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Affirmative Action for Traditionalist Music

Music is an overlooked part of culture, and traditionalists ought to influence it with affirmative action. Start with how close our ears are to our brains and how early ancient organisms responded to sound. Sound stays with most of us for a lifetime. All you need is a few chords, and you go back decades. For example, here is WE FIVE’s description of their own music taken from their Website. It is a group I adored back in the 1960’s.

“The San Francisco Sound: Before flower power, the Grateful Dead and the Jefferson Airplane it meant harmonic vocals, a melding of acoustic and electric guitars, folk music, rock and a bit of jazz. In the mid-60’s, it was called folk rock, and it described the music of WE FIVE. A WE FIVE concert–then and now–means a totally entertaining experience: Smooth harmony, songs about love and good times, humor and a performance style that’s polished without being stagy. . . .” [Emphasis added.]

Here is their biggest hit that I could not play enough of and still cannot:

American folk music (English, Irish, Scottish, German, Italian) is evidence of an overlooked part of American culture. Without that influence, neither Dylan nor the WE FIVE would have done well, perhaps. All the other influences are fun, but we just do not need them, as country or western music does not need them still … but is being corrupted nevertheless.

We became corrupted by black music, as much as I enjoy the influence. I can’t help it. It is ingrained. Before the movie at the Drive-In during the late 50’s and early 60’s, I heard Smokey Robinson and others over the speakers. I am a rock and roller but also a huge fan of ballads.

To retain our culture, traditionalists should play, dance, watch, and listen (obviously) to folk music and Western ballads (for example, John Denver, and the Moody Blues’ New Horizons).

What are the perks? The best concert I ever attended by far (and I have been dragged to many rock concerts) was a famous Irish folk music-dance troupe developed by a tough, little Irish dancer-boxer, whose name I can no longer recall. “God of the Dance” maybe was the name of his group. I dragged my family 70 miles to see the performance at a huge, beautiful Biloxi, Mississippi casino (destroyed by Katrina and later rebuilt). They and everyone in the auditorium were enthralled. So people need not think we need non-Western influences to enjoy ourselves thoroughly.


I see Black music as the most American of music. Specifically Jazz, the Blues, and Negro Spirituals. They are came to in a specifically American context and are essentially American in their expressions; fealty to God, a yearning for liberty and freedom of expression, they are all at once old and new.
I think Ralph Ellison and Albert Murray speak to this best and if any of you can I implore to read some of their cultural essays.

“Those too impressed with material things cannot hold their place n the world of culture; they are relegated to inferiority and ultimate death.”