287 posts tagged with folk.
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Pogue Mahone, ya Nipple Erectors

Shane MacGowan is the face and name most often associated with The Pogues. Unraveling Shane's psyche would require a book-length study but the crux of his identity lies somewhere in that conflict between English experience and Irish heritage. The abbreviated story of his life starts with his birth in England, but he was raised in Ireland, and moved back to England some years later. He won a scholarship to the renowned Westminster School, where he was possibly enrolled alongside Thomas Dolby and other notable people. MacGowan was involved with drugs and publicized hooliganery before being in a band, the first of which was The Nipple Erectors in 1977. [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief on Sep 13, 2009 - 87 comments

"Folk music for people who don't like folk music."

Sometimes called The Barnsley Nightingale, British folk singer Kate Rusby was nominated for the Mercury Music Prize in 1999, and has won four BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards. Her cover of The Kinks' "Village Green Preservation Society" is the theme song for the TV show "Jam & Jerusalem." The Daily Telegraph called her "England's answer to Dolly Parton. Not in terms of the wigs and the sequins, but in her quaveringly sincere ability to tell a simple, downhome story in a song and make your heart ache for it." BBC says she performs "folk music for people who don't like folk music." [more inside]
posted by jbickers on Sep 10, 2009 - 23 comments

Flight of the Conchords: John Lennon meets Gary Shandling sort of thing

September 9, 2005 - Flight of the Conchords performed six songs and chatted with the audience as part of HBO's One Night Stand, not quite two years before the TV series would air. The show is online for your viewing pleasure (29 minute MySpace video, also available as a youtube playlist of 6 videos). [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief on Aug 26, 2009 - 65 comments

Always been a rambler....

Mike Seeger, folk musician and folklorist, passed away on August 7, 2009. Half-brother to Pete Seeger, Mike Seeger was self-taught at banjo, fiddle, guitar, autoharp, and dulcimer, among other instruments. Additionally, Seeger spent decades traveling the country to collect and document American folk musicians, many of whom would have been forgotten were it not for his efforts. In the late 50's, Seeger, Tom Paley, and John Cohen founded the old-time string band The New Lost City Ramblers. The Ramblers countered the rising tide of bluegrass music with a return to old-time traditionals and were a significant influence on the mid-century folk revival. Seeger's death coincides with the upcoming release of an Arhoolie Foundation documentary about the Ramblers (warning: the documentary link contains an embedded video). On Youtube: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. [more inside]
posted by signalandnoise on Aug 11, 2009 - 20 comments

O Black and Unknown Bards - Among Other Things, Regarding The White Invention of The Blues

...The narrative of the blues got hijacked by rock ’n’ roll, which rode a wave of youth consumers to global domination. Back behind the split, there was something else: a deeper, riper source. Many people who have written about this body of music have noticed it. Robert Palmer called it Deep Blues. We’re talking about strains within strains, sure, but listen to something like Ishman Bracey’s ''Woman Woman Blues,'' his tattered yet somehow impeccable falsetto when he sings, ''She got coal-black curly hair.'' Songs like that were not made for dancing. Not even for singing along. They were made for listening. For grown-ups. They were chamber compositions. Listen to Blind Willie Johnson’s "Dark Was the Night, Cold Was the Ground.'' It has no words. It’s hummed by a blind preacher incapable of playing an impure note on the guitar. We have to go against our training here and suspend anthropological thinking; it doesn’t serve at these strata. The noble ambition not to be the kind of people who unwittingly fetishize and exoticize black or poor-white folk poverty has allowed us to remain the kind of people who don’t stop to wonder whether the serious treatment of certain folk forms as essentially high- or higher-art forms might have originated with the folk themselves.
From Unknown Bards: The blues becomes apparent to itself by one John Jeremiah Sullivan. I came across it while browsing Heavy Rotation: Twenty Writers On The Albums That Changed Their Lives. For Sullivan, that album was American Primitive, Vol. II: Pre-War Revenants (1897 - 1939), which is my favorite CD of the year. Which came out in 2005 while I just got around to buying it this year. Foolish me. It is a piece of art in itself in every respect--all CDs should have such production values. [more inside]
posted by y2karl on Aug 6, 2009 - 50 comments

LLangollen Eisteddfod

The 2009 Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod competitions have concluded, with the Pavarotti Trophy for Choir of the World being awarded to The Westminster Chorus. The Eisteddfod includes choral, solo, instrumental, and dance competitions. Video of the competitions can be seen here.
posted by Balonious Assault on Jul 11, 2009 - 6 comments

"My cup runneth over with bloody water" -- Paul K.

