Utopian Turtletop. Monsieur Croche's Bête Noire. Contact: turtletop [at] hotmail [dot] com

Monday, October 10, 2005

Folk rock. Last week one day on the radio I heard "Green, Green," an old hit from the year I was born by the New Christy Minstrels, featuring loudish strummy acoustic guitars with a vague-ish rock beat and a lead vocal gravelly to the point of grating-ness. I looked up the band.

The New Christy Minstrels -- Barry McGuire, Gene Clark, and Kenny Rogers all sang with them. Obviously it was McGuire singing lead on "Green, Green." McGuire -- famous a couple years later for “The Eve of Destruction” -- co-wrote and sang this 1963 hit. The real beginning of folk rock -- a grating voice with strummy guitars on hit radio before Dylan had a hit as a singer.

The lyric "I." I once acted in a 2-person one-act play written by my dear friend Ross Lipman. The formal challenges of the play's language and themes were such that one day during a bathroom break at rehearsal I wrote, "Identity is a violation," on the wall. I understand the critique of the Unitary Self; oddly, it's "I" who does that understanding ("or is it?" asks Nietzche); I understand that I don't have complete (or maybe very much) control over my understanding; still, in my experience, "I" am the one doing the understanding; it's my experience. As a songwriter, the experience of a lifetime goes into each song, words and music and the relationship between. Sometimes that experience is of the dis-unitary self. The Lyric "I" serves well as a vessel for most of the peak -- and low -- experiences; trying to convey those experiences in song is the thrilling absorbing challenge of a lifetime.
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