My thoughts on the Third Coast (to be continued)

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WIERwolf-1

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Jun 21, 1996, 3:00:00 AM6/21/96
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Looks like we've all got ideas about what this group should be.... that is a
good start.

Being from Austin, TX and in the music community, I have close ties to
Nashville. It is not just a city. To some it is Mecca. To others it is
Sodom. I personally think that Nashville (as a record community) has gained
and maintains a stranglehold on country music world. I have some deeply held
convictions about economics and the country music record industry that don't
always agree with the actions of the movers & shakers on the third coast. It
is issues like this that I would like to see here, so if any of you would like
to change my mind, please.... fire away!

WW-1

aspasia

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Jun 25, 1996, 3:00:00 AM6/25/96
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tcp...@bga.com (WIERwolf-1) wrote:

well.... I guess that depends on which nashville you live in! I used
to go there a lot, and had lots of friends there that made good music.
But then I had a strange experience. Every year I go to the Jimmie
Rodgers festival in Meridian. It's the only place where I (an academic
philosopher) can give papers on country music; there's a conference
there in conjunction with the festival, and I usually do some bit
about aesthetics or cultural analysis and country.

Last year I did a paper about how economic factors shape genre
evolution and definition. My case study for the paper was the little
burst of so-called "cowpunk" bands that flourished for a minute right
before the New Country hit. Now, those bands wanted to be country
bands, called themselves country bands, and in some ways *were*
country bands, but the industry took a different turn, and their
identifications as country bands didn't fly.

So, my point in the lecture was just that the definition of "country
music" is a *historical* story; what *counts* as country depends on a
lot of things, and there isn't an "essence" of country music that can
be defined apart from that particular history. As Nietzsche said,
nothing with a history can be defined.

Anyway. One of the Nashville reps who was in the audience stood up
and said "What do you mean, we can't define country? We OWN it!"

I considered that he'd made my point for me.

judith
"Where there is power, there is resistance... A plurality
of resistances spread over time and space. And it is
doubtless the strategic codification of these points of
resistance that makes a revolution possible." M. Foucault


RPruitt625

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Jun 25, 1996, 3:00:00 AM6/25/96
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In article <4qnt7l$9...@news1.t1.usa.pipeline.com>, asp...@pipeline.com
(aspasia) writes:

>So, my point in the lecture was just that the definition of "country
>music" is a *historical* story; what *counts* as country depends on a
>lot of things, and there isn't an "essence" of country music that can
>be defined apart from that particular history. As Nietzsche said,
>nothing with a history can be defined.

Hello Judith!
I'm not an academic philosopher, as will be self-evident. Possibly
because of this, I sure don't understand what you are talking about. I do
think that Nietzsche was an idiot, however. One of Nietzche's fundamental
contentions was that traditional values (represented primarily by
Christianity) had lost their power in the lives of individuals. He
expressed this in his proclamation "God is dead." He was convinced that
traditional values represented a "slave morality", a morality created by
weak and resentful individuals who encouraged such behavior as gentleness
and kindness because the behavior served their interests. Nietzsche
claimed that new values could be created to replace the traditional ones,
and his discussion of the possibility led to his concept of the overman or
superman. Hitler was a believer in Nietzsche's claims. Nietzsche died of a
mental breakdown in 1900.
What the hell does Nietsche know about country music? :) I don't know
what he is saying by "nothing with a history can be defined". How does one
go about defining something without a history? This is not to say that a
defined object cannot transform or evolve. The English language is defined
in the dictionary. The language is not static, but alive, and it changes.
So, the dictionary changes to keep up with the language. The same with
country music. It is defined by the listeners, the users, if you will, of
country music, much the same as the English language is. These "cowpunk"
bands that you speak of did not have what it took to win a viable market
share of listener interest. Maybe it's because they didn't sound like
country music, maybe it's because their music sucked. Either way, they do
not get to go into the annals of Country Music. They simply did not make
the 'cut'.
So, I guess the Nashville Iive in is the one where the winner takes the
blue ribbon.


Peace,
Robert

gen...@ix.netcom.com

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Jun 26, 1996, 3:00:00 AM6/26/96
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On 25 Jun 1996 23:33:29 -0400, rprui...@aol.com (RPruitt625) wrote:

>In article <4qnt7l$9...@news1.t1.usa.pipeline.com>, asp...@pipeline.com
>(aspasia) writes:
>
>>So, my point in the lecture was just that the definition of "country
>>music" is a *historical* story; what *counts* as country depends on a
>>lot of things, and there isn't an "essence" of country music that can
>>be defined apart from that particular history. As Nietzsche said,
>>nothing with a history can be defined.
>
>Hello Judith!
> I'm not an academic philosopher, as will be self-evident. Possibly
>because of this, I sure don't understand what you are talking about. I do
>think that Nietzsche was an idiot, however. One of Nietzche's fundamental
>contentions was that traditional values (represented primarily by
>Christianity) had lost their power in the lives of individuals. He
>expressed this in his proclamation "God is dead." He was convinced that
>traditional values represented a "slave morality", a morality created by
>weak and resentful individuals who encouraged such behavior as gentleness
>and kindness because the behavior served their interests. Nietzsche
>claimed that new values could be created to replace the traditional ones,
>and his discussion of the possibility led to his concept of the overman or
>superman. Hitler was a believer in Nietzsche's claims. Nietzsche died of a

>mental breakdown in 1900. ... (((((EDIT))))) ...


> So, I guess the Nashville Iive in is the one where the winner takes the
>blue ribbon.
>

Robert,

Well spoken, even if you're *not* an academic philosopher. Here in Chicago, we
have far too many of those, anyway.

I'm looking forward to my August 19 move to the Nashville area, where:

* There'll be opportunities to speak to my neighbors. Civilly, even!
* The neighbors won't think I'm trying to pull something every time I smile and
say "hi".
* I won't have to worry as much about whether my neighbors want to break in,
steal my TV, and stab me for 15 bucks.
* Political correctness is politically incorrect.
* When you speak the name of God, you're really referring to Him. It's not just
the word that comes before "damn".

I may be a lifelong city boy, but I'm a country boy at heart.

-- Geno.

WIERwolf-1

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Jun 26, 1996, 3:00:00 AM6/26/96
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Enter the infamous bard himself....

>Ah, an exercise in the use of language to describe ....... language. A
>futile attempt, at best.

Alright... good point

>I gotta tell you, it thrilled me to no end a few years back, when that
>garage band, the Kentucky Headhunters captured just about every award
>Country Music had to offer. It was a major thrill to watch the suits sit
>in that audience, forced to recognize that someone other than
>their own exalted selves had spoken, and rather loudly at that.

Garage Band? HMMMM those guys are some of the most incredible and talented
pickers on the scene... But Back to Business.

>Country music these days probably does bear more resemblance to Lynard
>Skynard than to Hank Williams (the original), but do recall Hank twisted >a
few tails in his day too, bringing drums (private nudge to the WIERwolf >here)
onto the sacred boards of the Ryman! Shudder! The shame.

>Nearly as funny as the image of Pete Seeger running around back stage at
>the Newport Folk Festival screaming for the power to be cut off after
>Dylan plugged in his guitar.

>To this ole North Texas boy, with strong Tennessee roots (granma was born
>in a shack in the hills near Gainesboro), country music has always
>revolved around common themes of common people, and to a large extent, it
>still does. So what if there are more Stratocasters and Takemine's than
>Martins on stage these days?

All very good points Senor Murrell, but I believe the point I was making was
NOT whether or not music SHOULD evolve, but to what extent can a thing evolve
and still be the same thing? IOWs, how do we define Country Music (sorry Mr.
Nietzsche) as something seperate and apart from, say, Heavy Metal or Free Form
Jazz? I use these extreme examples because the differences are much more
obvious than between, say, country and blues. The fact remains, though, that
there is at least some common agreement as to what defines the genre of
music, Country. I would like to hear what people believe this to be.

BTW, I'll be the last person to claim to know the answer to the above
question.

WIERwolf

aspasia

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Jun 26, 1996, 3:00:00 AM6/26/96
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Robert--
One more comment.

rprui...@aol.com (RPruitt625) wrote:

> These "cowpunk"
>bands that you speak of did not have what it took to win a viable market
>share of listener interest. Maybe it's because they didn't sound like
>country music, maybe it's because their music sucked. Either way, they do
>not get to go into the annals of Country Music. They simply did not make
>the 'cut'.

One of the weird details about those particular bands (Jason and the
Scorchers, Dash Rip Rock, etc) was that they *did* have an audience,
but not a "country" audience. I was working at an Atlanta club when
those bands were big (for about five minutes in the late eighties/
early nineties) and they would sell out *every* show to fans who
screamed and jumped up and down. But the audience was all college
students who never listened to anything that they considered country.
That was one of the things I thought relevant to their eventual lack
of success (though some of them still put out records). Their appeal,
which was very strong to *some* folks, utterly failed with the
audience that listened to specifically country radio. People who
bought REM records, but wouldn't listen to John Anderson (drat them!),
bought Scorchers records. And then when Jason Ringenberg tried to make
a solo album that would sell to a "country" audience (meaning the
folks who would listen to country radio) is was completely and utterly
terrible. So they really *didn't* suck when they did their own version
of weird cross-genre cowpunk; in fact I enjoyed them a great deal;
but when they tried to fit the extant categories they did *indeed*
suck. *Never* hurt yourself by picking up that solo album!

I take that to be a comment about how the shaping of genre shapes the
possibilities of successful music. If there's no commercial radio
station that can fit you into their audience and playlist, then you're
toast. That's the way of the world :)

judith
http://www.cybercom.net/~rnewman/scientology/harass/timeline-95.html


aspasia

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Jun 26, 1996, 3:00:00 AM6/26/96
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rprui...@aol.com (RPruitt625) wrote:

>In article <4qnt7l$9...@news1.t1.usa.pipeline.com>, asp...@pipeline.com
>(aspasia) writes:

>>So, my point in the lecture was just that the definition of "country
>>music" is a *historical* story; what *counts* as country depends on a
>>lot of things, and there isn't an "essence" of country music that can
>>be defined apart from that particular history. As Nietzsche said,
>>nothing with a history can be defined.

