View Full Version : Traditional folk songs?

tony draper
8th Aug 2006, 20:17
Whats that all about then? ok in small doses(Over the Hill and Far away ect) but some of it is physicaly painfull to listen to,and appears to be very painfull for the singer as well.

8th Aug 2006, 21:11
There's a lot of that going on over here too!

"Wasser! Wasser!"

Rich Lee
8th Aug 2006, 21:25
Would this aversion to folk songs include capstan shanties, halyard shanties, short-drag shanties, windless and pumping shanties, and the ever popular forecastles songs when sung with a soft melodic sound and guitar accompaniment?:confused:

tony draper
8th Aug 2006, 22:02
Nah! watched that documentry about the History of British folk Music,some of them are downright facist, booing the likes of Dylon and regarding the electric guitar as the instrument of the devil,as one said some of it is ok but some of it is truely awfull.
Now one likes country and western, blue grass and such,and admire a good banjo plucker.

8th Aug 2006, 22:10
I love to irritate that "precious keep-it-preserved-in-aspic" folk fraternity. I play English traditional tunes on me banjo. According to the "traditionalists", the banjo is not a traditional English instrument. Hello? What is then eh? The traditional English musician from the days of yore played whatever instrument he could beg, steal, borrow or inherit!

The worst musician I came across for this fascist "heritage" attitude was an American autoharp player. Now that's traditional? :} :ugh: :rolleyes:

I like folk music of all varieties; some's good and some's bad. Dylan is a modern folk singer as Springsteen is fast becoming!!

The music and the songs have survived the test of time and they will only do that by moving with the times. Play it on a electric guitar, sing the song in a syncopated style who cares? The music will outlive us if it allowed to grow; kept in a form considered to be authentic (but not necessarily) by pewter sweater and arran tankard brigade and it will die.



8th Aug 2006, 22:16
And Wtf (http://www.capercaillie.co.uk/discography/media/) is wrong with Capercaillie?!:E

Yeeeeeeeeeeeeehaaaaaaaaaaaaaa (http://www.capercaillie.co.uk/discography/media/audio/anthology/robroyreels.mp3) lol

Rich Lee
8th Aug 2006, 22:21
booing the likes of Dylon and regarding the electric guitar as the instrument of the devil Blasphemy!

8th Aug 2006, 22:35
the likes of Dylon
A colourful character if ever there was one!

8th Aug 2006, 22:43
Woody Gurthrie, Amrican folk genius, songwriter and balladeer, wrote a song about Ingrid Bergman. He wrote it while dying, living in a tiny apartment on Mermaid Avenue in Brooklyn's Coney Island neighborhood. Decades later, UK folk artist and social commentarian, Billy Bragg, wrote music for it (along with a few other Guthrie songs), and recorded it. Brilliant job, Billy!

Ingrid Bergman

Ingrid Bergman, Ingrid Bergman,
Let´s go make a picture
On the island of Stromboli, Ingrid Bergman

Ingrid Bergman, you´re so perty,
You´d make any mountain quiver
You´d make my fire fly from the crater
Ingrid Bergman

This old mountain it´s been waiting
All its life for you to work it
For your hand to touch the hardrock,
Ingrid Bergman, Ingrid Bergman

If you´ll walk across my camera,
I will flash the world your story,
I will pay you more than money, Ingrid Bergman

Not by pennies dimes nor quarters,
But with happy sons and daughters,
And they´ll sing around Stromboli,
Ingrid Bergman.

Here's a link to the lyrics of the literally hundreds of songs Woody Guthrie wrote during his lifetime. No doubt it includes dozens of lyrics you already knew, but just didn't know who or where they came from:


tony draper
8th Aug 2006, 22:46
Sorry one meant Mr Zimmerman,not that hippy rabbit.
One even has on of his gramaphonic recordings,the Music from Pat Garret and Billy the Kid, and as yers all know, one doesn't normaly hold with feckin singers,,being of the opinion that the human voice ruins perfectly good music.

8th Aug 2006, 22:48
I miss Rambling Syd Rumpo !! 'Me deario!' :p

8th Aug 2006, 23:41
...and not forgetting the late, great Jake Thackeray...

