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Help: Blues Related to Spirituals

wysiwyg 06 Sep 01 - 12:53 PM
Lyrical Lady 06 Sep 01 - 01:15 PM
wysiwyg 06 Sep 01 - 01:18 PM
masato sakurai 06 Sep 01 - 03:18 PM
wysiwyg 06 Sep 01 - 03:31 PM
Lonesome EJ 06 Sep 01 - 04:12 PM
wysiwyg 06 Sep 01 - 04:17 PM
wysiwyg 08 Sep 01 - 11:30 PM
RWilhelm 09 Sep 01 - 01:16 PM
wysiwyg 09 Sep 01 - 01:19 PM
wysiwyg 27 Sep 01 - 03:40 PM
wysiwyg 29 Sep 01 - 03:38 PM
Kaleea 30 Sep 01 - 12:38 AM
wysiwyg 30 Sep 01 - 12:54 AM
wysiwyg 01 Oct 01 - 05:17 PM
wysiwyg 04 Oct 01 - 09:05 PM
RWilhelm 05 Oct 01 - 10:29 AM
wysiwyg 05 Oct 01 - 11:16 AM
RWilhelm 05 Oct 01 - 11:26 AM
RWilhelm 05 Oct 01 - 11:38 AM
Jerry Rasmussen 05 Oct 01 - 11:52 AM
masato sakurai 05 Oct 01 - 12:09 PM
RWilhelm 05 Oct 01 - 12:18 PM
wysiwyg 05 Oct 01 - 12:19 PM
Jerry Rasmussen 05 Oct 01 - 04:43 PM
Dicho (Frank Staplin) 05 Oct 01 - 05:01 PM
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Subject: Blues Related to Spirituals
From: wysiwyg
Date: 06 Sep 01 - 12:53 PM

Hey all fellow blues-lovers--

I am asking all blues lovers to go see the thread, "Spirituals Posted at Mudcat." It's a list of links to other threads. If you see a spiritual listed that you think may have been the basis for a blues tune you know, could you open its thread and post about it?

Also if you recall any threads on spirituals I have missed, could you add the link?

It's HERE.

There is also a link in that thread that takes you to a discussion of the history and definition of "Negro (African American) Spirituals."

Thanks! (Pass the word.)

~Susan


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Subject: RE: Help: Blues Related to Spirituals
From: Lyrical Lady
Date: 06 Sep 01 - 01:15 PM

Susan ... I have just heard this cd by the Blind Boys of Alabama .... It's all old spirituals ... and each time a new track starts, you swear it's going to be a well known blues tune ... for instance Amazing Grace to the tune of House of the Rising Sun ... very effective! I will find out more about it and let you know.

LL


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Subject: RE: Help: Blues Related to Spirituals
From: wysiwyg
Date: 06 Sep 01 - 01:18 PM

Thanks LL! I hope you will look at the thread list as well.

~S~


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Subject: RE: Help: Blues Related to Spirituals
From: masato sakurai
Date: 06 Sep 01 - 03:18 PM

What I think of is "holy blues" and "guitar evangelists." How about these?

(1) Rev. Gary Davis with some samples

(2) Rev. Edward W. Clayborn with same samples

(3) Blind Willie Johnson with lyrics

Masato


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Subject: RE: Help: Blues Related to Spirituals
From: wysiwyg
Date: 06 Sep 01 - 03:31 PM

Thanks, Masato! Can you also take a look at the list of what's been posted, and comment on specific songs further in the threads linked from there?

~Susan


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Subject: RE: Help: Blues Related to Spirituals
From: Lonesome EJ
Date: 06 Sep 01 - 04:12 PM

Most Spirituals have as their antecedents the "old time" music that was widespread in this country before the Civil War, a common well-spring that gave rise to both black and white gospel music. And both of these gospel forms seem to have more in common with each other than with the Blues forms that arose around the beginning of the 20th Century, both from a structural and thematic standpoint. The twelve bar Blues formula is not in evidence in black spiritual music that pre-dates it, and the cultural good-evil, gospel-blues antithesis kept most early blues from cross-breeding with spiritual music. It's certainly more likely today that there are blues-gospel crossovers, but I believe this to be a recent development.


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Subject: RE: Help: Blues Related to Spirituals
From: wysiwyg
Date: 06 Sep 01 - 04:17 PM

Guys, there are already snips of such information and opinion scattered through a number of threads. It's been my suggestion that we continue them HERE in a thread titled "History of Spirituals." There are a number of links in that thread, as well, that shed more light on this.

~Susan


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Subject: RE: Help: Blues Related to Spirituals
From: wysiwyg
Date: 08 Sep 01 - 11:30 PM

From the American Folklife Center, Library of Congress, gospel blues, many springing from spirituals.

CLICK HERE

~S~


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Subject: RE: Help: Blues Related to Spirituals
From: RWilhelm
Date: 09 Sep 01 - 01:16 PM

This may be later than the music you are interested in but related. The father of modern gospel music, Thomas Dorsey, began his career as Georgia Tom playing the blues with Tampa Red. Here is a link to as short bio: Thomas Dorsey


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Subject: RE: Help: Blues Related to Spirituals
From: wysiwyg
Date: 09 Sep 01 - 01:19 PM

No such thing as "too much later"-- IMO it's a whole continuuum reaching as far as tomorrow can go.

Earl, would you be interested in helping to dig up the old spirituals threads? I think I found an easy way to do it. Please PM me if interested.

~Susan


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Subject: RE: Help: Blues Related to Spirituals
From: wysiwyg
Date: 27 Sep 01 - 03:40 PM

Earl has been combing through old threads. His goal-- finding blues and other gospel music that may have proceeded from roots in the spirituals, or that may be blues versions or applications of the spirituals.

From the following list, you can click to the threads for each one, and add additional commentary or information.

Good job Earl! Keep 'em coming!

~Susan

==========================================================

Blessed Be The Name
Death Don't Have No Mercy (Gary Davis)
Down In The Valley To Pray
Glory To The Lamb
I Am The Light Of The World (Gary Davis)
In My Time Of Dyin' (Blind Willie Johnson)
Jesus Gonna Make Up My Dying Bed (W. R. Calaway)
Jesus, Hold My Hand (Albert E Brumley)
John The Revelator (Son House)
Let Your Light Shine On Me (Blind Willie Johnson)
On Monday I Am Happy
Peace In The Valley (Thomas Dorsey)
Precious Lord (Thomas A. Dorsey)
Samson And Delilah (Traditional)
Titanic, The (Traditional)
True Religion
You're Gonna Need Somebody On Your Bond (Blind Willie Johnson)


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Subject: RE: Help: Blues Related to Spirituals
From: wysiwyg
Date: 29 Sep 01 - 03:38 PM

This post also appears in the thread, "History of Spirituals."

~S~

What is Gospel Music?

According to the New Harvard Dictionary of Music, Belknap Press, 1986:

Gospel.
[Lat. evangelium].

(1) In all of the Christian liturgies, a reading or lesson from one of the four Gospels of the Bible. In the Roman Catholic Mass, it may be chanted to a simple tone (Tonus Evangelii, LU, pp. 106-9). A liturgical book in which such lessons are copied in the order of the liturgical year is called an evangeliary.

The Gospels have been the source of texts for much music, including motets and, especially, Passion music.

(2) Anglo-American Protestant evangelical hymns from the 1870s to the present; also gospel hymns, gospel song.

In revival meetings, preacher Dwight Moody (1837 - 99) and singer Ira Sankey (1840 - 1908) popularized simple, strophic melodies set homophonically to strong tonal progressions in major keys.

The sentimental poetry of Fanny Crosby (1820-19115) exemplified the texts, each assembled around a biblical idea. Texts are often in the first person and concern the Christian life and the anticipated joys of heaven. Among the best-known examples is George Bernard's "The Old Rugged Cross" (1913)

(3) Black American Protestant sacred singing and an associated 20th-century sacred genre; also gospel music, gospel song.

In this style, vocalists radically embellish simple melodies, and in full and falsetto voice, they shout, hum, growl, moan, whisper, scream, cry. By adding florid melismas and tricky syncopations, altering given pitches with blue notes and glissandos, and interpolating formulaic phrases ("Lord have mercy," "well, well, well"), they freely extend or repeat any fragment of the text. Spontaneous or choreographed dancing, clapping, and stomping may accompany the singing.