>Hello Judith!
> I'm not an academic philosopher, as will be self-evident. Possibly
>because of this, I sure don't understand what you are talking about. I do
>think that Nietzsche was an idiot, however. One of Nietzche's fundamental
>contentions was that traditional values (represented primarily by
>Christianity) had lost their power in the lives of individuals.

Indeed he did think that. Not that religious values had lost their
power over *every* individual, mind you, but that the emergence of
modernity had destroyed the previous *strength* of the religious
worldview. It's a matter of some debate whether Nietzsche thought
that a good thing or not. The claim that "God is dead" didn't mean
that there was *never* a God; he thought that modernity has *killed*
God.

>He
>expressed this in his proclamation "God is dead." He was convinced that
>traditional values represented a "slave morality", a morality created by
>weak and resentful individuals who encouraged such behavior as gentleness
>and kindness because the behavior served their interests. Nietzsche
>claimed that new values could be created to replace the traditional ones,
>and his discussion of the possibility led to his concept of the overman or
>superman. Hitler was a believer in Nietzsche's claims. Nietzsche died of a
>mental breakdown in 1900.

True. If it matters, which it may not, Nietzsche absolutely loathed
German nationalism. His sister married a proto-Nazi and Nietzsche
wrote against that position. But, indeed, Hitler did use some of the
writings. Nietzsche fans claim it was a misuse, but who's to say?

> What the hell does Nietsche know about country music? :) I don't know

>what he is saying by "nothing with a history can be defined".

OK! The traditional philosophical definition of "definition" goes like
this: produce the description of something that includes its nrearest
genera and differentiating species. So, the the case of human beings,
it would be nearest genera (animal) and differentiating feature that
sets it apart from the other animals (rational): man is defined as a
rational animal. *That* kind of definition is supposed to be
categorical and universal: it describes the timeless essence of
something. So, the point is that nothing that has an actual time-bound
gistory can have an adequate *philosophical* definition as described
above. And there was some effort being made at the conference to
produce that kind of definition, a definition that defines an essence.

>How does one
>go about defining something without a history? This is not to say that a
>defined object cannot transform or evolve. The English language is defined
>in the dictionary. The language is not static, but alive, and it changes.
>So, the dictionary changes to keep up with the language. The same with
>country music. It is defined by the listeners, the users, if you will, of
>country music, much the same as the English language is.

You're *quite* right. That was the point I was, in fact, making in the
paper. See, the objective of the panel discussion that followed my
talk was "defining country music" and what they were doing was trying
to come up with a *static* definition, some description that managed
to *get* everything they thought was country (everything from Hank
Williams to Mary Chapin Carpenter to Little Texas) while excluding
everything that *wasn't*. There were various strategies to do this,
like saying that what counted as country had to have the right country
instruments, or had to be produced by the right clas of people. But
none of them worked, because they were trying for a ststic definition
of a historical phenomenon. The only "definition" of country, in my
book, would be the entire history of country; nothing "universal"
holds it together and *makes* some things count and some things not
count; people *decide* these things.

> These "cowpunk"
>bands that you speak of did not have what it took to win a viable market
>share of listener interest. Maybe it's because they didn't sound like
>country music, maybe it's because their music sucked. Either way, they do
>not get to go into the annals of Country Music. They simply did not make
>the 'cut'.

Sure. No problem. They didn't. I was using them as an example because
they *did* have a lot of the things that people wer saying were the
"defining features" of country music: played Hank songs, played lap
steel, came from rural Tenneessee, what-have-you. Yet they *didn't*
make the cut, and I thought this had something to do with the shifting
audience demographics. I don't think that's bad, I was just using it
to show how all *sorts* of factors besides some alleged country
"essence" actually shapes what makes it and what doesn't.

> So, I guess the Nashville Iive in is the one where the winner takes the
>blue ribbon.

And the place where some of the faithful die disappointed. Just like
the rest of the world, except that it *sounds* so much better!

>Peace,
>Robert

Thanks for replying! There's some really fun stuff out there about
various kinds of philosophy and country music. One of my favorites is
Crispin Sartwell's "Confucius and Country Music" (in *Philosophy East
and West*) where he undertakes to explain Confucius through country
music and show that country music fits Confucius' views about the very
best kind of music.

You in Nashville yourself? Or do you, like me, merely hope to move
there?

judith
http://www.cybercom.net/~rnewman/scientology/harass/timeline-95.html


Olin Murrell

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Jun 27, 1996, 3:00:00 AM6/27/96
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Thus spake WIERwolf-1:
(This all, of course, being the continuing treatise upon whether country
music does, in point of fact, remain country music. To that end, I
opined)

> >Ah, an exercise in the use of language to describe ....... language. A
> >futile attempt, at best.
>
> Alright... good point
>

Whoopee! Somebody noticed. ;^)

> >I gotta tell you, it thrilled me to no end a few years back, when that
> >garage band, the Kentucky Headhunters captured just about every award
> >Country Music had to offer. It was a major thrill to watch the suits sit
> >in that audience, forced to recognize that someone other than
> >their own exalted selves had spoken, and rather loudly at that.
>
> Garage Band? HMMMM those guys are some of the most incredible and talented
> pickers on the scene... But Back to Business.
>

No argument at all. Garage band was more to "define" a style, than a
comment on their abilities. One of my all-time favorite bands, in point
of fact.

Still, watching those suits watch the Headhunters being middle-aged rock
'n rollers, who after all, are sooooo damned cute (thank you, Emily!),
was sure a nice salve for this old boy's bones.

[judicious snippage]

> All very good points Senor Murrell, but I believe the point I was making was
> NOT whether or not music SHOULD evolve, but to what extent can a thing evolve
> and still be the same thing? IOWs, how do we define Country Music (sorry Mr.
> Nietzsche) as something seperate and apart from, say, Heavy Metal or Free Form
> Jazz? I use these extreme examples because the differences are much more
> obvious than between, say, country and blues.

True enough, but do be aware that that old Fort Worth skull orchard
veteran himself, Delbert McClinton, thasrite...the very one who taught
that British bug to play harmonica, lives in Nashville now, and has
himself a hit country record. Go figure. Says he wonders why he stayed
away so long. Hmmmmmm.

The fact remains, though, that
> there is at least some common agreement as to what defines the genre of
> music, Country. I would like to hear what people believe this to be.
>

There are those who believe you could slap a steel guitar into a Mozart
piece, and call it country. Personally, I still feel country music is
about attitude, much more than just instrumentation.

It's the age old argument between folk and country and blues, and I
contend the only real difference between these three is instrumentation
and attitude. All three genre's share very similar themes. They primarily
use "story" songs, and they do run to common themes about everyday
people. But then again, so does Bruce Springsteen.

What was country in the joints around these parts does not always survive
the trip to Nashville. Ricky Trevino, for example, was as country as sour
mash down here. Might as well be the Partridge Family on record, for
Christ's sake. Bubblegum country. Oh well.

Still, I hope he sells twelve gazillion records, buys his old mama and
daddy a new house and two new cars, and has a long career. 'Cause, he'll
grow out of that, and we both know he's capable of some really fine
music.

> BTW, I'll be the last person to claim to know the answer to the above
> question.
>

Answer? You mean there's an answer to this question? Just one? How can
that be? If that were really the the case, Merle Haggard would still be
tearing 'em up on the charts, and there wouldn't be any Billy Ray Cyrus
jokes. ;^)

--
Olin Murrell
Austin, TX
ol...@bga.com
http://www.realtime.com/~olin

Scot Quinn

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Jun 27, 1996, 3:00:00 AM6/27/96
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Hello all...

This thread is one complicated feller....

Country music is alive and well, and living with the writers and studios
in Nashville. I wish some of the quality work that I hear everyday could
sneak out there and catch an audience. I believe that what's needed are
some wildcat marketing ideas. There are a lot of dedicated professionals
working here in the trenches. Never in the history of Nashville have
there been so many competent and creative people making music here.
There is vibe here caused by this talent pool that is truly exciting. But
hey.... if a tree falls in the forest.....

Scot

gen...@ix.netcom.com

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Jun 27, 1996, 3:00:00 AM6/27/96
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On 26 Jun 1996 18:06:20 -0400, bust...@aol.com (Buster VG) responded to my
previous post, which read:

>>I may be a lifelong city boy, but I'm a country boy at heart.
>

And her's a portion of what bustervg had to add:

>Well, I've spent my time in Chicago too, and if you've never been here
>(Nashville) before, you may be in for a surprise. Nashville's a very
>friendly, nice, and reasonably safe place to live, but it's a fairly good
>sized city as well. <<<SNIP!>>> Welcome to Nashville, but don't expect to
>be moving into Mayberry RFD!
>
I know Nashville pretty well, and I'm well aware of its size and scope. I've
spent several weeks there each of the past ten years (or so) on bizness. I
already know I like the place and the people.

Also, I've lived in a small Southern town before (in Southern Illinois, for ex.;
although it's considered a Northern state, its culture and language are very
Southern). I am sure I'll love life in the South.

Take care, and I hope to see you around!

-- Geno.

PS: These philosophical posts have been much more interesting and thought-
provoking than I expected! Good stuff, folks, keep it comin'.

aspasia

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Jun 27, 1996, 3:00:00 AM6/27/96
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bust...@aol.com (Buster VG) wrote:

>>I may be a lifelong city boy, but I'm a country boy at heart.

>Well, I've spent my time in Chicago too, and if you've never been here


>(Nashville) before, you may be in for a surprise. Nashville's a very
>friendly, nice, and reasonably safe place to live, but it's a fairly good
>sized city as well.

And they have at least one really good university I'd love to work at.
Anybody know good tips about how to get hired at Vanderbilt?


>We are proud to lay claim to a brand new basketball/hockey arena, and soon
>to be home of the Houston Oilers, (if the US Congress can stop fiddling
>around long enough to let us begin building the stadium!!).

What about a hockey team? Got one? That would be great.

>Welcome to Nashville, but don't expect to be moving into Mayberry RFD!

You *can* get a lot more podunk than Chicago if you move fifteen
minutes *outside* Nashville...

