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Review: Froots cd reviews

Fidjit 17 Dec 10 - 08:17 AM
GUEST,CliveW 17 Dec 10 - 08:56 AM
GUEST,fRootie cOllins 17 Dec 10 - 09:11 AM
theleveller 17 Dec 10 - 09:12 AM
Vic Smith 17 Dec 10 - 10:11 AM
Vic Smith 17 Dec 10 - 10:15 AM
Fidjit 17 Dec 10 - 11:01 AM
treewind 17 Dec 10 - 11:12 AM
Folknacious 17 Dec 10 - 11:52 AM
greg stephens 17 Dec 10 - 12:41 PM
GUEST,Chris B (Born Again Scouser) 17 Dec 10 - 01:07 PM
Spleen Cringe 17 Dec 10 - 03:56 PM
Paul Davenport 17 Dec 10 - 05:30 PM
Stower 17 Dec 10 - 05:32 PM
Folknacious 17 Dec 10 - 05:51 PM
Spleen Cringe 17 Dec 10 - 06:51 PM
Fidjit 18 Dec 10 - 03:26 AM
Acorn4 18 Dec 10 - 05:57 AM
Folknacious 18 Dec 10 - 06:03 AM
treewind 18 Dec 10 - 06:15 AM
GUEST,Jim Knowledge 18 Dec 10 - 07:28 AM
The Sandman 18 Dec 10 - 07:59 AM
greg stephens 18 Dec 10 - 08:03 AM
Vic Smith 18 Dec 10 - 08:49 AM
Folknacious 18 Dec 10 - 08:53 AM
Vic Smith 18 Dec 10 - 08:57 AM
The Sandman 18 Dec 10 - 09:33 AM
The Sandman 18 Dec 10 - 09:54 AM
Vic Smith 18 Dec 10 - 09:59 AM
Ian Anderson 18 Dec 10 - 10:00 AM
treewind 18 Dec 10 - 10:10 AM
The Sandman 18 Dec 10 - 11:07 AM
Fidjit 18 Dec 10 - 11:39 AM
Jack Campin 18 Dec 10 - 12:42 PM
GUEST,jerryclark 18 Dec 10 - 02:55 PM
MoorleyMan 19 Dec 10 - 09:01 AM
GUEST,matt milton 19 Dec 10 - 09:56 AM
Vic Smith 19 Dec 10 - 10:33 AM
Vic Smith 19 Dec 10 - 10:36 AM
GUEST,999 19 Dec 10 - 11:17 AM
The Sandman 19 Dec 10 - 12:54 PM
MoorleyMan 19 Dec 10 - 05:11 PM
The Sandman 19 Dec 10 - 05:50 PM
treewind 20 Dec 10 - 04:48 PM
The Sandman 20 Dec 10 - 05:35 PM
Vic Smith 21 Dec 10 - 05:17 AM
GUEST,Ralphie. 21 Dec 10 - 06:13 AM
The Sandman 21 Dec 10 - 06:30 AM
greg stephens 21 Dec 10 - 08:21 AM
Folknacious 21 Dec 10 - 09:06 AM
Fidjit 21 Dec 10 - 09:36 AM
John P 21 Dec 10 - 10:08 AM
Stu 21 Dec 10 - 11:58 AM
Vic Smith 21 Dec 10 - 12:53 PM
GUEST,henryp 21 Dec 10 - 02:01 PM
Fidjit 22 Dec 10 - 02:20 PM
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Subject: Review: Froots cd reviews
From: Fidjit
Date: 17 Dec 10 - 08:17 AM

Just got the latest Froots magazine.
And I am enjoying listening to the FAF Cd that came with it.

Enjoy reading "And the rest" cd reviews.

You get some real tongue in the cheek remarks. Not always what the guy that sent in the CD was expecting.
...
Good one this time is for "Folkport" (now I know these guys)

< Will somebody please shoot the drummer now? Turgid, plodding, last century fiddle strum bash rock, sung in English even though they are Norwegian. I blame Fairport Convention.>

Chas


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Subject: RE: Review: Froots cd reviews
From: GUEST,CliveW
Date: 17 Dec 10 - 08:56 AM

I've never liked that part of the mag. The 2 things about it that bother me:

1) If you're going to slag off someone's work, please put your name on the review, so we can know your likes and dislikes over time, and judge your comments by your taste in music.

2) If you can't find something nice to say about a recording, why not use the editorial space to comment on someone else's recording that you *do* like?

