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Just plain folk


whitefang

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I just saw a PBS pledge drive presentation that covered the "Folk music craze" of the mid-'50's to mid-'60's. As I was big into the "folk scene" when I was around 12-13 years old, I found it interesting.

 

I also found it interesting that, here in this forum, many of us(yeah, me included)seem to blatantly ignore the impact that music form had on modern music and social mores at the time. And the influence that music form had on what songwriting would become as a result.

 

Many "rock heroes" origianally started in the folk world(John Sebastian, Roger McGuinn for example)or how many "big" music stars got big after recording their first big hits that were originally "folk songs":

Cher

The Turtles

The Byrds

And that's just the ones who did Dylan tunes!

 

Another thing I noticed from this presentation...

Almost every folk group had at least one guy who played a tenor guitar! Does ANYONE play those anymore? The Kingston Trio had one. The Brothers Four had TWO! You'll see a tenor in clips from the Chad Mitchell Trio, New Christy Minstrels and many others. I always thought they were kinda cute.

 

I think it's time we all gave props to the "folk scene" and it's influence on songwriting, popularizing the guitar, raising our consciousness, and being aware of the world around us. Don't you?

Whitefang

I started out with NOTHING...and I still have most of it left!
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Neko Case plays a 1920 Martin 2-17T Acoustic, a 1960 Gibson TG-0 8-string and a '67 SG Special Tenor.

 

The June 2009 issue of Acoustic Guitar did a cover story on her and her guitars.

Dan

 

"I hate what I've become, trying to escape who I am..."

 

 

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A buddy of mine listened to the Airplane's Crown of Creation just s few years ago, and he said he never realized how much folk influence there was in even their electric music.

 

Clapton said the west coast rockers he met in the 60's had never listened to "the proper records' to be really bluesy. He said they had all been brought up on the Kingston Trio and folkies like that.

 

Maybe it wasn't such a good thing, after all...

Always remember that you�re unique. Just like everyone else.

 

 

 

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Oh, yeah, they were "before my time" but definitely had a huge impact on the development of music in the 20th Century, both directly and indirectly. The course of blues and rock would have been very different without the "Folk Boom" era.

 

Consider this: Muddy Waters and his band were invited over to Britain under the mistaken assumption that they were a laid back, soft, acoustic, perhaps Piedmont Blues sort of affair; much of the audience and critics alike panned their first performance there as "howling piano and screeching guitar". But there were those whose ears perked up and paid attention. What if that hadn't happened? Surely (thanks, Leslie! ;):D ) the Blues and Rock & Roll influence on '60s Brits would still have happened, as there were records being brought over across the Atlantic, but perhaps not quite as quickly or deeply.

 

And many rockers, again largely in the UK, began either playing Folk and "Skiffle", or were influenced by people playing those styles, perhaps thereby initially getting interested in playing music in the first place.

 

Here in the US, many Blues greats, including both acoustic and electric players were "rediscovered" directly as a result of the "Folk Boom", and their careers had second winds.

 

There was also the Twelve-String craze, followed directly by the Electric Twelve-String guitar, followed by all manner of great music.

Ask yourself- What Would Ren and Stimpy Do?

 

~ Caevan James-Michael Miller-O'Shite ~

_ ___ _ Leprechaun, Esquire _ ___ _

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I was about 10 when the folk music craze hit big (1963 or so). Yes, indeed, it had a big impact on lots of rockers - not just musically, but in their approach to lyrics.

I was never a folkie, but I still love some of those songs - beautiful vocal arrangements, (sometimes) very nice guitar accompaniments, and lyrics full of wit, passion, social commentary, and sly humor. And of course, a lot of crapola .. but you can find that in ANY style, LOL.

 

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One of our good friends is the niece of Tom Paxton who is one of those old Village Folkies. http://www.tompaxton.com/

 

I used to really admire Dylan, Pete Seegar, Peter Paul And Mary, Phil Ochs, Richie Havens, (I think Havens set at Woodstock was the very best of that festival). Arlo and Woody Guthry, and many others I can't think of right now. Even though I listened to the Beatles, Cream, Hendrix, and other electric players mostly, I really liked the folk scene at the time as well.

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I don`t think there`s any acoustic genre that`s the talk of the town for very long on this forum. That`s the way it has always been. At one point I proposed a separate acoustic forum but the consensus seemed to go against it.

