it is there is a great deal of difference as to what constitutes 'folk' in a highly developed world and what it is in a primitive society. In the Western world Karpeles 'definition', that most of them agreed on in 54, works well enough and does not set rigid boundaries, it is a set of descriptors.

However in primitive societies we should not insist on the songs having to have been passed through several generations as there is absolutely no doubt that the creators are part of the folk. (But this is irrelevant to current discussion).

I might comment in greater detail when I have annotated my copy of the article.


26 Oct 17 - 11:32 AM (#3884820)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: RTim

Thanks Steve - and I too found it interesting that there was so little agreement and that it took so long. Personally, I am happy with Maude's early definition, and can easily accept this in all cases:

"Maud Karpeles contended that the only satisfactory definition of
folk song was ?a song that during the course of time has been submitted to the process of oral transmission.?"

Tim Radford


26 Oct 17 - 12:20 PM (#3884836)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Big Al Whittle

to be fair 'mad old git with a massive grudge about something'....

yeh! mea culpa. a good description of me.


26 Oct 17 - 12:38 PM (#3884844)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Steve Gardham

Never happy with the word 'definition': The 'finit' bit in the middle puts me off applying it to anything that doesn't have absolutely cast iron boundaries.


26 Oct 17 - 01:22 PM (#3884854)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Jim Carroll

"Find out how to use a spell checker and do a bit of proof reading before you send for goodness sake.))"
Not worth it with people who don't read what you write
Bryan - especially for those who use typos as aa substitute for argument
I have explained this before
I can spell perfectly well but have an idiosyncratic keboard I am reluctant to part with because it has a transcribing facility I have been unable to find in another
Anyway - why spoil your fun
Jim Carroll


26 Oct 17 - 01:28 PM (#3884855)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: TheSnail

Big Al, if the capo fits...


26 Oct 17 - 01:50 PM (#3884864)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Jim Carroll

"It is only you that DEFINES folk music."
I don't define folk music - it is defined for me
I may be the only one here who accepts there is a definition - different matter altogether
Definitions are for communication - without them we would nt be able to communicate with one another - as is happening here
"I gone over the numerous reasons why it is no longer fit for purpose,"
Wrong again - you have given reasons why the existing one is inconvenient for your purpose, in which case, you need to sort out another one, otherwise discussion becomes pointless and putting a title to your music venue becomes a con (unless you call it a music club, which sounds about right)
"Your loss, completely."
No - your loss - it is your clubs that are fucked up - we have youingsters pouring into our music because they know what they are signing up for.
I know plenty about the UK scene because you people tell me by your attitude to the msusic you are supposed to be presenting
Yo apparently can't even keep enough bums on seats for the erzatz version
Jim Carroll


26 Oct 17 - 02:01 PM (#3884865)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: The Sandman

"No - your loss - it is your clubs that are fucked up - we have youingsters pouring into our music because they know what they are signing up for"
Instrumental music mainly, and a homeogeonised version that has the odour of sanctity of CCE, they are signing up for a competitive attitude that CCE encourages, thnks to massive government funding that EFDSS does not receive.


26 Oct 17 - 02:55 PM (#3884873)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Raggytash

For the benefit of people in the UK, CCE is Comhaltas Ceoltoiri Eireann, which seeks to promote Irish music and culture worldwide.


26 Oct 17 - 03:07 PM (#3884876)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Jim Carroll

"that has the odour of sanctity of CCE, "
Maybe in your part of the world Dick - not here in the real world
Comhaltas has no influence whatever here
It is the Willie Clancy Summer School and ITMA that has made the difference - not a competition to be seen anywhere
In Dublin The NPU has drawn in young pipers in their hundreds
As far as I know, there are none of the TG4 Musicians of the year from Comhaltas so far
As I said - maybe down in the depths of Cork and Kerry
CCE is what it was pronounced to be by Brendan Breathnach decades ago - "an organisation ith a fine future behind it"
One of the most impressive aspects of North Munster and Connacht music i the number of young musicians who are maturing and taking classes for their juniors independent of any organisation
Our local flute player, who we first remember as a pupil of the early Clancy School has several hundred pupils to her credit and turns them out fifty at a time on each St Pat's Day
Pleasse don't give Comhaltas the credit it does not deserve
Jim Carroll


26 Oct 17 - 03:54 PM (#3884887)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Raggytash

Question for you Jim.

Do you have a good word to say about anyone or anything concerning folk music in the 21st Century?

Frankly Jim, you are a boring old fart.

Suggestion for you, you could be constructive with your time by creating a website with the work you have done collecting and gathering.

It would give you something productive to do with yourself and save the rest of us from your pontificating, yes I've used that word again, your pontificating and your turgid, bombastic and frequently deranged ramblings.

Sweet dreams.


26 Oct 17 - 07:42 PM (#3884912)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Jack Campin

to be fair 'mad old git with a massive grudge about something'....
yeh! mea culpa. a good description of me.


Maybe, but you're a mad old git who knows how to edit and what the return key is for.


27 Oct 17 - 06:29 AM (#3884993)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: GUEST,Hootenanny

A good suggestion Raggytash I had thought about making a similar suggestion with You Tube as an alternative but resisted as I expect it will get the usual treatment.

Putting audio tracks up behind photographs of pretty little pussy cats would almost certainly guarantee a huge world wide audience.


27 Oct 17 - 07:38 AM (#3885008)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Jim Carroll

"Maybe, but you're a mad old git who knows how to edit and what the return key is for."
Yeah Jack - quite agree
Maybe we should confine these discussions to the educated and computer literate and keep us oiks out
"Do you have a good word to say about anyone or anything concerning folk music in the 21st Century?"
Of course I do, but the way clubs have progressed in Britain, very little of it (certainly as displayed on forums like this) applies to what happens there
I know there is a club has organised a regular ballad forum - I have the highest respect for the work and track record of Peta Webb and Ken Hall and their club, I have lots of correspondence with Annie Neilsen in Scotland - impressive work on the ballads there - the work in Newcastle with students leaves me full of hope......
There are, I believe, true lovers of folk song to salvage something from the rubble created by the Masonic lodges that call themselves folk clubs - if I didn't believe that, I really wouldn't bother.
"Frankly Jim, you are a boring old fart."
Frankly Raggy, you are a disappointment who is now resorting to personal insults - shame on you - and an ageist, to boot.
I got a lifetime of pleasure, thousands of songs, masses of information from old people
One thing that puzzles me
Previous discussions with you below the line have left me with the impression of a progressive, socially and politically conscious person who respects working people and cares for their culture.
When I say I believe folk song proper to be the voice of the people, the expression of their experiences and ideals, an important part of their social history and one of the few examples of a creative cultural heritage of a section of our population who have long been regarded as having no culture - none of this merits even a mention from you and yours - totally unimportant next to putting bums on a rapidly diminishing numbr of seats for a music that cannot be defined
Sorry about the bad grammer Jack - shall I stay behing in class, do 100 lines or what?
Jim Carroll


27 Oct 17 - 07:47 AM (#3885009)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Raggytash

Jim, One of the finest songwriters I have ever come across is Peter Bond. He was, and still is, a superb writer of what I consider to be folk music of the highest quality. His lyrics are acutely observant, supremely crafted, melded with astonishing tunes which are well played and well sung. You may or may not have heard of him. However according to your "rules" he would not be considered folk and that is where I think "your" systems fails ............ dramatically.


27 Oct 17 - 08:15 AM (#3885011)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Dave the Gnome

Peter Bond and Keith Marsden and Anthony John Clarke and Vin Garbutt and Roy Bailey and...

Shame none of them are folk singers.

A definition is not the issue Jim. It is interpretation. No matter how clear a definition is, and the 1954 one is far from clear, it will always be interpreted to suit someone's view. Bit like 'Thou shalt not kill'. Pretty clear I would have said but not many of the religious zealots would agree. They have a lot in common with folk zealots I suppose.

DtG


27 Oct 17 - 08:24 AM (#3885013)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Jim Carroll

Steve
I confess I haven't heard Peter Bond, though I seem to remember Paeggy's New City Songster carried one of his songs
Immaterial anyway
How can I get across toy you that folk song is a defined form of worker's culture, not something you like or dislike into existence.
MacColl's songs aren't 'Folk' - he spent his life telling people they weren't
He wrote some of the finest songs using folk forms - I would guess I have about twenty of them in my repertoire?
The term 'folk' isn't something you hand out like the Oscars or you win at Come Dancing - it is a process a song has to pass through before it becomes what it is
It doesn't even have to be good - some folk songs are crap
A definition can only "fail" is it cannot be applied to anything - nothing to do with the merit of what it is defining
Thia is ****** insane.
You don't like the definition because it doesn't cover the things you like - I hate prunes - it doesn't stop making them prunes, or make their definition a failure
Still no comment on workers culture - that says everything that needs to be said for me
Jim Carroll


27 Oct 17 - 08:25 AM (#3885014)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Jim Carroll

Give me your definition than Dave - it really is as simple as that
Jim Carroll


27 Oct 17 - 08:34 AM (#3885016)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Raggytash

Therein lies a problem. If you had heard Peter Bond songs you would know that many are about workers and their condition. Songs about Industrial Disease, songs about children being killed in mining disasters, a song about a Rugby player who everyone has a good word from and who was mourned by a vast swathe of people. Songs about Larks flying across vapour trails, songs about the stillness that the snow brings. Beautiful songs, eloquent songs.

The archaic definition set down in 1954 precludes such songs being considered folk and is it's fundamental failure because it allows a few people such as yourself to say "that is not folk"

Utter tosh, rubbish and nonsense. That is why people like myself, and I would think, most people on this site think the definition has outlived it's usefulness .......... if it ever had any.


27 Oct 17 - 08:35 AM (#3885017)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: GUEST

Isn't categorising things a bit old fashioned? People tag them with various attributes and then draw together those that have the characteristics that are relevant in a particular context.


27 Oct 17 - 08:48 AM (#3885020)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: GUEST,Nick Dow

Jim you wrote the following...
I know there is a club has organised a regular ballad forum - I have the highest respect for the work and track record of Peta Webb and Ken Hall and their club, I have lots of correspondence with Annie Neilsen in Scotland - impressive work on the ballads there - the work in Newcastle with students leaves me full of hope......
There are, I believe, true lovers of folk song to salvage something from the rubble created by the Masonic lodges that call themselves folk clubs - if I didn't believe that, I really wouldn't bother.

For Gods sake Jim!!!!!!! I gave up in despair trying to make the same point to you a couple of days ago. You really are bloody exasperating.
Now finally and at last PLEASE will you accept that there a lots more people of the same persuasion young and old and that you might actually be of help to them if you threw off this mind numbing cloak of negativity that is driving us all bonkers! Jesus! I'm off for a cup of coffee, only because I don't drink alcohol.


27 Oct 17 - 08:58 AM (#3885022)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: TheSnail

Jin Cowdrey on "Defining Folk Music"

Thanks for that Tim. It puts the 1954 definition in context as a compromise between the diverse views of a bunch of squabbling scholars. The actual practicioners don't seem to get a look in.

There are some alarming lines -
only that which has the germs of great art must be let loose on the simple-minded public whom we invite to sample our wares.
which puts Ralph Vaughan Williams in a rather different light from how I'd imagined him.

Even more alarming -
Donal O?Sullivan, for example, stated that when scholars encounter newer folk songs that they feel run contrary to the tradition they should not encourage them.
Musn't have the lower orders getting ideas above their station.

Some were less doctrinaire -
His [Albert Marinus] final definition of folkloric song was intentionally vague; a definitive definition, he argued, ?prematurely freezes knowledge.?

This is a bit more encouraging -
Others, like Felix Hoeburger, raised the idea that new developments are signs of a healthy tradition, and that those who place a high value on quaintness are cooperating more with tourism than with scholarship.


27 Oct 17 - 09:30 AM (#3885024)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Jim Carroll

"I gave up in despair trying to make the same point to you a couple of days ago"
I have never said anything different Nick - what concerns me is the ignorance and indifference dominates today's revival
Unless the good clubs get together and push their line we'll be left with Bob Geldof as a role model
I've mentioned the scene as I new it, the radio programmes dedicated to folk, the magazines engaging in exchanging in debate - the shops - all gone.
If I was negative I really wouldn't bother my arse with mind-numbing debates like this - I really am not
I believe the survival of our songs and music depends on it being nurtured
"Donal O?Sullivan, for example, stated that when scholars encounter newer folk songs that they feel run contrary to the tradition they should not encourage them.2
I really could not agree more with O'Sullivan whose work I respect enormously - I would be lost without his tale index andd Handbook
He was writing at a time when there were large numbers of traditional singers still around - and he was right - but he was referring to songs from within a living tradition being ignored, not those from a revival
Our greatest discovery has been the large repertoire of songs that, I suspect were rejected by the collectors because they didn't fit the known repertoire - not the music hall pieces or parlour ballads - everybody knew what they were and where they came from
Our songs were made on the spot by farmers, labourers, fishermen.... as a reaction to something that was happening to them - they were taken into the community, sung for a time, and then forgotten.
Thankfully, some were remembered or recorded in notebooks - 140 of them were published in the nowout-of-print 'Clare Ballads in the 70s, but nobody bothered to follow up the genre at the time
I have no problem wit anything in the article, but they were all making comments on a living or recently dead tradition - not a tiny bunch of clubs that don't care to much for folk song
MacColl had the dream that one day a living tradition could be revived by a wider understanding of the old one - I share that dream
Jim Carroll


27 Oct 17 - 09:41 AM (#3885029)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Jim Carroll

By the way Bryain
"The actual practitioners don't seem to get a look in."
While I have litle time for many scholars, particularly the desk-bound ones, the definition emerged around the time the BBC were going out recording 'the actual practitioners
The Library of Congress in the States has many thousands of recorded examples of 'the actual practitioners' at work
Just as Sharp's 'Some Conclusions' was based on observation of the real thing taking place, the same goes for the definition makers at Sao Paolo
It is not a perfect definition by any means - it does need updating or even replacing - but not by a diminishing few folkies pushing a personal agenda.
Jim Carroll


27 Oct 17 - 09:51 AM (#3885030)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Raggytash

There is only one person here with a "personal agenda" and that is yourself Jim.

You're stuck in a time warp set by others and you just cannot see beyond it. Not that I believe you had ever tried.

You sound just like those on the right wing of political threads here. British Generals were the best, The Conservatives have our best interests at heart, etc etc. The 1954 definition is cast in stone and no-one has come up with a better one.

The world has changed Jim. To quote Bob Dylan (who I'm sure you love!!) Your old road is rapidly agin', please get out of the new one, if you can't lend your hand...................

I've said it before your attitude is not part of the solution it's part of the problem.


27 Oct 17 - 09:52 AM (#3885031)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: RTim

It strikes me as rather ironic that when I first started to sing in Folk Clubs over 40 years ago, I would get my repertoire from listening to songs from singers I knew like Dave Williams and Geoff Jerram or those recorded by other singers, eg. Harry Cox, Walter Pardon or indeed - Martin Carthy, etc.. Therefore in a way I was learning songs Orally. From the mouths of the singers?..
However, as time has gone on and I have had the wish to find and sing songs that only I sing - I have gone back to Manuscripts and found and performed songs from there. Therefore learning songs from printed material???.

Maybe I should go back to my old way of obtaining songs???

Which is right?

Tim Radford


27 Oct 17 - 09:57 AM (#3885032)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Raggytash

Tim, just a thought. Do you ever get them from CD's or YouTube?


27 Oct 17 - 10:10 AM (#3885040)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: RTim

Raggy - seldom - if ever these days - I might check some out to hear, but I have too many songs from my own manuscript sources to spend time on others.........

Tim


27 Oct 17 - 10:13 AM (#3885042)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Raggytash

:-) sorry Tim, you will be perceived as letting the side down, getting just the odd one from records is frowned upon you know.! ;-)

You have to laugh .......... I hope !!!!!


27 Oct 17 - 10:18 AM (#3885046)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: GUEST,Nick Dow

Jim I don't think you make your points very readable or accessible sometimes, and I still maintain that there are more people interested than you credit. However broadly and finally and at last we are in agreement to some extent. There are numerous Folkies diminishing or not who are delving into the collections to dig out unsung versions of songs. My main carp there is that the versions unearthed have to be as good or better than the well known ones to gain popularity, and we sometimes find not so good versions sung just because they are there. That said if there is ignorance and indifference then it's time to change the perception by getting out there and singing the songs, paid or otherwise. I am finding no lack of interest as I have said before in this thread. Getting hung up on definitions is not going to help, neither is isolating the songs in a small number of specialist clubs. There are about 400 clubs and festivals in the UK and loads of song sessions, probably more than the clubs. When I'm not on a stage you'll find me in the sing around doing what I do best. More than that none of us can do. I am looking forward to going to Bryans club next year, and running into Dave the gnome in Skipton.
If I could afford it I would have been at Lewes festival this month, but I live 300 miles away. All I am saying is let the songs do the work, and if you receive indifference or hostility look to your performance or attitude. With a little explanation and a couple of jokes you can break the ice and get them on board. Not rocket science really is it?


27 Oct 17 - 10:28 AM (#3885048)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Jim Carroll

"You're stuck in a time warp set by others and you just cannot see beyond it. Not that I believe you had ever tried"
You are still insulting Raggy and you still fail totally to come up with an argument
"Which is right?"
Not you Tim
There is no "right" - you sing what you want the way you want, but you are borrowing songs from a tradition - you are not part of it.
WE are now passive observers of our culture - by and large we have to purchase it
I usually judge how these songs work by either comparing them to the source or examining the text to see if the rendition lives up to the function of the song
There's a debate going on on another thread about a song we recorded from a Travelling woman
WHAT WILL WE DO?
Mary was a chronic asthmatic, but she made her songs work for me every time, because she re-lived them every time she sang them
Sam Larner did this as well, so did Walter
That's what I miss from many singers today
Jim Carroll


27 Oct 17 - 10:33 AM (#3885050)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Jim Carroll

"Getting hung up on definitions is not going to help, neither is isolating the songs in a small number of specialist clubs"
I advocate neither - my definition is for discussion - I have a repertoire of 300 plus songs folk and non folk which I enjoy singing - particularly swapping
You need a definition if you are going to write and talk about it as I do
You need a definition if you are going to set up a club and call it something - not as a fixed rule but as a rough guid as tyo what you are offering
Jim Carroll


27 Oct 17 - 10:35 AM (#3885051)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Big Al Whittle

I quite like harry Styles latest. i can see someone singing it in a folk club.   quite catchy.

Not my cup of tea, but neither is The Bold Poachers.   my sympathy is with the rabbits, and things.

the thing about a folk club is that you sort of get a look into the soul of everyone that sings. you can sort of see where they're at as a person. Of course its lovely when someone does something you like.

but really that's not the important thing. sometimes the music is quite ghastly, but its a bit like that old hymn jesus shall where 'ere the sun....

there 's a line that goes
Let every creature rise and bring
peculiar honours to the king

And its that aspect that i like.


27 Oct 17 - 10:35 AM (#3885052)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Raggytash

Bloody Hell Tim you've been thrown out of the party too. Probably because you admitted getting material from recorded sources!!

I wonder if people can take stuff from the recordings Jim has made and as it's not passed on orally the songs are then considered not to be folk songs when sung by that person.

All a bit of a minefield really.


27 Oct 17 - 10:39 AM (#3885055)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Vic Smith

I know there is a club has organised a regular ballad forum* - I have the highest respect for the work and track record of Peta Webb and Ken Hall and their club, I have lots of correspondence with Annie Neilsen in Scotland - impressive work on the ballads there.

Right! Let's start with the Musical Traditions club, the one that Peta & Ken run and look at some of the guests they have booked this year:-

JOHN KIRKPATRICK - I've seen him in folk clubs twice in recent months and his repertoire was largely based on the 14 songs that are on his excellent new album Coat Tails Flying Let's look at the attribution of those tracks - 4 are labelled traditional, 6 are composed by John and the rest from other written sources - Sorry, John, not good enough! That's a cross by your name.

JIMMY CROWLEY - the mesmeric bard from Cork and a wonderful performer. I was also able to see him twice during his September tour of England. Main source of his repertoire I would say about 3/4 of his own compositions. - You give memorable performances, utterly engrossing but your repertoire just does not make the grade

WILL DUKE - Now here's a singer that lives near me me and I hear all the time. What does he sing? Music hall and variety stage. parodies...dated rural funnies... he does sing a few folk songs - another cross, yes, yes, Will does play the tunes of Scan Tester, but we actually know who wrote a lot of them, Another cross.

Who's coming up at their club?
8th Dec PETER & BARBARA SNAPE Lovely lively people to be in the company of. What does the MT website say about their repertoire? ..."from Music Hall to songs about mills and mines and union struggles plus the odd temperance hymn." - Oh, Dear!

So what about Peta and Ken themselves? Well if Simon Hindley is there they will sing a blues to his guitar accompaniment. Given a solo spot, Ken will often sing one of the hilarious songs written by Fred McCormick. Together a lot of their lovely harmony singing is taken from the "brothers" Country bands, the Louvins, Delmores, Blue Sky Boys etc. singing (ahem) written songs!

So with my apologies I have to tell the Musical Traditions Club that they have failed the JC test.

Let's hope that someone can pass on better news of Anne's venture in Glasgow, I'd like there to be one British folk club that gets it right.

* Actually there was a ballad forum in Lewes on 14th October and there is another one on 3rd December but as an authority pointed out on 26 Oct 17 - 04:06 AM "the world does not start and end in Sussex."


27 Oct 17 - 10:47 AM (#3885056)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: RTim

It makes me wonder why Jim has collected and published all the songs he has found - He doesn't want anyone else to sing them........

He seems to want to sit back in his chair and pontificate and be the font of all knowledge about Folk Song - I wonder where he learnt to do that.....!!!

For pity sake Jim - give others space and time and agree that they have something to contribute.......
I have been biting my tongue - wanting to say that for days, but have not wished to say it as I know I will be accused of Name calling or Insulting. Enough!!!

Tim Radford


27 Oct 17 - 10:54 AM (#3885059)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Dave the Gnome

Give me your definition than Dave - it really is as simple as that

The people that came up with the 1954 one were far better versed in folk music than I, spent years studying it and still did not agree it unanimously. Do your really expect a folk hobbyist such as me to come up with a quick definition on an internet chat forum in a few words? Over half a century has passed since then and with the introduction of such sub-genres as folk rock, folk metal, fusion with other world music, contemporary singer songwriters, traditional music with electronic enhancements, other genres done in the English folk style and a whole range of things that I have probably not even thought of.

As Raggy said some time back, we need to use our ears and, I would add, our common sense to decide what folk music is. If a large number of people believe it is folk music and then go on to fill the clubs and buy the MP3s then we do have a popular consensus. Not academic maybe but it works. Coming back to the thread topic, those clubs that use such the populist definition thrive. Those that adhere to old worn out rules fall by the wayside.

DtG


27 Oct 17 - 10:58 AM (#3885062)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: GUEST,The Mudcat Moaner

Over 500 posts best yet, my work here is done


27 Oct 17 - 11:04 AM (#3885066)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Jim Carroll

If you read the list of atendees at the conference you will see from different parts of the world where different disciplines apply.
You revival list has nothing to do with a 'tradition' they were fads appied artificially to what is basically a narrative form off singing where being able to follow the words is essentail to understanding the song - Folk Rock could not do that in a million years
he English "style is an unaccompanied one
"It makes me wonder why Jim has collected and published all the songs he has found - He doesn't want anyone else to sing them........"
That is about as insulting as anybody as said here
I want people to sing them - thats why they are on line in County Clare and why two teachers have been employed full time t get kis to sing them
Have any of you people done anything remotely like THIS or do you just sit singing to each other in your little gentlemen's private clubs
Once more - how dare you - what are you people on?
Jim Carroll


27 Oct 17 - 11:08 AM (#3885067)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Steve Gardham

Congratulations, TMM!


27 Oct 17 - 11:09 AM (#3885068)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Big Al Whittle

yes well done. I've loved chattering away on this thread. very entertaining!

And well done Jim for giving us all something to utterly reject, and yet keep bobbing back up and jabbing away with such persistence.

I'm not sure I'd be welcome in any folk club, or relevant to what was being attempted, still the meeting of minds has been fun.


27 Oct 17 - 11:16 AM (#3885072)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Raggytash

"I want people to sing them - thats why they are on line in County Clare and why two teachers have been employed full time t get kis to sing them Have any of you people done anything remotely like THIS or do you just sit singing to each other in your little gentlemen's private clubs"

Firstly no one is decrying the work you have done Jim. Not a single person ............ clear.

You may have done a lot of work but you are not the only one. The numerous people you have insulted here have also done sterling work 1. Club Organisers 2. Professional Performers 3. Amateur Performers 4. Audiences 5. Everyone who has posted here.

And then you have the audacity to talk about us having a private gentlemans club.

The only "Private Gentlemans Club" I can see has only one member and he is probably sitting in Milltown Malbay as I type.


27 Oct 17 - 11:16 AM (#3885073)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Jim Carroll

Can I just add as a response to Tim's insulting comment that, some time ago I offered two large examples of examples of what I believe the tradition is - bone of the people here have taken up that offer though several others have
Dave apparently wants me to lay out my wares as if I was selling frocks
I certainly do want people want to sing the songs - this particular bunch is so afraid of them they can't even be bothered to listen to them and what's been said about them
That's real principled debate for you!!!
Jim Carroll


27 Oct 17 - 11:18 AM (#3885074)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Steve Gardham

Jim,
I resent your suggestion. I also went into the field collecting songs in my own native area. These are online in the British Sound Archive.
I don't have 2 teachers going into schools teaching them to kids, I do this myself.


27 Oct 17 - 11:19 AM (#3885076)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: RTim

Jim - you really are insufferable.......

And I don't care that you think I am insulting you..........

Who do you really think you are?
You have done great work and been thanked for this by nearly everyone who has written on this thread....but it is still not good enough for you.

I implied several days ago that I agreed with Maude Karples and her early definition of Folk Song: "a song that during the course of time has been submitted to the process of oral transmission." Even a modern song repeated can be included within that!

If that was good enough for her and her experiences - then who am I, or indeed you - to argue otherwise. However - I know from previous experience - You Will...

So there is nothing more to say - you are obviously right.

Tim Radford (who can also be angry and upset by what someone else says....)


27 Oct 17 - 11:19 AM (#3885077)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Jim Carroll

"Firstly no one is decrying the work you have done Jim. Not a single person ............ clear."
Patronising lip service Raggy - we did what we did to share what we got not to win compliments - clear?
Have you listened to the programmes yet - whoops - I forgot - they are not your thing, are they?
Jim Carroll


27 Oct 17 - 11:25 AM (#3885082)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Raggytash

Time you had a rest Jim. You're losing the plot .... again.

I was going to respond to your further insult but for now I'll hold my tongue.


27 Oct 17 - 11:34 AM (#3885087)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Vic Smith

Why have we allowed one man to highjack this thread?
What sort of personality thrives on such self-absorption and verbal conflict?
Why do so many people try to reason with a person who is clearly incapable of a discussion that can move a thread or topic forward?

Can I make a suggestion? That we ignore his comments, insults, rudeness, demands for explanations and definitions and try to address the interesting question posed in the opening post and only respond accordingly. He may even get fed up and go away.

I am sure that I am not the only one that does not subscribe to the Carrollocentric Universe Theory and find the circumlocution that it entails very trying.


27 Oct 17 - 11:49 AM (#3885091)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Dave the Gnome

Dave apparently wants me to lay out my wares as if I was selling frocks

I said no such thing and challenge you to link to where I did. What I did say is that is something works, it will thrive. If it does't work, it will fall by the wayside.

But, yes Vic, you are right. Sadly, what I know will happen now is that we will be told we are insulting or patronising, we do not want to enter into serious discussion and we have lost the argument. There is someone else who does this but Jim will not like the similie.

DtG


27 Oct 17 - 12:34 PM (#3885096)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: RTim

An interesting discussion and view point....adding to the discussion Yes/No?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xfucTOjwAgY

Tim Radford


27 Oct 17 - 12:43 PM (#3885099)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: GUEST,Nick Dow

I hate to say this folks but I am beginning to think that we have all been had, and this is one massive wind up. No-body can be this stubborn and insulting for real can they? We have been busy on line for 3 days arguing the toss to no effect, and somebody is laughing up their sleeve.
'Who's the fool now!'


27 Oct 17 - 12:45 PM (#3885101)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Jim Carroll

"Why have we allowed one man to highjack this thread?"
Why are you trolling Vic?
You have taken no part in this to any extent
I have not hi-jacked it - I appear to have erected a hurdle nobody has been able toi get over, what kind of songs should one expect to find in a folk club?
"I said no such thing and challenge you to link to where I did"
You asked me for a a list of contents as if I was selling it to you
"You sent me a many hours of radio programs some years back and I listened with interest. Some I enjoyed, some I didn't. I am sure that these will be no different but I am happy to give them a try. Again. But let me challenge you in return. Tell me how it is going to tell us what is happening to our folk clubs? Will they introduce me to anything I do not already know? List the artists on them for us to see if they give us anything we do not already know."
"Carrollocentric Universe Theory "
Now you are being both insulting and dishomest, as if I have made upi what I claim
I am basing everything I say on what I have read over the years, what I have experienced, both in the clubs and in meeting traditional singers
You people make me howl - Over the last few years I have attended two conferences populated by peope who more or less go along with the line I am arguing, I have lectured at four universities saying more or less what I am saying here, sometimes in more detail (due to talk at another, to traditional music students, next month) have published articles, issued four full albums of our work, and contributed to another ten, set up a website of our singers and am now due to to assist with another in Luimerick University to cover the rest of our work
Hardly the activities of the lone nutter you make me out to be
I have to talk to folkies on Mudcat to find crude schoolyard abuse ant the threat of censorship
You really have gone over to the Dark Side, haven't you?
Jim Carroll


27 Oct 17 - 12:48 PM (#3885103)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: GUEST

To th OP - "over 500 posts...." Do you think we're any the wiser ?


27 Oct 17 - 01:08 PM (#3885104)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Backwoodsman

My mother was a paranoid schizophrenic. I looked after her for several years before her death - it was the most difficult, frustrating, and sometimes maddening, time of my life. I'm getting a strong feeling of d?ja-vu.


27 Oct 17 - 01:34 PM (#3885109)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Backwoodsman

? = a lower-case 'e' with an acute accent.


27 Oct 17 - 01:36 PM (#3885110)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Jim Carroll

More personal insults Baccy- and still no intelligent response
I do like spending time with adults!!
If I had nothing to say, none of you would have bothered responding to what I have posted - instead, you gang up like a pack of rats
A sad case of hitting a raw nerve, I think
"Do you think we're any the wiser ?"
A statement which suggests previous wisdom - not much sign of it here
Just boorish bad manners
No-body can be this stubborn and insulting for real can they?
I have insulted nobody Nick - on the contrary - I am now being bombarded with personal insults by people who really should know better
Jim Carroll


27 Oct 17 - 01:51 PM (#3885117)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: TheSnail

I have insulted nobody Nick
Jim Carroll


27 Oct 17 - 02:21 PM (#3885121)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Jim Carroll

"I have insulted nobody Nick"
Glass houses and stones Bryan
Jim Carroll


27 Oct 17 - 02:51 PM (#3885129)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: RTim

I am sorry if this is long - but I just wanted to lay out my thoughts and post them hear - Thank You......
What most people sing in folk clubs - are songs??songs from many diverse sources, and many sing them because they have good voices and others enjoy listening to them. They generally also choose them because they like them or they tell a great story or they are personally connected or have some local significance.

They probably don?t sing them as part of an illustration of their political will or Agrarian or Industrial background. Yes - there maybe one or two who do this, but they are in the minority, and they write their own songs and are known for them.
Similarly, there are those who don?t have a good voice, like some of the old guys who have been collected from in the past. I once heard someone say, who deeply involved in folk music - that they liked bad singers because they wanted to hear what they did with a song to make it work.
Some others don?t have the patience to listen to this - they want to be entertained by slick and practiced professionals. However, someone who is interested in this music, has to start somewhere - and I can tell you, singing at home in from of the mirror is a lot easier than in front of an audience!!
Singing in font of others - particularly peers - is a very daunting task, not one to be taken lightly.

On a related front - While I had the mind and body to do it - for most of my life I was a Morris Dancer. I came to it first as a 9 year old at school - and at first I didn?t think much of it - I wasn?t allowed to dance with the girls, and I didn?t live in an area where it had any real significance.
Later, some 12 or so years later, when I became interested in Folk Song - some of my friends at a local club wanted to start a team - so I said - Yes - I have done that. After a couple of years it took over my life. As a Socialist - I loved the fact that when you danced in a team of 6, you were not 6 individuals, but a team of one!
To me this was an important lesson in my development as a person. It affected me to such a extent that when I need a job, it took one in the middle of the Morris Dance world centre - Oxfordshire.
Soon I was dancing where so many had danced in history, and I even got involved helping to revive the dances in villages where they originated.
I felt invigorated and in my element, particularly dancing in our village and doing the old village dances. That is the real voice of the community, song comes close - but doing it with others of a like mind is magical.

Now I can no longer dance - I spend time researching and singing songs - the ones I like or that may have a particular relevance to me - nobody else - just me. I don?t expect anyone to do things the way I do, or tell others they can?t do it the way they want to. I am still a Socialist???and I will continue to sing my songs for as long as I have wit and breath so to do.
Folk Clubs are the only real outlet for people like me, and I am sure I am not alone.

Tim Radford


27 Oct 17 - 03:30 PM (#3885137)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Raggytash

I am astounded by your arrogance Mr Carroll. Everyone single poster here has acknowledged the work you have done over a prolonged period of time. Every single poster understands that work such as this has been vital in preserving the "folk tradition".

How do you respond ............... "Patronising lip service Raggy - we did what we did to share what we got not to win compliments - clear?"

You are an utterly unsufferable boring, tedious, belligerent, bragging, bigotted old man.

During the course of my involvement in folk music (almost 60 years) I have often met with people who said I don't like folk music. I invariably asked them why, without exception they replied "it's all hey noni no and diddly diddly"

That my "friend" is down in large part to stupid old bastards like you.

I will go further, It is because of people like you that folk music has such a bad press and such a limited appeal.

You say you love the music but you crucify it with your every word.

Folk music would be better without you.


(My apologys to the rest of you good people. We've all beaten around the bush, we've all tried to be diplomatic and we've all tried to acknowledge Jim's work over the years, all to no avail)

I for one am thoroughly pissed off with this arrogant old twat!


27 Oct 17 - 04:07 PM (#3885146)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: The Sandman

I think foLk music gets a bad press in England, Be cause comedians like morecambe and wise kenneth williams the two ronnies take the mickey out of it and perpetrate the nonny nony myth, they have had access to millions of viewers in the past to indulge in a campaign that has made the noony nonny picture firm in peoples minds, in ireland it has in the past been part of a young countries campaign to establish a folk culture, kind of intertwined with nationalism at times and the historical struggle against british rule


27 Oct 17 - 04:24 PM (#3885149)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Big Al Whittle

not a nice thing to say Raggytash.

its bleeding obvious that my fathers house has many more mansions than Jim or the gang of 1954 imagined when it comes to folk music. the people have voted with their feet. they organise theor folk clubs the way they want them.

the English folk club is the envy of many foreigners. they love the fact that we can walk in off the street and publish our songs, or perform with great freedom. its a great movement, that is constantly developing. Mac Coll's generation deserve a lot of the credit for starting it, but the genie was out of the bottle - a great artistic movement could never be tied down to one man or even one coterie's vision.

the basis of us surviving is decent behaviour and courtesy - whatever the provocation.


27 Oct 17 - 04:46 PM (#3885151)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Raggytash

I know Al, I did offer an apology to all the good people involved in folk music, a music I have been aware off all my life. That apology was heartfelt.

I know I should not have reacted as I did but there comes a point when I am sick to death of Jim's "I know everything" routine.

I stand by my statement that attitudes like his have put more people off folk music than they have ever drawn in though.

In almost 50 years old being involved in folk club as audience, then performer, then organiser I have met his ilk on many, many occasions, they are a pain in the arse.

You can quote me on that one.


27 Oct 17 - 05:05 PM (#3885156)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: TheSnail

"I have insulted nobody Nick"
Jim Carroll

THis is the type of behaviour that turns these discussions into slanging matches..... I suggest you go to the dry cleaners and get your cloth ears sorted out

It might be nowadays in an English club scene that couldn't find it's folk arse with both hands

You are a self obsessed pratt

No you didn't Bryan - you thought you might score a few points

The nonsense lies in your argument that to challenge something that is apparently wrong is to insult those involved Bryan

Doesn't make too much difference to the fact that your boorish bad manners makes you a bullying lout though   

Grow up - it's a long way from the schoolyard

At one toime the clubs were part of this passing on of songs and information and I was part of that scene - that's why I bother
Now, apparently, it's been taken over by a bunch who neither understand or particularly like the music that put them together in the first place

What a sad, sorry bunch you really are - no definition, no objective for your clubs - reduced to name calling - no wonder the club scene is a mess

You people have now reduced this to childish name calling

I've made my offer - like the true heroes you all are, you've all scrambled to take advantage of it
It is nice to talk to people with open minds - not

No club needs a workable definition - it needs a committee theat lives up to its promise of folk songs -- not at the exclusion of anything else but as a rule of thumb - if you are anything to go by, obviously not yours

You obviuouslky don't give a toss for the importance of folk song, I don't get the imprssion that you even like it

your minds are tighter closed than ducks arses - and you call me intransigent!!!!

You need to know what folk song sounds like, which probably excludes you
Such a decision requires an understanding of and commitment to folk song
If MacColl, Rossleson, Pickford, Bogle, Jack Warshaw et al can work it out I'm sure you can find someone to work it out for you Bryan

If the club scene is populated by people like you we may as well all pack it in and wait for the next Beyonce hit
The flk scene was created to allow us to escape from the arrogant oppression of the pop conveyor belt - people with your attitude place us right back on the assembly line

I saw it and consider it irrelevant Bryan - the world does not start and end in Sussex

My unpleasant comments were made in anger, your ongoing nastiness seems a built in part of your character - you seem incapable of addressing any comment I make, reasonably or otherwise, without snide and abuse - that has been your attitude of several years, yet, as now, you are up on your chair screaming "insult" when your own behaviour is thrown back at you.
I sincerely apologise for sinking to your level - it's one of my weaknesses.

And as I pointed out - Sussex isn't the centre of the Universe (and then went on to comment on your previous suggestion of our all jumping on the train and going down to your club)

You really are the nsty piece of work I have been warned against, aren't you
I had no assumptions of what ahhens oat your club and have vnever commented on such matters
I have never been and, if your behaviour is reciprocated in others, nor would I want to.
I do listen to what people say and respond to it which is more than you or others do

There are, I believe, true lovers of folk song to salvage something from the rubble created by the Masonic lodges that call themselves folk clubs - if I didn't believe that, I really wouldn't bother.

I have never said anything different Nick - what concerns me is the ignorance and indifference dominates today's revival

Have any of you people done anything remotely like THIS or do you just sit singing to each other in your little gentlemen's private clubs
Once more - how dare you - what are you people on?

Dave apparently wants me to lay out my wares as if I was selling frocks

Patronising lip service Raggy - we did what we did to share what we got not to win compliments - clear?

Why are you trolling Vic?
You have taken no part in this to any extent

I do like spending time with adults!!
If I had nothing to say, none of you would have bothered responding to what I have posted - instead, you gang up like a pack of rats
A sad case of hitting a raw nerve, I think

"I have insulted nobody Nick"
Glass houses and stones Bryan
Jim Carroll


I really have got better things to do with my time.


27 Oct 17 - 07:14 PM (#3885182)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Jack Campin

Maybe, but you're a mad old git who knows how to edit and what the return key is for.
Yeah Jack - quite agree
Maybe we should confine these discussions to the educated and computer literate and keep us oiks out


Trying to edit your text for readability is a simple matter of consideration for other people: getting your message received with as little strain on the reader as possible.

And there is very little to it. You just need to care.

You can see how other people do it - in any thread some messages will take less effort than others. (Yours will almost always be the least readable, which is why I rarely read any of them all the way through and ignore most of them entirely; my vision is not that great, and muddle hurts).

All you need to do is look, and see what kind of writing and layout features make the difference.

For that matter, you don't even need to look - I've seen many posts from blind members of web forums that made better use of whitespace than you do. They just took the trouble to understand how their messages would come over. Which usually meant asking somebody and listening to the answers.

If you were singing in the way you write, you'd be facing away from the audience and droning in a monotone at auctioneer speed with a mouthful of burger.


27 Oct 17 - 07:25 PM (#3885184)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: RTim

I genuinely would like to hear Jim Carroll sing - are there any examples??
The problem finding anything online is - there seems to be there is an American musician with the same name.........There was a Tim Radford singer in Canada, but he is no longer with us; but it is possible to hear me online - were as Jim - nothing????..... does anyone have anything - Jim ???


Tim Radford


27 Oct 17 - 08:08 PM (#3885186)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Steve Shaw

Right.


First off, I'm not qualified. I haven't set foot in a folk club for twenty years. However...

Without the Tree Inn Folk club I wouldn't be 'ere. John and Cheryl Maughan ran that club magnificently. They had a guest every other week, and what guests. I won't regale you with a list of names (or maybe I will), but it's hard to think of any of the great and good of the time, the early to mid-90s, that they didn't manage to book. In that intimate environment (ready for a bit of name-dropping?) I bantered with Martin Carthy, Roy Bailey, Chris Wood, Andy Cutting, all the guys in Four Men And A Dog, Ron Kavana, Davy Steele, Chris Parkinson, Brian Peters (Hi Brian!), Marilyn Middleton-Pollock, Andy Irvine, Liam O'Flynn, Sid Kipper, Show Of Hands, Pauline Cato, Ian Carr, Kate Rusby, Karen Tweed, Tom McConville...stop me somebody...dammit, John got Tom Paxton when I was away on holiday...On every occasion I got to do a "floor spot" (bloody ghastly affected expression...) or two, either on my own or with my kids or with anyone who could strum along to a bloke playing Irish tunes on the diatonic harmonica. On non-guest nights I got to play a bit more. That club was one of the best things that ever happened to me. Its warm embrace gave me the courage to get out there and strut me stuff in public.

But the singers always got priority. The average song was three times the length of my average set of two or three tunes. Often even longer than that. Now you are a punter in a pub in which you are buying beer. You have to keep quiet while the singers are singing. Some of the "floor spot" songs lasted eight or ten minutes. And you'd probably heard them eight or ten times before if you'd been a regular. These guys were not superstars. We egged them on, we clapped them, we smiled at them. But I'll tell you summat. The majority of them were shite. Tragically, a lot of the shite ones thought they were actually really good. Mrs Steve and I never really got that. If you were a shite harmonica player, at least you were done and dusted in three or four minutes, but if you were a shite singer strumming shitely on your cheap, shite guitar doing the same shite song wot you wrote earlier or wot you were murdering from a "folk source," and then you got a second shout, you could be wailing on for fifteen or twenty minutes.

I don't know what folk clubs are like these days. We transmogrified ourselves into a session that lasted twenty years, free beer for all involved. The amount of fun we had was multiplied by twenty times and we actually got people to come to the pub in droves on our nights. The real pub, not a dingy back room with an atmosphere like a chapel of rest until we managed to rescue it if there were enough of us.

We heard it all, Beatles songs, self-penned songs, Show Of Hands copy songs, Pogues aongs, you name it. Also, some real traditional folk songs. Thing is, if they were good they were good. But we knew what we were getting, we knew it was often not traditional but it was the best we could get. But at least we knew.

You blokes are not listening to Jim. You may be running, or singing in, your own folk club, or your club and the one in the next town as well, or whatever. Thing is, that does not qualify you in any way as a folk guru. My extensive experience with artists that enables me to name-drop does not make me a folk guru. Jim has been studiously collecting and archiving folk song for decades. You have not. He has mixed it with many of the truly traditional singers of old, including travelling people. You have not. He was a close intimate of Ewan MacColl for Christ's sake. When it comes to folk music and the folk music tradition I am the ultimate thickie (though I could quite likely lose most of you on traditional Irish tunes). But neither you nor I can hold a candle to Jim. He has his ways of putting things. Actually, I like his ways of putting things. He will always address what is put to him and he is full of passion for a subject that has been the love of his life. He's a right bugger at times. I could wring his bloody neck below the line on many an occasion. But when it comes to folk song I know that he knows a damn sight more than I do and from what I've seen here he knows a damn sight more than you do. Jim don't need me to appeal to you to cut him slack. Jim can cut his own slack. Just shut up and listen and leave you rather parochial egos at the door!

(Christ, Shaw, you don't half know how to lose friends...)


27 Oct 17 - 08:12 PM (#3885187)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Steve Shaw

"I genuinely would like to hear Jim Carroll sing - are there any examples??"

