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Thread: Folk Music

  1. #1
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    Default Folk Music

    I am not drawn to folk music. I don't know much about it so maybe if i knew more about it, i would apprciate it more.

    Please tell me more about it and list three of your favourite folk songs.

    It occurs to me that the way some of you feel about pop music is the same as I feel about folk music. Maybe its just a lack of knowledge/awareness of the good stuff.

  2. #2
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    Define Folk Music Please . As you understand it , Because over here on the cold ,dampo, wild and windy side of the pond I feel that our definition of Folk is different to thine.

    In England a Folk song is probably anything from about, ooooh the Tudor Times 1500s, that has survived in a tune and had lyrics put to it that involve a young maiden arising with the dawning of the sun and the screech....excuse me...the dulcet tones of the lark, venturing forth from her chamber and possibly either having to milk a cow or look pale, intersting and vulnerable. Depending on her status and position in society. The toffs generally being the pale and vulnerable looking ones. Then usually at some point in the song . they "sally forth " regardless of whether they are a Miriam or a Priscilla "Sallying" is done and a swain (usually turning out to be a swine , or at least a bit of a cad) is met with and a bit of bashful folderol and hey nonny nonny nonsense is indulged in. This usually involves the maiden not being a maiden any longer by the
    end of the song . Or , sometimes and more interestingly if the woman is a Lady and married to a jealous Kniggit a manhunt ....often ending in a tragic demise of the swine ...swain...cad results.
    Or songs about being recruited ,going off to war with a hip hoozaar and then finishing with a lament about "Well that was a bit crap, nothing like it said on the tin and I've had me legs shot off and 'I've to goo oowut on they strreyuts and beg'.This has gone on for about 400 years.

    Whereas in the USA it seems that folk music is from about 1967, involves an acoustic guitar, a neck braced harmonica loads and loads of narcotic substances and a definite disinclination to do any sort of fighting and stay at home and shag anything that moves. With Flowers involved. Would that be fair ?

    Edit: Apparently not fair without the inclusion of songs about murder because you don't love me or suicide because you don't love me or murder/suicide because you don't love me. Bridges and knives were often included. So,love, possibly unrequited , pointy sharp things and great heights and damp or sticky endings.
    Thank you Doug W for pointing this out . He hasn't yet , but will later in the thread. It's a sort of a time warp continuum thing.A Pair Of Ducks or similar.
    Last edited by CeeJay; 09-04-2016 at 05:54 AM.

  3. #3
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    Google the term "folk music" or look it up in wikipedia and see what you come up with. I grew up in the 60s and 70s and Bob Dylan, Gordon Lightfoot, Simon and Garfunkel, Woody Gunthrie, Cat Stevens, etc, etc, etc were what I listened to. Different times and different geographic regions will yeld different choices. There is no real answer other then it is different then rap, disco and punk.
    Currently enjoying these ukuleles : *LdfM tenor, *LfdM 19" super tenor. *LfdM baritone, *I'iwi tenor , *Koolau tenor, *Webber tenor, *Kimo tenor, *Kimo super concert, *Mya Moe baritone, *Kamaka baritone, *Gianinni baritone, *Fred Shields super soprano, *Kala super soprano, *Loprinzi super soprano, *Black bear ULO concert , *Enya X1 concert, *Enya X1 pineapple soprano, *Gretsch tenor, *Korala plastic concert

  4. #4
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    I don't know that I can offer you any particular insight - if it's not your thing then it's not your thing and that's completely fine (obviously). On the other hand, since you seem willing to give it fair shot, I can try to do the three songs thing, maybe with some commentary...

    1. Who Knows Where The Time Goes - Sandy Denny - An acoustic BBC radio session version. This just absolutely leaves me in bits every time I hear it. Her voice is amazing. She was pretty rock'n'roll for a folkie -guested on Led Zep 4. She came to a somewhat tragic end which somehow makes the lyrics seem all the more poignant (to me anyway).

    2. Blackwaterside - Anne Briggs - some fairly hardcore trad folk (Roud 312). A typical story of sex and lies - haunting.

    3. Scarborough Fair - Martin Carthy - It would seem almost remiss not to include this. This is my favourite version - less fussy than the counterpoint version by Simon & Garfunkel.

    Edit: One more for luck...

