There was a nice tribute in The Guardian today to Nancy Banks Smith who has completed 40 years as a TV reviewer. It made me think about what I’ve watched over the last week.
I watch as much or as little TV as the next person but I’m really not given to watching much music. I don’t find it it too compelling to
have to know what people look like; sometimes it can even put you off. I did see two bits of music TV this week. Firstly I saw as much as I could take of the Grammys. Here was a case of the medium becoming the message. Each live performance blended in to another as everyone decided the only thing missing from any given song was the kitchen sink. Truly awful. (I hasten to add too that the winners bore little or no resemblance to good records that have come out over the last year – but that’s for another day.) It was all that is bad in the music business and Lord knows I’ve been in it long enough to recognise its bad days.
I decided instead to watch something which I recorded weeks ago and hadn’t yet seen: a BBC4 documentary of Fleetwood Mac. Many would say that my dismissal of the Grammys would be equally apposite for the Mac…but not me. Here was a great documentary which had the cumulative effect of doing the very thing any good music show ought to do: make you go out and listen to more of their music. On that criterion the programme was a resounding success. Sara, Dreams, Landslide…all songs that I had to hear again. Three great song writers in one band all giving their own story of being in one of the most successful acts of all time – then divorcing each other – well, that’s a story that’s got to be worth hearing. Conclusion…. keep getting back to the music. Ignore all the hoo-ha of Brits, Grammys and any other televised awards and celebrate what you hear and like. As E M Foster so beautifully put it, “Avoid all occasions which require new clothes.”
You can listen on Friday in your semet. A great double act of Charlie Dore and Beth Neilson Chapman, new music from Ben Glover, Midlake, John Hiatt and a special mention to Caitlin Rose (one to watch). We’ll finally get round to playing The Avett Brothers – which I’ve been dying to do since the start of the year. If that doesn’t convince you try this: the first track from, what must be the final record from Johnny Cash, American VI. All from 8 on Friday night on Another Country, BBC Radio Scotland.
Ignore the hoo ha and celebrate what you like – spot on!
Looking forward to hearing the Cash Material and John Hiatt (whose Across The Borderline is one of my favourites as done by Ry Cooder with the amazing cameo by Harry Dean Stanton).
I’m very much into my TV but if I’m going to see music then I would far rather it were live. The only exceptions to that for me would be recordings of gigs that act as a memento, all-time greats like the 68 Comeback Special and some of the more exceptional music videos. It’s often occurred to me that throughout my school and university years I was mostly listening to music that was very unfashionable and often had people point and laugh, but I’ve never stopped listening to something for the sake of someone’s opinion or listened to something just because it’s garnered a few awards that year. On occasion I’ve willed artists that I really believe in to get a little more recognition, but it seldom seems to work out that way. And of course shows like “Another Country” are always a great source for new music that’s perhaps a little off the beaten path.
Fresh from my whirlwind trip to Dundee this week — even afforded me time for a whistlestop tour — I’m really looking forward to tonight’s show. Between Beth Nielsen Chapman, Charlie Dore and Johnny Cash, it’s shaping up to be a great Friday night in.
Oh, and I’m writing that E.M. Forster quote down…
George continues to watch the American musical comedy drama Glee on TV. The music is very uplifting and the actors are extremely talented with backgrounds in Broadway shows.
I did see Taylor Swift on the Grammys. Lovely girl but gosh she can’t sing a note live.
Looking forward to The Avett Brothers and Cash tonight and maybe another live track from The Low Anthem Ricky? Good to hear you’re playing Ben Glover too. I’ll be at his album launch gig next Friday in Belfast. Shall I give him your regards?
Now you know, “your grace,” how the music died for listeners in the USA.
The only TV I currently watch usually have themes sung by The Who (Except for Dora the Explorer and How to Raise a Happy Healthy German Shepard Puppy Without Getting Your Arm Gnawed Off.)
Great program last week and listening again to the Feb. 4th program. Thinking you should open a venue called “Nashville On The Clyde.” I will come cook grits and peach pie. I think you had a blood transfusing whilst visiting and now have a bit of “blue grass and white lightening” in your veins.
Peace. Keep up the good work.
I also was glued to the Fleetwood Mac show when it appeared in the corner of my room one night. For someone who did not realise they were all going out with each other at different points I thought it was a great way to remind me to re-listen to them and it confirms that real good music comes from the heart and is often autobiograpical. I like the way these popumentaries (sorry!) add history for the lazy music fan temporarily stuck in their armchair and but there’s no substitute for live music as the recent Nanci concert proves (nice to meet you and the show’s producer Ricky and I look forward to the Nanci sessions coming up soon). Emotion came in barrel loads as she returned across the pond once more overcoming her “Bush-enforced” barren spell and laying her loving heart bare, once again inviting pure music lovers in to her worldwide family. On the one hand I appreciate it is healthy that we all have different tastes, one the other I would like her to receive wider recognition. Well done to Ricky for playing a part in her return. Ain’t it great to listen to lyrics that mean something ?