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PostPosted: Thu Jul 27, 2006 10:03 am
by howard male
Will wrote -

Yes Howard, a good topic. I think at this point what we need is a poorly thought out sweeping generalisation.........and I'm your man!
Your mention of place names, romantic in association or not, leads me to propose that Britain is not geographically or linguistically equipped to hold Rock'nRoll / Rock music, and that is why it invented pop /art rock.

Being the King of Sweeping Statements I'd hereby like to knight you Sir Will Vine! The best sweeping statements are 70% on the nail but I think your up there in the 80's with that one. If someone hasn't already written a book on this subject, they should.

You are absolutely right. Brits have no right to try to raaack, and only very few can pull off pure, un-ironic, unadulterated rock - Dr Feelgood spring to mind, and, as you say, Keith pulls Mick through. We really had to find another angle on it. Perhaps art rock is our cricket to the Americans' baseball?

But, yes, Tom - world music is a great way to be able to listen to music without having to get obsessed with the details - in effect we are back where we began in our teens - with the enjoyment of the pure, visceral sound.

PostPosted: Thu Jul 27, 2006 1:18 pm
by Charlie
will vine wrote:In Britain around 1970 I imagine that Chas and Dave were in the pub mulling over the question... Can the british sing Rock'n Roll? They struck out on their own and anglicised Fats, Frogman Henry, and Jerry Lee. Very entertaining but ultimately doomed to failure

Failure in what sense, Will?

They were enormously successful at one point, hit singles and albums, and even now they make a good living doing the same thing as they did thirty-odd years ago.

And some of their songs achieved the very thing we're saying is so difficult, getting rhythms and rhymes out of local English accents:

I came 'ome the other night
and what did I discover,
the law's been around again
to see my little bruvver...

So I'd say they were successful on both counts, commercially and artistically.

But I agree that Ian D and Madness both had a more varied body of work, if we can use that high falutin' phrase here....

PostPosted: Thu Jul 27, 2006 1:25 pm
by Adam Blake
Sorry if this has already been pointed out but, The Brits inventing pop/ art rock? Excuse me, but what about Phil Spector? He was doing it well before The Beatles. Also, The Velvet Underground were doing unspeakably arty things to pop/rock as far back as 1965.

But we all know this. Don't we?


PostPosted: Thu Jul 27, 2006 2:18 pm
by howard male
I'll give you the Velvets, Adam, but could you elaborate on what Phil Spector has to do with Art Rock? Yes he may have been the first producer to make full use of a multitrack recording situation and therefore change the whole approach to the making of a record, but that isn't what I would define as art rock. Doesn't art rock have to involve a kind of knowing post-modern approach; some irony and a pallet knife's worth of art school pretension (in the best sense of the word)?

Don't understand

PostPosted: Thu Jul 27, 2006 3:26 pm
by Dayna
Why is it important to not have an accent? I think if you're British you should be British. I've said this already I guess. Differet things from different cultures are fascinating to me.

British music, has always been more attractive to me, just because it sounds more interesting, as far as the style, culture & accents. It's all kinds of different elements that make up a part of a big picture.

PostPosted: Thu Jul 27, 2006 3:59 pm
by Adam Blake
I would put forward "You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin'" as Art with a capital A. And it was Pop with a capital P. More than just a supreme knowledge of what the existing technology was capable of, Spector had a VISION. He was (and still is) a raving nutcase, of course, and quite possibly a murderer. I don't think you have to have a post-modern approach or have attended an Art School to make art-rock. You have to be an Artist.
Still, these are grey areas. Also, the dreaded Frank Zappa was doing decidedly odd things out in the sticks of California around the same time. And HE never went to Art school!

PostPosted: Thu Jul 27, 2006 5:03 pm
by will vine
Poorly thought through grand sweeping statements I've already owned up to. Perhaps I should now own up to sloppy use of the words "failure" "art" and "pop".
I had no intention of starting off a discussion of the true originators of any particular style, (arty or poppy), but meant to imply that Lennon & McCartney, Ray Davies, Pete Townshend and all drew on the sum total of their lives experience to create their work, and that this largely consisted of the british experience of immediate post war deprivation and the oddities and absurdities of british life.......not natural rock'nroll territory, and not likely to be improved by any american intonation. If Ian Dury ever did sound like Barry White I'd have loved to have heard him sing "geezer" or "bit of slap 'n tickle." Where are those tapes ?

As someone who still owns an original Chas and Dave "One Fing 'n annuver" LP on the Retreat label.....(I'm told it's worth a good few bob now), and as Chas lives very locally to me (and Marty Wilde !) I bow to nobody in my admiration for the duo and their excellent wordplay. My use of the word "failure" Charlie was meant to suggest I think simply that they didn't sustain it. They still make a good living at it as you say. Indeed I can tell you that this very night they're playing at The Horns in Watford -- A sell out !

Three other things I gleaned from my day's listening while out on the road relevant to the topic under discussion.

1) Robbie Williams' upcoming new single features him rapping in pure Potteries dialect.
2) Listening to Doug Sahm cd "The Last Real Texas Blues Band" (not unreservedly recommended).......Doug does a little Louisianna tribute and introduces an old Joe Berry song saying "He was like Fats (Domino) but with a bit more of a Louisianna brogue...(like this). He then sings in what sounds like music hall geordie....extraordinary.
3) I'm not sure this is all that relevant but Danny Baker played a track from "The first Andy Fairweather-Lowe album in sixteen years." It was hard to discern whether Andy's accent was his native welsh for, as we all remember, Amen Corner were the first band to top the charts with a genuine ventriloquist lead singer.

no reason to get excited.