Mingled functions, performing media, and repertories confuse stylistic distinctions within the genre "black gospel music." Musicians perform for religious stimulation and for commercial profit, in boisterous services and concerts or in silent recording studios.

Vocalists may be a preacher and congregation (as in the mono and heterophonic music of numerous Holiness and Sanctified sects), soloists (Mahalia Jackson, Marion Williams), singer-guitarists (Blind Willie Johnson, Rev. Gary Davis, Rosetta Tharpe), quartets and quintets (the Dixie Hummingbirds, the Soul Stirrers, the Clara Ward Singers, the Mighty Clouds of Joy), or choirs (led by James Cleveland, Alex Bradford). Accompanying instruments, if present, are piano, Hammond organ, or guitar, alone or with bass, drums, and tambourine.

Performances may include open-ended ostinatos, in which a soloist's improvised comments alternate with a repeated phrase of text. Many "gospel songs" (exemplified by the compositions of Thomas A. Dorsey) have 16-bar antecedent and consequent tonal schemes. These structures represent only two facets of a repertory that initially drew upon 18th- and 19th century hymns, Negro spirituals, blues, barbershop singing, ragtime, pop tunes, country and western, and jazz. Later, after creating (through male quartets) the basis for rhythm and blues and Soul, black gospel drew upon those secular genres for new material.

Commercial white gospel recordings have sacred texts and occasional imitations of black gospel singing. They are otherwise stylistically indistinguishable from pop, country and western, or rock.

Bibl.: (2) Sandra S. Sizer, Gospel Hymns and Social Religion (Philadelphia: Temple U Pr, 1978).

(3) John Godrich and Robert Dixon, comps., Blues and Gospel Records 1902-1942 (London: Storyville Pubs, 1969). Tony Heilbut, The Gospel Sound (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1971). Cedric J. Hayes, A Discography of Gospel Records 1937-71 (Copenhagen: Knudsen, 1973). David Evans, "The Roots of Afro-American Gospel Music," Jazzforschung 8 (1976): 119-35.


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Subject: RE: Help: Blues Related to Spirituals
From: Kaleea
Date: 30 Sep 01 - 12:38 AM

Which came first, Gospel or the Blues . . .Hmmmmmm? The have the same source!


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Subject: RE: Help: Blues Related to Spirituals
From: wysiwyg
Date: 30 Sep 01 - 12:54 AM

Kaleea,

Yeah!

Have you seen what is happening with the Mudcat project, "African-American Spirituals Permathread?" Always glad to have more people working on it.... please PM me if you are interested.

~Susan


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Subject: RE: Help: Blues Related to Spirituals
From: wysiwyg
Date: 01 Oct 01 - 05:17 PM

CLICK HERE for a related thread-- Your Favorite Gospel Blues?

~S~


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Subject: RE: Help: Blues Related to Spirituals
From: wysiwyg
Date: 04 Oct 01 - 09:05 PM

Anyone have any of these? (May duplicate some entries in the History of Spirituals thread, and may not all be relevant-- this is raw material for possible incorporation in the permathread.)

~S~

==========================================================

Blues - books

Baraka, Imamu Amiri (Le Roi Jones). Blues People: Negro Music in White America. orig. 1963; Westport Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1980.

Baker, Houston A., Jr. Blues, ideology, and Afro-American literature: a vernacular theory. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1984. An anthropological, semiotic study of blues from the standpoint of the "music" (words, really) as a matrix or crossroads.

Barlow, William. Looking up at down: the emergence of blues culture. Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1989.

Bastin, Bruce. Crying for the Carolines. London: Studio Vista, 1971.

Bastin, Bruce. Red River blues: the blues tradition in the Southeast. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1986.

Bogaert, Karel. Blues Lexicon. Antwerp: Standard, 1972.

Calt, Stephen. King of the Delta blues: the life and music of Charlie Patton. Rock Chapel Press, 1988.

Carruth, Hayden. Sitting in: selected writings on jazz, blues, and related topics. Iowa City: University of Iowa Press, expanded ed. 1993.

Charters, Samuel. Sweet as the showers of rain. New York: Oak Publications, 1977.

Charters, Samuel B. The Blues Makers. New York: Da Capo Press.

Charters, Samuel B. The Bluesmen. New York: Oak Pubs., 1967.

Charters, Samuel B. The poetry of the blues. New York: Oak Publications, 1963.

Charters, Samuel B. The Legacy of the Blues: Art and Lives of Twelve Great Bluesmen. New York: Da Capo Press.

Charters, Samuel B. The country blues. New York: Da Capo Press, 1975. (orig. 1959.

Cone, James H. The spirituals and the blues: an interpretation. New York: Seabury Press, 1972.

Cook, Bruce. Listen to the blues. New York: C. Scribner's Sons, 1973.

Cousin Joe. Cousin Joe: blues from New Orleans. University of Chicago Press, 1987.

Dance, Helen Oakley. Stormy Monday: the T-Bone Walker story. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1987.

Davis, Francis. The history of the blues. 1995.

Dixon, Robert M. W. Blues & gospel records, 1902-1943. Storyville Publications, 1982.

Dixon, Robert M. W. Recording the blues. New York: Stein and Day, 1970.

Evans, David. Big road blues: tradition and creativity in the folk blues. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1982.

Ferris, William R. Blues from the Delta. Garden City, NY: Anchor Press, 1978.

Finn, Julio. The bluesman: the musical heritage of black men and women in the Americas. London & New York: Quartet Books, 1986.

Garon, Paul. Blues & the poetic spirit. New York: Da Capo Press, 1978.

Garon, Paul. Woman with guitar: Memphis Minnie's blues. New York: Da Capo Press, 1992.

Gissing, Werner. Mississippi Delta Blues: Formen und Texte von Robert Johnson (1911-1938) Akademische Druck- u. Verlagsanstalt, 1986.

Groom, Bob. The blues revival. London: Studio Vista, 1971.

Handy, W. C. (William Christopher), ed. 1873-1958. Blues; an anthology. Complete words and music of 53 great songs. New York: Macmillan Co. 1972.

Handy, W. C. Father of the Blues: An Autobiography. NY: 1941. Reprint, NY: 1970.

Haralambos, Michael. Right on. New York: Drake Publishers, 1975.

Harris, Sheldon. Blues Who's Who: a biographical dictionary. New York: Da Capo Press, 1979.

Harrison, Daphne Duval. Black Pearls: Blues Queens of the 1920s. Rutgers University Press, 1988.

Hurston, Zora Neale. Mules and Men. Westport, CT: Negro University Press, 1970.

Keil, Charles. Urban Blues. 1966.

Leadbetter, Mike. Delta Country Blues. Bexhill-On-Sea, Sussex: Blues Unlimited, 1968.

Lomax, Alan. Folk Music of North America. NY: Doubleday, 1958.

Lomax, Alan. The Land Where The Blues Began. New York: Pantheon Books, 1993.

McKee, Margaret and Fred Chisenhall. Beale Black & Blue: Life and Music on Black America's Main Street. Baton Rouge: LSU Press, 1981.

Middleton, Richard. Pop music and the blues: a study of the relationship and its significance. London: Gollancz, 1972.

Mitchell, George. Blow My Blues Away. Baton Rouge: LSU Press, 1971.

Murray, Albert. Stomping the blues. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1976.

NARVAEX, P. THE INFLUENCES OF HISPANIC MUSIC CULTURES ON AFRICAN- AMERICAN BLUES MUSICIANS.

Neff, Robert and Anthony Connor (comp.). Blues (interviews) Boston: D. R. Godine, 1975.

Oakley, Giles. The devil's music: a history of the blues. New York: Taplinger Pub. Co., 1977.

Odum, Howard and Guy B. Johnson. Negro Workaday Songs. Westport, CT: Negro University Press, 1976.

Oliver, Paul. The story of the blues. Philadelphia: Chilton Book Co., 1969. (see also: blues discography)

Oliver, Paul. Songsters & Saints: Vocal Traditions on Race Records. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1985.

Oliver, Paul, ed. New Grove Gospel, Blues and Jazz: with Spirituals and Ragtime. New York: W. W. Norton, 1986.

Oliver, Paul. Blues Fell This Morning: meaning in the blues. 2nd. ed. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1990.

Oliver, Paul. Savannah syncopators; African retentions in the blues. New York: Stein and Day, 1970.

Oliver, Paul, ed. The New Grove gospel, blues, and jazz. 1986.

Oliver, Paul. Aspects of the blues tradition. New York: Oak Publications, 1970.

