Lyrics & Knowledge Personal Pages Record Shop Auction Links Radio & Media Kids Membership Help
The Mudcat Cafemuddy

Post to this Thread - Sort Descending - Printer Friendly - Home


folk reviews ,are they necessary

The Sandman 09 Mar 09 - 04:32 PM
Spleen Cringe 09 Mar 09 - 04:44 PM
Folknacious 09 Mar 09 - 04:45 PM
Phil Cooper 09 Mar 09 - 04:49 PM
Jeri 09 Mar 09 - 05:02 PM
Tangledwood 09 Mar 09 - 05:05 PM
Jayto 09 Mar 09 - 05:31 PM
Dave Sutherland 09 Mar 09 - 05:53 PM
The Sandman 09 Mar 09 - 06:37 PM
michaelr 09 Mar 09 - 06:51 PM
SSlug at Home 09 Mar 09 - 07:39 PM
SSlug at Home 09 Mar 09 - 07:45 PM
McGrath of Harlow 09 Mar 09 - 07:57 PM
GUEST 09 Mar 09 - 08:20 PM
C. Ham 09 Mar 09 - 08:37 PM
Jim Carroll 10 Mar 09 - 03:17 AM
Jim Lad 10 Mar 09 - 03:33 AM
GUEST,AW 10 Mar 09 - 05:13 AM
Anne Lister 10 Mar 09 - 05:26 AM
The Sandman 10 Mar 09 - 05:55 AM
matt milton 10 Mar 09 - 06:36 AM
matt milton 10 Mar 09 - 06:37 AM
matt milton 10 Mar 09 - 06:45 AM
matt milton 10 Mar 09 - 06:53 AM
M.Ted 10 Mar 09 - 07:11 AM
matt milton 10 Mar 09 - 07:17 AM
Rain Dog 10 Mar 09 - 08:12 AM
Jim Carroll 10 Mar 09 - 12:40 PM
Malcolm Douglas 10 Mar 09 - 12:58 PM
Rifleman (inactive) 10 Mar 09 - 12:58 PM
M.Ted 10 Mar 09 - 01:00 PM
Mr Happy 10 Mar 09 - 01:09 PM
matt milton 10 Mar 09 - 01:12 PM
matt milton 10 Mar 09 - 01:13 PM
Abdul The Bul Bul 10 Mar 09 - 01:18 PM
Spleen Cringe 10 Mar 09 - 01:24 PM
Anne Lister 10 Mar 09 - 02:40 PM
The Sandman 10 Mar 09 - 03:01 PM
Rain Dog 10 Mar 09 - 03:36 PM
Folknacious 10 Mar 09 - 05:12 PM
M.Ted 10 Mar 09 - 05:18 PM
Peace 10 Mar 09 - 05:27 PM
The Sandman 10 Mar 09 - 05:57 PM
Folknacious 10 Mar 09 - 06:16 PM
Anne Lister 10 Mar 09 - 06:56 PM
The Sandman 10 Mar 09 - 07:01 PM
Peace 10 Mar 09 - 07:11 PM
dick greenhaus 10 Mar 09 - 07:54 PM
Folkiedave 10 Mar 09 - 07:57 PM
Joe_F 10 Mar 09 - 08:43 PM
M.Ted 10 Mar 09 - 09:49 PM
Jim Lad 11 Mar 09 - 12:54 AM
Jim Carroll 11 Mar 09 - 04:55 AM
Jim Lad 11 Mar 09 - 05:45 AM
matt milton 11 Mar 09 - 05:52 AM
matt milton 11 Mar 09 - 06:08 AM
The Sandman 11 Mar 09 - 06:09 AM
matt milton 11 Mar 09 - 06:14 AM
matt milton 11 Mar 09 - 06:52 AM
Jim Carroll 11 Mar 09 - 07:59 AM
The Sandman 11 Mar 09 - 08:43 AM
Dave Sutherland 11 Mar 09 - 08:54 AM
The Sandman 11 Mar 09 - 09:22 AM
The Sandman 11 Mar 09 - 09:25 AM
matt milton 11 Mar 09 - 09:42 AM
Jim Lad 11 Mar 09 - 12:29 PM
Anne Lister 11 Mar 09 - 12:48 PM
GUEST 11 Mar 09 - 12:58 PM
The Sandman 11 Mar 09 - 01:00 PM
matt milton 11 Mar 09 - 01:01 PM
Rain Dog 11 Mar 09 - 01:18 PM
Rifleman (inactive) 11 Mar 09 - 01:22 PM
Spleen Cringe 11 Mar 09 - 04:25 PM
M.Ted 11 Mar 09 - 05:22 PM
dick greenhaus 11 Mar 09 - 05:44 PM
Spleen Cringe 11 Mar 09 - 05:48 PM
Share Thread
more
Lyrics & Knowledge Search [Advanced]
DT  Forum
Sort (Forum) by:relevance date
DT Lyrics:









Subject: folk reviews ,are they necessary
From: The Sandman
Date: 09 Mar 09 - 04:32 PM

how many people on this forum are influenced by a review of a cd,and influenced sufficiently that they have either bought or not bought a cd,because of a review .
how many people have bought a cd on the strength of a performance on you tube .,or a track off a website
hope you dont mind answering thse questions,its a kind of market research.
just wondering whether folk magazine reviews will become redundant in time .


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: folk reviews ,are they necessary
From: Spleen Cringe
Date: 09 Mar 09 - 04:44 PM

As I don't get to anywhere near as many gigs as I'd like to and listen to music mainly at home, reviews are pretty important to me. I tend to get a sense after reading a magazine for a few issues which reviewers I trust and which are a bit flaky. I get a sense reading Mudcat that some performers really don't like having their stuff critiqued, but as a punter it really does help me narrow things down a bit: I don't have the money, time or inclination to listen to every CD that is released. Having said that, on-line reviews tend to be more useful than magazine reviews these days, because you can listen to what's being talked about there and then. Even in the age of Myspace, Youtube and so on, a good review can still point me in the right direction.

It's thanks to a review that I've made my latest (decidedly non-folky) purchase,"The Upside-Down World Of John Pantry". This


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: folk reviews ,are they necessary
From: Folknacious
Date: 09 Mar 09 - 04:45 PM

Views of usual suspects on Mudcat - will they be predictable?
Axes, will they be ground?
Certain well-known magazine, will it be bashed?
Aye aye aye Captain.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: folk reviews ,are they necessary
From: Phil Cooper
Date: 09 Mar 09 - 04:49 PM

I've bought CD's on the strength of reviews and recommendations. I even bought an LP based on Bob Zentz's recommendation, a few years ago, of an artist I'd never heard of named Dick Miles. He didn't steer me wrong. I do realize I review is just one person's opinion. Margaret and I once had the same recording of ours reviewed twice in the same magazine in two issues. One reviewer really liked it. One didn't. Unfortunately, I still recall the negative review comments ("ponderous" and "unremarkable") more than I do the positive one, but that's human nature.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: folk reviews ,are they necessary
From: Jeri
Date: 09 Mar 09 - 05:02 PM

I once bought a CD BECAUSE of a bad review in that 'well-known magazine'. What can I say? I liked the artist and I wanted to see if what the review said was right. It was. I liked the songs on the CD, but the problems made it disappointing.

