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Folksongs that will pass for 'Pop'

17 Jul 00 - 01:32 PM (#259296)
Subject: Folksongs that will pass for 'Pop'
From: M. Ted (inactive)

Just got back from Las Vegas (Oh, don't ask why. Oh, don't ask why) where I saw a band perched above the slot machines, playing a lot folk genre songs that were popular in late fifties early sixties, only playing them as if they were vaguely contemportary alternative rock.

The crowd seemed not to notice this--(do they notice anything?0 and it got me to thinking about old songs that could be played as pop songs of one kind or another with a good effect--

I have played "I wish I was a mole in the ground" and "James Alley Blues" with rock & roll bands to good effect-- I am curious about other people's efforts in genre bending--


17 Jul 00 - 01:39 PM (#259301)
Subject: RE: Folksongs that will pass for 'Pop'
From: Mbo

I find that John Gorka's songs (well at least the ones I know) lend themselves to a bit heavy arrangement. The Move did it with Paxton's "The Last Thing On My Mind" in 1968, turning it into an 8 minute, 12-string & harmony-laded masterpiece. But usually, I'm into the vice-versa, turning pop into folk!

--Mbo


17 Jul 00 - 02:05 PM (#259322)
Subject: RE: Folksongs that will pass for 'Pop'
From: Liz the Squeak

It works in reverse - I've been to a celidh where we were step hopping to some English folk tune one minute and 'Montego Bay' the next! Good old Edward II & the Red Hot Polkas.....

About 10 years ago the UK No.1 record was something called 'Belfast Child' to the tune of 'She moved through the fair', so it can and does happen.....

LTS


17 Jul 00 - 02:13 PM (#259327)
Subject: RE: Folksongs that will pass for 'Pop'
From: Mbo

In 1988, the Pogues/Dubliners collaboration on the traditional "The Irish Rover" hit it big in the UK, breaking the top 10.

--Mbo


17 Jul 00 - 02:18 PM (#259333)
Subject: RE: Folksongs that will pass for 'Pop'
From: Roger in Sheffield

you sure it was 'She moved through the fair' squeak?
The group was Simple Minds right?
just can't get my hands on the book right now but thought it was another irish tune... brain cells going!!...you might be right though

Roger


17 Jul 00 - 02:25 PM (#259341)
Subject: RE: Folksongs that will pass for 'Pop'
From: Liz the Squeak

Yo Roger - how is Sheffield these days? Seems like only last fortnight..... Oh, it was!

Yes, it was as near as dammit, which means they stole it and changed a line to avoid copywrite. What the hell, someone stole 'Give thanks' from the Christian song book 'Mission Praise', gave it a different b music and secular words and had a hit with it.

LTS


17 Jul 00 - 02:38 PM (#259352)
Subject: RE: Folksongs that will pass for 'Pop'
From: dwditty

Neil Young et al did a rocking version of Ian Tyson's Four Strong Winds (which by the way was the first song Ian ever wrote - not a bad start). It may have been recorded live at "The Center."


17 Jul 00 - 03:46 PM (#259400)
Subject: RE: Folksongs that will pass for 'Pop'
From: Bagpuss

Yes Belfast Child was definitely She Moved Through the Fair.

Another one I like is Elizabeth My Dear by The Stone Roses - the tune is Scarborough Fair.

Bagpuss


17 Jul 00 - 04:20 PM (#259423)
Subject: RE: Folksongs that will pass for 'Pop'
From: Bagpuss

Anyone know the name of the hymn that Paul Simon "stole" for American Tune?

I can't for the life of me remember the name of it.

Bagpuss


17 Jul 00 - 07:06 PM (#259554)
Subject: RE: Folksongs that will pass for 'Pop'
From: Jim Dixon

Bagpuss: Paul Simon used "O Sacred Head, Now Wounded" as the tune for "American Tune."


17 Jul 00 - 07:08 PM (#259560)
Subject: RE: Folksongs that will pass for 'Pop'
From: Liz the Squeak

Or 'sore wounded' or 'surrounded' or if you want to be really pedantic, Passion Chorale by one of the Barks.

