Tuesday, August 18, 2009

more fiddling around

Harry Choates - The Fiddle King of Cajun Swing (listen) At the nexus where the sweeping arm of Western Swing crosses Cajun grind lies a little yellow glowing globule of happiness

right next to sulfurous, smoldering cinder of impish menace.

This dichotomy is reflected in the short bio of Mr. Choates on the Arhoolie site:
There is a feeling of a musician at ease with himself, at ease with his talent and at ease with the world. Of course, this could hardly be farther from the truth, for just as his music was maverick, so also was his life. A prodigious drinker, he lived hard and died tragically, before he had reached his 30th birthday, in a jail cell in Texas.
This CD reminds me of when I started listening to fiddle music about a decade ago, around the time I bought a copy of the Harry Smith's Anthology of American Folk Music. I already was familiar with how that compilation was a launchpad for the sixties folk movement when I bought it, but could see how some young upstarts looking for something real on which to latch fell under its spell. There is a clockwork-of-the-universe feel in the adapted reels of what Mr. Smith deemed "social music," that one could imagine if you sped up the rotation of the planets, their complicated loops might sound a little like a fiddle in waltz time.

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