On the other hand, good reviews may tell me about CDs I otherwise would have missed, especially since we in the US often can't just go to the folk CD store and look around.

Radio play is the primary way I personally discover what's out there that's good.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: folk reviews ,are they necessary
From: Tangledwood
Date: 09 Mar 09 - 05:05 PM

Almost all of my CDs have been bought after seeing the artists live, or getting later CD releases after enjoying previous ones. A few would be after hearing somebody elses copy of the CD. Being aware of the artists may have been influenced by youtube in a few cases, but that's not the influence in making the purchase.

I think only one CD that I have, The Songs of Chris Kempster, was based on a written review but that was also influenced by the Henry Lawson content.

For me to base a selection on a review I would need to know how the writer's tastes compare with my own.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: folk reviews ,are they necessary
From: Jayto
Date: 09 Mar 09 - 05:31 PM

I never read reviews so I guess they hold no sway.I look a band up if they catch my interest and check them out. Alot of cathching my interest really is unpredictable. It may be the name catches me or a song title (this is if I haven;t heard them) or cover art. I will check them out online if I can. If I can listen to the cd or part of it in the store I will do that to. Reviews though IMHO are worthless unless you and the writer have everything in common. My best friends reccomend people that I hate all the time thinking I will like them and they know me better than anyone. Like I said I don't read them but there is a reason why I dont. Plus I am not going to the reccomendation from any magazine that praises Little John or Taylor Swift into consideration. I have a wide range in musical tastes but in the end corporate magazines have corporate interests in mind not mine. I get enough advertisements on TV I don't want them when it comes to music. That is really all they are.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: folk reviews ,are they necessary
From: Dave Sutherland
Date: 09 Mar 09 - 05:53 PM

Yes I have purchased albums following reviews in the folk press and from web sites although You Tube hasn't played any part so far.
Judging by the number of CDs that I receive for possible publication in a regional newspaper (and the subsequent e-mails from some of their agents/p.a as to when the review will be published) I would say that plenty of artists still want their stuff reviewed.
Reading the recent reviews of "Songs From The Floodplain" by Jon Boden, had I not received a copy I certainly would have bought it.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: folk reviews ,are they necessary
From: The Sandman
Date: 09 Mar 09 - 06:37 PM

lets get something sorted out .
my post is not talking about any particular folk magazine ,but about folk reviews in general ,and also the impact of live tracks on websites,is that clear,so will posters stop trying to read insinuations into my original post and inferences that are not there .thankyou .


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: folk reviews ,are they necessary
From: michaelr
Date: 09 Mar 09 - 06:51 PM

Here in the US, the only major folk music magazine is Dirty Linen. I have bought several CDs based on positive reviews by them.

I may, however, be an exception, as Dirty Linen has published positive reviews of all of my CDs, but no one's bought them.

Cheers,
Michael


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: folk reviews ,are they necessary
From: SSlug at Home
Date: 09 Mar 09 - 07:39 PM

I have never bought music on the strength of somebody's review, any more than I've not purchased an album because some music hack has given it a panning!

There is so much available online nowadays that if I hear something I like I will check it out on Youtube or one of the other internet sites. It's easy to do and you don't get caught with buying an album because you've heard one song you like and then find out that it doesn't reflect the rest of the performer's output.

This might be a tad more difficult to do in future, thanks to the good old PRS (not my favourite organisation) and their dispute with Google, who are blocking UK users from watching music videos.

Case in point is that I heard a song I really liked today by Alela Diane, an American artist of whom I'd never heard before. I've listened to some of her songs on Youtube and I will look to buy her albums as soon as I can afford to.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: folk reviews ,are they necessary
From: SSlug at Home
Date: 09 Mar 09 - 07:45 PM

I should point out that Google are only blocking videos accessed through Youtube, which they own.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: folk reviews ,are they necessary
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 09 Mar 09 - 07:57 PM

I don't think I've ever in my life bought a record because of a review.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: folk reviews ,are they necessary
From: GUEST
Date: 09 Mar 09 - 08:20 PM

Yes, I read reviews and they do influence my buying decisions. I have purchased CDs based upon reviews in Musical Traditions, Old Time Herald and other sources. Often a review is the only way I would hear about a release; the small labels that that put out folk music generally don't have large advertising budgets.


    Please note that anonymous posting is no longer allowed at Mudcat. Use a consistent name [in the 'from' box] when you post, or your messages risk being deleted.
    Thanks.
    -Joe Offer-


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: folk reviews ,are they necessary
From: C. Ham
Date: 09 Mar 09 - 08:37 PM

Here in the US, the only major folk music magazine is Dirty Linen. I have bought several CDs based on positive reviews by them.

Huh?

Have you never heard of Sing Out?

I can't say that I buy CD's strictly because of reviews, but I've checked out and then bought MANY CD's because of good reviews.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: folk reviews ,are they necessary
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 10 Mar 09 - 03:17 AM

There is a strong case for having reviewers reviewed before you take notice of what they have to say.
I know of two in particular who should never be allowed within a mile of folk music as their sole purpose in life is self-promotion.
Jim Carroll


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: folk reviews ,are they necessary
From: Jim Lad
Date: 10 Mar 09 - 03:33 AM

I never trust reviews as it pertains to performers.
By the same token, I never purchase equipment without checking the reviews and can be swayed by them.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: folk reviews ,are they necessary
From: GUEST,AW
Date: 10 Mar 09 - 05:13 AM

I usually take the contents of the review with a pinch of salt, but have certainly been pleased to be alerted to the existence of a particular CD on occasions, and also used the review to a degree when choosing presents to buy on line. All publicity is good publicity, as they say, and even if all the review does is remind you that so-and-so has a new release out, it is definately a positive thing.

It's also quite entertaining to read how someone else has found a CD that you either love or hate. You may find new insight from seeing a different perspective - or perhaps stimulate a conversation with your mates about a product. Reviewers are a bit like crossword compilers - you get to know their quirks after a bit and learn to interpret what they say in the context of your own tastes.

AW


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: folk reviews ,are they necessary
From: Anne Lister
Date: 10 Mar 09 - 05:26 AM

I have sold a few albums on the strength of reviews - one (now regular supporter of my music) came to buy entirely because of a negative review in a UK folk mag. His view was that he'd worked out he generally liked whatever this particular reviewer disliked so he'd give my music a go! And of course he wouldn't have come across my music without that negative review.

