Page 8 of 9

PostPosted: Thu Apr 03, 2008 7:27 pm
by Ted
I suppose that I'm interested because it is nominally my culture. (Note the "nominally"). But also because I've never found anything to like in it. There is a distinct english traditional music which is not Irish and not Scottish. And I guess I was interested in finding out about it.

This is not some spurious attempt to get in touch with my roots. Its more like an attempt to find something good in a something which I seem to have always instinctively hated - work out which bits (1) make me physically unwell and (2) which bits are admirable but not much fun and if any of it (3) makes me feel like jumping up and shouting yeah.

And Rob I don't believe you've never been in a record shop and seen something from (say) Mali and bought it on spec because you liked the look of it and had heard other music from there that you liked.

PostPosted: Thu Apr 03, 2008 7:40 pm
by ritchie
drat ... i'll have to stop reading long posts from the end .... years of reading the sports pages i suppose. Now I'll have to start at the begining ... a very good place to start.... seems a canny thread this.

there's nowt so queer as folk

PostPosted: Thu Apr 03, 2008 8:42 pm
by ritchie
When I was a bairn in infant school we had a teacher who would make us sing 'traditional Geordie' songs. Songs with words that we had never heard before or understood .... importantly unbeknown to us, what she was doing was keeping the tradition alive ...keeping our roots alive. Of course as I 'grew up' the only 'geordie song' I sang was 'Blaydon Races'. We went to the odd folk club and it was like 'watching paint dry' not a tab collar shirt or cuban heel in sight. Everyone seemed so miserable ... we were there to be entertained a sort of 'posh' working mans club without the bingo.

Much to Ian's chagrin i suppose the folk comedian hit the scene and we started going again which introduced us to a lot of good music folk or otherwise

It was the beginning of the era of the folk artist as raconteur: you were expected to have the gift of the gab (this evolved into the awful period where everything was obliterated by the "folk comedians" and the likes of us left for mainland Europe!)

I now realise that was the start and reason for a lot of mainland Europeans coming here.

The funny thing is I've been 'entertained' more times in 'folk clubs' than I have at other types of concerts where the performers seemed to have have just gone through the motions however I don't have many records/cd's by 'folk musicians' which are as good as their live performances.

Remember I've been around quite sometime so for me I would recommend listening to ... Roy Harper .. Jackie Leven .. Bob Fox & Stu Luckley ... Hamish Imlach .... and if you ever get the chance go and see Vin Garbutt.... aye there's nowt so queer as folk

PostPosted: Fri Apr 04, 2008 12:12 am
by Rob Hall
Ted wrote:And Rob I don't believe you've never been in a record shop and seen something from (say) Mali and bought it on spec because you liked the look of it and had heard other music from there that you liked.

Hi Ted

I thought hard about that before I posted, and I stand by what I wrote. However, I originally wrote that "I have never..." before changing it to "I cannot ever remember..." - but I've thought about it again now and it still stands. If I buy something on spec, it will be the name of the artist that triggers the purchase. But these things are never absolute.

Re: English Folk Music

PostPosted: Sun Apr 06, 2008 3:36 pm
by Tom H
Ian A. wrote:You might also watch the Channel 5 series My Music which starts on April 6th at 11am Sunday mornings and includes hour-long documentaries on Seth Lakeman, Kate Rusby and Eliza Carthy, all of whom have been Mercury nominated in recent years. The Eliza one (April 27th) is particularly good.

I watched the first one of these this morning and found it very acceptable. It is good to have this kind of music dealt with on a level playing field with other genres and without the usual idiotic references to beards, jumpers and fingers in ears. If you missed it there are some trailers at

PostPosted: Sun Apr 06, 2008 8:46 pm
by MurkeyChris
Rob Hall wrote:Well, I find it odd that you find my comment odd, but that is neither here nor there.

Fair enough. No offense meant! :)

Rob Hall wrote:To me as a listener, my enjoyment of Youssou N’Dour, Ojos de Brujos, etc., would be no more nor any less than if they were from somewhere else. I like to think that I take the music at face value, and I either like it or I don’t, without reference to where it is coming from. I have no particular interest in the music of Senegal, or Mali, or Spain, or Uzbekistan for that matter, yet I own music by people who originate from all of these places. The simple fact is that I heard it and it appealed to me [...] You also say that when music is based in a specific culture it helps to know what that culture is. I would argue with this point: it might help satisfy personal intellectual curiosity, but it doesn’t, in any way, tell you if you like the music or not, nor does it tell you if it has beauty, nor if it moves you to get up and dance.

You make some fair points there Rob, but I think we're still somewhat at cross-wires. Which is a fair enough place to be, but for conversation's sake here are my thoughts.

Obviously my enjoyment of any artist wouldn't be different if they were from somewhere other to where they are from. Furthermore, one can certainly enjoy music without ever knowing a thing about its context. But an understanding of the influences on an artist (national culture just being one of them) can often add to our enjoyment of music, which is one of the reasons why people read forums like this.

I tend to enjoy traditional music from England more than most other types of music, and I am also more interested in traditional music from England than other types of music. These go hand-in-hand for me, as my enjoyment has inspired my interest, and then my interest has fed back into my enjoyment, and so it goes on. So personal interest doesn't automatically lead to enjoyment but it can certainly fuel it.

