Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Rings: SIngle Ladies (Put A Ring...)

Party Ben: Mashup (Single Ladies/Andy Griffiths Theme)

Purchase (Download free from Party Ben's site)

I, too, have been away from my computer and music collection and so missed the chance to post recently. As for the mp3 files issue, although I am using the same maligned hosting service (and I know I am tempting fate here), my previously posted songs seem to still resolve. It may be because many/most are creative commons legal. It could be because I rename them. So here goes yet another posted mp3 in the hopes that it, too, resolves for you…

One category of music I collect and enjoy are mashups. There are several places online where you can find years’ worth of downloads if you want to get/explore more. For anyone who doesn’t already know this genre, a mashup involves mixing two or more songs, generally adjusting the timing and using just a part of the songs in order to get them to fit just right: some do it better than others.

This mashup, by Party Ben from San Fransisco, is a good example of his skills (also check out his version of Rehab/Can’t Help Myself). In it, he deftly combines Beyonce’s Single Ladies (Put a Ring On It) with the theme from the Andy Griffith’s show - hence the tie in to this week’s theme.

As to the legality of mashups, it is a hotly debated topic. Since a mashup generally uses little more than the established “fair use” short selection of a copyrighted work, as well as being a creative original interpretation, it is an art form that seems to survive take-down requests. I would say: not unlike the kind of creativity that Weird Al Yankovitch is known for (the link should provide you with a short version of his "Ringtones".)

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Rings: Hurricane

Bob Dylan: Hurricane


As an initial matter, I know that we have been having a big “dead link” issue on the blog, and I hope we can figure out a way to stop that from happening. There have been lots of emails behind the scenes. But I am going to post, and link, and hope that you can listen. If not, I expect that most readers are savvy enough to find a version of this song somewhere. In fact, I bet that many of you already own this one.

Since I started writing for this blog, I have posted every week, sometimes twice, and often first. But this past week, I was on vacation, and am glad that the theme has been extended. I was at the Newport Folk Festival last weekend with my wife, and stayed in Newport for the rest of the week. It was our first time at the festival, and it was incredible. The first day was wonderful, and we heard some incredible music, including the incendiary Alabama Shakes, Dawes, Apache Relay, Patty Griffin, First Aid Kit, and the closer, My Morning Jacket. During which, the skies opened up, and the torrential downpour led to a Dunkirk-esque evacuation from the concert for those of us who used the ferry.

When I saw the theme, on Sunday morning, I thought that I could post this song, about boxer Rubin “Hurricane” Carter, by Bob Dylan, in honor of Dylan’s legendary electric performance at the 1965 Newport Folk Festival. I was planning on trying to post during the week, but it never happened. Sunday was another full day of music, including Sara Watkins, New Multitudes (with Jay Farrar, Jim James, Will Johnson and Anders Parker), the amazing Gary Clark, Jr., Conor Oberst and tUne-yArDs. We also caught the last song of Tom Morello’s set, “World Wide Rebel Song,” which he played with the stage filled with spectators, and during which he taunted the security and police for trying to clear the stage. After the set was over, the announcer said, “The Newport Folk Festival is still political.”

Maybe, but certainly not as much as it was back in the sixties, when folk music was a vanguard in the civil rights and antiwar movements, and Dylan’s desire to play electric could become an international incident. Reading accounts of that day, it is pretty clear that the myth, that Dylan decided to play an electric set, was booed by the crowd, and that Pete Seeger used an axe to cut the electricity, is not really accurate, and what really happened is subject to interpretation and opinion. In fact, there are those who believe that Dylan wasn’t booed at all, but that the crowd was upset that his set was so short.

Similarly, the facts about Rubin Carter’s murder charges are unclear. Dylan’s song takes the position that Carter was innocent and framed, and convicted due to racism. It is an incredibly powerful protest song, and it is easy to understand why critics considered it a return to form for Dylan after a long stretch away from political music. Or why it resonated so strongly in the mid-70’s. And yet, despite the ultimate overturning of Carter’s conviction, there are many who believe that he was guilty, and a simple Google search will uncover many sites that still argue both sides.

I don’t know if anyone will ever be able to say definitively what happened at Newport on July 25, 1965, or in Paterson, New Jersey nearly a year later, on June 17, 1966. And maybe that should make us think before we rely blindly on reports of events that we did not experience ourselves.