If you posted a thing like like that on The Session website, Jeremy would kick you off. Quite right too.


27 Oct 17 - 08:30 PM (#3885191)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: RTim

"If you posted a thing like like that on The Session website, Jeremy would kick you off. Quite right too."

Why??? Isn't it a genuine question?? Who is Jeremy and why does he wield that power?
I - again - Genuinely would like to know why..........we are not talking about National security here - It's Folk Music.......


Tim Radford


27 Oct 17 - 09:03 PM (#3885193)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Steve Shaw

Nope. This is a discussion forum and you do not get to ask anyone to prove themselves by putting up their stuff. Talk about a slippery slope. I don't ask you to prove your credentials in sound and you don't get to ask me to my credentials in sound. If you really can't see how negative that is, well too bad.   Do your googling.


27 Oct 17 - 09:07 PM (#3885194)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Big Al Whittle

can i just point out Steve the title of this thread.

it isn't about what Jim thinks about folk music - its about what is happening in our folk clubs.
Jim thinks we have sunk to level of decadence from the ideals of the Critics Group and Ewan MacColl in his magnificence.
I don't. I think they serve the needs of our society and as such give an avenue of expression which most countries could only dream of, and is a great embodiment of our political and artistic freedom.

if you want hamper and restrict the civil freedoms of English citizens - join the club. The tory party would love to dictate that you only sing ballads of the 18th century. in many countries you would be risking death to organise an evening of free expression. it may seem despicable rubbish to Jim and you. i admit at times its trivial and frequently musically awful - but its an important freedom.


27 Oct 17 - 09:13 PM (#3885197)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: RTim

Steve....Jim has asked every one to prove themselves in this thread.

Yes - he has done some great collecting - However, it seems a perfectly reasonable thing to ask about his performances. This thread is about performance - in a club - face to face with your audience. He says the scene is bad..on very little evidence...the proof of the pudding......you can listen to me anytime, why not him?

Fair is fair...........

Tim Radford


28 Oct 17 - 04:28 AM (#3885224)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Johnny J

Steve says "I genuinely would like to hear Jim Carroll sing - are there any examples??"

If you posted a thing like like that on The Session website, Jeremy would kick you off. Quite right too. "

I'm not sure about that. I remember someone asked that about a certain Edinburgh based musician's fiddling playing. ;-))   Examples were found and he is actually very good.

Of course, Jeremy wouldn't have put up with the nonsense here and in many other threads. they would have been closed by now. Quite right too.


28 Oct 17 - 04:37 AM (#3885225)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Jim Carroll

"What most people sing in folk clubs - are songs??"
Then why not just call them song clubs and stop misrepresenting what you do?
"On a related front - While I had the mind and body to do it - for most of my life I was a Morris Dancer."
Did your morris side go in for ballet or hip-hop - if not, why not?
"I am astounded by your arrogance Mr Carroll."
Mr Carroll now Raggy - next stop "Jom" - I have argued my case - you have made it personal - I expected better
"You are an utterly insufferable boring, tedious, belligerent, bragging, bigotted old man."
Ageism again - pity I'm not black, you could have added "uppity nigger"
The rest of your posting is a diatribe of personal hate and abuse
Bryan
Most of those responses were aimed at you and all were latecomers to this thread when the abuse was flying thick and fast from all sides
You have been personally abusive to me from the early days - you have been permamently so here - you sneer, you insult and you bully and bluster
Nothing I have said here comes anywhere near to this Bog Brother Hate-fest from people who really should no better
It is a fine explanation why a serious discussion of folk song has never been an option on this forum
For those of you old enough to remember 1984
"Trying to edit your text for readability is a simple matter of consideration for other people:
Somewhat pathetic Jack - others here understand enough of what I have said to scream their hate at the message
Your elitist argument excludes people from this forum every bit as much as people claim my arguments exclude people from folk song
On the other hand, the last refuge of a scoundrel is to claim they don't understand
"I genuinely would like to hear Jim Carroll sing - are there any examples??"
No there aren't and my ability as a singer has no relevence here - I'm sure if I didn't sing what you people regard as folk song it would be yet another stone to throw at an argument you have studiously refused to address and swamped with almost palpable hate
I started as a singer and was persuaded that the songs I loved were worth the effort of work before they were put before an audience - not particularly high, just accessible enough to be emjoyed
Our work with older singers took up so much time that I fel out of practice so I confined my singing to the people who realised my shortcomings as much as I did
I found recently I still remember my 300-+ repertoire (two thirds traditional - one third contemporary, and having having found a limited venue to sing, have worked up my favourites
I find I enjoy singing more than I ever did, thanks to the people we have met and recorded down the years and, surprisingly, people here seem to enjoy listening to my songs
We have a regular singing/music session that fills up with mainly elderly farmers, mostly who come for the music
A high point happened last year when I was singing MacColl's Tenant Farmer (one of the best compositions of Britain's finest songwriter, who still attracts the type of hate displayed here nearly thirty years after his death).
When I reached the verse where the Farmer and his family are evicted for not paying the bank, an elderly farmer standing next to me roared in my ear "THE BASTARDS"
I would rather have had that than a thousand standing ovations.
As I said, no I don't sing as often as I would like to - I respect the songs too much to not put the work in - unlile the clubs where anything goes anyhow and you can't hear the words for the rattle of crib sheets or see the singer for the glare of mobile phones used to read the words.
You want me on line Tim 'YR 'TIS AGAIN
I don't go in for self promotion - I'm happy to let our singers tell others what we are about
Hopefully there'll be much more next year - maybe we can get them to squeeze Walter Pardon in somewhere as he has found no place in his native England
I did my best to answer the OP's question - as it happens, you people have done that far better than I possibly could
The clubs have fallen into the hands of people who don't know what folk music is, and don't like what little they do know
When you were offered examples of the best of Bitish and International folk song proper, you scattered like frightened sheep before a rottweiler - that is proof positive of the hands our music has fallen into
I only hope that the research side of things have sunk to the level displayed here where folk song is what happens in such clubs
I will continue to respond with my opinions as long as I see ft or until somebody closes this thread - the importance of our music is far important than this display of hate and bad manners


28 Oct 17 - 04:44 AM (#3885226)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Jim Carroll

" have sunk to the level displayed here "
Sould read - have not sunk to the level, of course
Another typo for Jack to hurl
Jim Carroll


28 Oct 17 - 05:12 AM (#3885231)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: TheSnail

Hey Jim! You've got Steve Shaw on your side now. What more could you ask?


28 Oct 17 - 05:17 AM (#3885232)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: GUEST,Peter Laban

Steve @ 27 Oct 17 - 08:08 PM : full thumbs up from me.

And yes I have heard Jim sing on many occasions and would not be able to find fault with.

You guys do realise all this bickering and pettiness on display is reason enough for people like myself never to want set foot inside a folkclub ever, don't you?


28 Oct 17 - 05:35 AM (#3885235)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Big Al Whittle

i don't remember much about my physics lessons - but i do recall Newton saying something about every action having an equal and opposite reaction.

be honest Jim - you push just as much as you get shoved. if you want to stop the venom coming your way, stop spitting it out. its what these guys have done with their lives just as much as you did. you may not reckon much to their efforts as folksingers and club organisers, but they did it to the best of their own lights - and as such its worthy of respect, not condemnation.

it was a creative effort. ....if they'd decided to become serial killers and child molesters, perhaps your tone would be considered measured and commensurate.

being nice doesn't ensure you will be free from criticism - as you will gather from the number of times i have run away from character slurs on mudcat. i know its horrid to be accused unfairly, and i know you are a decent man who is trying to protect what you see as your contribution.

believe me, i understand. unlike Nick i can count the number of folk club bookings i have been offered on one hand - despite what i consider to be a life of artistic integrity. i have had to work as a jobbing musician outside the 'folk' world. perhaps thats why i don't expect or get angry any more at 'the folk scene'.

i understand rejection of your point of view. believe me. but nastiness doesn't do any good.


28 Oct 17 - 05:51 AM (#3885238)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Backwoodsman

Ah but, ah but, ah but...Jim is always 'right', Al, and everyone else is a thick cunt who couldn't find his own arse. We know that's true because Jim is always 'right', and he knows everything about folk-clubs, despite not having set foot in one for years.

Except when he's wrong.

On a happier note - went to see 'The Mile Roses' (Edwina Hayes, Kate Bradley, Simon Howarth) last night at Roots Music Club in Doncaster. An excellent evening of great singing and musicianship, and finely crafted songs and arrangements. Didn't hear one single comment about 'definitions', but everyone seemed very happy.


28 Oct 17 - 05:53 AM (#3885239)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Backwoodsman

Bradley? Bloody predictive text! BRAMLEY! 😎


28 Oct 17 - 05:57 AM (#3885240)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Jim Carroll

"Hey Jim! You've got Steve Shaw on your side now. What more could you ask?"
That's all right Bryan - you've got yourself
"Sides" is about packs, not intelligent arguments
"be honest Jim - you push just as much as you get shoved."
And you be honest Al - you are one of the few who have graciously accepted my offer and have totally failed to comment on any of the contents, indicating exactly the disinterest in folk music that I am referring to
Ten years ago I would have been mortified to find myself raising my head above the parapet as I have here
I have begun to realise that, if the music I am arguing for to survive you need to give as good as you get
Addres you remarks on nastiness to all concerned if you are genuine in your co=ncerns
Then, apart from the mudslinging, go and look at the level of openly expressed hate that is taking place here - none from me.
How many of you people have addressed my point about folk music being the voice of ordinary people ?
I'll tell you how many - not one of you - not even to deny it.
For me, it's not just enjoying the songs, which I do immensely - it's about what those songs represent for us as human beings
Jim Carroll


28 Oct 17 - 06:07 AM (#3885245)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Steve Shaw

"can i just point out Steve the title of this thread.

it isn't about what Jim thinks about folk music - its about what is happening in our folk clubs."

Sure you can point it out. And can I just point out that the bulk of my lengthy post was about what has happened during my very limited experience of folk clubs, right on topic, I'd say. A small amount of it was intended as a lament for the bickering from people whose knowledge of just a few of the hundreds of folk clubs in this country, whilst slightly better than mine, falls way short of making them folkie gurus. You might get just a bit closer to earning that (quite likely unwanted) accolade if you've spent decades working with traditional singers and collecting and archiving folk song. I think that deserves a little more respect than has occasionally been shown in this thread. Humbly yours, as ever. And stop feeling so threatened, Snail. This is opinions, not an expose on the truth of evolution (some gremlin will not let me use the required accent).


28 Oct 17 - 06:14 AM (#3885246)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: TheSnail

How many of you people have addressed my point about folk music being the voice of ordinary people ? Jim Carroll

only that which has the germs of great art must be let loose on the simple-minded public whom we invite to sample our wares. Ralph Vaughan Williams

I have no problem wit anything in the article, Jim Carroll


28 Oct 17 - 06:21 AM (#3885247)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Steve Shaw

Jim does not need defending by me, John, especially on a topic where angels fearing to tread have a bloody sight more sense than me. But Jim apologises when he gets things wrong more than everyone else here put together. On the matter of folk song it's my opinion that he's quite likely to be right most of the time. Certainly well worth listening to. The faux-outrage directed at him in this thread looks to me like a microcosm of everything that's wrong with the English "folk scene." Plenty of bees in plenty of bonnets.


28 Oct 17 - 06:36 AM (#3885248)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Vic Smith

And still it goes on.
And still the contributors have not learned their lesson.
And still we are allowing ourselves to be led into engaging with displays of morbid obsession and dishonesty.
Now, I admit that it is difficult not to rise to the bait of false accusation and provocation. For example, I could object to the post of 27 Oct 17 - 12:45 PM that I did not make the statements (emphasised in red) which, plainly, I did not..... but what would be the point? Would I get a reasoned response?

The way it is going, this thread is likely to be closed down very soon, but wouldn't it be better if we could show restraint, self-regulate and not respond to posts that are designed to annoy?

There was one good point about the post that I have mentioned -
Why are you trolling Vic?
I must admit, I laughed out loud at that one. And I must apologise for "going over to the dark side"!


28 Oct 17 - 06:38 AM (#3885249)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Steve Shaw

Quite right, Johnny J. There was a rumpus on The Session about a bloke who appointed himself the expert on all things traditional Irish. Strenuous efforts were made to get evidence that he could actually play much of anything at all. The evidence was never forthcoming though one or two samples of some poor playing were dug up eventually. Repeated requests on the forum for him to prove himself were clamped down on heavily and repeat offenders were suspended. Yer man in Edinburgh had plenty of witnesses to his accomplished playing. I've come round to thinking that pressurising someone to prove their musical talent is improper and inappropriate behaviour on a discussion forum. It will not end well.


28 Oct 17 - 06:38 AM (#3885250)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Jim Carroll

I have always assumed that Williams was speaking ironically - I was referring to the article as an analysis of the conference itself anyway, not the individual, often contradictory contributions.
It presented, as far as I can judge, a fair summation of the proceedings and the problems raised
I ma grateful for both Peter's and Steve's common sense interventions, not because they support my case, but because they help remove the sour taste from my mouth.
Peter if a neighbor who I like to regard a friend, though I see far too little of him and hear his wonderful pping far less
Having heard him play, you realise how much he and his fellow musicians put in to achieving the level they have
I get tired of being told bp people not unsimilar to those here, that the same is not necessary for folk singing and "we are only here to enjoy ourselves"
This is Peter with another friend, the late Kitty Hayes, who can be heard singing on our website
EASY, AIN'T IT?
Jim Carroll


28 Oct 17 - 06:39 AM (#3885251)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Backwoodsman

I think a lot of the outrage - certainly my own feelings - is because Jim has been aggressive and insulting throughout the thread, yet tries to play the victim and claim complete innocence. Absolute hypocrisy.

Some of the 'attitude' here is apppalling - I completely agree with that - but, as the old saying goes, "It takes two to tango", and Jim has been as abusive and insulting as almost anyone else. It's his utter refusal to acknowledge his part in the nastiness, even though a fair number of examples have been quoted back at him, that's getting up my nose and, I suspect the noses of many others.


28 Oct 17 - 06:41 AM (#3885252)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Backwoodsman

That was to Steve, BTW, in response to the post of 06:21 AM.


28 Oct 17 - 06:43 AM (#3885253)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Jim Carroll

"He hit me first sir"
Grow up baccy - you are as offensive as anybody here and your contribution has been negligible and has sunk to the level of accusations of mental instability
Jim Carroll


28 Oct 17 - 07:21 AM (#3885256)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Backwoodsman

No Jim, not 'he hit me first'. I'm happy to admit my faults, I've said things I now regret. But you obviously aren't going to admit yours. But no matter - your non-stop aggression, abuse, and insults are here for everyone to see. Only a charlatan or an imbecile would continue in complete denial.

I'll make up my own mind which of those you are.


28 Oct 17 - 07:28 AM (#3885257)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Jim Carroll

"Would I get a reasoned response? "
My apologies Vic - it was a confusion on my part
The statement was from Dave and I thought I was responding his denial whan I posted it
26 Oct 17 - 03:33 AM
A genuine mistake in the melee - I have found it a little difficult to keep up at times
Jim Carroll


28 Oct 17 - 07:55 AM (#3885260)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Vic Smith

Apology accepted - but Jim, you write at 27 Oct 17 - 12:45 PM and elsewhere about assisting and presenting material at Ireland's top seats of learning. I can only hope that you give more concern to the views others, less rigidity, more open-mindedness, greater care in quoting others, more attention to detail in what you write than you have shown here. I mean where exactly is Luimerick University? You cannot go on blaming your keyboard,


28 Oct 17 - 08:01 AM (#3885261)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Rob Naylor

Vic: I think he's hybridising "Limerick" and "Luimneach" (Irish name of the place) :-)


28 Oct 17 - 08:19 AM (#3885263)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Jim Carroll

"I can only hope that you give more concern to the views others,"
Limerick World musc Centre at the University is heavily committed to Irish Traditional Music proper without needing to debate the issue
As far as my typing is concerned, I'm afraid I have to continue to blame my keyboard
I came to typing quite late in life and have leaned to two-finger quite fast
I have an old keyboard which allows me the facility to wind back the position of the cursor on sound files when I am transcribing
I am sure there are newer models available which do the same job, but so far I have been unable to find one which meets my needs
Sorry for that
Thanks for the explanation on my behalf Rob, but no - it was this ****** keyboard
Jim Carroll


28 Oct 17 - 09:16 AM (#3885265)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Steve Shaw

If you nitpick about someone's spelling or punctuation, you leave yourself wide open. So, Vic, who are YOU blaming for ending your post with a comma?

Neither you nor Jim deserve picking up for spelling, grammar and typos. If I get picked up, I often succumb to the temptation to go for the jugular of the nitpicker, which is generally very easy. Jim types fast and types a lot. If you can understand what he's saying, just leave it. Right?


28 Oct 17 - 11:51 AM (#3885277)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: The Sandman

Nearly all the professional and semi professional musicians who play in folk clubs spend hours practising and take pride in trying to do a good performance.
at the present moment there is an over supply of performers for amount of gigs available, particularly male guitarists, if young people want guest booking folk clubs to continue, they need to start organising festivals and clubs.


28 Oct 17 - 12:53 PM (#3885284)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Big Al Whittle

well....

first off i have asked Raggytash to behave better, so its not just you i have made this simple request to.

secondly i haven't responded to your kind gift of music, because i could see they were works of great substance and as such worthy of many careful listenings.

thirdly whatever the writers of Arthur MacBride, Thorneymoor Woods, Just as the tide was flowing, Brigg Fair or The Cornish Nightingale were. I can assure you they were not ordinary people. They were writers of extraordinary ability.


28 Oct 17 - 01:26 PM (#3885288)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: GUEST,Nick Dow

Just to clear up the typo problem. If sometimes you type your reply, on a separate system like 'word' so that you might be able to make sure you are making your points clearly and lucidly at you leisure (God help us all!) then copy and paste in, the system here gets unapproachable sulky and self righteous and spreads a lot of horrible question marks all over your printed reply instead of commas and full stops.
Surprisingly and tempting as it seems to fall into the obvious comparison this is nothing to do with Screaming Lord Carroll. Just a glitch in the system. You really don't know how much I wish to carry on with unwarranted comparisons but I'll stop now and disappear off to my gig.


28 Oct 17 - 01:38 PM (#3885289)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: GUEST,The Mudcat Moaner

Wow over 600 posts, and still the guardians of folk argue among themselves, keep it up lads and we could get to 1000 at this rate!!


28 Oct 17 - 01:41 PM (#3885290)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Joe Offer

I've received a request to close the thread. Can't say I'm ready to close it yet, but there has been some infighting that tends to stall the discussion and make it go circular. If that keeps up, I'll have to call an end to it.
Please keep the petty squabbles out of this thread.
Thanks.
-Joe-


28 Oct 17 - 01:41 PM (#3885291)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Jim Carroll

"Screaming Lord Carroll"
Can wes stop this Nick - it really is beneath you?
"They were writers of extraordinary ability."
I usually put this in quotation marks or with a question mark Al
Of course they we, but that's how they/we were regarded and still are to a great extent
That's why the songs are more important than just 'entertainment', but they have to be that too
Jim Carroll


28 Oct 17 - 01:59 PM (#3885292)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: GUEST

"Wow over 600 posts, and still the guardians of folk argue among themselves, keep it up lads and we could get to 1000 at this rate!!"
Glad that you're happy.
As was said above, in a slightly different but relevant context, it's about quality, not quantity, and there's been far too much of the latter, and very little of the former. Glad also to see that the moderators have woken up. I don't ever recall so much personal abuse on any discussion on "Mudcat". Please put an end to this now.
And a personal peeve - could you please all stop using the phrase "ordinary people" ? Anyone using it, ever, is a patronising, smug, superior bastard in my book.


28 Oct 17 - 02:00 PM (#3885293)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: GUEST,Nick Dow

Give over Jim! It was a joke! Stop taking yourself so seriously.
kind regards
'Stomping Nick Dow'


28 Oct 17 - 02:58 PM (#3885299)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Jim Carroll

"Give over Jim! It was a joke!"
Sorry Nick - the effects of shell-shock
" still the guardians of folk argue among themselves,"
There are no "guardians of folk"
" Please put an end to this now."
Why?
This is the nearest to a half decent discussion on the meaning of "folk song" that anybody has even been able to manage - long may it thrive as far as I'm concerned
If it can't here, then where?
""ordinary people" "
Just explained that to Al
I'm a time served electrician (rtrd.) - nothing patronising, smug or superior here, though some may quibble about bastard, I'm fighting my own corner.
I would normally use the term 'working class' but that would awaken all sorts of sleeping giants
I'll try to remember the inverted commas or exclamation marks in future
Jim Caaarroll


28 Oct 17 - 05:52 PM (#3885324)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Steve Shaw

Let's just see if it can be sweetened a bit first, Joe. I personally am no guardian of any "folk scene." I'm a guardian of going out having a damn good time playing/singing music IN THE SPIRIT of our long legacy but refusing to be hidebound. Not pretending that Pogues or Dylan or Geldof are "folk" or anything remotely like it. I neither think they are, would claim they are, nor give a damn whether they are. I know what's folk and what isn't, more or less, and, as a sort of eclectically-minded bloke (though sod jazz), I enjoy anything that's rendered well. And I don't think that any tradition worth its salt need feel threatened by incursions by other influences. Life's rich tapestry an' all that. "Worth its salt" being the operative phrase. Discuss...


28 Oct 17 - 06:12 PM (#3885326)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: GUEST

You call this a "half decent discussion" ?
Why should a "time-served electrician" be classed as "ordinary" ?


28 Oct 17 - 06:16 PM (#3885327)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Jack Campin

This is the nearest to a half decent discussion on the meaning of "folk song" that anybody has even been able to manage

I'm not very interested in that, and it's quite irrelevant to the the original poster's point - which Steve Shaw picked up on a few messages back: a lot of what happens in folk clubs and singarounds is shite. This has nothing to do with whether it's genuinely traditional or not. It's to do with whether it's shite or not. You can decide whether or not to be shite no matter if you're doing a Child ballad or something you wrote last week.


28 Oct 17 - 06:53 PM (#3885330)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: RTim

What we need is a Video Camera in every Folk Club, and a Committee sitting in a central location deciding if the act is good enough or not.
If you fail the test, your performance is passed to all club organisers and you will be banned if you even try to enter an event?.

That will sort the wheat from the chaff!

Tim Radford
(Someone mentioned 1984 recently.........but I do have my tongue in my cheek)
You can't do smily Emoji on Mudcat............


28 Oct 17 - 07:02 PM (#3885332)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: RTim

Oh - I guess I should say that I am a Time Served Sheetmetal worker........(haven't done it for 45 years..........) and Jim - this is NOT a dig against you...........

Tim Radford


28 Oct 17 - 07:10 PM (#3885333)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: GUEST,Nick Dow

Tell you what, lets try another approach. There is a lot of bad singing going on in clubs and there is a lot of woeful ignorance about the Song Tradition as well. Now the question is how are we to get persons of any age interested again in this beautiful music of the people. Well I suggest not by rowing among ourselves for a start. If I was a young man interested in folk Song I would have run a mile by now if I had seen this thread. So does anybody have any ideas? Could something like the 'Not the finger in the ear' TV show updated be of any use? I know it was decades ago and had a silly title but it might be a start. Maybe a documentary featuring all the younger performers around might help. I am just grasping at straws here, and somebody else with a more considered post might weigh in here. When it comes right down to it we all want the same thing don't we?


28 Oct 17 - 07:15 PM (#3885334)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Steve Shaw

The only thing that troubles me slightly about that, Jack, is that, way back in 1992, when I was railroaded into picking up my out-of-tune six-quid Hohner Weekender in C to play Star Of The County Down, aged 41, I was utter shite. But the bloody folk club gave me the chance, and they clapped and cheered and I spent the next week hiding in my bedroom in case I bumped into anyone in Bude who'd either heard me in person or ridiculed me to his mates. That's how I reacted for years until I realised that I wasn't that bad after all (after a lot more woodshedding), and it was OK to keep my eyes open when I was playing, etc. But an awful lot of floor-spotters thought that the very fact that they were called up meant that they were shit-'ot. The folk club ethos, unfortunately, was incredibly non-judgemental, which led to many people acquiring the misguided feeling that they were dead good. But being even ever so slightly judgemental would have been so alienating that the club would have collapsed. A bit of a conundrum. So we endured a fair smattering of complete shite, though real jewels lurked in that crock of shite. As I said, the majority of the people in the back room had come to listen, not to play. They'd bought their expensivo pints on a Friday night yet were expected to keep quiet for long stretches. On a Friday night. Having paid mucho dough for their pints. I was playing, but even I thought that was a bit of a bugger. It isn't religion, is it. Is it??

What I'm saying is that damn near everyone who sticks their heads above the parapet, musically speaking, for the first few times may be utter shite, but that the folk club ethos, with its encouraging atmosphere and lack of judgementalism (is that a word?), is fertile ground for getting people going. Well, maybe. I haven't been in one for a long time. It's a bit like being a cradle Catholic. It got you going, gave you your moral compass, etc., but you couldn't abandon it fast enough once you grew up. Having cheerfully moved from a folk club in its demise to a really successful and long-lived pub session (in which purists were frowned on, I hasten to add), I found fun. Real fun. And, actually, just as much truly traditional music, if not more. I mean, what's life all about?


28 Oct 17 - 07:34 PM (#3885336)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: RTim

Not a Finger in The Ear Show on video - for those, like me who didn't see it first time around.......
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OOlunxBdw2M


Tim Radford


28 Oct 17 - 07:39 PM (#3885337)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Jack Campin

the folk club ethos, with its encouraging atmosphere and lack of judgementalism (is that a word?), is fertile ground for getting people going

I was once, but it's been the victim of a cohort effect, with the majority of regulars now being the ones who never did get going. Whereas the ones who did get going (like you) got up and went.


28 Oct 17 - 08:08 PM (#3885339)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Steve Shaw

That's it in a nutshell, Jack.

But the bloody thing got me going at 41...


28 Oct 17 - 08:44 PM (#3885342)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: TheSnail

Absolutely splendid evening with The Dovetail Trio. Three young people with their hearts firmly rooted in the tradition as well as being superb performers.

Excellent collection of floor singers as well.

The sort of evening that makes you realise why you do it.


28 Oct 17 - 08:58 PM (#3885344)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Big Al Whittle

well in answer to Nick - i think the answer is in the way we disseminate our history.

theres a sort of museum of fishing in Yarmouth - no mention of Sam Larner in it. none of the songs.

You could go to Brigg in Lincolnshire and never see any mention of Joseph Taylor.

we really need to raise the consciousness of folksong. people should know their local songs, and make it part of the pride we have in where we come from.

i also think, the hatred of people like the spinners, the corries, the yetties who tried to make folk songs understandable to the man in the street has been counterproductive. I love the way American folksingers don't seem to have to strain to sound 'ethnic' in the way that our revivalists do. its not edgy, or clever - its bloody dull conformity to an aesthetic that dispossesses the working classes of their heritage.


28 Oct 17 - 10:11 PM (#3885346)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: GUEST

Have lost hours of my life reading this thread, People who I would be with in your average group of 100 slagging each other over minute differences, compared to the chart, loving, X Factor, Karaoke loving majority.

I have a strong interest in traditional folk song. I used to live in Wolverhampton and was always disappointed that clubs which described themselves as Folk Clubs offered so little that I would consider folk ( you'll notice that I have not offered my definition of folk).

I moved to Southampton and fell in with some Morris men who sing much more of what I consider Traditional English songs and I enjoy singing with them. I go to 3 local sessions which each describe themselves as folk clubs. Each is very different. Each is a reflection of the people who are willing to keep the opportunity for others to come and show what they've got open.

That's the reality. It's got nothing to do with what is correct or anything else. It's a niche where people who are willing to make the effort run things to their own taste and you can't blame them for doing so.


28 Oct 17 - 10:15 PM (#3885347)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: RobbieWilson

Sorry, that was me. I hate posting annonymously


29 Oct 17 - 02:52 AM (#3885352)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: GUEST,Nick Dow

Good point Al. So how do we present Joseph Taylor as anything other than and old man singing songs to those who may be interested. McColl did the song carrier programmes which changed my life, but I was already trying to sing then. Jim you must have some positive ideas here surely?


29 Oct 17 - 03:18 AM (#3885354)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Jim Carroll

Robbie Wilson's post is where this should have been from the very beginning - a breath of fresh air, as far as I am concerned.
I like he, walked away from the scene when it failed to live up to what it promised - that for me, is the only relevance to a definition as far as I am concerned, though people have brought it up as an argument as if it was a hard and fast rule book - in fifty odd years, I have never seen '54 used as such - in policy clubs, that was a guide to the type of sound you would hear if you walked through the door.
Taking the arguments here at face value, that is no longer the case - not in England anyway.
I have no interest in hip-hop or heavy metal or 'the sound of the sixties' (anymore) - I don't suppose any of the devotees to that side of music have any interest in Harry Cox or Joe Heaney, or Sam Larner.
That is why it is a con to claim one is the other - it's getting people though the door on false pretences

"i also think, the hatred of people like the spinners"
It's never been a question of "hatred" Al - certainly not with me
I was introduced to folk music by The Spinners, who sang a basic and simplified version of folk song - I was grateful for that introduction, but after a couple of years I grew a little bored with the sameness, and was moving on when I was introduced to a wider and more absorbing aspect of folk song - that's why I stayed around until now

I find folk song one of the most pleasureable and thought-provoking forms of song there is as an entertainment - for me, there is a wider side to it, but that's me, I don't expect others to share myinterest in that side of it.
At the same time, I do expect that when I go to a folk club I am given something that lives up to its title to some degree - the impression I get here is that many clubs have decided that folk songs isn't for them but the club scene is a handy venue for their type of music and usurped both the clubs and the title
That does nobody any favours.

I believe there is still a great deal of mileage in folk song at its best as an entertainment
Ireland has always had a reasonable following for its national song, particularly the emigration and the political songs
A few years ago, a couple of singers/researchers from Wexford, with the co-operation of The National Library of Ireland, embarked on a project entitled 'Man, Woman and Child' and put on a series of free daytime concerts of unaccompanied Child Ballads in various parts of the country
All of a sudden, these ballads were springing up like mushrooms, in clubs and in singing sessions.
They are now moving towards what I believe Britain has moved away from - a revival of traditional folksong as an entertainment
It's never too late - I hope
Jim Carroll


29 Oct 17 - 03:36 AM (#3885355)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: GUEST,Nick Dow

I watched all Man woman and Child on YouTube. Loved it. Now where is the UK equivalent? Well Bryan is doing a sterling job, maybe we need to film some of the workshops?


29 Oct 17 - 03:41 AM (#3885356)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Jim Carroll

Sorry Nick - cross posted, though my post contains a little of what you asked
The songs of Joseph Taylor et al have survived, sometimes for centuries, because of their universal and timeless themes - they talk about something that touches and moves us all
I remember Ewan at a meeting describing Phil Tanner's lovely rendition of 'Banks of Sweet Primroses' as sounding like "a young man, full of life, going out looking for his oats on a Summer morning"
Been there - done that - that's what our folk songs still provoke in me.

I once sang too many songs too many times - I learned a lot of them because I needed them for the amount of singing I did
Now I've come back to some of them, I find they work differently - I'm singing to move me, not the audience
A couple of times I've found myself choking up in a song because of the sheer power of its words - I can never remember that happening in the old days.

When we recorded the blind Traveller, Mary Delaney, she would break down in some of her songs, describing them as "too heavy" - particularly her Lord Randal' "Buried in Kilkenny"
WE thought it was a technical problem - it wasn't - it was an emotional one
Similarly, she would burst out laughing in her funny songs - it took four goes for us to get 'Donnelly" (The Jolly Tinker') and Kilkenny Louse House.
She moved herself and in doing so, she moved her listeners
That's the uniqueness of folk songs for me - you can make them your own - part of you
Jim Carroll


29 Oct 17 - 03:44 AM (#3885357)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: The Sandman

England and Ireland are two countries that are very different culturally.
My experience is that in Ireland song writing about local happenings    is much more prevalent, traditional music and song is much closer to the mainstream and is not ridiculed as much by comedians and establishment media.
I believe the strength of English folk clubs is the opportunity it gives for home made music., long may that continue whether its skiffle blues or Child ballads, whilst people are making their own music, socialising and interacting in the ways people have done for hundreds of years, there is hope.


29 Oct 17 - 03:58 AM (#3885360)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Backwoodsman

Now THAT was a fine post, Jim - well done! You got your points over perfectly, well set-out, without aggression, without accusation, without the 'spittle-flecked ranting' (to quote your mate Terror-bus) at anyone who dared to have a different view to yours, and without the insults.

Had you done that from the beginning, the bitter arguments may well not have erupted, and this thread would have been a far nicer place.

Nobody doubts that you're devoted to traditional music and song, and that you have a depth of knowledge and experience few, if any, of the rest of us have, and we respect that. You really don't need to resort to all that vitriol to get it across. It achieves nothing, except the alienation of those who would otherwise be in general, even if not specific, agreement.


29 Oct 17 - 04:00 AM (#3885361)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Backwoodsman

That referred to the post of 03:18 AM


29 Oct 17 - 04:19 AM (#3885364)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: GUEST,Nick Dow

So the different approach might be working. Onward and upward! Ok any ideas? A commercially available DVD as an introduction to Folk Song? Is that a barmy idea? I've got three out now on Folk Arts (painting) and they sell.


29 Oct 17 - 04:38 AM (#3885367)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Jim Carroll

"My experience is that in Ireland song writing about local happenings   "
There's no reason to believe that that was not the case with England Dick
We have recently become aware of hundreds of locally-made songs in Ireland made about local events over the last century
They have always been there but they were neglected because they didn't fit into the recognised traditional reperoire
We know writers like Tommy Armstrong and Joe Corrie were making similar songs in England and Scotland as were weaver poets in Lancashire - there are songs a
bout mowing matches and sporting events in both Britain and
Ireland is a mixture of British and Irish culture and has been for egt centuries
The similarities are far more important than the differences as far as I am concerned
Jim Carroll


29 Oct 17 - 04:46 AM (#3885369)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: GUEST,Nick Dow

Thinking further about a DVD. The problem from a Video/TV point of view is that straight singing is not visual. It's OK if you are jumping round the stage with a guitar like a demented baboon, but maybe this is why we don't see so much Folk on the TV. That said the Doc. about Sara Makem was wonderful, however I doubt weather the equally important film of Walter Pardon and his friends in song ever made it to the screen. There were a few tech. problems with that production but nothing that could not be ironed out in an hour or so. Bert made it to TV more than a few times but was never an interesting presenter. Sorry about that but I worked as a presenter for the Beeb for 32 years so I feel justified in that remark. Maybe I'm barking up the wrong tree?


29 Oct 17 - 04:50 AM (#3885370)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Raggytash

Gentlemen, when you have quite finished your "love-in" could someone please tell me where people like Stan Rogers, Eric Bogle, John Tams, Harvey Andrews, Peter Bond, Dave Wilson, Mike Harding, Alan Bell, Leon Rossellson, Pete Coe, Anthony John Clarke and many many other great song writers fit into the folk world.


29 Oct 17 - 05:30 AM (#3885373)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: GUEST,Nick Dow

Just trying to bring the discussion back to a less aggressive thread that's all.


29 Oct 17 - 05:30 AM (#3885374)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Jim Carroll

Nick
I think that CDs and videos are fine for those who have had a degree of contact with folk song - we have huge archive and I'd be happy to supply anything needed from what we have
I think introducing people fresh to the genre is a different thing altogether and needs to be a one-to-one exercise starting from the ground up
We are waiting with bated whatsits to find if the two teachers who have been employed to stale traditional singing around the Clare schools, using our collection as a basis, have achieved anything
Songs of the People were among the best the Beeb ever presented
I admit, his Eastern European stuff was for the aficionados, but we're all entitled to be fed
Raggy
Some of those you mention already do fit into all this - the ones that base their song making on traditional styles.
John Taams acted as music advisor to a film I believe to be the best example of the use of traditional music ever - Ill Fares the Land
As far as what is being discussed here, I don't think they do fit in particularly
If folk song is to continue to function, it has to do so on a foundation based on its roots - you can take it wherever you want after that.
It's not a case of either-or but one of the order you need to do things.
THis is not a "love in" - it's a search for common ground, I hope
Don't agree with you about Bert Nick - I think Folk Song Virtuoso and
Jim Carroll


29 Oct 17 - 05:42 AM (#3885375)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Big Al Whittle

i can see what you mean about the roots Jim.

However
i think that the middle classes have made a significant contribution - from Sharp recording Joseph Taylor to all the things that MacColl did, and really middle class boys like The Dubliners. I'm sure they'd be pleased to be thought of as boys!

A few posts ago you mentioned someone copywrighting the Well Below the Valley. Did you mean Christy Moore - I didn't know he'd copywrited it.

The composition of society means in a way that the presnce of folk music in our society is increasingly going to be about the middle classes and their understanding of it - i think.


29 Oct 17 - 05:44 AM (#3885376)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Raggytash

I'm still confused.

Who decides if a John Tams, Dougie MacLean, Dick Gaughan or Kate Rusby song is a folk song.


29 Oct 17 - 05:48 AM (#3885378)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: GUEST,Peter Laban

'Did you mean Christy Moore - I didn't know he'd copywrited it.'

I suspect the producer of that record, Phil Coulter, was the culprit Jim referred to.


29 Oct 17 - 06:16 AM (#3885380)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Jim Carroll

"I suspect the producer of that record, Phil Coulter, was the culprit Jim referred to."
Thanks again Peter - he was
Christie is one of the most principled people I have ever met, both when it comes to giving credit and his humanity
His support for Travellers is exemplary
"Who decides if a John Tams, Dougie MacLean, Dick Gaughan or Kate Rusby song is a folk song."
Nobody does - liking something doesn't make it a folk song - not any more
Does it matter that a song is not 'folk' if it's a good one - not to me, it doesn't
What matters in relation to this discussion is how it is identified
"middle classes"
I'm talking about the origins of our song Al, not who helped popularise it
Charles Parker was one of the most middle-class people I ever knew but he did more for folk song than most
I'll tell you some stories of Charles's middle-classness some time - kept us entertained for hours (some of them came from him) - did you know he once bombarded King Farouk's Palace by mistake when he was in the Navy?
Never considered Ewan Middle Class, there again, I spent many happy hours talking to his mam who was a cleaner during the Depression - I know his old man was an iron moulder who had the distinction of being 'transported' out of Australia for his Trades Union activities
Luke the same - a working class lad made good
Jim Carroll


29 Oct 17 - 06:17 AM (#3885381)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: TheSnail

Well, Raggytash, at the Lewes Saturday Folk Club you'd hear the songs of several of those often. Some I've heard of but don't know the work of. One I've never heard of. Two we've booked, one of them frequently.


29 Oct 17 - 06:22 AM (#3885382)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Vic Smith

What is happening to our folk clubs?
At the risk of destroying the peace that has broken out in the last few hours, it depends what you mean by 'folk clubs'.
No, I am not asking for a definition; that way lies as many problems as another definition that I could mention. The fact is that what is meant by the words 'folk club' has changed a great deal from the type of uniformity of the way they were presented when I first started going to folk clubs when I was at school back in 1962. In the subsequent 57 years the form has mutated quite naturally into a variety of approaches that enables survival in the very different world of 2017.
Their development and change has resulted mainly through a relatively small band of local movers and shakers; the people who are prepared to give a lot of time and thought to the organisation and policy. Tina and I stopped running a weekly folk club in 2013 having started our first one together (I had been involved in my college folk club before then) soon after our marriage in 1966. I could not count for you the number of people who have said to us in the last four years, sometimes almost accusingly, "We do miss your club at the Royal Oak, you know." to which my reply of "Well, we are not the only people capable of running a club. How about having a go yourselves?" brings that conversation to a rapid close.
So now folk clubs range from everything from what are in effect regular concerts through to the loosest of social gatherings that get together to sing songs and play tunes. At both ends of this wide spectrum there are problems. At the formal concert end everything depends on financial viability, booking the right artists that will draw an audience that will cover the many costs involved. The limited number of sure-fire hall fillers on the folk scene is limited. Eventually this leads to a problem of the 'same old names' appearing too frequently increasing the financial pressure. The end happens in two ways. Either they become unprofitable and therefore not viable or the organiser becomes in effect a concert promoter and any pretense of being part of folk music disappears. There are two successful former folk club organisers in our area who are now concert promoters.
At the other end of the scale in the anything goes, anyone is welcome to have a go singarounds. There the problems are often to to with small cliques developing, of performance standards dropping, of the inability to attract new blood to invigorate. Audiences are not attracted by these ventures.
The ideal would seem to be somewhere in the middle. Somewhere where is a discernable policy,* where it is possible for outside performers to be booked at least occasionally to inject fresh ideas and approaches and as a performance standard guidelines are demonstrated.

Reading carefully through this before I post it (as we all should do) I can see that I am speaking in general terms and that there will be a number of exceptions and additions to what I have written, but I think that this should provide a brief overview. The fact that no-one actually tried to develop a basis for discussion earlier in the thread now seems surprising to me

* I wish that I could find the 'Aims & Objectives' policy document that I drafted and brought the initial meeting of the 5 of us who were going to be involved after our move to the Royal Oak in 1990. We spent the evening thrashing it out but having agreed it the 5 - all amazingly still involved in 2013 - never felt the need to change it.


29 Oct 17 - 06:27 AM (#3885383)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Raggytash

From Jim "Nobody does - liking something doesn't make it a folk song - not any more. Does it matter that a song is not 'folk' if it's a good one - not to me, it doesn't. What matters in relation to this discussion is how it is identified"

So, correct me if I'm wrong, if I identify something as a folk song, it then becomes a folk song because I have identified it as such.


29 Oct 17 - 06:52 AM (#3885384)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Big Al Whittle

i can't get much enthusiasm, for what is a folk song, Raggytash. i know that what i do will never be acknowledged as such. it hurt me when i was younger to realise that i didn't fit into the folk world anywhere, but really it doesn't matter. i do what i do, and i'm grateful that folk club audiences seem to like what i do in floor spots etc.

so if i were you, i shouldn't bother. it doesn't have to be important to us. Kate and all those other people, I'm sure, believe in what they do - just as I do. I've seen her sing in the session down at Fagans in Sheffield for free. Whatever anyone says, integrity doesn't fly out the window quite so easily.

You're right of course Jim that The Spinners etc. simplify folk music - rather in the same way that the Singing Together programmes did for us at school. All the grace notes and rhthymic complexity gets the elbow,
no doubt with much else that I don't pick up on.

Nevertheless I think you have to cut those guys some slack. They were having to learn other skills about making their project work, getting instruments in tune (who knew ANYTHING about guitars in those days!), PA systems, microphone and recording technique and getting publicity and gigs. All stuff that doesn't happen by magic. They had to do that for themselves - there were no performance colleges in those days.

I remember the late Derek Brimstone telling me, he was snowed in at Aviemore ski-ing resort for a week with The Spinners. Derek was really amused the way they took it in turns every day to make phone calls hustling radio stations to play The Spinners. Derek could remember the whole spiel....


29 Oct 17 - 06:59 AM (#3885386)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Backwoodsman

Raggy, I identify all of those you mentioned as writers of 'folk-styled songs' and I sing songs written by most of them. AFAIC, their songs fit into the repertoire of a folk-club very well, alongside songs which have come to us down the 'traditional' route.

The clubs which I attend and do my stuff in are all vibrant, happy places where a mix of those types of songs is the norm. Variety, as always, is the spice of life.


29 Oct 17 - 07:06 AM (#3885389)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Raggytash

Backwoodsman, if you sing these songs you possibly learnt them from CD's or from Youtube thus not conforming to the 1954 definition of songs which states that:

"Folk music is the product of a musical tradition that has been evolved through the process of oral transmission. The factors that shape the tradition are: (i) continuity which links the present with the past; (ii) variation which springs from the creative impulse of the individual or the group; and (iii) selection by the community, which determines the form or forms in which the music survives"

This is where my problem lies because the definition pre-dates the advent of mass television and the computer era which has allowed a far greater access to material.


