What really strikes me about that obituary was how little time Lester had left on the planet when he wrote that piece. He would be gone in only a few more years himself. It is downright odd for me to realize I have outlived both of these men whose work I admire. They will always be “older” than me in my mind.
Of the many qualities I admire about Lester Bangs’ writing, the most fascinating to me is his willingness to put his first impressions on the line about any given topic only to eventually re-evaluate and sometimes totally abandon those initial convictions for new ones. This quality is investigated at length in a nifty essay about Lester recently published in the New Yorker by Maria Bustillos – see here for a great article: Lester
She writes of Lester’s skepticism as “the best kind of skepticism: the skepticism that turns back on the author himself”. Lester liked to disagree with himself in print. One famous example is how he trashed the Rolling Stones’ Exile on Main Street in a scathing review (in 1972) only to write a total about-face review years later.
It seems to me that folks are less willing to put their opinions “out there” – to go out on a limb to tell how they REALLY feel about music these days. Which is a shame since one of the more profound experiences I’ve had in my music-appreciation endeavors is when I suddenly “get” an album, a song, a composer that I never “got” before – or worse yet, totally dismissed. Those “eureka moments” are precious to me. Less impressive is when a piece of music you once admired ends up sounding tired and dated many years down the road. I’ve been there too.
I know I’ve taken a particular stand about certain albums, musicians, etc……here on this blog. But it crossed my mind to revisit some of my posts to see if my opinions have changed or become more sophisticated or less complicated over time. What follows are a few examples of my own musical revisions……..for better or worse!
First of all – in my enthusiasm for all things Judy Henske, I perhaps went a little overboard in my criticism of the original Jefferson Airplane girl-singer Signe Anderson.
I have no idea if her vocals ever graced another record – if not that would be a shame. I’ll be on the lookout for more from Signe!
Now, from the cyber-complaint bag there have been two exciting artist revisions announced, whether or not due to my kvetching here I can’t say. We’ll start with the one that is currently available……
My most popular entry here on the blog has been the one I did about Terry Manning. The man himself stopped on by to extend well-wishes which was awesome enough. In that entry, I expressed my dissatisfaction with the current ZZ Top catalog on CD – how it’s been remixed to sound more modern and snazzy (while sacrificing the “funk” of the original mixes). Well kids – kvetching pays off! Behold – the entire ZZ Top catalog with the original, greasy-wonderment of the ORIGINAL MIXES – on compact disc for the first time ever.
ZZ Top Box
Also exciting is what’s in store for August………….another popular entry I did here awhile ago traced the complicated history of the Fleetwood Mac / Peter Green classic “Then Play On”. For many years, fans of this great album have kvetched – “Why isn’t there a Deluxe Edition of this important record?” Yes, kids – here it is at last – what we’ve been waiting for……the Deluxe “Then Play On”!
Then Play On Deluxe
But what about all the great revisions on my part? Well, here’s one more that I owe to my good keyboard-playing pal Jeremy………..