As a performer I'm always, of course, looking for the perfect review of my work - but I also think it's important that there should be public, published attention paid to what we do. If there wasn't, we'd be the only art/culture form not paid that attention and I think it would devalue the work put into recordings and productions. What I think of individual reviews and reviewers is irrelevant to this!

Anne


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: folk reviews ,are they necessary
From: The Sandman
Date: 10 Mar 09 - 05:55 AM

interesting, Tabster.
As a performer I'm always, of course, looking for the perfect review of my work - but I also think it's important that there should be public, published attention paid to what we do. If there wasn't, we'd be the only art/culture form not paid that attention and I think it would devalue the work put into recordings and productions. What I think of individual reviews and reviewers is irrelevant to this.
but is this not possible from watching videos on you tube?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: folk reviews ,are they necessary
From: matt milton
Date: 10 Mar 09 - 06:36 AM

1. I'm very influenced by magazine (and online magazine) reviews. But not in a "good review=good album; bad review=bad album" way. I read between the lines a lot. For instance, if a reviewer describes a folk album as quite heavy going, a difficult listen or a bit weird, chances are I'll like it, even if the reviewer doesn't. (In fact probably *especially* if the reviewer doesn't - I find the majority of the folk albums that tend to get really good reviews in print media a bit middle of the road to be honest)

2. Youtube and websites are the biggest decider for me. I will frequently buy an album on the strength of just one track on myspace. Especially the album's a tenner or under. These days it's very rare I hear any music that doesn't come to me via the internet in one way or other. I can't remember the last time I heard anything on the radio that I wanted to own.

It's now really easy for anyone to stick some of their music up online. But this creates its own problem of knowing where to look. Most people don't have time to follow Myspace and Youtube leads and links. (Unless you have a deskbound job and a pair of headphones, like I do). You need an index, a guide, a map, some helpful suggestions. That's what reviews provide.

So, to answer your question, folk magazine reviews won't become redundant in time.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: folk reviews ,are they necessary
From: matt milton
Date: 10 Mar 09 - 06:37 AM

That said, I must admit, I have quite a low opinion of the vast majority of music criticism: for the most part it's extremely lazy, reliant on a string of formulaic cliches. It's very "blokey".

"Album of the year"; "A real gem"; "Highly Recommended"; "Buy it"; "I've not heard a better album since..."; "If there's a better album released this year, I'll..." etc etc etc
All that is chewing-the-fat talk: fine for the pub and internet chat forums, but you'd have thought that a self-respecting writer would try a little bit harder.

What I want out of music criticism is to read thought provoking, inspiring writing that actually steps up to the bar of the music it's describing: writing that captures something of its energy, that aspires to a sort of mimetic quality. I like writers such as Ian Penman, Ben Watson, Kodwo Eshun, Lester Bangs.

Whereas the vast majority of music writers seem to be content to just be shopping advisers – like marginally more impartial sales assistants.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: folk reviews ,are they necessary
From: matt milton
Date: 10 Mar 09 - 06:45 AM

"Reviews though IMHO are worthless unless you and the writer have everything in common"

I can understand that attitude. But I think it's symptomatic of how rubbish most music criticism is. I'm willing to bet that if you read a review that really impressed you as good writing: a review that made you think, or made you laugh, or even moved you, you would be keen to check out the album in question.

The trouble is, those kind of reviews are hardly ever written. I don't think it occurs to the majority of music writers to even try. They just want to give a mark out of ten, or make a list.

NME in the 1970s and early 80s was worth reading even if you weren't interested in the music it was covering. The Wire magazine sometimes is too.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: folk reviews ,are they necessary
From: matt milton
Date: 10 Mar 09 - 06:53 AM

"I think it's important that there should be public, published attention paid to what we do. If there wasn't, we'd be the only art/culture form not paid that attention and I think it would devalue the work put into recordings and productions"

"but is this not possible from watching videos on you tube?"

No, because the design of youtube prohibits in-depth discussion of the music. Most youtube comments rarely elaborate much further than "Awesome", "that's great", "where can I buy your CD?", or at the opposite pole "that's crap", "your guitar's not in tune" or stuff nothing to do with the music like "that's a really bad quality camera you're using" or, if it's a female performer, "you're really HOT".

Hardly incisive stuff. I grant you, there are some music blogs that attract intelligent comment. That kind of conversation, debate and comment is very valuable. But it's not the same as the magazine-review model, which at least in theory allows for a lot for self-reflection: a writer ought to be more considered, and furthermore an editor can challenge the writer over their content.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: folk reviews ,are they necessary
From: M.Ted
Date: 10 Mar 09 - 07:11 AM

Nothing anyone has to say about music is ever as interesting as the music itself. I'm like Jayto--If the name of an artist or a song, or something gets my attention some way, I check them out on YouTube, and if that doesn't work, I google----


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: folk reviews ,are they necessary
From: matt milton
Date: 10 Mar 09 - 07:17 AM

"Nothing anyone has to say about music is ever as interesting as the music itself"

what about when the music's terrible and the writing finds inventive, witty and entertaining ways of pointing this out?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: folk reviews ,are they necessary
From: Rain Dog
Date: 10 Mar 09 - 08:12 AM

I would say that a lot of the albums I have bought are as a result of seeing a review. As others have said, the review brings the album to my attention when I might not have heard of the artist/album before. I do read a a few music magazines. Luckily I don't read them while sat at the computer otherwise I would end up buying far too much.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: folk reviews ,are they necessary
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 10 Mar 09 - 12:40 PM

The most terse piece of criticism I ever heard of happened at a Comhaltas competition in Listowel some years ago.
The proceedure is that the 'victim' stands before a panel, plays their piece, the chairman, after discussion, comments learnedly on the playing, the choice etc, and then they adjudicate.
A young fiddle player entered the competition, came before the panel, obviously petrified, played and waited for the sentence.
The chairman, a notorious publican from Kerry leaned back in his chair, folded his arms and said loudly - "NEXT"
Jim Carroll


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: folk reviews ,are they necessary
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 10 Mar 09 - 12:58 PM

I've rarely bought records solely on the strength of a review, whether in print or on radio or television, but reviews are a useful part of the consumer's toolkit. To that we can now add YouTube, MySpace and the other networking sites; plus, of course, the performers' own websites if they take the trouble to set up and maintain such things (which I'd certainly recommend). You won't get considered commentary in such places, but sound samples are obviously helpful.

Naturally, reviewers vary in quality just as performers do. I occasionally review cds for Stirrings, but only if I feel I sufficiently well-informed to do justice to the genre concerned and have time to listen to it repeatedly in order to make a properly considered assessment. Some people prefer to discuss initial impressions, which I daresay is also a valid approach, though it doesn't suit me. I've been the subject of reviews in my time, so I know what it's like on both sides of the fence.

