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Well, most of the world’s music these days is largely rooted in European music. So one question is what non-European contributions are there? Compared to African rhythms, Native American music, with its plodding rhythms, is pretty dull. So, in Hispanic/Lusitanic America, mulatto music (e.g., Cuba and Brazil) tends to be better than mestizo music (e.g., Mexico and Peru).

Mexican music is remarkably unfashionable in the United States at present. The widely popular stuff generally seems to have mulatto roots from the Caribbean rather than mestizo roots: e.g., there is a music festival this week at Rosarito Beach in Mexico’s Baja California aimed at Hispanics from Southern California, but its stars are Puerto Rican, not Mexican:

How an upstart Latin music fest is reviving a once-glamorous Baja beach town

ROSARITO, Mexico — The organizers of this weekend’s Baja Beach Fest in Rosarito, Mexico, had a clear goal in mind for their second annual event: booking Bad Bunny and Ozuna — two Puerto Rican superstars at the red-hot center of the booming Latin-pop scene — on the same bill.

“They both think they’re the biggest guy in the space,” said Chris Den Uijl, 32, who co-founded the music festival last year with his business partner, Aaron Ampudia, 26.

(While the stars are Puerto Ricans, the organizers … Well, Aaron Ampudia looks like a regular white guy whose last name ends in a vowel, while Chris Den Uijl makes Cody Bellinger look like Fernando Valenzuela.)

A possible answer to the question of why Mexican music in the U.S. seldom changes stylistically over the decades is because it’s nostalgia music for immigrants yearning for home. It seemed like Mexican-Americans in the U.S. were starting to develop their own versions of rock in the 1950s and 1960s (Ritchie Valens, Doug Sahm, ? and the Mysterians, etc.), but then they got flooded by Mexican immigrants in the later 20th Century.

A lot of Mexican music today is derived from the hot new styles in the Austro-Hungarian Empire of the 19th Century. I’m unsure whether the accordion and polka got to Mexico with Catholic Europeans accompanying the Habsburg princeling Emperor Maximilian I of Mexico in the 1860s and then filtered north into the American southwest, or whether Germans and Czechs in Texas influenced people in the north of Mexico.

On the other hand, since black-influenced music tends to get worse over the generations, due to the decline in excellence among African Americans, maybe in a few generations the same old same old Mexican accordion music will be considered the world’s best pop music. Who knows?

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  1. I like Mexican music. It is much „whiter“ than most Latino music. Stylistically it is very similar to the folk ballads in Western European music. This is particularly true of Norteños which tend to narrate long stories about outlaws. Obviously this is much easier to enjoy if you speak Spanish. One thing I find attractive about Mexican popular culture is the relative absence of black African influence, which is certainly no longer true in the US.

    • Agree: Prodigal son
  2. This is one of the reasons I read Steve Sailer.

    Years ago, there was a left-wing talk radio station in Madison. One of my favorite talk show hosts was Thom Hartmann. Thom had an interesting similarity with Steve — he knows stuff about a lot of different things, and could go off in some really weird directions. I remember one time a member of the Michigan Militia phoned in, expecting to get into a big argument with Thom Hartmann. Instead, it turned out that Thom Hartmann used to spend a lot of time while young in remote parts of Michigan, and actually knew quite a bit about the Michigan Militia. He used to know members personally. So instead of an argument, they get into a discussion about minute details of the Michigan Militia. The Militia guy was quite pleasantly surprised.

    I did once hear Peter Brimelow on Hartmann’s show. I always wanted Thom Hartmann to interview Steve Sailer. I thought the two of them would get off on some weird, esoteric tangent, maybe the influence of the Black Death on the Italian Renaissance, and spend the whole time discussing the minutia of that subject.

  3. Tim says:

    “A possible answer to the question of why Mexican music in the U.S. seldom changes stylistically over the decades is because it’s nostalgia music for immigrants yearning for home.”

    Italian music is exactly like that. Growing up in the DC area, sure, we had a couplah Italians. But it wasn’t until I moved to New York that I had any idea of, you know, ITALIANS. I mean my co-attorney is talking to her mother in dramatic Italian–the hands all over the place. And everything is “Freakin Fagazi”!

    But wait till Christmas rolls round and the radio stations play these sappy Italian songs about a guy and his donkey coming up on the manger scene with the Christ Child.

    And it’s always o embarrassing to listen to, but you always find yourself balling your eyes out.

    Not really miss New York, but sort of miss those songs.

  4. Orangeman says:

    Media hyped Selena before and after death that Mexican -Americans are a force in pop culture/ music but she looks like a highly regional one-off now.

    • Replies: @Hunsdon
  5. I don’t think you really answered his question, unless you are rejoining with, “well, how could Germans and Hungarians enjoy their music?”

  6. Haole says:

    Current American popular music in no way equals this:

    I love lola beltran and all the old rancheras written by Jimenez. it is European, it is derived from European music.

    Some times you see mexicans dressing up like Aztecs and doing Indian music, its different.

    The next hip hop rap music could be Aztec Rap

  7. Kronos says:

    Sounds like Jock Genetics got owned.

  8. vinny says:

    Uhhh so is it meszito music that is boring or is it old timey Germanic music that is boring?

    I mean I enjoy a good waltz now and then but usually only hear them from cars blasting a Latino radio station.

  9. Mexicans, as well as myself, love Morrissey for good reason.

  10. So, in Hispanic/Lusitanic America…

    Can’t help but think of a sinking ship, even though “Lusitanic” refers to Portuguese influence. Good one. Come here for the analysis, leave with a vocabulary lesson. BTW finally saw Once Upon a Time… Thank you, iffen, and the rest of the world for making me do that.

    • Replies: @Buzz Mohawk
    , @Reg Cæsar
  11. One of your best posts, I love the audience participation!

  12. ‘…Compared to African rhythms, Native American music, with its plodding rhythms, is pretty dull. So, in Hispanic/Lusitanic America, mulatto music (e.g., Cuba and Brazil) tends to be better than mestizo music (e.g., Mexico and Peru)…’

    The question was about Mexican music. Forget Peru and the wind flutes — what Native American influences are there in Mexican music? German polka is detectable; what else? Guitars came via Spain.

    • Replies: @YetAnotherAnon
  13. @Buzz Mohawk

    Dammit. Thank you Steve, iffen, and the rest of the world. (Unsure if the commas made my thank yous clearly include our host as intended.) I give up now. Good night, and thanks to all who deserve it. BTW Pussycat’s feet were much cleaner than Sharon’s, and that must mean something…

    • Replies: @iffen
  14. booking Bad Bunny and Ozuna — two Puerto Rican superstars at the red-hot center of the booming Latin-pop scene

    What? No Coati Mundi? C’mon, Coati’s appeared with Eleanor Mondale and Michael Wigge!

    Okay, only the Germans here will recognize the second name. But damn, if German doesn’t sound more natural to hip-hop than English does:

    • Replies: @vinny
    , @Cortes
  15. @Clifford Brown

    Viva Morrissey! That is Chrissie Hynde on backing vocals for My Love Life. Don’t know if all Mexicans like Moz, but Angelinos certainly do.

  16. What an idiot. Never heard of Tex-Mex music.

    • Replies: @Digital Samizdat
  17. vinny says:
    @Reg Cæsar

    Better in German, just like Hamlet!

  18. inertial says:

    I wish our popular music was derived from ” hot new styles in the Austro-Hungarian Empire of the 19th Century.”

    European culture took a nosedive in the first half of the 20th century. It’s very obvious in the visual arts, in the performing arts, in architecture… What about music? The usual go-to example of the decline in this area is atonal music. But atonal music (a) is not really that bad and (b) is rather marginal phenomenon.

    So if it’s not atonal music, then what is it? I submit that the musical counterpart of abstract expressionist paintings and brutalist architecture is Africanization of music. In other words, jazz, rock, etc. You don’t hear it because you are imprinted on this music from birth. But those of older generations who heard this music for the first time as adults mostly hated it, and they had a point.

