before they entertain the thought of writing their memoirs, whether they be a writer or artist?
Archive for June, 2008
Posted by A.C. Rhodes on June 23, 2008
Posted by s woods on June 23, 2008
58. Top Pop Singles, 1955-2006 (Joel Whitburn/Billboard) - Back in an earlier entry of the bookshelf I called the 1992 edition of The Billboard Book of Top 40 Hits (Whitburn) my “most consulted book of all-time.” Pretty sure I wasn’t exaggerating, but this latest Whitburn opus, just received through the mail, is bound to replace it. In truth, it’s the Billboard book I’ve long craved: artist and song listings of every Top 100 chart entry, 1,176 pages of sheer geek-overload useless-data freakout.
Stupid fact of the day I’ve already learned: Between 1955 and 2006, there have been eight charted songs with “number one” in the title: “#1″ (Nelly); “Number One” (Pharrell w/Kanye West); “Number One” (Eloise Laws); “#1 Crush” (Garbage); “#1 Deejay” (Goody Goody); “Number One Man” (Bruce Channel); “Number One Spot” (Ludacris); “Number One Street” (Bob Corley). Of these, only one (Nelly) has actually made it to #1. Also, did you know that John Lennon’s “#9 Dream” made it as high as — duh — number nine?
See what I mean?
Posted by A.C. Rhodes on June 17, 2008
of music writers are most troublesome where it effects their writing, in your opinion?
Posted by s woods on June 14, 2008
If nothing else, a review by Ben Sisario in the New York Times of Byron Coley’s and Thurston Moore’s fabulously illustrated coffee table book, No Wave: Post-Punk. Underground. New York. 1976-1980. is a sparkling addition to the annals of Times honorifics. Surely, “Ms. Lunch” ranks right up there with “Mr. Loaf,” no?
(Read excerpts from the book here.)
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Posted by s woods on June 8, 2008
- Next Little Things is hosted by Idolator, and is described thusly: “Each week, dozens of songs and albums from up-and-coming (or just plain unknown) bands debut on the world’s music charts. Some of these bands will never be heard from again; some may become the next little thing. That’s why every two weeks Chuck Eddy will be exploring the world beyond the Billboard 200, where he’ll look for diamonds in the MySpace rough.”
- Chuck It All In, housed at Rhapsody, has Chuck discussing the other three hundred records he listens to every month which he doesn’t have space to discuss at the other blog… or something! Appears to be more of a list-y/retrospective sort of thing. In a recent entry, he posted a snazzy list of Bo Diddley-soundalikes, “a wide-ranging, five-decade-spanning selection of landmark musical moments that his beat made possible.”
(Rumour also has it that Chuck’s currently compiling an anthology of his best writing to be published in book form. But don’t tell anyone you heard it here first.)
Posted by s woods on June 4, 2008
57. Blowin’ Hot and Cool: Jazz and Its Critics (John Gennari) – Just a lone title this time around, as it’s still fairly fresh in the brain. An exhaustive (at least as far as I can tell — someone more knowledgeable on the subject might say otherwise) history of jazz criticism featuring richly drawn portraits of the leading jazz critics of the last 80 years or so, including Leonard Feather, Nat Hentoff, Stanley Crouch, Gary Giddins, Amiri Baraka, Martin Williams, Greg Tate, and several others. It’s more than that, however. The material is pretty evenly divided between stories about the critics themselves and what I would call (in very general terms) the jazz conversation: i.e., the competing schools of thought, the generational shifts in style (and inevitable gaps in acceptance), the sometimes raging arguments over the history, authenticity, and value of various jazz icons and sub-genres, and — perhaps most deeply — the unavoidably thorny racial dynamic between a music that is (primarily) black and critics of said music who have been (primarily) white. As someone only vaguely familiar with a few of the critics profiled (Crouch, Giddins, Hentoff) and not at all familiar with the vast majority of the others, I definitely appreciated the author’s non-judgmental tone. Not that I’d by any means call Gennari a passive observer — he’s got a keen bullshit detector for political posturing, and reponds to various displays of authenticity-mongering with a slight wince — but he clearly respects the overlapping and oft-competing dialogues, and crucially, he lets the sayers have their say and he never steps in too soon to quash an entertaining dust-up (the book strikes me as scrupulously fair-minded, though again, I’m not exactly the best person to judge that). Like a lot of great music books, this one sent me on a search mission for various recordings; just as important, it convinced me to order up a number of titles from the library, so anxious was I afterwards to read more by Martin Williams (The Jazz Tradition), A.B. Spellman (Four Lives in the Bebop Business), Jones/Baraka (Black Music), Giddins, Hentoff, et al. More books than ever to read, less time than ever to absorb them all.
