American Civil War/US 19th Century
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A Civil War Christmas : An American Musical Celebration.
Publication Date: 2012-04-03
"A rich and moving play with music . . . it taps into seasonal themes of redemption, forgiveness and community, with a decidedly American bent."--Variety Set on a chilly Christmas Eve during the latter days of the Civil War, Paula Vogel's new pageant for the holiday season weaves a tapestry of both fictional and historical characters--together with period holiday music and lesser-known marches, hymns, and spirituals--to tell a story of peaceful companionship and communal hope. Paula Vogel's plays include How I Learned to Drive (winner of the Pulitzer Prize, OBIE, Drama Desk, and New York Drama Critics awards), The Long Christmas Ride Home, The Mineola Twins, The Baltimore Waltz, Hot 'N' Throbbing, and Desdemona. She is chair of the playwriting department at the Yale School of Drama, and is playwright-in-residence at Yale Repertory Theatre.
Battle Hymns: The Power and Popularity of Music in the Civil War.
Publication Date: 2012-03-19
Music was everywhere during the Civil War. Tunes could be heard ringing out from parlor pianos, thundering at political rallies, and setting the rhythms of military and domestic life. With literacy still limited, music was an important vehicle for communicating ideas about the war, and it had a lasting impact in the decades that followed. Drawing on an array of published and archival sources, Christian McWhirter analyzes the myriad ways music influenced popular culture in the years surrounding the war and discusses its deep resonance for both whites and blacks, South and North. Though published songs of the time have long been catalogued and appreciated, McWhirter is the first to explore what Americans actually said and did with these pieces. By gauging the popularity of the most prominent songs and examining how Americans used them, McWhirter returns music to its central place in American life during the nation's greatest crisis. The result is a portrait of a war fought to music.
Bugle Resounding : Music and Musicians of the Civil War Era
Publication Date: 2004-10-12
In the mid-nineteenth century the United States was musically vibrant. Rising industrialization, a growing middle class, and increasing concern for the founding of American centers of art created a culture that was rich in musical capital. Beyond its importance to the people who created and played it is the fact that this music still influences our culture today. Although numerous academic resources examine the music and musicians of the Civil War era, the research is spread across a variety of disciplines and is found in a wide array of scholarly journals, books, and papers. It is difficult to assimilate this diverse body of research, and few sources are dedicated solely to a rigorous and comprehensive investigation of the music and the musicians of this era. This anthology, which grew out of the first two National Conferences on Music of the Civil War Era, is an initial attempt to address that need. Those conferences established the first academic setting solely devoted to exploring the effects of the Civil War on music and musicians. Bridging musicology and history, these essays represent the forefront of scholarship in music of the Civil War era. Each one makes a significant contribution to research in the music of this era and will ultimately encourage more interdisciplinary research on a subject that has relevance both for its own time and for ours. The result is a readable, understandable volume on one of the few understudied--yet fascinating--aspects of the Civil War era.
Moral Fire Musical Portraits From America's Fin De Siècle.
Publication Date: 2012-05-22
Joseph Horowitz writes in Moral Fire: "If the Met’s screaming Wagnerites standing on chairs (in the 1890s) are unthinkable today, it is partly because we mistrust high feeling. Our children avidly specialize in vicarious forms of electronic interpersonal diversion. Our laptops and televisions ensnare us in a surrogate world that shuns all but facile passions; only Jon Stewart and Bill Maher share moments of moral outrage disguised as comedy.” Arguing that the past can prove instructive and inspirational, Horowitz revisits four astonishing personalities--Henry Higginson, Laura Langford, Henry Krehbiel and Charles Ives--whose missionary work in the realm of culture signaled a belief in the fundamental decency of civilized human nature, in the universality of moral values, and in progress toward a kingdom of peace and love.
Music along the Rapidan: Civil War Soldiers, Music, and Community during Winter Quarters, Virginia
Publication Date: 2014-07-01
In December 1863, Civil War soldiers took refuge from the dismal conditions of war and weather. They made their winter quarters in the Piedmont region of central Virginia: the Union's Army of the Potomac in Culpeper County and the Confederacy's Army of Northern Virginia in neighboring Orange County. For the next six months the opposing soldiers eyed each other warily across the Rapidan River. In Music Along the Rapidan James A. Davis examines the role of music in defining the social communities that emerged during this winter encampment. Music was an essential part of each soldier's personal identity, and Davis considers how music became a means of controlling the acoustic and social cacophony of war that surrounded every soldier nearby. Music also became a touchstone for colliding communities during the encampment--the communities of enlisted men and officers or Northerners and Southerners on the one hand and the shared communities occupied by both soldier and civilian on the other. The music enabled them to define their relationships and their environment, emotionally, socially, and audibly.
Music and the Southern Belle: From Accomplished Lady to Confederate Composer.
Publication Date: 2010-05-05
Candace Bailey’s exploration of the intertwining worlds of music and gender shows how young southern women pushed the boundaries of respectability to leave their unique mark on a patriarchal society. Before 1861, a strictly defined code of behavior allowed a southern woman to identify herself as a “lady” through her accomplishments in music, drawing, and writing, among other factors. Music permeated the lives of southern women, and they learned appropriate participation through instruction at home and at female training institutions. A belle’s primary venue was the parlor, where she could demonstrate her usefulness in the domestic circle by providing comfort and serving to enhance social gatherings through her musical performances, often by playing the piano or singing. The southern lady performed in public only on the rarest of occasions, though she might attend public performances by women. An especially talented lady who composed music for a broader audience would do so anonymously so that her reputation would remain unsullied. The tumultuous Civil War years provided an opportunity for southern women to envision and attempt new ways to make themselves useful to the broader, public society. While continuing their domestic responsibilities and taking on new ones, young women also tested the boundaries of propriety in a variety of ways. In a broad break with the past, musical ladies began giving public performances to raise money for the war effort, some women published patriotic Confederate music under their own names, supporting their cause and claiming public ownership for their creations. Bailey explores these women’s lives and analyzes their music. Through their move from private to public performance and publication, southern ladies not only expanded concepts of social acceptability but also gained a valued sense of purpose. Music and the Southern Belle places these remarkable women in their social context, providing compelling insight into southern culture and the intricate ties between a lady’s identity and the world of music. Augmented by incisive analysis of musical compositions and vibrant profiles of composers, this volume is the first of its kind, making it an essential read for devotees of Civil War and southern history, gender studies, and music.
Music of the Civil War Era
Publication Date: 2004-08-30
As divisive and destructive as the Civil War was, the era nevertheless demonstrated the power that music could play in American culture. Popular songs roused passion on both sides of the Mason-Dixon line, and military bands played music to entertain infantry units-and to rally them on to war. The institution of slavery was debated in songs of the day, ranging from abolitionist anthems to racist minstrel shows. Across the larger cultural backdrop, the growth of music publishing led to a flourishing of urban concert music, while folk music became indelibly linked with American populism. This volume, one of the first in the "American History through Music" series, presents narrative chapters that recount the many vibrant roles of music during this troubled period of American history. A chapter of biographical entries, a dictionary of Civil War era music, and a subject index offer useful reference tools. The "American History through Music" series examines the many different styles of music that have played a significant part in our nation's history. While volumes in this series show the multifaceted roles of music in culture, they also use music as a lens through which readers may study American social history. The authors present in-depth analysis of American musical genres, significant musicians, technological innovations, and the many connections between music and the realms of art, politics, and daily life. Chapters present accessible narratives on music and its cultural resonations, music theory and technique is broken down for the lay reader, and each volume presents a chapter of alphabetically arranged entries on significant people and terms.
American Made Music Series
American Made Music Series
Explorations of music history, origins, development, and players.