Cheers,

Clive


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Subject: RE: Review: Froots cd reviews
From: GUEST,fRootie cOllins
Date: 17 Dec 10 - 09:11 AM

not quite right to blame Fairport Convention. The blame for Trembling Balls, Folkport and their ilk lies solely with themselves. Shame people can't see that what may have been an interesting idea nearly half a century ago now merely sounds like a duff cabaret being carried out by also-rans and journey men.


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Subject: RE: Review: Froots cd reviews
From: theleveller
Date: 17 Dec 10 - 09:12 AM

That sort of comment is one of the reasons I haven't bought fRoots for years. The reviews in Acoustic magazine are much more informative and less self-opinionated.


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Subject: RE: Review: Froots cd reviews
From: Vic Smith
Date: 17 Dec 10 - 10:11 AM

Clive wrote
I've never liked that part of the mag. The 2 things about it that bother me:

1) If you're going to slag off someone's work, please put your name on the review, so we can know your likes and dislikes over time, and judge your comments by your taste in music.

2) If you can't find something nice to say about a recording, why not use the editorial space to comment on someone else's recording that you *do* like?


I have written hundreds of album reviews for fRoots - ever since the days of Southern Rag - and must admit to some misgivings about the ....And The Rest section.

This is partly because, however bad the record, and I have been sent many that are pretty awful, I am aware that the musicians involved have put a great deal of thought, effort and finally hope into their releases and to have their product put down in a couple of smart Alex sentences must be a terrible disappointment. Yet it would be dishonest to praise records that the reviewer finds lacking in some way. For albums that I find simply don't reach the mark, I put them in this section with comments like "derivative" "fails to excite" or whatever else I think is wrong with them without being rude about them.

If there is something that I find offensive or badly informed then I will put the review of the album (or more likely a book) in main review sections with my reasons why and my name at the bottom.

This does not prevent me from making more general criticisms of the contents of current trends in folk albums here and on other folk music notice boards. One of my pet hates at the moment amongst the many albums that I listen to is the preponderance of "little girly" voices amongst the current crop of young female singers.

The problem is more acute when I do reviews for my own local area magazine The Folk Diary (on-line here) where often I am reviewing albums by people who are friends or regular supporters of my club. I'm afraid that I get round this by just being factual and informative and not expressing an opinion about albums that I am less than enthusiastic about. However, I have been sussed; people read my reviews and then approach me and say, "So why didn't you like xxxxx's album?"


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Subject: RE: Review: Froots cd reviews
From: Vic Smith
Date: 17 Dec 10 - 10:15 AM

I ought to add that when I mentioned my feelings about the ....And The Rest" section to the editor, his response was to tell me that overall, he gets a very positive response from readers to that section with some subscribers telling him that this is the section that they read first.


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Subject: RE: Review: Froots cd reviews
From: Fidjit
Date: 17 Dec 10 - 11:01 AM

Well it's one of the first pages I go to in the mag. After the contents page, that is.
I think it gives me an insight as to what's flavour of the month, so to speak.

I sent my own CD to Froots. (they want two examples) It was accepted on the, "CD's Just in" page, but it never got reviewed. Gathering dust somewhere.

I've sent my CD to several different media forms trying to get a review. Or even a play on a radio station. However, nothing as yet.

Perhaps I'll send it to you Vic. Be gentle.

Chas


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Subject: RE: Review: Froots cd reviews
From: treewind
Date: 17 Dec 10 - 11:12 AM

We had an album review appear in "and the rest" and it was abundantly obvious that the writer had looked at the track titles, not bothered to listen to the CD and jumped to the wrong conclusions.

It's still selling well.


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Subject: RE: Review: Froots cd reviews
From: Folknacious
Date: 17 Dec 10 - 11:52 AM

< Will somebody please shoot the drummer now? Turgid, plodding, last century fiddle strum bash rock, sung in English even though they are Norwegian. I blame Fairport Convention.>

The reviews in Acoustic magazine are much more informative

I find that extremely informative! I can almost hear the record (unfortunately). There's nowt wrong with calling spade a spade, rather than a quite adequate digging implement made by nice people that may or not appeal to you. There is not much point in dragging it out with a track list, a regurgitated press release and some clever adjectives from some hack if one sentence tells you all you need to know. And anyway, it made me smile, though probably not the band.


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Subject: RE: Review: Froots cd reviews
From: greg stephens
Date: 17 Dec 10 - 12:41 PM

I am not over fond of the "and the rest section" for the obvious reasons mentioned above. I've said this to the editor, as Vic Smith has. Basically, there's only so much space in the mag, so why waste it on snide would be funny anonymous put downs of what is in the main sincerely made stuff. We can all sit around in the pub making sarcastic remarks about fellow musos, but that's where the banter should remain I reckon.
I appreciate that a lot of people love this section. There is always a market for bullying the weak, humiliating the pretentious etc etc. And I admit I often have a chuckle ast some of the reviews. But I don't like myself for doing so. Satire has a place when the weak are having a go at the stong. When it is the strong having a go at the weak, as here, I don't really warm to it.