29 Oct 17 - 07:18 AM (#3885393)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Jim Carroll

"So, correct me if I'm wrong, if I identify something as a folk song, it then becomes a folk song because I have identified it as such"
You're wrong Raggy
It's like the story Joe Heaney used to tell about the Protestant man who married a Catholic girl on the understanding he would change his religion
One friday, a week after the marriage, the Priest visited the house and found the man tucking into a steak
Furious he reminded the man of his vow and told him he couldn't eat meat on a Friday
A week later he visited again and found the man about to tuck into a steak again, chanting "You're a fish, you're a fish"
That's a joke - apparently you are not joking.
Baccky is right - no harm in singing any song that fits the general description as long as you recognise they are not all the same - for communication purposes, if nothing else
Al
The Spinners did what they did well - it wasn't unskilled and deprived of instruments or technology - I dare say if it was available they wouldn't have used it - that's not who they were
For me they were a very welcome stepping stone but not enough to make me want to stick around forever
"thus not conforming to the 1954 definition of songs which states that:"
Why can't you accept that the definition has SFA to do with any of this?
You appear to be claiming that folk song as defined has no place in today's scene - if so - I'm sorry for your loss, but it has for a hell of a lot of other people
Jim Carroll


29 Oct 17 - 07:19 AM (#3885394)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Vic Smith

I must confess that I was rather sniffy about the Spinners back in the day. I think that the way they have been described as light weight earlier in the thread, sums up my feelings about them. However, there were several things that I know or have heard about them that really gains my respect.
* I was told by one of the organisers of the National Folk Festival as it as then was in the 1960s that the Spinners allowed their name to be put on the publicity for the event as it would attract people to the events at Keele University. They were not paid. in fact they bought their tickets and paid for their accommodation.
* I was also told - not by an NFF organiser so I cannot vouch for this - that one of the 1960s weekends lost money and there was a threat that it would not go ahead. The Spinners made up the deficit.
* As the editor of The Folk Diary, I used to get phone calls from them on the day they were to appear at a concert in Sussex. I was asked where the local folk clubs were and who the guests were so that they could announce the details at their concerts.
* When they were appearing at the Chichester Festival Theatre not long after it opened, they got to hear in the interval that the great old Sussex singer, George Belton, was in the audience. They called him up to do a couple of songs in the second half.
* The very fact that they were a black/white group at that time, certainly one the earliest and most prominent, was important in itself. They did a lot of conscious raising for the Ant-Apartheid Movement.


29 Oct 17 - 07:25 AM (#3885395)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Big Al Whittle

"Folk music is the product of a musical tradition that has been evolved through the process of oral transmission.2

and i've been trying to suck it up through my nose all these years. ah well, a life wasted...


29 Oct 17 - 07:49 AM (#3885397)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Raggytash

It would seem to me that as your work is being placed on-line at various universities and libraries that anyone learning from them through those sources is not conforming to the 1954 definition.

You can't have it both ways, really you can't.


29 Oct 17 - 07:50 AM (#3885398)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Iains

""Folk music is the product of a musical tradition that has been evolved through the process of oral transmission."
It might have been a handy definition up until 1860 when the human voice was first recorded. Today, as a definition, it is simply pretentious.
It seems to me to be a genre that has multiple definitions that cause endless argument.
An example "music that originates in traditional popular culture or that is written in such a style. Folk music is typically of unknown authorship and is transmitted orally from generation to generation."

The first sentence I have no problem with, it happily includes
songwriters such as Ralph Mctell, Eric Bogle, Ewan McColl.
The second sentence is arrant nonsense and even if aurally is substituted for orally it is too narrow a definition in my opinion.


29 Oct 17 - 08:21 AM (#3885403)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Jim Carroll

"The second sentence is arrant nonsense"
No it isn't Iains - it is the basis on which our folk songs were amde - that is why McTell, Bogle and McColl aren't folk composers - don't know about the other two but MacColl strenuusly denied that his songs were 'folk'
The definition was made to cover society in which sections of the population were active participants in the creation of a large part of it - the folk song - tale - dance.... reperoire
When that ceased to be the case the tradition as a creative force died
I know from experience that while remnants of the tradition of the remained, particularly with the Travellers, songs continued to be made - we missed the Irish rural tradition of song making aby about four decades.
Folk clubs do not represent either societies or even communities - they are gatherings of enthusiasts such as those who like, say Restoration Theatre or Elizabethan Music
While we can still appreciate it, we cannot claim to be a part of it
Why won't you listen to what I have said about the ******* definition Raggy?
It isn't a rule - it is an estimation of how something evolved.
A lot5 of us are happy to still get enjoyment from folk music - you are not and appear to want to re-define it on the basis of your own personal tastes
What if we don't like what you do - whose music is folk then - yours or ours?
Jim Carroll


29 Oct 17 - 08:28 AM (#3885404)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: TheSnail

Well Bryan is doing a sterling job, maybe we need to film some of the workshops?

Interesting idea, Nick. I'm not OinC of the workshops but we are a committee. I don't think it would be anything like an equivalent of Man, Woman and Child. The workshops are for the benefit of the paying punters who might not feel comfortable being filmed for general publication.


29 Oct 17 - 08:33 AM (#3885406)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Raggytash

Jim, I've told you often enough I don't need a ******* definition.

Especially one that is not fit for purpose today and in all probability wasn't fit for purpose when it was written by what seems to be elitist and very select few.

I am damned if I am going to be dictated to by people who had no knowledge of modern technology. Luddites for some reason come to mind.


29 Oct 17 - 08:43 AM (#3885407)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Backwoodsman

The 1954 'Definition' seems like the equivalent of the US Constitution's 2nd Amendment....

a) it has been rendered out-of-date by by many years of social and technological change.

b) many people understand that, and would be delighted to see it brought up to date and made fit for purpose in the 21st century.

b) those whom it suits to keep it static will not countenance any attempt to modernise it.

Modernise or die - never truer than now.


29 Oct 17 - 08:48 AM (#3885408)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Raggytash

My sentiments too Backwoodsman, not only out-dated but exclusive and elitist.


29 Oct 17 - 08:59 AM (#3885411)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Big Al Whittle

no one's dictating to you Raggy. Its Jim's opinion - that's all.

he needs a set of beliefs to operate the way he does. we need a set of beliefs to exist in our domain.

he may think, he's discovered an absolute truth. that's up to him.

it doesn't interfere with us, well not all that much = though i suppose grabbing the tags of intellectual respectability does impact slightly. still its not like we live in Iran where the orthodoxies are asserted by a bloke with a bloody big sword.


29 Oct 17 - 09:08 AM (#3885413)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Jim Carroll

How can a definition of something that happened in the past be rendered "out of date"
It can be wrong say because it has misinterpreted the information it was working with, but that is nor what is being argued here
Perhaps if you substitute "out of day" for "inconvenient in certain circles" you might be nearer the truth
That is the nub of all this
Some of you appear to believe that folk song is out of date and would prefer it to be something else
Definitions don't work like that
Some of us still enjoy singing and listening to centuries old ballads and folk songs, that you appear not to is your loss
I enjoy watching Shakespeare and reading Homer (in prose)
While I'm happy to read John Grisham and watch 'Fools and Horses' I don't want to replace one with the other - I enjoy them all
In our little world of folk, however you define it, technically we are the majority and we can point to a definition and say - "that's what we mean" - you can't
Jim Carroll


29 Oct 17 - 09:10 AM (#3885414)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Jim Carroll

Bit patronising Al - and wildly inaccurate, but i'm sure yo meant it for the best
Jim Carroll


29 Oct 17 - 09:13 AM (#3885415)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Jim Carroll

By the way
"equivalent of the US Constitution's 2nd Amendment...."
THe US Amendments are a declaration of Rights, not a definition of something that has happened
Apples and Passion Fruit, I'm afraid
Jim Carroll


29 Oct 17 - 09:20 AM (#3885420)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Raggytash

I'm not 100% sure but I don't think a single person has said that they don't like "singing and listening to centuries old ballads and folk songs"

I certainly haven't said any such thing.

"In our little world of folk, however you define it, technically we are the majority and we can point to a definition and say - "that's what we mean" - you can't"

Sounds like exclusive and elitist to me.


29 Oct 17 - 09:28 AM (#3885421)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: TheSnail

I have repeated over and over again that, flawed as it is, the '54 one will do till a better one comes along,

A fol song iss something specific - ifit has another meaning than that documented, then you are committed to saying what it now means
The '54 definition was accepted internationally as a guide to what folksong means
That remains the case

"thus not conforming to the 1954 definition of songs which states that:"
Why can't you accept that the definition has SFA to do with any of this?
You appear to be claiming that folk song as defined has no place in today's scene

In our little world of folk, however you define it, technically we are the majority and we can point to a definition and say - "that's what we mean" - you can't


I'm confused. Is it the 1954 definition or not and, if not, what?


29 Oct 17 - 09:34 AM (#3885422)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Jim Carroll

"Sounds like exclusive and elitist to me."
You tell me what your definition of 'Folk' is then Raggy and tell me how you have reached a consensus on your definition - a referendum, maybe?
I've given you a definition and can point you to a hundred books of research dating back over a century
I could also play you Tom Lenihan, Mikeen McCarthy and particularly Walter Pardon
"Ralph Mctell, Eric Bogle, Ewan MacColl" never featured in how they described their songs
One of the things I found out as a performer in the sixties is that if us and the Dylanites wished to perform our music in peace we needed to go our separate ways and agree to co-exist under separate roofs
It worked quite well for a couple of decades, until one edged out the other
Remember - we are a tiny minority anyway - the rest of the world doesn't give a tuppeny fart one way or the other
That's what we are discussing
Jim Carroll


29 Oct 17 - 09:47 AM (#3885426)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Jim Carroll

"Is it the 1954 definition or not and, if not, what?"
As far as research goes, the definition is relevant
Where the clubs are concerned, it is a starting point from which we present our songs - it is not a rulebook for what goes on there
Jim Carroll


29 Oct 17 - 09:56 AM (#3885427)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Backwoodsman

"I'm not 100% sure but I don't think a single person has said that they don't like "singing and listening to centuries old ballads and folk songs"

I certainly haven't said any such thing."


And neither have I, Raggy. In fact, in my dream-club, 'modern' (for want of a better word) folk-styled songs would (and, in fact, are in the clubs I frequent!) performed and enjoyed alongside 'centuries-old ballads and songs'. I totally fail to see why one must exclude the other.


29 Oct 17 - 09:59 AM (#3885429)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: TheSnail

It worked quite well for a couple of decades, until one edged out the other

Yep. Can't remember when I last heard a Dylan song in a folk club.

Where the clubs are concerned, it is a starting point from which we present our songs - it is not a rulebook for what goes on there

So no definition and no limits?


29 Oct 17 - 10:05 AM (#3885430)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Jim Carroll

So no definition and no limits?
You know that is not what I am saying Bryan - that's just being bloody-minded to the point of dishonesty
Baccy
Sorry - the complaints I here point out that your experience is not a general one, a few decades ago folk songs weer rapidly disappearing from the club scene
I walked away when I found myself leaving folk clubs without having heard a folk song - so did many others
I am not aware of any renaissance
What is being argued here is that sons defined as "folk" no longer have a relevance, which confirms my experience
I think were moving in circles - let's move on eh?
Jim Carroll


29 Oct 17 - 10:30 AM (#3885437)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Raggytash

Could you point out any post that has said anything even remotely akin to folk songs no longer have any relevance.

Just one will do.

You're making things up to fit your agenda.


29 Oct 17 - 10:32 AM (#3885440)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Iains

Jim I hear what you are saying but I am afraid we will just have to differ in our interpretation of what folk is.
1)My simple test would be that it encompasses the range of material    encountered in a successful folkclub.
2)The modern world has swallowed the traditional sources of folk in the western world. There are no hoary handed sons of the soil left-they drive around in air conditioned tractors with the radio blaring full blast.They do not have time to sit under a hedge, chewing a bit of grass while composing folksongs. The travellers may have some remnant of the old ways of generating and transmitting an oral tradition, but the modern world is shrinking their numbers daily.
3)To finda genuine folk tradition you would have to go beyond the confines of the modern world and there are not too many places left.
Maybe in parts of Namibia or the Gibson desert you might find traditional lifestyles, but even there the modern world has encroached.
3)The academic definition of folk renders the genre to be an anachronism and now fossilised. I do not accept this and I am sure many others do not.
4)To accept your rigid definition would immediately wipe out a complete body of Irish Ballads as typified by songs by Pete St. John
5)If you accept folk is a living, constantly evolving and expanding entity then modern works have to be included. No matter how peripheral the lyrics may be to the human experience, if they encompaass any part of it I would argue it is folk.
If you insist on a strict academic definition of a genre that has no modern contributors you have sentenced it to death.


29 Oct 17 - 10:34 AM (#3885441)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Vic Smith

I think that we are moving in circles
I was posting about circumlocution days ago and certainly nothing has moved forward since then.
But before we can move forward, we need to all agree what a folk song is..... well, that won't be difficult, will it? Mmmmm perhaps it will. Perhaps we could shift our attention to something else. How about What is Happening to our Folk Clubs?


29 Oct 17 - 10:37 AM (#3885443)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Backwoodsman

Strange thing is, Jim, I 'walked away' for fifteen years or so for precisely the opposite reason - the 'side' of the music that is my preference, 'folk-styled' modern songs reflecting the lives of people in the 20th century, began to be edged out by the 'Traddies' who scowled and snarled, "Not folk" on hearing anything which fell outside the strait-jacket of the almighty and hallowed 'Definition'. Whilst I genuinely enjoy 'Trad' songs, the prospect of an entire evening of them filled me (and still fills me) with gloom - as I've said previously, variety is the spice of life AFAIC, and there's room for both types of song.

We obviously moved in very different circles!

I came back to folk-clubs reluctantly in the late-'80s, when my son's head-teacher (a superb singer of 'Trad' material, BTW) was trying to get a club on its feet locally. Very wary, I said, "I don't do any Trad stuff", he replied, "That's fine, we like nice mixture of Trad and Contemporary", and the rest is history.

I still only 'do' one Trad song, but I enjoy hearing others sing them. Just not the whole of the evening.


29 Oct 17 - 10:50 AM (#3885449)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: The Sandman

we should be discussing: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs.
what you are discussing is a definition of folk musica subj4ect that has been done to death so many times on this forum it is almost tradtional[ except that it does not fit with the 1954 DEFINITION[ because it does not appear to be evolving in fact the discussion is stagnating, and is about as interesting as looking at a blank television screen


29 Oct 17 - 11:21 AM (#3885455)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Jim Carroll

Diff'rent strokes for diff'rent blokes Baccy - not my experience at all
"encountered in a successful folkclub."
So if a club booked a Pavarotti soundalike and filled it each week for that sort of music it would be "folk"
Do I have that right?
Substitute Pavvi for Led Zeppelin, or frank Sinatra.... or whoever you like.
I asked RTim if his Morris side did ballet or hip-hop - reply came there no, so I took that to be a n unsounding "no"
"If you insist on a strict academic definition of a genre"
I don't and never have - I say the existing one remains until another comes along
Whatever happens in a folk club doesn't hack it
There's a nice quote from Shirley Collins in yesterday's Irish Times' review of her new documentary 'The Ballad of Shirley Collins'
"Folk song belongs the despised and neglected people of the hard-working classes
They deserve to be known"
My grandparents and my mum came from the labouring classes"
Sorry folks, "you can't take that away from me" with your T-Rexs and your Bob Geldofs - as the song should have said
Nice to know I'm not alone
Jim Carroll


29 Oct 17 - 11:24 AM (#3885456)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Jim Carroll

"subj4ect that has been done to death so many times on this forum it is almost tradtional"
'Fraid not Dick - it's been a no-go minefield since I joined this forum, running neck-and-neck with one of folk songs great exponents, Ewan MacColl
Every time it has come up some eejit pipes up, "this subject has been done to death"
Jim Carroll


29 Oct 17 - 11:24 AM (#3885458)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Backwoodsman

The clubs I frequent (at least two a week) are existing very happily with a 'mixed' menu, very much as described in the second half of my previous post. Can't comment on what's happening elsewhere.

Some are 'performers' clubs, some are a mix of 'performers' on some weeks, and 'guests' on others. All seem to be doing OK. If we accept that folk music is a minority interest which is in competition with Open-Mics etc., we must also accept that clubs will never be a huge draw for the general public. But most of the ones I come across are ticking over nicely, with fluctuations in numbers depending, I guess, on what else is happening on any given night.


29 Oct 17 - 11:54 AM (#3885462)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Steve Shaw

"The academic definition of folk renders the genre to be an anachronism and now fossilised. I do not accept this and I am sure many others do not."

1954 definition: Folk music is the product of a musical tradition that has been evolved through the process of oral transmission. The factors that shape the tradition are: (i) continuity which links the present with the past; (ii) variation which springs from the creative impulse of the individual or the group; and (iii) selection by the community, which determines the form or forms in which the music survives.
The term can be applied to music that has been evolved from rudimentary beginnings by a community uninfluenced by popular and art music and it can likewise be applied to music which has originated with an individual composer and has subsequently been absorbed into the unwritten living tradition of a community.
The term does not cover composed popular music that has been taken over ready-made by a community and remains unchanged, for it is the re-fashioning the re-creation of the music by the community that gives it its folk-character.


I'd say that the definition is promoting the very antithesis of fossilisation, so I don't know where you got that from.


29 Oct 17 - 11:56 AM (#3885463)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: RTim

Jim C says - "I asked RTim if his Morris side did ballet or hip-hop - reply came there no, so I took that to be a n unsounding "no"

You are correct - a resounding No - in the same way they don't sing opera or be a String Quartet - they perform their own village tradition, but they have created and perform dances that are modern, ie. written in recent years, thereby keeping it alive and relevant - something I thought you of all people would support.

I think your attempt to suggest they obviously only do what they set up to do, is a clumsy way of suggesting Folk Clubs should do the same.
I have been to Sessions here in the USA where a group of people will happy sit in a relatively cold room and sing Child Ballads for hours - but I recognise that is not everyones cup of tea.
Similarly I am involved in a Folk Music Society that is now in its 46th year that puts on a very wide range of music, from Traditional (English & American) to Blues to Irish to Singer Songwriters - a very type of event than late night Ballad singing, but they are all - Folk Music - and I like that Diversity and is seems many other do to. I am also sure that I would enjoy events that you frequent.

Tim Radford


29 Oct 17 - 12:01 PM (#3885465)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: GUEST,Captainswing

I find it interesting that newly written tunes are more easily subsumed into the tradition than are songs. Tunes by the likes of, for example, Phil Cunningham, Jay Ungar or Ronald Cooper sit easily within the repertoires of traditional players.

Is it due to the extent that the tunes utilise the structures, cadences and keys of traditional music?

Is it due to the fact that the best of them have become part of the currency of sessions and so are actively traditional?

Is it due to their continued practical use, i.e. dancers need dance tunes, pipers need pipe tunes?

What does anyone else think?


29 Oct 17 - 12:19 PM (#3885469)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Jim Carroll

"they perform their own village tradition,"
As I understand it Tim, Morris is as much a revival as the folk scene - very few, if any, are unbroken tradidions
Sharp had a great hand in reviving traditional dance.
Why not throw in ballet and hip-hop in that case?
That's the type of thing being suggested for folk song.
You paint a gloomy picture of your ballad sessions - I wonder why
At the height of the folk scene I was involved in we were screaming for someone to open a window on an overcrowded, overheated room.
"What does anyone else think?"
I think it depends on the writer cap'n
MacColl's best songs, in my opinion, were those he based on actuality - recordings of the type of people his songs were about - fishermen, miners, road-workers, gypsies....
There are some nice tunes being made by youngsters heer in Ireland - I find it difficult to distinguish them from the older ones
The thing the few older source players objected to strongly was the speed they were played and quite often the unnecessarily lod accompaniment
Don't get me started about bodhrans!!
Jim Carroll

Jim Carroll


29 Oct 17 - 12:36 PM (#3885474)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: RTim

"Gloomy" ???? Why would you say that ??
It was far from gloomy - everybody loved it...............they were willing to stay in a cold room to take part - oh, and it sometimes doesn't start until 11 pm at night.......

As for Morris, I assume you know very little about it.........But there are three teams in the village concerned and it is dearly lived by all of them.
However - Morris is not a "social event" like a Folk Club. the only people directly involved a practiced group of experts - in a Folk Club or song session, anyone can be involved and take part - a very different medium.

Tim Radford


29 Oct 17 - 12:42 PM (#3885476)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Big Al Whittle

I think the first twenty minutes of Appalachian farewell are toughest. Get past that and you cross the pain barrier.

sorry if i patronised. i think our beliefs are what drive us forward though. and probably if we didn't believe in our vision, we would find it hard to justify the effort we put ino our projects. for example the guys who built westminster cathedral probably believed in god. whereas we know they may be wrong on that one.

also
definitions do change.

people used to think the atom was indivisable - the smallest particle possible


29 Oct 17 - 12:50 PM (#3885477)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: The Sandman

"Is it due to the extent that the tunes utilise the structures, cadences and keys of traditional music?"
yes and in particular are restricted to certain modes eg dorian mixolydian and major key and to a lesser extent aeolian.


29 Oct 17 - 12:58 PM (#3885478)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Jim Carroll

Sorry Tim - I think we have the same concept of Morris but a different one of song clubs
The clubs I were involved in were not sing arounds - they were very much latecomers on the scene and pretty much equivalent to the singers circles I have described
You can neither control standards or repertoire in singaround clubs
Our clubs were resident based - if anybody wished to sing they were given a song in the singers from the floor spot - if they were good enough they might be given a booking and those desiring to do so could join our singers workshop to be helped improve.
The residents embarked on feature evenings around a theme, put on a Mummers Play occasionally - the Singers Club put on an annual theatrical event which took about three weeks to learn and rehearse and ran nightly for three weeks.
The residents researched songs and made albums based on their researches - they opened up the London repertoire and made two albums on the results, made one on the 19th century fight for the vote and the effects of the Industrial Revolution, two superb albums of sea songs and the women did an album of women's songs
They co-operated with some of Britain's finest actors and readers to produce two sets of albums of poetry and song for schoolchildren - 'Poetry and Song (14 discs) and the other 'Voices' (8 discs, I think)
You could never have done a fraction of that with a singaround set-up, nor could you have demanded a basic standard or repertoire
As I said, Morris was a revival - given the arguments here, there was no reason you shouldn't put on Swan Lake
Jim Carroll


29 Oct 17 - 01:04 PM (#3885479)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Jack Campin

To accept your rigid definition would immediately wipe out a complete body of Irish Ballads as typified by songs by Pete St. John

That's the best argument for 1954-ism I've ever heard.


29 Oct 17 - 01:08 PM (#3885480)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Iains

Steve Shaw if you substitute aural for oral tradition I might accept what you say. But: The modern world does not require oral transmission, modern rates of literacy and the growth of electronic mediums have supplanted this mode of transmission. In the modern world oral transmission is an irrelevance and probably causes much of the lyric alteration over time.(If you ever spent anytime with a single sideband transmitter you can easily understand how this happens)

"The term can be applied to music that has been evolved from rudimentary beginnings by a community uninfluenced by popular and art music and it can likewise be applied to music which has originated with an individual composer and has subsequently been absorbed into the unwritten living tradition of a community."
I regard the above as an extremely patronising statement. "Rudimentary beginnings" implies that it originated with the peasantry, poorly educated, verging on,if not actually, illiterate. Modern society has blown that assumption into touch. As has been stated, the definition is outdated and no longer fit for purpose.

"it is the re-fashioning the re-creation of the music by the community that gives it its folk-character."
This is merely an excuse for not remembering all the words and making mistakes with the tune. although I concede that certain Irish songs have certain verses deleted by some performers because of the political content.
Using the definition from 1954 would mean that the works of bards have to be disregarded and also the works of Turlough O'Carolan

On the one hand purists decry any departure from traditional works yet also insist the folk process is one of continual evolution.
Sorry boys something has to give. You cannot have it both ways.


29 Oct 17 - 01:08 PM (#3885481)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Jim Carroll

"Pete St. John"
The bland leading the bland
Jim Carroll


29 Oct 17 - 01:23 PM (#3885483)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: TheSnail

You know that is not what I am saying Bryan - that's just being bloody-minded to the point of dishonesty

I ask for clarification and you reply with insults. I really wish you wouldn't, Jim.
I honestly don't know what you are saying because you contradict yourself at every turn.


29 Oct 17 - 01:30 PM (#3885484)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Big Al Whittle

so O'Carolan, Peter St John, Ralph McTell and The Spinners, and me.....not folk music. does it flipping matter?

All those things are in folk clubs. happening in folk clubs....right or wrong....happening.... happening in a folk club near you tonight. Have you seen the old man in the fields of Athenry.?

so where does that leave us?

the OP was pissed off about declining standards of technical ability. has that any relevance to what people play. I don't think so. Any kind of music can be buggered up.

perhaps we need a sort of Blind Pew character to come and tip the crap singers the black spot. deposed by thunder!


29 Oct 17 - 01:32 PM (#3885485)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Jim Carroll

"I ask for clarification and you reply with insults."
I did not insult you Bryan and your anking me a question I have replied to over and obver again is an insult in itself - I wish you wouldn't
"you contradict yourself at every turn."
No I don't - another insult -
You damn well know exactly where I stand on what should happen at a folk club - howe many times have i pointed out MacColl's output and my repertoire
I have never at any time suggested "no definition and no limits?"
You know what my definition is and you know I have saidover and over again that it is not a rule for clubs
I think we're finished her before another dialogue wrecks an interesting subject
Jim Carroll


29 Oct 17 - 01:36 PM (#3885486)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Jim Carroll

"yet also insist the folk process is one of continual evolution."
The folk process is dead - it died when we ceased being participants in our culture and became passive recipients of it or customers for its wares.
Being aware the meaning of a term is not purism - that's one of those insults sliung around by the "anything goes" merchants


29 Oct 17 - 01:45 PM (#3885487)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: RTim

I have got to stop reading this Tread - it gets more confusing with every post - I know longer know who is saying what why or when - maybe it is time to close it down, because it is not going anywhere.

Tim Radford


29 Oct 17 - 01:46 PM (#3885488)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Iains

"Pete St. John"
The bland leading the bland

That is a remarkably stupid and divisive statement even for you Jim.
There are a lot of "folk" groups perform his material on a regular basis, as do performers in "folk Clubs" and I have heard his compositions on a regular basis in sessions.
Just because you have collected material it does not give you the last word on any definitions. Many here recognise contemporary folk and much of it is heard regularly in folk clubs.

The Dubliners was described as an Irish Folk Group. How much of their material was traditional Folk and how much modern compositions?

Folk is what the people define it as, not the EFSDS and academics!


29 Oct 17 - 01:47 PM (#3885489)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Backwoodsman

Amen.


29 Oct 17 - 01:48 PM (#3885490)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Raggytash

I've been pondering this afternoon over a pint or two.

I know Jim doesn't like to be contradicted and I think I have figured out just why.

In Jim's mind he considers that because he was acquainted with the Critics, McColl etc and they laid down the "definition" set in stone so to speak that he, as the last surviving member, is the keeper of the flame, the last bastion of resistance, the defender of the faith.

Folk music is so, it will remain so, as long as I have breathe in my body no-one can convince me otherwise.

So people like Ian Campbell, Cyril Tawney, John Connelly et al can go swing.

I have already indicated I believe this view to be exclusive and elitist and I have to say I am somewhat surprised and disappointed at reaching this conclusion.


29 Oct 17 - 02:02 PM (#3885493)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Iains

I am afraid I regard MacColl as a communist primarily and I give as much weight to his views and I do those of gary lineker the walkers crisp man and his views on brexit.


29 Oct 17 - 02:33 PM (#3885497)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Jim Carroll

"I am afraid I regard MacColl as a communist"
What kind of a **** argument is that?
I suppose the same goes for Lomax, Moe Asch, Guthrie, Charlie Seeger, Lloyd and all the other left wingers who introduced us to this wonderful music
The revival was floated by The Workers Music Association - Topic records was a development of their label
Did you ever meet Joe McCarthy - he shared your views when he wasn't jailing homosexuals while at the same time dressing up in frocks
"That is a remarkably stupid and divisive statement even for you Jim."
Why aren't I entitled to gibve an opinion on a singer who is apparently incapable of producing a musical note, but who relies on recitative to deliver his songs
"Folk is what the people define it as"
Which people - the people don't give two monkeys - that's why there are so few clubs and many of those who are around are =blowing for tugs
If you people don't know what folk is, how do you expect "the people" to
"I know Jim doesn't like to be contradicted "
Who says I don't - I'm having a ball here
"McColl etc and they laid down the "definition" set in stone so to speak"
No they didn't, unless they did at the meetings you attended - not in my time
You are as dishonest as the rest of the Raggy - stop making things up.
"Ian Campbell,"
Watch who you're quoting Raggy" - wasn't he a Commie too!!
I've got one of the most beautiful statements by Campbell on folksong somewhere - will dig it out when I have taime
He came from the generation that had no doubt about the beauty and importance of folksong - a truly admirable man
Should have stuck to the shandy Raggy
I'm fed up with this bombardment of distortions and outright lies
Hard not to notice that Shirley Collins; statement has been ignored - ven by her fellow Sussex by the Sea-ers

Gotcha 'yr 'tis

IAN CAMPBELL
Contemporary songs or song-writers, whether British or American, can have no influence or effect on British folk music, if we accept, as we must, that British folk music is that body of music and song which has been created and handed down in a largely oral tradition, and which is thus no one man's creation, because it has arrived at its present form by passing through the folk process. Please let us work towards a clarification and standardisation of nomenclature. A magazine such as Folk Scene can only do harm by perpetuating and encouraging the current widespread confusion in this field.
If in your question, by British folk music, you mean the folk club scene, then the answer is obviously that contemporary songs and writers have already made their influence strongly felt, and will continue to do so. The validity of their contribution is another question again.
If the folk song revival were to consist merely of the reverent re-exhibition of songs hallowed by time, it would be a futile and sterile exercise. To make sense the revival must produce new songs, and presumably, to be valid, they must show the influence in form at least, of the tradition. MacColl demonstrated years ago, that it is possible to create vital contemporary songs within the traditional frameworks.
Unfortunately, most of the contemporary songwriters, who find favour among the folk song club audiences, show little interest in, or concern for, the traditional song forms. The idiom in which they most commonly compose is that of the pop songs, no matter how un-pop their lyrics. This is a pity, because with contemporary "folk songs" continually growing in popularity, the eventual result will be that the folk song revival, and the clubs, will lose all contact with folk songs.
Folk Scene Magazine.
No 14.
December 1965.


29 Oct 17 - 02:34 PM (#3885498)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Jim Carroll

G'night all
Jim Carroll


29 Oct 17 - 02:35 PM (#3885499)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Dave the Gnome

Well, I have had a lovely 4 days off, part of which included listening to Nick Dow's marvelous 'A poor man's gift' and watching the DVD he sent me showing what we had before folk clubs ;-)

Surprised to see the same arguments are being bandied about and not at all surprised that Joe has spotted the circular argument syndrome creeping in. It is things like Jim's comment of 27 Oct 17 - 12:45 PM that keep this things going.

I appear to have erected a hurdle nobody has been able toi get over, what kind of songs should one expect to find in a folk club?

I have addressed that point on 27 Oct 17 at 10:54 AM and, as I predicted, Jim did not like the answer so responded with some daft comment about selling frocks.

Ah well.

DtG


29 Oct 17 - 02:36 PM (#3885500)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: TheSnail

So bloody-minded to the point of dishonesty isn't insulting?

You damn well know exactly where I stand on what should happen at a folk club - howe many times have i pointed out MacColl's output and my repertoire

Well! There we have it! If you'd just like to send us a comprehensive list we'll know just what to do. Not a rule but what Jim Carroll says SHOULD happen at a folk club.


29 Oct 17 - 02:36 PM (#3885501)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Jim Carroll

Shelve Ian's article next to Shirley's statement under "not wanted on voyage"
Aden and 'The Last Post' calls
Jim Carrol


29 Oct 17 - 02:55 PM (#3885502)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Dave the Gnome

700!


29 Oct 17 - 03:03 PM (#3885505)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: GUEST,Nick Dow

Well my alternative approach worked well didn't it! I thought we might find some common ground, but then a camel is a horse designed by a committee. Yep! Time to knock it on the head. The thread I mean (or I think I mean.)


29 Oct 17 - 03:03 PM (#3885506)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: TheSnail

Nothing to disagree with about the Shirley Collins quote.

From an interview with her here - https://www.m-magazine.co.uk/features/interviews/interview-shirley-collins/

What do you think about current folk music trends?
It?s wonderful that people are turning back to it. There?s a growing interest in folk, which is lovely. It?s no longer something you have to despise or laugh at. It?s lovely now at my age to see young people playing the songs really well. The singing and the accompaniments these days are light years away from what it was when I was starting out.


I wonder what she'd have to say about you. I won't ask, I wouldn't want to upset her. She has certainly had a few comments about MacColl.


29 Oct 17 - 03:06 PM (#3885507)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Dave the Gnome

Steve, I cannot dispute anything you say in defense of Jim and have made the same points myself before. Jim's knowledge of folk music is encyclopedic. His contribution is phenomenal. His passion is unquestioned. What I can dispute is its bearing on the point in question, which is modern day folk clubs. I have a friend who is as knowledgeable about the long bow as Jim is about folk music. I would not dream of relying on that knowledge in a battle against nuclear missiles or computer controlled drone attack bots.

Jim's contribution is without question. Which makes it all the more difficult. It is like having to let go of the butler of 60 years service who knew more about the running of the house that anyone but now, to coin a phrase, cannot find his arse with both hands. Let alone the key to the pantry.

DtG


29 Oct 17 - 03:08 PM (#3885508)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Iains

According to the purists what is happening in our folk clubs is that they do not restrict themselves to folk.
The wider the definition, the wider the appeal, and hence the greater the popularity, I would have thought.


29 Oct 17 - 03:13 PM (#3885509)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: TheSnail

Raggytash

I've been pondering this afternoon over a pint or two.

In Jim's mind he considers that because he was acquainted with the Critics, McColl etc and they laid down the "definition" set in stone so to speak that he, as the last surviving member, is the keeper of the flame,


Actually, there are still others around. We've booked several.


29 Oct 17 - 04:59 PM (#3885516)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Steve Shaw

"I have got to stop reading this thread - it gets more confusing with every post - I know longer know who is saying what why or when - maybe it is time to close it down, because it is not going anywhere.

Tim Radford"

It is very odd, Tim. I'm a definite outsider in all this. A folk club got me going and I'm eternally grateful, but I grew out of folk clubs twenty years ago. That sounds bloody arrogant but it isn't meant to be. Playing in a pub session with an incredibly democratic bunch of blokes got me playing ten times more traditional tunes than ever I would have played or heard in a folk club. And a lot of non-traditional tunes too. And a few songs, mostly of the Pete St John non-traditional variety, but then we were mostly all about Irish tunes, not songs. But let me just say summat. I love traditional music. Dunno whether you in-crowd guys consider Shirley Collins to be traditional, but I'm a Shirley completist. Is Woody traditional? Dunno. I'm a Woody completist too. I know bugger all about Morris or set dancing but I love to see it and can't be dragged away. Dare I admit that I also love the Pogues, Christy, Planxty and the Bothies? Beatles? Vaughan Williams? But when it comes to going out to play, I have one bloody aim. To have fun. I thoroughly respect tradition. But if I want to thoroughly respect something and NOT have fun I'll just go to Mass, thanks. The polarisation in this thread is mesmerising and it survives the occasional oasis of calm. I could do with a touch more knowledge, but I have enough to be able to glean that Jim loses the lot of you. Don't antagonise a man of such passion and you might actually learn something. There, that's me being all soddin' polarising. Damn.


29 Oct 17 - 05:15 PM (#3885519)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Dave the Gnome

Sorry again, Steve, but what can Jim tell us about the folk clubs of today? A man who readily admits that he has not set foot in folk club for many years and left England for a life in the Emerald Isle is not really in a position to understand what the issues are in 2017. OK, we may say that in 1954 the folk clubs were thriving so if we went back to whatever they were were doing then, they will thrive again. But we all know that that is not true. Don't we?

DtG


29 Oct 17 - 05:23 PM (#3885524)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Backwoodsman

We do, Dave. Well, I do for one.


29 Oct 17 - 05:49 PM (#3885528)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: GUEST,Nick Dow

OK I was wrong. This is the Mudcat equivalent of 'The Mousetrap'


29 Oct 17 - 06:12 PM (#3885530)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: GUEST

Same old issues?

To pick on the simplest. Like Steve, I'm happiest in an (in my case Irish and at least mostly instrumental) session environment. Although it is where I started, I tend to loose interest more when things move to the more formal style clubs, eg, with floor singers getting up and doing sets of 3 but that's just me.

Harder are the never resolved "what is folk"? issues. I've had different opinions at different times but prefer the 1950s type idea to define a folk song (and even that is enough to get one involved in rows and you wind up getting fixed on on aspect, defending a view to the hilt?). I might also even debate the naming 'folk club' - perhaps "folk and acoustic" would be better in some cases?

But I think realities are 1. that any "folk club" I'm likely to get to or most of that sort of thing I've been to is some form of mix (some more to my tastes than others) and 2. if there every were any doors to be closed, the horses bolted long ago, although if for example, an event wanted to run "purely traditional", "purely unaccompanied", etc. they should be free to do so without criticism for not being "all inclusive".

I think, although a minority interest, "folk" is a big area and that there is room for different approaches. Rightly or wrongly, I also feel that having some diversity is healthy.


29 Oct 17 - 06:31 PM (#3885532)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Steve Shaw

What can any of you tell us about the folk clubs of today? How many folk clubs are there in this country? How many have you actually been to? How many have closed down?

I am not qualified. But here's my impressions:

FOLK CLUB

Earnest.
In-crowd.
Quiet.
Worthy.
Same old.
Frequent poor-quality floor spots.
Non-judgemental even in the face of frequent mediocrity.

PUB SESSION

Everybody plays almost all the time as much as they want to. Within reason, of course.
Far more traditional music played and heard than in any folk club.
Democratic.
A bit noisy.
Brings in the crowds.
Atmosphere.

FUN.

Comparisons are invidious. I'm biased. There are good things about folk clubs and bad things about sessions, I've seen all that. Just ask yourself how many clubs there are that are actually thriving. And whether they actually perform the function of keeping folk music alive and kicking, given the in-crowd, exclusive, precious ethos that may or may not prevail but which is their abiding image. I have my severe doubts. Keeping folk music alive is in the hands of, er, folks. And by no means do all of them go to folk clubs.


29 Oct 17 - 06:37 PM (#3885534)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Vic Smith

Hard not to notice that Shirley Collins; statement has been ignored - ven by her fellow Sussex by the Sea-ers
What are we supposed to do? Spring to attention and respond immediately because we have received the call from County Clare. I hesitate to repeat my claim about the person who thinks the world revolves around himself but I would submit this as further evidence. It's the subversive nasty edge to Jim's comments that I object to. Why does he continue to make provocative comments? This is not meant to be a side-taking snide comment competition. Ideally, it would be a fair and open minded debate. Some hope.....

I first met Shirley 53 years ago in 1964 and have become very friendly with her. Tina and I are delighted that in her recent books and records, we have received dedications from her. We have worked with Shirley in many ways over the intervening years, worked with her on developing and delivering all her multi-media shows, most notably a huge Arts Council funded tour of her "America Over The Water" multimedia shows that took us to major venues in five countries in 2007/8. It gave us some of the most memorable and enjoyable experiences in all our decades in folk music.
Now, I take it that Jim wants a response to the comments -
"Folk song belongs the despised and neglected people of the hard-working classes
They deserve to be known
My grandparents and my mum came from the labouring classes"

That was exactly her background just as it was mine; my father a docker, my mother a cleaner. Shirley's mother was an intensely involved Communist party member and the teenaged Dolly & Shirley were expected to spend their Saturdays selling The Daily Worker in the main shopping streets of Hastings, a thing that they found embarrassing to do and both resented intensely. Shirley's political interests are certainly of the left; from what I have heard her say, she seeks equality of opportunity and treatment for all but despises cant. rigidity and dogma both of the left and of the right. In many thousands of miles that Tina and I have driven her to gigs in our cars, there has been a wide range of discussions and one repeated topic was her deep loathing of the way she was treated as a young singer by both Lloyd & MacColl. She talked of put-downs, dismissive comments and what amounted to plain misogyny from the pair of them. I found this difficult to listen to because I had admiration for both men, but we are now surrounded by evidence of the treatment of young women by older men of that generation so who am I to doubt it. Yet when her relationship with Alan Lomax developed, she felt that there was jealousy that it was Alan and not Ewan that she favoured.

All of this is water that has long since passed under the bridge, and I only write it here because it has been called for. I fully expect to hauled over the coals for writing this but in my defence, I only write what I have heard because I have been asked to comment.


29 Oct 17 - 06:39 PM (#3885535)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: GUEST,Hootenanny

Folk clubs thriving in 1954 ? I don't think so but I am ready to be corrected BUT, only by somebody who was there and didn't just "know someone who was".

The songs and music existed long before the advent of folk clubs and it won't die now that there are fewer around. It has always been a minority sport and will continue to be so.


29 Oct 17 - 06:48 PM (#3885537)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: TheSnail

OK I was wrong. This is the Mudcat equivalent of 'The Mousetrap'
More like Groundhog Day.


29 Oct 17 - 06:54 PM (#3885538)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: TheSnail

Steve Shaw
First off, I'm not qualified. I haven't set foot in a folk club for twenty years. However...

I am not qualified. But here's my impressions:


Interesting that the most vociferous in their condemnation of folk clubs are those who haven't been to them for decades because they know that they are "shite, shite, shite, shite, shite...."


29 Oct 17 - 06:54 PM (#3885539)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: GUEST

Not me, Steve. I don't get out often and when the chance comes am picky. Favourite would be a session in the city. A more mixed affair with 50% tunes would be my next (and often only) option and it again give opportunities to join in a lot of the time and group participation is a lot to me.

The more formal folk club is to far down my own list for it to have happened in a long while. Nothing wrong with the city folk club but the last time I went there was several years ago when someone I first met in a Bangor session was the guest - he's very good but it was to say hello after several years as much as anything. In different circumstances I'd get out more.

I'm probably less concerned about standards than you. It's more a run eg. of Dulyn, etc. style singers (/songwriters) don't always appeal to my tastes.


29 Oct 17 - 07:07 PM (#3885540)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: GUEST

(perhaps better qualify standards above, out of time drums and thrashing wrong chords on guitar in a session are intolerable and can throw a whole group but I don't see things the same way if someone is giving a song)


29 Oct 17 - 07:25 PM (#3885543)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Jack Campin

To add to Steve Shaw's summary (29 Oct 17 - 06:31 PM):

FOLK CLUB

Raffle.

PUB SESSION

Tip jar.

(and if anything tells a new arrival that the conversation at the bar is going to be about hip replacements, it's having a raffle. Who started that? I kinda doubt it was MacColl since his paradigm performance situation was the theatrical show, and you didn't get a raffle at the interval when Ibsen or Brecht were running the gig).

These days I am mostly playing music that may be rehearsed in a back room pub session or in somebody's house, but the focus is on doing it publicly at some point. I see little interest in playing anything unless I'm trying to win over an audience which won't have heard anything like it before. Pub sessions can do that, but there are many other alternatives.


29 Oct 17 - 08:02 PM (#3885548)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Joe Offer

On 24 Oct, Chris Wright said: Folk music has become increasingly professionalised and institutionalised, and this is continuing at a seemingly accelerating rate.

I don't think the same is true for the U.S. There is no market in the U.S. for traditional folk music. None. NOBODY can make a living here as a folk musician, although there are living-room audiences all over the country who love traditional music and are very enthusiastic supporters of house concerts.

Folk music has left the commercial realm here in the U.S., and it has been left to the people who really love the music. One can't make a living in folk music anymore in the U.S. - but it sure is good to just make music for the fun of it.

-Joe-


29 Oct 17 - 08:14 PM (#3885551)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Steve Shaw

Trouble is, Snail, though I hear of your indefatigable work in making your club a success, which I honestly consider to be admirable, you are not listening. Over several posts I have told you how much I owe to folk clubs. The polarisation here means that you didn't see that bit. You only saw the bit that you didn't want to see, the negative bit. Well I am by no means negative about the folk club scene. But your challenge is to tell us what, if anything, is wrong with our analysis, honestly put, that folk clubs can be a bit stultifying, a bit inward-looking and a bit exclusive-feeling. I didn't say your club. Though, if you don't recognise what I'm saying, well maybe you haven't been to enough clubs. Indeed, neither have I. So tell me how you know. Finally, my post was constructive. Yours was defensive. Why do you worry so?


29 Oct 17 - 08:32 PM (#3885554)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Big Al Whittle

you just reminded me - i've got to go to the folkclub on tuesday - i owe a bloke twenty quid.


29 Oct 17 - 09:15 PM (#3885559)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: GUEST

Maybe some of it is that we are all different, Steve? For me a session is relaxed and (with the proviso that you know whatever is going round) you can come or go as you please - at least mostly, I'm no session leader (or usually not skilled enough to be that and with a limited repertoire, although aim to fit in) but sometimes you want to start a set or two going. Rarely for me but sometimes you can find yourself having to step forward a little more but you go with the flow (some of which can be your own). Things works themselves out on the night.

