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music critics,do we need them?

The Vulgar Boatman 30 Aug 09 - 04:44 PM
Gervase 30 Aug 09 - 04:22 PM
The Sandman 30 Aug 09 - 02:38 PM
Gervase 30 Aug 09 - 01:49 PM
The Sandman 30 Aug 09 - 07:49 AM
The Sandman 30 Aug 09 - 07:45 AM
The Sandman 29 Aug 09 - 07:35 AM
George Papavgeris 29 Aug 09 - 07:20 AM
The Sandman 29 Aug 09 - 06:26 AM
My Consistent ID 28 Aug 09 - 11:27 PM
My Consistent ID 28 Aug 09 - 10:55 PM
Jack Campin 28 Aug 09 - 09:12 PM
Betsy 28 Aug 09 - 08:35 PM
Betsy 28 Aug 09 - 07:59 PM
Peace 28 Aug 09 - 07:38 PM
The Sandman 28 Aug 09 - 07:35 PM
Gervase 28 Aug 09 - 05:15 PM
Tim Leaning 28 Aug 09 - 02:31 PM
The Sandman 28 Aug 09 - 01:43 PM
Gervase 28 Aug 09 - 01:28 PM
The Sandman 28 Aug 09 - 12:16 PM
The Sandman 28 Aug 09 - 11:32 AM
The Sandman 28 Aug 09 - 11:28 AM
Stringsinger 28 Aug 09 - 10:26 AM
Jack Campin 28 Aug 09 - 10:24 AM
Morris-ey 28 Aug 09 - 10:13 AM
Stringsinger 28 Aug 09 - 10:02 AM
The Sandman 28 Aug 09 - 09:40 AM
The Sandman 28 Aug 09 - 09:31 AM
The Sandman 28 Aug 09 - 09:10 AM
Jack Campin 28 Aug 09 - 09:01 AM
Morris-ey 28 Aug 09 - 08:43 AM
Smedley 28 Aug 09 - 08:18 AM
The Sandman 28 Aug 09 - 07:41 AM
The Sandman 28 Aug 09 - 07:38 AM
The Sandman 28 Aug 09 - 06:43 AM
Howard Jones 27 Aug 09 - 02:49 PM
Stringsinger 27 Aug 09 - 11:30 AM
Peace 27 Aug 09 - 08:58 AM
The Sandman 27 Aug 09 - 08:41 AM
Peace 27 Aug 09 - 08:40 AM
The Sandman 27 Aug 09 - 08:35 AM
Howard Jones 27 Aug 09 - 08:19 AM
Gene Burton 27 Aug 09 - 07:55 AM
Dave Sutherland 27 Aug 09 - 07:48 AM
Gervase 27 Aug 09 - 07:06 AM
The Sandman 27 Aug 09 - 06:40 AM
The Sandman 27 Aug 09 - 06:19 AM
dick greenhaus 26 Aug 09 - 04:26 PM
Dave Sutherland 26 Aug 09 - 04:20 PM
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Subject: RE: music critics,do we need them?
From: The Vulgar Boatman
Date: 30 Aug 09 - 04:44 PM

Švejk. Did you know that Jaroslav Hašek took it as a compliment when he heard someone say "You're about as big an idiot as Švejk"?


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Subject: RE: music critics,do we need them?
From: Gervase
Date: 30 Aug 09 - 04:22 PM

Sticks and stones, Dick. I'll trade you the 'pillock' in my PM for the 'prat' in yours! Anyway, this thread is degenerating into a childish and rather incomprehensible dribble now. I stand by what I said earlier - critics are useful beasts, and I'd be much more in the dark without them. And I'd rather read a piece by an articulate critic who was not a musician than by an inarticulate musician. So, Captain Swing, I think we should agree to disagree.


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Subject: RE: music critics,do we need them?
From: The Sandman
Date: 30 Aug 09 - 02:38 PM

Gervase,do we need posters who call other members Captain Birdbrain.
one of the rules of the forum,is no personal attacks.
Most members would understand the word Pillock,as abusive,and yet you have sent me another personal message,in which you call me a Pillock,please give it a rest.