I fondly recall being at a conference (bleah!) in Nashville three
years ago, staying at the Days Inn near Vanderbilt. I was accompanied
by several New York natives who had never been south, never eaten in a
Waffle House, and never seen pine straw before. We were trying to
cross the street near the hotel, four lanes and no crosswalk. My
companions were *astonished* when all four lanes of traffic come
slowly to a halt to allow us to cross the street. In fact one of them
thought it must be a trick (new york, remember) to get us out there to
be run over. I have traveled extensively but never seen such culture
shock as my friends had that day at the courtesy of the drivers who
stopped to let us pass.

judith
>~~~~~~~~~ + + ~~~~~~~~~~~ + + ~~~~~~~~~~~~~
>Buster Van Gogh, Ltd.
>Advertising - Design - Publicity - Merchandising
>Bust...@aol.com | http://home.aol.com/bustervg

PS: Buster-- what kind of merchandising?
http://www.cybercom.net/~rnewman/scientology/harass/timeline-95.html


aspasia

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Jun 27, 1996, 3:00:00 AM6/27/96
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Olin Murrell <ol...@bga.com> wrote:

>aspasia opines:


>>
>> The English language is defined
>> >in the dictionary. The language is not static, but alive, and it changes.
>> >So, the dictionary changes to keep up with the language. The same with
>> >country music. It is defined by the listeners, the users, if you will, of

>> >country music, much the same as the English language is. These "cowpunk"


>> >bands that you speak of did not have what it took to win a viable market
>> >share of listener interest. Maybe it's because they didn't sound like
>> >country music, maybe it's because their music sucked. Either way, they do
>> >not get to go into the annals of Country Music. They simply did not make
>> >the 'cut'.
>>

Great-- but that wasn't me!!! That was Robert *replying* to me!

>Enter now, the lovely and talented WIERwolf-1:

>> Wow, I had to read this a few times. The problem with this is that your
>> analogy is flawed, just as is your definition of country music. Sure, to a
>> certain extent, the language evolves, but it does at some point cease
>> to be theoriginal language from which it evolved . Do you believe
>> that the mexicans to our south are speaking Latin? I don't think so... but
>> that is where Spinish evolved from. The same is true for a genre of music.
>> There is a point at which what we call country deviates so far from its roots
>> that it becomes a new form of music altogether. The problem is that Industry
>> professionals tend to still categorize all these deviant forms (regardless of
>> their inherent worth) as COUNTRY. The listening public cannot express
>> themselves in the same manner with which they might regarding tangible
>> products like, say, the new CocaCola formula.
>> Think about this.
>>

>Ah, an exercise in the use of language to describe ....... language. A
>futile attempt, at best.

well, maybe. depends on whacha want from a description. I like
language a lot, myself.

>Now, let's throw musical "style" into the mix, and Bubba's, we got us a
>shootin' match.

>I gotta tell you, it thrilled me to no end a few years back, when that
>garage band, the Kentucky Headhunters captured just about every award
>Country Music had to offer. It was a major thrill to watch the suits sit
>in that audience, forced to recognize that someone other than their own
>exalted selves had spoken, and rather loudly at that.

boy, I dug that. I only wish that the Georgia Satellites had been
there too. And the Beat Farmers.

>Country music these days probably does bear more resemblance to Lynard
>Skynard than to Hank Williams (the original), but do recall Hank twisted
>a few tails in his day too, bringing drums (private nudge to the WIERwolf
>here) onto the sacred boards of the Ryman! Shudder! The shame.

and remember when Carlene Carter was trying to make it as a rock
singer? There are mean ol country songs on those records... songs that
couldn't get played, like Loretta's "The Pill", because they were
about indelicate stuff like waking up with someone whose name you
can't remember...

>Nearly as funny as the image of Pete Seeger running around back stage at
>the Newport Folk Festival screaming for the power to be cut off after
>Dylan plugged in his guitar.

>To this ole North Texas boy, with strong Tennessee roots (granma was born
>in a shack in the hills near Gainesboro), country music has always
>revolved around common themes of common people, and to a large extent, it
>still does. So what if there are more Stratocasters and Takemine's than
>Martins on stage these days?

Now this, I don't know about. Yes, in many ways the new-country does
appeal to the common themes of the common folks, but I find that it
also seems to me to pander (sorry...) to the nostalgia of city folks
(like me)-- to an *imaginary* past, an *imaginary* simplicity that is,
to some extent, the *negation* of city or middle class life rather
than the description of rural or working clas life. Of course, it's
probably some of both, and it's a lot of fun.

Thank God that Steve Earle is back!

judith
>Yeah, the listening public is pretty much at the mercy of the suits, both
>those in Nashboro and in radio land, but every now and then, you get a
>headhunter on the loose, and it's anything goes! So, to that small
>degree, the music DOES evolve, much the same as the language.

>We return you now to your regularly scheduled pablum, er programming.

>--
>Olin Murrell
>Austin, TX
>ol...@bga.com
>http://www.realtime.com/~olin

http://www.cybercom.net/~rnewman/scientology/harass/timeline-95.html


aspasia

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Jun 27, 1996, 3:00:00 AM6/27/96
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tcp...@bga.com (WIERwolf-1) wrote:

>In article <4qqb29$4...@newsbf02.news.aol.com> rprui...@aol.com (RPruitt625) writes:
>>From: rprui...@aol.com (RPruitt625)
>>Subject: Nietzsche & Country Music??
>>Date: 25 Jun 1996 23:33:29 -0400

>>In article <4qnt7l$9...@news1.t1.usa.pipeline.com>, asp...@pipeline.com
>>(aspasia) writes:

> The English language is defined
>>in the dictionary. The language is not static, but alive, and it changes.
>>So, the dictionary changes to keep up with the language. The same with
>>country music. It is defined by the listeners, the users, if you will, of
>>country music, much the same as the English language is. These "cowpunk"
>>bands that you speak of did not have what it took to win a viable market
>>share of listener interest. Maybe it's because they didn't sound like
>>country music, maybe it's because their music sucked. Either way, they do
>>not get to go into the annals of Country Music. They simply did not make
>>the 'cut'.

>Wow, I had to read this a few times. The problem with this is that your

>analogy is flawed, just as is your definition of country music. Sure, to a
>certain extent, the language evolves, but it does at some point cease
>to be theoriginal language from which it evolved . Do you believe
>that the mexicans to our south are speaking Latin? I don't think so... but
>that is where Spinish evolved from. The same is true for a genre of music.
>There is a point at which what we call country deviates so far from its roots
>that it becomes a new form of music altogether. The problem is that Industry
>professionals tend to still categorize all these deviant forms (regardless of
>their inherent worth) as COUNTRY. The listening public cannot express
>themselves in the same manner with which they might regarding tangible
>products like, say, the new CocaCola formula.
>Think about this.

I had to read *this* a couple of times to make sure I got the gist. I
think the original analogy was sound. Certainly Robert didn't claim
that there weren't different languages, nor, by analogy, different
musical genres. Sure, genres evolve so far away from their original
roots as to be unrecognizable as "the same". But the more important
point is not the something (say, the Rolling Stones, or Spanish)
differs from what its *roots* were (say, Delta blues, or Latin) but
that it differs from something *else* that also sprang from the same
roots (contemporary blues, or French!) The "original" sound of
country music, wherever you happen to locate that originary moment, is
no longer with us as a viable contemporary genre. What we actually
*have* is a lot of different descendants, some of which we locate
*closer* to the "defining core" tradition and some we judge to be
farther away, far enough to get a different name. And a different
radio station, if the descendant is popular enough.

I don't think the industry *does* categorize *all* the "deviant" forms
as country (remember the late and by-many-nashville-execs-unlamented
cowpunk bands...) The ones they *do* so categorize are the ones
preferred by their demographic, the ones likely to listen to a
self-identified country station. Consider the peculiarity of a Beatles
song (Get Back) being played on a country station when a cover of a
Hank song (Lost Highway-- the scorchers covered that one) isn't.

Personally I think the New Country demographic is the effect of a lot
of Baby Boomers, bless their hearts, moved off the classic rock
stations by the advent of grunge. To me, that would explain why so
many new country bands (I like them! I like them!) sound so much
like... well.... Bad Company. You can call that "not country" if you
want to, but it's still better than "Islands in the Stream".

just my quarter :)

judith
http://www.cybercom.net/~rnewman/scientology/harass/timeline-95.html


WIERwolf-1

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Jun 27, 1996, 3:00:00 AM6/27/96
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In article <31D23C...@bga.com> Olin Murrell <ol...@bga.com> writes:
>From: Olin Murrell <ol...@bga.com>
>Subject: Re: Nietzsche & Country Music??
>Date: Thu, 27 Jun 1996 00:46:59 -0700

WIERwolf treads on slippery rocks

>> All very good points Senor Murrell, but I believe the point I was making was
>> NOT whether or not music SHOULD evolve, but to what extent can a thing evolve
>> and still be the same thing? IOWs, how do we define Country Music (sorry Mr.
>> Nietzsche) as something seperate and apart from, say, Heavy Metal or Free Form
>> Jazz? I use these extreme examples because the differences are much more
>> obvious than between, say, country and blues.

The Bard counters:

>True enough, but do be aware that that old Fort Worth skull orchard
>veteran himself, Delbert McClinton, thasrite...the very one who taught
>that British bug to play harmonica, lives in Nashville now, and has
>himself a hit country record. Go figure. Says he wonders why he stayed
>away so long. Hmmmmmm.

Been away? Is that what you said? From what? That certainly reeks of
definition... and right from the mouth of the King. Certainly there are
talents within the blues genre that compliment the country genre. But there
is a fundamental difference between the two.

>There are those who believe you could slap a steel guitar into a Mozart
>piece, and call it country. Personally, I still feel country music is
>about attitude, much more than just instrumentation.

Perhaps so. Travis Tritt thinks he can play an Eagles song EXACTLY like the
original and call IT country. Here is, I admit, the ever looming fine line
that is so widely debated in country music circles. I guess time itself is
the shaper of definition. But I will be disappointed if I hear Billy Ray
Cyrrus III kicking out a wailing rendition of inna-godda-davida in ten years.

Is this the eternal fate of country music? To consistently remake or rewrite
tired old Rock n Roll songs and adorn them with adjectives such as "fresh" or
(heaven forbid) "progressive"?

<<<poquito mas snippage>>> (we're even)

>What was country in the joints around these parts does not always survive
>the trip to Nashville. Ricky Trevino, for example, was as country as sour
>mash down here. Might as well be the Partridge Family on record, for
>Christ's sake. Bubblegum country. Oh well.