Olsson, Bengt. Memphis blues and jug bands. London: Studio Vista, 1970.

Oster, Harry. Living Country Blues. Detroit: Folklore Associates, 1969.

Palmer, Robert. Deep blues. New York: Viking Press, 1981.

Pearson, Barry Lee. Sounds so good to me: the bluesman's story. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1984.

Pearson, Barry Lee. Virginia Piedmont blues: the lives and art of two Virginia bluesmen. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1990.

Ramsey, F. R. Been Here and Gone. Rutgers Univ. Press, 1960.

Rowe, Mike. Chicago breakdown. New York: Drake Publishers, 1975.

Sackheim, Eric. The blues line; a collection of blues lyrics. New York: Grossman Publishers, 1969.

Shockett, Bernard Irwin. A stylistic study of the blues as recorded by jazz instrumentalists, 1917-1931. University Microfilms International, 1977. Thesis--New York University, 1964. rarely cited in modern research but a significant study.

Spencer, Jon Michael. Blues and evil. Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press, 1993.

Stewart-Baxter, Derrick. Ma Rainey and the classic blues singers. New York: Stein and Day, 1970.

Titon, Jeff Todd, ed. Downhome blues lyrics: an anthology from the post-World War II era. Boston: Twayne Publishers, 1981. 2nd ed. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1990.

Titon, Jeff Todd. Early downhome blues: a musical and cultural analysis. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1977.

Tracy, Steven C. Going to Cincinnati: a history of the blues in the queen city. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1993.

Tracy, Steven C. Langston Hughes & the Blues. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1988.

Van Der Merwe, Peter. Origins of the Popular Style: The Antecedents of Twentieth-Century Popular Music. Oxford, UK: Clarendon Press, 1989.

Wolfe, Charles K. The life and legend of Leadbelly. New York: Harper Collins Publishers, 1992.

Blues - references

Cooper, David Edwin. International Bibliography of Discographies: Classical Music and Jazz & Blues, 1962-1972: a reference book for record collectors. Littleton, Colo.: Libraries Unlimited, 1975.

Fahey, John. Charley Patton. London: Studio Vista, 1970. Discography of Charley Patton, Henry Sims, Bertha Lee, Willie Brown, Louise Johnson, and Walter (Buddy Boy) Hawkins.

Ferris, William R. Mississippi Black folklore; a research bibliography and discography. University and College Press of Mississippi, 1971.

Guinness Encyclopedia of Popular Music, The. Colin Larkin, compiler and editor. 2nd ed. NY: Stockton Press, 1995. 6 v.

Harris, Sheldon. Blues Who's Who. New Rochelle, NY: Arlington House, 1979.

Hart, Mary L., Brenda M. Eagles and Lisa N. Howarth. The Blues: A Bibliographic Guide. Intro. by William Ferris. New York: Garland, 1989.

Lornell, Kip. Virginia's blues, country & gospel records, 1902-1943: an annotated discography. University Press of Kentucky, 1989.

Leadbitter, Mike. Blues records, January 1943 to December 1966. Hanover Books, 1968.

Pareles, Jon and Patricia Romanowski, eds. The Rolling Stone Encyclopedia of Rock and Roll. New York: Summit Books, 1983.

Ruppli, Michel. Atlantic Records: a discography. Greenwood Press, 1979.

Ruppli, Michel. The Prestige label: a discography. Greenwood Press, 1980.

Rust, Brian. Blues Records, 1924-1942. London: Blues Unlimited.

Santelli, Robert. The Big Book of Blues - a Biographical Encyclopedia. New York: Penguin Books, 1993.

Vann, Kimberly R. Black Music in Ebony: An Annotated Guide to the Articles in Ebony Magazine. Chicago: Columbia College Center for Black Music Research, 1990.

Blues - anthologies

Blues, an Anthology. ed. by W. C. Handy. Revised by Jerry Silverman. NY: Collier Books, 1972. (earlier eds., 1926, 1949).

The Blues Line: A Collection of Blues Lyrics. comp. by Eric Sackheim. NY: Grossman Publishers, 1969.

Country Blues Songbook. comp. by Stefan Grossman, Hal Grossman, and Stephen Calt. NY: Oak Publications, 1973. A clear indication that not all blues is 12-bar.

Downhome Blues Lyrics: An Anthology from the Post-World War II Era. Selected, transcribed and edited by Jeff Todd Titon. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1981; 2nd ed. 1990.

Blues - discography (selected)

Asch Recordings AA-1 - "The Asch Recordings, 1939-1947; Vol. 1: Blues, Gospel and Jazz."

Asch Recordings AA-2 - "The Asch Recordings, 1939-1947; Vol. 1: Blues, Gospel and Jazz."

Columbia Records G-30008 - "The Story of the Blues" (2 LPs) 1969. This set was compiled by Paul Oliver to accompany his book of the same name. Probably the best survey of this medium.

Folkways Records FJ-2801 - "Jazz - The South" (1 LP) 1958. Precursors to the jazz style, edited by Frederic Ramsey, Jr.

Folkways Records FJ 2802 - "Jazz - The Blues" (1 LP) 1966. includes Blind Lemon Jefferson, Ma Rainey, King Oliver, Jelly Roll Morton, Bessie Smith, Louis Armstrong.

Folkways Records FA-2691 - "Music Down Home: An Introduction to Negro Folk Music, USA" (2 LPs).

New World Records NW-252 - "Roots of the Blues" (1 LP) 1977. produced by Alan Lomax, this is an excellent collection, beautifully annotated, of (mostly) field-recordings of pre-blues styles.

New World Records NW-259 - "Cuttin' The Boogie: Piano Blues and Boogie Woogie, 1926-1941" (1 LP) 1977.

New World Records NW-256 - "Sweet and Low Blues: Big Bands and Territory Bands of the 20s" (1 LP) 1977.

New World Records NW-278 - "Georgia Sea Island Songs" (1 LP) 1977. includes some of the music found in Parrish.

Okeh Records (1918-1969) is directly associated with the release of many significant "race" records. In 1920, it issued "Crazy Blues" by Mamie Smith, the first blues record by a black artist. Epic Records (CBS) released a 5-volume LP set of compilations in the '80s. These include Okeh re- releases and some previously unissued Columbia recordings. The liner notes for these collections are quite good. Epic EG-37318 - "Chicago Blues" (2 LPs) 1982, reissues: includes Brownie McGhee, Memphis Minnie, Johnny Shines, Muddy Waters, Big Joe Williams, others. Epic EG-37649 - "Rhythm & Blues" (2 LPs) 1982, reissues: includes Smiley Lewis, Big Maybelle, Titus Turner, Johnnie Ray, several vocal groups and orchestras, even Little Richard.

RBF Records RBF-11 - "Blues Rediscoveries" (1 LP) 1966. Compiled by Samuel B. Charters.


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Subject: RE: Help: Blues Related to Spirituals
From: RWilhelm
Date: 05 Oct 01 - 10:29 AM

I have: Blues from the Delta, Songsters & Saints, Going to Cincinnati, The Rolling Stone Encyclopedia of Rock and Roll, and some others that may be relevant.

For recordings you should also mention Document Records who have re-released virtually every pre-war blues record, and Yazoo Records with some incredible compilations.


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Subject: RE: Help: Blues Related to Spirituals
From: wysiwyg
Date: 05 Oct 01 - 11:16 AM

I knew about Yazoo, because I have some of their stuff, but I did not know about Document. The above, of course, all came as I was doing a web search for something else, so I threw them in. Now how about someone adds the Yazoo and Document info?

Eventually this will all be edited together and duplicates knocked out... but I need some more help digging and describing!

~S~


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Subject: RE: Help: Blues Related to Spirituals
From: RWilhelm
Date: 05 Oct 01 - 11:26 AM

Here is a link to Document Records. They are located in Scotland and the prices listed in pounds but there is no problem ordering from the States if you don't mind a little wait.


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Subject: RE: Help: Blues Related to Spirituals
From: RWilhelm
Date: 05 Oct 01 - 11:38 AM

And here's Yazoo.


