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  #151  
Old 09-28-2019, 02:18 AM
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What A.P. carter was doing was called 'Song collecting'. He was trying to cash in on copyright money. It was widespread. When radio and recording became easier to do folks went crazy trying to get things recorded first. There was bound to be things stolen during that time. But, if ol' Uncle Joe in the backwoods with no electricity sang it for them how was he gonna ever know? He had no radio and was old. No one to bring a lawsuit about copyrights.
I imagine people who collected songs justified by saying they were preserving the music for prosterity.

I’m sure they did, but at the same time they showed what a lavish lifestyle that family was living based on this “collecting”. They should have at least given these hillbillies a few bucks after getting them to play the song for them. They were living high on the hog off of intellectual property they got very poor people to naïvely turn over to them. That just doesn’t sit right with me.
  #152  
Old 09-28-2019, 03:42 AM
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The Carter family were not rich by any account I've heard or read
Who knows they may have paid them a tiny amount.

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  #153  
Old 09-28-2019, 03:43 AM
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And here's "The Queens of Country" from the BBC, I guess covering the Sixties and Seventies.
That was fun to watch. I don't recall the Ken Burns program ever mentioning Bobbie Gentry having a TV show on the Beeb or her duets with Glen Campbell.
  #154  
Old 09-28-2019, 04:33 AM
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The Carter family were not rich by any account I've heard or read
Who knows they may have paid them a tiny amount.

I thought you watched this documentary, specifically the first episode. If they paid them anything, everyone talking about the “song collecting” failed to mention that part. And it showed the Carters reaping big financial rewards from the copyrights, and the women buying motorcycles and so on.
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Old 09-28-2019, 04:44 AM
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The band received $50 for each song recorded, plus half a cent royalty on every copy sold of each song for which they had registered a copyright[...]
By the end of 1930 they had sold 300,000 records in the United States. Realizing that he would benefit financially with each new song he collected and copyrighted, A.P. traveled around the southwestern Virginia area in search of new songs

So they sold 300,000 records before he even started the “song collecting” in earnest. No further sales numbers are given, but I think it’s safe to say he ended up a lot better off financially than the people whose songs he “collected”.
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Old 09-28-2019, 02:01 PM
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So they started the 2d ep w/ a bluesy version of a Stephen Foster song. The guys I picked w/ this a.m. pretty much agreed it was an expansive definition of "country", but enjoyable nevertheless.
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  #157  
Old 09-28-2019, 05:54 PM
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I’m sure they did, but at the same time they showed what a lavish lifestyle that family was living based on this “collecting”. They should have at least given these hillbillies a few bucks after getting them to play the song for them. They were living high on the hog off of intellectual property they got very poor people to naïvely turn over to them. That just doesn’t sit right with me.
How much did Aaron Copland pay the Amish for taking their hymn Simple Gifts and dropping it into Appalachian Spring?

Sad to say, the history of music is replete with people ripping off traditional folk songs and turning them into moneymakers. Feel more sorry for W.W. Fosdick and George R. Poulton, who clearly published Aura Lea during the Civil War, and didn't even get a mention when Love Me Tender came out in 1956.
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Old 09-28-2019, 08:31 PM
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Haven't seen it, but I hear tell Gary Stewart got nary a mention. Any "country music" retrospective that fails to mention Gary Stewart just ain't no part of nuthin'.
  #159  
Old 09-28-2019, 09:45 PM
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So they sold 300,000 records before he even started the “song collecting” in earnest. No further sales numbers are given, but I think it’s safe to say he ended up a lot better off financially than the people whose songs he “collected”.
I agree with you they were 'better' off those people who had the songs. But rich is not how I would describe them. Again they probably justified it by saying they were saving the songs for future generations. It's all relative.
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Old 09-28-2019, 09:49 PM
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Haven't seen it, but I hear tell Gary Stewart got nary a mention. Any "country music" retrospective that fails to mention Gary Stewart just ain't no part of nuthin'.
Is he that guy with the weird vibrato voice? No mention that I'm aware of.
  #161  
Old 09-28-2019, 10:25 PM
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The people who collected songs were not passive. They made thousands of inquiries, drove thousands of miles, wrote down obscure generations-old songs people remembered from their youth. (A.J.’s wife Sara heard “I’m Thinking Tonight Of My Blue Eyes” when she was a girl, the song was older). Some of them spent so much time on the road their marriages broke up.