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Subject: RE: Review: Froots cd reviews
From: GUEST,Chris B (Born Again Scouser)
Date: 17 Dec 10 - 01:07 PM

I played on a CD once that got a one-word review in Folk Roots. The word was 'Crap'.

Wasn't far wrong, mind...


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Subject: RE: Review: Froots cd reviews
From: Spleen Cringe
Date: 17 Dec 10 - 03:56 PM

Though in a typical month as many (if not more) get the thumbs up or the thumb in limbo as the thumbs down. There's simply not enough room to do full reviews on everything the magazine is sent. I'd rather run the risk of a one sentence bad review for the chance of a one sentence good or okay review than have nothing.

And whether we like it or not, some records, regardless of how well meant or laboured over, (shhhh!) aren't very good.


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Subject: RE: Review: Froots cd reviews
From: Paul Davenport
Date: 17 Dec 10 - 05:30 PM

'I'd rather run the risk of a one sentence bad review for the chance of a one sentence good or okay review than have nothing.' I absolutley agree JIm. In fact this is the whole point of reviews. You're actually looking for someone to say something quotable. The single line in a six page review is only as good as the only line in a one line review. But?if it says what you want then it's gold!


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Subject: RE: Review: Froots cd reviews
From: Stower
Date: 17 Dec 10 - 05:32 PM

I used to write CD reviews. I was sent one CD to review that I could not bare to listen to beyond the first few seconds of each track. The harmony voices were horribly out of tune with each other and every song on the album was one I had heard a thousand times before elsewhere, with this singer adding nothing new, original or inspired.   

I sent the CD back, saying there was nothing good I could say about it so I would rather not review it at all. However it sounded to me, the people concerned had obviously put a lot of work in and tried their best. I did not want to be the one to damn them in print. However I put it, that would be how it would have looked. I would rather others hear the album and make their own minds up than be put off by anything I (or anyone else) might say before they have had a chance to hear for themselves. I discussed the album - privately - with someone who told me they enjoyed it. To this day I don't understand how they could have. Just goes to show.


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Subject: RE: Review: Froots cd reviews
From: Folknacious
Date: 17 Dec 10 - 05:51 PM

I find it interesting how everybody here is assuming a review is written solely for the benefit of the band. Aren't they supposed to be written mainly for the readers, who probably buy the publication to find out about things which may interest them? That's one of the reasons I get music magazines anyway. The ones which always find something good to say about every record for fear of offending are ultimately of no use to me at all. When I'm told something is bad, I'm more likely to believe them when they say something is good.


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Subject: RE: Review: Froots cd reviews
From: Spleen Cringe
Date: 17 Dec 10 - 06:51 PM

I agree with you, Folknacious.


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Subject: RE: Review: Froots cd reviews
From: Fidjit
Date: 18 Dec 10 - 03:26 AM

Just say as, I said earlier. I know this band. They do loads of gigs. Mostly pub type. they are appreciated. And as their name suggests they do a Fairport type of thing. I personally think they do a good job. Haven't heard the CD. just live shows. And yes they are Norwegian.

The reviewer knocked them for being dated. Obviously not a drummer fan either.
Have a listen and lets see what you think.
folkport music

Chas


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Subject: RE: Review: Froots cd reviews
From: Acorn4
Date: 18 Dec 10 - 05:57 AM

The reviews in "Stirrings" the Sheffield based mag are a bit like this, but often raise a smile on my face; I must admit! I'm almost tempted to send them mine, but would probably need a few beers before doing so!


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Subject: RE: Review: Froots cd reviews
From: Folknacious
Date: 18 Dec 10 - 06:03 AM

The reviewer knocked them for being dated. Obviously not a drummer fan either. Have a listen and lets see what you think.

I know I shouldn't have but I did. I see what they mean about the drummer. Those prone to hurling blunt objects, pets etc around the room in annoyance are probably best advised to avoid Loch Lomond. But I think I agree with the person on the 3rd post who says you can't blame Fairport, any more than you can blame Martin Carthy or the Pogues for their hundreds of subsequent dreadful imitators.


