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Garrison, In all the years

October 20, 2005 |

Garrison, In all the years I've listened to PHC, I've carried a small puzzlement. Why is there such a scarcity of Barber Shop Quartet singing? It seems to me such a natural fit for a musically oriented radio show. Do you have some personal aversion to the SPEBSQSA?

Chad R. Larson
Phoenix, AZ.

Chad, We had a fine men's barbershop chorus on the show about a month ago at the Kansas State Fair, and there have been others, but I admit that my affection for barbershop has fallen off somewhat since I first thrilled to the Buffalo Bills singing "Sincere" and "Lida Rose" in "The Music Man"—for one thing, the repertoire seems stagnant to me—how many times can you hear "Hard-Hearted Hannah, the Vamp of Savannah G-A"? And it isn't easy to find a top-notch quartet that makes those big chords ring. But mostly, I guess it just doesn't affect me as gospel music does or the blues or certain old folk songs. Barbershop is a lovely little niche in American music, a period genre like ragtime or the men's glee club, that seems a little faded and shopworm. But doggone it "Lida Rose" is a great song.

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