galacticjourney: (Default)
[I am pleased to present an unusual piece from our fan-turned-columnist, Vicki Lucas. It covers one of the oldest fantasies, as presented by one of the newest musical artists. As we all have had a Classical education (do you remember your Latin declensions?) this review of a modern interpretation of Oedipus should be right up your alley...]

by Victoria Lucas

"The limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they oppress."
Frederick Douglass 8/3/1857

Those of you who have read my previous columns may remember that I have strange tastes in music (hallucinating music as a tactile object when I heard a totally new form) and that I have a somewhat political slant on some things (my participation in a lie-in and my feminist musings last time). The above remark of the former slave Frederick Douglass is relevant to some music I’ve been listening to—and its composer.

Last year I was surprised and delighted to hear relatively modern music on television and see Igor Stravinsky’s 1927 oratorio Oedipus Rex. So when I returned from Stanford, I checked out of the library the 1952 record of Stravinsky conducting, with Jean Cocteau as narrator. I’ve been listening to it over and over. Stravinsky is best known for Rite of Spring, a ballet with a throbbing beat that caused a riot at its premiere in 1913, but this music is very different.

(see the rest at Galactic Journey!)
galacticjourney: (Default)
[The rush of modern technologies has created whole new industries, one result of which has been the breaking down of traditional barriers, as Ms. Lucas will illustrate...]

by Victoria Lucas

As a child I learned that there were expectations. Not so much rules. I don't remember being taught rules except for rules of grammar or other school subjects, including physical education class. Those Expectations determined What You Did, Who You Were, and other facets of one's life including Who You Know.

My encounters with Expectations came to a head on two occasions that I remember in my childhood, one when I was somewhere between 6 and 8, and one when I was 12. When I was 6, maybe 7, I remember sliding out of bed on the way to getting up and, with my head touching the floor but my legs still on the bed, having the epiphany that I was responsible for my own actions--not my parents or anyone else. Obviously it took me some time to work out the ramifications of this, but I had the basic concept, anyway.

When I was 12, I discovered that I was A Girl.

(see the rest at Galactic Journey!)
galacticjourney: (Default)

Galactic Journey is all about spotlighting the exotic, from science fiction to the Space Race. Sometimes, the far out stuff can be found right here on Earth. I'm talking about music, man. Music.

Music is a weird thing. Unlike evolution in animals, which scientists believe is a smooth, unbroken process, music seems to evolve in sudden spurts. A genre will be born, flourish, and then become overripe. That's when another will spawn out of nowhere and supplant the old one.

For instance, in the 30s and 40s, popular music was all about Big Band Jazz. Glenn Miller, Artie Shaw, Benny Goodman, they all peaked pre-War and kept us dancing while our boys (and ladies) went to fight the Axis. After the War, that music evolved into a syrupy, schmaltzy mess. By 1954, the radio was almost unlistenable, filled as it was with crooning and orchestras.

Unless you tuned into the Black stations. There, a fusion of Western and Blues called "Rock n' Roll" was catching fire. The Crows and Chuck Berry were joined by White performers like Bill Haley, Jerry Lee Lewis, and, of course, Elvis Presley. All of a sudden, music was alive again. The late 50s, right around the time I started this column, were an exciting time for listening.

(Don't get me wrong -- Jazz was and is still a thing. Coltrane, Gillespie, Brubeck...just look at the recent popularity of Take Five, for instance. But it's for hipsters and hepcats, not for the hoi polloi.)

This may be a purely subjective view, but the 60s seem to mark another transition period for popular music. It seems to be floundering, torn between the classic (and now stale) riffs of the last decade and...something else. Of course, one rarely knows how a revolution will work itself out until its over, but there are a couple of movements might be indicative of where things are going.

(see the rest at Galactic Journey!)
galacticjourney: (Default)
We interrupt this cavalcade of science fact and fiction articles to bring you...some pop culture.

