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Remixing Lomax

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Michael S 20 Feb 03 - 09:28 PM
uncle bill 20 Feb 03 - 09:49 PM
uncle bill 20 Feb 03 - 09:52 PM
Art Thieme 20 Feb 03 - 10:04 PM
WFDU - Ron Olesko 20 Feb 03 - 10:16 PM
Stilly River Sage 20 Feb 03 - 11:42 PM
Neighmond 20 Feb 03 - 11:49 PM
WFDU - Ron Olesko 21 Feb 03 - 12:06 AM
annamill 21 Feb 03 - 12:10 AM
Charlie Baum 21 Feb 03 - 12:51 AM
Blackcatter 21 Feb 03 - 01:10 AM
Ron Olesko 21 Feb 03 - 09:30 AM
Michael S 21 Feb 03 - 09:36 AM
Art Thieme 21 Feb 03 - 10:46 AM
elijahwald 21 Feb 03 - 11:08 AM
McGrath of Harlow 21 Feb 03 - 11:21 AM
Peter T. 21 Feb 03 - 11:41 AM
Stilly River Sage 21 Feb 03 - 11:49 AM
Ron Olesko 21 Feb 03 - 01:32 PM
Peter T. 21 Feb 03 - 02:56 PM
Ron Olesko 21 Feb 03 - 02:59 PM
McGrath of Harlow 21 Feb 03 - 03:38 PM
Ron Olesko 21 Feb 03 - 03:46 PM
Stilly River Sage 21 Feb 03 - 04:08 PM
Ron Olesko 21 Feb 03 - 04:12 PM
Stilly River Sage 21 Feb 03 - 04:31 PM
Peter T. 21 Feb 03 - 04:57 PM
pattyClink 21 Feb 03 - 05:14 PM
McGrath of Harlow 21 Feb 03 - 06:52 PM
Stilly River Sage 21 Feb 03 - 07:01 PM
McGrath of Harlow 21 Feb 03 - 07:11 PM
kytrad (Jean Ritchie) 21 Feb 03 - 07:14 PM
dick greenhaus 21 Feb 03 - 08:04 PM
Art Thieme 21 Feb 03 - 09:59 PM
Richie 21 Feb 03 - 10:10 PM
WFDU - Ron Olesko 21 Feb 03 - 10:44 PM
WFDU - Ron Olesko 21 Feb 03 - 10:45 PM
Art Thieme 21 Feb 03 - 11:40 PM
Blackcatter 22 Feb 03 - 12:01 AM
WFDU - Ron Olesko 22 Feb 03 - 12:32 AM
Neighmond 22 Feb 03 - 12:52 AM
Peter T. 22 Feb 03 - 10:21 AM
Bobert 22 Feb 03 - 10:39 AM
WFDU - Ron Olesko 22 Feb 03 - 12:29 PM
Michael S 22 Feb 03 - 01:23 PM
Roger the Skiffler 24 Feb 03 - 09:42 AM
Blackcatter 24 Feb 03 - 01:11 PM
Ron Olesko 24 Feb 03 - 01:29 PM
Cluin 24 Feb 03 - 01:36 PM
Ron Olesko 24 Feb 03 - 01:40 PM
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Subject: Remixing Lomax
From: Michael S
Date: 20 Feb 03 - 09:28 PM

"Remixing Lomax" was the title of a panel discussion at the recent Folk Alliance conference, designed to preview a new Rounder Records project.

Rounder, as you probably know, has been working with the Lomax estate and releasing scads of Lomax field recordings. For an upcoming CD, they will be using vocals from those recordings, augmented by newly recorded backing tracks. In a preview, I heard a prisoner (name unknown to me) singing John Henry, backed by new accompaniment from New Orleans pianist Henry Butler and Tony Trischka on banjo. I admit, it sounded pretty good.

They're not only recording new accompaniments. In some cases, they're sampling bits of the original vocals, making loops of particular segments, and creating new sound collages (my phrase)--just building new songs using digital technology, with the field vocal as a base. They tampered with Almeda Riddle's vocal in one case, "correcting" her original failure to adhere to a regular meter. In the view of one observer, they made her sound like a more conventional country singer, taking the emotion away.

