Welcome to the first music book club post! After a dispiriting bookshop visit last month (read more here) I have decided to review a book about music written by a woman every month, starting with ‘Composed’ by Rosanne Cash. Continue reading “Music Book Club: ‘Composed’ by Rosanne Cash”
Put your cowboy boots on, get in the saddle and prepare for an adventure. Lindi Ortega has escaped the shackles of her past and she’s ready to ride out into the sunset, leaving nothing but dust behind her. Her new concept album Liberty puts the West into country and western, and freedom has never sounded this good. Continue reading “Album Review: Lindi Ortega – Liberty”
Dolly Parton’s mother always told her that if she hadn’t become a country singer she would have been a preacher, and if you’ve ever seen Dolly live you know that her concerts have the feel of mass evangelical rallies, such is the worship she generates from her audience. Dolly’s relationship with religion goes back to her upbringing and her family’s strong ties to the Pentecostal church. Her grandfather Jake was a preacher and many of her relatives followed in his footsteps. Dolly’s mother read the bible to her every night and this faith is woven into the textures of her songwriting. In 1971 Dolly released her sixth album and first gospel collection, The Golden Streets of Glory featuring a mix of standards, spirituals and songs written by herself and other family members. Continue reading “Dolly Parton’s Discography – The Golden Streets of Glory”
Mirror, mirror on the wall, who’s the fairest of them all? Well it can only be Dolly Parton, of course, even if this album cover has her wearing one of the most ridiculous outfits of her career. Despite the impression the garish cover gives this does not mean Dolly has embraced bubblegum pop or turned into a glitzy rhinestone cowgirl (those aspects of her career are yet to come). Instead this album, released in 1970, contains southern gothic short stories of traumatic and tragic lives, continuing the trend of her previous album My Blue Ridge Mountain Boy. Dolly writes all but one of these songs, and the album really benefits from being free of the cover versions and throwaway music row songs that weakened her earlier albums. Continue reading “Dolly’s Discography – The Fairest of Them All”
At the weekend I was browsing in the music section of the bookshop when I noticed something – all the books on the five shelves appeared to be written by men. At first I thought it was a mistake. Surely my hyper sensitive feminist brain was just seeing things? So I checked each shelf more carefully this time. Continue reading “Why I’m Starting A Music Book Club”
I still remember the exact moment when I fell in love with Belly. It was summer 1995, a time that feels like yesterday and a lifetime ago in the same breath. I was 13 and already an obsessive music fan, listening to britpop and guitar bands in my every waking moment. Yet something was missing. Oasis, Blur, Pulp etc were all great but they were bands I liked because I knew they were cool and because other people told me I should. Finding your own favourite band is another thing altogether.
So when I sat down to watch the TV coverage of Glastonbury festival that year I didn’t know what I was looking for exactly but as soon as Belly came on screen I knew I’d found it. Sure, I was naturally drawn to any girls playing guitar, but there were others that year too who could have won my heart – Veruca Salt, Sleeper, Elastica – instead Belly were the one. They spewed venom in a way that was sweet and brutal at the same time. Whatever the combination of musical energy and mysterious force they had, I was instantly hooked. Continue reading “Sweet Ride: My Life As A Belly Fan”
Picasso’s ‘Blue’ period was characterised by dark and somber paintings, expressing the emotional turmoil of the traumas of his youth. For a woman known to bring sunshine and rainbows it’s perhaps a surprise to find an album in Dolly Parton’s career which creates a similar morose tone, lyrically if not musically. There were no hits generated from My Blue Ridge Mountain Boy and the music confronts topics that she would shy away from as her career progressed: death, suicide, prostitution, pain, failure, anger, regret and suffering. Continue reading “Dolly’s Discography – My Blue Ridge Mountain Boy”
When Dolly joined Porter’s popular television show there was an inevitable backlash from the audience, who were used to hearing their favourite Norma Jean and stubbornly resistant to change. In order to increase her public popularity Porter masterminded a campaign to flood the market with as much music by Dolly Parton as possible. He would make her a star, come what may.
In the years 1968 and 1969 Dolly released three solo albums and featured on three duet albums with Porter. Even for someone of Dolly’s prodigious songwriting talent that’s spreading yourself extremely thin. On these six albums there are 22 original songs written by Dolly, not counting her multiple co-writes, which suggests there’s at least one classic album lost among all the filler.
In the Good Old Days (When Times Were Bad) was the first of two solo albums released in 1969, reaching number 15 on the country charts. Since their duet albums were regularly hitting the top ten at this point, Dolly’s solo work appears to be struggling somewhat in comparison. While production is again credited to Bob Ferguson, Porter himself was in charge of the sound, much to the eventual frustration of Dolly herself. This album features a few gems but it is padded out by recordings of popular country hits, which makes it by far her weakest early collection. Continue reading “Dolly’s Discography – In The Good Old Days (When Times Were Bad)”
The problems with ticket touts/scalpers have been well documented – fans are getting ripped off and shady people are profiting big time. The government may be ‘investigating’ these companies and some acts may look like they’re trying to fight back but in reality things are getting worse, not better. The ‘Sold Out’ sign by a tour date is now utterly meaningless and everyone knows it.
What frustrates me most is that there is already a proven way to stop ticket touts/scalpers but NO ONE is willing to use it because the current system is the easiest and most profitable for both the ticket companies and the artist. As long as the tickets sell the artist benefits, sure there might be some empty seats but the money generated is the same. And now that companies like Ticketmaster own secondary sites they can almost instantly sell the same product back to the consumer at a higher price and get away with it.
The solution to this madness is staring us in the face and has been for over ten years. Glastonbury festival have eliminated ticket touts and secondary reselling, by overhauling their selling system to ensure that fans do not get ripped off. Emily Eavis herself has called for others to follow their lead. In my opinion this system should be adopted by all major artists and festivals to ensure fair and safe ticket buying for the consumer.
Here are the basics of Glastonbury’s system, with some thoughts on how it could work for other events. Continue reading “How To End the Ticket Resale Madness For Good”