Skiffle

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GoogaMooga
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Skiffle

Postby GoogaMooga » 07 Jun 2021, 17:16

So, what about skiffle? An important footnote in the evolution of UK rock, to be sure, but how good is it really? I am a couple of songs into one of two Lonnie Donegan CDs I picked up in thrift; tasty Sequel reissues, but man, is that music hokey! This isn't just a question of chewing gum losing its flavor overnight kind of novelty shit, this is just too alien. Even Lonnie's folk album spinning right now, it is very much an acquired taste. I think I'll make do with my Quarrymen boot. That one contains a 20 second sound snippet from the historic gig at the Woolton Parish Church Garden Fete, Liverpool, 1958. That'll skedaddle do it for skiffle, as far as I'm concerned!

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"When the desert comes, people will be sad; just as Cannery Row was sad when all the pilchards were caught and canned and eaten." - John Steinbeck

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Re: Skiffle

Postby Deebank » 07 Jun 2021, 17:39

(I start far too many posts with these words but... )

I'm no expert but skiffle was far more important than a 'footnote'. It (and to a certain extent trad jazz) caused numerous teens to pick up a musical instrument and attempt to make a noise (my dad even attempted to play the trombone :lol: ). The list of British artists that were inspired by LD includes pretty much anyone and everyone who came along in the following decade.

Ignore the 'novelty' records and Lonnie Donegan is about as good as it got in the UK (ducks expecting brickbats from Rayge) pre-Fabs. And he was still pretty good live up until the end bless him.

When it comes to decent, interesting, inspiring British popular music, this is where it all began...


I've been talking about writing a book - 25 years of TEFL - for a few years now. I've got it in me.

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Re: Skiffle

Postby GoogaMooga » 07 Jun 2021, 17:51

I know all that, but the reason I call it an important footnote (and not just a footnote), is that the whole genre gave us exactly one superstar - Lonnie himself.

Skiffle took off because it was practical and easy, you did not need to invest in an electric guitar.
"When the desert comes, people will be sad; just as Cannery Row was sad when all the pilchards were caught and canned and eaten." - John Steinbeck

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Deebank
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!!

Postby Deebank » 07 Jun 2021, 18:02

GoogaMooga wrote:I know all that, but the reason I call it an important footnote (and not just a footnote), is that the whole genre gave us exactly one superstar - Lonnie himself.

Skiffle took off because it was practical and easy, you did not need to invest in an electric guitar.


The genre gave us every British superstar!

Skiffle itself was a short-lived craze but it's influence - and Lonnie Donegan's - is massive.
I've been talking about writing a book - 25 years of TEFL - for a few years now. I've got it in me.

Paid anghofio fod dy galon yn y chwyldro

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Re: Skiffle

Postby GoogaMooga » 07 Jun 2021, 18:06

I am not disputing that, the influence was massive, yes, but as soon as the beat groups got going, skiffle was history. Who plays it today? What other stars besides Lonnie?

We can call it a watershed for UK popular music, if that makes you feel better.
"When the desert comes, people will be sad; just as Cannery Row was sad when all the pilchards were caught and canned and eaten." - John Steinbeck

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Rayge
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Re: Skiffle

Postby Rayge » 07 Jun 2021, 18:57

Deebank wrote:Ignore the 'novelty' records and Lonnie Donegan is about as good as it got in the UK (ducks expecting brickbats from Rayge) pre-Fabs. And he was still pretty good live up until the end bless him.


Nah, you can come out into the light. Lonnie was all right by me. Only vaguely contemporary British acts I might have thought better were Billy Fury and Johnny Kidd, but not by that much. Well upwards of a hundred US acts from the 1950s that I would rather listen to, though.
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Re: Skiffle

Postby GoogaMooga » 07 Jun 2021, 19:05

I much prefer Billy Fury, even Johnny Kidd (in mono on See For Miles).
"When the desert comes, people will be sad; just as Cannery Row was sad when all the pilchards were caught and canned and eaten." - John Steinbeck

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Re: Skiffle

Postby Rayge » 07 Jun 2021, 19:14

GoogaMooga wrote:I am not disputing that, the influence was massive, yes, but as soon as the beat groups got going, skiffle was history. Who plays it today? What other stars besides Lonnie?

We can call it a watershed for UK popular music, if that makes you feel better.


Skiffle as a craze, as a rough and ready way for people to make music (much like doo wop and punk in their beginnings) was done by 1959, maybe earlier. Rock and roll and the appalling stew that was Trad Jazz buried it. Lonnie and the Chris Barber band whence he emerged were pro jazz/folk/blues (the three were more or less interchangeable in the UK back then, when Leadbelly was the touchstone for much Americana) musicians with real instruments who were reviveing a pre-war up-tempo urban Black American party music/jug band style that was known to some as skiffle: the tea-chest basses, washboard percussion and other homely and home-made instruments were part of it's poverty-stricken American history, but they weren't essential to the style. And none of those street bands as far as I'm aware were ever recorded - certainly don't remember any hits.

And other stars, well Chas McDevitt (whom I interviewed for my late wife's book on Soho in the Fifties) got a US number one with a skifflish tune, I can remember Ken Colyer, but there weren't many, no.
In timeless moments we live forever

You can't play a tune on an absolute

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Tom Waits For No One
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Re: Skiffle

Postby Tom Waits For No One » 07 Jun 2021, 20:32

Grab yourself a copy of this

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and listen along whilst reading this.

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That's your summer sorted.
Give a shit or be a shit.