Who’s to say if they gave people anything in exchange for their song? I admit they probably didn’t, but don’t know that. These songs may have been lost forever if someone didn’t collect them. I don’t think most of them wrote anything, they just remembered songs from their youth.

It might have been a rip-off. Perhaps it was unfair. There is a chance it was shady, but not if they stated their intentions. The Carter Family basically launched what became country music, and that is what paid for motorcycles, which is surely a pretty modest gain.

I was also disappointed the wrestling singer, “The Honky Tonk Man” was not more prominently featured.

And I have really began to like Kris Kristofferson after listening to more of his stuff. Can’t believe I knew so little about him, though of course I’d heard a few songs by him.
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  #162  
Old 09-29-2019, 02:01 AM
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How much did Aaron Copland pay the Amish for taking their hymn Simple Gifts and dropping it into Appalachian Spring?

Sad to say, the history of music is replete with people ripping off traditional folk songs and turning them into moneymakers. Feel more sorry for W.W. Fosdick and George R. Poulton, who clearly published Aura Lea during the Civil War, and didn't even get a mention when Love Me Tender came out in 1956.

My rebuttal to that was to wonder if Copland et al went around scouring the countryside for those songs, or just passively heard them in various places and passed them on. It’s still maybe not exactly right, but I sort of take the opposite tack that Paprika seems to, which is that if you are the first to profit off of a song that everybody kind of knows, that’s not as bad as treating it like you are a prospector in a gold rush and the simple countryfolk are the (uncompensated) veins of gold you are exploiting.

If the idea is to genuinely preserve folkways, that sounds like a job for some kind of academic music historian or New Deal researcher.

Last edited by SlackerInc; 09-29-2019 at 02:06 AM.
  #163  
Old 09-29-2019, 02:18 AM
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People did go preserve songs. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Archive_of_Folk_Culture
  #164  
Old 09-29-2019, 02:22 AM
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Good on them! Quite different from what A.P. did.
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Old 09-29-2019, 04:43 AM
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I've thought about it, and I've changed my mind a bit about A.P. Carter's song collecting. Probably most of the songs were folk music, and thus in the public domain. He wasn't stealing from the people he got the songs from, but at the same time he shouldn't have copyrighted them. Only the author of a work (or the author's employer, if it's a work for hire) is legally allowed to copyright the work. His improper copyrights resulted in him and his family getting royalties they weren't entitled to. By contrast, John and Alan Lomax didn't file for copyrights on the songs they collected.

As for Simple Gifts and Aura Lee, the former was originally written in 1848 and the latter in 1861. They were well out of copyright by the time Aaron Copland and Elvis Presley (actually George R. Poulton and Ken Darby) got to them. Also,in both cases the composer/songwriter changed the original in substantial ways. Copyright law recognizes derivative works, in which new works use elements of existing ones. Copland's copyright on Appalachian Spring didn't entitle him to royalties on anyone else's use of Simple Gifts, unless they did it in a way that copied Appalachian Spring.
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  #166  
Old 09-29-2019, 04:47 AM
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Good points. Seems to me they could have made plenty of money just from recording these songs and selling lots of records and did not have to actually copyright them as though they had written them.
  #167  
Old 09-29-2019, 09:37 AM
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Is he that guy with the weird vibrato voice? No mention that I'm aware of.
He could be who you're thinking of. Here's some Gary Stewart.
  #168  
Old 09-29-2019, 01:55 PM
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I agree copyrighting them seems like the biggest abuse. If a researcher had collected songs for posterity no one would raise an eyebrow. Nice to read about preservation efforts.
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  #169  
Old 09-29-2019, 06:08 PM
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I'm not defending stealing songs, but let's be realistic. So the Carter family sold 300,000 records. The publisher's royalty on a record sale is something like 2 cents per song. That's $6,000. Then there was sheet music - I'm not sure what the royalties were, but probably about the same. Sure the songs would be recorded over and over to provide A.P. with a steady income, but that kind of income didn't make the Carter family millionaires.
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Old 09-29-2019, 06:30 PM
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So many peoole still had no electricity, so they couldn't play records. That's why radio shows became so popular. If they could scrape up enough for a battery operated radio, the music was free.
Sheet music was for a educated person who could read music and had some proficiency on an instrument. The only folks making any amount of money were the Studio execs. Then the depression hit.
By all accounts A.P. Carter was a strange guy. Mabel said he might sing or he might look out of a window at recording sessions.
They were splitting money up amongst too many people. They weren't rich.