LTS


17 Jul 00 - 07:47 PM (#259593)
Subject: RE: Folksongs that will pass for 'Pop'
From: dwditty

Bagpuss, love your charactization of Paul Simon. John Forster does a stinging satire called Fusion that really does a number on Simon's theivery.


17 Jul 00 - 07:48 PM (#259594)
Subject: RE: Folksongs that will pass for 'Pop'
From: Callie

Wow - I never picked up on that. Our school orchestra played a piece we all hated called "Sacred Head Ill Used". Didn't know it was Bark, OR later Paul Simon!!

I never really get the folk/pop distinction. A lot of it is in the performance/arrangement/context of the song, isn't it?

Is Jackson Browne folk or pop? Is Elvis Costello music folk when it's just me strumming a guitar and singing? Why are the Indigo Girls considered folk but not Joni Mitchell? Why is Kristina Olsen considered folk?

I guess these are just rhetorical questions to illustrate how murky these definitions can be.

Callie


17 Jul 00 - 07:49 PM (#259595)
Subject: RE: Folksongs that will pass for 'Pop'
From: Jim Dixon

Look here for O Sacred Head, Now Wounded. This site says the "Passion Chorale" in question is by Hans Leo Hassler. Try to out-pedant me, will ya! Not while I've got Google!


17 Jul 00 - 07:53 PM (#259600)
Subject: RE: Folksongs that will pass for 'Pop'
From: Jim the Bart

Who, among the old heads remembers "Sally go round the roses"? Pop or folk - you be the judge.

Or "Lover's Concerto" "How gentle is the rain, that falls softly on the meadow. Birds, high up in the trees, serenade the flowers with their melodies. Oh - oh".


17 Jul 00 - 09:15 PM (#259661)
Subject: RE: Folksongs that will pass for 'Pop'
From: death by whisky

We used to rock,reggae,ska,funk,pop up everything.We did a version of Wild Rover which included a ska version of The Guns of Navarone as a refrain.Our version of The Rocky Road to Dublin was fairly smooth,but the story remains the same.


17 Jul 00 - 10:37 PM (#259716)
Subject: RE: Folksongs that will pass for 'Pop'
From: M. Ted (inactive)

death by whiskey, this is exactly what I wanted hear about!!


17 Jul 00 - 10:52 PM (#259726)
Subject: RE: Folksongs that will pass for 'Pop'
From: catspaw49

Callie......Have a great time looking up some old threads regarding the definition of folk. To say there has been some discussion on your question would be the height of understatement.

NOW....A few years back, Folkways did a "Tribute to Woody and Leadbelly" thing on both TV and album. If we consider that Woody is folk, then there were a couple of interesting selections. Mellencamp doing "Do-Re-Mi" in a sort of zydeco mode was interesting and U-2's rendition of "Jesse James" was something a little "different," to say the least. But Bruce Springsteen did a rockers version of "Vigilante Man" that I think he could have released and it would have done well.

Spaw


17 Jul 00 - 11:03 PM (#259737)
Subject: RE: Folksongs that will pass for 'Pop'
From: JedMarum

Folk sells to pop oriented audiences, too. It's funny how some music just works out of its assigned 'genre' - some songs just reverberate with audiences everywhere - everyone loves For the Good Times and Mr Bo Jangles and many others - they don't know if it's country or pop or if my style is 'folky' - they respond to the song. I have to laugh, but every time I play I Can't Help but Wonder Where I'm Bound (Tom Paxton) to a 'pop' oriented crowd; they may never have heard it before, but invariably love it, and even end up singing along with it before I'm done. Some songs know no bounds!


17 Jul 00 - 11:52 PM (#259764)
Subject: RE: Folksongs that will pass for 'Pop'
From: Callie

Thanks Spaw: will do so tonight when I get home from work (and after a preparatory bourbon). I can imagine such a thread would be a doozie!


17 Jul 00 - 11:55 PM (#259766)
Subject: RE: Folksongs that will pass for 'Pop'
From: catspaw49

That's plural Callie......We've had some of the biggest debates around here on this.....must be at least a dozen or more threads, probably 1500 postings......and make it a triple.