Oh Sister Josephine
What do all these Policemen mean
By coming to the convent in a grim limousine
After Sister Josephine

While you Sister Josephine
You sit with your boots up on the alter screen
You smoke one last cigar
What a funny nun you are

The Policemen say thet Josephine's a burglar in diguise
Big Bad Norman fifteen years on the run
The sisters disbelieve it "No that can't be Josephine"
Just think about her tenderness towards the younger nuns

Oh Sister Josephine
They're searching the chapel where you've been seen
The nooks and the crannies of the nun's canteen
After Sister Josephine

While you sister Josephine
You sip one farewell benedictine
Before your Au Revoir
A right funny nun you are

Admittedley her hands are big and hairy
And embelished with a curious tatoo
Admittedly her voice is on the deep side
And she seems to shave more often than the other sisters do

Oh Sister Josephine
Founder of the convent pontoon team
They're looking through your bundles of rare magazines
After Sister Josephine

While you sister Josephine
You give a goodbye sniff of benzedrine
To the convent budgerigar
A bloody funny nun you are

No longer will her snores ring through the chapel during prayers
Nor her lustful moanings fill the stilly night
No more empty bottles of alter wine come clunking from her cell
No longer will the cloister toilet seat stand upright

Oh Sister Josephine
Slipping through their fingers like vaseline
Leaving them to clutch your empty crinoline
After Sister Josephine

While you sister Josephine
Sprinting through the suburbs when last seen
Dressed only in your wimple and your rosary
A right funny nun you seem to be.

eastern wiseguy
9th Aug 2006, 00:08
Rambling Sid Rumpo....sheer genius...'The Ballad of the Woggler's Moolie' ... 'Green Grow My Nadgers' ....ah they don't write them like those any more.

Seriously the two folk singers I like are Eric Bogle,of "the band played waltzing matilda" fame and John(?)Tam who sang the napoleonic pieces in the Sharpe series.

Now where did I leave my aran jumper..(oh)?

9th Aug 2006, 00:20
Ah Eric Bogle, a folk singer-songwriter in the best modern tradition. He can combine pathos with humour. He also wrote "No Man's Land" (also known as The Green Fields of France) and Little Gomez; about a chihuahau who met his unfortunate end by having an amorous liaison with a St. Bernard! Classic stuff!



9th Aug 2006, 01:53
Once in a club in Calgary, I watched Eric Bogle sing "The Band Played Waltzing Matilda." No other music than himself at the piano. The place was pretty noisy when he started. By the time he was finished, you could hear a pin drop.

Whirlygig, this guy (www.oscarbrand.com/index.html) used to play a mean banjo, probably still does, I haven't heard him for a few years.

9th Aug 2006, 02:03
Like most folk music and always have considered Gordon Lightfoot one of the best of the genre.

Home from The Forest

Oh the neon lights were flashin’
And the icy wind did blow
The water seeped into his shoes
And the drizzle turned to snow
His eyes were red, his hopes were dead
And the wine was runnin’ low
And the old man came home
From the forest.

His tears fell on the sidewalk
As he stumbled in the street
A dozen faces stopped to stare
But no one stopped to speak
For his castle was a hallway
And the bottle was his friend
And the old man stumbled in
From the forest.

Up a dark and dingy staircase
The old man made his way
His ragged coat around him
As upon his cot he lay
And he wondered how it happened
That he ended up this way
Getting lost like a fool
In the forest.

And as he lay there sleeping
A vision did appear
Upon his mantle shining
A face of one so dear
Who had loved him in the springtime
Of a long-forgotten year
When the wildflowers did bloom
In the forest.

She touched his grizzled fingers
And she called him by his name
And then he heard the joyful sound
Of children at their games
In an old house on a hillside
In some forgotten town
Where the river runs down
From the forest.

With a mighty roar the big jets soar
Above the canyon streets
And the con men con but life goes on
For the city never sleeps
And to an old forgotten soldier
The dawn will come no more
For the old man has come home
From the forest.

(Note aviation content)

Lon More
9th Aug 2006, 02:04
After complaints by dog lovers Eric Bogle wrote "he's nobody's moggie now" about a dead cat to even up the balance. Also he's done a lot about the native Australians which never seemed to be released in UK. Tthe versions I have were all released in the old DDR, thesame with a number of Iain MacIntosh records.
There's a lot of good folk music out there still. For an aviation interest if you get a chance listen to Steve Goodman's "My old Man", a homage to his father, a WWII C47 pilot. Goodman also wrote 'The City of New Orleans"

My Old Man by Steve Goodman

I miss my old man tonite
and I wish he was here with me
With his corny jokes and his cheap cigars
He could look you in the eye and sell you a car.
That's not an easy thing to do,
but no one ever knew a more charming creature
on this earth than my old man.

He was a pilot in the big war in the U.S. Army Air Corps
in a C - 47 with a heavy load
full of combat cargo for the Burma Road.
And after they dropped the bomb
he came home and married Mom
and not long after that
he was my old man.

And oh the fights we had
when my brother and I got him mad;
He'd get all boiled up and he'd start to shout
and I knew what was coming so I tuned him out.
And now the old man's gone, and I'd give all I own
to hear what he said when I wasn't listening
to my old man'

I miss my old man tonite
and I can almost see his face
He was always trying to watch his weight
and his heart only made it to fifty-eight.
For the first time since he died
late last night I cried.
I wondered when I was gonna do that
for my old man.

