jerryking + erasures   3

Hootie & the Blowfish, Great American Rock Band (Yes, Really)
June 6, 2019 | The New York Times | By Jon Caramanica.

Even in the years before Hootie, an earnest and deceptively easygoing roots-rock band, became a global pop phenomenon, there were indignities. The South by Southwest festival turned them down, year after year. Record labels sent stiff rejection letters.....Hootie persevered, thriving in the face of indifference. .......Released with something of a whimper in July 1994, three months after Kurt Cobain’s death, “Cracked Rear View” went on to become one of the defining albums of the 1990s, spawning three indelible, sublime Top 10 hits: “Hold My Hand,” “Let Her Cry” and “Only Wanna Be With You.” It’s the 10th most successful album of all time in this country according to Recording Industry Association of America certification.......For about 18 months, there was no more prominent artist in music: ....post-1996, Hootie became, to some, a punch line — shorthand for the kind of middlebrow rock music that arrived in the wake of grunge’s demise......In the 25 years since the release of “Cracked Rear View,” the band has been generally reviled, or shrugged off, or forgotten. At minimum, it is excluded from conversations about the great rock music of the 1990s. When Hootie was functioning at an exceptionally high level, it was not perceived as functioning at an exceptionally high level. And once the band began to recede from the center of pop, it was effectively erased......At its peak, Hootie & the Blowfish was a genuinely excellent band. Earthen, soothing, a little ragged. And also deft, flexible and unflashily skilled. It splendidly blended the Southern college rock of the late 1980s (the dBs, R.E.M.) with shades of vintage soul, bluegrass, blues and more, rendering it all with omnivorous-bar-band acuity. In the gap between late grunge and the commercial rise of hip-hop and rap-rock, Hootie was a balm.....For the three years before the release of “Cracked Rear View,” grunge had dominated the American rock music conversation, an ostensible triumph of gritty, real-emotion guitar music over the blowhard arena rock of the 1980s, and gangster rap was experiencing its first mainstream success. The country was hovering at a steady boil — the first gulf war, the Los Angeles uprisings, an economic recession. Pop music was tense and serrate.

And then came Hootie, catapulted to success not by critics, or alternative-rock radio, but by an appearance on the “Late Show With David Letterman.”.....even though Hootie had some compatriots — Gin Blossoms, Dave Matthews Band, Toad the Wet Sprocket — in the retrospectives of the 1990s, it became a footnote, a casualty of a war it never asked to fight......During the “Letterman” performance of “Hold My Hand” that catapulted the band into the national spotlight, Rucker sang with a voice that verged on scarred; behind him, the rest of the band propped him up with hope.

That balance was the hallmark of the best Hootie songs. Rucker has — no exaggeration — one of the great voices in contemporary pop music, a dynamic and sophisticated baritone that’s full of gravity. It ensured that even the brightest Hootie songs weren’t frivolous, and has secured him a long-running second career as a country music star. .......Hootie was stupefyingly famous, until it wasn’t. The fall happened quick. After 1996, the year Hootie won two Grammys, it never again cracked the Billboard Hot 100, and after 1998, none of its albums placed in the Top 40 of the album chart.....In the last decade, Rucker has become one of country music’s biggest stars, not a complete shock, given that Hootie provided a template for the roots-rock that occupies such a prominent spot near the center of contemporary country music.....“‘Cracked Rear View’ would have to be a country record today,” Rucker said.

That might say less about country music than it says about the desiccated state of contemporary rock. The sort of centrist, agnostic, big-tent rock that Hootie specialized in, and that served as a bridge between eras of far more abrasive material, has all but vanished from the rock mainstream, inasmuch as there is even a rock mainstream anymore.
'90s  anniversaries  erasures  grunge  indignities  journeyman  music  pop_music  roots_rock  the_South  uncool  under_appreciated 
june 2019 by jerryking
How Scotland erased Guyana from its past
Tue 16 Apr 2019 | News | The Guardian 06.00 BST | by Yvonne Singh.

The portrayal of Scots as abolitionists and liberal champions has hidden a long history of profiting from slavery in the Caribbean.
Caribbean  erasures  Guyana  historical_amnesia  hidden  history  invisibility  Scotland  slavery 
april 2019 by jerryking
The History the Slaveholders Wanted Us to Forget - The New York Times
By HENRY LOUIS GATES Jr.

Except for the relatively few African-Americans who saw through such racist fictions of Africa, drawn upon to devalue their humanity and justify their relegation to second-class citizenship — people such as Garvey, Henry Highland Garnet, Martin R. Delany, W.E.B. Du Bois (who would die a citizen of Ghana), Langston Hughes and Maya Angelou — far too many of us felt that “Africa” was something of an embarrassment. Richard Wright, the great novelist, published a book titled “Black Power” in 1954 about feeling that way.
historical_amnesia  historians  history  slavery  Africa  ignorance  slaveholders  Henry_Louis_Gates  African-Americans  second-class_citizenship  humanity  W.E.B._Du_Bois  Black_Power  erasures 
february 2017 by jerryking

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