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Monday, February 16, 2004

Guy being interviewed on KPCC this a.m. about new Woody Guthrie biography -- drag out the bromide about how his songs 'showed' or 'proved' that American popular music didn't have to be about romance, "like Tin Pan Alley," and how he showed the way for "Dylan" and "Springsteen" to "express themselves" in a way "the industry had never heard before." Who will speak for Jay Gorney (far as I know, the only Hwd songwriter to be seriously blacklisted)? Good, on the other hand, to hear "Pretty Boy Floyd" as an example of how far back the noble gangster goes in American song. (And not just: Villon to early Brecht to Guthrie (or vice versa?) to Gainsbourg to Biggie.) (To Steve Earle?)

From John Pareles' NYT piece on rock museums, yesterday: "The movie that awaits vistors entering the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame presents rock 'n' roll as a boomer revelation. It shows a young white suburban boy, surrounded by sterile, uptight 1950's pop, finding liberation in the sounds of blues, country, rhythm-and-blues and rock."

To self: Take closer look at Baraka's "Jazz and the White Critic" (and sequel in new Shuffle Boil, and Alex Ross' I-was-a-classical-nerd piece in the new NYer. (Ross is interesting: I think he's got to be wrong about certain things, but it's much too easy to misread him as an elitist/apologist, and he's usefully clear about how one might arrive at certain positions vis-a-vis pop.)

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