American Popular Music (2008) - download pdf or read online

By Larry Starr, Christopher Waterman

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The late 1930s jazz recordings of the King Cole Trio, with its instrumentation of piano, bass, and guitar, were a more immediate influence on postwar blues crooners, although Cole’s later recordings took him well into the pop mainstream. The most successful blues crooner of the late 1940s and early 1950s was a soft-spoken Texas-born pianist and singer named Charles Brown. ’s Central Avenue. ” Over the next three years he recorded 10 Top 10 hits for Aladdin Records and became one of the most popular R&B singers nationwide.

First, many of the old-time songs about family and the church seemed out of place in the new setting. Musicians began to compose songs about aspects of life directly relevant to many of their listeners: family instability, the unpredictability of male-female relationships, the attractions and dangers of alcohol, and the importance of enjoying the present. When the rural past was referred to, it was usually through a veil of nostalgia and longing. Honkytonk vocal styles were often directly emotional, making use of “cracks” in the voice and stylistic features from black music, such as melisma and blue notes.

The Rolling Stones reportedly took their name from Waters’ 1948 “Rollin’ Stone” recording. form. The career of Muddy Waters (McKinley Morganfield) exemplifies these developments. Waters was “discovered” in the Mississippi Delta by the folk music scholars John and Alan Lomax, who recorded him in the late 1930s for the Library of Congress. In 1943 he moved to Chicago and found work in a paper mill, while continuing to work as a musician at nightclubs and parties. In response to the noisy crowds, and to the demand for dance music, Waters soon switched from the acoustic to the electric guitar (1944) and eventually expanded his group to include a second electric guitar, piano, bass, amplified harmonica, and drum set.

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American Popular Music (2008) by Larry Starr, Christopher Waterman


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