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Subject: RE: Review: Froots cd reviews
From: treewind
Date: 18 Dec 10 - 06:15 AM

"there was nothing good I could say about it so I would rather not review it at all."
Like it or not, that is the policy of most music magazines. In some cases the reviewer can't write a good (in the sense of useful and well-informed) review because they aren't familiar with the type of music and declining is the best policy.

"the people concerned had obviously put a lot of work in and tried their best."
Could be worse, then. For a magazine which I edit, we were sent a CD featuring a singer with guitar which was badly out of tune on most tracks. He claimed the album was "professionally recorded", but if I was being paid to record someone I'd have called a halt after the first line and tactfully but firmly persuaded them to tune up properly before going any further. There is no excuse for that!

"I discussed the album - privately - with someone who told me they enjoyed it."
That's another reason why not to write a bad review. Instead, pass it to someone who appreciates it and let them write about it.


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Subject: RE: Review: Froots cd reviews
From: GUEST,Jim Knowledge
Date: 18 Dec 10 - 07:28 AM

I `ad that fRoots reviewer in my cab the other day. `e `ad an enormous pile of cd`s on `is lap and `e was scribbling away in `is little note book.
I said, "You working out your Christmas present list then?"
`e said, " Nah Jim. I`m doing the cd reviews for the next issue of fRoots."
I said, "Blimey, you got your work cut out there then."
`e said, "Nah, it`s a doddle Jim. I sort out the ones that come with a little note of what to say accompanied by a "tenner" and slag off the rest of `em. It`s a nice little earner!!"

Whaddam I Like??


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Subject: RE: Review: Froots cd reviews
From: The Sandman
Date: 18 Dec 10 - 07:59 AM

Reviews are becoming increasingly irrelevant , thank god , THANK GOD,   
50per cent of the time ,some ....., who is too often too fond of his abilty to excel with purple prose ,doing a hatchet job.
   fortunately most artists have web sites, with samples of their music, so people can make up their own minds, without a critics bias.http://www.dickmiles.com


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Subject: RE: Review: Froots cd reviews
From: greg stephens
Date: 18 Dec 10 - 08:03 AM

GSS makes a good point there. It is so easy to hear samples of bands now that we need the "gatekeepers" less and less. We can make up our own minds.


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Subject: RE: Review: Froots cd reviews
From: Vic Smith
Date: 18 Dec 10 - 08:49 AM

Agreed, but it is still good to find a reviewer whose opinion you can trust; and in my opinion Britain's newspapers and magazines do have reviewers of all types of music whose opinion I respect. I often read reviews which alert me to music that I might otherwise miss. My first move after I read a review that interests me is to seek websites, MySpace, etc. so that I can sample the music and see if I agree, so I think that reviews and internet access to music samples go hand in hand. There is so much good music out there that it is easy to miss some if you don't keep yourself informed - and that should be the role of the good reviewer.

Similarly, if I came across a reviewer who was too fond of his abil(i)ty to excel with purple prose ,doing a hatchet job - and I cannot think of one who is - I would again listen to samples, make my own opinion and ignore that reviewer in future.


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Subject: RE: Review: Froots cd reviews
From: Folknacious
Date: 18 Dec 10 - 08:53 AM

It is so easy to hear samples of bands now that we need the "gatekeepers" less and less. We can make up our own minds.

If you ever get to know that they exist. For 'gatekeepers' you could just as easily substitute 'window openers'. One of my favourite new discoveries of the past few months has been the Brighton band Duck Soup, for example. It is very unlikely that I would ever have heard of them were it not for a magazine review and now an article, they dont get radio play and dont seem to do many gigs as far as I can see.


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Subject: RE: Review: Froots cd reviews
From: Vic Smith
Date: 18 Dec 10 - 08:57 AM

Reviews are becoming increasingly irrelevant , thank god , THANK GOD,
... yet review copies continue to drop through my letter box at rate that I can scarcely keep up with playing.


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Subject: RE: Review: Froots cd reviews
From: The Sandman
Date: 18 Dec 10 - 09:33 AM

yes but Vic as you know I dont bother, When was the last time i sent you a cd, you know that i havent., It is [imo] a waste of time, radio stations are worth bothering with and thats all
incidentally I was disappointed you didnt turn up to my gig at the saturday lewes club.
one critic i respect is Michael Grosvenor Myer, he is a professional critic, his abilty to review in a professional manner, is a breath of fresh air and he makes some of the other critics look what they are amateurish,a couple of them are EX froots reviewers.
in fairness to Froots it is a well produced magazine and Ian is very knowledgable on the subject of blues and roots music


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Subject: RE: Review: Froots cd reviews
From: The Sandman
Date: 18 Dec 10 - 09:54 AM

Vic.. says he cant think of any reviewers who indulge in purple prose, well i can think of two reviews by one reviewer, which were previously discussed on this forum[not froots reviews], which were hatchet jobs., and were examples of someone being too fond of the purple prose from their pen.
Vic I have pmd you with their names.
my right to mention the reviewers names on this forum has been taken away from me.