78 Blues : Folksongs and Phonographs in the American South
Publication Date: 2008-03-18
When record men first traveled from Chicago or invited musicians to studios in New York, these entrepreneurs had no conception how their technology would change the dynamics of what constituted a musical performance. 78 Blues: Folksongs and Phonographs in the American South covers a revolution in artist performance and audience perception through close examination of hundreds of key "hillbilly" and "race" records released between the 1920s and World War II. In the postwar period, regional strains recorded on pioneering 78 r.p.m. discs exploded into urban blues and R&B, honky-tonk and western swing, gospel, soul, and rock 'n' roll. These old-time records preserve the work of some of America's greatest musical geniuses such as Jimmie Rodgers, Robert Johnson, Charlie Poole, and Blind Lemon Jefferson. They are also crucial mile markers in the course of American popular music and the growth of the modern recording industry. When these records first circulated, the very notion of recorded music was still a novelty. All music had been created live and tied to particular, intimate occasions. How were listeners to understand an impersonal technology like the phonograph record as a musical event? How could they reconcile firsthand interactions and traditional customs with technological innovations and mass media? The records themselves, several hundred of which are explored fully in this book, offer answers in scores of spoken commentaries and skits, in song lyrics and monologues, or other more subtle means.
A Trumpet Around the Corner : The Story of New Orleans Jazz
Publication Date: 2008-03-18
Samuel Charters has been studying and writing about New Orleans music for more than fifty years. A Trumpet around the Corner: The Story of New Orleans Jazz is the first book to tell the entire story of a century of jazz in New Orleans. Although there is still controversy over the racial origins and cultural sources of New Orleans jazz, Charters provides a balanced assessment of the role played by all three of the city's musical lineages--African American, white, and Creole--in jazz's formative years. Charters also maps the inroads blazed by the city's Italian immigrant musicians, who left their own imprint on the emerging styles. The study is based on the author's own interviews, begun in the 1950s, on the extensive material gathered by the Oral History Project in New Orleans, on the recent scholarship of a new generation of writers, and on an exhaustive examination of related newspaper files from the jazz era. The book extends the study area of his earlier book Jazz: New Orleans, 1885-1957, and breaks new ground with its in-depth discussion of the earliest New Orleans recordings. A Trumpet around the Corner for the first time brings the story up to the present, describing the worldwide interest in the New Orleans jazz revival of the 1950s and 1960s, and the exciting resurgence of the brass bands of the last decades. The book discusses the renewed concern over New Orleans's musical heritage, which is at great risk after the catastrophe of Hurricane Katrina's floodwaters.
Alan Lomax, Assistant in Charge: The Library of Congress Letters, 1935-1945.
Publication Date: 2010-12-08
Alan Lomax (1915-2002) began working for the Archive of American Folk Song at the Library of Congress in 1936, first as a special and temporary assistant, then as the permanent Assistant in Charge, starting in June 1937, until he left in late 1942. He recorded such important musicians as Woody Guthrie, Muddy Waters, Aunt Molly Jackson, and Jelly Roll Morton. A reading and examination of his letters from 1935 to 1945 reveal someone who led an extremely complex, fascinating, and creative life, mostly as a public employee. While Lomax is noted for his field recordings, these collected letters, many signed "Alan Lomax, Assistant in Charge," are a trove of information until now available only at the Library of Congress. They make it clear that Lomax was very interested in the commercial hillbilly, race, and even popular recordings of the 1920s and after. These letters serve as a way of understanding Lomax's public and private life during some of his most productive and significant years. Lomax was one of the most stimulating and influential cultural workers of the twentieth century. Here he speaks for himself through his voluminous correspondence.
Banjo on the Mountain: Wade Mainer's First Hundred Years
Publication Date: 2010-07-08
Wade Mainer (b. 1907) is believed to be the longest-lived country entertainer ever. His banjo lessons began in childhood and he played informally into his adult years, when he joined his brother, fiddler J. E. Mainer (1898-1971), in Mainer's Mountaineers. Music became their ticket out of the cotton mills in 1934. At the time, country styles were swiftly evolving from community-based performance into mass-market broadcast via radio, records, and the silver screen. Mainer's Mountaineers attracted radio sponsors and touring opportunities, allowing the brothers to become full-time musicians. Eventually Wade Mainer formed his own band, the Sons of the Mountaineers. His success secured a permanent place for the fiddle and banjo sound in country music, sustained that sound's popularity throughout the 1930s, and created the foundation upon which Bill Monroe and his disciples would spread bluegrass music in the 1940s. Banjo on the Mountain features Wade's own words and recollections from a lifetime in music and an exciting career that included a command performance at the White House for President Franklin D. Roosevelt and a key role in The Old Chisholm Trail, a 1944 BBC-sponsored radio play for American troops and embattled English civilians. The volume is rich in photographs and documents, thanks to Wade and Julia Mainer's careful custodianship of letters, professional photos and family snapshots, posters, songbooks, flyers, and other priceless curios.
Big Band Jazz in Black West Virginia, 1930-1942
Publication Date: 2012-02-06
The coal fields of West Virginia would seem an unlikely market for big band jazz during the Great Depression. That a prosperous African American audience dominated by those involved with the coal industry was there for jazz tours would seem equally improbable. Big Band Jazz in Black West Virginia, 1930-1942 shows that, contrary to expectations, black Mountaineers flocked to dances by the hundreds, in many instances traveling considerable distances to hear bands led by Count Basie, Duke Ellington, Andy Kirk, Jimmie Lunceford, and Chick Webb, among numerous others. Indeed, as one musician who toured the state would recall, "All the bands were goin' to West Virginia." The comparative prosperity of the coal miners, thanks to New Deal industrial policies, was what attracted the bands to the state. This study discusses that prosperity as well as the larger political environment that provided black Mountaineers with a degree of autonomy not experienced further south. Author Christopher Wilkinson demonstrates the importance of radio and the black press both in introducing this music and in keeping black West Virginians up to date with its latest developments. The book explores connections between local entrepreneurs who staged the dances and the national management of the bands that played those engagements. In analyzing black audiences' aesthetic preferences, the author reveals that many black West Virginians preferred dancing to a variety of music, not just jazz. Finally, the book shows bands now associated almost exclusively with jazz were more than willing to satisfy those audience preferences with arrangements in other styles of dance music.
Blues Mandolin Man: The Life and Music of Yank Rachell
Publication Date: 2001-05-01
Yank Rachell and his mandolin playing style moved every musician lucky enough to hear him perform in the early sixties. When he died in April 1997, he left behind a stack of unanswered requests to tour Europe and to play blues festivals in the United States. In Blues Mandolin Man: The Life and Music of Yank Rachell, Richard Congress delivers the first biography of a family man whose playing inspired and energized the likes of David Honeyboy Edwards, Sleepy John Estes, and Henry Townsend. No other biography discusses the mandolin's influence and role in the blues. Guitar great Ry Cooder said, "Yank's style fascinated me because it had a lot of power and it's very raw-and what a great thing to do, just attack this little instrument like that." Charlie Musselwhite, the noted harp player, worked with Rachell and club hopped in Chicago with the elder bluesman. "He just had a great spirit about him," Musselwhite said of Rachell's playing and singing, "really just shouting it out. If the world was made up of people like Yank Rachell it would be a wonderful place to live." Blues Mandolin Man chronicles the life, times, and music of a man who was born into a family of sharecroppers in 1910 in rural western Tennessee. An active musician for 75 years, Rachell mastered several musical instruments and first recorded for Victor in Memphis in 1929. Through the blues, Rachell's world expanded to include Chicago, New York, recording studios and, after the sixties, radio, TV, and national and European tours. Yank's recollections reveal new information about personalities and events that will delight blues history buffs. Rich appendixes detail Yank's mandolin and guitar style and his place in the blues tradition. For this book Richard Congress, who reissued two of Rachell's old LPs in CD format, worked closely with him to record memories spanning decades of blues playing. Congress tells a compelling and engaging story about a colorful and thoughtful character who as a child picked cotton and plowed a field behind a mule, who grew to manhood coping with the southern Jim Crow system, and who participated in the creation and perpetuation of the blues. Richard Congress is the owner of Random Chance Records, a record company based in New York City.
