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dead famous

PostPosted: Wed Feb 15, 2006 11:41 pm
by Gordon Neill
Howard, you're losing it. I'm getting worried about you. I've noticed over that last couple of weeks that I've been shaking my head less violently and now, tonight, I find that it's started to nod. Good grief, I'm starting to agree with you (sometimes). You've hinted that you might not like Mozart. I can understand why you hesitate to come right out with it. After all, he might not be completely dead. But I can read between the lines. And..... well....... I agree with you. There. I've said it. I feel better for it. There's loads of classical stuff that I love, particularly Baroque rockers such as Vivaldi and Correlli. But Mozart just leaves me cold. Just a bit too mathematical for my liking.

But (and I can't say just how much of a relief it is to be able to say this) I don't agree with you about the Partridge Family or Neil Diamond. Well, I can't think of any good Partidge Family records, so I suppose I agree with you on that tiny detail. And, fair enough, I agree with your sentiments about elderly stars getting a boost in their dotage (they're almost as commercial as dead ones). And, OK, most of Neil Diamond's stuff is appalling. But he did write 'I'm A Believer' and his 'Cracklin' Rosie' is pretty good. I know that it's not much that we disagree about. But it's something. It's a start and it gives me hope for the future.

PS I did like the 'Johnny Cash-cow' crack. I must use it myself.

PPS It really isn't possible to protest enough about the Bay City Rollers. It just isn't.

PostPosted: Thu Feb 16, 2006 12:06 am
by howard male
No hold on there, Gordon - I didn't actually say I liked either The Partridge Family or Mr Diamond, I just gave then as examples of acts contributors to this forum would be unlikely to admit to liking, even if they did. And I don't, OK! (or do I?)

If I did like them, then I'd be supporting my own argument by example, in being ashamed to admit it. But you'll never know...Or will you? No you won't...

Maybe I am loosing it.

mixed up confusion

PostPosted: Thu Feb 16, 2006 12:19 am
by Gordon Neill
Howard, I DIDN'T say that you liked the Partidge Family or Neil Diamond (that would have been rude). You clearly implied that you didn't. My attempts at humour were based on the idea that, despite my desire to argue with you, I just couldn't bring myself to say that I liked the Partidge Family or Neil Diamond. (Sigh). But the fact that I like one of Neil Diamond's songs gives me hope that I'll get back to normal and argue with you in future. I could go on, but I can't. I just can't.

PostPosted: Thu Feb 16, 2006 1:27 am
by howard male
OK, got you - sorry about that!

I've just done a count and I actually like four of Mr Diamond's songs!

PostPosted: Thu Feb 16, 2006 2:24 am
by Adam Blake
You're all mad. The Partridge Family were great, and Neil Diamond was always reliable for a good tune and a chuckle or two. Whassa matter with you? I'm 45 and I like crap pop from the early 70s. It reminds me of when I first fell in love with pop.

Nobody dictates my taste, thank you very much. I haven't spent all these years ravenously devouring music to be told what to think by anyone. But yes, opinion makers are rampant, trying to tell you what's cool from what's not. But surely we're all music lovers here, that's why we're on this forum. We don't let that happen to us, do we?

As for Mozart, I don't go for the Classical aesthetic either, but many people do. I can see why. But it doesn't ring my bell. I like the Baroque aesthetic which preceded it, and the Renaissance vibe which preceded that, I'm not wild about Romanticism, can take or leave Impressionism, like a fair chunk of Modernism, have a few chuckles at Avant-Gardeners (I'm very glad they existed)... But as a piano player friend once said to me: "Classical music is all very well but it doesn't have Ringo Starr on drums" (sorry Howard). I was brought up on it, y'see, and I did it at school. I put forward Mozart and Bach in connection with Howard's observations about maths in music which fascinates me. I'm not trying to poll anyone or convert them to Mozart!! (The very idea - Mozart has plenty of admirers, too bad they weren't around to pay his bar bills.)

But I don't like the insinuation that people who like Mozart are only SAYING they like Mozart because they feel they ought to. That's not fair. Of course, there are some people like that, just as there are people who SAY they like all sorts of things because they think it's cool, but there are lots of people (mostly elderly music teachers) who really love Mozart. Live and let live.

