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Tuesday, February 9, 2021

Looking forward benefits from looking back. Tuesday, Feb 9, 2021

You're safe. We're talking about musical look-backs, not about prequels and sequels to impeachments of self-absorbed seditious imbeciles.

(You CAN find our editor's latest piece on politics, "Insurrection, Impeachment, and the Power of Fear," published in the L.A. Progressive, at: )
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Now... today is a milestone in music history. Let's look at what that is, and how it resonates in ways wholly unimaginable when it happened.

After learning of the sudden passing last night of Mary Wilson at age 76, founding member of the landmark female trio The Supremes, there is, fortunately, a happier anniversary today. 

Let's start with an item from Garrison Keillor's daily missive, the "Writer's Almanac"...

"On this day in 1964, the Beatles appeared on the Ed Sullivan Show for the first time, as teenage girls screamed hysterically in the audience and 73 million people watched from home — a record for American television at the time. Their appearance on the show is considered the beginning of the 'British Invasion' of music in the United States. The Beatles appeared on the Ed Sullivan Show the following two Sundays in a row, as well. On this first time, exactly 57 years ago today, they sang 'All My Loving,' 'Till There Was You,' 'She Loves You,' 'I Saw Her Standing There,' and finally 'I Want to Hold Your Hand' — which had just hit No. 1 on the charts."

That night still ranks among the Top 25 Moments in broadcast history.

Incidentally... that night the Beatles performed, Mary Wilson was 19, about a month shy of her 20th birthday. She was touring with The Supremes -- their trio had renamed itself in early 1961, when she was 16 -- and THEIR first No. 1, million-selling song was just four months away: “Where Did Our Love Go” was released June 17, 1964.

Which might cause us all to reflect on the infinitely broad aural kaleidoscope that was the vast musical universe from 1964 through the next 15 years, and how, along the way, it destroyed the color barrier for artists and audiences alike, and caused a substantial portion of American kids to forsake Little League and Pop Warner Football so they could pick up a guitar and form a garage band. 

The Folk Revival became folk-rock. Opposition to a war in Southeast Asia, and to questioning the premise of American Empire, manifested across genres of music played in inclusive succession with songs of love and life's longings and laments, in every set on every radio. Electric guitars would give us heavy metal -- though hard rock's greatest anthem, Led Zep's "Stairway to Heaven," is acoustic for its first half. 

It should have been self-sustaining, indefinitely. Nothing before or since was so inclusive, so embracing of diversity, so inseparable from the entire culture, so much the soundtrack of everyone's lives. So, what went wrong? The ever-innovative variety and quality of what could be heard on the radio "back then" was done-in by the greed of sharp-pencil accountancy at mega-labels. 

Corporate music led to art being buried beneath the soundalike disco infestation, followed by its pop-country fake-drawl soundalike line dance counterpart, then by soundalike "urban dance" radio. 

But art finds a way. Bringing us to the revolution of artists being able to make their own CDs, and then their own downloads, with most of what's good being relegated to a kind of "contextual fame." Thus all who hunger for melodic diversity are thankfully not left only in search of "oldies" stations, whatever their generational membership. 

Because innovation and creative vitality are alive in struggling indie and small label artists, performing in genres banished from commercial radio, infinite diversity is "somewhere out there." You might need radar, a geiger counter, specialty music media like us, and shared online music vid links from your friends to find it. But the artists who create real music persist, persevere, record, and even in the quasi-quarantine of a pandemic, perform live for appreciative audiences on millions of isolated glowing screens.

Often citing influences from those of that same 1964-1979 period of unbridled diversity, they, the indies struggling to achieve their share of contextual fame, are today's obscure John Lennons and Mary Wilsons, whose hours of practice and songwriting and jamming and rehearsal continue to let them know "You Can't Hurry Love."

And so we join all who comprise these global gatherings of isolated audiences attending and appreciating virtual performances and discovering and savoring landmark recordings. Because past, present, and future merge as a continuum of creativity and a celebration of what makes us human.

Humbly, we say thanks to all whose artistry inspires and sustains us. And that's purt near all of us, music-maker and listener alike. Because wherever and whenever it is -- or was -- that you put it out there, inspiration is immortal.

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We'll be back soon with coverage of the opening of the brand-new, years-in-the-making, MUSEUM OF AFRICAN AMERICAN MUSIC.

Plus, some special features on blues, banjos, rootsy New Orleans jazz, and other delights to the ears of all -- that owe their origins to the Black experience in America.

Meanwhile, don't be a maskhole, and stay the hell away from the maskless Branch Covidians. No free passes to get stupid!

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And, geez, THAT was back when Rin-Tin-Tin hadn't gotten his second "tin" from Tin Pan Alley... and you watched TV on a big box and movies on a screen, instead of both in postage-stamp mode on your phone.. and "the pandemic" meant 1918... and Rudy Giuliani was "America's Mayor" instead of a portable meltdown of brown ooze... and "trump" was something that only happened in a card game, instead of being garishly applied to buildings that go bankrupt (before it became a synonym for grifter college, grifter steaks, cultist wackos, attempted violent coups at the Capitol, and banishment from polite society)...
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♪ The ACOUSTIC AMERICANA MUSIC GUIDE endeavors to bring you NEWS – and views of interest to artists everywhere – more specifically to musicians and the creative community and music makers -- and fans of acoustic and Folk-Americana music. That includes both traditional and innovative forms. From the deepest roots to today’s acoustic renaissance, that’s our beat. We provide a wealth of resources, including a HUGE catalog of acoustic-friendly venues (now undergoing a major update), and inside info on FESTIVALS and select performances in Southern California in venues from the monumentally large to the intimately small and cozy. We cover workshops, conferences, and other events for artists and folks in the music industry, and all kinds o’ things in the world of acoustic and Americana and accessible classical music. From washtub bass to musical spoons to oboe to viola to banjo to squeezebox, from Djangostyle to new-fangled-old-time string band music, from sweet Cajun fiddle to bluegrass and pre-bluegrass Appalachian mountain music to all the swamp water roots of the blues and the bright lights of where the music is headed now.
The Acoustic Americana Music Guide. Thanks for sittin' a spell. The cyber porch'll be here anytime you come back from the road.

Til we catch ya again on the flip side 
in this new world of the now somewhat lessened improbable unknown...

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