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Wilfrid1

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Wilf, now do you see why The Beatles' arrival is considered such a watershed moment in American popular culture?

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I'm sure we wouldn't agree about that, but I haven't got to The Beatles yet.

 

I can't think of anything on TV like "Hootenanny," but there were folk music shows on BBC radio. Wally Whyton is a name from the depths of my memory. Country and blues (obviously not folk) were foreign imports, of course.

 

Anecdotal, but suggestive (this is from a U.S. Amazon user):

 

Bought this after finding out after 30 plus years that Blind Lemon wrote the song See That My Grave Is Kept Clean. A song I heard Bob Dylan cover in the dawning years of the so called folk revival. On record, not in person, mind you. Anyway I love the song and then I also heard Flood cover it and that's when I made the Blind Lemon connection. So now I've finally tracked it down to it's source. God bless the blues!! And thanks for making it available and sending it to me.

 

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I did some searching, and it seems you could get Blind Lemon Jefferson in the U.K. in the 1950s on some 10" LPs in the London History of Jazz series. I had thought maybe only the 78s from the 1920s were available.

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Tangentially, you (Wilf) brought up Burt J. & Renbourn. I’d bet that very few New Yorkers into music in the late ‘60s/early ‘70s paid much attention to the English folk revival. Yes, some of my friends knew of Pentangle & Fairport Convention (& maybe even Steeleye Span or The Incredible String Band), but try asking anyone around here to hum a few bars of anything other than “Who Knows Where the Time Goes” (& that due to Judy Collins’ version).

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Steeleye Span and the Incredible String Band appeared periodically at McCabe's Guitar Shop in Santa Monica in the early 70s.

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Steeleye Span had pop hits in the UK, so were well known. This makes me reflect on how small the UK is and how compact the pop/rock scene (including jazz rock, folk rock) was in the decades before the Internet. For anyone into music, the primary sources of information were four weekly music papers, and a handful of radio shows.

 

To actually hear new music rather than just read about it, you had to go to a good record store with listening booths, or listen to John Peel or the other late night presenters on Radio One, Kid Jensen on Radio Luxembourg, or a few local radio shows. (Okay in the 60s there were pirate stations with large reach, the legal local stations appeared in the 70s.)

 

All the papers and most of the radio shows were national. So if Fairport Convention released an album, and you were following music at all, you would know about it.

 

I have the feeling the States had a much more disparate music scene. (Of course, in the age of the Internet, everything is fragmented.)

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Blundering on, Wire's Pink Flag at #40. Jon Savage, who is not a fool, has been a long-time supporter of Wire, believing their later music reveals great depths of creativity and intelligence. I never could see it. Anyway, Wire starting out offered short, thumping songs, distinguishable from the rough end of punk mainly by the sly, clever lyrics. Sly and clever to what end (unlike Costello's or Dury's) I'm not sure. Seems way overrated here.

 

#39, Bruce Springsteen's first. I've had it for years. Didn't love it when I first got to hear it, which would have been after Born to Run (which made him known in the UK). In comparison, it was wordy and lacked the drive. I own it now, and like it better, but I still prefer the second album.  ETA: Come to think of it, Born to Run was wordy. I think I mean I was just expecting another rock album.

 

#38 Beefheart, Safe as Milk. I know most of his albums fairly well, but this seemed unfamiliar so I put it on. Immediate swirl of John Le Hooker-ish blues, that remarkable voice: you know you are in safe hands.  Interesting to note recently that he probably did better out of his painting than his music.

 

#37 Magazine, Real Life. I was present, here we go, at Buzzcocks' first gig without Devoto.  I saw Magazine back in the day. It leans a bit towards Weimar-kitsch for my taste; always preferred the Buzzcocks. But "Shot By Both Sides" is a titanic track.

 

Pausing because I remember nothing about the next one on the list.

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Pink Flag is not an album I listen to much. But 154 is possibly my favourite album of all time. 

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Pink Flag is not an album I listen to much. But 154 is possibly my favourite album of all time. 

 

You are in good company:

 

1979's 154 represented the final tableau in Wire's Harvest released 70's triptych and was the first Wire album to be released to a universal set of five star reviews from the British rock weeklies.

 

Thus it represented the point when the British 'pop culture establishment' publicly recognised Wire's primacy. "154 makes 95 percent of the competition look feeble," wrote Nick Kent in the NME, "Wire are achieving a lot of things other - and more recognised - names have been striving for" wrote Chris Westwood in Record Mirror . "The album is a musical Tour de Force" wrote Jon Savage in Melody Maker.

 

 

https://pinkflag.greedbag.com/buy/ihqrye/

 

Maybe I should give it a listen for the first time in many years.

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#39, Bruce Springsteen's first. I've had it for years. Didn't love it when I first got to hear it, which would have been after Born to Run (which made him known in the UK). In comparison, it was wordy and lacked the drive. I own it now, and like it better, but I still prefer the second album.  ETA: Come to think of it, Born to Run was wordy. I think I mean I was just expecting another rock album.

You weren't at the Hammersmith Odeon gig, 11/75, were you?

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Schumann:  Cello Concerto/Symphony No. 4 (1851 version)  (Shevlin//Holliger/WDR Sinfonieorchester Köln) (this set is really turning out to be quite the achievement -- especially for someone who's better known as an oboist than as a conductor)

 

Bejun Mehta//René Jacobs/Freiburger Barokorchester:  Ombra Cara:  Arias of George Frideric Handel

 

Joan Soriano:  La Familia Soriano

 

Shostakovich:  Symphony No. 13 "Babi Yar" (Tikhomirov//Muti/Chicago Symphony Orchestra & Chorus)

 

Bach:  Keyboard Concertos Nos. 1-7 (Perahia/Academy of St Martin in the Fields)

 

Bill Fay:  Bill Fay

 

Leo Brouwer:  Danzas Caracteristica (Quitate de la Acera)/Estudios Sensillos/Preludio/Fuga No. 1/Piezas sin TItulo Nos. 1-3/Dos Aires Populares Cubanos/Tres Apuntes (Ricardo Cobo)

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#39, Bruce Springsteen's first. I've had it for years. Didn't love it when I first got to hear it, which would have been after Born to Run (which made him known in the UK). In comparison, it was wordy and lacked the drive. I own it now, and like it better, but I still prefer the second album. ETA: Come to think of it, Born to Run was wordy. I think I mean I was just expecting another rock album.

You weren't at the Hammersmith Odeon gig, 11/75, were you?

No. My friend Mark was. Springsteen fanatic,

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Beach Boys - Kokomo. Always thought it was their most underrated song.

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