It's (to me anyway) quite a contrast to working out what you might do on the night, worrying about when you get called to do it, etc. And while it's nice to get applause and even better, to feel what you did really did go down well, I'm less interested in that side.

Others of course may have different intrests, eg. the response or introducing others to something new...


29 Oct 17 - 10:11 PM (#3885560)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: RTim

What's up with you guys - are you all in Bed........I am wired after a great night at a Folk Club.........

Tim Radford


30 Oct 17 - 02:39 AM (#3885565)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Jack Campin

There is no market in the U.S. for traditional folk music. None. NOBODY can make a living here as a folk musician

Bruce Molsky? Rhiannon Giddens?


30 Oct 17 - 02:41 AM (#3885566)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Johnny J

Jack says

"PUB SESSION

Tip jar."

This seems to be a rarely recent phenomenon with which I have great reservations.

Firstly, it is an excuse for the bar management to pay a mere pittance to the musicians in the case of so called "paid sessions".

If the session is unpaid and the musicians are playing for their own amusement and enjoyment, why should they expect payment? Passing around a "tip jar" is akin to busking if not begging, in my opinion.

If the punters enjoy the music, they can always offer to buy the musicians a drink or put some money behind the bar for this purpose. This is a lot more sociable!
Of course, many sessions are now full of tea totallers these days but surely they can still accept a soft drink or even a cup of tea or coffee if offered? Rather than seeking pocket money.....


30 Oct 17 - 02:52 AM (#3885567)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Backwoodsman

Never seen a tip jar at any of the sessions I've been to. Never been offered payment, a pint, or even a cup of tea. Zilch.

Had a great time though!🚚


30 Oct 17 - 03:11 AM (#3885569)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: GUEST

Most enthusing about sessions in pubs are players, not singers. Whatever is played in a pub session is treated the same as background music as during the playing of it, conversations continue, drinks are ordered and there is no audience, those playing are playing entirely for their own amusement.

A Folk Club is different. It is normally held in a designated space that has been reserved for that specific purpose for that particular evening. All those present are there to listen and participate. The material performed to widely varying degrees of competence ranges from traditional to pop, and, no sorry the latter is NOT folk music, even if it is being sung, normally appallingly badly, by "folk".


30 Oct 17 - 03:14 AM (#3885570)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Johnny J

"rarely recent phenomenon" Sorry, I meant to say FAIRLY recent phenomenon. ;-))

Backwoodsman,

I also enjoy myself fine in sessions where nothing is offered or expected. It's the music(or song) which is the important thing.


30 Oct 17 - 03:20 AM (#3885571)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Jim Carroll

" I hesitate to repeat my claim about the person who thinks the world revolves around himself "
Why do you resort to this personal shit Vic - you really were once better than that, or I thought you were?
You are no different that the rest of this pack with their insults, dishonesty and evasion
This has never been about me except when people like you choose it to be - it is about the music as far as I'm concerned - the same music that was recorded in the early 1950s and launched us all off on this wonderful voyage of discovery
You have all lied and distorted when you claim that my argument about clubs was based on the '54 definition - it never has been - '54 is a guide for research, no more, and even then it is one that needs revisiting.
You were offered my definition in example, over and over again - you ran like frightened sheep from it - a few took up my offer, but none of the bullies and strutters here - not interested in real argument when faced with a case to respond to
No - you don't have to come running at Collin's statement, you were asked to respond to what she said - you still haven't
I didn't ask for a thumbnail sketch of her history - I knew some of it anyway
Bryan stumps up a three year old article as if she was saying something different then - she wasn't - not about the music anyway
You have attempted to censor and denigrate my opinions by suggesting I have hi-jacked this thread - I had a lot to say, sure, but that could have been sorted out by responding to it with honest answers - none were forthcoming
I was told there were many definitions of folksong - the only one proffered was the mind-numbing "what happens in folk clubs" - how pathetic is that?
Your responses went from bad to worse when Iains arrived with his ' nobody has a right to an opinion unless they salute the flag and love Mad Maggie' level of rejection of argument and his 'you're stupid if you don't like the same things I do'
My definition is as it has always been -
Sam Larner singing Henry Martin
Phil Tanner singing Banks of the Sweet Primroses
Walter Pardon singing the Rambling Blade
Ned Adams sing The Bold Princess Royal
Cecilia Costello singing The Grey Cock and The Cruel Mother (she's worth two)
Mary Delaney singing What Will We do and Buried in Kilkenny (so is she)
And Sheila Stewart singing the beautiful folk tragedy that rivals Hamlet, Tiftie's Annie
They are the tip of the giant iceberg of folk songs that represent 'The Voice of the People' for me
Geldof doesn't even get a look in the window, never mind a seat by the folk fire, even if the laws of copyright allowed him to take one up.
The OP asked what has happened to our folk clubs - he and I got our answer - they have fallen into the hands of people who no longer know what folk song is and care even less.
I see a number of postings saying what a great time people have had at folk clubs, but fail to describe what they listen to
It's always intrigued my that a Forum that describes itself as this one does has made serious discussion of folk song a no-go area peppered with abuse and personal insult
Here its sunk to the level of describing criticism of the status quo as 'mental instability'
You people really do need to take a serious look at yourselves when you allow discussion to reach that level without comment
As far as the club scene, I see much common sense in Jack Campin's last posting
Theyare not places I would wish to take someone I wished to introduce to folk song either - not any more, they're not
Jim Carroll
JIm Carroll


30 Oct 17 - 03:23 AM (#3885572)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Backwoodsman

The sessions I go to are mostly 'mixed' - a tune or two, a song, a couple more tunes, a song, yadda yadda. Mostly in pubs with the boozers and gassers present.

However, I occasionally go to one almost totally tune session, held in a private room, and I go to one song session (same idea as a tune session, one person 'leads' a song, everyone else plays/sings as they wish), again in a private room.

The folk clubs I go to are mostly in private rooms, roughly 50/50 performers/audience, mostly 'modern folk-styled' songs with some trad, mostly very well-performed. But I also go to a club in a pub with boozers and gassers present, who booze and gas right the way through the performances.

Which all goes to show that stereotyping sessions/clubs, as with stereotyping people, often doesn't work.


30 Oct 17 - 03:25 AM (#3885573)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Backwoodsman

That was for unnamed GUEST.


30 Oct 17 - 03:46 AM (#3885575)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Iains

Back in the day when we wore flares and were long haired scruffy gits,the hit parade had numerous "folk" contributions by such as the
Strawbs, Pentangle, Donovan, Steeleye Span etc etc.... I think for many this coloured our definition of folk. This can be argued back and forth by the purists for ever and will progress the theme not one iota. I fail to see what place sessions have in this particular thread. If you want to discuss the ins and outs of sessions go elsewhere. It is obvious there will be no agreement as to what constitutes folk so further banging the drum for each viewpoint is fairly pointless. I suspect the majority describe folk music with a far broader paintbrush than the purists and although I will concede a debt is due to Jim for collating , archiving and researching material, this does not give him any right to dictate his interpretation of folk music on the rest of us. He is vastly outnumbered judging by the contributions here.
If you take the purist view then folk music is as dead as monty pythons pet parrot, and people are endlessly performing with a corpse.
I prefer to believe the genre is alive and kicking and modes of generation and transmittal reflect the world we live in today, not that of 200 year old yokels..


30 Oct 17 - 03:51 AM (#3885579)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Jim Carroll

" I will concede a debt is due to Jim for collating "
Please don't patronise me Iain's, we didn't do what we did for the likes of people who are as likely to send the heavy mpb to kick down workers doors wwhen they step out of line as they are to silence the voice of 'lefties' who speak their minds (or call peole who don't like the same things they do "stupid and divisive"
Jim Carroll


30 Oct 17 - 04:16 AM (#3885583)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Raggytash

For **** sake, Iains merely acknowledged the work you have done.

What do you do in your arrogance but throw it back at him.

You really are an insufferable boor.

Would you rather he had said that Jim Carrolls done sweet FA for folk music.

I wonder if you ever actually enjoy folk music, I have a mental picture of you sitting at the back of the room, making mental criticisms of all the players and performers. You criticise everything about it.

You criticise folk clubs in the UK even though you haven't set foot in one for decades, you criticise the audiences of which you have had no knowledge for decades, you criticise the performers, including a 20 time All Ireland winner, in fact you criticised the All Ireland titles, full stop. You criticse any modern singer/songwriter. You criticise everything except yourself.

You are not perfect, you don't know all the answers, I would go further and say you know next to SFA about folk music in the 21st Century.

An arrogant, elitist pain in the arse.


30 Oct 17 - 04:31 AM (#3885587)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Steve Gardham

Jim,
Just exactly what would you like to see happen in British Folk Clubs?

The clubs started to decline around about 1980 when the mainly young people who populated them started bringing up families. Since then we have seen massive changes in technology and social habits, much much more to to compete with for our time. The folk scene has progressed/regressed, depending on your viewpoint, in other ways since then.

Personally I see many many good young performers turning to traditional folk song, singing in folk clubs and at festivals and taking an interest in the academic side. More of us, including the young ones, are going into schools and other institutions to spread the word. The scenes in Yorkshire are vibrant and varied and there is plenty of interest in the tradition.


30 Oct 17 - 04:37 AM (#3885590)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Johnny J

"you know next to SFA about folk music in the 21st Century"

I'm not sure if that's true. It all depends on how we define "folk music".
The "What is folk music?" thing has been done to death on many occasions before. So, the arguments in this thread aren't particularly new.

It's much easier, I think,but still problematic to identify what "traditional music" or a country's indigenous music is.

For me, I'm content to accept that "folk music" covers a multitude of sins and styles of which traditional music and song is just part.

If we wish to insist that clubs should soley focus on traditional music and song, then maybe they should be renamed accordingly? Otherwise, I expect a wide variety of music at folk clubs and festivals which I can either enjoy or choose to ignore.


30 Oct 17 - 05:13 AM (#3885601)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Dave the Gnome

Jim, if the definition you give of folk music is the list you provided earlier then folk music can never happen in folk clubs again. I think everyone on that list is dead so unless you go to folk clubs to listen to recordings how do you expect adhere to that definition?

I could list what I count as folk music and you would undoubtedly find something wrong with it.


DtG


30 Oct 17 - 05:13 AM (#3885602)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Jim Carroll

"Just exactly what would you like to see happen in British Folk Clubs?"
Wind back about thirty years and you find it there Steve
A mix of traditional and new songs being created on traditional models were the norm throughout the scene
The scene I know were made up of my age who already had families and were looking around for ideas of how to get them involved - the Campbell sprogs ormed a pop group I seem to remember
The mass of people walked away because of declining standards and the shortage of folk songs in the clubs - the period was recorded in detail by an article entitled 'Crap Begets Crap, and a long series of responses in Folk Review
Your claim of young people turning to traditional folk song is contradicted by virtually everything agued here and your own circular definition that folk is what happens in folk clubs
One wonders where young people would go for traditional material and encouragement to sing it - certainly not the clubs represented here on hate fests like this one
If the above definition is your idea of what folk song is I have little doubt that there is no difficulty in finding it - plenty of karaoke venues around
"I'm not sure if that's true. It all depends on how we define "folk music"."
It's not "how we define it" Johnny it's whether we do - not much of that here
Nobody is insisting that we confine the clubs to traditional song - which really doesn't cover a "multitude of sins" and is quite unique among all other vocal forms - the aim was that we use the old songs to create new ones to provide a comfortable mix of old and new.
That is what has been ousted and replaced by "a multitude of sins and styles"
Folk and traditional when applied to song are synonymous terms - not separate ones
"Iains merely acknowledged the work you have done."
Iains has made clear where he stands on who should and should not have a say on these matters, just as he has on what he thinks of those who disagree with him
I consider praise from such people unnecessary and unwelcome just as I would if it came from somebady who had to ask "I wonder if you ever actually enjoy folk music, "
Jim Carroll


30 Oct 17 - 05:22 AM (#3885604)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Steve Gardham

Folk clubs since their inception have always had a mixture of traditional and contemporary songs and I don't think this has changed much over the 60 years. That goes for the repertoires of floor singers and professionals. I don't think anyone here, Jim included, would say that that is not healthy. Even those who throw in the odd pop song from their youth still largely sing material from the folk scene. (Dave Burland for instance).

The OP was asking about the gradual decline in floor singer standards. I don't go into folk clubs that often simply because I prefer the total involvement of a session (I'm hyperactive), but I have seen the singarounds go from strength to strength in introducing newcomers and improving the standards of performers already there and some of these do go to folk clubs. If floor singer standards are starting to fall in some areas then that is perhaps a matter for the organisers to address. A lively scene has a good mixture of sessions, singarounds, clubs, workshops, concerts etc.

Nearby York and Sheffield have always had a lively scene thanks to a few dedicated souls like Roland Walls and Ron Day. In Hull we have started to address this in the last 5 years partly by setting up a charity 'Folk in Hull' so we are all singing from the same sheet. There are plenty of young people involved. Currently most of them just want to entertain and sing good songs and we are not trying to ram English traditional material down their throats, though they are beginning to take an interest in where the songs come from.


30 Oct 17 - 05:24 AM (#3885605)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Raggytash

"Iains has made clear where he stands on who should and should not have a say on these matters"

Who the **** do you think you are to state that Iains should not have a say in the matter!!


30 Oct 17 - 05:28 AM (#3885606)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Raggytash

Actually your remark was not surprising really.

You have a repressive "do as I say" attitude.

Folk police personified.


30 Oct 17 - 05:31 AM (#3885607)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Steve Gardham

...singing from the same sheet...

I did notice the irony of using that metaphor.


30 Oct 17 - 05:46 AM (#3885609)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Vic Smith

I can only say that I have little to add to my statement at 29 Oct 17 - 06:37 PM.
I was taunted into a response about Shirley's statement about her background - Hard not to notice that Shirley Collins; statement has been ignored - ven by her fellow Sussex by the Sea-ers so I responded saying that I thought that Shirley's statement was honest. I wrote That was exactly her background.
The response was you don't have to come running at Collin's statement, you were asked to respond to what she said - you still haven't. Eh? Am I I being placed in a lose-lose situation here?
In addition, I am accused of insults, dishonesty and evasion. I must say that I strongly resent that accusation in giving the honest response that I was asked to make and would like to be given examples of where I have insulted, been dishonest or where I have evaded an issue. The normal procedures of interchange of ideas seem to have been abandoned here.

Could I add just one thing. I have no desire at all to pursue a definition of folk song. To produce one has defeated better and more knowledgeable brains than mine. I am happy to go with my gut instinct of the aspects of the music that I find emotionally and intellectually stimulating. Not everything that I hear in folk clubs pleases me but there is enough that meets my criteria for me come back for more. It could be that defining folk song is like juggling with sand - simply not possible. It could also be that insistent repeated demands for a definition are being used here as a smokescreen.


30 Oct 17 - 05:52 AM (#3885611)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Jim Carroll

"Who the **** do you think you are to state that Iains should not have a say in the matter!!"
I didn't Iains
I said any comments by you are not welcome given your track record
"Folk clubs since their inception have always had a mixture of traditional and contemporary songs "
Which is wahat I have suggested throughout
What has changes is that the contemporary that bears no resemblance in any shap or form to traditional has ousted the real thing and taken over - I think it's called acculturation, but I prefer 'a hostile takeover'
"entertain and sing good songs"
Subjective enough to me meaningless
'Folk in Hull' specifies a type of music so how can you "ram" the type of music people have been drawn in to listen to down their throats, unless you consider their choice of music a bad one in the first place and the role of the club is to wean prospective punters off folk.
Jim Carroll


30 Oct 17 - 05:59 AM (#3885613)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Jim Carroll

"Folk police personified."
Folkie invective personified
"Am I I being placed in a lose-lose situation here?"
No Vic - you are being asked your opinion on the merits of Shirleys statement - not whether she believed what she said
You still haven't replied
How can you "lose" anything by replying unless you believe your answer would incriminate you in something?
Folk song has already been defined and remains so to everybody involved with the exception of a dwindling number of clubs
As far as the clubs are concerned, it has nothing to do with definition, just living up to a promise
Jim Carroll


30 Oct 17 - 06:00 AM (#3885614)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Raggytash

Absolute bollocks you clearly typed:

"Iains has made clear where he stands on who should and should not have a say on these matters"

If you now consider you shouldn't have made the remark perhaps you should withdraw it ............ although I think we now have a clear picture of your beliefs. There is only one way and that's the Jim Carroll way.


30 Oct 17 - 06:22 AM (#3885619)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Vic Smith

Yet again in this thread, I am being accused (30 Oct 17 - 05:59 AM) by the same person of writing something that I did not write. Having been forced into an apology for a false accusation against me earlier in the thread, one might think that more care would be taken in future, but no.
I am being quoted as saying, "Folk police personified."
Check back. I did not write that. Are you still confused? Are you ready to offer another apology?
This is becoming remorseless.


30 Oct 17 - 06:30 AM (#3885621)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Raggytash

No not you Vic, that was aimed at me. It just that Jim will not put spaces between his different points. It can be confusing as we all know ........... so no change there.


30 Oct 17 - 06:45 AM (#3885624)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: GUEST

"Most enthusing about sessions in pubs are players, not singers."

I don't know it works out in this thread but I'd tend to be cautious about the "not singers" part. It might be just playing in the session but there are quite a few that may be singers on a different occasion.


30 Oct 17 - 07:09 AM (#3885627)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Steve Shaw

"Most enthusing about sessions in pubs are players, not singers. Whatever is played in a pub session is treated the same as background music as during the playing of it, conversations continue, drinks are ordered and there is no audience, those playing are playing entirely for their own amusement."

Hopefully true, though I'd rather say that there is a voluntary (as opposed to captive) audience rather than no audience. Our session lasted twenty years and survived several landlords and all participants got unlimited free beer all night. The gaffer even gave me my taxi fare home so that I could have a few pints. Now you don't get that if you are not significantly contributing to the ambience and getting lots bums on seats. So maybe not an audience in the strict sense, but a lot of appreciative people nonetheless. Filling a pub on a Friday night all year round in a remote area with a short tourist season was not our aim but we achieved it anyway. And on alternate Fridays we had several other village pubs in which we did the same thing.

"A Folk Club is different. It is normally held in a designated space that has been reserved for that specific purpose for that particular evening. All those present are there to listen and participate. The material performed to widely varying degrees of competence ranges from traditional to pop, and, no sorry the latter is NOT folk music, even if it is being sung, normally appallingly badly, by "folk"."

I think the club I was brought up in eventually lost its way, at least in part for the reasons you state. Incidentally, not everyone by a long chalk was there to participate. A good number of people were passive audience. The main difference is that in a folk club you are performing. I don't think that's true of pub sessions on the whole, bar the occasional song for which there was reverential quiet from the pub regulars. One other thing: the habit of booking folk music stars for gigs at clubs I always saw as a double-edged sword. Sure, it got people in (usually) and might have enlightened a few as to what they'd been missing. But it also puts career people on a pedestal, as does the issuing of slickly-produced fourteen-quid CDs in glossy boxes. To me, that runs against what true folk music should be about, even if the star performers often performed real folk music.


30 Oct 17 - 07:23 AM (#3885632)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Jim Carroll

""Folk police personified."
Once again it was not addressed to you Vic - it was not attributed to anybody but wsas copied directly from Raggy's posting above
I did not "falsely" accuse you of anything last time, I mistakenly did so and apologised
"Are you ready to offer another apology?"
If you insist, but I would have thought an explanation would have done, given the circumstances
Sorry
"If you now consider you shouldn't have made the remark perhaps you should withdraw it "
I don't understand your point
Iaian said that those holding left wing views should not be considered as telling the truth
He later went on to say that anybody who didn't share his tastes were stupid
What is there to apologise for - I certainly have no intention of withdrawing my remark?
I find it interesting that you should defend such behaviour and go on to say "There is only one way and that's the Jim Carroll way"
That is patently not true, as is your implied accusations of my lying ""I wonder if you ever actually enjoy folk music"
I have stated over and over again that I do enjoy folk song, as a singer and as a listener - so I am not telling the truth - according to you
Who should apologise to whom Raggy?
No forget that
The amount of mud-slinging that has gone of here from all sides has created a situation that nobody should either demand or expect an apology
You are as guilty as abybody
Let's see if we can't move on without the abuse eh?
Jim Caarroll


30 Oct 17 - 07:35 AM (#3885637)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Jack Campin

Jim will not put spaces between his different points. It can be confusing as we all know ........... so no change there.

Not confusing for me. I just read the first two lines and skip the rest.


30 Oct 17 - 07:38 AM (#3885638)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Raggytash

I wrote "Iains merely acknowledged the work you have done."

You replied "Iains has made clear where he stands on who should and should not have a say on these matters, just as he has on what he thinks of those who disagree with him "

No mention of his politics. It reads as if you are commenting on his reference to your collecting work.

Perhaps, as other people have already suggested, you should take a little more care before you post.

Finally though I might disagree with much of what Iains posts about politics, I will defend his right to post it.


30 Oct 17 - 08:04 AM (#3885644)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Vic Smith

I did not "falsely" accuse you of anything last time, I mistakenly did so and apologised
Yes, you dealt with satisfactorily. However at 30 Oct 17 - 03:20 AM you accused me of "insults, dishonesty and evasion." I remain very unhappy about that and asked you to provide examples of each. You have not done so. If you are unable to do so, please could you withdraw the claim and give assurance that such accusations will not be repeated in future.


30 Oct 17 - 08:14 AM (#3885647)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Iains

Iaian said that those holding left wing views should not be considered as telling the truth
He later went on to say that anybody who didn't share his tastes were stupid

Give me the time, date and thread where these supposed postings occurred, otherwise withdraw them.


30 Oct 17 - 09:05 AM (#3885656)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: TheSnail

Joe? Are you there?


30 Oct 17 - 09:13 AM (#3885658)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Steve Shaw

Well some of us are trying to talk about what happens in folk clubs. I thought this kind of stuff was only supposed to happen in religion and Labour Party threads. I feel safer below the line.


30 Oct 17 - 09:15 AM (#3885659)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Jim Carroll

"I am afraid I regard MacColl as a communist primarily and I give as much weight to his views and I do those of gary lineker the walkers crisp man and his views on brexit."

Vic
"insults, dishonesty and evasion."
A quick list
What we need is an Authentication Standards Panel. We could call them the Folk Poli.... no, wait a minute.... forget that. It's not such a good idea after all.

?So with my apologies I have to tell the Musical Traditions Club that they have failed the JC test.?

?Why have we allowed one man to highjack this thread?
What sort of personality thrives on such self-absorption and verbal conflict?
Why do so many people try to reason with a person who is clearly incapable of a discussion that can move a thread or topic forward?
Can I make a suggestion? That we ignore his comments, insults, rudeness, demands for explanations and definitions and try to address the interesting question posed in the opening post and only respond accordingly. He may even get fed up and go away.
I am sure that I am not the only one that does not subscribe to the Carrollocentric Universe Theory and find the circumlocution that it entails very trying.?

?And still we are allowing ourselves to be led into engaging with displays of morbid obsession and dishonesty.?

Maybe we can stop this bloodletting and move on - please
Jim Carroll


30 Oct 17 - 09:38 AM (#3885661)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Vic Smith

I think at this point we need something quite off-topic just to bring a bit of light to the gloom.....
I see that Dave Burland's name has been mentioned four times in this thread. Every time I hear Dave's name, I am reminded of the story that he told at Whitby a few years back about his neighbour, Bill, back home in Barnsley.....

Bill said to his wife one evening. "I'm just off down the pub, love, to have a couple of pints with me mates."
The vehemence of her reply surprised him. "That's right! Off you go and spend your time with the bunch of losers. You've been promising to put up that shelf in the kitchen for a month now. I'd do it myself if I could reach up that high.... and the last time you went into our front room, you told me that the room was a bloody disgrace and that you were going to redecorate it. When it that going to happen, eh? No you just go down to the pub and listen to your loser mates moaning about football and the government."
Bill stomped out slammed the door and was still not a happy man when he got to the pub. His mates were there but they were all bent over their newspapers and silence ruled. That did not help his mood.
Eventually someone spoke, "What about that match on Saturday?" Groans all round until someone said, "Call themselves footballers? My granny playing blindfold could do better that some of them!" That exhausted that conversation; silence again.
After long gap another another voice pipes up. Pointing to his newspaper he says, "Have you heard the lastest idea by those daft sods at Westminster?" More groans then another conversation ender - "Don't tell us. We don't want to know." More silence.
Bill thinks to himself, "She's right. They are a bunch of losers. I'd actually be happier putting up shelves and decorating than sitting here."
After some more thought, he calls out, "Can anyone tell me if there is a B&Q in Barnsley?" Lots of thoughtful puzzled faces 'A B&Q' 'In Barnsley' Eventually someone answers him. "No, Bill, I think there's just a 'B'."


30 Oct 17 - 10:05 AM (#3885668)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Iains

I could also call McColl an English folk singer, songwriter, labour activist, actor, poet, playwright and record producer. None of which gives him any particular qualification to define what is or is not folk.
That is the point I was making. What puts him on any kind of pedestal to lord it over the rest of us as being the final arbiter of folk? Does stuffing a finger in the ear give the required credibility to define folk, or is it merely a device to block out dissenting opinions. I like some of his compositions but have not the slightest interest, or belief in his views whether it be on politics or folk music.


30 Oct 17 - 11:02 AM (#3885681)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Jim Carroll

"I could also call McColl an English folk singer, songwriter, labour activist, actor, poet, playwright and record producer. None of which gives him any particular qualification to define what is or is not folk."
No - his work and contribution to folk music did that
Not the point that was being made through, was it?
"Does stuffing a finger in the ear give the required credibility to define folk"
No - but it's a millennia old technique used by singers for keeping in tune - otr is it only an affectation WHEN IT'S MacCOLL
Moving on
"I think at this point we need something quite off-topic just to bring a bit of light to the gloom..."
Might do the trick Vic
If not...
Was reminded of this while I was having my hip replaced - the nurses thought it was funny
An old farmer in the next village down the coast from here was working in the fields when he jagged his leg on a piece of barbed wire
He didn't do anything about it until, a week or so later it became inflamed and swelled up until at ast the pain grew so great that he went off to Ennis Hospital
They told him he had gangrene and the leg would have to be removed.
His neighbour visited him after the operation and asked how he was
"Good and Bad" came the reply
"Tell me the worst" said his friend
"Well, they operated last night and they cut the wrog leg off"
"That's terrible" said his mat.
"Not so bad - the other one's getting better"


30 Oct 17 - 11:09 AM (#3885684)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Jack Campin

I could also call McColl an English folk singer, songwriter, labour activist, actor, poet, playwright and record producer. None of which gives him any particular qualification to define what is or is not folk.

He didn't. The 1954 definition was mainly constructed by Maud Karpeles to reflect a partial consensus among a bunch of ethnomusicologists of the period. If MacColl went along with it, it was simply because it was the clearest thinking on the subject you could find at the time.

Cowdery's paper is a nice summary of what happened.


30 Oct 17 - 11:54 AM (#3885689)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: GUEST

Well some of us are trying to talk about what happens in folk clubs. I thought this kind of stuff was only supposed to happen in religion and Labour Party threads. I feel safer below the line.

When you get into the "what is folk", "what should a folk club allow", etc. territory, it's probably not to dissimilar to politics and religion here.

The funny thing to me is that while I can get involved in these threads, Mudcat bears little resemblance to the small part of the folk world I know.

Sure, I can agree with a number of observations over the years,lets say from a bad bodhran in a session to politics within an organised folk club. But how many are doing the sort of things that occupy much of this thread when they are out and about? Most I know spend most of that time "just doing" and my own conversations when out at a session rarely have anything to do with folk at all.


30 Oct 17 - 12:16 PM (#3885696)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Jack Campin

how many are doing the sort of things that occupy much of this thread when they are out and about? Most I know spend most of that time "just doing" and my own conversations when out at a session rarely have anything to do with folk at all.

Bill Jay's book Cyanide and Spirits is an entertaining history of early photography in its social context. He says that when he started researching it, he assumed that the big issue for photography would be the analogous question, "is it art?".

What he found on reading cratefuls of publications written by photographers for photographers was that they didn't care about that at all, and the issue they were really heated about was "is spirit photography real?".


30 Oct 17 - 12:32 PM (#3885703)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Iains

I do not know what others think but I find the 1954 definition patronising, pretentious anachronistic bullsh*t.
Linked below is another viewpoint. I can partially agree with him.
As has been said previously the world has moved on and the modes of composition and transmission have changed especially in the western world. You either have to accept that or admit the folk medium is now sterile and consequently in it's death throes.
http://www.prismjournal.org/fileadmin/Social_media/Egenes.pdf

at the end of the day is there any real difference between "over the hills and far away" and "Green fields of France"? In my book there is not - others may argue otherwise (fruitlessly)
I much prefer the wider definition of folk found in both folk clubs and sessions where the repertoire can constantly expand.
Otherwise there is little to hand on to the next generation. Are you content to say "Granny did it this way" and we hand this on because we and our parents contributed sweet FA?


30 Oct 17 - 12:48 PM (#3885705)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Steve Shaw

I would occasionally cup my ear when playing the harmonica, the better to hear myself in a loud environment. Someone once said to me "Who the bloody 'ell do you think you are, Ewan MacColl?"

What do MacColl's politics have to do with the "definition" of folk music? If an unconnected area of his life colours your view on his attitude to music, just consider that Wagner was a rabid antisemite, that Britten was inordinately fond of young boys, that Richard Strauss and Furtwangler conducted concerts in wartime Germany in support of Hitler, that Beethoven rarely emptied his pot de nuit to the disgust of his visitors, that Herbert Von Karajan was cheerfully a member of the Nazi party, that Mozart was obsessed with making jokes about poo and bottoms and that Schubert loved prostitutes and he didn't really care how young they were (it killed him in the end). Hope I haven't spoiled anyone's enjoyment of their music...


30 Oct 17 - 12:53 PM (#3885706)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Steve Gardham

Whilst I agree with most of your post, Iain, it is unfair, I feel, to criticise the 54 descriptors. They describe what was folk music in 1954 and the centuries before that as far as the western world is concerned. That the way the people's music now evolves is different, more conscious, was bound to happen eventually.

What makes the folk scene a great place to be for me is that the old folk music and the new sit happily side by side for the vast majority of us. The only place this causes problems is on Mudcat with threads like this.


30 Oct 17 - 12:57 PM (#3885707)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: GUEST

I don't see that adaptations of the 1954 idea do not allow things to expand. Shoals of Herring is known by just about everyone in folk. Likewise for a tune, who doesn't know Caliope House? Some things just fit in. Others may take more time to get there. Personally, these days, I find the "I've written something with 'meaningful words', therefore it is a 'folk song'" harder to accept.

Please note that I'm not suggesting that the "new song with 'meaningful words'" may not be appropriate for a folk club.


30 Oct 17 - 01:16 PM (#3885709)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Steve Shaw

"As has been said previously the world has moved on and the modes of composition and transmission have changed especially in the western world. You either have to accept that or admit the folk medium is now sterile and consequently in it's death throes."

No we don't have to accept that. Folk music at its heart has to be predicated on non-written-down transmission and that can't change. I'm not that bothered about young bucks writing their own songs in the alleged folk mode, etc. (though in some cases it seems that folk is rock and roll with a fiddle in it), as their stuff can still be very good. I'n not that bothered about other influences creeping in. I'm no purist and sometimes the synergy is really good. But I believe in the folk process and the crux of that as far as I'm concerned is oral/aural passing down. I can't speak much about song as I'm a definite tune man, but I've sat in sessions for an awful long time and I can tell straight away if someone is learning his tunes from books. In the words of Alan Ng of Irish Tunes Info,

....most newcomers to Irish (or any other culture's) traditional music must first overcome this fundamental misunderstanding about how to learn to play music well. I urge you strongly to never learn a tune from notation, whether from sheet music or abc code....
...Never learn a tune from notation alone, especially if you are not already an excellent Irish musician. You may not learn tunes fast enough to satisfy your otherwise healthy eagerness, but you will learn them right. And learning tunes by ear is the direct path towards becoming an excellent Irish musician. This is the only way to learn the "nyah," the "draoicht," "lift," "swing," or whatever you want to call beauty.


30 Oct 17 - 01:19 PM (#3885712)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: GUEST,Wm

As has been said previously the world has moved on and the modes of composition and transmission have changed especially in the western world. You either have to accept that or admit the folk medium is now sterile and consequently in it's death throes.

Putting in the legwork to remove the revivalist lens and to understand and reintroduce those past mechanisms might be a third, preferable course of action.


30 Oct 17 - 01:31 PM (#3885717)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: RTim

Without really wanting to add more fuel to the fire - Has anyone seen the link below from Grizzly Folk - "In search of a Folk Music Definition"...............

https://www.grizzlyfolk.com/folk-music-definition/

Tim Radford


30 Oct 17 - 01:39 PM (#3885720)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Jim Carroll

"Shoals of Herring is known by just about everyone in folk."
Is folk a place?
The definition was an attempt to analyse and explain a disappearing phenomenon the among workers and peasants of the world - the creation of songs which had been happening forever as far as was known - according to ethnomusicologists like Netl, Bowra and Trask anyway
That process was grinding to a halt and was not being replaced - people were becoming recipients of their culture (or customers for it)
By 1954, with very few exceptions, the song traditions were dead and the BBC team was largely recording singers who not only were not part of a living singing tradition
James Hoggs mother probably summed the situation up when she said to Scott
"there was never ane o' my songs prentit till ye prentit them yourself, an, ye hae spoilt them a'thegither. They war made for singing, an no for reading; and they're nouther right spelled nor right setten down.'"
The definition was never intended to include outsiders from the communities who had latched on to the results for their own interests
The explanation did not include the form that song making took, which varied from country to country - Lomax and the Cantometrics team showed, without too much doubt that the forms and utterances varied from country to country.
Once again, none of this has anything whatsoever to do with the clubs in any way, shape or form as they represent no-one but themselve - they are not even a united unit - they work as separate units with their own policies
Attempting to include the internet is equivalent to making e-mail a 'tradition'
Jim Carroll


30 Oct 17 - 01:53 PM (#3885724)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Big Al Whittle

well let's look on the bright side.
there is currently no sign of the folk clubs turning into cheese and someone eating them.


30 Oct 17 - 01:56 PM (#3885725)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Big Al Whittle

no one remembers the last time a member of a folk club audience was eaten by a crocodile.


30 Oct 17 - 02:10 PM (#3885728)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: GUEST

no one remembers the last time a member of a folk club audience was eaten by a crocodile.

Last time seems to imply it has happened?


30 Oct 17 - 02:31 PM (#3885729)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Iains

"Folk music at its heart has to be predicated on non-written-down transmission and that can't change"
Be nice if just once you qualified it as your opinion rather than stating it as fact.
Again Alan Ng of Irish Tunes Info states his personal view. I have no problem with that- BUT- his view and your view are not definitive.

Steve Gardham. In 1954 I may not have been so harsh, I was describing how I felt the definition applied today. I believe it is in desperate need of revision In the UK and Ireland the world has changed dramatically, not just since 1954 but even in the last 20 years. Anyone with a smartphone can video record a performance. Does anyone seriously believe to be authentic transmission you have to hear it live several times? The notion is ridiculous. Where are the forums to hear native folk in the UK and Ireland. Spontaneous sessions in Ireland have shrunk to almost non existence, accompanied by a dramatic decline in pubs. Likewise performances in bars have had a massive decline over the same time frame. How can the purist definition of folk hold up if the only venues to hear it are organised?


30 Oct 17 - 02:35 PM (#3885730)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: GUEST,Peter Laban

'Spontaneous sessions in Ireland have shrunk to almost non existence, accompanied by a dramatic decline in pubs. Likewise performances in bars have had a massive decline over the same time frame'

That is utter nonsense and betrays a complete lack of knowledge and insight with regards what is going on in Ireland.


30 Oct 17 - 02:47 PM (#3885736)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Jim Carroll

RTim
Your linked article is totongue-in-cheek and riddled with inaccuracies to be of much use - it talks as if no definition has ever been attempted and reached, for a start
One pphrase that did strike me though is this
"Topic Records boss, David Suff, explained to me that our misunderstanding of the words ?folk music? has to do with a marketing conundrum ? that ?singer-songwriter? was too long a word to keep having to write out ? but he also admitted that he wasn?t really sure."
It suggests that nobody really intended that newly written and marketed music should ever be considered as folk (which is in the public domain), but it just happened out of either convenience and/or laziness.
THat makes sense to me and is much in evidence here
"no one remembers the last time a member of a folk club audience was eaten by a crocodile."
A feller was walking along the side of the Thames when he saw a man with a bag over his shoulder into which he reguarly reached and drew out handfuls of powder which he threw into the river,
Intrigued the man asked what the powder was.
"Crocodile repellent" came the reply.
But there aren't any crocodiles in the Thames" he responded
"Effective, innit?"
Jim Carroll


30 Oct 17 - 02:57 PM (#3885741)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Big Al Whittle

who said that?


30 Oct 17 - 03:04 PM (#3885742)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: TheSnail

Crocodile


30 Oct 17 - 03:05 PM (#3885744)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Iains

https://www.irishtimes.com/news/number-of-pubs-down-by-1-300-over-last-five-years-1.1081600

I did say spontaneous for sessions.

If the venues have shrunk then inevitably so have the performances.
Total number of pubs in Ireland ♎ 7000
Number closed 1300 in last five years

In my own village of four pubs 2 are closed, the other 2 limping.
20 years ago they were all vibrant with plenty of music and you would not know who might start playing. Today maybe the occasional Saturday has some music with a little more during the tourist season. There are some sessions about, but in nearby towns.


30 Oct 17 - 03:12 PM (#3885747)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: GUEST,Peter Laban

Sure, pubs are closing. A matter of economics and changed life styles. Plenty left though. But that isn't in any way an indicator as to the state of music in Ireland, and that was what I was getting at.

'Spontaneous' sessions. Well, how would you, or anybody, know, when they are spur of the moment they won't be announced, or even   necessarily be held in a public place.

As it happens, if I were so inclined I could go out and play any night of the week. There are more people playing and to a higher standard than ever before. Music is thriving in Ireland.


30 Oct 17 - 03:27 PM (#3885751)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: The Sandman

'Spontaneous sessions in Ireland have shrunk to almost non existence, accompanied by a dramatic decline in pubs. Likewise performances in bars have had a massive decline over the same time frame'

That is utter nonsense and betrays a complete lack of knowledge and insight with regards what is going on in Ireland.
I disagree, in County Cork, Regulr weekly music sessions, that also go on during the winter appear to be slightly in decline[ i am not referring to paid gigs].


30 Oct 17 - 03:34 PM (#3885756)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Iains

It was west Cork in particular I was thinking of and as Dick has a vastly greater involvement than I, then I have no hesitation accepting his qualifiers.


30 Oct 17 - 03:59 PM (#3885763)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: GUEST,Peter Laban

'It was west Cork in particular I was thinking of ...'

But you did extend your statement to the entire country. I could argue that perhaps West Cork is not traditionally an area as known for its music as some other parts of the country but most likely we'd be arguing about it until the cows come home. All I can say is that Dick's experience is not mirrored in the areas in the West I am most familiar with.


30 Oct 17 - 04:03 PM (#3885765)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Raggytash

Iains, Sorry about this, you have said much I agree with on this subject, but the town I reside in, in Ireland, is brim full of music.

Not the type the purist would like obviously. Far too "commercial" for them. But just sometimes a young lad who has won 20 All Ireland titles at the tender age of 18.

So you will understand he's not really that very good. He, among many others, play superb music most nights of the week, they even let me in now and again (and by comparison I'm rubbish)

The outlying villages again are full of music and most of the musicians and singers are good, sometimes very good, young and old alike.


30 Oct 17 - 04:06 PM (#3885768)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Raggytash

I hope people did take note of the irony there !!

Further more in the town I live in, in England is full of music, not sadly to the same standard, and I do realise I live in a town that is not typical of the rest of the country, but music still flourishes.


30 Oct 17 - 04:37 PM (#3885772)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Jack Campin

Topic Records boss, David Suff, explained to me that our misunderstanding of the words ?folk music? has to do with a marketing conundrum - that "singer-songwriter" was too long a word to keep having to write out - but he also admitted that he wasn?t really sure.

The Turkish music scene has a better way of handling that. Their genre classifications are a bit different to Anglophone ones, but they have a term "?zg?n" (original) which means much the same thing as "singer-songwriter" - a snappy two-syllable word with no derogatory connotations. The genre isn't as popular as it was, but there was never a reason to be coy about the word - you'd find it labelling the bins in music shops.

It would have helped if an Anglophone could have invented something analogous back in 1954 as a simple non-pejorative term for things like the songs of MacColl and Leonard Cohen.


30 Oct 17 - 05:18 PM (#3885779)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Jack Campin

Something ate my umlauts. The word was "özgün".


30 Oct 17 - 05:42 PM (#3885783)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: DaveRo

Just been investigating özgün music. It seems to be associated with protest, and is regarded as subversive by the current Turkish regime.

Reference.


30 Oct 17 - 06:06 PM (#3885793)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Jack Campin

A lot of it was protest-oriented - perhaps more than singer-songwriter in the UK and the US was - but it didn't have to be. Some of it used really high quality literary texts, which might have been taken as making political points or might not.

It's not surprising Erdoğan doesn't like it. I wonder what song genre appeals to stuck-up reactionary control freaks? Perhaps he shares his Spotify playlist with Michael Gove.


30 Oct 17 - 07:22 PM (#3885813)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Steve Shaw

"As has been said previously the world has moved on and the modes of composition and transmission have changed especially in the western world. You either have to accept that or admit the folk medium is now sterile and consequently in it's death throes."

That is your opinion, stated as fact. There is nothing in the above to suggest that you are stating your humble opinion. It's actually a wrong-headed opinion, but that's by the bye. It ill-behoves you to criticise anyone else for doing what you do yourself all the time just because you disagree. That is a very immature attitude.


30 Oct 17 - 09:02 PM (#3885832)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: RTim

Maybe this should have its own thread - but................

I have a question posed by someone on another media -
"Does Folklore have a different definition to Folk Music..."

Folklore in this case is in addition to Folk Music and includes jokes, to customs, to recipes, to traditional crafts, & dialects, etc..

Tim Radford


31 Oct 17 - 03:13 AM (#3885848)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Jim Carroll

"Does Folklore have a different definition to Folk Music..."
No it doesn't Tim - both are from 'The Folk' - the largely rural labouring classes
The same applies to folk tales, dance and music
All are sister genres, obviously not the same.
It replaced the term 'popular' - as in Brand's 'Popular Antiquities of Great Britain' - first published in 1777
Child attributed the Ballads to the same source, which is why he entitled his collection, 'The English and Scottish Popular Ballads' - popular = of the people.

"like the songs of MacColl and Leonard Cohen"
A further complication
One draws its inspiration from traditional song - one does not.
"It's not surprising Erdoğan doesn't like it"
Hitler took an opposite view and incorporated German folk song and lore into his politics by creating his own.
"So you will understand he's not really that very good."

Misleading Raggy
CCE players rise to a high level to win prizes - that isn't the problem
In order to win competitions you have to play what you are told the way you are told by the committees - playing by numbers
It has frozen their music into a 'Comhaltas' style and has excluded all else, especially Irish music and song which may have originated elsewhere.
Songs that have probably originated in Britain are a no-no, despite having proliferated throughout the singing traditions for centuries.
Competitions are only for winners anyway - they killed off the love of thousands of Irish youngsters living in Britain during the years we were associated with the music there.

"folk medium is now sterile and consequently in it's death throes"
They said exactly the same thing about Shakespeare during various periods of history and there he is still filling theatres and infesting our televisions
That is an indication of your personal taste Iains, nothing more
The last living tradition only disappeared in 1974 when the Travellers went into Woolworths and bought portable televisions
They are now running around like blue-arsed flies trying to get it back because they have realised it is an essential part of their culture and identity
Limerick University has a department concentrating on Irish Traveller music and is co-operating with several musical Traveller families, the Dunnes and the Rooneys, to bring it back fro the younger generation.
Jim Carroll


31 Oct 17 - 03:34 AM (#3885855)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Dave Sutherland

"no one remembers the last time a member of a folk club audience was eaten by a crocodile".
I was once but everyone thought I was just showing off in my Lacoste sleeping bag.


31 Oct 17 - 03:42 AM (#3885859)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Iains

Raggytash. You are lucky that the scene where you are is thriving. The relatively recent revision to the breathalyser limits has caused a lot of grief for rural pubs. Between 2007 and 2012 10% of irish pubs closed, since then a further 1300. That is a lot of venues wiped out, especially in the SW.
There seems to be a lot of nitpicking around here. I think I pretty clearly defined what I thought folk music was, as opposed to the purist's definition. I am not asking anyone to believe or disbelieve me, but if you accept the rigid defintion of 1954 then folk music is no longer being created - you are merely worrying a corpse.
My view is that the 1954 defintion is too rigid and defines a world that no longer exists. Therefore it is no longer fit for purpose.
To argue about the broader definition of folk when trapped in the confines of the 1954 defintion seems rather silly to me. The argument will constantly be at cross purposed and progress zilch.
Maybe I am overlooking something but it seems a pretty simple proposition to me. If you accept the 1954 definition then folk as a living medium is dead. Accepta wider definition and the genre is alive and kicking. I do not see scope for any middle ground.


