Saturday, 7 February 2015

Holiday Music

I fancy myself hung as a thief; my secrets exposed, my vanities picked over and laughed at, my insecurities tweeted and my guilt revealed for things I had not done. Yet I know, the fault is in me.

What to listen to while navigating Osaka's underground network? These are highlights from the tapes I took on my holidays. I listened to several pieces from the 8 CD collection Times Ain't Like They Used To Be (Early American Rural Music) on the Yazoo label. Aside from documenting the music described in its subtitle, this series also attempts to present the best possible sonic reproduction of the recordings. This means that you get less of an academic history lesson and more of a sense of the thrill many of these performers can generate. Using only non-electric instruments and their voices they whip up, in many instances, a considerable attack and almost visceral delivery as they generate real power. This must have sounded spectacular in small rooms and halls.

The Four Wanderers sing a song showing a happy marriage of tune and imagery, with the repetition of lines echoed by the circular tune as the singer obsesses over the fact that the fault is in him and he must seek reparation and forgiveness. For us Catholics, this is a delicious message. The feeling that we are a sham, a mis-pretence, that we steal our good name from others more worthy while we deserve neither attention nor approbation. That we thieve our reputation and deserve our final exposure and execution. "Seeker in the wilderness, the fault's in me".

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