coromandal


The streets were full of musicians
March 12, 2016, 2:06 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , ,

R. Crumb: music died in 1935, poisoned, stolen, resold, repackaged, neutered and killed by the music business.

In the ’20s in Philly, in every house, people played and sang live music. In the country as a whole there were bands, dance halls, ballrooms, auditoriums and clubs. Radio, the depression, movies and finally TVs killed it. Itunes, streaming are more nails.

“I don’t miss that culture. The America that I missed died in about 1935. That’s why I have all this old stuff, all these old 78 records from that era. It was the golden age of recorded music, before the music business poisoned the people’s music, the same way that ‘agribusiness’ poisoned the very soil of the earth. In the old days, music was produced by common people, the music they produced to entertain themselves. The record industry took it and resold it, repackaged and killed it, spewed it out in a bland, artificial, ersatz version of itself. This goes along with the rise of the mass media, the spread of radio. My mother, born in the 1920s, remembered walking in the street in the summertime in Philadelphia, and in every other house, people were playing some kind of live music. Her parents played music and sang together. In her generation, her brothers didn’t want to play an instrument anymore. It was the swing era and all they wanted to do was to listen to Benny Goodman on the radio. The takeover of radio happened much later. In places like Africa, you can still find great recorded music from the ’50s. I have many 78s from Africa at that time that sound like some great rural music from America in the ’20s. In the U.S at that time there were thousands and thousands of bands, dance halls, ballrooms in hotels, restaurants had dance floors, school auditoriums, clubs in small towns. A small town of 10,000 would have a least a hundred bands. In the mid 30’s radio spread very fast in America and the depression killed a lot of the venues where live music was performed. You could go to the movies for 10 cents. Then in the 50’s TV finished it all off. Mass media makes you stay home, passive. In the 20’s there was live music everywhere in the States. I talked to old musicians who played in dance bands. This old musician bandleader Jack Coackley in San Francisco told me that in 1928 when you went downtown in the evening on the trolley car to play at a ballroom, the streets were full of musicians going to work, carrying instruments in cases. Same thing happened in France with the death of musette, the popular dance music of the working classes. There hasn’t been a decent popular music in America for a long time.”

Robert Crumb Hates You, Jacques Hyzagi, Observer



trance
July 27, 2013, 9:59 pm
Filed under: brave new world | Tags: , , , ,

20 Photos: The Rolling Stones play Hyde Park in LondonHyde Park, London, Rolling Stones, 2013

He is a sort of ecstatic god completely given over to the trance, a black sprite, swaying. From his privileged position he leads them as a priest would into the ecstatic state. They are completely willing, drawn by the allure of a place of abandonment to the music.  They mimic him, arms raised, bodies swaying.

Except for one guy, who looks like he is swaying his arms back and forth, but is actually taking a picture of Mick with his smart phone. And there’s another one taking a snap. And one or two more over there.

Hold on a minute. The whole damn crowd is taking a picture with his smart phone.

That’s an entirely different picture. There is no swaying going on, no abandonment to the mystic state. No special allure to the rock icon and his music. No transportation into self denial and union with the world spirit. It’s a crowd of rock and roll tourists taking pics to share on Facebook and Twitter.

There is an act of cancellation going on here: you can’t be fully abandoned in the moment, and also be recording to reminisce later. Considering the ubiquity of personal ‘devices’ it’s a wonder we’re ever really in the moment.



you were supposed to sing or to dance
January 10, 2013, 11:49 pm
Filed under: brave new world, the sweet life | Tags: , , , ,

From Alan Watts, Life and Music:

Then when you wake up one day about 40 years old, and you say, “my god, I’ve arrived, I’m there!”  And you don’t feel any different from what you always felt.  And there’s a slight let down because you feel there was a hoax.  And there was a hoax.  A dreadful hoax.  They made you miss everything.

We thought of life by analogy with a journey, a pilgrimage, which had a serious purpose at the end.  And the thing was to get to that end:  success, or whatever it is, or maybe heaven after you’re dead.  But we missed the point the whole way along. It was a musical thing, and you were supposed to sing or to dance while the music was being played.



bob dylan how to stay within yourself
April 15, 2009, 11:36 pm
Filed under: the sweet life | Tags: , ,

Here’s Bob Dylan talking with Bill Flanagan.  He learned freedom and dignity and how to stay within himself from itinerant preachers, quasimodo, the people from circus sideshow acts, the outcast.

BF: Does that mean you create outsider art? Do you think of yourself as a cult figure?

BD: A cult figure, that’s got religious connotations. It sounds cliquish and clannish. People have different emotional levels. Especially when you’re young. Back then I guess most of my influences could be thought of as eccentric. Mass media had no overwhelming reach so I was drawn to the traveling performers passing through. The side show performers – bluegrass singers, the black cowboy with chaps and a lariat doing rope tricks. Miss Europe, Quasimodo, the Bearded Lady, the half-man half-woman, the deformed and the bent, Atlas the Dwarf, the fire-eaters, the teachers and preachers, the blues singers. I remember it like it was yesterday. I got close to some of these people. I learned about dignity from them. Freedom too. Civil rights, human rights. How to stay within yourself. Most others were into the rides like the tilt-a-whirl and the rollercoaster. To me that was the nightmare. All the giddiness. The artificiality of it. The sledge hammer of life. It didn’t make sense or seem real. The stuff off the main road was where force of reality was. At least it struck me that way. When I left home those feelings didn’t change.