Anyway, having moved to within 30 miles of Woodstock after

high school I certainly heard a lot of folk music, and liked quite a bit of it. David Bromberg comes to mind, Taj Mahal of course. Jorma Kaukonen. Woodstock radio (WDST) was quite folk-heavy for a long time, then they became more indie rock. You can listen to them online.

Same old surprises, brand new cliches-

 

Skipsounds on Soundclick:

www.soundclick.com/bands/pagemusic.cfm?bandid=602491

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A lot of the great electric bands of the 70s started out in the 60s as folk-acoustic type music.

Humble Pie

Doobie Bros

Jefferson Airplane

Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young

and of course: Spinal Tap!

Most of the great English bands started out as 'skiffle' bands, which was Englands 'folk' music

I think after Dylan showed up with an electric guitar at the Newport Folk Festival in 1967, the whole game changed.

"Who's gonna teach the children about Chuck Berry?"
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Yes, and that's why vocal harmony is so important in '60s rock.

 

I guess I'm old fashioned, but I still enjoy vocal harmony when really well done - even a capella. Guitar solos are cool, too - but when you're playing songs, if you can harmonize well and it fits the tunes, that's a great plus!

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One of our good friends is the niece of Tom Paxton who is one of those old Village Folkies. http://www.tompaxton.com/

 

I used to really admire Dylan, Pete Seegar, Peter Paul And Mary, Phil Ochs, Richie Havens, (I think Havens set at Woodstock was the very best of that festival). Arlo and Woody Guthry, and many others I can't think of right now. Even though I listened to the Beatles, Cream, Hendrix, and other electric players mostly, I really liked the folk scene at the time as well.

 

Me too, blues. I used to watch that "Hootenanny" TV show religiously!

And seeing Paul Stookey and Peter Yarrow on the Tavis Smiley show recently

gave me a warm feeling as well.

Whitefang

I started out with NOTHING...and I still have most of it left!
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The folk music revival in Britain featured musicians like Davey Graham, John Renbourn, Bert Jansch, John Martyn, Roy Harper, Richard Thompson and Martin Carthy. That folk boom spawned groups like Pentangle, Fairport Convention, and Steeleye Span, as well as the Incredible String Band. And another group you might have heard of named Led Zeppelin borrowed some ideas from all of the above for their music (see LZ III for details). Nick Drake was part of that whole movement as well, as was mentioned earlier. The current "Freak Folk" movement draws heavily from the more arcane side of the 60s folk boom.

 

Not to mention the Irish part of the 60s folk boom that drew traditional Irish music back into the mainstream - that would take too long to go into here.

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The folk music revival in Britain featured musicians like Davey Graham, John Renbourn, Bert Jansch, John Martyn, Roy Harper, Richard Thompson and Martin Carthy. That folk boom spawned groups like Pentangle, Fairport Convention, and Steeleye Span, as well as the Incredible String Band. And another group you might have heard of named Led Zeppelin borrowed some ideas from all of the above for their music (see LZ III for details).

 

And, curiously, Traffic made a brief detour into the folk realm with a fairly traditional rendering of "John Barleycorn Must Die".

Scott Fraser
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The folk music revival in Britain featured musicians like Davey Graham, John Renbourn, Bert Jansch, John Martyn, Roy Harper, Richard Thompson and Martin Carthy. That folk boom spawned groups like Pentangle, Fairport Convention, and Steeleye Span, as well as the Incredible String Band. And another group you might have heard of named Led Zeppelin borrowed some ideas from all of the above for their music (see LZ III for details). Nick Drake was part of that whole movement as well, as was mentioned earlier. The current "Freak Folk" movement draws heavily from the more arcane side of the 60s folk boom.

 

Not to mention the Irish part of the 60s folk boom that drew traditional Irish music back into the mainstream - that would take too long to go into here.

 

dude knows what he is talking about

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The folk music revival in Britain featured musicians like Davey Graham, John Renbourn, Bert Jansch, John Martyn, Roy Harper, Richard Thompson and Martin Carthy. That folk boom spawned groups like Pentangle, Fairport Convention, and Steeleye Span, as well as the Incredible String Band. And another group you might have heard of named Led Zeppelin borrowed some ideas from all of the above for their music (see LZ III for details). Nick Drake was part of that whole movement as well, as was mentioned earlier. The current "Freak Folk" movement draws heavily from the more arcane side of the 60s folk boom.

 

Not to mention the Irish part of the 60s folk boom that drew traditional Irish music back into the mainstream - that would take too long to go into here.