But look at all the similar crud that blares from our radios that not
only survived the trip to Nashville but flourished when it arrived? Who buys
those albums? Somebody has to. Does the listening public have a choice in
what is offered? Do they have the ability to place their "vote" as to what
gets played on the radio? Seems to me that I learned in Eco. 101 that the
consumer dictates what is produced and how much of it is produced....

but....

Have you ever met anybody who bought a Billy Ray record? Neither have I, but
he sold millions..... That must be the new math. Maybe it is a Pinky & The
Brain conspiracy to dilute the integrity of our creativity and thus take ovver
the world. <nudge to all my fellow P&B fans>

>Still, I hope he sells twelve gazillion records, buys his old mama and
>daddy a new house and two new cars, and has a long career. 'Cause, he'll
>grow out of that, and we both know he's capable of some really fine
>music.

No argument from WW

WIERwolf

Olin Murrell

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Jun 27, 1996, 3:00:00 AM6/27/96
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aspasia wrote:
[snipped]

>
> Great-- but that wasn't me!!! That was Robert *replying* to me!
>

OK. Now, it all makes sense. ;^) I was replying to a reply to a reply to
a......oh, never mind.

[snipped again]

> >Ah, an exercise in the use of language to describe ....... language. A
> >futile attempt, at best.
>
> well, maybe. depends on whacha want from a description. I like
> language a lot, myself.
>

Oh, don't get me wrong. Love 'dem words myself. It's just always struck
me funny that we use language to describe language. Sort of like juggling
cars to describe the auto industry. OK, so it was a loooooooong way to
stretch for a joke. So, sue me. :-)

> boy, I dug that. I only wish that the Georgia Satellites had been
> there too. And the Beat Farmers.
>

To name a couple others. I'd have to say I agree.

> and remember when Carlene Carter was trying to make it as a rock
> singer? There are mean ol country songs on those records... songs that
> couldn't get played, like Loretta's "The Pill", because they were
> about indelicate stuff like waking up with someone whose name you
> can't remember...
>

Sometimes the industry does right, in spite of itself. We've named three
good examples, and to that, add a few individual songs, that according to
current pitch rules, should have never been recorded...."Where've You
Been" (old folks with serious health problems, a real downer), "Mr.
Bojangles" (one N-boro publisher said of this song, "No one wants to hear
a waltz about a dead dog and an old n----r."), and "She Thinks His Name
Was John," (dealing with promiscuity and the dreaded A word). These are
but three fine examples of songwriting that have managed to slip through
the net of the popular music industry. There are hundreds of others, and
thank God for them!

> >To this ole North Texas boy, with strong Tennessee roots (granma was born
> >in a shack in the hills near Gainesboro), country music has always
> >revolved around common themes of common people, and to a large extent, it
> >still does. So what if there are more Stratocasters and Takemine's than
> >Martins on stage these days?
>
> Now this, I don't know about. Yes, in many ways the new-country does
> appeal to the common themes of the common folks, but I find that it
> also seems to me to pander (sorry...) to the nostalgia of city folks
> (like me)-- to an *imaginary* past, an *imaginary* simplicity that is,
> to some extent, the *negation* of city or middle class life rather
> than the description of rural or working clas life. Of course, it's
> probably some of both, and it's a lot of fun.
>

Yeah, sure there's that aspect, like lots of white folk tryin' to be
Indian these days. It's the in-thing to do, but hey, even in the attempt
to pander to the lowest common demoninator, good tunes do occasionally
slip through. And, yeah, you're right about the nostalgia for the "old
ways," no matter how horrid they really might have been.

> Thank God that Steve Earle is back!
>

Ain't it the truth? That, and the fact that Townes VanZandt hasn't yet
drank himself to death.

Olin Murrell

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Jun 27, 1996, 3:00:00 AM6/27/96
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Re-enter the Bard? Where did THAT come from? ;^)

> WIERwolf treads on slippery rocks
>

But, mighty lightly. ;^)

Hey! That's a rhyme! How did that sneak in here?

> >> All very good points Senor Murrell, but I believe the point I was making was
> >> NOT whether or not music SHOULD evolve, but to what extent can a thing evolve
> >> and still be the same thing? IOWs, how do we define Country Music (sorry Mr.
> >> Nietzsche) as something seperate and apart from, say, Heavy Metal or Free Form
> >> Jazz? I use these extreme examples because the differences are much more
> >> obvious than between, say, country and blues.
>
> The Bard counters:
>
> >True enough, but do be aware that that old Fort Worth skull orchard
> >veteran himself, Delbert McClinton, thasrite...the very one who taught
> >that British bug to play harmonica, lives in Nashville now, and has
> >himself a hit country record. Go figure. Says he wonders why he stayed
> >away so long. Hmmmmmm.
>
> Been away? Is that what you said? From what? That certainly reeks of
> definition... and right from the mouth of the King. Certainly there are
> talents within the blues genre that compliment the country genre. But there
> is a fundamental difference between the two.
>

Well, when the boy left Fort Worth, he moved out to LA, and stayed there
(I say stayed, 'cause noone really "lives" in LA). He finally got to
Nashville a few years ago, and was wondering why he'd not moved there
earlier. Seems Delbert's music is more "in" in Nashville than anywhere
else these days.

> >There are those who believe you could slap a steel guitar into a Mozart
> >piece, and call it country. Personally, I still feel country music is
> >about attitude, much more than just instrumentation.
>
> Perhaps so. Travis Tritt thinks he can play an Eagles song EXACTLY like the
> original and call IT country.

Well, he might as well. Nothing else was working for him, and Travis can
pick.

Here is, I admit, the ever looming fine line
> that is so widely debated in country music circles. I guess time itself is
> the shaper of definition. But I will be disappointed if I hear Billy Ray
> Cyrrus III kicking out a wailing rendition of inna-godda-davida in ten years.
>

'Cept by then, it'll be "IYAN-A-Gawda-Dahviada." (Slurring done with a
Southern Accent).

In the words of Chris Chandler, Stone Mountain, GA poet while talking to
a Yankee friend, "When you people want to make fun of somebody, you use a
Southern accent. Here in the South, when we want to make fun of somebody,
we use a Southern accent."

> Is this the eternal fate of country music? To consistently remake or rewrite
> tired old Rock n Roll songs and adorn them with adjectives such as "fresh" or
> (heaven forbid) "progressive"?
>

Well, of course, but not just country. It's been going on in elevator
music for ten thousand years. Actually, what's happening is about equal
to what's been going on in radio for a number of years, covering one's
economic ass. The theory is, if it's been a hit once, it'll be a hit
again. Witness "My Maria." At least they did Buckwheat's tune justice,
and his widow will get a couple bucks out of it.

> But look at all the similar crud that blares from our radios that not
> only survived the trip to Nashville but flourished when it arrived? Who buys
> those albums? Somebody has to. Does the listening public have a choice in
> what is offered? Do they have the ability to place their "vote" as to what
> gets played on the radio? Seems to me that I learned in Eco. 101 that the
> consumer dictates what is produced and how much of it is produced....
>
> but....
>

Ah, here's where the "market analogy" begins to break down. We all
meander around with the notion that as record buyers, we get to make the
choices. Well, we do....choices between the crud the market offers up,
and if we don't take this week's crud, there's always next week's crud,
and of course, it'll be better crud, 'cause we've fired all the writers
and crudmakers from last week.

> Have you ever met anybody who bought a Billy Ray record? Neither have I, but
> he sold millions..... That must be the new math. Maybe it is a Pinky & The
> Brain conspiracy to dilute the integrity of our creativity and thus take ovver
> the world. <nudge to all my fellow P&B fans>
>

Watch it, or the BRC fans will come to our homes, and sing songs of
anthemic quality. They are legion, and they brook no nonsense where their
boy is concerned. ;^)

aspasia

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Jun 27, 1996, 3:00:00 AM6/27/96
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tcp...@bga.com (WIERwolf-1) wrote:

>>To this ole North Texas boy, with strong Tennessee roots (granma was born
>>in a shack in the hills near Gainesboro), country music has always
>>revolved around common themes of common people, and to a large extent, it
>>still does. So what if there are more Stratocasters and Takemine's than
>>Martins on stage these days?

>All very good points Senor Murrell, but I believe the point I was making was

>NOT whether or not music SHOULD evolve, but to what extent can a thing evolve
>and still be the same thing? IOWs, how do we define Country Music (sorry Mr.
>Nietzsche) as something seperate and apart from, say, Heavy Metal or Free Form
>Jazz? I use these extreme examples because the differences are much more

>obvious than between, say, country and blues. The fact remains, though, that

>there is at least some common agreement as to what defines the genre of
>music, Country. I would like to hear what people believe this to be.

See, I don't think that the differences can be defined with reference
*only* to the music, *only* to the recorded sounds. The way to
distinguish genres is by accounts of their histories: who made the
records and how and why and where and to be listened to by whom. The
differences can only be drawn out correctly by a thick historical
story that includes the sounds made, but not only the sounds made.

IMHO.

>BTW, I'll be the last person to claim to know the answer to the above
>question.

I certainly think that a lot of people could tell whether a record is
country or not. It's just that the definitions we *try* to provide
follow *after* those intuitions; the definitions try to explain the
intuitions, but it's really the intuitions that make the diffference.

judith

>WIERwolf

http://www.cybercom.net/~rnewman/scientology/harass/timeline-95.html


Olin Murrell

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Jun 28, 1996, 3:00:00 AM6/28/96
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aspasia wrote:
>
> See, I don't think that the differences can be defined with reference
> *only* to the music, *only* to the recorded sounds. The way to
> distinguish genres is by accounts of their histories: who made the
> records and how and why and where and to be listened to by whom. The
> differences can only be drawn out correctly by a thick historical
> story that includes the sounds made, but not only the sounds made.
>
> IMHO.
>

This is at least somewhat true. As an example, recall the John Fogarty
"country" album. It got very little airplay either on country or rock
stations, 'cause nobody believed it was for real.

And, can one imagine "Pavrati Does Buck Owens?" It'd be at least as much
of an anomaly as when Buck, hisownself, tried to do "MacArthur Park,"
though not nearly so laughable.

