Unreal Nature

July 31, 2008

To feel anything so deeply

Filed under: Uncategorized — unrealnature @ 7:39 am

Just because I like it, from Tombstone Blues   by Greil Marcus ( May 20, 2001 ):

“Fair young maid, all in the garden,” begins the probably 17th century English ballad “John Riley” as it appears on the 1960 album “Joan Baez.” It’s the quieting of the tale as Baez moves it on, a little melodic pattern on her guitar flitting by like a small bird as a hushed bass progression follows it like a cat, even more than the voice–the voice of someone already dead, but walking the Earth to warn the living–that told the listener then, and can tell a listener now, that he or she has stumbled into a different country. It was like waking up as an adult, or nearly so, to discover that all the fairy tales of one’s childhood were true–and that, if you wished, you could, instead of the career or the war awaiting you, live them out. In a few old songs, making a drama of hiding and escape, material defeat and spiritual conquest, investing that drama with the passion of her voice and the physical presence of the body that held it, she beckoned you toward a crack in the invisible wall around your city. What would it mean, people all across the country asked the music they were hearing, as the music asked them, to feel anything so deeply?

-Julie

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