Black Hillbilly - or - What you really know about the Upper South?

Posted by Eric Brightwell, February 9, 2015 09:08am | Post a Comment
The first non-Native American settlers of Appalachia and later, the Ozarks, were of primarily of three ethnicities: Scots-Irish, English, and German. These hard-working farmers and craftsmen created a distinct culture which in the 19th Century came to be named “hillbilly.” Although the Northern European roots of hillbilly are routinely acknowledged, even scholars on the culture are far less likely to recognize hillbilly’s other significant place of ancestral origin, West Africa.

19th century black music ensemble

Hillbilly music’s biracial parentage should be immediately evident to anyone with any knowledge of the music’s primary instruments, the fiddle and the banjo. The modern fiddle (or violin) may have originated in 16th Century Italy but similar bowed instruments preceded its development by several centuries and the violin made its way to the Americas thanks to English colonists. The banjo, descended from the numerous plucked instruments of West Africa such as the akonting, ngoni, and xalam, was introduced to the Americas by African slaves.

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One album wonders: The Glove's Blue Sunshine

Posted by Eric Brightwell, February 1, 2015 12:24am | Post a Comment
 THE GLOVE - BLUE SUNSHINE (recorded 1982, released 1983) 

The Glove Blue Sunshine

For about 40 years The Cure have been the main creative outlet for Robert Smith but he's engaged in the occasional side project here and there (and there). Whilst not as obscure as Cogasm or Cult Hero, The Glove and their sole album, Blue Sunshine, is a one album wonder that deserves better. 

I suppose that The Glove were as much a Siouxsie & The Banshees side project as a Cure one, since aside from Smith (who was himself twice a Banshee) the Glove was full-time Banshee Steve Severin. They also came about largely because Siouxsie Sioux and Budgie were off recording their own Banshee side project, the first Creatures record. It also owed a lot to the neo-psychedelic direction that the Banshee's had first pursued with 1980's Kaleidoscope

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One album wonders: Blue Phantom's Distortions

Posted by Eric Brightwell, January 26, 2015 06:56am | Post a Comment


During the Album Era (mid 1960s-mid 2000s), the LP was the dominant form of recorded music expression and consumption. Some bands recorded just one album during their time and, whether popular or not, they are the so-called one album wonders


Blue Phantom - Distortions (1971)


One album wonders: The United States of America's The United States of America

Posted by Eric Brightwell, January 19, 2015 06:23am | Post a Comment

The United States of America

During the Album Era (mid 1960s-mid 2000s), the LP was the dominant form of recorded music expression and consumption. Some bands recorded just one album during their time and, whether popular or not, they are the so-called one album wonders


The focus of this edition of one album wonders is United States of America, a band formed and led byJoe Byrd Joseph Byrd for a couple of years in the late 1960s. Their sole album, United States of America, only reached 181 on the Billboard charts after its released but has in the years since achieved well-deserved cult status. 

Byrd was a composer born in Louisville, Kentucky and raised in Tucson, Arizona. In Arizona he’d played in various popcountry, and jazz ensembles before moving to California to attend Stanford University. At Stanford he met avant-garde composer La Monte Young. After relocating to New York, La Monte Young and Yoko Ono curated a series of performances, the Chambers Street loft concerts, which featured pieces by Henry Flynt, Jackson Mac Low, and Byrd -- part of the embryonic art scene which would eventually emerge as the Fluxus movement.

2015 CE -- Fictions Set in 2015

Posted by Eric Brightwell, January 12, 2015 10:56am | Post a Comment

When it comes to predicting the future, science-fiction has an pretty uneven track record. For every iPad or flip phone there's a dozen flying cars, anthropomorphic robot maids, or a BrainJail (where people are imprisoned for rubbish laws like downloading their feelings onto computer discs). It's now 2015 and we've made contact with no extraterrestrials, established zero extrasolar colonies, and built not one moon base. In the US we're still working on building a respectable rail network! 

Of course most of the best science-fiction isn't about guessing what they future is going to be like but sometimes, as with Brave New World, it comes frighteningly close. However, not even Aldous Huxley could have predicted listicles or Doritos Loaded and similarly, George Orwell could never dream up portmanteaus as odious as "amazeballs" or "honeydick"  for his lexicon of nightmarish doublespeak.


On the other hand, some predictions have come true. Just as Back the the Future II predicted, we do live in a world of never-ending film franchises, hoverboards, and Nike is working on a self-tying shoe for the benefit of those for whom velcro is too much work and slip-ons are just too sensical. If other works set in 2015 are as accurate, what else can we expect from the year 2015?

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