By James Brewer, 22 November 2010
Jazz and blues artist Mose Allison’s musical career spans over fifty years. He is still well worth listening to.
By Hiram Lee, 3 November 2010
Elvis Costello once again returns to traditional Americana music with his latest release, National Ransom.
By Shannon Jones, 18 October 2010
Members of the Cleveland Orchestra are planning to join striking DSO musicians at an October 24 support concert.
13 October 2010
Roger Waters, of Pink Floyd fame, is currently touring North America and Europe with The Wall Live. A reader discusses Water’s music and his evolution.
By Nikolai Barrickman, 17 September 2010
Splitting Image is the final album from underground rapper Kam Moye, more popularly known as Supastition.
By Sybille Fuchs, 26 August 2010
In the last week of July, the celebrated German poet Heinrich Heine was bestowed a very dubious honour, as his bust was placed in the “Teutonic” Hall of Fame built by King Ludwig I of Bavaria, which Heine had himself ridiculed.
By Hiram Lee, 24 August 2010
Jasmine, the new album from pianist Keith Jarrett and bassist Charlie Haden, reunites the two artists who had not recorded together for three decades for a moving album of standards and love songs.
By Andrew Lawrence, 7 August 2010
Described as an international project from hip hop musicians in various countries, Beyond Borders by rapper Soulstice and producer SBe fails to live up to the claims.
By C.W. Rogers, 25 May 2010
“Midnight Souvenirs,” the latest album from Peter Wolf, is his seventh solo record since his days as front-man for the J. Geils Band and the first since 2002’s widely acclaimed “Sleepless.”
Singer, actress dead at 92
By John Andrews, 13 May 2010
Lena Horne’s death in a New York City hospital last Sunday, less than two months shy of her 93rd birthday, is an occasion not only to review her remarkable show business career, but also to consider the conditions during which that career unfolded.
By Hiram Lee, 3 May 2010
Indie Rock band Spoon’s latest album Transference is a welcome addition to the group’s already impressive catalogue of recordings.
By Dwight Stoll, 5 April 2010
If the Felice Brothers’ album Yonder Is The Clock’s receiving the award for Country album of 2009 from the BBC came as a surprise, it was only because the group is hard to define as a country band.
By Hiram Lee, 24 March 2010
Alex Chilton, former lead singer of the Box Tops and Big Star, died on March 17 at the age of 59.
By Jesse Werner, 10 February 2010
Jazz drummer Ed Thigpen, best known for his work with the Oscar Peterson Trio, died in mid-January at the age of 79.
By Hiram Lee, 8 January 2010
The latest album from veteran rock group Sonic Youth is a disappointing work, the least interesting effort from the group since their much heralded return to form with 2002’s Murray Street.
By Paul Bond, 10 November 2009
The British folk music record label Topic has recently published a 7-CD and book set, Three Score and Ten: A Voice to the People, to mark its 70th anniversary.
By C.W. Rogers, 6 November 2009
The Monsters of Folk is a collaborative “supergroup” composed of Conner Oberst and multi-instrumentalist-producer Mike Mogis of Bright Eyes, Jim James of My Morning Jacket, and singer-songwriter M. Ward.
By D. Lencho, 10 October 2009
Latin American music lost one of its greatest exponents with the death of Argentinean singer Mercedes Sosa last Sunday. The singer’s career, which spanned over five decades, came to fruition during one of the most critical periods in the continent’s history.
By Tony Cornwell, 19 August 2009
As well as being a beautiful player who never sacrificed musical ideas for flashy displays of technique, Les Paul was responsible for key advances in musical recording techniques.
By Tony Cornwell, 7 August 2009
The most remarkable feature of Gurrumul, the recent first album by Geoffrey Gurrumul Yunupingu, is this blind Australian indigenous singer’s extraordinary voice.
By Fred Mazelis, 9 July 2009
The crisis facing the New York City Opera says a great deal about the current state of so-called “high” culture, those sections of the performing arts that are not always or even mostly profitable.
