Outsider musicians can be the product of damaged DNA, alien abduction, drug fry, demonic possession, or simply sheer obliviousness. This book profiles dozens of outsider musicians, both prominent and obscure--figures such as The Shaggs, Syd Barrett, Tiny Tim, Jandek, Captain Beefheart, Daniel Johnston, Harry Partch, and The Legendary Stardust Cowboy--and presents their strange life stories along with photographs, interviews, cartoons, and discographies. About the only things these self-taught artists have in common are an utter lack of conventional tunefulness and an overabundance of earnestness and passion. But, believe it or not, they're worth listening to, often outmatching all contenders for inventiveness and originality. A CD featuring songs by artists profiled in the book is also available.
Folk art is one of the American South's most significant areas of creative achievement, and this comprehensive yet accessible reference details that achievement from the sixteenth century through the present. This volume of The New Encyclopedia of Southern Culture explores the many forms of aesthetic expression that have characterized southern folk art, including the work of self-taught artists, as well as the South's complex relationship to national patterns of folk art collecting. Fifty-two thematic essays examine subjects ranging from colonial portraiture, Moravian material culture, and southern folk pottery to the South's rich quilt-making traditions, memory painting, and African American vernacular art, and 211 topical essays include profiles of major folk and self-taught artists in the region.
“Music is a world within itself, with a language we all understand.” —Stevie Wonder, “Sir Duke” In 2003, young professor Ferentz LaFargue traveled to Paris, where his fiancée, Tricia, declared she wasn’t happy with their relationship, ending what he thought was a wonderful engagement. After days of “craying”—“that sorrow-laden blend of crying and praying delivered in perfect pitch by those in mourning”—Ferentz happened upon Stevie Wonder’s 1976 classic double album Songs in the Key of Life. Listening to it anew was a healing, spiritual trip down memory lane, helping him to come to terms with his breakup and reflect on how songs in general have been linked to his life. In this book, Ferentz invites us to get cozy and listen as he hits PLAY on meaningful tracks from Wonder and others, including Lauryn Hill, Wyclef Jean, LL Cool J, Beenie Man, Sheryl Crow, Roberta Flack, Donny Hathaway, and Black Sabbath. He recalls: How the fusion of rock and rap in the breakthrough Run-D.M.C./Aerosmith video “Walk This Way” helped to change an adolescent Ferentz from outcast to authority figure How Michael Jackson’s Thriller brought back a traumatic childhood experience How Kanye West’s “Jesus Walks” speaks to the tension between his Christian beliefs and his need to rip it up in clubs as a hip-hop head In the tradition of Nick Hornby’s Songbook¸ these words paint a portrait of a life framed by sounds, allowing all of us to think about what songs have been key in our own lives.
Joanna Newsom, Will Oldham (a.k.a. 'Bonnie Prince Billy'), and Devendra Banhart are perhaps the best known of a generation of independent artists who use elements of folk music in contexts that are far from traditional. These (and other) so called ‘new folk’ artists challenge our notions of 'finished product' through their recordings, intrinsically guided by practices and rhetoric inherited from punk. This book traces a fractured trajectory that includes Harry Smith's Anthology of American Folk Music, Bob Dylan, psych-folk of the sixties (from Vashti Bunyan to John Fahey), lo-fi and outsider recordings (from Captain Beefheart and The Residents to Jandek, Daniel Johnston and Smog), and recent experimental folk (Animal Collective, Six Organs of Admittance, Charalambides) to contextualise the first substantial consideration of new folk. In the process, Encarnacao reviews the literature on folk and punk to argue that tropes of authenticity, though constructions, carry considerable power in the creation and reception of recorded works. New approaches to music require new analytical tools, and through the analysis of some 50 albums, Encarnacao introduces the categories of labyrinth, immersive and montage forms. This book makes a compelling argument for a reconsideration of popular music history that highlights the eternal compulsion for spontaneous, imperfect and performative recorded artefacts.
Lost legends and supergroups, this book offers the best and worst music to emerge from the explosive breeding ground of the 1960s, 70s and 80s. Lovers, Buggers and Thieves offers a fresh perspective on the likes of Led Zeppelin, The Beatles, the musical legacy of Charles Manson, Skip Spence, The Monks, The Sonics, Bonzo Dog Band, interviews with garage punk and psych unknowns, Screaming Lord Sutch and other musicians dragged back from the edge... With an introduction by Eddie Shaw, ex-Monks.
Debut albums are among the cultural artefacts that capture the popular imagination especially well. As a first impression, the debut album may take on a mythical status, whether the artist or group achieves enduring success or in rare cases when an initial record turns out to be an apogee for an artist. Whatever the subsequent career trajectory, the debut album is a meaningful text that can be scrutinized for its revelatory signs and the expectations that follow. Please Allow Me to Introduce Myself: Essays on Debut Albums tells the stories of 23 debut albums over a nearly fifty year span, ranging from Buddy Holly and the Crickets in 1957 to The Go! Team in 2004. In addition to biographical background and a wealth of historical information about the genesis of the album, each essay looks back at the album and places it within multiple contexts, particularly the artist’s career development. In this way, the book will be of as much interest to sociologists and historians as to culture critics and musicologists.
In the spring of 1969, the inauspicious release of Captain Beefheart and the Magic Band's Trout Mask Replica, a double-album featuring 28 stream-of-consciousness songs filled with abstract rhythms and guttural bellows, dramatically altered the pop landscape. Yet even if the album did cast its radical vision over the future of music, much of the record's artistic strength is actually drawn from the past. This book examines how Beefheart's incomparable opus, an album that divided (rather than) united a pop audience, is informed by a variety of diverse sources. Trout Mask Replica is a hybrid of poetic declarations inspired by both Walt Whitman and the beat poets, the field hollers of the Delta Blues, the urban blues of Howlin' Wolf, the gospel blues of Blind Willie Johnson, and the free jazz of Ornette Coleman. This book illustrates how Trout Mask Replica was not so much an arcane specimen of the avant-garde, but rather a defiantly original declaration of the American imagination.
Set in Los Angeles in the early 90s, the novel chronicles the early days of an indie band as they meet, practice, make their first record, and get their first break/big gig. It’s also the story of the the flowering love affair between John and Jenny, the two charming if troubled guitarists/singers in the band. John is by day a misanthropic substitute teacher in the zany, sometimes horrific LA Unified School District; Jenny is an mysterious recovering child prodigy. Along the way, the couple and their bandmates make momentous discoveries about themselves and the Hollywood milieu in which they struggle to succeed, a world peopled by narcissistic actors, wannabe screenwriters, pretentious musicians, weirdo fans, crazy neighbors -- and an emu. The King of Good Intentions was originally to have been published by Henry Rollins’s 2.13.61 press in 1999. When Rollins decided henceforth to publish only his own work, Fredrick set the novel aside to focus on his musical and teaching career. Now it will finally make its long overdue debut.