    Here is a sample reaction of one such person:

    One half of this music, the melody, was all pomade and sugar and sentimentality. The other half was savage, temperamental and vigorous. Yet the two went artlessly well together and made a whole. It was the music of decline. There must have been such music in Rome under the later emperors. Compared with Bach and Mozart and real music it was, naturally, a miserable affair; but so was all our art, all our thought, all our makeshift culture in comparison with real culture. This music was at least sincere, unashamedly primitive and childishly happy. There was something of the Negro in it, and something of the American, who with all his strength seems so boyishly fresh and childlike to us Europeans.

    — Hermann Hesse, Steppenwolf

  19. SF says:

    The Trio Tariacuri is a group I could listen to forever. And a nice German girl named Linda Ronstadt did a good cover of a couple of their songs.

    • Replies: @Malcolm X-Lax
  20. inertial says:

    Here Hesse gives a description of a jazz musician. This was written in the mid-1920s but, with a few minor edits, it could be applied to an average 1970s rocker or a 2010s rapper.

    He was good-looking, I could not deny, both of face and figure, but I could not discover what further advantages he had. Even his linguistic accomplishments sat very lightly on him–to such an extent, indeed, that he did not speak at all beyond uttering such words as please, thanks, you bet, rather and hallo. These, certainly, he knew in several languages. No, he said nothing, this Señor Pablo, nor did he even appear to think much, this charming caballero. His business was with the saxophone in the jazz-band and to this calling he appeared to devote himself with love and passion. Often during the course of the music he would suddenly clap with his hands, or permit himself other expressions of enthusiasm, such as, singing out “O O O, Ha Ha, Hallo.” Apart from this, however, he confined himself to being beautiful, to pleasing women, to wearing collars and ties of the latest fashion and a great number of rings on his fingers. His manner of entertaining us consisted in sitting beside us, in smiling upon us, in looking at his wrist watch and in rolling cigarettes–at which he was an expert. His dark and beautiful Creole eyes and his black locks hid no romance, no problems, no thoughts. Closely looked at, this beautiful demigod of love was no more than a complacent and rather spoiled young man with pleasant manners. I talked to him about his instrument and about tone colors in jazz music, and he must have seen that he was confronted by one who had the enjoyment of a connoisseur for all that touched on music. But he made no response, and while I, in compliment to him, or rather, to Hermine, embarked upon a musicianly justification of jazz, he smiled amiably upon me and my efforts. Presumably, he had not the least idea that there was any music but jazz or that any music had ever existed before it.

  21. Alden says:

    The polka influenced Tejano music came to Texas starting 1790 with the Czechs and Germans. I try to avoid anything Hispanic food. music language.

  22. Apropos of nothing, just because I am in a good mood and hope perhaps other are, can I just suggest how amazing the Blue Angels are:

    and how amazing rock ‘n’ roll still can be:

    Will my son be a party to one or the other? Given his paternity and likely intelligence quotient, no, but given a predilection for music, probably….

  23. Which of Elvis Costello’s first three albums (My Aim Is True, This Year’s Model, Armed Forces) is his best? I can never choose a favorite.

  24. Do you think Buddy Rich’s hatred and contempt for country music has anything to do with, shall we say, certain ethnic animosities?

  25. Anon[428] • Disclaimer says:

    Black music went downhill when public schools started taking music out of their curriculums for whatever asinine reasons they came up with. Back when I was in grade school (plain old public school), I had courses in music appreciation, choir, and had my first chance at trying to play an instrument (the latter being supplied by the school). Blacks rap because their voice is all they’ve got to work with.

    If you want music to improve, you’ve got to start teaching it to people who have neither the money to buy instruments, nor any other way to get a musical education. The same is true for Hispanics. Teach them musical appreciation and get them performing something besides Hispanic music starting in grade school, and they’ll become interested in something besides wailing accordions.

    • Replies: @Achmed E. Newman
  26. Dtbb says:

    Mariachis is based on the French word for marriage.

  27. Thomm says:

    It is easy to stump Steve. Just start posing questions about science and mathematics.

    • Replies: @nebulafox
    , @SFG
    , @Corvinus
  28. Been listening to a bunch of Mexican indie pop lately, very similar to American stuff circa mid 00s but better imo because I can’t understand the lyrics so I don’t have to know if they’re terrible

  29. Chris Den Uijl

    Any relation to the Holocaust Den Uijls?

  30. Dtbb says:

    What is the flight path of coconut laden swallow?

  31. @Malcolm X-Lax

    Hey, that’s Goober and 99 between him and Mike!

    Do you think Buddy Rich’s hatred and contempt for country music has anything to do with, shall we say, certain ethnic animosities?

    Do you think my hatred and contempt for rap makes me a racist?

  32. @Anon

    If you want music to improve, you’ve got to start teaching it to people who have neither the money to buy instruments, nor any other way to get a musical education.

    a) You mean their Mamas don’t give a damn, and b) youtube? Isn’t it more what iSteve said:

    … due to the decline in excellence among African Americans, …

    Hahahaa, the HR ladies couldn’t have said it better!

  33. Anon[675] • Disclaimer says:

    In linguistics we were taught that emigrant communities are the most linguistically conservative. For instance, Revolutionary-era English accents were closer to some modern New England accents than to current accents in Britain. Los Angeles has a Japanese newspaper called Rafu Shimpo that well into the late 20th century was ridiculously pre-war in its language.

    I don’t know why this is, but one idea is that, with respect to language, the older community members are the experts in an immigrant community, and people look to them as patterns for how things should be done. But in the motherland, language is more of a living thing, and the young are really involved in change.

    It’s always seemed to me according to this theory the accent and intonation of Romanian should be closer to Vulgar Latin than the Italian accent that most spoken Latin classes and ecclesiatic Latin speakers use. The ancestors of Romanians were legionnaires who got their land grants in Dacia because there was no more land left in Italy.

    • Replies: @Buzz Mohawk
  34. @Reg Cæsar

    Nah, rap just sucks.

    Gerry Garcia plain out said rap was not music of any sort, in an interview that I won’t try to find just now. This is from a band that would borrow or cover music of so many styles, from bluegrass to country to old rock&roll to mexican. Speaking of the last two:

    • Replies: @Anon
    , @Kyle
  35. And only because Mr. Sailer deigned to indulge it:

    This guy picked up the torch:

    And Anyone who has indulged it:

    Honestly, there is space for Jerry Marotta, Mike Mangini, etc.

    Except,,m maybe, Mr. Nickon McBrain!:

    Don’t get me wrong ; the MASTER Should Always Perform at His Best…..

  36. @Reg Cæsar

    Absolutely. There’s some good rap music.

  37. @Autochthon

    I hope against hope will fightforf for ealise what’s going on:

  38. @SF

    Linda thinks of herself as a “Mexican American”. The flight from white was well under way by the mid-90s. Of course, today the crowd would be on her side. But on the substance she was right. Howard Stern wasn’t just playing a bigoted character or doing anti-racist satire (as he now claims). This is probably why I used to love his show. 🙂

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
  39. @Autochthon

    I once personally as a once younger man had a place mov a matpure VIP, but I very Copmsture_crazy-cure)modeD..

  40. @Malcolm X-Lax

    Linda Ronstadt looks slightly mestizo.

    I’ve know a number of German-Mexican-Americans.

    • Replies: @Malcolm X-Lax
    , @Anonymous
  41. @Steve Sailer

    I agree. From an illustrious German-Mexican Arizona family. And when she was younger she was quite beautiful. Not to mention one of the great female voices of the rock-n-roll era.

    • Agree: Achmed E. Newman
  42. For a small PBS television station, I once interviewed the owner of a Mexican language radio station. He, a conquistador type, said his programming was aimed at immigrants. This was almost thirty years ago.