Cajun and Zydeco Dance Music in Northern California : Modern Pleasures in a Postmodern World
Publication Date: 2008-10-01
Queen Ida. Danny Poullard. Documentary filmmaker Les Blank. Chris Strachwitz and Arhoolie Records. These are names that are familiar to many fans of Cajun music and zydeco, and they have one other thing in common--longtime residence in the San Francisco Bay Area. They are all part of a vibrant scene of dancing and live Louisiana-French music that has evolved over several decades. Cajun and Zydeco Dance Music in Northern California traces how this region of California has been able to develop and sustain dances several times a week with more than a dozen bands. Description of this active regional scene opens into a discussion of several historical trends that have affected life and music in Louisiana and the nation. The book portrays the diversity of people who have come together to adopt Cajun and Creole dance music as a way to cope with a globalized, media-saturated world. Ethnomusicologist Mark F. DeWitt innovatively weaves together interviews with musicians and dancers (some from Louisiana, some not), analysis of popular media, participant observation as a musician and dancer, and historical perspectives from wartime black migration patterns, the civil rights movement, American folk and blues revivals, California counterculture, and the rise of cultural tourism in "Cajun Country." In so doing, he reveals the multifaceted appeal of celebrating life on the dance floor, Louisiana-French style.
Creating Jazz Counterpoint: New Orleans, Barbershop Harmony, and the Blues
Publication Date: 2014-03-19
The book Jazzmen (1939) claimed New Orleans as the birthplace of jazz and introduced the legend of Buddy Bolden as the "First Man of Jazz." Much of the information that the book relied on came from a highly controversial source: Bunk Johnson. He claimed to have played with Bolden and that together they had pioneered jazz. Johnson made many recordings talking about and playing the music of the Bolden era. These recordings have been treated with skepticism because of doubts about Johnson's credibility. Using oral histories, the Jazzmen interview notes, and unpublished archive material, this book confirms that Bunk Johnson did play with Bolden. This confirmation, in turn, has profound implications for Johnson's recorded legacy in describing the music of the early years of New Orleans jazz. New Orleans jazz was different from ragtime in a number of ways. It was a music that was collectively improvised, and it carried a new tonality--the tonality of the blues. How early jazz musicians improvised together and how the blues became a part of jazz has until now been a mystery. Part of the reason New Orleans jazz developed as it did is that all the prominent jazz pioneers, including Buddy Bolden, Bunk Johnson, Louis Armstrong, Sidney Bechet, Johnny Dodds, and Kid Ory, sang in barbershop (or barroom) quartets. This book describes in both historical and musical terms how the practices of quartet singing were converted to the instruments of a jazz band, and how this, in turn, produced collectively improvised, blues-inflected jazz, that unique sound of New Orleans.
Eddy Arnold: Pioneer of the Nashville Sound
Publication Date: 2009-05-26
"Fans of Arnold's mellow music will appreciate the intensely detailed record of his private life and public career. Others may find the vivid picture of country music's early decades (the many small-town radio stations and deejays that supported the music, the backroads tours, the struggling record labels) quite intriguing." --Kirkus Reviews Illustrated with fifty-four photographs and featuring a comprehensive discography and sessionography, this book traces Eddy Arnold's origins from a cotton farm in western Tennessee to his legendary status in the world of country music. Michael Streissguth covers Arnold's success as a top-selling artist in the 1940s and 1950s and his temporary wane as listeners gravitated toward the rock & roll sound, embodied by newcomer Elvis Presley. Arnold (1918-2008) kept recording, however, and working on his craft. By the mid-60s, he reemerged as a pop crooner with his hit song "Make the World Go Away." His blend of country sentiments and pop stylings created the template for Nashville's modern country music sound. Throughout his career he was a major concert attraction and a radio and television star. Few other figures can claim to have had as great an influence on contemporary country and popular arranging.
Free Jazz/Black Power
Publication Date: 2015-01-01
In 1971, French jazz critics Philippe Carles and Jean-Louis Comolli co-wrote Free Jazz/Black Power, a treatise on the racial and political implications of jazz and jazz criticism. It remains a testimony to the long ignored encounter of radical African American music and French left-wing criticism. Carles and Comolli set out to defend a genre vilified by jazz critics on both sides of the Atlantic by exposing the new sound's ties to African American culture, history, and the political struggle that was raging in the early 1970s. The two offered a political and cultural history of black presence in the United States to shed more light on the dubious role played by jazz criticism in racial oppression. This analysis of jazz criticism and its production is astutely self-aware. It critiques the critics, building a work of cultural studies in a time and place where the practice was virtually unknown. The authors reached radical conclusions--free jazz was a revolutionary reaction against white domination, was the musical counterpart to the Black Power movement, and was a music that demanded a similar political commitment. The impact of this book is difficult to overstate, as it made readers reconsider their response to African American music. In some cases it changed the way musicians thought about and played jazz. Free Jazz / Black Power remains indispensable to the study of the relation of American free jazz to European audiences, critics, and artists. This monumental critique caught the spirit of its time and also realigned that zeitgeist.
He Stopped Loving Her Today: George Jones, Billy Sherrill, and the Pretty-much Totally True Story of the Making of the Greatest Country Record of All Time.
Publication Date: 2011-08-01
When George Jones recorded "He Stopped Loving Her Today" more than thirty years ago, he was a walking disaster. Twin addictions to drugs and alcohol had him drinking Jim Beam by the case and snorting cocaine as long as he was awake. Before it was over, Jones would be bankrupt, homeless, and an unwilling patient at an Alabama mental institution. In the midst of all this chaos, legendary producer Billy Sherrill-the man who discovered Tammy Wynette and cowrote "Stand by Your Man"-would somehow coax the performance of a lifetime out of the mercurial Jones. The result was a country masterpiece. He Stopped Loving Her Today, the story behind the making of the song often voted the best country song ever by both critics and fans, offers an overview of country music's origins and a search for the music's elusive Holy Grail: authenticity. The schizoid bottom line-even though country music is undeniably a branch of the make believe world of show biz, to fans and scholars alike, authenticity remains the ultimate measure of the music's power.
Jazz and Death: Medical Profiles of Jazz Greats
Publication Date: 2002-06-01
When a jazz hero dies, rumors, speculation, gossip, and legend can muddle the real cause of death. In this book, Frederick J. Spencer conducts an inquest on how jazz greats lived and died pursuing their art. Forensics, medical histories, death certificates, and biographies divulge the way many musical virtuosos really died. An essential reference source, Jazz and Death strives to correct misinformation and set the story straight. Reviewing the medical records of such jazz icons as Scott Joplin, James Reese Europe, Bennie Moten, Tommy Dorsey, Billie Holiday, Charlie Parker, Wardell Gray, and Ronnie Scott, the book spans decades, styles, and causes of death. Divided into disease categories, it covers such illnesses as ALS (Lou Gehrig's Disease), which killed Charlie Mingus, and tuberculosis, which caused the deaths of Chick Webb, Charlie Christian, Bubber Miley, Jimmy Blanton, and Fats Navarro. It notes the significance of dental disease in affecting a musician's embouchure and livelihood, as happened with Joe "King" Oliver. A discussion of Art Tatum's visual impairment leads to discoveries in the pathology of what blinded Lennie Tristano. Heavy drinking, even during Prohibition, was the norm in the clubs of New Orleans and Kansas City and in the ballrooms of Chicago and New York. Too often, the musical scene demanded that those who play jazz be "jazzed." After World War II, as heroin addiction became the hallmark of revolution, talented bebop artists suffered long absences from the bandstand. Many did jail time, and others succumbed to the ravages of "horse." With Jazz and Death, the causes behind the great jazz funerals may no longer be misconstrued. Its clinical and morbidly entertaining approach creates an invaluable compendium for jazz fans and scholars alike. Frederick J. Spencer is a professor and associate dean emeritus of the School of Medicine (Medical College of Virginia) at Virginia Commonwealth University. He has been published in the New England Journal of Medicine, Journal of the American Medical Association, American Journal of Public Health, and Modern Medicine, among other publications.