I really love old rock'n'roll, and blues and r'n'b, classic soul and jazz, and 60s and 70s pop, Indian classical, J.S Bach, Erik Satie, Sibelius, old ska and rocksteady, dub reggae, Tibetan singing bowls, musical weirdness...
It is magic, though, that I look for. And I find it in music more than anywhere else.

PostPosted: Thu Feb 16, 2006 9:59 am
by Con Murphy
howard male wrote:No hold on there, Gordon - I didn't actually say I liked either The Partridge Family or Mr Diamond, I just gave then as examples of acts contributors to this forum would be unlikely to admit to liking, even if they did. And I don't, OK! (or do I?)

I can only speak for myself when I say that I'm not that shallow or fickle as to be scared to tell this forum which musicians I like or dislike, regardless of their supposed 'credibility'. I don't think there is any such thing as that on this board anyway, is there? Just about every sacred cow has been slaughtered at some point, and quite a view re-evaluations have taken place (although I still haven't got over Ted's liking for Rod's Sailing, I must admit).

I don't recall any Partridge Family songs so can't comment on them, but as for Neil Diamond, my opinion of him was formed by having to listen to my sister playing one of his live albums too many times on our family record player when I was a child, so I'm somewhat biased. There's no doubting the quality of his songwriting, but he did like to drag them into the middle of the road with those saccharine arrangements. I don't much care for his voice, either. I know it's all subjective (Dylan, Waits and Costello are hardly the greatest singers, after all), but songwriters who really should stick to giving other people their songs is a favourite bugbear of mine - I'd add Richard Thompson to that list, for example.

PostPosted: Thu Feb 16, 2006 10:49 am
by howard male
Adam Blake wrote -

The Partridge Family were great

Yes they were weren't they (there, I've said it!) I even liked some post Partridge, Cassidy, such as 'How Can I Be Sure' and 'Day Dreamer' - they really knew how to make soppy, toothy teen idols back then - or at least they knew how to find decent songs for them to sing.

The pressure to conform as a teenager was, of course, much greater than it is now and I'd rather have eaten my own paisley patterned Y fronts than admit to finding Cassidy even "OK" back then.

But even with Bolan one trod a fine line. Most boys of my age went for Slade or even Hawkwind - perhaps Wizzard at a pinch - but pretty boy Bolan confused them because a lot of the girls liked him. I remember being a regular red faced buyer of Jackie magazine just so I could get the Bolan articles and free posters, because the serious music papers didn't cover him that much. It's given me the occassional nice warm feeling over the last 30 years to see my tastes vindicated as Bolan has gradually become accepted as an important contributor to the pop canon and thus plucked from the jaws of Glam to be placed on the cover of Uncut.

As for teenage pop tribalism, luckily we've all grown out of all the peripheral concerns which were often more important than the music itself when it came to what we put on our Dad's stereogram.

And yes, Con - the last people to be led by the nose music-wise are the contributors of this forum, who stubbornly listen to, and hunt down, the most obscure music, in the face of a media who would much rather they just knuckled down and bought the Arctic Monkeys - who I think are actually quite good. See! Here we can even say when we like something we are suppose to like!

nostalgia isn't what it used to be

PostPosted: Thu Feb 16, 2006 11:20 am
by Gordon Neill
This thread does seem to have unravelled somewhat. We started by considering what makes a great record great. We're now boasting about who likes the most crappiest records.

Anyway, in an attempt to get us back on track, many of the recent contributions confirm one my earlier points. Nostalgia is a key factor in our perception of 'great' music. When the hormones were first surging through our systems, making us do stupid things in stupid ways, they also made us listen to stupid music. And we never quite recover our good taste.

Mind you, even as a spotty youth, there were limits to my stupidity. The Patridge Family was one of them, the Bay City rollers were another. But, as a trainee angry old man, I don't mind boasting that I though Marc Bolan & T.Rex were terrific. Right up until he blew it with Metal Guru.....

PS I'll see your Partridge Family and raise you Cher and 'Gypsies Tramps and Thieves'.

