Thursday, 31 January 2013

Gimme Some Funky Monkey Music - the album or the single?

For a number of years, we have been lead to believe that albums are the epitome of the singer/songwriters profession, not only that particular body but also any 'serious' act or artist. Depending on which particular era or generation you come from tends to colour your opinion of when the album became so highly regarded. Those who entered music in the seventies might suggest that era, with its raft of superb long players (yes kids, long players)is where the art form reached its peak. Others, just a bit older might propose the sixties with acts like Bob Dylan, The Beatles, Love, Frank Zappa and the underground movement that first raised the bar on creative, gods help us –serious, albums. Of course Miles Davis, Dizzy Gillespie, Charlie Parker and good old blue eyes, Frank Sinatra would say otherwise. Those acts were making albums some twenty years before that. At the end of the day it really doesn’t matter. As for which decade sold the most, well that was the much maligned eighties.

I enjoy a good album. I like to settle down to listen to something, much like a decent film, that will suck you in to its themes, engage you with its lyrics and melodies, to its arrangements and emotional content. The album, when well composed and produced is a powerful piece of art. Take ‘Kind of Blue’ for example or ‘Ice Cream For Crow.’ Sheer genius.  But an album can only be as good as the songs that it contains.

Much of the love of the album comes from fans insane desire to make something serious of something fun. Creativity is fun. Fun can be serious too. Rock and Roll, the first arrival of such a genre in the fifties, was fun. It was also the only time, apart from perhaps punk, when a spirit of rebellion existed. Having fun doesn’t mean you cannot be serious. Mozart did not write his music to be heard in exactly the same way he composed it. Manuscripts sent and letters received to and from a variety of his contemporaries illustrate perfectly how like Duke Ellington, Mozart truly was. He wanted his pieces to be improvised. He himself never performed his work without spontaneous flourishes. Why? It was fun. It was, seriously, fun.

"Listen, man, I can play a mean boogie Woogie."

 An album is a thing made up of songs. The best albums have the best songs. Some would even go so far as to suggest that any given artists best album is their compilation of greatest hits, not the concept album it took months to produce.
As I say, I get incredible pleasure from albums; that is some albums. But even better are singles for they present, in pretty much the same way folk music does, a song that, if any good, lasts forever. Those three minutes of unadulterated joy, when all component parts coalesce into a moment of sheer bliss, is musical perfection.
Don't take my word for it, ask MC AWM...
"Lay down some heavy beats and I can Rap with the best of 'em."

all words and art are copyright © of Russell 'C.J' Duffy.To view my books on Amazon/Kindle go here: -- For another side of CJ go here: sOMeThiNg For tHE wEeKeND, SiR?


Anonymous said...

There is a set of people who has to take everything super duper uber seriously. I think a good dose of fun would kill this type.
They tend to really hate the likes of me!

Russell Duffy said...

They are bloody mad then.

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A Utility Fish Shed Blog

A Utility Fish Shed Blog