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Work Songs – devised in the United States in the 1600s plantations and prisons – told a simple story – heavy accents – call-response – good work-song leaders.

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Presentation on theme: "Work Songs – devised in the United States in the 1600s plantations and prisons – told a simple story – heavy accents – call-response – good work-song leaders."— Presentation transcript:

1 Work Songs – devised in the United States in the 1600s plantations and prisons – told a simple story – heavy accents – call-response – good work-song leaders were in demand The Blues

2 The Blues Time Line Country (or Rural) Blues: – (most active period) City Blues: – (most active period) Rhythm and Blues: – present (most active period) Rock and Roll: – 1952/3 - present (most active period)

3 Country Blues blues is the root and foundation of jazz country blues were developed at the same time as the work song earliest blues songs were sung by itinerant male singers in the South and Southwest informal, unrestrained, improvised songs were basic: – sex – love – poverty – death

4 developed into a 12-measure (bar) format containing 3 equal phrases (ABA) 5 major characteristics of Country Blues – 1. Unsophisticated lyrics and uncomplicated chords – 2. Uses blue notes and personal inflection in the vocal line – 3. Free from any traditional rhythmic restrictions – 4. Relies on only a few harmonies per verse – 5. Conveys a feeling of simplicity and personal identity Country Blues

5 – Unsophisticated lyrics and uncomplicated chords – blue notes bending notes away from their original pitch based on African tonal scales fundamental blues scale contains only 7 notes – singers also growl, slide, swallow the sound – freedom from traditional rhythmic restrictions – take many liberties with the rhythm – add or drop a beat – Free to sing as the lyrics move the singer Blues Characteristics

6 pronounced harmonic and textural repetition – repetition gives the blues its solid structure – the three chords (I-IV-V) creates three equal phrases – 1st phrase introduces a statement – 2nd phrase repeats – 3rd phrase answers the first two – three phrases combine to make one verse feeling of simplicity and personal identity – vocal inflections (fills between phrases) – often called primitive or undeveloped – Technique still used by Ray Charles and B. B. King Blues Characteristics

7 Hellhound on my Trail Intro to Jazz disc 1 track 2 I got to keep movin. Blues fallin down like hail. I cant keep no money with a hellhound on my trail. If today was Christmas eve, and tomorrow Christmas day, I would need my little sweet rider just to pass the time away. You sprinkled hot-foot powder all around my door. It keeps me with a ramblin mind, rider, every old place I go. I can tell the wind is risin, the leaves tremblin on the tree. All I need is my little sweet woman to keep me company.

8 Robert Johnson 1912 (?)

9 born in Copiah County, Mississippi Mother: Julia Majors; Father: Noah Johnson Mother already had 9 children by her husband, Charlie Dodds known as Johnson, Dodds or Spencer grew up near Robinsonville, Mississippi attracted to blues musicians played blues harp (harmonica)

10 learned guitar in six months (bargain with devil?) played slide (broken bottle) teamed up with Johnny Shines for two years 1936; Earnie Oertle, American Record Company five recording sessions - 29 blues masterpieces received several hundred dollars dies in 1938, poisoned, age 26 Robert Johnson 1912 (?)


12 City Blues 12-bar format beginnings in minstrel and vaudeville shows sung from a stage accompanied by other performers sung mostly by women refined and sophisticated

13 Country Blues City Blues Sparse, usually a single guitar Quite free Earthy, dwelling on hardships of the downtrodden Undeveloped, but highly expressive Several instruments and/or piano Rigidly controlled by 12- bar structure Sophisticated, mature observations on love, verses carefully constructed to fit rhythm and meter Refined and carefully considered material

14 blues dialogue a distant relative of call and response Bessie Smith sings verse Armstrong plays background and fills vocal part is written out fills are improvised somewhat different than usual 12-bar blues – (AABC) no rhythm instruments - no drums or bass St. Louis Blues

15 .00 Introduction of one chord.05 1st chorus, 1st phrase: vocal.15 Cornet answers and continues as accompaniment, filling after each phrase.20 2nd phrase: relaxed lay-back style.35 3rd phrase: completes 12 measures; the fill is built on an expanding interval.50 2nd chorus, 1st phrase: same melody, dialogue continues; the cornet helps define the harmony and supplies the rhythm between the vocal phrases rd chorus, 1st phrase: new chord progression nd phrase rd phrase th phrase: completes 16 measures th chorus, 1st phrase: cornet harmonizes with the vocal part, voice becomes more aggressive, using a slight throat-growl effect 3.05 end St. Louis Blues

16 Bessie Smith (1894? )

17 born April 15, 1894 or 1898 discovered by Lonnie and Cora Fisher or Ma Rainey made 160 phonograph records between thought by John Hammond to have been the greatest American Jazz Artist John Hammond

18 father died when she was very young, mother when she was 9 sang on street corners to support the family age 18 professional dancer met Ma Rainey - the Mother of the Blues moved from chorus to featured singer vaudeville and minstrel for 11 years booked by the Theater Owners Booking Association (TOBA) Bessie Smith (1894? )

19 first records produced by Frank Walker Walker headed Columbia Records race department recorded Down-hearted Blues and Gulf Coast Blues in sold 780,000 copies in 6 months contract with Columbia for $20,000 per year made $2500 per week for personal appearances 1923 married Jack Gee Bessie Smith (1894? )

20 career on the downslide – economy – talking movies – blues not as popular – TOBA folded – voice deepened and roughened 1930 contract with Columbia cut in half 1931 dropped by Columbia left Gee and moved in with Richard Morgan Bessie Smith (1894? )

21 easily converted to the new swing style great back-up musicians – Jack Teagarden (trombone) – Chu Berry (saxophone) – Benny Goodman (clarinet) died on Sept. 27, 1937 in Clarksdale, Miss. following a car accident buried in an unmarked grave in Sharon Hill, Penn. in 1970 a marker was placed (paid for by Janis Joplin, John Hammond and others) Bessie Smith (1894? )

22 Ma Rainey

23 born Gertrude Malissa Nix Pridgett in Columbus, GA cabaret singer husband, Pa Rainey, member of Rabbit Foot Minstrels recorded for Paramount in 1923 one of the most popular city blues vocal stylists no recordings after 1930 died in Rome, GA 1939

24 Ma Rainey

25 The Blues Continues interest began to decline in 1935 served as basis for – rhythm and blues (R & B) 1940s – rock n roll 1950s – rock groups 1960s and 1970s – recent country western, fusion and contemporary gospel styles Human misery continues to be the theme boosted in the 1950s and 1960s by Chuck Berry and Fats Domino as well as The Drifters, Bill Haley, and Elvis

26 Muddy Waters

27 Muddy Waters (McKinley Morganfield) born in Rolling Fork, Miss. April 4, 1915 played harmonica and sang discovered by Alan Lomax first recordings for the Library of Congress and later for the Aristocrat label his recording Rollin Stone inspired Bob Dylans Like a Rolling Stone which led to the naming of the British rock group and the title of a periodical not able to make the transition to pop

28 B. B. King

29 the musician who most influenced rock guitarists Riley B. King (Blues Boy) Lucille cannot sing and play at the same time call-response technique most famous disciple is Eric Clapton video

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