Jazz Diplomacy: Promoting America in the Cold War Era
Publication Date: 2009-07-20
Jazz as an instrument of global diplomacy transformed superpower relations in the Cold War era and reshaped democracy's image worldwide. Lisa E. Davenport tells the story of America's program of jazz diplomacy practiced in the Soviet Union and other regions of the world from 1954 to 1968. Jazz music and jazz musicians seemed an ideal card to play in diminishing the credibility and appeal of Soviet communism in the Eastern bloc and beyond. Government-funded musical junkets by such jazz masters as Louis Armstrong, Dave Brubeck, Duke Ellington, Dizzy Gillespie, and Benny Goodman dramatically influenced perceptions of the U.S. and its capitalist brand of democracy while easing political tensions in the midst of critical Cold War crises. This book shows how, when coping with foreign questions about desegregation, the dispute over the Berlin Wall, the Cuban missile crisis, Vietnam, and the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia, jazz players and their handlers wrestled with the inequalities of race and the emergence of class conflict while promoting America in a global context. And, as jazz musicians are wont to do, many of these ambassadors riffed off script when the opportunity arose. Jazz Diplomacy argues that this musical method of winning hearts and minds often transcended economic and strategic priorities. Even so, the goal of containing communism remained paramount, and it prevailed over America's policy of redefining relations with emerging new nations in Africa, Asia, and Latin America.
Jimmie Rodgers: The Life and Times of America's Blue Yodeler.
Publication Date: 2007-03-02
Jimmie Rodgers (1897-1933), the first performer elected to the Country Music Hall of Fame, was a folk hero in his own lifetime and has been idolized by fans and emulated by performers ever since. His life story has been particularly susceptible to romanticizing, marked as it was by humble origins, sudden success and fame, and an early death from tuberculosis. Nolan Porterfield's biography banishes the rumors and myths that have long shrouded the Blue Yodeler's life story. Unlike previous writings about Rodgers, Porterfield's book derives from extensive and detailed research into original sources: private letters, personal interviews, court records, and newspaper accounts. Jimmie Rodgers significantly expands and alters our knowledge of the entertainer's life and career, explaining the nature of his role in American culture of the Depression era and providing insightful background on the milieu in which he worked. Porterfield writes a preface for this edition.
Kennedy's Blues: African-American Blues and Gospel Songs on JFK
Publication Date: 2007-07-25
Kennedy's Blues: African American Blues and Gospel Songs on JFK collects in a single volume the blues and gospel songs written by African Americans about the presidency of John F. Kennedy and offers a close analysis of Kennedy's hold upon the African American imagination. These blues and gospel songs have never been transcribed and analyzed in a systematic way, so this volume provides a hitherto untapped source on the perception of one of the most intriguing American presidents. After eight years of Republican rule the young Democratic president received a warm welcome from African Americans. However, with the Cold War military draft and the slow pace of civil rights measures, inspiration temporarily gave way to impatience. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Medgar Evers, the March on Washington, the groundbreaking civil rights bill--all found their way into blues and gospel songs. The many blues numbers devoted to the assassination and the president's legacy are evidence of JFK's near-canonization by African Americans. Blues historian Guido van Rijn shows that John F. Kennedy became a mythical hero to blues songwriters despite what was left unaccomplished. Guido van Rijn is teacher of English at Kennemer Lyceum in Overveen, the Netherlands. His previous books include The Truman and Eisenhower Blues: African American Blues and Gospel Songs, 1945-1960.
Knowing Jazz Community, Pedagogy, and Canon in the Information Age
Publication Date: 2011-12-06
Ken Prouty argues that knowledge of jazz, or more to the point, claims to knowledge of jazz, are the prime movers in forming jazz's identity, its canon, and its community. Every jazz artist, critic, or fan understands jazz differently, based on each individual's unique experiences and insights. Through playing, listening, reading, and talking about jazz, both as a form of musical expression and as a marker of identity, each aficionado develops a personalized relationship to the larger jazz world. Through the increasingly important role of media, listeners also engage in the formation of different communities that not only transcend traditional boundaries of geography, but increasingly exist only in the virtual world. The relationships of "jazz people" within and between these communities is at the center of Knowing Jazz. Some groups, such as those in academia, reflect a clash of sensibilities between historical traditions. Others, particularly online communities, represent new and exciting avenues for everyday fans, whose involvement in jazz has often been ignored. Other communities seek to define themselves as expressions of national or global sensibility, pointing to the ever-changing nature of jazz's identity as an American art form in an international setting. What all these communities share, however, is an intimate, visceral link to the music and the artists who make it, brought to life through the medium of recording. Informed by an interdisciplinary approach and approaching the topic from a number of perspectives, Knowing Jazz charts a philosophical course in which many disparate perspectives and varied opinions on jazz can find common ground.
Ladies of Soul
Publication Date: 2001-03-01
American soul music of the 1960s is one of the most creative and influential musical forms of the twentieth century. With its merging of gospel, R&B, country, and blues, soul music succeeded in crossing over from African American culture into the general pop culture. Soul became the byword for the styles, attitudes, and dreams of an entire era. Female performers were responsible for some of the most enduring and powerful contributions to the genre. All too frequently overlooked by the star-making critics, seven of these women are profiled in this book -Maxine Brown, Ruby Johnson, Denise LaSalle, Bettye LaVette, Barbara Mason, Carla Thomas, and Timi Yuro. Getting started during the heyday of soul, each of these talented women had recording contracts and gave live performances to appreciative audiences. Their careers can be tracked through the popularity of soul during the 1960s and its decline in the 1970s. With humor, candor, pride, and honest recognition that their careers did not surge into the mainstream and gain superstardom, they recount individual stories of how they struggled for success. Their oral histories as told to David Freeland address compelling issues, including racism and sexism within the music industry. They discuss their grueling hardships on the road, their conflicts with male managers, and the cutthroat competition in the recording business. As each singer examines her career with the author, she reveals the dreams, hopes, and desires on which she has built her professional life. All seven face up to the career swings, from the highs of releasing the first hit to the frustrating lows when the momentum stops. Although the obstacles to stardom are heartbreaking, these singers are committed to their art. With determination and style these seven have pressed onward with club appearances and recordings. They survive through their savvy mix of talent, hubris, and honesty about their lives and their music. David Freeland is an oral historian and artistic adviser of a performance series at Columbia University's Miller Theatre. He has been a guest lecturer at Columbia's School for Social Work.
Lonesome Melodies: The Lives and Music of the Stanley Brothers
Publication Date: 2013-01-24
Carter and Ralph Stanley--the Stanley Brothers--are comparable to Bill Monroe and Flatt & Scruggs as important members of the earliest generation of bluegrass musicians. In this first biography of the brothers, author David W. Johnson documents that Carter (1925-1966) and Ralph (b. 1927) were equally important contributors to the tradition of old-time country music. Together from 1946 to 1966, the Stanley Brothers began their careers performing in the schoolhouses of southwestern Virginia and expanded their popularity to the concert halls of Europe. In order to re-create this post-World War II journey through the changing landscape of American music, the author interviewed Ralph Stanley, the family of Carter Stanley, former members of the Clinch Mountain Boys, and dozens of musicians and friends who knew the Stanley Brothers as musicians and men. The late Mike Seeger allowed Johnson to use his invaluable 1966 interviews with the brothers. Notable old-time country and bluegrass musicians such as George Shuffler, Lester Woodie, Larry Sparks, and the late Wade Mainer shared their recollections of Carter and Ralph. Lonesome Melodies begins and ends in the mountains of southwestern Virginia. Carter and Ralph were born there and had an early publicity photograph taken at the Cumberland Gap. In December 1966, pallbearers walked up Smith Ridge to bring Carter to his final resting place. In the intervening years, the brothers performed thousands of in-person and radio shows, recorded hundreds of songs and tunes for half a dozen record labels, and tried to keep pace with changing times while remaining true to the spirit of old-time country music. As a result of their accomplishments, they have become a standard of musical authenticity.