PostPosted: Thu Feb 16, 2006 11:49 am
by howard male
Gordon wrote -

...and raise you Cher and 'Gypsies Tramps and Thieves'.

'Gypsies Tramps and Thieves' was great! One of the first singles I ever bought. Perhaps we should start having colour coded typefaces for when we are being ironic, cause I'm not sure if you meant that or not. I haven't heard it since so I don't know if it's stood the test of time.

And Metal Guru was a superb slab of post Spector grunge glam! After that, I grant you, the rot well and truly set in.

As for nostalgia I like to think of myself as relatively immune and able to judge music from 'back then' on its own terms, which is why I can now say Cassidy made some nice pop singles and Bolan went off the boil in a fairly dramatic fashion after 1973. At the time I religiously bought each new Bolan release the day it hit the shops even though the music was leaving me with an increasingly empty feeling in my gut.

any old irony

PostPosted: Thu Feb 16, 2006 11:57 am
by Gordon Neill
No, I was being genuine about 'Gypsies Tramps & Thieves'. It was the very first single that I bought and, to me, still sounds as good as ever.

PostPosted: Thu Feb 16, 2006 3:50 pm
by ritchie

What makes music great is obvious..., it's you. You decide what's good or bad and you know what! you don't tell keep it all to yourself and eventually, it may be in an instant or ages after but someone will agree with you and if you like that someone, then it makes you happy and if you dont like that someone, then perhaps you change your mind and you start again.

As for "how long is a piece of string?" not long enough in the case of Tom Dooley and I wonder if he could hear music when the string went taught?

I consider music as being the same as food. We start off on something bland but good for you like milk and then we find out what we like & don't like and it's not all down to taste either it could be presentation or even price. As the 'Duke' once said 'Elizabeth, My Queen, pass the salt" (sorry if I got the accent wrong). How is one tomato or slice of bread different or better than another? you only know the difference if you have choice to compare.

Lets face it Gordon, more people will have heard of and probably seen the Bay City Rollers than have heard or seen Tam White and yet I know who is the best (but I'm not telling anyone)

As for learning to play, well I did a daft thing. Because I liked the blues & the blues always sounded better being played and sung by old men I decided to wait until I was old before I took up the guitar. I did n't realise that these 'old men' had been playing for years though. That's why I've moved to the ukelele ...if you ever get the chance to hear me you'll know the difference between good & bad music straight away. I tell you it's amazing what I can do to a 'good song'.

Ritchie 'the fat boy'

PostPosted: Thu Feb 16, 2006 4:19 pm
by Guest
Anyone read "Godel, Escher, Bach" by Douglas Hofstadter?

I haven't read it for years but if anyone wants to pursue the maths/music thing (into maths mainly) its quite readable.


PostPosted: Thu Feb 16, 2006 5:44 pm
by Adam Blake
So we sang shang a lang and we ran with the gang singing doo wop she dooby do way...

Aahh... Memories are made of this. Actually I hated the Bay City Rollers then and now.

At my school (Inner London all boys state Grammar) there were three distinct camps: Glam rock, Prog rock and soulboys. The Glam rockers and the Prog rockers despised each other but were united in their loathing of the soulboys who just laughed at them in open derision with sly, superior smiles on their faces. Why? Why do you think? They were the only ones who were getting off with GIRLS!

As for me, I was so worried about classroom cred that I couldn't admit to liking "Stoned Love" by The Supremes, despite thinking it was fantastic (I was right, it is), in case the soulboys tried to adopt me. I remember going home with one once, and he played me James Brown. I'd never heard anything like this before. Then he played me U-Roy (it must have been about 1974). I went home in a state of shock. Suddenly my Yes and Focus records sounded strangely distant, like they were coming from somewhere very far away, while the music this soulboy had played me seemed to have been actually in the room with me.

Anyone else got a musical shock memory they'd like to share with us?

PostPosted: Thu Feb 16, 2006 5:58 pm
by Con Murphy
Ritchie, have you seen the rules for a career in the Blues? Go straight to point 18, which means you fail I'm afraid. This is from an email that was doing the rounds a few years ago, so don't blame me for it:-

Some tips for any of you that are in pursuit of a career in the "Blues":

1. Most Blues begin with "Woke up this mornin'....." This is to differentiate Blues musicians from most other musicians, who sleep past noon.

