stream of consciousness

me as a folksinger, well now, hmm. i was a teen-age folkie in the 60s, nuff said. i eschewed the beatles in favour of peter paul and mary, adored Dylan, joan baez and pete seeger, and sallied past them deep into American folk, the weavers, hedy west, peggy and mike seeger and the new lost city ramblers, cisco and sonny and leadbelly too, and many other great singers whose names i’ve forgotten on old record labels already becoming prestigious. ian and Sylvia captivated me, and taught me a more sophisticated yet still authentic approach, buffy ste marie thrilled me then and still does sometimes. the Dubliners slew me and i remain a devotee: they took me to the Clancy brothers and tommy makem, nuff said. australia’s tina Lawton, the seekers, and lionel long, and the many fine performers who sang and played genuine folk music mixed with protest and ‘contempory folk’ around Australian folk venues taught me that you can ‘folksing’ at any age, and you can be fat and thin or ugly as sin, as long as you love the songs. almeda riddle was in her 80s thrilling beyond compare. all you need is conviction. to really love the songs. all the rest just comes, and there’s no way you can learn it or fake it. either the song likes you or it doesn’t and if it doesn’t the performance is bound to reflect that.

well, wherever i went, i wasn’t long without a guitar, even if a very cheap, old, battered guitar, but it liked me and we sang a lot of songs together, around camp-fires or alone if there was no-one else willing. now it seems there’s a folk revival happening, coming out of the celtic one. the people seem to listen here, then there, and they listened to celtic music and now they want to hear other folk music again. and they’ve got a whole generation of seasoned backyard bards to contribute, who’ve listened since the heady days of protest and acid rock to steele-eye span, the fureys, the celtic singers, and more, and absorbed naturally without any ambition beyond backyard acclaim for being able to play at all, half a lifetime of influences, songs, styles and subtleties that imbue their singing without them being at all articulate about it or even knowing that that’s what’s happening till they stop and think. that’s a lot of magic herbs into the cauldron, and there’s bound to be exciting things coming out of it. lacking confidence a bit, acutely conscious of flaws and faults, i do belong to that generation of folksinger and that genre. people are beginning to respond well to me and my newest guitar, not such a battered one nowadays. perhaps i can be among the ones who make a contribution.

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