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Subject: RE: Help: Blues Related to Spirituals
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 05 Oct 01 - 11:52 AM

Hi, Earl: Slewfoot was what my Dad called me as a kid. I'm Jerry Rasmussen gospelmessengers@msn.com. This thread is very timely for me. I'm leading a workshop on Gospel Styles at the NOMAD festival in Ct. in a couple of weeks, sharing it with my group, The Gospel Messengers, who primarily do black gospel, and friends of mine, The Beans, who do white gospel. Blues and gospel are unlikely bedfellows, but bedfellows they are. Much of what the Messengers do sounds like spiritual blues or rhyhmn and blues. The 5 Blind Boys, who we draw on heavily, could easily have moved into the "Doo Wop" scene. I learned guitar from Dave Van Ronk, and the blues foundation he gave me has served me well, playing electric guitar. I'm white, and the other Messengers are black, but I've loved blues and rhythm and blues all my life...


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Subject: RE: Help: Blues Related to Spirituals
From: masato sakurai
Date: 05 Oct 01 - 12:09 PM

As for the prewar blues and gospel records, Robert M.W. Dixon, John Godrich & Howard W. Rye's Blues and Gospel Records 1890-1943, 4th edition (Oxford, 1997)is a great source of information. It contains unissued ones (including LOC recordings), LPs, CDs, and some videos, too. There're interesting entries: Unidentified singers and groups, Unknown artists, Street cries of Charleston, Negro songs of protest, and so on. Michael Ruppli's The Chess Labels, 2 vols. (Greenwood, 1983) should be added. Another reference book is Paul Vernon, African-American Blues, Rhythm and Blues, Gospel and Zydeco on Film and Video, 1926-1997 (Ashgate, 1999). Not so comprehensive, but a good guide.

~Masato


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Subject: RE: Help: Blues Related to Spirituals
From: RWilhelm
Date: 05 Oct 01 - 12:18 PM

Sounds great, Jerry. Have you done any recordings with the Gospel Messengers? I saw the 5 Blind Boys at the Gospel Tent of the Jazz Fest in New Orleans and they were excellent. The Gospel Tent is a festival unto itself; the guitar and keyboard playing is as good as the vocals. There were actually 6 blind singers onstage, I suppose no one had the heart to tell them.


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Subject: RE: Help: Blues Related to Spirituals
From: wysiwyg
Date: 05 Oct 01 - 12:19 PM

Welcome, Slewfoot. We have a big little project on spirituals and music flowing out of them, hereabouts, at the moment. I hope you will jump in with both feet (and arms, and anything else available)!

It's all somewhat disorganized at the moment, with a team of Mudcatters digging up various bits from Mudcat and farther, but the "control center" is here:

AFRICAN-AMERICAN SPIRITUALS PERMATHREAD

We also are compiling a HUGE index of spirituals, and where they appear in songbooks. Please contact me via PM or e-mail if you would like more information about that.

~Susan

motormice@hotmail.com


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Subject: RE: Help: Blues Related to Spirituals
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 05 Oct 01 - 04:43 PM

Hi, Earl: No, the Messengers haven't released a CD yet, but I have the fixins for a good live one, and am intending to record another batch when we do a concert on October 13. I have a vast collection of black gospel quartet music, and the other guys in the group know twice as many more. If you'd like to reach me by e-mail, my address is gospelmessengers@msn.com. That includes anyone else reading this. My wife and I, and the other Messengers live in Connecticut, but travel further afield. The Messengers sang at Dave Para and Cathy Barton's Big Muddy festival last spring. I should add that we sing for the praise of the Lord. We have a great time singing for anyone of any faith, or uncertainty. But, we sing to bring the Word. I suppose in these politically correct times it might be frowned upon to have a strong faith...


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Subject: RE: Help: Blues Related to Spirituals
From: Dicho (Frank Staplin)
Date: 05 Oct 01 - 05:01 PM

No one in this thread seems to have mentioned Thomas A. Dorsey, the composer and singer who has been designated the father of Gospel. He combined blues with gospel music and toured with Ma Rainey among others. He composed the well-known "Peace in the Valley." Mostly he worked in the 1920-1930 period and cut many records.


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Subject: RE: Help: Blues Related to Spirituals
From: wysiwyg
Date: 05 Oct 01 - 05:07 PM

Dicho, I am happy to say you are wrong. *G* A Find in Page on Dorsey brings a number of references right in this thread.

~S~


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Subject: RE: Help: Blues Related to Spirituals
From: Dicho (Frank Staplin)
Date: 05 Oct 01 - 06:27 PM

Glad I was wrong. My old eyes tend to skip over things.


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Subject: RE: Help: Blues Related to Spirituals
From: wysiwyg
Date: 05 Oct 01 - 07:15 PM

Me too, me too!

~S~


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Subject: RE: Help: Blues Related to Spirituals
From: wysiwyg
Date: 10 Oct 01 - 09:24 PM

Via link from Dicho:

THOMAS, HENRY (1874-1950s?). Henry (Ragtime Texas) Thomas, an early exponent of country blues, was born in Big Sandy, Texas, in 1874, one of nine children of former slaves who sharecropped on a cotton plantation in the northeastern part of the state. Thomas learned to hate cotton farming at an early age and left home as soon as he could, around 1890, to pursue a career as an itinerant "songster." Derrick Stewart-Barker has commented that for his money Thomas was the best songster "that ever recorded." Thomas first taught himself to play the quills, a folk instrument made from cane reeds that sound similar to the quena used by musicians in Peru and Bolivia; later, he picked up the guitar. On the twenty-three recordings made by Thomas from 1927 to 1929, he sings a variety of songs and accompanies himself on guitar and at times on the quills. His accompaniment work on guitar has been ranked "with the finest dance blues ever recorded" and, according to Stephen Calt, "its intricate simultaneous treble picking and drone bass would have posed a challenge to any blues guitarist of any era." The range of Thomas's work makes him something of a transitional figure between the early minstrel songs, spirituals, square dance tunes, hillbilly reels, waltzes, and rags and the rise of blues and jazz. Basically his repertoire, which mostly consists of dance pieces, was out-of-date by the turn of the century when the blues began to grow in popularity. Thomas's nickname, "Ragtime Texas," is thought to have come to him because he played in fast tempos, which were synonymous for some musicians with ragtime. Five of Thomas's pieces have been characterized as "rag ditties," among them "Red River Blues," and such rag songs have been considered the immediate forerunners and early rivals of blues.

Out of Thomas's twenty-three recorded pieces, only four are "bona fide blues," so that he has been looked upon as more of a predecessor rather than a blues singer as such. One commentator has claimed that Thomas's blues are original with him and that other musicians seem not to have performed his pieces. However, Thomas's "Bull Doze Blues" ends with the four-bar "Take Me Back," a Texas standard of the World War Iqv era, which Blind Lemon Jeffersonqv had recorded around August 1926 as "Beggin' Back." It would seem, then, that Thomas's blues represent many traditional themes and vocal phrases. For example, Thomas's "Texas Easy Street Blues" contains the verse made famous by Jimmy Rushing and Joe Williams in their 1930s to 1950s versions of the Basie-Rushing tune, "Goin' to Chicago": "When you see me comin', baby, raise your window high." Another well-known phrase found in this same Thomas piece is "blue as I can be." But perhaps most indicative of Thomas's transitional position between the early black music and jazz is his "Cottonfield Blues," which contains several standard blues themes: field labor, the desire for escape, and the role of the railroad in providing a freer lifestyle.

Thomas escaped from a life of farm work by taking to the rails to make a living by singing along the Texas and Pacific and Katy lines that ran from Fort Worth-Dallas to Texarkana. In "Railroadin' Some," Thomas supplies his itinerary, which includes Texas towns like Rockwall, Greenville (with its infamous sign, "Land of the Blackest Earth and the Whitest People"), Denison, Grand Saline, Silver Lake, Mineola, Tyler (where Thomas was last active in the 1950s), Longview, Jefferson, Marshall, Little Sandy, and his birthplace of Big Sandy. Texas communities are not the only ones cited in this song, for Thomas traveled into the Indian Territory, as he still called it, to Muskogee, over to Missouri and Scott Joplin'sqv stomping grounds of Sedalia, and on up to Kansas City, then into Illinois: Springfield, Bloomington, Joliet, and Chicago, where he attended the 1893 Columbian Exposition, as did Joplin. In speaking of this piece, William Barlow calls it the most "vivid and intense recollection of railroading" in all the early blues recorded in the 1920s. The cadences in this early rural blues "depict the restless lifestyle of the vagabonds who rode the rails and their boundless enthusiasm for the mobility it gave them."

