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User Name Thread Name Subject Posted
josepp The hidden history of swing (39) RE: The hidden history of swing 03 Aug 11

Stringsinger has performed a great service here: he gives us the usual white liberal tripe with all its political correctness in the fore so he won't be called a racist. As per this type of individual, he simply ignores what he can't explain. He wishes to reiterate that jazz is BLACK DAMN IT!!!! And that whites hung around and managed to get in on it but otherwise contributed nothing useful and invokes the almighty name of Louis Armstrong while ignoring that Louis thought the best orchestra he ever heard was Guy Lombardo and the best trumpter was Bix--this from a man who learned from King Oliver and Bunk Johnson.

Fortunately, we have a modern parallel called rocknroll. Black in its origin certainly. But who popularized it (and we're not going to even bring up the Alan Freeds and the Sam Phillipses)? Elvis--far and away it was Elvis. Elvis never made any bones that rocknroll was black and that Fats Domino was the true king of rocknroll. Hell, Elvis wasn't even the first rocknroll star--it was black performer named Johnny Ace who was already dead by the time Elvis started his career. But who is remembered today? It may not be fair that Johnny is forgotten while Elvis lives forever but it a fact and it has to be taken into account.

As great as Fats was, who sold more copies of "Ain't That a Shame"--Fats or Pat Boone. Pat Boone by a huge margin. And Fats wrote the damn song! Now we could accuse Boone of just capitalizing on Fats but his cover actually exposed Fats to a white audience who previously ignored him and it opened up his career. A kind of microcosm--Fats as the originator but Boone as the popularizer. Both needed the other and both knew it.

Even though Big Joe Turner did "Shake, Rattle and Roll" before Bill Haley, Haley had the bigger selling version. Not only was Joe not miffed about it, he and Haley became very close and even toured together and Joe always deferred "Shake" to Bill. In turn, when Joe needed a band, Bill lent him his Comets (all white guys no less) without getting involved in it himself. They were good fishing buddies.

And what kind of stuff did Fats and Ray Charles and Chuck Berry grow up listening to? Why that would be white country. Another of those facts that isn't much put out today is that Grand Ol' Opry had a huge black audience. Fats, in fact, loved Hank Williams. Chuck loved Bob Wills (and who could blame him?). And if you could ask Jimi Hendrix who it was that inspired him to want to be a performer, he would tell you Elvis whom he actually saw live in 1957 and it changed his life.

I read an interview with Diana Ross who said that everybody at Motown watched the Beatles very closely--and they all had their favorite Beatle songs (hers was "Strawberry Fields"). I once heard B.B. King with my own two little ears state that one of his favorite guitarists was Robert Fripp because he took electric guitar where it had never gone before. And he loved Les Paul.

Why then should we assume that this trade-off of influences never went on before 1956? It's silly. Blacks influenced whites, whites influenced blacks. It's a two-way street and always has been. If a black person listened to a record of a popular song in 1908, the chances were very good that he was hearing a white artist and that he was going to be influenced by that. And this is proven with the case of Mississippi John Hurt who stated the only recording artist he heard growing up was Jimmie Rodgers.

It has nothing to do with who invented what--which is not even an interesting argument to me. I'm far more interested in how it grew and matured and spread and became a living entity of itself. It happened on a FAR wider scale at the turn of the century than people today can accept because they buy into myopic pseudo-histories that, in trying to right a wrong, commits an even an bigger one.

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