Still, there are artists who have successfully crossed the stylistic
lines. Conway Twitty comes to mind, along with Jerry Lee Lewis, and
Johnny Cash. And, all three did so in a completely believable fashion.
I'm sure there are others.

> >BTW, I'll be the last person to claim to know the answer to the above
> >question.
>
> I certainly think that a lot of people could tell whether a record is
> country or not. It's just that the definitions we *try* to provide
> follow *after* those intuitions; the definitions try to explain the
> intuitions, but it's really the intuitions that make the diffference.
>

Then again, there's the notion that if it *sounds* country, it probably
ain't a duck. ;^)

Seriously, I do believe those "intuitions" of which you speak go hand in
hand with the "attitude" I alluded to earlier. Example: Tom Paxton is
widely regarded as a "folk" song writer, and a damned fine one too. When
he sings "The Last Thing On My Mind," it's clearly a "folk" song, but
when one hears the Dolly and Porter version (clearly the HIT, BTW), it
ain't nothin' but country.

WIERwolf-1

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Jun 28, 1996, 3:00:00 AM6/28/96
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In article <4qu1g2$n...@newsbf02.news.aol.com> scot...@aol.com (Scot Quinn) writes:
>From: scot...@aol.com (Scot Quinn)

>Subject: Re: Nietzsche & Country Music??
>Date: 27 Jun 1996 09:14:41 -04

>This thread is one complicated feller....

Don't even get me started...

******ENTER THE MIGHTY QUINN******


Ignoring the cliche, of course, I have to admit that you may be on to
something. Maybe the tragedy is that the masses want to hear something with
creativity and quality but don't ask for it.....

then we can come up with several hypotheses:

1 .) The masses know what is good but just don't know how to ask for it.

2.) The masses simply have never been exposed to the more appealing product.

3.) There is a giant ogre on the third coast that squashes everything good bf
the masses can hear it.

Scot, these are all obviously flawed.... The question remains, why don't the
masses request what is (in my opinion) far more appealing? Perhaps they
really do think that the Billy Ray sound is more appealing.... I don't
know....


WIERwolf

WIERwolf-1

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Jun 28, 1996, 3:00:00 AM6/28/96
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In article <4qucrg$8...@news1.t1.usa.pipeline.com> asp...@pipeline.com (aspasia) writes:


>I certainly think that a lot of people could tell whether a record is
>country or not. It's just that the definitions we *try* to provide
>follow *after* those intuitions; the definitions try to explain the
>intuitions, but it's really the intuitions that make the diffference.

Aspasia seems bound and determined to keep definition out of this argument.
The pragmatist in me says that intuition is determined by convictions that are
learned. This really is beating a dead horse. (Nietzche pun intended)


There is a frame work by which country music can be defined. It is vague, I
admit and it is permeable, thank goodness. I alluded to the Eagles'song"Take
it Easy" in an earlier post joking about Travis Tritt's cover of the same
song. What I didn't admit was that that was a damn country song when The
Eagles did it. It even had banjo in it. Olin's recurring attitude theme
becomes more and more clear as we progress. A song is not country in itself,
but only so if it appeals to the people that call themselves country
listeners. Country describes the recipients of the art, not the artists.
This certainly explains the scary and lucrative market we know as "Cross-over".


WIERwolf

WIERwolf-1

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Jun 28, 1996, 3:00:00 AM6/28/96
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In article <31D41B...@bga.com> Olin Murrell <ol...@bga.com> writes:


d

>This is at least somewhat true. As an example, recall the John Fogarty
>"country" album. It got very little airplay either on country or rock
>stations, 'cause nobody believed it was for real.

>And, can one imagine "Pavrati Does Buck Owens?" It'd be at least as much
>of an anomaly as when Buck, hisownself, tried to do "MacArthur Park,"
>though not nearly so laughable.

These are certainly true examples but , then again, there are many anomalies
that do find success. Ricky Nelson's "Garden Party" and the successes of
Billy Joe Royal to name a few.

>Still, there are artists who have successfully crossed the stylistic
>lines. Conway Twitty comes to mind, along with Jerry Lee Lewis, and
>Johnny Cash. And, all three did so in a completely believable fashion.
>I'm sure there are others.

I think that many of these examples reflect not the artists transition, but
the transition of the listening public. If Buddy Holly were to suddenly
reappear and play the same kind of things he did, he would, no doubt meet
with success. But more than likely, it would be in the country music
industry.

>Then again, there's the notion that if it *sounds* country, it probably
>ain't a duck. ;^)

Yeah, but a duck remains a duck, while rock n roll just gets played on country
stations.

WIERwolf

Olin Murrell

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Jun 28, 1996, 3:00:00 AM6/28/96
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WIERwolf-1 wrote:
>
> These are certainly true examples but , then again, there are many anomalies
> that do find success. Ricky Nelson's "Garden Party" and the successes of
> Billy Joe Royal to name a few.
>

Except that "Garden Party," was a response to Ricky's attempts to "come
back," when his crowd only wanted to hear his teeny-bopper crap. That,
and the fact that it was a pretty well written song.

BJR simply amazes me. Once, back when I was working for KVET/KASE, I had
the dubious honor of introducing acts on the Country Stage at Aqua Farce,
er Fest, and one night the headliner was Billy Joe Royal. Truly one of
the hardest working showmen I've ever had the pleasure to watch. He came
on to a very small crowd, and for nearly 90 minutes, sang one hit after
another.

> I think that many of these examples reflect not the artists transition, but
> the transition of the listening public. If Buddy Holly were to suddenly
> reappear and play the same kind of things he did, he would, no doubt meet
> with success. But more than likely, it would be in the country music
> industry.
>

Somewhat, but in Twitty's case, he's as country as fried pies. But, I
think you're probably dead on about Buddy, but then think about what he
wrote. Story songs, about everyday people, and really well-constructed
love songs, i.e. "True Love's Ways."

> Yeah, but a duck remains a duck, while rock n roll just gets played on country
> stations.
>

Ye-ha! What else us old Doobie And Allman fans gonna listen to these
days....The Artist Formerly Known As Prince? Give me a break! ;^)

Olin Murrell

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Jun 28, 1996, 3:00:00 AM6/28/96
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WIERwolf-1 wrote:
>
> In article <4qucrg$8...@news1.t1.usa.pipeline.com> asp...@pipeline.com (aspasia) writes:
>
> >I certainly think that a lot of people could tell whether a record is
> >country or not. It's just that the definitions we *try* to provide
> >follow *after* those intuitions; the definitions try to explain the
> >intuitions, but it's really the intuitions that make the diffference.
>
> Aspasia seems bound and determined to keep definition out of this argument.
> The pragmatist in me says that intuition is determined by convictions that are
> learned. This really is beating a dead horse. (Nietzche pun intended)
>

As it should be. A dead horse, left unbeaten, can only hope to annoy the
neighbors.
^^^^^

There! We're even. ;^)

> There is a frame work by which country music can be defined. It is vague, I
> admit and it is permeable, thank goodness. I alluded to the Eagles'song"Take
> it Easy" in an earlier post joking about Travis Tritt's cover of the same
> song. What I didn't admit was that that was a damn country song when The
> Eagles did it. It even had banjo in it. Olin's recurring attitude theme
> becomes more and more clear as we progress. A song is not country in itself,
> but only so if it appeals to the people that call themselves country
> listeners. Country describes the recipients of the art, not the artists.
> This certainly explains the scary and lucrative market we know as "Cross-over".
>

Ah, but the analogy, like all good analogies, begins to break down at
this point. While I do contend that the primary difference between
country and folk music is instrumentation and attitude, there are some
songs which defy such crossover. Songs like "The Race Is On" will likely
sound country, even in Japanese! And, I don't think there's a country
band alive, or yet unborn for that matter, that could make "Billie Jean,"
or "Thriller" sound country. There just aren't that many steel guitars!

What this boils down to is the "attitude" thing is a starting point, and
nothing more.

Another example from an obscure Fred Koller song. The lyric goes "Hit's
not that woman I'm gonna miss. Hit's her double-wide trailer, and her
satelite dish." Can you really see Aerosmith getting away with THAT
lyric? Hell, for that matter, Fred has trouble getting away with it on
occasion. ;^)

aspasia

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Jun 28, 1996, 3:00:00 AM6/28/96
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tcp...@bga.com (WIERwolf-1) wrote:

>But look at all the similar crud that blares from our radios that not

>only survived the trip to Nashville but flourished when it arrived? Who buys

>those albums? Somebody has to. Does the listening public have a choice in
>what is offered? Do they have the ability to place their "vote" as to what
>gets played on the radio? Seems to me that I learned in Eco. 101 that the
>consumer dictates what is produced and how much of it is produced....

but wait, then you got told a lie in economics class. Consumers decide
*based on what choices are available to them*. There's a mediator
between producers and consumers. I'm not complaining about it, but the
stations do decide what goes on the playlists, so there's a step
inbetween. Yah, yah, the radio stations will eventually put what
people ask for on the lists, but it remains true that people will ask
for what they have *heard* and liked, and the radio is how they *hear*
stuff.

>but....

>Have you ever met anybody who bought a Billy Ray record? Neither have I, but
>he sold millions..... That must be the new math. Maybe it is a Pinky & The
>Brain conspiracy to dilute the integrity of our creativity and thus take ovver
>the world. <nudge to all my fellow P&B fans>

>>Still, I hope he sells twelve gazillion records, buys his old mama and

>>daddy a new house and two new cars, and has a long career. 'Cause, he'll
>>grow out of that, and we both know he's capable of some really fine
>>music.

>No argument from WW

>WIERwolf

http://www.cybercom.net/~rnewman/scientology/harass/timeline-95.html


aspasia

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Jun 28, 1996, 3:00:00 AM6/28/96
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Olin Murrell <ol...@bga.com> wrote:

>aspasia wrote:
>[snipped]


>>
>> Great-- but that wasn't me!!! That was Robert *replying* to me!
>>

>OK. Now, it all makes sense. ;^) I was replying to a reply to a reply to
>a......oh, never mind.