Kentucky folksinger Paul K. has released his entire catalog online under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 license. [more inside]
posted by ford and the prefects on Jul 9, 2009 - 11 comments

"Nowadays a chantey is worth 1000 songs on an iPod"

Stan Hugill, often known as "The Last Shantyman," authored a book called Shanties From the Seven Seas, based on his own work experiences in the last days of sail. Influential in the folk revival, the book is one of the most important written sources for music sung aboard ships in the 19th and early 20th century, the "Bible" of sea music. Decades of chanteying in pubs and at festivals have kept many of the songs alive, but in most cases they've strayed stylistically from the verses and versions Hugill collected, or dropped out of popularity entirely. Now, one musician is returning to the source and creating a new audio archive for the original versions of the songs as written, by singing through the more than 400 songs in the book, one song each week, and posting the songs on YouTube, with commentary. [more inside]
posted by Miko on Jun 15, 2009 - 28 comments

'Songs From the Life of Leonard Cohen' 1988 BBC doc

"Songs From the Life of Leonard Cohen. More a biographical documentary than a concert, the 70-minute program combines live performances--some complete, many abridged--mainly from Cohen's 1988 show at Carnegie Hall, in support of his then-current album, I'm Your Man, with interviews with Cohen himself, his original musical patron Judy Collins and protege Jennifer Warnes." Parts: one two three four five six seven eight nine [more inside]
posted by item on Jun 6, 2009 - 27 comments

Joyful Noise

Pilgrim Productions Presents: Voices Across America, an archive of gospel music in a variety of genres, submitted for free play and download by church groups and folk and traditional groups across the country and beyond. Style, age, and quality vary greatly, but fans of noncommercial music will enjoy hunting for the gems of blues, Cajun, bluegrass, choral, shapenote, country, vintage, and mountain gospel and more.
posted by Miko on May 24, 2009 - 15 comments

Hey, Mr. Tambourine Man!... Say "Cheese!"

Dr. John Rudoff is a cardiologist in Oregon, but before he entered medical school, he was the staff photographer at The Main Point, a coffeehouse in Bryn Mawr, PA associated with the early 1960s folk revival in the Philadelphia area. His photographs of the Philadelphia folk scene include unidentified local folkies, but also touring folk singers such as Dave van Ronk and John Hammond. Eventually, Rudoff got a press pass to the 1965 Newport Folk Festival, where he took photos of Mary Travers sharing a moment with Mimi and Dick Fariña and Joan Baez with a pre-psychedelicized Chambers Brothers, but the most amazing discovery of all are the photos of when Bob Dylan "went electric." And now you can see Rudoff's whole collection, thanks to the magic of Flickr.
posted by jonp72 on May 7, 2009 - 13 comments

A Most Disgusting Song

Sixto Rodriguez aka Rod Riguez was a platinum-selling urban-poet folk-funk singer in South Africa, a hit across Australia and New Zealand -- and had no idea. He was working on a construction site in his home town of Detroit until his daughter Eva Alicia found a fansite called "The Great Rodriguez Hunt". [more inside]
posted by msalt on May 5, 2009 - 22 comments

Modulating for the Lord!

