The Birth of Blues, Jazz, and Rock

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These are my rough unedited class notes representing general ideas and concepts for class lectures. Please ignore the many sentence fragments.

The African-American culture of the southern plantation influenced the birth of the blues through the adaptation of their African musical heritage. Based upon a call and response structure, one slave worker would call or play a lead and the fellow workers would respond with the same phrase or an embellishment of that phrase. The music involved predictable repetitions and were designed to ease the boredom of working in the fields as well as using music to retain memories of their past. This was important to the slave who were accustomed to dancing and singing to the beat of African drumming which emphasized rhythm over harmony. Drums were outlawed by the plantation owners so slaves often substituted clapping or slapping their bodies to establish a rhythmic pulse. The black churches of the south used music to enhance their worship services. Even today, black church services traditionally extend many hours into the afternoon and sometimes resemble a community talent show with congregation members performing all sorts of energetic music.

During WWI many southern A-A's brought the blues to northern cities especially Chicago. The AA population grew from 40,000 in 1910 to 240,000 in 1930. Many left the plantations to flee from discrimination and to seek better paying jobs in the northern factories. From 1940-1950 220,000 southern African-Americans fled from the southern plantations to Chicago with nearly half coming from the Mississippi Delta region.

Muddy Waters (McKinley Morganfield)

Singing in church"I was a good Baptist and got all my moaning and trembling going on for me right out of church."

First guitar at 13Sold last family horse for $15... Gave grandmother half and order a Stella guitar from Sears and Roebuck for $2.50

1943 moved to Chicago to make a start in the music business.

Wanted to leaveHad older blacks believing that they could not make it away from the plantations.

1944Bought first electric guitar from Leo Fender.

Muddy WatersI'm Your Hoochie Coochie Man

SteppenwolfI Just Want To Make Love To You

Howlin Wolf(Chester Burnett)

Muddy Waters Rival at Chess records of Chicago

Willie Dixon songwriter and talent scout. Wrote songs for Waters and Wolf.

Lived on plantation in Mississippi.

Decided to imitate the yodeling style of white singer Jimmy Rogers but never quite mastered the technique. Ended up sounding like someone howling and hence the name stuck.

Howlin WolfBackdoor Man
Killing Floor
The Lemon SongLed Zeppelin

Bo Diddley (Ellas McDaniel)

Moved to Chicago with family and started playing music in the streets at 15

Singed with Chess records in 1955
Distinctive vocal sound with fast quivering vibrato.

Bo DiddleyI'm A Man
Who Do You Love

Sonny Boy Williamson (Rice Miller)

Blues harpist took 1962 hit Booker T and the MG's Green Onions

"Help Me"

Rock and Roll was African American euphemism for intercourse.

Chuck BerryBrick house, tree lined street in middle-class St. Louis. Family lived a block from church and musical roots originated in the church service. Chuck BerryRoll Over Beethoven
Rock and Roll Music
Johnny B. Goode
Back in the USA

Decca vs. Sun

Signed Bill Haley and the Comets

Shake Rattle and Roll
Rock Around the Clock(appeared in 1955 movie Blackboard Jungle) See You Later Alligator

Much more restrained style on stage as opposed to Elvis. In a jab at Elvis he said that a lot depends on the entertainer and how he controls the crowd. The music is stimulating enough without creating additional excitement. Its worth mentioning that Elvis was a young handsome hip swiveled while Haley was a pudgy, balding and 32 years old.

During the same time Decca discovered Charles Holly, a skinny teenager with thick horn rimmed...
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