By David Walsh, 8 July 2009
A collection of performers, preachers and politicians entertained or addressed a crowd of some 20,000 people in the Staples Center for slightly more than two hours.
By Hiram Lee, 26 June 2009
PJ Harvey and John Parish recently gave a remarkable performance in Covington, Kentucky, while touring in support of their new album A Woman a Man Walked By.
By Hiram Lee, 12 May 2009
Hip hop musician Madlib pays tribute to fellow hip hop producer James Yancey, who passed away in 2006.
By Hiram Lee, 11 May 2009
Pianist Krystian Zimerman spoke out against US military activity in Poland and the Middle East during an April concert in Los Angeles.
“Shutting Detroit Down”: Country singer John Rich sings about the crisis, but also spreads confusion
By Hiram Lee, 22 April 2009
Country singer John Rich’s populist song “Shutting Down Detroit” takes on the Wall Street bailouts, mass layoffs and home foreclosures. At the same time, he hangs out in right-wing circles.
By Kenny Crucial, 3 February 2009
Philip Glass ventured to the Emory University campus for a performance of his opera Akhnaten and to receive an award from the university. Glass was honored for both his musical output and his contribution to previous events at the school.
By David Walsh and John Andrews, 27 January 2009
Robert Cavolina and Ian McCrudden’s documentary Anita O’Day: The Life of a Jazz Singer, about singer Anita O’Day, whose career spanned more than 50 years, presents a picture of an extraordinary woman: tough, resilient and enormously gifted.
23 January 2009
Attending a recent performance of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra brought home the reality of proposed cutbacks in funding. It also pointed to the hazards of a situation in which arts groups are dependent on corporate largesse.
By Fred Mazelis, 7 January 2009
Classical works by composers who died at the hands of the Nazis or who were forced into exile have been receiving increased attention. Conductor James Conlon has taken the lead in this project to rescue unjustly neglected or unknown work.
By John Andrews, 3 January 2009
Trumpeter Freddie Hubbard exploded onto the 1958 New York jazz scene at the age of 20. Over the next decade, he blew fiery “hard bop” with virtually all the greatest East Coast musicians and appeared on innumerable classic albums.
By David Walsh, 24 December 2008
This is more of a personal response to the death of poet Adrian Mitchell December 20 than an informed, much less scholarly, commentary. My encounter with his works took place several decades ago.
By Louis Girard and Hiram Lee, 15 December 2008
On the 30th anniversary of his death, the World Socialist Web Site offers a critical appreciation of legendary French singer Jacques Brel.
By D. Lencho, 13 December 2008
Two prominent vocal artists identified with the struggle against racial oppression—Miriam Makeba and Odetta—recently died within a few weeks of each other. They came of age and achieved fame in the 1950s and 1960s, decades of intense struggles.
By Hiram Lee, 4 November 2008
Jonathan Richman, formerly of The Modern Lovers, performed a remarkable set at Newport, Kentucky’s Southgate House.
Political and musical perspectives
By Kenny Crucial, 12 August 2008
Lollapalooza, August 1-3, Grant Park; The Pitchfork Music Festival, July 18-20, Union Park
By Hiram Lee, 21 July 2008
American singer, songwriter and guitarist Stephen Malkmus is approaching his twentieth year of making music. Best known as the lead singer and principal songwriter of the influential indie rock band Pavement, which got its start in Stockton, California, in 1989, Malkmus began his solo career when the group disbanded after 10 years of recording together.
By Kenny Crucial, 14 June 2008
World premiere of Concerto for Piano and Orchestraby Behzad Ranjbaran, performed by the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Robert Spano, June 5, 7 and 8
By Hiram Lee, 18 March 2008
Country singer Shelby Lynne spent a decade in Nashville creating music for a hostile and restrictive recording industry. Between 1989 and 1999, she made several albums of country-pop essentially no different from the other various products coming out of the alleged “country music capital of the world” at that time. As Lynne told the New York Times in an interview published earlier this year, “I got to Nashville and was told what to record, what to wear.” This was not the sort of atmosphere in which a young artist could flourish.
