Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Bluegrass Rant

After a week of listening my way through the latest Harry Potter book, partly because I wanted the opportunity to catch the details I missed on my marathon reading session and partly because I love the audio versions performed by Jim Dale, I needed a break and decided to spend a couple of days listening to music before I tackle the next audio book.

Bluegrass music always gives me a boost - it's just so happy and peppy for the most part that you find yourself tapping your foot and bouncing on your butt and exceeding the speed limit, even if you started out with your mood in the cellar. Anything by Ricky Skaggs and Kentucky Thunder is guaranteed to put you in danger of a speeding ticket and that's usually my first pick, but this morning I decided on an oldie but goodie - The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band's original Will the Circle Be Unbroken.

Cue the mood swing. I love the songs and the music, but I have come to the conclusion that any piece of country or bluegrass music would be immeasurably improved with the decision to omit the harmonica. This album is full of wonderful performances by legendary musicians, but my enjoyment of those performances is usually tempered by my devout wish that the harmonica would SHUT UP.

I'll grant you that it is pretty remarkable that anybody can actually make a tune come out of one of the things, but then why would anybody bother to try in the first place? It's not pretty what comes out. It seldom adds one single, solitary improvement. The only place it seems to fit is in old prison movies.

I apologize to all the harmonica players of the world, but please, please throw the things in the nearest dust bin or indulge your whim to play them when by yourself in a sound-proofed room.

That's it. Off my soap box for now.


1 comment:

david said...

I hate harmonicas and harpsichords. But I like the harmonium, and the harp is OK. And of course I love P.D.Q. Bach's compositions for horn and hardart.

My favorite tracks on WTCBU are "Tennessee Stud" and "Dark as a Dungeon." I don't seem to own the CD anymore.