MT logo Letters - 2012

Re: Bed of Pain and Open Strings reviews

Dear Rod

Since the Bed of Pain review was published I have received information about the Kalipoli/Gallipoli origin of Mr Dussas which tends to confirm the Gallipoli theory.  The homonymous Piraeus suburb didn't even start to be populated, first by people from the Dodecanese, particularly Carpathos, and then in fact by emigrants from Asia Minor, in particular the Gallipoli area whereby its name, until about 15 years after Dussas' birth.

I also, yesterday, discovered a detail relevant to the Open Strings review which would be nice to make available to interested readers.  It would seem, from an excel file of a Turkish 78 rpm discography which I just acquired from a friend, that the instrument I gave as neşetkâr was apparently called by its other name on the actual record labels - şerâre.  Both names are valid for the instrument.

All the best

Tony Klein - 3.7.12

These changes have now been made to the reviews concerned - Ed.

Re: Bed of Pain review

Dear Rod,

Regarding Tony Klein's review of my LP Bed of Pain: it is standard journalistic practice to disclose past collaborations and relationships between and author and his subject.  In the case of this review, it should have been mentioned that Tony Klein contributed in the past to my publications Marika Papagika - The Further the Flame, the Worse it Burns Me and To What Strange Place: the Music of the Ottoman-American Diaspora, and he is thanked for his help in the notes of those.  Also, it should also be mentioned that an LP issue of Tony's Mortika production was issued by the Mississippi label, facilitated by me.  We had, for a time, a friendly and collaborative relationship, which I'm sorry to say ended several years ago.

Readers should be aware of this, and to avoid a conflict of interest, they should have been made aware in the body of the review.

Best regards,

Ian Nagoski - 8.6.12

I strongly refute Ian Nagoski's opinion that his relationship with Tony Klein should have been stated in the body of the review.  Tony told me: My decision to avoid mention of whatever has passed between him and me in the review was intentional, out of what I considered decency, and making distinctions between public and private.

I think it's perhaps time to re-state the purposes of an MT review: it should alert the potential purchaser to both positive and negative aspects of the publication which might not be immediately apparent upon cursory inspection, and it should also raise related issues which are likely to be of interest to our readers.

I believe that Tony Klein's review of this LP did exactly that - and illuminated my rather limited knowledge of rebetica music considerably in the process.  I don't see that whether the reviewer and producer are best friends or worst enemies need have any relevance in this process, provided that the reviewer's criticisms were accurate - and I'm sure Ian Nagoski would have told us if they were not.  Ed.

Really bad liner notes

Hi Rod,

Maybe you should start a column for really bad liner notes: this is from the English translation of the French notes to Irish Tap Dance, a rather dreary compilation put out by Air Mail Music/Sunset France/Connoisseur Records


All the best,

Patrick Hutchinson - 8.5.12

This strikes me as a really good idea - and as a follow-up to the Mondegreens page.  Does anyone have any further offerings I can use to get things rolling?  I think it should be restricted to folk/traditional liner notes. - Ed.

Re: My recent reiview of Len Graham's book about Joe Holmes

Dear Rod,

Perhaps you would publish the following letter.  I have twice criticised reviews in Musical Traditions.  It seems appropriate that I should subject myself to a similar process.

I recently reviewed Len Graham's book Joe Holmes "Here I am amongst you": Songs, Music and Traditions of an Ulsterman (Dublin, 2010) in Folk Music Journal (2012).  I regret that careless reading on my part caused the review to fall short of the standards I would expect.

I stated categorically that the note for song 35, Johnny Doyle, had explained that Joe Holmes had sung only five verses and that the book's compiler had added a further verse without explanation.  This is not true - the explanation was there and I missed it.  Under these circumstances, I feel I would have dealt more lightly with the book's other, slight failings and, certainly, I would have spent fewer words in pointing them out.

I owe Len Graham and the readers of my poorly balanced review an apology, which I now offer.

John Moulden - 27.2.12
Ballyliffin, Co Donegal

Re: House Dance CD-ROM - Errata and Additions

Hello Rod,

Just to let everyone know that I have added a section of 'Errata and Additions' to my website ( ) for my new digital book, House Dance: Dance music played on the Anglo concertina by musicians of the house dance era (MTCD251) described in a recent Editorial in this magazine.  There are only a few items on this list so far, but some may be of interest to those who purchased the CD-ROM.

In any complicated project like this, which features often obscure players from four countries on three continents, it is inevitable that glitches creep in.  I try to capture them as they arrive, from readers who are kind enough to pass them on.  It is my goal to produce a corrected second edition by the end of 2012, which will be sent to the main physical libraries of record in the traditional music world, at least as regards the concertina: ITMA and CCÉ archives in Ireland, the Vaughan Williams Memorial Library in London, the National Library of Australia, and the archives of the Traditional Boer Music Club of South Africa.  Each already has the original version.

Fortunately, what I am beginning to receive is not just errors, but also first hand accounts that help fill out the story of the early concertina players.  These can add greatly to our understanding of that earlier world, and generally come from people who I may not have known existed when preparing this digital book and music archive.  Thus, this online section consists of both corrections of errors and additions of new information.  If you know of significant items pertaining to either, please send it in!

And, by the way, the kind comments I have received so far are greatly appreciated.

Dan Worrall - 20.2.12

Re: Sarah Makem CDs

Hello Rod,

Apologies for the delay in responding to the wonderful triple CD album which arrived recently.  I was off in Denmark doing some gigs, so just catching up now.

Listening to Mary of Kilmore on the first CD of Sarah's collection as I write this.  Lovely singing, and it's really such a joy to have the treasure of these three CDs and the booklet.  Congratulations on putting it all together.  Only you will know just how much work and thought went into it, but from just looking and listening, I can sense that it's a real labour of love.

Many thanks again for giving these songs to the world and, needless to say, I'll look forward to playing many of them when I return to the airwaves.

Best regards

Colum Sands - 18.2.12
BBC Radio Ulster


Rod Stradling - e-mail:  Tel: 01453 759475
snail-mail: 1 Castle Street, Stroud, Glos  GL5 2HP, UK

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