Cris-a-well predicts dept.
Deisel Nation and Devon Powers claim the album review is dead and ponder the change that might be coming this year in music journalism
("C'est la vie," say the old folks, it only goes to show that you never can tell.)
The following anonymous comment was posted on the old commenting system:
Date/Time: Jan 30 2004, 10:04 am
Succint, educating and entertaining album reviews
will continue to be appreciated as long as discs are sold. And cds will continue to turn profits, albeit increasingly smaller ones, long past 2004. Or, at least I hope so.
I am not the only person that loves perusing the music store for a fresh find. Or gets a lil' rush everytime I separate a new cd from its wrapper.
And finds dowloading tracks a rather cold experience.
Sweeter than strawberries is when somebody starts getting their rightful due dept.
(or OK, I'll shamelessly promote music I really like.)
Bob Brozman has been nominated for a world music award!
Not just "a world music award", but the BBC Radio 3 World Music Awards 2004. This is big news, so log your vote today!
Brozman's been nominated for the BBC Radio 3 World Music Awards 2004 in the category "Boundary Crossing" -- a category that seems tailor-made for him. The awards ceremony will be March 9, 2004 (one day after Bob’s birthday!).
No matter where you are, you can Vote for Bob for the Audience Award, by registering with the BBC at:
The deadline for Audience Award voting is midnight GMT on January 29, so vote now!
(Then relax and go and take a free blues guitar lesson at Bob Brozman's own site
Reading historic essays while researching the music from the era is usually recommended.
1968: You Had To Be There
(Of course after reading the essay I couldn't remember a single song of the time and the charts that year are a bit out of touch as they always are --
Um, um, um, Supersession, "Season of the Witch" -- does that count? Any others that are a sign of the times?)
Policing Pop ("Out, Out Damn'ed Spot") Dept.
It's certainly time that I learned that the cigarette in Sir Paul's hand has been airbrushed out
for the next print runs of Abbey Road
For the benefit of future generations, to make it clear, he had a cigarette in his hand.
The following two comments were posted on the old commenting system:
Date/Time: Jan 25 2004, 10:09 pm
Poster: Jason Thompson
Babs, they're only airbrushing it out of posters of the album cover, not the album cover itself.
Yer fellow PopMatters friend.
Date/Time: Jan 26 2004, 02:24 pm
Oh, Thank God it's only that!!
Isn't that a little like "toasting" news broadcasts, though -- depixelating an icon?
The New Country Music is explained as the redneck hymns of belligerence, during which the right wing talk radio hoedown is deconstructed, while corporate convergance techniques are outlined in an insightful essay called:
Working Class Hero
California's a Garden of Eden Dept.
A look at Woodie Guthrie's Not-So-Golden State
Like other Okies drawn to California by tales of wealth, the itinerant singer instead found a place hard-pressed. In the coming book Ramblin' Man, author ED CRAY recounts an L.A. awash in country ....
Shameless pitch dept. to help spread the word.
ROCK & RAP CONFIDENTIAL
"The best thing that hits my mailbox"--Cameron Crowe, director of Jerry Maguire and Almost Famous
The January issue of Rock & Rap Confidential includes:
The most diverse collection of record reviews anywhere, from rap to country, from metal to jazz, from folk to gospel to reggae.
Plagiarism in the rock press
LA police captain busted for bootlegging DVDs
Why is hip-hop so hard? Why is classic R&B so smooth?
South Africa, racism, and American musicians' use of sweatshop labor
The deliberately hidden story of Cher's opposition to the war in Iraq
The film about iPods that Apple doesn't want you to see
The ripoff rebate from the CD price-fixing scandal
Rock & Rap Confidential, the monthly newsletter edited by Dave Marsh, is now in its seventeenth year of printing the truth about the industry and the music as can only be done by a publication that accepts no advertising.
For a free sample copy, just email us at rockrap.com with your postal address. Offer good worldwide.
Check out the Rock & Rap Confidential website, especially "The Hidden History of Rock and Rap," and "Why Do We Need the Music Industry?" at www.rockrap.com.
Los Angeles CA 90034
(Plagiarism in the rock press
-- I want to read that!!)
Policing pop dept.
County donation to low-wattage rural radio station
causes one or two to whine in "public outcry"
Beat them daddy eight to the bar dept.