The foot bone connected to the ankle bone, the ankle bone connected to the leg bone, the leg bone connected to the knee bone, the knee bone connected to the thigh bone, the thigh bone connected to the hip bone, the hip bone connected to the back bone, the back bone connected to the shoulder bone, the shoulder bone connected to the neck bone, the neck bone connected to the head bone, now hear the word of the lord...and be sure to check the hover-overs for link details on all this bony business,
posted by flapjax at midnite on May 2, 2009 - 24 comments

The Bothy Band

The Bothy Band - Ireland's finest traditional folk ensemble - rip it up in 1977. (SLYT) [more inside]
posted by carter on Apr 23, 2009 - 20 comments

Abdurehim Heyit: now that's some STRUMMING, right there...

Who has the longest necks (on their duttars, that is) and the tallest hats in the music biz? Why the Uighurs, of course. [more inside]
posted by flapjax at midnite on Apr 2, 2009 - 25 comments

Anyone Who Ever Asks

The Musical Mystery of Connie Converse
"To survive at all, I expect I must drift back down through the other half of the twentieth twentieth, which I already know pretty well, the hundredth hundredth, which I have only read and heard about. I might survive there quite a few years - who knows?"

This was the cryptic note Connie Converse left her family in 1974, and no one heard from her again. She had spent the 1950's in New York City, trying to promote her music- haunting, melancholy folk tunes, but never made a go of it. Her songs very nearly disappeared into the ether, but thanks to Lau derrete Records, her first album is now available to the public, fifty years after the songs were recorded. (via Spinning On Air)
posted by kimdog on Mar 15, 2009 - 13 comments

The Anthology, notated.

"With this blog, I want to use the Folkways Anthology as a roadmap to explore American folk music and maybe other countries traditions along the way. I’ll use texts, images, music and videos gathered from my personal collection and from the net to make this work-in-progress enjoyable and educational the best I can." (via)
posted by 1f2frfbf on Mar 12, 2009 - 17 comments

"Instead of speaking proper Dutch..."

Chris Chameleon is an Afrikaans musician who talks a bit about his native language's origins in this intro to his song Klein Klein Jakkalsies. [more inside]
posted by grapefruitmoon on Mar 10, 2009 - 4 comments

Revival Revival

The Folkways Collection is a downloadable, 24-part podcast series that "explores the remarkable collection of music, spoken word, and sound recordings that make up Folkways Records (now at the Smithsonian as Smithsonian Folkways Recordings)."
posted by Miko on Feb 16, 2009 - 27 comments

False Etymologies

A false etymology is "an assumed or postulated etymology that current consensus among scholars of historical linguistics holds to be incorrect." The internet has provided a platform for the rapid spread of some false etymologies - Snopes has posts debunking Picnic / Handicap / Buck / Crowbar. On the other hand, a folk etymology can mean "the process by which a word or phrase, usually one of seemingly opaque formation, is arbitrarily reshaped so as to yield a form which is considered to be more transparent." Other interesting anomalies of etymology: backronyms and eggcorns.
posted by billysumday on Feb 5, 2009 - 27 comments

Chumbawamba

Her majesty's a pretty nice girl but she never did a thing for me [more inside]
posted by finite on Feb 4, 2009 - 53 comments

You like vinyl? I've got your vinyl right here.

Desperate Man Blues Edward Gillen's documentary about Joe Bussard, renowned collector of 25,000+ blues, folk and gospel 78rpm records from the 20s and 30s. It's about the hunt and the hunter, as much as what he found. One week only on Pitchfork TV [more inside]
posted by msalt on Jan 31, 2009 - 15 comments

Figuring out harmonies mathematically is like reading the mind of God.

The occasionally updated The Celestial Monochord claims to be the "Journal of the Institute for Astrophysics and the Hillbilly Blues" [more inside]
posted by 1f2frfbf on Jan 23, 2009 - 5 comments

i bought some crappy lights and started calling people up

Live from the Pink Couch: Punks, Girls, Boys, Warriors, Witches, Kids, Comptrollers, and your new favorite band Best Friends Forever! (boyzone comment flamewar included) [more inside]
posted by Potomac Avenue on Jan 5, 2009 - 16 comments

A legend takes the Rainbow Bridge

The great British guitarist Davey Graham died Monday at 68. Every aspiring acoustic guitar player who came of age during the 60s knew of Davy Graham, composer of Anji and inventor of the DADGAD tuning. His own records were never commercial smashes, but his influence was felt by all his contemporaries in the world of folk music and by legions who came after who knew nothing of him personally. The Guardian has a brief obit and assembles a fine video tribute .
posted by rdone on Dec 16, 2008 - 18 comments

The Lady With The Braid.

