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User Name Thread Name Subject Posted
Colin Randall The role of the CD Reviewer? (69* d) RE: The role of the CD Reviewer? 27 Apr 11


I have been previewing, reviewing and writing more generally about folk music, and heaven knows what else, for 40+ years. It is a habit that started on my local paper in the North East of England, followed me to a local paper in London, picked up again after a spell of purely news reporting some time after I joined The Daily Telegraph, still rears is head from time to time in The National, Abu Dhabi and is a regular(-ish) feature at my website
http://salutlive.com

Never have I supposed that my view on a CD, live performance or anything else is anything more than that: my view. In terms of folk, I am a fan with a platform or two. I should be judged on whether my reviews inform or entertain and I am thick-skinned to accept that I will sometimes get it in the neck, whether from artists or from readers.

On the whole, I believe I have performed a modest service to the music most people coming to Mudcat love. Most of my written work has been in a mainstream setting where folk has often been neglected, mocked or completely ignored. It does no harm, in my view, to have someone on the inside to champion the music for what it is. I may occasionally have offended people, but there has never been malicious intent, and I certainly make no apology for criticising a CD or performance any more than I expect praise for being positive.

And I always think back to my days on that first local paper, when local amateur dramatic societies complained - rightly, looking back - that bored, pimpled young hacks were not suited to reviewing their productions. But the annoyance at being put down by ignorant cub reporters forced to accept night duties was nothing compared with the anger displayed when I - having reached the mighty status of district office chief reporter, aged 23 - sent a colleague who knew exactly what she was talking about, since she was also part of the amateur drama scene, to review a show. Her resulting piece was critical. "We might have known she wouldn't like it," I was told. "She's from a rival society."


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