Spaw


18 Jul 00 - 12:33 AM (#259786)
Subject: RE: Folksongs that will pass for 'Pop'
From: Callie

with ice!


18 Jul 00 - 09:07 AM (#259920)
Subject: RE: Folksongs that will pass for 'Pop'
From: Liz the Squeak

Bark, Hassle, whoever, it is a great piece of music and deserves to be sung more often than once a year on Passion Sunday.

LTS


18 Jul 00 - 09:58 AM (#259953)
Subject: RE: Folksongs that will pass for 'Pop'
From: Bagpuss

I remember when I was younger and we had to sing it in school - me and my mates would start singing American Tune to it!!

Thanks for reminding me of what its called.

Bagpuss


18 Jul 00 - 10:05 AM (#259961)
Subject: RE: Folksongs that will pass for 'Pop'
From: catspaw49

To be truthful, I've never been confused over whether something was a folksong or a bottle of Pepsi. Folksongs have no carbonation.

Spaw


18 Jul 00 - 10:05 AM (#259962)
Subject: RE: Folksongs that will pass for 'Pop'
From: L R Mole

I remember it as the chorale from the Bark St. Matthew Passion, replete with minor (haha)alterations here and there. But it was a public school, so it could have been I Groove on Zoroaster for many of us.


18 Jul 00 - 04:24 PM (#260304)
Subject: RE: Folksongs that will pass for 'Pop'
From: Liz the Squeak

See, I knew there was a Bark in there somewhere.....!

LTS


18 Jul 00 - 04:47 PM (#260326)
Subject: RE: Folksongs that will pass for 'Pop'
From: dwditty

'Spaw, obviously you've never heard me try to sing a folk song.


19 Jul 00 - 10:50 AM (#260724)
Subject: RE: Folksongs that will pass for 'Pop'
From: Callie

Or heard Chicky belch.


19 Jul 00 - 10:53 AM (#260725)
Subject: RE: Folksongs that will pass for 'Pop'
From: sledge

Anything by the Corrs, or is that pop that ties to pass for folk???


19 Jul 00 - 11:05 AM (#260735)
Subject: RE: Folksongs that will pass for 'Pop'
From: Mbo

Nope, it's pop with folk influences, and there's nothing wrong with that. People have been doing it for years. If it weren't for the Corrs, I wouldn't be here today.

--Mbo


19 Jul 00 - 11:08 AM (#260737)
Subject: RE: Folksongs that will pass for 'Pop'
From: M. Ted (inactive)

Another idea for a music discussion thread bites the dust...I miss Gargoyle sometimes--he talked about music occasionally...


19 Jul 00 - 11:25 AM (#260749)
Subject: RE: Folksongs that will pass for 'Pop'
From: GUEST,T in Oklahoma (Okiemockbird)

John Forster's song "Fusion" was mentioned in this thread where there is a link to the words. I wouldn't say it was about Simon's so-called "thievery" so much as about his ego.

Speaking of old German melodies, there's also Pete Seeger's "Of Time and Rivers Flowing", which he sings to Es ist ein' Ros entsprungen, first published in 1599 so far as I know.

An example of a song that was unsuitably arranged as a pop song is Gordon Lightfoot's "Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald". His arrangement, heavy with loud percussion and electric strings, seems inappropriate to the melody and words. Softer instruments and lighter percussion (or no percussion) would probably have suited the song better than Lightfoot's particular arrangement. If only the term of copyright were shorter (I can't resist bringing up this point) we might hope to live to see myriad public experiments at arranging this song, from jazz versions to disco to classical to oom-pah oom-pah, and we'd get our pick of whichever we liked best. But as things stand, I doubt such riotous freedom will ever be allowed for this song in our lifetime. The compulsory license mechanism for sound recordings forbids a performer "covering" a song from changing the "basic melody and fundamental character" of a work, 17 U.S.C. 115 (a) (2).

T.


