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User Name Thread Name Subject Posted
glueman Writing folk music reviews (124* d) RE: Writing folk music reviews 20 Jul 11

Spleen, I admit my recent exposure to the reviewer's role is limited to an occasional listen to CD review on Radio 3, however all reviews presuppose a model listener, or even that all listeners will like the same sort of thing. One person's florid fiddle playing is another's 'unique signature' and both are subject to the whims of fashion. Does any review stand up to a thirty year shelf life, or are all a glimpse from a subjective moment in time? If it's the latter I hope the reviewer would underscore his judgements with the writing in sand they inevitably are.

The point you make about trusting a reviewer and knowing his tastes is a fair one but how many reviews find space to include the judgement of a crusty old traddie, folk-rock psychedelicist, new wave revisionist for the same recording? Going back to the point about popular music papers in the late 1970s there was a Year Zero new broom that valorised anything contemporary and rejected the old almost completely (a few hippies like Neil Young slipped through the net). As the newbies revealed their sources judgements began to soften on older styles and today we'd think it ridiculous (one would hope)to judge something on whether it fit the prevailing fashion. To stand in public judgement on someone else's output is an onerous task and one doomed to failure. When someone points out, as so often happens, that the quirky album nobody got at the time is the best thing they ever did twenty years later, it's the reviewer, not the artist who'll have egg on his/her face.

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