Of Fret Rattle & Underwater Skylabs collects seventeen of W. C. Bamberger's essays on music and musicians. The emphasis here is on the underappreciated and overlooked. Subjects range from acoustic blues musicians in the 1920s to contemporary ensembles that include improvising, electro-acoustic robots. Readers will also encounter a blind protest singer, a Turkish violinist, a Marxist radio host who is the world's leaping Zappologist, South African jazz musicians who fled apartheid, a Canadian composer who incorporates Inuit throat singing into his orchestral compositions, and a poet turned art song styliste, among others. The longest essay here, "A Trash Aleph," is a fresh look at the mystique of Bob Dylan's "Basement Tapes" songs-which, Bamberger believes, Dylan wrote specifically to NOT make money, but rather in the hope that they would be dismissed as rubbish; the critic explains why this failed to happen as Dylan intended. As always, the author provides interesting commentary based on a lifetime of enjoyment and analysis. Complete with an index.
The Woodstock Series: Popular Music of Today, Vol. 4.