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  #171  
Old 09-30-2019, 08:49 AM
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Another thing mentioned that highlights how little money the Carters made. In the late 60s Mother Maybelle was working as a nurse to make ends meet.

These were not people who got rich off of others. And the people they heard the songs from were unlikely to be the authors.

Also keep in mind that an arrangement or new variation of a song can be copyrighted. So income can be shared with the original author and the new author. And if there is no identifiable original author, where is the money supposed to go????

I really, really hope that this "The Carter family got rich off others." thing will die the death it deserves.
  #172  
Old 09-30-2019, 09:01 AM
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I really don't have a dog in this fight, but given how destitute the Carters appear to have been BEFORE they recorded anything - having to agree to hoe a cornfield to borrow a relative's car, it is pretty clear that they significantly improved their financial situation - buying houses, property, instruments, vehicles. They were definitely making fine wages from Ol' Dr. Goat Nuts. Whether or not Maybelle hung onto any profits 30 yrs later may not be terribly relevant.

Copyright, writing credits, etc. has long been a complex issue in recorded music.

When they travelled back home over Clinch Mountain, I wonder if they did the backstep?!
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  #173  
Old 10-01-2019, 08:36 PM
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I'm not defending stealing songs, but let's be realistic. So the Carter family sold 300,000 records. The publisher's royalty on a record sale is something like 2 cents per song. That's $6,000. Then there was sheet music - I'm not sure what the royalties were, but probably about the same. Sure the songs would be recorded over and over to provide A.P. with a steady income, but that kind of income didn't make the Carter family millionaires.

But that Wikipedia article said they had sold 300,000 records before AP got the idea to go start “collecting” songs and copyrighting them. That was his lightbulb moment that it could be a lucrative endeavor. No figures were given for how many he sold after that point.

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  #174  
Old 10-01-2019, 09:05 PM
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Unfortunately, I haven't seen the series because I've been very busy at work. But from reviews of the series, it sounds like all country crossover artists (Eddy Arnold, Jim Reeves, Kenny Rogers,etc.) have been almost totally ignored. Is that right? And does anyone think that's effected the series?
  #175  
Old 10-01-2019, 09:51 PM
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Oh, no. Alot of groups and singers were shorted. It was a good over all series, IMO. It would take many many more episodes if they mentioned everyone.
In a preview interview Burns said there were people who weren't featured.
Maybe he'll make a part 2.
  #176  
Old 10-01-2019, 10:52 PM
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Unfortunately, I haven't seen the series because I've been very busy at work. But from reviews of the series, it sounds like all country crossover artists (Eddy Arnold, Jim Reeves, Kenny Rogers,etc.) have been almost totally ignored. Is that right? And does anyone think that's effected the series?
Kenny's in there, specifically how he went from The First Edition to a big star with "The Gambler".
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Old 10-01-2019, 11:28 PM
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Jim Reeves was in there too.
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Old 10-01-2019, 11:38 PM
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I remember Eddy Arnold being included. I just checked the track listing for the companion CD, and he's there with I'll Hold You In My Heart (Till I Can Hold You In My Arms).
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  #179  
Old 10-02-2019, 08:16 AM
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Mildly interesting op-ed in the paper the other day, comparing what the series described about country incorporating diverse influences - black spirituals, British Isles fiddle music, polkas - what might today be called cultural appropriation.
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Old 10-02-2019, 09:38 AM
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Watched the first half of part 6 last night. Lot of Waylon Jennings.

One thing that bugs me is the omission of names. E.g., they mention the Buddy Holly plane crash that Jennings avoided being on by random. (No mention of the coin flip.) So Holly and two other musicians died. What, you can't say "Richie Valens and The Big Bopper"???? A lot of stuff like this.

I am continually amazed (and at this point shouldn't be) by the weirdness of record execs.

So someone sees Jennings and his band performing their music in Arizona. Contract ensues. The record company doesn't allow Jennings to select the music, use his band, or write his own songs. Things don't go well until he gets a contract to negate all that. Then success happens.

Why on Earth do you sign someone and then not allow them to do what you liked them doing?

But it's an oft told tale.
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Old 10-02-2019, 09:42 AM
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... What, you can't say "Richie Valens and The Big Bopper"???? A lot of stuff like this. ...
Yeah - WTF?! Isn't Mexico a "country"?