    I had gotten some bad press, actually mentioned by name in the Denver Post by a TV critic (yes, they had one) for making fun of miracles like Jesus appearing in a tortilla. My spot was more elaborate than that, but that was the gist. Bad idea.

    So, the producer kindly gave me an opportunity to atone by setting up that station owner interview and other things. I appeared at several Mexican spots around Denver. Everyone was gracious and I had a good time. I knew nothing about any of this; I was just taken around with the crew and did my thing.

    To be clear, most of such work long ago was just volunteer crap that I did. I am now considering transitioning to female because so many of my comments are about myself.

  43. @Reg Cæsar

    ‘Do you think my hatred and contempt for rap makes me a racist?’

    It’s an interesting question.

    I’d say yeah. The same things you object to in rap are what’s objectionable about blacks; so if you hate the one, you would logically hate the other.

  44. JimDandy says:

    I like Tejano music. One reasons for that, I’m sure, is the fact that it reminds me of eating Mexican food. But this song single handedly made me decide that Breaking Bad was a better-than-ok show.

    • Replies: @AKAHorace
  45. @obwandiyag

    He did mention Doug Sahm, who was with the Texas Tornados (Augie Meyers, Freddy Fender, and Flaco Jiménez). That’s pretty damn Tex-Mex.

  46. Anonymous[427] • Disclaimer says:
    @Malcolm X-Lax

    BR was a musical freak, in some ways the greatest jazz drummer ever (and in others deficient), and a general asshat as a human being. I’m convinced he had to be part gypsy, since he shared an unusual characteristic with some gypsies who are admitted to music school: unable to learn to read music, they are good at social engineering to hear a piece once and after they can play it flawlessly thereafter, even years later. Catching them requires a very strictly administered sight reading test.

    Rich was open about being unable to read music.

    In the big band era, music reading skills were crucial. Rich not only excelled as a big band drummer, he actually became a bandleader. He’d get a new “chart” and have a hired gun studio or orchestra guy play it for him once, and after that was good forever. Famously, Rich didn’t practice-if he wasn’t on stage or recording he never had a set of sticks in his hands.

    His appearance and general demeanor also give off a whiff of gypsy to me. I’ve wrked with a couple of guys I’ve eventually pegged as gypsies (not in music) -illiterate but masters at concealing it, certain fashion sense, certain phrases or expressions used offhand.

    I’m sure his parents thought of themselves as pure Jews but I’m guessing one was half Gypsy, or that his real father might have been a Gypsy. Hard saying at this point. Certainly, they were vaudevillians and vaudeville was relatively Gypsy friendly as far as entertainment goes. Gypsies almost never become music stars, they avoid stardom, despite their sometimes prodigal musical talents. Rich was not, obviously, raised as a Gypsy or had any aversion to stardom, but if you were a part-Gypsy-Jew raised by Jews in twenties showbiz, Buddy Rich is about what you’d expect to turn out if he had the musical talent,and he did.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
  47. @Autochthon

    Eric Johnson’s unbelievable! I’ve seem him live several times over the years.

  48. Anonymous[427] • Disclaimer says:
    @Steve Sailer

    She was the best female pop-rock singer of her generation. I never thought she was that beautiful-her figure wasn’t that impressive and her face kind of blobby-and I never liked her politics, but there was no denying that she had great pipes, great phrasing, was on pitch and had great taste in songs (she was not a songwriter, sang other people’s songs, but she knew which ones were good and what suited her, and eventually became the recipient of a lot of great songs from good songwriters who gave her first shot).

    She’s quintessentially “light mestiza”-there’s some mesoamerican there but it doesn’t dominate. If she’d been Linda Roberts Jones from Barberton, Ohio and never revealed her family background or was an adoptee like Debbie Harry and had no idea, you’d just consider her white.

    It’s doubly sad she can no longer sing, because she’d be in a good position now that many of her age consort of girl rockers are doing very well gigging at what used to be considered rocking chair years.

    • Agree: Alden
    • Replies: @SoCal Sam
    , @SFG
    , @Cybele
  49. Anon[428] • Disclaimer says:
    @Achmed E. Newman

    Out of a sea of forgettable stuff, there’s one actual rap song I like. The lyrics are the usual drivel, but whoever wrote it remembered to put in a tune somewhere. Yes, it’s by the rapper best known as, “Oh God, Not Her.”

    • Replies: @Kyle
  50. @Anonymous

    It’s generally assumed that Charlie Chaplin, with his dark coloring, wasn’t wholly descended from people from the British Isles, but whether he as part Jewish or part Gypsy or what is obscure.

    Not being able to read music isn’t that uncommon among the musically talented. Actor Danny Kaye would conduct the Hollywood Bowl symphony orchestra in benefit concerts without a score. He’d just memorize the record.

  51. Anonymous[425] • Disclaimer says:

    Mexican music is pretty good. No worse than country music, often better.

  52. El Dato says:

    Now you did it.

    Hermann Hesse: Racist, White, Pale & Stale, Cancelled.

    I mean, Hermann Goering, Hermann Hesse, what’s the difference?

    Anyway we have Tennessee Coates to advantageously replace him.

  53. El Dato says:
    @Steve Sailer

    That’s like a mathematician not being all that much into this notation stuff.

    If music were my domain, I would really want to get into reading music and practice.

    Why would they leave it out?

  54. @Anonymous

    No worse than MODERN country music, is the way I’d put it. Country music up through the early 1980’s was decent stuff.

  55. dearieme says:

    black-influenced music tends to get worse over the generations, due to the decline in excellence among African Americans

    Ah yes, where are the new Louis Armstrongs and Jelly Roll Mortons, the new Duke Ellingtons and Fats Wallers? Sad, innit? Their early jazz was lovely stuff.

    Come to that, no Scott Joplins either. Ragtime was also lovely stuff. I give you “Solace”.

    Why the decline in excellence?

  56. A lot of Mexican music today is derived from the hot new styles in the Austro-Hungarian Empire of the 19th Century. I’m unsure whether the accordion and polka got to Mexico with Catholic Europeans accompanying the Habsburg princeling Emperor Maximilian I of Mexico in the 1860s and then filtered north into the American southwest, or whether Germans and Czechs in Texas influenced people in the north of Mexico.

    So you’re saying that polka propogated while Mozart and Beethoven stagnated.

  57. @MikeatMikedotMike

    I like Lupillo Rivera (from Long Beach, California). Weirdly, Lupillo’s girlfriend in this video is played by his sister Chiquis, and the older guy who steals her away and marries her is played by their father!

  58. Silva says:

    Top iSteve.


  59. @Steve Sailer

    Quite a number of great popular song writers couldn’t read music. The Beatles were actually able to write moderately sophisticated music without being able to read or write music.

    What really confused the matter was some isolated areas in the US where non-standard guitar tunings were used, and some of the better known songs were written by people who couldn’t read music and used non-standard tunings. The most famous example being Lead Belly.

    • Replies: @BB753
    , @Jmaie
    , @Anonymous
  60. The answer was given to me by a white American who knew Mexico well. Very out-of-tune Mexican music sounds great whey you’re buracho, very buracho.

  61. @Peter Akuleyev

    I agree. Music in the United States has been Africanized steadily since the beginning of the 20th century. Why doesn’t it “mean a thing if it ain’t got that swing”? Well, it’s time to insist that “swing” isn’t always or even generally desirable. There are other qualities — sincerity, purity of emotion, manliness, etc. — that we have lost in the U.S. I am no expert, but I once had a thick book of Mexican folk songs, and many of them were lovely. Furthermore, hearing Elvira Ríos sing “Noche de Ronda,” by the great Mexican composer Agustín Lara, is a pleasure hard to top. On the other hand, I can’t deny that a little bossa nova now and then doesn’t really bother me.

  62. @Paleo Liberal

    and could go off in some really weird directions.

    There’s a stumper. Does that apply to your golf game, Steve?

  63. @Steve Sailer

    Does that count as a ‘stumping’?