It isn't necessarily easy to find reasonably literate people who understand the purpose of reviews, though, and sometimes we get writeups that aren't very helpful; occasionally, for instance, somebody who seemed promising will turn in something so badly written or off-topic that we can't print it in fairness to the reviewee. Whether a recording gets a good, bad or neutral review isn't the issue here (performers who can't handle an unfavourable review probably shouldn't be putting out cds) but any review should be honest, informative and factually accurate, which requires due thought and consideration.

That's true of of both the national and local press. Because the genre is relatively small, the bulk of print reviews of folk music cds (however you choose to define folk music) will appear in the regional and local magazines where the reviewers are likely to be local club and concert goers rather than experienced journalists, but then so are the readers at whom the reviews are directed. Stirrings never seems to be short of review material, so evidently plenty of performers or performers' agents think the exercise worthwhile. As a relatively small publication, we tend to cover a higher proportion of 'own label' releases than do the larger magazines, which are perhaps more inclined to concentrate on the (relatively) bigger labels.

I don't see the value of press coverage as being diminished by the increasing availability of review or 'sample' material in other media; rather that the various options complement each other. While the independent folk music press survives (which it will do for as long as there are people prepared to devote unpaid time to producing it, and while there are people who will buy copies or pay for advertising - print costs must be covered somehow) reviews will, I think, remain a significant part of the service it provides.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: folk reviews ,are they necessary
From: Rifleman (inactive)
Date: 10 Mar 09 - 12:58 PM

Only if you pay any attention to reviewers and critics


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: folk reviews ,are they necessary
From: M.Ted
Date: 10 Mar 09 - 01:00 PM

"what about when the music's terrible and the writing finds inventive, witty and entertaining ways of pointing this out?"

In cases like that, the music is invariably better than the writing.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: folk reviews ,are they necessary
From: Mr Happy
Date: 10 Mar 09 - 01:09 PM

I've never bought a cd


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: folk reviews ,are they necessary
From: matt milton
Date: 10 Mar 09 - 01:12 PM

Maybe I should post you some of the albums that you end up receiving when you work for a music magazine. The albums most people never get to hear (because music magazines either exercise their discretion in not reviewing at all... or give bad reviews to...)

Or, to put it another way, I can think of plenty of examples of terrible albums I've heard where I would far rather read a review of it – ten reviews of it – than listen to a single nanosecond of it.

There's also an aspect overlooked by those who say that a review makes no difference to their purchasing of an album. Namely that they might not have ever have got to hear about those albums were it not for the butterfly-effect of publicity,evaluation, recommendation, word-of-mouth etc that magazine reviews are part of.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: folk reviews ,are they necessary
From: matt milton
Date: 10 Mar 09 - 01:13 PM

(obviously the post above was addressed to M.Ted, not to Mr Happy!)


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: folk reviews ,are they necessary
From: Abdul The Bul Bul
Date: 10 Mar 09 - 01:18 PM

I use the review as a guide and then go have a listen somewhere.
Just awaiting delivery of my John Boden Songs From the Floodplain that found me in exactly this way. fRoots then a couple of mentions in the mudcat threads by Diane Easby and Mrs Annie started it off.

Al


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: folk reviews ,are they necessary
From: Spleen Cringe
Date: 10 Mar 09 - 01:24 PM

"I can't remember the last time I heard anything on the radio that I wanted to own"

You mean you don't listen to Stuart Maconie's freak zone?

Amen to that 'reading between the lines' bit!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: folk reviews ,are they necessary
From: Anne Lister
Date: 10 Mar 09 - 02:40 PM

I'll go back to what I said about the printed magazine reviews being important in the same way that all reviews of art and culture are important, whether we're talking theatre, literature, poetry, or even, these days, restaurants. No, you can't get the same result from YouTube. There's a vast amount of stuff on YouTube of all qualities, a lot of it self-posted - how does that begin to equate with a review?
I consider that the music produced on the folk scene is every bit as valid as music produced for a rock, jazz, blues, country, classical or pop audience and deserves the same degree of scrutiny. Whether or not a review persuades you to buy an album it does bring that album further into public notice. You can argue, as many an actor has been known to do, that reviews are pointless and reviewers are cloth-eared idiots. They are, of course, only one person's opinion at the time they wrote the review. But if you say that folk reviews aren't necessary then it seems to imply that the music doesn't deserve critical attention, and I for one would disagree.
And, like Matt, I've been in the position of reviewing albums and yes, there are a lot of turkeys out there. One person's goose is another person's turkey, of course, although not many people enjoy recorded music that's out of tune and out of time and quite a few people would get riled by sloppy lyrics and banal melodies.
But of course if you really don't like reviews there's a simple answer to the problem - don't read them and don't send any review copies of your own albums to anyone.

Anne


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: folk reviews ,are they necessary
From: The Sandman
Date: 10 Mar 09 - 03:01 PM

But if you say that folk reviews aren't necessary then it seems to imply that the music doesn't deserve critical attention, and I for one would disagree.[quote]
no ,it does not imply that,it implies that people can make up their own minds by listening to tracks on you tube,we do not need anyone to tell us what we should like.
no, Anne, one should send reviews out ,because it is all publicity ,there is no such thing as bad publicity,but one should ever take any reviews seriously good or bad,by all means use good reviews to ones advantage,but dont believe them.,because most reveiwers ,have no idea ,or are bent on using reviewing to further their journalistic careers .,


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: folk reviews ,are they necessary
From: Rain Dog
Date: 10 Mar 09 - 03:36 PM

Most reviewers have no idea about what?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: folk reviews ,are they necessary
From: Folknacious
Date: 10 Mar 09 - 05:12 PM

most reveiwers ,have no idea ,or are bent on using reviewing to further their journalistic careers .,

While of course most artists have absolutely no desire to further their musical careers by sending CDs out for review.

When readers claim that reviewers are uneducated/ fools/ failed musicians etc, it often simply means that the reviewer doesn't have the same tastes as the reader or, if the reader is the reviewee, dared to not like their work.

As others have pointed out, many CDs made today are of poor musical standard. Similarly, some reviewers can't write well, or have a poor editor. Me, I raise my eyebrows at the idea that somebody with such a tenuous grip on spelling, grammar and punctuation can be much of a judge of writers . . .

I'm with those who have already said that reviews provide a good public service by drawing attention to the reviewed item, and perhaps providing some useful insights. Even to the maker of the CD.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: folk reviews ,are they necessary
From: M.Ted
Date: 10 Mar 09 - 05:18 PM

Having had some ongoing contact with both commercial and public radio, I am familiar with all the albums that most people never get to hear, and I know perfectly well that most reviewers and program directors, for that matter, don't listen to them either, so that whole line of justification falls flat--


I also know that few, if any reviewers can reach into that large pile of recordings and pick out the small number that have lasting creative and artistic merit, and that practically none of you can figure out which recordings the record buying and listening audience will ultimately embrace.
So you're dead in the water on both of those counts.

