My friend Greg, who is also the guy for whom I work as a DJ, turned me on to the documentary, Before the Music Dies. It's available free, as you may have discovered if you clicked the link, at Hulu.com. A look at the hazards and potential of our current historic moment as regards music - the depredations of the music industry, corporate consolidation in commercial radio, and the MTV effect on the one hand; the availability of inexpensive recording tools and distribution networks from social media to small labels to other internet sources - the film is a definite must-see for any music fan.
With the advent of Justin Bieber over the past year, and the threat of a new Britney Spears record on the horizon, this film reminds us that while the destruction of both commercial radio and the record industry in the name of profit is an opportunity for musicians to get their music heard, and for fans of music - any kind of music - to hear incredible, strange, marvelous, wonderful stuff.
The film opens with the following clip, leaving this viewer with the dreadful thought that, as the record industry has existed for the past twenty years or so, nothing like this could have been produced. Thankfully, technology and a desire for hearing something new, really new, is keeping the door open for all sorts of people who might otherwise never get a chance to be heard. So, hear are Ray and Billy, ladies and gentlemen.
Oh, yeah, here are ten random songs, just because randomness is a threat.
Two Lovers - Mary Wells
Southern Point - Grizzly Bear
Runaway - The National
Up for the Downstroke - Parliament/Funkadelic
Larks Tongue in Aspic, Part III (Live) - King Crimson
Ommie Wise - G. B. Grayson (Anthology of American Folk Music)
Ben - Michael Jackson
Harold The Barrel - Genesis
Kneel and Disconnect - Porcupine Tree
I Ka Barra - Habib Koite and Bamada
This song just missed my random list, literally. All the same, it may well be my favorite song of all time. If I were stranded on a desert island, and didn't have this song, I'm not sure how I would survive. I think God put Marvin Gaye on this earth to record the album What's Going On, and this title track is just about perfect in every way.