  64. @Colin Wright

    German polka I assume drifted south from Germans in what’s now Texas.

    Bit away from Mexico, I think it’s remarkable how European quadrille hung on in the Caribbean, in Jamaica, the Virgin Islands, Dominica, St Lucia.

    “Reaching English high society in 1816 through Lady Jersey, the quadrille became a craze. As it became ever more popular in the 19th century it evolved into forms that used elements of the waltz, including The Caledonians and The Lancers. In Germany and Austria dance composers (Josef Lanner and the Strauss family) composed for the quadrille. Its popularity made it a metaphor, the “stately quadrille”, of the constant formation of fresh political alliances with different partners in order to maintain the balance of power in Europe.”

  65. Shmendrix says:

    I can’t believe nobody’s mentioned Banda which is the most popular Mexican music around now, and has been for years. At least they’re putting horn players to work.

  66. Hunsdon says:

    The Houston Chronicle did a list of the fifty (or was it 100?) greatest Texas musicians, and they had the audacity to put Selena higher on the list than Flaco.

    They are dead to me.

  67. James218 says:

    Steve, the influence of accordions, etc. is from the French occupation. “Mariachi” is a Mexican pronunciation of the French “mariage”, referring to the type of wedding music popular in France during the reign of Joseph Bonaparte in Mexico. Even today, a traditional Mexican wedding has a live mariachi band lead the wedding procession from the chapel to the reception.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
  68. Polynikes says:
    @Paleo Liberal

    Anybody in Madison interviewing Steve would get protested and boycotted out of a job.

    • Replies: @Paleo Liberal
  69. Hunsdon says:

    The only song I know of in Portuguese. But dang I like it!

    • Replies: @Diversity Heretic
  70. About twenty-five years ago I was on a trip in Texas with a German colleague. We were listening to some music on the radio station (it may have even been a Mexican station) and he remarked how similar he found that music to folk music from Germany. There was a fair amount of German immigration into Texas and northern Mexico after 1848, so the influence might be genuine.

  71. @Tim

    you always find yourself balling your eyes out.

    That image is more than a little disturbing, considering what “balling” is slang for.

    I think the word you’re looking for is bawling.

  72. @Hunsdon

    Sergio Mendez and Brasil 66 had a hit in the 1960s in Brazilian Portuguese: Mas que Nada, which translated roughly as “Whatever.”

  73. @Haole

    Haole said:”Some times you see mexicans dressing up like Aztecs and doing Indian music, its different.”

    Steve said: ” Compared to African rhythms, Native American music, with its plodding rhythms, is pretty dull.”

    Generally true, of course, but still, Redbone did hit it big back in 1974:

    “Redbone is a Native American rock band originating in the 1970s with brothers Pat and Lolly Vegas. They reached the Top 5 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart in 1974 with their No. 5 hit single, “Come and Get Your Love”. The single went certified Gold selling over a million copies. Redbone is known as the first Native American rock/Cajun group to have a No. 1 single internationally.[1]”

  74. @Peter Akuleyev

    My favorite “Mexican” music is the classical guitar compositions of Manuel Ponce, which have a very clear Western European flavor and structural form and reflect the influence of his relationship with Andres Segovia.

  75. Sappy romantic music, perhaps, but better than autotuned pop crap:

  76. Jack D says:

    Hard to know what to make of Mexican music. Wikipedia gives the top Mexican (not Mexican in US) hits for this year.

    A lot of them are just US or international hits that you hear all over the planet nowadays – when I was driving around Spain, most of the music on the radio was American/English rock or pop.

    Some of the hits are American influenced Latino music – there are a lot of Mexicans that go back home and Mexican culture has a lot of American influence. The most popular line of processed meat in Mexico is a brand called Fud (which is supposed to sound like Food) which makes things like American style hot dogs and cold cuts. Ironically you can get it in the US now because Mexicans like their familiar brands so these hot dogs have crossed the border twice.

    The current #1 hit is “Amor a primera vista” (Love at First Sight) by the Los Ángeles Azules featuring Horacio Palencia, Belinda & Lalo Ebratt.

    There is the ever present accordion (plus synth). Horacio wears a sort of Elvis outfit. Belinda (who is so famous that no surname is necessary) is 100% white European. Lalo is a Colombian mulatto who sings reggaeton. Reggaeton originated in Puerto Rico during the 90s and is influenced by hip hop, Latin and Caribbean music. The tattooed lady – don’t know what to make of her. Mexicans INVENTED cultural appropriation (perhaps the only thing that they invented). It’s sort of like what someone once said about the English language – we don’t just BORROW foreign words, we steal them. We chase foreign languages down the alley and mug them for their words. The Mexicans do that for EVERYTHING.

    Without cultural appropriation, there is no Mexico as we know it. Everything in Mexico, including the people (the food, the music, etc.) is a mixture of the native and the imported. It’s all about the mixture. On a good day, the sum is greater than the parts, like pozole made with Mexican corn and Spanish pig (in the old days it was human flesh – not so good). On a bad day, it’s a nightmare, like Mexican music or fashion.

    • Agree: Johann Ricke
  77. The accordion came down to Mexico from Texas via German immigrants in San Antonio in the 1800s. Germans in New Orleans also introduced the accordion to the Cajuns.

    The question is why did those people like it so much that they use it in their music to this day while other groups find it irritating?

    Another weird phenomenon is how the Hawaiian steel guitar became a fad in the early 20th century and caught on with country music fans to the extent that it is now as quintessentially “country” sounding as the fiddle.

  78. @Anonymous

    About 40 years ago, my father did a sabbatical at the U of Hawaii. I took some time off from college to go with him. My father loved almost every type of music, except country and western. He had even been a cowboy for a while, and tried to like it. I even played some Dead for him, and he wasn’t really impressed.

    My father fell in love with Hawaiian music instantly. He finally decided that Hawaiian music was country music done right, with much more intricate vocals, slack key guitar and ukulele thrown in. The steel guitar was invented in Hawaii, and was common to both.

    There were some musicians, like Ry Cooder, who loved Mexican music. Ry Cooder loved the stuff, nurtured Mexican musicians, and often played Mexican music himself.

    Ry Cooder also loved Hawaiian music. In fact, he performed on what some consider to be the greatest Hawaiian album of all time: “The Gabby Pahinui Hawaiian Band with Ry Cooder”

  79. Amazing that a baby boomer like Steve can write about Mexican music without mentioning the Santana brothers.

  80. My main experience with Mexican music is the three mariachi mendicants who always seem to find my subway car when there’s no escape

  81. SoCal Sam says:

    Amen. Eric Johnson is a Golden God.

  82. SoCal Sam says:

    The problem with Mexican polka is that it always makes me crave chips and salsa.

  83. SoCal Sam says:

    There’s a video on Youtube of Linda R. chatting and singing with Johnny Cash when she just broke on to the scene. And if you watch the vid you’ll see that when she was young she was absolutely stunning.

    • Replies: @Anonymous
  84. There was a time when huge American hits were imported from Mexico and had Americans in a frenzy (frenesi).

    Bésame tú a mí
    Bésame igual que mi boca te besó
    Dame el frenesí
    Que mi locura te dio

    • Replies: @Jack D
  85. Jack D says:
    @Paleo Liberal

    The problem is that the style of Mexican music that Ry Cooder or Linda Ronstadt played hasn’t been popular in Mexico for 50 years – it would be like playing Perry Como to American kids today. There are all sorts of more modern Mexican styles that are influenced by rap and Caribbean music and whatnot (a lot more African influence) and the lyrics are not about love they are about killing your rival druglords. I once played a CD of Linda Ronstadt singing Mexican songs on a jobsite boombox and my Mexican workers laughed at me – they said that these were the songs that their grandparent would have listened to.

  86. BB753 says:
    @Paleo Liberal

    Only McCartney went on later in his career to learn to read and write musical scores.