Publication Date: 2009-10-05
Louisiana Fiddlers shines light on sixty-two of the bayou state's most accomplished fiddlers of the twentieth century. Author Ron Yule outlines the lives and times of these performers, who represent a multitude of fiddling styles including Cajun, country, western swing, zydeco, bluegrass, Irish, contest fiddling, and blues. Featuring over 150 photographs, this volume provides insight into the "fiddlin' grounds" of Louisiana. Yule chronicles the musicians' varied appearances from the stage of the Louisiana Hayride, honky tonks, dancehalls, house dances, radio and television, and festivals, to the front porch and other more casual venues. The brief sketches include observations on musical travels, recordings, and family history. Nationally acclaimed fiddlers Harry Choates, Dewey Balfa, Dennis McGee, Michael Doucet, Rufus Thibodeaux, and Hadley Castille share space with relatively unknown masters such as Mastern Brack, "Cheese" Read, John W. Daniel, and Fred Beavers. Each player has helped shape the region's rich musical tradition.
Memphis Boys: The Story of American Studios
Publication Date: 2010-02-19
Memphis Boys chronicles the story of the rhythm section at Chips Moman's American Studios from 1964, when the group began working together, until 1972, when Moman shut down the studio and moved the entire operation to Atlanta. Utilizing extensive interviews with Moman and the group, as well as additional comments from the songwriters, sound engineers, and office staff, author Roben Jones creates a collective biography combined with a business history and a critical analysis of important recordings. She reveals how the personalities of the core group meshed, how they regarded newcomers, and how their personal and musical philosophies blended with Moman's vision to create timeless music based on themes of suffering and sorrow. Recording sessions with Elvis Presley, the Gentrys, Aretha Franklin, Wilson Pickett, the Box Tops, Joe Tex, Neil Diamond, B. J. Thomas, Dionne Warwick, and many others come alive in this book. Jones provides the stories behind memorable songs composed by group writers, such as "The Letter," "Dark End of the Street," "Do Right Woman," "Breakfast in Bed," and "You Were Always on My Mind." Featuring photographs, personal profiles, and a suggested listening section, Memphis Boys details a significant phase of American music and the impact of one studio.
Mississippi John Hurt: His Life, His Times, His Blues
Publication Date: 2011-06-06
When Mississippi John Hurt (1892-1966) was "rediscovered" by blues revivalists in 1963, his musicianship and recordings transformed popular notions of prewar country blues. At seventy-one he moved to Washington, D.C., from Avalon, Mississippi, and became a live-wire connection to a powerful, authentic past. His intricate and lively style made him the most sought after musician among the many talents the revival brought to light. Mississippi John Hurt provides this legendary creator's life story for the first time. Biographer Philip Ratcliffe traces Hurt's roots to the moment his mother Mary Jane McCain and his father Isom Hurt were freed from slavery. Anecdotes from Hurt's childhood and teenage years include the destiny-making moment when his mother purchased his first guitar for $1.50 when he was only nine years old. Stories from his neighbors and friends, from both of his wives, and from his extended family round out the community picture of Avalon. U.S. census records, Hurt's first marriage record in 1916, images of his first autographed LP record, and excerpts from personal letters written in his own hand provide treasures for fans. Ratcliffe details Hurt's musical influences and the origins of his style and repertoire. The author also relates numerous stories from the time of his success, drawing on published sources and many hours of interviews with people who knew Hurt well, including the late Jerry Ricks, Pat Sky, Stefan Grossman and Max Ochs, Dick Spottswood, and the late Mike Stewart. In addition, some of the last photographs taken of the legendary musician are featured for the first time in Mississippi John Hurt.
MuzikMafia: From the Local Nashville Scene to the National
Publication Date: 2010-04-12
In October 2001, an unlikely gathering of musicians calling itself the MuzikMafia took place at the Pub of Love in Nashville, Tennessee. "We had all been beat up pretty good by the 'industry' and we told ourselves, if nothing else, we might as well be playing muzik," explains Big Kenny of Big and Rich. For the next year and a half, the MuzikMafia performed each week and garnered an ever-growing, dedicated fan base. Five years, several national tours, six Grammy nominations, and eleven million sold albums later, the MuzikMafia now includes a family of artists including founding members Big and Rich, Jon Nicholson, and Cory Gierman along with Gretchen Wilson, Cowboy Troy, James Otto, Shannon Lawson, Damien Horne (Mista D), Two-Foot Fred, Rachel Kice, and several more in development. This book explores how a set of shared beliefs created a bond that transformed the MuzikMafia into a popular music phenomenon. David B. Pruett examines the artists' coalition from the inside perspective he gained in five years of working with them. Looking at all aspects of the collective, MuzikMafia documents the problems encountered along the ascent, including business difficulties, tensions among members, disagreements with record labels, and miscalculations artists inevitably made before the MuzikMafia unofficially dissolved in 2008. A final section examines hope for the future: the birth of Mafia Nation in 2009.
Negotiating Difference in French Louisiana Music9781628461459
Publication Date: 2014-12-19
Sara Le Menestrel explores the role of music in constructing, asserting, erasing, and negotiating differences based on the notions of race, ethnicity, class, and region. She discusses established notions and brings to light social stereotypes and hierarchies at work in the evolving French Louisiana music field. She also draws attention to the interactions between oppositions such as black and white, urban and rural, differentiation and creolization, and local and global. Le Menestrel emphasizes the importance of desegregating the understanding of French Louisiana music and situating it beyond ethnic or racial identifications, amplifying instead the importance of regional identity. Musical genealogy and categories currently in use rely on a racial construct that frames African and European lineage as an essential difference. Yet as the author samples music in the field and discovers ways music is actually practiced, she reveals how the insistence on origins continually interacts with an emphasis on cultural mixing and creative agency. This book finds French Louisiana musicians navigating between multiple identifications, musical styles, and legacies while market forces, outsiders' interest, and geographical mobility also contribute to shape musicians' career strategies and artistic choices. The book also demonstrates the decisive role of non-natives' enthusiasm and mobility in the validation, evolution, and reconfiguration of French Louisiana music. Finally, the distinctiveness of South Louisiana from the rest of the country appears to be both nurtured and endured by locals, revealing how political domination and regionalism intertwine.
Prophet Singer: The Voice and Vision of Woody Guthrie.
Publication Date: 2007-01-01
This intelligent and thoroughly researched text examines the cultural and political significance of the words and music of folk singer Woodrow Wilson 'Woody' Guthrie.
Quincy Jones His Life in Music
Publication Date: 2013-10-07
Quincy Jones (b. 1933) is one of the most prolific composers, arrangers, bandleaders, producers, and humanitarians in American music history and the recording and film industries. Among pop music fans he is perhaps most famous for producing Michael Jackson's album, Thriller. Clarence Bernard Henry focuses on the life, music, career, and legacy of Jones within the social, cultural, historical, and artistic context of American, African American, popular, and world music traditions. Jones's career has spanned over sixty years, generating a substantial body of work with over five hundred compositions and arrangements. The author focuses on this material as well as many of Jones's accomplishments: performing as a young trumpeter in the bands of Lionel Hampton and Dizzy Gillespie, becoming the first African American to hold an executive position in the competitive white-owned recording industry, breaking racial barriers as a composer in the Hollywood film and television industries, producing the best-selling album of all time, and receiving numerous Grammy Awards. The author also discusses many of Jones's compositions, arrangements, and recordings and his compositional study in France with legendary teacher Nadia Boulanger. In addition, details are provided about Jones's distinct ability as one of the most innovative composers and arrangers who incorporates many different styles of music, techniques, and creative ideas in his compositions, arrangements, and film scores. He collaborated with an array of musicians and groups such as Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, Miles Davis, Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughan, Frank Sinatra, Clifford Brown, Ray Charles, Michael Jackson, USA for Africa, and many others. Clarence Bernard Henry shows how Jones has, throughout his career, wholeheartedly embraced philosophies of globalization and cultural diversity in his body of work, collaborations, humanitarian projects, and musical creativity.