The idea that there should be discourse, discussion, and commentary on folk music does have some validity to it. The problem is that that sort of discussion requires the musical understanding of an ethnomusicologist, the analytical skills of a professor of literature, and the brevity and directness of a tabloid journalist--skills that converge as infrequently as the ability to create popular recordings of folk music--

As to YouTube, in point of fact, I get better results from it than from any of your reviews, simply because I can hear the music directly, and don't have to rely on the opinion of someone who likely has no idea what I like--some one mentions something they like, and I'm there. Simple as that.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: folk reviews ,are they necessary
From: Peace
Date: 10 Mar 09 - 05:27 PM

I'm with M Ted on that. Reviews happen or they don't. Once had two reviewers in 'rival' papers speak in print about the same performance I did back in the day. One gave it a rave. The other suggested I get a real job. Pffft! Wasn't folk music, but it WAS the same concert.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: folk reviews ,are they necessary
From: The Sandman
Date: 10 Mar 09 - 05:57 PM

Folknacious,reviewers should be telling people about the cd they are reviewing,frequently the review tells us more about the reviewer.
They should not be using the review to promote themselves,as they on occasion do.
However musicians are using cds to promote their careers [and why not?]without musicans there would be no music and nothing for reviewers to review .
many cds today are of a very high standard.
finally ,to be a good song writer does not require high standards in grammar or spelling,it requires creative abilty.
Me, I raise my eyebrows at the idea that somebody with such a tenuous grip on spelling, grammar and punctuation can be much of a judge of writers . . .[quote]
that is really funny .[Me, I raise] ,now that is really good grammar. I raise my eyebrows [without the Me]is better .


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: folk reviews ,are they necessary
From: Folknacious
Date: 10 Mar 09 - 06:16 PM

reviewers should be telling people about the cd they are reviewing,frequently the review tells us more about the reviewer. They should not be using the review to promote themselves,as they on occasion do.

Give examples please. Better if in reviews of your works, so we can judge your objectivity. But please back opinions with facts.

many cds today are of a very high standard.

Now here we really are in the land of opinion as fact. The opinions I've heard voiced from those on the receiving end of CDs circulated in the folk world for review rather differ. On balance, juggling various opinions voiced, I'd be inclined to believe that there are some of a higher standard than we have been used to in the past, but many that are vanity-published and of low quality and little appeal. Of course, that requires me to give some weight to the opinion of reviewers, and since you have already stated that most of them have no idea, this becomes rather a futile discussion I feel.

Sorry, but I still hear the sound of ground axes.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: folk reviews ,are they necessary
From: Anne Lister
Date: 10 Mar 09 - 06:56 PM

People will, I hope, always make up their own minds about what they like, dislike and choose to spend money on. That's got nothing to do with what I've been saying about reviews and reviewers.

YouTube is (or certainly can be) a further extension of vanity publishing and having a song or two on there may generate sales - but in order to find those songs someone needs to know they're there. A review can sow the seeds of curiosity in the mind of someone who has not encountered the music before, can sprinkle a little familiarity about the names of the performers or the record label and can generally do other things than a YouTube entry can. It may or may not generate sales of itself. The two things are not mutually exclusive - you can have reviews AND put up a YouTube video, and probably should.

Reviewers are always fallible, always subjective and that's probably just the way they should be. But I would still say that if we want our music to be taken seriously by the public at large then yes, folk reviews are necessary. Not just in the folk press but in the press in general. I'd love to have my albums reviewed in "The Guardian", for instance. I am fed up enough with having folk music relegated to the shadows in the media ...working with a group of 15 yr old kids recently one of them was literally sitting open-mouthed when he listened to one of my CDs. How come, he said, repeatedly, how come he'd lived 15 years on this planet and never heard this kind of music anywhere? Folk reviews clearly won't get to grips with this particular issue, but not having them can only make things worse!

Anne


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: folk reviews ,are they necessary
From: The Sandman
Date: 10 Mar 09 - 07:01 PM

Folknacious,NO.
I do not intend to personalise this thread.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: folk reviews ,are they necessary
From: Peace
Date: 10 Mar 09 - 07:11 PM

Anne, maybe yes and maybe no. To suggest that things like Youtube or Myspace are vanity publishing is short sighted, IMO. Perhaps they are, but they are no less vain than things done in an "artist's name" by major labels. By saying that self-promotion is vanity is to say that if a major label hasn't chosen a person then that person sould 'go gently into that good night'. I disagree (assuming I have understood you correctly).

BTW, Anne'a CD is really damned good. (That's not IMO; that's IMPO.)

Bruce


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: folk reviews ,are they necessary
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 10 Mar 09 - 07:54 PM

Reviews can be valuable, but only if you've gotten to know how the reviewer thinks and what s/he likes and doesn't like. A lack of competent criticism has been a problem in folk music for many years.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: folk reviews ,are they necessary
From: Folkiedave
Date: 10 Mar 09 - 07:57 PM

I will second that description of Anne's CD and I have played a track off it already.

Quality.

Dave


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: folk reviews ,are they necessary
From: Joe_F
Date: 10 Mar 09 - 08:43 PM

Not to me. If I buy a CD (which is pretty seldom), it's because the singer and/or writer and/or one of the songs is familiar to me.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: folk reviews ,are they necessary
From: M.Ted
Date: 10 Mar 09 - 09:49 PM

Sorry, Anne, you are totally wrong about YouTube. YouTube is a much more effective way to get your music exposure than any folk publication, even more effective than "The Guardian"--and people disseminate and access it through embeds in the various social networking media, as well as through YouTube's own messaging system, it is possible to get music on line and get people listening to it incredibly quickly.

Youtube is the tenth or eleventh most accessed search, and a very high percentage of the viewers are 20 or younger. Bottom line is, had you been on YouTube, and had you known how to network, the fifteen year olds would have known about you--

Here's a Wall Street Journal Article, it is either amazing or frightening--WSJ Article on YouTube


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: folk reviews ,are they necessary
From: Jim Lad
Date: 11 Mar 09 - 12:54 AM

It is not the reviewer's job to offer any kind of negative criticism.
That would only show a lack of maturity on the reviewer's part.
Same goes for play critics, restaurant critics etc. etc..
Those who are good will receive positive reviews.
Those who are not, do not need the added burden of negative reviews to further impede their progress.
I happen to be one who gets a lot of enjoyment out of watching a performer hone his/her skills over the years.
The seasoned vets, I enjoy in the privacy of my vehicle or at home with a glass of Irish and a cozy fire.
But we all started out somewhere.
We all sucked at first.
We are the product of a patient audience and should have it in us to afford the same patience to the next generation.
Thus, the critic who takes it upon him/herself to insult those who do not meet their self imposed standards are completely missing the point that no artist has ever peaked.
The act is a living, flowing form that in most cases will become a masterpiece to some-one.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: folk reviews ,are they necessary
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 11 Mar 09 - 04:55 AM

Don't agree with Jim Lad - a fair and balanced review by somebody who knows and respects the subject is not only acceptable, but highly desirable, both from the point of view of the artist and of the listener.
The folk world tends to have wrapped itself in a cotton wool cocoon of first name sycophancy, which has much to do with the threads on standards which are a constant feature of on this forum.
Having said that - nasty experience coming up.

