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


CD Reviewer accepting Trad entries

GUEST 29 Aug 12 - 10:53 PM
Joe Offer 30 Aug 12 - 02:16 AM
GUEST 30 Aug 12 - 09:17 AM
GUEST,Ed 30 Aug 12 - 09:49 AM
The Sandman 30 Aug 12 - 10:38 AM
GUEST,matt milton 30 Aug 12 - 01:36 PM
GUEST,matt milton 30 Aug 12 - 01:47 PM
GUEST,mg 30 Aug 12 - 02:02 PM
EBarnacle 30 Aug 12 - 02:19 PM
GUEST,sturgeon 30 Aug 12 - 02:23 PM
Joe Offer 30 Aug 12 - 08:20 PM
musicmick 30 Aug 12 - 11:54 PM
GUEST,Paul Slade 31 Aug 12 - 04:35 AM
GUEST,matt milton 31 Aug 12 - 07:08 AM
musicmick 31 Aug 12 - 09:38 AM
Spleen Cringe 31 Aug 12 - 10:42 AM
Spleen Cringe 31 Aug 12 - 10:45 AM
GUEST,matt milton 31 Aug 12 - 11:24 AM
mg 31 Aug 12 - 12:11 PM
musicmick 31 Aug 12 - 05:56 PM
treewind 01 Sep 12 - 04:00 AM
musicmick 01 Sep 12 - 07:06 PM
Spleen Cringe 01 Sep 12 - 07:45 PM
The Sandman 01 Sep 12 - 08:44 PM
GUEST,Paul Slade 02 Sep 12 - 05:19 AM
musicmick 02 Sep 12 - 06:52 PM
Spleen Cringe 02 Sep 12 - 08:17 PM
GUEST,sturgeon 03 Sep 12 - 02:08 PM
musicmick 03 Sep 12 - 06:17 PM
olddude 03 Sep 12 - 06:46 PM
musicmick 03 Sep 12 - 11:36 PM
Share Thread
more
Lyrics & Knowledge Search [Advanced]
DT  Forum
Sort (Forum) by:relevance date
DT Lyrics:









Subject: CD Reviewer accepting Trad entries
From: GUEST
Date: 29 Aug 12 - 10:53 PM

Hello. I write a column of CD reviews for TUNE UP, a publication of the Philadelphia Folksong Society and the Philadelphia Folk Festival.
Our readership is about five thousand folk fans and they do buy CDs.
My preference is ethnic and I never pan an entry. If I don't love the recording, my lips are sealed like my juvenile record. Entries can be submitted thusly,

    Mike Miller
    TUNE UP
Phila. Folksong Society
    7113 Emlen St.
   Phila PA 19119


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: CD Reviewer accepting Trad entries
From: Joe Offer
Date: 30 Aug 12 - 02:16 AM

I'll vouch for Mike. He's been around for a long time.

I don't know why, but some people seem to expect me to buy their CD and then write a review. A good review takes a lot of effort. If you want somebody to write a review, send them a free CD. Other people just send me a CD and don't ask for anything, and those are the ones I'm most eager to write a review for.

Pick your reviewers carefully. You want somebody who's honest and credible, but not somebody who is going to drag you through the mud. If I have something bad to say about a recording, I tell the performer directly and usually say nothing in public. I can't bring myself to saying nasty things about people's recordings in public, but I can't lie - so if it's bad, I say nothing.

-Joe-


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: CD Reviewer accepting Trad entries
From: GUEST
Date: 30 Aug 12 - 09:17 AM

Thanks Joe.
I am not against lying (I'm married. I'm just not very good at it. I started the column to serve independant productions that lacked the clout to be reviewed in venues like SING OUT. A few labels (Borealis and Folk Legacy among them)send me releases regularly but most of my grist comes from performers hatching their own nest eggs.
Panning an independant CD serves no one but the critic's ego.
I should mention that I have championed those songwriters who create within an established ethnic tradition. Cyril Tawney was my favorite
with Shelley Posen a close second. So, if you write as well as those guys, I'm your boy.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: CD Reviewer accepting Trad entries
From: GUEST,Ed
Date: 30 Aug 12 - 09:49 AM

Mike and Joe,

Whilst I fully understand your reasons for not wanting to write negative reviews, I'm not sure that it's the right way to go.