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Subject: RE: music critics,do we need them?
From: Gervase
Date: 30 Aug 09 - 01:49 PM

I dunno about 'music critics do we need 'them' - I think it's more a case of 'proof readers or editors, do we need them?' I can't be alone in finding Dick Miles's posts increasingly difficult to follow!
It's not just blogs that provide an opportunity for the deranged and obsessive to make comments - the Mudcat has been performing that function for over a decade.


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Subject: RE: music critics,do we need them?
From: The Sandman
Date: 30 Aug 09 - 07:49 AM

i should make clear that M T teds post only contained the following
Subject: RE: music critics,do we need them?
From: M.Ted - PM
Date: 26 Aug 09 - 12:12 PM

As per the original post, the internet actually opens the door to more of the "Tom Cobbley" sorts of reviews, because, though every editor chooses his/her writers with care, internet critics, on blogs, discussion forums and in the ubiquitous "comments" postings, are self-selected.


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Subject: RE: music critics,do we need them?
From: The Sandman
Date: 30 Aug 09 - 07:45 AM

Subject: RE: music critics,do we need them?
From: M.Ted - PM
Date: 26 Aug 09 - 12:12 PM

As per the original post, the internet actually opens the door to more of the "Tom Cobbley" sorts of reviews, because, though every editor chooses his/her writers with care, internet critics, on blogs, discussion forums and in the ubiquitous "comments" postings, are self-selected.
ok, from a blog called Folk Yourself,this blogger has illegally,ripped off a recording of a vinyl copy of Cheating the Tide,
Some person purporting to be Captain Birdseye[which used to be my old pseudonym on this thread,before Gervase Webb and Geoff Wallis referred to me as Captain Birdbrain],posted this comment.
I hardly think this comment is self selected,and certainly was not posted by me.
Captain Birdseye said...

    Dick Miles is not 'a good English folksinger' - he's fecking terrible and he's naff on the concertina too!

    March 15, 2009 5:02 PM
It is my personal opinion,that whoever it is that goes around writing remarks like that about other performers,is an obsessive with a massive grudge,and needs psychiatric help.
to continue it shows that all blogs are not just sycophantic,self selected platitudes,but actually provide the opportunity,for deranged obsessive people to make unpleasant comments.
one thing that can be said in favour of music reviews,is that no Editor,would allow such unpleasantness to be passed off in a folk review without some qualification.
e g.he cant sing in tune,he constantly changes key in mid song,he cant play the notes in of a tune in the correct order.


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Subject: RE: music critics,do we need them?
From: The Sandman
Date: 29 Aug 09 - 07:35 AM

Dick managed to get into a completely pointless and protracted misunderstanding with him once, which is why I alluded to him.
it was not pointless,it was pertinent to this debate,it was about a music review that purported to be in Folk Roots,but in fact was not,hence the misunderstanding,if the reviewer had not stated that it had appeared in Folk Roots,and If I had worked on the principle,of not believing everything one sees on the internet, and had checked with Folk Roots, first, the misunderstanding would not have occurred.
I subsequently apologised to Ian Anderson,and received an apology from the reviewer for his misleading information.


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Subject: RE: music critics,do we need them?
From: George Papavgeris
Date: 29 Aug 09 - 07:20 AM

MCI, you missed out two: The one about confusing aphorisms for the truth and the one about witticisms and wit.


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Subject: RE: music critics,do we need them?
From: The Sandman
Date: 29 Aug 09 - 06:26 AM

my consistent id,you know nothing about the members contributing to this thread,or their musical creativity.
if through discussion ,the standard of musical criticism can be raised ,that has to be good.if the standard of musical criticism is low,no one takes it seriously.
seethe thread, music critics how can they improve.now I am off to play some music.


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Subject: RE: music critics,do we need them?
From: My Consistent ID
Date: 28 Aug 09 - 11:27 PM

ok, I think I got the gist of this

those who can do

those who can't teach

those who can't do either criticise

and those who could never do anything of any creative value at all ever
waste their remaining retirement life pointlessly bitchin at mudcat

..hmmm ???


