Question of the Week: Which era that you narrowly missed…


August 7, 2008 by A.C. Rhodes

Yes, as a matter of fact I do like it, very much.

Yes, as a matter of fact, I do like it, very much.

professionally would you most liked to have reviewed records and shows? If you were among those fortunate enough to have been part of your favorite eras, which were some of your fondest reviews?

7 thoughts on “Question of the Week: Which era that you narrowly missed…

  1. s woods says:

    That’s a tricky one. I was “there” and fully conscious of (if somewhat clueless about) punk etc. so can hardly complain that nature ripped me off. As a music fan it was the greatest 4-5 years I lived through, especially as my tastes cracked wide open via punk towards disco, r&b, rap, et al. That being said, I certainly didn’t have anything like a vocabulary at that point in life to actually express something interesting about the music, especially in the form of writing. So maybe that’s my answer: I wouldn’t have minded being five or six years older during punk (and I like to think I’d have been wise enough to devote just as much energy into writing about disco as punk, but that’s a bit 20/20, isn’t it).

  2. When James Brown was in his prime; hell, I never even saw him live until after “Living in America” came out. I hated that damn song.

  3. The Intl says:

    Oh yeah, I’m ready with this.

    R&B in the 50’s. Can you imagine writing reviews with today’s open viewpoint of Little Richard’s Specialty sides??!!!? Or stuff like Fortune Records, or The Midnighters??!!!?

    And yeah, let’s go back a bit further – BE BOP! Reviewing sides by Bird & Diz & Monk, counter-pointing on the fuddy-duddies’ comments about “Chinese music”.

    What an excellent topic! Thank you!

  4. Richard Riegel says:

    When I set out to be a rockwriter in 1972, I felt like I was a bit late to the game, that I’d missed the excitement of rockwriting’s late-’60s dawn, when so many heavy albums had come out and the Beatles were even still a functioning band. After all, those primordial rockwriters had been my own born-in-the-mid-1940’s contemporaries, but I had been too preoccupied first with college, and then with my endless struggle with Selective Service, to have gotten in on that ground floor.

    Yet even if the headiness of 1967’s music explosion was long gone as I tuned up my typewriter, rockwriting itself seemed to be getting more exciting by the month, at least in the persons of Lester Bangs and crew up at CREEM. I wanted to be in that show too, and was fortunate to make the cut by 1974. I guess I still harbored some desire to review late-’60s rock though, as in 1975 I wrote several Rock-a-Ramas on emphatically non-current albums, including Cream’s Disraeli Gears, which had long obsessed me. Lester being Lester, he went ahead and published a couple of those back-number Ramas, then told me it would be better if I stuck to current product.

    That wasn’t hard to do with groups like the Ramones starting to appear by the mid-’70s. I’d never dreamed that the nostalgia we’d expressed for the late-’60s garage bands a few years earlier would begin translating into so many actual neo-punk artists, from Graham Parker to Blondie and the Dead Boys. I wrote up all of them in the late-’70s CREEM, a golden era for me even if Lester had already moved on. I don’t think I’d trade those Sexy Seventies for any other period of rockcrit by now.

    Incidentally, I was interested to note in The Intl’s response above that he seems to have the idea that he could carry his 21st-Century pomo critical sensibility back to the ’50s with him — which maybe he could, I’m just not sure if A.C.’s ground rules permit that. If you’ve ever perused the liner notes on the backs of ’50s jazz albums, you’ll note that there was apparently a high degree of fuddy-duddyness required of all critics then, even when they were covering bop. That was the era of the impacted-snob “New Critics” who dominated litcrit, and their anti-“vulgar” strictures tended to be applied all over the spectrum. Even if you loved jazz, you still had to intellectually rationalize it within an inch of your migraine headache. Thank Vishnu for the Beats (and their kidz Meltzer and Bangs) for rescuing us from all that!

  5. Richard Riegel says:

    Confidential to A.C.: I’ll probably start responding to this forum’s questions more often if you can get me a better-looking symbol — I’d prefer something in Patrick’s bright green, or bright blue like my pal Bob O’C. This luck-of-the-draw dusky rose I have now reminds me of the likely color of John Crowe Ransom’s (probable) smoking jacket, and you know how I feel about those frigging New Critics!

  6. The Intl says:

    Riegel: I dunno, I figure it stands to reason that unless you bring your “pomo” sensibilities to any “narrowly missed” era, unless the narrowly-missed era is CREEM-era circa 197Bangs (sigh, another Bangs reference), then you’re probably gonna be writing with some degree of conservatism, relatively speaking. But that’s no fun, and that wasn’t my take on things when I put my two cents into this question. So by all means, I’m gonna take my “pomo” sensibilities right through the time machine with me, like a shift-change tirade between Dan Carlyle & Jesse Crawford.

  7. shawnbm says:

    Hangin’ with Dylan the boys from The Band during the Basement Tapes period would have been a mine of great stuff. I also would have loved to have been a fly on the wall when guys like George Harrison and Eric Clapton stopped by Woodstock and Big Pink to play music and get down to brass tacks. Great period there in 1967-1968.

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