By Peter Kloze, 26 January 2008
Objective events have a way of catching up with even the most subjective of individuals. Trent Reznor, founder and leading member of the industrial rock group Nine Inch Nails (NIN), is one of the more introspective and self-analyzing artists in modern popular music, yet, like everyone else, he is not and cannot be exempted from the force of events.
By Graham Beverley, 19 January 2008
Sincere and developed artistic content in popular music remains a fringe phenomenon in both mainstream and ‘underground’ or independent music.
By John Andrews, 4 January 2008
Accolades poured in after the Christmas Eve announcement of Oscar Peterson’s death on December 23 from kidney failure at his home in Mississauga, a suburb of Toronto, at the age of 82.
By Verena Nees, 18 December 2007
For 60 years the role of the renowned Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra during the period of Nazi power has remained in obscurity. In Hitler’s Third Reich the orchestra was known as the “Reichsorchester” and functioned under the control of Joseph Goebbels as part of his notorious Ministry for Public Enlightenment and Propaganda.
By Alex Lantier, 12 December 2007
This writer recently had the opportunity to attend a concert of the Cleveland Orchestra, directed by guest conductor James Conlon. The orchestra, founded in 1918, has long been considered one of America’s best—an opportunity to hear them play is not to be missed, despite ticket prices.
By Hiram Lee, 4 August 2007
On July 23, singer-songwriter Richard Buckner gave a remarkable performance at The Dame in Lexington, Kentucky. Buckner, who has amassed a relatively small but dedicated following over the past decade, drew a surprisingly large crowd for a concert that began late on a Monday evening and lasted until one o’clock the next morning. Joining him on the bill were Cartright, These United States and Six Parts Seven, a group performing slow, meditative instrumental music. Six Parts Seven also served as Buckner’s backing band, transforming themselves into an impressive country-rock outfit in the process.
Helmut Perl’s The Case of Mozart: Testimony about a Misunderstood Genius
By Verena Nees, 20 October 2006
This is the second of a two-part series. (SeePart 1)
Helmut Perl’s The Case of Mozart: Testimony about a Misunderstood Genius
By Verena Nees, 19 October 2006
This is the first of a two-part series.
Dixie Chicks: Taking the Long Way
By Tom Carter, 7 June 2006
Dixie Chicks: Taking the Long Way (2006 Sony Music Entertainment, Inc.) Produced by Rick Rubin. $17.99
Part 5: The Classical period: Mozart and Haydn
By Laura Villon, 9 May 2006
The following is the conclusion of a five-part series of articles. (See Parts 1, 2, 3, 4) It contains references to numerous works of music by Mozart. We encourage readers to listen to these pieces, long samples of which are available free of charge on www.classical.com. Together with Joseph Haydn and other Viennese musicians, Mozart developed musical forms to a height of perfection—what we now call “Classical.”
Part 4: Mozart in Vienna
By Laura Villon, 8 May 2006
The following is the fourth of a five-part series of articles. (See Parts 1, 2, 3) It contains references to numerous works of music by Mozart. We encourage readers to listen to these pieces, long samples of which are available free of charge on www.classical.com.
Part 3: The Italian and German classical styles
By Laura Villon, 6 May 2006
The following is the third of a five-part series of articles. (See Parts 1, 2) It contains references to numerous works of music by Mozart. We encourage readers to listen to these pieces, long samples of which are available free of charge on www.classical.com.
Part 2: Paris and London
By Laura Villon, 5 May 2006
The following is the second of a five-part series of articles. (See Part 1) It contains references to numerous works of music by Mozart. We encourage readers to listen to these pieces, long samples of which are available free of charge on www.classical.com.
Part 1: The German Enlightenment and Amadeus
By Laura Villon, 4 May 2006
The following is the first of a five-part series of articles. It contains references to numerous works of music by Mozart. We encourage readers to listen to these pieces, long samples of which are available free of charge on www.classical.com.
By Barbara Slaughter, 23 March 2006
This is the conclusion of a two-part article. Thefirst part was posted March 22.