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Subject: RE: music critics,do we need them?
From: My Consistent ID
Date: 28 Aug 09 - 10:55 PM

most critics are wankers
and most new music is shite..

there.. everbody agreed and happy..

so now lets all move on and make some better tunes and write about them positively


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Subject: RE: music critics,do we need them?
From: Jack Campin
Date: 28 Aug 09 - 09:12 PM

Ian Anderson is is the editor of fRoots, the world music magazine. Plays in a competent but less-than-major-league blues band, has a Madagascan wife and knows a lot about Madagascan music. Has rather a high opinion of himself but not to the point of crankdom. Dick managed to get into a completely pointless and protracted misunderstanding with him once, which is why I alluded to him.


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Subject: RE: music critics,do we need them?
From: Betsy
Date: 28 Aug 09 - 08:35 PM

My machine is "playing up " will get back to this ....

Betsy


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Subject: RE: music critics,do we need them?
From: Betsy
Date: 28 Aug 09 - 07:59 PM

I value the opinions of you all , and George P., is even more courageous in his willingness to put his his head on the block.
Sometimes you can be 110 % but sometimes you fall well-short because of other reasons - mostly due to "travelling" and tiredness.
Anyway a good friend of mine - highly regarded in the Scottish Scene by D


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Subject: RE: music critics,do we need them?
From: Peace
Date: 28 Aug 09 - 07:38 PM

Who's Ian Anderson?


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Subject: RE: music critics,do we need them?
From: The Sandman
Date: 28 Aug 09 - 07:35 PM

what attack on Ian Anderson.
I have checked my posted messages,for that period I do not know what the f### you are on about
you clearly have an over active imagination,not only are you imagining that the review rankles [it does not],but you are imagining I have attacked Ian Anderson.
you sent me a very unpleasant personal message,[some shite about drugs,and theres a luvvy and other obnoxious crap] to which I responded,
now get off my back and go and play with your land rover,or whatever turns you on.


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Subject: RE: music critics,do we need them?
From: Gervase
Date: 28 Aug 09 - 05:15 PM

Eh? I've had several PMs from yourself which haven't been entirely friendly, but I've sent nothing to you since the one and only message on August 16 upbraiding you for yet another attack on poor old Ian Anderson and on the spelling of your new pseudonym (advice which, I'm glad to see, you've taken).
Anyway, enough of that. There's nothing wrong with the first review. The writer says that your Lennon/McCartney setting seems incongruous set against your usual oeuvre. That's fair enough and clearly explained.
Out of print or not, it clearly still rankles after all this time. But it really doesn't matter. Get over it; it's a fair review, now move on.


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Subject: RE: music critics,do we need them?
From: Tim Leaning
Date: 28 Aug 09 - 02:31 PM

I need my music critics.
They stop me hat falling over me ears.


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Subject: RE: music critics,do we need them?
From: The Sandman
Date: 28 Aug 09 - 01:43 PM

your missing the point, Gervase,
as I have explained ,I have used this review,one because it is so old,
two because it doesnt involve any other professional artist ,I could have found examples of other bad reviewing involving different people.
three, because I no longer care a f###,the record is out of print,I AM NOT GOING TO LOSE ANY RECORD SALES ETC ETC,it does not rankle.
it illustrates the fundamental tenet of bad reviewing,do not make statements without explaining ones reasons,why is it incongruous to play those tunes on the concertina,it is never explained.fundamental poor reviewing.
by the way, please dont send another unpleasant personal message.


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Subject: RE: music critics,do we need them?
From: Gervase
Date: 28 Aug 09 - 01:28 PM

To be honest, I can't see much wrong with the first review. The critic clearly knows Dick Miles's stuff and has decided that this particular recording isn't his best - and has given his reasons for not liking it.
Still, 22 years on, it clearly still rankles. Maybe it is time to let go now!


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Subject: RE: music critics,do we need them?
From: The Sandman
Date: 28 Aug 09 - 12:16 PM

Jack,the point is this the reviewer clearly prefers traditional songs,perhaps he should not have been given the review,he doesnt like the Modern songs,but does he explain why? is the rhyming poor,are the tunes uninspiring?is the subject matter of no interest to him,it is a further example of a reviewer illustrating his musical prejudices,but not qualifing his criticism,in other words not explaining why he thinks the songs are poor.
perhaps if the album had been sent to a song writer,we might have got some constructive criticism.


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Subject: RE: music critics,do we need them?
From: The Sandman
Date: 28 Aug 09 - 11:32 AM

James Blunt ,poor fellow still waiting after 200 years for his chance to get up and bar the door,he must be very frustrated.


