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« Elsewhere | Main | Aiming Too High »

February 17, 2008


Michael Blowhard writes:

Dear Blowhards --

Some of the most undersung contemporary culture-heroes -- IMHO, of course -- are YouTube music-video uploaders. Just think of it: At no previous time in all history have we had anything like this kind of easy access to such a wealth of fabulous music performances. And we owe it to the voluntary efforts of a lot of amateurs, motivated by love, generosity and enthusiasm. It's enough to make a person believe in anarchist theory. (Incidentally, that's a first-class essay.)

A few of the uploaders I rely on most heavily: rockabilly buff Gatorrock786; country-music lover Genewatsonfan2; Rolling Stones champion Ghostryder4067; StAlphege, surely in the top tier of the world's Emmylou Harris admirers; and the classical-music connoisseurs Judicaelp and Tbromley.

Here's some footage of the legendary Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli playing Chopin:

And a clip of the brilliant Maurizio Pollini performing Debussy:

Pollini's Chopin is a modern legend in its own right, and there's a lot of it on YouTube. Here's one good example.

A couple of recent discoveries have also been making me very, very happy. Oldtimer (456 vids uploaded so far -- imagine the time and effort!) Ultracoolsixties has an eclectic collection of '60s pop music clips that must be peerless -- it includes performances by Marianne Faithful, The Byrds, Francoise Hardy, and a longtime fave of mine, the high-octane, midwestern R&B group Mitch Ryder and the Detroit Wheels:

And doesn't that take you back to the glory days of AM radio! When I'm the mood for workingman's rock, I'll take Mitch Ryder and the boys over Bruce Springsteen any day -- in my value-set, raucous party spirit always prevails over mythos and bloat. Here's Mitch Ryder's website Why not spring for this best-of collection?

Newcomer Musicfirstlove has been sharing a priceless collection of alt-country clips, including many I hadn't even known existed of someone I never tire of going back to, the angelically-gifted Texas depressive Townes Van Zandt:

Well-synch'd-up-with-its-sound or not, that's some precious footage. I wrote -- OK, I raved -- about Townes Van Zandt back here. Here's the Townes Van Zandt website, run by his widow Jeanene. Jeanene sent 2Blowhards a very moving letter that we were honored to reprint here. Buy a copy of "Be Here to Love Me," Margaret Brown's evocative and poetic documentary about Townes, here.

Do you have some favorite YouTube uploaders that you can pass along to the rest of us? It seems to me that the urge to share our pleasures is a lot of what makes the Web the glorious place it is.



posted by Michael at February 17, 2008


Your efforts to expose a wider audience to the marvels on you tube are extraordinary. You've made the point that the culture world flourishes not only because of talented and enthusiastic artists, but also through the love of curators, administrators, media-savvy, and business-savvy folks too. You've thoroughly demonstrated your commitment to that idea. Thanks for this great post!

Posted by: AntonEgoFan on February 17, 2008 12:57 PM

This reply may not be what you're expecting but my favourite trusted uploader is
ok so he's not uploading rock videos to youtube, instead he's archiving hundreds of classic radio shows from BBC radio 1 featuring some rare session recordings from Underworld, radiohead, david holmes - he must have thousands of hours of radio shows up there now.
imeem lets you upload pure music files - so technically this isn't either youtube or video, but my respect for this uploader is huge.

Posted by: Annie M on February 17, 2008 1:04 PM

"I'll take Mitch Ryder and the boys over Bruce Springsteen any day"

You know it is funny that you say that...if I remember correctly, Springsteen was a big fan of Mitch Ryder.

Actually, when he was first getting critical acclaim, people always wanted to compare him to Dylan. However, he would usually mention Ryder when asked about his influences.

Also, I believe that he would play C C Rider in concert often.

And, MB, what about some American Gospel? You know, there are quite a few Dorothy Love Coates YouTubes sittin' out there.

Posted by: Ian Lewis on February 17, 2008 8:52 PM

AntonEgoFan -- Great to know you enjoy the links, and many thanks for your perceptive compliment too. I wish I could make points as succinctly as you do.

AnnieM -- Wow, that's a great resource, many thanks. I hadn't even known about Time to hear off and explore it.

Ian -- Yeah, to be fair the early Bruce does sometimes deliver that hard-driving party spirit. He always struck me as a really talented r&b type guy for whom 'way too many claims got made, and who unfortunately read his own press clips. Is that fair? As for gospel, I feel completely ashamed and inadequate -- a great subject, and I know a billionth of what I should. Care to volunteer some coaching?

Posted by: Michael Blowhard on February 17, 2008 10:43 PM

"Care to volunteer some coaching?"

For me, I would start with Rev. James Cleveland, Dorothy Love Coates (Harmonettes) and gloss over Mahalia Jackson. Jackson is usually considered the Queen of Gospel, and she is just great, but not my personal cup of tea.

if you type in "Dorothy Love Coates" or Harmonettes in Google, you should get some wonderful and powerful Gospel.

If you are looking to invest 9 dollars and 88 cents, go to Amazon and get "The King of Gospel" by Rev. James Cleveland. It only has 2 user reviews, but, you can get a small taste of each song from the Amazon site.

If you do get the disc, go straight to "Everything Will Be Alright". Gospel is one of the only Musical Genres that can absolutely fill your heart with Joy. (note: I am not religious) And boy does that song deliver.

Springsteen was great until about Born in the USA. After that, yeah, he started to change.

On a more positive note: being from NJ and of a certain generation, I have known many people who have met him. And,to a person, that all agree that he is a very nice person.

It's always nice to hear that.

Rock on.

Posted by: Ian Lewis on February 18, 2008 10:29 AM

Here is the link: The King of Gospel by Rev. James Cleveland

Posted by: Ian Lewis on February 18, 2008 11:13 AM

oldwah from Great Britain has been uploading a heap of rocksteady, ska and reggae from old British labels.

No live performances or music videos; only video of the record playing on the turntable and,of course, the music. Sort of like a jukebox on YouTube. Real groovy.

Posted by: Jason S. on February 20, 2008 3:14 AM

Thanks for the Townes links. His voice was unique, as was the man. He is a learned musical love for most folk, but I have had the good fortune as a Texan to know his talent for a long long time. Can't be replaced or replicated.

We miss ya, Townes...

Posted by: Cowtown Pattie on February 25, 2008 11:09 PM

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