From A to Z and back again a new book
"Writing about music is at times a near-impossible feat. Of course, that hasn't stopped critics or fans from trying to bag the one term that describes the indescribable.
"In most cases, these definitions do nothing but cloud the issue; perhaps this is why the dictionary of musical descriptions has become a ridiculous parody of itself in recent years.
"Surely, there haven't been 3,274 new genres of music in the past few decades, so why do we need that many words to describe them? To quote Billy Joel, "It's still rock 'n' roll to me." Or at least a variation of it.
"To help matters (or make them worse if you were befuddled to begin with) we've come up with a small list of musical genres and sub-genres that begged to be explored further.
"This list barely touches the sublime idioms that have become common-speak in some circles. But it's a start. Let's hope it's the end as well.
"- Alt-country, also called "alternative country," is a brand of country music peppered with the outlaw spirit of rock 'n' roll. It has seen a rebirth of late thanks to acts like Wilco and Steve Earle, troubadours who have achieved critical and commercial success outside the confines of Nashville's current pop formula. (Origin: late 1980s. Leaders: Jimmie Dale Gilmore, Robert Earl Keen, Uncle Tupelo.)
"- Big beat is a highly commercial style of club music punctuated by sampled breakbeats and a distinct hip-hop influence. It was birthed in England but later became popular in North America, where it peaked after just a handful of years. The rock vibe of big beat makes it palatable club music for people who don't like club music. (Origin: mid-'90s. Leaders: Fatboy Slim, the Prodigy, the Chemical Brothers.)
"- College rock is the pre-cursor to modern-day alternative rock. It took its name from the dominating presence it had on campus radio stations in the '80s and beyond. College rock bands are often independent acts who receive airplay nowhere else, and thrive in their cult-ish existence. More college bands than ever are breaking into the mainstream, however, leaving college radio behind. (Origin: early '80s. Leaders: early U2, early R.E.M., the Replacements.)
"- Electronica is among the most vague of all new-school musical definitions and can technically be used to describe any DJ-based act that uses turntables and a sampler to get their groove on. First used by dance purists in the early '90s, the term electronica became widespread once dance DJs gained mainstream fame in the latter part of the decade. By default, the term is now used to describe all sorts of electronic music. (Origin: mid-'90s. Leaders: Everyone from Air to The Orb.)
"- Folk is now one of the most widely used terms in modern music and is often used with a prefix or suffix to narrow the definition (i.e. traditional-folk or folk-rock.) Folk pioneer Bob Dylan is largely responsible for that; after his rise to international fame in the '60s, the genre became divisive. From then onward acoustic guitar-strumming songwriters were either on the bus (contemporary) or off it (traditional). (Origin: early 20th Century. Leaders: Bob Dylan, Woody Guthrie, Pete Seeger.)
"- Gangsta rap got its start in Compton, Calif., in 1988 when pioneers Ice-T and N.W.A. released their controversial breakthrough albums. Once rap music reached its commercial genesis with Run-D.M.C. and the Beastie Boys in the mid-'80s, this sub-genre laced with violent imagery and profanity emerged. (Origin: mid-'80s. Leaders: Ice Cube, N.W.A., Ice-T.)
"- Hip-hop contains four elements -- breakdancing, graffiti, DJing, and rapping -- but as a catch-phrase it can be used in a myriad of fashions. The terms hip-hop and rap are for all intents and purposes interchangeable, but not for purists. (Origin: late '80s. Leaders: A Tribe Called Quest, KRS-One, Jungle Brothers.)
"- Indie rock is, by definition, independent or out of the mainstream. However, bands of this D-I-Y genre often find a large audience. As indie record labels gain a higher profile, acts are beginning to reach a higher visibility. A forefather of early alternative rock, it is marked by a do-it-yourself attitude and a strict code of anti-mainstream ethics. (Origin: early '80s. Leaders: Superchunk, Dinosaur Jr., Yo La Tengo.)
"- Lounge music would forever be tied to '50s and '60s groups like Esquivel and Sergio Mendes if not for a very brief but low-key rebirth in the late-'90s (thanks to bands such as Combustible Edison). As it stands now, the bossa nova pop of lounge music seemingly knows no decade. (Origin: 1950s. Leaders: Henry Mancini, Sergio Mendes, Esquivel.)