2. The nice thing about the Blues is that once you've written the first line, you're pretty much done with the second line, too.

3. "I got a good woman" is a bad way to begin the Blues, 'less you stick something nasty in the next line like, "I got a good woman, with the meanest face in town."

4. The Blues is not about choice. You stuck in a ditch, you stuck in a ditch - ain't no way out.

5. Chevys and Cadillacs are Blues cars. Other acceptable Blues modes of transportation are as follows:

a. Greyhound bus
b. Southbound train
c. Walkin'

Blues don't travel in Volvos, BMWs, or Sport Utility Vehicles. Most Blues transportation is a Greyhound bus or a southbound train. Jet aircraft an' state-sponsored motor pools ain't even in the runnin'. Walkin' plays a major part in the Blues lifestyle. So does fixin' to die.

6. Teenagers shouldn't sing the Blues until they're old enough to get the electric chair if they shoot a man in Memphis.

7. Blues can take place in New York City, but not in Hawaii or any place in Canada. Hard times in Minneapolis or Seattle is probably just clinical depression. Chicago, St. Louis, and Kansas City are still the best places to have the Blues. You cannot have the Blues in any place that don't get rain.

8. Shot in the back by a jealous lover is a Blues way to die. So is the electric chair. It is not a Blues death if you die during liposuction treatment. A man with male pattern baldness ain't the Blues. A woman with male pattern baldness is. Breaking your leg cause you skiing is not the Blues. Breaking your leg 'cause a alligator be chompin' on it is.

9. Good places for the Blues:

a. A highway
b. A jailhouse
c. An empty bed
d. A freight train

10. Bad places for the Blues:

a. Snowdonia National Park
b. The country club
c. Gallery openings
d. The Hamptons

You can't have no Blues in a office or a shopping mall. The lighting is wrong. Go outside to the parking lot or sit by the dumpster.

11. If you ask for water and yo 'baby' give you gasoline, that's the Blues. Other Blues drinks include:

a. Wine
b. Whiskey
c. Muddy water

12. Blues beverages do not include:

a. Any drink with an umbrella
b. Any wine kosher for Passover
c. Bacardi breezers(all flavours)
d. Jelly shots

13. Picking a Blues name:

a. Start with an infirmity (Blind, Li'l, Fat, Lame, Clubfoot)
b. Add Willie, Johnny or Joe
c. Pick a U.S. President (Washington, Johnson, Fillmore, or Roosevelt)
d. Persons with names like Ashley, Chad, Kimberly, McKenzie,Brad or Tyler may not sing the Blues, no matter how many men they shoot in Memphis.

14. Some Blues names for women:

a. Sadie
b. Big Mama
c. Bessie
d. Fat River Dumpling

15. Persons with names like Michelle, Amber, Debbie, and Heather can't sing the Blues no matter how many men they shoot in Memphis.

16. Do you have the right to sing the Blues?

Yes, if:

a. You older than dirt
b. You blind
c. You shot a man in Memphis
d. You can't be satisfied

No, if:

a. You have all your teeth
b. You were once blind but now can see
c. The man in Memphis lived
d. You have a trust fund

17. Blues is not a matter of colour. It's a matter of bad luck. Tiger Woods cannot sing the Blues. Sonny Liston could. Ugly white people also got leg up on the Blues.

18. I don't care how tragic your life: if you own a computer, you cannot sing the Blues.

PostPosted: Thu Feb 16, 2006 7:12 pm
by Guest
It requires intelligence and emotions to both create and appreciate music

Howard are you sure about this?, especially the part about appreciation, it would mean non intelligent persons can't appreciate music.

It is of course impossible to define what great music is, like several people have written, it is you who decides if something is great or not, that is what counts even if the rest of the planet thinks what you like is crap.

And yes, tastes are sometimes dictated, I always have to laugh when there is a shortlist of Artists/ Books/Albums etc where people have to choose from whenever there is an award to be won, instead of getting the chance to vote what they want for.