"None has dated as poorly"

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I'm not sure what to think of this review of Legends of Country Music: Bob Wills & His Texas Playboys. I think the reviewer likes the music, but I'm not sure:

Of all the subgenres of country music, perhaps none has dated as poorly as Western swing, the New Deal amalgam of jazz and the string band.

Does he mean that the music has aged well? That it doesn't seem out-of-date? That it has a certain timelessness? Or does he mean that it has nothing to offer modern listeners?

Then there's this line. See what sense you can extract from it:

It's saddening to the extent that Wills' bucolic big banditry sounds positively atavistic in the countrypolitan-on-steroids present, even to a listener who loathes latter-day Billy Sherrilloid abominations like Garth Brooks and Shania Twain.

And this parenthetical comment, about Wills's use of horns and drums

(Such orchestral eclecticism might otherwise position Western swing as the country subgenre most likely to interest country haters, but for the fact that such haters hilariously seem to regard the Stratocaster as the sonic alpha and omega of Western Civilization.)

might make sense, except that Wills's guitarist and arranger Eldon Shamblin played a Stratocaster, one that was given to him by Leo Fender himself, who was a fan of western swing.

I think the reviewer, Mr. Hollerbach, managed to violate every rule in Strunk and White, and he seems more interested in impressing us with his vocabulary and his ability to string words together than communicating any actual information.

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2 Comments

John England said:

I agree completely. Reading that "review" really left me scratching my head.

Jeff Shaw Author Profile Page said:

After reading the silly commentaries in the back of classical music CD's, this one strikes me the same: Silly.
What of "Big Banditry?" Is that a Place for Large Bandits, Or a Big Place for Bandits?

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This page contains a single entry by Michael Bates published on May 27, 2007 6:57 PM.

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