By Barbara Slaughter, 22 March 2006
Pierre Boulez was once asked about the problems of presenting contemporary music to the public. He said that people have to be educated to understand new music and that it was necessary for musicians to go out and build an audience.
By Kevin Kearney, 30 September 2005
The image of Kanye West crouching down with one hand on his head—clad in designer clothes and sneakers—and the contrived facial expression of one who wishes to be considered a deep thinker adorns the cover of the August 29 issue of Time magazine. The headline of the article reads: “More GQ than gangsta, Kanye West is challenging the way rap thinks about race and class—and striking a chord with fans of all stripes.”
“The Massacre” by 50 Cent sells 4 million copies: Why does social backwardness achieve such success?
By Kevin Kearney, 9 September 2005
This is the second article in a two-part series, the first part was published on 8 September 2005.
“The Massacre” by 50 Cent sells 4 million copies: Why does social backwardness achieve such success? Part 1
By Kevin Kearney, 8 September 2005
This is the first article in a two-part series
By Marc Wells, 21 April 2005
Multiple Grammy Award winner Marshall Bruce Mathers III, better known as Eminem (from his initials M&M), is currently one of the top-selling music artists in the world. The rapper’s lyrics have been the subject of much controversy and criticism, from right-wing Christian fundamentalist groups as well as the liberal media, and as such they deserve closer attention.
At Venice’s Teatro Fondamenta Nuove
By David Adelaide, 19 January 2005
At Venice’s Teatro Fondamenta Nuove on January 13, composer and pianist Fredric Rzewski gave a remarkable performance of his composition, The People United Will Never Be Defeated. Rzewski’s work is a set of 36 variations, spanning 50 minutes, on Chilean composer Sergio Ortega’s El Pueblo Unido Jamás Será Vencido—the song most closely associated with the resistance of the Chilean working class to the 1973 coup that installed the 17-year military dictatorship of General Augusto Pinochet.
By Marc Wells, 1 July 2004
The phenomenon of hip-hop and its musical incarnation in rap have had considerable success and reached wide audiences across the world. This has come principally on the basis of a combination of sophisticated rhythm arrangements and the use of words spoken by young and often talented artists generally, but not solely, influenced by a musical tradition that includes funk, rhythm & blues, soul music, jazz, reggae and—often—rock & roll.
By Fred Mazelis, 11 May 2004
On a recent weekend in New York, three concerts were devoted solely to the music of one little-known twentieth-century composer, Erwin Schulhoff. Schulhoff, a German-speaking Czech Jew, was born in Prague in 1894 and died of tuberculosis in a Nazi concentration camp in 1942.
By Paul Bond, 24 April 2004
Bob Copper, who has died at age 89, was the most important English traditional folksinger of the twentieth century. He was a hugely accomplished musical performer of the songs that had been passed down through his family. Just as importantly, his love and enthusiasm for these songs (at a time when the environment in which they had been sung was changing rapidly) became a key factor in their transmission to subsequent generations of singers.
Grammys give belated recognition to an enigmatic pop musician
By K. Reed, 7 February 2004
The 46th Annual Grammy Awards will take place Sunday, February 8, at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. The event—like the Academy Awards for motion pictures—is a ceremony of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences in which artists and technicians are recognized by their peers for their work over the previous year. This year’s ceremony will present Grammys in 105 categories and be broadcast by CBS to a potential television audience of 650 million people.
By Paul Bond, 5 December 2003
When the British state offers a citizen an honour, the acceptance or rejection of that honour is intended to be a private matter between the state and the individual. This prevents any embarrassment to the state if the intended recipient turns it down.
4 December 2003
To the editor:
The Hour of Two Lights, an album by Terry Hall and Mushtaq
By Paul Bond, 2 September 2003
The Hour of Two Lights, an album by Terry Hall and Mushtaq (Honest Jons Records)
By Dorian Griscom, 1 August 2003
The Warsaw Philharmonic National Orchestra of Poland; Hanna Wolczedska, clarinet; Janusz Olejniczak, piano; Wladyslaw Szpilman, piano; Tadeusz Strugala, conductor.
