Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Meme progress report

Updating this post and this post

1. Political influences

This meme about political influences came from Some Random Thoughts, moved on to The Poor Mouth (as well as Mike Ion and the Kommissar), and got some good follow-ups, including Harry Barnes (here). I got it (slightly dishonestly) from the Poor Mouth (my list here) and tagged Courtney, Andrew, Noga, The New Centrist and ModernityBlog. Noga’s interpretation of the task was focused on influential readings, and she posted excellent extracts. ModernityBlog’s list was more personal. The New Centrist combined both approaches. And now Andrew has finally weighed in. All great lists. Still waiting for Courtney, but that was a long shot. It seems the meme’s lifespan is not destined to be great. Of my taggees, I think only Noga passed it on, to Boycotted British Academic, Bold-Headed Geek [sic?], Anti Racist and Freemania. I believe that, of these, only the Geek responded, with another impressive list, and will get added to my blogroll.

Not suprisingly, George Orwell features heavily amongst the influences.

P.S. JRD has more here (on Benn) and here (on his grandmother, Mary Wragg, a lovely post.)

2. Ten songs

This meme went from Suzanne219 (S) and then went to Richard (C), where I got it. The idea is 10 songs beginning with a letter, and you ask for a letter by commenting on the blog. I did R. Others getting it off Richard were Someday I Will Treat You Good (M) and Stumbling and Mumbling (F). That last one is probably the best of all the lists, in my opinion. And, crushingly, not one blogger has asked me for a letter to keep the meme alive.

Then Darren ruled my list was out of order because I had things beginning with “The” etc – only because he managed to come up with a cool list without resort to articles. So, no “To Ramona”, but “Ring Them Bells” instead. No “The River” by Springsteen, which won approval from 2somewhere. (Digression: nice acoustic cover mp3 by Josh Ritter at Anyone’s Guess.) I’m replacing this with Alabama 3’s “REHAB”, one of my favourite songs, which also has a lot of emotional resonance for me.

And no "The Revolution Will Not be Televised". What to replace it with? Resorting to my My Music folder, which I didn’t want to do, I find lots of candidates: Blind Lemon Jefferson’s “Rabbit Foot Blues”;“Rainy Night in Georgia” (originally the underrated Tony Joe White, many covers including Ray Charles, plus a cool reggae version “Rainy Night in Portland” by Watty Burnett and soft rock “Rainy Night in Paris” by Chris de Burgh, who I have an embarrassing soft spot, and “Rainy Night in Soho” by Nick Cave); Blondie’s “Rapture” (the only Blondie song I really like); Hank Williams’ “Ramblin’ Man”; Merle Haggard “Rambling Fever”; “Ranking Full Stop” by The Beat (B-side to “Tears of a Clown”); Amy Winehouse’s “Rehab” (no relation to A3 song); Cassandra Wilson’s Miles Davis tribute “Run the Voodoo Down”; Irma Thomas “Ruler of My Heart”; Jarvis Cocker’s “Ruling the Wordl”; Nu Yorican Soul “Runaway”; and Roy Ayers “Running Away”. Hmm. How to decide? I think I’ll just leave it at 9 songs.

NB: Some of these links are to posts of mp3 files.

Bob's beats artist keywords: Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, Amy Winehouse, Merle Haggard

6 comments:

Daniel said...

Bob have you been drinking again, don't understand a sentence of chapter 1... yours sincerely

Daniel

Courtney Hamilton said...

Ok, ok... I'll draw up my political and intellectual influences as soon as I get a chance to (hopefully before the end of this week) - honest...

JRD168 said...

I hadn't started one of these memes before, and to be honest my writing pales into insignificance in comparison with some of these. I've tried to update a bit with a recent post about Tony Benn - I may well do the same with the other four.

Darren said...

Surely the original Pogues version of 'Rainy Night in Soho' is far superior?

bob said...

I think I prefer the Nick Cave version to the Pogues version. Although I really like the Pogues version - it's how I like the Pogues the best, in wistful mode, rather than drunken party mode. But looking at my post, I realise I make it look like the song was written by Cave, which it isn't, it's just the version I have on my computer!

Jogo said...

Merle Haggard Ramblin' Fever:

I much prefer this song in the studio-recorded version. I don't like the breezy improv of this live performance. It's not that good, IMO. It sounds to me like just fucking around.

Some artists do better work live, but I think many are at their best in the studio, where the producer's discipline works towards a unified conception. This precludes the sort of casual alteration of the song that Merle seems fond of in this CD -- not only Ramblin' Fever, but virtually all the others. Also, the recording quality on this live CD is kind of spotty, don't you think? That never happens in a studio.

The guys who back up a studio recording aren't necessarily the guys who go on the road. The studio guys are working journeymen, often of unbelievably high skill and taste. In the so-called Country Music field, many have an almost scholarly background in the tradition. Plus, fucking professionalism. They're strict on themselves. And they live in the Nashville environment where, as in any other creative cauldron, competition is ruthless, but friendships also create synergy and more ideas. There is not the pot-smoking "good ol' road buddy" relationship with these men that there can be with one's traveling mates. There is not the weariness of the road life, which seeks relief in novelty. Also, in live performance the performer can't help but play to the crowd. This can be a good thing, but it can also bring the level down because the "crowd" is usually drunk, and do not necessarily have good taste. Mostly, they want to "get it on." They don't care about such silly things as balance, arc and enunciation.

The Haggard CD is a live recording of a gig in Aptos, CA. You know where that is? Near Santa Cruz. This is not a deep country Suthren-boy audience that has a background. This is basically a bunch of yee-haw lefties.

You'd think that in live performance there is a kind of "magic" that elevates the performance into something greater than what can happen in a studio. Not necessarily. The studio has a magic of its own. And in the studio there is the opportunity -- nay, the demand, both from the musicians themselves and the goddamn tyrant of a producer -- to refine and improve the thing. When a recording is really, really good, you appreciate the "auteur" role of the producer.

But often, it is true, there is magic in the live performance. In fact, sometimes a performance and its real-time liveness are the same thing -- for example, Johnny Cash at Folsom Prison.

j.