"- Nu metal is an outgrowth of both alternative rock and heavy metal that first rose in popularity during the late '90s. This form of contemporary heavy metal is punctuated by gritty guitars, teenage wasteland lyrics and screeching vocals, all set to a jackhammer beat. Nu metal-heads also occasionally sport clown make-up at concerts. (Origin: late '90s. Leaders: Slipknot, Korn, Mudvayne.)
"- Old-timey -- the first form of country music -- has been in practice for nearly a century and it grew to new heights in early 2001 through the period-perfect soundtrack to the film, O Brother, Where Art Thou? Punctuated by elements of yodelling, harmony singing and stringband music, old-timey's rural and mandolin-heavy sound gave way to country music in the 1940s. (Origin: early 1900s. Leaders: The Carter Family, The Blue Sky Boys, The Louvin Brothers.
"- Prog rock songs tend to run ridiculous lengths, feature fantasy and science fiction elements, and reach epic levels of technical prowess. If progressive rock was a movie, it would be The Lord of the Rings trilogy. By the mid-'70s, prog rock had fallen out of vogue, but its influence can still be felt today in rock bands such as Tool. (Origin: late '60s. Leaders: The Moody Blues, Emerson, Lake & Palmer, Yes.)
"- Quiet storm was started by Smokey Robinson, perfected by Marvin Gaye, and killed by Babyface. Quiet storm is a romantic brand of R&B popularized by Robinson's hit 1975 record, A Quiet Storm, which gave male R&B performers the confidence to wax soulful and sexy at the same time. The trend continued to the genre's demise in the late '80s. (Origin: mid-'70s. Leaders: Smokey Robinson, Keith Sweat, Al Green.)
"- Rockabilly is the southern cousin of early rock 'n' roll. The poly-rhythms of rockabilly fuse jump blues, country and rock 'n' roll into one primal blast. Many of rockabilly's big names came from Sam Phillips' Sun Records in Memphis, whose output of hits is still unrivalled. (Origin: mid-'50s. Leaders: Gene Vincent, Carl Perkins, Elvis Presley.)
"- Western swing, the offshoot of big band swing, also had its roots in the traditional stringband movement, which left it sounding like a musical kitchen sink. The genre's most popular group, Bob Wills and His Texas Playboys, was a traditional dance band with a country string section that who played both pop and jazz numbers. After television rose to prominence, western swing faded away, however, acts like Merle Haggard and Asleep at the Wheel revived it in the '70s. (Origin: mid-'30s. Leaders: Bob Wills, Asleep at the Wheel, The Sons of the Pioneers.)
"- Yodelling, thanks to Jimmie Rodgers, dubbed America's Blue Yodeller and The Father of Country Music, is a vocal performance style that has become one of the most recognizable aspects of country music. This falsetto brand of singing was developed centuries ago as a means of communication for mountain dwellers, but once Rodgers let loose with his yodel country music has never been the same. (Origin: 1920s. Leaders: Jimmie Rodgers, Wilf Carter, Hank Snow.)
"- Zydeco is an accordion-based stream of Creole dance music that was born in Southwestern Louisiana in the mid-'20s. However, this offshoot of Cajun music didn't become a worldwide sensation until 1984, when Rockin' Sydney's smash novelty hit, My Toot Toot won a Grammy Award. (Origin: 1950s. Leaders: Clifton Chenier, Buckwheat Zydeco, Steve Riley and the Mamou Playboys.)"
(VICTORIA TIMES COLONIST)
© Copyright 2004 The StarPhoenix (Saskatoon)
I'm still writing about music and my writing about music is published at PopMatters.
Mr. Mississippi Muddy Waters
, I wrote about Quetzal !)
Celebrity death photos
The public desire to see the evidence in the murder of a rock star (the assassination of Thikra
Where music meets art (pt 2)
"The Russian-born Kandinsky, a student of law and ethnography and a trained musician, came to Munich to study art in the late 1890s. By the beginning of the 1900s, his painting style was moving from traditional representation to abstract expressionism.