By Barbara Slaughter, 15 July 2003
Every year BBC Radio 3 presents a weekend of performances by the BBC Symphony Orchestra and Chorus at the Barbican Centre in London to celebrate the work of a particular composer. In recent years, Kurt Weill (1990-1950) and John Adams (1947-) have been featured. This year the BBC’s choice was the British composer, Mark Anthony Turnage. Seventeen of his works were performed, included choral and orchestral music, chamber works, two operas and a song cycle, as well as four film scores.
Thirty years down the road
By Robert Stevens, 18 June 2003
US singer-songwriter Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band are currently on the European leg of their world tour following the release of their latest album, The Rising. The album and the tour mark a “return to form” and importantly mark the reuniting of Springsteen and the E Street Band following an 18-year hiatus.
Beyond the roots of American popular music
By James Brewer, 13 June 2003
At its 45th annual award ceremony earlier this year, the Recording Academy’s National Trustees, the body behind the Grammy Awards, posthumously bestowed a “Trustees Award” on Alan Lomax, America’s most widely renowned folklorist and ethnomusicologist, who died last July at the age of 87. His daughter, Anna Lomax Chairetakis, received the award on his behalf. Her acceptance speech eloquently distilled her father’s life: “Alan wore many hats—musical anthropologist, writer, preservationist, recording engineer, artist manager/publisher, musical arranger, radio producer, advocate, promoter, innovative thinker—and he wore them all in one cause. Essentially, he believed that the main sources of music, dance, poetry and fantasy spring from the people who confront life’s joys and cruelties first hand, in the raw, with little padding and few defenses. He found out that the beautiful in music is honed over long eras, and is nurtured by the local and the particular; that it swims in the many big cultural streams of earth, and thrives within their multitudinous, juicy variants and amalgamations.”
By Mike McHone, 23 April 2003
“I cannot be a vegetarian just between meals”—Nanci Griffith, folk artist
By Tony Cornwell, 4 June 2002
Corporate mergers in television, radio and record industries have resulted in the coordination of “play lists” around demographics. “Pop” or “Popular” music therefore has become overwhelmingly self-referential, genre specific and backwards looking.
A review of bluesman's new CD: "One Night In America"
By James Brewer, 7 March 2002
One can be forgiven for being a bit suspicious nowadays when the word “America” appears in the title of any musical piece or recording. The American population is being barraged with mind-numbing patriotic drivel which represents nothing, artistically speaking, of value.
By Peter Daniels, 8 February 2002
Southern trees bear a strange fruit, Blood on the leaves and blood at the root, Black body swinging in the Southern breeze, Strange fruit hanging from the poplar trees.
By Michael G. Nastos, 28 December 2001
The following list of jazz and blues recordings for 2001 has been submitted to the WSWS by Michael G. Nastos, who hosts “Evening Jazz & Blues” weeknights on WEMU-FM, 89.1, in Ypsilanti, Michigan as he has for 23 of his more than 30 years in radio. Nastos has written for the Alchemist, the All Music Guide, the Ann Arbor News, Arts Midwest, the Blues Review, Cadence, Coda, Detroit Jazz, Downbeat, Jazz Journal International, Jazz Times, the Metro Times and Swing Journal magazines and the SEMJA (Southeastern Michigan Jazz Association) Update. He is past Jazz Chair of the Michigan Council of Arts and Cultural Affairs, and edited author Robert Sweet’s Music Universe, Music Mind: A History Of The Creative Music Studio.
By Philip Sprake, 9 August 2001
Jazz saxophonist Joe Henderson, who died on June 30 after a long battle with emphysema, has been described by one music writer as the “supreme melodist”. A fellow musician referred to him as a “musical astronaut” following the 25-year-old’s impromptu performance in 1962 at New York’s Birdland—a concert which also left a deep impression on bebop veteran Dexter Gordon. Notwithstanding these accolades Henderson was an unassuming man, a quiet achiever, who in an era dominated by giants of the saxophone, John Coltrane and Sonny Rollins, worked hard to become one of the great tenor saxophone improvisers of the modern jazz era.
