78 Blues: Folksongs and Phonographs in the American South

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Univ. Press of Mississippi, 2008 - Music - 299 pages
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When record men first traveled from Chicago or invited musicians to studios in New York, these entrepreneurs had no conception how their technology would change the dynamics of what constituted a musical performance. 78 Blues: Folksongs and Phonographs in the American South covers a revolution in artist performance and audience perception through close examination of hundreds of key "hillbilly" and "race" records released between the 1920s and World War II. In the postwar period, regional strains recorded on pioneering 78 r.p.m. discs exploded into urban blues and R&B, honky-tonk and western swing, gospel, soul, and rock 'n' roll. These old-time records preserve the work of some of America's greatest musical geniuses such as Jimmie Rodgers, Robert Johnson, Charlie Poole, and Blind Lemon Jefferson. They are also crucial mile markers in the course of American popular music and the growth of the modern recording industry. When these records first circulated, the very notion of recorded music was still a novelty. All music had been created live and tied to particular, intimate occasions. How were listeners to understand an impersonal technology like the phonograph record as a musical event? How could they reconcile firsthand interactions and traditional customs with technological innovations and mass media? The records themselves, several hundred of which are explored fully in this book, offer answers in scores of spoken commentaries and skits, in song lyrics and monologues, or other more subtle means. John Minton is professor of folklore at Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne. He is also a musician, songwriter, and the author of "The Coon in the Box" A Global Folktale in African-American Tradition (with David Evans) and "Big 'Fraid and Little 'Fraid" An Afro-American Folktale.
 

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Contents

Supposing We Have Us a Little Tune Here
3
Learning to Listen
11
True Relations
34
Lets Get This Dance Started
44
Heres One You Can All Sing Right with Us
77
A Special Prayer on the Man Thats ACatching the Record
95
I Ought to Be Recording Right Now
125
A Corn Licker Still in Georgia
149
Well Folks Here We Are Again
211
Notes
229
Record and Song Index
267
Performer Index
277
General Index
285
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