"I was listening to the radio and it’s one of those moments where you have to stop what you’re doing and pay full attention.” Dory Previn, met composer Andre' Previn while working in MGM's music dept. in the 1960s. They collaborated on movie music such as "A Second Chance" and "Valley Of The Dolls". Andre' divorced Dory in 1969 to marry Mia Farrow. Following this, Dory Previn recorded six original albums known for their wit and confessional tone. Dory Previn unofficially retired in 1976 and has been reluctant to give interviews. However, she released a free online album, Planet Blue in 2002. She gave a rare interview to the Times in February. She talked about her influences and meeting Howard Hughes with Bernadette Cahill in 2005.
posted by The Whelk on Dec 3, 2008 - 6 comments

Feels just like Sunday...

John Prine Live in 1980 on youtube--with interspersed interviews from around his hometown: in his 1951 Ford Custom Club Coupe (Automobile), down by the train tracks (Bruised Orange) on the porch ( How Lucky) and at the Scene of the Crime (The Accident). Previously [more inside]
posted by Potomac Avenue on Nov 16, 2008 - 13 comments

The young Dylan on TV

Back in 1963, a TV special called "Folk Songs and More Folk Songs" aired, which featured a cross section of the "folk" artists who were at that time just beginning to receive wider media exposure. Aside from the squeaky-clean, white bread embarrassment of groups like The Brothers Four, the show redeemed itself with performances by a very young Bob Dylan, who sang The Ballad of Hollis Brown (with banjo and bass accompaniment) and Man of Constant Sorrow. And here's two more very early Dylan TV appearances, from Canada, 1964: A Hard Rain's a-Gonna Fall and Girl From the North Country. Here's the same Girl From the North Country performed years later, once again on broadcast TV, in duet with Johnny Cash, from the Johnny Cash Show. [more inside]
posted by flapjax at midnite on Oct 4, 2008 - 23 comments

"It doesn't really seem that long ago."

Home Movies. A 1975 documentary by a young academic folklorist, exploring what it was that people were doing when they made home movies: remembering selectively, creating a "golden age." [more inside]
posted by Miko on Jul 21, 2008 - 20 comments

John Prine

John Prine released John Prine in 1971 with the songs Illegal Smile, Spanish Pipedream, Hello In There, Sam Stone, Paradise, Pretty Good, Your Flag Decal Won't Get You Into Heaven Anymore, Far From Me, Angel From Montgomery, Quiet Man, Donald & Lydia, Six O'clock News and Flashback Blues. An interview from 1971.
posted by stavrogin on Jun 3, 2008 - 38 comments

Old Weird Europe

German newspaper Der Spiegel decided to take a look at Europe's oddest folk traditions and festivals. Perhaps you can have a metaphorical hard-on for the phallus festival of Tyrnavos, Greece. Maybe you're hungry for how a small Belgian town celebrates the practice of swallowing live fish. Or, alternately, you can look down on those bizarre practices... while chasing a giant wheel of cheese down a hill. [more inside]
posted by huskerdont on Jun 3, 2008 - 20 comments

Wrath of the Grapevine: The Roots of John Fahey

So, about 9 months ago I started working on this compilation... Until yesterday, however, I hadn't seen a tracklist from the mysterious 10-cd set called the VrootzBox, so this is not a derivative work, however similar it may be...I should mention that not all of these songs are songs that he covered or copped licks from. Most of the music he has made mention to, though a few of the songs were recorded after his formative years and one or two he never would have heard. But they are presented to give an illustration of the styles he drew from (such as gamelan, which he grew up playing in his neighbor's back yard).
Wrath of the Grapevine: The Roots of John Fahey
via FaheyGuitarPlayers
posted by y2karl on Jun 1, 2008 - 12 comments

Hava nagila, have two nagilas, have three nagilas; they're very small.