By Philip Sprake, 29 June 2001
John Lee Hooker, the gifted, charismatic blues guitar player and singer, died in his sleep at his home in Los Altos, California, aged 80, on June 21.
By John Andrews, 5 May 2001
The ebullient Billy Higgins, the most recorded jazz drummer of the last 50 years, died Thursday in the Los Angeles suburb of Inglewood after a protracted battle with liver disease. He was 64.
By Tony Cornwell, 17 February 2001
Alexandre Lagoya (1929-1999) and Ida Presti (1924-1967) formed the greatest classical guitar duet in the world to date. This was not simply due to their technical excellence, but their subtlety and force in emotional expression. They also transcribed music for the instrument from many sources, most notably the harpsichord, violin and piano.
By Liz Smith, 11 January 2001
British singer-songwriter Kirsty MacColl was tragically killed by a speedboat on December 18, 2000, while on holiday in Mexico with her two sons. She leaves a musical legacy stretching over 23 years. Many will remember her for the Christmas duet Fairytale of New York she sang with Shane McGowan of the Pogues in 1987. To the tens of thousands of fans she built up around the world, she will be best remembered for her acerbic wit and treatment of everyday occurrences and feelings in a brutally honest but sensitive way.
By Michael G. Nastos, 29 December 2000
Michael G. Nastos hosts “Evening Jazz & Blues” weeknights on WEMU-FM, 89.1, in Ypsilanti, Michigan, as he has for 22 of his 30 years in radio. He has written for the Alchemist , the All Music Guide , the Ann Arbor News , Arts Midwest , the Blues Review , Cadence , Coda , Detroit Jazz , Downbeat , Jazz Journal International , Jazz Times , the Metro Times , and Swing Journal magazines and the SEMJA (Southeastern Michigan Jazz Association) Update . He is past Jazz Chair of the Michigan Council of Arts & Cultural Affairs, and edited Robert Sweet's Music Universe—Music Mind: A History of the Creative Music Studio .
By Philip Sprake, 1 November 2000
John Coltrane, the masterful jazz saxophonist, gathered around him some wonderfully talented musicians between 1960 and 1965, his most creative period. Elvin Jones on drums, Jimmy Garrison on bass and pianist McCoy Tyner made up what was arguably his greatest quartet, producing such classic albums as Impressions, Crescent and A Love Supreme.
By David Walsh, 1 September 2000
Brian Wilson, once the leading figure of the Beach Boys, the American popular music group, is on tour this summer in the US. The center-piece of each concert is a performance by Wilson, his ten-piece band and a full-scale symphony orchestra of the music from the 1966 album, Pet Sounds.
By Tony Cornwell, 31 August 2000
Judith Wright, a respected Australian poet and writer on poetry and latterly better known as a conservationist and campaigner for aboriginal rights, died in hospital in Canberra on June 26 at the age of 85. Her achievement in translating the Australian experience into poetry led in her best work to a rich inheritance of lyricism and directness.
By Adrian Falk, 22 June 2000
Pieter Wispelwey, the 37-year-old Dutch cellist, performed all six Suites for solo cello by J.S. Bach at the new City Recital Hall in Sydney on June 10. While the Bach Suites are not technically difficult by modern standards of cello playing, the performance of all six in one concert constitutes a major undertaking, not only of stamina, but deeply informed musical intelligence.
Tito Puente dead at 77
By Helen Halyard, 10 June 2000
Tito Puente, best known for popularizing Latin dance music and jazz in the United States for the past half-century, passed away on May 30 in New York City. He was 77 years old and died following heart surgery to correct a faulty valve.
By Chris Marsden, 11 April 2000
Last week, family and friends said farewell to singer-songwriter Ian Dury during a humanist service held at Golders Green in North London. Dury died from colon cancer on March 27 at his home in Hampstead. Annette Furley, who led the service, said of Ian, “He was one of the few original personalities in the music business. He used to write music that made you want to dance and also made you laugh.”