This is being done with the full cooperation of the Lomax estate. Alan's daughter was present, and said he loved developments of the last decade in which musicians used the technology of recording itself to sample older sounds and create new ones. He loved hip-hop culture, in which turntables and records were used to create new sounds. She says he'd approve. Rounder insists that all singers will be credited, royalties paid, and links to the past drawn clearly.

The audience was divided. Some didn't want messing with the old stuff--just use new singers and leave the stuff alone. Others thought the project shows respect for the singers. Kids today sample James Brown and Otis Redding, because those artists are an important part of the culture. This treats the Lomax artists similarly--their stuff is worth sampling too. Plus, the originals will always remain, new listeners will want to check them out for the first time, and on and on.

I felt like it was 1958 and I was hearing debate about The Kingston Trio and Tom Dooley. Not a perfect analogy, but you get the drift. I was wondering what mudcatters thought of this. Comments?

Peace,
Michael


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Subject: RE: Remixing Lomax
From: uncle bill
Date: 20 Feb 03 - 09:49 PM

Why not , if it turns on some young people to music history then its a good thing. As you pointed out, the originals will always be there.


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Subject: RE: Remixing Lomax
From: uncle bill
Date: 20 Feb 03 - 09:52 PM

Also, if Rounder is involved, I think the proper respect will be given. If it was Sony, I might not feel the same way.


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Subject: RE: Remixing Lomax
From: Art Thieme
Date: 20 Feb 03 - 10:04 PM

!4%#678$#@!3577%#358#%#% !!
@*&%$&^#587#%8790#%&357#%*4
@#6#%*674*)$7@&$^(%@#!*$%357#@!$^**30@@!23%

It ain't art, but I know what I like!!!

To me, it'd be worthless tripe.

Art Thieme


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Subject: RE: Remixing Lomax
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 20 Feb 03 - 10:16 PM

I am so sorry I missed it.   From reports I've heard it is far from worthless tripe.   This is a living tradition, and even though the samples that they remixed were from mostly dead artists, the spirit comes through.    Curmudgeons may grumble, but I always feel that anything that can draw attention to these recordings is a healthy project.   

Michael, did you catch the Nashville Sings Woody concert?   There were some remarkable artists re-working some of Woody's classic songs as well as some "new" songs from words that were never set to music. I was most impressed with the German artist Wentzel as well as Rob Wasserman and D.J. Logic. I think it showed the relevance of Woody to a new audience. It doesn't replace the old recordings, it merely compliments them.

With apologies to Marshall McCluen, the message will come through regardless of the media.

Ron


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Subject: RE: Remixing Lomax
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 20 Feb 03 - 11:42 PM

I heard something on NPR this morning, I think, about a new CD of eclectic songs that are a blend of samples from historic ethnographic collection pieces and new music accompanyment. The bits they played were so short I didn't feel I could form an educated opinion about the practice. A brief search just now didn't come up with any names to post here. But I know I heard it! There was one song I liked in particular, a girl singing a rope jumping song.

SRS


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Subject: RE: Remixing Lomax
From: Neighmond
Date: 20 Feb 03 - 11:49 PM

I think Almeda Riddle had one of the purest sweetest voices of the hills, this side of the river Jordan.

Listen to this:

http://www.lyon.edu/wolfcollection/songs/riddlebury1240.mp3


All due respect to the technicians, I think it's no less than a sin to tamper with her or any of those old singers. They are mostly gone, never to sing again. To alter what they did after their demise is a rotten shame.

Chaz


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Subject: RE: Remixing Lomax
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 21 Feb 03 - 12:06 AM

They aren't altering what they did because those recordings still exist and are preserved.   

They are using these recordings as a base for creating something new. It is no different from singing a song - your voice or instrument ALTERS the original folk song in the same manner that the Lomax remixes are doing. An argument could be made that Almeda Riddle ALTERED the tradition when she sang into the microphone in the first place.

Sorry to disagree, but this type of recordings is NOT a rotten shame, it is just another artist interpretation.   Folk songs are not meant to be museum pieces.


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Subject: RE: Remixing Lomax
From: annamill
Date: 21 Feb 03 - 12:10 AM

They should do both. The tripe and the originals. If the tripe was done well, I'd buy it. I would certainly buy the originals.

Sorry, Art, Babe!

Love, Annamill


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Subject: RE: Remixing Lomax
From: Charlie Baum
Date: 21 Feb 03 - 12:51 AM

NPR's "All Things Considered" ran a piece on a group called CLothesline Revival on its show Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2003.