>[snipped again]

>> >Ah, an exercise in the use of language to describe ....... language. A


>> >futile attempt, at best.
>>
>> well, maybe. depends on whacha want from a description. I like
>> language a lot, myself.
>>

>Oh, don't get me wrong. Love 'dem words myself. It's just always struck

>me funny that we use language to describe language. Sort of like juggling
>cars to describe the auto industry. OK, so it was a loooooooong way to
>stretch for a joke. So, sue me. :-)

Naw. In my job, we actually talk about that all damn day long, and
fight about it in silly conferences, thowing words around about
whether words refer to words or things... talk, talk, talk, all about
talk!


>Sometimes the industry does right, in spite of itself. We've named three
>good examples, and to that, add a few individual songs, that according to
>current pitch rules, should have never been recorded...."Where've You
>Been" (old folks with serious health problems, a real downer), "Mr.
>Bojangles" (one N-boro publisher said of this song, "No one wants to hear
>a waltz about a dead dog and an old n----r."), and "She Thinks His Name
>Was John," (dealing with promiscuity and the dreaded A word). These are
>but three fine examples of songwriting that have managed to slip through
>the net of the popular music industry. There are hundreds of others, and
>thank God for them!

I have to add Collin Raye's hit about sexism: "I Think About You". Not
too great of a tune, but heartfelt, and right on the money. And, for
God's sake, Martina McBride's "Independence Day" about alcoholism and
violence. That gave me chill bumps every time I heard it.

>> >To this ole North Texas boy, with strong Tennessee roots (granma was born
>> >in a shack in the hills near Gainesboro), country music has always
>> >revolved around common themes of common people, and to a large extent, it
>> >still does. So what if there are more Stratocasters and Takemine's than
>> >Martins on stage these days?
>>
>> Now this, I don't know about. Yes, in many ways the new-country does
>> appeal to the common themes of the common folks, but I find that it
>> also seems to me to pander (sorry...) to the nostalgia of city folks
>> (like me)-- to an *imaginary* past, an *imaginary* simplicity that is,
>> to some extent, the *negation* of city or middle class life rather
>> than the description of rural or working clas life. Of course, it's
>> probably some of both, and it's a lot of fun.
>>

>Yeah, sure there's that aspect, like lots of white folk tryin' to be

>Indian these days. It's the in-thing to do, but hey, even in the attempt
>to pander to the lowest common demoninator, good tunes do occasionally
>slip through. And, yeah, you're right about the nostalgia for the "old
>ways," no matter how horrid they really might have been.

Naw, I don't think it's pandering to the lowest common demoninator,
depending, of course, on how you define "lowest!" :)

>> Thank God that Steve Earle is back!
>>

>Ain't it the truth? That, and the fact that Townes VanZandt hasn't yet
>drank himself to death.

Must agree with you there. here's hoping for many more find records.

judith

PS: Who's good in Austin these days? Is David Halley still playing
there? Who should I look for coming through New York?

aspasia

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Jun 28, 1996, 3:00:00 AM6/28/96
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Olin Murrell <ol...@bga.com> wrote:


>> Perhaps so. Travis Tritt thinks he can play an Eagles song EXACTLY like the
>> original and call IT country.

It does seem that *one* thing that makes something count as country is
that it be played by a previously identified country performer. That's
not the ONLY criterion, for gawd's sake, so don't batter me with
counterexamples. I notice that people are now calling the old eagles
records country-rock. I *hate* the eagles.

>Well, he might as well. Nothing else was working for him, and Travis can
>pick.

He can pick from *some* things. I doubt that if he decided to cover
"Anarchy in the UK" that he would get much airplay on country stations
:)

> Here is, I admit, the ever looming fine line
>> that is so widely debated in country music circles. I guess time itself is
>> the shaper of definition. But I will be disappointed if I hear Billy Ray
>> Cyrrus III kicking out a wailing rendition of inna-godda-davida in ten years.
>>

>'Cept by then, it'll be "IYAN-A-Gawda-Dahviada." (Slurring done with a
>Southern Accent).

>In the words of Chris Chandler, Stone Mountain, GA poet while talking to
>a Yankee friend, "When you people want to make fun of somebody, you use a
>Southern accent. Here in the South, when we want to make fun of somebody,
>we use a Southern accent."

uh-huh!

>> Is this the eternal fate of country music? To consistently remake or rewrite
>> tired old Rock n Roll songs and adorn them with adjectives such as "fresh" or
>> (heaven forbid) "progressive"?
>>

>Well, of course, but not just country. It's been going on in elevator
>music for ten thousand years. Actually, what's happening is about equal
>to what's been going on in radio for a number of years, covering one's
>economic ass. The theory is, if it's been a hit once, it'll be a hit
>again. Witness "My Maria." At least they did Buckwheat's tune justice,
>and his widow will get a couple bucks out of it.

>> But look at all the similar crud that blares from our radios that not
>> only survived the trip to Nashville but flourished when it arrived? Who buys
>> those albums? Somebody has to. Does the listening public have a choice in
>> what is offered? Do they have the ability to place their "vote" as to what
>> gets played on the radio? Seems to me that I learned in Eco. 101 that the
>> consumer dictates what is produced and how much of it is produced....
>>
>> but....
>>

>Ah, here's where the "market analogy" begins to break down. We all
>meander around with the notion that as record buyers, we get to make the
>choices. Well, we do....choices between the crud the market offers up,
>and if we don't take this week's crud, there's always next week's crud,
>and of course, it'll be better crud, 'cause we've fired all the writers
>and crudmakers from last week.

Exactly. People get to choose from what is presorted for their
choices.

>> Have you ever met anybody who bought a Billy Ray record? Neither have I, but
>> he sold millions..... That must be the new math. Maybe it is a Pinky & The
>> Brain conspiracy to dilute the integrity of our creativity and thus take ovver
>> the world. <nudge to all my fellow P&B fans>
>>

I know somebody who bought one. Thank goodness, it wasn't me. I know a
country-rock band, now defunct :(, who used to threaten to play that
song if drinks did not appear.

>Watch it, or the BRC fans will come to our homes, and sing songs of
>anthemic quality. They are legion, and they brook no nonsense where their
>boy is concerned. ;^)

arrgh!

judith
has too much time on her hands...
http://www.cybercom.net/~rnewman/scientology/harass/timeline-95.html


aspasia

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Jun 28, 1996, 3:00:00 AM6/28/96
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Olin Murrell <ol...@bga.com> wrote:


>Still, there are artists who have successfully crossed the stylistic
>lines. Conway Twitty comes to mind, along with Jerry Lee Lewis, and
>Johnny Cash. And, all three did so in a completely believable fashion.
>I'm sure there are others.

I recall a Valentine's Day show two years ago at the Beacon Theater:
Willie Nelson with *full orchestra*. It wasn't bad. But, then again,
the Atlanta Symphony just put on the "songs of Led Zeppelin" at
Chastain Park, and I'm *sure* that was bad.

>> >BTW, I'll be the last person to claim to know the answer to the above
>> >question.
>>

>> I certainly think that a lot of people could tell whether a record is
>> country or not. It's just that the definitions we *try* to provide
>> follow *after* those intuitions; the definitions try to explain the
>> intuitions, but it's really the intuitions that make the diffference.
>>

>Then again, there's the notion that if it *sounds* country, it probably

>ain't a duck. ;^)

yep. I can't *define* what makes the difference between the two
examples above. One was kind of cool, and sounded good, though not
*very* country! The other was just a nightmare, the entire thought
makes me queasy. That one's not concerned with country, but with
mixing performance styles and going against the grain. And something
about attitudes, you're right, but I can't put my finger on what
exactly. You know another weird one? Remember a couple of years agho
when some guy whose name I have (mercifully) forgotten did a "country
rap" song? I like country and like rap, but that made my gorge rise.
Awful.

>Seriously, I do believe those "intuitions" of which you speak go hand in
>hand with the "attitude" I alluded to earlier. Example: Tom Paxton is
>widely regarded as a "folk" song writer, and a damned fine one too. When
>he sings "The Last Thing On My Mind," it's clearly a "folk" song, but
>when one hears the Dolly and Porter version (clearly the HIT, BTW), it
>ain't nothin' but country.

And David Halley isn't country but the cover of "I Wish Hard Livin
Didn't Come So Easy To Me" sure was. There are country songs that
noncountry performers turn into something else, there are noncountry
songs that country performers turn into purest high lonesome country.
The intuitions track a whole *set* of things, attitude definitely
included, that all add up somehow into the recognition "THAT is
country." It's like a family resemblance. You know how some families
have a certain "look" that you can recognize, even though there may
not be some *one* feature that they all share, but rather an
overlapping *set* of things that all add up to a family "look"? Some
have the family nose, some the family eyebrows, some the family
smaile. They don't all have it all, but they all look like the same
family and if you know enough of them you have no trouble telling that
they belong.

judith

OwensJM

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Jun 29, 1996, 3:00:00 AM6/29/96
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I have lived in Nashville for going on six years and love it. I must
admit, however, that it is the smallest place that I have ever lived. As
far as cities go, it's tiny. Don't get me wrong. It is a warm, friendly,
layed back , and easy going place. Yes it is relatively low in crime.
But aside from country music, there is not a lot of culture here. There
is the ocassional TPAC or Symphony, even an ocasional Ballet and Opera
(both of which are a bit lacking, to be honest), but as far as art and
culture, Nashville is on the bottom of the totem pole. I mean, even
Mississippi's public radio station is rated better than ours!

Well, in the truest of southern good byes...

Y'all come back now, ya hear?

TimeAlone

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Jun 29, 1996, 3:00:00 AM6/29/96
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>>>>>Well, in the truest of southern good byes...

Y'all come back now, ya hear?<<<<<

doesn't the bumper sticker say:
"Welcome to Nashville. Now y'all go home."

hehehe. just a little bit of local humor. as for the non-culture, i have
to agree with you on some points, especially for teenagers. but it's
really not going to be my problem after August, because i'm moving back to
LA for school.

anyway, we do have a lot of great stuff here that's on the "fringe" of
country, like Dead Reckoning Records and the Delevantes, just to name two.
Nashville also has one of the few high schools in the country to have a
fully-equipped recording studio. even if it was originally funded by the
CMF or something like that, not a lot of country gets recorded there.
trust me, as Student Studio Manager last school year and the Executive
Producer of the Christmas album, country music is the last thing on our
minds, if anything because everyone associates us with it.

