Blues and Country Music by yurtgc548


									Blues and Country Music
Blues and Country

   More equal than separate
    – Record companies -- Race and Hillbilly =
      mutually exclusive
    – Artists = shared influences
   Blues (c.1500 England) = description
    of a feeling or mood. Not necessarily
Blues and Country (cont.)

   Blues music = traceable to shouts and
    work songs of slavery
   “Call-and-response” (no
   “Ethiopian Airs” and “Negro Spirituals”
    = early codifications
Blues and Country (cont.)

   Instrumentation:
    – Fiddle (Europe)
    – Banjo (West Africa)
    – Guitar = classical instrument and became
      a blues accompaniment long before
      joining the ranks of country music
   Vocal styles:
    – Yodeling = from Germany – in use by
      musicians of both genres
Blues and Country (cont.)

   Familiar characters and folklore heroes =
    cut across racial boundaries:
     – Country hits: Frankie and Johnny and
       Casey Jones = written by black authors
     – Barbra Allen (or Boberick Allen), The Maid
       Freed from the Gallows, Lord Lovel, etc.
       all English folk tunes adapted by African
Blues and Country
   20’s & 30’s - cross-pollinations = so
    common, artists were often listed in
    the “wrong” category in catalogues
   Still, the race designations remained
    (p. 36-39)
Race Music: Blues
   Two styles of Blues:
    – Classic (city or urban) Blues
        “Entertainment”
        Well organized
        Usually performed in larger groups
    – Country (rural or Delta) Blues
        “Intensely personal”
        Irregular harmonic patterns
        Usually performed by a single (male) vocalist
Race Music: Blues (cont.)

   Boogie-woogie = city blues piano style
    – Jimmy Yancey – Chicago pre-WWI
          Groundskeeper – Comiskey Park
    – Earl “Fatha” Hines (Trumpet, Piano)
        Member of Louis Armstrong’s groups
        Linked Ragtime left hand w/melodic
         “trumpet-like” figures in right hand
    – Influenced: Fats Domino, Little Richard,
      Jerry Lee Lewis
Race Music: Blues (cont.)

   1914-15 Blues craze “hit”
   1920 record companies offered
    recordings of black artists performing
    classic blues
    – Dubbed “Race Records” by the industry
Race Music: Blues (cont.)
   Bessie Smith – “Empress of the Blues”
    – Most famous female blues singer of her time
    – Performed w/Louis Armstrong & Fletcher
      Henderson’s bands
    – Rescued Columbia Records from bankruptcy
    – 160 records still survive
Race Music: Blues (cont.)

   Migration north:
    – Northern industrialization and WWI =
      employment for southern blacks
    – Black rural tastes mingled w/urban
      sounds of classic blues
          Record companies recorded southern artists
           in northern studios
Race Music: Blues (concl.)

   1920’s & 30’s = Record companies
    engaged in extensive field recording –
    financially rewarding, yet documented
    sounds that would otherwise have
    been lost (p. 39-44)
Hillbilly Music (white
working class)
   1923 Ralph Peer = heard and
    recorded Fiddlin’ John Carson (Atlanta)
    – start of the Hillbilly craze
   Most of the bands were “string bands”
    – Played mostly folk tunes
Hillbilly Music (cont.)

   The Carter Family & Jimmy Rogers
    – 1927 – both recorded by Peer
    – Polar opposites:
         Carters =
           – family values
           – traditional folk songs
           – family stability
         Rogers = archetypal “ramblin’ man,”
           – incorporated the blues
           – roamed Vaudeville circuits
Hillbilly Music (concl.)

   Jimmy Rogers = first country music
    – Traveled the South, learned dialect,
      customs, etc.
    – Crossed racial boundaries - performed
      w/Louis Armstrong (p. 44-48)
Dissemination of Blues &
   Jazz & blues = very popular on
    records and good market for black
   Film & radio = rarely cast in starring
   William Grant Still =
Blues & Country (cont.)
   1924 National Barn Dance (sponsored by
    Sears & Roebuck – country, folk & older pop
    standards = wide appeal
   1925 Grand Ole Opry = most famous
    country radio show
    – Biggest star = Roy Acuff (singer/fiddler) –
      fronted Acuff Family Band
Blues & Country (concl.)

   1929 Singing cowboys:
    – “Tex” Ritter
    – Gene Autry
    – Roy Rogers
    – Bob Willis & His Texas Playboys
   Hollywood = helped popularize the
    singing cowboy image (p.48-52)
Long Road Back for
   Depression & onset of broadcasting =
    decimated recording industry
    – Independent & specialty labels went out of
    – People listened to radio
   Jukebox = kick start for records
    – 1933 = repeal of prohibition
    – Bar owners needed low cost entertainment
    – Broader range of selections
Long Road Back for
Records (cont.)
   Technological advances:
    – Better microphones, vacuum tube
      amplifiers & electromagnetic cutting
    – More life-like sound
   Lower prices
Long Road Back for
   John Hammond 1939 = producer at
    – Produced Bessie Smith’s last recording
      and Billie Holiday’s first recording (1933)
    – Brought Benny Goodman & Count Basie
      to Columbia
    – Influenced careers of Aretha Franklin,
      Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, etc.
Long Road Back for
Records (concl.)
   John Hammond = advocate for blacks
    – Worked to break down racial barriers
    – Considered a Communist by the industry
    – Considered an to be a wealthy eccentric,
      yet highly respected among blacks (p. 52-

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