One of my buddies has repeatedly complained about them describing something that took place in the early 50s, and showing photos of streets with 55 Chevys.
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  #182  
Old 10-02-2019, 11:22 AM
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Mildly interesting op-ed in the paper the other day, comparing what the series described about country incorporating diverse influences - black spirituals, British Isles fiddle music, polkas - what might today be called cultural appropriation.
Yeah, and things like country music (or really, just about any other art form) make me think that cultural appropriation is about the most bankrupt idea there can be besides racism.
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Old 10-02-2019, 02:23 PM
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Unfortunately, I haven't seen the series because I've been very busy at work. But from reviews of the series, it sounds like all country crossover artists (Eddy Arnold, Jim Reeves, Kenny Rogers,etc.) have been almost totally ignored. Is that right? And does anyone think that's effected the series?
They were mentioned but not much. I had posted earlier about another example, Glen Campbell being give short shrift. I don’t know much about the other two, but given the huge success of Glen Campbell and Kenny Rogers in the genre, yes I do think it was strange, and I wish a different prioritization had been made in some cases. Of course each individual is going to have their own opinions, but it’s interesting to see that reviews of the series are mentioning this. It was certainly noticeable to me.
  #184  
Old 10-13-2019, 01:21 PM
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Any suggestions on the next Burns documentary I should watch? What topic would you like him to cover?
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Old 10-13-2019, 02:32 PM
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Any suggestions on the next Burns documentary I should watch? What topic would you like him to cover?
Gaming. Too soon?
  #186  
Old 10-13-2019, 02:39 PM
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Any suggestions on the next Burns documentary I should watch? What topic would you like him to cover?
I found Prohibition (2011) and The National Parks: America's Best Idea (2009) to be extremely interesting, and very well-done.

I also like Baseball (1994), but it is *long* (over 18 hours), and may be of less interest if you aren't a baseball fan.

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  #187  
Old 10-13-2019, 02:43 PM
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Gaming. Too soon?
Oh, I misread. I thought you were asking about a 'new' one.
Watch the 'Civil War' one for sure.
He did one on the Brooklyn Bridge, early on. I liked that one.
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Old 10-13-2019, 03:54 PM
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Some of my favorite Ken Burns documentaries are:

The Civil War
Lewis & Clark: The Journey of the Corps of Discovery
The Central Park Five
The Vietnam War

The Civil War and The Vietnam War are long. The other two are much shorter.

A documentary on the history of immigration in the U.S. would be interesting, although it might be too broad in focus for Burns.
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Old 10-13-2019, 04:09 PM
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Oh, I'd forgotten about Lewis and Clark. Good one. Vietnam as well.
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Old 10-13-2019, 04:33 PM
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The rise & fall of Vaudeville would be a great subject.

He's evidently already working on stand-up comedy.
  #191  
Old 10-13-2019, 04:38 PM
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Any suggestions on the next Burns documentary I should watch? What topic would you like him to cover?
I found his series on WW II particularly riveting. I think it’s called “The War”. It follows several families from before to after. Some really amazing stories and breathtaking footage and photos, most of which were new to me.
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Old 10-13-2019, 05:30 PM
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Any suggestions on the next Burns documentary I should watch? What topic would you like him to cover?
The Mayo Clinic from 2018 was good.
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Old 10-14-2019, 01:48 AM
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They were mentioned but not much. I had posted earlier about another example, Glen Campbell being give short shrift. I don’t know much about the other two, but given the huge success of Glen Campbell and Kenny Rogers in the genre, yes I do think it was strange, and I wish a different prioritization had been made in some cases. Of course each individual is going to have their own opinions, but it’s interesting to see that reviews of the series are mentioning this. It was certainly noticeable to me.
I don't know if it's been mentioned, but I read something about Glen Campbell's widow refusing to cooperate (probably wanted a big payoff) and Ken Burns was forced to rely on 'stock footage' of him in concerts, to include him in the series at all.

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  #194  
Old 10-14-2019, 02:32 PM
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I enjoyed this documentary a lot. I listen to country music, and this gave me a lot more songs to listen to. I especially liked the bluegrass instrumentals.

I heard some lyrics about "Tenbrooks beating Molly", which I was pleasantly surprised to discover was about a horse race, not an abusive boyfriend.
  #195  
Old 10-15-2019, 03:06 PM
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I asked for both existing documentaries and new ideas for same. What do you mean by gaming? Casinos? Gambling? Scrabble?

I think Silicon Valley, the Cold War, South America, The Middle East and Modern Art would all be potentially great docs.
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