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The Revolution Will Now Be Available in PDF
April 2, 2010 1:18 PM   Subscribe

"Broadside was a small underground magazine smuggled out of a New York City housing project in a baby carriage, filled with new songs by artists who were too creative for the folkies and too radical for the establishment." The entire back catalog of this influential magazine - which helped set the visual standard for underground zines until desktop publishing - is now avalable online, in PDF.
posted by Miko (9 comments total) 27 users marked this as a favorite

 
This is great stuff, but that "too creative for the folkies" line is horseshit. Broadside was the folkies. How could you possibly define the term so that it excluded Phil Ochs, Pete Seeger, and Buffy Sainte-Marie?
posted by RogerB at 1:58 PM on April 2, 2010


I deeply love the music and era Broadside represents, and feel pangs of nostalgia as I scan it's old thumbprinty paste-up graphic style. But 50 years later, we can all have a good laugh over how weird it was that that generation of raging left-wing populists thought it could build a mass movement around this obscure, arcane, and deeply unpopular style of music. (This irony was first bought to my attention by the late Peter David Goldsmith, author of "Making People's Music", the autobiography of Moe Ash.) The labor-left would have done as well trying to build a mass movement around Bartok string quartets or French art song.
posted by Faze at 2:25 PM on April 2, 2010


But 50 years later, we can all have a good laugh over how weird it was that that generation of raging left-wing populists thought it could build a mass movement around this obscure, arcane, and deeply unpopular style of music

Except for the fact that you know... it worked. I always hear these PJ O'Rourke style "lol hippy" rants and I wonder where they are coming from: of course it can't be proven quantitatively, but to claim music and the protest movement had no effect at all on civil rights, or Vietnam, or any number of other causes- that's pretty absurd.
posted by drjimmy11 at 2:55 PM on April 2, 2010 [2 favorites]


drjimmy11 -- Broadside and the folkies did a great job of raising the consciousness of upper middle class kids like me. I was ready to stand side by side with Phil Ochs on the barricades until the last priest was strangled by the entrails of the last capitalist. But the working class -- the target audience -- was unmoved.
posted by Faze at 3:06 PM on April 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


How could you possibly define the term so that it excluded Phil Ochs, Pete Seeger, and Buffy Sainte-Marie?

Because they're revivalist practitioners, not the actual "folk," as they then conceived it - not working-class musicians who were embedded in their own communities, playing music in the context of their lives, rather than touring colleges and festivals and playing coffeehouses for audiences of college students.
posted by Miko at 3:07 PM on April 2, 2010


And that's more or less exactly what "folkie" means — folk revivalist, folk enthusiast. Those elusive "folk" themselves don't call themselves folkies.

Anyway, to draw these absolute class and cultural divisions between middle-class adoptive folkies and working-class folk, to paint the folk revival as just a leftist form of cultural tourism or voyeurism, is an artificial retrospective oversimplification more false than not; many of the participants in what was once unselfconsciously called the Movement don't fit into any of these categories so neatly, from either side of the class and cultural divides. "Slumming rich hippies don't get working people" is a historico-mythical distortion on the order of "protesters spit on returning veterans."

Anyhow this is just a distraction from the great material on offer here. Those PDFs are really a fantastic example of what the Web used to be, and should continue to be, for — here's a pile of all too ephemeral though vital underground cultural history, ten times harder to catalog and find than a bunch of books with ISBNs, and instead of being buried in an archive for a handful of specialists, it's now available to everyone who wants it. Fantastic stuff.
posted by RogerB at 3:59 PM on April 2, 2010


My wife is more than a little pleased to have a pointer to this. Thanks.
posted by rodgerd at 9:19 PM on April 3, 2010


smuggled out of a New York City housing project in a baby carriage

Huh? Smuggled? Was someone trying to stop them?
posted by Jahaza at 5:01 PM on April 4, 2010


Those PDFs are really a fantastic example of what the Web used to be, and should continue to be...

Amen.
posted by marxchivist at 9:00 PM on April 5, 2010


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