Kandinsky compared yellow to blares of trumpets, black to dead nothing ... "
Kandinsky and Schoenberg shared their abstract passion
(Where arts intersect and interact. The article details in brief how it was that Schoenberg turned to painting to come to terms with the harsh criticism of his music)
Anti-critic on perceived trend of rock musicians becoming rock journalists
"If you read music criticism with any regularity, you've surely noticed the disquieting number of actual musicians moonlighting as rock journalists. The temerity of these people astonishes and saddens me. How can they justify bringing technical expertise, insider insight, and at least a remedial understanding of composition into a profession that's built on the principle of talking out of one's ass until one's sphincter incurs laryngitis? It's an outright affront to my particular, specialized skill set, not to mention it's unnatural -- didn't these jerks see the 90210 where a viciously panned campus artiste pithily informed Brandon that "Those who can, do. Those who can't, write reviews"?
You don't see me writing songs and sharing my "vision" with the world -- namely, because I haven't the first fucking idea how to. I've played guitar since high-school commencement and like to tell people that with a little time, I can "pick up" most pop songs they'd hear on the radio. I like to tell people that because it's a bold-faced fucking lie that masks my gross incompetence. I don't know scales. I can't read sheet music. I can't pick out individual notes, much less solo. I've never written a respectable song in my life, and -- especially as I careen toward the customary physical and mental collapse ...
Yet, these advanced rocker/journalist hybrids are ubiquitous, menacingly asserting their obvious superiority ...."
(OK, an interesting lead in to a "humor" article, but this business of musicians suddenly becoming music critics is actually a trend worth keeping track of. More especially so when musicians just last decade aspired to greater heights and preferred the logical career arc of becoming restauranteurs.
Other reasons they might become music writers:
1. Fiscal reality. Keep that much desired $20 bill fluttering towards them.
2. Keep their name and reputation alive in the industry.
3. And most importantly to keep their name in front of the public in a manner they could never achieve now as a mere musician -- without management, corporate PR staff, and buying a lot of radio play.
5. Who of this sub-set actually writes well about music. That's a serious question: I would truly love to know.)
The following comment was posted:
Date/Time: Jan 22 2004, 06:07 am
Poster: s woods
I more or less agree with your first three reasons--how strange that going from musician to critic can now be considered a step up! (Not everyone is getting even as much as $20 bills waved in their faces, mind you, but yeah, it's easier to make a crap living as a writer probably than it is to make NO living as a musician.)
We all like to believe we're part of an elite, but we're all part of the mass dept.
"The definition of the cultural industry based on large audiences derives from the old Frankfurt school. Walter Benjamin and Theodor Adorno understood the cultural industry as mass culture. In his famous article The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction (1936), Benjamin wrote that the growing significance of masses in society leads to the acceptance of reproductions in the arts and to the withering of the original artwork's "aura", its presence in time and space, its unique existence at a certain place. The nature of art changes under the influence of the masses. Reproduction and technical tools destroy the authenticity of the work of art.
For Adorno, too, the cultural industry was a culture of the masses in his writings which have been collected into Culture Industry. Selected Essays on Mass Culture. By criticising mass culture, he wanted to defend the autonomy of the arts, which he thought was threatened. Adorno had no great expectations as regards the public. Subdued by mass culture and renouncing its individuality, the public is a collective recipient of art, and adherence to the collective is largely determined by the desire to belong to a group and to consume."
More than that, too, "On the Definition of the Cultural Industry"
World music on the innanet
Once a month radio-Worldmusic-specialists from twentythree European countries select their individual top ten favourites out of current Worldmusic releases from their playlists and mail them to Berlin. The nominations are processed in a data-base and the top ten is then published as the WORLD MUSIC CHARTS EUROPE.
Check out the reviews on world music and the global tones
The Comments Boxes Don't Work So Good Dept. Pt. 2
Sturdy strong reply from Jason Schultz, Esq. on the RIAA police story (Jan 10, below), with his own feelings about being misquoted in print:
"Take This Quote and Shove It".
(Thanks for writing, Jason. It's important enough to you to really want to straighten this out -- Sorry it took so long to give your message the proper attention here, but some of us are still techno peasants.
Date/Time: Jan 12 2004, 07:20 pm
Poster: Jason Schultz
IP address: 188.8.131.52
Hi. Saw you linked to the article on the RIAA police. I was interviewed and misquoted in the article, so I thought I'd provide a link
to the real quotes for your readers.
Lesser artists borrow. Great artists steal.
Actually, we all learn and remember everything we've ever heard or read. Poynter on How To Be A Great (music) Journalist: Give Credit
... especially where it's due.
