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This Forum & American Folk Music

Once Famous 01 Sep 04 - 04:46 PM
W y s i w y G ! 01 Sep 04 - 04:50 PM
freightdawg 01 Sep 04 - 04:57 PM
Chris Green 01 Sep 04 - 05:03 PM
PoppaGator 01 Sep 04 - 05:04 PM
Big Al Whittle 01 Sep 04 - 05:09 PM
Jeri 01 Sep 04 - 05:17 PM
McGrath of Harlow 01 Sep 04 - 05:25 PM
W y s i w y G ! 01 Sep 04 - 05:27 PM
greg stephens 01 Sep 04 - 05:45 PM
Mark Clark 01 Sep 04 - 05:52 PM
greg stephens 01 Sep 04 - 05:56 PM
The Borchester Echo 01 Sep 04 - 05:58 PM
Q 01 Sep 04 - 06:23 PM
PoppaGator 01 Sep 04 - 06:32 PM
Amos 01 Sep 04 - 06:36 PM
The Borchester Echo 01 Sep 04 - 06:38 PM
Ned Ludd 01 Sep 04 - 06:58 PM
McGrath of Harlow 01 Sep 04 - 07:10 PM
Mary in Kentucky 01 Sep 04 - 07:16 PM
Malcolm Douglas 01 Sep 04 - 07:33 PM
Bill D 01 Sep 04 - 07:51 PM
Joe Offer 01 Sep 04 - 08:51 PM
GUEST,.gargoyle 02 Sep 04 - 12:05 AM
GUEST,Parochialist 02 Sep 04 - 08:10 AM
Jerry Rasmussen 02 Sep 04 - 08:21 AM
Paco Rabanne 02 Sep 04 - 08:51 AM
The Borchester Echo 02 Sep 04 - 09:02 AM
Paco Rabanne 02 Sep 04 - 09:26 AM
Snuffy 02 Sep 04 - 09:28 AM
WFDU - Ron Olesko 02 Sep 04 - 10:14 AM
Chris in Wheaton 02 Sep 04 - 10:27 AM
GUEST,MMario 02 Sep 04 - 10:36 AM
Sandra in Sydney 02 Sep 04 - 10:41 AM
M.Ted 02 Sep 04 - 10:44 AM
W y s i w y G ! 02 Sep 04 - 10:44 AM
greg stephens 02 Sep 04 - 10:49 AM
W y s i w y G ! 02 Sep 04 - 10:58 AM
Dave the Gnome 02 Sep 04 - 10:58 AM
W y s i w y G ! 02 Sep 04 - 11:01 AM
Once Famous 02 Sep 04 - 11:04 AM
jimmyt 02 Sep 04 - 11:43 AM
WFDU - Ron Olesko 02 Sep 04 - 11:51 AM
GUEST,Les B. 02 Sep 04 - 11:56 AM
jimmyt 02 Sep 04 - 11:58 AM
Once Famous 02 Sep 04 - 11:59 AM
ThreeSheds 02 Sep 04 - 12:02 PM
Steve-o 02 Sep 04 - 12:11 PM
jimmyt 02 Sep 04 - 12:22 PM
Once Famous 02 Sep 04 - 12:23 PM
W y s i w y G ! 02 Sep 04 - 12:33 PM
W y s i w y G ! 02 Sep 04 - 12:40 PM
lucky_p 02 Sep 04 - 01:08 PM
PoppaGator 02 Sep 04 - 01:20 PM
WFDU - Ron Olesko 02 Sep 04 - 01:26 PM
Once Famous 02 Sep 04 - 02:49 PM
WFDU - Ron Olesko 02 Sep 04 - 02:58 PM
W y s i w y G ! 02 Sep 04 - 03:34 PM
jimmyt 02 Sep 04 - 03:38 PM
jimmyt 02 Sep 04 - 04:48 PM
W y s i w y G ! 02 Sep 04 - 06:38 PM
Maryrrf 02 Sep 04 - 07:51 PM
Joybell 02 Sep 04 - 08:36 PM
Amos 02 Sep 04 - 08:45 PM
Jerry Rasmussen 02 Sep 04 - 08:58 PM
lucky_p 02 Sep 04 - 09:50 PM
InOBU 02 Sep 04 - 10:07 PM
Once Famous 02 Sep 04 - 10:26 PM
Rt Revd Sir jOhn from Hull 02 Sep 04 - 10:31 PM
Joybell 03 Sep 04 - 07:30 AM
greg stephens 03 Sep 04 - 07:34 AM
Jerry Rasmussen 03 Sep 04 - 08:31 AM
Ron Davies 03 Sep 04 - 08:49 AM
GUEST,John Hardly 03 Sep 04 - 09:46 AM
Once Famous 03 Sep 04 - 05:12 PM
W y s i w y G ! 03 Sep 04 - 05:15 PM
John Hardly 04 Sep 04 - 04:07 PM
GUEST,Art Thieme 04 Sep 04 - 09:29 PM
W y s i w y G ! 04 Sep 04 - 10:03 PM
Peace 04 Sep 04 - 10:06 PM
jimmyt 04 Sep 04 - 10:07 PM
jimmyt 04 Sep 04 - 10:45 PM
katlaughing 04 Sep 04 - 11:21 PM
mg 05 Sep 04 - 01:31 AM
GUEST,Frank Hamilton 05 Sep 04 - 05:28 PM
Jerry Rasmussen 05 Sep 04 - 05:32 PM
lucky_p 05 Sep 04 - 08:14 PM
jimmyt 05 Sep 04 - 09:54 PM
Peace 05 Sep 04 - 10:08 PM
GUEST,Frank Hamilton 06 Sep 04 - 11:44 AM
katlaughing 06 Sep 04 - 11:49 AM
Once Famous 06 Sep 04 - 09:56 PM
GUEST,Art Thieme... 07 Sep 04 - 01:01 AM
The Villan 07 Sep 04 - 01:59 AM
Ron Davies 07 Sep 04 - 11:14 PM
GUEST,Frank Hamilton 08 Sep 04 - 03:42 PM
katlaughing 08 Sep 04 - 04:19 PM
DonMeixner 08 Sep 04 - 10:31 PM
Paco Rabanne 09 Sep 04 - 03:06 AM
Paco Rabanne 09 Sep 04 - 03:06 AM
GUEST 07 Jul 06 - 12:41 AM
GUEST 07 Jul 06 - 12:45 AM
Gurney 07 Jul 06 - 01:35 AM
W y s i w y G ! 07 Jul 06 - 09:31 AM
GUEST,Frank Hamilton 07 Jul 06 - 10:38 AM
GUEST 07 Jul 06 - 10:45 AM
W y s i w y G ! 07 Jul 06 - 11:11 AM
GUEST,Frank Hamilton 07 Jul 06 - 01:57 PM
W y s i w y G ! 07 Jul 06 - 02:18 PM
GUEST,Mike Miller 07 Jul 06 - 11:08 PM
GUEST,Bee 08 Jul 06 - 09:58 AM
GUEST,Frank Hamilton 08 Jul 06 - 01:07 PM
michaelr 09 Jul 06 - 12:03 AM
GUEST,punkfolkrocker 09 Jul 06 - 12:17 AM
Bill D 09 Jul 06 - 10:10 AM
GUEST,Mike Miller 09 Jul 06 - 04:46 PM
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Subject: This Forum & American Folk Music
From: Once Famous
Date: 01 Sep 04 - 04:46 PM

It seems that this folk music forum is heavily weighted towards the British folk scene as opposed to the American folk music scene.

I am just interested in why that is so.

The topics deal more with British related folk topics, though not exclsively. Yes, we do see Pete Seeger threads and Woody guthrie threads, but really very little about American folk music and it's off shoots, bluegrass and traditional country music.

Just throwing this out for discussion.


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Subject: RE: This Forum & American Folk Music
From: W y s i w y G !
Date: 01 Sep 04 - 04:50 PM

I disagree, I think it swings back and forth. I'm not sure the daily thread list is an accurate measure.

I will say this, though. Folk with UK roots is certainly an ancestor of US folk musics, but the reverse is not so true. So it makes sense that even the USers would work on material of that source (UK), and keep renewing its acquaintance.

~Susan


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Subject: RE: This Forum & American Folk Music
From: freightdawg
Date: 01 Sep 04 - 04:57 PM

From what I have read, it is probably because the British "folk" scene is far more active at the grass roots level. Maybe its cultural, maybe it is because American folkies just haven't found the Mudcat, but it just seems to me that there are far more opportunities for just plain folks to get together and play or sing on the other side of the pond. I am amazed at reading about the number of places where aspiring musicians can play over there. Maybe its because of where I live, but I just don't see the same opportunities over here.

Americans, it would seem, are more interested in being entertained, rather than actually going out and finding that entertainment in playing music with others. Of course, I could be ridiculously wrong. Maybe Americans get together in each others' homes more often where others cannot see or hear what is going on. Or maybe it is done in the churches. But it just seems, using this forum as the measuring stick, that the folk music scene in England is just more active.

Freightdawg


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Subject: RE: This Forum & American Folk Music
From: Chris Green
Date: 01 Sep 04 - 05:03 PM

Speaking as an English-based catter I'd actually like to learn a bit more about folk music from the far side of the pond as it's something I know bugger all about! Anyone give me some clues as to what I should be listening to?


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Subject: RE: This Forum & American Folk Music
From: PoppaGator
Date: 01 Sep 04 - 05:04 PM

Well, the antidote would be for us Americans to post more stuff about "our" music -- right! You're from Chicago, aren't you, MG? So you should know the drill: Vote early and vote often!

Seriously, though, I've noticed the same thing. I first stumbled across Mudcat years ago, when the DT had first been moved here from Xerx PARC-- at that time, this was a prediminantly blues-oriented site, with mostly American participants. Over the years, I would peek in very occasionally, before joining up about two years ago. There's been a steady growth of "overseas" participation; not just the British, but Irish and Aussies and various others -- even an Icelander!

From what I've been able to observe and deduce, the Brits are closer to each other geographically than the Americans, they seem to have more clubs and events in which to participate, and more of them find ways to meet in "real life." The result is that they've become a tighter-knit group, in general. So be it, and more power to 'em.

I think that if you disregard the purely personal messages and the announcements of various events in the UK (festivals, club nights, etc.), the number of *musical* posts about US vs UK folk music is closer to equal.


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Subject: RE: This Forum & American Folk Music
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 01 Sep 04 - 05:09 PM

Hard to say, but I think you're right. I think maybe this is something to do with our societies - and the folk music phenomena in them.

