Paul Simon: Genius or Wanker?

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Paul Simon: Genius or Wanker?

Genius.
35
64%
Wanker.
20
36%
 
Total votes: 55

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take5_d_shorterer
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Postby take5_d_shorterer » 05 Jul 2007, 17:12

We'll probably have to agree to disagree, although my criticisms could have to do with the lyrics themselves, regardless of what the music was.

I said aren't you the women
Who was recently given a Fulbright
She said don't I know you
From the cinematographer's party


I don't know how one could sing these with any musical backing and get something usable.

Actually, I take that back. There are some lines in "Graceland" that I don't really like, but when Willie Nelson sings them,they don't grate nearly as much.

Maybe it really is the vocal delivery.

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Postby Sea Of Tunes » 05 Jul 2007, 18:32

goldwax wrote:
toomanyhatz wrote:
goldwax wrote:What about ol' Marvin Gaye? When he started out at Motown, he wanted to be a crooner like Sinatra and Cole. Berry forced him to sing soul music and "shake his ass" and while he wasn't ever comfortable with it, the results are thrilling. So was Berry stifling Marvin's creativity and artistic vision? That's debatable, I suppose, but the results speak for themselves. But whatever it is he did, it's just what Cooder did with Omara. They both made an artistic call in their role of producer, and their instincts proved superior to the singers that they were working with. After all, just because you're blessed with a remarkable instrument, it doesn't mean that you always know how to best use it.


Bad example. When Marvin's creativity and artistic vision were allowed free reign, crooner influence and all, he made his best music.

Besides which, Berry was not attempting to represent the music of Marvin Gaye. Marvin was one of many singers used to create the Motown sound. When Ry Cooder claims to be producing the music of another land, and he steers one of the singers away from what she wants to do, he is no longer representing her version of her own music, he is representing his own. The difference between him and Gordy is that Gordy didn't pretend otherwise.

I'm not even saying I don't like the music- I love Buena Vista Social Club. I'm just saying it fits the definition of cultural imperialism better than Simon hiring great African musicians because that's the sound he wants on his record.


Well, I'm one of those weirdos who prefers Marvin's '60s recordings to his '70s recordings, so the parallel works for me.

Bottom line: Cooder had a vision of a sort of stylized version of retro-Cuban music that he wanted to record. (His slide guitar was not "authentic," yet it worked perfectly within the context of that vision.) Barbra Streisand had no part in that vision. So he cut it out. It has nothing to do with cultural imperialism and everything to do with creative vision. BVSC is nothing if not a producer's record. It is within this context that Cooder's decision--the right one, you'll agree--should be viewed.


...and let me add that Cooder is way too much of an integer and honest person - the last one on Earth to make money or power out of 'using' other cultural achievements for his own goals or pressing his particular stamp on several types of 'world music'.
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Postby toomanyhatz » 05 Jul 2007, 20:21

Sea Of Tunes wrote:
goldwax wrote:
toomanyhatz wrote:
goldwax wrote:What about ol' Marvin Gaye? When he started out at Motown, he wanted to be a crooner like Sinatra and Cole. Berry forced him to sing soul music and "shake his ass" and while he wasn't ever comfortable with it, the results are thrilling. So was Berry stifling Marvin's creativity and artistic vision? That's debatable, I suppose, but the results speak for themselves. But whatever it is he did, it's just what Cooder did with Omara. They both made an artistic call in their role of producer, and their instincts proved superior to the singers that they were working with. After all, just because you're blessed with a remarkable instrument, it doesn't mean that you always know how to best use it.


Bad example. When Marvin's creativity and artistic vision were allowed free reign, crooner influence and all, he made his best music.

Besides which, Berry was not attempting to represent the music of Marvin Gaye. Marvin was one of many singers used to create the Motown sound. When Ry Cooder claims to be producing the music of another land, and he steers one of the singers away from what she wants to do, he is no longer representing her version of her own music, he is representing his own. The difference between him and Gordy is that Gordy didn't pretend otherwise.

I'm not even saying I don't like the music- I love Buena Vista Social Club. I'm just saying it fits the definition of cultural imperialism better than Simon hiring great African musicians because that's the sound he wants on his record.


Well, I'm one of those weirdos who prefers Marvin's '60s recordings to his '70s recordings, so the parallel works for me.

Bottom line: Cooder had a vision of a sort of stylized version of retro-Cuban music that he wanted to record. (His slide guitar was not "authentic," yet it worked perfectly within the context of that vision.) Barbra Streisand had no part in that vision. So he cut it out. It has nothing to do with cultural imperialism and everything to do with creative vision. BVSC is nothing if not a producer's record. It is within this context that Cooder's decision--the right one, you'll agree--should be viewed.


...and let me add that Cooder is way too much of an integer and honest person - the last one on Earth to make money or power out of 'using' other cultural achievements for his own goals or pressing his particular stamp on several types of 'world music'.


My sense of Cooder- though I'm a fan and absloutely love some of his music- is that he is not in it for money or power, but rather ego. I think he sees himself as the person that made Portuondo "rise above" her desire to be a pop singer. I'm not disagreeing with his artistic decisions at all, I'm simply saying that using the definition of 'cultural imperialism' that Machuki quoted earlier, Cooder fits the profile and Simon doesn't.

