Presentation on theme: "GLST 490 – Days 9-10 Blues, Rhythm and Blues, and Rock 'n Roll Source: Google Images References to voodoo (hoodoo) in blues lyrics: Mojo, mojo hand, John."— Presentation transcript:
GLST 490 – Days 9-10 Blues, Rhythm and Blues, and Rock 'n Roll Source: Google Images References to voodoo (hoodoo) in blues lyrics: Mojo, mojo hand, John da Conqueroo, black cat, black cat bone, goofer dust, jinx, hotfoot powder, conjure bags, nation dust…
Housekeeping Items Be sure to check out the events at International Development Week this week (see flyer). I’m passing around the folder with a new article: apparently, heavy metal (Metallica) and industrial music (Skinny Puppy) have been used to torture prisoners at Guatanamo Bay. datenamegenre Feb. 4 Wayne Contemporary Korean Feb. 6 Feb. 11 Feb. 13 Feb. 18 Max Post-rock? Feb. 20 Mar. 4 Rochelle Folk (early Dylan era?) Mar. 6 Linda Celtic Mar. 11 Doug; Steve Metal; TBA Mar, 13 Kate; Tomson TBA; house Mar. 18 Sam country Mar. 20 Kim TBA Who’s missing besides Vanessa and Gillian?
Blues/ Rhythm and Blues You have already heard quite a bit about the origins of the blues through the reading and “Cadillac Records.” The urban blues that we associate with Chess Records featured artists who had migrated from the rural south where they worked on white-owned plantations as agricultural workers. The sounds we associate with the blues can also be found in West Africa (places like Mali, as opposed to the Congo: and major musicians there have also been influenced by American blues. For Ali Farka Touré, it was John Lee Hooker. For his son, Jimi Hendrix. A major outlet were the juke joints where people got together and partied on the weekends and drank a lot (legal or illegal booze). They were usually entertained by one or two musicians – often singing guitar players like the legendary Robert Johnson.
Blues/ Rhythm and Blues Legend has it that Johnson sold his soul to the devil at a rural crossroads at midnight in order to earn his prodigious abilities on the guitar. He didn't live past 27. He was said to have been poisoned by the jealous husband of a woman he was carrying on with, by means of a strychnine-laced bottle of whiskey. He influenced generations of blues musicians, and Cream (Eric Clapton) and the Rolling Stones played popular covers of his songs (“Crossroads” and “Love in Vain,” respectively). Here are two clips: 4sa9A and 4B3oY. 4sa9A 4B3oY
Blues/ Rhythm and Blues Country blues musicians wrote about the issues of daily life – cruel bosses, lust for (and mistreatment by) women, drinking, working on chain gangs, relationships gone sour, and the like. Most such musicians were men, though in the cities there were a few big female stars such as Bessie Smith and Memphis Minnie. Many of the Chicago blues musicians, who had migrated from the Deep South – particularly, the Mississippi Delta area – had been trained or influenced by artists like Johnson, Son House, and Charley Patton, but when they came to Chicago they 'plugged in.' As blacks became urbanized, they turned their backs on the sounds of the country blues:
Blues/ Rhythm and Blues There were two main waves of black migration – during World War I, when there was an increased demand for factory labour and the boll weevil was at its worst peak, and during World War II, when the war cut off the supply of European immigrant labour. There was also a strong desire to escape the racism in the South, and in 1927 there was a massive flood of the Mississippi River. Source: Their vehicle was the Illinois Central Railway.
Blues/ Rhythm and Blues Not only were people moving from South to North, they were moving from the country to the city, even within the south – for instance, to Memphis. A main attraction for black migrants was the prospect of getting an industrial job at relatively high pay. John Lee Hooker was a floor-sweeper at a Dodge plant in Detroit when he cut his first vinyl. The early Chicago blues – there was also a thriving Texas blues scene – was relatively raw, even eerie. Jimi Hendrix said, when he heard Muddy Waters at the age of 6, that it scared him “half to death.” But the music has a certain quality that has continued to fascinate musicians and listeners alike. Its most popular male stars were, as you saw in the movie, Muddy Waters and Howling Wolf.
Blues/ Rhythm and Blues Chess Records (Cadillac in the film) was the principal vehicle for the recording and distribution of urban blues – though there others such as Vee Jay. Leonard Chess, and his brother Phil, were Polish Jewish immigrants who that saw that there was a real demand among the black population for records by black artists. As blacks' incomes grew, their ability to spend money on records and going to clubs also increased (Chess also owned South Side clubs). But the brothers didn't overly exploit their artists, but treated them as part of an extended family. [Similar role to Ahmet and Esuhi Ertegun in jazz.] In addition to the blues, the Chess brothers also put out jazz, rhythm and blues, gospel, and early rock records. Originally, record companies referred to rhythm and blues as “race music,” but they renamed them when they discovered that the music had a broader appeal.