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Subject: RE: music critics,do we need them?
From: The Sandman
Date: 28 Aug 09 - 11:28 AM

who is James Blunt?I know of a John Blunt[get up and bar the door],was James Blunt,his understudy.


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Subject: RE: music critics,do we need them?
From: Stringsinger
Date: 28 Aug 09 - 10:26 AM

Before I hear howls of protest, I meant to Stan corrected.

It was Stan Wilson, not Stan Rogers, the latter would never be
guilty of such a misdemeanor.

Frank


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Subject: RE: music critics,do we need them?
From: Jack Campin
Date: 28 Aug 09 - 10:24 AM

Dick, of the two reviews of Playing For Time that you quoted, the longer one that you found more negative was the one that would have got me a lot more interested in hearing you - the reviewer was actually involved in what you were trying to communicate, to the point that he wanted more information on the background of the song that he found most significant. The second one depicted you as a free-reed James Blunt.


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Subject: RE: music critics,do we need them?
From: Morris-ey
Date: 28 Aug 09 - 10:13 AM

Dick

To answer your original question, no we don't need music critics any more than we need any other sort of critic.

However, they exist and are good or bad depending on what you expect from them and what they actually deliver.

People must decide for themselves what value to put on their views.

Your plea for objectivity is no doubt heartfelt, but in the absence of both objective criteria for reviewers and, more problematically, objective criteria for musical worth it seems a vain hope.


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Subject: RE: music critics,do we need them?
From: Stringsinger
Date: 28 Aug 09 - 10:02 AM

Good criticism can enhance the understanding of a performer. Sometimes the flaws
are as important as the good stuff.   For example, many songs about topical subjects have been written as well-meaning attempts to stir public consciousness. They have been performed by great singers and players. Many of these songs, however, are
hastily written, patched together in the heat of the moment and do not reflect some of the elements of great songwriting such as consistency in focus, revelation about human character, specificity where you "show rather than tell", rhyme schemes, stanzaic consistency and other factors.

When you bring these things to light, you improve the art of songwriting and you show
the separation between artist and the art. This is good criticism to me.

Sometimes a great performer will miss the context of a song. They get it wrong from the standpoint of meaning or historical background or just inappropriate phrasing and emphasis on the wrong words. Pointing this out to me in no way invalidates the
performer's essentially good qualities but sheds light on the performance in a constructive way.

One characteristic of this albeit kinda' crude is the nice singer-performer Stan Rogers
doing "Waltzing Matilda" as a waltz. He sang well, played well and missed the boat
on this song.

Frank Hamilton


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Subject: RE: music critics,do we need them?
From: The Sandman
Date: 28 Aug 09 - 09:40 AM

smedley and Morissey,You keep missing the point.
Iam trying to illusrate the difference between good and bad reviewing,I am using my own examples because I do not wish to involve other professionals,your attiude sums up what is wrong SUBJECTIVITY.you cant seem to comprehend that somebody might be trying to point out how reviewing could be improve without assuming I am doing it because I have had a RECENT bad review
no,I dont send out review copies havent for years,I send them to radio stations only.
people can sample my music at my website or on dickmilesmusichttp //www.dickmiles.com youtube,


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Subject: RE: music critics,do we need them?
From: The Sandman
Date: 28 Aug 09 - 09:31 AM

now.
here is why the first review is poor.
the reveiwer makes a remark which he does not qualify[concertina incongrous]etc.
2.he insults my motives for song writing.
3.He finds it necessary to comment[wait for it]on the cover artists name
4.he contradicts himself.
the single trad track is is handled with grace and ease,then states as a put down,on the principle that one should always end by saying something positive,I can tell you that my pressing had clean surfaces.[implying it was the only positive]
what this reviewer does is get caried away with the importance of his own pen,and wanders away [for at least half of the review on matters that are not to do with the recording, why do people change direction ,what are my motives for song writing.,he witters on about the fact I did not mention whether I knew the man in the Soldiers Prayer,What relevance does that have
if he didnt like the modern songs,fine ,but that can be said in one line.that review should be used an example how not to review.
a good reviewer.
should use the following rules
1.donot make unqualified statements.
2.try to be as objective as possible,Iagree it is impossible to be completely unsubjective,but use objectivity as a goal.
3.avoid verbosity,try and use one word not three.
4,tell the potential customer,about the music,not your musical prejudices.
5.do not waste readers time with drivel about artists motives,that is supposition,the customers wantsdetails about the recording nothing else.