A lot of people in the English folk scene, for various reasons, feel discriminated against and disenfranchised. People that you would assume to be respectable musicians making a decent living in a more meritocratic society like America, live lives of quiet desperation. A place like mudcat is somewhere for them to let off steam - to mainly like minded people, who see the issues as clearly as they do themselves.

When Peter Bellamy died I remember listening to Martin Carthy's obituary piece on the radio, and he spoke of the isolation that this particular pursuit of music imposed.

So when we get here - we're a mouthy lot. Sorry about that!


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Subject: RE: This Forum & American Folk Music
From: Jeri
Date: 01 Sep 04 - 05:17 PM

People don't start threads, for starters. We've lost or misplaced a few of the ones who used to discuss this - Rick, Sandy, Art, Jerry, Frank. If they're still around, they don't post much. There don't seem to be that many questions asked, and people who have the answers aren't always good at starting threads. Kendall probably knows a bunch of stuff. Many of the more recent threads have turned into debates instead of the sharing of knowledge or stories that would have been nice.

Start a thread or two, and see what happens. Maybe folks will want to talk.


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Subject: RE: This Forum & American Folk Music
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 01 Sep 04 - 05:25 PM

What determines the content of the threads, and the type of music discussed in them, is the individual choice of people posting. There is no kind of Mudcat policy involved.

I think there are probably far more Mudcatters in the USA and Canada than there are elsewhere, so it's strange if the music threads don't currently seem to reflect that.

Even if freightdawg is correct in surmising that the folk scene in America is less active, and that it might be skewed towards being listeners rather than participants and I think there's a question mark against whether that is true), I'd have thought that would just mean a different type of thread.

However I'm by no means sure that the imbalance actually exists - maybe someone should do a census of the threads. True enough, there's a batch of threads about English folk festivals at this time of year - but I suspect that this reflects the fact that this is a relatively small country, so that at a pinch any of us might get along to any festival, and hence they are all of common interest. From an American perspective, they are all local festivals.

But the rest of the music threads look as if there's a pretty sizeable American presence, and I have the impression that there is no shortage of American started threads. Before arguing too much about why something is the case, it's worth checking out that it actually is the case.


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Subject: RE: This Forum & American Folk Music
From: W y s i w y G !
Date: 01 Sep 04 - 05:27 PM

Don't think it's an argument, geeze, it's just a thing someone is wondering about, is all.

~Susan


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Subject: RE: This Forum & American Folk Music
From: greg stephens
Date: 01 Sep 04 - 05:45 PM

I have been on Mudcat only about 3 years, and I say it has certainly gone more British in this time. You used to get more Rick Fielding, Art Thieme etc, more blues. more discussion of guitar picking and stuff. Presumably that will swing back, there are more Americans around than British. It's just they seem more keen on talking about Iraq and Bush than Doc Watson, but presumably that is only a momentary obsession.
   The previous point, that Britain is smaller, is also I'm sure important. people are using Mudcat as a way of talking with each other, everyone being a part of an entity you might call the "Brirish folk scene". So people do chat on all the time about "Seee you in Hull on Thurs" or "who's going to nantwich" or whatever.That sets up a lot of background noise on Mudcat, it's not really musical discussion, but it sort of looks like it. I am only reinforcing what McGrath of Harlow has said here, which is what I normally do: agree with McGrath, but do it more longwindedly!


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Subject: RE: This Forum & American Folk Music
From: Mark Clark
Date: 01 Sep 04 - 05:52 PM

I am one, perhaps one of a very few, whose musical tastes include traditional and roots-based music from nearly every part of the world. The fact that I don't start threads outside of my own experience doesn't mean I don't look forward to learning.

I confess I don't really think this should be the place performers keep their fans up to date on their performing schedules. Perhaps we could have a special page with links to performers' own websites where news of their coming gigs could be found. Song circles, jams and hootennanies should also be listed on a special page rather than in threads.

Still, this is the first place I know of to hold a world wide song circle and I remember thinking back those many years ago that it was a very cool thing.

The Web has other boards where discussion is limited to particular musical idioms and traditions but this is the only one that welcomes discussion of everything.

I disagree with Susan about the east-to-west direction of traditional influence. British and Celtic performers have included American traditions in their musics as well as African, Mid-East, and Asian influences. The same thing happens here in the US.

I, for one, really appreciate the idea that people from all over the world see The Mudcat Café as a place where their music and traditions can be discussed. I'm just as anxious to learn as I am to share. Sure, not that many people, worldwide, want to discuss bluegrass, blues, or Kentucky thumbpicking but that's also true if the discussion were limited to Americans. The music I love most just isn't that popular. Maybe that's one reason I love it.

      - Mark


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Subject: RE: This Forum & American Folk Music
From: greg stephens
Date: 01 Sep 04 - 05:56 PM

I think all of us Brit performers over 50(not a few of us on Mudcat!) will all have cut our teeth on American folksongs to start with(via skiffle). So there's plenty of us who do talk about American songs and singers when anyone starts a thread.


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Subject: RE: This Forum & American Folk Music
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 01 Sep 04 - 05:58 PM

To be concise, so do I (agree with McGrath usually) ;-)

I've been around only about a year on Mudcat and have to admit I often involve myself in 'parish pump' discussions. It hasn't occurred to me before, but I really hope our transatlantic friends don't feel excluded because of them. I for one would love to hear more about just what goes on in the US. For one thing, when I have visited I have found it really hard to get any information about traditional music, other than large concerts like the Millenium Stage in Washing or NY's Madison Square Gardens or Carnegie Hall.


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Subject: RE: This Forum & American Folk Music
From: Q
Date: 01 Sep 04 - 06:23 PM

The balance seems OK to me. I am also glad to see posts of non-English songs as well as the whole English-speaking world. They all contribute to my understanding.

Threads publicizing performance dates and local events perhaps should be segregated into a special page, as Mark suggests. They are of little value to anyone beyond commuting distance.

I object to use of the 'Lyrics and Knowledge' threads to say "Hey, Thomasina, I'm going to the bash in Wigglebottom on Bumwater- will you be there?" Use the Personal messages or Email.


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Subject: RE: This Forum & American Folk Music
From: PoppaGator
Date: 01 Sep 04 - 06:32 PM

I, too, almost always find myself in agreement with the always agreeable McGrath of Harlow. I think it's interesting that this is one very rare time when I don't -- he apparently senses that there are more American Mudcatters while I still feel like there are more Brits.

Probably just a simple matter of "the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence"!

When I first started checking in here on a daily basis, I was astounded at the wealth of activities available to pickers and singers there across the pond. I was (and still am) envious! There may not be as many opportunities in the UK as in the US for making good money as a performer, but there *certainly* seem to be more opportunities in the UK and in Ireland to perform and participate for one's own enjoyment.

And, insofar as the Mudcat can serve as a clearinghouse for information about such activities, it is certainly fitting, right and just, that it should perform that function.

I don't think anyone's complaining, and certainly not accusing the Mudcat Cafe itself of maintaining any discriminatory policy -- we're all just making observations.


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Subject: RE: This Forum & American Folk Music
From: Amos
Date: 01 Sep 04 - 06:36 PM

Actually the great Folk Scare was kind of a reverse feed, as far as origins go, and a great deal of genuinely American music has found its way back to England to start a second life as a source of inspiration. Rambling Jack Elliot is one example, certainly. There are many others.

A


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Subject: RE: This Forum & American Folk Music
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 01 Sep 04 - 06:38 PM

er..apologies to Washington. I didn't mean to imply it was a laundromat...

On the contrary, Q, I personally am glad to know what's happening in Bumwater (though not particularly in whether or not Thomasina is going), because I may just drop by there one day and it would be useful to know when and where they hold their session/ceilidh.

I also like to know who is getting gigs where, and how they've been received. Such reports from venues far away can alert you to watch out for up-and-coming artists when they appear near you. I'm sure this sort of information is useful for visiting transatlantic mudcatters too (well, I hope so...).


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Subject: RE: This Forum & American Folk Music
From: Ned Ludd
Date: 01 Sep 04 - 06:58 PM

Since I started looking in I think the balance has changed and as the way music changes as it crosses the pond is one of my interests, I hope it's a swings and roundabouts thing.
We don't seem to hear as much from some of the big posters from over there at the moment.


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Subject: RE: This Forum & American Folk Music
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 01 Sep 04 - 07:10 PM

I'm just going by the Mudcat Locator in guessingthere are more American Mudcatters. And when there has been the occasional "where are you?" thread it seems to suggest the same.

But there are a lot more people around from this side of the water - largely, I suspect, because of the way the Internet connections have got much easier here, but also because word of mouth has got around through people meeting each other in festival singarounds and suchlike.

"Argument" didn't imply any kind of conflict in my earlier post, just a discussion between people presenting different points of view. But before getting into the enjoyable activity of rival explanations of the facts, it's as well to have the facts themselves clarified.

Mind, we do seem to have a knack of turning such discussions into battle royals sometimes... Not just on the Mudcat, folk musicians generally - I've got two friends who've not spoken to each other for years, or played together either (which is a lot worse in my book), all because of a fight they got into over what was the right key for some tune.
.................

Nice to have people say things like that about me. Though at any moment I expect to see someone heaving into sight balancing things up. ("McGrath? Don't mention that man's name, I can't stand him...")


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Subject: RE: This Forum & American Folk Music
From: Mary in Kentucky
Date: 01 Sep 04 - 07:16 PM

duellingbouzoukis, you could start here with Jean Ritchie's books. She explains how the same songs and ballads found in England, Scotland and Ireland showed up in the southern Appalachian mountains. And IMO, they are some of the most beautiful ballads. It's interesting to study the different variants. Of course, as I stated here before, I'm primarily a tune person, so I'm fascinated with these.


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Subject: RE: This Forum & American Folk Music
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 01 Sep 04 - 07:33 PM

When I first came across the place, a little over 5 years ago, Americans were far and away in the majority here. Many reasons for that; quite apart from anything else, the technology was a lot more expensive in the British Isles, and most of us had to rely on costly, slow and unreliable dial-up connections.

That has changed. We still have to pay more than you do in the US, but the difference isn't so great, and fewer of us now are economically excluded from participation in forums like this. The balance has shifted, I suspect, to something closer to the true "folk music" demographic.

Martin only started posting here in April 2004, and presumably won't be very familiar with the way things were back in, for example, July 1999, when I tentatively made my first contribution. The default assumption back then was that everyone, unless they said otherwise, was American.