Blues/ Rhythm and Blues Such music included jump blues, boogie woogie, novelty records, and early forms of rock n' roll (though not yet dubbed as such). Jump blues had emerged out of the Kansas City sound of Count Basie, and was eminently danceable at a time when some jazz was becoming quite cerebral. It can be described as a sort of synthesis of swing and the blues. Some of the early practitioners of jump blues included Louis Prima, Louis Jordan, Wynonie Harris, Big Jay McNeely, Big Joe Williams, and many others. The leap from jump blues and r & b to rock – I will play you some samples – was a small one, and some consider the first rock song to be 1951's “Rocket 88” by Jackie Brenston and the Delta Cats: ure=kp. ure=kp
Blues/ Rhythm and Blues It’s interesting that another song that people credit as being the first rock n’ roll song – “Maybelline” by Chuck Berry – was also released by Chess: E. E But long before either of these songs, there were jump blues artists who were essentially doing rock n’ roll. I’ll play you a couple of samples. First, original recordings, then a brief clip of a Louis Jordan video made 20 years after the song was originally recorded (circa 1947):
Rock n' Roll Sam Phillips, who learned recording techniques by correspondence course, built his own studio in Memphis, and began to record black and white artists for the youth market. He was a big fan of rhythm and blues. As owner of Sun Records, he said that if he “could find a white man who had the Negro sound and the Negro feel, I could make a billion dollars.” He found him in Elvis. If we have time, we’ll watch a bit about Sun. Like Elvis, most the white rockabilly and rock n' rollers from the south grew up in very poor working class or farming families – were so-called “white trash.” They all gravitated to Sun Records in Memphis, which was also home to the black cultural hearth: Beale Street. Elvis had big hits doing covers of Big Mama Thornton (“You Ain’t Nothing But a Hound Dog”), and Arthur “Big Boy” Crudup (“That’s All Right, Mama”).
Rock n' Roll Most early rockers – including Elvis, Carl Perkins, Bill Haley, and Jerry Lee Lewis – were influenced both by country (particularly bluegrass and Western swing) and rhythm & blues, and this blend came to be known as rockabilly or rock n' roll. Even black artists worked in the rockabilly genre. One of the first rock songs ever, “Maybellene” by Chuck Berry (1955), struck the Chess brothers as an anomaly. To them, it sounded like a back guy playing country music. And I will play you an example of a really good black rockabilly tune. The emergence of rock reflected: the growing popularity of black music amongst white youth, and the pioneering role of small regional studios/ record companies. As the major companies realized they were missing out, they quickly got artists like Pat Boone to release very watered-down covers of rock and r & b songs by black artists.
Rock n' Roll Even more so than in the jazz era, the rock era of the '50s showcased the phenomenon of white artists earning wealth and fame off music that originated with black artists. Three exceptions were Chuck Berry, Little Richard, and Fats Domino. Little Richard was an interesting case in that he pushed the boundaries of gender by being bisexual (though not that openly), by wearing make-up (thus starting the androgynous trend in rock music), and dubbing himself the “King and Queen of Rock n' Roll.” Source: Google Images.
Rock n' Roll It's not that surprising that most of the first wave of rock artists came from the south. There were radio stations with powerful signals that were blasting black music onto white campuses, and white artists used to go check out the music and 'moves' of their black compatriots. The South has always been a big stew pot for the interaction of different musical styles: r & b, country, blues, rockabilly, Cajun, gospel, and more. Ironically, white DJs in the south began playing black music on the radio before those in the north. However, one Cleveland DJ who played a major role in promoting black artists was Alan Freed, who claimed to have invented the term 'rock n' roll,' and who was organizing integrated concerts in the city as early as 1952.
Rock n' Roll Mass-produced transistor and car radios put music in the hands of youth, and the new disposable income of 1950s' teens meant that they had bigger allowances to spend on records and the other accoutrements of the youth culture. Moreover, movies like “The Blackboard Jungle,” “Rock Around the Clock,” and “Rebel Without A Cause” helped popularize the music and rebellion of youth to the consternation of many. The appeal of black artists to white teens caused enormous angst amongst parents and the gatekeepers of society. Frank Sinatra, for instance, described rock as the music of “cretinous goons” – “the most brutal, ugly, desperate, vicious form of expression it has been my misfortune to hear.” This was also at a time when the civil rights movement was producing major social upheaval.
Rock n' Roll In the '60s, rare copies of blues, soul and first wave rock records made their way to Britain, often through sailors of the merchant marine and specialty stores, and influenced a whole generation of British musicians, who had grown up playing skiffle – a sort of blend of folk and jazz. They had an explosive effect. The Beatles, the Rolling Stones (named after a Muddy Waters song), the Yardbirds, John Mayall and his Bluesbreakers (where Clapton got his start), the original Fleetwood Mac, Cream, Led Zeppelin, Jeff Beck and others were all hugely influenced by American blues especially.
Rock n' Roll Many such musicians seemed to connect with the somewhat rebellious or resilient spirit of the music. While the influence of black blues artists on later generations of white rock n' rollers in the U.S. was not as profound, it did occur, as in the case of Bob Dylan, the Doors, and Johnny Winter. In the U.S., country also had a big influence, as with the Byrds, the Flying Burrito Brothers, and the Eagles. The blues-influenced British rock, however, had a huge influence in the form of the “British Invasion” and subsequent heavy metal. While we don't have time to go into the subsequent evolution of rock it has mostly become a white genre (there are notable exceptions, like Living Color and Bad Brains). Moreover, from time to time, rock has played an important role as a vehicle for social protest (see “33 and 1/3 Revolutions”). Only country rivals it for the top form of popular music today, though both have become quite formulaic.
Rock n' Roll Some key elements that accounted for the growth in the popularity of rock n' roll include: rural folk moving to the cities and bringing their musical traditions with them where they mixed with others; more powerful radio stations, transistor and car radios; new, small regional studios and record companies; the adoption of largely electric instrumentation, especially the guitar; the absorption of major artists (who often started out with small, regional labels) by the big recording companies; the emergence of a relatively affluent post-war teenage population who had money to spend on records, etc. and who were looking for vehicles to create their own unique identity and focus for rebellion. Any other factors you can think of?
The Globalization of Rock n' Roll Rock has become a global genre, and has evolved many sub-genres over the last sixty years. What are some of the most important of these? -- -- -- -- -- -- -- --