Francis Bebey/Joan Soriano
Francis Bebey: African Electronic Music 1975-1982 (Born Bad)
I first encountered this genial Camerounian savant via his pioneering if romantic 1969 overview African Music: A People's Art. But though I knew from the book jacket that he'd worked for UNESCO and published novels, the albums that trickled my way‑-sanza exhibit, wan protest songs, retrospective miscellany‑-seemed too schematic musically. So I never grasped that this public intellectual was a successful creator of singing commercials and African hits until this conceptually cockamamy attempt to stir up the hipsterati by linking songs notable for their jingle quotient to electronica. Created on a primitive synthesizer in Paris, they're above all winning and catchy, their sonics almost as quaint as thumb piano by now. Though half are also on La Condition Masculine, which is generally deemed Bebey's best album, this selection is hookier from the just-released "New Track," whose subject is white starchy foods, to "The Coffee Cola Song," whose subject is the cash economy. Dieu merci, both are in English, which helps the French ones fit in‑-the instrumentals too. And "Divorce pygmee" and "Pygmy Love Song" have it both ways, clarifying between them the bemused respect with which this cosmopolitan Protestant regards his native continent's profusely musical peoples. A MINUS
Joan Soriano: La Familia Soriano (iASO)
Usually I find bachata too mild‑-a homogenized and slightly speeded-up MOR in which sentimental Dominican bolero slackens tensile Cuban son. But Soriano's guitar is so nimble and articulate you forgive him his pleasantries, and on his second U.S. album his sisters add sweet and spicy accents to his beseeching vocals, which may deliver the Spanish lyrics but seldom leap any language barriers. Bright, playful, feisty, flirtatious, Nelly and Griselda are the love objects the graceful runs and articulate phrases Joan's playing imagines. B PLUS
Boy, is it ever. Which is why I hope to Yod I'll only have to mention this once. (Because, unreflective as I apparently am, I cannot bear the thought of the standard narrative being that I attacked a stranger's parents online. And that I'm too arrogant to explain myself.) My snark at sharp was, unless you want to put a real mean-spirited spin on it, about his sense of humor, not his parents. Months ago he made a "joke" about Takoma records -- he never got to Fahey because school peers kept pushing the weaker members of its roster on him. I'm very interested in how peer experiences with music shape taste in teens and pre-teens. I honestly, believe it or not, read it as a straight statement, not a joke. So I think sharp's a smart guy and I ask him to followup that remark. Instead of rolling his eyes metaphorically and saying, "it's a joke, son" he growled at me and basically claimed I was just trying to "pick a fight" with him. (My question was a kind of lie, in other words.) Struck me as way harsh. But with a particular flavor -- which I much later identified as that, "nobody's naive" tone of academia.
Spent some time the next day trying to figure out what the hell happened. Oh, it was meant as a joke. Then, much later, gratuitous snark hurled back. Case closed. Let us never speak of it again.
Funny Page/Plant/boss story.
"Can I just emphasise that all of this is very, very, very boring and time-consuming? There are better things to do. Like, y'know, talk about music"
Tom Hull's Neil Young blurb is far more insightful and funny than others I've read. Maybe by this time tomorrow, he'll post it.
This may seem semantical, but old men can't really be sassy, can they? Hairy Irene, now that was some sass.
Caliban was noble. He was used by Prospero, so his self-pity was somewhat understandable. Who's the Propsero in this scenario? "The Man?" Educated people?
I personally don't think Milo knows how much he hurts people, truthfully. That would take a layer of self-consciousness/self-reflection, wouldn't it?
Once again, I must urge everyone to separate Milo the writer from Milo the poster and Milo the human being. Believe me, that sort of compartmentalization helps. I'm not sure I'd want people judging me from all the **** I post here, either. (Well, maybe.)
LB -- my wife wishes sometimes I was more serious. lead from strength, son!
True. Enough for now.
True! You didn't go after what my parents did for a living (electrician and stay-at-home mom, if you want to have at it) or being congratulated by others for obtaining a degree (University of Montreal, 1993 - go crazy!).
"...there really was only one great artist in the Faces."
Nobody could confuse Ron Wood with a great artist. In an earlier post I did reference Lane's superiority to Rod post-Never a Dull Moment (what a sadly unprescient title). But the quote above is dubious. "Miss Judy's Farm" and "Stay with Me" are no better than "You're So Rude" or "Debris" (just typing the word makes my hair stand on end), but those first four Rod Stewart solo albums are the work of a major artist. Very very briefly, but he major. What's easy to forget is the empathy in and humility of so much of that work. And he was a great singer, and he rhymed "phone ya" with "Minnesota".
Thank you for the tip on "The Passing Show". My mother's name was Ann, and I'll always regret not having the courage to sing "Annie" at her funeral.
It tells me that people I've pissed off want to promote this notion of free-floating hostility from me. I said I thought you were over-invested in polls. It wasn't some arbitrary jab out of nowhere.
And I think there's a big difference between being provocative and Calibanish on occasion and hollering "yeah, I'm an @sshole, you got a problem with that?" And in fact, I think that's a misrepresentation of what I've said.
Well, that's one of those assertions which, if you want to believe it, nobody can say anything to change your mind. But I'll try anyhow -- that's just not true.
Likewise, I've posted things I would call sassy more than insulting. But it now really gets exaggerated. I mean, somebody said I had some clash with Cam -- and that's news to me. We've had a couple grown-up disagreements that I recall as salutary, not negatives. Kevin John and I had a tussle where we were talking past each other -- but it wasn't an attack on a poster. I was disparaging a position he did not, in truth, hold. Then, way back when, there was a post I considered racist that pissed me off. But I hate dragging up old incidents Not least because, if somebody's made up their mind that you're a jerk, you're blamed for trying to make excuses.
"then complaining that the place does not feel like a community"
No online place feels like a community to me (none that are open to the public, anyway). No place. Not just EW. I understand that probably most people don't feel this way. I don't think they're deluded. We simply don't have the same perceptions/reactions.*
"I really don't understand why you become so hostile sometimes."
I admit it, getting called an a$$hole tends to plant a seed of hostility in me. Being accused of lying when I'm not. Having my proposition slanderously misrepresented.
"it doesn't seem to accomplish anything."
I donno -- you notice I don't repeatedly argue with the same poster over and over and over. If I risk not having a good dialogue with somebody, I try not to interact (you know, the troll option).
Finally, to be honest, considering the florid fury and aggression that seethes all over the internet comments and chat, I'm kinda mild.
*Here's an example of an internet phenomenon that seems utterly bizarre to me:
A couple people start to have an argument in a chat room. Almost instantly, people not involved in the argument zoom in and take sides. Often one position prevails and it ends up being a sort of gang beat-down of the loser.
It's as though you could not prevent every person walking by you in the street from hearing every word you say. If I was having a heated discussion with somebody on the sidewalk and a third (fourth, fifth, etc.) party jumped in and took sides, I think both the original arguers would say (even if we knew the interlopers a tiny bit)) "Butt out! All you're doing is pouring gasoline on the fire."
And yet people sit around scratching their heads saying "Gee, how do internet discussions get so out of control?"
'The other is “The Passing Show: The Life and Music of Ronnie Lane”,'
A perfect description of this documentary. You probably do have to be a Lane fan, but I sure am one and it made me cry.
about the blogger
Starting in 1967, Robert Christgau has covered popular music for The Village Voice, Esquire, Blender, Playboy, Rolling Stone, and many other publications. He teaches in New York University's Clive Davis Department of Recorded Music, maintains a comprehensive website at robertchristgau.com, and has published five books based on his journalism. He has written for MSN Music since 2006.
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