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Subject: RE: This Forum & American Folk Music
From: Bill D
Date: 01 Sep 04 - 07:51 PM

since Martin started this thread, and he is more oriented toward Bluegrass & Country, I'm sure it is a bit lop-sided for him...I do know that both Bluegrass & Country, although they have folk roots, are often narrow fields over here, and have their own focused web sites and festivals and discussions. We don't have a 'lot' of Mudcatters who will start an extended discussion of Bill Monroe or Waylon Jennings, though they may reply if they see one.

Mudcat has people who know a bit about all sorts of things, and if a Bluegrass question pops up, it will get replies, but many of the serious American 'folkies' realize that the roots of their music is often in the UK, and end up following a lot of the UK focused threads also.

I do know I have picked up on many UK performers I never heard of by seeing posts on Mudcat, partly because almost everyone in the UK knows the same ones. Here in the USA, there are entire folk scenes in different parts of the country which seldom meet each other. Mudcat has allowed some more cross-fertilization of the music scene, and will no doubt do more yet...

(So...when ARE others besides Joe Offer gonna come see us in the east?)


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Subject: RE: This Forum & American Folk Music
From: Joe Offer
Date: 01 Sep 04 - 08:51 PM

I really like bluegrass and classic country songs, but I don't know that they lend themselves to in-depth discussion quite as readily at the English songs do. Most of these songs have a known composer; so there is a definitive text for a song, rather than a wide variety of versions and variations. A large number of the actual "traditional" songs in the U.S. have English roots - so they end up fitting into discussions of English songs.

Also, I don't think that Mudcat has the saturation here in the U.S. that it has in the U.K. Portland/Seattle and Washington DC seem to have concentrations of Mudcatters, singers who see each other regularly at Mudcat and in person. I know lots of people in the San Francisco Folk Music Club who have visited Mudcat and posted regularly, but only a small handful are "regulars" at Mudcat. There are Mudcatters scattered all over the center of the U.S., but no concentrations. So, I think that's another reason.

But even if there isn't the balance some people might like, it seems we get around to discussing every aspect of folk music in most of the English-speaking world. I've sometimes wondered what it is that starts an interesting thread. I think all it takes is an intelligent question that doesn't have an easy answer - a question that hasn't been asked and answered before. I think that questions start good discussions more readily than the simple posting of lyrics. If I post the complete lyrics to Joe Hill's Last Will," what else is there to say about it? Besides, we already have the song in the Digital Tradition, and it's a composed song with few variations from the original text. There's a DTStudy thread called Songs of Joe Hill, so it's probably best to add to that study instead of starting a new thread. We can use more Joe Hill songs, and a deeper discussion of Joe's life and death.

So, I think that's it - an intelligent question on a new subject, or a subject we haven't explore full. If you want to tip the scales toward your favorite aspect of folk music, post a question.

-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: This Forum & American Folk Music
From: GUEST,.gargoyle
Date: 02 Sep 04 - 12:05 AM

This is a sociology-student's-thesis

The pieces are in one place....all waiting ANALysis

First we were American Folk, than we were BLUES, then the wiccans invited the sick ones, and in a continual spiral .... the MudCat was spun away into the abyss.

Sincerely,
Gargoyle

THE MANTRA OF HIGHER EDUCATION....First we were scholarly, then we went dollarly, now we take.... whatever we can get.


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Subject: RE: This Forum & American Folk Music
From: GUEST,Parochialist
Date: 02 Sep 04 - 08:10 AM

I've never been to the US, but I get the impression that whereas UK had great pubs and great beer, US just has bars with lousy beer and the TV on.

No wonder UK has a more active folk scene.


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Subject: RE: This Forum & American Folk Music
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 02 Sep 04 - 08:21 AM

You zare right, Martin:

There isn't enough conversation going on in here about American folk music. The only way to correct that is to start more threads about it. Thanks for starting this one.

Now, I'll start one.

Jerry


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Subject: RE: This Forum & American Folk Music
From: Paco Rabanne
Date: 02 Sep 04 - 08:51 AM

I use this site because my daughter pointed me in its general direction, and lo, all the English Folkies I know use it too. A reverse question if I may: Why are all us ENGLISH bodies using an AMERICAN site?
Do you all use another site in England that I know nowt about?


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Subject: RE: This Forum & American Folk Music
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 02 Sep 04 - 09:02 AM

Lots of us also hang out at:

uk.music.folk

BBC Folk & Acoustic

eceilidh


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Subject: RE: This Forum & American Folk Music
From: Paco Rabanne
Date: 02 Sep 04 - 09:26 AM

Wow! Thanks for that countess. I am still a beginner with bloody computers.


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Subject: RE: This Forum & American Folk Music
From: Snuffy
Date: 02 Sep 04 - 09:28 AM

But we are British. Do those sites seem to have a huge number of American posters, in the same way that Mudcat can sometimes seem anglocentic?


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Subject: RE: This Forum & American Folk Music
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 02 Sep 04 - 10:14 AM

Maybe Brits have more time on their hands to discuss such things??

Seriously, I think Freightdawg's comments are right on target. From what I see at various U.S. festivals, the Folk Alliance and doing my radio show - there is still a huge emphasis on the singer-songwriter aspect of folk music.   During the 80's and 90's the word "folk" became a "4 letter word". Musicians would call themselves "acoustic" or "singer-songwriter". Traditional music seemed to go underground.   In recent years the appreciation for traditional music seems to be growing again. I receive many trad CD's now of American folk music that did not seem to exist a few years ago.   

However, there still seems to be less involvement with traditional music. As someone said earlier, Americans would rather be entertained and not as many people are actively researching and studying the music as they once were.

As Susan said, our folk heritage can be traced back to other countries so we do tend to end up back "home".

Ron


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Subject: RE: This Forum & American Folk Music
From: Chris in Wheaton
Date: 02 Sep 04 - 10:27 AM

This is a great forum - there is no other place that I, in Chicago, can ask a question on Welsh folk music and get an answer usually within an hour. (Thanks Sian and others)
Interesting letter in this Sing Out, the prior issue referred to folks from Ireland and Scotland as English - obviously, not correct and the same would be true for the Welsh.
Do you folks in the UK have a preference?
Also, anyone in the Great Midwest should consider going to the Fox Valley Folk Festival this weekend - good weather predicted, Art - will you be there? Nothing like sitting on the island, looking at the river, and listening to great music.
Chris (that's why we moved back to Wheaton)


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Subject: RE: This Forum & American Folk Music
From: GUEST,MMario
Date: 02 Sep 04 - 10:36 AM

with barely 400 years maximum under our belt - there is almost not time enough for us to *HAVE* traditional music!!!! Especially if you are of the school that it needs to be of the "unknown author - orally transmitted" variety. ;)

Consider the fact that even in the 1800's much of the US was "frontier" -

I do a Dickons Festival set in 1842 - at that time the village we are set in had a population that was 90% immigrants! 90%!

Another thing is the amount of immigration:(for example) in my family Mid 1800's really only puts us back to my great-grandparents. Of My 8 great-granparents - one was a Norwegian immigrant, 4 Italian (and still in Italy for another generation), 1 American/Dutch; 1 German-American; 1 English/American.

point being - there hasn't been that much time to file off the serial numbers of folk songs and make them "american" rather then English, or Scots, or whatever.


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Subject: RE: This Forum & American Folk Music
From: Sandra in Sydney
Date: 02 Sep 04 - 10:41 AM

Super Ted - 2 more UK based sites, both run by Jon who often pops into Mudcat. Both are mentioned on Mudcat Help (www.help.mudcat.org) as alternatives to Mudcat when it is down.

Folkinfo is a music site
http://www.folkinfo.org/forum.asp -

The Annex is a non-music site for Mudcat members only.
http://www.jonbanjo.com/forum/default1.asp

sandra


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Subject: RE: This Forum & American Folk Music
From: M.Ted
Date: 02 Sep 04 - 10:44 AM

The UK folks seem very well organized when it comes to doing sessions--

We have perhaps too many genres to choose from(Blues, Bluegrass, Old Timey, Jug Band, Hawaiian, Rockabilly, and nine kinds of jazz) and often have trouble getting a quorum--When you do, one of two things happens:

1) Someone knows of a gig, and half the session turns into a band while the other half wander off with hurt feelings

2) The two people who have been coordinating everything suddenly leave to start a drumming circle.

Excepting, of course, if it is a Chanty sing;-)


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Subject: RE: This Forum & American Folk Music
From: W y s i w y G !
Date: 02 Sep 04 - 10:44 AM

And another thing-- at the risk of causing a big thread lurch....

Before the BS went below-line, it seems to me a lot of people frequenting the forum would skim the daily thread list looking for interesting topics. If you were bored, and had no fresh music ideas of your own to start a thread over, you'd open up music threads to see what the heck someone was talking about. As often as not, a music thread title would be as interesting as what later came to be labeled a BS topic.

So these music threads would be opened and sometimes some pretty interesting discussions emerged.... sometimes these would lead to links back to other real interesting music threads..... a really cool thing would be when people didn't actually know much about the music topic of the thread, and they'd ask questions, and people would come along in time and answer them, and all KINDS of cool stuf would get added to the thread, or links to stuff elsewhere like sound samples....

I miss that stuff. I like BS threads and I like the forum split, but I wish people would look above-line more and even just open random music threads and participate in the discussion beyond the "me too" or "hey Jane your panties are showing" kinda posts in them.

~Susan


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Subject: RE: This Forum & American Folk Music
From: greg stephens
Date: 02 Sep 04 - 10:49 AM

Susan Wizzything: I firmly look at Mudcat with the BS and music mixed, as it it used to be. It does mean you get the crap from Iraq mixed with the Dorian mode analysis, but I like it that way. It is an option all can use, though I cant actually remember what it is you press to change from one mode to the other.


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Subject: RE: This Forum & American Folk Music
From: W y s i w y G !
Date: 02 Sep 04 - 10:58 AM

gs, I forgot we can do that. I don't remember how either. Maybe it's in the FAQ.....

~S~


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Subject: RE: This Forum & American Folk Music
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 02 Sep 04 - 10:58 AM

Anyone interested in listening to some American Folk could do worse than listen to the folk channel on Netscape radio. Free download - Lots of good channels. Dunno if it representative but I realy enjoy the (mainly) American Folk on there.

Parochialist - I dunno if your post was tongue in cheek or not. Am I loosing my 6th sense;-) Just in case it was serious, from my last trip to the States (Chicago, St Louis, various bits other bits of Illinois and Arkansas) there are some great bars there! Most with good beer and all I visited had live music at least twice a week - More often with most.

