Plaidneck

Year: 2019

My take on Rock music

I was born at the end of WW2. As such, I’ve heard Rock music from basically the beginning. My take on this genre is that it is and should be a bit rough, a bit on the edge and fun

Listen to Big Mama Thorton’s “Blue Hound Dog,” Little Richard’s, “Tutti Frutti,” Jerry Lee Lewis’ “Whole Lotta Shakin’,” Ray Charles’ “What’d I Say” and Bo Diddley. Good hooks, great rhythm and definitely an edge.

Even Doo Wop, a less rough style of music still had an edge and was definitely fun.
The Marcel’s “Blue Moon,” the Coaster’s “Charlie Brown,”

However, it didn’t take long before the producers started to meddle. The music became sweeter, the musicianship had its rougher edges honed with orchestration and strings and extra voices added to smooth out the vocals.

Buddy Holly (from “Rave On” to “It Doesn’t Matter Anymore”) and Elvis (“Jail House Rock” to “It’s Now or Never”) both got orchestrated.

New groups came onto the scene; much more produced; The Supremes, Sonny and Cher, Beach Boys and etc. Smooth and produced. It was time for a return to rough

Then came the “British Invasion” which brought back simpler less produced arrangements (early Beatles, Stones, Animals). Although there were soft groups, we again had a bit of edge to popular music.

Unfortunately, producers again started to add more orchestration, but things also changed quicker (or at least there were parallel streams of rock). Think of the edge in groups such as the Clash and Ramones and the clean sound of the Stray Cats.

I enjoy many of the bands that are now played as Classic Rock, loud and although well rehearsed with a bit of an edge. Unfortunately, today’s bands of that ilk find it difficult to gain air time. We seem bombarded with show and dance numbers featuring a big name “star,” traveling studio musicians and very choreographed numbers.

Coupled with this are some unfortunate “revivals” of 3 score and 10 plus former performers being trotted out well past their prime.

My version of Rock has returned to the smaller bands with clean but edgy sound. Bands are out there if you look. Try some of the on line independent radio stations and look for yourself. A few years back, The Head and the Heart from Seattle had the sound. Today, I kind of like Beaches from Toronto, Middle Kids from Aus. and Wolf Alice out of UK

The Plaidneck

PS. It’s been 50 years since Woodstock so I’ve listened to some of the recordings of the day. Yup that was rough.

Another loss of rural character

My mother was born and raised in Lanark County Ontario not too far from Perth. She had the Lanark accent and because of summers at her home place, I picked up a couple of area distinct pronunciations.

My parents moved a couple of times and I was born and raised along the eastern shores of Lake Ontario. Time eroded most of my Mom’s idiom, but some of my friends always detected the valley in her speech.

Perth had a very distinctive idiom. A memory I have from quite a few years back, when families watched TV together and Canada had a “reach for the top” type of show, we watched as Perth Collegiate took on another highschool. All the PCI students had the Lanark/Perth accent. One; however, had a very distinct variation.

My mother said she knew exactly where he came from. She named the corner so had the Concession and was within a few lots.

Places had their way of pronouncing words, expressing ideas with some distinct phrases

One of the stories I heard (from my great-aunt) was about my grandparents. The grandmother’s family was a bit leery of my grandfather and his family because “they talked funny.” The two families were raised probably less than 10 km apart.

Unfortunately this local flavour is disappearing. A few years back I was just outside Perth with a group of business friends. There was a group of young men from Perth nearby. Only one sounded even close to the sound of my mother’s family.

Today, there was a CBC radio interview of a young man from Perth. He said he was born and raised in Perth. I detected no accent at all. I may still miss some of the subtleties because of childhood acculturation, but contend that there was no Lanark in the man’s speech.

Radio. Tv and people from outside the area have pretty well wiped out a distinctive and pleasant sound from another part of rural Ontario.

I for one miss the diverseness.

The Plaidneck

It’s OK to say “I made a mistake”.

Recent political manoeuverings reminded me of an incident in my long career managing a front line municipal department.

I had the privilege of a position where I knew and dealt with both those who actually did the work planned in the office and the elected representatives of the people who authorized the works.

Once, while answering questions on a presentation to Council, a question concerning the approach to some problem (sorry, I don’t remember the matter nor the person asking the question). I answered the question based on the approach espoused in the report. The questioner thought a bit and questioned the answer. His questioning was based on a reasonable consideration. I thought about the councillor’s idea approach, my proposed solution to the problem and it seemed that he (I remember that it was one of the men on Council) had a very valid point.

My response (there was probably a small delay in replying) was basically. “It seems that I’ve made a mistake and will amend our approach.”

The meeting continued to other topics and my active participation in that council meeting ended.

When I returned to the staff section of Council Chambers, there was a somewhat incredulous question. “Did I just hear you admit to a mistake”? The answer was yes, and I did.

That (save for the change of approach the department would be taking for that specific item) was the end of the matter.

The ramifications of making a mistake can be serious. The ramifications of admitting the mistake and (this part is also very important) taking appropriate action to make things right seems very acceptable to those who are in position to judge.

It’s OK to admit a mistake.

The Plaidneck

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