"Maybe we need to create a pre-plagiarism frame we can work with that allows us to come up with questions that help us give credit when, and where, it's due.
In operating within such a frame, here are some questions we might ask about what we've written:
Does this wording sound familiar?
Do I know where it came from?
Have I arranged my notes so attributed material remains separate from my own material?
Can I document the source of my information, description, or observation?
Have I asked my editor to alert me to anything she, or he, thinks reads like something else she, or he, has read?
Am I giving credit, or some indication, as to where this material came from when appropriate?
Have I double-checked the source of work?
Flaskaland sees what life is like outside the cyberworld.
An explanation of the sweeping popularity of hip-hop:
"In the latest exasperating challenge to adult society, black rage is in as a cultural style for white middle-class kids. As in the sixties, when the sons and daughters of the middle class tossed out their tweed jackets and ladylike sheath dresses for the generational uniform of Levi's and work shirts and peacoats in their celebration of blue collar workers, "the Real Americans," so today's adolescents have co-opted inner-city black street-style as the authentic way to be. To act black, as the kids define it, is to be strong, confrontational, a little scary."
(Oh, there's more than that, too in "Selling Sex and Corruption to Your Kids"
I write, too, Dept.
The quirky Chicago record label Delmark has remained in business and is celebrating their golden anniversary. They hit the 50 year mark during the official Year of the Blues. 50 years is nothing to sneeze at.
As the company is dedicated to releasing only blues and jazz that can say a lot. Listen to some of the music and draw your own conclusions.
Delmark celebrated the anniversary by putting out tasty collections that are tagged at rock bottom prices.
The official Year of the Blues might have already come and gone for all I know, but some people still got blues enough for all.
Blues From up the Country
West Side Chicago Blues
What I sometimes think about when listening to a record dept.
"Rhythmically manifested in a perfect sum of their parts, Quetzal's songs of human perseverance echo the pervading marriage of culture and sound. Seldom can a band capture a mindset with rhythm, in this case, its tangible grasp on the notion that change through consciousness will prevail in the end, humanizes every beat, amplifies every word and recognizes every struggle."
-- Rigo Gutierrez, Monica Romero
Dateline: Los Angeles, California (Nestled in the expansive geographic corridors of Aztlan)
While the Posada and the Christmas season tamales are recent enough to still be fond memories, as of today the social tensions in California are increasing. Our beautiful California where, during the hard scrabbling times of the Depression Era, Mexicans (and anyone looking like a Mexican) were rounded up (whether they were born here, a citizen or not) and escorted by the "bulls" to the train yards, where they were loaded into the freight cars that carried them "back" across the border to Mexico.
Today, El Pueblo de California is under the rule of a new Alcalde whose first act in office was to take away drivers licenses which means illegal immigrants can no longer drive legally to work (see Victor Kemperer's I Will Bear Witness: A Diary of the Nazi Years
, for his day-by-day account as a Jew living under the Nazi regime, a personal diary that traces the relentless accretion of insults; among the very first to go were the right to drive and the right to work, then went library cards, tomatoes, and flowers. Little by little, and without pity, all rights were removed -- culminating in even the right to exist.)
Elsewhere, El Presidente decides cheap day-labor in menial, thankless jobs is a crucial component of this country's economic equation and hopes to win an appreciative voting block with his "Temporary Guest Worker Program", and so adds his own mixed message to the current swirl.
In the Los Angeles of today, the RIAA police squads in black "raid" vests hit the streets in Silverlake and shake down a 4'11" parking lot attendant, bullying his collection away from him; all because he had been noticed selling a few CD's a week in a location other than a store with a scanner. The RIAA private police apparently were under no obligation to prove that the discs were counterfeit or bootleg, their suspicions being law enough for them, and they physically took his small supplement to his livelihood away from him.
On the gangster front, Norteños y Sureños (the Norths and the Souths, the reds and the blues) are by all published accounts ready to rumble at the color of a t-shirt and the influences of North and South can't seem to peacefully co-exist anywhere except occasionally in music.
Los Angeles, California, Aztlan -- where everyone lives by the old saying: "Work like crazy. Then you die."
All the influences that quietly simmer underneath until they reach a force to eventually rattle and lift the lid of the cultural pot are building.