Perhaps I was just lucky or had a good guide :-P

Cheers

DtG


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Subject: RE: This Forum & American Folk Music
From: W y s i w y G !
Date: 02 Sep 04 - 11:01 AM

http://www.mudcat.org/threads.cfm?mixbs=yes is supposed to do it if one is not logged in (from FAQ)...

BS-viewing options if logged in (click MEMBERSHIP up in the topmost page banner):

BS filter Yes No If "Yes," filters threads designated "BS / non-music" out of Threads listing

Mix Music & Non-music Yes No If "Yes," mixes music and non-music threads in the Threads listing

~S~


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Subject: RE: This Forum & American Folk Music
From: Once Famous
Date: 02 Sep 04 - 11:04 AM

Jerry Rasmussen

thanks for responding to my thread. I will look for the one you started and see if there is anything I can add.

It is good to see that my observations are not alone on this.

I do believe that Americans do like to be entertained and that the musicians actually like to entertain.

When I do a gig, solo or with a group, the people sitting out there as your audience have a right to be entertained. they like to sing along. They like to have memories invoked by old songs. They want to FEEL GOOD and why as an artist, you wouldn't want them to feel this way is a bit mind blowing just to satisfy your own needs.


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Subject: RE: This Forum & American Folk Music
From: jimmyt
Date: 02 Sep 04 - 11:43 AM

This is an interesting thread, Martin, and actually one like this that was my first post to the mudcat. Let me make some generalizations that I am sure will be argued, but I think you need to remember that just because things are different in your small town or area, they may not be that way elsewhere in the USA.

America doesn't have pubs. Now before you all go off on this, remember that the pubs in UK are pretty much extensions of the living room and serve as a daily forum for the people of the community. There are areas that do not fit this discription but there are the exception and not the rule, Incidently, where these type areas are, there is often a more active folk community.

There may be truth in that Americans wish to be entertained, and not just entertained, they don't even want to listen quietly. We have sort of a culture nowadays that makes music, even live, sort of muzac. We have played at least 2 jobs where the audience actually liked what we did a lot, but they were talking with friends, laughing, etc with almost no perceptable interest in what we were doing. THose performances are absolutley devastating to folk musicians, as it seems a personal rejection of our music, when in reality, it is more af a mind set of the younger generation where this is socially acceptable.

My group performs mostly 60s Kingston Trio, Limeliters, Peterr, Paul and Mary music with a smattering of Irish music where I play whistle in addition to our 4 part harmony. Most of the time, when I play the whistle lots of people want to know what it is. They have never been exposed to this type of music at all. We do have an audience of loyal followers, mostly 45-80 year olds who remember all the old stuff and enjoy singing along, but there is little recognition from younger folks, although they seem to like it.

There is a much larger community of Bluegrass folks, as well as blues and jazz, but they do not tend to overlap as much as our griends in UK seem to . just some ramblings for thought


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Subject: RE: This Forum & American Folk Music
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 02 Sep 04 - 11:51 AM

We do not have pubs in the U.S., but we do have bars. Bars are not exactly family oriented establishments (I don't think pubs are either) and folk music does not exist on the jukeboxes.

Folk music is presented in churchs and schools by primarily volunteer organizations. There are commercial establishments that feature folk music, but I would argue that they are not the primary venue these days.

There is an audience for "folk" music, in all it's various forms. Getting back to Martin's original point, I just don't think that many people discuss it on this forum.


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Subject: RE: This Forum & American Folk Music
From: GUEST,Les B.
Date: 02 Sep 04 - 11:56 AM

When I first stumbled on to Mudcat (or whatever it was back then) it was at a site supported by Zerox - then it disappeared and soon reappeared - I think about 1997.

At that time my impression of the data base was that it was heavily skewed toward British Isle songs - not that there's anything wrong with that - although I would like to see a few more traditional and old timey American songs there.

In terms of participation on the discussion forum I felt it was pretty evenly spread across English speakers - England, Ireland, Britain, Australia, the US, some South American, a few German, Iceland, etc. Which is pretty darned neat.

One of the supprises to me - for a site supposedly oriented to the "blues" - was so little evidence of them - either in the data base or in discussion.

The discussions back then seemed to be basically requests for lyrics, then off-the-wall-humor with people like Catspaw, and then later, when some expert pickers showed up - like Rick Fielding and Art Thieme - some really informative discussions about instrument technique.

Once in a great while there would be an in-depth discussion of the origin of a particular song, or about the use of modes, etc. There were, and are, some real scholars present on this forum.

Although there was always a bit of truculence, and some hurt feelings, it doesn't seem that major imbroglios and personal attacks were a part of Mudcat until the last few years. The "below the line" BS division was, to my mind, a brilliant way to separate the chaff from the wheat.

To sum up; the Mudcat will never entirely be what any one person wants it to be, British or American, pure music or BS, but, if you're willing to go with the flow, it's still one of the most interesting sites about folk music on the internet.


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Subject: RE: This Forum & American Folk Music
From: jimmyt
Date: 02 Sep 04 - 11:58 AM

Or, Martin, as I have found out, there is quite a difference of opinion of the dreaded question, "What is folk music" Our UK friends do not seem to struggle with the definition of what trad music is. Here in AMerica, we have a lot of variations and some folks are very firm about the definition.


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Subject: RE: This Forum & American Folk Music
From: Once Famous
Date: 02 Sep 04 - 11:59 AM

jimmyt

I cut my teeth on the folk era stuff you mentioned. Actually learned to play guitar from all of those old Kingston Trio albums on Capitol records. I have lived in a large city (chicago) where there has always been a thriving folk community, pubs, concert venues, coffe houses, etc. and the home of one of the longest running folk music based organizations, The Old Town School. I do recognize that many other communities, even large cities do not have these resources.

I also recognize that the English pubs mentioned are a big part of their community.

However, if you are going to play a show, it is the artist's/entertainer's job to win over the semi attentive or non attentive audience. True, there can be problems with a room such as a bad PA or no PA at all. If this is the case, you still have to shut-up and play and do what ever it takes to own the audience.

There used to be an expression called "working a room." the real pros know how to do this.


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Subject: RE: This Forum & American Folk Music
From: ThreeSheds
Date: 02 Sep 04 - 12:02 PM

When I was first introduced to Mudcat I thought it was a Hull and East Riding site with contributions mainly from insomniacs it took some time to appreciated that it originated elsewhere hence the daft time keeping


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Subject: RE: This Forum & American Folk Music
From: Steve-o
Date: 02 Sep 04 - 12:11 PM

This question has been in the back of my mind too, MG...thanks for posting it. Lots of good responses here, and I think they are mostly right on. I am guilty of scanning titles like "What's on in the Middletwitch?" and "To busk or not to busk" and rapidly losing interest. It's sort of a vicious cycle. I can't help but miss the interesting posts of the past from people like Justa, Catspaw, and, God knows, Rick.


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Subject: RE: This Forum & American Folk Music
From: jimmyt
Date: 02 Sep 04 - 12:22 PM

Problem is, MArtin, I am an entertainer. My three compadres, however are pure folk players and since they played in the 60s when people sat and listened to the words, they can't figure out why the inattentative nature of some venues exists.

My premise is that when this happens, we are playing the wrong place. It is always amazing when you perform a song, let's say, Don't Think Twice, and someone immediately requests something like Proud Mary, or The Devil Went Down to Georgia. It isn't like they are being rude, but it is a lot like me going into a hardware store and asking them if they have a head of cabbage. "Son, you are in the wrong store."


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Subject: RE: This Forum & American Folk Music
From: Once Famous
Date: 02 Sep 04 - 12:23 PM

Maybe all of the good topics have been discussed.

I experienced this on another fan based folk music web forum.

After some years, there really wasn't much left to talk about.

Maybe Americans like to let their music do the talking. I' rather play than talk about it!


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Subject: RE: This Forum & American Folk Music
From: W y s i w y G !
Date: 02 Sep 04 - 12:33 PM

I got pretty bummed out contributing about Spirituals, since people who I thought should have known better kept ignoring the work a number of us had done, and continued asking and posting ignorant stuff in that and other threads. I sorta just transferred the energy to other off-Mudcat stuff, tho I think I will resume work on the project at some point and I am glad it all sits here, available. There are still only 24 hours in a day.

~Susan


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Subject: RE: This Forum & American Folk Music
From: W y s i w y G !
Date: 02 Sep 04 - 12:40 PM

Another option I recall and can recommend is looking at the music thread list periodically and refreshing interesting stuff that's about to fall off the daily list.

Because--

Sometimes a thread with fewer than 10 posts just does not look interesting enough to people and they don't open it and contribute, but a thread that keeps landing on the top of the list will often be opened out of curiosity.

Also, a lot of the knowledgable members are not here every day, so if the thread falls off, they don't tend to see it.

Other past options that can be very productive are that if one is taking a break from BS or from one's own music interests-- the well running dry for examle-- spending a few minutes opening and answering lyric requests can lead to some interesting places for oneself, AND add to the interest in the forum. A little Googling for somoene else's request(s) can be a good thing.

~Susan


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Subject: RE: This Forum & American Folk Music
From: lucky_p
Date: 02 Sep 04 - 01:08 PM

Folk music performance in America has its home primarily non-commercial establishments: churches, community organizations, art centers, etc., and some backrooms of bars. I don't really understand why this is so, and have been wondering about this for years -- I believe the young people really listened to it -- to wit, it was on MTV or the radio -- they would love it. Witness the commercial rise in America of Tracey Chapman and Suzanne Vega, both of whom got their start in backrooms of bars.

I think it's very hard for folk music, particularly traditional folk music, to find a home in America because we live now in an increasingly techno video time filled with flashy loud imagery. Folk music is the antithesis of that: it speaks to low tech intimacy around the camp fire, it speaks to deep yearnings for community, for the pleasures of working together for a goal, rather than all important rugged individual/master of the universe. In short, it is inherently a low tech, hand made genre; and we live a time that values high tech, machine made culture.

I don't know what the answer is. I do think that the world would be a far better place with more folk music and less gangsta rap. More folk music and less Madonna. More folk music and less Britney Spears.

For our friends across the pond: here are a few American beauties in the field of folk music (all have web sites): Robin Greenstein, Jack Hardy, David Roth (not David Lee Roth), Richard Shindell.


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Subject: RE: This Forum & American Folk Music
From: PoppaGator
Date: 02 Sep 04 - 01:20 PM

What an excellent thread, and topic! There have been SO many reponses since last evening, most of them quite intelligent and all of them interesting.