By and large Thomas's recordings represent a wide variety of sources for his Texas brand of country music, dating back to a time before the blues became popular and before in essence they subsumed many other popular song forms. This perhaps accounts for the fact that three of Thomas's songs-"Fishing Blues," "Woodhouse Blues," and "Red River Blues"-are not in reality based on the blues but may have taken the name as a way of capitalizing on the form's growing popularity. According to Stephen Calt, both "Fishing Blues" and "Woodhouse Blues" are of vaudeville origins, while "Red River Blues" has been related melodically to "Comin' Round the Mountain," published in sheet music form in 1889 but deriving from an earlier spiritual. The importance of Thomas's recordings as something of a compendium of the popular song forms of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries-from spiritual to "coon song," from "rag" song to blues-is enhanced by the similar range of instrumental techniques found in his work with guitar and quills. In a sense, then, Henry Thomas represents a vital link between the roots of black music in Africa, nineteenth and twentieth-century American folksong (including spiritual, hillbilly, "rag," and "coon"), and the coming of the blues-all of these contributing in turn to the formation of jazz in its various forms, which are reflected in the varied approaches to rhythmic, tonal, and thematic expression practiced by "Ragtime Texas" decades before he made his series of recordings from 1927 to 1929.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: William Barlow, "Looking Up at Down": The Emergence of Blues Culture (Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1989). Samuel Charters, The Blues Makers (New York: Da Capo Press, 1991). Samuel Charters, The Country Blues (London: Jazz Book Club, 1961). Sheldon Harris, Blues Who's Who: A Biographical Dictionary of Blues Singers (New Rochelle, New York: Arlington House, 1979). Derrick Stewart-Barker, "Record Reviews," Jazz Journal 28 (May 1975).

SOURCE:
"THOMAS, HENRY [RAGTIME TEXAS]." The Handbook of Texas Online.


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Subject: RE: Help: Blues Related to Spirituals
From: wysiwyg
Date: 10 Oct 01 - 09:30 PM

VBia link from Dicho:

JEFFERSON, BLIND LEMON (1897-1929). Blind Lemon Jefferson, blues musician, son of Alec and Cassie Jefferson, was born in Coutchman, Texas, in July 1897 (an estimated date since no records are available). He was born blind and was known all his life as Blind Lemon Jefferson. Jefferson received no formal education and instead traveled from town to town in the Wortham area, playing his guitar and singing songs, most of which were his own compositions. He later moved to the Dallas-Fort Worth area and became a well-known figure in the Deep Ellumqv district of Dallas. There he met Huddie Ledbetterqv (better known as "Leadbelly"), and for a time they played together in some of the brothels of Texas' cities. Leadbelly's "Blind Lemon Blues" was in honor of his friend. Jefferson was discovered by a talent scout for Paramount Records while in Dallas and was taken to Chicago. He made seventy-nine records for Paramount in the 1920s, each estimated to have sold 100,000 copies; he also made two recordings under the "Okeh" label. Recordings included "Matchbox Blues," "Black Snake Moan," and "See that My Grave is Kept Clean." He recorded spirituals under the pseudonym Deacon L. J. Bates. Jefferson is recognized as one of the earliest representatives of the "classic blues" field, considered to be one of the best folk blues singers of the 1920s, and said to have influenced such artists as Louis Armstrong, Bessie Smith, and Bix Beiderbecker, and to have encouraged Sam "Lightnin'" Hopkinsqv when Hopkins was an eight-year-old boy in Buffalo, Texas. It is not definitely known whether Jefferson was married, although one source says he married in 1922 or 1923 and had a son. He died in late December 1929 in Chicago. The exact date and cause of death is unknown because there was no death certificate, but it was reported that he had a heart attack and died on the streets during a snowstorm. Blind Lemon was buried in the Wortham Negro Cemetery, and his grave was marked as an official Texas historical monument in 1967. Jefferson was inducted into the Blues Foundation's Hall of Fame in 1980.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: Alan B. Govenar, Meeting the Blues (Dallas: Taylor, 1988). Alan Lomax, Folk Songs of North America (Garden City, New York: Doubleday, 1960). Robert Santelli, Big Book of the Blues: A Biographical Encyclopedia (New York: Penguin Books, 1993). Vertical Files, Barker Texas History Center, University of Texas at Austin.

Marilynn Wood Hill

SOURCE:
"JEFFERSON, BLIND LEMON." The Handbook of Texas Online.


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Subject: RE: Help: Blues Related to Spirituals
From: wysiwyg
Date: 10 Oct 01 - 09:37 PM

Via link from Dicho:

LEDBETTER, HUDDIE (1888-1949). Huddie Ledbetter, known as Leadbelly, was born on January 21, 1888, near Mooringsport, Louisiana, the son of a black tenant farmer, Wess Ledbeter, and his half-Indian wife, Sally Pugho. Ledbetter attended public schools in Louisiana, then in East Texas after his family purchased a small farm near Boulder when he was ten. Having learned to play the six-string guitar, he left home in 1901 to make his way as a minstrel, first on Fannin Street in Shreveport, and later in Dallas and Fort Worth. He spent summers working as a farmhand in the blackland counties east of Dallas and supplemented his income by singing and playing his guitar in saloons and dance halls during the winter. While working in Dallas, he met Blind Lemon Jefferson,qv and it was as his partner that Leadbelly first began to play the twelve-string guitar.

In 1918, under the name of Walter Boyd, Ledbetter was convicted of murder and sentenced to thirty years in the Texas penitentiary. Either prior to his sentence or during it, the musician received his famous nickname, Leadbelly. Some reports report that he got it for after taking a gunshot to the stomach; others suggest that fellow inmates gave it to him for his hard work and fast pace on the chain gangs. Pardoned in 1925 after having written a song in honor of Governor Pat Neff,qv he resumed his life of odd jobs until 1930, when he entered the state prison in Angola, Louisiana, on a charge of assault with intent to murder. There his music attracted Texas folklorist John Avery Lomaxqv and his son Alan. As a result of their intervention, Leadbelly was released from prison, and for several months he toured with the Lomaxes, giving concerts and assisting them in their efforts to record the work songs and spirituals of black convicts. Soon after their arrival in New York City, Leadbelly's singing and his unconventional background combined to bring him national prominence. Despite his growing reputation within the music field, Ledbetter continued to have problems controlling his temper and found himself briefly incarcerated for assault in 1939 on Rikers Island. Ironically, his popularity was strongest within the white folk-music scene rather than the black blues field. His associates included Woody Guthrie, Pete Seger, and Sonny Terry. His original songs such as "Bourgeois Blues" and "Scottsboro Boys" reflected his liberal politics. Leadbelly's most popular composition, "Goodnight Irene," achieved its greatest success in the early 1950s after his death when the Weavers recorded it.

Ledbetter's association in 1905 with Margaret Coleman produced two children. In 1916 he married Eletha Henderson, but the two later divorced. His final marriage in 1935 was to Martha Promise, from Louisiana. Ledbetter died in New York City on December 6, 1949, of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, popularly known as Lou Gehrig's disease. He was buried at Shiloh Baptist Church, north of Shreveport, Louisiana. In 1988 Louisiana erected a historical marker at his gravesite. In 1980 the Nashville Songwriters Association inducted him into their International Hall of Fame. That honor was followed in 1986 with membership in the Blues Foundation Hall of Fame, and in 1988 his work was honored by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: Moses Asch and Alan Lomax, eds., The Leadbelly Songbook (New York: Oak, 1962). Benjamin Filene, "Our Singing Country: John and Alan Lomax, Leadbelly and the Construction of the American Past," American Quarterly 43 (December 1991). Alan B. Govenar, Meeting the Blues (Dallas: Taylor, 1988). Sheldon Harris, Blues Who's Who: A Biographical Dictionary of Blues Singers (New Rochelle, New York: Arlington House, 1979). Gerard Herzhaft, Encyclopedia of the Blues (Fayetteville: University of Arkansas Press, 1979). John A. and Alan Lomax, Negro Folk Songs as Sung by Lead Belly (New York: Macmillan, 1936).

Christine Hamm

SOURCE:
"LEDBETTER, HUDDIE [LEADBELLY]." The Handbook of Texas Online.


