Best song Writing has faithfully amassed the year’s so much compelling writing on track for a decade now, so it’s acceptable this precise variation be guest-edited via one of many best-known writers on tune and pop culture, Greil Marcus, writer of Lipstick Traces, Mystery Train, Like a Rolling Stone, and different groundbreaking tours into the very cloth of song, the United States, and past. As continually, sequence Editor Daphne Carr has culled an impressively wide variety of essays, profiles, information articles, interviews, inventive non-fiction, fiction, ebook experiences, long-format stories, weblog posts, and magazine articles on tune and track tradition, from rock and hip-hop to R&B and jazz to pop, blues, and extra.
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Extra resources for Best Music Writing 2009 (Da Capo Best Music Writing)
Both are engaging and do solid, necessary work. I approached them with something like defensiveness, expecting to be implicated, inevitably, in the creepy racial unease that shadows the country-blues discourse, which has always been, with a couple of extremely notable examples (Zora Neale Hurston and Dorothy Scarborough), white guys talking to one another about black music, and about a particular period in the music, one that living black American artists mostly consider quaint. Both new books replace hoary myths with researched histories of far greater interest.
It’s an extraordinary thought movie Wald creates for a hundred pages or so. If the jacket copy primed me to come away disabused of my awe for Johnson’s musicianship, instead it was doubled. Everything Johnson touched he made subtler, sadder. He took the mostly comical ravings of Peetie Wheatstraw the Devil’s Son-inLaw and smoothed them into Robert Johnson’s devil, the melancholy devil who walks like a man and looks like a man and is much less easily laughed off. Whereas Wald wants to educate our response to the country blues away from nostalgia and toward a more mature valuation—by reminding us that all folk was once somebody’s pop— Marybeth Hamilton, an American cultural historian who teaches in England, looks back instead at the old sense of aura, asking where it came from.
Eddie and Oscar, a polished, almost formal country-blues duo out of North Carolina (Eddie was white, Oscar was black), had already copied that. Johnson probably heard it from them. But when he went— When the train, it left the station, With two lights on behind, Ah, when the train left the station, With two lights on behind, Well, the blue light was my blues, And the red light was my mind. All my love’s in vain. —that was something else. Johnson knew it was something else. ” After all, he’s the same person who wrote the couplet, “From Memphis to Norfolk is a thirty-six hours’ ride.
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