(foto David Dickson)

torsdag 10 maj 2012

The Weavers - how did they do it?

A memory struck me for some reason - a memory from back in 1988 or something - of The Weavers’ last reunion. The Weavers - immensely popular in America in their heyday in the 50s, and highly influential in the world-wide folk-music revival in the 60s. I remember watching the TV reunion seeing these aged ones, one of them even in a wheel-chair, all of them so full of life though they might well be on the edge of the grave.

This is what I remembered:

 I took another look at this reunion and - judge for yourselves - I began to wonder what was it really about the Weavers that magnetized all these people?

So I went back to the sources, in this case ”The Weavers 1951 video The Weavers Around the World”. And still I wonder what was it that held people enthralled?

These are the songs: Tzena Tzena (Israeli dance song), So long it’s been good to know ya (Woody Guthrie), The Roving kind (folk song, American), Good night Irene (Hudie Leadbetter), The Flop-Eared Mule (folk song, American).

The furthest I went among the sources tonight was to Hudie Leadbetter whose Good Night Irene was brought to new audiences by the Weavers. Now listen to this, and make note of one word that differs in Leadbetter’s original as compared to that of the Weavers: ”I’ll get you in my dreams” sings Leadbetter, while the Weavers sing ”I’ll see you ...”

So when The weavers bring Leadbetter onto their cozy scene - what are they doing? Are they domesticating the emotion of the original? Are they infusing their cozy middle class audience with Leadbetter’s vigorous emotion? Are they doing both these things simultaneously - domesticating the vigour and invigorating the tame? Now listen to a version of the original, and then give your idea of what it was that The Weavers did to enthuse people like they did. I'm asking for your comments on this question.



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