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Subject: RE: Help: Blues Related to Spirituals
From: wysiwyg
Date: 10 Oct 01 - 09:40 PM

Via link from Dicho:

BLUES. The earliest reference to what might be considered blues in Texas was made in 1890 by collector Gates Thomas, who transcribed a song titled "Nobody There." Thomas doesn't mention whether the singing was accompanied by an instrument, but he does indicate that it was a pentatonic tune containing tonic, minor, third, fourth, fifth, and seventh chords, all of which combined to produce something similar to a blues tune. Later Thomas published other song texts that he had collected from African Americansqv in South Texas. Some of these included verses that had been noted by other writers in different areas of the South. The song "Baby, Take a Look at Me," for example, was transcribed both by Thomas and Charles Peabody in Mississippi. And "Alabama Bound" and "C. C. Rider" are variants of blues songs that Jelly Roll Morton sang in New Orleans. Geographically diffuse sources suggest that blues musicians were itinerant and that blues was part of an oral tradition that developed in different areas of the South. By all accounts, the blues was widespread in the early 1900s. Thousands of blacks during this period were migratory, looking for work and escape from all too prevalent racism. Blues singers were often migrant workers who followed the crop harvests or lived in lumber camps and boom towns. Some settled down and labored as sharecroppers, leasing small tracts of land controlled by white landowners. Others continued roving from town to town, working odd jobs in the growing urban centers–Dallas, Houston, Shreveport, and Atlanta–cities where black migrant populations were crowded into neighborhoods of shotgun shacks and pasteboard houses.

Blues music expresses the hardships of newly freed black slaves. The freedoms offered by Reconstructionqv were hard-won–racism, Jim Crow laws, and the Ku Klux Klanqv were major obstacles to economic independence and self-determination. Still, leisure, even under the most desolate circumstances, was vitally new and served as a catalyst in the development of the blues. Early blues answered the need for a release from everyday life. The blues is an intensely personal music; it identifies itself with the feelings of the audience–suffering and hope, economic failure, the break-up of the family, the desire to escape reality through wandering, love, and sex. In this way, blues is somewhat different from African songs, which usually concern the lives and works of gods, the social unit (tribe and community), and nature. With its emphasis on individual experience blues reflects a Western concept of life. Yet, as a musical form it shows little Western influence. The traditional three-line, twelve-bar, aab verse form of the blues arises from no apparent Western source, although some blues does incorporate Anglo-American ballad forms that have six, ten, or sixteen bar structures. Early blues drew from the music of its time: field hollers and shouts, which it most closely resembles melodically; songster ballads, from which it borrows imagery and guitar patterns; spirituals and Gospel, which trained the voices and ears of black children. These, with exception of the ballad, were the descendants of African percussive rhythms and call-and-response singing. Although blues drew from the religious music of both African and Western cultures, it was often considered sinful. Blues singers were stereotyped as "backsliders" in their own communities. In many areas blues was known as the devil's music. As historian Larry Levine points out, blues blended the sacred and the secular. Like the spirituals and folktales of the nineteenth century, blues was a plea for release, a mix of despair, hope, and humor that had a cathartic effect upon the listener. The blues singer had an expressive role that mirrored the power of the preacher, and because of this power, blues was both embraced and rejected by blacks and their churches. In Texas, blues musician Lil Son Jackson explained to British blues aficionado Paul Oliver that it was, in effect, the spiritual power of the blues that made the music sinful. "If a man hurt within and he sing a church song then he's askin' God for help....if a man sing the blues it's more or less out of himself....He's not askin' no one for help. And he's really not really clingin' to no one. But he's expressin' how he feel. He's expressin' to someone and that fact makes it a sin, you know....you're tryin' to get your feelin's over to the next person through the blues, and that's what make it a sin." Because of the frequent lack of centralized authority in black churches, however, community opposition to the blues varied from place to place. Rarely were blues singers completely ostracized. They lived on the margins of what was acceptable and derived their livelihood from itinerant work at house parties and dances.

With the growth of the recording industry during the 1920s the audience for blues expanded among blacks nationwide. For example, demographic studies indicate that Blind Lemon Jefferson'sqv records sold thousands of copies to blacks in the urban ghettos of the North, but in Dallas Jefferson was recognized primarily as street singer who performed daily with a tin cup at the corner of Elm Street and Central Avenue. Despite his limited commercial success in Dallas, he had a great influence on the development of Texas blues. Huddie (Leadbelly) Ledbetterqv credited him as an inspiration, as did Aaron Thibeaux (T-Bone) Walker.qv What distinguishes Jefferson from the other blues performers of his generation was his singular approach to the guitar, which established the basis of what is today known as the Texas style. He strummed or "hammered" the strings with repetitive bass figures and produced a succession of open and fretted notes, using a quick release and picking single-string, arpeggio runs. T-Bone Walker later applied this technique to the electric guitar and, combined with the influences of the jump and swing blues of the regional or "Territory" jazz bands of the 1920s and 1930s, produced the modern sound.

In the Territory jazz bands of the Southwest, the guitar was used as a rhythm instrument to underlie the voice and horn sections. The introduction of the electric guitar occurred first in these bands and was pioneered by Eddie Durhamqv of San Marcos and Charlie Christianqv of Fort Worth. By using electric amplification jazz guitarists were able to increase the resonance and volume of their sound. Charlie Christian is credited with teaching T-Bone Walker about the electric guitar and its potential as a solo instrument. In the rhythm and blues of T-Bone Walker the electric guitar assumed a role that superseded the saxophone, which had until then been the prominent solo instrument in jazz. The interplay between the saxophone and the guitar remained important in rhythm and blues, but the relationship between the instruments was transformed. The rhythm and blues band sound became tighter and depended more on the interplay of the electric guitar with the horn section, piano, and drums.

In Texas, blues has developed a unique character that results not only from the introduction of the electric guitar, but also from the cross-pollination of musical styles–itself a result of the migratory patterns of blacks–as well as the impact of the recording industry and mass-media commercialization. Not only is the black population of Texas less concentrated than that of other states in the South, but blues music in Texas also evolved in proximity to other important musical traditions: the rural Anglo, the Cajun and Creole, the Hispanic, and the Eastern and Central European. The white crossover to blues in Texas began in the nineteenth century, when black fiddlers and guitar songsters played at white country dances. Eddie Durham recalled in interviews that his father was a fiddler who played jigs and reels as well as blues. Mance Lipscomb'sqv and Gatemouth Brown's fathers were songsters who played fiddle and guitar. White musicians were exposed to blues at country dances and minstrel shows and among black workers in the fields, road gangs, turpentine camps, and railroad yards. Country singer Bill Neelyqv said that he first heard blues when he picked cotton in Collin County north of Dallas in the 1920s, but he learned to play blues by listening to Jimmie (James Charles) Rodgers.qv Though known as a country singer, "Jimmie Rodgers was a bluesman," Neely maintained. "A lot of those songs Jimmie Rodgers didn't write. He got them from the blacks he heard when he was growing up in Mississippi and when he worked as a brakeman on the railroad." The influence of blues and jazz is also apparent in the early western swing bands of Bob (James Robert) Wills and Milton Brown, where the horn sections of the Territory jazz bands were imitated and developed through different instrumentation. In addition, blues and jazz influenced Hispanic as well as Anglo-European popular music.

