Meanwhile, Counterpunch has published another one of my music playlists. This week's picks range from Bobby Bare to Pere Ubu. Be sure to read the other contributors' lists as well: Jeff St. Clair gets extra points for damning the phrase "world music" as "a phony and condescending genre invented by marketing reps for record labels looking for new ways to rip off the poorest of artists" (longtime readers know I've expressed similar sentiments myself) and for describing Lucinda Williams' voice as "grating." I hold out hope that one day I'll warm to Williams' music, but so far I haven't been able to get past that voice.
On the other hand, I'm not sure how I feel about Jeff's comment that Ry Cooder "is always elevating his own status by inserting himself on records made by more skilled artists." I suppose that's true, but it's not like the man is talentless. (I'm a big fan of his 1976 album Chicken Skin Music.) More to the point, it's a sad fact that status and skill do not always match. Cooder has probably done more for those musicians' public standing than they've done for him.