musicology #409

Terry Callier #1

(Terry Callier – What Colour Is Love)

“After the storm say there must be a calm” and as much as the process of catharsis continues for me I feel like the, (metaphorical), dark clouds are lifting and the sun is beginning to break through. Intense and passionate, (whatever the situation), I tend to immerse myself in the joy and the pain of existence and am always looking to engage with the project of living rather than watch it pass me by. I don’t believe in the afterlife and have witnessed how short our time on this beautiful rock can be. Not for me to look back and wonder what might have been so the “what if” question is never asked. Music for me doesn’t imitate life it opens a dialogue and last weeks theme has delivered a space for reflection and resolution.

Today’s cut kicks off a week long tribute to a Cat who has been an important and valued guide over the past few months the inspirational Terry Callier whose qualities are beyond doubt and question. A poet who stands tall in an age where it seems to me many are retreating to Plato’s ‘cave’ of illusion and appearance.

Highlighted from his 1973 set ‘What Colour Is Love’

Listen Tune. 

“Is it wrong or is it right,
Is it black or is it white,
What colour is love,
Is it here or is it there,
Is it really everywhere,
What colour is love,
Is it strong like the mountains
Or deep like a fountain,that’s flowing free
And what about me,
How can you receive,
If youre not a believer
Is it blue like the sky,
And does it really reach that high,
What colour is love,
Is it near or is it far,
Is it distant like a star,
What colour is love,
Does it glow like an ember,
And do you you remember,
If love doesn’t last,
Does it live in the past,
And a heart cannot live,
If a heart isn’t giving,
When it’s over does it show,
Does it leave an afterglow
And I really want to know,
What colour is love?


musicology #406

Catharsis #4

(Otis Redding – Old Man Trouble)

Apologies for yesterday. Today I’ll make sure the cut is laid down with the post !!

1: A purification or purgation of the emotions primarily through art.
2: A purification or purgation that brings about spiritual renewal or release from tension.
3: elimination of a complex by bringing it to consciousness and affording it expression.

For me themusicologist delivers all of the above and for that I am more than greatful. In fact over the past few days the raging inner storm is calming and the ‘weight’ is lifting.

I’m assuming that most, if not all, of us are feeling some kind of pressure as the curtain finally closes on the Modern World and opens on what in Philosophical terms is defined as the Post Modern world of, (among other things), decentralization, insecurity, globalization, unpaid work, marketocracy, crowdsourcing and so on and on and on. Many Modern projects that have informed us since the Enlightenment such as freedom, democracy, education and the family are being dismantled and replaced by degrees of economic slavery. It’s always a changing world but sometimes the speed of change is surprising.

So as much as I take responsibility for my actions I also know that there are external forces at work that have a great impact on the herd who tend to be oblivious to the control tactics of the masters. Therefore I will continue on the road of authenticity with my head held high and my eyes, ears and nose wide open and dismiss the one sided Apollonian ideology that reduces art to no more than “amusement governed by empty concepts” and firmly deny Plato’s view that “Art is a secondary imitation of reality and a counterfeit substitute for life itself”

Today’s cut is a fine piece of Art courtesy of the ‘Big O’. Borrowed from the great 1965 ‘Otis Blue’ set….Plato…this one’s all yours.

musicology #404

Catharsis #2

(Bobby Womack – Games)

While listening to a series of lectures on the subject of Ancient Greek philosophy one of the threads focused on the opposition between Plato/Socrates and the Pre Socratics particularly the ideas of the Sophists. According to the lectures the Sophists, (in debate), are not concerned with the Truth but rather the art of persuasion while Socrates/Plato hold that it’s the Truth that matters most when determining the outcome of a debate. To put it another way Politics, certainly in the current age, is Sophistic and deals in rhetoric while Science is Socratic.

I find myself in agreement with certain aspects of each method but also refute just as much which I found confusing but yesterday I came to a realisation that much western Philosophy builds arguments on the underlying concept of Right and Wrong. Socrates for example invites opponents to play the game using his rules, (question/answer), and then proceeds to beat his opponent using logic and reason. For example Socrates might start the game by saying “Do you agree that….” and once the opponent answered would tear down the Relativist/Sophist argument based on the answer given. But there is one Sophist in Plato’s Republic who doesn’t play Socrates’ game and what this highlights is that there is of course more than one game and each one has their own set of rules.

