Recollections of the hunter and his prey
About this blog
On the hunt for:
- Articles of Faith-Give Thanks LP
- Bhopal Stiffs 10 song demo tape
- Black Cat Bones-Barbed Wire Sandwich LP
- Blues Creation - Live LP
- Freddie Hubbard-Black Angel LP
- Henry Franklin - The Skipper LP
- Herbie Hancock-Flood LP
- Mount Everest Trio - LP
- Neu!-75 LP
- Revenant - Prophecies of a Dying World LP
- Sam Cooke-Ain't That Good News LP
- Sam Cooke-Night Beat LP
- Strike Under-Immediate Action 12" EP
- The Effigies-Haunted Town 12" EP
- The Virgil Lights - (anything else out there besides the 45?)
- Watchtower-Energetic Disassembly LP
- Witchcraft-s/t LP
Thursday, December 25, 2008
Saturday, December 20, 2008
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
Music is primarily an art form, not just a product to be consumed. I mean this in two ways. First, the logic of music creation follows that of other art forms, literature, painting, sculpture, theatre, etc., not the logic of supply and demand. Music has always been and will always be created as a form of expression regardless of the economic circumstances surrounding its distribution. Artists create because they have to create, not because it is profitable. Writers continued to write, painters continue to paint, musicians continue to play, not because they know they will receive a paycheck every two weeks, but because of something inside them that requires this form of expression. Second, the enjoyment of art should not require certain financial resources, much like public sculptures and murals, free access to public libraries, taking pictures of anything found or created that one considers art, etc. Art has been maintained in various ways, including certain styles of music (i.e. jazz, classical) not because it is profitable, but because it is considered something valuable, something that represents the beauty and the absurdity within us all.
Free access to museums and galleries (in many places), and free access to books through libraries has not destroyed other forms of art. Why has it come to the point where free access to music has been considered a crime? The absurdity of this crime becomes all the more incomprehensible when we view music as art, not as a capitalist product with a copyright. The fight to restrict music to those who can pay has a striking similarity to those who ban books, to authoritarian regimes who restrict internet access and censor cultural production. Is music revolutionary? Music can be powerful, but I’m not so idealistic to think the message of music will destroy the dominant forms of power. What are they afraid of?
For years, music has been available for free through public libraries, although the selection was somewhat restricted due to budgetary and other constraints. Libraries have not killed music, artists still create, labels still produce music, people still attend concerts. Home taping was considered the death knell of music in the 80s. But surprise! music is still around.
Think about what it is that libraries provide to our societies. I can go to the library, check out a book, read it, return it, and never have to pay a penny. I can do the same with a compact disc, a vinyl record or cassette (for those libraries that still have them), or a DVD or VHS. Nothing stops a person from copying any of these works, yet a campaign to shut down libraries to protect copyright laws would be unthinkable as many have come to depend on library access or consider it a right.
While through libraries and other public institutions, many people have access to the greatest literary and artistic creations, for some reason, it is considered inappropriate to have access to the greatest (and no so great) musical creations. To become educated about literature, about painting, and about other arts, requires very little in terms of financial resources. However, to become educated about an equally valid art form, music, regardless if you think that applies to Mozart, John Coltrane, Morbid Angel, Led Zeppelin, Aretha Franklin, Kanye West, Albert King or the Dead Kennedys, is extremely difficult without a significant financial investment. Music is a record of the human experience, to protect this form of art for the benefit of all, for enjoyment, for enlightenment, for educational purposes, does not require making everyone pay for it, it requires making it available to as many people as possible.
File sharing, music blogs, mp3s, home taping, burning CDs, these are all ways of democratizing art, of creating a democratic library of music that ensures everyone can enjoy a popular form of art. Lovers and appreciators of music have taken it upon themselves through the internet to revive lost musical creations to educate the young and the old about all they missed because of the absurd idea that only one art form can be enjoyed if you pay for it (while others can be free). The nameless and anonymous individuals who provide music for free are creating a historical record of music that could easily be lost or only enjoyed by a very few. Libraries and other public institutions have failed in this regard, appreciators of music as art have come forward to not only protect, but revive and share what should be available to everyone.
Sunday, November 30, 2008
Brian Auger's Oblivion Express-Second Wind
Sunday, November 23, 2008
Friday, November 21, 2008
A couple weeks ago I found out a friend of mine had decided to sell off his record collection. It took a little while before I was able to check out his records, but this was what I came away with.
