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Folk styles tend to be conservative and one doesn't have to move the earth in order to express oneself within a tradition. A little personal innovation goes a long way in this music and one needn't go overboard in the direction of technical virtuosity, self-consciously weird harmonic effects, or jazz-inspired no-holds-barred improvisations on the theme... - Art Rosenbaum, Old-Time Mountain Banjo

Author Topic: Music we Appreciate rather than "Enjoy"  (Read 632 times)

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Offline Mr.OMuck

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Music we Appreciate rather than "Enjoy"
« on: May 05, 2015, 01:13:11 PM »
Well here's a can of worms for us all to chew on (the worms not the can). I've been thinking a lot about Gary Davis lately in the wake of reading Ian Zack's book, "Say No to the Devil" which I'm happy to report is well worth the time. I've been aware for a long time that many people have a negative response upon hearing Gary Davis' voice. Once many years ago I leant a copy of Harlem Street singer and The RBF Blind Willie Johnson compilation to a young African American co worker for her mother who was a big Gospel enthusiast and Church choir member to listen to. When she returned them she reported back that her mother really enjoyed BWJ but did not like Gary Davis' voice. !!??!! I found that pretty astonishing being that BWJ's voice is arguably one of the most difficult for people (or maybe White people) to warm up to. But there ya go. Of course one can draw no conclusion of any kind from one such response but unfortunately it is not unique.
I know that there is a whole category of music that I appreciate either because of what I perceive to be its intellectual rigor, inventiveness, passion, or astringent pleasure avoidant seriousness of purpose. Shostakovich is good example of a classical composer whose work I have a great deal of respect for and who was capable of writing moments of hauntingly beautiful music that grab me intellectually, aesthetically in some ways, but I couldn't describe as being enjoyable or pleasurable. In the area of Blues I'd say the same about Son House
Moving, yes, stirring yes but not exactly my idea of fun especially when contrasted with someone like Big Bill Broonzy, who, in my opinion, people don't take seriously enough exactly because he IS so much fun, providing so much pleasure.
Maybe its just the age old dichotomy of the audience aware artist vs. the "pure" artist who works out of some inner necessity with less concern about how their work is received by others?
Does this division exist for anyone else? If so can we speak to what particular sonic qualities make it so?
« Last Edit: May 05, 2015, 01:15:29 PM by Mr.OMuck »
My loathings are simple: stupidity, oppression, crime, cruelty, soft music.
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Offline iwbiek

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Re: Music we Appreciate rather than "Enjoy"
« Reply #1 on: May 05, 2015, 01:57:13 PM »
Yeah, I definitely get you.  For me, it was Charley Patton for the longest time.  It was work for me to listen to him (of course, those were the days before Revenant's incomparable presentation).  Now I fequently seek his music out, but he was definitely an acquired taste.

And I agree with you: Big Bill is not to be scoffed at.  "Grandma's Farm" is one of the most solid blues I've ever heard.

Offline Rivers

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Re: Music we Appreciate rather than "Enjoy"
« Reply #2 on: May 05, 2015, 05:29:24 PM »
I could name several artists and groups I listen to that are less than heartwarming. In fact I subconsciously seek them out, probably. None are in our particular genre so I'll sit this one out initially.

Just wanna say though that I've never had any aversion to the good Reverend's voice or distinctive ear for tuning. But I started listening to him when I was well into the guitar. I can understand how someone that doesn't play would find it hard listening, since they would not be intrigued by the bonus challenge of possibly playing something like that themselves someday.

Offline StoogeKebab

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Re: Music we Appreciate rather than "Enjoy"
« Reply #3 on: May 06, 2015, 12:04:16 AM »
I think an appreciation for the voices of many blues musicians has created a false sense of what a good voice is, leading me to market my own music.

Whilst I personally never had any trouble enjoying musicians that I do or articulating those that I do not like, I find that the people around me who actually like my voice are the same who see their life stories in abstract artworks. I think the standard is different, and one big hurdle for a lot of people getting into CB is of course the age of recordings and what goes along with it. I often forget that the people around me can't get past much surface noise or can't understand Charlie Patton.
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Offline Parlor Picker

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Re: Music we Appreciate rather than "Enjoy"
« Reply #4 on: May 06, 2015, 02:49:21 AM »
It has long been my opinion that some people have great voices, but are not necessarily great singers. Others, not blessed with a naturally appealing singing voice, do however have the ability to be good singers. Then there's a few that fall into both categories.

I apply this theory to all genres of music and not just country blues.
"I ain't good looking, teeth don't shine like pearls,
So glad good looks don't take you through this world."
Barbecue Bob

Offline EddieD

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Re: Music we Appreciate rather than "Enjoy"
« Reply #5 on: May 06, 2015, 10:58:52 AM »
A lot of Son House recordings and footage from the 60's I can appreciate but don't really enjoy. Some of the time I find it hard to even watch the footage. I really didn't understand the appeal to Son House until I heard some earlier recordings which I really enjoy. After hearing them I could appreciate the later stuff more.

Offline David Kaatz

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Re: Music we Appreciate rather than "Enjoy"
« Reply #6 on: May 06, 2015, 11:24:11 AM »
For me, number one in the roots music context would probably be Joseph Spence. Amazing guitarist, but his singing and flat tuning really puts me off. Thanks be to those that power through and figure out arrangements of his playing. I play a few of those.

Dave

Offline Stuart

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Re: Music we Appreciate rather than "Enjoy"
« Reply #7 on: May 06, 2015, 02:29:05 PM »
I appreciate and enjoy almost everything, but then I ain't got no standards.

Offline ScottN

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Re: Music we Appreciate rather than "Enjoy"
« Reply #8 on: May 06, 2015, 04:35:37 PM »
I think most everybody on this site is probably way ahead of the curve in being able to appreciate most music at a certain level. In terms of enjoyment, people have different tastes about what they like to hear and why it appeals to them.

I love to listen to Joseph Spense and his 58 Folkways Album is one of the albums I play most for pure enjoyment. It is the rhythm that floors me every time I hear it - the pitch and vocals are not what draw me to it at all but I don't find that they detract from the enjoyment at all for me although I can readily see from an objective sense why those aspects would be annoying to some.

Part of it may also be limited by what you can actually perceive. I enjoy good lyrics / turns of phrase - Dylan as a good example. I imagine that there is probably some rap music I would really enjoy from a lyrical perspective but virtually all rap songs I hear on the radio I can rarely physically perceive / understand one full sentence let alone have any chance to string 4 or 5 sentences together.

Sometimes enjoyment is listening to a pleasing tone. I think John Hurt or Doc Watson could sing just about anything and I would enjoy it. From a jazz standpoint, there's something about Kenny Burrell's tone that gets me where Django or Charlie Christian don't hit me the same way

Different strokes, right.

Thanks,
            Scott
« Last Edit: May 06, 2015, 04:39:56 PM by ScottN »

Offline harriet

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Re: Music we Appreciate rather than "Enjoy"
« Reply #9 on: May 06, 2015, 05:15:53 PM »
If I don't enjoy a piece of music I start to listen to I just turn it off but my tastes both change and revolve over time, things fall out favor and come back in favor, new things are discovered.  So the out of favor state of those formerly in favor would be they are now just appreciated for the characteristics they had when they were in favor. Bunch of things, in my case opera, rap and jazz I just don't "get" and have no appreciation for.

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