31 Oct 17 - 04:19 AM (#3885866)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Dave the Gnome

"folk medium is now sterile and consequently in it's death throes"
They said exactly the same thing about Shakespeare during various periods of history and there he is still filling theatres and infesting our televisions


I am really confused now, Jim. I am sure you said earlier that the folk medium in England was dying out and now you seem to indicate the opposite.

What am I missing?

DtG


31 Oct 17 - 04:20 AM (#3885867)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Jim Carroll

"If you accept the 1954 definition then folk as a living medium is dead."
Why do you go on harping about the 54 definition
No club I ever attended over fifty years has even considered the definition as a policy - perhaps you might point out whih ones ever did?
his is just simple dishonesty to defame a type of music you obviously dislike and don't understand
Even the Holby City team can't revive a corpse back to life - the tradition as a living entity may have passed on, but what it produced in its lifetime still entertains and still fills volums - see The Greig Duncan Folksong Collection and Sam Henry's Songs of the People - or listen to the Caedmon Series from the School of Scottish Studies or 'Voice of the People' (now numbering over 20 albums) - redundant - I don't think so!!
This is just cultural vandalism spitefully delivered
Jim Carroll


31 Oct 17 - 04:30 AM (#3885870)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Jim Carroll

"What am I missing?"
I am referring to the club scene in England as depicted here
Traditional song still has a life and relevance outside those clubs - see above - it is the clubs who declared UDI, not the music
There has never been so much good traditional music freely agvailable to those who hare to dip their toes - not in my time
If Irish youngsters can be drawn to the music I have no doubt whatever that English kids can
People like Iain's would destroy any chances of that ever happening by reading the last rites over a living and very relevant entity.
I'm delighted he has said what he has - his personal dislike speaks for others - here and elsewhere
What did someone say about "boring old farts"?
Jim Carroll


31 Oct 17 - 04:43 AM (#3885873)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Raggytash

Dave, there's simple one contradiction after another. Try reading the thread from the start (if you've the stamina) there's dozens of them.


31 Oct 17 - 04:50 AM (#3885875)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Iains

Jim you are talking nonsense. You are the one saying the medium is dead and then turn around and say the opposite. If you want to argue the toss at least have the decency to be consistant. You are the one worrying the 1954 defintion to death, not me. I have repeatedly said it is unfit for purpose and my church is a broad church. Yours would like to bring back the spanish inquisition.

"People like Iain's would destroy any chances of that ever happening by reading the last rites over a living and very relevant entity."

Is the above your special entry for the misquote of the year award?


31 Oct 17 - 05:03 AM (#3885880)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Steve Shaw

As an erstwhile denizen of folk clubs and an active participant in music-making in the spirit of traditional music for several decades, I was interested in joining in this thread. I don't generally take much interest in discussions which argue about the definition of folk music, and, until this thread, I didn't even know there was a 1954 definition. I've reproduced it once and just checked it again. As far as I can see the definition is an attempt at description, not a prescription, there is nothing fossilising in it and I can only conclude that anyone thinking that it condemns folk to its death throes either hasn't read it or is so blinded by some agenda or other that the thing eludes them completely. If you happen to be a gentleman of the right and think that folk is infested by worthless commies such as Ewan MacColl, for example. It's actually a fairly anodyne piece of writing. It changes nothing and seems unimportant to me. It doesn't deserve to be misrepresented, however.


31 Oct 17 - 05:05 AM (#3885881)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Steve Shaw

What "misquote?"


31 Oct 17 - 05:09 AM (#3885883)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Big Al Whittle

why would Iain holding an opinion have any effect on what happens?

the intrinsic value of Shakespeare sustained it through periods of its unfashionability? (is that a word?)
blues music went through a similar sort of thing apparently = particularly acoustic guitar blues. Skip James and Mississippi John Hurt had to make livings doing other stuff.

Iain's allowed an opinion. A bit like you Jim, his absolute certainty that he's right is occasionally worrying.


31 Oct 17 - 05:23 AM (#3885887)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Steve Shaw

Of course he is, Al. Jim said that he was delighted to read Iains' opinion. Where's the beef?


31 Oct 17 - 05:37 AM (#3885891)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Raggytash

Sorry !! ????

"Jim said that he was delighted to read Iains' opinion. Where's the beef?"

What Jim actually said was:

"People like Iain's would destroy any chances of that ever happening by reading the last rites over a living and very relevant entity. I'm delighted he has said what he has - his personal dislike speaks for others - here and elsewhere"

No quite that he was delighted to read his opinion at all.


31 Oct 17 - 05:51 AM (#3885895)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Jim Carroll

"You are the one saying the medium is dead and then turn around and say the opposite. "
I say the clubs are fucked up, not the music is dead
That is the whole point of this argument - do try to keep up
I did say that th oral tradition as a living entity was dead, but that's a different thing altogether - Shakespeare's long dead but his work lives on and thrives
"You are the one worrying the 1954 defintion to death, not me"
No I am not - I dexscribed it as a rough guide and have never at any time applied it to what happens or should happen at clubs - that is down to you and yours
If you didn't mention it - who wrore "but if you accept the rigid defintion of 1954 then folk music is no longer being created - you are merely worrying a corpse"?
You people are still failing to produce this redefinition we are supposed to accept - are you saving that one till Christmas for under the tree?
Can we clear up this thing about boring - there is nothing more boring than a pop song - - not just to those who don't particularly like 'em, but to the followers of pop
Many of the songs that continue to give me pleasure are centuries old
All pop songs come with a short shelf-life - that is how the music industry operates
Kids will listen to songs for a few months, become bored with them, throw them away and look for something new
Mention a song that was popular a few years ago and you might be talking Elizabethan Sonnets.
Now and then, the industry runs out of ideas and will dig out something that passed its sell by date and put it up again - the Beatles is typical of this happening
I find myself singing my way through songs I was weaned on being played on tele - advertising everything from soap to sanitary pads.
The last few English folk clubs I went to tolerated Cliff Richards and Buddy Holly numbers badly performed (one read from a crib-sheet)
How relevant is that to today's world?
Jim Carroll


31 Oct 17 - 05:53 AM (#3885896)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Jim Carroll

"Where's the beef?"
Between Iain's ears, I would guess
Jim Carroll


31 Oct 17 - 06:04 AM (#3885898)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Dave the Gnome

I say the clubs are fucked up, not the music is dead

Ah, I think I understand now. What I am still unsure about is, if the clubs are 'fucked up' but the music still lives, where is the music now being played? As a follow up question, if it is not being played in folk clubs, which are after all only a phenomenon post mid-50's-ish, why does it matter so much if folk clubs are, in your opinion, 'fucked up'?

DtG


31 Oct 17 - 06:09 AM (#3885900)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Big Al Whittle

'The last few English folk clubs I went to tolerated Cliff Richards and Buddy Holly numbers badly performed (one read from a crib-sheet)'

nowt worse in my opinion than a roomful of folkies 'tolerating' the intolerable. in truth, do they really tolerate?
I admit they generally refrain from acts of violence, loud execrations, throwing ordure.....however, its not really toleration in any meaningful sense.

more sort of sublimated hatred.


31 Oct 17 - 06:37 AM (#3885904)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Iains

My opinion is that folk music today originates from a far wider base than travellers and that the artificial constraints of the 1954 definition of folk artificially restrict it and deny that the process is alive and kicking.

1)From 1954: "Folk music is the product of a musical tradition that has been evolved through the process of oral transmission."
If that process still occurs in the digital age then the moon is made of green cheese. To believe that process is an integral part of modern folk creation wipes out a vast body of modern work.

2)From 1954: "The term can be applied to music that has been evolved from rudimentary beginnings by a community uninfluenced by popular and art music and it can likewise be applied to music which has originated with an individual composer and has subsequently been absorbed into the unwritten living tradition of a community."
I can only say to the above:"get real! Who lives in electronic isolation today in the western world?

3)from 1954:"The factors that shape the tradition are: (i) continuity which links the present with the past; (ii) variation which springs from the creative impulse of the individual or the group; and (iii) selection by the community, which determines the form or forms in which the music survives. In a multicultural world of constant movement how on earth do the criteria above apply? Community implies a degree of stability that probably no longer applies in many places. Who actually lives in their birthplace today?

4)From 1954:"The term does not cover composed popular music that has been taken over ready-made by a community and remains unchanged, for it is the re-fashioning the re-creation of the music by the community that gives it its folk-character". I am afraid I totally disagree with the above constraint. That eradicates Turlough O'Carolan,for a start, and how much of his music is played in sessions?
   I believe folk is alive and well and constantly evolving(as I have stated before) The only corpse I celebrate is the narrow defintion exemplified by shaw and carroll. although Jim's opinions seem to change with the phases of the moon and state of the tides. But if anyone else wishes to misquote me to score a dubious point, feel free. Rest assured I could not care less.


31 Oct 17 - 06:54 AM (#3885908)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Steve Shaw

1. Aural/oral: I know hundreds of tunes, four figures-worth maybe, and I learned every one of them by ear, starting in about 1990, 36 years after the definition you hate.

2. Carolan's tunes have been played in every session we had over twenty years. At least ten or twelve of them very frequently. All picked up by ear by a diverse bunch of blokes with varied "versions." If you really think that Carolan's tunes are fossilised, you clearly haven't heard any played in sessions or even on recordings, which are just as diverse as session "versions."

You give every impression here that you haven't a clue as to what you're talking about. Well some of us have been singing/playing this music for decades and we DO occasionally know what we're talking about. Could be that you know this music from your CD collection only. That's how you come across.


31 Oct 17 - 07:01 AM (#3885909)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Iains

Congratulations Shaw you have carefully managed to misinterpret everything I have said. As Martin said to his man...........
Have you changed your name to Jim perchance?


31 Oct 17 - 07:16 AM (#3885913)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Steve Shaw

Then express yourself more clearly. We haven't all got all day to decipher your dense thinking.


31 Oct 17 - 07:20 AM (#3885915)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: GUEST,Albert's Lion

From Nick Dow - "Just a thought Jim. If it is all so hopeless, and the revival is doomed to be swamped under a flood of Americana, and your contemporaries have given up in despair, and nobody respects British traditional music and song, and the clubs have lost their way, and your field recordings are locked away in a library and your efforts were treated with contempt and you are too old to be pissing against the wind and the importance of the music is ignored in our culture and those who believe otherwise are fighting a hopeless rear-guard action and todays folk scene drove away more than it retained and we can not come up with a workable definition of Folk song and you are tired of the abuse and the English club scene can not find it's arse with two hands and god knows what else, could you please answer me one question. It's a very simple question. Why the bloody hell are you bothering to post on Mudcat at all?"

Mudcat so needs a like button!!
I've just wasted nearly two hours of my morning and have forgotten now what it was I was looking for on Mudcat! I also now have to decide which of three sessions I might go to tonight - the so called Irish Session (so called because it's in West Wales - sesiwn might be better) with breakneck fiddling, mandolins and melodeons in a packed pub; the eclectic sing around where anything goes but with quite a bit of singer-songwriter angst and no audience or the 'almost secret' one with tunes played at the 'correct' speed and songs which might include unaccompanied traditional singers or a past totp big name with an autoharp and a liking for blue grass and gospel (despite being a committed atheist) in a welcoming pub for locals. Then there's tomorrow and a singaround, another on Thursday in a different local village and Saturday (in a micro brewery) but Friday I'll be playing trad jazz with my local New Orleans style band. It really is shocking the decline in Folk Clubs around these parts.


31 Oct 17 - 07:20 AM (#3885916)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Iains

I know you are spoiling for a fight shaw. Keep it below the line there's a good boy!


31 Oct 17 - 07:27 AM (#3885919)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Stanron

I took 15 years or so off from playing guitar and singing, in order to play mandolin and then fiddle in tune sessions around Manchester UK. I learned loads of tunes by ear. I also learned to read music and learned loads of tunes from books. Allen's was the first and O'Neils next. Donal O'Sullivan wrote a well referenced life of Carolan which included all the tunes he composed and other tunes attributed to him. I first got this from a library and was later able to buy it online.

Now there are loads and loads of tunes available on line. The Session.org has a tunes section in ABC which can display the tunes in notation. If I have this right, Jack Campin has a web site with a large ABC collection of tunes freely available.

I suspect that lots of players at Steve Shaw's sessions also learned from books and from online. And from vinyl, mp3s and CDs too. Anyone who only learns to play by ear today leaves themselves open to accusations of laziness.


31 Oct 17 - 07:33 AM (#3885921)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Jim Carroll

"and the revival is doomed to be swamped under a flood of Americana"
Who mentioning Americana - we won that war thirty odd years ago
"My opinion is that folk music today originates from a far wider base than travellers "
Since when have the British people or the rural working classes been Travellers
New one on me
"1954 definition of folk artificially restrict it "
There you go again - you said it was me keeps bringing up the definition
Maggie's man speaks with forked tongue
The best aspects of all cultures are those which learn to learn aspects of past practices - successes and failures and use the information to inform modern creation
Once we forget where we come from we lose all the benefits of what we have learned from the past
For some of us, listening to a twenty-verse, centuries old ballad is as enjoyable as listening to three minute pop song that will dissipate after the first belch - like an American Chinese meal
You are condemning an entire genre of song on the basis of your own tastes and ignorance
Jim Carroll


31 Oct 17 - 07:36 AM (#3885923)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Steve Shaw

It's a discussion forum and I'm not only not agreeing with you, I'm questioning your credentials, going from the poor quality of your contributions in this thread. As I said, it appears that you don't know what you're talking about. No comment on that so far and I'm not expecting one. As for spoiling for a fight, how about this from you a little earlier today:

"The only corpse I celebrate is the narrow defintion exemplified by shaw and carroll. although Jim's opinions seem to change with the phases of the moon and state of the tides."

Consistency dictates that either "shaw and carroll" should be "Shaw and Carroll" or that "Jim" should be "jim." You are routinely discourteous in the way you address people you disagree with (and who appear to know a lot more than you do). And you accuse ME of spoiling for a fight. Fine.


31 Oct 17 - 07:39 AM (#3885924)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Steve Shaw

I have to dash off, Stanron, but I'll respond to that later. It's an important topic and, given the disagreements being aired about that confounded definition, it's germane to the discussion.


31 Oct 17 - 07:40 AM (#3885925)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: GUEST,Mark Bluemel

I can't decide whether to cry, laugh or just sit back with some popcorn...


31 Oct 17 - 07:45 AM (#3885928)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: GUEST,Jack Campin

like the songs of MacColl and Leonard Cohen
A further complication
One draws its inspiration from traditional song - one does not.


I don't think there's much difference. Cohen used an idiom based on French chanson (which has a folk underpinning) and apart from a few gestures towards rock&roll, stuck to it. MacColl ranged more widely, from "Shoals of Herring", which is faux-Hebridean, to "The First Time Ever", which is somewhere in between Jerome Kern and Steven Sondheim (I don't like it and I don't much like Sondheim either). As a music-theatre composer he had to be a stylistic magpie.

At any rate, the singer-songwriter genre is not defined by stylistic features, but by social ones - who performs it, where and when, under whose auspices, and who for.

(And thanks for starting to make an effort with the whitespace).


31 Oct 17 - 08:41 AM (#3885943)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: GUEST

"Anyone who only learns to play by ear today leaves themselves open to accusations of laziness."
Stupidest comment in this thread, and that's saying something.


31 Oct 17 - 08:54 AM (#3885944)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Jim Carroll

Not really that au fe with Cohen, but I'll take your word for it
Shoals of Herring is far from faux-Hebridean
The text is based largely on interviews with Sam Larner and the tune' like that of Freeborn Man, was made by kicking around Gavin Greig's version of 'Famous Flower of Serving Men' (Child 106)
It was a rune he used over and over again in his songmaking

'First Time Ever' was an oddity, composed in a hurry over the phone when Peggy was in the States and needed a modern love song for a concert she was performing at - I'm not over-fond of it either
It lay dormant for nearly twenty years before it made them their fortune - Peggy always expected 'Dirty Old Town' to be the money-spinner - it never was.

MacColl did experiment with other forms; some of the John Axon music was pure Jazz and the 'Cabin Boy sequence in Singing the Fishing was delicious Gilbert and Sullivan, but in the main, most of his songs were consistently English, Scots and Irish traditionally based
His pre-epitaph, 'Joy of Living' was a direct lift from a Sicilian folk tune - we have the original here somewhere

"I can't decide whether to cry, laugh or just sit back with some popcorn..."
Why not either join in or go away and leave us children to play
I can never understand why those who don't wish to participate object to those who do
Jim Carroll


31 Oct 17 - 09:17 AM (#3885949)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: GUEST

> "I can't decide whether to cry, laugh or just sit back with some
> popcorn..."
> Why not either join in or go away and leave us children to play

I don't feel qualified to contribute - my relationship to folk music in general, and folk clubs in particular, is fairly remote at the moment. I just enjoy dropping into Mudcat from time to time, and wondered what this enormous thread was about.

In addition, I'm not sure I even fully comprehend the nature of the debate at this stage of its ongoing dissolution, so it would be bl**dy hard for me to join in.

> I can never understand why those who don't wish to participate
> object to those who do

What on earth made you think I was objecting? I'm quite enjoying it in a "bread and circuses" way...


31 Oct 17 - 09:46 AM (#3885952)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Jim Carroll

It occurs to me that one of the great contributors to our enjoyment of folk song should have a say in all this - this may take some time - apologies in advance
Walter Pardon was born in 1914 into a family of mainly agricultural workers employed on local farms, he was an only child and was brought up in a household made up of his parents and two elderly uncles, all singers, the most notable one being his Uncle, Billy Gee
He spent his time at home in the company of the old men, in a mobile shepherds hut used as a shed, where they would sing him songs as long as he would listen, Walter was the only one they would give their songs to.
The only time he heard them sing outside the bounds of the family was at Agricultural Workers Union Meetings, through te window because he wasn't allowed in
They had learned their songs in the latter half of the nineteenth century, if they had any 'modern' ones, they never sang them to him
Walter's only contact with a wider singing tradition was as a child, when he attended a couple of 'Harvest Suppers' at the farm where the family worked
When the farm closed, the only singing was at home, at Christmas and family birthdays, it was the only place Walter ever sang publicly, 'The Dark Eyed Sailor' because "nobody else wanted that".
He described to us how he and his contemporaries, cousins, parted company in musical taste in the 20s and 30s when they went for the modern stuff and he still stuck to the "old folk songs" (his term, which he probably picked up from equating the family songs with what was taught as school through the Sharp, 'Folksongs for Schools project'

When Walter returned from the army in 1946 both his uncles had died, so he set about gathering his family songs in a couple of hard-backed exercise books, we have them here, dated 1946 and 1947.
Although Walter knew many dozens of music hall songs, Victorian parlour ballads and popular songs of the day, tanks to his Dyson-like memory, none were include in the books
He went around various family members piecing the songs together and he memorised the tunes on an old melodeon, the condition of which probably accounts for his unique tunes.
After his parents died he lived alone in the family home playing the tunes and singing the songs to himself right up to the 1970s when a nephew, Roger Dixon, who was Peter Bellamy's tutor in college, persuaded him to put them down on tape, he bought a tape recorder and did so, the rest is history.
WE have the tape he made archived here, some of his best songs along with a hilarious story from him of how he made it.

Walter later filled in texts of the parts of songs he had gathered with the help of various friends in the revival.
In all Walter had around 120 folk songs and broadsides, he could have added dozens of music hall, Victorian and early pop songs to that list, but was reluctant to do so, he didn't rate them as folk or important
The last song he pieced together from memory was
'The Steam Arm' a music hall piece he had learned from local man, Harry Sexton, who had picked it up in a Middlesbrough Music Hall   
He was a Hardy nut and took 'The Tramp-woman's Tragedy' and put a tune to it

Walter was one of the most thoughtful and articulate people on the subject I have ever encountered' he had no problem in distinguishing between the different genres of song in his repertoire, unlike many here.
These ate some of some of the opinions we recorded from him, he gave us many more, sitting in his kitchen over twenty years that we never recorded
Walter was not unique among the old singers we met, but he was the most articulate
All these excepts are from an article Pat and I wrote for a festschrift to our late friend, Tom Munnelly
We entitled it, 'A Simple Countryman', in response to a response by a well-known folkie who told us that he must have been 'got at' because he was only "a simple.."

On folk clubs:
"I had a vague idea they had folk clubs of some description: all these doctors, solicitors etcetera, would go and sing in someone's big house. I never realised, you see, working people done that, never knew a single thing about it".

Walter took to the folk clubs like a duck to water and the clubs took to him with the same enthusiasm

Walter maintained that a good imagination was essential to the singer and felt that his singing had matured in this respect since his first public performances:

....put more expression in probably; I think so. Well, you take these, what we call the old type... the old folk song, they're not like the music hall song, are they, or a stage song, There's a lot of difference in them; it all depend what and how you're singing. Some of them go to nice lively, quick tunes, and others are....... well, if there's a sad old song you don't go through that very quick; UP TO THE RIGS is the opposite way about.
I mean, we must put expression in, you can't sing them all alike. Well, most of the stage songs you could, if you understand what I mean. According to what the song is, you put the expression in or that's not worth hearing; well, that's what I think anyhow."

Walter's always thoughtful evaluation of songs was interesting. He said that, if he performed before a big crowd, he liked to sing THE PRETTY PLOUGHBOY: "because it ends happily; so many ended with being transported or shot or something going wrong; like VAN DIEMAN'S LAND - a sad old song". He also said it "was a long old song but it was a long old journey", an indication of the strength of his sympathy and identification with the story.

J. C.    When you're singing in a club or at a festival, what do you see when you're singing?
W. P.   Actually what I'm singing about; like reading a book. You can always imagine you can see what's happening there; you might as well not read it.
P. M.   How do you see it, as a moving thing or as a..?
W. P.   That's right. The pretty ploughboy was always ploughing in the fields over there; that's where that was supposed to be.
J. C.    How about VAN DIEMAN'S LAND?
W. P. Well, that's sort of imagination what that was really like; I mean, Warwickshire; going across, you know, to Australia; seeing them chained to a harrow and plough and that sort of thing; chained hand-to-hand, all that. You must have imagination to see, I think so.            
That's the same as reading a book: you must have imagination to see where that is, I think so; well I do anyhow.
P. M.   But you never shut your eyes when you're singing, do you?
W. P.   No, no.
P. M.   So if you haven't got a microphone to concentrate on; if you're singing in front of an audience, where do you look?
W. P.   Down my nose, like that!

Walter's ability to differentiate between the various types of song in his repertoire belied the popular perception of the traditional singer as being totally non-discriminatory. This is how he explained how he judged the age of his tunes with the aid of his accordeon:

.....Well yes, because there's a difference in the types of the music, that's another point. You can tell VAN DIEMAN'S LAND is fairly old by the sound, the music, and IRISH MOLLY and MARBLE ARCH is shortened up; they shortened them in the Victorian times. And so they did more so in the Edwardian times. Some songs then, you'd hardly start before you'd finish, you see; you'd only a four line verse, two verses and a four line chorus and that'd finish. You'd get that done in half a minute; and the music wasn't as good. Yes, the style has altered. You can nearly tell by THE BROOMFIELD HILL, that's an old tune; THE TREES THEY DO GROW HIGH, you can tell, and GENERALS ALL.
Nine times out of ten, I can get an old fashioned ten keyed accordion, German tuned, you can nearly tell what is an old song. Of course, that doesn't matter what modern songs there is, the bellows always close when that finish, like that. And you go right back to the beginning of the nineteenth and eighteenth [century], they finish this way, pulled out, look. You take notice how GENERALS ALL, that got an old style of finishing, so have THE TREES THEY DO GROW HIGH, so have THE GALLANT SEA FIGHT, in other words, A SHIP TO OLD ENGLAND CAME, that is the title, THE GALLANT SEA FIGHT. You can tell they're old by the drawn out note at the finish. Well, a lot of them you'll find, what date back years and years, there's a difference in the style of writing the music. Like up into Victorian times, you've got OLD BROWN'S DAUGHTER; well that style started altering, they started shortening the songs up, everything shortened up, faster and quicker, and the more new they get, the more faster they get, the styles alter. I think you'll find if you check on that, that's right".

Hope this isn't too long; it probably is, but when it comes to Walter, I'm, always reluctant to leave anything out
Jim Carroll


31 Oct 17 - 10:01 AM (#3885955)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Steve Shaw

Right, Stanron. Yes, that last remark wasn't your finest hour. Learning by ear takes a fair bit of doing but the rewards are manifold. Deciding that that's the right way to learn is the very opposite of lazy. Of the chaps in my session, only one, a relative newcomer, was ever conversant enough to learn tunes from notation. It was always pretty obvious when he had and a contrasting breath of fresh air when he picked tunes up by ear from the rest of us. Learning a tune by ear helps you to be collaborative, flexible and immune from saying things such as "that's the wrong version" or "why are you playing it that way?" You also learn far more organically how to ornament and how to get lift into a tune, things that no tune book can tell you.

As for learning from recordings, of course that happens a lot and, relatively speaking, there's no harm in it as long as you listen to different versions on different records. Recordings are not all the same. Slick, highly-produced recordings with every blemish removed are of little value for learning from, but in traditional music there are plenty of scratchy old live, or single-take, recordings that are invaluable, and, sound quality permitting, usually a lot more enjoyable. One or two more modern live recordings are great too. One of my favourites, which Michael Gill put me on to, is Ego Trip, a solo fiddle album by MacDara ? Raghallaigh. I gave up buying new-release "folk" CDs years ago. They are mostly pretty boring after two or three listens. It's also great to record your own session in order to catch the tunes.

The Carolan book you refer to is replete with idiosyncrasies that render it of limited value, certainly for learning tunes from, unless you want to get people scratching their heads. I gave my copy away years ago. Likewise with my copy of O'Neill's, a waste of money. The good ol' folk process has gone to town on it.

All in m'humble, of course.


31 Oct 17 - 10:05 AM (#3885957)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Raggytash

I'm sure I've read that last contribution from Jim somewhere else, quite recently in fact.


31 Oct 17 - 10:06 AM (#3885958)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Steve Shaw

That question mark should have been a letter O capped with an accent. Somebody up there won't let me type those and it seems I'm not alone!


31 Oct 17 - 10:20 AM (#3885963)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Jim Carroll

"I'm sure I've read that last contribution from Jim somewhere else, quite recently in fact."
Not in full you haven't - that's a first for me
I put bits of it up occasionally in the hope some of Walter's message gets through to the unbelievers
Jim Carroll


31 Oct 17 - 10:26 AM (#3885964)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Big Al Whittle

from myown point of view. play by ear, but i learn from whoever, and wherever i can. if iam sufficiently impressed, i will struggle with notation or tab.

hasn't happened much in the last twenty years or so.


31 Oct 17 - 10:34 AM (#3885968)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: RTim

It is really nice to read Jim's recollections of his time with Walter Pardon - A singer I very much enjoyed and admired also; however - I only have one brief thing to say following this.

Jim says - (I Quote) "Walter was one of the most thoughtful and articulate people on the subject I have ever encountered' he had no problem in distinguishing between the different genres of song in his repertoire, unlike many here."

I have no problem with the statement - except the final 3 words - "Unlike Many Here."
I am sure I can speak for many who would say - I know all about the differences in the types of songs I sing! Why does Jim think I am not capable of that?

I (a working class son of a working class father) am just as happy at any opportunity to sing a traditional song from my home county of Hampshire, followed by a West Indian shanty, then a song written by my son's Godmother, then an old Child Ballad, etc. etc. - That is how I choose an interesting and varied repertoire for performance, and in my experience - that is what listeners want to hear. After all, I do get asked back to sing again...........
I can see no objection to this method of performance - whether it be at a House concert, Festival, Sing around or Folk Club - they are simply venues where you perform!!
I am not sure I know what JIm is really objecting too..........Unless it is the fact that I didn't learn these songs from my father (who was a great singer in his own right) - which is just one of life's accidents.

Tim Radford


31 Oct 17 - 10:57 AM (#3885972)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Raggytash

"I put bits of it up occasionally in the hope some of Walter's message gets through to the unbelievers"

So not only are we not in total agreement with Jim, we're now UNBELIEVERS.

I've wondered about Jim's fixation with "the tradition" he has now clearly demonstrated it's his religion.

And like any zealot believer, his is the true faith, all others are false (gods) and no doubt we will all burn in hell for our sins.

I was never very fond of religion ......... in any form.

Including yours Jim.


31 Oct 17 - 11:07 AM (#3885976)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Dave the Gnome

You reminded me, Tim. I did learn a song from my Dad - He always called it The waltz of the bells but I can never be sure that is correct. I have published it on here and elsewhere before and no one else has ever claimed to have heard it before. His story was that he traveled with the Gypsies as a youth for a while in his native Poland. He learned it with them on a 7 string guitar. I have no idea where the extra one fitted in and he also said he played an 11 string - which was like the 7 but with 4 x drone strings above.

Apologies for the poor guitar work as I am no guitarist really but if anyone would like to make sure it progresses in the true folk tradition past my lifetime I would be very grateful :-)

DtG


31 Oct 17 - 11:18 AM (#3885978)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Raggytash

I have a seven string guitar Dave, I believe it started life in Russia but unfortunately a yobbo picked the label off the inside on a school trip. The extra string was a Bass.


31 Oct 17 - 11:23 AM (#3885979)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Jim Carroll

"I've wondered about Jim's fixation with "the tradition" he has now clearly demonstrated it's his religion."
That is stupid Raggy, really stupid
Why on earth should liking something and believe ing it to be important be a religion
Your constant recourse to insulting convinces me that you7 have no case
""Unlike Many Here." "
The basic argument from many here Tim is that the Walters of this world have had their day and are boring old farts
The latest crassness is that if we don't jettison folk song proper (dishonstly described as '54' -it will die - so if we don't kill it off it will die!!
Can you work that out ?
I'm ****** if I can
I still have to be told what we are to replace it with
Jim Carroll


31 Oct 17 - 11:38 AM (#3885981)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Raggytash

No it ain't Jim, you talk about the music as if it's a religion, you act like it's a religion, you are as pious about it and you are as zealous about it as any religious nut I have ever met.

No I think I'm pretty safe with saying that with you it's a religion.

Yours is the true way and the light !!!! All other beliefs are heretical.

Jim, don't forget to sing a prayer for all us sinners..........


31 Oct 17 - 11:50 AM (#3885982)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Iains

I do not think anyone is making any sort of attempt to jettison traditional folk. That is an artificial construct in your own mind, Jim.
The dispute is that the 54 defintion is too narrow and you have said folk is dead because it is no longer being created. Your only supporter seems to be sycophant shaw. Or are you going to contradict yourself yet again? You are the only one to describe the Walters of this world as boring old farts. - no one else. Sadly the likes of him are from a milieu that no longer exists. That is why folk from that origin is no longer created. From this it follows that if folk as a genre is still surviving and expanding then the definition needs to change. One door has shut (ever since travellers started watching TV according to you) but most of us here argue that another one has opened. Unless I am missing something the 54 definition puts so many qualifiers in place that the modern world cannot possibly allow for the creation of folk music. I will say this very clearly: I DO NOT SUPPORT THIS VIEW - folk music is still being created.
What is it about this simple concept that generates so much argument?


31 Oct 17 - 11:55 AM (#3885983)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Jim Carroll

Sorry Raggy - we really do have nothing to say to each other
You have not put one alternative to what I suggest - just a string of unqualified insults
I have put up endless arguments - you respond to none - not my offer of examples of what I believe to be good, viable folksong, not the statements by others like Shirley Collins and Ian Campbell (despite it was you who first raised Campbell's name) - nothing
You keep a losely guarded secret what you believe to be folk song and offer only abuse
Anybody who regards commitment to a music "religion" is a dilettante - I don't believe folk song can afford them if it is to survive
Jim Carroll


31 Oct 17 - 12:03 PM (#3885985)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Raggytash

Your "arguments" have been so varied I've been reminded on more than one occasion of the fiasco with real, existing, living, published etc from another poster.

You have not been coherent in what you perceive is an attack on your "religion"

No one here has attacked folk music, we all love folk music, most of us have been involved in folk music for decades, in my case, all my life from my earliest recollection, most of us sing and play folk music, we all listen to folk music.

Then suddenly some jumped up braggart tells us we know SFA about folk music. He knows the true path, he has seen the guiding light, he can lead us all to the true folk heaven.

Like I said, never been fond of religions.


31 Oct 17 - 12:11 PM (#3885986)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: The Sandman

I choose my repertoire on the basis of whether i like a song, however I know that audiences who come to see me expect me to sing mainly tradtional repertoire from the geographical British isles., with a few modern songs written in a tradtional idiom
I happen to also like Blues, but I do not think I perform them as well as other songs, so i sometimes sing them at home purely for pleasure, much as i do, traditional songs. THIS IS A REFLECTION OF WHAT HAPPENS IN FOLK CLUBS.,performers cannot avoid getting pigeon holed, but that is always the problem with entering into some form of commercial contract. Nick Dow, has in the past managed to succesfully sing two idioms, blues in pubs and trad material in folk clubs, he is a better man than me Gunga Din


31 Oct 17 - 12:13 PM (#3885987)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Steve Shaw

"sycophant shaw"

You're just jealous.


31 Oct 17 - 12:16 PM (#3885988)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Jim Carroll

"Like I said, never been fond of religions."
Ans still you neither put forward a rational argument of your own nor respond to anything that has been put up
If you know about folk music - what it it
Simple as that
Jim Carroll


31 Oct 17 - 12:40 PM (#3885992)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Dave the Gnome

Raggy has repeated his definition a number of times, Jim, so I am sure he is sick of doing so. That being the case I will repeat it for him. Folk music is not defined, it is a combination of listening and common sense. It is what Walter Pardon did and you have applauded him for the same thing. he had no problem in distinguishing between the different genres of song in his repertoire Neither have I. Neither has Raggy. And, I suspect, no one on here has any problem differentiating. Walter was certainly well versed (pun intended) in folk song, but so are many others. The views of one man do not define folk music.

DtG


31 Oct 17 - 01:14 PM (#3885999)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Jackaroodave

" Folk music is not defined, it is a combination of listening and common sense. It is what Walter Pardon did and you have applauded him for the same thing. he had no problem in distinguishing between the different genres of song in his repertoire . . . ."

This is an excellent point and extremely well put. If you were utterly ignorant of the corpus of traditional folk songs, would you prefer Walter Pardon or the '54 definition as a guide?

We all use (most) words appropriately (most of the time) without giving a thought to their definition, and this includes highly proficient experts in demanding fields as well as everyday people using everyday words.


31 Oct 17 - 01:19 PM (#3886000)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Dave the Gnome

I think the 54 definition is irrelevant to this discussion, Dave the trainee (I looked it up! :-) ) It is OK for academic categorisation but not really suitable for our purposes here. Pretty sure that Jim has said the same and that, at least, is something we can all agree on. I hope!

DtG


31 Oct 17 - 01:21 PM (#3886001)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: GUEST,Underwhelmed Guest

I have been unable to find the statement by Shirley Collins.

Any help appreciated.


31 Oct 17 - 01:32 PM (#3886004)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Jim Carroll

""Folk song belongs the despised and neglected people of the hard-working classes
They deserve to be known"
My grandparents and my mum came from the labouring classes""
Jim Carroll


31 Oct 17 - 01:41 PM (#3886007)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Raggytash

?????????????????????????????


31 Oct 17 - 01:41 PM (#3886008)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Jackaroodave

"I think the 54 definition is irrelevant to this discussion. . . ."

It's not really relevant to the point I was trying to underline: We generally don't depend on definitions to understand or use words correctly.

For example, children learn to use the word "chair" appropriately with ease and often without instruction, but it's very difficult for anyone, even lexicographers, to give a definition of "chair" that would include all chairs and exclude all non-chairs.

So the challenge to provide a definition is an empty one. The knowledge and experience of experts, on the other hand, is of use, and it's entirely possible that their definitions may not match their actual usage.


31 Oct 17 - 01:45 PM (#3886010)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Dave the Gnome

Indeed Jackaroo. And not all the definitions will match either.

I do not think folk songs belong to anyone, Jim. To paraphrase the great man himself; no man has the right to own folk songs, any more than the deep ocean bed.

DtG


31 Oct 17 - 02:04 PM (#3886013)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Jackaroodave

"Dave the trainee (I looked it up! :-))"

Just caught that! In my case it's a mondegreen of "ja guru debu" from John Lennon's "Across the Universe," which seemed an appropriate source for an email handle at the time.


31 Oct 17 - 02:45 PM (#3886021)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Jim Carroll

I do not think folk songs belong to anyone, Jim"
It ias the product of working people - that is an entire socliam group, not "someone"
The suggestion 'I don't like Mondays' came up quite early in this discussion
That is legally "owned" by Bob Geldof - where does that fit into your "I do not think folk songs belong to anyone"
You are about as consistent as anybody else here.
"We generally don't depend on definitions to understand or use words correctly."
We dio if we wish to talk to each other intelligently.
"exclude all non-chairs."
Nobody is suggesting anything like that
Back to Raggy's "definition" (sic)
"Folk music is not defined, it is a combination of listening and common sense."
That is a nonsense on both counts
It is defined - largely the argument has been whether the definition holds water
My common sense tells me that if I see a club advertised as a music club I go and take pot luck and have a right to expect nothing
If a club calls itself folk, I have a right to expect what it tells me to expect to some degree otr other
AS not a single individual has come up with a workable and agreed description of what I can expect to find in a folk club, I'm stuck with my former understanding - thousands of books on the subject, many hundreds of collections, over a century's research, a number of recordings you could fill St Pauls with to the roof - and thirty years of attending clubs advertised as 'folk'
MacColl was one of the first to set up a club - Peggy's autobiography puts it as 1956
He ran it until just before his death in 1989 - 43 years of consistency
That'll do for me.
If somebody came to me and said they were interested in finding out what folk song was, I could pull several hundred collections or analytical works off our shelves and say - "here' look for yourself"
I could play them many thousands of hours of examples all relating to one another to some degree and say - "here that's what it sounds like"
None of you people can - you can take them to one club and here an eclectic mix of musics, which may include folk song but, given some of the attitudes here, probably wouldn't
Your claim lacks consistency, it lacks proof and it lacks common sense.
You are selling a pig in a rapidly shrinking poke
By trying to please all of the people all of the time you are conning the people all of the time
Your idea of folk song lack logic and it lacks principle - and it's fucked up a folk scene that had all of those things
If it's all right with yuo, I'll stick with Shirley Collins, Ian Campbell and Walter Pardon
Jim Carroll


31 Oct 17 - 03:05 PM (#3886025)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Jackaroodave

'"We generally don't depend on definitions to understand or use words correctly."
We dio if we wish to talk to each other intelligently.'

Jim, I don't mean to be rude, but that is simply not the case. People can talk to one another intelligently who have never heard of definitions.

(And inversely, people using definitions can and do talk to one another incoherently if they rely on different definitions, or if they interpret a shared definition differently.)

'"exclude all non-chairs."
Nobody is suggesting anything like that'

Maybe I wasn't clear: Isn't a definition supposed to distinguish between what a word refers to and what it does not? Shouldn't a definition of "folk song" not only include all folk songs, but exclude non-folk songs? Otherwise, why not "I never heard a horse sing it"? That certainly applies to all folk songs--and a good deal else.


31 Oct 17 - 03:42 PM (#3886029)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Raggytash

Oy cloth ears.

I haven't said anything about a definition except for the say, and I'll say this loudly, just for you.

I DON'T NEED A DEFINTION!!

Clear? Have you got that?

Jeeze !!!!


31 Oct 17 - 04:41 PM (#3886034)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Jack Campin

We generally don't depend on definitions to understand or use words correctly.
We dio if we wish to talk to each other intelligently.


Ever seen a classical music concert advertised as being classical music? I don't think so. You are meant to have the common sense to work out what genre Monteverdi or Mark-Antony Turnage belong in.

The only genres I can think of that like labelling themselves and seem to benefit from it are jazz and instrumental/electronic dance music. The dance music scene is very fragmented and it probably does help to tell the punters exactly what flavour they'll get; jazz is unusually cohesive and rather easy to label.


31 Oct 17 - 05:15 PM (#3886037)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Dave the Gnome

The suggestion 'I don't like Mondays' came up quite early in this discussion
That is legally "owned" by Bob Geldof - where does that fit into your "I do not think folk songs belong to anyone"
You are about as consistent as anybody else here.


I have never said 'I don't like Mondays' is a folk song though have I, Jim. I am not sure who is being inconsistent but it is not me.

From: Jim Carroll - PM
Date: 31 Oct 17 - 03:13 AM

"folk medium is now sterile and consequently in it's death throes"
They said exactly the same thing about Shakespeare during various periods of history and there he is still filling theatres and infesting our televisions

From: Jim Carroll - PM
Date: 31 Oct 17 - 02:45 PM

You are selling a pig in a rapidly shrinking poke
By trying to please all of the people all of the time you are conning the people all of the time
Your idea of folk song lack logic and it lacks principle - and it's fucked up a folk scene that had all of those things


Which is it to be? Folk music will survive, as Shakespeare has, or folk music is a rapidly shrinking fucked up scene? You can't have it both ways.

And folk song does not belong to one particular social or economic group either. To suggest it does is exclusivity in the extreme. Folk music belongs to everyone and everyone is entitled to their opinion about it. You stick with your heroes by all means but do not presume to insist that yours is the only valid view and opinion. That is the route to tyranny.

DtG


31 Oct 17 - 05:26 PM (#3886038)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Raggytash

I've already said to him he can't have it both ways. ............

That, as you can imagine fell on very stony ground.

But hey ho, Jim knows all about the folk music scene, not only in Ireland, but all across the UK and according to him it's all c**p.

Carved in stone, set in aspic or amber are the expressions that come to mind.

But having said that , what do you and I know. The fact that between us we have over a century of experience (one of his favoured exprssions) we sadly know **** all !


31 Oct 17 - 05:57 PM (#3886040)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Big Al Whittle

just supposing (God forbid!) that I took it into my head tonight to pick up my guitar , or a sitar or a kazoo and noseflute, and re-wrote I don't like Mondays. Made it about making jam in Somerset.

Are the PRS going to arrive jackbooted at my door and do me a mischief?

I think not.

Intellectual property is a game for people with lots of money. It means jackshit to 99% of musicians and songwriters.

I think you are making a mistake, making it such a cornerstone of your thinking and philosophy.


31 Oct 17 - 06:04 PM (#3886042)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: GUEST,Hootenanny

Re JC's post at 02.45.

Appears to be another piece of incorrect information. MacColl was one of the first to set up a folk Club about 1956, yes but he didn't run it until 1989.

I assume that he is referring to the Ballads and Blues Association Club. In 1961 Ewan and Peggy decided to leave the BBA and set up their own club. This was The Singers Club. The Ballads and Blues weekly Hootenannies carried on until May 1965.

It isn't the first time Jim has got things wrong but bear in mind he wasn't into what most of us accept as folk music until he heard The Spinners and knew nothing about the BBA but "knows someone who did.

Somewhere above Jim also implied that someone ran off with the club's takings. The BBA's takings that is. I asked him about this and surprisingly got no response. Just another case of him not being there but again he probably "knew someone who was".

If anybody is interested I was at the BBA from around 1957 to 1965 and took over the bookings in September 1961.


31 Oct 17 - 06:05 PM (#3886043)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Iains

Just to really muddy the waters, is anyone brave enough to attempt to define what folk music is in the western world? There are enough contributors to this forum, with extensive knowledge and experience, to cobble together a definition that would embrace both traditional and contemporary folk music.


31 Oct 17 - 06:11 PM (#3886044)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: TheSnail

AS not a single individual has come up with a workable and agreed description of what I can expect to find in a folk club

Neither have you, Jim.


31 Oct 17 - 06:17 PM (#3886046)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Jack Campin

is anyone brave enough to attempt to define what folk music is in the western world?

Karpeles and the rest of the committee in 1954 did a pretty good job.

Their definition has nothing to say about what the remit of an organization with "folk" in its name ought to do. You might as well complain that most Easter eggs don't come out of chickens' arses.


31 Oct 17 - 06:49 PM (#3886053)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: TheSnail

Here's another quote from Shirley Collins -
Guardian article

Shirley Collins: singer instrumental in the English folk revival of the 1960s and 70s

Ewan had quite a pernicious influence on folk music, I think. People who went to the Critics Group [a study group for singers held at MacColl's home] ended up being moulded by him, sounding the same. Folk music should be about reflecting music from the regions, the different voices, the roots of it. You couldn't differentiate anything with his approach.