Seven years ago, The Crows came out with Gee, what is now generally recognized to have been the first "rock 'n' roll" songs. It was a revolution--within months, the crooners and the overripe schmaltzy swing tunes were swept aside in favor of the new mode. Well, at least on the Black stations. Then Elvis and Pat Boone came along and made this scary new music safe for everyone else.

This year, it appears Chubby Checker has sparked a similar, related revolution. With a simple, catchy rock 'n' roll tune, The Twist, he appears to have single-handedly invented solo dancing.

(see the rest at Galactic Journey!)
galacticjourney: (Default)

The music died yesterday.

When I started reading science fiction back in 1950, we were in what I called a "music blight." The bouncy swing tunes of the war years had gone overripe. Schmaltzy ballads and crooning filled the airwaves. For a while, I didn't even bother to turn the radio on, so sure was I that nothing of note would be playing.

Then, around 1953, I discovered "Black" stations (as opposed to "White" stations). There was the energy and passion I had been looking for: Negro performers fusing blues and bluegrass and jazz into something that didn't even yet have a name.

But Negro stations weren't that common, and the White stations are stronger out here. Then, around '55, rock 'n' roll jumped the color tracks and careened into the mainstream. Bill Haley was the pioneer, and of course Elvis. Negro luminaries like Chuck Berry followed. "Oh Mine Papa" was banished to make way for "Maybellene." It was a renaissance of music, not a little aided by the influx of sounds from south and southeast of the border (Latin, Cubano, Calypso). Gradually my radio came to be on all the time.

Rockabilly was one of the first and still one of the strongest branches of rock 'n' roll. Carl Perkins, Jerry Lee Lewis, Bill Haley, Roy Orbison... these are all household names. But perhaps the greatest rockabilly performer of them all was Buddy Holly.

Holly was versatile, mixing in folkish refrains a la The Everly Brothers with his toe-tapping rockabilly tunes. "Oh Boy," "Peggy Sue," "Maybe Baby," "It's so Easy," "Every Day" The list goes on for miles, and he'd just gotten started. Just 22 and newly married, he was set to write the musical landscape of the 1960s.

And now he's gone.

Ritchie Valens (Richard Valenzuela) exploded onto the scene last year with his sizzling rendition of the Mexican traditional song, "La Bamba," and his ballad, "Donna," has sold a million copies. He was just 17, a high-school drop-out, and had just starred in his first movie. Valens could have brought a latin touch to rock n' roll just as Presley and Haley had popularized Negro music.

But now he's gone.

24-year-old J. P. Richardson was better known as The Big Bopper. His novelty rock n' roll song, "Chantilly Lace," was the third-most played record last year. A disc jockey by trade, he'd taken a break to make it big and tour with Holly and Valens.

All three of them had just entertained a thousand fans at the Surf ballroom in Clear Lake, Iowa. They then got on a chartered Beechcraft Bonanza bound for Fargo, North Dakota for gig last night. They never made it. Shortly after take off, the plane crashed killing all aboard (including the 22-year old pilot, Roger Peterson).

Today, my heart is so sick, I can barely type. I know I'm sharing this emotion with millions of people around the nation, around the world. I cannot even fathom the blow that has been dealt to music. This is one of those unforeseeable events that changes the course of history and will always have us pondering "what if?" and "if only."

I apologize for the break in schedule. I just felt it important that I raise the flag of this column to half-mast in honor of the passing of these three musicians.

Rest assured that my show will go on. Put "That'll be the Day" on the Victrola, have a good cry, and hang in there. I'll be back day-after-tomorrow.

(Confused? Click here for an explanation as to what's really going on)


galacticjourney: (Default)

September 2017

3 45 67 89
101112 1314 1516
17 1819 2021 2223
24 252627282930



RSS Atom

Most Popular Tags

Style Credit

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags
Page generated Sep. 26th, 2017 01:48 am
Powered by Dreamwidth Studios