(This is what I thought about before I listened to Work Songs
again today. Created by Quetzal,
this is a lively and imaginative piece on how to move through life in the Los Angeles barrio, and it's got to be complicated. But their message "that change through consciousness will prevail in the end" can cross cultures.
(If I had done a year's best ten list, Work Songs
would have been on it. This is "Alt.Mexican" worthy of being heard, especially by any who still long for the extended magic of an album.)
Thoughtful remarks by the Artful manager on world music
-- what in the world is it, really?
(coming soon: "roots" music -- say again?)
(via our beloved Arts Journal Daily
The comments boxes don't work so well Dept.
[I just retrieved 64 comments the long way around because they don't display correctly since blogger "changed" under new ownership.]
Of them, I was happy to read this (in response to a tribute I posted 10/25/03 to a memory of Michael Stewart and the Ridgerunners and the good old days when we were young and very optimistic):
Date/Time: Jan 06 2004, 10:16 am
Poster: Jerry Burgan
Very interesting -- and touching -- story. As Michael's partner and the other singing member of the 'folk trio' that played at the surf fair mentioned in the story below, I can say that it was indeed a memorable event at the Long Beach Municipal Auditorium. The girl's name was indeed Sue (Sue Ellen Davies) and Pete (Clive) Fullerton was the bass player. Some other interesting notes that are missing from her recollection is the fact that the Righteous Bros played "Little Latin Lupe Loop" and Bruce Brown actually narrated an early version of what became 'Endless Summer'. It was quite a night.
Regarding John Stewart's 'discussion' group... It was called Quiet Fight. John would go to area high schools while traveling the country with the Kingston Trio and do afternoon assemblies where he sang songs about American history and important issues of the day. The Ridgerunners did a couple of those concerts with him at Garey High in Pomona, and Damien in LaVerne. Much of the music was also recoreded and used as a sound track for the documentary film about the US Space program called 'With Their Eyes On the Stars'. In addition to John and the Ridgerunners, the sound track singers also included John Phillips, Scott MacKenzie (in their post Journeymen days), and another Claremont girl named Eileen Duffy who sang briefly in the Ridgerunners before Beverly Bivens joined the group and it became We Five.
Sorry to hear that you didn't make it to Michael's funeral. It was a very positive and simple tribute to a very creative man who was much loved as a husband, father, brother, partner and friend. Songs were sung and I'm sure that he smiled.
Innanet radio: Steaming (or streaming) Blues available at alligator.com and now world music available at the Rough Guide site.
Brand new Rough Guides radio show
World Music Network have just launched a brand new internet radio show dedicated to the music on The Rough Guide CD series in association with Rough Guide books! Starting from January 2004, our first show, we’ll be giving away some fantastic prizes courtesy of World Music Network and Rough Guide books. Tune into the show to listen to some great music and to win some great prizes!
Listen to the first ever show!
Click now to visit the website:
(courtesy of Mark Gorney).
Lotsa possibilities with indies streaming their own label's music.
In "Music Industry Puts Troops in the Streets",
the LA Weekly sheds light on the new RIAA police squads and their investigation of a street vendor, somewhere in the Pueblo de Los Angeles.
Coming soon: The RIAA orders the Army into Mexico.
(courtesy of rock n rap confidential
The following comment was posted on the old commenting system:
Date/Time: Jan 12 2004, 07:20 pm
Poster: Jason Schultz
Hi. Saw you linked to the article on the RIAA police. I was interviewed and misquoted in the article, so I thought I'd provide a link to the real quotes
for your readers.
The Carter Family offered some wonderful advice when they sang ''Give me the roses while I live,'' a point driven home at the recent memorial to essential Nashville rock entrepreneur Jack Emerson.
Artist after artist took the Mercy Lounge stage to talk about Emerson and to sing in his honor, and the result was a lovely, poignant evening that honored a man who was sometimes overlooked when people talked about Nashville rock 'n' roll. A similar memorial earlier this year played out in East Nashville, as friends recalled the previously unrecognized contributions of bad-boy soundman Skip Litz.
Here's the thing, though: What if we went ahead and recognized the previously unrecognized contributions of the living and the healthy? Then the contributors could hear their friends and fans say nice things about them. It'd be like Tom Sawyer going to his own funeral. It shouldn't take death or illness to spur a tribute show.
