You’ve either heard of Graham Parker, or you haven’t. Now is a good time to watch Don’t Ask Me Questions:The Unsung life of Graham Parker and the Rumour. It shows a musician known, but only famous to fanatics, who kept on writing songs, performing and being himself year in and year out. As he reunites with the Rumour, the joy, the pleasure of his songs and and the way he and the band take over the room. I saw them years ago, and live they filled your life for that time. It’s amazing to see video of them then. Now it’s softer and more gentle, like Parker himself. Music made to make music that changes as the world changes, but because it isn’t trying to take over the world, it can absorb what it comes across.Share This:
There is no album closer to my heart than Bright Phoebus credited to Mike and Lal Waterson, (it involves their sister, Norma). It’s finally been properly released on CD by Domino Martin Carthy plays on every track alongside Richard Thompson who is on almost every song. The deeply Yorkshire voices singing new material reaches right into the modern age. If you have never heard The Watersons, it might take a moment to hear what is going, but give yourself a chance.
In the Book Notes series, authors create and discuss a music playlist that relates in some way to their recently published book.
The poems in Fred Marchant’s autobiographical collection Said Not Said generously observed and filled with wisdom.
Publishers Weekly wrote of the book:
“Poet, editor, and translator Marchant displays an unflinching tenderness in a collection of sonically and architecturally precise poems. Whether describing mental violence or political conflict, he seeks the humanity in despair and the spirit of dreams and memories.”
In his own words, here is Fred Marchant ‘s Book Notes music playlist for his poetry collection Said Not Said:
Your read what Fred has to say about the music here at Largehearted BoyShare This:
Reading, Messy by Tim Harford, I came across this story of how for his most famous concert and most successful recording, Keith Jarrett played a broken and under-sized piano and despite its limitations reached new heights.
The opera house, possibly because they had no interest in the late night jazz series, had supplied a small out of tune and broken piano.
Jarrett played anyway finding a way to to make himself heard and improvising music around the limitations of the piano.
Jarrett was prepared for this as he had already been playing concerts with no music and no rehearsal.
“Sleep-deprived and harried that night, and his mood wasn’t helped by the fact that the opera house had supplied a relatively small, poorly tuned piano rather than the Bösendorfer grand that he requested. Even after an emergency tuning, the instrument supposedly sounded like a toy, with shrieking high notes and little projection in the low registers. On the record, having passed through two microphones, the piano has an almost otherworldly sound, like it’s five stories high and made of glass. Jarrett plays it harder than he does on his other solo recordings, bashing the keys and keeping largely to the mid-range notes, perhaps out of frustration. “What happened with this piano was that I was forced to play in what was—at the time—a new way,” he explained years later. “Somehow I felt I had to bring out whatever qualities this instrument had.”
My professor Bryan Cheyette aside from being a literary scholar is a Dylanologist. In a personal sense, Dylan is a connection–when I first began to think about doing my doctorate, I spent several amazing times talking through ideas with Christopher Ricks, Dr. Cheyette names “Dylanologist-in-Chief.” After the topics that Dr. Ricks and I were discussing didn’t lead to an obvious PhD topic, I went home and came up with my current work, and now have the honour of working with the “Anglo-Jewish Literologist-in-Chief.” Read Dr. Cheyette’s essay on Dylan and his connection to Jewishness at the University of Reading, English at Reading blog.
Full disclosure, I love The Mekons. I always have. Existentialism opens with a track that would be fully at home and welcomed on a PiL album with its driving bass line and echo infused vocals. Even the vocals on Flowers of Evil, Pt. 2 are reminiscent of John Lydon. As the track builds and builds adding in handclaps, violin, what sounds like a trumpet and keyboard, it has you banging your head and tapping your feet.
Skintrade returns to the Mekons tried and true method of mashing folk, country and rock with a group wide vocal effort. It’s swashbuckling in it’s approach and feels like it could disintegrate at any moment before clinging onto chaotic perfection.
The album shows a band full of ideas and songwriting brilliance. The third song O Money brings in some woodwind instruments (I think, you never actually know with Mekons as they are multi instrumental) and some choral backing vocals – again, there is a hint of a sea shanty, a folk song all held together by the drums and bass. I had the great experience of seeing The Mekons earlier this year in a sold out New York gig where they delivered a set full of confidence and humor. One of the highlights of that gig was the interplay between the male and female lead vocals with the assortment of instruments and Bucket is the first song on the new album to bring the female vocals to the fore in a Eastern European Gypsy folk song – I defy you not sway along to this one.
If punk rock is about attitude, experimentation, art, continually evolving and challenging the status quo then The Mekons are as punk as it gets. Seek out this album, seek out the documentary and seek them out live – you will not be disappointed ….get it herehttps://www.bloodshotrecords.com/artist/mekons
This article appeared on the Pitchfork website:
How Chicago Became the Epicenter of the Alt-Country Boom in 1998
A chronicle of the city’s country music history, highlighting the ’90s scene that mixed punk ethics with honky-tonk traditions.
Even those who watched grunge die have a hard time pinpointing the time of death. The exact date when the grim reaper placed its bony finger on the first disaffected, flannel-shirt-wearing stereotype remains lost to a cold stew of opinions and a confluence of corporate maneuvers. Here lies grunge: Interred in a crypt engraved both with Kurt Cobain’s opening line of In Utero, and a sketch of Korn playing Lollapalooza in 1997.
Watch the JC being interviewed by John Doran here: