Monday, May 12, 2014

Thoughts On Music - plans for 2014 and beyond.

I have taken a fortnight-long break from posting, something I just need to do from time to time. In the meantime I have still been listening and reading, no doubt about that, but also doing a little plotting and planning. It is now a few years since 'Thoughts on Music' has had anything other than organic changes, some of which simply reflect my interests in that time. Well, while there is nothing wrong with that I think it might not be all that is worth changing.

The first change is actually a reversion to something I did for a long time until the feature became frustratingly unstable.
As of about five minutes ago you should see the return of the "link list" to the top of the side bar. It has been a "simple list" for a year or more and, while I'm quite sure you can use well known search engines every bit as well as I can, this reinstates my ability to link to the particular reason I am listening and therefore a quick route to the stuff of the moment that is catching my attention.  If I haven't provided a link to an item in this list you will see <about: Blank> and should hit the 'Back' button. I'm currently unconvinced that running two lists, one for items with links and separate one for those without, would be any more helpful. If I can find a way of combining the two, along the logical line of 'if no link given then don't try to go there' then I will and all hints and suggestions to that end are welcome!

Beyond that all feedback, positive and negative equally, is very welcome and so are suggestions. I have some other changes in mind but they will take more expertise in the way of implementation than I currently have, and so may take more time. There is nothing wrong with planning or dreaming and I'm quite sure that there are plenty of ideas that have never even occurred to me at all.
The only constant remains, as I said at the start, that I shall only review music that I like. I will not wallow in destructive criticism: I shall use negativity very sparingly, so as to make a comparative - there is too much to like for me to spend resources of whatever kind in doing otherwise. You might very well persuade me to try new music, and I hope you do just that, but you will almost certainly fail to dissuade me from that which I already do, even if it is done differently...

For some reason I have recently given much thought to the subject of cover versions and what I think they might add to the canon. My view on this has evolved very much over time and not least because I am now far more aware of songs that are actually cover versions but that I didn't realize previously!
This is one, that I did know from the original, and that I had the good fortune to see live, in 2010 when it was one of the first times they played it. Somewhat later, with Jack White and Third Man Records, it was recorded live.

I don't actually buy many 7" singles these days but this is the latest addition to my collection.
I'm not saying that this a blueprint for a new direction, radical or otherwise. The many shades of transatlanticism has possibly already told you that.

This evening, whilst thinking some more, the theme continues, about how much traditional music Europe  exported to the US, then Canada and elsewhere directly or otherwise, over the last four centuries. It is important - we would have lost much had that not happened and that is why Cecil Sharp (1916-18, in particular) and others headed west across the Atlantic in the early 20th century. On the other hand it would be astonishingly vain not to admit that what we have received in return is every bit as generous, and quite as remarkable...

Then there are the influences that came from the east and particularly from Asia Minor via south-eastern Europe. That all started with the Celts themselves a couple of thousand years ago because it is thought that they expanded west and north; only subsequently to be marginalised in the far west of Europe.

Much more recently the bouzouki took a similar trajectory: it had certainly reached Greece, again probably from Asia Minor, and was common there by the start of the 20th century. Sixty years later and it was widely used in modern Celtic folk music in the UK and, particularly so, in Ireland.
Of course all these things intermingled over time, and in vicarious ways, before some of it was than taken, in a many-stranded form and over a long period, to the Americas by people of diverse origins. What we tend to forget is that the interesting muddle that is English folk music has age-old influences but it too incorporates influences that more recent immigrants bought with them and once again from eastern Europe: Romani and Klezmer are just two that come to mind.

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