Problems arise when we find ourselves in dialogue with those whose game and rules are different to our own. My experience is that games and rules only become clear when one or both parties are trying to base their argument on ‘Right and Wrong’ which is a concept that personally  I don’t accept.

Today’s cut is courtesy of ‘the Poet’ a.k.a Bobby Womack a Cat who triggers many memories for themusicologist due to his music and message being a constant during my formative years with a piece taken from the 1981 set that was the man’s response to how life had, in his own words “turned on him”.

Just like to make clear that each slice of this cathartic pie is inspired by instinct and as such is nothing more than part of the process so bear in mind that interpretation is wholly subjective.

musicology #361

Ideology&Philosophy #2

(Billie Holiday – Getting Some Fun Out Of Life)

Looks like we may be in for the long haul again on this theme ! although this is NOT going to be about the history of western Philosophy more like the history of Philosophy that has influenced themusicologist or definitions of concepts that I believe are critical to living in this mis-information maybe it won’t turn into an epic. Either way the ‘musical diary’ will be left open for those who have eyes and ears to see and hear.

But before we get into round two I just want to let all the Cats know that ‘The Project’ is picking up momentum so I am, (and have been), very busy trying my best to walk on water, which is hard work but once you get used to it it’s like riding a get on, you fall off, you get back on again until one day you’re riding down the street pulling wheelies shouting “Look ma…no hands” !!

I’m not there yet but for me belief is more powerful than fear in the same way that love is more powerful than hate and as a ‘believer’ there is no way negativity will dominate the one life I have to live.

Today’s dialogue, (of course strictly speaking it’s a monologue but I hope that dialectic comes from it), says a few more words about Greek philosophy, (which was in fact the first step on themusicologist’s journey to knowledge of the self after reading a short book by Plato called ‘The Trials Of Socrates’) . The way I have interperated it Socrates was the first in the western world, (on record), to question everything which, at the time was quite monumental. Up until then people, (at least the majority), just accepted whatever the dogma was and placed little importance on evaluation. Socrates through Plato, (or the other way around), challenged almost everything that was said to him in an effort to question the meaning of words. When I first read this small book I found this to be in synchronicity with my own feelings on such matters and armed with the bare minimum of formal education was able to follow Plato without trying. This important discovery helped me to realise how important it was for me, (and in know way am I trying to convince anyone else), how critical Philosophy is in making sense of the world I find myself in so the following extract is a very brief introduction to some of the thoughts contained in such a valuable discipline. By the way I’m by no means a disciple of Plato or any of the Greeks but it was where the journey started.

The music is a cut from a female singer who for me is one of the most important interperators of the 20th Century…Billie Holiday, who also happens to be one of my earliest teachers on the subject of the expression of emotions. A 1937 slice originally recorded on Vocalion. Backed up on the session by the legendary Buck Clayton, Buster Bailey, Lester Young, Claude Thornhill, Freddie Green, Walter Page and Jo Jones almost all of whom featured heavily in creating the backbone of the great Count Basie Band. The Painist, (strangely), is uncredited but it could only be one of two, the majestic Teddy Wilson or the ‘Count’ himself.

musicology #360

Ideology&Philosophy #1

(The Silvertones – Smile)

So as one theme ends another begins…Didn’t have a clue what it might involve until last night when it came to me while soaking in some ‘spoken word’, (a daily occurence in the home of themusicologist). So to keep it fresh in my heart and mind I would like to share and combine two of my passsions with the crew, music…and the ‘love of wisdom’ or what’s better known as Philosophy.

My intention is to keep the dialogue going and start each slice of musicology with a bit of spoken word followed by what I believe is a piece of musical wisdom. Not sure how it will unfold but as with all the themes on themusicologist I feel compelled by something other than logic or reason so I’ll continue to let intuition be the guide.

Day one features an introduction to the Western Worlds first and still prevalent Ideology, Greek Philosophy. Borrowed from a ‘top ranking’ lecture on the subject by a lecturer called David Roochnik who, for me does a perfect job in explaining the meaning of ‘Dialectic’. A word that I have heard and read many times but until this Cat laid out this definition was never satisfied with my understanding of it. A very important concept that continues to have a major impact on all our lives

The musicology is a fine piece of wisdom from Jamaican vocal group, the Silvertones featuring the talents of Gilmore Grant, Keith Coley and Delroy Denton. Yet another piece of ‘Coxsone’ magic, (first press 45), from the back end of the sixties…