Friday, March 31, 2006

The State of Music

I was prevailed upon by BondBloke to set some sort of poll on music, so I have so done. The poll asks you to vote for that US state which has, through the sounds and songs and labels and voices of its sons and daughters and residents, contributed most to contemporary music – widely defined. I opted to present a choice of 6 states, though it could have been more. But I’ll defend my selection, briefly, on this entry.

New York needs no justification for being a candidate. Think of the publishing houses that were Tin Pan Alley, the song-writing factory that was the Brill Building; think of Velvet Underground and the birth of punk, and don’t forget Atlantic records. And lots more besides. And, of course, Wild Thing was written by Chip Taylor in NYC.

Illinois – well, just think of Chicago and you need go no further than Chess Records and Muddy Waters. Chess records created the electric blues, as the unemployed delta bluesmen made their way northwards in search of jobs. From Chicago the music made its way to create the British explosion of blues in the early 1960s and gave us – well – mostly everything afterwards I suppose. And while there is more to Chicago than Chess Records, it is Chess that is the jewel in the crown of that state, if not the entire USA.

Michigan might raise some eyebrows, but I wonder if any city ever gave more to musc than Detroit. And I don’t only mean Tamla Motown, though why not? But if we fast-forward to the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s it is Detroit which spawned some of the greatest music ever committed to record, CD or whatever. Hank Ballard wrote and recorded “The Twist” in Detroit; Wilson Pickett; Aretha Franklin and Jackie Wilson. Rap has a presence in Detroit; the new wave of alternative punk/blues is straight outta Detroit. And on and on the list goes.

Tennessee doesn’t need any justification – well maybe 3 words. Memphis, Nashville, Elvis. That should do it. Oh, and maybe Hank. OK – 4 words. The rest is history. Oh, and there's also Stax...

Texas, the Lone Star state, boasts some of the giants of contemporary singer-songwriting. Steve Earle is a Texan. Buddy Holly was a Texan. Then we have Janis Joplin, Kris Kristofferson, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Guy Clark, Roy Orbison, Willie Nelson. And the two giants – Kinky Friedman and the late, and the very great, Townes Van Zandt.

California and the beach and the Beach Boys. And a whole lot more besides.

So, what do you think? Vote now…

Update by BondBloke:

I have had a few mails now, some of you are missing the poll for those it is almost at the top of the right hand column...


Blogger glenda said...

Hi, there.
Well, since I'm from Texas and voting for Kinky Friedman for Governor, take a guess (hint, begins with T, ends with S) :)

Saturday, April 01, 2006  
Blogger Herschell Hershey said...

What about Mississippi? (Charley Patton, Robert Johnson, the Delta Blues, all that?)

In the meantime, I'll take Tennessee, with a side-order of Texas fries.

Saturday, April 01, 2006  
Blogger JMW said...

Well, I'd probably vote for New York or Michigan based on the reasons you give. I wonder if Minnesota shouldn't have been included -- Dylan and Prince alone would justify it, but also the Jayhawks and the alt-country waves they made. Just a thought.

Monday, April 03, 2006  
Anonymous Bill said...

Memphis : W.C Handy the father of the blues, Sun Studio the birthplace of Rock n' Roll, Hi Records, Al Green, Isaac Hayes

Monday, April 03, 2006  
Anonymous Chris said...

Remind me which state New Orleans is in, and what music came from there.

Monday, April 03, 2006  
Anonymous fridgemonkey said...

It has to Michigan / Detroit, for the genius of Carl Craig, Underground Resistance, Juan Atkins, Drexiya, DopplerEffekt, Claude Young, Jeff Mills, Daniel Bell, Derrick May, Blake Baxter, Octave One, Kenny Larkin and the 'just over the border' influence of Canada's Richie Hawtin/Plastikman

Monday, April 03, 2006  
Blogger BondBloke said...

With you Chris, Mississippi and JAZZ!!!!

Monday, April 03, 2006  
Blogger BondWoman said...

it's louisiana actually...

Monday, April 03, 2006  
Blogger BondBloke said...

Sory Chris I bow to a greater authority in these matters, ungraciously but nevertheless it is so... It's still bloody JAZZ though!

Monday, April 03, 2006  
Anonymous Mike in the U.S. said...

I vote none of the above. Carolina beach music is the best thing to have in your music collection if you have a group of people to entertain. Everyone in America ages 15-75, white, black or purple dances when they listen hear it.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006  
Blogger dorkafork said...

Mississippi: ahem... ELVIS, Bo Diddley, B.B. King, Muddy Waters, Otis Rush, John Lee Hooker, Howlin Wolf, Robert Johnson, Jerry Lee Lewis

Tuesday, April 04, 2006  
Anonymous new institutionalist said...

It has to be Texas for the South by South West festival alone. After all, that's where Franz Ferdinand and ohers were discovered, wasn't it?

Tuesday, April 04, 2006  

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