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Tony Grist

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Miscellaneous Stuff [Jan. 26th, 2009|09:34 am]
Tony Grist
Peter Greenaway's new film- Rembrandt's J'Accuse- argues that The Night Watch is scattered with clues that point to the complicity of its sitters (weekend soldiers and representatives of Amsterdam's mercantile elite) in the murder of their former commander. What I can't work out is whether this represents serious, art-historical research or is Greenaway taking the piss out of the likes of The Da Vinci Code. Either way, it's good fun. Martin Freeman- Tim from the Office- gets to play Rembrandt- a barmy piece of casting that makes me want to dance and sing.

I've been re-reading Michael Newton's Destiny of Souls. Newton is a hypnotherapist who has devoted himself to investigating what happens to us between incarnations. Think of him as the Swedenbord de nos jours. Everything I write about spirituality or religion has Newton somewhere at the back of it - so be warned.

BBC 4 is running a new series on the history of American folk music. I'd heard of Blind Lemon Jefferson and the Carter family. I hadn't heard of Dock Boggs. These musicians- black and white- emerged from the plantations and the mills and the mines in the 1920s- when the record companies were crazy for product- and were then pretty much wiped out by the Great Depression. Dock Boggs went back to the hills. Lemon Jefferson froze to death or was murdered. We heard snatches of the music- raw, scratchy, keening, for real. Jimmy Rogers is revered as the father of country music, but in his own time he was a folkie- because Country music didn't exist until he "invented" it. Actually, it was the marketing men who invented all these categories- blues, hillbilly, bluegrass, country. As far as the musicians were concerned they just made music- and the influences went everywhichaway- across the artificial borders of genre and race. Note to self: Got to find out more about Dock Boggs.
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Comments:
[User Picture]From: idahoswede
2009-01-26 11:05 am (UTC)
Did you know that I lived with the "Father of Bluegrass Music" - Bill Monroe - for over three years?
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2009-01-26 12:00 pm (UTC)
Yeah, I remember you writing about that :)

I like bluegrass.
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[User Picture]From: huskyteer
2009-01-26 11:08 am (UTC)
> BBC 4 is running a new series on the history of American folk music

A thousand thanks - that would have passed me by completely!
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[User Picture]From: dakegra
2009-01-26 11:39 am (UTC)
I caught a bit of it, and must make sure I pick it up on the iplayer. It looked excellent.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2009-01-26 12:01 pm (UTC)
It's good. The only bad thing is they don't have time to play more than snatches of the music.
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[User Picture]From: jubal51394
2009-01-26 02:38 pm (UTC)

You can find some Dock Boggs on YouTube

I won't discount his contribution to music but...

I wouldn't cross the street to hear any of it. Just my two cents...
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2009-01-26 03:24 pm (UTC)

Re: You can find some Dock Boggs on YouTube

I like my folk music- like my cider- rough.
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[User Picture]From: daisytells
2009-01-26 06:00 pm (UTC)
Well, well, well. So you are a "folkie", too. That's another thing we have in common. I hae been a fan ever since I was little more than an infant listening to Grandpa's records of American folk music. There were Maybelle and AP Carter, Flatt & Scruggs, Jimmy Rogers, early Burl Ives, and other groups whose names I cannot recall singing such favorites as "Skip to My Lou" and old time gospel favorites.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2009-01-26 08:54 pm (UTC)
I suppose I came at folk- as lots of people did- through the folk rock artists of the 60s and 70s. From there I groped my way back to the ancestors. My favourite artists are the Yorkshire based Waterson:Carthy clan.
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[User Picture]From: daisytells
2009-01-27 01:57 am (UTC)
From your side of the pond -- I love Ewan McColl (spelling?), and of course the Irish groups, harking back to the Clancy family and Tommy Makem. The first songs my son Kurt learned to sing starting at age 2 ("On the Way to Dublin", "Wallflowers", etc.) were on the album "The Clancy Brothers with Tommy Makem and Their Families".
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2009-01-27 09:19 am (UTC)
Yes, I like Irish music too. I used to be a huge fan of the Pogues.
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[User Picture]From: petercampbell
2009-01-26 06:31 pm (UTC)
A new Greenaway? I hadn't realised there was even one in production. Mind you, I haven't see the Tulse Luper Suitcases yet - that one seemed to sink without a trace.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2009-01-26 08:27 pm (UTC)
It turned up on Sky Arts. It seems to be a companion piece to the slightly earlier Nightwatching (which I haven't seen).
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[User Picture]From: brttvns
2009-01-26 07:41 pm (UTC)
Thanks for pointing out the BBC4 series, I must catch that. Like you, I prefer my roots music without the polish - Blind Willie McTell is a great favourite of mine (his slide work on a 12 string guitar was phenomenol). Jimmie Rodgers I adore (all those Blue Yodels, and of course the definitive recording of 'In The Jailhouse Now'). The music recorded in the 1920s and 30s I listen to more than any other era, and as you rightly say it crossed genres, but what we know acknowledge as folk/country (Jimmie Rodgers, Cliff Carlisle, The Carter Family) classic blues (Bessie Smith, Ma Rainey) country blues (Blind Lemon, Charley Patton) and of course the early jazz recordings of Louis Armstrong, Jelly Roll Morton, Johnnie Dodds, you will still hear their legacy in music, whether the musician(s) playing are aware of it or nor - but nothing beats the originals.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2009-01-26 08:57 pm (UTC)
That was a great era in American music- maybe the greatest. I need to explore it more.
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[User Picture]From: brttvns
2009-01-26 09:26 pm (UTC)
I know I said nothing beats the originals (and I still stand by that) but if you have not heard, or seen, Leon Redbone he is worth checking out - lots on youtube. He has great respect for the music of the era, looks like Groucho Marx, and surrounds himself with great musicians. As well as a guitar player he is an exponant of the throat-tromnet (come on, we've all done it - tightened our lips together and improvised a trumpet, trombone or sax solo, though more than likely a fart).
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2009-01-27 09:20 am (UTC)
I reckon I've got time for anyone who looks like Groucho Marx.
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[User Picture]From: brttvns
2009-01-27 07:02 pm (UTC)
Exactly! Great Marx Brothers fan myself. I recommend starting either of his first two releases 'On The Track' and 'Double Time' - you really don't get much more laid back!

Cheers
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[User Picture]From: sina_says
2009-01-26 10:04 pm (UTC)
i live in west virginia, so my bluegrass/country/folk roots run pretty deep. in fact, i im lucky enough to know an awful lot of exceptionally talented musicians. live music is one thing that makes me happier than almost anything else.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2009-01-27 09:21 am (UTC)
One of the happiest afternoons of my life was spent listening to a bluegrass band at a country fair in Kentucky.
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[User Picture]From: daisytells
2009-01-27 02:03 am (UTC)
If "The History of American Folk Music" has alredy aired over here, probably on Public Broadcasting System, I missed it. I hope that they show it again soon, or if we have not yet had the pleasure, I hope they import it from BBC. We get most of our really good shows from BBC, and couple from CBC (Canada). I wonder why American TV producers cannot put out much good programming....
My all-time favorite American folk singer is Pete Seeger, who is now nearing 90 years of age. He's been singing since the 1930's.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2009-01-27 09:34 am (UTC)
I think this is a new production. So it probably hasn't aired on PBS yet.

I have huge respect for Pete Seeger.
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