(From Honor Rockers While They Live
Settle in for a long read dept
Power of Music org
(Yes, the above referenced site can gently shift your thinking and prompt you to regard music in ways you've not yet imagined.)
(via Arts & Letters Daily
"Until recent times, says Ivan Hewett, music was everywhere, and always an authentic expression of the social situation that called it forth. The idyll was shattered, in the developed West, by the notion that music could be transportable: a mass could be taken out of church and performed in a concert hall. Then music began its long retreat from the public domain. It turned into something made en famille, then something listened to in the privacy of a room, until finally the Walkman reduced its operative space to six inches between the ears."
Music: Healing the Rift
Music and Politics Dept.
Dennis Kucinich, the best Democratic contender for President, also has the best music:
Dennis Kucinich still faces an uphill climb in his campaign to win the Democratic presidential nomination. But his anti-Iraq war candidacy has already inspired better music than those of contenders who are garnering far more attention and campaign money. The New Year's weekend benefit for Kucinich at the Austin Music Hall was one of the finest campaign concerts in recent memory, and the sentiments of the stellar cast of performers was well summed up by singer Bonnie Raitt, who introduced a bluesy version of the Buffalo Springfield hit "For What It's Worth," be declaring, "Here's to free speech. Here's to fair elections. Here's to the possibility that Dennis Kucinich could win."
The Texas concert, which was expected to raise more than $80,000 for the Kucinich campaign, showcased the success the Congressional Progressive Caucus co-chair has had in appealing to some of the country's most inspired and independent-minded musicians. The candidate who has been endorsed by artists ranging from Pete Seeger to Ani DiFranco brought some of his best-known backers together for a sold-out concert in Austin. Along with Raitt, a pair of younger artists with Texas roots and national reputations, Michelle Shocked and Tish Hinojosa turned in musically and politically charged performances. Tim Reynolds, guitarist for the Dave Matthews Band, played. So too did Pat Simmons and Michael McDonald of the Doobie Brothers, who performed some of that group's greatest hits before being joined by Raitt for a raucous rendition of "Taking It To The Streets." The highlight of the Saturday night show came when Kucinich's most high-profile musician backer, Willie Nelson, took the stage.
Nelson, who has been talking up Kucinich's candidacy since last summer, says he was attracted to Kucinich first because of the Ohio congressman's passionate defense of family farmers -- a cause close to the heart of the country singer, who has been a core backer of the Farm Aid concerts. But, as he campaigned for Kucinich over the weekend, Nelson picked up on the anti-war message that has been central to Kucinich's run for the White House.
Nelson used appearances with Kucinich to talk about a new song he wrote on Christmas Day, "Whatever Happened to Peace on Earth?"
"(It's) only the second protest song I've ever written," Nelson said, "but it just came pouring out." Nelson, who performed his earlier protest song, the anti-war ballad "Jimmy's Road," prior to the 1991 Persian Gulf War, said he was inspired to write the new song by Christmas morning news reports of the ongoing violence in Iraq. "There was nothing but bad news and here it was Christmas Day," Nelson recalled. "I said, 'There sure are a lot of babies dying and mothers crying,' and (Nelson's wife) Annie said, 'That sounds like a song.'"
When Nelson sat down to write the song's words, he pulled no punches. "How much oil is one human life worth?" the lyrics ask. "How much is a liar's word worth?"
Nelson joins his critique of the war and the president who launched it with a poke at the media, singing, "Now, you probably won't hear this on your radio/Probably not on your local TV/But if there's a time, and you're so inclined/You can always hear it from me."
Is Nelson, who achieved international fame as a self-described country music "outlaw," trying to stir things up?
"I hope there is some controversy," said Nelson, when a reporter asked whether he feared the song's biting commentary on George W. Bush's war might stir anger among country music fans who have been cheering for songs like Toby Keith's angry, war-cry, "Courtesy of the Red, White and Blue." Added Nelson, "If you write something like this and nobody says anything, then you probably haven't struck a nerve."
The singer hopes to strike that nerve for Kucinich, whose criticism of the rush to war and its pursuit echo the bluntness of the lyrics to "Whatever Happened to Peace on Earth?"
Nelson, who put his arm around Kucinich during several Austin appearances Saturday, says, "I just like him because he tells the truth. Whether he's electable or not, who knows? But when you've got a guy you can trust, you've got a good candidate." And Kucinich, whose campaign is using pictures of Nelson wearing a "Kucinich for President" t-shirt on posters, has a good supporter in the country star.