Rob Hall wrote:it would never occur to me to distinguish between, say the Incredible String Band and Pentangle because one group is made up of Scottish musicians and the other English.

Well it's a way of distinguishing. If someone said to you what is the difference between Youssou N'Dour and Ojos de Brujo, presumably one of the first things you would say would be that Youssou is Sengalise and Ojos de Brujo are Spanish. It gives a context and an idea of what the sound might be like (although such expectations can of course prove wrong). Obviously how relevant a distinguishing feature nationality is depends how much national and local culture influences the artist's work. In the case of the Incredible String Band, traditional Scottish folk isn't a major influence, so it is less relevant. But if you were to compare, say, the Battlefield Band with Eliza Carthy and the Ratcatchers, nationality is one of the key distinguishing features.

I'm sure that Ted would be interested in hearing about Scottish folk music too, but for the purposes of this thread he chose to narrow the topic to English folk music. To follow your argument to its extreme limit, I could just as easily say I see no reason in distinguishing between a group made up of American/French/Icelandic/Martian musicians and the another of English musicians.

Of course then there is the question of musicians making music strongly influenced by the music of a different culure to their own (English cajun bands, etc.), but that's a different one for a different day.

Anyway, must be off, these forums are addictive!


PostPosted: Sun Apr 06, 2008 11:24 pm
by will vine
My wife, as I wrote previously, went to a folk club (Hitchin) recently for the first time in about 30 years. She's gone back again tonight. Either she really digs it or she's embarking on an affair. What should I do ? Should I go along with her next time? Tricky decision - What does the team think?

Where there's a Will ....

PostPosted: Sun Apr 06, 2008 11:44 pm
by CantSleepClownsWillGetMe
Dear Will,

No. Under no circumstances should you accompany your wife to the folk club. Clearly she is going through the female equivalent of the male mid-life crisis (which usually involves wearing something tight in leather, buying a motorbike, and using the word 'dig' a lot).

At this time in her life, she needs to feel that you have complete trust in her, so stay well clear of the jealousy trap.

Hiring a private detective and having her followed would be a much kinder way of expressing your love and support at this difficult time in her life.

Good luck!


PostPosted: Sun Apr 06, 2008 11:54 pm
by will vine
"Dig" was my word - I use it far too much; but she did say that it she only needed to put on "a bit of lippy" to feel like the most glamourous woman there.

PostPosted: Wed Apr 09, 2008 8:09 pm
by Nigel w
Roger Wright announced the programme for the 2008 Proms today, and there is going to be a 'folk Prom' - complete with May Pole dancing.

What do the folk-fancying forumistas make of this? Sounds like it could all be rather ghastly, akin to Benjamin Britten's silly view of 'English rural quaintness' in Albert Herring...

somebody mentioned an opera, that's my cue

PostPosted: Wed Apr 09, 2008 8:26 pm
by Ken Josenhans
Hey! Don't be hatin' on my man Britten there. My wife has sung in a production of Albert Herring. It's a comedy.

There is some vague response floating around with regard to Ted's statement

I suppose that I'm interested because it is nominally my culture.

I dunno, I went all nuts for English/Irish/Scottish folk rock stuff in my late teen years, backtracked from there to more acoustic presentations of traditional tunes and songs. I didn't start paying serious attention to my own folk-cultural heritage (American) until ten years later, when my wife started dragging me to a folk festival and I decided that, performed live, bluegrass could be pretty good, also some blues players.

Somewhere I wanted to add in the idea that this whole idea of shopping around for music outside of one's own culture is exceptionally recent.

PostPosted: Thu Apr 10, 2008 12:30 am
by Martin Owen
To quote ISB "I was ayoung man back in the nineteen sixties... you made your own amusement then..."

Nigel, any use of the Transatlantic Catalogue must include Young Tradition.
They stand up against the acoustic music of any part of the world. Peter Bellamy was the Salif Keita of England.

Although Bert Jansch was Scots, his Bruton Town was a great rendition of an English folk song.

Swarb in his pre Carthy-Swarbrick days.

Anything by the Dransfields..... Bob and Carol Fox.

Although the Waterson's were on Topic I think they are worth a special mention. Whne families sing together (Everleys , Carters, Coppers ....) harmonies are always special.

why bother? I spent a brief time in Brazil last year. Whilst it enabled me to source MC Racionnes albums - I also had the opportunity to hear Cholo. You do not need to be an ethnomusicologist to appreciate the debt samba, or the latest elctro coming out of Sao Paolo or Ricefe pays to Cholo. Anyone for skiffle?


My Music series

PostPosted: Mon Apr 14, 2008 2:46 pm
by eddiefrost
All this talk of English folk forces me to recommend a documentary series on channel five each Sunday this month at 11am. Eliza Carthy is showing on the 27th of April.

PostPosted: Wed Apr 30, 2008 12:51 pm
by Chris P
John Hegley on English Morris with slideshow :,,2276063,00.html

Ps did you get anywhere with your listening Ted, or was it as bad for you as you remembered ?

PostPosted: Mon May 19, 2008 12:18 pm
by Chris P
Suppose there's an argument that metal is a modern folk music:

So here's 'Roots' reimagined - a def improvement on the original :