Saturday, November 11, 2017


Between the World Wars, radio took over pop culture. Radio stations, and record producers, segregated music and musicians.

It Don’t Mean a Thing If It Ain’t Got That Swing:
o   Radio Greats of Swing
§  King Oliver’s Creole Jazz Band, “Shake It and Break It”  1930  
§  Count Basie, “Swingin’the Blues”  1941  
o   Big Band era (1935-1945)
§  Benny Goodman, “Sing,Sing, Sing” 1937  
§  Glen Miller, “In the Mood” 1940  
o   Western Swing
§  Bob Wills, “San Antonio Rose”   1944 

Scat Singing
o   Scatting, or making up nonsensical lyrics, had been part of ragtime and jazz since the turn of the century before, but it was introduced to the general public in a 1926 record by Louis Armstrong, “Heebie Jeebies.” His lyric sheet fell in the middle of the song and he started scatting.
o   Louis Armstrong, “Heebie Jeebies”   1926 
o   Cab Calloway, “Minnie the Moocher”  1931  
o   Ella Fitzgerald, “How High the Moon”  1947  

§  Compare: Scatman Crothers (you may remember him from The Shining), “I’m a N****r Man”  1975    This is very powerful usage of the n-word in defiance of white society and oppression.  

Blues Harmonica
                  ·         Sonny Boy Williamson I, "Stop Breaking Down"  1945
                                        "Shake the Boogie"   1946
        ·         Sonny Boy Williamson II (Aleck Miller)
§  “Bring It on Home”       1963 

Queens of Jazz and Blues
·         1920s
o   Ma Rainey, “See See Rider Blues” [with Louis Armstrong], 1924 
o   Bessie Smith, “I’m Wild about That Thing,” 1929  
·         1930s
o   Mildred Bailey, “All of Me”  1931  [Native American] 
o Memphis Minnie,  "I'm a Bad Luck Woman" 1936
o   Billie Holliday, “Strange Fruit,” 1939 
 Gospel Blues
                        Blind Willie Johnson
                                    “Dark Was the Night, Cold Was the Ground” 1927
                                    “Nobody’s Fault but Mine” 1927
                        Reverend Gary Davis
                                    “Death Don’t Have No Mercy”
 Dirty Blues
o   Some early blues singers could be as raunchy as any modern rapper, and –like rappers –often had both a “real version” of songs that they played live in clubs and a “radio edit version” that was cleaned up. Many of those “dirty blues” songs were recorded, though, in the 1920s and 1930s.
o   Clara Smith
o   Sweet Emma
§  “I Ain’t Giving Nobody My Jellyroll”  written in 1919, this version recorded decades later. “Jellyroll” was slang for vagina
o   Lucille Bogan
§  NOTE: the slang word that appears in these songs, which is short for “cockleshell”, referred to female genitalia and didn’t become slang for male genitalia until around WWII.
§  “Shave ‘Em Dry”   1934   (the expression "shave 'em dry" meant give it to them straight, pulling no punches)

Jump Blues
o   Mixture of blues and jazz swing, danceable with a boogie beat (repetitive, up-tempo, danceable). When electric guitar is added in the late ‘40s, rhythm and blues is born

o   Lionel Hampton, “Flying Home”   1942   
o  Roy Brown, "Good Rockin' Tonight"  1947

“Hillbilly Music”
                               o   Early Greats
§  The Carter Family, “Worried Man Blues” 
§  Jimmie Rodgers (The Singing Brakeman) “Blue Yodel (T for Texas)” 
§  The Skillet Lickers, “Down Yonder”       
§  Dock Boggs, "Pretty Polly"  1927

o   Grand Ole Opry, est. 1925  preceded by National Barn Dance, in Chicago
§  Uncle Jimmy Thompson, “Lynchburg”
§  Uncle Dave Macon, "Sail Away, Ladies"
§  DeFord Bailey, “John Henry”  

Working Class Folk & Protest Music
§  Compare: “Sixteen Tons” By Tennessee Ernie Ford, 1955 
o   Leadbelly, “Bourgeois Blues”  
o   Pete Seeger

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