Saturday, November 11, 2017

RACE, CLASS, REGION AND CULTURE IN AMERICAN POPULAR MUSIC. Part 4: Brave New World: Post-WWII and the 1950s


Doo-Wop                                                  
                Slow vocal jazz identifiable by complex harmonies
o   Early precedents
§  The Ink Spots
·         “My Prayer”  1939  
·         “If I Didn’t Care”  1939 
§  The Mills Brothers
·         “Paper Doll”  1943   
o   Doo-wop arrives in the 1950s
§  The Platters, “The Great Pretender”  1955
§  The Five Satins, “In the Still of the Night” 1956  
§  The Drifters, “This Magic Moment”  1960  
·         Compare:  The Temptations, “Just My Imagination”  1971  
·         Compare: Boyz II Men, “The End of the Road”  1993  
o   Italian-American Doo-wop
§  Dion and the Belmonts (The Bronx)
·         “Runaround Sue”   1961  
§  Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons (Newark, NJ)
                                          ·         “Sherry”  1962  

The Blues Goes Electric
o   Sister Rosetta Tharpe,  "Strange Things Happening Every Day" 1945
o   John Lee Hooker, “Boogie Chillen” 1948 
o   Muddy Waters, “Mannish Boy (I’m a Man)” 1955 
o   Howlin’ Wolf, “Smokestack Lightnin’” 1956   

The Blues Had a Baby and They Called It Rock and Roll

o   Rhythm & Blues
§  Jackie Brenston and his Delta Cats, “Rocket 88”  1951  [first rock song?]
§  Bo Diddley, “Who Do You Love”  1956  
§  Chuck Berry, “Rock and Roll Music,” 1957 
§  Little Richard, “LongTall Sally/Tutti Frutti”, 1955 
o   Bill Haley
§  A white country/Western swing singer from Pennsylvania, in 1951 he and his band The Saddlemen did a country cover of the popular “Rocket 88”, then of the blues song “Rock the Joint.” In 1954 they changed their name to Bill Haley and the Comets and introduced their version of “race music” to white teens.
§  Bill Haley and the Saddlemen, “Teardrops from My Eyes”  1950  [Western swing style]  
§  Bill Haley and the Comets, “Rock around the Clock”  1954
§  Promoted by Cleveland DJ Alan Freed, who for several years had been playing rhythm and blues “race music” for his white teen audience, and popularized the term “rock and roll” [which had been around for decades, and was African American slang for sex]
§  Both Freed and Bill Haley and the Comets appeared in the 1956 movie “Rock around the Clock” 
o   Sun Records, Memphis … the birth of Rockabilly
§  Elvis Presley and “black” music
·         “If I could find a white man who had the Negro sound and the Negro feel, I could make a billion dollars.” –Col. Sam Phillips
·         “That’s Alright (Mama)” 1954
o   Compare:
§  Arthur Cruddup, “That’s Alright (Mama),”  1946
§  Big Mama Thornton, “You Ain’t Nothin’ but aHound Dog”  1956
§  Carl Perkins, “Blue Suede Shoes” 1955 
§  Johnny Cash, “I Walk the Line” 1956  
§  Roy Orbison, “Ooby Dooby” 1956  
§  Jerry Lee Lewis, “Great Balls of Fire”  1957  
o   Meanwhile, in Texas…. Buddy Holly and the Crickets. “That’ll Be the Day” 1957  
o   The birth of the Power Chord

§  “Rumble” by Link Wray (Shoshone Indian from NC)  1958  

We’ll Go Honky Tonkin’
         Country moves toward a sound popular on honky tonk juke boxes, a working class sound centered on "drinkin' and cheatin'"
o   Hank Williams
§  “Honky Tonking” 1948 
§  “Hey Good Looking” 1951 
o   Kitty Wells
The Birth of Bluegrass (c. 1946)
o   Bill Monroe, “Blue Moon of Kentucky”  1946 
o   The Stanley Brothers, “Little Maggie,”  1948 
o   Lester Flatt & Earl Scruggs, “Rolling in My Sweet Baby’s Arms” 1951 
o   Roscoe Holcomb, “Graveyard Blues”  1957  The "High, Lonesome Sound" 

The Folk Music Renaissance
o   Kingston Trio, “Greenback Dollar” 1959  
o   Joan Baez, “House of the Rising Sun” 1960 
o   Sonny Terry & Brownie McGee, “Change the Lock on the Door”  1959  [traditional blues resurgence as “folk music”] 

Western Themes in Popular Music
o   1940s and 1950s:
§  Gene Autry, “Ghost Riders in the Sky”  1949  
§  Roy Rogers, “Don’t Fence Me In”  1944 
§  Marty Robbins, “El Paso”  1959 
§  Tex Ritter, “Do Not Forsake Me”  1952  
§  Frankie Lane, “Rawhide”  1958 
o   Later Eras:
§  Bob Dylan, “Knocking on Heaven’s Door”  1973 [from a western starring Kris Kristoffersen and Bob Dylan] 
§  Bad Company, “Bad Company”  1974  [inspired by the western with Jeff Bridges?] 
§  The Eagles, “Doolin Dalton/Desperado”  1973 [from a concept album about the infamous outlaw gang from Oklahoma”]  
§  Jon Bon Jovi, “Blaze of Glory”  1990  [theme song to the western Young Guns II

The Nashville Sound
o   Engineered in part by Chet Atkins, a move toward smooth, jazz-like sounds, turning away from steel guitars and honky tonks. Goal: Capture the older audience, as the kids were all turning to rock and roll.
§  Jim Reeves, “Four Walls”  1957  
§  Faron Young, “Hello Walls”  1961  [written by Willie Nelson] 
§  Patsy Cline, “Crazy” 1961 [written by Willie Nelson]   

I Got No Kick Against Modern Jazz
o   Bebop
§  Thelonious Monk, “‘Round Midnight”  1947  
§  Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie, “Hot House”  1952  
o   Afro-Cuban AKA c-bop
§  Mongo Santamaria, “Afro-blue” 1959 
o   Cool Jazz
§  Miles Davis, “Moon Dreams”  1954  
o   Hard Bop
§  John Coltrane, “BlueTrain”  1957  
o   Modal Jazz

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