A musical confession…
If you’ve been following my Twitter feed, you will have noticed that I’ve just been watching “Queens of Country” on BBC2. It was a really interesting documentary about half a dozen of the most famous female Country and Western singers: Patsy Cline, Loretta Lynn, Bobbie Gentry, Tammy Wynette, Tanya Tucker and (needless to say) Dolly Parton.
Although the programme was only an hour long, so each artist only got about ten minutes or so of airtime, it was a fascinating potted history of each of them, with contributions from various family members, record label executives, other musicians and assorted media types – not to mention Tanya Tucker herself in her part of the show. Overall, I reckon it was a pretty worthwhile way for the Beeb to spend some of the licence-payers’ money.
Of course, you could say that I’m a bit biased when I say that. Not only do I thoroughly enjoy a good documentary, I am also a complete, total and utter music-nut! I have a lifelong fascination for all things musical – whether that be the music itself, the performers, the history, the instruments, the recording technology, etc. The list of musical genres that I enjoy has grown with me over the years, so that my small CD collection would probably induce fits in anyone who is a dedicated fan of a single style.
From classical to blues to rock ‘n’ roll to prog rock to heavy metal to reggae to ska/two-tone to punk to rap to electronica to ambient to dance and umpteen other musical main roads and side-streets, I pretty much like the lot. Fancy a bit of Bach, Mozart or Prokofiev? It’s in the rack somewhere. Want to blow your mind with a bit of prog-rock excess from Genesis? Or your eardrums with some modern industrial metal in the form of Rammstein? Yep, they’re in there too. Or perhaps you’re in the mood for something a bit lighter or more poppy? No problem – there’s all sorts, from the Monkees to Madonna, Buddy Holly to David Bowie.
If you pick half a dozen random CDs off those shelves, you might end up with Jethro Tull, Black Sabbath and ELO alongside Eminem, Kate Bush and Gorillaz. Or Green Day, Howlin’ Wolf and Franz Ferdinand alongside REM, Pink Floyd and Mendelssohn. And I find all of them absolutely wonderful. Uplifting expressions of the composer’s and the musician’s art. Great stuff!
Which brings me to the confession part (just in case you thought I’d forgotten the title of this post). You see, along with all of those assorted types of music, I also do have some fondness for…
…yes, I’ve got to say it, Country and Western.
I like folk music too.
Now, for those of you who don’t know, in modern-day band and musician circles those two admissions can be tantamount to saying that you have all the mental capacity of a small radish and can be easily distracted by bright colours. Or that you have a predilection for running around the local ringroad with no clothes on and your nether regions daubed in woad while waving a bunch of dahlias over your head and shouting “I’m the King of the Fairy-Folk!”
But I don’t really care. There’s good music to be found everywhere – even if it’s in the rebel-yelling, boot-scooting American chintz of the Grand Ole Opry or the sea-soaked shanties and rural morality tales of the folk club.
All of which means, of course, that that documentary I’ve been watching was even more of a treat. If it’s repeated and you’ve got an hour to spare, I heartily recommend it.