The lure of the artificial

Ratpack Well this evening there’s a shindig over at the IPA – as John Grant and John Lowery debate whether blogging is killing planning. And I won’t be there because I’m on familial taxi duty. Which gives me time to listen to something a little different. I’ve been devouring Johnny Cash’s last recordings. And tonight it was time…. to play the Ratpack.  Cycling through Sammy and Dean and Frank was bizarre. What struck me was how artificial the whole crooning thing was. Authenticity was about being sophisticated which meant having flashy big band arrangements and singing as if you were rather bored and world weary – which was probably terrifically exciting if they were using radio and TV to engage with mass audiences for the first time but seems (at least to me) very superficial now. Frank didn’t sound remotely legendary – a big band vocalist who had got too big for his boots. Dean sounded lazy.. I shan’t blame it on the drink. And Sammy was hammy – I love ieeeeuuuw – in the style of a night club singer.  We’re not quite in the place of authenticity euqtes to  plucking a small guitar without a power lead in sight. I think popular music is quite artificial at present and we’re not that bothered about it. But listen to the ratpack if you want your faux worldweariness laid on with a trowel.

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