Interesting feature from the latest Austin Chronicle - which constantly runs excellent writing on music and society - with the author reflecting on how many of the bands he loved most in the 60s are now largely forgotten. I thought Jonathan and Judith might find some memories stirred!
And it did stir up memories, beginning with your title of this thread. Butterfield and Kweskin. The most memory stirring paragraph for me - my did it take me back! - was the description of how we listened to our records. I was one of those who would put an lp on the turntable, adjust the arm for repeat, and let it play over and over for hours while I was working, not wanting to put my work down. I began doing that after the disgust expressed by the 'vinyl-ista friend' (to quote Louis Black) who walked in while I had 5 records stacked up on the spindle to drop down one upon another while I was happily working away. I was severely chastised for exhibiting to them such a horrifying spectacle and I never did that again. Adam is always astounded by how 'knackered' old vinyl is in the states. This is probably one of the reasons.
Paul Butterfield, along with the Doors, was who really got me seriously into music when I was still a schoolboy in England. I think it was late 1967. There was an American boy, very sophisticated by our standards who'd been sent to our school to get straightened out — I took him home for half-term. We stopped at Harrods of all places, which had one of those trendy boutiques hidden within — I forget the name, but at my tender and ill informed age of fifteen it seemed like it must be hip. Anyway, they sold American import LPs — with those really thick cardboard covers, remember? — there and my friend picked up those two and life never quite went back to normal. I'd never cared all that much for "pop" music before.
Now, you can all have a good laugh at me. I'll read the article properly later. Thanks, Garth.
What's to laugh at? It's always interesting to hear how and when got people into music and anyways, I for one won't be laughing at you because the Paul Butterfield Blues Band (live) got me seriously into music and what led to a change in life direction. I think I've already written about that on the forum. And the Doors were notable, whatever you felt about them. I remember distinctly the first time I heard them (record).
Harrods — the shop we had to buy our school uniforms from. Very ritzy back then. Why we went there that day I have no idea. I suppose we'd seen an advertisement for its boutique and thought we could meet girls or something. It was out of the way, more off our required itinerary through London than Soho and Carnaby Street, which were usually more fun than Knightsbridge. And you could be guaranteed of seeing a naked girl in Soho!
That American boy didn't last long at our school. I hear he's a scriptwriter in Hollywood these days.
OK, read the article. Louis Black has himself a nice gig writing about music from long ago, when the times were undoubtedly different, both in terms of style of music and modes of communication — and, of course, in pretentious projectionalism and the role music played in society. Clicked through to his article on Moby Grape, Naked If I Want To at http://www.austinchronicle.com/gyrobase/Issue/story?oid=oid:935715, which I'll have to read later — but it reminds me that Skip Spence was a famous acid casualty to be found wandering up and down Haight Street, derelict and homeless, when I arrived there in 1976.
Honestly, I have about as much nostalgia as I can handle; some things were good, some things were utter crap; nothing was as serious and meaningful as appeared at the time. When I listen to old rock music these days, I find it almost unpalatable due to its production styles and aesthetic decisions about the audio palette — even the good stuff like the Beatles. Once you've gone over to reggae and African music, salsa and everything else, it's difficult to go back, although old rock'n'roll and R'n'B sounds better — simpler and more effective production techniques. For me, anyway. I have a very few old favorites I might play once a year. What's interesting these days is where things are going, not even where they are, let alone where they've been (except for reasons of understanding the continuities, which are many). I'm not talking just about music but the whole damn shebang.
I remember the Harrods boutique. I think I watched Otis at Monterey there. I seem to remember seats to sit on and watch music films. It gets a mention here in the entry from Michael Melet and Suzanne Morris-Marcus.
I have one of those 1960s Martin Sharp Dylan posters (Mr Tambourine Man). It was a Oz cover too. I saw one on display in the V&A a couple of years ago, so I copied the little information card and museum catalogue number and now display it alongside my poster at home. Saves a trip to South Ken :-)
Actually the V&A was very much on my "circuit" as a teenager, especially the musical instruments and their brass rubbings collections.