 

dude knows what he is talking about

 

 

Apparently!

 

And may I point out that Dylan wasn't the first"folkie" to use electric instruments. Trini Lopez was a regular on that "Hootenanny" program, and he was always sporting an electric guitar(First, a Barney Kessel, then that model that Gibson wound up naming after him). And I'm not even sure HE was the first.

 

Even after the "boom" folk music wasn't done with. There were always performers who used this acoustic form and became quite well known. Jim Croce was one. Cat Stevens another. And you can still say James Taylor qualifies.

To name a few...

Whitefang

I started out with NOTHING...and I still have most of it left!
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My wife and I enjoyed the PBS special as well, and both of us are old enough to remember when this material was being played on popular radio. (I'm 65)

I was struck by the number of tenor guitars in evidence as well.

I build cigar-box guitars, and 4-string tenors are a pretty popular "build" in the cigar-box community.

 

We are both big fans of John Stewart, and it was fun to see a young Stewart playing with the Kingston Trio.

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I know I'd said this in another thread, in another context, but I recall that most of the American bands that went on to become pioneers in psychedelic music started out as folk groups, even jug bands, the Grateful Dead and the Jefferson Airplane among them.

 

BTW, my father played a tenor guitar back in the Swing era, and I still have an old Harmony tenor in the closet - they're not really gone, but they're pretty much forgotten.

 

 

"Monsters are real, and Ghosts are real too. They live inside us, and sometimes, they win." Stephen King

 

http://www.novparolo.com

 

https://thewinstonpsmithproject.bandcamp.com

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The whole folk thing is/was not one of my cultural reference points. Dylan means nothing to me (except that he wrote a song that Jimi Hendrix turned into a masterpiece). Neither do John Sebastian or the Turtles or Joan Baez. Or Arlo Guthrie.

 

I think that music got surpassed by more blues and R&B based pop music forms because it was too polite. You just can't make that much noise with an acoustic guitar. And you can only write so many songs with open chords. And you can't dance to it. Folk music isn't sexy.

 

As for raising consciousness, any consciousness that had been raised had dropped back down by Watergate.

"You never can vouch for your own consciousness." - Norman Mailer
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I think that music got surpassed by more blues and R&B based pop music forms because it was too polite. You just can't make that much noise with an acoustic guitar. And you can only write so many songs with open chords. And you can't dance to it. Folk music isn't sexy.

 

Well, that's not exactly true. Woody Guthrie got the crap beaten out him a number of times for playing his songs to people who found them less than polite. Pete Seeger got banned from television from the fifties up to the late 60's because people were afraid of his songs. They weren't real polite, either.

 

And folk music was danceable when it was originally performed, the dances just went out of style. You can't Jitterbug or do the Twist, Frug, Jerk, Mashed Potato, Watusi, BT Express, Hustle, etc to music that was intended for waltzing, clogging, the Schottish, Jig, etc.

 

As for raising consciousness, any consciousness that had been raised had dropped back down by Watergate.

 

Folk music got run out of town by rock long before that.

Always remember that you�re unique. Just like everyone else.

 

 

 

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I think that music got surpassed by more blues and R&B based pop music forms because it was too polite. You just can't make that much noise with an acoustic guitar. And you can only write so many songs with open chords. And you can't dance to it. Folk music isn't sexy.

 

Well, that's not exactly true. Woody Guthrie got the crap beaten out him a number of times for playing his songs to people who found them less than polite. Pete Seeger got banned from television from the fifties up to the late 60's because people were afraid of his songs. They weren't real polite, either.

 

And folk music was danceable when it was originally performed, the dances just went out of style. You can't Jitterbug or do the Twist, Frug, Jerk, Mashed Potato, Watusi, BT Express, Hustle, etc to music that was intended for waltzing, clogging, the Schottish, Jig, etc.

 

As for raising consciousness, any consciousness that had been raised had dropped back down by Watergate.

 

Folk music got run out of town by rock long before that.

 

I'll admit to being a little glib in my comments. I have an enormous amount of respect for what Woody Guthrie and Pete Seeger did (and Pete Seeger still continues to do into his 90s). But the "folk revival" of the 60s was pretty tame in comparison and ended up being very commercial and most of the music was pretty light. Listen to what else was going on at the time (Motown, Stax, the Stones, free jazz, etc.) and no wonder younger generations aren't interested.