    As to the influence of Polka in Mexican music. My theory is that Mexicans learned Polka-influenced music from Spaniards. Waltz and Polka permeated much of European music during the 18th and 19th century.

  87. Jack D says:
    @Jonathan Mason

    Steve has written about this before – before we had a lot of actual Latino immigration (most of whom have a large dose of non-white blood) Latinos in America had a pretty good image in popular culture – there were imported Latino film stars and singers, etc. who were very mainstream and popular, maybe more so than today. But they were mostly from the European elite of Latin America and not short brownish people.

  88. SFG says:

    I always figured in the visual arts it was photography. (This was Steve’s theory originally, I think.) Artists made a lot of nice pictures trying to copy nature, but when you could do that with a machine there wasn’t any point, so they tried messing around with line, color, and so on non-representationally.

    Then it all became about politics in the 60s. I mean, that was always there–Michelangelo’s David was about kicking out the Medici–but it became most of it.

  89. Svevlad says:

    I noticed all music is becoming extremely same and stale. It’s all amalgamated into some sort of weird pop-rap bullshit but with the worst of all it’s parts, but deep down it’s all the same shit. The speech isn’t clear either (the greatest mistake of many Germanic countries – not centralizing language. Now it’s all gonna end up like Danish – no actual consonants, all weird redundant vowels).

    When it comes to foreign music (almost all American/English) I only like Poppy’s newer edgier pieces and some Grimes. Puerto Ricans and 90% of the trash in Spanish I find disgusting, same with all of their modern rap. Billie Eilish is excellent, but when she doesn’t speak, because it’s all incoherent mumbling.

    But hey how dare I say anything I’m a filthy racist sexist homophobic russophile sinophile islamophobe Orthodox Christian patriarchal Serb, we are illiterate savages that don’t know real intersectional multiracial pansexual omnigenderid woke antifa-approved music, we’re only going to get that once we are fully civilized by our holy American slave dr- uh, civilizators.

  90. SFG says:

    Apparently old rockers are popular in Japan, where the idea is that they’ve practiced their craft for decades and are thus really good at playing their particular variety of music.

  91. @Tim

    “…balling your eyes out…”

    This doesn’t mean what I think you meant it to mean, unless Italian yuletide singing has a strong erotic component.

  92. jim jones says:

    The Japs love some rockabilly:

  93. nebulafox says:

    Old school rock (particularly punk) is still *huge* in Latin America. The amount of Ramones T-shirts you’ll see in urban Brazil, man… I’m not surprised Johnny Ramone mentioned Brazilian and Argentinian gigs were hands down the best, they were like the Beatles down there. I’ve also heard they are big in Mexico, so it seems to be one of the few things of which you can speak of a general “Latin American” thing.

    There’s also a surprisingly strong scene in Jakarta, Indonesia, often with heavy political overtones that originated in the dying days of Suharto’s New Order.

  94. nebulafox says:

    To be fair, you could probably stump 95% of human beings with that.

    I occasionally wonder what it is like to be a guy like Ron Unz who is a no-kidding genius. Must feel like you are constantly talking to children (let me not be a hypocrite, that would include him talking to me) every day.

    • Replies: @Thomm
  95. Jmaie says:
    @Paleo Liberal

    What really confused the matter was some isolated areas in the US where non-standard guitar tunings were used, and some of the better known songs were written by people who couldn’t read music and used non-standard tunings.

    If you’re referring to tabelature, but I believe most folks think of staves.

    Of course the ability to read is more or less important depending on the style of music. Classical music is generally too complicated to learn by ear, popular music tends not to be all that complicated and most of it isn’t written down completely anyways. I never learned to read for bass, it’s usually pretty easy to just drop in by ear. Would have been different had I been drawn to jazz or theater.

  96. Peterike says:
    @Malcolm X-Lax

    “Which of Elvis Costello’s first three albums (My Aim Is True, This Year’s Model, Armed Forces) is his best?”

    “This Years Model.” Hands down.

    • Replies: @Malcolm X-Lax
  97. Thirdtwin says:

    I think it was the Texas Germans and their tubas. Nobody does tuba better than Mexicans.

    • Replies: @Jim Don Bob
  98. @SFG

    This has been going on for a long time. Spinal Tap dealt with that.

    Of course the biggest example was Deep Purple, which wound up writing songs for their Japanese audience.

    • Replies: @SFG
  99. Thomm says:

    Ron Unz’s IQ is 124.

    That is pretty high, but there was a typo somewhere that said ‘214’, which some fools actually believe.

  100. MEH 0910 says:
    @Malcolm X-Lax

    Which of Elvis Costello’s first three albums (My Aim Is True, This Year’s Model, Armed Forces) is his best?

    I’m going to say it’s between This Year’s Model and Armed Forces, and I’m going to give the nod to Armed Forces. For me, Elvis Costello’s best album is his fourth, Get Happy!!

    • Replies: @Malcolm X-Lax
  101. bjondo says:
    @Steve Sailer

    Is a conductor needed?

    The times I have seen a concert
    none of the musicians even look
    to the conductor.

  102. Icy Blast says:

    I like some of Pedro Infante’s stuff. And I like live Mariachi music. (I’m a bit old-fashioned, I guess.) The real question is: How can African Americans like their so-called music? If only Little Walter and Wilson Pickett could come back! People like “Jock Genetics” are afraid of black people, so they insult Mexicans, knowing that such verbal attacks will bring no reprisals. What a sissy-boy.

  103. Hhsiii says:
    @Malcolm X-Lax

    I love This Year’s Model but Armed Forces is more varied musically and lyrically.

    • Agree: Malcolm X-Lax
  104. bjondo says:

    Familiar with vehicle repair shops in countries other than US?
    Are they as crooked?

  105. Luke Lea says:
    @Peter Akuleyev

    Maybe next Steve could do a riff on French popular music, which seems so untouched by everything going on in the Anglosphere since rock and roll took off in the 1950’s.

  106. AKAHorace says:

    Latin American crime has resulted in better music than anything that American blacks crime can produce.

    Some examples:

    • Replies: @Anon
  107. J1234 says:

    A lot of Mexican music is seen by American whites as sort of Hispanic polka music, with it’s horns and “oompah,” which explains it’s lack of popularity. Actually, a lot of the horn based Mexican music is not as good as polka.

    I don’t know where the (apparent) tradition of playing the trumpet way out of tune in Mexican music came from, but it sure shows up a lot. Maybe it’s a greatly exaggerated slow vibrato or something. I hear the stuff from car radios when I’m driving through certain parts of town, and that element of the music really hurts my ears. The more traditional mariachi type music is much more pleasant, and I like hearing it in the right context. I like polka when it’s nicely done, too.

  108. J1234 says:
    @El Dato

    All things considered, I would agree that reading music is much better than not reading music, but there are different aspects to that idea. I never read music because standard notation just wasn’t found in the traditional music I liked. I found that some reading musicians were unduly impressed by musicians who didn’t read, but they shouldn’t have been. I was probably far more impressed by the organists at church who could play an unfamiliar piece of music pretty well in a matter of minutes. On the other hand, there was a vendor at a folk music festival I attended who complained about people at classical music events he set up at. He said many very accomplished musicians were incapable of playing more than a few bars without music in front of them.

    • Replies: @Anon
  109. anon[316] • Disclaimer says:

    Always good to quote Hesse.

    In Trevor Lynch’s review of Cabaret on this site, he mentions “The music is jazz of the most irritating type: brassy tuneless farts and raspberries over a monotonous, herky-jerky beat. ” meaning that kind of yakety yak 20s jazz that I think is called Dixieland (thanks, South). That’s what Hesse is describing. Louie Armstrong or Bix Beiderbecke stuff, like you can hear in old cartoons.

    Oddly enough, old farts like Philip Larkin loved that stuff and deplored “modern” jazz, from Charlie Parker on…”It’s just noise!”