I guess Martin Gibson isn't such a bad guy, after all -- whatcha think, gang?

VERY glad to see Jerry Rasmussen's name as part of this. I heard he quit -- but I also predicted he'd be back. Wasn't so sure it would be this soon, though...

If indeed all the good topics have already been discussed, let's do 'em again! Many of us are still relatively new and might have missed a few discussions the first time around


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Subject: RE: This Forum & American Folk Music
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 02 Sep 04 - 01:26 PM

Lucky P - Tracy Chapman and Suzanne Vega are hardly commercial successes. Especially in 2004. Each have had a few tunes that crept into the pop charts over the years, but today they are playing to the same audience that listens to the artists you mentioned at the end of your note.

I have a 14 year old daughter who listens to pop music. The closest to "folk" that she listens to is Jason Mraz. You can't force people to listen, there needs to be a reason. Chapman and Vega made it attractive at one point.

I think we have to be less concerned with "selling" the music and more concerned with "making" the music. There were very specific reasons why there was a folk music revival on both sides of the Atlantic and you can't artificially create a scene. Even though the media is accused of creating pop stars, there are more complex reasons why a Madonna or Brittany Spears makes it big.

You can't predict the spot when a meteor will hit again.


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Subject: RE: This Forum & American Folk Music
From: Once Famous
Date: 02 Sep 04 - 02:49 PM

PoppaGator

No I'm not such a bad guy after all. I've been making music long before I could vote.

If people who claim to be open minded would just accept reasoning and an outlook that is different from their own................well enough of that.

Music is my first love. It is a passion, and 40+ years of playing it and studying it would give me plenty of opportunity to share some things about what I know something about.

That's kind of what led me to start this thread.
thanks to all for a lot of good responses.


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Subject: RE: This Forum & American Folk Music
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 02 Sep 04 - 02:58 PM

Martin, as for me, I never thought you were a bad guy. I may not always agree with you, but I love the way you are direct and honest. I remember some of the first posts that I read from you were dealing with country music. It is obvious that you know what you are talking about and you are passionate about music - and other things.

This was and is a great thread. I do wish there was more discussion about American folk music, but we should also remember that it is still summertime and most Americans are traveling around the country checking out festivals and ENJOYING folk music in all it's various forms. Maybe when the weather turns cooler we will start seeing some great American threads about what kind of hammer John Henry used, the proper length of strings on dulcimers, Tom Dula's favorite color, and other esoteric American folk topics!


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Subject: RE: This Forum & American Folk Music
From: W y s i w y G !
Date: 02 Sep 04 - 03:34 PM

Well MG I'll tellya what, if you have any gospel treasures lurking around, I want 'em, so post away. And I'll want to HEAR 'em, too, cuz if they are good songs I will want to learn them. Of course if you sent me a CD there is a good chance I would figure out who you are, but altho I am armed I am not usually dangerous. :~)

~Susan


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Subject: RE: This Forum & American Folk Music
From: jimmyt
Date: 02 Sep 04 - 03:38 PM

Brings up an interesting story.(at least to me) My group was performing at the Mountain Opry recently on SIgnal Mtn Tennessee, a neat venue for anyone close enough to check it out. Predominately bluegrass music, sign in sheet, every group gets a half hour, etc/


Well we had never performed there before, and when we did Reubin James, TOm Dooley, MTA, Settledown, Don't think Twice and Leavin' on a Jet Plane along with a couple Irish standards, (ROddy Mc COrley was one of them) We had a terrific response from a packed house. THe folks had never heard a whistle played in a song before, hadn't heard most of this music since the 60s, and although it was not their standard music, they loved our harmonies, and were generally very positive about it.

ONe guy, though singled me out and wanted to argue that this was not, in fact, folk music, and we had no right to advertise that it was. I gently tried to suggest that the songs we had sung were many from the 60s but had origins long before then is some cases. He was just adamant about it. (While the guitars were tuning before Tom Dooley, I was just filling with mindless drivel. and started off on a tangent about our last song was an Irish Tune also, called Tom O'Dooley. I made it very clear to the audience that I was joking, at least I thought) ...and as this guy made his parting shot, "Oh, and not only is your music not folk music, that Tom O'Dooley is not even an Irish song!" "Your correct, sir, that was a joke".

What in the hell would make someone go off like that?" I have not enjoyed music before but would never consider going up and making a big deal about it? I guess I just don't understand what makes some people tick. Rant over! It is interesting that the other three members got nothing but praise and when I told them what this guy said, the didn't believe me


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Subject: RE: This Forum & American Folk Music
From: jimmyt
Date: 02 Sep 04 - 04:48 PM

Apologize for the thread creep! I am kind of random today.


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Subject: RE: This Forum & American Folk Music
From: W y s i w y G !
Date: 02 Sep 04 - 06:38 PM

I would cetainly agree that for quite some time, the announcement threads about who is playing where, or about specific folk clubs' activities, or specific sessions, singarounds, and festivals have proliferated, and that the UK events seem to be there in much greater numbers.

So I would propose some enterprising Brit might take over the "What's On" permathread now that Bert no longer works at Mudcat Central and is not online enough to maintain it.

Volunteers for THAT job might contact Joe Offer.

~Susan


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Subject: RE: This Forum & American Folk Music
From: Maryrrf
Date: 02 Sep 04 - 07:51 PM

I'm an American but the old American ballads led me to investigate their ancestors - from England, Scotland and Ireland. So I'm glad both are discussed on Mudcat. I enjoy keeping up with the UK music scene on Mudcat so I don't mind the UK "Who's playing where" threads. I seldom post on Mucat even when I have a question because, while I appreciate the information and knowledge here there is also a lot of sarcasm and nastiness and one never knows what will set it off. I've actually composed pretty long posts and then just deleted them and not posted because I was afraid something I said would elicit cutting criticism, nasty remarks or some kind of controversy, even if it was just an opinion. That might make me sound like a wimp (after all, this is cyberspace and not real life) but I have to deal with enough cranky cantankerous relatives and co-workers and I just don't want to get into it. I'm glad both sides of the Atlantic are well represented, I just wish there wasn't so much bickering. Not accusing anyone on this thread, by the way, and now I'll go back to my lurking.


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Subject: RE: This Forum & American Folk Music
From: Joybell
Date: 02 Sep 04 - 08:36 PM

I've got fairly recent - (like 160 years back) roots in the UK, an American husband, had a Kiwi mother, and I'm an Aussie. So I find I've got things to learn and things to contribute on many music threads. I also have a passionate interest in British and American folklore.
Mudcat for me is the coffee-shop I always wanted to go to to talk deep talk and learn to play the wise and witty fool. I never knew how you got in. Here I suspect there are others who never got behind the green door either.
Off the track a bit but it seemed relevant there for a while until I got to rambling again.


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Subject: RE: This Forum & American Folk Music
From: Amos
Date: 02 Sep 04 - 08:45 PM

JimmyT:

Next time, just ask him to explain what folk music is. Then thank him VERY much for clarifying things!! LOL!


A


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Subject: RE: This Forum & American Folk Music
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 02 Sep 04 - 08:58 PM

Much to my chagrin, many people I talk with give me a bovine expression when I tell them I play folk music. They usually ask, "What is that?" They aren't engaging in Mudcat polemics here.. or Polecat polemics. They don't have a clue what I'm talking about. The 60's were a lonnnnnnnnnng time ago. I suppose that response is far preferable to scrinching up their nose and going eeeewwwwww!

Maybe we're just too obsessed with labels in this country.

If I just play the songs, they usually like them. And then they'll say... "Oh, that's what folk music is?"

Jerry


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Subject: RE: This Forum & American Folk Music
From: lucky_p
Date: 02 Sep 04 - 09:50 PM

Jerry,

I see your point, except that folk music, particularly its "roots" element (i.e., union songs, songs of the civil war/revolutionary war, songs of the westward migration, women's songs, freedom songs, field hollars, appalachian banjo and fiddle tunes, cajun culture, sea chanteys, and the list goes on) -- this not tin pan alley and it is not popular music (except the "singer-songwriters" who are really performing popular music, and while much of it I do like, it is not "folk music.") Folk music has a social and political agenda, always has. It has a life beyond the words and melody and harmony. It's a political statement when the expectation is that the audience will be encouraged to sing along with the performer, as peers, as part of the performance, rather than the performer singing for a passive, silent audience. In short, there are many special dimensions and characteristics of folk music that sets it apart from other forms of music and, I believe, elevates it in some ways like traditional jazz and blues -- other "homemade" music. And it should be proud of itself for that distinction, and promoted as such, and represent an artistic/musical bulwark against the violence and ignorance and cheapness of so much of popular music/popular culture today.


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Subject: RE: This Forum & American Folk Music
From: InOBU
Date: 02 Sep 04 - 10:07 PM

Hey, I am an American Mudcatter... sort of... just no one gives a damn about what I have to say about anything... but we're here... as Phil Ochs said, singing in the face of crule men... we're the folks you don't hear on the radio (exept for Ron Olesko and WABI - )
Cheers
Larry


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Subject: RE: This Forum & American Folk Music
From: Once Famous
Date: 02 Sep 04 - 10:26 PM

lucky p

Folk music does not always have to have a social and political agenda. Personally, it is that part of folk music, especially the political part that I really don't like. Tight vocal harmonies and nice picking are much more my style. I also kind of think it is more of the style many American's prefer.

Now I really did not want to have this thread degenerate into another "what is folk" thread.


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Subject: RE: This Forum & American Folk Music
From: Rt Revd Sir jOhn from Hull
Date: 02 Sep 04 - 10:31 PM

Hello=
Maybe its becuse England is bigger than america, and there is more of us here?


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Subject: RE: This Forum & American Folk Music
From: Joybell
Date: 03 Sep 04 - 07:30 AM

I'm right with you Martin Gibson, but I'll leave it at that so as not to encourage more thread-creep. Joy


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Subject: RE: This Forum & American Folk Music
From: greg stephens
Date: 03 Sep 04 - 07:34 AM

Many thanks to the Emeritus Professor of Geography and Demography at Hull University, for setting us straight on a few basic points.


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Subject: RE: This Forum & American Folk Music
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 03 Sep 04 - 08:31 AM

Another yeah, not to limit folk music to political and sociological songs. For people who aren't in the folk community, those are the songs that are least likely to "go over" when I perform, unless it's something with humor, like Penny's Farm or John Johanna.

Jerry


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Subject: RE: This Forum & American Folk Music
From: Ron Davies
Date: 03 Sep 04 - 08:49 AM

Martin--

Excellent thread--

A couple of possibilities--

As has been pointed out many times already on the thread, distances are much more substantial in the US---makes it a lot more difficult for folkies to get together.