I'm not for a moment suggesting that you should 'pan' anything or anyone. However, surely one of the major reasons for writing a review is to help me, the potential purchaser, decide what CDs I might like?

If you're not going to tell me that "actually, this isn't very good", aren't you doing me a disservice?

Ed


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: CD Reviewer accepting Trad entries
From: The Sandman
Date: 30 Aug 12 - 10:38 AM

If you're not going to tell me that "actually, this isn't very good", aren't you doing me a disservice?
no, because that criticism has to be qualified, why is it not good etc.
what the potential customer needs to know is info, what does the recording consist of, what instruments are used, what kind of folk music is it, criticism such as such and such is out of tune is fine,    but what we do not need to know and this frequently happens, is what the reviewers particular taste is, comments such as this would make a good flowerpot holder,or previous recordings by this singer I found o pretentious.
the above is the sort of poor reviewing musicians have to sometimes put up with.
the reviewer should tell us about the recording, not previous recordings, constructive criticism[if necessary] along with praise is good balanced reviewing, plus indications of style and instrumentation is all that is required


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: CD Reviewer accepting Trad entries
From: GUEST,matt milton
Date: 30 Aug 12 - 01:36 PM

I think good writing is good writing.

What's wrong with most arts journalism today (in my humble opinion, needless to say) is that there are too many enthusiasts and not enough writers.

At the end of the day, some writers have articulacy and flair, and I would happily read their writing about any topic under the sun. While others might have an encyclopedic knowledge of their subject, but can't write for toffee.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: CD Reviewer accepting Trad entries
From: GUEST,matt milton
Date: 30 Aug 12 - 01:47 PM

Also, while I can totally understand why a reviewer would be uninterested in reviewing things they didn't think were very good, don't forget that there's a law of diminishing returns here: you're ultimately doing a disservice to exceptional albums. Without darkness there can be no light.

There's also the fact that you're ultimately patronizing musicians. If I'd made an album and a critic thought it was terrible, I wouldn't want them to pretend otherwise, or duck out of reviewing it! Good reviews and bad reviews are two sides of the same coin.

Y'know, it's not inconceivable that you might actually help someone's career by pointing out, in the nicest possible way, that their album's just a teensy weensy bit boring...

But you know what the worst thing in the world for many musicians is? Not being talked about. Being utterly ignored is worse than a bad review; it turns musicians into ghosts.

But anyway.. good on you Mike for soliciting albums for review, in this age in which writers are paid less and less, and technocrats and big business insultingly term criticism "content"...


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: CD Reviewer accepting Trad entries
From: GUEST,mg
Date: 30 Aug 12 - 02:02 PM

I am going to send you one of our An Gorta Mor/Potato famine CDs. I think some of your PA Irish people might like it. It is a tribute to our ancestors more than a musical endeavor per se but it has such beautiful songs and singers on it...mg


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: CD Reviewer accepting Trad entries
From: EBarnacle
Date: 30 Aug 12 - 02:19 PM

I used to review for a well known folk magazine. I had a problem with their fundamental policy regarding reviews.

Writing a review that is "entirely behind" the work is not fair to the reader or the work. As mentioned above, the reader should be made aware of both the strong and weak points. If there are no warts, excellent. I have yet to find any work that is perfect, including one of Cyril's books that I loved. That did not mean I could not recommend the work.

The conclusion is what counts. The reader is entitled to honesty.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: CD Reviewer accepting Trad entries
From: GUEST,sturgeon
Date: 30 Aug 12 - 02:23 PM

Someone should tell Irish Music magazine that not every album is the best ever recorded.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: CD Reviewer accepting Trad entries
From: Joe Offer
Date: 30 Aug 12 - 08:20 PM

I find that a good review usually doesn't spend much time giving an evaluation of a recording (performance, book, whatever). A review tells the reader what's inside the cover, and gives background information that will help the buyer decide for himself whether to purchase the item. A good review also helps me enjoy the recording more.

As for a recording I don't like, I often don't have much to say about it. If that's the case, I'll send the performer a diplomatic e-mail, perhaps with a few comments or pointers.

I've seen reviews that rake the performer over the coals, and I really don't enjoy such reviews. Some reviewers don't seem to be able to do anything but pan a performance. I still feel a little guilt about doing that, and then I remember that I'm not in school and I'm not employed, and I can do anything I damn well please.