19 Jul 00 - 03:37 PM (#260957)
Subject: RE: Folksongs that will pass for 'Pop'
From: M. Ted (inactive)

If you change the basic melody and fundamental character, you've got another song, altogether. Generally, though, I have heard that you will not get much flack from the publishers et al, as long as they get their credit and attendant royalties.


19 Jul 00 - 07:57 PM (#261175)
Subject: RE: Folksongs that will pass for 'Pop'
From: T in Oklahoma (Okiemockbird)

Oops, I misquoted the statute which says that the cover arrangement mustn't change the "basic melody OR fundamental character" of the original. In any case it seems to presuppose that some arrangements and adaptaions will fall outside the terms of the compulsory license while remaining recognizable as derivations from the original.

That the holder of a compulsory license is likely to get "not much" flak is cold comfort. A serf's life may be better under a mild and condescending lord than under a rigorous or oppressive lord, but either way the serf remains a serf and the lord remains a lord. Inequality and bondage are built in to the system, regardless of material conditions. Eventually one reaches a point at which there is no substitute for freedom and equality.

"Pop" is such a broad, vague category (reaching for example to "Boston Pops") that perhaps most so-called "folk" songs could succeed as some form of "pop" song, though not all "pop" arrangements will be equally good or equally to anyone's taste.

T.


19 Jul 00 - 08:02 PM (#261180)
Subject: RE: Folksongs that will pass for 'Pop'
From: Bagpuss

Ah the Corrs - AKA The Anti-Pogues!

Bagpuss


19 Jul 00 - 08:04 PM (#261185)
Subject: RE: Folksongs that will pass for 'Pop'
From: Mbo

Oh I like the Pogues too!

--Mbo


20 Jul 00 - 03:39 AM (#261415)
Subject: RE: Folksongs that will pass for 'Pop'
From: sledge

Idea for the WWF, the Corrs versus the Pogues, now I'd pay to see that.


20 Jul 00 - 08:30 AM (#261468)
Subject: RE: Folksongs that will pass for 'Pop'
From: Mbo

Hee hee hee, I can just see Andrea, Caroline, and Sharon tag-teaming and taking boozed-up Shane McGowan down! But that means Jim would have to take on Cait O'Riordan! Oo woo! Ha ha, love both groups greatly!

--Mbo


20 Jul 00 - 01:18 PM (#261628)
Subject: RE: Folksongs that will pass for 'Pop'
From: M. Ted (inactive)

T-Your posts manage to get me more agitated than anyone elses, and it is simply because you keep reminding us of the almost feudal, structure of the music industry, and of the oppressive code of laws and regulations that force submission to it.

I say almost feudal because the feudal lord had some permanent obligations to the serfs, and this is not true in the powers that be in the music industry have no feelings of obligation to their serfs at all.

I cannot help but notice that you seem to echo the ideas that were so well put forth in the last century by the anarchist, Peter Kropotkin.

The next step in his model is that the oppressed rise up in revolt, and that is beginning to happen now.


20 Jul 00 - 01:54 PM (#261644)
Subject: RE: Folksongs that will pass for 'Pop'
From: Jim the Bart

It seems that you can do almost anything to almost any song as long as you don't make any money doing it. As soon as there is a dime on the table the legal eagles (or are they vulutures?) start to swoop in.

By the way, I was going to add this to the Merle Watson thread, but it actually fits better here. Did you know that John Oates, of Hall and Oates, wrote "Deep River Blues"? I know this because I read it on the label of one of their albums (Past Times Gone, or something like that). I thought that was odd, considering I heard Doc doing that song way back in 1969 on the live album he did with Merle on Verve. I guess Bob Dylan isn't the only one who gets credit for songs what ain't his'n.

pax vobiscum


20 Jul 00 - 09:04 PM (#261897)
Subject: RE: Folksongs that will pass for 'Pop'
From: death by whisky

Check out. Horslips version of"Dance to yer daddy".First album(Happy to meet,sorry to part). Now thats class.


