I became insane with long intervals of horrible sanity.
Edgar Allen Poe
The trouble with fighting for human freedom is that one spends most of one's time defending scoundrels. For it is against scoundrels that oppressive laws are first aimed, and oppression must be stopped at the beginning if it is to be stopped at all.
- H. L. Mencken
Many people would sooner die than think; In fact, they do so
What I have been telling you, from alpha to omega, what is the one great thing the sigil taught me — that everything in life is miraculous. For the sigil taught me that it rests within the power of each of us to awaken at will from a dragging nightmare of life made up of unimportant tasks and tedious useless little habits, to see life as it really is, and to rejoice in its exquisite wonderfulness. If the sigil were proved to be the top of a tomato-can, it would not alter that big fact, nor my fixed faith. No Harrowby, the common names we call things by do not matter — except to show how very dull we are ...
-James Branch Cabell
February 29, 2016 - 12:11 p.m.
Yesterday was not exciting. I was supposed to see Joe Crookston but I'm having some issues and didn't. You know how I hate to miss Joe or cancel on a house concert. Luckily Peter is a mensch and understands.
I did manage to go to shopping at Trader Joe's. I used my brand new WFUV tote bag. It works great for shopping. I needed too bags, the other one was from WFDU. I should really start thinking of that as "my station" as that's the one that I go on the air. Now I'm listening to Joltin' Joe on WMSC. Actually I'm streaming the archive which is on a different website. Good thing Allison gave me the link. Villa Palagonia were Joe's guests last night. That's while I was shopping.
Now for a little excursion into my head. This entire blog is supposed to be an exploration of that. I travel by subway. When I got to the Borough Hall stop the train arrivals sign said that the next train was in 9 minutes and the one after that in 24 minutes. I spent the entire way and ride home trying to decide if 9 minutes was shorter or longer than the average wait, was I lucky, unlucky, or average. That meant getting lost in math. If the trains ran perfectly regularly then the expected wait time would be exactly half the time between trains as when you enter the station has nothing to do with the train times. But arrival times aren't totally regular and that increases the average wait as you are more likely to arrive during one of the big gaps between trains than one of the small gaps. Do any of my math friends want to help me figure out the exact formula and determine what information about the distribution of train times you need to figure it out? Tina? Steve? Sharon? Howard? Bueller? Bueller. Bueller!
I see that Joe is going to be playing things I feel the need to comment on. When that happens I'll put them in italics so you know it’s not part of the main theme.
A musician sent me something he was working on. It was just the guitar part in usual time signatures. It's amazing what a difference it makes. If you knew nothing about music, had no idea what a time signature is, you'd know immediately that this was different. It was the antithesis of the drones that so many singer-songwriters employ. A drone can be fantastic if the lyrics are fantastic. I can be the best vehicle for a lyric driven song, there's nothing else to pay attention to. But so many performers will do a drone, with mundane lyrics and hope that their voice or personality can carry the day. It can with many people. Not with me. You might have caught on that I am on a crusade to let you know that I don't like most performers so that when I praise someone it's because they are different and better. If I enthuse I'm not feigning it, it's real. This wasn't what I planned on writing but I'm going to follow up on this and talk about musicians I don't mind dissing; they can cry all the way to the bank. OOO Joe is playing Tara O'Grady. OK back to the topic at hand. Of course Tara is part of the topic at hand, she's someone I enthuse over.
My first thought was to go to the list of top albums of 1980 and see what artists on that list I like and don't like The problem is there are artists from genres I'm not crazy about on the list so that doesn't mean much. Hell there were some I don't even remember; who was Joy Division? They had the number 2 album that year. I'm not going to bother checking but I'm sure I know songs on it.
Joe is playing Coltrane, major points. Joe likes some people that I hate, of course he does. I bet I love stuff that he hates. But he bases what he plays on what he loves, and that's what I want out of a radio station. He's not playing what he thinks other people want. He's not sticking to a narrow type of music.
What I'm going to do is use this list of musicians that came up when I googled "Top Folk Artists of All Time." I didn't put quotes around that. I'm not sure how to write that as quotes are important in Google Searches. OK do that now. Oh wait, just follow this link, Google Search Results. I didn't follow any of the links but the strip at the top of the page and tell you who on that strip I don't like and who I am just lukewarm about.
I've talked about it enough that everyone should know that I don't like James Taylor who they put in at #8. I find him oversentimental. He's a sensitive new age guy. I have friends whose taste I respect tremendously who love him but he drives me to distraction. All the people before him are great, Dylan, Joni, Pete, Woody, Neil Young, Joan Baez, and Simon & Garfunkel. Does Leonard Cohen remind anyone else of Leonard Nimoy? I have always seen the resemblance. Love them both. OK now on to the next ten.
Joe's playing Mary Lee's Corvette covering Dylan! That was an awesome album.
The next group of ten has more than I don't like. Judy Collins isn't bad. I've seen her a number of times. But I have always thought of her as Joan Baez light. I can never think of her as a folk singer. Her style is too slick. I'm not fond of her originals and prefer the original version of the covers to hers. I still made sure to see her at Falcon Ridge. Susan Warner who I adore and think is way better was a total fan girl. So once again, we are talking about what I like not what's good or bad.
The Kingston Trio? Ugh, they had some songs I loved but they were the commercialized version of the real thing. In a world where there was Dave Van Ronk the Kingston Trio should not have been having the folk hits. Certainly not one of the top 20 folk artists.
Mumford and sons? Really? Is this someone trying to be relevant? Go to Jalopy on a random night and you'll likely hear someone better and someone that can actually play the banjo.
Richard Thompson and Fairport Convention don't make it till the third panel? Call the folk police. Carey and her favorite guitar student are going to hate me but Nick Drake doesn’t do it for me. It's mood music.
Lead Belly doesn't make it till the fourth pane? He should be on the first. Ok by now there are a lot of people that I like but don't love so I'll stick to ones I don't like. Nothing is calling out to me and on the fifth pane. Dave Van Ronk is finally listed. Where the hell are Dar and Shindell? At this point I give up.
But you get my drift. I sound like I like everyone because I only write about people I like. But the reality is I don't.
Was that better than discussing racism, Donald Trump, and the Republican party? I need to write that soon. I need to eat breakfast sooner.
I'm not even up to Villa Palagonia's set on Joe's show. I hope I get to it before I have to leave for therapy.
Brother Brothers in Arms - October 01, 2017
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