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A prediction...

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by Hambone, Jan 23, 2005.

  1. Saturday mornings is the only time I can pick up this little jazz station run by a small college here in Atlanta. They have a doowop show early and yesterday I caught the last half hour of it.

    This genre isn't my favorite by any means. I can certainly appreciate the talent and the place in musical history it holds but if I'm out buying music, this probably isn't going to be at the top of my list. That said, I was struck, mesmerized, ENTRANCED, by a performance I heard yesterday on that station. In my opinion it was one of the top 3 vocal performances I have ever heard.

    "Oh, Danny Boy" by Jackie Wilson.

    For me, words can't come close to describing the sheer perfection that performance had. To call his voice on this recording an "instrument" would be an insult of the magnitude of calling Jesus, God's "right hand man". I really don't know the terms to describe how much better he was than anything I've heard in the last 30 years in the pop music world. Not just head and shoulders above, or light years ahead - it was practically paranormal.

    And as I drove to my destination listening to this incredible man's, incredible voice, I couldn't help but compare him to the arena's full of self deluded white noise generators trying to get on programs like American Idol or the pop charts full of digitally processed prima donna's that no one would ever hear from if they weren't being broadcast at clip levels by an industry more prone to pimping a personality that can only LOOK as good as Jackie Wilson could sing. And it was here I had my revelation...

    It's not that this might happen, It's going to happen, mark my words. I'm no industry guru but I can't imagine it won't happen given the natural cycle of things - hell, it HAS to happen ...I predict that the hottest act to hit pop music in the coming decades will be someone with the vocal talent of a Jackie Wilson. This person is young now, and is being steeped in the best the prog/rock/hiphop/emo/numetal/pop scene has to offer now (precious little) but they are also being taught by their parents about the Jackie Wilsons, Janis Joplins, Aretha Franlins, and the other great vocalists of times gone by. He or she will be developing their own style and are going to be integrating it with current technology in a way that it is an enhancement without it being a crutch. They will be smart enough to understand that their voice is all that is needed to tell their story. They aren't going to be lured by fame and steered by agents. They will have a pure and clear vision of what's true in their art and it will be impossible to stop them from achieving. And one more important thing - this person is not training to become "famous". When this artist does become known, everything in music will stop for moment and simply take a breath. And, from that point on, everyone will be reminded of how we've let the bar slide so far down that there aren't any Jackie Wilson's coming up. There's no incentive to be a Jackie Wilson when you can quit early and be a Mark McGrath or a Reuben Studdard and live happily ever after. It will become obvious that we have let the ordinary and mundane be elevated to stardom and have lost the handle on what true greatness is.

    Do yourself a treat and find Jackie's recording and give it a listen .
  2. Hey... it's not just singers, it's bands too!

    IMO, I agree with everything you just stated. Sooner or later the backlash will come, and TRUE emotion will be in music again. I just hope to be at the fore-front of it.
  3. Bard2dbone


    Aug 4, 2002
    Arlington TX
    I can tell that my cynicism level is turned up a little high today, because I read your post and said "Don't I wish."

    Unfortunately I suspect that that incredible singer who is probably in kindergarten right now will be refused a contract because he/she doesn't have a 'marketable look.' Or doesn't dance well enough.

    So many of the best musicians I have ever encountered only play music as their own private psychotherapy. They works as accountants, engineers, nurses, secretaries, waiters...etc. Because they can't get pay their bills as musicians.

    Until musicians manage to invade the music industry again, we are doomed to be offered only pablum. Real ability can actually be somewhat of a handicap in the current system (Is somebody yelling Ashlee Simpson out there?) The powers-that-be want 'artists' that won't object to what to focus groups tell them to do. Anything new, or especially anything challenging is strictly verboten.

    I like to hope that someday in the future, maybe even before I'm an old graybearded granddad, someone will be in a postion to actually steer the music industry back toward music, and away from industry. But I don't expect it.
  4. Joe P

    Joe P

    Jul 15, 2004
    Milwaukee, WI
    Man - that's some good writing, Hammie.

    Write something like that for bass, and I might double my practice time.

    The live music scene seems to me to be in rather sad shape, especially this issue that always gets to me - the prevalance of D.J.s and Karioke entertainment. Have people forgotten about grooving with a band; about the connection between live performers and their audience?

    What I still find coming to mind is a comment that was made recently in a thread about stage moves or stage presence. A TBer said something to the effect that "Ya gotta have exiting stage moves, or you might as well put on a CD". That bothers me - it's demoralizing. Thinking of that while I'm dilegently practicing my bass sort of takes my dilegence away - sort of makes me drop my hands for a moment.

    That Brittany Spears product certainly goes by this philosophy, right? - she dances and (poorly) lip-syncs, because good stage moves to a recording is more valuable than musicianship.

    ..Not that I'm not concerned with my stage presence - I'd like to be able to dance like Fred Estaire while I play bass, but my priority by-far is to master the bass - and through that, I hope, be able to connect with the listener.

    I've been thinking about this stage presence thing much lately. I mean even if your job is to speak - to sell a product, for instance - body language and gestures and the like are very important; less or more important than for a stage performer? I'd like to think that a certain passion, an inimate sort of connection can exist through live music apart from visuals, but still something that can't be had through a recording. Am I being too mystical? (Don't think I'm a nut, by the way - Making MONEY with my bass gives me a fairly good feeling deep-down-inside too!)

    I don't know. I'm trying to figure this all out. Either way, I sure love playing the bass.

  5. Bassic83


    Jul 26, 2004
    Texas, USSA
    The first thing I tell my students to practice is their dance moves. In fact, if they don't have a choreographer, I won't take them as students. Music is all about the dance moves and how you look onstage semi-naked. Period.