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Subject: RE: music critics,do we need them?
From: The Sandman
Date: 28 Aug 09 - 09:10 AM

Smedley,no It does not rankle,I am using it to illustrate the difference between good and bad reviewing.
now these two reviews will illuminate this further.
Dick Miles playing for time gvr 2382
its difficult to guess why an artist decides on a charge of direction:DickMiles has always been associated with traditional English material but his new album has only one English folk,on One April Morning among nine other items.was itboredom with his usual repertoire,or an urgeto please some imagined shift in taste among live audiences?Maybe the lure of royaltiesfor several tracksare self penned or co written?Whatever the reason Dick Milesis making a stab at being relevantto these straitened and Thatcherite times-theres even a lament for a YOPS cast off,a callow youthof eighteen summers,who gives his call for Queen and country in Eighteen Year Jack.
the mood of the lp is decidely down beat with only a couple of polkas to end each side on an up.Sadly the effect is monochrome,where he tries for a languid effect,he ends up torpid where he should be plaintive hes mournful,and the wide variety of material ends up photographic grey.Theres even would you credit,an attempt at a Lennon/McCartney medley[Yesterday Allmy loving]which is [he searches for a charitable word]Incongruous on a concertina.
   The single trad track mentioned earlier is handled with grace and ease-why oh why doesnt Dick Miles go back to doing what he does bestan album of such material would have been a worthwhile project.the only modern song to pass muster is The Soldiers Prayer which is a Miles tune with a lyric that started out on a scrap of paper tucked into a book,but the notes do not know explain whether he was some long dead soldier odr whether Dick knew the man.
Strongly anti war the lyrictells of a soldier afraid to sleep,knowing what dreams will come to him.Iwould like to see Dick handle the song in a live performance because I guess an audience would feed him and improve the impact.
Guest musicians are Sam Richards on piano and synths,and SteveVerge
who contributes some strum along Bert accompaniment on the two polkas at the end of side one.
On the principle that one should always say something positive,Ican tell youthat my pressinghad clean surfaces,and sweet little oil painting o f Dick Miles aged 13 by[wait for it]Letitia Hicks Beach graces the front cover.would that the contents of the sleeve had soaked up a little of the Multi coloured palette.
contrast:
Dick Miles Playing For Time gvr238.
This latest album by Dick Miles oozes gentilty and expression.he doesnt so much sing a song as caress it with loving care and delicate concertina playing.even the more up tempo tunesare played with finesse and technical excellence that they need careful listening to rather than as background music
the tracks are a mixture of tunes traditional and Dicks own songs like Sweetheart of the East which is about Bury St Edmunds,the ethereal `¬The Singer and the Song¬ and the topically pertinent Eighteen Year Jack.
if you are in the mood for music thatis softly performedand pleasnt on the earthen this album will not disappoint you and if not ,buy it anywayand save it until you are. Derek Gifford


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Subject: RE: music critics,do we need them?
From: Jack Campin
Date: 28 Aug 09 - 09:01 AM

Dick obviously isn't going to give us the complete review of that old performance of the Beatles number any more than he's going to name names about anything else, so here goes with an attempt to see where the reviewer might have been coming from.

About ten years ago I was at the annual Collogue of the Lowland and Border Pipers' Society, and Dick Hensold announced a tune as "An Americn Air" - it turned out to be "Somewhere Over the Rainbow", which was no problem for his hyper-extended chanter. I heard that some of the pipers in the audience really didn't like that, despite it being a beautifully expressive performance. I think the rationale might have gone like this:

  1. we have a repertoire for this sort of instrument which isn't being played much and deserves a wider audience
  2. it's not going to get it if the instrument becomes seen as simply an exotic colour
  3. so let's keep the instrument associated exclusively with its traditional repertoire until such time as both get wider recognition.


Personally I'd say none of that really applies to the concertina, but I wouldn't be surprised if there was a fundamentalist fraction of the concertina world that thinks that way.a


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Subject: RE: music critics,do we need them?
From: Morris-ey
Date: 28 Aug 09 - 08:43 AM

Had a "bad" review recently, Dick?


