Rex L. Camino, Professional Music Nit-Picker

I was watching Keith Olbermann last night and I realized that I may have inadvertently stumbled onto Rex L. Camino’s purpose in life.

Before I share that with you, I must say this: “Rex, if you go to the LOC website, you can search for music and you will find MP3s of all kinds of crazy stuff that they have in their collection (like the Lomax recordings) that you can then download, at least until the LOC figures that out.”

Okay, so what the world needs Rex for…

I was watching Olbermann last night and it was that other dude subbing in for Keith and he was talking to Dan Was about the current crop of anti-Bush songs and Was was pulling that insufferable music snob crap about how these songs are not as good as songs from the 60s because they’re too specific, as if ambiguity in a protest song is good.

I mean, could you imagine if Woody Guthrie had been all like “This land belongs to some folks/ let’s not get too specific.  This land belongs to some other folks / clear to the Pacific.  Which is an ocean I have no opinion about.  This land is here beneath my feet.”?*

Anyway, my point is that Charles Wolfe, god rest his soul, is dead, which means there isn’t anyone who can just be like, “Excuse me, but I believe you’ve over-looked the grand and important contributions of…” whoever.  I don’t known, because I don’t know that much about music.

But Rex L. Camino does and he could learn more.  It could then be his job to call up places while folks are on the air and be polite, yet firm, as he corrected their myopic notions of what American music is.


*Shoot.  That’s kind of good!  Maybe I should get into the ambiguous non-offensive protest song writing business.

9 thoughts on “Rex L. Camino, Professional Music Nit-Picker

  1. ’twas Rex that taught my heart to fear the awesome power of the Smithsonian’s music database. But you have to PAY there.I don’t think we should alert him to the "freebies" (i.e. already paid for once, with our tax dollars) at the LOC. —-Otherwise, I do agree that protest songs in the ’60s were better. "Blowin’ In the Wind" and "Eve of Destruction" were multipurpose things. Even the Fish Cheer was somewhat Malleable. Neil Young’s current thing reads like the protest poetry of a snotty drunk college kid who hangs out at Kos all day. There’s absolutely NO subtlety to it.

  2. Ugh. Don’t even get me started on Kos.As for the LOC, I found a kick-ass version of "Black Betty" from the 30s. Why doesn’t some radio station do a two-for Tuesday that isn’t two songs by the same artist, but is instead two artists doing the same song?That would kick so much butt.

  3. If any living human can write anything as biting, poignant and ever-relevant as "What’s Goin’ On," I will personally quit my job and be that individual’s love slave and laundress.That said, I won’t condemn anyone who tries. I suspect the change has come about because of our (self)consciousness in music writing; we are individual-focused and tend to write about how something affects the individual rather than the whole. The point of protest songs is to get outside yourself and demand a change for the greater good. As the late great Dr. Wolfe would tell us, much more succinctly and kindly than I.The Boxing Gandhis have created some good social commentary ("Piece in the Valley," for example), and there’s always Coolio’s masterwork "Gangsta’s Paradise." And of course there’s Steve Earle’s "The Revolution Starts Now," which tends to make me want to run over things with my car. Things that deserve to be run over, you know. Heh.You ought to e-mail Fred Buc at Lightning 100 with that two-fer idea. He or David Hall would eat it up, I bet. Especially if you show them your "This Land is MY Land Dammit" lyrics.

  4. God damn it. I have to have good ideas and impart them on people too? This being culturally relevant shit is harder than it looks.I wonder if we could put together an all-star blogger band with Knucklehead and Ceeelcee (who I want back right now!) and Rex L. Camino & they could sing "This Land is MY Land Dammit."

  5. Up in Louisville, WFPK, the public radio station for music snobs, has The 5 o’Clock Shadow, where they play a cover of a song followed by familiar version, everyday at 5pm. It’s really kinda cool. And just to whack the hornets nest with a big-ass stick, does Toby Keith’s ‘Courtesy of the Red, White, and Blue (The Angry American)’ count as a good protest song?

  6. "Get out of my dreams, and into my car," Billy Ocean wails protestantly."You gotta fight for your right to party!" Beastie Boys protest loudly."I want to rock and roll all night, and party every day!" KISS shouts from the rooftops."C’mon and marry me, Bill, I’ve got the wedding bell blues!" The 5th Dimension screams is anger."Will she go down on you in a theater?" Alanis asks bitterly.

  7. <I>And just to whack the hornets nest with a big-ass stick, does Toby Keith’s ‘Courtesy of the Red, White, and Blue (The Angry American)’ count as a good protest song?</I>No. But I still think that song is a much more relevant song than a lot of people realise. Because that song speaks to where a good portion of the country is coming from. It’s not protesting anything. It’s expressing anger, indignation, impotence and rage, which is what a lot of people feel about 9/11. They aren’t "nice" opinions, and the song doesn’t state it in the politest way, but it is a piece of poetry from a certain part of our country’s soul.

  8. The first song I remember as a child was "Cherokee Nation" which was sung by Paul Revere and The Raiders sang it, I think. Not a protest song by any stretch of the imagination, but it was my first.The second song was "Four Dead In Ohio."Third was Buffalo Springfield’s "For What It’s Worth" which I had all the 45’s to and played on a little record player that I could haul around that was blue meant to look like denim.I would go around the house while my mother gave vocal and piano lessons screeching at the top of my voice "Four Dead In Ohio." These were kids that she taught to sing at beauty pageants and at church. She would only lose it when I started singing "Walk on the Wild Side" by Lou Reed because having your six-year-old sing these fine lyrics:Candy came from out on the IslandIn the backroom she was everybody’s darlin’But she never lost her headEven when she was giving head.My mother only spanked me a couple of times during my childhood. This was one of those times because I had no idea what it meant, but I knew she was reacting so I kept singing. She was a liberal hippie though and later in my life I heard her telling some of her friends that she laughed her ass off when I did that but she had to get me to stop so she wouldn’t get arrested thus the pop on the butt.Ramble over. Sorry ’bout that.

  9. You gave me an idea for another market to corner, Auntee. If ambiguous protest songs are the ones that sell, then instrumental protest songs without titles should kick the ass of every other protest song. Take that, hippies.I’d like to be Dr. Wolfe when I grow up but I have a problem with remembering things. To compound this, I tend to make things up when I’ve forgotten what it was that I needed to remember. I then can’t tell the difference between reality and what I made up.Someone would eventually call me on this, and it wouldn’t be pretty.Dr. Wolfe actually did call me on this, in a manner of speaking. I made a D in his class because I made up things about folklore on tests when I couldn’t remember them. I figured that I could get some credit for it, as folklore really is just stuff that groups of people made up. It made sense to me.Dr. Wolfe saw things differently, but I still loved his class.

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