Friday, March 11, 2016

music in contact with real life

--------------------- [excerpt, Dylan Goes Electric!] ----------------- If Shelton's essay provoked some traditionalist grumbling, the facing page must have provoked howls:  the title "Off the Top of My Head" cut through the curly mane of the trailblazer himself and introduced a sample of Dylan's new prose style....

It stood out like a beetle in the buttermilk...amid essays on the history of rural fife and drum bands...Irwin Silber's meditation on "The Topical Song Revolution at Midpoint" (subtitled "Music in Contact with Real Life").... ---------------------- [end, excerpt]

------------------- [excerpt, Sweet Soul Music] ----------------- I listened to the radio.  I hung out at Skippy White's, cashed my paycheck in his store in exchange for 45's, and picked up his soul charts, designed perhaps to push the product that he was distributing and the music that he unqualifiedly loved as much as to reflect true sales figures in the Boston area.  It didn't matter. 

This was romance, not life. ------------------------ [end, excerpt]


------------------------------ [Sweet Soul Music-Peter Guralnick; 1986; Little, Brown -- excerpt 2] ---------------- ...It was the seamless sound of soul, the brotherhood and sisterhood and common aspirations of man.  For me the experience suggested that there was a community out there speaking in a single voice, the rhetoric was all of unity and freedom -- in politics and literature as well as music. 

That I was not of that community, that I could not even presume to seek inclusion, was not of real consequence -- it was heartening simply that this unified feeling could exist at a time when I saw society fragmenting all around me....

The first soul show I went to see came to town in June of 1964 and was booked into the long-since-demolished Donnelly Theater on the edge of Roxbury, Boston's black community. 

Sam Cooke was still alive, Ray Charles (whom my friends and I had gone to see at Jordan Hall while still in high school) was already a legend, and the Summer Shower of Stars had been hyped for weeks with lung-bursting fervor on W-I-L-D, Boston's only all-black radio station....

...There was clearly a sense...of entering into an alien environment, of stepping out of my world into a land uncharted and inviolable.  Perhaps this added to the romance of the occasion....

Southern soul music...was a haven for free-lancers and individualists....Feeling dictated the rhythm, feeling dictated the pace; that is why soul music remains to this day so idiosyncratic a domain. ...

Joe Tex

Southern soul music, as it evolved in the studio, was very much a homemade art...little dependent on direct models because direct models were not close at hand, little aware of history because history had not yet been written. -------------------- [end, excerpt]


(Stax Records in Memphis, Tennessee - the outside; musicians working inside)


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