Meggs <--- they're coming to take me away, ha ha!
X-Phile PBS OICM3H Buckheads DATG MLA EOL DRCM LGMCB AH-FA NHS VOL USC-RHP
========================================================
Sometimes we plan ourselves into corners... I think it's better to have
life fall on you like serendipitous rain. - Emmylou Harris
========================================================

gen...@ix.netcom.com

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Jun 29, 1996, 3:00:00 AM6/29/96
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On 29 Jun 1996 04:44:50 -0400, time...@aol.com (TimeAlone) wrote:

>...As for the non-culture, i have to agree with you on some points,

>especially for teenagers. but it's really not going to be my problem
>after August, because i'm moving back to LA for school.
>

Ya gotta love that definition of 'culture'! I mean, I realize it's all relative.
But L.A. has more snakes than the hills around Naishv'l.

I pray that you'll escape safely once school is over.

-- Geno
Current Chicagoan, soon to be Nashvillian (is that a word?)

rand

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Jun 29, 1996, 3:00:00 AM6/29/96
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owe...@aol.com (OwensJM) wrote:

>I have lived in Nashville for going on six years and love it. I must
>admit, however, that it is the smallest place that I have ever lived. As
>far as cities go, it's tiny. Don't get me wrong. It is a warm, friendly,
>layed back , and easy going place. Yes it is relatively low in crime.
>But aside from country music, there is not a lot of culture here. There
>is the ocassional TPAC or Symphony, even an ocasional Ballet and Opera
>(both of which are a bit lacking, to be honest), but as far as art and
>culture, Nashville is on the bottom of the totem pole. I mean, even
>Mississippi's public radio station is rated better than ours!

I have lived most of my adult life in suburban Chicago. There was the
Chicago Symphony Orchestra, super Opera, literally dozens of play
houses, a multitude of world class restaurants, museums galore, two
world class zoo's, a potpourii of world class universities and
libraries (I am a Northwestern and University of Chicago grad). All
you have to do is afford all these wonderful opportunities.

It costs a family of four $25 to go to the Museum of Science and
Industry. Symphony tickets in modest seats will cost the family over
$100 excluding food, the U-505 submarine, and the coal mine. Property
taxes are at least twice what they are in Nashville. Sales tax is the
same. And one is honored to pay a substantial state income tax, too.

Speaking of taxes, are the services in Chicago and the surrounding
suburbs better. Schools.....Chicago's are the worst in the country
according to Bill Bennett. Suburban schools are better....so are
Williamson County, Tn schools. Are the police better (meaning less
crime and better enforcement)? Nobody can say.... so is it all worth
it.

We moved to the Nashville area because for all of the great things
Chicago has to offer, we can now take a vacation there and see and do
all those things Nashville doesn't have and save $3000 in property
taxes and $4000 in state income tax. With $7 Grand in my pocket, I
can now afford to fly first class to Chicago with my family, stay
downtown in a five star hotel, go to all the museums, symphony, opera
and still have money left over.

I'll trade chicago food for Nashville's lifestyle anytime.

Rand in Franklin


WIERwolf-1

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Jun 29, 1996, 3:00:00 AM6/29/96
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In article <31D4C4...@bga.com> Olin Murrell <ol...@bga.com> writes:

<--------------------------Snip------------------------------------>

>Ah, but the analogy, like all good analogies, begins to break down at
>this point. While I do contend that the primary difference between
>country and folk music is instrumentation and attitude, there are some
>songs which defy such crossover. Songs like "The Race Is On" will likely
>sound country, even in Japanese! And, I don't think there's a country
>band alive, or yet unborn for that matter, that could make "Billie Jean,"
>or "Thriller" sound country. There just aren't that many steel guitars!

I don't see how this breaks down the analogy. Sure, lyrics and
instrumentation are important in song definition. But this is so only to the
extent that certain types of lyrics appeal to a group of listeners. It is
still the attitude thing. Instrumentation is the same way. A specific
configuration of instruments does appeal more to a country listener
therefore the artist or producer seeking to capitalize on that appeal
will choose his instruments accordingly. Who knows... Maybe lyrics like
Michael Jacksons will appeal to those fans we call country listeners in
the near or far future. What's more, who is to say that they won't
demand a little steel guitar? Or even sitar for that matter. If that's
what the country fans want, that is what the movers & shakers will
provide. And if there is a country boy in Austin that plays a mean Sitar
and writes lyrics about gangs, or knocking someone up, he's gonna have a
job. I know this is stretching the limits of the imagination, but I
think my point is made.

>What this boils down to is the "attitude" thing is a starting point, and
>nothing more.

>Another example from an obscure Fred Koller song. The lyric goes "Hit's
>not that woman I'm gonna miss. Hit's her double-wide trailer, and her
>satelite dish." Can you really see Aerosmith getting away with THAT
>lyric? Hell, for that matter, Fred has trouble getting away with it on
>occasion. ;^)

One of these days, it might even turn around and you'll hear Metallica belting
out a screaming rendition of "Red River Moon".....<private nudge>

WIERwolf

Olin Murrell

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Jun 29, 1996, 3:00:00 AM6/29/96
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WIERwolf-1 wrote:

> I don't see how this breaks down the analogy. Sure, lyrics and
> instrumentation are important in song definition. But this is so only to the
> extent that certain types of lyrics appeal to a group of listeners. It is
> still the attitude thing. Instrumentation is the same way. A specific
> configuration of instruments does appeal more to a country listener
> therefore the artist or producer seeking to capitalize on that appeal
> will choose his instruments accordingly. Who knows... Maybe lyrics like
> Michael Jacksons will appeal to those fans we call country listeners in
> the near or far future. What's more, who is to say that they won't
> demand a little steel guitar? Or even sitar for that matter. If that's
> what the country fans want, that is what the movers & shakers will
> provide. And if there is a country boy in Austin that plays a mean Sitar
> and writes lyrics about gangs, or knocking someone up, he's gonna have a
> job. I know this is stretching the limits of the imagination, but I
> think my point is made.
>

Actually, a sitar has already been used in country music. Can't remember
the cut, or cuts, but Waylon used one, albeit one of those ridiculous old
electric sitars, and even Willie used one of 'em on, I think, "Still Is
Still Movin' To Me." However, that's nowhere near as far fetched as it
seems, as the sitar fits in with many other biblical era instruments, and
has much the same tonal quality as a banjo, dulcimer or fiddle. Even the
"attitudes" of sitar track with country music, being primarily an
impromptu instrument.

> >What this boils down to is the "attitude" thing is a starting point, and
> >nothing more.
>
> >Another example from an obscure Fred Koller song. The lyric goes "Hit's
> >not that woman I'm gonna miss. Hit's her double-wide trailer, and her
> >satelite dish." Can you really see Aerosmith getting away with THAT
> >lyric? Hell, for that matter, Fred has trouble getting away with it on
> >occasion. ;^)
>
> One of these days, it might even turn around and you'll hear Metallica belting
> out a screaming rendition of "Red River Moon".....<private nudge>
>

Now that, I hope I live to see.....I think. ;^)

Olin Murrell

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Jun 29, 1996, 3:00:00 AM6/29/96
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aspasia wrote:
>
> but wait, then you got told a lie in economics class. Consumers decide
> *based on what choices are available to them*. There's a mediator
> between producers and consumers. I'm not complaining about it, but the
> stations do decide what goes on the playlists, so there's a step
> inbetween.

As a looooooong-time radio veteran, I do complain about it. But, I fully
understand why radio stations are reluctant to take chances with unproven
artists. One station where I worked, KASE, a 4-time CMA station of the
year winner, they are the dominant station in the market, with audience
shares virtually always in double digits, and occasionally approaching 20
percent. Conventional radio research holds that an audience will leave
upon hearing unfamiliar music. Notice, I didn't say "not good," but
"unfamiliar." Big difference. At any rate, enough audience members tune
out, and their share begins to drop. When that happens, advertising sales
fall off, and folks begin to lose jobs, and not JUST at the radio station
in question, but at advertising agencies, businesses who made "bad"
advertising decisions, etc.

Yah, yah, the radio stations will eventually put what
> people ask for on the lists, but it remains true that people will ask
> for what they have *heard* and liked, and the radio is how they *hear*
> stuff.
>

Notice, at a live gig, what makes the tip jar rattle. An original tune,
some really fine obscure tune, OR a tune like "Mr. Bojangles," which has
more than 2 million certified radio airplays.

To be sure, the industry, all of it, dictates the choices given to music
consumers, but I don't really think it can be any other way. The number
of radio stations that have tried to buck this trend, i.e. local music
formats etc., and failed are absolutely legion!

Olin Murrell

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Jun 29, 1996, 3:00:00 AM6/29/96
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aspasia wrote:
[snipped]

>
> Naw. In my job, we actually talk about that all damn day long, and
> fight about it in silly conferences, thowing words around about
> whether words refer to words or things... talk, talk, talk, all about
> talk!
>

(In his best Bubba voice), I heard that, I did! The bane of this old veil
may well be the "business meeting." Seems the more heads you get to
talking, the less gets "done." Of course, that may well be for the best.
;^)

> I have to add Collin Raye's hit about sexism: "I Think About You". Not
> too great of a tune, but heartfelt, and right on the money. And, for
> God's sake, Martina McBride's "Independence Day" about alcoholism and
> violence. That gave me chill bumps every time I heard it.
>

Yeah, you're right about that particular Collin Raye tune, but he sure
did Tom Douglas fine with "Little Rock." Tom's an excellent "heart" song
writer out of Dallas, and has several more as good, or better. No other
cuts yet, though.

And, there's a Patty Loveless tune about divorce that has the best plot
twist I've heard in some time..."You Don't Even Know Who I Am," yet
another song that shouldn't have made it throught the current pitching
rules.

> Naw, I don't think it's pandering to the lowest common demoninator,
> depending, of course, on how you define "lowest!" :)
>

Here we go again! ;^)

My best definition of "lowest common demoninator" can be found in the old
joke about why they called Lubbock the Hub City of the Plains. 'Cause,
it's the slowest moving part of the wheel!

> PS: Who's good in Austin these days? Is David Halley still playing
> there? Who should I look for coming through New York?
>

Yes, David's still quite active. Just saw him at Kerrville, playing
guitar for Iain Matthews.

