July 28 - August 4, 1997
recently came into possession of well over three-thousand 45-rpm
records from the 1950s. How I obtained them is a long story involving
a high-school friend, one of her parents's bad judgment, and a
divorce, but that's not important. What's important is that my
lucky windfall has given me detailed exposure to the early era
of rock-n-roll. Now, finally, I can gain first-hand understanding
of where a lot of today's music originated.
I'm not the only one so intrigued by the past. All over America, people are going back to where it all began -- or so it would seem from this week's Weekly Wire music section. The lead story examines the retro phenomenon, describing how it goes in cycles, and sometimes cycles within cycles. Dizzying, ain't it? Again and again, musicians and listeners yearn for a revival of revivalism. And they don't always agree on what to revive.
So while one segment of the music-creating community hearkens back to the modernistic pop of the '80s (see last week's music section for details), another applies CPR to the twitchy body of early rap music (as in this piece on late '70s rappers The Sugarhill Gang). Many, though, prefer to look 30 or 40 years farther into the past, when country, R&B, and rockabilly were on the cutting edge -- and had lots of bright new blood to prove it.
For more evidence, look at this piece about Greg Garing, a roots-revival type of guy who is now working hard to live beyond hype that has compared him to country's most influential crooner, Hank Williams. Or try this story about folklorist Alan Lomax, whose anthropological recordings of deep-South musicians and other authentic, so-rootsy-they're practically-truffles types are currently enjoying a profitable reissue on Rounder Records.
And then there are the bands that really want to get back to their roots, even if that means reliving a time when hitting rocks and sticks together was considered the hip new thing. I'm talking about the tribalistic Crash Worship, who are currently touring with The Duarte Six. A concert preview gives the low-down.
Other articles focus on bands both classic and modernistic, or in the case of less fortunate artists, both derivative and pretentious. These include:
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