Sunday, September 12, 2010

Blank and Blues: Hesitation Blues

Holy Modal Rounders

Holy Modal Rounders: Hesitation Blues


Growing up in midwestern America, I listened to a lot of music that everyone else was listening to as well. There was AM radio where I absorbed my share of the rock and roll culture. There was the tiny cache of my parents' vinyl albums (Mom's taste ran to Andy Williams, Johnny Mathis, and Mr. Acker Bilk; my dad liked Boots Randolph). There were my sister's Beatles albums.

It took leaving home and going to college before I heard anything like this kind of music.

I first heard the Holy Modal Rounders through a boyfriend who loved blues of all sorts. Their songs were nothing like the music I knew. The lead singers both have voices that undoubtedly caused their tearful mothers to beg them not to aim for clearly hopeless musical careers. The guitar and fiddle sound straight from a West Virginia holler, not New York City where it actually originates. And the lyrics? What is this "psychedelic" of which they sing (remember, this was way back in 1964)?

Luckily, my love affair with distinctive music like this has lasted much longer than the one with that boyfriend.

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