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Hallowe'en And "wizard Rock"...


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Judging a high-school speech tournament is a lot like critiquing performers at an open mike (except one doesn’t usually get to critique the performers at an open mike). Whether it’s a prose or poetry recitation, dramatic interpretation, radio commentary, or after-dinner speech, it’s all performance, and I probably know enough about performance to give kids pointers about how to work a crowd. This will be the sixth year I’ve judged speech tournaments for my daughter’s high school (now her former high school—she’s in college)

And you learn new things… One of the “expository” (informative, with posters) speeches was by a girl with a guitar (good prop—and she could even play it a little), about a new genre of music prompted by the J.K. Rowling novels; it’s called “Wizard Rock,” and the genre was begun by a duo calling themselves Harry and the Potters. Now, apparently, there’s a bunch of such bands, and there are tours, and albums. All duly ignored by the “mainstream” music industry, which presumably has no interest in anything not generated within their own closed circle.

It does make one wonder, though: why Harry Potter, and not one of the other kid-obsession “literature” series? Why not the Twilight series, for instance? Is one forced back to simply saying that “the world is a very strange place,” and “there ain’t no accounting for taste”? Or are there really such genres out there, and I just haven’t heard them? What’s outside the tightly-controlled “core” of the music industry is so diverse (and unheard) that almost anything is possible.

Played “The Dog’s Song” for the Friday Night Group (we had a good rock ‘n’ roll guitarist and bass player on hand), and the crowd did like it; songwriter Ricki Bellos was right—people’s interest is grabbed at the Rap, with “There are very few love songs, country or otherwise, written from the point of view of the dog.” Sounds good with a band; I think our band should do it. I played it again today, at the Forestry Center’s bluegrass jam session—a couple of people requested it, who’d heard it Friday night.

(The Friday Night Group got “Vampire Roumanian Babies,” too, of course—it being Hallowe’en and all. That’s the only Hallowe’en song I’ve performed this Hallowe’en.)

I have another Stan Good song musicated—a bouncy, Bob Wills-style lost-love song hight “Don’t Remind Me You’re On My Mind.” A lot of the stuff I’ve done lately has had more of a rock ‘n’ roll beat (undoubtedly the result of playing with heavfy-metal musicians), and it was nice to do something that was openly traditional country. Folks who heard it suggested it be faster, and—surprise!—I could do that: “Alice” the ‘puter’s Audacity program has the ability to change the tempo of a piece without changing the key (I tried it out on one of Scott Garriott’s songs, “Marilee”). So I didn’t have to re-record it to make it faster.

Stan’s got another one I’d really like to put to music, called “When the Blues Got You,” but he says he’s promised the musication to someone else. I just hope they do a good job. I would like to include “When the Blues Got You” in the Failed Economy Sequel (if we do it), provided the song is uptempo enough. It would be uptempo enough if I musicated it, but I don’t know about anybody else.

Good crowd of musicians at the Forestry Center (for a change); it’ll be the last session for a while—the state is closing the Forestry Center for the winter because of the money shortage. All but two of the Center’s employees are being laid off or transferred. One keeps hearing news items saying the recession is over; I’d like to know where that is. If I could afford it, I might try to move there.

Joe

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