Saturday, November 11, 2017

RACE, CLASS, REGION AND CULTURE IN AMERICAN POPULAR MUSIC. Part 2: The Blues and All That Jazz


Precursors: New Orleans, and the Whorehouse Professors of Storyville
o   Civil War brass bands
§  “When the Saints Go Marching In”  Louis Armstrong  
o   “The Spanish Tinge” Cubans and African-Americans mixing musically in New Orleans, creating new piano sounds
§  “Creepy Feeling” by Jelly Roll Morton 

·         Ragtime: St. Louis Sound, popular ca. 1895-1915. Syncopated rhythm.
o   “The Entertainer” by Scott Joplin, 1902 
o   “Cake Walks”  antebellum plantation origins; appropriated by blackface minstrels during Ragtime Era. An example from 1903: 

The Delta Blues:
o   field hollers mixed with ballads, performed by rural musicians, using African rhythms and structure, playing “blue” notes and often thumping on their guitars for percussion. Not recorded until the late 1920s, but the style had been around a long time. Also used bottleneck slides.
o   Early greats:
§  Son House. “Scary Delta Blues”   
§  Charley Patton.“Rattlesnake Blues”  
§  Robert Johnson. “Crossroad Blues”  
§  Tommy McClennan, “Bottle It Up and Go”  
·         Common themes: domestic violence, brawls, swaggering, getting money

·         Piedmont Blues, AKA Southeastern Blues  [more picking than Delta style]
o   Blind Blake, “You Gonna Quit Me Blues”  1927  
·         W.C. Handy meets the Blues [literally, in Tutwiler, Mississippi in 1903]
o   “St. Louis Blues”  1914  
·        Jug Bands 
                        "On the Road Again"  by the Memphis Jug Band, 1928
      Jazz hits the national scene, 1917

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