Thursday, November 20, 2008
Tulio Enrique León Ordoñez - Este es el ritmo
Saturday, November 1, 2008
Korn dude: "Aww man! They got some Grace Jones records!"Me: "that's cool..." (but thinking, I don't give a shit, don't talk to me)Korn dude: "I wonder if they have any Kraftwerk records here, they got everything in this store!"Me: "I doubt it, I occasionally see Kraftwerk records around town but its pretty rare." (but thinking, why don't you just look and shut up about it, besides the selection is pretty lame)Korn dude: "Yeah, I bet everyone keeps those all locked up."
Thursday, October 30, 2008
Monday, October 27, 2008
Sunday, October 26, 2008
Saturday, October 18, 2008
"Leadbelly is generally thought of as a folk singer. But one look at the man and you can tell that he lived the blues. He had a scar on his neck, ear to ear, from a knife fight. The fight ended because he was left for dead. In 1917 Leadbelly was sentenced to 30 years in prison for killing a man in Texas. He literally sang his way to freedom eight years later by writing a song for the governor and obtaining a pardon. Instant Replay. In 1930 Leadbelly was sentenced to ten years in a Louisiana prison for assault with intent to kill. He composed a song for the governor, and by 1935 he was out of prison, making his first commercial recordings. They were blues (What else?)"
"Robert Johnson sang primitive blues about women. His references were earthy and only thinly disguised. He lived the life he sang about and which ultimately killed him."
"Country blues artists are usually distinguished from city blues artists by almost exclusive use of guitar accompaniment or other semi-legitimate instruments like kazoos, harmonicas, jugs, slide whistles, washboards and washtub basses. City blues artists are generally accompanied by piano, and guitar, bass, drums and occasionally one or more brass and reed instruments. The style of a country blues artist is generally more primitive and direct than that of a city blues performer."
Several months back I read Marybeth Hamilton's In Search of the Blues. Here is a brief synopsis (courtesy of Amazon):
Leadbelly, Robert Johnson, Charley Patton-we are all familiar with the story of the Delta blues. Fierce, raw voices; tormented drifters; deals with the devil at the crossroads at midnight.
In this extraordinary reconstruction of the origins of the Delta blues, historian Marybeth Hamilton demonstrates that the story as we know it is largely a myth. The idea of something called Delta blues only emerged in the mid-twentieth century, the culmination of a longstanding white fascination with the exotic mysteries of black music.
Hamilton shows that the Delta blues was effectively invented by white pilgrims, seekers, and propagandists [i.e. record collectors] who headed deep into America’s south in search of an authentic black voice of rage and redemption. In their quest, and in the immense popularity of the music they championed, we confront America’s ongoing love affair with racial difference.
I found this book fascinating unlike most music-related books out there, primarily because its theme of the search for authenticity is relevant beyond an understanding of the blues or the manias of record collectors. In this book, white record collectors and other researchers had preconceived notions of what black music was supposed to represent. To them, the blues represented the uncorrupted black experience, and they had little tolerance for the nuances, subtleties, contradictions, and emotions that are not only part of life, but that did not fit into a rigidly constructed idea of authentic black music that is only about oppression, sorrow, and misery.
According to the reviews on Amazon, it seems some people are pretty upset about Hamilton's claims and attack her for supposedly lacking real knowledge of the blues. But, this book isn't really about the blues per se, but about those who recorded, collected, listened, promoted, and marketed the blues.
Looking at some the blues records I own, I am now struck by how much Hamilton’s story rings true. Much of the liner notes that accompany the records tend to stress the authenticity of the artist as a selling point, rather the music on its own merits.
"John Lee Hooker is one of the few authentic blues artists left in this country today.... While Jazz is still a struggling infant and spirituals are on the uprise in America, authentic blues is being sung less and less throughout the county."There is no deliberate snubbing of this art form; on the contrary, it is most welcomed. The truth of the matter is that the authentic blues of the John Lee Hooker type was spawned and nurtured in the misery, ignorance, and destitution of the Negro in a particular American society. "
"In contrast to the ballad, which tends to present an over-idealization of life, blues presents a factual accounting which more often than not is sad rather than happy. The blues tells of trouble, of faithless men and women, of disaster. But with a true human touch, it also tells of hope....""Many of the aforementioned aspects of folk music and blues will be readily discernible in these sides by Howlin' Wolf. His primitive quality, it may be stated, goes hand-in-hand with the authenticity of his material. Like all folk artists, Howlin' Wolf is a songwriter too, and the songs in this album are all his own. In the true folk tradition, the story each song tells is straight from the heart of Howlin' Wolf."
Friday, October 17, 2008
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