Monday, March 07, 2005

The Pinnacle of 20th Century Music: "Banjoreno"

Is this the best piece of music ever recorded? Just as a drop of water encapsulates the basic stuff of galaxies, so I think "Banjoreno" by the Dixieland Jug Blowers captures the essence of the human condition. With its raw animal vitality and deep joy, and with its contradictory feeling of anxiety (perhaps even impending doom) it says more to me than Beethoven's Ninth. In it you can hear both World Wars and all the humping that ensued when the men came home. I played it as the Odometer of the Millennium turned; I could listen to it for hours. If nothing remains of our civilization but "Banjoreno," those who happen upon it will know exactly who we were.


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