I've found it's a daunting task to write a worthwhile review. It's some of the most difficult work I've ever done. I've also found that it's a pleasure to read a good review. I especially enjoy reading good book reviews when I don't have time to read the book - hey, it's almost like reading Cliff Notes. Oftentimes, I feel a little guilty about reading the review instead of the book. Then I remember that I'm not in school and I'm not employed, and I can do anything I damn well please....

-Joe-


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: CD Reviewer accepting Trad entries
From: musicmick
Date: 30 Aug 12 - 11:54 PM

It's Mike Miller again. I'll be glad to explain why I never pan a CD.
First of all, independantly made recordings are often submitted by artists who are not well known in my area. My readers are unlikely to purchase CDs from unknown singers so why the hell should I warn them against buying something they weren't going to buy anyway.
The unavoidable truth is that when one sends a CD for review, one does so to publicise, not to disect with "honest criticism". And why not, may I ask. The aplicant has invested more than his heart and soul. He has sunk some major cash into the project and he would kind of like to get some back.
I enjoy touting talent. My apologies to Dorothy Parker.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: CD Reviewer accepting Trad entries
From: GUEST,Paul Slade
Date: 31 Aug 12 - 04:35 AM

Musicmick: What you're describing here is not a reviewer. It's a publicist. The same ends could be achieved by simply reprinting every CD's press release guff verbatim.

A publicist works for the individual or band producing the CD, and his job is to maximise its sales. A reviewer works for his readers, and his job is to offer articulate and considered judgement - pro or con - to help guide those readers' buying decisions. It's a crucial distinction, and there's no fudging it.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: CD Reviewer accepting Trad entries
From: GUEST,matt milton
Date: 31 Aug 12 - 07:08 AM

I agree with you Paul - if you want to promote a band become a promoter, organize a tour for them or something.

I also think it's a mistake to think that a bad review is worse than no review. I think all publicity is good publicity. (Well, OK, 99.9999% of publicity is good publicity.)

Put it this way: I've bought CDs that had bad reviews. The review made it very clear that the reviewer had diametrically opposite taste to mine: what they considered faults, I considered pluses. I mean, if someone describes something as "unlistenably avant-garde" or "heavy going" or "perhaps one for the purists" or something, I generally prick up my ears: this sounds like my cup of tea!

I'd go further: I don't think a reviewer works for his readers, I think a reviewer works for himself/herself. His sole responsibility to his readers is to write good prose. If more writers started thinking of themselves as writers, rather than music enthusiasts, then the standard of arts journalism would improve dramatically. I don't think it ever occurs to most music writers to ask themselves questions like "how is my writing different to that of other writers?" or "could a reader find re-reading my review exciting and interesting in the way they might re-listening to the album I'm writing about?"

Most simply plump for "this is a great album from one of the rising stars of the folk scene. 8 out of 10" zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: CD Reviewer accepting Trad entries
From: musicmick
Date: 31 Aug 12 - 09:38 AM

A publicist works for an artist and is paid by the artist. His opinions are purchased and are as objective as those of a criminal defense lawyer.
A critic is an anylist who disects, interprets, rates, berates and, occasionally, parses. A critic holds himself to be the guardian of the muse and the final arbitor of taste.
I am neither. I am a reviewer and I reccomend the very best recordings I receive. My loyalty is to the reader who may never have heard of the artist, and to the artist, whose work needs publicity.
The poets (i.e. most singer/songwriters) should send their CDs to a real critic, if they crave serious discusssion of their masterpieces.
If their aim is to sell product through name recognition, thy should hire a publicist.
The rest of you should send me a copy. Don't forget to include where and how to buy your little pride and joy.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: CD Reviewer accepting Trad entries
From: Spleen Cringe
Date: 31 Aug 12 - 10:42 AM

I agree entirely with Matt and Paul. As the owner of a small record label, oviously I want all my releases to get wonderful, positive reviews - but I want them to get them because they deserve them, not bexcause the reviewer wants to please the artists who send them albums. The only duties a reviewer owes the artists is to honestly say what they think and to write well.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: CD Reviewer accepting Trad entries
From: Spleen Cringe
Date: 31 Aug 12 - 10:45 AM

"A critic holds himself to be the guardian of the muse and the final arbitor of taste."

This is simply untrue. The terms "critic" and "reviewer" should be interchangable.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: CD Reviewer accepting Trad entries
From: GUEST,matt milton
Date: 31 Aug 12 - 11:24 AM

Sorry Mike - I'm not criticising you, I think the more people covering folk music the better, given how many music magazines are folding left, right and centre these days.