    I, on the other hand, agree with Hesse on the tuneless old time jazz, but rather like the post-Parker solo and ensemble stuff from Davis, Coltrane (until he went nuts) and on into the kind of “smooth jazz” that’s really rather “white” if you must call it something.

    Since that was the stuff on the hip radio stations in the 60s perhaps that’s just my own imprinting?

  110. @Luke Lea

    I disagree.

    One of my daughters took 5 years of French in HS and is dating a French guy. She sometimes listens to French music.

    One of the popular songs in France these days is a cover of a 1977 song which translates to “That’s My Plane”. Very, very very heavily influenced by The Beach Boys, especially their 1963 hit “I get around”. I played “I get around” for my daughter just to annoy her. She had to admit the similarities.

    So poo on you for saying French popular music ignores anything past the 1950s. “I get around” was THREE YEARS past the 1950s. So there!

    Okay, I am in a weird mood, but hearing a Wilsonesque “woo-ooo-ooo-ooo” on a French song seemed really weird. Also the early 60s Beach Boy beat.

  111. Joe Sweet says:
    @Paleo Liberal

    Mexican cowboys in Hawaii had a lot to do with the development of what has become Hawaiian Music. They introduced Hawaiians to the guitar.

    Here’s a country (/pop) song by the greatest Mexican singer-songwriter/band leader/recording artist I’ve come across. Julieta Venegas.

  112. I think the iSteve-o-sphere tends not to speak Spanish., so the discussion here is as an outsider looking in. I wanted to be snide, but couldn’t bring myself to do it. If you look at the last Mega-Stars in Spanish (easier to agree on the last iteration than the current) Mexico still doesn’t do that well. Juanes, Shakira…”White” South Americans from the non-Indio North (Venezuela and Colombia)
    You’d have to dig down to a Julieta Venegas for a Mexican and you’d fight hard to include her in Mega-Star.
    It’s even more notable when you consider the respective populations. I could name you a half dozen Raeggaeton stars from tiny little Puerto Rico and (apart from hyper regional genres like corridors and huapengas) could name you almost no current Mexicans despite having 10-15x more people

  113. Yngvar says:
    @Paleo Liberal

    the influence of the Black Death on the Italian Renaissance

    Before the plague rich (but soon dead) people donated money or land to the church in exchange for eternal daily or weekly prayers for relief in their purgatory existence. This paid-for service was performed at cathedrals all over Europe.

    After the Black Death it became obvious for the rich and famous that nuns and monks died too, and if they – the rich and famous – wanted to leave a legacy and be remembered, they had to build single graves, with their own names to it.

    And as night follows day on that line of free thinking: The Italian Renaissance Explosion.

    And here we are!

  114. @El Dato

    You obviously have not spent much time around “creatives”. They often eschew anything remotely relating to order or logical thinking. This why so many Hollywood types end up getting screwed by their various accountants and managers. They don’t want to deal with it.

    • Replies: @Autochthon
  115. @Anon

    Related to that: Hungarians sometimes say their kinfolk in Transylvania are the most traditional. This happens when a people feel the need to put extra effort into holding on to their culture. I’m pretty sure Jews understand this also.

    Now is probably the time for the old core population of Americans to do this too.

  116. Cybele says:

    Only in America would a woman be commented on because in her mature years she did not look “hot” or on her racial background. This is SO much the problem with this country.

    • Replies: @Anonymous
  117. anonymous[299] • Disclaimer says:

    My late grandmother emigrated with her family from Austria as a small child around 1903…after going thru Ellis Island (where they were marked down as “Hebrew” due to their prominent noses and Jewish-sounding last name), they went to Galveston and thence to a location in present-day Oklahoma described as “Caddo,” I guess after the local Indian tribe.

    My grandmother described her father playing folk tunes on his accordion outside for the Indians and Mexicans, who were charmed by its sound. The Indians would dance to the music, on the sidewalk.

    Eighty-five years later, we got Flaco Jimenez playing with Ry Cooder.
    The world can be a funny place.

  118. One advantage to importing Mexicans and Central Americans into the country is that they seem largely immune to some of the destructive trends in white America over the last five decades. So now, once again we have lard, beans in bulk at a reasonable price, and kitchen sink dish soap that actually cuts grease.

    • LOL: Kyle
  119. Jack D says:

    The only good thing I can say about Mexican pop music is at least its not Japanese pop music.

    • LOL: Johann Ricke
  120. Lots of Germans in the trades and cantinas and ex/im during the 19th c. The Hussong of Hussong’s Cantina was German, and it was his daughter Greta that the Margarita was named after, supposedly.

    In my San Diego days I spent far more time than I should have tracing down who invented the margarita, and the best claim seemed to be the landlord at Hussong’s in Ensenada, circa 1940. I got this story from a CBS newsman in LA, who was old friends with Charles Collingwood (whom you remember from Jackie Kennedy’s White House Tour) and his wife, the actress Louise Allbritton. Apparently they drank a lot of margaritas in the 40s and knew Señorita Hussong herself.

    Anyway, one encounters versions of the story nowadays around the interwebz, and this is where it came from. Proof of the enduring legacy of German culture where you’d least expect it.

    And oh yeah, the Germans were heavy in squeezeboxes and accordions, and that thumpy rhythm in a lot of Mexican music is indeed German polka. Or so I was told by the margarita man at CBS News.

    • Replies: @Jim Don Bob
  121. SFG says:
    @Paleo Liberal

    Seems reasonable to me, particularly from the musical viewpoint. Why shouldn’t musicians keep perfecting their craft as they get older?

  122. @Luke Lea

    Unfortunately the French immigrant population has enthusiastically embraced rap and fairly ugly sounding French rap is now very popular.

  123. Neoconned says:
    @Clifford Brown

    I discovered the Smiths and Morrissey quite late…..summer 2006. Bought the singles album at a local CD shop and played it.

    It’s odd but Morrissey and the Smiths are both not well known nor popular that I could tell in the American south besides in music snob circles.

    After playing the CD a few times I found myself singing along….something that RARELY happens…..before I knew it I was in love with the Smith’s and pissed they had broken up in the mid 80s.

    I later read about morrissey’s move to LA and the weird latino Smith’s cover band phenomenon. And I occasionally found videos of him live on YouTube in South America……and I was like…..ok….

    1 of the few bands ever to grow bigger 20 yrs after their break up than during their actual “lifespan”….

  124. Paul says:

    Mexican music, it seems to me, has a terrible sameness to it. I think that is a reason it has so little appeal to white people. The music is played by a handful of men playing the same few instruments with a guy droning some lyrics.

  125. SFG says:

    Yeah, just pull out a chemistry reference book and start asking him the melting points of random substances. There’s too much for anyone to know these days.

    • Replies: @Thomm
  126. @Paleo Liberal

    There was a radio station in Gilroy CA, KFAT, which played a whole range of traditional or trad-influenced American music, from Tammy Wynette/George Jones to Gram Parsons to Buddy Emmons to Little Feat to Gabby Pahinui. It was pretty much what I listened to on the radio growing up, not being much into Led Zep or Journey. As I recall, there was a lot of Hawaiian slack key.

    One of my favorites from those days was Ry Cooder’s “Chicken Skin Music” which had heavy involvement from Gabby and Atta Isaacs, as you can hear on his cover of the Hank Snow hit “Yellow Roses”.

  127. @Malcolm X-Lax

    I always despised Buddy Rich and also thought that he wasn’t really any great drummer. I wonder how he got the nickname “Buddy”. As far as I know, he was nobody’s buddy. Everybody thought he was a jerk.

    • Replies: @Anonymous
  128. Well, most of the world’s music these days is largely rooted in European music. So one question is what non-European contributions are there?

    This is one of those fill-in-the-blank-able Mad Libs.

    “Well, most of the world’s [insert almost any improvements or major accomplishments of the past 500 years here] these days is largely rooted in European [insert said type of improvement or accomplishment here]. So one question is what non-European contributions are there?”