As for others, Sarah Elizabeth Campbell pops to mind, along with Toni
Price, and the sweet duo of Joseph and Theresa Brunelle.

There's an obscure little band down here called Stop The Truck that's
pretty entertaining, sort of skewed toward Reggae, and of course, the
inimitable Rusty Wier!

Come on down to Texas!

Olin Murrell

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Jun 29, 1996, 3:00:00 AM6/29/96
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aspasia wrote:
>
> It does seem that *one* thing that makes something count as country is
> that it be played by a previously identified country performer. That's
> not the ONLY criterion, for gawd's sake, so don't batter me with
> counterexamples. I notice that people are now calling the old eagles
> records country-rock. I *hate* the eagles.
>

And, they speak so highly of you. :)

Actually, I'm not much of an Eagles fan either, but their tunes always
did have more of a country feel than a rock feel to them. Not saying they
were country though!

> He can pick from *some* things. I doubt that if he decided to cover
> "Anarchy in the UK" that he would get much airplay on country stations
> :)
>

True enough, but he COULD cover the Allman Brothers, the Doobie Brothers,
and Lynard Skynard pretty easily.

> >Ah, here's where the "market analogy" begins to break down. We all
> >meander around with the notion that as record buyers, we get to make the
> >choices. Well, we do....choices between the crud the market offers up,
> >and if we don't take this week's crud, there's always next week's crud,
> >and of course, it'll be better crud, 'cause we've fired all the writers
> >and crudmakers from last week.
>

> Exactly. People get to choose from what is presorted for their
> choices.
>

Yeah, BUT the industry offers those "choices" based upon what they
"belive" are the tastes of the record buying public. It's kind of like
Robert Heinlein's Igli, and eventually it will eat its own tail. :)

> >> Have you ever met anybody who bought a Billy Ray record? Neither have I, but
> >> he sold millions..... That must be the new math. Maybe it is a Pinky & The
> >> Brain conspiracy to dilute the integrity of our creativity and thus take ovver
> >> the world. <nudge to all my fellow P&B fans>
> >>
>

> I know somebody who bought one. Thank goodness, it wasn't me. I know a

> country-rock band, now defunct :(, who used to threaten to play that
> song if drinks did not appear.
>

Boy, I bet that made the glasses rattle!

> >Watch it, or the BRC fans will come to our homes, and sing songs of
> >anthemic quality. They are legion, and they brook no nonsense where their
> >boy is concerned. ;^)
>

> arrgh!
>

Well, maybe they haven't found this ng yet, as they're pretty busy over
in rec.music.country. ;^)

Scot Quinn

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Jun 29, 1996, 3:00:00 AM6/29/96
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WIERwolf wrote... (among other things that I have been to lazy to clip and
tab like a good little cybernaut)


>The question remains, why don't the
>masses request what is (in my opinion) far more appealing? >Perhaps they
really do think that the Billy Ray sound is more >appealing.... I don't
know....

I think the hoi polloi need to be educated. That is the responsibility of
those who are putting the music out there. I think there is a real danger
of killing the goose that laid the golden egg. But I also think that we
rely too heavily on radio as our main marketing outlet. I believe (but I
can't prove it) that there are now overlords who are noticing the dollars
that this chart is generating, and there is now pressure being applied to
continue the numbers.

Radio doesn't seem to be able to justify the time and expense of helping
to break regional artists. Everything seems to be centralizing. I
remember the days of the regional hit record, when stations, advertisers
and listeners would get behind an artist and his record.. this would lead
to successful live appearences and localized sales that would garner
record company attention. The labels back in those days were more likely
to nurture an act on their home turf and let them grow. Now... it's
succeed on the national stage, or die. Could this be what's causing a
lowest common denominator approach?

I dunno either....

Q

WIERwolf

Olin Murrell

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Jun 29, 1996, 3:00:00 AM6/29/96
to
aspasia wrote:
>
> I recall a Valentine's Day show two years ago at the Beacon Theater:
> Willie Nelson with *full orchestra*. It wasn't bad. But, then again,
> the Atlanta Symphony just put on the "songs of Led Zeppelin" at
> Chastain Park, and I'm *sure* that was bad.
>

Never having heard the Atlanta Symphony do "Led," I'm quite sure I
wholeheartedly agree with your assessment. I HAVE heard the Boston Pops
do Beatles tunes, and while it was ok, it wasn't the same. Willie,
however, did do some recording in Nashville when they were putting
strings on everything, and survived it. 'Course, nobody listens to those
albums much any more.

> yep. I can't *define* what makes the difference between the two
> examples above. One was kind of cool, and sounded good, though not
> *very* country! The other was just a nightmare, the entire thought
> makes me queasy. That one's not concerned with country, but with
> mixing performance styles and going against the grain.

Ah, but "going against the grain" sometimes produces amazingly pleasing
results, as in one of the bands I recommened to you, "Stop The Truck,"
which skews toward Reggae. Oddly enough, there's something complimentary
there.

And something
> about attitudes, you're right, but I can't put my finger on what
> exactly. You know another weird one? Remember a couple of years agho
> when some guy whose name I have (mercifully) forgotten did a "country
> rap" song? I like country and like rap, but that made my gorge rise.
> Awful.
>

If it's the one I think it is, the Geezinslaws, an Austin band I might
add, did "Help, I'm White, and I can't Get Down." It was never intended
to be taken seriously, as they are a comedy act!

The really weird thing was Sammy Allred's mandolin solo, and the hardcore
hillbilly chorus. I thought it was a scream, but not at all
representative of anything resembling serious rap OR country. Sammy's an
old friend, and a former working colleague, and one strange old duck! ;^)

> And David Halley isn't country but the cover of "I Wish Hard Livin
> Didn't Come So Easy To Me" sure was. There are country songs that
> noncountry performers turn into something else, there are noncountry
> songs that country performers turn into purest high lonesome country.

Waylon Jennings once opined that he was a country singer, therefore
anything he sang was country. And, that's probably true at least to a
point. 'Course ole Waylon never done no rap tune.

I've worked several shows with David, and there's a LOT of country in
that Lubbock boy.

> The intuitions track a whole *set* of things, attitude definitely
> included, that all add up somehow into the recognition "THAT is
> country." It's like a family resemblance. You know how some families
> have a certain "look" that you can recognize, even though there may
> not be some *one* feature that they all share, but rather an
> overlapping *set* of things that all add up to a family "look"? Some
> have the family nose, some the family eyebrows, some the family
> smaile. They don't all have it all, but they all look like the same
> family and if you know enough of them you have no trouble telling that
> they belong.
>

Yep! Know what you mean. My wife is a twin. Not identical. Her brother is
taller. (sorry) He and she don't even resemble distant cousins, much less
twins, but she and her older brother could pass for twins. Weird!

Olin Murrell

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Jun 29, 1996, 3:00:00 AM6/29/96
to
Scot Quinn wrote:
>
> I think the hoi polloi need to be educated. That is the responsibility of
> those who are putting the music out there. I think there is a real danger
> of killing the goose that laid the golden egg. But I also think that we
> rely too heavily on radio as our main marketing outlet. I believe (but I
> can't prove it) that there are now overlords who are noticing the dollars
> that this chart is generating, and there is now pressure being applied to
> continue the numbers.
>

Well, of course they have. Once the suits get a-hold of a tune, art no
longer enters the equation. It's pretty much always been that way....a
reality of the bidness world.

> Radio doesn't seem to be able to justify the time and expense of helping
> to break regional artists. Everything seems to be centralizing. I
> remember the days of the regional hit record, when stations, advertisers
> and listeners would get behind an artist and his record.. this would lead
> to successful live appearences and localized sales that would garner
> record company attention. The labels back in those days were more likely
> to nurture an act on their home turf and let them grow. Now... it's
> succeed on the national stage, or die. Could this be what's causing a
> lowest common denominator approach?
>

Yeah, but them days is gone forever, sad to say. Actually, that's not
entirely true. To bring up the dreaded "folk" word, singer/songwriters
are finding airplay on hundreds of small commercial and non-commercial
stations around the country.

Plus there are a slew of independent labels for virtually all styles of
music that are mostly doing the development these days. Nanci Griffith,
for example, was on Rounder/Philo for several years before her major
label break. Mary-Chapin Carpenter didn't even quit her day job until her
first real major label single had charted.

Also, there are hundreds of performing writers out there who make a fine
living without the assistance of a major label. John Stewart comes to
mind. Among other things, he was a member of the Kingston Trio, and the
writer of hits like "Daydream Believer," "July, You're A Woman," and tons
of really GOOD stuff too! He's been making a GOOD living for years with
no major label deal. He did finally get one of the big independents to
start distributing for him.

Another act I know (name withheld for lack of permission), would take a
major pay cut, if they signed with one of the major labels.

WIERwolf-1

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Jun 29, 1996, 3:00:00 AM6/29/96
to
In article <4r45p1$5...@newsbf02.news.aol.com> scot...@aol.com (Scot Quinn) writes:


>I think the hoi polloi need to be educated. That is the responsibility of
>those who are putting the music out there. I think there is a real danger
>of killing the goose that laid the golden egg. But I also think that we
>rely too heavily on radio as our main marketing outlet. I believe (but I
>can't prove it) that there are now overlords who are noticing the dollars
>that this chart is generating, and there is now pressure being applied to
>continue the numbers.

>Radio doesn't seem to be able to justify the time and expense of helping


>to break regional artists. Everything seems to be centralizing. I
>remember the days of the regional hit record, when stations, advertisers
>and listeners would get behind an artist and his record.. this would lead
>to successful live appearences and localized sales that would garner
>record company attention. The labels back in those days were more likely
>to nurture an act on their home turf and let them grow. Now... it's
>succeed on the national stage, or die. Could this be what's causing a
>lowest common denominator approach?

Olin, I & Co. have been doing this for years. (he much longer than myself, of
course.) Difference is, nothin' from nothin' leaves....... you got it,
nothin. If someone offered me millions and all the fame I could stomach to do
Boot Scootin Boogie, I think I would probably do it. I can't speak for the
Bard, but I bet is eybrows would certainly pucker a bit too. Its easy to talk
about artistic integrity when you're poor. It's a different story when the
Docs are in front of you and a pen is in your hand!


WIERwolf

WIERwolf-1

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Jun 29, 1996, 3:00:00 AM6/29/96