Listening to Peter Guralnick talk about his latest book on Let It Roll this week reminded me of an art school riddle I once learned and then spent about 20 years paying for.
The riddle is philosophical vs. literal, and it goes like this: If your house is on fire, your cat and a painting of your cat are still inside and you only have time to go in and save one of them, which one do you save?
The typical answer to this question, of course, is the cat, because, after all, the cat is a living being.
To which the wisened, art school response is, “then how are you going to appreciate the cat?”
While you scratch your chin about that, I hereby pose this question regarding one Mr. Guralnick and his contributions to the appreciation and enjoyment of popular music, during his lifetime of writing quite ably about same:
If your house is on fire, your Elvis records and your collection of Guralnick books are still inside and you only have time to go in and save either the books or the records, which do you save?
So how are you going to appreciate those records?
Ed Legge (@freebirdyeller) is a life-long musician, long-time journalist and sometime corporate dweeb who’s writing a book about originating rock ‘n’ roll’s most absurd tradition.