"You never can vouch for your own consciousness." - Norman Mailer
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...the "folk revival" of the 60s was pretty tame in comparison and ended up being very commercial and most of the music was pretty light. Listen to what else was going on at the time (Motown, Stax, the Stones, free jazz, etc.) and no wonder younger generations aren't interested.

 

Well, the acceptance of Stax, and Motown was actually a couple of years later, and it was the Beatles and the Stones that put a decisive end to the Folk Boom. But, you are totally correct about the stuff that made the top 10 during that weird little stretch of time when it was nationally popular to dress like Maynard G. Krebs, read Jack Kerouac, and sing centuries-old songs out of the Child collection.

 

When The Old Crusty Nostrils...er, The "New Christie Minstrels" copped Leadbelly's 12 string sound for "Walk Right In", and the Serendipity Singers dippity did "Don't Let The Rain Come Down", it was a shamefully far cry from Woody slapping the the industrial giants with "Talking Union Blues" or Pete Seeger flaying the government with "The Big Muddy".

Always remember that you�re unique. Just like everyone else.

 

 

 

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I listen to a great deal of what our great (and unfortunately late) local community-radio host used to call "alternative folk and progressive country" on his show, "Songwriter's Showcase".

 

The tradition is still alive, it's just that you can't find it on commercial radio stations. Instead, it dwells on local and community stations, live concerts and the like.

Guys I've been fond of for years include Tom Russell, Dave Alvin, Jeffery Foucault, Chris Smither, and many more.

 

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Sorry, picker. "Walk Right In" was done by the Rooftop Singers.

 

I also agree it was about the time the "British Invasion" hit when the folk music "craze" withered away. But there can be no denying it's influence on other music forms that followed.

 

"Old Crusty Nostrils"! Good one.

 

And ahhh, Bike! Good to find another Smither fan in here!

Whitefang

I started out with NOTHING...and I still have most of it left!
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Sorry, picker. "Walk Right In" was done by the Rooftop Singers.

 

Yep, you're right. Old age must be affecting my memory. The Christies did "Green Green".

 

"Old Crusty Nostrils"! Good one.

 

Wish I could say I came up with it, but I stole it from a former folkie...

Always remember that you�re unique. Just like everyone else.

 

 

 

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I'dlike to say how overwhelmed(and pleasantly so)I was by the response to this thread. Seems folk music meant more to many of you than I might have thought. For the most part, folk music was one of the main reasons I wanted to learn guitar. Oh, there were other influences for sure. But folk seemed more easily accessable. The songs not too difficult for a novice to learn, and fun to play. There are STILL singers today who record songs that contain just themselves either accompanying themselves on guitar, or have a guitarist playing for them. They may call it something else, but it's folk music, plain and simple.

 

No matter what anyone says, you CAN'T kick back on your back deck or front porch with your acoustic axe and softly croon out something by Offspring. It's much more soothing to the soul to find something "folky" to play. It's even better if you can make something up!

 

Thanks again for all the positive feedback. It's no wonder I keep coming back to this forum.

Whitefang

I started out with NOTHING...and I still have most of it left!
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I'dlike to say how overwhelmed(and pleasantly so)I was by the response to this thread. Seems folk music meant more to many of you than I might have thought. For the most part, folk music was one of the main reasons I wanted to learn guitar. Oh, there were other influences for sure. But folk seemed more easily accessable. The songs not too difficult for a novice to learn, and fun to play. There are STILL singers today who record songs that contain just themselves either accompanying themselves on guitar, or have a guitarist playing for them. They may call it something else, but it's folk music, plain and simple.

Whitefang

 

Well, unless you're playing classical music, it's ALL folk music.

When he was just getting started in the Village in NYC, somebody told Bob Dylan he should go uptown to see a Thelonius Monk gig. He did. After the set ended Dylan went up to Monk & introduced himself, saying "Hi, I'm Bob Dylan & I play folk music down in the village." Monk replied "Son, we ALL play folk music.

 

Scott Fraser
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The folk scene was hugely important to me. I, too, was 10 in 1963. Becoming a teenager at that time, I was getting into music and folk was predominant on radio. We had little handheld transistor radios. Pitiful fidelity, FM radio wasn't even there yet. I remember being wowed by FM radio, haha.

 

I haven't seen the name Trini Lopez in years! "Lemon Tree," I liked that song. Peter Paul and Mary, Old Crusty Nostrils, Kingston Trio, etc. were an influence. And here I am almost 50 years later, a folk musician. Have geetar, will travel.

 

I haven't posted here in years!

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