Posted by s woods on June 4, 2008
Posted by s woods on June 2, 2008
A few choice critical thoughts on Bo’s beat.
Robert Palmer, Rock & Roll: An Unruly History : “To young Bo Diddley, growing up in the ‘Little Mississippi’ that was South Side Chicago, what became the ‘Bo Diddley beat’ must have been an environmental presence — booming from Pentecostal storefront churches, popped out with a shoestring rag, implicit in speech rhythms and in the spring of people’s walks. And as John Lee Hooker remarked in Bo’s favorite ‘Boogie Chillen,’ ‘It’s in him, it’s got to come out.’ At the same time, Bo’s claim to have invented something, his insistence that he was doing more than simply parroting an already existing beat, has both sincerity and the ring of truth. The very concept of the ‘Bo Diddley beat’ is inadequate; what Bo came up with was a comprehensive theory of rhythmic orchestration. The traditional rhythms he picked up were merely raw materials.
“Listen again to ‘Bo Diddley,’ ‘Pretty Thing,’ ‘Hush Your Mouth,’ and ‘Say Man’ — records built around the beat, as opposed to the gospel-ish rave-ups, doo-wop, blues, guitar instrumentals, and tongue-in-cheek hillbilly songs that make up a surprisingly large proportion of the Diddley discography. Neither the exact rhythm patterns nor the way these patterns are parceled out among the various instruments remain constant from song to song. What does remain constant is the method of rhythmic layering. Generally, the drummer is directed to concentrate on his deeper drums, especially the bass drum and tom-toms. There is rarely a cymbal patter. Instead, the sort of cross-rhythms carried by hand clapping in the old-time ring shout, and by the ride and sock cymbals in much rock and jazz drumming, are assigned to Jerome Green’s maracas. These maracas are always prominent in the mix, with a presence equal in sonic weight to that of the drum kit.”
Chuck Eddy, The Accidental Evolution of Rock ‘n’ Roll (from the chapter, “What Bo Knows”) : “I even have a soft spot for Burundi rhythms, for example the ones used in Gary Glitter’s 1972 hit ‘Rock And Roll Part 2′ — sort of a doubled, lightened adaptation of the Bo Diddley beat, which Bo somehow developed out of the knit-three-pearl-two rhythm pattern called clavé, first developed on wooden clacking instruments in Cuba and allegedly a common denominator of all Latin and Caribbean grooves: mambos, rhumbas, sambas, calypsos. Other people say Bo’s beat is really the hambone beat; i.e., ‘shave and a haircut, two bits!’ Probably they’re right… The beat kind of goes ‘Boom-ChuckaChuckaChuckaChucka-Boom Boom.’ On top, in Bo’s own version anyway, there’s a nasal, raunchy voice, boastful and making fun of you like in rap, and more guitar, noisy like in heavy metal. ‘Who Do You Love,’ where Bo tries to impress some lady by telling her his necktie’s a snake and he walks on concertina wire and builds chimneys from people’s skulls, is nihilist overstatement like in punk rock.”
Joe Carducci, Rock and the Pop Narcotic : “…It’s perhaps stretching it to trace all of prog rock back to him, but the chance and circumstance of rock’s development has led to stranger relationships. His special influence on Brit beat and blues rock bands shone through those and onto the late sixties Brit progressive bands with their eccentric rhythmic approaches… Bo recorded for the Chess/Checker labels and made use of blues rhythm players that could follow his lead. And he lead them through a stomping adaptation of some kind of black Latinate rhythm (maybe Cuban), which due to its unfamiliar loping insistence seemed especially physical — even threatening. Which explains his lack of pop success. What still needs explaining is his lace of influence upon R&B, on which charts his music constantly appeared.”
Posted by A.C. Rhodes on June 1, 2008
ever gotten so bad that it caused anxiety and effected interactions w/your other colleagues and friends? What do you do about it?