Described in the precis as: "Conrad Praetzel and Robert Powell take old American ballads and folk songs and transform them into modern works. Their band is called Clothesline Revival. Chris Nickson reviews the album Of My Native Land, from the label Paleo Music."

You may be able to listen to the segment by clicking here

I heard the pieces, and while Clothesline Revival may be trying to create something new by sampling the Lomax originals and adding backing tracks, I don't think they're an improvement. I prefer the unadulterated originals. I'm not saying that it would be impossible to add to the original in a way that added value, but it would be difficult. This group hasn't.

--Charlie Baum


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Subject: RE: Remixing Lomax
From: Blackcatter
Date: 21 Feb 03 - 01:10 AM

My issue with anything like this is the simple thing: why do people think it's ok to modify someone else's piece of art without their permission? I really don't get that - to me, sampleing is a bit different, in that it sort of takes a musical "quote" and uses it in another way, but most of what I've heard doesn't change the sample.

Changing the song - adjusting timing, editing out certain performances and adding others - all that stuff just seems kind of unfair to a person who, just because their dead, has no say how other treat it.

I don't know - my attitude always is that if you want a song to sound a particular way, do it yourself. I took exception to Joan Baez' version of Eric Bogle's "The Band Played Waltzing Matilda" because she dropped parts of a couple verses which ended up changing the meaning of the song - if she wanted to share that meaning with her fans - why not write her own song?

That being said, I would assume that if Rounder is involved, they'll give credit where credit is due, etc.

pax yall


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Subject: RE: Remixing Lomax
From: Ron Olesko
Date: 21 Feb 03 - 09:30 AM

Some good points Blackcatter.   I do remember something that Utah Phillips once said, and this is not a direct quote but to the best of my memory - he said that nobody "owns" a song - once it is written it is out there and everyone owns it. I agree with you about the different versions of Bogle's song. I don't care for the Baez version either.   But every now and then I can appreciate a Krispy Kreme dougnut as opposed to the Dunkin Dougnut version.

They aren't modifying someone's piece of art - that art still exists in the artists vision. They are creating something new - and it isn't meant to be an improvement, just another vision.

Woody Guthrie never wrote an original tune. As Arlo has noted, Woody felt it was best to take an existing song that people know and create new words if he wanted someone to start singing his song. Sort of gives the audience a head start on learning the song.

It isn't right to take someones art without giving them credit and/or financial consideration.

With all that said, I too prefer the original versions - Almeda Riddle is someone that more people should be listening to. IF a new version of one of her songs creates an interest, or even an awareness of her body of work, then I think the project has succeeded on a secondary level.    Often I will hear an artist "cover" another artist's song, usually someone that I haven't been familiar with.   It will cause me to search out that artists and hear more of what they had to offer.

This is a complicated issue.


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Subject: RE: Remixing Lomax
From: Michael S
Date: 21 Feb 03 - 09:36 AM

Ron Olesko asked me a specific question, to which I wanted to respond. I did see the Woody Guthrie tribute in Nashville and I enjoyed it. I loved Wentzel but was unable to get into the piece by Rob Wasserman and DJ Logic. In the latter case, the sounds just didn't please my ears and I couldn't properly hear the words coming from the taped voice of Studs Terkel. That's just subjective aesthetics, however. I have no philosophical problem with the fact that they gave the Guthrie lyrics their own spin.

I do think that taking bits of something already recorded and incorporating that into a new piece is different from performing your own interpretation of someone else's lyrics. Songs are meant to be sung, and every singer will interpret them differently. Guthrie was an unabashed song "stealer" himself. In the two particular cases under discussion, I believe that Guthrie never even recorded the songs or gave them melodies. They existed only as lyrics, wide open for musical interpretation. (I know that was true of several pieces performed that night, and I think these two were among them.)

That said, I went into the panel on Remixing Lomax quite skeptical, and emerged content with what they are doing. The argument that affects me the most stems from the truth--largely unfamiliar to me--that sampling is rampant today among younger folks making music. It's a mark of respect for the work sampled. It shows that that earlier work has pride of place among the countless cultural referents that float around us. That approach is (at least to me) a relatively new thing. So I oughta get used to it, I say to myself, cause it does have positive meaning to those doing it, and those digging it.

