I read this fragment of an interview with the country blues singer Robert Pete Williams:
Well, I changed my style when I see where I could find more notes on guitar. The sound of the atmosphere, the weather changed my style. But I could hear, since beginning an air-music man. The air came in different, with a different sound of music. Well, the atmosphere, when the wind was blowing, carries music along. I don’t know how it affects you or not, but it’s a sounding that’s in the air, you see? And I don’t know where it comes from – it could be from airplanes, or the moaning of automobiles, but anyway, it leaves an air current in the air, you see. That gets in the wind, makes a sounding, you know? And that sounding works up to be a blues.
Uncredited interview from 1968.
Quoted in August Kleinzahler, ‘Music; I – LXXIV’ P. 264. Pressed Wafer, Boston 2009.
I think this must be pre-style change:
This might be after that change in the weather:
And this, for good measure, is where Captain Beefheart got it:
‘…perhaps music at its most theatrical, extravagant and absurd is also the truest music. It is what can save us from ourselves, from the banal fact of being in the world. Such music, Bowie’s music, can allow us to escape from being riveted to the fact of who we are, to escape from being us.’
‘On Bowie’ by Simon Critchley. Serpents Tail, 2016. P. 48.
Blame growing up watching Rawhide and High Noon on television in the Sixties…but I have a liking for ersatz ‘cowboy’ songs. Because I couldn’t find my copy of ‘Ghost Riders in the Sky’, here are two Frankie Laines with an instrumental interlude from Mr Twang, Duane Eddy.
Rawhide (N. Washington, D. Tiomkin) 1959.
The Wild Westerner (D. Eddy, L. Hazlewood) 1962. This is the flip side of ‘Ballad of Paladin’
High Noon (Do Not Forsake Me) (N. Washington, D. Tiomkin) 1952.
Last week I visited Thomas Carlyle’s house for the first time in 30 years. Here is an extract from my post ‘DUST/SILENCE/TIME’ where I briefly discuss Carlyle’s writing room.
Although he raged against the noise of the city, I wondered if Thomas Carlyle also wanted to deny time in his sound-proofed rooms at the top of his house in Cheyne Walk in Chelsea. He had a room built within another room to exclude street noises and the sound of the piano from the adjacent house. But, though apparently sealed from the outdoor world, the wind whistled across the skylight and the sound of the next-door neighbour’s macaw still found its way into his space. Maybe in order to create silence sealing a room is not enough (as Cage noted in his visit to the anechoic chamber). And, as Warhol’s solution [silence without duration] is impractical if not impossible – is easier said than done – it is necessary to impose the active ingredient of time in the form of dust.
On Thursday afternoon, the doors of the room were left open so sound drifted up the staircase and in through the attic window. The space created by building an inner skin to the room was being used as storage. An information text here explained that Carlyle was trying to insulate himself from the noise of the nearby Cremorne Pleasure Gardens as well as street noise. In the entry for Cremorne Gardens the London Encyclopaedia reports: ‘In 1855, during a pageant re-enacting the storming of a fort at Sebastopol, the stage collapsed beneath 500 bayonet-carrying soldiers’. Balloon flights were regular occurrences at the gardens and at least one ended in disaster when the Montgolfier Fire Balloon drifted and collided with the spire of a church in Sydney Street. The disused Lots Road Power Station now occupies the site of the pleasure gardens.
My recording made in the ‘sound-proof’ room is only quiet. I missed the passing helicopters.