Music Review: The Melody At Night, With You by Keith Jarrett (ECM 1675)
By Philip Sprake, 30 March 2000
In contemporary jazz it is sometimes difficult, at least for novices, to recognise the difference between a technically proficient musician and a truly great one. The Melody At Night, With You, a collection of rich piano solos released on CD late last year by jazz pianist Keith Jarrett, is an unambiguous demonstration of great jazz musicianship and further proof that he is one of the more significant jazz pianists to emerge since the 1960s.
Curtis Mayfield dies:
By Richard Phillips, 24 January 2000
The death of 57-year-old Curtis Mayfield last December 26, after several years of failing health, marks the passing of one of the most talented gospel-influenced rhythm and blues singer/songwriters and producers to emerge in the early 1960s. A devoted family man, Curtis Mayfield is survived by Altheida, his second wife, two sons, eight daughters and seven grandchildren.
By Ian Bruce, 31 December 1999
The death of country singer Hank Snow marks the passing of a major figure in the history of popular music. Snow, who died December 20 in Nashville at age 85, played a key role in helping transform country music from a localized, largely rural musical style to an internationally popular form. In a 45-year recording career, he sold an estimated 70 million records and influenced performers from Elvis Presley to Bob Dylan.
An interview with Dale Watson
By Richard Phillips, 16 December 1999
One of the more interesting music documentaries screened on Australian television this year was Naked Nashville, a Channel Four production about American country music. While the program did not provide a definitive history of country music, a rich genre with varied traditions and numerous musical sub-groups, the four-part series did expose the crass commercialism dominating the Nashville music industry today and interviewed a number of musicians and critics who voiced their concerns about the artistic decline of their craft.
Later Auden by Edward Mendelson Farrer, Strauss and Giroux, New York, 1999
By Margaret Rees, 20 November 1999
The publication last April of Later Auden, Edward Mendelson's detailed biography of Wystan Hugh (W.H.) Auden, has again focused attention on this key figure of 20th century English poetry. Mendelson, a professor of English and comparative literature at Columbia University in New York City, wrote Early Auden, the first volume of his Auden biography, in 1981.
By David Walsh, 1 September 1999
Byron: Child of Passion, Fool of Fame, by Benita Eisler, Alfred A. Knopf, New York, 1999, 837 pages.
By Jason Nichols, 25 August 1999
One of the more thoughtful contemporary music bands to emerge in Australia in the last decade is Underground Lovers. Cold Feeling, the group's latest CD, combines guitar rhythms and taped music sequences with introspective lyrics to produce unusual songs and atmospheric dance music.
10 August 1999
The WSWS received the following letter in response to our July 13 obituary of the Spanish composer Joaquin Rodrigo.
Jackson's Track Memoir of a Dreamtime Placeby Daryl Tonkin & Carolyn Landon, Viking Books ISBN 0-670-88332-8
By Stephen Griffith, 31 July 1999
Jackson's Track is a remarkable story of ordinary Australian people—Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal—living together under difficult circumstances. It is a story of rural life that is rarely told. It is narrated through the eyes of a man whose account testifies to his personal humanity, and sensitivity to those whose lives he touched.
By John Martinez, 13 July 1999
Joaquin Rodrigo, acclaimed Spanish composer and the man most responsible for popularising the guitar as a classical concert instrument, died on July 6 in Madrid at the age of 97.
By John Andrews, 10 June 1999
The last few years have not been good ones for the giants of American song. First we lost the incomparable Ella Fitzgerald, then Frank Sinatra and Joe Williams. Now Mel Torme, who died Saturday from the lingering effects of the debilitating stroke which abruptly ended his 65-year singing career in August 1996.
Tracks, a Sony Music 4-CD boxed set by Bruce Springsteen
By Peter Stavropoulos, 4 May 1999
The latest release from American singer-songwriter Bruce Springsteen is a collection of 66 tracks spanning a musical career that has endured for nearly three decades. The four-hour anthology, which includes 56 previously unreleased songs, is an important historical record of the artistic development of Springsteen and his E Street Band.