Monday, June 29, 2009

National Recording Registry

6-29-09 National Recording Registry

Did you know that there was such as thing as a U.S. “National Recording Registry”? Sounds like something your parents would ‘approve’ of – as opposed to that garbage you’re listening to. I think I’d heard about it briefly, but…recently I took a look at what they were ‘preserving’. Looks like they started functioning in 2002, and they nominate 50 or so titles per year; the oldest thing in the registry are Thomas Edison cylinders – the newest title is Nirvana “Never Mind” (which I do not agree with it being in any sort of ‘national registry’).

Some titles from the registry:

From 2002, we get Miles Davis “Kind Of Blue”, Bob Dylan “Freewheelin’” and Grandmaster Flash “The Message”; from ’03 – Charles Mingus “Mingus Ah Um”, The Beatles “Sgt. Pepper”, Johnny Cash “At Folsom Prison” and Carole King “Tapestry”; from ’04 titles among the titles added were Getz / Gilberto “Girl From Ipanema”, James Brown “Live At The Apollo” and the Allman Brothers “Fillmore East”; ’05 – Dave Brubeck “Time Out”, The Jimi Hendrix Experience “Are You Experienced?”, Frank Zappa & The Mothers of Invention “We’re Only In It For The Money”, W. Carlos “Switched On Bach” and The Firesign Theatre “Don’t Crush That Dwarf, Hand Me The Pliars”; ’06 – a scant year of additions for me, my only 100% agreement was them adding the song “Satisfaction” by The Rolling Stones!; ’07 wasn’t much better – Herbie Hancock “Head Hunters” and Michael Jackson “Thriller”; don’t know about what they’re going to add in ’09, but only ’08 is posted as yet – Link Wray “Rumble” and The Who “Sing My Generation”.

In addition to pop music, they also have lots of historical audio recordings, famous speeches etc. But if this is squaresville U.S. guys choosing the stuff – I agree with almost every title listed above! See? I’m not the only guy making lists! And what’s up with sometimes they only include a song, and not an album?

If I was adding titles to the National Recording Registry, I’d plump for Horace Silver “Song For My Father”, Traffic “John Barleycorn Must Die”, Procol Harum “A Salty Dog”, John Cage / David Tudor “Indeterminacy”, King Crimson “In The Court Of The Crimson King”, N.W.A. “Straight Outta Compton”, Ken Nordine “Word Jazz”, Stan Freberg “Presents The United States of America”, William S. Burroughs “Call Me Burroughs”, Frank Zappa “Lumpy Gravy”, Cream “Disraeli Gears”, Blood Sweat & Tears “Child Is Father To The Man”, Bob Dylan “Blonde On Blonde”, The Band “Music From Big Pink” etc.

Must remember to keep my eyes peeled for lists of new additions to the National Recording Registry. Will I continue to agree with them? Of my list of suggestions posted above, I would think they might actually go for the Stan Freberg album… especially if N.P.R. continues to do radio shows on titles actually in the National Recording Registry. And what’s the most outrĂ© title I suggest? Burroughs? Cage?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The NRR picks make perfect sense if you are choosing music that represents the zeitgeist of America. As such, I have no problem with anything since it ultimately fits that criteria, no matter what I think of Nirvana personally.