I first met him when I was 20 and my antenna went up straightaway. I genuinely don't want to be unpleasant, but he was unpleasant to me, quite sexist, and pretentious and pompous - words that should never be applied to a folk singer. He said to me that I shouldn't wear nail varnish. What a wretched thing to say to a young woman with an interest; what a way of putting someone down.

He was self-invented; there seemed nothing truthful about him, and that's always concerned me greatly. He was an actor, really, even as a singer. The way he'd turn his chair, sit astride it, put his hand to his ear... my heart would sink. I know it's not fair as he's not here to defend himself, but I've had my opinion since I first met him, and I've not seen any reason to change it.

He was a talented man, yes - you can't get away from that - who made some fine pieces of work, but he could never reach me like a traditional singer could, someone like George Maynard or Harry Cox. His influence now? Things have opened up. Nobody has to listen to what other people are saying. People are going their own way. That's the way it should be.


31 Oct 17 - 08:04 PM (#3886064)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Jack Campin

Shirley's point about the poisonous influence of theatrical technique is spot on. It's a put-down for all the forms of spontaneous delivery those songs traditionally got: if you haven't been to drama school you've got no business singing a lullaby to your infant.

The analogue for instrumental tunes is what jazz-trained people do to them. Music that developed as something for working class gatherings to dance to, played by one or two musicians using whatever technique would do the job of getting their feet moving, gets dressed up in syrupy harmonic arrangements designed to anaesthetize the besuited white American elite in sleazy cabarets.


31 Oct 17 - 09:15 PM (#3886068)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Big Al Whittle

oh well - what we've got to is pretend that jazz never evisted - none of have ever heard Louis Armstrong, Django Rhejnhardt, Miles Davis.
forget the songs our parents danced to, and they sang whilst washing the dishes, and falling in love.

totally ignore our roots, because you reckon the key to folk music is a few fishernen and gypsies living on the fringes of the fringes of society. songs delivered in a way that as Woody Guthrie said about his own delivery -soda jerks would think the radio's broken - if the radio played my records.

can you really not see why folk club have an army of divisive argumentative characters sharing such views strategically placed in every gathering called a folk club have all but wrecked a flowering of working class creativity in the mid '60's?

you are of course entitled to a view of folk music - but you weren't and aren't entitled to get this snotty with everyone who didn't agree with you and MacColl's vision.


31 Oct 17 - 09:28 PM (#3886069)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Big Al Whittle

as for Americana, you didn't win that war thirty years back.

what you did was stop a working class movement in its tracks by turning up and insisting on doing music people couldn't understand and was made even more difficult to understand by doing it to weird rhythms, and harmonies. it was jurassic park. you let the monsters out to scare the picnic -ers., whom you still think have no right to be there.

God alone knows how many young people were lost as professional musicians as the venues disappeared. I think you would have understood the scale of the tragedy if it had been working opportunities and workplaces for electricians that had gone to the wall.

All that said, i understand your point of view Jim - I just wish you would try and understand it from where I'm standing.


31 Oct 17 - 11:34 PM (#3886073)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Stanron

This is not a simple subject but my heart is with Big Al rather than with Jim Carroll. ( At least in part because I don't actually get what Jim Carrol really wants to say.) I would prefer to follow an intellectual path rather than an emotional one but have yet to find a coherent intellectual argument.

Walter Pardon learned songs he liked. He classified songs he liked into different groups. He put labels on these groups. This is what I have done throughout my life. It is what any spotty kid does when he picks up a guitar and learns whichever innocuous pop song moves him. One of the labels is 'folk music'. It is a label.

For me the action of singing the songs and playing the tunes is far more important than waging a labels war. But it seems to me that this thread is about a war of labels. I prefer music.


01 Nov 17 - 02:07 AM (#3886076)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: GUEST

Having heard the man, I cannot see why any singer in their right mind would have approached Ewan McColl in the hope of being "taught" how to sing.

Shirley Collins was 100% correct in her assessment of the man - "He was self-invented; there seemed nothing truthful about him" - truly a legend in his own lunchtime.


01 Nov 17 - 02:57 AM (#3886077)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Iains

Karpeles and the rest of the committee in 1954 did a pretty good job."

That is one point of view. But. To accept it you also have to accept that most "commercial Folk Groups" such as the Dublin city Ramblers,Dubliners, strawbs etc largely sang synthetic folk and were traitors to the cause.
In a nut shell they were Folk singers that largely did not sing folk.

I prefer Big Al's take on the subject and agree with most if not all he has to say on the subject.
Wikipedia(although definitely not the last word on anything)describes Gordon Lightfoot as an "International Folk Legend". But he penned a lot of his own material. SO is wikipedia totally wrong? I have no problem with the description - others regard it as sacrilege.
No matter how you define folk, you will here contemporary material in a folk club.
There seems little point in having a narrow "academic definition" when the lie of it is exposed in every folk club. Majority rules in a democracy - the argument is answered by numerical superiority probably every time a folk club meets unless it specifies traditional only.


01 Nov 17 - 03:31 AM (#3886080)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Jim Carroll

My, my my
It hasn't taken long to did MacColl up and guve him his ritual kicking
Had MacColl behaved towards fellow enthusiasts the way you people are still behaving towards him thirty years after his death, he would have deserved every inch of the hatred that has been poured over his head
In the twenty years I knew Ewan, I never once heard him attack a colleague, certainly not publicly, and very occasionally when he reciprocated to the stories
He regarded such behaviour beneath contempt, as I do now - people who behave like this need to crawl back into the sewers they crawled out of.
MacColl's main flaw was that if he was asked his opinion he gave it without pulled punches - he said what he felt, and usually offered friendly advice with it
I saw it over and over again at the Singers Club - singers from the floor would ask him what they thought of their performance - if it was good, he said it was good - and often ended up with a booking, If it wasn't he said so and said why he thought that
THat is not what hey wanted - they wanted to be told that they were the best thing since sliced bread

MacColl never "taught" anybody - when he was approached by singers to start classes, he refused
Instead, he offered to help set up a self-help group where singers would work on each other's singing using friendly, positive criticism and advice - he chared the sessions, no more
At the end of the work he would quite often talk on an aspect of folk song - he didn't write much but those talks contained some of the finest dissertations on traditional song I have ever heard and merit revisiting - If I have my way, one day they will, but I doubt if they will interest anybody here with their contemptuous attitude to folk song proper.
I have recordings of over 100 of these meetings which, I hope, have now found a home among serious lovers of folk song.
This really is the pits and the fact that you are not ashamed of yourselves hakes you what you are and explains why the club scene has become what it is.

"but have yet to find a coherent intellectual argument"
There's hardly been room for one Stanron - this has been almost entirely a case of attack and defence - not much room for intellect in that situation
I've said what I believe folk song to be - the songs created to reflect the experiences and feelings of working people down the centuries - to repeat - 'The Voice of the People'
I have offered what I believe to be the two best analyses of British and International flolk song in the form of then and thirteen haldf hour radio programmes respectively accompanied by an hour long programme of the finest examples traditional styles
I was nearly crushed to death in the stampede - not!!!
I put up what our last traditional singer had to say about his art - far superior to anything that has been offered here - I have been underwhelmed by the response
I put up Ian Campbell's view of how contemporary songs were necessary to the folk scene - I was deafened by the silence
Shirley Collins class analysis of her songs have yet to elicit a comment.
Discussing folk song proper on this forum has always been a minefield of "folk-police", "finger-in-eat" abuse - discussing MacColl's ideas rather than his name change and war record has been out of the question, as displayed here in oll its glory.
Do you honestly expect an intellectual discussion in these circumstances - not in this squalid cock-pit I'm afraid.

I've said over and over again what I expect from a folk club - I can offer a few dozen examples from our archive of recordings, but not to this mob of stone-throwers.
I expect a folk club to live up to the name it chooses to sell itself under - an evening of reasonably performed traditional songs coupled with new songs that have used traditional forms in their construction - I spent twenty odd years of my life in London viiting clubs like that - The Singers, The Herga, The Stratford Cub at The Railway, Croydon, The Empress of Russia (at its best), The West Lond Traditional Club and The Tradition Folk Club
Before that there Was The Wayfarers in Manchester, any of Harry Boardman's clubs (I was resident at a couple of those)
I still get a blast from the past in Dublin when I go to The Goil?n - now getting out of the qustion because of the price of accommodation there.
The most hopeful sign on the horizon for over twenty-odd years in 'The Night Before Larry Was Stretched' at the Cobblestones - glorious nights run by youngsters mainly in their twenties (and tolerating us oldies with respect), bring both love and skill to traditional songs without pretension and without the scrabbling search for stardom that id now part of the British scene.

There's been a great deal of personal abuse here and there's even been open displays of hatred for the traditional songs and, most disgustingly the "tit-trousered boring old farts" who were generous enough to pass them on
I think the OP got a sound enough answer to his question - they are no longer folk clubs - that's what happened to them
How can you have folk clubs which no longer cater for folk songs?
Jim Carroll


01 Nov 17 - 03:32 AM (#3886082)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Jim Carroll

Should read
"and very occasionally when he reciprocated to the stories, privately"
Jim Carroll


01 Nov 17 - 03:40 AM (#3886086)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Jim Carroll

2Walter Pardon learned songs he liked. "
You haven't read a word I said about Walter Stanron - shame on you
Walter gathered all his family songs as a collector would - he wrote them down because they were his families' songs, not because he "liked them" but because he thought them important enough to preserve and pass on
Something I didn't put up from the 'Sinple Countryman' article

"Walter put great store on passing the songs on; on several occasions he said ?They?re not my songs, they?re everybodys?. This, to a degree, went against what had happened in the past, especially within his own family, where the singers had jealously guarded their songs, even to the extent of altering words or omitting verses if they thought there was somebody present trying to learn them. He was insistent that it was generally recognised that, at home, some songs ?belonged to? certain singers and that nobody else would sing them in the presence of the ?owner?. However, throughout his life he persisted with his belief in the common ownership of songs:

?I saw a chap at Happisburgh this summertime, he said he knew songs, he said, ?I always refuse to let anyone have them. Once you let someone else have them they aren?t yours?. Well, I say, that is true, but I say, when you die you take all the knowledge of the songs with you, so someone might as well have the benefit after you are dead?.

Jim Carroll


01 Nov 17 - 04:19 AM (#3886093)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: The Sandman

Jim,"I think the OP got a sound enough answer to his question - they are no longer folk clubs - that's what happened to them"
you are exaggerrating in a fashion., that weakens your point


01 Nov 17 - 04:21 AM (#3886094)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Jim Carroll

Maybe Dick
This discussion isn't exactly devoid of exaggeration
Jim Carroll


01 Nov 17 - 04:22 AM (#3886095)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Dave the Gnome

Jim - You say you expect a folk club to have "reasonably performed traditional songs coupled with new songs that have used traditional forms in their construction".

Do we take it then that this is your definition of folk music? If so, it is only one definition. Have you checked if the majority of people attending folk clubs accept your definition? If so, how long ago did you check?

This seems to be the crux of the matter. You seem to be saying, and apologies if I am wrong, that your definition of folk music is the right one while any others are to be disregarded. Is that right?

DtG


01 Nov 17 - 04:31 AM (#3886097)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Iains

D the G. Being a sad person at times, I have reread all the posts on this thread. I quite like your take on the 1954 definition. I had previously missed it. If I can loosely paraphrase you (and please correct me if I have misinterpreted it) A song or tune written last week could qualify as folk if adapted and performed and re-requested.
I had not thought of such a wide interpretation and I quite like it.
For a song or tune to be selected it must push some buttons, strike some chords, have some kind of resonance with many people.
A couple of examples Garth Brooks: The River and If tomorrow never comes
I have heard both in sessions. My take is that they will become/are contemporary folk classics. (a C&W Folk meld) Such songs have the ability "raise the hair on the back of your neck), they cut to the emotions and play them like a harp. Surely this ability is a vital component of folk and runs in tandem with shuttle weavers songs etc.


01 Nov 17 - 04:52 AM (#3886099)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: GUEST,Keith Price

At last we have another definition if a song can raise the hair on the back of your neck or cut to the emotions then it's a folk song !


01 Nov 17 - 04:59 AM (#3886102)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Dave the Gnome

I am not sure about last week Iains but in general that sums it up. I thought a bit more about it and that raised more questions. The tune I played on the link I gave some posts back sounds, to me anyway, east European. Whether it is like an east European folk song or not I cannot say but as it was learned, by my Dad, from a traveling Gypsy band and then passed to me aurally it becomes a folk song by that definition.

It then got even more complicated. If we look at the German folk song 'muss i denn' or the Russian folk song 'Stenka Rasin', which have both been re-interpreted by pop artists, are they still folk songs? If Elvis was to play an acoustic version of 'Wooden Heart' or the Seekers did an acoustic 'Carnival is over' at a folk club, would they fit the folk song definition? It is for these very reasons that I came to the conclusion that definitions must be, by nature, very flexible. I think that the best way to decide what is a folk song or not is by popular opinion. Popular meaning the voice of the very folk who listen.

Will probably be a disputed definition but so will many others!

DtG


01 Nov 17 - 05:00 AM (#3886103)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Jack Campin

Karpeles and the rest of the committee in 1954 did a pretty good job.
That is one point of view. But. To accept it you also have to accept that most "commercial Folk Groups" such as the Dublin city Ramblers,Dubliners, strawbs etc largely sang synthetic folk and were traitors to the cause.
In a nut shell they were Folk singers that largely did not sing folk.


Nobody was being a traitor. Those groups made it absolutely clear what they were doing. When they started out, my paradigm of folk music was what Jean Ritchie did, and I didn't need to look past the album cover to see that they weren't doing anything like that, or anything I was very interested in.


01 Nov 17 - 05:00 AM (#3886104)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: GUEST

I like the definition given by GUEST Keith Price - it eliminates anything by the Beatles and the rest of the pop songs sung badly in Folk Clubs.


01 Nov 17 - 05:05 AM (#3886105)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Steve Shaw

Nah. A folk song is a pop song with a fiddle in it.


01 Nov 17 - 05:08 AM (#3886108)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Dave the Gnome

We need a like button again, Steve :-)


01 Nov 17 - 05:18 AM (#3886109)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Steve Shaw

Well, Guest, I've heard some pop songs sung rather well in folk clubs. I've also heard a lot of Kathryn Tickell on Radio 3 and the exceptionally dreary Ashokan Farewell on Classic FM. And the Padstow Lifeboat, come to think of it. Folk clubs are owned and run by their members, who may be a dwindling band in many cases. They will put on what they will put on and "the punters" will vote either with their bums or their feet ((the latter in many cases). Folk clubs in dingy back rooms of pubs were never the heart of traditional music, any more than pub sessions are the heart of Irish traditional music. Folk clubs and sessions are Johnny-come-latelys, which may not necessarily be a bad thing, but it's still worth remembering. If every folk club disappeared tomorrow we'd still have folk song. It was there hundreds of years before clubs and will be there hundreds of years after clubs. It will ebb and flow, like everything else. Johann Sebastian Bach was virtually ignored for a hundred years after his death. Look at him now.


01 Nov 17 - 05:18 AM (#3886110)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: GUEST,GEEZER

we should feel lucky anyone still participates in the folk club scene, its taken such a hit over the years


01 Nov 17 - 05:19 AM (#3886111)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: GUEST,Keith Price

That's not my definition Guest Iains can take credit for that nonsense


01 Nov 17 - 05:23 AM (#3886112)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: GUEST

Dubliners were important to me. For one and in particular, Barney McKenna was one big reason for me trying to learn the tenor banjo - for better or worse, a instrument I play in sessions - and his influence reached many (with some like me still wishing the could play as well as he did).


01 Nov 17 - 05:25 AM (#3886114)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Jim Carroll

"At last we have another definition if a song can raise the hair on the back of your neck or cut to the emotions then it's a folk song !"
Folk songs can do that Keith, and often do, but so can a well sung aria
It's an effect, not a definition

"Do we take it then that this is your definition of folk music?"
No (if your question made sense) how can an evening of songs become a folk song?
"Have you checked if the majority of people attending folk clubs accept your definition?
Have you?
The majority of people he have singularly failed to come up with anything resembling a definition apart from "something that happens in a folk club"
I've heard opera performed at a folk club - doesn't mean Nessun Dorma is a folk song

"that your definition of folk music is the right one"
You are wrong
The only existing researched and agreed working definition is the one accepted throughout the world by researchers - none other has been forthcoming
Libraries of books have been produced using that definition and hundreds of thousands have albums have been produced
There are magazines and journals throughout the world still using that definition as a guide
Ideas scribbled on a beer mat at a folk club and agreed only by the writer can only become a definition when it is widely accepted
You people can't even agree one among yourselves - most of you reject the need for a definition

Definitions do not apply to folk clubs (I really should get a rubber stamp made of that statement - I've got typers cramp repeating it)
A club calling itself folk should never adhere to any definition, but it should live up to its claim of presenting folk songs to some degree
Campbell articulated that far better than I could

Folk song is in itself an important part of our history and culture - it also presents enormous possibilities for creation and self-expression in the future
MacColl and the Radio Ballads team proved that beyond doubt by producing gems like Singing the Fishing, Song of A Road, The Big Hewer and The Travelling People - perfect examples of folk songs, newly written songs and the actuality of working people describing their lives
The experiment was repeated some time ago - I don't think that later ones were as good for avrious reasons, but they still worked as a combination of those elements
Am I really expressing myself so badly that I have to keep repeating the same thing Dave - or is it you?
Jim Carroll


01 Nov 17 - 05:28 AM (#3886115)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: GUEST,Nick Dow

Jim it's not nice seeing those you admire and respect pulled to pieces. It's not pleasant thinking back to the Folk Clubs in their heyday and wondering where the interest has gone, but with the best will in the world nothing in this world stays the same, and many many times my musical heroes have proved to have feet of clay.
So let's be clear. The positive side of McColl is not portrayed too often here, and for me he was a teacher, an excellent broadcaster and writer, and superb songwriter. However he was also critical, self righteous, self important and to most music enthusiasts unapproachable. He was far too much of an actor when he sang, and his accents were risible.
He had his 'position' both politically and musically, and what went on at the singers club bore no resemblance to the diverse world of 'Traditional' singing, that I have encountered with numerous singers born to the craft. The old boys and girls I have met over the years would have looked at McColl singing up his sleeve and sitting back to front on his chair singing in a peculiar accent, and wonder if he had mental problems. I had a long chat with Belle and Sheila Stewart (who was a friend of my wife) and they were a little surprised and amazed by McColl. However they quite liked him even if they thought he was a bit strange and over enthusiastic (to quote Belle) By the way I've got a few quotes from Belle that make me laugh to this day! None of them about McColl.
No there would not be Folk Clubs if Bert and McColl had not instigated the second revival, but nothing stays the same, and lamenting for a golden past is of no consequence.
Sorry but McColl referred to Harry Boardman as a 'crooner' Johnny Handle as singing any song if it had a Geordie accent 'Weather it was poor or not' and we all know his views on Bob Dylan.
If you want to drop the word 'Folk' which incidentally didn't even exist before the middle of the 19th century, then go ahead. Nobody will be wildly bothered. The majority of persons who go to the clubs, will carry on without you, and will not feel in the least bit 'duped' by the informal use of the word Folk and sing some songs and buy some Ale and have a good time, just as the old boys used to when they sang in the pubs donkeys years ago.
So those of us who are interested in the tradition will simply sort out the songs as they are sung. Just like I did last night by the way.
All unaccompanied. We had Gaelic songs, a couple of long ballads some self penned songs, some great variants from a Newfoundland Collection sung by a well respected duo, a couple of songs from the Travelling community (not sung by me) the standard was not too bad at all. We all went home happy.
Just a thought Jim! Wasn't that the idea in the first place? If it wasn't it should have been.


01 Nov 17 - 05:40 AM (#3886122)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Big Al Whittle

nobody was scrabbling after stardom, but a fair few musicians were managing to make a living performing a version of folk music that was understandable to the broad masses, and it became a mission statement to pour scorn on the situation.

by the 1970's, the damage had been done and by the star of the 1970's those that had the heart and committment to remain were managing to scrape a bare living by working for agents like Ann Dex who provided pub gigs for Scandinavia.

I think the ritual kicking the corpse of MacColl is probably poetic justice for the kicking so many folksingers got gigging the Scandi pubs, the legendary gulf gigs to uncomprehending Arabs.

However, I can't imagine anyone with a soul who wouldn't wish to have written and collected and achieved just a fraction of the stuff that Ewan did. He was a giant amongst human beings. I'm sorry he pissed off Shirley Collins. Everybody pisses off someone else though. And he was an old bloke, and she was a young person.

Really there aren't any heroes or villains. It was just the way it happened. Does the future of the folk clubs depend on our correct examination and analysisof the entrails of the past - I bleeding hope not.


01 Nov 17 - 05:49 AM (#3886123)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: The Sandman

"harry boardman a crooner" that is very funny and wildly inaccurate


01 Nov 17 - 05:51 AM (#3886124)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Dave the Gnome

Am I really expressing myself so badly that I have to keep repeating the same thing Dave - or is it you?

You are expressing yourself very badly, Jim, and that is not just my opinion. It has been said by a number of people before. I will accept however that at least some of the communication issue lies with me as well so let us simplify it.

What is your definition of a folk song?

DtG


01 Nov 17 - 06:09 AM (#3886126)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Jim Carroll

"which incidentally didn't even exist before the middle of the 19th century, then go ahead. "
The term folk came into bing in 1846 and replaced 'Popular' - of the people
Folk song wasn't researched until the beginning of the 20th century an that is basically the limits of our knowledge of how it worked
"You are expressing yourself very badly,"
Sorry - that is not the impression I am getting Dave
I'm getting exactly the reaction I expected - not of being misunderstood - thatr, being understood too well
Claiming to misunderstand is the old get-out
What exactly have I written that you don't understand?
Yours - and everybody elses attitude to what has been said here is perfectly clear in tyour total refusal to reply to it
Not just mine, Shilrley Collins', Ian Campbell's. Walter Pardon's, - all ignored
Did they express themselves badly as well - you'e al ***** ignored what tey have to say
How about the progammes on offer - have you decided they are proibably so badly put togethert that tyey are not worth a listen?
Ot is it that you are either not interested, or afraid of what they have to say?
I'm not a fluent writer, but I believe I write clearly enough to be understood - that's why people hide behind my typos rather than respond honestly
JIm Carroll


01 Nov 17 - 06:12 AM (#3886127)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Raggytash

Dave has posed a simply question for you at 05.51

"What is your definition of a folk song?"


01 Nov 17 - 06:15 AM (#3886129)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Dave the Gnome

What exactly have I written that you don't understand?

Again, keeping it simple. You have said that when you go to a folk club you expect to hear folk songs. What is the definition of a folk song that you measure this against?

DtG


01 Nov 17 - 06:21 AM (#3886130)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Iains

"At last we have another definition if a song can raise the hair on the back of your neck or cut to the emotions then it's a folk song !"

Try reading the original post! I stated /asked if it was a vital component of what constitutes a folk song.

Component = constituting part of a larger whole; constituent.

How can a part of something define the whole?


01 Nov 17 - 06:27 AM (#3886132)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Dave the Gnome

I'm not a fluent writer, but I believe I write clearly enough to be understood

Sorry Jim, but not clearly enough to be understood by everyone. In a past life I ran training courses on highly technical subjects. The maxim was always communicate to the lowest common denominator. It may annoy those at a higher level but it makes sure that everyone leaves with the same knowledge.

I fully accept that I may be the lowest common denominator here but to be accused of being stupid is rather hurtful. Which reminds me. The other maxim we always worked to was there is no such thing as a stupid question.

DtG


01 Nov 17 - 06:29 AM (#3886133)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: GUEST,Hootenanny

From JC:

"In the twenty years I knew Ewan, I never once heard him attack a colleague, certainly not publicly, and very occasionally when he reciprocated to the stories
He regarded such behaviour beneath contempt, as I do now - people who behave like this need to crawl back into the sewers they crawled out of".

I and a number of other people once witnessed Ewan MacColl attempting to physically attack Dominic Behan. Dominic had suggested that Alan Lomax rewarded his Irish informants with only a bottle of guinness to which MacColl took exception. This was at a meeting of the Ballads and Blues at the Horsehoes in Tottenham Court Road. Fortunately Malcolm Nixon was able to pull them apart.

Re Shirley Collin's description above, I couldn't agree more. It is an opiniom which I have held for years well before he became grave stomping material.


01 Nov 17 - 06:38 AM (#3886135)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: GUEST

Sorry Jim. In one sense don't get me wrong. I have, after a few, posted stuff I can't even decipher myself then next day. You don't get that bad.

Still, you could add a bit of white space in your posts and opt to take a less aggressive stance on occasion. Both of these would help the willingness for some to read your posts and to consider what you have to say on a subject more carefully.


01 Nov 17 - 06:43 AM (#3886136)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Jim Carroll

"I and a number of other people once witnessed Ewan MacColl attempting to physically attack Dominic Behan."
I didn't know MacColl half a century ago but I did know Dom well enough to know that in such confrontations he was equally as likely to have started such a fracas
I have a wonderful recording of an attempt by Ewan and Bert to attempt to form a consensus in the revival which was shouted down by Bob Davenport, who cut across hes fellow speakers and speakers from the floor until the whole shebang ended up in fisticuffs following the outrage to Davenport's claim that Jeannie Robertson was "a terrible singer"
Six of one, half a dozen of the other.
Quite often, deciding who is to blame in these events depends on whose side you are on.
"Sorry Jim, but not clearly enough to be understood by everyone. "
I have asked what you haven't understood - with examples - you fail to reply, but you and others understood well enough to (deliberately I believe) misinterpret what I have said
Despite my personal feelngs for some of you, I refuse to regard any of you as the lowest common denominator
"to be accused of being stupid is rather hurtful. "
Join the club Dave - you done your share of that here and have now resorted to "bad writer"
One of your number resorted to my being a mental deficient, another to a "boring old fart"
You lot responded to that with silent acquiescence - and you're hurt because I call you stupid!!!
Give us a break Dave
Jim Carroll


01 Nov 17 - 06:50 AM (#3886139)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Raggytash

"What is your definition of a folk song? DtG"


01 Nov 17 - 06:53 AM (#3886140)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: GUEST,Hootennanny

Not on anyone's side Jim, just relating an incident that took place when I was present.


01 Nov 17 - 07:03 AM (#3886145)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Dave the Gnome

So, Jim, after all that, are you going to give us how you define what type of music you expect to hear at a folk club?

DtG


01 Nov 17 - 07:17 AM (#3886148)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Steve Shaw

Don't tell him, Pike. Er, I mean Jim...


01 Nov 17 - 07:29 AM (#3886151)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Steve Shaw

"How can a part of something define the whole?"

Try these:

Number Ten

Westminster

The White House

The Pentagon

Thames House

All hands on deck

We need more boots on the ground

Just a way of earning a crust

Nice set of wheels you have there

Spokesman for the Palace


(Sorry, this thread has put me in a very silly mood...)


01 Nov 17 - 07:32 AM (#3886152)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Steve Shaw

I hate to say it, but repeatedly asking someone to define a folk song in a very polarising 900-post thread looks suspiciously like a booby trap...

It's all about outcomes, chaps...


01 Nov 17 - 07:37 AM (#3886154)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Raggytash

Perhaps it should have been answered at the first time of asking.





Prevarication is such an ugly word.


01 Nov 17 - 07:41 AM (#3886155)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Dave the Gnome

No Steve, it is not a booby trap in any way, shape or form. Jim has repeatedly told us that we need to provide a definition, which I have, and has then repeatedly refused to let us know what his definition is. I have been accused of purposely misunderstanding, which I have not BTW, so I would really like to try to understand what Jim classes as folk music. Without that definition how can I ever understand?

DtG


01 Nov 17 - 08:24 AM (#3886168)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: GUEST

"I hate to say it, but repeatedly asking someone to define a folk song in a very polarising 900-post thread looks suspiciously like a booby trap...

It's all about outcomes, chaps..."

I think it's more that it can't be done. I've moved over time here from "if sounds like folk to me, it" is to more favouring (as a second time in this thread) seeing if we can adapt the 1954 type idea to reflect the way some songs or tunes become part of a wider (at least for much of the UK) scene that can not be pinned to local communites.

Opinions will differ of course. And at the end of the day, most of us find what we want (some even starting something new)..


01 Nov 17 - 08:29 AM (#3886172)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Howard Jones

The "1954 definition" was for academic study, it was never intended to define what should or should not be played in folk clubs. We have tried countless times on here to try to define what is meant by "folk" but without success. Like it or not, it has spread to encompass more than 'traditional' but where the boundaries lie is inevitably vague and open to dispute.

Folk clubs have always encompassed a wide range of music, often traditional or based on traditional forms but also more modern material. I've heard music hall, early music, ragtime and jazz guitarists, and who knows what else in folk clubs. Even pop songs - surely Swan Arcade's magnificent 3-part harmony version of the Kinks' 'Lola' should not be excluded? Clubs were driven by the preferences of their audiences. It was always a question of finding a club where the balance most suited one's own taste, but back then we often had the luxury of plenty of choice.

I would agree that a venue where people are mostly playing fairly modern pop songs might struggle to justify calling itself a folk club, but is that really a fair representation of clubs now? I admit don't get to many these days, but in my now limited experience I would say that is not the case, and most are largely based around 'folk' as broadly understood and often with a strong emphasis on traditional.


01 Nov 17 - 08:40 AM (#3886175)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Dave the Gnome

Where do I start with the 01 Nov 17 - 06:43 AM post?

Let's see.

I have asked what you haven't understood - with examples - you fail to reply

You said, at 01 Nov 17 - 06:09 AM, a mere 15 minutes before,

What exactly have I written that you don't understand?

Which does not ask for examples and even if it did a 15 minute wait is hardly a failure to reply. If you want an example of what I don't understand it really is quite simple. I don't understand what your definition of folk music is.

Now, let us go on to

I refuse to regard any of you as the lowest common denominator

Please feel free to regard me as such. It is not derogatory, it just provides a measure of where you should be aiming your explanations.

Then how about

One of your number resorted to my being a mental deficient, another to a "boring old fart"
You lot responded to that with silent acquiescence - and you're hurt because I call you stupid!!!


I did not respond because your conversations with other people are not really any of my business. And, no, I am not hurt. I said to be accused of being stupid is rather hurtful. Which it is. I did not say I was hurt and the phrase, if you would care to read it again, is obviously in reference to the anecdote about training people to the lowest common denominator. Being the lowest common denominator is not insulting, which is why I used the term, being accused of being stupid is, which is why I did not say that.

But as this seems to be turning into a discussion about how to discuss rather than about folk clubs and their music I think I will leave it at that. Unless of course you are willing to provide me with a definition of folk music to get us back on track?

DtG


01 Nov 17 - 08:48 AM (#3886179)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Steve Shaw

I don't think there is a definition.


01 Nov 17 - 08:50 AM (#3886180)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Big Al Whittle

am i alone in not needing a definition?

i think its nice to hear all sorts of weird stuff, and its interesting to hear the songs that have interested people enough to have a go at singing it.


01 Nov 17 - 08:59 AM (#3886182)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Dave the Gnome

am i alone in not needing a definition?

Not at all, Al. I have never needed one either - this is all academic because Jim has asked us for our definitions. The nearest thing I can come to it is what Howard Jones said at 01 Nov 17 - 08:29 AM. Clubs were driven by the preferences of their audiences. It was always a question of finding a club where the balance most suited one's own taste Yes, I know that is only part of what was said but it comes back to my populist approach earlier. If a club advertises Folk music and is thriving with a good audience most weeks, it is getting something right. It is providing what a lot of people believe is folk music. If a folk club is failing, with dwindling audiences, then it is doing something wrong and is not providing what a lot of people believe is folk music.

Seems pretty straightforward to me but I know not everyone will agree.

DtG


01 Nov 17 - 09:35 AM (#3886189)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Steve Shaw

I suppose we've all been in a folk club, heard songs accompanied by strumming, a mouth organ, a squeezebox of some sort, a tinkly mandolin, bones, spoons or a bodhran and thought we were listening to folk music. Or we've been to a "folk gig" replete with 150-decibel PA. Ha! Every genre of music I'm familiar with is subject to a load of mucking about with. Call it experimentation if you like. The mucking about is either to your taste or it isn't. I love classical music but I can't stand that 12-tone stuff. Trying to define folk song is like trying to put the damn thing in aspic. The very concept of a definition requires that you delineate boundaries. In simpler times when recording was difficult and those instruments were either not used or even invented, and singers weren't roving around the country doing "gigs" as much as they do now, there was perhaps a real heart-of-the-matter folk music that lived in communities. With the best will in the world, you're not getting that back. Like classical, pop or jazz, it has to move on. Instead of lamenting that inevitability, we should be grateful to the Vaughan Williamses, the Bert Lloyds, the Alan Lomaxes and the Ewan MacColls of this world, no matter what their flaws, for recording it, writing it down and archiving it for us, or just putting it to the fore lest we forget. As it's Wednesday, and as such I'll be cracking open a bottle ce soir, I'll raise a glass to Jim for his part in that. Maybe folk music is just a sort of spirit or a sentiment hovering over our kind of music. Indefinable...

I know what I like.

I don't need no definition.

I don't need no thought control.


01 Nov 17 - 09:49 AM (#3886191)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: GUEST

broken record or tunnel vision or both- for God's sake will Mr Carroll just stop going on ad nauseam about MacColl & Davenport- it's not black or white and is pointless and boring- whats happening to our folk clubs, well pillocks like Mr Carroll are probably one reason for their decline.....


01 Nov 17 - 09:52 AM (#3886192)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: GUEST

I don't need a definition either.


01 Nov 17 - 10:00 AM (#3886194)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Dave the Gnome

Are you feeling in the pink, Steve. Or should I call you Floyd?

All in all, it's just another kick in the balls...

DtG


01 Nov 17 - 10:13 AM (#3886198)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Jim Carroll

"Not on anyone's side Jim, just relating an incident that took place when I was present."
And I'm telling you what I've got on record Hoot
MacColl was never a violent man in my experience and he put up with a load of garbage in the form of slanderous and largely dishonest abuse - that is often forgotten
Dont know if you were around at the time the Travelling People was being made when they put out a last minute appeal for Traveller Made songs
One hero sent a tape of such songs which the team became excited about and agreed to include in the programme - the quality of the recordings were such that it became necessary to farm them out to other singers - Sheila Stewart being one of them
The were scripted in until, at the last minute the donor, Mervyn declared them to be fakes sung by him - a deliberate attempt to sabotage the most influential programme on Travellers made up to then
The same hero later made his name by "correcting" the Alfred Williams manuscript collection with a felt-tipped pen

"So, Jim, after all that, are you going to give us how you define what type of music you expect to hear at a folk club? "
This has ben repeated enough to have movd from being a mistake to one of deliberate distortion
One more (last, I hope) time
30 Oct 17 - 05:52 AM
""Folk clubs since their inception have always had a mixture of traditional and contemporary songs "
Which is wahat I have suggested throughout"
" new songs based on folk forms"
Yoyur own words Dave
"You say you expect a folk club to have "reasonably performed traditional songs coupled with new songs that have used traditional forms in their construction".
Now you have said
" Jim has repeatedly told us that we need to provide a definition, which I have, and has then repeatedly refused to let us know what his definition is."
Is it yourself you can't understand maybe?
Which is the real you that said what?
I have stressed over and over and over again that I do not want n evening of just traditional songs - I have even said that I have never attended one
I have also said I don't believe a club doesn't need a definition, just a consistency related to what it calls itself
Ignoring this is either mass dyslexic or simple dishonesty.
You are either lying or have missed the point that no definition exists and keep referring to it as mine.
Ther is an existing dentition used my most researchers and academics to inform their work - I use it as a researcher, not as a singer.
If I was just a singer I wouldn't need a definition, but I would expect to hear a song as advertised when I set out to a club - that is not pedantry or purism - it is the right every single one of us has to choose our music - take that away and it is you who are imposing your own tastes on others.
What is your definition if I have it, bearing in mind that nothing becomes a definition until it is generally accepted?
What do you offer the punters who turn up at your "folk club"?
Jim Carroll


01 Nov 17 - 10:16 AM (#3886200)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Raggytash

Well Dave, you were supposed to respond within fifteen minutes and Jim's now had almost 4 hours to answer your simple question



................. I don't think you're going to get an answer !!


01 Nov 17 - 10:18 AM (#3886201)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Raggytash

Cross posted I stand corrected .............

can anyone decipher that for me ..........


01 Nov 17 - 10:38 AM (#3886211)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Dave the Gnome

Yes, Jim, I did indeed say "You say you expect a folk club to have "reasonably performed traditional songs coupled with new songs that have used traditional forms in their construction". and I followed that with Do we take it then that this is your definition of folk music?

To which you replied (01 Nov 17 - 05:25 AM) No (if your question made sense) how can an evening of songs become a folk song?

You say on the one hand this is what you expect at a folk club and on the other say that it does not define what you believe is folk music. Is it any wonder that I am confused as to what you believe?

You ask What is your definition if I have it, bearing in mind that nothing becomes a definition until it is generally accepted?

And I have already said, on numerous occasions, that it is the generally accepted bit that is important. If the right music is playing at a folk club it stands to reason that they are playing folk music as generally accepted by their audience.

You go on to ask What do you offer the punters who turn up at your "folk club"?

Not sure why you feel the need to put folk club in quotes but I shall let that pass and answer anyway. In the 35 years I ran a folk club and festival I offered well performed traditional and contemporary folk music. I do not want to provide a full list of names as that smacks of boasting but it includes

Martin Carthy
Nick Dow
The Wilsons
Vin Garbutt
Anthony John Clarke
The Oyster Ceilidh Band
The Orlyk Ukrainian Dancers
Tu'up (Ghanaian story teller)
And, as the posters say, many more.

So, I have defined what I believe to be folk music (again). I think you have confirmed that you believe folk music is a mix of traditional and contemporary songs. It seems we are in agreement as to what to expect at a folk club.

DtG


01 Nov 17 - 11:45 AM (#3886213)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Jim Carroll

"can anyone decipher that for me ."
Sighhhhhhhhh!
I very much doubt anybody can decipher what you don't wish to understand Raggy

Just a reminder - most of you have refused point blank to listen to actual examples of my researchers definition of what folk song is 24 programmes worth of them
Most of you have totally ignored Shirley Collins' explanation of what folk song is
You continue to ask what I expect in a folk club yet have refused to comment on Ian Campbell's comment on the importance of contemporary song which I have put up as an example of part of I wish to hear at a folk club
Do you think there is room for a new sports team called 'The Mudcat Dodgers"?
JIm Carroll


01 Nov 17 - 11:45 AM (#3886214)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: TheSnail

can anyone decipher that for me ..........

Nope. Totally incoherent.

In the same article in the Journal of the International Folk Music Council in which he refers to the simple-minded public, Ralph Vaughan Williams says -
It was, I think, Lord Haldane who said that he could not define an elephant but that he new one when he saw it. I feel the same with folk song, and for the moment we will leave it at that.


01 Nov 17 - 12:26 PM (#3886228)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Jim Carroll

"Nope. Totally incoherent."
If what I say is totally incoherent - as you and Dave have claimed, why do you all run round like headless chickens trying to contradict it?
You are truly one of the most disturbingly venomous posters on this forum Bryan
What I put up (in a hurry) was a list of my own quotes repeating what I would expect to see at a folk club
I accompanied it with a list of direct quotes from Dave showing that he was not telling the ruth when he said I had not made my position clear
Daave said:
"You say you expect a folk club to have "reasonably performed traditional songs coupled with new songs that have used traditional forms in their construction"
Then he goes on to accuse me that I had not given an explanaion of hat I expect of a folk club
A contradiction.
He asked
"Do we take it then that this is your definition of folk music?"
I responded that it is not my definition - it is what I expect of a night at a folk club - a mix of folk songs and contemporary song based on folk song styles
You know my opinion of what I expect from a folk club yet you continue to insist that I have not given it
That is maliciously dishonest
You are entitled to say you disagree with it but you are simply lying when you say I haven't given it
Venomous is the word that springs to mind
Jimm Carroll


01 Nov 17 - 12:49 PM (#3886235)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Vic Smith

At this stage in the proceedings, we need to pause for a moment and leave aside our attempts to define folk song and what is wrong with folk clubs for just a short while. The fact is that we need to be able to define Californiconus californicus. Do you think that you could help us with that, Jim? or others? Then, we can return to the absorbing, engrossing cut and thrust of intellectual discussions that have characterised so much of this thread.


01 Nov 17 - 12:59 PM (#3886238)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Jim Carroll

No idea Vic - just had to look it up - I suggest you do the same
I assume your facetious posting had a point (apart from the fact that you seem to no longer have an interest in this subject but don't wish to be left out!)
Jim Carroll


01 Nov 17 - 12:59 PM (#3886239)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Big Al Whittle

i think maybe it would be a kindness to precis what Ian and Shirley said.
otherwise we'd have to ferret about in all these posts.

Ian was pretty eclectic from what I remember - he used sing some bits from a Britten opera , was it Peter Grimes I dunno, a bloody long time ago now. A great bloke. i really liked him.

I told him his kids were wasting their time stating a reggae band, which gives some idea of my powers of musical intelligence.


01 Nov 17 - 01:33 PM (#3886243)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Vic Smith

Jim wrote:-
No idea Vic - just had to look it up - I suggest you do the same.
I already have Jim, and it was not as you suggest a "facetious posting". You see, Californiconus californicus is a Venomous Snail! If you look at this website you will find that this snail is the most venomous animal on Earth! I just thought that you ought to be warned what you are up against.
Oh and one more thing.... You posted on 24 Oct 17 - 03:49 AM
I get angry and frustrated occasionally, but it is usually in response to being insulted
Yes, I agree with you, it is pretty horrible being insulted. Perhaps that is why you are always so careful to in your posts not to insult others.
Now, I need to add that you are pretty safe over there in the West of Ireland.... but I am not! I see Bryan pretty frequently and if you look back through these fascinating exchanges you will find that I have had cause to enrage Bryan, so to Bryan I say:-
Bryan,
I would like you to know that I have admired and been in awe of you all these years since I first got to know you in the early 1970s when we were in the Chanctonbury Ring Morris together through to our many meetings when we have been on the organising committee of last month's Lewes Folk Festival.
I would like to apologise profusely once again for the one letter slip in spelling your name which caused you to complain and I seek assurance that you will not use your highly specialized teeth, known as radulae which work like a combination hypodermic needle and harpoon to skewer and poison its prey on me.


That's all. I'll retire to the sidelines again, but will continue to read the discussion which, in the end, is going to make our world a much better place.


01 Nov 17 - 01:37 PM (#3886244)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Jim Carroll

Apologies Vic - knee jerk again
Hope I'n not too old to learn
Jim Carroll


01 Nov 17 - 01:39 PM (#3886245)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Jack Campin

Californiconus californicus is defined by its type specimen - I'm not sure where that is. The analogous way to settle "what is folk?" would be to have the body of Joseph Taylor kept in a glass case at Cecil Sharp House, just down the road from Jeremy Bentham at University College London.


01 Nov 17 - 01:41 PM (#3886246)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: TheSnail

Jim, I think you've just about destroyed any credibility you may have had so your constant attacks aren't going to do any harm to English folk clubs.

Because cone snails are slow-moving, they use a venomous harpoon (called a toxoglossan radula) to capture faster-moving prey, such as fish. The venom of a few larger species, especially the piscivorous ones, is powerful enough to kill a human being.

You have been warned.


01 Nov 17 - 02:18 PM (#3886252)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: TheSnail

You're too kind, Vic (much too kind).
I excuse you the typo but as for pre-empting my venomous snail joke...Hrrrmph!


01 Nov 17 - 02:31 PM (#3886257)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Dave the Gnome

If what I say is totally incoherent - as you and Dave have claimed

But I have never claimed such a thing, Jim. I said I had difficulty understanding what you were saying and accepted that I had partial responsibility for that.

He asked
"Do we take it then that this is your definition of folk music?"
I responded that it is not my definition - it is what I expect of a night at a folk club - a mix of folk songs and contemporary song based on folk song styles


But that is not true either is it, Jim. I asked "Do we take it then that this is your definition of folk music?" and you responded No (if your question made sense) how can an evening of songs become a folk song? which, I'm afraid, went over my head.

Still, you have now clarified that what you expect at a folk club is not your definition of folk music which, although I find a little odd, I can accept in the context of this thread. If I go to a folk club I do expect an evening of what I believe to be folk music, which is a mix of traditional and contemporary songs. Life would be very boring if we were all the same.

We are both agreed on what we want from a folk club at least and I admit I will never understand what your definition of folk music is. That is enough for me and as you do not seem to be interested in finding common ground I will also withdraw to the sidelines unless anything other than repetitive argument and invective happens that catches my eye.