  129. Thomm says:

    Much more basic than that. He doesn’t even know the difference between ‘nano’, ‘pico’, ‘giga’, and ‘tera’.

    He is definitely smart enough to be your God, though.

  130. @MEH 0910

    Get Happy is a great record, too, and I thought about including it in the question; but generally I think most people cite the first three as the great ones. Though I do know a lot of people would cite Get Happy or Imperial Bedroom as his best. King of America is also a favorite of mine.

    • Replies: @MEH 0910
  131. Anon[304] • Disclaimer says:

    The best song about Mexican crime and drug lords isn’t very Mexican sounding:

  132. @MEH 0910

    Never saw that before. Thanks. One comment, though. Billy Joel doesn’t rate anywhere close to Elvis Costello in my opinion. I liked Joel when I was a little kid, but now even his more memorable hooks kind of sicken me.

    • Replies: @MEH 0910
    , @MEH 0910
  133. Anon[304] • Disclaimer says:

    I used to know a church organist who always sight-read perfectly, and he improvised themes on the piece he was playing timed to match the length of time it took the ushers to pass around the collection plates. He did this every Sunday without batting an eye. He could open a hymnal and play a new piece on the spot that was a combination of two different hymns, one each from the two different pages he was looking at. He played more like a jazz musician, except one who could read music. People like that do indeed exist.

  134. @James218

    I presume the arrival of a Habsburg in Mexico in 1860s was quite glamorous and left a sizable mark.

  135. Anonymous[427] • Disclaimer says:

    I was commenting on that I didn’t think she was hot when she was young, let alone now. She got really fat in middle age, too.

    But she was a hell of a singer.

    She was in the girl-supergroup “Trio” with Dolly Parton and Emmylou Harris.
    Harris was, and arguably still is “best in class” as a pop-country-folk singer. Parton was the weakest vocalist but had star power and a great songwriter. Harris still look okay, Parton still looks as fake as ever, but that’s on purpose.

  136. Anonymous[427] • Disclaimer says:
    @Twodees Partain

    If you haven’t heard the famous “Buddy Rich Bus Tapes” ……….

    Yes, BR was not much liked as a person, but he was a freak in terms of what he could do on drums. Whether he was the best overall jazz drummer is a matter of opinion, but he certainly played with ferocity and a sense of time that were phenomenal and no one in the band business disrespected his musicianship. He’s a legend among drummers of every style.

  137. MEH 0910 says:
    @Malcolm X-Lax

    For me, Imperial Bedroom is Elvis Costello’s last great album, with the exception of one track, the boring standard “Almost Blue”.

  138. anon[316] • Disclaimer says:

    Not quite. You’re confusing Hermann Hesse with “Harry Haller,” the protagonist. Harry Haller is a moldy fig. Hesse’s novel charts the GROWTH of Haller (your quote is from the first 20 or so pages).

    ” atonal music (a) is not really that bad ”

    To paraphrase Groucho, it may sound that bad, but don’t be fooled, it IS that bad.

    EVERYONE hates atonal music. The only people who say they don’t are lying shitlib academics (like Adorno) or else critics paid to lie.

    Whereas, classical fans can appreciate jazz. Karajan, for example. He once cut short a BPO rehearsal because he had tickets to hear Louis Armstrong, When someone (like you) remonstrated, he said “Gentlemen, when I go to hear Louis Armstrong, at least I know HE will be in tune.”

  139. MEH 0910 says:
    @Malcolm X-Lax

    Graham Parker stage banter circa 1988:

    Parker’s dry, scathing wit is still evident and aimed at everyone. “I love America,” he says between songs. “I wake up every day and say, ‘Thank God for America.’ Imagine being a Russian, getting all that misinformation…. I mean, those Russians think that Billy Joel’s a rock & roll singer.”

    Soul Corruption (Live)

  140. @Polynikes

    The Thom Hartmann show was national, and broadcast I think from Portland, which is even more SWPL liberal than Madison.

    Hartmann could interview Brimelow and get away with it. I think he could’ve interviewed Steve Sailer.

  141. Anon[297] • Disclaimer says:

    You sometimes forget to define your terms.. Which Mexican music would you be speaking about?

    The most representative amongst the different types would be some variation of boleros/mariachi. Songs that were once sung by, say, Pedro Infante.

    Here’s a semi-recent take on a well-known song “Un Mundo Raro” by singer Luis Miguel in his prime:

    “La Bikina” lovely song about a man admiring a proud faithful woman:

    “De que manera te olvido”

    A newer one, with Alejandro Fernandez in his prime, “Como quien Pierde una Estrella”:

    Or what about Placido Domingo singing “Me cansé de rogarle”?

    It helps if you know Spanish, because they are rather lovely love poems. A bit like American country music. There’s plenty of regular pop that drips honey, with the traditional themes of love lost, betrayal and longing. Names like Juan Gabriel (absolutely adored by Juan Pueblo, or your regular John Smith), Christian Castro, Mijares, Pandora or the more recent:

    “A puro dolor”


    These last two you may hold in contempt because the come from humble backgrounds and are not good-looking.

    Alas, the US cultural bulldozer is making inroads with rap song and reggae ton making inroads and corrupting our youngsters. The smaller blessings of globalism, n’est-ce pas?

    • Replies: @Corvinus
  142. Anon[297] • Disclaimer says:

    And an oldie but goodie, “Paloma”:

    Here’s Mijares past his prime, but manfully retaking “María Bonita”, Agustin Lara’s hymn to the beauty of his wife María Félix:

    Or one of my favorites “Mexico Beautiful Beloved”, sung here by Jorge Negrete, from the time when film was black and white:

    Anyway, at least half the charm rests in the lyrics. More’s the pity.

  143. Anon[297] • Disclaimer says:

    The link for “Paloma”

  144. Anonymous[427] • Disclaimer says:
    @Paleo Liberal

    What really confused the matter was some isolated areas in the US where non-standard guitar tunings were used, and some of the better known songs were written by people who couldn’t read music and used non-standard tunings. The most famous example being Lead Belly.

    Open and modal tunings were never common in American white music of any type until the 1960’s, at least on “Spanish” guitar (i.e., not steel or slide guitar). Using a steel or slide rather than fretting almost demands a tuning of an open chord or a mode, rather than constant intervals between strings.

    (Gibson ES-whatever models had the ES for Electric Spanish. Steel guitars were EH for Electric Hawaiian. Electric steel guitars were huge in the 40s and early 50s. They petered out, except for pedal steel in country music, almost completely after about 1955-57. Music stores would have steel guitar orchestras , mostly a social thing like the accordion and mandolin orchestras, anyone could get in if they bought their guitar and amp from the store and took lessons there.)

    Old Delta black blues players did use open tunings a lot, but the slide or bottleneck was always a part of that repertoire.

    John Fahey and other “American primitive” solo steel string guitarists started using open tunings in the late 50s but probably the first “American”, well North American, pop guitarist to really get into it was Joni Mitchell. Keith Richards got into it roughly contemporaneously with working with Ry Cooder on “Let it Bleed”. (Cooder hates Richards to this day, despite the fact that no one would know who he is if he hadn’t played on a Stones record.)

    Open tunings are common on banjo and on some Eastern European guitar variants: famously the Russian seven string guitar is standardly tuned to open G, and open D tuning (dadf#ad)is known as “Sebaatopol” or “Vastopol” tuning to this day.

    Jazz guitarists and fingerpickers of the Chet school hate open tunings, often with a passion.

    • Replies: @Jim Don Bob
  145. Anon[297] • Disclaimer says:
    @Steve in Greensboro

    A great national favorite, that singer. Yet there’s something about Vicente’s voice that I personally don’t care for. I like the son’s voice better. The song, well, let’s just say it has given hope of getting back together to generations of Mexican couples!