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Subject: RE: music critics,do we need them?
From: Smedley
Date: 28 Aug 09 - 08:18 AM

Twenty-two years on & that review still wrankles ?? Maybe time to let it go.......


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Subject: RE: music critics,do we need them?
From: The Sandman
Date: 28 Aug 09 - 07:41 AM

for the record,I do not find Jims playing of anything incongruous.


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Subject: RE: music critics,do we need them?
From: The Sandman
Date: 28 Aug 09 - 07:38 AM

if a reviewer makes a statement such as Beatles music is incongruous on the concertina ,he should qualify or explain why.
it mught be acceptable for a reviewer,to make the following statement,this piece of music was witten to be played by the composer in a legato style,Joe Soaps attempt to play it on the Bowed Psaltery,is incongruous,because he cannot achieve the composers desired effect with ease on the instrument,that is good reviewing.
it is not acceptable to say Jim Couza should not play Bach on the hammerd dulcimer[because it is incongruous].
it might be acceptable to say Harpsichord music should not be played on the concertina,Ithink it is incongruous because,this particular piece requires the right hand to be louder than the left hand,and that is not possible on the concertina unless double tracking is used,and on this recording it isnt.
reviewers should try and tell us as much about the playing of the music,as well as what is on the recording,this reviewer told us nothing about the playing of the BEATLES MEDLEY,AND DID NOT QUALIFY HIS REMARKS,that is why it was bad reviewing.


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Subject: RE: music critics,do we need them?
From: The Sandman
Date: 28 Aug 09 - 06:43 AM

I have to disagree, it is in my opinion ignorance of the subject,as I said Lea Nicholson,was playing Beatles Music the Dam Busters march and doing it well[and getting paid for it] etc etc in folk clubs all over the country way back in 1973.
If the reviewer has led asuch a sheltered life that he hadnt encountered other music than trad folk on a concertina he should not be reviewing
this reviewer lived in Nottingham,at that time I used to see Reuben Shaw,playing his concertina in the co op folk club in Nottingham[his repertoire was the popular music of the twenties]he was incidentally complimentary about my playing of non folk stuff such as Woodland Flowers ,Yesterday,Washington Post etc
this reviewer had people right under his nose in Nottingham,playing non folk music.
he is supposed to be reviewing , why? i is it not a good review,because the reviewer tells us more about himself than the music
what the reviewers job is,is to tell us whether the playing is good or not,not to give his opinion about whether it is incongruous on a concertina.


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Subject: RE: music critics,do we need them?
From: Howard Jones
Date: 27 Aug 09 - 02:49 PM

Dick, in the context of the review I believe most readers would interpret "popular music" to mean contemporary pop music, not the popular music of earlier times. Lea Nicholson not withstanding (and Mike Hibbert for that matter), it would have been far less common in the folk world at that time for whom the reviewer was writing) to hear anything other than folk or music hall, and perhaps occasionally classical, played on a concertina. As I recall, attitudes could be still quite entrenched in 1987.

The reviewer was not writing an essay about the historical use of the concertina. He was saying he found your use of it for this piece incongruous. You may not agree, but that was his opinion, and the purpose of a review is to give an opinion. What he was in effect saying was that for him the arrangement didn't work. That is the job of a reviewer.

Whilst criticism in the academic sense should be objective, I see no reason why criticism in the music press should be. A subjective opinion is just as valid, and probably more informative, provided the reviewer gives reasons for his opinions. If a critic says, "This is crap", that's not a review; if he says, "This is crap because..." then that's valid criticism, whether or not you share it. The same applies equally in reverse - gushing praise is valueless unless it is explained.

A reviewer should know something about the music he is reviewing, and should have an affinity for it. The more knowledgeable, the better (although not when a critic uses it as an opportunity to flaunt his own knowledge rather than comment on the subject). If they are musicians themselves, fine, but being a musician is no guarantee of being able to critically review someone else's work, let alone write about it in a fluent and interesting way.


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Subject: RE: music critics,do we need them?
From: Stringsinger
Date: 27 Aug 09 - 11:30 AM

Ultimately, the purpose of criticism in music is to educate. Sometimes music critics
can be full of it. I have learned to appreciate certain musics by being exposed to criticism in which I have agreed or disagreed with the critic.