21 Jul 00 - 08:31 AM (#262050)
Subject: RE: Folksongs that will pass for 'Pop'
From: Whistle Stop

While the concerns expressed by T. in Oklahoma and M.Ted are valid, I think they're overstated somewhat. I think it would be a stretch for anyone to take you to task for playing/recording "The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald" more sensitively, and with different instrumentation (losing the heavy percussion and electric guitars, etc.). I don't believe that "changing the basic melody or fundamental character" would be read that broadly by most people, and I'll bet there's case law that puts boundaries on the interpretation of those terms, subjective though it may be. It's pretty common for people to record alternate arrangements of pop tunes without getting any flack for it. Would your rearrangement of "Edmund Fitzgerald" really be more radical than, say, a Muzak version of "Satisfaction"?


21 Jul 00 - 10:37 AM (#262116)
Subject: RE: Folksongs that will pass for 'Pop'
From: Jim the Bart

What about Tony Rice's version of the "Edmund Fitzgerald"? It is pretty stripped down and retains the same flavor without all the decorations.

I find it hard to believe that the law is standing in the way of hearing re-arranged versions of our favorite songs. Otherwise we never would have had Ike & Tina's version of "Proud Mary". Or Creedence's either. Or that bluegrass version that somebody stole from me and my partner Ted back in the 70's. Lately you see a lot of string band (I hesitate to use the word "bluegrass") versions of tunes coming out of Nashville - the Beatles, the Eagles, the Beach Boys and Lord knows what all. I'm sure the legal wheels were greased to get these done, and I'm sure that greasing the necessary sweaty palms is all that is needed. Other than an interest in the material. In other words, I don't think it's the law that is depriving us of be-bop or classical versions of the Edmund Fitz - just lack of interest.


22 Jul 00 - 01:04 AM (#262561)
Subject: RE: Folksongs that will pass for 'Pop'
From: NH Dave

Back in the 50's, the Weavers popularized a lot of songs that once were folk songs, and are probably considered a part of the folk music of that era. These were songs by Woody Guthrie, Leadbelly, and "Paul Campbell" their nom-de-tune. Later on the Kingston Trio did the same thing for other music now or formerly folk, "The MTA Song" comes to mind, and during the early 70's Steeleye Span had a big hit on the British Pop Charts with "All Around My Hat."

Dave


25 Oct 01 - 11:37 PM (#580058)
Subject: RE: Folksongs that will pass for 'Pop'
From: Rt Revd Sir jOhn from Hull


26 Oct 01 - 12:50 PM (#580434)
Subject: RE: Folksongs that will pass for 'Pop'
From: rangeroger

Bartholomew,
Doc, in the Doc Watson Songbook, says Deep River Blues was introduced to him in the late 30's by a Delmore Brothers recording.

As this was a little before John Oates time,the accreditation on the Hall and Oates album may have been due to an arrangement and adaptation. This is what doc did. The song in the book was arranged and adapted by A.D.Watson with a 1965 copyright by Stormking Music Inc.,Doc's label.


26 Oct 01 - 01:39 PM (#580477)
Subject: RE: Folksongs that will pass for 'Pop'
From: GUEST,ruth

What about "Donald wheres your troosers?"

The Corrs....Heard more interesting washboards.


27 Oct 01 - 10:49 AM (#580907)
Subject: RE: Folksongs that will pass for 'Pop'
From: Alice

M.Ted, check out some rocked tracks by Brendan O'Loughlin. In Ireland, it's not unusual to hear rock instruments and style and a new twist with folk songs, so he tells me.

Brendan O'Loughlin - Click Here


27 Oct 01 - 11:43 AM (#580927)
Subject: RE: Folksongs that will pass for 'Pop'
From: Arnie

As a student in the early '70's I remember that one of the biggest hits in the local Yorkshire discos was Whiskey in the Jar by Thin Lizzie. The really energetic would dance to Jig-a-jig by East of Eden - anyone remember that one!


27 Oct 01 - 07:19 PM (#581100)
Subject: RE: Folksongs that will pass for 'Pop'
From: DougR

Must not forget "Goodnight Irene." It made it big on the pop charts back in the 60's. Also, "Scarlet Ribbons" by Belafonte.

DougR