About eight years ago a review of a very important published collection of songs appeared in a highly respected internet magazine.
The review was enormous (can't lay my hands on it now as it seems to have been quietly removed from the magazine's archive) but it ran well into the equivalent of around ten pages.
There was a roar of disapproval of the self-indulgent, self-promoting nit-picking on the part of the reviewer, including a letter from me.
Two of the direct results of the review were
a    The author decided to leave the rest of his family's collection on the shelf, thus depriving us of a very important body of songs and research.
b    Following the row, lines were drawn and positions taken, thus preventing a balanced review from appearing.

Some time later we issued a collection of our recordings on a double CD with similar results from a different reviewer (in the same magazine), who just happened to be a friend of the first reviewer.
This time the review ran to 8,467 words which included 51 footnotes.
The reviewer totally ignored the dozen plus singers, apart from insulting three of them, did not discuss the quality of the singing or of the songs, but rather, nit-picked his way through the notes, leaping on every spelling mistake, perceived or real, and challenging well-established facts. He even challenged references to alternative versions of the songs we had selected, inserting his own preferences.
Luckily he was unable to inflict any long-term damage and the album now ranks among the best-sellers of traditional singers.
From our point of view;
a    It will be a long time before we consider such a venture with the rest of our collection
b    Personally, we have been put in a bloody awful position regarding the familys, friends and neighbours of those singers (mostly all dead now) who were either insulted or ignored by the reviewer.
c    One of the singers an elderly farmer who was described as "sounding like a woman", had a large notebook of his, and his family's songs which it was always our intention to borrow and copy, thus adding a hundred plus songs to the local repertoire - we no longer feel in the position to do this.      
As far as the reviewer is concerned, he is what he is and I don't suppose he is able to do anything about that, but surely the magazine editor should have exercised a little more responsibility and thought through the implications of such a piece of work; if for no other reason, at least out of respect for the elderly singers who had been generous enough to allow us to record their songs and stories, and who NEVER should be drawn into the dog-fights that sometime take place in the folk world.

As far as I'm concerned, done properly, a good, knowledgeable review can be the tuning fork for what we do and listen to; if the tuning fork has a crack in it, we all end up singing out of tune.
Jim Carroll


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: folk reviews ,are they necessary
From: Jim Lad
Date: 11 Mar 09 - 05:45 AM

Hard to believe that you could precede that story with "Don't agree with Jim Lad".
Note to those who would consider themselves experts on what others want to hear....
Praise whomever you wish but keep the insults to yourself.
They serve absolutely no earthly purpose.

Think about this.
Neil Young has made a career of singing out of tune.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: folk reviews ,are they necessary
From: matt milton
Date: 11 Mar 09 - 05:52 AM

Again, several of these comments seem to think that the musicians and albums that have caught their eye did so because they happened to be strolling past, as it were. In the case of myspace and youtube that's sort of true, in that you follow links that pique your curiosity.

But those albums *might* not even be there were it not for the groudswell of supportive (even when it's dismissive) publicity/hearsay/word of mouth, critical analysis which helps to sustain them.

Jon Boden's latest solo album has been mentioned several times in this thread. Now JB is a tenacious, focussed and committed chap who probably would be on his second solo album whether or not he'd received good/rave reviews for his previous work, whether solo, duo or with Bellowhead. But would he be on his second solo album if none of his albums or gigs had ever been reviewed? Debatable. Would it have sounded how it does? Would it have had the same production values? The same level of confidence and assurance? Would there be a context for a large band such as Bellowhead to be able to go on tour (money money money)?

Funnily enough, some musicians aren't just interested in review coverage because it might sell a CD or two. They actually like receiving some kind of recognition, whatever it might be. "It can be cold in a vacuum" was a phrase used by one small label/musician who sent in a bunch of CDs for review once. Nobody likes to feel like they're just pissing in the wind.

The fact is that print magazine puts its money where its mouth is. The stakes are higher because it's choosing to actually risk something (money money money), That doesn't mean the writing's de facto better. (It's frequently lazy and awful, frankly.) Similarly and significantly, you tend to read a better level of commentary and analysis on blogs that have clearly invested a bit more time in them. Stands to reason really: it's the old adage "if something's worth doing, it's worth doing well" . Reviews and analysis beyond the "AWESO ME", "I loved it!!!!!!!" are an important part of the infrastructure that makes putting music out possible and worthwhile.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: folk reviews ,are they necessary
From: matt milton
Date: 11 Mar 09 - 06:08 AM

Just read your anecdote Jim. Very interesting.

There's certainly a tendency to nitpick in the folk and world music community. I sometimes think it would be a good thing if no CDs came with liner notes or press releases because it would deny reviewers the opportunity (which so many of them seem to relish) to spend more time banging on about minor typos in the liner notes than they do describing the music.

(Of course, when there aren't any liner notes, reviewers invariably harp on about the lack of liner notes!)

the trouble is though that someetimes a reviewer simply can't win. With a large project such as the one you describe, I can equally imagine someone complaining that, say, a succinct 250 word review wasn't giving it the respect it deserved. I mean, it's actually refreshing for me to hear someone complaining about a review being too long! Normally it's the opposite.

I think it's a real shame that further projects were shelved as a direct result of two pedantic and curmudgeonly reviews. But is it not a tiny bit of an overreaction, if you don't mind me saying so? As others here have pointed out, a review is only ever one person's opinion. And readers of reviews do read between the lines. There is just a chance that those two reviews, irritating as they were, may well have drawn some attention to the project that otherwise wouldn't have existed.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: folk reviews ,are they necessary
From: The Sandman
Date: 11 Mar 09 - 06:09 AM

Jim Carroll,interesting points.
from my own point of view,I am happier putting tracks on youtube ,than relying upon the whim of a reviewer.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: folk reviews ,are they necessary
From: matt milton
Date: 11 Mar 09 - 06:14 AM

It's not like you can't do both. They are, after all, totally different things.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: folk reviews ,are they necessary
From: matt milton
Date: 11 Mar 09 - 06:52 AM

"I am familiar with all the albums that most people never get to hear, and I know perfectly well that most reviewers and program directors, for that matter, don't listen to them either, so that whole line of justification falls flat--"

You had said before that no review is ever more interesting than the music it describes. Even in cases where the CD is plain terrible.

