By John Thieme
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Extra resources for A Female Houdini: Popular Culture in Margaret Atwood's Lady Oracle
Furthermore, electricity had not been completely exorcised from earlier festivals: Muddy Waters had played amplified instruments the year before without a fuss (Shelton 1986: 301). However, Dylan’s use of an electric guitar and his mode of dress were powerful symbolic gestures because they represented the elevation of the individual over the collective, the artificiality of the showbiz lifestyle and the victory of capitalism. ’ (1986: 303). Dylan’s split from the folk movement The story of Dylan’s drift away from folk thus signifies an increasing emphasis upon individualism, both in terms of Dylan’s own experiences (an increasing interest in individual expressivism through fashion rather than a worker’s uniform; increasing use of drugs; increasing criticism from within the folk movement of his adoption of the trappings of a pop star) and through his work (increasing introspection and existentialism; songs dominated less by causes).
The most common story – used by Pete Seeger to later justify his reaction to the performance – is that fans were booing simply because the sound mix was so awful and no one could hear what Dylan was singing. It is certainly true that the most important thing about the performance for Dylan seemed to be volume, but the soundboard recording of the show does not support the argument that the sound was poor. An alternative argument – put forward by Al Kooper – is that the crowd booed because of the shortness of the set.
The three African-American frontmen at Monterey Pop – Lou Rawls, Otis Redding and Jimi Hendrix – represented different points on the continuum of black American popular music. There were going to be other black performers on the bill besides themselves:11 Smokey Robinson was on the festival’s board of governors, but did not perform; Dionne Warwick was scheduled to perform but could not be released from an extended San Francisco engagement; the Impressions were scheduled but cancelled their performance.
A Female Houdini: Popular Culture in Margaret Atwood's Lady Oracle by John Thieme