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Subject: RE: Review: Froots cd reviews
From: Vic Smith
Date: 18 Dec 10 - 09:59 AM

incidentally I was disappointed you didnt turn up to my gig at the saturday lewes club.

Oh dear! May I say in my defence that I was playing for and calling a dance with The Sussex Pistols at Ridgewood that night.


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Subject: RE: Review: Froots cd reviews
From: Ian Anderson
Date: 18 Dec 10 - 10:00 AM

To avoid any misconceptions from the above, please note that the fRoots reviewer guidelines are accessible via the fRoots FAQ page.

To correct the misleading impression being given above, in the current issue's And The Rest roundup, only 7 out of 47 reviews get a "thumbs down". There is also the main review section covering another 84 albums which inspired full length coverage. In all cases, the choice of which section they go into are made by experienced freelance reviewers, not our reviews editor or myself, except for maybe ten a month where we elect to give priority attention as they have been included in our Playlist and fRoots Radio podcast.


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Subject: RE: Review: Froots cd reviews
From: treewind
Date: 18 Dec 10 - 10:10 AM

Form the linked fRoots reveiwer guidelines:
"we do not use a star rating system on reviews"
I like that, and also the effort made to discourage various clichés.


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Subject: RE: Review: Froots cd reviews
From: The Sandman
Date: 18 Dec 10 - 11:07 AM

very understandable, Vic


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Subject: RE: Review: Froots cd reviews
From: Fidjit
Date: 18 Dec 10 - 11:39 AM

And this from Froots reviewer guidlines.

< Any musically average CDs, especially if self-released or on imports that are barely available, any straight re-issues or compilations of readily available material (unless significant), any fringe items of marginal musical relevance (however good) and of course all the complete crap should be consigned to the And The Rest... section. This is a simple listing of artist, title, label and catalogue number plus a snappy, maximum 40 word description. Readers expect savage wit. In the And The Rest section, you will be anonymous...>


Chas


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Subject: RE: Review: Froots cd reviews
From: Jack Campin
Date: 18 Dec 10 - 12:42 PM

most artists have web sites, with samples of their music, so people can make up their own minds
only 7 out of 47 reviews get a "thumbs down"

In my experience the proportion of acts that manage to shoot themselves in the foot with a duff on-line sample is much higher than that. A lot of the time the reviewers are saving them from themselves.


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Subject: RE: Review: Froots cd reviews
From: GUEST,jerryclark
Date: 18 Dec 10 - 02:55 PM

As one who weekly writes about folk, blues, and country records (for roots site Rambles.Net), I appreciate fRoots' informed and literate reviews. I also understand what Vic Smith means. We who review roots albums are often reluctant to trash some poor soul's recording.

Except for the very few, money in folk-and-related music is a scarce commodity, and it's pure love that drives most performers, including the best, the worst, and the mediocre. Playing and recording simply because one can't imagine playing and recording any other kind of music -- which is to say commercially viable pop music -- is such a noble endeavor that harsh (even if warranted) criticism sometimes feels more like sadism than anything morally defensible.

So I try to review, with the rare exception, CDs that I like (most recently Les Copeland's folk-blues disc on Earwig). Maybe that's cowardice, because no reviewer is obliged to render anything but his or her honest opinion. (If you can't stand an honestly expressed review, get out of the kitchen, to mix metaphors.) In my case, if I'm going to be unfriendly, it helps if the performer or band in question has done something that I find openly irritating or offensive. But then that's just me.


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Subject: RE: Review: Froots cd reviews
From: MoorleyMan
Date: 19 Dec 10 - 09:01 AM

Like Vic Smith, I review a large number of cds (of various kinds of music) on a regular basis, including for fRoots.
So I am writing from direct practical experience here.

Reviews serve the artist, yes - and the readers, yes - and the music itself of course. Very probably in equal proportion - well that's how I see it. The reviewer is merely the channel, then, but at the same time his/her writing style and personality, and degree of integrity and informed-ness, determines his/her effectiveness in conveying the essence of the product to the readership - and thus conditions his/her credibility (which has a knock-on effect on that of the publication itself too). The decision to buy (or not) rests with the reader, but needs to be an informed one of course, and needs the best chance of being made.   