Everyone purports to be a critic. "opinions are like........... everyone has one"
but the role of the critic is to extend to the reader their knowledge of the subject.
"I don't know anything about art but I know what I like" is an intellectual prison which may give comfort to the inmate but does nothing for the art.

I think that the best critic is a practitioner of the art. Not always because there is that
peculiar line of subjectivity and objectivity. Still, I'd rather hear criticism by an artist that I admire than someone who has not had acquaintance with the artistic practice.

I'll listen, for example, to what Louis Armstrong or Charlie Parker have to say about
jazz. (Not Leonard Feather unless I care to learn by disagreeing with him).

When Pete Seeger says something about music I listen. Sometimes he is wrong but
invariably knowledgeable.

When a great conductor such as Leonard Bernstein talks about music, I would have to be a pompous fool to dismiss his ideas.

Frank Hamilton


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Subject: RE: music critics,do we need them?
From: Peace
Date: 27 Aug 09 - 08:58 AM

Break a leg, Dick.


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Subject: RE: music critics,do we need them?
From: The Sandman
Date: 27 Aug 09 - 08:41 AM

Howard
Lea Nicholson was playing Beatles compositions in the early seventies,some 13 years before that recording.
I have a gig tonight sorry ,I do not have any more time to waste on this.


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Subject: RE: music critics,do we need them?
From: Peace
Date: 27 Aug 09 - 08:40 AM

"A Good review,should tell the potential customer what sort of music is on the recording,give examples of some of the tracks and should be factually accurate."

That's a blurb. A review is the writer's considered personal opinion, imo.


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Subject: RE: music critics,do we need them?
From: The Sandman
Date: 27 Aug 09 - 08:35 AM

No, Gervase,it has nothing to do with whether someone likes the recording.
A Good review,should tell the potential customer what sort of music is on the recording,give examples of some of the tracks and should be factually accurate.
more latterly I received another good review in Folk roots,although the reviewer was critical of my blues singing,I have no problem with that ,he was right.
firstly. get the serial number of the recording right,
secondly .dont waste space, by making historically inaccurate comments about popular music being incongruous on the concertina.
thirdly. try and be objective as possible,I agree ,its impossible to be totally objective.
for the record[excuse the pun]that recording only had one traditional track,but that was not the reviewers point,
he said that Lennon Mcartneys music was incongruous on the concertina the potential customer does not need this subjective piece of nonsense,and it is nonsense ,the concertina[ever since its invention in the 1840s] historically has been used to play the popular music of the time,check out the Repertoire of the Concertina Bands,and of players like Tommy Williams,Gordon Cutty, music hall artists Pierre Honri , Percy Honri and more   latterly IN the folk world Lea Nicholson.
The reviewer was factually incorrect.


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Subject: RE: music critics,do we need them?
From: Howard Jones
Date: 27 Aug 09 - 08:19 AM

Dick, if you're going to quote a favourable review in full then you should also quote the other in full, rather than just pick on one line which you disagree with, so that we can judge both.

You may disagree that Lennon/McCartney on concertina is incongruous, but that's a matter of opinion, and one which was probably held more strongly back in 1987 when the concertina was still regarded by many as primarily a folk instrument. You are of course correct about the history, but the "popular music of the day" was somewhat different. I suspect you were aware when you recorded it that you were stepping outside the normal expectations for the instrument, especially at that date - perhaps that's even why you did it (and why not?)

It is still open to the reader to form their own opinion on whether or not it is incongruous - there are probably many who would think, "Actually, I'd rather like to hear that".

I agree it might have been better if the reviewer had concentrated on whether he felt that the arrangement actually worked, but even if he didn't like it, that is still his valid opinion. As long as he explains why he doesn't like it, that is what I would expect to see in a review.

Getting the serial number wrong is unfortunate, but typos happen in the most professional publications, and this is the sort of thing which the artist is entitled to ask to be corrected.


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Subject: RE: music critics,do we need them?
From: Gene Burton
Date: 27 Aug 09 - 07:55 AM

No.


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Subject: RE: music critics,do we need them?
From: Dave Sutherland
Date: 27 Aug 09 - 07:48 AM

Singabout August 1987.