Cheers

DtG


01 Nov 17 - 02:54 PM (#3886259)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Jim Carroll

" your constant attacks aren't going to do any harm to English folk clubs."
You really do need to look at your own behavior Bryan - but it shouldn't be about us, should it?
Sorry - I don't understand your point
An evening of any type of song cannot be a definition of a fol song
Apart from that, a mix of types of song, as I have always preferred and proposed cannot be a definition of a type of song.
"although I find a little odd,"
Why odd
I believe the tradition has died but I believe that a mix of those songs and new ones made using them as a template is a perfectly acceptable way of presenting both under one roof - they don't have to be the same to be complementary to one another
I reapeat my point being a perfect mix of traditional songs, newly composed ones and vernacular speech
I saw works of playwrights like Alex Glasgow and john McGrath doing exactly the same.
"Life would be very boring if we were all the same."
THis seems to be based on the idea that sll folk songs are the same, which tey most certainly are not - shanties, lyrical songs, narrative songs, big ballads, bawdy songs, rural encounters, humorous songs - throw in a smatter of kids songs and mouth music and, well done, you can let an audience leave walking on air - seen it happen often
The Critics experimented with singing in different tones based on the fact that a human voice alters tonally when it expresses different emotions - try it sometime
British traditional music is basically unaccompanied, but MacColl and Seeger constantly experimented with accompaniment all the time - I have a recording of a two hour lecture Peggy gave on the uses of accompaniment
A standard work evening at the Critics Group was half a dozen varying songs for criticism - oene of the criteria was "did the sameness of yothe songs make your "ears fall asleep"
The more I examine the song tradition, the more surprises I find
Jim Carroll


01 Nov 17 - 04:16 PM (#3886264)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Dave the Gnome

Ok, Jim,that was different enough to warrant attention. I can see you are trying to understand my point of view as much as I am trying to understand yours. Thank you for that. I shall try to make my point clearer.

Sorry - I don't understand your point
An evening of any type of song cannot be a definition of a fol song


That is not the point I am trying to make at all and I shall take responsibility for not making it clear. You are quite right. One cannot be the other but if we go back to one of your early points, IE you go to a folk club to listen to folk music, then that is how the two become meshed.

1. You go to a folk club to listen to folk music.
2. If you are satisfied that the folk club has fulfilled your criteria then the songs presented must have been folk music.
3. If the music presented is a mix of traditional and traditional style contemporary songs then...
4. A mix of traditional and traditional style songs must your idea of what folk music should be.

To me that seems a logical conclusion to a clear thought process. You may disagree but rather than suggest I being dishonest in some way, how about testing my logic and disproving it?

BTW - I would be more than interested in your views on whether the song I learned from my Dad is a folk song. Particularly as he learned it from Gypsies and your particular forte is the music of travelers.

Common ground?

DtG


01 Nov 17 - 04:22 PM (#3886266)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Dave the Gnome

One last point - THis seems to be based on the idea that sll folk songs are the same

That came completely out of left field for me. No such thing was implied or intended and having re-read I cannot see how that conclusion was reached. But, if that is how you saw it, I can assure it was a only comment about differing views.

D.


01 Nov 17 - 04:49 PM (#3886269)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Raggytash

Jim .............. if you are trying to communicate with numerous people on an open forum it is up to you to make your argument clear.

You cannot expect people to make strenuous efforts to decipher your posts.

The onus is on you to post clearly and legibly so that the readers of your posts can understand the points you are trying to make.

The way I am posting now, as I often do, clarifies I hope, the points I am trying to make.

If people do not comprehend what you are trying to say, the problem is largely yours not theirs.


01 Nov 17 - 05:08 PM (#3886274)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Steve Gardham

Okay, this has gone on going round and round in circles for far too long. It's taken far too long but you are all not far from being in agreement despite the invectives.

Definitions are irrelevant here, or at least not helpful.

What do we all feel is acceptable to be heard in folk clubs? Jim has clearly stated that it must surely include traditional folk songs and songs that have been written since this revival started that are 'in the style of' those traditional songs. I am not excluding anything at this point, but before continuing let's see if I am right over this and that we can all agree on this.


01 Nov 17 - 05:27 PM (#3886276)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Iains

"I believe the tradition has died but I believe that a mix of those songs and new ones made using them as a template is a perfectly acceptable way of presenting both under one roof - they don't have to be the same to be complementary to one another"

Jim. In your last couple of posts it seems to me that if you allowed a slight flexibility in definition you would find a lot of support for your viewpoint. I will try to amplify what I an getting at:

I would say in the western world ir is not so much the tradition has died, more the way of life that gave rise to the tradition.
Instead of saying new ones made using the old as a template, rephrase it to say contemporary folk is the new tradition that has evolved as old ways have become extinct. If we can agree on this much of the dispute evaporates(Ithink)


The idea that singing in different tones expresses different emotions is a very old idea and those clever enough to compose utilise it either knowingly or instinctively, with great effect. It is this device that raises the hackles, or possibly lyrics can do it by themselves or maybe it is the combination. There has to be some key aspect of a song that makes it memorable enough to be subjected to the
process by which it is recognised as being within the folk genre.This obviously does not include shanties, worksongs etc for the sake of argument let me loosely define them as big ballads. I think the middle ground of what is folk can be accepted by most, but trying to define the end points is a minefield best not entered.
   I think there has been too much emphasis placed on the role of Ewan MacCol, there were others about in the same time period, Derek Sarjeant for one. What actually created the folk revival of the 60's,
was it the critics who few had heard of, or the amount of contemporary folk played on the radio and tv? Top of the Pops even starred the Dubliners in the 60's.

I think most of us going to a folk club expect a variety of material, whether it old new or a mix is I think less important. I think most look for variety either through the genre or through the ages, or all of this.


02 Nov 17 - 04:33 AM (#3886329)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Jim Carroll

"Definitions are irrelevant here, or at least not helpful."
Sorry Steve, I'm going to treat this as I feel it deserves - I don't know a single researcher who doesn't use a definition to guide their work - especially one who deals in definitive statements as you do

"Jim. In your last couple of posts it seems to me that if you allowed a slight flexibility in definition"
No Ians - I have never suggested that any club should have a rigid policy of just folk songs, but they remain as defined and researched - at least until someone comes up with something better - nobody has.
As far as using tones, traditional songs were largely descriptions of what was happening at the time they were made, usually emotional based reactions
English songs are dominantly narrative (with some exceptions)with a start, a middle and an end, and a chronologically related plot
The older singers performed them as stories with music - they pitched their voices around speaking tones and they seldom broke up words or sentences (unless old-age forced them to do so)
Every singer we asked told us that the story was far more important than the tune - without fail.

In the healthiest of traditions we worked in, the singers interpreted the songs, where the traditions had died, they tended to remember the words, but tones and speech patterns remained a feature of the singing
If you interpret songs carrying different emotional messages, you do so in different tones as you do in everyday speech
The Critics Group evolved exercises to do what traditional singers did naturally

As far is definition is concerned, it is unbelievably arrogant to suggest that you can dismiss over a century of extensively documented research and replace it with something that happens in a tiny number of clubs who can't even agree among themselves
You want a new definition - put one up and argue for it

Now - what you are attempting to junk
So far, the insistence by some people here on centring this argument around the '54 definition has meant that we have dealt with the songs at arms lenghth
I have become convinced that Folk Songs proper are the products of the working people of Britain - the changes wrought by the Industrial Revolution finally placed the making of those songs in the rural areas or in occupations such as soldiering and the seagoing trades
People made songs to express their lives and experiences.
Some were work songs but most were for entertainment, but the circumstances in which they were made make them vital pieces of oral history which was quite often never officially recorded.
That is why, as far as I am concerned, any organisation which calls itself "folk", takes on the responsibility of preserving those songs - the earlier revival pretty well did right up to the 80s - large sections of the clubs no longer do so - hence arguments like these.

There's no question of the job of keeping the songs alive being an 'onerous duty' - thousand of people got a great deal of pleasure singing them for over three decades - ballads, sea songs, lyrical songs comic, tragic, ritual - even kids songs
I see no reason why that still shouldn't be the case

During our research work we went into the backgrounds of the songs in some depth and came up with what we believe were socially important aspects of the songs, which, make them an important part of our social history
I'll put a few up with some of the findings to try and make my point
Some will be Irish, but I feel they are equally relevant, wherever they come from

I'm from a Irish background - my family left Ireland during the evictions following the Famine
This period produced many hundreds of songs reflecting the immigrants' experiences when landing in Britain and America
This is one of those song - in my opinion, both very singable and socially/historically important - I'd be delighted to her that this wasn't the case
It can be heard on The Clare County website listed under 'The Carroll Mackenzie Song Collection

The Sons of Granuaile sung by Michael ?Straighty? Flanagan, Inagh

You loyal-hearted Irishmen that do intend to roam,
To reap the English harvest so far away from home.
I?m sure you will provide with us both comrades loyal and true;
For you have to fight both day and night with John Bull and his crew.

When we left our homes from Ireland the weather was calm and clear.
And when we got on board the ship we gave a hearty cheer.
We gave three loud cheers for Paddy?s land, the place we do adore,
May the heavens smile on every child that loves the shamrock shore.

We sailed away all from the quay and ne?er received a shock,
Till we landed safe in Liverpool one side of Clarence Dock.
Where hundreds of our Irishmen they met us in the town;
Then ?Hurrah for Paddy?s lovely land?, it was the word went round.

With one consent away we went to drink strong ale and wine,
Each man he drank a favourite toast to the friends he left behind.
We sang and drank till the ale house rang dispraising Erin?s foes,
Or any man that hates the land where St Patrick?s shamrock grows.

For three long days we marched away, high wages for to find.
Till on the following morning we came to a railway line.
Those navies they came up to us, and loudly they did rail,
They cursed and damned for ould Paddy?s lands, and the sons of Granuaile.

Up stands one of our Irish boys and says, ?What do you mean?
While us, we?ll work as well as you, and hate a coward?s name.
So leave our way without delay or some of you will fall,
Here stands the sons of Irishmen that never feared a ball.?

Those navies then, they cursed and swore they?d kill us every man.
Make us remember ninety-eight, Ballinamuck and Slievenamon.
Blessed Father Murphy they cursed his blessed remains,
And our Irish heroes said they?d have revenge then for the same.

Up stands Barney Reilly and he knocked the ganger down.
?Twas then the sticks and stones they came, like showers to the ground.
We fought from half past four until the sun was going to set,
When O?Reilly says, ?My Irish boys, I think we will be bet.?

But come with me my comrade boys, we?ll renew the fight once more.
We?ll set our foes on every side more desperate than before.
We will let them know before we go we?d rather fight than fly,
For at the worst of times you?ll know what can we do, but die.

Here?s a health then to the McCormicks to O?Donnell and O?Neill,
And also the O?Donoghues that never were afraid.
Also every Irish man who fought and gained the day
And made those cowardly English men - in crowds they ran away.


?Irish immigrants fleeing the Famine and the mass evictions were met with prejudice and violence in many of the places they chose as their new homes. This account from Terry Coleman?s ?Railway Navvies? gives a vivid description of the reception many of them received when they landed in Britain. It describes the plight of the men who took work as railway navvies in the English/Scots border country:

?Throughout the previous year the railways had been extending through the English border country and into Scotland. A third of the navvies were Irish, a third Scots, and a third English: that was the beginning of the trouble - easy-going Roman Catholic Irish, Presbyterian Scots, and impartially belligerent English. The Irish did not look for a fight. As the Scottish Herald reported, they camped, with their women and children, in some of the most secluded glades, and although most of the huts showed an amazing disregard of comfort, the hereditary glee of their occupants seemed not a whit impaired. This glee enraged the Scots, who then added to their one genuine grievance (the fact that the Irishmen would work for less pay and so tended to bring down wages) their sanctified outrage that the Irish should regard the Sabbath as a holiday, a day of recreation on which they sang and lazed about. As for the Scots, all they did on a Sunday was drink often and pray occasionally, and it needed only an odd quart of whisky and a small prayer to make them half daft with Presbyterian fervour. They then beat up the godless Irish. The Irish defended themselves and this further annoyed the Scots, so that by the middle of 1845 there was near civil war among the railway labourers. The English, mainly from Yorkshire and Lancashire, would fight anyone, but they preferred to attack the Irish. The contractors tried to keep the men, particularly the Irish and Scots, apart, employing them on different parts of the line, but the Scots were not so easily turned from their religious purposes. At Kinghorn, near Dunfermline, these posters were put up around the town:

"Notice is Given
that all the Irish men on the line of railway in Fife Share must be off the grownd and owt of the countey on Monday th nth of this month or els we must by the strenth of our armes and a good pick shaft put them off
Your humbel servants, Schots men."

Letters were also sent to the contractors and sub-contractors. One read:

"Sir, - You must warn all your Irish men to be of the grownd on Monday the 11th of this month at 12 o'cloack or els we must put them by forse FOR WE ARE DETERMINED TO DOW IT."

The sheriff turned up and warned the Scots against doing anything of the sort. Two hundred navvies met on the beach, but in the face of a warning from the sheriff they proved not so determined to do it, and the Irish were left in peace for a while. But in other places the riots were savage. Seven thousand men were working on the Caledonian line, and 1,100 of these were paid monthly at a village called Locherby, in Dumfriesshire. Their conduct was a great scandal to the inhabitants of a quiet Scottish village. John Baird, Deputy Clerk of the Peace for the county, lamented that the local little boys got completely into the habits of the men - "drinking, swearing, fighting, and smoking tobacco and all those sorts of things". Mr Baird thought that on a pay day, with constant drunkenness and disturbance, the village was quite uninhabitable.

A minority of the navvies were Irish, and they were attacked now and again, as was the custom. After one pay day a mob of 300 or 400, armed with pitchforks and scythes, marched on the Irish, who were saved only because the magistrates intervened and kept both sides talking until a force of militia came up from Carlisle, twenty-three miles away.'

The writer goes in to explain that the worst of the riots were to follow. This song describes the situation in Britain, specifically in Liverpool; we have never come across it before and can find no trace of it. A similar song ?Seven of our Irishmen? (Roud 3104), sung by Straighty and by Pat MacNamara, deals with those who landed in America and were targeted as possible recruits for the U.S. army."

Reference:
The Railway Navvies, Terry Coleman, 1965.
Jim Carroll


02 Nov 17 - 04:49 AM (#3886332)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Raggytash

Thanks Jim, a clear, legible and very interesting post.


02 Nov 17 - 04:54 AM (#3886335)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Dave the Gnome

We must not become confused with a definition for doing research and a definition of what should happen in folk clubs. Definitions are definitely very relevant for the former but no so much for the latter as has already been discussed. In my opinion.

DtG


02 Nov 17 - 05:00 AM (#3886338)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Jim Carroll

Folk clubs is the operative word dave - that should be a guide to what happens in folk clubs not a definition
Take on the name and you take on a responsibility
Why call them folk clubs otherwise - nobody is forced to?

Thank you Raggy
Jim Carroll


02 Nov 17 - 05:25 AM (#3886341)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: r.padgett

What is happening to our folk clubs:

Folk clubs needs a definition ~ in my view folk clubs were extremely popular through the 70s and 80s and was an often weekly or indeed monthly etc gathering of people who met on a social outing usually in a pub or other quiet ish venue ~ some folk clubs presented the music of the day pop music or an alternative to THE pop music of the time which had a different following

So what is happening to Folk clubs?
My pet word ~ audiences are or lack of is what is missing ~ and I think many will recognise that the world has turned a time or two:

Pubs mismanaged to make pub managers turn them into cash cows and sell the over priced beer to make more profit (or not?0

Country pubs ~ travel by car drinking laws

Venues in general more difficult to find as pubs demolished

Younger potential folk not finding folk their music ~ with exceptions of course

Folk not being really mainstream and loud pop music being the norm

Folk being largely followed by an ageing population on a day to day basis

Clubs being fractionalised into traditional, contemporary ~ musicians sessions, mixed sessions etc ~reason for this is generally to do with the funding issue and audiences which are followers of a certain type of music/song and will stay at home if they are not content

Club organisers who fail to book except to their own tastes

Lack of committees (or not!!) people are people and have their own tastes whims and fancies (an awkward bunch!)

Folk clubs generally being not as dedicated and professional as very many folk club guests would like

Too many would be guests who are not doing their bit to run clubs as they should be doing (in my view)

A diminishing following of floor singers singing and playing (many people and followers are dedicating time and talent still to their branch of folk I would add)and time being of essence

SO are folk clubs being taken over by Folk festivals? Are singers and players spending more time with their fellow singer and players?

What then of folk club guests and folk festivals ~ I have no doubt that folk clubs are still very much in existence and I certainly know of many, many that do book guests regularly

Clubs are made up of disparate individuals each with their one views and aspirations as to what they want from a folk club and indeed what they are prepared to GIVE to the folk club to ensure its success ~ do clubs exist solely to provide a living for the booked guest I would ponder also!

I leave it there for now ~ these are questions to ask mebbe ~ so no personal comments please!

Ray


02 Nov 17 - 06:04 AM (#3886349)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Iains

Unless there is some degree of agreement it is difficult to describe what occurs within a folk club, let alone being able to categorize the material performed(I am sure there is a better word-but it escapes me)

Jim. I do not think you will find anyone on this forum trying to "junk"
either the material, the existing definitions, or the existing body of research on traditional folk. I cannot see where you get that idea from - certainly not from me. Instead of cherrypicking the bits of a post you do not like and immediately firing off the hip, try and read the entire post and make a reasoned case as with your extensive, thoughtful post above.
I think many of us here are trying to find a way of making the 54 definition encompass "contemporary folk"
As I said above Dave the Gnome made(for me), fairly unique wider interpreation of the 54 definition that allows for "modern contributions" to the genre.

I will   try and explain my problem in terms of what you have previously posted and if I misquote you please correct me.
You say the traditional creative process is dead(the travellers all purchased TV's) Undoubtedly true! Work songs largely if not entirely gone the same way. Hard to sing or create a shanty when one person operating a couple of spool valves does the work of fifty. Similarly I never heard roughnecks singing, only a lot of grunting- until topdrives and iron roughnecks reduced some of the hard graft required.

Undoubtedly there is a huge body of collected work and many performers draw on it. But in your definitions it is now a sterile ,fossilised body of work, with no fresh input, as the traditions have died.
That is why I referred to it (using your definitions)as worrying a corpse. I am not trying to belittle the traditional works in any way, or rejecting them. I suppose in essence what I am trying to say that as the performers/audience get further from the traditions that created them then I suspect the attraction to the genre will diminish over time. MY PERSONAL VIEW! However if you accept that a modern tradition exists then it enables a continuous link with the past and broadens the appeal. If you restrict the definition then I think you do the genre a great disservice.

I would be interested to know what you would describe the transatlantic sessions as - it certainly gathered a wide audience and interest.


02 Nov 17 - 06:45 AM (#3886355)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Howard Jones

When I go to a folk club I expect to hear music performed in a certain style. I struggle to describe this with any precision, but I know it when I hear it, more or less. I also acknowledge that the term"folk" as a genre in general usage goes way beyond traditional music or even music based on traditional forms, even though those are my principal interests, and that I am likely to hear this sort of folk as well. That is simply how it is, unwelcome though it may be to some.

I don't expect that everything I hear, even if it is trad, will be to my liking. Likewise I don't always agree when some artists have the folk label attached to them. However, assuming the bulk of material performed is "folk style" then to me it seems reasonable to call itself a "folk club". If I regularly find that too much is not to my personal taste then I won't go, but that is my problem rather than the club's.

The term "folk" is sometimes regarded as toxic, and some suggest dropping the word to avoid putting people off. If a venue is really an open-mic I would expect it to be more successful describing itself as that rather than masquerading as a folk club. However I wonder how many such "folk clubs" really exist? I'm sure there are some, but are they really a widespread problem?


02 Nov 17 - 06:46 AM (#3886356)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Big Al Whittle

This is a very rewarding thread.

My own family were descended from the navvies that were working on the canals round Liverpool in the early 1800's. My grandfather was sold as an infant for a quid to the Whittle family - by an Irish gypsy lady called Travers. The sale was effected in a pub in St Helens.

As Jim's post had relevance to me personally. it was interesting. not that i like to get bogged down in the past. the grandfather became an english soldier who had no truck with the Irish republican cause. THe Irish branch of the family were doing physical jerks with some sort of IRA youth organisation in the 1930's - preparing to fight with the English! I can see how they wouldn't get on. history isn't a tidy business.

however , Ray Padgett's hard headed analysis is probably the most interesting set of propositions to people who actually do the business of organising folk clubs. I won't say Jim's turf war isn't interesting, but one suspects its really neither here nor there. When folk clubs were doing well. The Grey Cock and The Star Club and The Old Crown in Digbeth were packing in the traddy crowd and Les Ward and Jim McPhee were running very successful contemporary folk clubs during the 1970's. When folk clubs were doing well. Everyone was doing well.

My own recollection of the period was that I had a folk club in the wilds of Staffordshire that I took over from Andy Dwyer. I can remember when petrol went up to 30p a gallon , I thought - people won't be able to afford to come out this far. Though it went on another couple years and OPEC kept the pressure on.

Also the breweries got very greedy . Landlords were paying so much rent, they had to charge a lot for drinks.

The tightening up of the breathalyser laws were beneficial for road safety. Neverthe less I suspect there are many of whose heart sinks at the thought of buying diet coke all evening at three quid plus a pint. And the stuff running through you like a bloody tap.

Other considerations are the differing attitudes to disability. You can't really expect an upstairs room in a pub to be an acceptable venue any more. MOre pubs are geared towards being 'food' pubs nowadays. Families eat out more.

Those pubs that want to be drinking holes - the chairs are often bloody uncomfortable and sometimes non existent

Realistically - don't you think these factors have provided more problems for folk clubs than disagreements about what a few intellectuals cooked up in 1954.


02 Nov 17 - 07:03 AM (#3886359)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Dave the Gnome

Agreed, Al. Shame we had to get to nearly a thousand posts before someone actually came up with what are probably the best set of reasons for folk clubs closing! I think what would now be a positive step is if we were to discuss what can be done about it. Although that may get to another 1K ;-)

DtG


02 Nov 17 - 07:22 AM (#3886362)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Jim Carroll

Jim. I do not think you will find anyone on this forum trying to "junk"
either the material, the existing definitions,
You have done both Ians - you have described the music as an irrelevance of the past and have consistently challenged the definition
"But in your definitions it is now a sterile ,fossilised body of work,"
I did not say this - I pointed out the uses it has been put to in both creating new songs and being used to display workers lives, particularly in the form of the Radio Ballads
The songs themselves are no more "corpses" than are the plays of Shakespeare or the literary creations of Dickens and Hardy - they continue to entertain, inspire and move   
All have the similar problem of the dumbing down of our culture via technology - the beauty of our language is being debased, literacy is being destroyed by misuse or non-use, the general attention span has lessened and the commercialisation of our culture has made it subservient to the market rather than the needs of people in general.
Today's music is created with a sell-by date and it comes into the world still-born - fixed in its conceived form and belonging to the creator - that is why it can never belong to 'the folk'
You can sing it in your bath, but is you attempt to pass it on to the general public you pay for the privilege.
Ye can no longer pass on, receive and remake the songs in our own image, which was an essential feature of folk creation
The essential creative asset of folk creation was its narrative quality and its universality was based on the fact that the depicted characters generally were named and had real occupations - we could identify with and adapt them to meet our own situations.
We could even revisit them a century or so later and continue to do the same.
That is not the case with commercial modern composition, though it can work with newly made songs using the old forms
As with Al's background, my dad was a navvy - when I restarted singing I took a look at MaColl's neglected navvy songs, Rambler From Clare, Indeed I Would, Farwell to Ireland and Tunnel Tigers - I had n problem in identifying with them and neither do those I now sing them to here on the West Coast of Ireland.
They reflect their lives as they resonate with my family background
No pop song could ever do that in a million years as they are rooted in a fantasy world of nameless non-people (with very few exceptions)
Jim Carroll


02 Nov 17 - 08:22 AM (#3886373)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Vic Smith

Two questions for Jim -

* Is "MaColl's neglected navvy songs, Rambler From Clare" a different one from the well known song "Johnny Patterson, the Rambler from Clare" that Harry Bradshaw writes about at http://www.clarelibrary.ie/eolas/coclare/music/johnny_patterson_bradshaw2.htm Bradshaw calls him not a navvy but "the 19th century Irish circus clown".


* Is the spelling of Ewan's surname 'MaColl' as you have just posted or is it 'MacColl' as you posted at 17 Oct 17 - 08:51 AM. It's not just you. I see that surnmame given in both these ways as well as sometimes 'McColl' that I find it confusing.


02 Nov 17 - 08:27 AM (#3886375)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Raggytash

Neither Vic, his name is Jimmy Miller !!


02 Nov 17 - 09:42 AM (#3886383)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Jim Carroll

No- it isn't Vic - It was written for Phillip Donnellan's film, The Irishmen, nver released in Britain as the Beeb didn't like what some of the Navvies said about the conditions on English sites
It was shown on Irish television when Donnellan died in 1999 and is due to be shown at our local History Society next month, if you're around
It's a superb film and the soundtrack includes Joe Heaney, Bobby Casey, Tom McCarthy, Martin Burns and Seamus Ennis
Some of MacColl's best songs were used, but never sung around because they were never released elsewhere, apart from Tunnel Tigers

THE RAMBLER FROM CLARE (1966)
I had to sell my bicycle to get me fare over. The missus had to borrow from the neighbours, a pound here, ten bob there, to get me fare. I'll try and get my wife and family over here this year if I make a go of it, for there's definitely nothing back in Ireland for a poor man. Nothing! (John Foran, recorded in London, 1965)

There's Johnny Munnelly, a Mayo man, was the greatest man that ever came out of Ireland, and he slaughtered himself for John Laing, took TB and died. And the sinker, Jim Heeley ... slaughtered himself upon piece-work that tore that man's heart and guts out. The man's walking around now with one lung and there's not a man to walk up and say, 'Well, Jim, you've done good work! Here's a pint! Here's a pound, here's a feed.!' They're finished for life. They're finished for life! ' (County Offally man, recorded in London, 1965)

         
tune: traditional Irish ('The Rambler from Clare')
new words and trad arr.: Ewan MacColl
? 1968 Stormking Music, Inc.

I am a young fellow that's very well known;
I've travelled through Galway and the County Tyrone.
For work I've been searching through Cork and Kildare,
There was never a job for the rambler from Clare.

Through Kerry I searched with no brogues to me feet,
I was stranded in Sligo with nothing to eat;
Till in desperation I borrowed the fare,
And 'Goodbye to old Ireland,' said the rambler from Clare.

On the boat leaving Ireland I stood in the bar,
And a big red-faced agent he stood me a jar.
Says he: 'Up in Scotland they're building dams there
And there's plenty of work for a rambler from Clare.'

I made for Argyll where I dug a big hole;
It was half-a-mile deep and I felt like a mole.
It held ten million gallons of water, I swear,
And the most of it sweat from the rambler from Clare.

The next job I worked on was digging a drain;
I moved up the trench like a big diesel train.
They laid off the rest of the gang then and there,
For the equal of ten was the rambler from Clare.

One day they was moving a bridge into place
And a thousand-ton crane it falls flat on its face.
Like Ajax that bridge on me shoulders I bear -
There's no crane in the world like the rambler from Clare.

They'll tell you my equal was ne'er to be seen;
They called me 'the horse' and 'the digging machine';
The gangermen loved me, the agents would stare,
All admiring the strength of the rambler from Clare.

But now I am bent and me fire is turned cold;
In another four years I'll be fifty years old.
I'm worn out and finished, but what do they care?
For they've had all they want of the rambler from Clare.

MacColl always spelt his name this way - that's the way the family spell it now - typo on my part
I'm never sure whether Dylan spells Zimmermann with on N or two Raggy - don't be petty
Jim Carroll


02 Nov 17 - 09:48 AM (#3886385)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Raggytash

Just stating fact Jim.


02 Nov 17 - 10:37 AM (#3886393)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Jim Carroll

"Just stating fact Jim."
No you're not Raggy - you're mixing it
MacColl changed his name officially and was only referred to as Miller by the 'lower echelons'
If MacColl is Miller then Dylan is Zimmermann


02 Nov 17 - 10:38 AM (#3886394)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Vic Smith

Jim wrote:-
Joe Heaney, Bobby Casey, Tom McCarthy, Martin Burns and Seamus Ennis
Decades ago, I booked three of these performers at our folk club. Bobby and the McCarthy Family* twice and Seamus quite a number of times in the early 1970s as Tina and I used to arrange tours for him - so I must be getting something right in your eyes. Perhaps when you wrote that I had gone over to the Dark Side, you meant that I had gone over to the Irish Side.

* I remember going round the corner to the phone box to phone Tommy McCarthy, couldn't afford a house phone in those days. I phoned Tommy and suggested a date. He said that he thought the date was suitable but give him a minute to check in his diary. He came back to the phone and said, "Oh dear! This is most unfortunate. Sadly, we are booked at the Royal Albert Hall on that date."..... we managed to arrange another date.


02 Nov 17 - 04:16 PM (#3886448)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Raggytash

No Jim, I am stating FACT James Miller was his name, I am not "mixing" it as you claim.

I know as far as you are concerned the sun shone out of his arse but the fact remains he was brought into this life with the name James Miller.


02 Nov 17 - 07:00 PM (#3886476)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: TheSnail

I'd like to stay in this discussion, there are interesting things to discuss. I'll just have to steer clear of Jim.
r.padgett
Club organisers who fail to book except to their own tastes
Ummm? So why are we doing it?


02 Nov 17 - 08:38 PM (#3886486)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Big Al Whittle

as i remember there were a number of reasons

1) responding to requests of other club members
2) booking friends. you don't always like the music your friend plays
3) maybe you owe a favour to another club organiser - so you book an act, because the act will visit your area for two bookings but not for one
4) admiration for the skill of an artist - even if its not really your sort of thing
5) a cracking review that makes an artist of interest

probably hundreds more reasons, but what else would you do?


03 Nov 17 - 04:23 AM (#3886509)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: r.padgett

Yes bookings can be down to one person, but that one person should be

aware of the attraction of certain acts and the problems with others ~

club audience is a fickle thing and many factors will come to play ~

indeed with a folk club the weekly attendees could all be musicians ~

not come the week/s that guests are booked etc

Many clubs have folded and the right balance can be of paramount

importance ~ building audiences of different sorts could be a good

idea! Paying to see guests, floor singers, floor musicians, raffle

persons, treasurer, etc all are important in getting a thriving club ~

but do not leave all to the few ~ too many dead (useless individuals)

should be pulled out of the ruck (Rugby Union sorry) moaners and groaners can be disasterous (in gest! er um)

Ray


03 Nov 17 - 05:01 AM (#3886516)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Big Al Whittle

in these days of internet. some acts have tremendous followings through their websites.

you attend the club on a guest night, and you think - this place is doing well.

so you go next week, on a singers night and theres no one there.


03 Nov 17 - 05:44 AM (#3886526)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Backwoodsman

?so you go next week, on a singers night and theres no one there.?

Exactly the opposite in the clubs I go to - rammed on ?Singers? Nights?, struggling to get an audience for booked guest artists.


03 Nov 17 - 05:52 AM (#3886527)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: GUEST

Acts? Acts? Big Al, maybe that's the problem, the showbiz mentality?


03 Nov 17 - 07:16 AM (#3886542)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: GUEST,Desi C

I'd just like to complain that there are far too many posts on this thread, so much so that there's no point in me telling you what I think is wrong with our Folk Clubs. bye


03 Nov 17 - 09:30 AM (#3886554)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: TheSnail

Just to avoid any ambiguity, when I said "So why are we doing it?, I meant organising clubs, not failing to book.
My answer to that is "The Music". While one or two may be doing it for the power and the glory, I think most are doing it to share the music they love with other people, both performers and audiences. I don't think any organisers are in it for the money.
Yes, we'd like bigger audiences for the music we like. I don't see that putting on music we don't like achieves that.


03 Nov 17 - 09:37 AM (#3886557)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Big Al Whittle

acts, turns, call em what you will.

it was Johnny Coppin's gig at the old Windsor Castle in Nottingham that I first noticed the phenomenon.but I've noticed that other artistes with a following organise their gigs through websites.

probably they realise that the semi pro's and floorsingers only want to listen to themselves. The days when you had actually had respect for a non famous person who just happened to have developed skills you respect is fading into the distance.

look at all the humble jobbing musicians that Jim accuses of being on some sort of showbiz gravy train.
And yourself as well Guest by the sound of it.


03 Nov 17 - 09:59 AM (#3886561)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Dave the Gnome

Calling them turns reminds of the old working men's clubs that showed their dislike of anyone on stage by throwing rocks at them. It is said that there was no turn unstoned.

:D tG


03 Nov 17 - 10:24 AM (#3886565)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Big Al Whittle

i used to play the Boot and Shoe Club in Leicester. One desperate character had scrawled on the wall of the dressing room, " I'm not frightened of them!"

I did one gig on the Sunday lunchtime, before the stripper. A packed roomful of men all reading the Newspaper. THe stripper didn't turn up. THe word went round.
As I stood in the wings, one old bloke said, "Dunna worry lad! They'll be quire pleased to see you. Mostly the act doesn't turn up either...."


03 Nov 17 - 10:42 AM (#3886568)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Backwoodsman

Aaaaahh, the good ole ?Boot & Shoe?! I remember it so well!
Played there several times in the ?70s, never had a bad night (but I know a few who had shockers!). Is it still there?


03 Nov 17 - 10:47 AM (#3886570)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Jack Campin

Calling them turns reminds of the old working men's clubs that showed their dislike of anyone on stage by throwing rocks at them. It is said that there was no turn unstoned.

These days it's kiwifruit.


03 Nov 17 - 12:12 PM (#3886593)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Musicboy

"What do I expect to hear in a folk club...?"

To be honest, I'm happy to hear pretty much anything and everything that entertains me.

What did I actually hear in the late 60s and 70s, around Sheffield?

Child's and other collector's, traditional ballads in what appeared to be
Re-worked versions of these based largely, but not completely, on what Ashley Hutchings was doing.
Music Hall songs.
Stuff written by contemporary folk artists, including (as examples), Dylan, Lightfoot etc.
Tom Lehrer stuff
Acoustic blues.
Acoustic versions of pop songs.
Folk rock (rare though it was).
British dance music.
Skiffle.
Irish, Scottish, English, Welsh and Manx songs, so obscure that people couldn't remember who wrote them (i.e., proper folk music).
People performing unaccompanied songs (often using crib sheets.
Recitations, often using crib sheets). Note cribbing was always better than continually forgetting the words.
Songs made up by the people wot sung 'em.
Professional performances by folk stars, such as Martin Carthy, Mike Harding and that Jones chap (who was always amiable).
By 'eck, them wer't days

It would be easier to define what wasn't acceptable, rather than what was and that varied from club to club. One of the joys was that anything went. Another feature as that it didn't have to be perfect.
generally, it was us (we, the folk implied in the phrase "folk music") entertaining ourselves in our own ways.


04 Nov 17 - 09:54 PM (#3886832)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Big Al Whittle

Quite recently, i heard a young man in Weymouth fc singing When Jones's Ale Was New.

I said, gosh! i haven't heard it sung like that for a long long time. where did you learn it? It was just like being in a time machine being in THe Jolly Porter in Exeter in 1965.

he said, oh my Dad was a folksinger. he was quite well known.

turned out he was Tony Rose's son.

what happened to folk clubs. I suppose we got old....


05 Nov 17 - 03:23 AM (#3886844)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: r.padgett

Yea Tony Rose was a quality folk singer, same breathe as Nic Jones,

Martin Carthy, Dave Burland and Peter Bellamy as far as traditional

revivalists ~ we need new heroes it seems and they are out there but are

they the bookable crowd pleasers as of old?

Ray


05 Nov 17 - 08:51 AM (#3886884)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: The Sandman

I had an enjoyable gig at dublin singers club, friday, plenty of good singers.
this music is not about stars or heroes it is about good performance, there was plenty of that on friday night


05 Nov 17 - 07:25 PM (#3886961)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Dave Sutherland

Just got home from Tigerfolk, Long Eaton where we had Miamh Parsons and Graham Dunne as guests (see a few hundred posts above).Great night; traditional and contemporary songs from our guests all well received; high standard of singing from the floor and a full room with not a crib sheet or music stand in sight. That's what is happening at our folk club.


14 Nov 17 - 11:45 AM (#3888554)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Raggytash

Interesting article by Steve Roud in todays Guardian........



It might ruffle one or two feathers !!!


14 Nov 17 - 11:58 AM (#3888555)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: GUEST,Hootenanny

On which page ? I don't see it.


14 Nov 17 - 12:48 PM (#3888571)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Jim Carroll

"It might ruffle one or two feathers !!!"
One of the great constants of life is how happy the middle classes have always been to deny that working people might have something to say for themselves
Nothing new under the sun
Jim Carroll


14 Nov 17 - 02:07 PM (#3888584)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: GUEST,Grahame Hood

Going back to the moan about floor singers just reading their songs from folders or i-phones I wrote the following song. Another thing that annoyed me once when a booked guest got in a tizz because he couldn't get a phone signal and needed it to access his setlist.
The song is sung to the tune Nic Jones uses for "Barrack Stree" or Noel Murphy for "Paddy & The Bricks"

Learn the song!

A man came to a folk club with a fine Martin guitar
A music stand with a little light. Professional! A star!
He opened up his folder at page number 62
And then he sang the same Tom Paxton song he always seems to do.

And it only had three verses, and it only had three chords
So come on guys, learn the song! The music and the words!

Then I saw another bloke, just the other day
Put his i-pad on the mic stand, and he began to play
He stopped, he blushed, he knew he?d lost the audience affection
Why have you stopped? He cried ?I?ve lost my internet connection!?

Chorus

In this modern age of apps, many sights you see
At an open mic a singer said ?Please accompany me?
The guitarist got his phone out to help him play the chords
The singer had his own phone out to remind him of the words!

Chorus

How difficult is it to just to learn a simple basic song?
Carthy and Dylan often sing ones thirty verses long!
It?s not jazz, it?s not prog rock, the chords are pretty easy
Is it just playing in public that makes folk singers queasy?

Chorus


14 Nov 17 - 05:53 PM (#3888603)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Tattie Bogle

Ha-ha! But if you're going to put stuff on an iPad or tablet, make sure it's in a non-internet-dependent app such as Pages or Word.......or just learn it!


14 Nov 17 - 07:08 PM (#3888610)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Big Al Whittle

i did a weird gig about 18 months ago. this guy asked me to a gig for people at campsite.
of course they didn't know anything even vaguely folkie. but soon i was aware of everybody singing along to EVERYTHING.

When I looked they were all singing the words from their mobile phones. i told them the title and in two shakes of a lambs tail they had tracked down the lyrics on the internet. very skillful, i can't find things that quick.

perhaps that's the way o go. tell everyone to bring a mobile phone to your folk club.


17 Nov 17 - 07:08 PM (#3889057)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: GUEST,Jerry Crossley

To be fair, it?s not just folk singers that seem to rely on crib sheets these days, since an increasing number of pop, rock and indie acts now tend to hide behind music stands, or even worse stare at an A4 folder lying at their feet. Grahame?s song above says it all; classical players, folk dance musicians, vocal choirs, etc can be excused when following melody lines, especially with harmony parts, but performers that can?t remember simple and usually standard strummed chordal progressions should either have the decency to practice it beforehand or perhaps shouldn?t be performing at all. Would you go to a comedy club where the stand up acts all read their jokes or anecdotes from a sheet of paper?


18 Nov 17 - 07:06 AM (#3889099)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: GUEST

The last concert I went to, by a pretty famous folk group four out of the five musicians read from music sheets set up on little stands.
They were good but, I thought a little removed from the audience.

Certainly a lack of "spontaneity"


19 Nov 17 - 03:26 PM (#3889332)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: GUEST

I don't know about our folk clubs but this sort of squabble is why you hear younger folkies laugh when mudcat is mentioned.


19 Nov 17 - 03:36 PM (#3889334)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Backwoodsman

"Would you go to a comedy club where the stand up acts all read their jokes or anecdotes from a sheet of paper?"

Dunno about comedy clubs, never set foot in any of those, but I see a great many poets in folk, and other, clubs, and i have yet to see one recite his/her poetry from memory - they all have notebooks, tablets, or smartphones from which they read their stuff, usually with little or no feeling whatsoever.


20 Nov 17 - 04:15 AM (#3889388)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Jim Carroll

"I don't know about our folk clubs but this sort of squabble is why you hear younger folkies laugh when mudcat is mentioned."
Yeah - quite right
While the folk clubs are increasing at the rate they are and are bursting at the seams these people should be allowed to read from crib-sheets and mobile phones - a sign of true dedication to the songs - even if you can't be arsed learning the words you can still stand up in front of an audience and sing them !!!
This practice has made a laughing stock of folk song as the casual pastime of dabblers
Jim Carroll


20 Nov 17 - 05:29 AM (#3889405)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Big Al Whittle

last night i was in a session.

there two of us singers who weren't using prompts. mainly electronic.

I sang Blueberry Hill, cos I still feel a bit tearful about Fats Domino. A Blind Lemon Jefferson song, I learned off Hamish Imlach and The Midnight Special, which I always loved from hearing Gerry Lockran singing it.

I think the determining factor in giving respect to a song is probably meeting people like Hamish and Gerry, who worked out ways of playing and presenting songs that were dynamic.

You're not going to like this Jim, but I do feel that part of the closing down of so many folk clubs was down to the influence of Ewan, Somehow he gave the impression that what you sang was much much more important than how you sang it. In a way -- it was natural for him to work and polish his work to a high standard - with his theatrical discipline. Many of his followers didn't understand this. I used to despair hearing guitarists trying modal tunings at a point in their playing career where learning One Man Went to Mow with two chords would have been more appropriate. Many saw singers like Fred Jordan, and just saw an old man singing songs - they missed the art. They thought - I can do that.

It became very fashionable to despise minstrelsy. And many of the minstrels seemed suddenly to have to be working for Ann Dex in Norway and god knows where.

Where are the people showing how it should be done, and how to hold an audience. There aren't the clubs any more, thanks to all that bad mouthing of the minstrels., coupled with people turning out and finding incompetents - highly self satisfied ones, keeping the tradition going.
I was offered a gig on the other side of the country - yesterday. No money of course, it was assumed I would do it for the love of my art.


20 Nov 17 - 06:03 AM (#3889407)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Jim Carroll

"Where are the people showing how it should be done, and how to hold an audience. "
That appears to be what is starting to happen with the song in Ireland - one of the best folk clubs in Dublin is run by youngsters in their twenties
The music has already been guaranteed at least a two-generation future
Jim Carroll


20 Nov 17 - 06:56 AM (#3889421)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Big Al Whittle

i think in Ireland although there will be regional differences, i wouldn't have thought it was as cosmopolitan as England. i may be wrong. After all Joyce chose the wandering Jew to represent Dublin!

to try and harness the English tradition, you may as well try to catch the wind...


20 Nov 17 - 07:50 AM (#3889429)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Jim Carroll

"i think in Ireland although there will be regional differences, "
Nope
English workers were writing songs in their thousands right through the 19th century
The situation is Ireland as far as song making was concerned really was no different than that in England
Go check Tommy Armstrong (miner) or Samuel Bamford and Samuel Laycock (weavers)
A quote about working poets in the Victorian period

"In the Victorian period, galvanized by the Chartist movement from the 1830s to the 1850s, working-class poets increasingly identified their literary work with working-class politics. As scholar Peter Scheckner points out, "Chartist poems were read every week by hundreds of thousands of active Chartist workers and supporters throughout England, Scotland, Wales, and Ireland; the ideas and commitment behind these works were translated month by month into political action." The Chartist movement is represented in the exhibit by the work of Gerald Massey and Ebenezer Jones, both of whom also worked for the Chartist press. "
Jim Carroll


20 Nov 17 - 12:19 PM (#3889470)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Tattie Bogle

Backwoodsman - Pam Ayres recites her own poems from memory - so as she said in her lovely accent: "You folks have paid good money to 'ear my poems: I thought the least I could do was learn 'em" - she only read one in an performance lasting well over an hour, with the excuse that it was a very new one. Go and see her if you get the chance!
Les Barker reads his poems: but does not have his nose in the book: he just glances down, and there is plenty of facial and vocal expression, body language, comic timing, etc in his delivery, so that you are barely aware of him using a book at all.


20 Nov 17 - 01:20 PM (#3889477)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Johnny J

Nothing much to add here but I want to see this nonsense reach over 1,000 posts.

Reading poems from a book is often just part of the act. I'm sure most poets could memorise them if they wished.