Ragged but Right : Black Traveling Shows, "Coon Songs," and the Dark Pathway to Blues and Jazz
Publication Date: 2007-01-25
The commercial explosion of ragtime in the early twentieth century created previously unimagined opportunities for black performers. However, every prospect was mitigated by systemic racism. The biggest hits of the ragtime era weren't Scott Joplin's stately piano rags. "Coon songs," with their ugly name, defined ragtime for the masses, and played a transitional role in the commercial ascendancy of blues and jazz. In Ragged but Right, now in paperback, Lynn Abbott and Doug Seroff investigate black musical comedy productions, sideshow bands, and itinerant tented minstrel shows. Ragtime history is crowned by the "big shows," the stunning musical comedy successes of Williams and Walker, Bob Cole, and Ernest Hogan. Under the big tent of Tolliver's Smart Set, Ma Rainey, Clara Smith, and others were converted from "coon shouters" to "blues singers." Throughout the ragtime era and into the era of blues and jazz, circuses and Wild West shows exploited the popular demand for black music and culture, yet segregated and subordinated black performers to the sideshow tent. Not to be confused with their nineteenth-century white predecessors, black, tented minstrel shows such as the Rabbit's Foot and Silas Green from New Orleans provided blues and jazz-heavy vernacular entertainment that black southern audiences identified with and took pride in.
Richard Dyer-Bennet : The Last Minstrel
Publication Date: 2009-10-07
In the 1940s and '50s, Richard Dyer-Bennet (1913-1991) was among the best known and most respected folk singers in America. Paul O. Jenkins tells, for the first time, the story of Dyer-Bennet, often referred to as the "Twentieth-Century Minstrel." Dyer-Bennet's approach to singing sounded almost foreign to many American listeners. The folk artist followed a musical tradition in danger of dying out. The Swede Sven Scholander was the last European proponent of minstrelsy and served as Dyer-Bennet's inspiration after the young singer traveled to Stockholm to meet him one year before Scholander's death. Dyer-Bennet's achievements were many. Nine years after his meeting with Scholander, he became the first solo performer of his kind to appear in Carnegie Hall. This book argues Dyer-Bennet helped pave the way for the folk boom of the mid-1950s and early 1960s, finding his influence in the work of Joan Baez, Judy Collins, and many others. It also posits strong evidence that Dyer-Bennet would certainly be much better known today had his career not been interrupted midstream by the anticommunist, Red-scare blacklist and its ban on his performances. .
Sam Myers: The Blues Is My Story
Publication Date: 2006-09-11
Sam Myers: The Blues Is My Story recounts the life of bluesman Sam Myers (1936-2006), as told in his own words to author Jeff Horton. Myers grew up visually handicapped in the Jim Crow South and left home to attend the state school for the blind at Piney Woods. Myers's intense desire to become a musician and a scholarship from the American Conservatory School of Music called him to Chicago. There in 1952 he joined Elmore James's band as a drummer and was featured on some of James's best-known recordings. Following the elder bluesman's death in 1963, Myers fronted bands of his own and recorded many well-received singles and albums. In 1986, Myers became the W. C. Handy Award-winning front man, vocalist, and harmonica player for Anson Funderburgh and the Rockets. Throughout the book, Myers provides a historical context to a bygone era of the blues and reveals his own thoughts and feelings about the musicians with whom he played. And they are a list of who's who in the blues-Muddy Waters, Howlin' Wolf, Little Walter, Hound Dog Taylor, and Robert Lockwood Junior in addition to Elmore James. In one chapter Myers describes a personalized deeper meaning to the blues. And in another he relates a series of anecdotes about the lighter side of life on the road. Contributions from Myers's father and stories from a boyhood friend round out the narrative. Dallas musician Brian "Hash Brown" Calway dissects the more technical aspects of Myers's harmonica style. Long-time friend and bandmate, Anson Funderburgh, weighs in with a chapter about their songwriting methods and offers some of his own recollections on their twenty years together. An award-winning and prolific musician and singer Sam Myers wrote and recorded what was to be his most famous single, "Sleeping in the Ground," in 1956. He toured all over the U.S. and around the world with Anson Funderburgh and the Rockets. Jeff Horton is a blues musician and journalist active in the Texas blues scene. His work has been published in Southwest Blues magazine.
Scotty and Elvis : Aboard the Mystery Train
Publication Date: 2013-06-03
When Elvis Presley first showed up at Sam Phillips's Memphis-based Sun Records studio, he was a shy teenager in search of a sound. Phillips invited a local guitarist named Scotty Moore to stand in. Scotty listened carefully to the young singer and immediately realized that Elvis had something special. Along with bass player Bill Black, the trio recorded an old blues number called "That's All Right, Mama." It turned out to be Elvis's first single and the defining record of his early style, with a trilling guitar hook that swirled country and blues together and minted a sound with unforgettable appeal. Its success launched a whirlwind of touring, radio appearances, and Elvis's first break into movies. Scotty was there every step of the way as both guitarist and manager, until Elvis's new manager, Colonel Tom Parker, pushed him out. Scotty and Elvis would not perform together again until the classic 1968 "comeback" television special. Scotty never saw Elvis after that. With both Bill Black and Elvis gone, Scotty Moore is the only one left to tell the story of how Elvis and Scotty transformed popular music and how Scotty created the sound that became a prototype for so many rock guitarists to follow. Thoroughly updated, this edition delivers guitarist Scotty Moore's story as never before
Shreveport Sounds in Black and White
Publication Date: 2008-01-15
To borrow words from Stan "The Record Man" Lewis, Shreveport, Louisiana, is one of this nation's most important "regional-sound cities." Its musical distinctiveness has been shaped by individuals and ensembles, record label and radio station owners, announcers and disc jockeys, club owners and sound engineers, music journalists and musicians. The area's output cannot be described by a single genre or style. Rather, its music is a kaleidoscope of country, blues, R&B, rockabilly, and rock. Shreveport Sounds in Black and White presents that evolution in a collection of scholarly and popular writing that covers institutions and people who nurtured the musical life of the city and surroundings. The contributions of icons like Leadbelly and Hank Williams, and such lesser-known names as Taylor-Griggs Melody Makers and Eddie Giles come to light. New writing explores the famed Louisiana Hay-ride, musicians Jimmie Davis and Dale Hawkins, local disc jockey "Dandy Don\" Logan, and KWKH studio sound engineer Bob Sullivan. With glimpses into the lives of original creators, Shreveport Sounds in Black and White reveals the mix that emerges from the ongoing interaction between the city's black and white musicians.
Songs of Sorrow : Lucy McKim Garrison and Slave Songs of the United States
Publication Date: 2015-04-29
In the spring of 1862, Lucy McKim, the nineteen-year-old daughter of a Philadelphia abolitionist Quaker family, traveled with her father to the Sea Islands of South Carolina to aid him in his efforts to organize humanitarian aid for thousands of newly freed slaves. During her stay she heard the singing of the slaves in their churches, as they rowed their boats from island to island, and as they worked and played. Already a skilled musician, she determined to preserve as much of the music as she could, quickly writing down words and melodies, some of them only fleeting improvisations. Upon her return to Philadelphia, she began composing musical settings for the songs and in the fall of 1862 published the first serious musical arrangements of slave songs. She also wrote about the musical characteristics of slave songs, and published, in a leading musical journal of the time, the first article to discuss what she had witnessed. In Songs of Sorrow renowned music scholar Samuel Charters tells McKim's personal story. Letters reveal the story of young women's lives during the harsh years of the war. At the same time that her arrangements of the songs were being published, a man with whom she had an unofficial "attachment" was killed in battle, and the war forced her to temporarily abandon her work. In 1865 she married Wendell Phillips Garrison, son of abolitionist William Lloyd Garrison, and in the early months of their marriage she proposed that they turn to the collection of slave songs that had long been her dream. She and her husband--a founder and literary editor of the recently launched journal The Nation--enlisted the help of two associates who had also collected songs in the Sea Islands. Their book, Slave Songs of the United States, appeared in 1867. After a long illness, ultimately ending in paralysis, she died at the age of thirty-four in 1877. This book reclaims the story of a pioneer in ethnomusicology, one whose influential work affected the Fisk Jubilee Singers and many others.