PostPosted: Thu Jul 27, 2006 5:18 pm
by ritchie
there are many here among us, who feel that life is but a joke....,

but how many of us, on hearing a song, whether it be by an American, or anybody else for that matter, can tell where that person is from. I'm not talking about all the performers that we know and have read up on and we recognise it being them, but blow me I have nt got a clue with regards to American accents North or South. And what about the Canadians? Can you tell by listening where all those fine performers come from? Not me for sure.

Go on then, tell me a better 'artist' than Rolf Harris, who, I might add is from Australia, but I don't know from where. Not only is he a fine musician, he is one of the great painters of our time. They reckon he can paint a whole house in under two days and that includes the ceilings, but mind you it would nt suprise me to find he'd been to 'art school'.

PostPosted: Thu Jul 27, 2006 7:04 pm
by Adam Blake
Rolf rules! What a top dude he is. Has anybody else in this august forum noticed that the verse from "Tie Me Kangaroo Down Sport" that runs:

"let me Abo's go loose, Bruce
Let me Abo's go loose
They're of no further use, Bruce
Let me Abo's go loose"

Has been excised from the cd re-issue?

PostPosted: Thu Jul 27, 2006 9:14 pm
by howard male
Of course we've all noticed, Adam - we're world music experts here, you know.

As for this Art Rock business, I think we just have a completely different understanding of what the term means and I'm frankly too hot and sticky to further elaborate on what I think the term means. To you it seems to mean any rock music with vision behind it, which really covers most good rock music, so. . . I need a beer. . .

PostPosted: Fri Jul 28, 2006 1:19 pm
by Adam Blake
Fair do's... I think what YOU mean is rock/pop made by people with some kind of connection with fine arts education. That's fine. I like that stuff too. Interestingly though, it wouldn't apply to much of what we would call "World" music. I suppose musicians and singers who come from poor countries don't get to go to Art School.

Irony is a very dangerous and powerful ingredient in music. Too much irony and you distance yourself from everyone, including possibly yourself. No irony at all and you better be fantastically talented or else it's gonna be BORING! Finding the balance between these two positions is a hard act, but one which is essentially a luxury for those who can afford it.

Pop , Art, & dialects

PostPosted: Fri Jul 28, 2006 4:37 pm
by Dayna
I took a theatre art course a few years ago, where we went over the difference between those two terms.
My professor said Art is music, or a movie or something else that stays good for long after it's time.
Popular Culture is something that is only popular for a short time & then it just goes away.
It's funny you said you don't have a clue about Southern v. Nothern accents in America. If you listen to Country music enough, you could tell the difference. Usually if a person has a Southern accent, that's what kind of music they get into. I'm from Ohio which is mostly Northern accents, but we have some here from right across the border from West Virginia.
I can't tell the different accents from Uk very well. It's not all I listen to in the songs I like. it's hard to explain. It's there & I like hearing it, but they usually just become part of the songs. It's not something I just pick out by itself.
I like to hear different dialects, like in the Star Wars movie; ; the first one with Jar Jar Binks, I was comletely / totaly fascinated by that character! It was because of it being the first animated character like that one, & his personality & also the dialect.
Then there's a song on Mannheim Steamrollers, Fresh Aire 7, where he has the Cambridge Singers singing in Middle English. Middle English is really interesting to me.
What do you think?

PostPosted: Sun Jul 30, 2006 12:42 pm
by will vine
Charlie's passion has been to convey the rich diversity of music to be found in particular parts of the world, and is, of course, very well expressed in his Sounds of the City cd compilations (Chicago, LA, Memphis, New York, New Orleans). He is (and we are) clearly passionate about music that has a traceable interesting and entertaining root.
I think I'm still on this"accent" thread when I suggest that if he were commissioned to do further compilations in this series he'd have harder work covering London, Glasgow, and Bristol, than say Istanbul, Harare, or Cairo.
Am I wrong Charlie ?

PostPosted: Sun Jul 30, 2006 2:19 pm
by Charlie
will vine wrote: he'd have harder work covering London, Glasgow, and Bristol, than say Istanbul, Harare, or Cairo. Am I wrong Charlie ?

Well you are wrong and you are right, Will

It's certainly true that I wouldn't be able to come up with a double album of worthwhile music from Bristol; but although I wouldn't be able to do one for Glasgow either, somebody else might. London is a possibility; ditto, Liverpool. And I'm sure there are some who could find a double album's worth of Manchester music that they really liked, but I couldn't.

But the same would be true of Harare. Because so many bands recorded in the same studios where the guitars and ampilfiers were permanently set up, they tended to sound very similar to each other, and I don't think I could sustain interest in a variety of music and sounds over two CDs. A single CD, probably yes.

Istanbul and Cairo would probably work, but I'm not knowledgable enough to do either of them.

The first series sold so poorly, there's no likelihood of any follow-ups, but I would have anticipated doing Detroit and Nashville as the two major American recording centres missed out the first time, plus London, Paris and one more I never did settle on, but probably Kingston, Jamaica.

Alternatively, I might become more of an editor for the follow-ups, and oversee other experts doing Havana, San Paolo, Lisbon, etc. I might have had a go at Johannesburg.

But who would buy them?

Each album in he first series sold between 2,000 and 2,500 each in the UK (New York being the best seller, if one can use such a phrase with figures as low as this). I had expected tracks for the albums to be licensed for international release, and the venture became a bit pointless when that plan was abandondoned and UK-only licences were secured.

PostPosted: Sun Jul 30, 2006 5:38 pm
by RobHall
Adam Blake wrote:Fair do's... I think what YOU mean is rock/pop made by people with some kind of connection with fine arts education...

Jarvis Cocker is doing 3 shows on Radio 4 exploring the connection between UK art schools and pop music. It's called "The Art of Pop". The first was broadcast last week - you can listen again from the link here:

The next installment is broadcast on Tuesday 1st August at 11:30.

Happy listening.