I'm troubled by the fact that they may distort a vocal line, though the techies at the seminar said some of that is inherent in sampling--the need to make an evenly metered vocal loop or some such thing (over my non-techie head). So be it. I've lost count of the folkies older than me (I'm 48) who admit they got into trad music because of the Kingston Trio, etc. It will happen for a new generation, just through different types of interpretation. Don't like it, don't buy it, but the old will stay around--probably longer if we don't let it gather dust.

By the way, the still unreleased Rounder project is called Tangle Eye (another attendee heard "Tangled" Eye--maybe they're right).

Peace,
Michael


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Subject: RE: Remixing Lomax
From: Art Thieme
Date: 21 Feb 03 - 10:46 AM

Like cloning or alchemy (if it had worked), or many of this world's advancements along the way toward, and I paraphrase, "better things for better living through chemestry" (or nuclear fission chips )(pun intended), if they CAN do it, they WILL do it.

Art Thieme


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Subject: RE: Remixing Lomax
From: elijahwald
Date: 21 Feb 03 - 11:08 AM

I would suggest that this whole discussion has missed a basic point of what is going on in the Rounder remixes. Which is, whether one thinks sampling and such is legitimate or not, what does it have to do with folk music? If electronic sampling of old recordings, done to a modern dance beat, is a legitimate contemporary folk style, why doesn't folk alliance invite some of the major contemporary sampling folks down to alliance? If not, why does it make it more "folk" if the modern dance music uses material collected by Alan Lomax fifty years ago? If I cut a Rembrandt painting up and make a collage out of it, that can be a viable artistic statement, but obviously it is modern art, not part of the classical Dutch painting tradition. Or to put it differently, it is MY statement, not Rembrandt's. If the Rounder folks are arguing that people have a right to make contemporary music using old recordings, I would not argue. (Though I think it stinks if they feel they have a better right than some mixmaster in Brooklyn because they have the money to control this historic catalogue.) If they are arguing that this is a way of introducing a new audience to Almeida Riddle, I would refer them back to the Rembrandt collage, and ask whether such works -- whatever other value they may have -- are doing Rembrandt any favors. I did not know Almeida Riddle, but it seems to me that if she had been into the latest hip sounds of her day, she would have been singing Jo Stafford, not ancient ballads.....


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Subject: RE: Remixing Lomax
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 21 Feb 03 - 11:21 AM

What Art Thieme said both times.

Singing an old song your way, and even changig the words and the tune to fit teh way you sing, that is fair enough, and it can stand or fall on its own merits.

But messing around with what people sang and played is different. When it's a matter of tryoing to make it sound more lkke it really sounded like, by taking out distirtion introduced by the recording process, that is one thing - but : "They tampered with Almeda Riddle's vocal in one case, "correcting" her original failure to adhere to a regular meter." That's just disrespectful. And the idea that singing has to always "adhere to a regular meter" is musically and culturally illiterate.


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Subject: RE: Remixing Lomax
From: Peter T.
Date: 21 Feb 03 - 11:41 AM

I confess I don't understand the virtue in this kind of supposed artistic achievement. Sampling seems to me to be laziness disguised as sophistication. The collage was an interesting idea in 1911, but Picasso could at least paint. Many many artists have quoted other artists, made reference to earlier works, etc., even their own -- the moment in Die Meistersinger when Hans Sachs likens himself to King Mark and the orchestra suddenly shifts into Tristan is only one example -- but they had absorbed the earlier works completely and been able to play them, parody them, goof around with them (Shakespeare's use of Marlowe, for example) because they had internalised them, and had deep respect for them. None of these people seem to me to have earned the right to clip and paste someone else's work. Recasting the work, doing new versions of it, that all makes sense. Cutting and pasting it as your own artwork is suggesting that choice, decision making, is all that matters in making something. Why don't they go and learn how to play an instrument for pity's sake? Too much work -- have to learn scales.... no time....need to make my statement now.... I think it is an example of a lack of understanding of what makes a cultural tradition, and of how that underpins new work. It will disappear in the first strong wind, and good riddance.

yours, Peter T.


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Subject: RE: Remixing Lomax
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 21 Feb 03 - 11:49 AM

Charlie, That was it! Thanks for digging it up. Some days just blur together, but at least I was in the right week. ;)

Did you hear that rope jumping song? I thought that was wonderful--but when the music was added it competed unfavorably with the voice and the percussion of simple clapping. Other pieces they sampled didn't seem to lose so much of their character, but I would have to listen to the entire recording to form an opinion.