Re banjo players - remember the Billy Connolly story about how he learned to play the Banjo?

9th Aug 2006, 04:07
One really likes Aran jumpers ... :(

One is clearly a social outcast ...:uhoh:

9th Aug 2006, 05:50
...that hippy rabbit.Mrs B calls me a hippy rabbit. These days I'm more hippy than rabbit though.

We used to hang out in folk clubs in days gone by - Joan Baez, Bob Dylan, Pete Seeger, Tom Paxton. Irish rebel songs. Woody Guthrie numbers. Anything goes. Good days, they were fun. We all got drunk, sang along or jumped on the stage and did a number yourself if you felt like it. Everyone had a good time and surely thats what folk music is supposed to be all about?

Rambling Sid Rumpo - I once performed a Rambling Sid number at 'The Attic' in Changi. I was kicked off the stage and forced to buy a round for everyone - it was pushing the boundaries a bit too far... :(

We never had electric guitars at The Attic. Not that we had anything against them.
The electricity had been cut off.

9th Aug 2006, 06:04
Maybe if Robert Burns had been a cowboy he would have written the songs of Townes Van Zandt.

The Legend of Pancho & Lefty

Living on the road my friend
Was gonna keep you free and clean
Now you wear your skin like iron
Your breath's as hard as kerosene
You weren't your mama's only boy
But her favorite one it seems
She began to cry when you said goodbye
And sank into your dreams

Pancho was a bandit boys
His horse was fast as polished steel
Wore his gun outside his pants
For all the honest world to feel
Pancho met his match you know
On the deserts down in Mexico
Nobody heard his dying words
That's the way it goes

All the federales say
They could have had him any day
They only let him hang around
Out of kindness I suppose

Lefty he can't sing the blues
All night long like he used to
The dust that Pancho bit down south
Ended up in Lefty's mouth
The day they laid poor Pancho low
Lefty split for Ohio
Where he got the bread to go
There ain't nobody knows

All the federales say
They could have had him any day
They only let him slip away
Out of kindness I suppose

The poets tell how Pancho fell
Lefty's livin' in a cheap hotel
The desert's quiet and Cleveland's cold
So the story ends we're told
Pancho needs your prayers it's true,
But save a few for Lefty too
He just did what he had to do
Now he's growing old

A few gray federales say
They could have had him any day
They only let him go so wrong
Out of kindness I suppose

These lines from Burns' Tam o'Shanter have the same meter. You can sing them to the melody of the Van Zandt song:

When chapman billies leave the street,
And drouthy neibors, neibors, meet;
As market days are wearing late,
And folk begin to tak the gate...

9th Aug 2006, 08:14
I ad er
I ad er
I ad er I ay
And when she had reached the sweet age of sixteen
I showed her the works of my threshing machine.

Now that's a folk song!:ok:

9th Aug 2006, 12:00
Brilliant job, Billy! ... while never quite agreeing with Billy Bragg's politics, I particularly liked his Dahn Sarf version of Route 66 ... not really a folk song but makes me laugh...

If you ever have to go to Shoeburyness
Take the A road, the okay road that's the best
Go motorin' on the A13

If you're looking for a thrill that's new
Take in Fords, Dartford Tunnel and the river too
Go motorin' on the A13

It starts down in Wapping
There ain't no stopping
By-pass Barking and straight through Dagenham
Down to Grays Thurrock
And rather near Basildon
Pitsea, Thundersley, Hadleigh, Leigh-On-Sea,
Chalkwell, Prittlewell
Southend's the end

If you ever have to go to Shoeburyness
Take the A road, the okay road that's the best
Go motorin' on the A13

tony draper
9th Aug 2006, 12:02
Hey nonny no!!

9th Aug 2006, 14:08
Now one likes country and western, blue grass and such,and admire a good banjo plucker.

On behalf of Whirlygig and myself, many thank yous for the praise,:D

Tonight I is mainly getting my bluegrass/country head on and playing as guest banjo at the RAFA club in Newark.

On the other hand, I am not a fan of the traditional 'old folk' songs which usually end up with some poor starved soul dying down the mines/at sea/ in the Mills as sung by some balding, bearded, polo necked jumper and open toed sandal wearing relic who insists on having one finger in his ear and wobbling his adams apple at the same time.

9th Aug 2006, 14:20
I always liked Lindisfarne and Fairport Convention...dunno that you could call it traditional folk music though. Is Scarborough Fair a folk song?? I quite like that as well.

10th Aug 2006, 07:02
I ad er
I ad er
I ad er I ay
And when she had reached the sweet age of sixteen
I showed her the works of my threshing machine.

