About Music

Yes, no surprises, this part of the blog is about music. For the most part it will consist of my daily playlists. But it will, no doubt, contain articles from time to time.

The daily playlists typically contain 4 parts:

  1. A theme or year
  2. A featured language
  3. A featured artist or genre
  4. Different versions of one, much covered, song

My tastes in music are catholic and the playlists reflect that.

There’s no genre that I just won’t listen to, but there are two that you probably won’t see here:

  1. Heavy Metal and its relatives
  2. Rap and its relatives

The only genre that I actively participate in is folk singing — ‘folk’ in the true sense of ‘by the people, of the people, for the people’. So I’ve little time for the purist pendants of the English folk ‘scene’, with their fetish for A.Non and their disparagment of ‘palour’, party, pub and community singing. And I’ve no more time for narcisistic profesionals who raid our traditions for personal enrichment and self-glorification. More on this topic later.

Traditional folk, brass bands and accordion music get the lion’s share of the listening time I devote to music which is not pop, R&B or dance. But I always find a bit of time for classical, baroque and choral, or for genres that used to be ‘pop’ and ‘dance’ — like jazz, swing, chanson, musica leggera, levenslied, etc. Bossa Nova has been a particular recent favourite.

Within the rythm and blues family tree, sixties soul wins the competition for my time — by a country mile. Especially the less well-known stuff that’s marketed as ‘Northern Soul’ and ‘Belgian Popcorn’. But as with folk music, I see no virtue in rarity per se, and still less virtue in the elitist obscurantism of vinyl collectors. For me, the value of rare tracks is that you just don’t hear them ‘all the time’ — allowing me to occasionally stumble over tunes and performances that I’ve never heard before, but are usually ‘good enough’ and often better.

Not keeping the faith. As far as I’m concerned, just about every ‘Northern Soul track’ was laid down by people who wanted to be pop stars and play pop music, danced to by millions. All the kant about ‘keeping the faith’ against the ravages of commercialism and bubblegum pop is just a bit delusional.

60s pop music was mostly R&B no matter what the colour of performers’ eyes and skin, no matter what their country or language — and pop pretty much remained that way until the subtleties were driven out by drum, bass, and rap. Which is why I’ve made a bit of a thing out of searching for non-English sixties soul. And why I’ll try my best to accompany Detroit-oriented playlists with stuff from a bit further afield.

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