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Keith E Rice's Integrated SocioPsychology Blog & Pages

Aligning, integrating and applying the behavioural sciences

‘music’

Cuba on the Cusp…?

10 days in Cuba in the first half of January was an astonishing experience. A ‘special’ holiday to celebrate wife Caroline’s 60th, there was little of the ‘Winter sun’ we had been led to anticipate. Rather, near-hurricane level winds and torrential rain lasted several days, with sun, cloud and lighter rain alternating for the rest. If the weather wasn’t enough of an experience in itself, then Cuban music, art, architecture and the people themselves left indelible impressions. The music is, of course, fabulous…seemingly a well-schooled salsa and/or rumba band on every street corner in Habana (aka Havana) and a stunning concert by a version of the world-famous Buena Vista Social Club in Varadero on our last night. In contrast to the agonised grimaces of many American and British musicians, their Cuban counterparts seem to be thoroughly enjoying themselves and communicate that to their audiences. (There is plenty of healthy RED expressed in the way Cuban musicians so enjoy playing and PURPLE both in that musicians love to be in a band and the affection for their musical traditions.) The art is wonderfully expressive and the architecture awesome, even when it’s dilapidated. As for the people…. Cuba, is, of course, a victim… Read More

Schizophrenia and the Tragic Story of Moby Grape

Recently, after several years without a turntable, I treated myself to one and started digging out LPs I hadn’t played in years. Among the delights I rediscovered was the music of Moby Grape. Moby Who? I hear you say. Well, for 6 months or so back in 1967, Moby Grape were the ‘next big new thing’ for the record companies starting to take a serious interest in the burgeoning hippie music scene of San Francisco. Unfortunately Moby Grape’s star did not rise for very long, crashing down in a tragic welter of legal disputes, drug abuse and ‘madness’. RCA already had an album out by Jefferson Airplane by late 1966. Warner Bros had signed the Grateful Dead but didn’t quite know what to do with them. Quicksilver Messenger Service were just getting going and Janis Joplin was beginning to find her feet in Big Brother & The Holding Company. For most A&R men/talent scouts filtering into the San Francisco Bay Area, the local hippie bands, with to some extent the exception of the Airplane, were just weird. They didn’t understand the music business. Moreover, in their insular, stoned way, most of them didn’t want to understand that music was a business!… Read More

The Mamas & The Papas: Sex, Drugs and Rock & Roll or Incest, Addiction and Unreleased Albums?

Did you know The Mamas & The Papas have an album out of new material – ‘MANY MAMAS & PAPAS’ – and it’s arguably even better than the albums they made in their mid-60s heyday? Er, hang on, I hear you say, how can The Mamas &  The Papas have an album of new material out when 3 of them are dead – Mama Cass Elliot since 1974? Well, of course, it’s not the original 4 members – though leader John Phillips (died 2001) is present throughout, had a hand in writing all the songs but one and produced and arranged all the material. Original Papa Denny Doherty (died 2007) is on many of the numbers – with Phillips’ protégé Scott Mackenzie (of ‘San Franciso’ fame) on others. The Mamas this time around are John’s daughter Mackenzie Phillips, more than surpassing stepmother Michelle Phillips in the role of soprano while the rotund contralto role of Cass is given a pretty reasonable pastiche by the nearly-as-rotund Spanky McFarlane (once of Mamas & Papas soundalikes Spanky & Our Gang). The music, which was actually recorded at various sessions in the 1980s by the touring Mamas & Papas and their backing bands, still treads the pathway between bright pop… Read More