I believe the ATR column is an essential feature of the mag. It fulfils a very important function, since it enables at least some measure of coverage of those cds which would just not get covered in the mag otherwise (and often do not - and will not - get covered by other mags either).
There are some overwhelmingly obvious reasons for this.
One is simply the massive volume of cds being released every month, even in a comparatively specialist arena like folk-cum-roots (with or without its regional variations) - for, even with the best will in the world, no publication is going to be able to guarantee to cover anywhere near all of that number on a regular basis.
The second reason is that there are a large number of releases which simply do not lend themselves to the lengthier coverage of a standard-length (200-400 word) review - for whatever reason.
This may be due to their content - straightforward compilations or reissues can often be summarised concisely and/or easily, for instance. And there are many releases that are of sufficiently high quality but really don't lend themselves to an in-depth review (how many ways are there of saying "this is another great album by Fred Bloggs" etc?).
Or alternatively, as we know, some cds can be of more dubious quality (I know, that's bound to be a value judgement) and yet still don't deserve a wholesale slamming either at ATR level (caveat emptor...) or in a full-length review.
Which leads on to the third reason, that space considerations are at a premium for any editor, and so a majority of the total incoming cds will either not sufficiently stand out from the crowd or not be of sufficient "reader interest profile" to warrant full-length coverage (however that last point is interpreted).
Yes, it is - as Ian Anderson says - ultimately the allocated reviewer's decision (except in a minority of instances) as to whether a cd is accorded standard or ATR treatment, and that works fine in the main, because Ian's own judgement in the reviewers he uses is notably sound. Although there have inevitably been times when I've seen some (what I've regarded as really special) cds given ATR reviews when I feel I'd have done them better justice myself... On the other hand, I've felt privileged to have been able to bring some obscurer artists to the attention of a wider public through the vehicle of a standard-length review which has provided an opportunity to assess the music in the more considered and in-depth way it deserves. Discovery through serendipity can still be a wonderful thing too, even in this day and age.
In the case of a cd that just doesn't cut it (for whatever reason), well I still wouldn't go for a hatchet job in ATR (or anywhere else). If criticism is informed and honest and constructive, then it will usually be taken on board by the artists - I have had several instances of thanks and direct feedback from artists themselves on the lines of "you were absolutely right and I've done something about... (whatever the point of criticism was)".
I do not see reviewer anonymity as a problem, and in any case it's partly also a matter of practicality - space and word-count - in this instance (just do the math: two words per name each ATR, and it soon adds up and then even fewer cds can get covered!).
Dick's point about reviews doing no good doesn't fit with my experiences (from either side of the fence). He should not underestimate that a good and relevant specialist review from an informed reviewer is worth its weight in gold (even if it's not 100 percent complimentary!) - and worth several individual reviews of glib column-inches of whitewash or ones that say nothing informative or meaningful, in a bigger-name publication (no names no pack-drill). Those cds that don't get sent out for review selectively, even if only to the more specialist reviewers who clearly know their stuff, say, are in serious danger of getting overlooked entirely. It's all too easy for an artist to get complacent, but careful and selective marketing can pay dividends too.
Radio play is all very well, but with the wholesale closing-down of the decent radio shows now this medium may well be on the way out.

IMHO, fRoots still has an important part to play in the scene, and even though much of its emphasis has shifted over to world music concerns it still retains considerable integrity in its coverage of folk music in all its evolving forms and guises. Informed and occasionally provocative journalism is - and should remain - part of its remit. Hang on in there, Ian.


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Subject: RE: Review: Froots cd reviews
From: GUEST,matt milton
Date: 19 Dec 10 - 09:56 AM

I'm of the opinion that a bad review is better than no review at all.

quote: "If you can't find something nice to say about a recording, why not use the editorial space to comment on someone else's recording that you *do* like?"

Because that ultimately devalues what's good. If nobody published anything but "good" reviews, critical writing would cease to be critical writing: ultimately it'd be valueless. You're not a critic unless you're prepared to nail your colours to the mast.

quote: "I sent the CD back, saying there was nothing good I could say about it so I would rather not review it at all. However it sounded to me, the people concerned had obviously put a lot of work in and tried their best. I did not want to be the one to damn them in print."

For all you knew you might have been the only mag prepared to review this act. In my opinion, if someone makes their work public, a writer OWES them the respect of an honest review, whether or not that's good or bad. I would rather have a bad review than no review at all. In fact, I'd rather have a bad review than some string of stock phrases like "a real gem" ending in that ghastly meaningless one-word sign-off "Recommended".

People need to get over the idea that music writers have some kind of omnipotent power of mass-suggestion.