Yes, to put any art form on a shelf to preserve it from change is to kill it off and smacks of exclusivity regarding who may perform it and how. But some changes are better than others and you don't know until you try. Remember what a rage it was to "colorize" old black and white movies a dozen years ago and more? There was quite a protest, and though Turner continued the practice for a while, I don't hear about it happening any more. Perhaps the same thing will happen with these new arrangements--they're a novelty but after a while people will still go back to the originals and bypass the musical equivalent of colorized versions.

SRS


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Subject: RE: Remixing Lomax
From: Ron Olesko
Date: 21 Feb 03 - 01:32 PM

I think that a lot of this conversation is jumping to conclusion. Why not wait until the recording comes out before passing judgement on what they have done?

Did you ever hear Arlo & Woody singing "This Land" together?   I don't think that there was any disrepect given in that case.   I do remember a rather shoddy CD of various Irish musicians that were sampled and mixed into a "new age" orchestral piece.   I couldn't listen to it.

Elijah hit the nail on the head.   Is it folk music? Well, is Woody Guthrie technically a folk artist since he wrote his songs? That is a whole different discussion.

Also, I don't think Rounder is trying to shove anything down anyones throat with this. As far as I know they are not marketing this as a way of introducing new audiences to old artists - it is simply ONE project that Scott Billington and Steve Reynolds are undertaking.   Rounder CONTINUES to release archive recordings from the Alan Lomax archive, and personally I think they should be commended for these original recordings. Let's face it, the market for these field recordings is limited and Rounder is not purchasing a new company jet because of them.

Here is an interview with one of the producers, Scott Billington. He does mention this project towards the end of the interview. I don't think his intention is to make a quick buck or ruin the reputation of any of these artists.

Scott Billington interview


By the way, this is the workshop that started this whole discussion (from www.folk.org):

Remixing Lomax
Convention Center Room 209/210

Moderator: Scott Billington, Rounder Records, Cambridge, MA
Panelists: Dirk Powell, Louisiana Folk Roots, Breaux Bridge, LA
Anna Lomax Chairetakis, Alan Lomax Collection, New York, NY

The New Orleans-based recording team of Scott Billington and Steve Reynolds, calling themselves Tangle Eye, have recently completed an album of remixes that use Alan Lomax's Southern Journey recordings as source materials, a process they describe as "akin to creating new settings for precious gemstones." Producer Billington, whose recordings have won two Grammy Awards and nine Grammy nominations, will be joined by multi-genre musician Dirk Powell, who worked on the Alan Lomax remix project, for a discussion of the technical, musical and ethical challenges of remixing folk music's past.


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Subject: RE: Remixing Lomax
From: Peter T.
Date: 21 Feb 03 - 02:56 PM

I say it's broccoli, and I say the hell with it. yours, Peter T.


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Subject: RE: Remixing Lomax
From: Ron Olesko
Date: 21 Feb 03 - 02:59 PM

Mmmmm... broccoli!


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Subject: RE: Remixing Lomax
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 21 Feb 03 - 03:38 PM

There mus bet a way of making broccoli taste better. It's supposed to be very good for you...


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Subject: RE: Remixing Lomax
From: Ron Olesko
Date: 21 Feb 03 - 03:46 PM

You should try my veggie lasagna or broccoli and cheese soup. I also love it mixed with oriental vegetables and chicken. Yum!!


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Subject: RE: Remixing Lomax
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 21 Feb 03 - 04:08 PM

We had some homegrown broccoli with dinner last night, cut right before steaming it. It grows happily in our garden in this cold weather. Wonderful flavor. That said, I must have missed the point where broccoli became an integral part of the discussion. Just a Bush, Sr. kind of outburst?


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Subject: RE: Remixing Lomax
From: Ron Olesko
Date: 21 Feb 03 - 04:12 PM

Blame Peter T!

Now, should we leave the brocolli the way it was grown or should we SAMPLE some other ingredients - cheese, spices, etc.??   :)


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Subject: RE: Remixing Lomax
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 21 Feb 03 - 04:31 PM

I saw his remark--a non sequitur to me--perhaps to everyone? The family named Broccoli, after whom the veggie is named, is the same family of the late James Bond producer. All of the music for those films was original, no sampling involved, as far as I know (and this is simply an attempt to come back via a logical route to the Lomax discussion).

