minstrel: A Calling-On Song

Ellen Rawson silme13 at yahoo.com
Wed Jun 11 09:25:55 PDT 2008

--- On Wed, 6/11/08, Patricia Yarrow <yarrowp at mscd.edu> wrote:

> I got a private email objecting to my use of
> "muddy" to describe The
> Watersons' sound.  I wasn't trying to denigrate
> their sound.  Perhaps it
> would clarify if I said that to my ear, I'm hearing
> more notes than there
> are voices sounding.  

I'd meant to write here, but I accidentally sent the email just to Vivien.

Perhaps it's because I've been listening to the Watersons since the late '60s-early '70s, that I never had any confusion about their sound. To me, it was just their sound. They seem more bare-boned, more rural Yorkshire, shall we say, than other groups, even those originating from the same time, such as the Young Tradition. The Young Tradition was far more traditional in terms of what modern ears think of as choral parts; they stuck to rigid harmonies, whereas the Watersons' voices create their own harmonies. Perhaps it's best to think more of the Coppers when wanting a group with whom to compare the Watersons. 

Ariel, English folkie. ;) (Seeing Bella Hardy in concert soon -- can't wait! :)

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