Archive for the Music Category
Born on this day in 1883, Anton Webern was among the greatest and most influential of modern composers. Webern was a master of expressive economy and few artists in any medium have packed as much poetry and intellect into such a compact oeuvre. His intensely distilled and perfectly honed works are among the essential sounds of the 20th century and great favourites here at Tigerloaf. Webern enjoyed only moderate success in his lifetime but his posthumous fame has been immense: he was perhaps the single most esteemed composer in the postwar period and an essential influence on the musical avant-garde from the 1940s onward, his reputation outstripping even that of his mentor Arnold Schoenberg. His tragic and untimely death (he was accidentally shot by a G.I. during the Allied occupation of Austria) robbed him of the honours he should have reaped and prompts one of the great musical what ifs: how might his work have developed in a musical world that was crucially formed by his own compositional methods? Sadly the question has no answer.
Here at Tigerloaf HQ we listen to a lot of blues, but we are not in general great fans of post-war electric styles, whether slicked-up and sophisticated like T-Bone Walker or roughed up and raucous like Muddy Waters. Naturally there are some exceptions. We find those great modern primitives, John Lee Hooker and Mississippi Fred McDowell, completely irresistible, and we are also very partial to Mr. Robert Nighthawk. With his stinging electric slide style and mellow baritone, he brought some down-home soul to the urban rhythm and blues sound of the forties and fifties. One of those great and individual bluesmen who fell through the cracks, Nighthawk was once considered among Muddy’s chief rivals but he never enjoyed the latter’s commercial success and died in obscurity. Sadly he is still little known outside the ranks of blues fanatics.
Robert Lee McCollum
30 November 1909 – 5 November 1967
—Secret History by Steve Krakow
Ten years ago today the untimely death of Ol’ Dirty Bastard robbed hip hop fans of one of the music’s most unique and most beloved artists. With a successful solo career alongside his founding and inimitable role in the legendary Wu-Tang Clan, ODB was one of the freakiest and funniest performers ever to score a top ten album. In a group packed with big personalities ODB’s was XXL: he seemed to be truly deranged. By no means a virtuoso rapper or rhymer, ODB instead cultivated his own style, which as his stage name reflected “had no father”. Groaning and warbling, frequently incoherent, often hilarious, always unmistakable, few rappers have inspired as much affection. He would have celebrated his 46th birthday in two days time.
Russell Tyrone Jones
15 November 1968 – 13 November 2004
The legendary Paramount Records (no relation to the famous film studio) began business as an offshoot of, of all things, a chair manufacturer. The label operated at a loss until it began to tap into the burgeoning African-American market for popular music, launching its series of “race” records in the early 1920’s with recordings of some of the biggest black stars of the era including Ma Rainey and Blind Lemon Jefferson. Though the sound quality of these cheaply produced records is notoriously poor the Paramount catalogue forms an indispensable archive of early blues and jazz and is currently the subject of a comprehensive re-release project by the late John Fahey’s Revenant Records. Dangerous Minds has the story.