But as long as we recognize that Cooder's version was stylized, and his version of Cuban music rather than an authentic one, I don't think we really disagree.
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Postby take5_d_shorterer » 05 Jul 2007, 22:28

toomanyhatz wrote:I remember an interview with Ry Cooder in which he was laying into Omara Portuando for wanting to sound like Barbara Streisand, one of her favorite singers. Ry's point was she should stick to what makes her unique and special. Frankly I thought he was full of crap. Another argument that musicians should be limited in where they're allowed to take influence from. So is Portuondo a cultural imperialist? What are the implications of her using the music of American Jewish culture?


I haven't read the interview, but I have two comments:

1) it's interesting to hear what Cooder's take is on Streisand,

2) Having said that, if Cooder wanted to steer the singer towards a particular sound, the place to do it is in the studio, not in an interview. In an interview, you risk "showing up" the performer with criticisms that for tactical reasons might best be kept private.

****

On the subject of Cooder and Buena Vista..., I don't really like the slide guitar. I don't think it fits in with the montuno and clave rhythms in son. This music is about interlocking rhythmic parts. Slide smudges all that up.

I do, however, like his guitar playing on the album with Manuel Galban. His guitar tone on "Secret Love" is fucking excellent.

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Postby toomanyhatz » 05 Jul 2007, 22:36

take5_d_shorterer wrote:I do, however, like his guitar playing on the album with Manuel Galban. His guitar tone on "Secret Love" is fucking excellent.


I find it telling that he's co-credited on that album, whereas the BVSC record is listed as "Ry Cooder Presents," which seems a bit dishonest. "BVSC featuring Ry Cooder" or "BVSC" followed by (in equally-sized letters) "Produced by Ry Cooder" would be more honest.
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Postby Still Baron » 10 Jul 2007, 03:54

Pity this was whisked off to "Classic Threads" so expeditiously.
An untimely death.
take5_d_shorterer wrote:If John Bonham simply didn't listen to enough Tommy Johnson or Blind Willie Mctell, that's his doing.

Sneelock

Postby Sneelock » 10 Jul 2007, 05:57

Imperial Baron wrote:expeditiously.


speak English!

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Postby Still Baron » 10 Jul 2007, 10:57

Sneelock wrote:
Imperial Baron wrote:expeditiously.


speak English!


on the quick
take5_d_shorterer wrote:If John Bonham simply didn't listen to enough Tommy Johnson or Blind Willie Mctell, that's his doing.

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Postby Count Machuki » 10 Jul 2007, 20:38

Imperial Baron wrote:
Sneelock wrote:
Imperial Baron wrote:expeditiously.


speak English!


on the quick


'with the quickness'?

fucking board imperialists.

still no interest in the 'graceland' answer record i want to compile, then?
:twisted:
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Postby Still Baron » 12 Jul 2007, 01:07

Count Machuki wrote:still no interest in the 'graceland' answer record i want to compile, then?
:twisted:


I think you're probably missing the point in a big way.
take5_d_shorterer wrote:If John Bonham simply didn't listen to enough Tommy Johnson or Blind Willie Mctell, that's his doing.

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Re:

Postby Count Machuki » 27 Oct 2007, 06:29

'Classic Baron' wrote:
Count Machuki wrote:still no interest in the 'graceland' answer record i want to compile, then?
:twisted:


I think you're probably missing the point in a big way.


and i would never try to deprive you of that opinion.
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Re: Re:

Postby king feeb » 30 Oct 2007, 19:45

Count Machuki wrote:still no interest in the 'graceland' answer record i want to compile, then?
:twisted:


Hopefully you'll call it Disgraceland.
You'd pay big bucks to know what you really think.

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Re:

Postby Quaco » 05 Nov 2007, 03:42

sloopjohnc wrote:
Uncle Spellbinder wrote:I think he's recorded quite a few GREAT songs, but as a whole, he interests me little. But to say he's hijacked a culture for music creation is a bit on the absurd side, as far as I'm concerned. Being influenced by and utilizing a type of music/musicians does not equate to stealing a culture.

Just my 2 cents.


I agree. I think this conversation is ridiculous in the context of pop/rock music.

Anyone could say this about the Beatles, the Stones, Led Zeppelin, or countless other bands stealing African-American culture.

That's what modern pop music does. It steals like a mutha and shines it up all nice and purty like.

But then, I would argue that stealing African-American (i.e., black American) music is basically different from stealing African music. I don't know whether Paul Simon was guilty of cultural imperialism, but I don't agree that the Stones and The Beatles are similar cases. The Stones stealing from Chuck Berry is not culturally imperialistic because Berry was from the wealthiest nation on earth and was making a pretty good living selling his records to black and white people alike. He put his music out there. He wanted people to be influenced by it. And a lot of the people in the Chuck Berry-record-selling chain I'm sure were white. Same with The Beatles and Motown and all the other black artists they were influenced by. In short, black America is not really another culture from England. They're both first-world nations, so it's basically the same ballgame. Paul Simon stealing African music is a slightly different thing. I actually don't have a problem with it -- except that I don't like the record much -- but I think there is a distinction worth making.
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Re: Paul Simon: Genius or Wanker?

Postby Count Machuki » 01 Dec 2016, 15:48

viewtopic.php?f=1&t=133014

the debate rages on...
Let U be the set of all united sets, K be the set of the kids and D be the set of things divided.
Then it follows that ∀ k ∈ K: K ∈ U ⇒ k ∉ D

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