I like to melt cheese on my broccoli, and sometimes make a cheesy white sauce. It's also very good stir fried, like in beef and broccoli.

SRS


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Subject: RE: Remixing Lomax
From: Peter T.
Date: 21 Feb 03 - 04:57 PM

It is a sardonic quote from an old New Yorker cartoon (a cut and paste from someone else). Someone trying to convince a young child that he should be eating the lovely green leafy vegetables on his plate. yours, Peter T.


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Subject: RE: Remixing Lomax
From: pattyClink
Date: 21 Feb 03 - 05:14 PM

I think Alan's daughter should jolly well do whatever she wants with her dad's recordings OF HIMSELF. I think it's sweet that Natalie Cole used her dad's voice to make a family mix. Whoever else wants to screw around with their family's musical estate is welcome to do so.

I think all those people should leave recordings of other people's voices ALONE. If it's so hard to make a buck in folk recordings, let em get a day job like their sources did.


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Subject: RE: Remixing Lomax
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 21 Feb 03 - 06:52 PM

But surely the money would go back to the people who made the recordings or their heirs? That would give some kind of justification for doing it.


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Subject: RE: Remixing Lomax
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 21 Feb 03 - 07:01 PM

Peter T,

Is this the cartoon?

You'll find a lot of them at cartoon bank.

SRS


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Subject: RE: Remixing Lomax
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 21 Feb 03 - 07:11 PM

They used to say Spinach was good for you. Now I gather it's said to be fairly toxic. I always knew that from the taste as a kid.


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Subject: RE: Remixing Lomax
From: kytrad (Jean Ritchie)
Date: 21 Feb 03 - 07:14 PM

I'm wondering what Alan's sister, Bess Lomax Hawes, is thinking about this development. Has anyone asked her about it?


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Subject: RE: Remixing Lomax
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 21 Feb 03 - 08:04 PM

I have what may prove to be a better idea. Why not take some of the recordings by new interperters and unmix it--remove some of the back-up stuff?


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Subject: RE: Remixing Lomax
From: Art Thieme
Date: 21 Feb 03 - 09:59 PM

Geeez, I like broccoli---especially the stalks. But the way to prepare it best is to dig a ten foot deep pit. Layer hot coals with sand and then more hot coals and more sand. Now, on top of that put a layer of wet palm fronds. Wrap the broccoli in moose turds---preferably from the Peace River area of Canada---and nestle those gently into the waiting bed of vegetation. Cover all of this with 4 to six inches of fine silica sand. Allow to cook for six weeks. Then you uncover all of it, CRACK off the moose shit with ax handles, and throw away the broccoli and eat the moose stuff.

Even then it will be an end product with more redeeming aesthetic value and taste than what Rounder will finally excrete.

Just one guys opinion. ;-)

Art Thieme


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Subject: RE: Remixing Lomax
From: Richie
Date: 21 Feb 03 - 10:10 PM

I'm with Art on this one. If you want to change something create a new version- leave the original alone.

-Richie


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Subject: RE: Remixing Lomax
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 21 Feb 03 - 10:44 PM

Richie, they did leave the original alone. People keep forgetting that fact.

It is fine to make jokes and huff and puff about this, but why don't we wait until it is released?   It could be a turd like Art so delicately put hinted at, or it might be something interesting to listen to. The bottom line is that the original recordings will still exist and be available.

You can always pass the broccoli on the buffet table and head straight for desert if you like.

Ron


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Subject: RE: Remixing Lomax
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 21 Feb 03 - 10:45 PM

That was supposed to be dessert. Come to think of it, desert might be just as fitting.


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Subject: RE: Remixing Lomax
From: Art Thieme
Date: 21 Feb 03 - 11:40 PM

Maybe ketchup would help !!?

Art


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Subject: RE: Remixing Lomax
From: Blackcatter
Date: 22 Feb 03 - 12:01 AM

Not to defend Alan Lomax's daughter, but I believe the idea to do this pre-dates Alan's death this Summer. I remember it being part of the discussion at the reception at Anna Lomax Chairetakis' home after Alan's funeral. There was quite a discussion of future projects with Lomax's recordings.