I routinely find that not to be true. For example, in the two hours I have been at work this morning, I have already found that not to be true several times. I mean, can you not even conceive of a hypothetical situation in which an album had nothing interesting about it at all, yet the review of it was "a bit" interesting?

You're also saying that in this place where you worked, you were an exception to a rule, in that you did indeed listen to a lot of unsolicited albums.

"I also know that few, if any reviewers can reach into that large pile of recordings and pick out the small number that have lasting creative and artistic merit, and that practically none of you can figure out which recordings the record buying and listening audience will ultimately embrace"

here's where we really part company. For one thing, identifying the "recordings the record buying and listening audience will ultimately embrace" doesn't actually have anything to do with the reviewing process in my opinion. It's not a reviewer's job to try to guess what's going to be a hit. I don't know of any self-respecting reviewer who reviews albums in that way. That's what record company marketing departments do, not reviewers.

As to identifying "the small number that have lasting creative and artistic merit" – well how long is a piece of string? That's not just a problem for "reviewers", it's a problem for people with ears. There are still people arguing about whether Sgt Pepper is a better album than Revolver. There are still people who think Pet Sounds is saccharine and twee while others think it's a masterpiece. There are still people arguing about whether Thelonious Monk could play the piano. There are sitll people arguing about whether Jackson Pollock could paint.

"The idea that there should be discourse, discussion, and commentary on folk music does have some validity to it."

Wooah, that's a really scary "some" there.

"The problem is that that sort of discussion requires the musical understanding of an ethnomusicologist, the analytical skills of a professor of literature, and the brevity and directness of a tabloid journalist"

Oh come off it. That's quite simply not true.

"As to YouTube, in point of fact, I get better results from it than from any of your reviews, simply because I can hear the music directly, and don't have to rely on the opinion of someone who likely has no idea what I like--some one mentions something they like, and I'm there. Simple as that"

Again, it's not like this is an either/or thing. Some people – me, for instance – actually enjoy reading about music, believe it or not. I've just finished reading Samuel Charters "Walking a Blues Road" and I'm now on "Art, Class and Cleavage" by Ben Watson. Both of which have in some way challenged and refined how I think (and to some degree make) music. There's no YouTube analogue for that.

one last anecdote that sums it up for me.

I'm currently listening to AFRICAN SCREAM CONTEST: Raw & Psychedelic Afro Sounds From Benin & Togo 1970s. It's terrific. Read a review of it in Songlines. Can't remember anything about the review as it happens, but the album's terrific.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: folk reviews ,are they necessary
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 11 Mar 09 - 07:59 AM

"I'm currently listening to AFRICAN SCREAM CONTEST"
Isn't that an old Abbott and Costello film?
Jim Carroll


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: folk reviews ,are they necessary
From: The Sandman
Date: 11 Mar 09 - 08:43 AM

this brings me to another point .
when we read a review,we do not know whether there has been any bad blood between the reviewer ,and the musician .
For example ,the editor of a well known magazine ,accused me of being on drugs,because I criticised a review[not a review of my own music] in this magazine .
I dont think in all honesty ,I would get a fair review if I sent him a copy of my cd to be reviewed,another reviewer has referred to me as a psychotic moron .,would I get a fair review for this person[I dont think so ]
musicans should not feel intimidated, or frightened to criticise a review,for fear of future reprisals,freedom of speech should be at everyones disposal,but most professional musicians prefer to keep their heads down,in case it produces bad feeling for the future .
Reviewers should be reviewed ,just as musicians are ,without any comeback .


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: folk reviews ,are they necessary
From: Dave Sutherland
Date: 11 Mar 09 - 08:54 AM

"Because the genre is relatively small, the bulk of print reviews of folk music cds (however you choose to define folk music) will appear in the regional and local magazines where the reviewers are likely to be local club and concert goers rather than experienced journalists"

"by all means use good reviews to ones advantage,but dont believe them.,because most reveiwers ,have no idea"

I have been contributing the folk music column and folk album reviews for The Nottingham Evening Post for the last sixteen years; prior to that Roy Harris undertook this function for around ten years. Neither Roy or I would consider ourselves experienced journalists, however between us we must have in the region of 100 years active experience within the world of folk music to give us a vague grasp on what is happening out there.
As for using them to further a "career" I find the 200 words max allotted to reviews barely enough to describe the album in full never mind finding room to talk about myself.
What sort of feedback does You Tube provide for the artist? In my rather limited experience of using the facility I have found a lot of crass comments posted by people who clearly have no empathy at all with the type of music on view.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: folk reviews ,are they necessary
From: The Sandman
Date: 11 Mar 09 - 09:22 AM

What sort of feedback does You Tube provide for the artist? In my rather limited experience of using the facility I have found a lot of crass comments posted by people who clearly have no empathy at all with the type of music on view.[quote]
it is not the feed back that is important,what is important is that potential buyers can view and make up their own minds,without the words of a possibly impartial reviewer,interfering .
Roy Harris is probably one of the best reviewers around,I have not seen any of your reviews, Steve .


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: folk reviews ,are they necessary
From: The Sandman
Date: 11 Mar 09 - 09:25 AM

sorry, Dave ,not Steve .


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: folk reviews ,are they necessary
From: matt milton
Date: 11 Mar 09 - 09:42 AM

"it is not the feed back that is important,what is important is that potential buyers can view and make up their own minds,without the words of a possibly impartial reviewer,interfering ."

ah, those pesky "possibly impartial" reviewers! always interferin! like the no-good stickybeak varmints they are!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: folk reviews ,are they necessary
From: Jim Lad
Date: 11 Mar 09 - 12:29 PM

It is hard to miss the point that those who value reviews are... well.. oh I don't know......






















Reviewers?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: folk reviews ,are they necessary
From: Anne Lister
Date: 11 Mar 09 - 12:48 PM

It's hardly worth beating this point over the head any longer but I'll give it one last cudgel.
You do not have to choose between YouTube and reviews. You can have both. Anyone can put a track up on YouTube - anyone can send an album to a reviews editor. The difference? Not all albums sent to a reviews editor will get a review, and most of the time those that do will get a review by someone who has a knowledge and love of the music genre we work within. Sometimes the reviewer won't like what you have produced and that's the risk you take. If you don't want to take that risk, don't send a review copy.
I seriously doubt whether any of my music on YouTube would get to the ears of the fifteen year olds I've been working with but one of these days I'll probably give it a go to find out. I still think that as there's so much stuff out there on YouTube, Last.fm, iTunes and so on it's not easy to attract the attention of casual browsers but I'm willing to be surprised.
I will stick to my guns about the need for the music produced by folkies to be reviewed and looked at critically. I don't read comments on YouTube because for the most part when I've attempted to I've been appalled by the silliness and triviality of the comments. I am more than happy to have my work scrutinised by reviewers on Dirty Linen, Sing Out! and even, yes, on fRoots. As someone (Matt?) said above, it's good to get feedback on what you've spent time, effort, talent and money on producing and it's useful as well to have a few quotes from reviews to add to promo material. I consider I'm working in an art form equally as valid as other music genres, literature, drama, art and even food, and want the same recognition paid to folk.