Soul of the Man: Bobby "Blue" Bland
Publication Date: 2011-02-07
Bobby "Blue" Bland's silky smooth vocal style and captivating live performances helped propel the blues out of Delta juke joints and into urban clubs and upscale theaters. Until now, his story has never been told in a book-length biography. Soul of the Man: Bobby "Blue" Bland relates how Bland, along with longtime friend B. B. King, and other members of the loosely knit group who called themselves the Beale Streeters, forged a new electrified blues style in Memphis in the early 1950s. Combining elements of Delta blues, southern gospel, big-band jazz, and country and western music, Bland and the Beale Streeters were at the heart of a revolution. This biography traces Bland's life and recording career, from his earliest work through his first big hit in 1957, "Farther Up the Road." It goes on to tell the story of how Bland scored hit after hit, placing more than sixty songs on the R&B charts throughout the 1960s, '70s, and '80s. While more than two-thirds of his hits crossed over onto pop charts, Bland is surprisingly not widely known outside the African American community. Nevertheless, many of his recordings are standards, and he has created scores of hit albums such as his classic 1961 Two Steps from the Blues, widely considered one of the best blues albums of all time. Soul of the Man contains a select discography of the most significant recordings made by Bland, as well as a list of all his major awards. A four-time Grammy nominee, he received Lifetime Achievement Awards from the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences and the Blues Foundation, as well as the Rhythm & Blues Foundation's Pioneer Award. He was also inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the Blues Foundation's Hall of Fame. This biography at last heralds one of America's great music makers.
Southern Fiddlers and Fiddle Contests
Publication Date: 2008-10-22
Southern Fiddlers and Fiddle Contests explores the phenomenon of American fiddle contests, which now have replaced dances as the main public event where American fiddlers get together. Chris Goertzen studies this change and what it means for audiences, musicians, traditions, and the future of southern fiddle music. Goertzen traces fiddling and fiddle contests from mid-eighteenth-century Scotland to the modern United States. He takes the reader on journeys to the important large contests, such as those in Hallettville, Texas; Galax, Virginia; Weiser, Idaho; and also to smaller ones, including his favorite in Athens, Alabama. He reveals what happens on stage and during such off-stage activities as camping, jamming, and socializing, which many fiddlers consider much more important than the competition. Through multiple interviews, Goertzen also reveals the fiddlers' lives as told in their own words. The reader learns how and in what environments these fiddlers started playing, where they perform today, how they teach, what they think of contests, and what values they believe fiddling supports. Southern Fiddlers and Fiddle Contests shows how such contests have become living embodiments of American nostalgia.
Swamp Pop : Cajun and Creole Rhythm and Blues
Publication Date: 1996-09-01
Music of Louisiana was at the heart of rock-and-roll in the 1950s. Most fans know that Jerry Lee Lewis, one of the icons, sprang out of Ferriday, Louisiana, in the middle of delta country and that along with Carl Perkins and Elvis Presley he was one of the very first of these "white boys playing black music." The genre was profoundly influenced by New Orleans, a launch pad for major careers, such as Little Richard's and Fats Domino's. The untold "rest of the story" is the story of swamp pop, a form of Louisiana music more recognized by its practitioners and their hits than by a definition. What is it? What true rock enthusiasts don't know some of its most important artists? Dale and Grace ("I'm leaving It Up to You"), Phil Phillips ("Sea of Love"), Joe Barry ("I'm a Fool to Care"), Cooke and the Cupcakes ("Mathilda"), Jimmy Clanton ("Just a Dream), Johnny Preston ("Runnin' Bear"), Rod Bernard ("This Should Go on Forever"), and Bobby Charles ("Later, Alligator")? There were many others just as important within the region. Drawing on more than fifty interviews with swamp pop musicians in South Louisiana and East Texas, Swamp Pop: Cajun and Creole Rhythm and Blues finds the roots of this often overlooked, sometimes derided sister genre of the wildly popular Cajun and zydeco music. In this first book to be devoted entirely to swamp pop, Shane K. Bernard uncovers the history of this hybrid form invented in the 1950s by teenage Cajuns and black Creoles. They put aside the fiddle and accordion of their parents' traditional French music to learn the electric guitar and bass, saxophone, upright piano, and modern drumming trap sets of big-city rhythm-and-blues. Their new sound interwove country-and-western and rhythm-and-blues with the exciting elements of their rural Cajun and Creole heritage. In the 1950s and 1960s American juke boxes and music charts were studded with swamp pop favorites.
Talking New Orleans Music: Crescent City Musicians Talk about Their Lives, Their Music, and Their City
Publication Date: 2015-10-23
In New Orleans, music screams. It honks. It blats. It wails. It purrs. It messes with time. It messes with pitch. It messes with your feet. It messes with your head. One musician leads to another; traditions overlap, intertwine, nourish each other; and everyone seems to know everyone else. From traditional jazz through rhythm and blues and rock 'n' roll to sissy bounce, in second-line parades, from the streets to clubs and festivals, the music seems unending. In Talking New Orleans Music, author Burt Feintuch has pursued a decades-long fascination with the music of this singular city. Thinking about the devastation--not only material but also cultural--caused by the levees breaking in 2005, he began a series of conversations with master New Orleans musicians, talking about their lives, the cultural contexts of their music, their experiences during and after Katrina, and their city. Photographer Gary Samson joined him, adding a compelling visual dimension to the book. Here you will find intimate and revealing interviews with eleven of the city's most celebrated musicians and culture-bearers--Soul Queen Irma Thomas, Walter "Wolfman" Washington, Charmaine Neville, John Boutt#65533;, Dr. Michael White, Deacon John Moore, Cajun bandleader Bruce Daigrepont, Zion Harmonizer Brazella Briscoe, producer Scott Billington, as well as Christie Jourdain and Janine Waters of the Original Pinettes, New Orleans's only all-woman brass band. Feintuch's interviews and Samson's sixty-five color photographs create a powerful portrait of an American place like no other and its worlds of music.
That's Got 'Em!: The Life and Music of Wilbur C. Sweatman
Publication Date: 2010-01-15
Wilbur C. Sweatman (1882-1961) is one of the most important, yet unheralded, African American musicians involved in the transition of ragtime into jazz in the early twentieth century. In That's Got 'Em!, Mark Berresford tracks this energetic pioneer over a seven-decade career. His talent transformed every genre of black music before the advent of rock and roll--"pickaninny" bands, minstrelsy, circus sideshows, vaudeville (both black and white), night clubs, and cabarets. Sweatman was the first African American musician to be offered a long-term recording contract, and he dazzled listeners with jazz clarinet solos before the Original Dixieland Jazz Band's so-called "first jazz records." Sweatman toured the vaudeville circuit for over twenty years and presented African American music to white music lovers without resorting to the hitherto obligatory "plantation" costumes and blackface makeup. His bands were a fertile breeding ground of young jazz talent, featuring such future stars as Duke Ellington, Coleman Hawkins, and Jimmie Lunceford. Sweatman subsequently played pioneering roles in radio and recording production. His high profile and sterling reputation in both the black and white entertainment communities made him a natural choice for administering the estate of Scott Joplin and other notable black performers and composers. That's Got 'Em! is the first full-length biography of this pivotal figure in black popular culture, providing a compelling account of his life and times.
The Beat!: Go-Go Music from Washington, D.C.
Publication Date: 2009-07-22
The Beat! was the first book to explore the musical, social, and cultural phenomenon of go-go music. In this new edition, updated by a substantial chapter on the current scene, authors Kip Lornell and Charles C. Stephenson, Jr., place go-go within black popular music made since the middle 1970s--a period during which hip-hop has predominated. This styling reflects the District's African American heritage. Its super-charged drumming and vocal combinations of hip-hop, funk, and soul evolved and still thrive on the streets of Washington, D.C., and in neighboring Prince George's County, making it the most geographically compact form of popular music. Go-go--the only musical form indigenous to Washington, D.C.--features a highly syncopated, nonstop beat and vocals that are spoken as well as sung. The book chronicles its development and ongoing popularity, focusing on many of its key figures and institutions, including established acts such as Chuck Brown (the Godfather of Go-Go), Experience Unlimited, Rare Essence, and Trouble Funk; well-known DJs, managers, and promoters; and filmmakers who have incorporated it into their work. Now updated and back in print, The Beat! provides longtime fans and those who study American musical forms a definitive look at the music and its makers.