Not that I spoke directly to her about it, but I did say to others (including the chief music archivist at the Smithsonian) that I didn't particularly like the idea of people changing the recordings of people who are dead.

pax yall


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Subject: RE: Remixing Lomax
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 22 Feb 03 - 12:32 AM

I want to apologize. My last few posts sound too defensive when I re-read them, which is odd since this isn't my project and I have no stake in this.   As I said at the beginning, I missed this workshop at the Folk Alliance, but I am going to order the tape.   I'm very intrigued. From what I've read and heard, ALL the individuals involved are treating this with respect, but I will wait to hear the recording before passing judgement.

I do see and respect everyones point about tampering with the work of a dead artist. The points are valid and I hope that the original artist will be honored.

Personally, if it were my recordings, I would be happy that a new generation took interest in my work and as long as my original were available for listening, I would have no problem with being "sampled" or even "altered".   It would be one thing if they were adding brass bands or a laugh track, but I do believe they are giving these recordings respect - and perhaps adding something that the original might have (or might not have) added if he or she had the technology and musicians at their disposal.

I do believe that projects like this will create new interest in the original recordings, but that shouldn't be the intention of the producers of these new recordings. Rounder Records and the Alan Lomax archives have done an outstanding service in preserving and promoting folk music. I give them credit for having the courage to allow someone the freedom to work with these tapes, when the reaction (as witnessed here) was so obvious.   I can't wait to hear them.

Again my apologies if I sounded too defensive. That was not my intention.

Ron


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Subject: RE: Remixing Lomax
From: Neighmond
Date: 22 Feb 03 - 12:52 AM

FWIW, The max Hunter collection has a lot of Almeda Riddle songs too, as well as a dear lady named Ollie Gilbert. Ollie sang near to 400 songs for various music hounds, and I can honestly say that although she hasn't one of the most dulcet singing voices I ever heard, her songs are straight from the heart, and I am glad I got to hear them.

Chaz


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Subject: RE: Remixing Lomax
From: Peter T.
Date: 22 Feb 03 - 10:21 AM

Gee, Stilly River, I had the memory wrong all these years. Much thanks.

yours, Peter T.


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Subject: RE: Remixing Lomax
From: Bobert
Date: 22 Feb 03 - 10:39 AM

Anything beyond *clensing* is, in my opionion, disrespectfull to the artist.

There is a danger in "Moby-izing" the music.

Now, I could accept, as a compromise, the *cleaned up* original followed by the *enhanced*. We need to keep in mind that a lot of these folks that Lomax recorded have never been offered on CD form and for their debut's to be *dubbed* over seems insensitive.

So I think it would be both respectfull and interesting to hear the song both ways.

Remember when CD's came out and everyone stashed the old turntables in the celler. Well, now folks want to hear the music the way it used to sound and more and more folks aredragging out the old vynal. Same philosophy applies here.

But no matter, I will be looking forward to hearing Rounders effort.

Bobert


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Subject: RE: Remixing Lomax
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 22 Feb 03 - 12:29 PM

Bobert - there is also debate on whether or not "cleansing" is appopriate. Heck, there is even debate on whether or not putting a mic in front of a singer is appropriate.   Is it a folk song once it is recorded in a setting other than a natural one?   Does the recording itself alter the performance or intent of the song?

Again, this doesn't bother me, nor does what Moby or any other producer - as long as the original remains intact. Folk music is a living tradition and should not be restricted to a single definition or set of rules. I think about those very clever commercials that used footage from old movies - you know, John Wayne pitching beer or Gene Kelly dancing with a vacuum cleaner. Sure you can say that it gives a new audience a different opinion of these "stars", but I think we forget to give the audience credit for being able to distinguish the original from another artists perception.

I believe that ALL the recordings used on the "Lomax remix" session is also available via Rounder on their series of Lomax CD's, so this will not be the first CD debut for these musicians. The originals will still be there, just like the non-colorized version of Casablanca.

The Lomax foundation will continue to "place" songs in films like "O Brother" and help re-introduce the treasures to a new audience. Check out their website - they are doing a lot of interesting work, which I am sure Alan would approve of.

Ron


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Subject: RE: Remixing Lomax
From: Michael S
Date: 22 Feb 03 - 01:23 PM

To me, so much of the irritation here sounds like the famed anger over Dylan's electric guitar and "folk-rock" in general. "Oh," they moaned, "they're mangling the very 'idea' of the folk. It's all about commerce now, and this new 'music' --oh, the 'music'--is just such crap."

