Thursday, July 10, 2014

Revisiting HOOTENANNY in Detail

When it comes to popular culture, I tend to go in cycles.  After completing two books back-to-back about Harry Langdon and Charlie Chaplin, I put aside silent comedy for a spell and went back (or ahead) to the folk era, my first musical love, which naturally led into TV's HOOTENANNY.

Better Living Through Television has visited this series before, and it wouldn't take an analyst too long to discern my fascination with it.  Apart from being one of my earliest TV memories, the music is catchy, the artists are among my favorites in popular music, and it was really the first music series aimed at teens and young adults.  The audience, after all, were undergraduates.  Anyway, in the years since, I've traded audio and video with other collectors.  Having mastered enough of Audacity to speed-correct the digital copies of my dad's audio tapes of the show, as well as combine them with those of a fellow enthusiast, I've been listening to the results while driving to and from work/church/etc.  The more I listen, the more I want to share them with the world.

So now comes a new blog: THE HOOTENANNY CHRONICLES. In this I'll be detailing all 43 episodes, backed up with (mostly) audio clips and a few legal YouTube videos, courtesy of current rights holders.  Its purpose is to settle once and for all the program's legacy.  Was it strictly a showcase for meaningless pap? Did it ever try to say something culturally or politically important (a key component of folk music)?  Did Pete Seeger over-react to Allen & Grier's "Work Song" (a.k.a. "Counterman") when he labeled them "the most tasteless folk act I have ever seen"?
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Over the coming months, I'll be addressing those and other questions.  Feel free to check in from time-to-time.

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