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Saturday, August 28, 2010

FIDDLER


buddy pendleton and willard gayheart
take me back to tulsa
Turned on the radio and there was Ralph Stanley starting Down In The Willow Garden. Had to stop and listen. I'd just finished watching and listening in a row to the songs uploaded to YouTube today, fascinated by Buddy Pendleton's fiddling, Scott's mandolin and Willard's guitar. Seeing what I missed last night operating the camera. I didn't miss it, but it is a bit distracting. There is also an amount of focus involved. Flatt & Scruggs, I Ain't Gonna Work Tomorrow. Judith is the dj tonight. Her ear and mine correspond. I always like what she plays. It's like she's playing specifically to my ear. Some bluegrass is what I needed to perk up. THE NEWS. Eek. Had to turn it off. I'm in too good of a mood to get wound up about kids losing their legs to landmines, which is what I see in the background of what they tell us on the news.
All day long I've been uploading the videos from last night to YouTube. I think I put up 7 music videos and one of Pendleton talking at the beginning. I'd started the recording while he was talking and he talked on and on, it funny and fun to listen to. When he reached the end of telling stories and turned to what to play next, I stopped the recording of the talk and started the recording of the first song, Red Haired Boy. Listening to it today, I thought it worth putting up to be enjoyed by at least a few who will enjoy it. There is so much on YouTube not worth the time to see it, why not put up something worth seeing. Pendleton is still of the old world, despite being at the PO almost half his life. His travels, playing with bluegrass and old-time bands have not weakened the hillbilly in him, much like Ralph Stanley who has worked among people from all over the country and he's still the same hillbilly he was when he and Carter started. I feel like I can see that Pendleton's time in New York and the other places he's been have been interesting to him, but no temptation at all. The mountains were in his heart like they are with Dr Ralph.
Listening to Pendleton's fiddle all day, reviewing what I heard last night, I was happy with technology for making this little camera that makes movies with good sound. I like the things about it that I'd like to be able to correct, but don't know how, like the automatic focusing that changes focus when I pan from one musician to another. It refocuses to the wall and then refocuses to the musician when it gets there. Sometimes it goes through refocusing mayhem like it's out of control, but it's just trying to keep up with all it's reading. I pay it no mind. I let all that do as it does. I just point it where I want it to look and try to hold it steady. There's no holding it steady, esp from the back of the seating area and holding it in two hands while breathing. I like that. It gives it spontenaiety. When the scene is still, it's somehow flat too. The movement of the handheld camera has life to it, gives it dimension, makes the invisible unknown behind the camera, the one making the decisions of where to point, makes the decision making part of the show. It has a gear grinding sound when the zoom goes in or out, but that's ok too. It makes the visuals more personal, more like it's happening now.
I've not arrived at these preferences by intellectual methods such as studying it in books or anything like that. I want my videos to have the spontaneous quality of somebody who is anybody with no knowledge of filming with a point-and-shoot handheld camera that has a lot of gizmos and automatic everything. I put it on automatic and go. I can't fool with measuring the light, fooling with the aperture. It's the mechanism that a camera is that has kept me from taking much interest in what goes with photography the other side of pushing the button. Rough and ragged it doesn't give the appearance that I'm trying to make it pretty. Until one gets really good at that it looks artificial. And I don't care to devote that much time to it to get beyond the looking artificial phase. Somehow, I've come to see that bad acting, bad directing, bad everything in movie making can give the film a kind of realism that a perfect award winning production can't touch. For example: Purple Rain. Beyond a certain point, though, bad is just bad. For example: Under the Cherry Moon.
Jr said of making music and drinking that the liquor greases the joints and allows the music to flow. The more you drink, the better you play. To a point. Jr liked to get to that point and stay there through a show or a dance. Beyond that point you play worse and worse until you just fall out. Jr never did that. One of his fiddler friends couldn't stop the drinking once he started and went past that point and way over the other side to playing embarassingly terrible. Buddy said of Willard and Scott last night that they're gentlemen, they're ones a man can count on to show up to play someplace and not be too messed up to do anything. Buddy Pendleton is not a drinker, and I got the impression, the feeling he is deeply engaged with his Lord. He seemed to me an inward sort of man who as a kid was pretty much unto himself, on the order of AP Carter. Inward. He loves making music and that's what he does. He found young what he loves and has lived what he loves the rest of his life. I've been admiring him in my mind all day, a fiddler in the real sense of it, a man who lives his fiddle. It's like some people play the fiddle and some people are fiddlers. Buddy Pendleton is a fiddler.

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