This is by definition a forum about words. It's possible that a lot of bluegrass and country perfomers ( and possibly fans) either are naturally laconic ( there's a long and honored tradition of that) or just don't want to discuss their music in the kind of depth that often happens here. Added to that, discussions of who wrote a song are less likely on this side of the pond, since it's usually known (even slightly controversial songs like "Darcy Farrow" and "Long Black Veil" have now been dealt with).

Also, there is absolutely no US festival that compares with Sidmouth as to numbers of Mudcatters who attend, with Whitby also likely in this category. Particularly now, it may seem there's an obsession with these two, but they have just finished and they come just about right on top of each other. There's also a lot of concern particularly with Sidmouth, since from being one year perhaps the biggest folk festival in Europe, it's suddenly unclear what the future holds at all--it's essential to keep it going next year as "just the fringe"-- which is actually some of the best music-making in the world--in order that the full festival start up again in 2006.

I have a lot more to say on this great topic, but have to get ready to go to Eastern
Pennsylvania to a Folk Song Weekend--to do stuff like sing and play parodies, continue my struggle, with like-minded others, against the RUS "hymn sing approach", and sing sea songs while swimming in the pond--now that's good exercise. Besides, I'm getting flak here at home--she says I'm doing too much "Mudcatting around" (as Flatt and Scruggs
might say).

Bye for now.


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Subject: RE: This Forum & American Folk Music
From: GUEST,John Hardly
Date: 03 Sep 04 - 09:46 AM

'mericans, like me, are much more likely to care less about the hard edged lines of folk/non-folk.

We not only accept the same blurred edges that our best folk musicians accept -- we revel in them. We love our Sam Bushes who play bluegrass, jazz and rock 'n' roll. We love our Tim O'Briens who play bluegrass, swing, old-timey and celtic. We love our Tony Rices who play jazz and bluegrass. We love our folk mixed well with blues. We love the best of our singer-songwriters who, like Pierce Pettis, Peter Mulvey, LJ Booth, Jack Williams, Cheryl Wheeler, et al, who aren't afraid to marry the best of rock and even pop to make a song more listenable, more interesting, more moving.

We blur our lines and we like it that way...

...but when we blur the lines here (on mudcat) there's always some folk nazi here to remind us that we just don't "get it". And it's not that we are insecure about our eclectic tastes -- we just tire of that very old discussion -- even if we accept a "provenance" as opposed to "style" view of "folk" music.


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Subject: RE: This Forum & American Folk Music
From: Once Famous
Date: 03 Sep 04 - 05:12 PM

Excellent way of putting it John Hardly.

Is it that we are just less uptight about it all? More flexible?


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Subject: RE: This Forum & American Folk Music
From: W y s i w y G !
Date: 03 Sep 04 - 05:15 PM

The US touring folkie pro's are often farther away from home than their UK counterparts, with much more ground to cover beween gigs. So, less posting time. UK performing-pro Mudcatters just seem to post oftener than, say, Jed Marum or Seamus Kennedy.

~Susan


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Subject: RE: This Forum & American Folk Music
From: John Hardly
Date: 04 Sep 04 - 04:07 PM

Y'know, just possibly there's another reason that specifically the mudcat 'mericans don't talk as much about 'merican folk music...

Age.

It struck me as almost phenomenal that at nearly 50 I was young for this site.

The American folk music scene -- when taken as broadly including singer-songwriters, bluegrass, old-timey and actual folk music is as vibrant today as it has ever been -- maybe even eclipsing the folk scare of the 60s. Sure, we don't get played on top 40 radio these days, but what does?

We sell more recordings than ever before.
We have bigger festivals and more of them
We have radio programs dedicated to folk -- many to specific styles.

But this is where the age of the mudcat comes in...

...what we seem to lack is the older generation taking an interest in what the young ones are doing. The American mudcat represents a very old demographic --- one that is still arguing whether or not it is acceptable to listen to the Kingston Trio. The older ones here are adamantly protecting what is left of the folk world that was vibrant when they were more actively participating.

But the older among us here are also, on the whole, more articulate. They tell better stories and at one time showed the care to share that kind of stuff here -- the younger enjoyed it but, by coincidence, serendipity, whatever, the younger ones who have come and gone didn't find a reciprocal interest in what they had to say.

The music didn't sound the same.

Just another guess.


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Subject: RE: This Forum & American Folk Music
From: GUEST,Art Thieme
Date: 04 Sep 04 - 09:29 PM

Folks, I'm here. Never left. And, Susan, thanks for the unique kids book.
Chris, I will be at Fox Valley Folk Fest over Labor Day. Hope it's not too wet there for my wheels.

About this good thread: I do better writing out info when I know someone is looking for specific things I, surprisingly, might have info on. That is why I like to add my two cents into threads on a topic I might know a bit about. (See the "Who Is Steve Goodman" thread.)I rarely start threads because I am not a self-motivator. I like what I like and when I say those things I sincerely beleieve to be the truth of what folk music "IS" I piss off the MGs among us. So, realizing, I won't change minds out there by being strident myself, I've chosen to avoid those threads. Mainly those are the BS threads of late. --- But where I can be helpful, I will be here.

Thanks for "all the good people" out there and in here at Mudcat. It's a good thing to check back with you all. I do hate it when one of you dies, so please quit doing that. ;-)

Art Thieme
(P.S.---A new CD from some older tapes of mine will be coming out some day soon--thanks to the good work of Dennis Cook in Maryland. To be called CHICAGO TOWN AND POINTS WEST, please consider this just a warning--and a rather blatent plug as well.---Sandy Paton is involved in this as well.)


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Subject: RE: This Forum & American Folk Music
From: W y s i w y G !
Date: 04 Sep 04 - 10:03 PM

I do hate it when one of you dies, so please quit doing that. ;-)


OK, let's all take the pledge!

:~)

~S~


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Subject: RE: This Forum & American Folk Music
From: Peace
Date: 04 Sep 04 - 10:06 PM

In many ways, the 'definition' of folk--not something I care to tackle--influences the responses people give to questions. When it is a directly-related "history" question, things can be fairly unequivocal and answers are right, wrong or might be. The pursuit of scholarship most often precludes side trips down Flame Alley. However, the fragmentation of music into categories (is House of the Rising Sun by the Animals still a folk song?) causes people who work in specialty areas to focus IN those areas. And we got lotsa areas out there.

I always thought Martin was a good guy, and I look forward to hearing him play sometime in the next year or so. My own musical quests tend to lean more to 'folk/rock' kinda stuff, but I love good music regardless how it's been actegorized, and nothing beats a great performance by any master of his/her art/craft.

Good thread, Martin.


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Subject: RE: This Forum & American Folk Music
From: jimmyt
Date: 04 Sep 04 - 10:07 PM

Art, Let me say how much I appreciate your posts. There are really quite a lot of folks like you, Jerry Rasmussen, and yes, Martin Gibson who have been kicking around this folk music world for a long time and it is fascinating to get you guys' insight about what has happened over the last few decades of American folk music. Please keep making your contributions. People are listening and learning. jimmyt


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Subject: RE: This Forum & American Folk Music
From: jimmyt
Date: 04 Sep 04 - 10:45 PM

I just refreshed an old thread. It is the first thread I started here, and it has lots of very good comments by some of the greats of mudcat. Art, Jerry, Mudlark, Don Firth, Deckman, Amos, MTed, etc. I think it is worth a read. Hope you enjoy it.


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Subject: RE: This Forum & American Folk Music
From: katlaughing
Date: 04 Sep 04 - 11:21 PM

My Dear Fine Art,

I won't, if you won't (die that is!).:-)

Your postings are ALWAYS well-worth time spent and very informative. Who cares if you piss off the MG's of the world; they've not proven themselves worthy, anyway.

luvyakat


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Subject: RE: This Forum & American Folk Music
From: mg
Date: 05 Sep 04 - 01:31 AM

I love reading about the events in Hull and elsewhere. I participate sort of vicariously. I read about the ferry schedules and the sleeping arrangements and food at the pub. It's like reading a travel brochure. I also think it is very important to publicize our own events, like Sunnycamp etc.....these are extremely fun, often quite inexpensive, ways to sing all weekend with nice people....the more dots we connect throughout the world and in our own areas, the better off we all are. And you never know, someone from afar could be traveling at exactly that moment and decide to join you. mg


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Subject: RE: This Forum & American Folk Music
From: GUEST,Frank Hamilton
Date: 05 Sep 04 - 05:28 PM

I've been studying folk music for over fifty years and I've come to the conclusion that I really don't quite know what it is. So, it's the music, words. culture and history that are important to me.

I have tried to approach it from a musical standpoint. Tried to learn to play it, see what makes it tick from the standpoint of harmony, melody, modes, rhythm, counterpoint, vocal and instrumental.

I used to think that it was a form of expression that was somehow separate from other forms of music, and now I don't believe that anymore. I hear jazz in the blues, blues in the appalachian songs and bluegrass, country sounds in the blues, popular music in the ballads (even the trad ones), minstrel tunes in bluegrass and old timey, American banjo playing in Irish music, Irish keening in mountain ballads, minor singing against the major chords of the hymns, religious in the secular and secular in the religious. I hear folk in the rock music, African music in Motown and Hip Hop, and now Hip Hop is all over the world. I hear be bop in B.B. and down home blues in Bird. I hear the wailing of Indian shanai in Coltrane. Scott Joplin, Jelly Roll Morton, Fats Waller and James P. Johnson in Mississipi John Hurt, Rev. Gary Davis and Big Bill.
I hear thirteenth chords and diminished chords in Pete's banjo. I hear the "concert artists" such as Jean Ritchie and Redpath following a traditional classical music pattern of performing for paying audiences. Doc Watson plays "Over the Rainbow" and Rockabilly when he does his accoustic country counterpoint. I hear Jimmy Rodgers and Texas Gladden in his singing. Also Ernest Tubbs. I hear the Golden Gate Quartet and Dixie Hummingbirds in the Bluegrass gospel music. "It Is No Secret", a Gospel hymn by Stuart Hamblin, a Country/Western singer (when they had that category) was a staple of African-American gospel churches. I hear old English parlor songs in the Carter Family and some vaudeville numbers there too.

In short, I no longer believe that there is one clear path to American folk music. It's a big stew and the solution to the problem of learning it is to study how it's been used in the extraordinarilly various ways. Sometimes, a genre creeps in that seems definitive and then that is shown to be influenced by something else. A solution to it's study for me has been to learn how so and so does it and look to the background and history of the song or tune.

