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Monday, June 19, 2017


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Excellent commentary, Ed.

>>Country music like this was utterly despised by thinking people in the 1960s and 70s. I had a girlfriend who refused to let my Williams records in her apartment. Yet country music is really the same music as folk music, absent the left wing rhetoric. The timeless qualities it appeals to (women who cheat, lonely men drinking at bars) sadly cannot be politicised.<<

That the timeless qualities cannot be politicized enters into the explanation of why intellectual types, who reliably tilt leftward, loathe it so.

I had an insecure status-seeking colleague who used to brag that he listened to classical music only. But when a student of mine visited him at his house, the student discovered that he had a huge jazz collection.

Your quondam girlfriend did not appreciate the catholicity of your tastes.


Interesting commentary!
I'm very interested in your phrase 'without any redeeming qualities', especially in the word 'redeeming' as it pertains to music.
What would it mean for any particular piece of music to have/lack such a quality? Is there any 'good' non-redemptive music?
In what way could instrumental music be 'redeeming'? I'm thinking here of a guitar solo I listened to, that was part of an extended stream of instrumental music for evening listening - Grover Washington, Enya, Liz Story, William Ackerman, Andreas Vollenweider - that prompted me to say to my wife - "I don't know who that was, but I would bet he/she is a Christian artist". Either by luck or by piercing artistic sensibility, I was right.
The 'flavor' took the place of lyrics. It felt redeeming.


Your question is to Ed, but I don't think he is using 'redeeming' in anything near to a religious sense. He is just saying that the Patti Page doggy song has no positive qualities that compensate for its negative qualities.

What struck me was that Ed wrote 'redeeming properties' whereas 'redeeming qualities' is the more idiomatic expression, at least in American English, which may diverge from British English in this regard. I don't know.

Bill - I knew he was not referring to a religious sense; I was inquiring as to the use of 'redeeming' in a secular sense, and whether he was using it off-hand, as we all do, to mean ' positive qualities' or if he actually recognizes an edifying aspect of some music.
I did use a Christian example, out of habit, but did not mean for the example to exhaust the possibilities.
In any case, an enjoyable read.

I was indeed just saying that the Patti Page doggy song has no positive qualities that compensate for its negative qualities. I used 'properties' as an elegant variation.

Fortunately no one spotted that Woodstock was not in July 1967, but two years later.

The Phil Keaggy sounds to me derivative of The Final Peace by Jeff Beck. There was a trinity of guitarists in the 1960s, Clapton, Page and Beck, and of these Beck was probably the greatest, but he was one of those great people who never really got the fame or recognition they deserved.

David’s question of whether there is an edifying or sublime aspect of some popular music, or whether it is just ‘light’ entertainment is a difficult one, and deserves further discussion. Julian Barnes was once asked if he thought Dylan was as good as Keats, and he replied that Dylan was a great folk singer, Keats was a great poet, or something like that.

Yes, Woodstock was two years later. When exactly was the Altamont fiasco?

I could make a case for Carlos Santana being right up there with the trinity of 60's guitarists. Agree with you that Beck, overall, is still great and can still surprise.
(for pleasure: https://youtu.be/qizABmgE9Ss - so tasteful, so appropriate to the title of the song. I heard it one afternoon at Hyatt Prairie Lake here in southern Oregon, and the wonderful earthiness of the scene - kids playing on the shore, a pine forest stretching in all directions, a Little Breeze playing through the tree tops, a few sailboats moving slowly up and down in the sparkling water, and the sound of happy voices - complemented by that piece of music, was - is sublime the word, I wonder?)

But on to the question of edification/sublimity. As I've reflected on it, I see the question going in many different directions, too many for me to get a good grasp on. Still worth thinking about, though.

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