Now that's a folk song! :ok:Call that a folk song? Pah!
In memory of the immortal Rambling Sid Rumpo, and fresh from his not so recent sensationally acclaimed performance at "The Attic," BS will perform one of the infamous bard's more thoughtful melodies...

D'ye ken Jim Pubes with his splod so bright,
As he traddles his nadger in the bright moonlight?
He wurdles his posset all through the night,
But he can't turn it off in the morning.

Oh the sound of his groat threw me from my bed,
As he blew up his mooly fit to waken the dead,
Oh the noise of his grunge nearly blew off me head,
And removed all the paint from the awning.

D'ye ken Jim Pubes? Now his splod's turned white,
And his nadger's been struck with an awful blight,
And he can't find his posset without a light,
And he can't turn it on in the morning.

Oh his poor old groat, it has sprung a leak,
And the sound of his mooly's reduced to a squeak:
Though he blows and he blows till he's blue in the eek,
We'll no more hear him grunge in the mor-or-or-orning.

Now THAT is the real thing...

10th Aug 2006, 13:27
Folk Music is basically a way that your average person had of passing tales, legends and myths down through the generations. Centuries ago when the literacy rate was very low, your average person couldn't write, but they knew what they wanted to say and would sing the song to others, who would then learn the song and so on and so on.

Also in some cases, if an event happened that was perhaps too controversial to print in a newspaper, a folk singer would compose a broadside. Go out and spread the word of the event.

I grew up listening to Dylan, Woody Guthrie, Gordon Lightfoot and also Phil Ochs. All have similar influences, but have their own style to a certain extent. Also one band to listen to that sing a lot of traditional folk songs as well as their own compositions are Steeleye Span. They took their name from the nickname of a waggoner whose story is told in the song Horkstow Grange

Lon More
10th Aug 2006, 13:41
The Pheasant Plucking Song as sung by the Barrow Poets (1978?)

I'm not a pheasant plucker, I'm a pheasant plucker's son
I'm only plucking pheasants 'till the pheasant plucker comes.
Me husband is a keeper, he's a very busy man
I try to understand him and I help him all I can,
But sometimes in an evening I feel a trifle dim
All alone, I'm plucking pheasants, when I'd rather pluck with him.

I'm not a pheasant plucker, I'm a pheasant plucker's mate
I'm only plucking pheasants 'cos the pheasant plucker's late !

I'm not good at plucking pheasants, at pheasant plucking I get stuck
Though some pheasants find it pleasant I'd rather pluck a duck.
Oh plucking geese is gorgeous, I can pluck a goose with ease
But pheasant plucking's torture because they haven't any grease.

I'm not a pheasant plucker, he has gone out on the tiles
He only plucked one pheasant and I'm sitting here with piles !

You have to pluck them fresh, if it’s fresh they’re not unpleasant,
I knew a man in Dunstable who could pluck a frozen pheasant.
They say the village constable had pheasant plucking sessions
With the vicar on a Sunday ‘tween the first and second lessons.

I'm not a pheasant plucker, I'm a pheasant plucker's mum
I'm only plucking pheasants 'till the pheasant plucker's come.

My good friend Godfrey is most adept, he's really got the knack
He likes to have a pheasant plucked before he hits the sack.
I like to give a helping hand, I gather up the feathers,
It's really all our pheasant plucking keeps us pair together.

I'm not a pheasant plucker, I'm a pheasant plucker's friend
I'm only plucking pheasants as a means unto an end !

My husband's in the forest always banging with his gun
If he could hear me half the time I'm sure that he would run,
For there's fluff in all my crannies, there's feathers up my nose
And I'm itching in the kitchen from my head down to my toes.

I'm not a pheasant plucker, I'm a pheasant plucker's wife
And when we pluck together it's a pheasant plucking life !

10th Aug 2006, 14:42
AcroChik, Emmylou Harris does a wonderful version of that song. 'Course I'm biased because I think Emmylou Harris' version of just about any song is great, but what der hey? :p

10th Aug 2006, 15:04
If anyone is able to connect to XM Radio and listen to Bob Dylan's Theme Time Radio show, you'll hear a fair number of modern interpretations of traditional folk songs (depending on the subject of the week) as well as ones from recent decades that are in many cases semi-biographical

10th Aug 2006, 15:51
Twas Fairport Convention who were accused of having invented English Folk-Rock music - then destroying it again........

11th Aug 2006, 06:41
Don't forget there's folk music as well as folk songs.

The Celts have most of it in Britain. Reels, Strathspeys, Jigs and many of the Hornpipes were all for dancing - there's more to the bagpipes than military marching music. Play them on chamber pipes in 'F' or 'A' and these auld folk tunes have a whole new character. Jigs are my particular favourite; I'm very fond of jigging so I am. Then there's the Black Bear Hornpipe that's good for both dancing and fighting - depending on where you play it.