Anyway, I've bought many a CD based on very negative reviews that made the album sound like it'd be right up my street. Whereas no amount of glowing reviews have ever made me purchase a Seth Lakeman album. Go figure.


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Subject: RE: Review: Froots cd reviews
From: Vic Smith
Date: 19 Dec 10 - 10:33 AM

I've certainly had emails, letters and phone calls from people that I don't know, thanking me for drawing their attention to artists, albums and books that I have reviewed, but it would be interesting to hear from artists with albums/books released as to whether they think that positive/negative reviews make a difference to their sales.
Most of the people that I book at our folk club tell me that the large majority of their sales are not through internet, shops or distributors but through selling their merchandise themselves after gigs. It has been known for artists to take more money on their sales at our folk club than they have received in their agreed fee.


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Subject: RE: Review: Froots cd reviews
From: Vic Smith
Date: 19 Dec 10 - 10:36 AM

I wrote:-
through selling their merchandise themselves after gigs.

... and I meant to add - then the buyer at least knows the sort of thing that they are going to get irrespective of any review.


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Subject: RE: Review: Froots cd reviews
From: GUEST,999
Date: 19 Dec 10 - 11:17 AM

Here I sit so patiently
Waiting to find out what price
You have to pay to get out of
Going through all this stuff twice

Gospel of Bob


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Subject: RE: Review: Froots cd reviews
From: The Sandman
Date: 19 Dec 10 - 12:54 PM

jack campin is[ judging from his post] just the sort of person who should not do reviews, he immediately comes across with a subjective opinion of others perfomance and material., and somewhere else has posted some thing about people that annoy him, and how it affects his perception of them, a reviewer should try and make a judgement of the music purely on the merit of the music, and let personality judgements cloud his review
a reviewer in my opinion should be able to have some degree of objectivity
The problem as I see it, is that most reviewers are amateurish, a professional critic like Michael Grosvenor Myer is unusual.
can i make it clear that I am talking about reviews in general, I am not talking about reviews in froots specifically ,or reviews of my own recordings, the last review that i bothered to send froots was Boxing Clever and the review was complimentary[ available from the Button Box and my website]http://www.dickmiles.com
provocative journalism, interesting, it may sell copy, but it is not necessarily the best way of promoting roots music, dissing other peoples creativity, either because the reviewer has a personal axe to grind or because the reviewer loves to indulge in purple prose, is not in the best interests of the music scene[i am not referring to Froots magazine or inferring that froots does this, i am referrring to other magazines and other reviewers].
   I know that if I ever sent a recording to the guy whose name I am not allowed to mention on this forum, my recording would not be reviewed impartially, because said person hates my guts, now is that healthy, does that give a fair idea to a prospective buyer?
no it does not, it would be amateuruish because a professional reviewer, should be able to put personal differences aside, and show some degree of objectivity


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Subject: RE: Review: Froots cd reviews
From: MoorleyMan
Date: 19 Dec 10 - 05:11 PM

I totally agree, Dick; all reviewing should be approached objectively and carried out professionally. Personal differences have absolutely no place in this activity.
No idle boast intended here, but I live and work by that credo.
Feedback - from artists, fellow music fans and other reviewers alike - very much vindicates the qualities of professionalism and personal integrity.

However, I think you are mistaken in your statement that "most reviewers are amateurish". From my experience, although there certainly are a number of amateurish ones around (some of these, ironically, are pukka "salaried" journos!), the majority of the reviewers operating within the specialised music scene/s are both genuinely knowledgeable and professionally oriented - and, incidentally, tend to be largely "unwaged" as far as this activity goes (not many people know that!), a status which is unusual for a professional discipline...


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Subject: RE: Review: Froots cd reviews
From: The Sandman
Date: 19 Dec 10 - 05:50 PM

ok, i replace most by some.


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Subject: RE: Review: Froots cd reviews
From: treewind
Date: 20 Dec 10 - 04:48 PM

"unwaged"
I'll say...
For the regional magazine I edit, the reviewer's whole payment consists of getting to keep the CD.
I would guess many magazines are the same.


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Subject: RE: Review: Froots cd reviews
From: The Sandman
Date: 20 Dec 10 - 05:35 PM

UNWAGED also applies to folk club organisers ,yet we expect them to be professional.


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Subject: RE: Review: Froots cd reviews
From: Vic Smith
Date: 21 Dec 10 - 05:17 AM

UNWAGED also applies to folk club organisers ,yet we expect them to be professional.
.... and I've been doing it weekly for over 40 years.... some sort of sadistic pleasure I suppose.


