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Talking Heads


Talking Heads: Great Speeches From the First Century of Recorded Sound


Enlightenment Records

various artists CD

Talking Heads CD coverThe first thing that you are going to realize is that this is not a new/re-issue of The Talking Heads music. It is the original meaning of "the talking head". It is head and shoulder speeches of great people at pivot points of world history. Moments of tension and downfall. Moments of technological and military turning points. Moments of debate and resolution.

There is no chronological order to the these speeches. They jump from the Kennedy / Nixon debate of the sixties to Hitler in 1938. These moments have been heard by people for the last sixty years but perhaps not in an unedited fashion. The listener will get to hear beyond the sound bites that we are attuned to. Hitler speaking about the invasion of Czechoslovakia, MLK's I Have A Dream speech, Malcom X's call for reconsidering the non-vilolence of the civil rights movement, the start of the Cuban missle crisis, Gloria Steinhem at the breakout of the Women's rights movement. All the moments captured are important and shaped our society and history and the world relationship with its media technology. The words are tremendously valid.

Despite the importance of these historic momnets and delivery of some of the 20th century's most memorable words, this is a mess! The use of "militaristic lite" Muzak intros, "beds" and outro's kills this compilation of speeches. You can forget about sampling the speeches (perhaps the reasoning for adding the music?) and you can forget about doing crafty DJ work. The music is awful and non-existent crediting of musicians leaves one feeling that it is just stock, rights free "Cheez Whiz" musical productions. In many selections it is added in such a "slip-shod" fashion that it cheapens the moments and the viability of this disk.

The only use I can determine for this disk is as a teaching aid for younger students. Skip it. I can't imagine anyone sitting and listening to this for pure enjoyment. Maybe a history buff would like this for a collection? Maybe for a library's reference material? Maybe it can be used on the dates of the speeches for radio programming? I can't see it or see it reinspiring a generation to take arms. You may hear history repeating itself in the choice of words from American political figures and military history. The real history repeatng itself here is the waste of resources on another useless product.

---James Kraus, May 3, 2005