Actually, the thing I find hardest is how to find different ways of saying "this album isn't bad, but it isn't great either". I'd say 9 out of 10 albums I review fall into this category.

It's easy to find words to describe a brilliant album. It's easy to find words to describe a terrible album. It's teeth-grindingly difficult to find words to describe albums that are just alright, fair-to-middling, unexceptional, nothing you really need to hear again, without sounding like a broken record.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: CD Reviewer accepting Trad entries
From: mg
Date: 31 Aug 12 - 12:11 PM

I like his approach and that is what I would do as well. No one's feeling are hurt, at least in public, and what he does like gets recognition..


\


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: CD Reviewer accepting Trad entries
From: musicmick
Date: 31 Aug 12 - 05:56 PM

If I were giving undue favorable reviews, you might (Mind, I said. "might") have a point. I only review the Cds I like so I never face a difficult thumbs up or down decision. Why on earth, should I start reviewing CDs I dislike, CDs that will be unaffected by my dismissal?
I excuse the "artists" who would rather have a scathing review than no review at all. I excuse them but I don't abet them. If constructive criticism is their holy grail, they should find a scholarly journal to give them the punushment they crave. I have been in the recording business for decades. I have produced, fronted and sided on dozens of sessions and I have been paid for all my efforts.
Recording may be art but artistic recording is rarely profitable and I was in it for the money. So were the people who paid me. I am proud to say that the projects I worked on were, to varying degrees, successful. When one does this for a living, success is its own reward. When G.B.Shaw was taking his bows after the first performance of one of his plays, the applause was interrupted by a lone dissenter, who booed loudly. Shaw turned to his critic and said, "Sir, I agree with you but who are we to argue with all these good people?"


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: CD Reviewer accepting Trad entries
From: treewind
Date: 01 Sep 12 - 04:00 AM

"I only review the CDs I like"
This is the key, as I understand it.
It's not that you simply write good reviews of everything: the policy of many magazines is simply to decline a review if they don't like it, and the outcome is that the reviews published are generally favourable.

No, it's not the same as promotion. You pay for an advert, it gets published - you send a CD for review, a review may not get published at the editor's or reviewer's discretion.

Anyway, even where all reviews are reasonably positive, you can read between the lines. Which features are singled out for praise? What does the reviewer NOT say?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: CD Reviewer accepting Trad entries
From: musicmick
Date: 01 Sep 12 - 07:06 PM

I understand that there are many who like to read unfavorable reviews. They are not unlike the millions who love to see who gets voted off the island and love to watch the faces of the runners up in beauty contests. Embarrassment makes great television and is so much more acceptable than car crashes at Indy.
So, in order to be fair, I invite those brave souls, who feel that my writing lacks bite and vindictiveness, to send me their products and I will tear them a new one to their hearts' delight. I realize that harsh John Simon-like criticism is some kind of recognition and recognition, to most "artists" is harder to attain than a useful erection.
No, on second thought, the hell with them. I would rather deal with professionals who make records to sell rather than to kvell.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: CD Reviewer accepting Trad entries
From: Spleen Cringe
Date: 01 Sep 12 - 07:45 PM

Mick, it's entirely up to you how you choose to do what you do. But I think you're forgetting that reviewers exist to provide a service not to people like me who are in the business of selling records, but to those people who want to part with a percentage of their hard earned cash on records. If you don't like something, fine, don't review it, but I'm with Matt in wondering what you do about all those records you would neither wholeheartedly recommend nor absolutely dislike - which, if you're anything like me, would make up the bulk of what you get sent. The logic of your position is that you would decline review those too, and if that's the case I can only salute you! Personally, in the past, before the days when you could check stuff out for yourself on the internet, I bought too many records where the reviewer gushed and I ended up scratching my head as to why.

And in response to your last comment, I don't think its about enjoying bad reviews, but about making wise choices what to spend your money on in a world where there is so much music being produced... unlike reviewers, most people don't get sent free records.