    4. Train Song - Vashti Bunyan - The Godmother of Freak Folk, apparently. UU member Scott Rogers posted a great cover of this recently (in links and videos I think).
    Last edited by jollyboy; 09-03-2016 at 05:45 PM.

  5. #5
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    What kind of folk music are you asking about? There is also a lot of folk music that comes from all over the globe that is worth listening to. For example, my own interest in Irish music.

    There was a guest on the Ukulele Site's podcast this last week...with Tobias Elof, who is a ukulele player from Denmark, and his playing clearly had influence of the folk music of that region...wonderful stuff (and I'll be buying an album or two).

    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=Z0Okt0bw_Bk
    My ukulele blog: http://ukestuff.info

    My ukulele YouTube channels:

  6. #6
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    The best definition of folk music is music played by FOLKS (people). A LOT of Pop, Country, and Blues is Folk music.

    We are all Folk musicians around here. I think the "intent" of the Folk music label is to describe music that Folks played for themselves, family, friends and neighbours before music became BIG business.

    I call myself a Folk Musician and my repertoire covers from classic folk to pop to blues and even some rock.

    Thinking bout it, maybe you can add that its music that can be played by non professional players who aren't absolute experts. Orchestral/Chamber music and Jazz music is ruled out because of the proficiency required.

    Anthony
    Last edited by anthonyg; 09-03-2016 at 07:46 PM.

  7. #7
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    Three folk song recommendations ... wow ... only three!!

    Where can one start?

    How about "Folk Songs I Like to Play With Ukulele Accompaniment"

    Pretty Polly - an old English murder ballad that has found it's way into American folk culture

    Sweet William and Lady Margaret - unrequited love, bad dreams and ghosts. Another old English ballad that has found it's way into American folk culture

    Sloop John B - we all know this one, don't we? - from the Bahamas

    I could probably write for an hour or more on this subject and have hardly scratched the surface. Folk music, in many of it's facets, has been a greater or lesser part of my life since forever ... and I was listening to it on the wireless before then.

    Dig around, find some artists you like, get into their music, expand your horizons to other artists ... come back in 10 years and ask "Where next?"

    YMMV, but enjoy the journey
    There are those who will wax lyrical about the ability to play a double shuffle with a split fan and a tight G-string ...
    it just makes me walk funny!

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by jollyboy View Post
    I don't know that I can offer you any particular insight - if it's not your thing then it's not your thing and that's completely fine (obviously). On the other hand, since you seem willing to give it fair shot, I can try to do the three songs thing, maybe with some commentary...

    2. Blackwaterside - Anne Briggs - some fairly hardcore trad folk (Roud 312). A typical story of sex and lies - haunting.
    ... and just to show there's no hard and fast performance of any song, Blackwaterside again, sung by Anne Briggs, but this time with Bert Jansch on guitar ... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FsLv1C3TbWE ... to die for!!

    Bert also performs this song with Pentangle ... it's different again ... that's what folk music is all about. There's thousands of songs performed in dozens of different ways and none of them are "wrong" ...
    There are those who will wax lyrical about the ability to play a double shuffle with a split fan and a tight G-string ...
    it just makes me walk funny!

  9. #9
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    Folk songs usually tell a tale of some sort, would be performed by (often amateur) musicians travelling around the country from town to town, in the days before radio.

    Country music used to be very similar in the U.S. - some would call it Folk, artists like Woody Guthrie, on up to Dylan, etc.

    Check out groups like The Spinners, Steeleye Span, etc.

    I find Folk music generally restful to listen to, though I don't listen all that often, it's just another type of music.
    Trying to do justice to various musical instruments.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by kypfer View Post
    ... and just to show there's no hard and fast performance of any song, Blackwaterside again, sung by Anne Briggs, but this time with Bert Jansch on guitar ... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FsLv1C3TbWE ... to die for!!
    Thanks for posting this - another cracking version I absolutely concur that Bert Jansch is a someone to check out if you're exploring folk music.

    Quote Originally Posted by kypfer View Post
    Three folk song recommendations ... wow ... only three!!
    I agree - just three is tough.

    Quote Originally Posted by kypfer View Post
    Pretty Polly - an old English murder ballad that has found it's way into American folk culture
    On the subject of murder ballads I'm gonna put a vote in for Nick Cave. He recorded a whole album of them and it's definitely worth a listen if you're after something a bit alt.folk I like his version of Henry Lee (with PJ Harvey). But, then again, I like this version too

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