    BTW, Hambone, that was one hella post...and the above statement is only valid until the backlash against the record companies cuts them off at the knees...wait, snakes don't have knees, do they?
  6. fatbassjazzer


    Feb 27, 2004
    Were you listening to 91.1 WREK? They play some doowop and jazz every now and then. I really like wrekage, its the metal show on friday nights.
  7. Joe P

    Joe P

    Jul 15, 2004
    Milwaukee, WI
    Oh, Man - the Brittney-thing would be a worst-case for me: "ANYTHING but my BELLY!"

  8. JimK


    Dec 12, 1999
    Nice post.
    I'm not holding my breath; I would think things would return full cycle some day.
    For now, I'm thankful for what recordings I have or can buy to enjoy the masters & innovators like Jackie Wilson, Marvin, Janis, Aretha, etc.
    That said, have you heard Joss Stone? She's a throwback with "current technology"...she seems to be aware of her roots & history, too.
    (Compared to Faith Hill who covered "A Piece Of My Heart" on her debut album...in an early interview, Hill actually admitted to never having heard this tune performed by Joplin. How can that be?!?!).
  9. If that's the station from Brenau College, then that's it.
  10. john turner

    john turner You don't want to do that. Trust me. Staff Member

    Mar 14, 2000
    atlanta ga
    i like your post hammy, but i dont' agree. there will never be a non-manufactured hit band/performer. industries by their very definition manufacture. anything that can't be manufactured will not be pursued by the industry.

  11. I don't think you really got my message there Will. When this artist arrives, they aren't going to "save" anything. There isn't going to be a huge backlash against record companies and the general buying public will still spend out the wazoo for whatever their neighbor just spent out the wazoo for.

    But for those that aren't musicians and yet listen to music critically or at least with some discrimination, I believe an occurrence like this will begin to awaken a demand for excellence in the art. That's a major feature that is missing now and that's what I heard in Jackie's song - incredible range, arpeggio's that were so crisp they'd cut you, and absolutely scary leaps from low notes to high that absolutely no singer today would ever attempt. That's what I'm talking about. It's the excellence that we are missing now. I can't help but think of the classical music scene. If I were to go out and buy a piece of classical music - soloist, small ensemble, or orchestra - I will be treated to a certain level of excellence in the craft. I can bet on it because in the classical music world, you just don't get a "shot" to make good. You've already proven yourself before you get to the point of releasing records. And that's what the classical folks expect and get. Try that same test in the pop market and well, I might guess you would have a 2-3% chance of hearing excellence in musicianship. I could be wrong but the real point is that the pop buying public has been dumbed down and isn't likely to be educated back up until they are struck at their emotional core by something so perfect that, to compare their usual fare to it, will leave them empty and demanding more.

    This was never intended to be an argument. I was moved to the point of tears at the sheer beauty of that man's voice. Though I had heard of him and even heard songs by him, that performance hit me like a ton of bricks. I could probably chalk up a little bit of this to getting older and maturing to the point of truly understanding beauty and it's fleeting nature. But it was more than that, and it made me think.
  12. Against Will

    Against Will Supporting Member

    Dec 10, 2003
    Big Sound Central

    I see.

    Then it is me who is pessimistic. Jackie Wilson is fine music, though.
  13. JimK


    Dec 12, 1999
    Maybe it's already begun? The big record companies seem to be complaining about sales...the Internet may actually be ggod for something after all?

    Age-old arguemnet. Why do Classical patrons expect a certain level of musicianship over their Pop counterparts? Buyers of Pop will idolize a 'crappy' guitarist...I don't see Classical fans yammering over a 'bad' violinist.

    Agree...we have been dumbed-down by watered-down PRODUCT. And no, it hasn't always been this way. For those not as old as me, look at how MTV has changed since its inception. At one time, MTV helped break bands into the mainstream(e.g. Missing Persons, Duran Duran, Living Colour, etc). Now, they're more about jumping on the bandwagon of the latest Pop 'star'. I mean, c'mon...in the past, would have never had an American Idol winner doing a "Making The Video".
    A&R guys in the past were 'artists'; now they're accountants.

    I doubt it...maybe it's me but to my ears something will stand out when it's played with some 'urgency & edge'. IMO, that's why some of the old recordings(Jackie Wilson, Bessie Smith, Billie Holiday, Motown, etc) still sound fresh today.
  14. P. Aaron

    P. Aaron Supporting Member

    POP music is based on being "Good Television".
    So if Ashlee Simpson stinks up the joint musically, it's still "good television".

    Hambone, I am like yourself waiting to hear that original, fresh, new artist/band that by some miracle seems to have slipped through the fingers of most producers and their recording companies and some how makes it untarnished to the airwaves.
    Is this just a "revolutionary" desire? Us against the "man"? We know what good artists are capable of doing great things, we know that talent scouts and recording companies have seen and recorded these artists, but where are they? I wish nothing more than an artistic overthrow of the way things are. It's probably too easy for the recording chain to keep things as they are, rather than "risk" capital on new style(s) and artists.

    I still have one of the SST Records stickers that says: "Corporate Rock Still Sucks!"
  15. P. Aaron

    P. Aaron Supporting Member

    I acknowledge their originality, but the White Stripes are not my thing. Ahh...subjectivity, another can of musically conspiratirial worms.
    If they'll sign and airplay the White Stripes; hows about the recording co's taking a few mores risks? Eventually we'll at least acknowledge an attempt to be "progressive" and not "mainstream. Maybe.
  16. OT: I got so giddy in a record store when I saw a copy of Sonic Youth's "Sister" used on SST label. I still have the original "Fill in for an SST catalouge" that came with it somewhere...