On Saturday night, just around midnight, Nelson gave Kucinich a rousing endorsement and debuted "Whatever Happened to Peace on Earth," singing:
There's so many things going on in the world Babies dying Mothers crying How much oil is one human life worth And what ever happened to peace on earth
We believe everything that they tell us They're gonna' kill us So we gotta' kill them first But I remember a commandment Thou shall not kill How much is that soldier's life worth And whatever happened to peace on earth
(Bridge) And the bewildered herd is still believing Everything we've been told from our birth Hell they won't lie to me Not on my own damn TV But how much is a liar's word worth And whatever happened to peace on earth
So I guess it's just Do unto others before they do it to you Let's just kill em' all and let God sort em' out Is this what God wants us to do
(Repeat Bridge) And the bewildered herd is still believing Everything we've been told from our birth Hell they won't lie to me Not on my own damn TV But how much is a liar's word worth And whatever happened to peace on earth
Now you probably won't hear this on your radio Probably not on your local TV But if there's a time, and if you're ever so inclined You can always hear it from me How much is one picker's word worth And whatever happened to peace on earth
But don't confuse caring for weakness You can't put that label on me The truth is my weapon of mass protection And I believe truth sets you free
(Bridge) And the bewildered herd is still believing Everything we've been told from our birth Hell they won't lie to me Not on my own damn TV But how much is a liar's word worth
Pop Culture Critic Philip Kennicott comments on
What Will Last
"In popular culture, it is expected that a hit song may be at the top of the charts for weeks; that a book may stay on the bestseller list for months; that a successful sitcom may hang on for years. But all of these things return, in some form or other, indefinitely. Books return as movies, which use 20-year-old songs to establish the atmosphere of the past, in which the actors are wearing clothes perhaps not so different from the ones young people are wearing today because they're enjoying a new vogue. In popular culture, one doesn't fret about the passing of things, because although most everything is ephemeral by one standard, it is also endlessly recycled.
" ... what endures are not the epic moments beloved of traditional historians (though these can have powerful effects), but the larger elements of climate, landscape and language.
"In the so-called high arts, the past decades have brought a new understanding of how even things that fade can yet persist, healthy if marginal, in our society. Classical music is dead, yet it endures, on the margins, creatively moribund but still vibrant in a museum sort of way. Painting is dead, of course, but it's still very popular. The arts teach one to be very cautious about simple-minded gloom. They also inculcate a sense of succession and return, as styles go in and out of fashion, and recur (sometimes as farce) in a parade of neo-this and post-that. Locally, on the timeline, these changes provoke lamentation or rejoicing; but a walk through any decent city art museum is a lesson in calm forbearance, an understanding of the broader sweep and the inevitability of change.
"Look outside the strange fishbowl of political and social analysis, and American culture is far more comfortable with a complex, shifting, sophisticated, overlapping sense of time, a grasp of the past, present and future that takes waxing and waning in stride. We've become virtuosos at playing with the very perception of time. ...
"Why, then, given the vast cultural sophistication with which we understand history, time and the "periodicity" of life, are we so hamstrung by simple categories when it comes to making sense of the political and social zeitgeist (itself a fiction)? Why does "the death of . . . " have such hold on the imagination when everything else about American culture suggests an organism that preserves, evolves, recycles and goes in opposite directions simultaneously?
"... Trends may be actual, but more often, they're projections of desire.
"... At the beginning of a new year, let's remember the present, not as something pregnant with cataclysms or grand new possibilities, but as the ground of things that last and define us . . . for the time being."
What we hope music can do dept.
"I'm a chocolate bunny, I'm a tender rascal, I'm 100 percent sweet. I'm a chocolate bunny, and when I touch your lips, I just melt away."
Moscow, 2 January 2004 (RFE/RL) Russia:
African Pop Star Tries To Show Russians Sweeter Side Of Racial Diversity
Nigel Andrews writes about "Samba as saviour"
The sensory breakdown known as samba. If samba, is God's invention for glueing together an unglued society, can samba save Rio?
"It is the only activity that violence doesn't penetrate. In sport you can have violence going on. But art is a celebration. You are showing something, enacting a representation of reality. No one is fighting to compete or win. It is about harmony and community."