Busk Break: Three from the archives

Generally speaking, the videos you see on Busk Break are fresh, having been recorded only a few days earlier. Sometimes, however, it can take longer. A lot longer, in some cases. Most of the time, this has nothing to do with the performance, but it either a function of bad recording quality (wind noise or simply my own incompetence with the equipment) or the video itself getting lost in the shuffle of content for so long that I kind of forget it’s there. Today, I decided to delve into the archives and showcase three performances that were neglected, overlooked or forgotten.

Let’s start with this video of Ralph “WhiteMan” Longshore covering Green Day’s “Good Riddance (Time of Your Life).” Longshore is a divisive figure in the local busking scene, being both very visible and very popular among tourists, and yet so unpopular with locals that he was voted “least favorite busker/street performer” by the readers of the Mountain Xpress in the Best of WNC 2011 reader poll. This recording is from last summer, and the major reason it didn’t make it online at the time was from that loud roar in the background. At first listen, it sounds like a bad mic, but it’s actually the thundering of the downtown drum circle, which is taking place right behind Longshore. Why post it now? Because it’s the best video I have of Longshore doing his thing, from start to finish.

Next, we have a video I didn’t quite know what to do with at the time. Accordion player Blake Corey was, by his own admission, still learning to play and not seriously busking when I recorded him last year. He didn’t know the names of the songs he was covering, and was nervous that he didn’t know any of them well enough to bother recording them. As a result, I’d dismissed the recording as probably not worth revisiting once I downloaded it, and it has been sitting in an archive folder since last spring. But taking a look at it today, I think it’s actually a fun document of a specific place in a busker’s experience that is rarely seen. Corey isn’t doing a showstopping performance here, but he’s also not trying to. He’s finding his voice as a busker, and it’s interesting to watch on that level.


Finally, we have a video that has been sitting around since early this year, and it’s entirely because of me. On the day the kids from the French Broad River Academy doing various covers in front of the Iron sculpture, I had yet to purchase a wind cover for my microphone. As you can tell from their flailing hair, it was a very windy day. As a result, the wind noise overpowers the microphone in several places, and it’s not a great recording because of that. But the kids were so into it that I’ve always felt a little guilty for never posting this, and today I’m going to make it right. I’ve cleaned up as much of the noise as I can, and I think the basic performance is still fun to watch.


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