The Jazz Image: Seeing Music through Herman Leonard's Photography
Publication Date: 2010-06-07
Typically a photograph of a jazz musician has several formal prerequisites: black and white film, an urban setting in the mid-twentieth century, and a black man standing, playing, or sitting next to his instrument. That's the jazz archetype that photography created. Author K. Heather Pinson discovers how such a steadfast script developed visually and what this convention meant for the music. Album covers, magazines, books, documentaries, art photographs, posters, and various other visual extensions of popular culture formed the commonly held image of the jazz player. Through assimilation, there emerged a generalized composite of how mainstream jazz looked and sounded. Pinson evaluates representations of jazz musicians from 1945 to 1959, concentrating on the seminal role played by Herman Leonard (b. 1923). Leonard's photographic depictions of African American jazz musicians in New York not only created a visual template of a black musician of the 1950s, but also became the standard configuration of the music's neoclassical sound today. To discover how the image of the musician affected mainstream jazz, Pinson examines readings from critics, musicians, and educators, as well as interviews, musical scores, recordings, transcriptions, liner notes, and oral narratives.
The Music of Multicultural America: Performance, Identity, and Community in the United States
Publication Date: 2016-01-04
The Music of Multicultural America explores the intersection of performance, identity, and community in a wide range of musical expressions. Fifteen essays explore traditions that range from the Klezmer revival in New York, to Arab music in Detroit, to West Indian steelbands in Brooklyn, to Kathak music and dance in California, to Irish music in Boston, to powwows in the midwestern plains, to Hispanic and native musics of the Southwest borderlands. Many chapters demonstrate the processes involved in supporting, promoting, and reviving community music. Others highlight the ways in which such American institutions as city festivals or state and national folklife agencies come into play. Thirteen themes and processes outlined in the introduction unify the collection's fifteen case studies and suggest organizing frameworks for student projects. Due to the diversity of music profiled in the book--Mexican mariachi, African American gospel, Asian West Coast jazz, women's punk, French-American Cajun, and Anglo-American sacred harp--and to the methodology of fieldwork, ethnography, and academic activism described by the authors, the book is perfect for courses in ethnomusicology, world music, anthropology, folklore, and American studies. Audio and visual materials that support each chapter are freely available on the ATMuse website, supported by the Archives of Traditional Music at Indiana University.
The Poetics of American Song Lyrics
Publication Date: 2011-12-19
The Poetics of American Song Lyrics is the first collection of academic essays that regards songs as literature and that identifies intersections between the literary histories of poems and songs. The essays by well-known poets and scholars including Pulitzer Prize winner Claudia Emerson, Peter Guralnick, Adam Bradley, David Kirby, Kevin Young, and many others, locate points of synthesis and separation so as to better understand both genres and their crafts. The essayists share a desire to write on lyrics in a way that moves beyond sociological, historical, and autobiographical approaches and explicates songs in relation to poetics. Unique to this volume, the essays focus not on a single genre but on folk, rap, hip hop, country, rock, indie, soul, and blues. The first section of the book provides a variety of perspectives on the poetic history and techniques within songs and poems, and the second section focuses on a few prominent American songwriters such as Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, and Michael Stipe. Through conversational yet in-depth analyses of songs, the essays discuss sonnet forms, dramatic monologues, Modernism, ballads, blues poems, confessionalism, Language poetry, Keatsian odes, unreliable narrators, personas, poetic sequences, rhythm, rhyme, transcription methods, the writing process, and more. While the strategies of explication differ from essay to essay, the nexus of each piece is an unveiling of the poetic history and poetic techniques within songs.
The Starday Story: The House That Country Music Built.
Publication Date: 2011-01-20
The Starday Story: The House That Country Music Built is the first book entirely dedicated to one of the most influential music labels of the twentieth century. In addition to creating the largest bluegrass catalogue throughout the 1950s and '60s, Starday was also known for its legendary rockabilly catalogue, an extensive Texas honky-tonk outpouring, classic gospel and sacred recordings, and as a Nashville independent powerhouse studio and label. Written with label president and co-founder Don Pierce, this book traces the label's origins in 1953 through the 1968 Starday-King merger. Interviews with artists and their families, employees, and Pierce contribute to the stories behind famous hit songs, including "Y'all Come," "A Satisfied Mind," "Why Baby Why," "Giddy-up Go," "Alabam," and many others. Gibson's research and interviews also shed new light on the musical careers of George Jones, Arlie Duff, Willie Nelson, Roger Miller, the Stanley Brothers, Cowboy Copas, Red Sovine, and countless other Starday artists. Conversations with the children of Pappy Daily and Jack Starns provide a unique perspective on the early days of Starday, and extensive interviews with Pierce offer an insider glance at the country music industry during its golden era. Weathering through the storm of rock and roll and, later, the Nashville Sound, Starday was a home to traditional country musicians and became one of the most successful independent labels in American history. Ultimately, The Starday Story is the definitive record of a country music label that played an integral role in preserving our nation's musical heritage.
To Do This, You Must Know How: Music Pedagogy in the Black Gospel Quartet Tradition
Publication Date: 2013-02-01
To Do This, You Must Know How traces black vocal music instruction and inspiration from the halls of Fisk University to the mining camps of Birmingham and Bessemer, Alabama, and on to Chicago and New Orleans. In the 1870s, the Original Fisk University Jubilee Singers successfully combined Negro spirituals with formal choral music disciplines, and established a permanent bond between spiritual singing and music education. Early in the twentieth century there were countless initiatives in support of black vocal music training conducted on both national and local levels. The surge in black religious quartet singing that occurred in the 1920s owed much to this vocal music education movement. In Bessemer, Alabama, the effect of school music instruction was magnified by the emergence of community-based quartet trainers who translated the spirit and substance of the music education movement for the inhabitants of working-class neighborhoods. These trainers adapted standard musical precepts, traditional folk practices, and popular music conventions to create something new and vital Bessemer's musical values directly influenced the early development of gospel quartet singing in Chicago and New Orleans through the authority of emigrant trainers whose efforts bear witness to the effectiveness of "trickle down" black music education. A cappella gospel quartets remained prominent well into the 1950s, but by the end of the century the close harmony aesthetic had fallen out of practice, and the community-based trainers who were its champions had virtually disappeared, foreshadowing the end of this remarkable musical tradition.
Waltz the Hall: The American Play Party
Publication Date: 2005-02-11
What did young people do for diversion and socialization in communities that banned most dancing and considered the fiddle to be the devil's instrument? The American play party was the fundamentalist's answer. Here the singing was a cappella, the dancers followed prescribed steps, and arm and elbow swings would be the only touching. The play party was a popular form of American folk entertainment that included songs, dances, and sometimes games. Though based upon European and English antecedents, play parties were truly an American phenomenon, first mentioned in print in 1837. The last play parties were performed in the 1950s. Though documented in rural and frontier areas throughout the United States, they seem to have been most popular and lasted the longest in the rural South and Midwest. "Skip to My Lou" and "Pig in a Parlor" are still sung today but without the movements and games. This is the first book since the 1930s to study this important and little-remembered phenomenon of American folk culture. The author interviewed a large number of Americans, both black and white, who performed play parties as young adults. Many of our parents and grandparents experienced these events, which harken back to a time when people created their own forms of entertainment. Today play parties are an important source of song and movement material for elementary-school-age children. A songbook of ninety musical examples and lyrics completes the picture of this vanished tradition. Alan L. Spurgeon, Oxford, Mississippi, is associate professor of music at the University of Mississippi. He is the editor of Pig in the Parlor and Twenty Other Authentic Play Parties, and his work has appeared in several music-related periodicals.