Tuesday, September 23, 2008

What is Was......

Slim Gaillard, some time in the mid-1940's. One of the most interesting music personalities of the time. He invented a bizarre form of scat singing with nonsense syllables, played the piano with the backs of his hands and sang songs about cultures seemingly foreign to him. In this video,it is refreshing to see African American and Jewish American culture not at odds with each other. He had a song called Yip Roc Heresay, which was based on a dish he found at an Armenian restaurant. Almost eight, he finished off his long career appearing on rap songs in the late 80's. He also teamed up with Slam Stewart, a remarkable personality who would sing along with his bass and dance between breaks:

Where the hell are unique performers like this now? I have beaten the whole "It ain't like it used to be" critique of music to death, but I would sure like to listen to the radio and not hear recycled Clash filtered through recycled Green Day pass for alternative music or punk, or self indulgent singer songwriters who have traded in the profession's socially conscious mantle for endless navel gazing and ruminations about relationships that fail. Maybe you split up because emo boy and girl are a little narcissistic, no? Well I guess the accountants in the music industry won. A good tattoo and endless music lessions triumph over individuality every time. Every reality show features the same R & B "stretch every note so I can be heard" vocal intonation, designed to make mama and daddy in Kansas or Texas proud. Pretty, but much like breast implants. Despite the subjective aesthetics, the real thing, flaws and all, is so much more pleasurable to the touch. To be fair, Slim and Slam died poor, and Frank Sinatra rich, so the same thing happened then. It just seemed as though entertainment existed in the purest sense. You just have to look around at the endless nostalgia that exists among the youth for the music of the 60's, 70's, 80's and now the early 90's. Since that time, I can think only of Beck, Fatboy Slim, The Hives and the Dandy Warhols as a last stand for some sort of defiant indivuality, albeit ironic. There are other groups out there surely, but I'm not really listening anymore.

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