A friend of mine has a theory that 'genius' in any kind of artistic endeavour is a result of both the nature of the artist's work and of the audience's response to it. The work of the artist alone isn't enough; it has to be acclaimed and studied and obsessed over to be defined this way. In a way, I understand what he means: that 'genius' cannot really be intrinsic in anything, and can only be claimed when something has made a true impact on an aspect of our culture -- even if it's very small.
But in another way I find the definition disappointing. We live in an age of unimaginable wealth, with an overabundance of leisure time. Tools to create art have never been more affordable, and the means to share it have never been more powerful. Never have so many books been written, paintings painted, and songs been recorded. Most of it is crap, sure, but there are still too many brilliant creators that go mostly unnoticed, and who will die in obscurity.
I've spent a lot of my life looking for musicians that I consider 'geniuses', but who are not appreciated as much as they deserve. It makes me sad that too many people are more interested in the most insignificant sound-fart by the likes of the Beatles or Bob Dylan to bother to look for great works by the less famous. In my own minor way, I'm going to attempt to alter this karmic imbalance: I'm going to slap a few tunes by some of my favourites every week or so, depending on whether this starts to cost me too much money from my webhost. I hope you enjoy them.
First up is James McMurtry, who you could stick in the country/rock/folk category. You can find out anything you need to know about him on his website, but let the music do the talking. If you can only listen to one song, make sure it's Choctaw Bingo. From the opening lines you'll know you're in for a wild ride:
Strap them kids in,
Give 'em a little bit of vodka
In a cherry coke, we're going to
Oklahoma to the family reunion
For the first time in years...
Okay, I've written enough here. I really have to get to bed...
Here at Autonomous Source headquarters, we're always on the lookout for the latest blog fad so we can jump on the bandwagon too. Lately it seems that embedding other's YouTube videos on your site is all the rage. It's wrong to fight these things; better to just go with the flow...
The first amusing video is from a Japanese game show, or perhaps a morning show. An annoyed monitor lizard must decide which maiden's headgear he wishes to devour. Why can't we get this kind of stuff on Canada AM?
The next selection is from the most significant rock band of the 20th century, with a video for the song that changed the world. It's 1976 -- Can you handle DEVO?
Johnny Knoxville is now a Hollywood mega-star, starring in such timeless films as The Dukes of Hazzard and The Ringer. But before he was a household name, he abused his body and his dignity for a show on an obscure cable channel. This is possibly the funniest thing you will see in your lifetime:
YouTube has people creating their own original content, not just sharing the contents of their old VHS tapes. This one is pretty popular. (Okay, it's not completely original...)
And finally, nostalgia. If you're a Canadian of a certain age, this video will bring back lots of old memories. If you're not, it will be a pointless waste of two minutes of your life.
Okay, that's enough for this week. I reserve the right to do this again, for as long as this fad continues.
Wow! 100 of the best punk songs of all time! No wait, the 100 best punk songs of all time. And all available for download! I've been downloading a few and reliving some old memories. I particularly recommend Institutionalized by Suicidal Tendencies and Big Dick by NoMeansNo. They both got a lot of play in my younger days. Unfortunately, a few of the links have errors and Institutionalized is one of them. Here's the corrected link -- you really must hear this song!