The person that tries to keep folk music pure is tilting at windmills. As human beings in geneology, we are all said to be descendents of Halfdan the Warty and Erik the Fart but I think we probably go back to preZinganthropus in the Oldavai Gorge in Africa. Music follows our species in the same way, a long river with myriad tributaries.

There is no pure English, Irish, American, Scottish or any other national or international music but there are elements that we recognize and honor. They can be studied, played, sung and enjoyed with the rigors of learning any musical discipline through notes or without notes. The artists that we admire have cultivated a craft through spending a lot of time at it and whatever it turns out to be reflects that sincerity, conviction and perspicacity that it takes to learn it.

Frank Hamilton


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Subject: RE: This Forum & American Folk Music
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 05 Sep 04 - 05:32 PM

Wonderful posting, Frank!

Jerry


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Subject: RE: This Forum & American Folk Music
From: lucky_p
Date: 05 Sep 04 - 08:14 PM

This is great! I'm just so grateful and enamored that there is at least small cadre of people interested in discussing these matters. Thank you all for rendering some humility to this bespectacled old Jewish radical (should be) grannie who imagines herself as a combination Madame Defarge, Malvina Reynolds, and Mother Jones.

Peace,

lucky


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Subject: RE: This Forum & American Folk Music
From: jimmyt
Date: 05 Sep 04 - 09:54 PM

Frank, you pretty much summed it all up. Next time someone whines about "that's not really folk music" or " What is folk music?" we can just say, "Ask Frank"


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Subject: RE: This Forum & American Folk Music
From: Peace
Date: 05 Sep 04 - 10:08 PM

Ditto what jimmyt said.


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Subject: RE: This Forum & American Folk Music
From: GUEST,Frank Hamilton
Date: 06 Sep 04 - 11:44 AM

Thank you JimmyT and Jerry. When I hear the great artists of American music I am so grateful that I live in a time where we can avail ourselves of this music on CD and the net. It is easier today to learn to play the banjo, guitar, or ? then it ever was. I remember searching in my younger days for someone who could show me something on the five-string in Los Angeles of the early fifties. There were not that many around. I ran across Eddie Mann who showed me how to play a basic strum. Pete Seeger's book was not widely available at that time. And he hadn't modified or updated it yet. No one in L.A. in the folk circles I was traveling in knew much about Earl Scruggs or Don Reno. If you wanted to learn the blues, you had to travel into the black community and search out the players such as K.C. Douglas in Richmond, Calif. or Jesse Fuller. Lightning Hopkins and Thunder Smith were playing on Central Avenue in downtown L.A. but it was not as accessible to a white kid although I have to say whenever I visited Watts to meet with some musical jazz friends, I was treated very well, with manners and tolerance.
Today we have videos and now DVD's of our favorite artists and can learn in the living room and jam with all kinds of interested musicians.

Frank Hamilton


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Subject: RE: This Forum & American Folk Music
From: katlaughing
Date: 06 Sep 04 - 11:49 AM

Hear, hear! That should be displayed somewhere prominent, Frank! Thank you!

lucky, welcome to the Mudcat. Sounds like a good *combo* to me!

kat


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Subject: RE: This Forum & American Folk Music
From: Once Famous
Date: 06 Sep 04 - 09:56 PM

Art, who says you piss me off?

Oh, I guess the MG you were referring to was Mary Garvey.


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Subject: RE: This Forum & American Folk Music
From: GUEST,Art Thieme...
Date: 07 Sep 04 - 01:01 AM

... freshly back from listening to ALL the previously mentioned music types and styles at the great and venerable Fox Valley Folk Fesival. My batteries are now fully charged.

Martin Gibson, I didn't see you there at Fox Valley -- so I ate your funnel cake. ;-)

Frank, I may have mentioned I got to take one lesson from you at the OTSFM, and then you joined the Weavers. It was the last formal lesson I ever took. After that it was piecemeal---bits and pieces from folks all over the U.S.A. ---! Back then it was obvious to me what a gift it was to have that single lesson from a master. (What you showed the group that day in Chicago was how to pick Pete's "Livin' In The Country" as it was picked by the two of you on your LP called Nonesuch--on Folkways. Thanks so much for what you showed me way back then, and also, now, in your good post. The cream does rise to the top !!!

Art Thieme


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Subject: RE: This Forum & American Folk Music
From: The Villan
Date: 07 Sep 04 - 01:59 AM

I would like to make a comment and defend the posting of whats on threads.

I have been running my folkclub for a little over 6 months and it has proved to be very succesful.
The many varied artists who appear give up their time free (mostly) to make this club succesful and push their music out to the people of this area. They also stay and listen to the other artists. Normally about 7 or 8 artists on per evening.
I also put a lot of time into ensuring that each evenings events are a pleasant and enjoyable evening for all who attend. Again all for free.

If I don't get the audience in, then I don't survive. So I see nothing wrong in trying to make other mudcatters aware of when my Folk evenings are on.

So please wise up, you guys who may think my postings are misplaced.

Since opening up this club, I have seen so much excellent local talent come through the doors - its just amazing.

A number of them are appearing on a Charity Cd that Lincolnshire will be pushing out shortly.

So, I know that I rely on artists very much to make my club, but sometimes I think some of you artists don't appreciate what efforts Club organisers go to, to ensure that your music is heard.

If you don't or cannot attend my folk club, which is Market Rasen Folk Club - http://www.marketrasenfolkclub.co.uk

then you don't have to read my threads, but I can tell you there is an awful lot of time and effort and pride that goes into all of this and I want to share it with anybody who wants to take an interest.
You never know, you may just be in the area one day, and wherever posible, I will do my best to give you a floorspot of 20 minutes.

Oh and incidentally, I have learned a lot from what all of you guys and gals posts. Mudcat is an excellent forum. :-)

This is not meant to be a gripe or moaning post, just trying to put my side.


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Subject: RE: This Forum & American Folk Music
From: Ron Davies
Date: 07 Sep 04 - 11:14 PM

Mary Garvey and Villan are dead right. There's no reason for American Mudcatters to, as the UK "Catters say, "get their knickers in a twist". It is in fact not only a vicarious travelogue to read the postings regarding pub schedules etc. but also good info. I suspect a lot of US Mudcatters would like to or perhaps already have visited some UK and Irish pubs. It's always good to know what they're like, 'pub etiquette', problems, and especially the best ones to get to. If Americans feel their interests are being slighted, they can post notices of their own gatherings, as Mary Garvey has done.


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Subject: RE: This Forum & American Folk Music
From: GUEST,Frank Hamilton
Date: 08 Sep 04 - 03:42 PM

Thank you Kat and Art.

Art, although I thank you for your compliment, I realize that you are so talented that you would have learned anything I had to teach you eventually anyway.

I am grateful to have been there for you at that time, though.

It's always a privilege to show something to appreciative and talented people.
It's a special kind of reward. I think that Susan would agree.

Frank Hamilton


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Subject: RE: This Forum & American Folk Music
From: katlaughing
Date: 08 Sep 04 - 04:19 PM

Frank, I have your excellent piece *saved* for anytime someone asks "what is folk!" It is pure poetry; I read it aloud to family and friends last night and it just rolls off the tongue...you have a real cadence going there that's just brilliant. Thanks, again.

I agree with Ron, Mary and Villan...as an American, I love to read what's going on all over, including the UK. Sometimes it makes me a bit wistfull because I cannot be there, but I love to read about it and look at the pictures. It's great to put faces and words to names. Goodonya, The Villan!


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Subject: RE: This Forum & American Folk Music
From: DonMeixner
Date: 08 Sep 04 - 10:31 PM

Brilliant Frank.

The is one constant I find in folk music is not the melody or song because they are changeable and changing. The second someone plays a song on a guitar he first heard on a banjo and sings it without the words in front of him the song has changed. I think the tradition of traditional music is this change and there oin lies the beauty of folkmusic to me.

The one unchanging part of the tradition is the singing. Not the "what" is being sung but the act of singing itself. The somgs will change overtime and go from endearing to unacceptable and back again in a few generations. But someone is always singing them. I think thats where B.B. gets the Bop and Doc gets the Swing.

Great thread Martin, I think we are just in a "All British" "All MOnth" kinda twist right now, stick around for "The Great Blues of Greenland Month."

Don


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Subject: RE: This Forum & American Folk Music
From: Paco Rabanne
Date: 09 Sep 04 - 03:06 AM

good point!


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Subject: RE: This Forum & American Folk Music
From: Paco Rabanne
Date: 09 Sep 04 - 03:06 AM

oh, 100 by the way.


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Subject: RE: This Forum & American Folk Music
From: GUEST
Date: 07 Jul 06 - 12:41 AM


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Subject: RE: This Forum & American Folk Music
From: GUEST
Date: 07 Jul 06 - 12:45 AM

Sorry, hit the submit button too soon.

Someone mentioned 'almost missing' Martin Gibson in a thread, so I went looking for threads by him.

This is a great thread with some great posts. Wondering what people's thoughts are about the subject a couple of years later--this forum & American folk music, that is. It still isn't being discussed much here in my experience.


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Subject: RE: This Forum & American Folk Music
From: Gurney
Date: 07 Jul 06 - 01:35 AM

I'm 30+ years out of the English folk scene, but as I remember it, it was very encouraging to new performers, and we sat through (and applauded) lots of less-than-perfect acts. Club organisers actually encouraged them, and some internationally known talents made the journey.
Compactness was also a factor. When I lived there I could, and sometimes did, visit 7 folk clubs a week, within 1hr driving distance, and 7 or 8 festivals a year. Nowadays I see advertised even more festivals than then.
The American performers that we saw then, and now, are slick and professional artists, who but from their musical preference could fit into any musical field. Only a few English performers could match them.
Is the American scene one in which perhaps a quarter of the audience in a club could and would get up and 'do a turn' if asked? I can't answer that, but I do know that I was encouraged in England, and have been a folkie ever since. Mouthy ever since, too.


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Subject: RE: This Forum & American Folk Music
From: W y s i w y G !
Date: 07 Jul 06 - 09:31 AM

Frank, may I edit together some of your posts above to post on our band's website? I see a great article there about the folk process-- and I was just working on what it means to a singer to, that process, to be connected to the history of the songs we sing. Please PM your response when you get a chance.

~Susan


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Subject: RE: This Forum & American Folk Music
From: GUEST,Frank Hamilton
Date: 07 Jul 06 - 10:38 AM

Martin brings up a valuable point. I think of folk music as a form of expression whereby anyone can participate. In America, we have become a spectator culture. We don't play sandlot baseball like we used to. Instead of making music themselves, many vote for performers on American Idol.