It didn't happen. What I will respectfully (and for convenience) call "the old stuff" has survived just fine. Dylan has returned to that well time and time again. Much more importantly, the old time sounds--and the general idea of unencumbered, community music making--remain a huge part of our culture.

I appreciate those who say we should wait to see if the Rounder project is any good, but that's not the main issue. Rounder, Moby or somebody else may do this well or badly. We can, individually, like or not like the result. What matters is the existence of the project. Some will say, "Rounder's project is great--go hear the originals." Some will then do just that. Others will say, "Rounder's project sucks, go hear the originals." A few will do just that. What is important is that people are--still-- paying attention to these field recordings.

The voices on the originals are now a recognized part of the repertoire of the world's art. Be thankful for that. Those voices--as recorded originally--will never go away. The "price" for that achievement is that other artists will do what artists have always done. Sixty years after these field artists recorded, other artists want to work with their accomplishments--want to exalt them, mangle them, exploit them, spotlight them. I should be so lucky. It means the original art is living. It's too simplistic to say, "Make your own damn art. " Artists have always used the entire repertoire (broadly understood) provided by the world--all in an effort to make their own statement.

I support this project more now than when this thread started. I may not subjectively like the result, but I don't believe that that is what matters. Artists will play with that which exists. They always have. I don't know anything about sampling or turn-tables as instruments. I'm happy to hear songs just sung, thank you. But I don't want to be that guy complaining about the new thing that's wrecking my old thing. That's not where I want to stand. My old thing can take care of itself, I think.

If you love the music on the Lomax recordings, you should fear the day when no one considers it worth their quirky, outrageous, wrong-headed, beautiful artistic attention--fear the day when no one gives a damn.

Peace,
Michael


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Subject: RE: Remixing Lomax
From: Roger the Skiffler
Date: 24 Feb 03 - 09:42 AM

Another case of "editing" that puzzles me.
On the cover of the book and CD "Land where blues began" the prisoner called Bama that Lomax interviewed is pictured apparently wearing jeans. BUT in the pictures INSIDE the book, the same photo is there and he is wearing striped prison pants. Why alter it for the cover?

RtS


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Subject: RE: Remixing Lomax
From: Blackcatter
Date: 24 Feb 03 - 01:11 PM

To me, this has nothing to do with folk music.

If someone takes a Caruso recording, edits out the orchestra, puts some sort of hip hop beat behind him and then changes the tempo of his singing to conform with the canned rhythm, that's still inappropriate.

Once again, why screw with other's work? If you're a producer of music, hire someone to sing the song the way you want it to be sung. Pay musicians to play the music you want (that's what much of pop music has been for the last 50 years anyhow.

Can you do anything with earlier recordings? - sure. Sampling them is fine, just leave the bits the way they originally were and give credit where credit is due. Cleaning up the recording to make them sound better (eliminating scratches, pops, etc.) is fine. Creating a duet ala Natalie & Nat King Cole is fine and not just because she's his daughter.

As for dead actors and musicians adertising in commercials like the John Wayne Budwieser spots several years ago, that sickens me. What gives anyone the right to decide that a dead artist would think it is ok to sell whatever product - to me this is the worst form of ad abuse possible.

pax yall


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Subject: RE: Remixing Lomax
From: Ron Olesko
Date: 24 Feb 03 - 01:29 PM

Blackcatter - I fail to understand why you think it is okay for Natalie Cole to record a duet with her father, but doing the same with another dead artist is wrong.   That is basically what they are doing with the Lomax series.

I guess we all agree to disagree once again.

Ron


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Subject: RE: Remixing Lomax
From: Cluin
Date: 24 Feb 03 - 01:36 PM

I gotta side with Uncle Art on this one.

Especially if this turned out to be like that stupid "Hooked on Classics" type of recording like we saw in the early 80s. Remember those? Little hot licks and snippets of classical pieces tied together with a drum machine track?

I thought the whole point of Lomax's recordings was to preserve a record of the tradition before it was lost. Not that I think things can't evolve at all...

I'm sure some dance club mixes of this stuff might please some people and if somebody can make a buck with it, I guess they can run with it. But like Art says, "To me, it'd be worthless tripe".


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Subject: RE: Remixing Lomax
From: Ron Olesko
Date: 24 Feb 03 - 01:40 PM

Cuin - I assume that you've heard these Lomax remixes based on your comments.


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