  146. Old Prude says:
    @Malcolm X-Lax

    Country Music continues to draw crowds because it has charm and wit and an attachment to human emotions, even if being musically unsophisticated. Today’s jazz is largely ignored because musicians like Buddy Rich used the genre as musical masturbation. Hence the devolution into Bee Bop and the like: Rich and his musician buddies get off while playing with their instruments, but normal people find it disgusting to watch and listen to.

    • Replies: @Malcolm X-Lax
  147. iffen says:
    @Buzz Mohawk

    BTW Pussycat’s feet were much cleaner than Sharon’s, and that must mean something…

    Thanks Buzz.

    I have the idea that the MSM will tire of using mentally ill people like transgenders as oracles and will cast about for replacements. Rejecting schizophrenic shamans, tea-leaf readers and diviners that make use of animal bones and entrails, they will turn to people capable of spotting and interpreting subtle clues in the popular culture (like the signifcance of who had dirty feet and who did not). I’m going to be in like Flynn, and I won’t forget those that helped me out on my way up.

  148. Corvinus says:

    “Well, most of the world’s music these days is largely rooted in European music. So one question is what non-European contributions are there?”

    I thoroughly enjoy how you offer a mere opinion, assume it as fact, and then proceed to write your column based on that (false) premise!

    “Compared to African rhythms, Native American music, with its plodding rhythms, is pretty dull.”

    According to Who/Whom? Perhaps just a modicum of research is required on your part next time so you do not come across as being purposely ignorant or hilariously obtuse.

    “So, in Hispanic/Lusitanic America, mulatto music (e.g., Cuba and Brazil) tends to be better than mestizo music (e.g., Mexico and Peru).”

    Again, according to Who/Whom?

  149. Corvinus says:

    I can’t help but NOTICE, but were your examples directed at this statement–“A possible answer to the question of why Mexican music in the U.S. seldom changes stylistically over the decades is because it’s nostalgia music for immigrants yearning for home”?

    • Replies: @Anon
  150. Corvinus says:

    “It is easy to stump Steve. Just start posing questions about science and mathematics.”

    Or religion. Or world music.

    • Agree: Thomm
  151. @Thirdtwin

    I see your Mexicans and raise you the Marching Virginians:

    • Replies: @Anon
  152. @J. S. Weir

    I see your German accordions and raise you Micheal Bridge:

    • Replies: @Jim Don Bob
  153. @Anonymous

    Why does Cooder hate Richards?

    • Replies: @anonymous
  154. MEH 0910 says:
    @Malcolm X-Lax

    Over at Lion of the Blogosphere’s place, commenter Fiddlesticks found an online archive of my ancient Rice U. college newspaper journalism from 1978-1980. There is nothing too exciting, but for completists, I’ll start running them here to make them more accessible.

  155. @inertial

    Yes, and it’s no mistake that people in art and architecture were also looking at primitive cultures like Africans or Indians.

    The primitive has always existed. Medieval art and Gaelic music are both primitive. But Europe represented development until apex. The nosedive wasn’t the creation of the primitive but the lie that it was new, fresh, and as complex, creative, and humanistic.

    I feel worse for people who can’t appreciate high art, but I also feel bad for people who can’t appreciate primitive art. The primitive can have a high degree of refinement, which is what you see in, eg, medieval Japanese culture.

  156. @Old Prude

    I’m not a big fan of mainstream contemporary country music but I’m a big fan of the country music of the 50s and 60s. All of Rich’s criticisms of Country music could apply equally to folk or blues. But he doesn’t attack those. Folk is safe because it tends to espouse radical politics and because of jewish involvement in the music. Blues because it’s traditionally black music. No. He has a special hatred for country music because he has a special hatred for the people who make it.

    • Replies: @Old Prude
  157. @Peterike

    I lean toward that one myself. So many fond associations and memories.

  158. Kyle says:
    @Achmed E. Newman

    Rap doesn’t suck it was good in the 90’s.

    • Replies: @Old Prude
  159. Anon[297] • Disclaimer says:
    @Jim Don Bob

    Very good! 😄

    Re: Albéniz, impossible to miss his “Concierto de Aranjuez”, with its haunting Adagio using soft guitar and flutes and violins.. My favorite is actually John Williams’ rendition for, fittingly, the movie of Rodrigo Díaz, El Cid.

    • Agree: Old Prude
  160. Kyle says:

    This proves my point that rap hasn’t really existed for 20 years. This is electronic dance music, she’s “rapping” the vocals but she is not very good at it. The MC’ing isn’t the focus of the music.
    It’s an ok song but it isn’t rap. I’d say it’s electronic music performed by a black girl with call backs of rap style vocals.

  161. Anon[297] • Disclaimer says:

    I couldn’t comment about Mexican music in the US, whatever that is. You might notice mariachis and trios use certain instruments in a certain way; favorite songs continue to be enjoyed, new ones slowly added to the already rich repertoire.

  162. Old Prude says:
    @Malcolm X-Lax

    You are probably right about Rich’s bigotries. And, yes: Modern mainstream country is c-r-a-p. But I adore what came before. And to be fair, Jazz before bee-bop was better than good.

  163. Old Prude says:

    Mmmm…no sale. It sucks, sucked, and will suck. What was it the Pope said about it? “Rythmic chanting about sexual braggadocio and violence. Unsuitable for the high mass”.

  164. Anon[297] • Disclaimer says:

    Laughing out loud! (I’m guessing Benedict didn’t actually say that).

  165. anonymous[427] • Disclaimer says:
    @Jim Don Bob

    The Stones stole a Cooder riff for “Honky Tonk Women” and, the real crime, did not pay Cooder for it.

    • Replies: @Anonymous
  166. @Clifford Brown

    Steve Vai relatively recently, in an interview with Rick Beato, explained that there are about as many agents, lawyers, and such out to screw musicians (vs. genuinely help them, in the way of a Lucy Jordache or Peter Grant) as there are performers who are out to become “rockstars” – rich, famous, womanizing (vs. actually wanting to be genuine musicians, in the way of a Dave Weckl or an Eric Johnson).

    He is, of course, right.

    It’s wise of musicians (or any artists) without a penchant for business to rely on (ethical!) representatives to handle all that hassle.

  167. @Buzz Mohawk

    Can’t help but think of a sinking ship, even though “Lusitanic” refers to Portuguese influence.

    Lusitanic sounds like two sinking ships.

  168. Anonymous[427] • Disclaimer says:
    @SoCal Sam

    She was cute in the way that non-fat, young girls are naturally, and certainly not unattractive, but not “hot” to me. But I go for a specific type and she isn’t it.

    But a tremendous singer. She gravitated towards a certain strain of country and “California tequila set” music and I was more into the New Wave sounds at the time.

    Linda did benefit from the fact that Jann Wenner, then quite heterosexual, really wanted into Linda’s cutoffs and gave her a lot of ink and magazine covers. Wenner definitely preferred West Coast acts over East Coast ones, with limited exceptions for pets like Springsteen, but over and above that you could tell Ronstadt he had the hots for. I’ll give the bastard credit, he had good taste for the most part.

    I did think her Nelson Riddle albums were overrated- she really wan’t a great big band singer. But in her own wheelhouse she was damn impressive.

  169. Anonymous[427] • Disclaimer says:

    Maybe, but being on a Stones record gave Cooder a path to being noticed that was and is responsible for a good chunk of the success he has had. I know people who’ve done work for Cooder-they say he “has the attention span of a gnat” and isn’t very responsible about things like paying bills or returning what he has been loaned either. Cooder thinks that he should be a lot more well known than he is when in fact he’s very well known for someone who is essentially a guitar geek who has never had a major pop hit and has little appeal to anyone but other guitar geeks.

  170. Perhaps the most telling thing about Johnson is that the drum-heads always read “Tommy Taylor”…. he was Brufordian in a way far ahead of his time and ego in a way only Phil Collins and Bruford himself could match…..absolutely zero ego….

    (c.f. ego and Jonathan Mover v. Fish…)

    But, yes; he is a legend to non-asshole boomers, easily.

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