20 Nov 17 - 01:23 PM (#3889479)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Backwoodsman

I've seen them both. Tatie - Les quite a number of times. But we're talking about the standards of club-performers here, and I was responding to the comment about comedians in comedy-clubs. I see many 'floor-spot poets' in folk clubs - most, if not all, read their material as I described above, and seldom with any attempt at expression or feeling. Are they showing a 'lack of respect' for the poems they read?


20 Nov 17 - 01:27 PM (#3889480)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Backwoodsman

Johnny - so a poet not bothering to learn his/her stuff and reading deadpan from a book is 'part of the act' (and presumably acceptable), but a singer not bothering to learn his/her songs and singing them from a crib-sheet is 'disrespectful' and, therefore, unacceptable?


20 Nov 17 - 01:40 PM (#3889484)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Johnny J

In the many cases, the poet will probably know the poem "off by heart".
Not necessarily so the singer although they mays till use the song sheet as a prop even when they don't really need to do so.

Quite often, lecturers and speakers will quote from a book or written material because it adds more authority and the audience are less likely to think that he or she is just making it up.


20 Nov 17 - 01:50 PM (#3889486)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Backwoodsman

"In the many cases, the poet will probably know the poem "off by heart".
Not necessarily so the singer although they mays till use the song sheet as a prop even when they don't really need to do so."


Do you have hard evidence of those two propositions? Why the assumption that the poet knows his material, yet the contrary assumption that the singer probably doesn't? Sounds like a double-standard is operating there. Or a complete illogicality.

And why is it 'acceptable' for a poet to have a crib-sheet, but not a singer (apologies if I'm misunderstanding you on that).


20 Nov 17 - 02:12 PM (#3889488)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Big Al Whittle

which folk club in Dublin are you referring to? I'll try and get there some time - some time after this bloody on/off winter.


21 Nov 17 - 03:46 AM (#3889551)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: GUEST,Jerry Crossley

Poetry is the art of the written word, and so reading from printed text is acceptable to my mind, and if done in animated fashion, with ad libs, etc, can also be engaging for the audience. Singing is about the sung word, and reading the lyrics whilst singing them simply distances you from your audience and creates musical wallpaper, over which the audience feels comfortable talking. Ignore your audience and they ignore you.
We?ve all heard Best Man speeches, where one inconfidently reads out a rigidly prepared script and the jokes fall a bit flat, and others where they seemingly improvise around a few basic prompt cards and they go down a storm. In the latter case, the key is practising beforehand until you know your speech well enough to be able to deliver it in an engaging fashion, and only need a few key words as a prompt to the next anecdote. All these one man comedy shows work on the same basis, though come over as fully improvised.


21 Nov 17 - 04:42 AM (#3889557)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: GUEST,Grahame Hood

I've been trying to think when I first saw someone in a folk club use a crib sheet for lyrics (I've no problem with people reading the dots and chords- when there are more than three of them- I've done a few jazz gigs and never managed to learn a single jazz standard by heart apart from "Summertime") and I can recall a sea shanty singer who used to sing from a book as far back as c.1978. And sea shanties only have two new lines per verse... Re Les Barker, there used to be a spate of floor performers reading his stuff from books, usually very badly. Haven't seen that done lately though.

Anyway I found this quote in Fred Woods' book "Folk Revival- the rediscovery of a national music" published in 1979.

"The structure of a club evening tends to be unvarying wherever you go-and this is one of the weaknesses of the systen as a whole. The evening is opened by the resident arist or artists, who warm the audience up; they are followed by others, indistiguishable from the residents except in the context of club organisation, called floorsingers. Their allotment is usually two songs, and it is with these short spots that the floorsinger gains sufficient experience to graduate to residency or even to full-fledged professional status. The first half closes with half an hour from the booked guest, if there is one. After a beer break, the scond half follows the pattern of the first.
(Now it gets interesting!) The drawback of this kind of presentation is its rigidity, coupled with the fact that too few floorsingers learn new songs with sufficient speed. One hears too frequently the statements 'I sang this last week but...' and 'I only learned this today today so I may forget it.'Ewan MacColl once said that a singer should learn a new song every week; a counsel of perfection, indeed, and I would not expect an amateur singer to live up to that testing demand. But a song a month is surely with anyone's capability, and a repertoire of twenty songs ensures at least a diminuation of the unblushing repetition that is one of the worst hazards of regular attendance at a club. Some clubs are fortunate in possessing a resident group of near-professional standards-the Nottingham Traditional Music Club, or the Grimsby club, are two such- but these are few and far between. The vast majority of clubs have to make do with singers of lesser quality, and as such things are self-feeding, a lesser quality seems to produce musical stasis just as much as a higher produces a continuous improvement.
Such a relatively minor matter would not normally call for extended comment were it not for the unfortunate fact that it has considerable effect on long-term membership and attendance. If a club is in decline
the reason can normally be found in its residents. If they are content to churn out the same old songs week after week, they cvan hardly be surprised when they start churning them out to smaller and smaller audiences. It is a bsic and obvious truth, but it is one against which many resident singers are complacently blinkered."

Apart from the rise of the smartphone, and the reverence with which he treats Mr MacColl, still true?


21 Nov 17 - 05:15 AM (#3889563)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Steve Shaw

Well that certainly chimes with me, Grahame, even though our folk club folded twenty years ago. What Fred Woods didn't mention is that the audience had to put up with that repetition and so-so quality week after week in reverential silence. It tended to depend who showed up: a fairly jolly time would be had, even on non-guest nights, if a particularly-talented "breath of fresh air" who was only a sporadic attendee turned up. Other times, you'd have four or five singers of dirges in a row. Always at the mercy of who turned up, and the unspoken rule was that the MC was powerless to deny anyone's right to their spot in the interests of balance. You just never knew what sort of a night you were going to have. And if you resented being part of a captive audience on a dire evening, there was always the rest of the pub...

But I have a lot to thank that club for nonetheless!


21 Nov 17 - 05:27 AM (#3889564)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Steve Shaw

Incidentally, Grahame, learning a jazz standard would not really be the same thing as learning a folk tune. We are not supposed to have "correct versions," and are supposed to be steeped in the spirit of the folk process. Not only can you not be that if you're reading from notation, you can't be that if you LEARNED the tune from notation (unless you've already spent years learning tunes by ear and know intimately the need for flexibility).

I might add, somewhat mischievously, that I could knock out my personal "expressive" rendering of "Summertime" for you right now on a blues harp. And I could repeat the exercise tomorrow morning and it wouldn't be the same...


21 Nov 17 - 05:28 AM (#3889565)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Jim Carroll

Fred's description fits in pretty well with what was gradually starting to happen at the time in many clubs - standards were being deliberately lowered to put more bums on seats and the 'anything goes' policies gradually introduced an air of "where did all the folk songs go?" among those who came looking for ballads and traditional songs
Fred Woods was one of those who helped instigate the 'Crap Begets Crap' series of protests about the lowering standards.
'Ewan MacColl once said that a singer should learn a new song every week"
Ewan tended to exaggerate his claims, but The Singers Club did try to instigate a policy where residents were asked not to sing the same song within a couple of months (regular requests being the accepted exceptions)
It did guarantee that you always came away hearing new songs each time
Jim Carroll


21 Nov 17 - 05:58 AM (#3889570)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Steve Shaw

We were encouraged to perform the same material every week if that's all we had. I think that was seen as better than having nothing. Maybe, in the long run, it wasn't...

I'm not a singer, but I'd guess that learning a song that you were perhaps going to accompany yourself on, sufficiently well to do it with without artificial aids, is a bigger ask than learning a new tune. I'd also add, speaking from the bitter experience of more than a few train-wrecks, that you can THINK you've learned a new piece well enough to get out there and do it, then, as soon as you get in front of people...


21 Nov 17 - 06:09 AM (#3889573)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Jim Carroll

Can I say that every club I was ever part of offered a workshop or at least a group of volunteers who made themselves available to help anybody who requested it.
The workshop we ran longest (about fifteen years) acquired an archive of donated recordings and eventually books for the use of the singers - I am now left fith th dubious honour of passing on a massive archive of now digitised recordings to anybody prepared to use it for the purpose it was originally intended
Jim Carroll


21 Nov 17 - 03:11 PM (#3889645)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: GUEST,Dick Miles

"the reason can normally be found in its residents. If they are content to churn out the same old songs week after week, they cvan hardly be surprised when they start churning them out to smaller and smaller audiences. It is a bsic and obvious truth, but it i"s one against which many resident singers are complacently blinkered."
not my experience at all, and i have gigged in many hundreds over 40 years


21 Nov 17 - 03:17 PM (#3889648)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: GUEST,Dick Miles

one of the NEWPORT FOLK CLUBS, not the lyceum club[ there are two on the same night] that does not allow visiting floor singers, has adopted a policy that is ridiculous and idiotic. this must be one of the daftest rules ever adopted by a folk club


21 Nov 17 - 05:02 PM (#3889657)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: GUEST

That's up to them. Who are you to dictate how they run their club ? They have a perfect right to be "daft" without justifying anything to you or anyone else other than the people who pay money to come in the door. If you don't like it, please stay away.


21 Nov 17 - 06:07 PM (#3889667)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: GUEST,Dick Miles

Iam not dictating to anyone,I am criticising, which in most societies is allowed.Hpowever i did not like it and i did stay away, and furthermore anonymous cowardly guest pleas stay away and fuck off with your troliing


21 Nov 17 - 06:55 PM (#3889670)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Steve Shaw

Have a bit more of a think about this, Dick. There are two categories of "non-resident" floor spot guests, those you know and those you don't. Of those you know, some will be good and some will be crap. Of those you don't know, some will be good, some will be crap but the difference is you don't know until they get up there to either enhance or ruin your evening. If you have a really popular club, in this regard it's quite right that you get to call the shots. Another consideration that kicks in, especially if your club is very popular, is that your regular, loyal residents will turn up ready to strut a bit of their stuff. A willy-nilly policy of letting outsiders, known or unknown, good or crap, take up the limited available time is that you may be frustrating your regulars. It could be that a few of 'em could do with a bit of frustrating at times. But it's a difficult balance to achieve, the club organisers are on a hiding to nothing and they deserve a bit of understanding even if they come up with rules that jar.

Our club died in 1996 but a few of us continued to keep the fire aflame by setting up a session (largely tunes but with lots of songs too) in the original folk club pub. That session ran for twenty years and was hugely popular. As time went on we learned the hard way that you have to be a bit tough on drop-ins. Some were brilliant and became regulars. Some turned up rarely and added a welcome leavening of the dough. Some weren't too good, didn't really cut it despite our encouragement and didn't hang around. A few were useless/domineering/full of ego/loud/insensitive accompanists/wanted to do rock and roll/wanted to bang a bodhran or rattle spoons all night/thought they were the dog's bollocks/were doing a takeover bid/ignored the very casual protocol that was, er, unspoken and lightly-worn. Worst of all, they were the bad pennies. It's quite hard to stop being too nice to say anything. It's easier to be tough at the outset. We have to remember that going to a folk club or a pub session is supposed to about everyone there, players and listeners alike, having a good time. You will definitely know, considering your long experience, that there are wreckers everywhere. If a folk club sets rules that are there to support their regular and loyal residents and to be cautious about drop-ins, just live with it. The rule has downsides. But I'm afraid I'm with the guest, notwithstanding his abrasive approach.


22 Nov 17 - 02:01 AM (#3889690)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: GUEST

Found the exchange of posts between GUEST,Dick Miles - 21 Nov 17 - 03:17 PM and GUEST - 21 Nov 17 - 05:02 PM highly amusing especially when it was capped off by this from Dick Miles:

GUEST,Dick Miles - 21 Nov 17 - 06:07 PM

Iam not dictating to anyone,I am criticising, which in most societies is allowed.Hpowever i did not like it and i did stay away, and furthermore anonymous cowardly guest pleas stay away and fuck off with your troliing


Don't know if you've noticed Dick but criticising is generally not allowed on Mudcat but it does appear to be selectively not only tolerated but encouraged as long as you are arguing from a certain perspective and that those doing the criticising "go with the spirit of the thread".

Guest post of 21 Nov 17 - 05:02 PM is perfectly correct as are Steve Shaw's observations and comments.


22 Nov 17 - 03:52 AM (#3889696)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Will Fly

On the rare occasions I'm going to be in a different locality where there's an unknown folk club night in the vicinity, I always try and contact the club in advance to see whether it's ok to do a floor spot. This may save the club organisers embarassment in having to say "no" to the floor spot to my face, and may save me the need to lug my guitar to the club.

I give the club links to my website and YouTube channel, so they can see what they might be letting themselves in for...

Of course, the club may advertise itself as a "come-all-ye" - in which case, I might risk it.


22 Nov 17 - 05:45 AM (#3889709)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: GUEST,Dick Miles

I rang this club one week in advance. I do not agree with this policy so i stayed away.
to not give floor singers a chance on at least one occasion and to refuse semi professional or professional performers a chance to perform is in my opinion a mistaken policy, therefore i exercised my right to not support the club by not going.


22 Nov 17 - 05:58 AM (#3889712)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Big Al Whittle

I've never had any problem just turning up. People are generally very welcoming.

The Grey Cock in Brum refused to let me sing because they were strictly traddy, and I told them my influences were Ralph McTell - and they said, we have to draw the line somewhere - but that was about forty years ago. I don't think anyone has turned me down since.

I can only think you've been very unlucky in the places you have gone to.


22 Nov 17 - 06:07 AM (#3889714)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Steve Shaw

Well. I'm not a professional or semi-professional, but if I was I'd never try to just turn up and pull that one. This is about knowing what outcome you want and trying your best to achieve it. I can honestly say that I've never turned up anywhere in the hope of having a go and not got to have a go. The thing with a harmonica player is that you can be discreet. You've got a couple of the things in your pocket and who would know? Just let it drop quietly to someone who looks like they might have the ear of the organiser that you can play/sing and wouldn't mind a chance to have a LITTLE go if they can fit you in. Mrs Steve has been known to act out that role for me, which makes me look even more 'umble. I suppose it's tougher if you're toting a guitar, which makes it looks like you've "turned up with intent." A bit of diffidence goes a long way, I've found. Put yourself in the position of a club organiser who quite likely already has a list of enthusiastic regulars who's then confronted by a drop-in with guns a-blazing and suffering from the "you do know who I am, don't you?" syndrome. Could be hard to be diplomatic...


22 Nov 17 - 06:38 AM (#3889720)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: GUEST,Dick Miles

"If a folk club sets rules that are there to support their regular and loyal residents and to be cautious about drop-ins, just live with it. The rule has downsides. But I'm afraid I'm with the guest, notwithstanding his abrasive approach."
firstly we are talking about guest booking folk clubs not pub sessions, in my considerable experience [40 years getting paid to play at folk clubs]this is the first occasion that i have come across that a club refuses to allow outside singers to perform, in my opinion this is an inward looking policy, outside professional and semi professional singers provide variety and are of a a standard of good quality, that in my experience helps the quality of the evening.
regular and loyal residents should be there to support the club when there are few outside quality singers, they should not be there for there own glory but there for the overall benefit of the club. in future if i am in this area i will support the other folk club in newport.


22 Nov 17 - 06:41 AM (#3889722)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: GUEST

Dick Miles calls Newport Folk Club's policies "ridiculous", "idiotic" and "daft". Great way to get a booking. I wasn't "trolling", I was criticising your condescending, know-it-all attitude, Dick Miles, so YOU fuck off.


22 Nov 17 - 08:06 AM (#3889741)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Steve Shaw

Bottom line, Dick, is that they haven't set up their club, an unpaid and voluntary endeavour, in order to bow to the requirements of casual visitors before their loyal regulars. Presumably they book guests that provide the leavening of the bread of the regulars. Have you asked them about the rule, whether it's because they have a lot of really good "regulars" already, and/or whether they've decided the policy democratically, perhaps from bitter experience? If they already have lots of regulars the pickings for each of them might be slim already. Been in that position meself.

I once went to Bodmin folk club on a guest night when Vic Legg was running it at the Garland Ox. It's almost an hour's drive from my house, always an issue in Cornwall. I'd only met Vic once or twice before that. It was heaving. There was no way I had been expecting to play. There were loads of residents strutting their stuff, as ever. My wife sidled up to one of the regulars unbeknown to me and let it be known that I had harmonicas in my pocket (I always have at least one about my person, so nothing unusual there). Admittedly, some of them knew me from the pub session at the Welly in Boscastle so I wasn't a complete unknown. I had to be virtually dragged on to the stage to do some tunes in spite of the crowded goings-on. The harmonicas weren't in the right keys or anything. That's how it should be, but you gotta be nice...


22 Nov 17 - 11:13 AM (#3889751)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: GUEST,Dick Miles

I have played Newport folk club several times in the past as a paid guest.
I have no desire to play a club as a paid guest, that operates that singing policy which excludes outside floor singers.
Steve, I have also played Bodmin folk club many times as a paid guest it is a well run folk club
Yes I asked about the rule from one of the organisers of newport folk club, it applies to all outside singers.imo it is an inwards looking exclusive rule that is not one to be encourged
And yes i was polite, consequently i stayed away from the club and will do so in future, I have as much work as i need and will not support a club with this policy.
anon guest there is nothing condescending about disgreeing with a particular clubs policy.


22 Nov 17 - 11:33 AM (#3889757)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Big Al Whittle

you sound like a hillbilly. we want folksingers here....!


22 Nov 17 - 11:39 AM (#3889760)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Steve Shaw

I'd like to hear the club's side.


22 Nov 17 - 11:58 AM (#3889768)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: GUEST,Dick Miles

Steve, why do you not contact them they have a website, they are newport folk club melbourne, wales, they will undoubtedly tell you that i rang them and asked to do a floor spot and one of the organisers said we do not have any outside floorsingers, because that is what happened,, go ahead and contact them.. telephone Terry on 01633 897923 or Cris on 01633 896347


22 Nov 17 - 12:18 PM (#3889770)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: The Sandman

Steve,neither is this club policy made clear on their website, that would have saved me a phone call.


22 Nov 17 - 12:25 PM (#3889771)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Steve Shaw

OK, Dick.


22 Nov 17 - 01:13 PM (#3889781)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Jim Carroll

"Steve,neither is this club policy made clear on their website, that would have saved me a phone call."
Why does it have to Dick?
You go to a folk club, you take your chance
When I used to do the door at our club I used to get fed up to the back teeth with arrogant clowns who turned up, demandeded a floor spot than sat in the bars waiting for their turn to go on, then, when they'd done their bit, would piss off without showing the slightest interest in what the club had to offer.
"The Grey Cock in Brum refused to let me sing because they were strictly traddy, and I told them my influences were Ralph McTell "
Nowt wrong with that Al - I knew the people in the Grey Cock - their audiences turned up to hear trad material and it would have been a betrayal of their dedication to give them Ralph McTell - that's not what they turned up for
All clubs have policies - even if it's only 'anything goes' - it's the only principled way to run a club
Jim Carroll


22 Nov 17 - 01:24 PM (#3889783)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: The Sandman

"All clubs have policies - even if it's only 'anything goes' - it's the only principled way to run a club"
the purpose of a website is to let people know about the club, that includes its policies.
Jim, i am not travelling hundreds of miles either to take a chance or to go to a club that runs a policy such as that which is inward looking and operates that proscriptive policy, neither will i play such a club as a paid guest.
there are plenty of other folk clubs that i would rather support


22 Nov 17 - 01:40 PM (#3889790)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Backwoodsman

A club - a properly constituted club - belongs to its membership and is perfectly entitled to set its own policies. If those policies don't suit non-members, that's just Tough-Titty, it's the members' club, and the club's policies are the prerogative of those members. Non-members have no dog in the race.

However, it seems perfectly reasonable to expect them to include their policies in respect of would-be visitor-performers in their advertising. Not only would it help to save pointless journeys, it would also be a help in preventing any 'unpleasant' situations.

It's not rocket-science, is it?


22 Nov 17 - 01:42 PM (#3889792)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Steve Shaw

I must confess that their website does seem to indicate that newcomers are welcome to play. Quote:

Q. Can I play there?
A. NFC is home to a fairly eclectic bunch, and everyone is welcome to join in, though we would expect you to practise at home! (see club info)


(In fact the club info adds nothing to that). Elsewhere:

We continue to support and encourage both our regulars, and newcomers to the Club.

On the strength of that I suppose I might expect at least the possibility of having a go (though never as of right). Odd.


22 Nov 17 - 01:45 PM (#3889793)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Steve Shaw

I've always written it "tuff-titty," John! ??


22 Nov 17 - 01:47 PM (#3889794)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Steve Shaw

God, emojis are off the menu again...


22 Nov 17 - 01:51 PM (#3889797)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Backwoodsman

Ah! Don't forget I'm just an old (70) git who doesn't 'get' all the 'Street' talk!
But I stand corrected - from now on, 'Tuff' it is! ??


22 Nov 17 - 01:51 PM (#3889798)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Big Al Whittle

I don't do much Ralph McTell material - unless I'm asked to in a pub. Probably less than most trad groups many of whom do From Clare to here,   The girl from the hiring fair, and probably more than I'm not aware of.

However Ralph was a big influence on most decent guitarists on the folkscene. From what I remember of that night at The Grey Cock - the guitar players there could have done with a few hours tuition from Ralph, or me ...come to that.


22 Nov 17 - 02:40 PM (#3889814)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: The Sandman

"If those policies don't suit non-members, that's just Tough-Titty, it's the members' club, and the club's policies are
the prerogative of those members. Non-members have no dog in the race." they can stay way, or go to the other folk club on the same night in newport.


22 Nov 17 - 02:58 PM (#3889818)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Jim Carroll

"However Ralph was a big influence on most decent guitarists on the folkscene."
Can't say I ever met any in my thirty odd years Al
Peggy Seeger was the most articulate on what she believed an instrument should do to accompany
I remember growing old waiting for the next line of a song while being given interminably long guitar breaks in the middle of songs by a singer who was letting the accompaniment dominate the song rather than the other way around
It makes me yawn to even think about it
Jim Carroll


22 Nov 17 - 03:35 PM (#3889822)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Big Al Whittle

Well Peggy was no slouch at playing. To be honest I can't think of Peggy Gordon without thinking of Peggy's autoharp riffs.

She was an interesting guitarist - I never thought of playing Freight Train Blues in the key of G until I saw Peggy do it. She was a fine frailer of the banjo as well.

I'd hardly say she was an accompanist whose work was spare. And why would it be if you were that good?


22 Nov 17 - 04:06 PM (#3889830)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Jim Carroll

"And why would it be if you were that good?|"
Ill send you a recording of her lecture if you want Al
Jim


22 Nov 17 - 04:54 PM (#3889832)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Big Al Whittle

yes I would love that.
I was a huge fan. Had albums of her playing with Mike Seeger and another one of her with Tom Paley - I used to lend my records out to guitar pupils though - so heaven knows where they came to earth. Plus of course all the Ewan ones.

Ian Campbell used to fancy her like mad. " She must be over fifty, and she doesn't look a day over thirty..."


22 Nov 17 - 06:30 PM (#3889853)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Backwoodsman

"they can stay way, or go to the other folk club on the same night in newport."

Well, I don't know anything about Newport, it's a five-hour drive (minimum) from my home, so I'm very unlikely ever to want to go to a folk club there. But yes, that's precisely the corollary of the point I was making. Well done for spotting it.


22 Nov 17 - 09:47 PM (#3889870)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Big Al Whittle

lots of things you can do to avoid a corollary....lose weight, cut out fatty foods, gentle exercise.

don't die of ignorance.


23 Nov 17 - 01:45 AM (#3889894)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Backwoodsman

I did, Al - six stone!


23 Nov 17 - 01:47 AM (#3889895)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Backwoodsman

Sorry, make that five stone - haven't had my first cup of tea yet, brain's thirsty! ????


23 Nov 17 - 07:18 AM (#3889934)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Big Al Whittle

well dun!


23 Nov 17 - 08:06 AM (#3889942)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Backwoodsman

Not really - multiple pancreatitis attacks with complications tends to do that to a guy. I've kept most of it off for the past twelve years though, so that's good.


23 Nov 17 - 08:07 AM (#3889944)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Jim Carroll

"haven't had my first cup of tea yet"
Tea's fattening (or so I am contantly being told)
Jim Carroll


23 Nov 17 - 09:30 AM (#3889956)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Backwoodsman

Black tea's fine, Jim! Also OK with skimmed milk, which is how I take it. ?

Since the Pancreatitis, alcohol's a no-no, so it's tea or coffee all the time for me - preferably tea.


23 Nov 17 - 10:41 AM (#3889970)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Steve Shaw

I had an attack of pancreatitis about three years ago that dumped me in hospital for a couple of days, nil by mouth drip job. I recovered completely within hours, but the doc told me that my blood amylase had been sky-high but that there was no discernible bile duct blockage or anything. I returned to cautious boozing a few weeks later (the docs didn't ban me!) and I've had no trouble since. Never say never...


23 Nov 17 - 10:57 AM (#3889976)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Backwoodsman

In my case it's definitely never, ever again steve. Far too much history, but involving, amongst other things, gall-bladder problems, multiple pancreatitis episodes, a pancreatic pseudo-cyst, shrivelled common-bile-duct, four or five laparoscopic endoscopies (top-end downwards), biopsies, two abdominal open-surgeries - one for gall-bladder removal and pseudo-cyst drain, the other for re-plumbing the bile duct and removal of a chunk of pancreas - a 10 cm x 10 cm abscess on my liver, five or six CT scans, three or four MRI scans, and at least ten hospital stays, probably more, ranging from 2 to 5 weeks a go.

So, sadly, 'never' really is 'never'!


23 Nov 17 - 11:05 AM (#3889980)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Steve Shaw

Oh, flippin' eck. I'd better cut down from 12 pints a night to 11...


On holiday in June I did have a slight flare-up of the same pain that put me in hospital but it passed completely after about 30 minutes and was nowhere near as bad. Oddly (and I am a biologist!), the pain was nowhere near where my pancreas and all its workings are situated. Unless I'm plumbed all wrong... Worse things have been said about me!


23 Nov 17 - 11:12 AM (#3889981)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: TheSnail

It's OK chaps, the thread has already passed 1000. There's no need to string it out.


23 Nov 17 - 11:17 AM (#3889983)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Steve Shaw

Er, it's been OK for a bit. Just a little diversion, that's all.


23 Nov 17 - 11:54 AM (#3889986)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Backwoodsman

It's a great deal more pleasant than ail the huffing and puffing, "I know everything about folk music" and, "St. Ewan of Salford said it so it's an indisputable fact" stuff further up-thread, Bryan.


23 Nov 17 - 12:28 PM (#3889990)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: TheSnail

Maybe that is "What is Happening to our Folk Clubs". They're filling up with old men grumbling about their ailments.


23 Nov 17 - 12:41 PM (#3889991)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Raggytash

"Teas fattening" Well thats good. It means I can carry on drinking Guinness and just forego the tea!!


23 Nov 17 - 01:05 PM (#3889996)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Backwoodsman

Not grumbling - I accepted that my (very moderate) boozing-career was over in 2005 and, once you've accepted it, it's not so bad. If you read back, you'll find that this conversation arose from a brief discussion between Big Al and me about weight-loss, and that I was, in fact, explaining that my weight loss didn't deserve his congratulations, it was the result of a protracted, very painful, and very debilitating illness. That's all. ????


23 Nov 17 - 01:07 PM (#3889997)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Backwoodsman

Oh bugger - I forgot that Emojis become question marks nowadays....


24 Nov 17 - 01:35 AM (#3890048)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: GUEST

Ahhhh the demise of the emoji, welcome news indeed. If a fact then I guess that it will affect some more than others.


24 Nov 17 - 01:59 AM (#3890049)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Backwoodsman

Not at all - an Emoji is a very useful way of indicating the appropriate emotion in otherwise-sterile passages which may be open to misinterpretation. There's more than enough misinterpretation - both accidental and wilful - on this forum.


24 Nov 17 - 02:27 AM (#3890050)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: GUEST

They take up too much "space", besides if you, by your own admission, cannot accurately portray your desired meaning and emotion in words to make whatever point you are trying to make, then it is your skills in English that need working on, not your skill in searching out the appropriate emoji.

Could not agree with you more RE:

"There's more than enough misinterpretation - both accidental and wilful - on this forum."


24 Nov 17 - 02:56 AM (#3890051)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Dave the Gnome

OK, Guest

What would you make of the following comment without an emoticon?

Smartarse.

DtG


24 Nov 17 - 03:08 AM (#3890053)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Backwoodsman

Well, of course, I come here as a relaxation, not as part of my study for my English Masters Degree. So, if an emoji enables me to quickly, easily, add sentiment to what I write, rather than spending time writing, then re-writing, or seeking 'le mot juste', I'm very happy to utilise it.

Now, here's a sentence that needs no emoji to clarify my sentiments. Un-named guest, take your insults, shove them up your fat, hairy arse, and fuck off.

Was that clear enough?


24 Nov 17 - 04:01 AM (#3890064)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: GUEST

Up until now my comments and observations have been clearly and politely stated. The response they invoked, I would consider to be aggressive, unwarranted and extremely impolite. Others may judge for themselves:

DtG - "What would you make of the following comment without an emoticon?

Smartarse.

DtG "


Backwoodsman - "Now, here's a sentence that needs no emoji to clarify my sentiments. Un-named guest, take your insults, shove them up your fat, hairy arse, and fuck off.

Was that clear enough?"


If you both frequent, and are truly representative of those who attend "Folk Clubs" in the UK, it is little wonder that they are in trouble. Neither of you would appear to bring any edification to this discussion or the forum in general. Quite the reverse in fact.

Is that clear enough?


24 Nov 17 - 05:03 AM (#3890072)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: GUEST

Agree 100% with the immediate above.


24 Nov 17 - 05:16 AM (#3890074)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Steve Shaw

"If you both frequent, and are truly representative of those who attend "Folk Clubs" in the UK, it is little wonder that they are in trouble. Neither of you would appear to bring any edification to this discussion or the forum in general. Quite the reverse in fact.

Is that clear enough?"

If you ever went to folk clubs you'd know whether they were truly representative or not and there'd be no need for that "if." So, as you presumably don't really know anything about folk clubs, what are you doing on this thread?

Incidentally, don't criticise others' use of English unless yours is perfect. I've left your punctuation error and the clumsy ambiguity of your use of "both" in the quote above for your delectation. And, generally speaking, "folk clubs" doesn't require capital letters. Or speech marks, come to think of it. Tsk. Eye-roll emojee.


24 Nov 17 - 06:01 AM (#3890086)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: GUEST

I would imagine that the initials NFC that appear in a post further down the thread stand for Newport Folk Club. Their website uses capital letters, so I find no problem with doing the same to identify any club specifically set up as a vehicle where folk music is performed. That is what a Folk Club is, as opposed to a folk club which could be a club of any description set up, and attended by all sorts of folk in general.

As for attendance? I do frequently attend various Folk Clubs in my local area and thankfully have never come across anyone as overbearingly ignorant and arrogant as yourself, or, as rude or foulmouthed as DtG, or Backwoodsman. Just my good fortune I guess, but there again I do not reside in Cornwall, Lancashire or Yorkshire, twice blessed it would seem.


24 Nov 17 - 07:34 AM (#3890096)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Backwoodsman

Neither do I.


24 Nov 17 - 07:44 AM (#3890097)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Dave the Gnome

Exactly how I thought it would interpreted by you Guest.

Now, how about

Smartarse :-)

Still think that emoticons are not needed?

DtG


24 Nov 17 - 07:56 AM (#3890099)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: TheSnail

Steve Shaw
"First off, I'm not qualified. I haven't set foot in a folk club for twenty years."
"If you ever went to folk clubs you'd know whether they were truly representative or not and there'd be no need for that "if." So, as you presumably don't really know anything about folk clubs, what are you doing on this thread?"


Just sayin'


24 Nov 17 - 08:17 AM (#3890103)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Backwoodsman

It'll be a very cold day in hell before I start caring about the opinions of un-named GUEST trolls, especially morons who make a trolling post, and immediately post again agreeing with themselves! What a cock!


24 Nov 17 - 09:25 AM (#3890112)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Dave the Gnome

It's going to get worse, BWM. Now that anonymity below the line is not possible some are going to try and get their kicks up here. Hopefully they will eventually be blocked by IP address unless they state who they are. I suspect we know some!

DtG


24 Nov 17 - 09:31 AM (#3890114)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Backwoodsman

Yes Dave, several names have occurred to me! I'm pretty sure they'd be the same ones that would occur to you too! :-)


24 Nov 17 - 09:37 AM (#3890119)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Steve Shaw

Well, you see, Snail, it's like this. I was a very enthusiastic member of John and Cheryl Maughan's Tree Inn folk club for years, and I rarely missed a Friday night and I played nearly time I went. I also got my two children playing (they were better than me for a long time). Without that club I would never have played music. Sadly, the club folded twenty years ago. I live near Bude, an hour's drive from the nearest folk club, which is (or was) very singing-centred. A number of the club's erstwhile members stayed at the Tree running our Friday nights as a pub session. Many of the folk club regulars came along to that, at least for a time, and we'd have occasional reunions in different venues. I've trodden reasonably carefully in this thread in commenting about clubs, but I've gleaned that not much seems to have changed in terms of what goes on in typical clubs and I haven't been challenged as yet for being outdated in my remarks. Feel free to change that. I've kept in touch with what goes on even though I no longer go to clubs. My motivation for going out and about to play music has vanished since I started to lose my hearing, several years ago now. I've gathered that you are a mighty folk club aficionado and I respect that. But I think I'm still just about in sufficient touch to be able to contribute to this thread. If things have evolved beyond my present state of knowledge I'm sure you'll be the first to let me know. Cheers.


24 Nov 17 - 09:40 AM (#3890121)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Steve Shaw

Oh, and that reference to evolution was accidental. Truly it was.


24 Nov 17 - 09:57 AM (#3890126)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Jim Carroll

"what are you doing on this thread"?
Hardly a fair comments Steve
Many of us walked out of the clubsa few decades ago because of what was happening - in terme]s of both quality and the withdrawn right to choose what type of music you wished to hear.
That doesn't mean we lost interest iin the music, nor does it mean we didn't keep in touch with what was happeing to it.
Twenty odd years ago I reduced my visits to the few folk clubs that lived up to what they promised, when I was no longer able to do that, I had to rely on the internet and arguments such as this.
Neither have convinced me that my departure so long ago was ill judged
"Just sayin'" Bryan
Jim Carroll


24 Nov 17 - 10:07 AM (#3890129)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: TheSnail

Steve Shaw
Merely comparing and contrasting.


24 Nov 17 - 10:25 AM (#3890130)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Jim Carroll

But you have put forward xactly the same argument Bryan - and compounded it by telling us everything is fine as long as we were prepared to jump on the train and nip down to Lewes if we wanted to hear folk songs
Jim Carroll


24 Nov 17 - 10:33 AM (#3890132)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Big Al Whittle

so sorry to learn about your hearing loss Steve. for a music lover it must be a terrible misfortune.


24 Nov 17 - 10:58 AM (#3890143)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: TheSnail

Jim Carroll
No I haven't.


24 Nov 17 - 11:16 AM (#3890146)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Steve Shaw

Sorry, Jim, but if my comment was hardly fair about what the guest said (and I'm sticking to it), his comment about Dave and BWM was diabolical. And from an anonymous guest too...


24 Nov 17 - 11:19 AM (#3890148)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Jim Carroll

"No I haven't."
Yes you have
Where do we go from here?
Sorry Steve
I took it as a comment aimed at us all absentees
Jim Carroll


24 Nov 17 - 11:26 AM (#3890150)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: TheSnail

xactly what argument, Jim?


24 Nov 17 - 12:11 PM (#3890158)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Backwoodsman

Jim, Steve - don't sweat it guys, whilst I do have great respect for the views of others on here (yes, even those with whom I vehemently disagree!), I give not a toss about anything that nameless GUEST trolls have to say, and even less about their opinions of me.

I've been insulted and abused by experts, these smart-arsed little farts here can't touch me.


24 Nov 17 - 12:25 PM (#3890161)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Jim Carroll

"xactly what argument, Jim?"
That the fact we no longer go to folk clubs ecludes us from offering an opinion on what happens at them
Baccky
Wasn't defending the Troll, just commenting on this particular statement
Trolls will be trolls - it comes from watching the 'troubled waters' flowing under their bridge too much
Jim Carroll


24 Nov 17 - 12:36 PM (#3890166)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Backwoodsman

Cheers Jim. ;-)


24 Nov 17 - 01:54 PM (#3890189)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: GUEST

What's the difference between being an "un-named troll", and someone calling themselves "Backwoodsman" or "Dave The Gnome" ?


24 Nov 17 - 02:45 PM (#3890211)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Backwoodsman

Amen to that.


24 Nov 17 - 02:50 PM (#3890213)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Jim Carroll

Stop feeding the exhibits lads - it gives them ideas above their station
Jim Caarroll


24 Nov 17 - 03:04 PM (#3890215)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: GUEST

You can't see what's wrong with that? No.


24 Nov 17 - 03:04 PM (#3890216)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Steve Shaw

I think that "over and out" and "amen" probably mean that from now on (s)he can go hang, Jim!


24 Nov 17 - 03:19 PM (#3890220)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Backwoodsman

1100


24 Nov 17 - 03:19 PM (#3890221)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Backwoodsman

Oh bollocks, got a bit over excited there! :-)


25 Nov 17 - 06:08 AM (#3890291)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: TheSnail

Jim, do you really not get the irony of someone who hasn't been to a folk club for twenty years coming out with a line like "If you ever went to folk clubs you'd know...."?


25 Nov 17 - 06:17 AM (#3890292)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Jim Carroll

" "If you ever went to folk clubs you'd know...."?"
And you really not get the irony of confining attendance of folk clubs to their dying years after the vast majority of those who once attended them religiously were driven out by diminishing standards and the absence of folk songs?
Give us a break Bryan
You people condemn yourselves on the basis of your own behavior
Jim Caarroll


25 Nov 17 - 06:38 AM (#3890298)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: TheSnail

No, because that isn't the world I experience. I can't be expected to take responsibilty for what happened thirty of forty years ago when I wasn't involved in folk club organisation and you were.


25 Nov 17 - 06:47 AM (#3890301)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Steve Shaw

I've explained fully and honestly my credentials enabling me to contribute to this thread. Take it or leave it, Snail, and grab yourself a dictionary while you're at it to find out what irony is.


25 Nov 17 - 06:53 AM (#3890303)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Jim Carroll

"I can't be expected to take responsibilty for what happened thirty of forty years ago when I wasn't involved in folk club organisation and you were."
Nobody's suggesting you are Bryan - I mentioned it because that is what happened and that is the reason it is ridiculous to exclude people who were around when folk clubs did what they said on the tin.
Thanks to the internet and discussions such as this, we have far more access to what is happening to folk clubs nationwide today than we ever had when we were just involved in our individual clubs 30 years ago.
Until discussions with people like you, I still held out the hope that clubs would return to their original vital role in disseminating our folk music.
I can only hole there are enough of the old lot around to run with the ball again - that we should all live so long!!!!
Jim Carroll


25 Nov 17 - 06:56 AM (#3890304)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Jim Carroll

Can I jus add that I have the highest regard for the work people like you do in your individual clubs
It's your attitude to any suggestion that all might not be well on the general scene that I find destructive
Jim Carroll


25 Nov 17 - 10:22 AM (#3890337)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: TheSnail

Steve Shaw
I've explained fully and honestly my credentials enabling me to contribute to this thread.
Yes, you used go to a folk club regularly up until twenty years ago. Of course you're entitled to contribute to this thread, I just question your qualifications to criticise someone else for not going to folk clubs, especially when it turns out they do.


25 Nov 17 - 10:55 AM (#3890344)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: TheSnail

Jim, when I started going to folk clubs forty five years ago, there were traditional clubs and contemporary clubs and anything goes clubs. There were good clubs and bad clubs. You keep banging on about what happened thirty years ago as evidence of what's happening now. It's just the same now just fewer of them alas. I don't know what this excluding people is about, you've excluded yourself.

Thanks to the internet and discussions such as this...
Oh come on! "It must be true, I read it on the internet." The trouble is, you read very selectively. You believe what suits your predetermined position. You'd rather trust Mudcat Moaner than me.

"Until discussions with people like you, I still held out the hope that clubs would return to their original vital role in disseminating our folk music."
Please tell, what have I said that makes you abandon that hope.

"Can I jus add that I have the highest regard for the work people like you do in your individual clubs"
An improvement on "nsty piece of work" and a bit of a contrast to the last line I quoted. And you said "clubs"! Progress.

It's your attitude to any suggestion that all might not be well on the general scene that I find destructive
Never said anything of the sort. It's your constant assertion that the whole UK folk scene is moribund that I find destructive.


25 Nov 17 - 11:03 AM (#3890345)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Raggytash

I first went to a folk club in 1969. In the inervening 48 years they, thankfully, have if anything got better.

During my life I have lived in numerous parts of England and Ireland and I can safely say the same thing of every club I have ever visited or played in.

For the record I visit several venues, even now, on a fairly regular basis.

Tonight I know the music will be cracking.


25 Nov 17 - 12:13 PM (#3890363)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Steve Shaw

Please don't be ridiculous, Snail. I did NOT criticise the guest for not going to folk clubs. I criticised him or her for making negative comments about two of the members here whilst making a comment that might have indicated that he does not know much about folk clubs:

"If you both frequent, and are truly representative of those who attend "Folk Clubs" in the UK, it is little wonder that they are in trouble."

The implication is that he does not know (note that "If...") whether or not they are representative of those who attend folk clubs, in other words, he doesn't go to them, otherwise he'd know whether they were representative or not. Whether he goes is not the point. I don't give a monkey's mickey. It was his standpoint on the two Mudcat members that I was railing against, and that was by no means the end of his sweeping negativities. He says he does go to folk clubs and you believe him. Fine. You take the word of an unlogged-in anonymous troll? Well good for you. At least in some regards you appear to be rather easily satisfied, that's all I can say to that (unless he's really your uncle, of course). Now you are clearly a very dedicated and successful folk club organiser and I respect you for that. I wouldn't dream of commenting on your differences with Jim, a man with whom I agree almost all the time, though I do read the posts. But you seem to be wanting to make a career out of wilfully misinterpreting what I say. You spent months doing that over evolution and you're at it again now. That's sad.


25 Nov 17 - 12:33 PM (#3890371)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Jim Carroll

"Oh come on! "It must be true, I read it on the internet."
No - I can see it on the internet and I know what shit passes for folk song now
I also know that I have not been able to guarantee hearing a folk song in a olk club for well over twenty years - as for standards....
If you suggest a minimum standard for those singing at clubs you are accused of being elitist - doesn't matter too much anyway - you can't hear how good the singing is for the rattle of crib sheets.
All this went without saying in the past - new singers were welcomed if they put the work in - we ran workshops to raise standards and introduce nwew singers
"The same nowe" in your dreams
We have a forum here dedicated to "folk and traditional music" where you can't discuss what folk song is without a barrage of "folk police "abuse.
I have never used the term "moribund" in realtion to the clubs - that impliesd a natural death
The scene was aggressively kicked to death by 'folkies' who don't like folk music
I told you when I "excluded myself" - when I was persistently leaving clubs without hearing a folk song
JIm Carroll


25 Nov 17 - 12:37 PM (#3890372)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Raggytash

Jim, You are out of touch, you haven't a clue what goes on in folk clubs today.

By your own admission you haven't been to a folk for decades.

You are in no position to judge.

I would go further and suggest you never were.

Just an embittered old man.

St Ewan is dead.


25 Nov 17 - 12:43 PM (#3890375)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: TheSnail

Steve, stop digging. You said what you said and I quoted you verbatim.


25 Nov 17 - 01:12 PM (#3890379)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: The Sandman

"The scene was aggressively kicked to death by 'folkies' who don't like folk music"
untrue, there are still a reasonable number of uk folk clubs that appreciate tradtional music


25 Nov 17 - 01:18 PM (#3890381)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Dave the Gnome

Snail, Steve does not dig, he has a bad back. And no good denying you said he was

Steve, stop digging.

You said what you said and I quoted you verbatim. :-)

Back to the topic. Little to do with folk clubs but I went to see Blackbeard's Tea Party at a local venue last night. The place was bouncing with youngsters of all all ages:-) Brilliant show from these young traditional folk rockers! I guess there are some will turn their nose up though.

DtG


25 Nov 17 - 01:19 PM (#3890383)
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: The Sandman

i would prefer iot if there were more, but here is a list that springs to my mind. darlington britt,bodmin, wlsons club, birmingham trad, lewes,southport,swindon,stockton,bollington, mickleby, redcar, elsies, tun wells,david pleasants club,sharps, cellar upstairs,whitby,leigh on sea,llantrisant, thats just for starters.

    Time to close this thread. Too much of what has been posted lately, is just squabbling.
    -Joe Offer, Mudcat Music Editor-