But Dick, if you don't want to be reviewed it's a very simple choice. Don't sent off review copies. Then you can be sure it won't happen.

I did once put my head above the parapet when, years back, a performance by Anonyma at Sidmouth had a standing ovation (second act into the show) and we had a snarky review in Folk Roots (as it was then). I wrote in and complained, and received double the snarkiness back. Yes, I think the reviewer was biassed and unpleasant and just plain wrong. I also once took quite a bit of half-playful joshing when I reviewed an album by a band and then found myself sharing a session with them at a festival. I've been on both sides of the divide but I still think reviews are useful and important for the credibility of the music.

Potential buyers will make their choices, always, and performers will make theirs.

And thanks, Dave and Bruce, for your kind words - I value comments from folk performers and others with lots of experience on the folk circuit far more highly than comments from "just" reviewers, as it happens.

Anne


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: folk reviews ,are they necessary
From: GUEST
Date: 11 Mar 09 - 12:58 PM

Well, funnily enough, some people choose to do something because they think there's a value to it. I imagine if you wanted to have a debate about the societal value of music, you'd probably hear from a lot of musicians.

Funnily enough, musicians are critics and vice versa. (Making music is itself an implicit act of criticism: I choose to play this way, not that way etc.)

The nuances some people are attaching to the word "reviewer" on this thread are really quite bizarre. As if writers were somehow different to any other human being with a pair of ears. As if expressing aesthetic likes or dislikes is not something we all do every time we say that a song is good, or put a CD into a player.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: folk reviews ,are they necessary
From: The Sandman
Date: 11 Mar 09 - 01:00 PM

Anne, ICARUS and MOTH,are songs any songwriter should be proud of .


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: folk reviews ,are they necessary
From: matt milton
Date: 11 Mar 09 - 01:01 PM

to clarify:

"It is hard to miss the point that those who value reviews are... well.. oh I don't know......
Reviewers?"

Well, funnily enough, some people choose to do something because they think there's a value to it. I imagine if you wanted to have a debate about the societal value of music, you'd probably hear from a lot of musicians.

Funnily enough, musicians are critics and vice versa. (Making music is itself an implicit act of criticism: I choose to play this way, not that way etc.)

The nuances some people are attaching to the word "reviewer" on this thread are really quite bizarre. As if writers were somehow different to any other human being with a pair of ears. As if expressing aesthetic likes or dislikes is not something we all do every time we say that a song is good, or put a CD into a player.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: folk reviews ,are they necessary
From: Rain Dog
Date: 11 Mar 09 - 01:18 PM

I don't write reviews.
I do read reviews.
I do buy cds as a result of reading reviews.

I also read the ads in music magazines. If the artist or record label took out an ad in the magazine I would find out about the cd that way.

I have not been paid for this post.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: folk reviews ,are they necessary
From: Rifleman (inactive)
Date: 11 Mar 09 - 01:22 PM

Subject: RE: folk reviews ,are they necessary
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 10 Mar 09 - 12:40 PM

The most terse piece of criticism I ever heard of happened at a Comhaltas competition in Listowel some years ago.
The proceedure is that the 'victim' stands before a panel, plays their piece, the chairman, after discussion, comments learnedly on the playing, the choice etc, and then they adjudicate.
A young fiddle player entered the competition, came before the panel, obviously petrified, played and waited for the sentence.
The chairman, a notorious publican from Kerry leaned back in his chair, folded his arms and said loudly - "NEXT"
Jim Carroll

NEXT!!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: folk reviews ,are they necessary
From: Spleen Cringe
Date: 11 Mar 09 - 04:25 PM

You see, I like good quality writing. If I'm not with people, nothing better than a decent album (one worthy of a good review!) on the stereo, a glass of red and a good book. Often, but not always one about music. Richie Untermeyer I recently read - think it was called "Urban Spacemen and Wayfaring Strangers". He's a reviewer. He's also an obsessive, and enthusiast and a bloody good writer - one of those ones who makes you want to go out and listen to the music. And yes - sometimes the writing is better than the music. Because writing - well - about music isn't simply an add-on to the music, its an art form in itself.

A few examples:

Charles Shaar Murray: Crosstown Traffic
Barney Hoskyns: Say It One More Time for the Broken Hearted
Jon Savage: Englands Dreaming
John F. Swed: Space is the Place
Mark Kemp: Dixie Lullaby

My books are temporarily in boxes whilst I do DIY so I'll come back with more later. Can't think of many good books about folk music off the top of my head apart from a few academic ones about trad.

I eagerly await my next package from Amazon which should hopefully include a Roky Erickson biography and a history of Bomp Records...


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: folk reviews ,are they necessary
From: M.Ted
Date: 11 Mar 09 - 05:22 PM

To clarify, I seldom, if ever read the comments on YouTube, I just go there to listen and watch clips--also, I read, and value lots of other things about music and musicians that are not "reviews" per se--everything from Sam Charters books to wiki pages to biographies--

Word of mouth is the best way to find out about music and such things, and the internet provides a a variety of word of mouth networks that surpass all other forms of media. It makes less and less difference what reviewers have to say, because their media are being eclipsed by other, more direct ways of getting information.

I tend to check artists, songs, and recordings that are mentioned in Mudcat discussions, and have actually already ordered the AFRICAN SCREAM CONTEST, hope to have it tomorrow or Friday, based on Matt's word-of-mouth, I am excited to hear it--

And so it goes...


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: folk reviews ,are they necessary
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 11 Mar 09 - 05:44 PM

There are literally thousands of new CDs issued every week. If you want to restrict your buying to what you're familiar with----fine. If yoou have the time and inclination to try to listen to them all in order to make a purchase decision----fine. If not, you tend to make use of reviewers, whether the printed variety, or word-of-mouth.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: folk reviews ,are they necessary
From: Spleen Cringe
Date: 11 Mar 09 - 05:48 PM

African Scream Contest is a mighty fine album. Hope you enjoy it. That Matt seems to have jolly good taste...

Incidently, a couple of issues ago (#298) The Wire did a feature on 1970s African psychedelia - at least three of the albums reviewed have made it onto my 'to hear' list on the back of that article.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate
  Share Thread:
More...

Reply to Thread
Subject:  Help
From:
Preview   Automatic Linebreaks   Make a link ("blue clicky")


Mudcat time: 22 July 10:14 AM EDT

[ Home ]

All original material is copyright © 1998 by the Mudcat Café Music Foundation, Inc. All photos, music, images, etc. are copyright © by their rightful owners. Every effort is taken to attribute appropriate copyright to images, content, music, etc. We are not a copyright resource.