What I've found really helps is stuff like Bandcamp - people can listen to my releases and make their own mind up. A good review (or even reading between the lines of a bad review - we've had a couple that in a strange way were spot on!) hopefully signposts people to do just that.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: CD Reviewer accepting Trad entries
From: The Sandman
Date: 01 Sep 12 - 08:44 PM

most reviews tell people more about the reviewer than than the recording.
EX professional critics like M THE G M,know how to do it, and we need more of them, and less enthuisastic wannabes, who are concerned with seeing their purple prose in print, are you there G?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: CD Reviewer accepting Trad entries
From: GUEST,Paul Slade
Date: 02 Sep 12 - 05:19 AM

fRoots has some interesting thoughts on this subject in its writers' guidelines. The magazine's had more reason to think this through than most of us, and it sounds like eminently sensible stuff to me.

"Q: So how do I get to be a reviewer and get all those free CDs?
A: Er . . . that's not actually the motivation we seek for in reviewers! However, if you are interested in being considered as a reviewer, first look at our writers' guidelines and then send us some samples of your work along with a brief outline of your areas of interest and expertise. First and foremost, apart from being able to write expressively, our reviewers will be able to say if something is good of its kind or qualified to say why it's not."

And a couple of extracts from those writers' guidelines:

"In fRoots, we call a spade a spade. Readers like the fact that we don't hedge around whether we like things or not, and regularly say that they are more inclined to believe our many enthusiastic endorsements because we pull no punches in cases where things aren't up to scratch. Being neutral about everything does nobody any good. We don't do beige."

"Please remember that you are reviewing the music on that CD; although some background is desirable, we do not want to learn more about the biography of the artist or the reviewer than the item in hand."

"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 reviewed in 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, whether the views are positive or negative. In the And The Rest section, you will be anonymous."

Full copy here: http://www.frootsmag.com/content/about/writeguide/


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: CD Reviewer accepting Trad entries
From: musicmick
Date: 02 Sep 12 - 06:52 PM

Mr. Spleen Cringe (Oh, I hope that's his real name) gave a lucid comment and desrves reply. You suggest that a critic's responsability is to the reader, not the performer. Well, that kind of depends on the product. A movie or drama critic deals with a mass audience, who might avoid a film or play that has been panned. The critic's objections will be in conflict with the producers advertising budget so his might be the only voice in opposition. (Let's hear it for James Agee and Walter Kerr)
The entries I receive are not national releases with national release advertising funds. They are, usually, submitted by artists reletively unknown in this area. (My delight is introducing the best of these artists to the Philadelphia market. I love what I do.)
Critics like to pontificate. I may have lapsed into that on occasion, but I never forget that mine may be an informed opinion but so what?
It is, when all is said and done, just my taste and just my ear. Some of my favorite books and movies were not universally reviewed.
But my readers know that, if I say I liked a CD, I realy liked it.
(OK, I cut Seamus Kennedy a break but he paid for the beer)


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: CD Reviewer accepting Trad entries
From: Spleen Cringe
Date: 02 Sep 12 - 08:17 PM

"Mr. Spleen Cringe (Oh, I hope that's his real name)"

It is! Well, it is if you rearrange the letters...


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: CD Reviewer accepting Trad entries
From: GUEST,sturgeon
Date: 03 Sep 12 - 02:08 PM

But do you ever print a review of a CD which you disliked, musicmick?

I'm intrigued by the reference to purple prose in reviews made above by the Good Soldier since my Doctoral thesis was actually on that very same topic's appearance in Irish fiction (1850-1950).

I'd be interested to read any recent folk music reviews in which said purple prose is apparent.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: CD Reviewer accepting Trad entries
From: musicmick
Date: 03 Sep 12 - 06:17 PM

No, guest sturgeon, I do not review CDs I dislike. Why should I?
I have written, more than a few times, of my prejudices and my preferences. I have quoted James Joyce when I mention bagpipes. (He said that the best thing about bagpipes is that they don't smell as bad as they sound). I have insulted singer/songwriters en masse. There was no need to be specific.
If the sturgeon, or any other fish, feel the need to see singers skewered, they can check out back issues of The Sandy Review.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: CD Reviewer accepting Trad entries
From: olddude
Date: 03 Sep 12 - 06:46 PM

Well if you take online submissions mine are at
http://www.soundclick.com/danoconnell

some trad, most I wrote


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: CD Reviewer accepting Trad entries
From: musicmick
Date: 03 Sep 12 - 11:36 PM

Olddude, oldpal, I fear that my skills are such that I can handle. only. a hard copy. Send it to the PFS office and I will pick it up and, if I dig it, I will chat it up.


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: 21 May 1:41 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.