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Subject: RE: Review: Froots cd reviews
From: GUEST,Ralphie.
Date: 21 Dec 10 - 06:13 AM

I haven't trawled through this very lengthy thresd. Sorry!
I put out a CD earlier this year....Cost me 800 pounds to do.
Have had 1 review, (which was nice, many thanks)
I'm actually very happy that I have made 80 pounds profit from the sales.
I can enter the Christmas season saying, "I'm in profit...not in debt"
Thanks to all that chose to buy the CD.
It kept the wolf from the door.
......for a while....!


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Subject: RE: Review: Froots cd reviews
From: The Sandman
Date: 21 Dec 10 - 06:30 AM

masochistic, would be more appropriate,Vic, you dont like inflicting pain on others do you?any way well done young man


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Subject: RE: Review: Froots cd reviews
From: greg stephens
Date: 21 Dec 10 - 08:21 AM

Well, as Ian Anderson himself says in the review guidelnes for the "and the rest" section: "Readers expect savage wit". Well he knows his readership, that's his decision. I am part of that readership, and I dont always relish "savage wit" at the expense of those less fortunate than ourselves. Use it at the expense of the ruling clases, the immnsely succesful folk artists, even the editors of poerful(?) masgazines; whatever. But not at the expense of the musically challenged, that is just cheap fish/barrel shooting.


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Subject: RE: Review: Froots cd reviews
From: Folknacious
Date: 21 Dec 10 - 09:06 AM

Does anything imply that savage wit is negative? Could just mean "readers like you to not be boring". There are far more thumbs up than thumbs down reviews in the current and the rest pages. Mind you, some of them are pretty boring. Maybe the editor needs to chivvy his reviewers up a bit. Or maybe people should stop making boring records!


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Subject: RE: Review: Froots cd reviews
From: Fidjit
Date: 21 Dec 10 - 09:36 AM

Greg I liked that.

Chas


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Subject: RE: Review: Froots cd reviews
From: John P
Date: 21 Dec 10 - 10:08 AM

I like the fRoots reviews, including the negative ones. The tendency in the folk world to be positive and encouraging to every beginner that should have spent more time practicing first gets really old, especially for those of us who DO put in the time to get past the amateurish mistakes. I agree that reviews should be looked at as window-opening rather than gate-keeping.

One thing I do have quibble with is the policy of generally not accepting short-run CDRs. Given the economic realities of playing folk music professionally, this does come across as gate-keeping. What, musicians who can't afford big production runs aren't as good musically or at making albums or are in some way less important? If it's just a matter of limiting the volume somewhere, why not toss out the albums from the major record companies that everyone can find anywhere?


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Subject: RE: Review: Froots cd reviews
From: Stu
Date: 21 Dec 10 - 11:58 AM

It's all subjective anyway. I see reviews as part of the entertainment rather than a guide to what I should or shouldn't buy; whether it's the first record you've ever listened to your opinion is no more or less valid than anyone else's. Review sections are useful for seeing who's released what, generally useless for deciding whether to buy or not.

I like the pictures of the album covers though.


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Subject: RE: Review: Froots cd reviews
From: Vic Smith
Date: 21 Dec 10 - 12:53 PM

masochistic, would be more appropriate,Vic

Correct!


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Subject: RE: Review: Froots cd reviews
From: GUEST,henryp
Date: 21 Dec 10 - 02:01 PM

To right any wrong, or perceived wrong, I am willing to write a favourable review for any CD that is slated.

At the same time, and purely for the sake of balance, it will be necessary to publish a correspondingly harsh review of any CD that receives a favourable write-up.

And for indifferent reviews, I would be happy to write a different one.


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Subject: RE: Review: Froots cd reviews
From: Fidjit
Date: 22 Dec 10 - 02:20 PM

Just seen this on Facebook

FolkPort
A Christmas Card from .... FolkPort
til alle på mailinglista og Facebookvenner.
-- Siste nytt: Årets julegave til FolkPort
"King of the Trouble" topper mp3-listene på Soundclick.com i rock og folkrock i dag. Der er det nå over 219 000 låter, så plasseringen her betyr at dette lyttes til og lastes ned i stor skala! Så da tar vi juleferie... med en god følelse og gleder oss til nye konserter i 2011.

Translation =
To all our mailing list and facebook friends. Latest news. The years Christmas present from FolkPort. "King of the Trouble" tops the MP3 list on Soundclick.com in rock and folk rock today. There are over 219 000 tunes, So that placing there means it is listened to and downloaded enormously So now we take a Christmas holiday with a good happy feeling towards the new concerts in 2011.
Soundclick
Chas


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