on life, music etc beyond mainstream

2018 24 Mrz

Those early works, dusted …

von: Manafonistas Filed under: Blog | TB | 9 Comments


Hello out there!

Artists and the distance they feel when confronted with early works, a special topic! Scott Walker won’t be singing, say, „The Sun Ain’t Gonna Shine (Anymore)“ again in a hurry. Doesn’t make the song any less perfect. Radiohead don’t generally do „Creep“ as a crowdpleasing encore. Kraftwerk all but pretend their first two albums don’t exist. Lou Reed panned Transformer and indeed most of his work on bad days (although on other days he’d proclaim their genius). Green Gartside isn’t enamoured of the early “indie” Scritti Politti oeuvre. Start asking Brian Eno about Roxy Music (with bright eyes), and you‘re history!

REM shrug off Fables Of The Reconstruction, The Smiths moaned about their debut, and Alex Chilton was less than enthusiastic about Big Star’s work. Talk Talk and My Bloody Valentine seem faintly embarrassed by the first things to bear their name, and Kevin Rowland far prefers his recent releases to his Eighties ones. John Lennon notoriously shrieked on the Plastic Ono Band album that “I don’t believe in Beatles”, though he was just doing the 1970 version of trolling. And read what Van Morrison says about Astral Weeks to undermine its value, you won’t believe it! And in the jazz field, Art Lande is very sceptical about the probably best album he ever did, „Red Lanta“, with Jan Garbarek. Not even to mention Keith Jarrett‘s response to journalists singing a song of praise on his Köln Concert.

Kate Bush disliked her albums The Sensual World and The Red Shoes so much that she restructured and re-recorded tracks for the ill-advised The Director’s Cut release in 2011. This had the effect of making lifelong fans feel like we were being told we had cloth ears, and that our fond memories were worthless. And that’s the awkward thing when our favourite bands slag off the records which made us first fall in puppy love with them. It feels like they’re telling you you’re a mug. You got duped. (Ever get the feeling …?)

Except you didn’t, because what the listener hears is what the listener hears, and therefore you’re right. You’re no more wrong because the source tells you so than you are if some reviewer says your favourite record sucks. The artist is of course coming at it from an extremely subjective position, laced with equal parts hubris and self-doubt. Eugene O’Neill wanted the manuscript to Long Day’s Journey Into Night buried: his widow disobeyed. What did Eugene know?

Thank you for reading, best, Chris!


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  1. Lajla:

    Es wird jetzt viel über die 68er geschrieben, nachgedacht …

    Geformt wurde ich mehr von der Musik von 1966. Ja auch von The Walker Brothers/The sun ain’t gonna shine anymore. Und mir fallen ein:

    Small Faces / All or Nothing
    Junior Walker and the All Stars / Road Runner
    The Who / Substitute
    Bob Dylan / I want you
    The Outsiders / Touch
    Cream / I feel free
    Simon and Garfunkel / Homeward bound
    (Anthem for Seehofer:))
    The Rolling Stones / 19th Nervous breakdown
    The Velvet Underground / I“LL be your mirror
    The Troggs / Wild Thing
    The Beatles / Nowhere Man
    The Birds / Eight Miles High
    The Hollies / Bus stop

    Und was war schon zu hören von den Kinks?

  2. Jochen:

    „Sunny Afternoon“ :)

    In 1966 I was eight, in the second class of a small village school. In the break at the schoolyard I vainly tried to form and conduct a quartet of classmates singing a Beach Boys song in four voices: „Barp, Barp, Barpe Rain.“

    Years, no, decades later I realized that it had to be „Barbara Ann“.

  3. Lajla Nizinski:

    Das waren bestimmt „good good vibrations“.

  4. Michael Engelbrecht:

    Well, Chris, small correction, start your google translator!

  5. Brian Whistler:

    In the Jazz world, these things also happen. I remember once meeting Art Lande for the first time, and gushingly telling him how much I loved Red Lanta, the ECM classic duo album with Jan Garbarek. He replied, “Oh, that old thing?”

  6. Michael Engelbrecht:

    Well, the best release of 2018 will probably be the White Album of The Beatles in 5:1 surround sound, and, yes, it has originally been released on November 22, 1968!

  7. Brian Whistler:

    Also, I am reminded of Zappa messing up We’re Only in it for the Money and a couple other things from the early Zmothers period. He apparently didn’t like the original drum and bass sounds / parts and re-recorded them for the “definitive” versions, which nobody liked but Frank.

  8. Lajla Nizinski:

    Brian, as far as I remember it was Zappa himself, who invited everyone, who hears this music to join him, to become „a member of the United Mutations“ – FREAK OUT. On the track „Trouble comin‘ every day“ he mixed so many styles, which I really adored. This was kind of a mirror of what was going on with the police, the riots and the young American generation.

  9. Michael Engelbrecht:

    Das Beste kommt am Schluss:)

    From your list, Lajla, my top 3 are:

    The Beatles / Nowhere Man
    The Birds / Eight Miles High
    The Hollies / Bus stop

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