Claire and Merna Bagelman, better known as The Barry Sisters. Every Sunday from 1938 to 1955 on WHN in New York, they mashed Swing with Yiddish Folk as the main attraction on the radio program Yiddish Melodies in Swing.[via] "We take a tune that's sweet and low, and we rock it solid and make it gold." They are indeed a Hebrew National Kosher Classic. More Yiddish music webceptacles. [more inside]
posted by not_on_display on May 27, 2008 - 8 comments

Luke Kelly: The Performer

Casual fans of Irish folk-punk bands like The Pogues, Flogging Molly and the Dropkick Murphys rarely take the time to investigate the sources of their inspiration. Those who do, cannot avoid coming across the The Dubliners. [more inside]
posted by PeterMcDermott on May 19, 2008 - 39 comments

Writer, musician, polymath

Stan Kelly-Bootle began his career as a member of the earliest wave of computer programmers, who wrote prolifically about a wide range of computing issues. Back in his home town though, he's probably best known for his contributions to a lexicon of local slang, Lern Yerself Scouse, and for his canonical and not-so-canonical contributions to the British folk repertoire. [more inside]
posted by PeterMcDermott on May 12, 2008 - 9 comments

and they tried to say Jerusalem's forever passed away

Folk/acoustic Friday: braving infatuation, heartbreak, pregnancy, Thatcherism, corporate drudgery and bad 90s hair, these artists come bearing gifts. [more inside]
posted by aihal on Apr 11, 2008 - 2 comments

I'm kind of homesick for a country to which I've never been before.

Frank Newsome leads the congregation at the Little David Church in Hayside, Va. Old Regular Baptists, they sing the way people sang when they first came to the American colonies: without instruments or notation, and following their leader line by line. It's called lined-out hymnody, and people outside the southern Appalachian Mountains rarely hear it. One of the songs Newsome sings at services is a hymn about longing for heaven, called "Beulah Land."
posted by The Jesse Helms on Apr 8, 2008 - 30 comments

Do You Like American Music?

Sounds of America is a new monthly streaming audio program, a collaboration between the National Museum of American History and Smithsonian Global Sound. Up now are 3 episodes: African-American music in New Orleans, Women in American Music, and Freedom Songs of the U.S. Civil Rights Movement.
posted by Miko on Apr 2, 2008 - 12 comments

Scenes From Latcho Drom

First, and foremost, here is La Caíta - El Pájaro Negro. Could there be singing anymore heartfelt than this ? I wonder. And here she is, in an ancillary role, with the Amaya family. Also, from Spain, here is Tchavolo Schmitt, Dorado Schmitt & Hono Winterstein - Kali Sara & Tchavolo swing. From Romania, here are Taraf de Haïdouks and, from them, here is Taraf de Haïdouks and of them, here is Balada Conducatorolui - Nicolae Neacsu. From the Thar of Rajasthan, here is the very charismatic Talab Khan Barna, and here, from Egypt, is Bambi Saidi. And let the etymological connection between Egypt and gypsy be noted here and now, by the way.

All of these are. of course, excerpts from Latcho Drom. [more inside]
posted by y2karl on Mar 20, 2008 - 7 comments

If You Brought Your Partici-pants, You Better Put Them On!

God's Pottery is described on their website as "a Christian acoustic duo formed to spread the Word while addressing the issues facing today's Youth and the Spiritual Community at large." But actually, they're one of the funniest new up and coming musical comedy acts, already nominated for an ECNY award in Best Musical Comedy Act. They workshop with the audience to get to know them better and sing songs about Pre-Marital Sex (The Pants Come Off, When The Ring Goes On), Alcoholism (Jesus I Need a Drink!), and they're always playing for Team Jesus. They went to the "Eden-berg" Fringe Festival and even stayed in character when interviewed by ITV2, because they are that good.
posted by Del Far on Mar 6, 2008 - 23 comments

Jean Ritchie, "Mother of Folk Music"