If that date is correct it might be worth checking out who was editor of that publication at the time and why he would permit such an amaturish (sic) review to be included.


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Subject: RE: music critics,do we need them?
From: Gervase
Date: 27 Aug 09 - 07:06 AM

Hmm, so ten lines of praise is a good review, but a one liner that isn't gushing is a bad review?
I think I see where you're coming from!
As for incongruity, it depends on the context. On a trad recording I'd find a Lennon/McCartney track incongruous, but on a recording showing the virtuosity of a particular instrument or a 'pop goes the folkie' offering, maybe not.


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Subject: RE: music critics,do we need them?
From: The Sandman
Date: 27 Aug 09 - 06:40 AM

Singabout August 1987.
playing for time gvr 2382[they cant even print the serial number correctly]its 238.
the reviewer spends a whole paragraph[ten lines] pontificating on why do musicians change direction.
then he shows his ignorance of the subject in the next quote
[theres even would you credit,an attempt at a Lennon MCcartney medley Yesterday/All My Lovingwhich is[ he searches for a charitable word]incongruous on a concertina.
,historically the concertina has been used to play the popular music of the day,so it is not incongruous to play it on a concertina.
this reviewer was amateurish because he displayed his ignorance of the subject matter [the history of concertina playing],further amateurishness, the /magazine/ reviewer printed the incorrect serial number.
printing the correct record number is pretty damn important,if you want to sell any.


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Subject: RE: music critics,do we need them?
From: The Sandman
Date: 27 Aug 09 - 06:19 AM

here are two reviews that illustrate,the difference between professional and amaturish reviewing.
Southern Rag Dec 1984 Dick Miles Cheating The Tide.
Cheating The Tide is a beautifully balanced selection of material including almost everything from American Music Hall[or should that be Vaudeville] through to a magic version of Lady Diamond throughout the record the standard never falters,thanks in no small part to one of those supergroups that only ever seem to materialise in recording studios,in this case imncluding Martin Carthy, Sam Richards.SueMiles ,Tish Stubbs.
All the vocal tracks are delivered with that unassuming sincerity that Dick almost unconsciously projects on a gig.Contrast for instance his lugubrious delivery on the poignant Tommys Lot a strangely dispassionate comment on the First world war,with the deliciously understated jauntiness of The Man Who Sells insurance.Wonderfully subtle stuff.
But it is on the instrumental numbers that Dicks talent comes to the fore.His playing style is rooted in that of the old time concertina greats such as the late Tommy Williams,but has evolved over the past few years into an instantly recognisable Dick MilesSignature.
Dill Pickle Rag will turn any inspiring concertinist a delicate shade of chartreuse,The Cott is a richly melliflous slow piece.
Bill Charltons Fancy a dazzling compilation of triplets and quadruplets all classic examples of virtuoso level musicianship to be enjoyed simply for its own sake.
Alan Harlow Maggy StGeorge
that is a professional review in a professional magazine.
I will post the amateurish review shortly Dick Miles


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Subject: RE: music critics,do we need them?
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 26 Aug 09 - 04:26 PM

Does anyone really think he has the time to sift through the thousands of CDs that are released each week? And if he did, would he ever find something worthwhile that he hadn't been looking for? Critics and reviewers are simply filters--and their value depends on how they tend to agree with your tastes.


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Subject: RE: music critics,do we need them?
From: Dave Sutherland
Date: 26 Aug 09 - 04:20 PM

'but any uncle tom cobbley amateur,can be allowed to do a review.'
You rightly cite Roy Harris as one of the most trustworthy reviewers around. When Roy was moving to Cardiff he recommended me to The Nottingham Evening Post to take on his role as folk music correspondent on account of my involvement in the music and past experince in a similar capacity. However it wasn't as easy as that; a seaching interview with the Features Editor allowed me a few weeks trial. This few weeks is now sixteen years of following Roy, so presumably I'm doing something right.
I also contribute to a local, on-line magazine where none of my fellow contributers receive a brass farthing yet they take an immense pride in their work; ask the many professional singers and musicians who have had their work reviewed in "Tatters"
Finally I might suggest that there are a Hell of a lot more "Uncle Tom Cobbley amateurs" who have the wherewithal (but not the talent) producing their own albums for critics/reviewers to worry about.


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