In the 1920s Dallas became a recording center primarily because it is a geographical hub. The major race labels, those catering to an African-American audience, held regular sessions in Dallas. Okeh, Vocalion, Brunswick Columbia, RCA, and Paramount sent scouts and engineers to record local artists once or twice a year. Engineers came into the city, set up their equipment in a hotel room, and put the word out. Itinerant musicians found their way to Dallas, among them the legendary Delta bluesman Robert Johnson, who recorded there in 1937 (but was also recorded in San Antonio). In part, the intense recording activity in Dallas was spurred by the commercial success of Blind Lemon Jefferson, who was discovered by a Paramount record company executive on a Deep Ellumqv sidewalk and invited to Chicago to make race records. Between 1926 and 1929 Blind Lemon made more than eighty records and proved to be the biggest-selling country bluesman of his generation. As a result of his huge commercial success, blues singers from around the south flocked to Dallas with the hope of being recorded. Generally, these musicians lived and worked in the area around Deep Ellum and Central Tracks. Deep Ellum was the area of Dallas, north and east of downtown, where black newcomers to the city flocked. Branching off from Elm Street was Central Tracks, a stretch of railroad near the Union Depot, where the Texas and Pacific line crossed the Houston and Texas Central line. Lying east of the downtown business district and north of Deep Ellum, Central Tracks was the heart of the black community. In the area were Ella B. Moore's Park Theater, with vaudeville, minstrel, and touring blues and jazz shows, the Tip Top, Hattie Burleson's dance hall, the Green Parrot, and the Pythian Temple, designed by the black architect William Sidney Pittman.qv In addition to Blind Lemon Jefferson, there were other important blues musicians, who recorded in Dallas during the heyday of Deep Ellum and Central Tracks. These included Lonnie Johnson, Lillian Glinn, Little Hat Jones, Alger (Texas) Alexander, Jesse Thomas, Willard (Ramblin) Thomas, Sammy Hill, Otis Harris, Willie Reed, Oscar (Buddy) Woods, Babe Kyro (Black Ace) Turner, and the young T-Bone Walker. With the Great Depressionqv of the 1930s, race recording declined, but the Dallas area remained a center of blues activity. In the 1940s the railroad tracks on Central Avenue were torn up to make room for Central Expressway, which was built in the 1950s, and for R. L. Thornton Freeway in the 1960s. These changes choked Deep Ellum off from downtown and the area became a warehouse district with industrial suppliers and small businesses mixed in. In the 1980s the redevelopment of Deep Ellum stimulated commercial activity, street life, and a club scene that has become an important venue for contemporary blues. Among blacks in Dallas, the locus of blues activity in the 1940s and 1950s shifted from Central Tracks to North and South Dallas. The Rose Ballroom, opened by T. H. Smith in March 1942 and reopened as the Rose Room in April 1943, became a showplace for the best of the local and nationally known blues artists. T-Bone Walker performed there, as did Big Joe Turner, Pee Wee Crayton, Lowell Fulson, Eddie Vinson, Jimmy Nelson, and Henry (Buster) Smith.qv The Rose Room was renamed the Empire Room in 1951 and continued to feature the most popular rhythm and blues of the day: ZuZu Bollin, Lil Son Jackson, Clarence (Nappy Chin) Evans, Mercy Baby, Frankie Lee Sims, and Smoke Hogg. In the 1960s Chris Strachwitz of Arhoolie Records worked in earnest to release contemporary recordings of these and other blues musicians in Dallas and elsewhere in Texas. Since 1985, Documentary Arts, a nonprofit organization in Dallas, has been involved in the documentation and preservation of Texas blues through the production of radio features, films, videos, audio cassettes, and compact discs. The Dallas Blues Society has also worked to heighten public knowledge of the blues through the promotion of concerts and the production of audio recordings. In 1987 Dallas pianist Alex Moore became the first African-American blues musician from Texas to receive a National Heritage Fellowship from the Folk Arts Program National Endowment for the Arts.

African Americans in Houston settled mostly in four segregated wards: the Third, Fourth, Fifth, and Sixth. It was in the Third Ward that Sam (Lightnin) Hopkinsqv accompanied his cousin Alger (Texas) Alexander in the late 1920s, and where Hopkins returned by himself in the 1940s to play on Dowling Street. The Santa Fe Group gathered in the Fourth Ward.qv They were a loosely knit association of itinerant black pianists in the 1920s and 1930s that included Robert Shaw,qv Black Boy Shine, Pinetop Burks, and Rob Cooper, who played in the roadhouses and juke joints along the Santa Fe tracks, playing their distinctive style of piano that combined elements of blues with the syncopation of ragtime. In the Fifth Wardqv also there were black blues pianists, but their style of performance was even more eclectic. Probably the most well-known of these were members of the George W. Thomas family. The eldest, George Thomas, Jr., was born about 1885, followed by his sister, Beulah, better known as the classic blues singer Sippie Wallace, and her brother, Hersal. In Houston there were fewer opportunities for recording than in Dallas until after World War II,qv when several independent labels were started. The earliest to record blues was Gold Star, founded by Bill Quinn in 1946 as a hillbilly label to record Harry H. Choates.qv In 1947 Quinn decided to enter the race market by recording Lightnin' Hopkins. By the early 1950s competition among independent record labels in Houston was intense. Macy's, Freedom, and Peacock (as well as Bob Shad's New York-based Sittin-In-With label) were all involved in recording local and regional blues musicians, including Lightnin' Hopkins, Goree Carter, Lester Williams, Little Willie Littlefield, Peppermint Harris, Grady Gaines, and Big Walter Price. Of the Houston-based independent labels, Peacock emerged as the most prominent. Houston businessman Don Robey founded Peacock Records in 1949 to record Gatemouth Brown, who was the headliner at Robey's Bronze Peacock club. The first rhythm and blues singer with whom Robey made the charts was Marie Adams, whose song "I'm Gonna Play the Honky Tonks" was a hit in 1952. With this success, Robey expanded his recording interests by acquiring the Memphis label Duke Records. Through this acquisition Robey secured the rights to the musicians who were then under contract to Duke. These included Johnny Ace, Junior Parker, and Bobby Blue Bland. In addition to Peacock and Duke, Robey started the Songbird and Back Beat labels, as well as the Buffalo Booking Agency, which was operated by his associate, Evelyn Johnson. Robey's business began to wane in the early 1960s, but benefited greatly from the influx of British rock 'n' roll and the revival of interest in rhythm and blues. In 1973 Robey sold his recording and publishing interests to ABC/Dunhill. Concurrent with the growth of Peacock Records, a new generation of Houston-bred rhythm and blues musicians began their careers, but were not recorded by Don Robey. These musicians included Albert Collins, Johnny Copeland, Joe Hughes, Johnny Watson, Clarence and Cal Green, and Pete Mayes. Playing at the Club Matinee, Shady's Playhouse, the Eldorado Ballroom, and other nightspots around Houston, these musicians emulated the music of T-Bone Walker and eventually developed their own distinctive performance styles.

Austin was slower to develop as a recording center than Dallas or Houston, although there is a long history of blues in Central Texas. The relatively small black population of Austin made the capital unappealing for record producers until the 1960s, when the "Austin Sound" began to attract national attention. With the influx of white musicians, including Jimmie Vaughan, Stevie Ray Vaughan,qv Joe Ely, Angela Strehli, and Kim Wilson, the enthusiasm for blues has grown significantly. The success of these musicians has also benefited many older African-American blues musicians who gained a larger audience outside of their own community and performed at Antone's, the Continental Club, and other venues near the University of Texas campus. In Austin, T-Bone Walker clearly had the biggest influence upon aspiring black blues musicians, including Dooley Jordan, Jewel Simmons, and T. D. Bell. Bell himself has also inspired younger blues artists, such as Herbert (Blues Boy) Hubbard and W. C. Clark. In the 1950s the Victory Grill on East Eleventh Street was an important venue for local musicians as well as for nationally touring acts. In addition to rhythm and blues, Austin has also been the home of barrelhouse blues pianists Grey Ghost, Robert Shaw, and Lavada Durst, and for country blues guitarist Alfred (Snuff) Johnson. In recent years, Texas Folklife Resources in Austin has presented some of these performers in touring programs. John Wheat, of the Center for American History at the University of Texas at Austin, has been building an important sound archive, including the Texas Music Collection, the John A. Lomaxqv Family Papers, the Mance Lipscomb/Glen Alyn Collection, the William A. Owens Collection, and other blues recordings, posters, and memorabilia.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: William Barlow, "Looking Up at Down": The Emergence of Blues Culture (Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1989). Lawrence Cohn, Nothing but the Blues: The Music and the Musicians (New York: Abbeville Press, 1993). Francis Davis, The History of the Blues (New York: Hyperion, 1995). Alan B. Govenar, The Early Years of Rhythm and Blues: Focus on Houston (Houston: Rice University Press, 1990). Alan B. Govenar, Meeting the Blues (Dallas: Taylor, 1988). Paul Oliver, The New Grove Gospel, Blues and Jazz: With Spiritual and Ragtime (London: Macmillan, 1986).

Alan Govenar

SOURCE:
"BLUES." The Handbook of Texas Online.


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Subject: RE: Help: Blues Related to Spirituals
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 10 Oct 01 - 11:24 PM

Thanks for all this great stuff! I don't know how you type such long entries. Pickle juice works well on bloody finger tips.


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Subject: RE: Help: Blues Related to Spirituals
From: wysiwyg
Date: 10 Oct 01 - 11:30 PM

No typing! All copy and paste!

Pickle juice-- prolly not good for the eyes tho huh? *G*

~S~


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Subject: RE: Help: Blues Related to Spirituals
From: Lonesome EJ
Date: 11 Oct 01 - 12:03 AM

By golly Wizzy...you are doing some good work here! I'm starting to think there may be something in this gospel/blues thing!