Jean Ritchie, Mother of folk music. Abigail and Balis Ritchie of Viper, Perry County, Kentucky had 14 children, and Jean was the youngest... [more inside]
posted by ethel on Mar 2, 2008 - 11 comments

Papa Palmérino Sorgente, the Pope of Montréal

Papa Palmérino Sorgente, the Pope of Montréal [more inside]
posted by XMLicious on Feb 28, 2008 - 8 comments

Robert Petway - Catfish Blues

And here we have a couple of YouTube productions, screensaverish animations of photos and lyrics to the original recordings: Robert Petway - Catfish Blues and Tommy McClennan - It's Hard To Be Lonesome. This is mostly about Petway and Catfish Blues but you can't mention Petway without mentioning McClennan, as they ran together in their time and as both did versions of Catfish, a song canonical in Delta Blues, recorded and performed by nearly everyone--Muddy Waters - Rolling Stone, for example. Petway just happens to be the first person to record Catfish, and quite possibly the person who wrote it and certainly. to my mind, at least, the person who nailed it... in the uptempo version at the very least. [more inside]
posted by y2karl on Feb 28, 2008 - 8 comments

It's The Ones Who've Cracked That The Light Shines Through

Jeffrey Lewis brings you The Complete History of Punk Rock and Its Development on the Lower East Side (1950-1975) in eight and a half minutes. [more inside]
posted by StopMakingSense on Feb 27, 2008 - 24 comments

Cotten pickin' good

Elizabeth Cotten [previously] sits down and talks with Pete Seeger. She plays the "Wilson Rag," "Mama, Your Papa Loves You," and Pete joins her for "Freight Train." (Lyrics are provided for "Freight Train," so you can all sing along, too.) [more inside]
posted by not_on_display on Feb 20, 2008 - 6 comments

truth is a story scribbled in chalk, just an hour before the flood

Having worked as a philosophy teacher in a Scottish primary school and a domestic and child abuse worker with Scottish Women's Aid, perhaps it comes as little surprise that Karine Polwart's music often dwells on the darker side of life. [more inside]
posted by aihal on Feb 19, 2008 - 9 comments

The People's Singer

"If Communists liked what we did, that was their good luck," said Lee Hays, founding member of the Almanac Singers. A fascinating portrait of one of the linchpins of the politically engaged folk movement of the '40s and '50s. Hays sang beside the more celebrated (and, on one important day in Bob Dylan history, infamous) Pete Seeger on such classic Almanac albums as Talking Union. [Listen here.]
posted by digaman on Feb 18, 2008 - 9 comments

But for now we are young, let us lay in the sun

In the Aeroplane Over the Sea was released 10 years ago today. Happy Neutral Milk Hotel day. [more inside]
posted by ludwig_van on Feb 10, 2008 - 123 comments

Times ain't Like They Used To Be: Richard "Rabbit" Brown, New Orleans Songster

In 1900 they were everywhere. Singing on street corners, in front of circus entrances, or just moving down the dusty roads of the South, playing anywhere a crowd might be cajoled into donating a dime to the cause. To survive they played any request--ballads, popular tunes, white hillbilly music, hymns, and the newly emerged blues. Songsters were the first folk musicians to be "professional" ...Most songsters faded into the past. A few waxed recordings, leaving a tempting glance into their world--and many questions. Such is the case with Richard "Rabbit" Brown, one of the most celebrated songsters and the only one from New Orleans to record.
Times ain't Like They Used To Be: Richard "Rabbit" Brown, New Orleans Songster--so, James Alley Blues is the song most everyone names as Brown's greatest and, now, you can play it online here. [more inside]
posted by y2karl on Feb 7, 2008 - 17 comments

And something is vacant when I think it's all beginning : The Late Allen Ginsberg and Beck in Conversation

Not exactly breaking news, but still:
The Late Allen Ginsberg and Beck in Conversation
Related YouTuber: Beck on the late Allen Ginsberg
To complete the circle: Jackass by the South Austin Jug Band.
posted by y2karl on Feb 5, 2008 - 26 comments

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