I think that the solution is for performers who do folk music to include a lot more people in the participation through introducing songs that have choruses that audiences can sing.

Pete Seeger thought that the "hootenanny" served this function.

I think that the rise of folksong clubs where people get together to make music would solve this problem. We saw a lot more of it in the Fifties and Sixties than we do today. I used to go to gatherings in people's homes where accompaniment instruments would be brought in and songs would be sung and played, particularly American folksongs that were simple and accessible.

Folk music classes concentrating on playing different instruments as accompaniment to songs are important here too.

Somehow, these valuable groups of people became either an exercise in academic criticism or limited to those who were outstanding or professionals entertaining others. I have nothing against those who are accomplished performers but they require a concert or a performance venue.

I think the answer to Martin's question lies in the fact that people don't participate in music making as much nowadays. I think that living room "hoots" or sharing songs would solve the problem.

The Old Town School of Folk Music in Chicago was created to answer this need. It's core approach was inclusion of all kinds of interest in a variety of folk music that could be shared through group participation. We taught people to play so that they could go out on their own and share their love of singing and playing with others.

We also provided a venue for those who were more accomplished to perform and get started.

I found that when people became interested in folk music and "owned" it, they became interested in where it came from and the people who originated it. They delved into the history and the various cultures.

A big mistake would be to exclude. I have always stated that folk music is not an exclusive club. It's fine for people to have their preferences and this is healthy but
nothing that people consider valuable needs to be shunned.

I think an attitude of sharing musical knowledge and songs is what may be missing these days. In many ways, the popular music field is responsible by making a "star system" that discourages amateur participation. Music is music before it is a business.

I believe that it's important, however, to encourage people be get better at what they do by learning to play and sing through lessons or mentoring.

Also, I think it's good if people start to memorize songs and not rely on keeping noses in songbooks. If songbooks are used, I think it's important to occasionally look up from it and acknowlege those who are sharing the music with you. Certain lines of songs can be remembered at a casual glance at the songbook.

I think workshops are valuable if the leader can communicate what is important in the music that is being presented. So often. workshops are ego trips for accomplished artists.

The next folk music revival (if there is one) will be in the living room. BTW, The Old Town School of Folk Music is like a great big living room with the emphasis on "living".

Frank Hamilton


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Subject: RE: This Forum & American Folk Music
From: GUEST
Date: 07 Jul 06 - 10:45 AM

Thanks for that, Frank.

I'd be interested in finding out if there are any other music institutions like the great Old Town School anywhere else in North America?

If people know of them, they could post information about them here.


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Subject: RE: This Forum & American Folk Music
From: W y s i w y G !
Date: 07 Jul 06 - 11:11 AM

Frank, may I edit together some of your posts above to post on our band's website? I see a great article there about the folk process-- and I was just working on what it means to a singer to, that process, to be connected to the history of the songs we sing. Please PM your response when you get a chance.

~Susan


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Subject: RE: This Forum & American Folk Music
From: GUEST,Frank Hamilton
Date: 07 Jul 06 - 01:57 PM

Susan, I'm writing on a different computer so apologies to all if I answer you here.
Can't get through to your address.

Of course feel free to use any idea that I have to post anywhere you would like. I'm honored that you consider my posts that valuable. Please check out my response to Don Firth on the Ewan McColl post. It's relevant to what we're talking about here.

Guest, there are summer camps such as Augusta and Swannoa and McCabe's Guitar Shop in Los Angeles. There are workshops around the country that have fine instructors but forgive me for being biased in saying that I know of no other institution quite like the Old Town School. It's unique. I think it's a good thread though and people should know what is available to them.

Frank Hamilton


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Subject: RE: This Forum & American Folk Music
From: W y s i w y G !
Date: 07 Jul 06 - 02:18 PM

Thanks Frank. Here's where I'll be putting it (somewhere) if you want to be in touch further:

http://groups.msn.com/TheGoodNewsGoodtimeBand/_whatsnew.msnw

~Susan


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Subject: RE: This Forum & American Folk Music
From: GUEST,Mike Miller
Date: 07 Jul 06 - 11:08 PM

What an interesting thread. I've thought quite a bit about this over the years. That the attitude and approach toward folk music differs from right to left bank of the Atlantic is apparent. I have a few ideas as to why this may be so. It wasn't always this way. America has had a better relationship with her own musical past than she does today. Here's one idea. American folksingers (who tend to be politically liberal) are uncomfortable singing Steven Foster songs (they are, by today's standards, incredably racist and patronizing), and it's tough to romanticise songs of the western expansion (we are, now, aware of the injustices perpetrated by the "Americans" against the "Indians") and, how can we sing what we, now, know to be, pro-war songs. So many folksingers seem embarrassed by their national policies and they equate "patriotism" with the oppressive right and wind up with less desire to immerse themselves in American historical culture (which is what folk music is)
Well, that's one idea. Another is that it might, all, be cyclical. Every once in a while, American pop culture catches up with its roots and, whether it's Burl Ives and The Weavers in the 40's (Boy, did you ever think you'd read those two names in the same sentence?),
Joan Baez, The Kingston Trio, Harry Belafonte, Guy Mitchell, Pete Seeger, Bruce Springstien, O Brother or whoever is the next one to make it OK to love American folksongs as I, and I suspect a few of you, do.


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Subject: RE: This Forum & American Folk Music
From: GUEST,Bee
Date: 08 Jul 06 - 09:58 AM

Just wanted to comment that here in Atlantic Canada, and in the Ottawa Valley, and no doubt other parts of Canada where I'm less familiar with the folk/roots/trad music scene, the kitchen party continues to be the main venue for most of us. Musicians, singers, songwriters mostly start there, continue to participate throughout their public careers, should they be lucky enough to have one, and rarely stop performing informally with and for their friends and neighbours.

We do have quite a few music festivals - you can attend a Bluegrass or country festival every weekend, should you wish to, and there are several high profile Folk festivals.

As for younger music makers, we here owe a great deal to the young people of Cape Breton, the Acadian shore, Newfoundland, etc., who continue to take a lively interest in making terrific music based on their respective community traditions.

But as to the public airwaves, except for the CBC TV and Radio (Canadian Broadcasting Corp, or "Mother Corp"), you'd never know all these performers existed, Shania Twain and Celine Dion notwithstanding.

I suspect every English speaking country includes relatively small numbers of people who are even interested in any music that isn't dismissible ear-candy presented by equally dismissible eye-candy, designed primarily by multi-corps trying to sell something. But I may just be middle-aged and out of touch on that subject.

On topic, I don't think it matters what group participates more or less on a site like this. The fact that these smaller demographics are participating at all is delightful to me, and also indicates yet another great effect of the internet.


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Subject: RE: This Forum & American Folk Music
From: GUEST,Frank Hamilton
Date: 08 Jul 06 - 01:07 PM

Mike, speaking for myself, I am never uncomfortable singing many Stephen Foster songs.
The songs he wrote for the commericalized minstrel shows were not as enduring in my opinion as the art songs such as 'Jeannie With The Light Brown Hair" or "Beautiful Dreamer."
(Camptown Races excepted of course). Angelina Baker lives on in the folk tradition.
"Hard Times Come Again No More" is a classic.

I believe that these songs that are "questionable" in some audience's minds can be appropriately presented in a historical context. I am not in favor of censorship. Some songs deemed offensive can be presented in such a way to describe negative ideas in a historical context.

This would include some songs that depict Native Americans or African-Americans in a bad light. I think it's important to contrast these songs with those whose positive values I embrace in what some would label "liberal". Again, I emphasize that these songs need to be taken in historical context as an index into the lives of the people who sang them.
For example, "The Unrescontructed Rebel" (whose sentiments I don't agree with) is an important example that needs to be shown.

"Dixie" is one of those songs that needs to be looked at and taken away from the Southern KKK or the New Orleans music publisher that stole the song from Dan Emmett. Emmett was a supporter of the Union and would be appalled that it became the Confederate anthem.

It's a great song which was co-opted by hate groups.

I'm inclined to be interested in folk music from the standpoint of history. History tells us the "facts" of what happened. Folk music tells us how people felt.

We need to know these things.

Frank Hamilton


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Subject: RE: This Forum & American Folk Music
From: michaelr
Date: 09 Jul 06 - 12:03 AM

Mike Miller makes, I think, the incisive point. Those of us who are aware of what is wrong, and has been, with US policy, will be reluctant to sing songs which glorify that sordid past (and present).

It's similar to why there is next to no German traditional music today. Nationalism, real or perceived, is just not cool.

Cheers,
Michael


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Subject: RE: This Forum & American Folk Music
From: GUEST,punkfolkrocker
Date: 09 Jul 06 - 12:17 AM

you yanks invented rock 'n' roll..

for fucks sake be proud !!!!!!!!


thats 50 years of best music ever !!!!!!!!


and anything we Brits did since is so indebted to the spirit of american
Rock n roll !!!!!!


and if you are an old miserable **** who *********************** etc blah blah


well.. you and your miserable false deity music hating god
can just **** off


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Subject: RE: This Forum & American Folk Music
From: Bill D
Date: 09 Jul 06 - 10:10 AM

we did not ALL invent R&R....

PROUD?? for DECIBELS? And concerts that require police? *tsk*

I am an old miserable **** who regrets the whole thing.

****ing off now......


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Subject: RE: This Forum & American Folk Music
From: GUEST,Mike Miller
Date: 09 Jul 06 - 04:46 PM

I am not surprised that Frank Hamilton is ready, able and willing to sing those songs we, all, grew up with. He is, however, atypical. I can't remember the last time I heard an Americal "folksinger" present songs like "Erie Canal", "Darling Clementine", "Yankee Doodle" or any Foster song except "Hard Times" or "Angelina Baker" as a banjo solo. Our "folksingers" are too involved with contemporary songs, their own and others, to bother with their own roots. Maybe, they are contemptuous of these old standards because they find them boring and unrelated to their own lives. I know that the schools have pretty much abandoned American folk songs in what little remains of their music programs.
There are, of course, exceptions. Don Edwards has devoted his life to the study and performance of cowboy songs, Bill Dempsey does whole concerts of sea chanties and songs that everybody knows, Ricky Skaggs has no qualms about roasting an old chestnut or two. But, if we can guage from the posts on Mudcat and 99% of the sets we see in folk clubs and festival stages, old is out, familiar is forbidden and original is obligatory.


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