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Subject: RE: Help: Blues Related to Spirituals
From: wysiwyg
Date: 11 Oct 01 - 01:00 AM

We're gonna getcha, LEJ, eventually!

Ya know how it's easiest to see the relationshp? Sing them... turn 'em a little bit loose in your throat... and you will see how fast you slide into and out of the blues, and back and forth... till it's all one sort of music you are singing that is both genres, and neither. Play with it while driving around-- you'll see! *G* Don't worry about words at first-- groan around in a kinda croon and BAMM! That's IT!

~Susan


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Subject: RE: Help: Blues Related to Spirituals
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 11 Oct 01 - 12:23 PM

I've recently started learning If I Can't Speak For Jesus.. a song recorded by the Five Blind Boys. I'm not a tenor, and NOBODY can match the original lead in fervor or emotion. The other four are mostly just hmmmmming in the background. Which is the usual arrangement for the Five Blind Boys of Alabama. When I approach the song, I hear it as a blues. I originally learned to fingerpick from Dave Van Ronk, so the song naturally slides into a blues flavor. With no noticeable change in phrasing or feel. Of all the black gospel quartets, the Five Blind Boys seem to be closest in feel to the blues. I have a CD of gospel by Otis Clay, a fine rhythm and blues singer, and it all flows naturally. My buddy Frank said that the only difference between the old jook joint jump tunes and the Sunday morning gospel is that on Saturday night, you can shake your hips from side to side, and on Sunday morning, you move them up and down.


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Subject: RE: Help: Blues Related to Spirituals
From: wysiwyg
Date: 11 Apr 02 - 12:47 PM

Sit down and hear the singers at the Fort Valley State College Folk Festival, and you will hear a whole bunch of stuff courtesy of the American Memory project. (Save those sound files pals! I did!)

Someone who knows more than I do about our more well-known blues artists, and their gospel pieces, might find some interesting clues as to when certain blues-gospel standards were actually created and how they spread. I'm hearing several things I thought only one guy ever did........

So which came first, the chicken or the egg, and just where did the black gospel quartets get the idea to take spirituals and regularize the harmonies, anyhow? Was it a collision of spirituals and barbershop? It sure sounds like it! ~Susan


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Subject: RE: Help: Blues Related to Spirituals
From: wysiwyg
Date: 12 Apr 02 - 10:18 AM

Same thing here at DOVESONG.... try listening to some ofg these and you will wonder who got there first, Rev. Gary Davis or the quartets... shades of MJH, Blind Willie, all the ones you know from them are at Dovesong in one form or another....

Spirituals moving forward and blues gospel moving backward.... they seem to meet in the beginniings of the quartet time. What a melting pot that was!

~Susan


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Subject: RE: Help: Blues Related to Spirituals
From: wysiwyg
Date: 12 Apr 02 - 10:19 AM

Same thing here at DOVESONG.... try listening to some of these and you will wonder who got there first, Rev. Gary Davis or the quartets... shades of MJH, Blind Willie, all the ones you know from them are at Dovesong in one form or another....

Spirituals moving forward and blues gospel moving backward.... they seem to meet in the beginniings of the quartet time. What a melting pot that was!

~Susan


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Subject: RE: Help: Blues Related to Spirituals
From: Rolfyboy6
Date: 13 Apr 02 - 12:29 AM

Fred McDowell was mentioned above in the thread. Fred, a great bluesman, was a lifelong member of the Hunters Chapel Baptist Church. Being a Baptist, rather than Sanctified, he was able to perform both secular and sacred music. Several of his Arhoolie CDs Arhoolie blues have gospel tunes, and one is about one half gospelGood Morning Little School Girl. And he recorded an entire CD of gospel songs with members of the Hunters Chapel congregation. Hightone/Testament: Amazing Grace. And then there are Lomax's astounding recordings made on Fred's porch one Mississippi night in 1959 First Recordings


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Subject: RE: Help: Blues Related to Spirituals
From: Rolfyboy6
Date: 13 Apr 02 - 12:48 AM

I'm having trouble finding her recordings. She's so powerful. Sister Rosetta Tharpe was the daughter of a Sactified gospel singer and grew up touring with her mother. She did both gospel and secular blues and due to criticism became a Baptist so she could continue to do the occaisional blues. Her work is being mined by modern musicians. It's A Girl Thang: Rosetta Tharpe


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Subject: RE: Help: Blues Related to Spirituals
From: wysiwyg
Date: 15 Jun 05 - 12:28 PM

refresh


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Subject: RE: Help: Blues Related to Spirituals
From: GUEST,Joseph Scott
Date: 03 Dec 14 - 01:48 PM

"Which came first, Gospel or the Blues . . .Hmmmmmm?" Gospel, by decades. The expression "gospel songs" was in wide use in the 1870s, and predates the 1870s. The black folk songs with the word "blues" in their lyrics can be traced back to about 1907. There were very similar songs to those blues songs, without the word "blues" ever in them as far as we know, in the 1890s, such as "Got No More Home Than A Dog." I've never seen anyone make a reasonable argument that we have evidence that those types of 1890s songs (in turn) already existed as of say 1885. Perhaps they did, but the evidence we have of 1870s-1880s black folk music is pretty extensive (although less so than of the 1890s), and that evidence doesn't support the idea that they did.


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Subject: RE: Help: Blues Related to Spirituals
From: GUEST,Joseph Scott
Date: 03 Dec 14 - 02:33 PM

The Alan Govenar piece quoted above is full of misinformation (some of it obviously consisting of garbling even further similar misinformation in _Big Road Blues_ by David Evans).

"Nobody There" does not have a special relationship to blues music relative to other music of its era; Gates Thomas did not write about "Nobody There" in 1890, but many years later; Thomas recalled that he heard "Nobody There" in _approximately_ 1890; Thomas was inconsistent over the years in his writings about when he first heard "Boll Weevil," so he's not particularly reliable on dates anyway; "Nobody There" was not the only black folk song that he included in the particular article it was in; Thomas's article did not "indicate" anything about "Nobody There" having anything special to do with "blues" music.

We don't know whether the fragment "Baby take a look on me" that Charles Peabody encountered in about 1902 made up part, at the time, of what we'd call the song "Baby Take A Look At Me." Which blues song Jelly Roll Morton sang was a "variant" of "Alabama Bound," as opposed to say the "Alabama Bound" that he sang?

"Blues music" was named in about 1909 after the songs that increasingly mentioned having the quote "blues" in their lyrics during about 1907-1909. These songs were about disappointments in romantic relationships. The black people who made up those songs of about 1907-1909 were not "newly freed" slaves. They tended to be young. Older black people tended to dislike those new fad songs of the young people as inferior to earlier songs.

Three-line stanzas with AAB lyrics were in Child ballads. Early blues did not more closely resemble field hollers and shouts melodically than black folk ballads. Black folk ballads were affected by "African percussive rhythms and call-and-response singing." There is no evidence that the earliest blues "blended the sacred and the secular." (There were ever any blues that blended the secular with the sacred, eventually, representing a tiny proportion of all blues.) There is no reason to think that Lemon Jefferson wasn't successful with Dallas record buyers once he was a recoringd artist. Many Texas guitarists did not use the supposed "Texas style" mentioned. There was no one "the modern sound" on guitar. Durham and Christian were not the first to use electric guitars in bands. Saxophone remained the dominant instrument in R&B well after T-Bone Walker became popular, and that's why roughly half of all R&B records made in the early '50s didn't have a guitar on them, let alone a guitar soloing.


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Subject: RE: Help: Blues Related to Spirituals
From: wysiwyg
Date: 03 Dec 14 - 03:22 PM

!!!

~S~


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Subject: RE: Help: Blues Related to Spirituals
From: GUEST,Joseph Scott
Date: 05 Dec 14 - 02:28 PM

The closest hypothetical link I can think of between spirituals and early blues arising would involve the 16-bar spirituals that used a chord progression similar to I-I-I-I-IV-IV-I-I-I-I-I-I-V-V-I-I and had repetitive lines of lyrics within the stanza and the versions of the "Chilly Winds" family that were also 16-bar and also had that chord progression, such as "Goin' Where The Climate Suits My Clothes" as John Carson (born about 1873) knew it and recorded it (under several titles). We know that 16-bar blues were popular with folk musicians as of the 1910s (often with AAAB lyrics). We don't know whether the very earliest blues songs were 16-bar, 12-bar, or 8-bar.


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