- CONTAINS DEFINITION OF -

- Blues Music -
- Cajun Music -
- Country Music -
- Gospel Music (Black) -
- Gospel Music (White) -
- Honky-Tonk Music -
- Jazz Music -
- Rock And Roll Music -
- Spirituals -
- Zydeco Music -



BLUES MUSIC - In the 1890s several new musical forms arose in the black communities of the southern  and border states. Among the most important of these forms were ragtime, jazz, and blues.

The generation  that created this new music had been born in the years immediately following the Civil war, the first  generation of blacks that did not directly experience slavery.  As this generation reached maturity in the  1890s, there arose within it a restlessness to try out new ideas and new courses of action.

''Good morning, Mister Blues,
I ain't doin' nothin' an' I would like to get a job with you''

New economic,  social, and political institutions were created to provide a network of mutual support within the black  community in the face of a hardening of discriminatory patterns of race relations and Jim Crow  legislation.  Pentecostal denominations with a more emotional style of worship arose to meet the spiritual  needs of many who were trying to improve their lot in life and cope with problems of urban migration,  industrialism, and unemployment.

These social changes were reflected in new developments in the arts at all levels – formal, popular, and  folk – and in none of the arts was the ferment as intense as in music. In border states like Missouri, Kansas,  and Kentucky, where blacks had greater opportunities to obtain formal training in music and were exposed  to a variety of popular and even classical music forms, they created ragtime. At this same time the first  stirrings of jazz were heard in southern cities along the Atlantic and Gulf coasts, particularly in New  Orleans. Blues, on the other hand, was created in the rural areas and small towns of the Deep South,  particularly in the areas of large plantations, such as the Mississippi Delta, and in industries that required  heavy manual labor, such as mining, logging, levee and railroad construction, and freight loading. Those who  sought work as sharecroppers and harvesters on the plantations and in the other industries were hoping to  escape the drudgery and hopelessness of life on tiny plots of worn-out farmland and earn some cash for their  labor. With little education or property, and no political power in a completely segregated society, they often  encountered intolerable working conditions and moved frequently from one plantation or job to another.

Out of this dissatisfaction arose the blues, a music that reflected not only the social isolation and lack  of formal training of its creators but also their ability to make do with the most basic of resources and to  survive under the most adverse, oppressive circumstances. Blues drew from Western formal music in only  the most superficial ways and instead was comprised almost entirely or resources and elements taken from  the existing black folk music tradition. Unlike ragtime and jazz, blues has never been fully accepted  by mainstream America as a distinct major musical form. Instead it has tended to reviewed as a rather  simple and limited, though at times charming and powerfully expressive, type of music, suitable mainly as  raw material for jazz, rock and roll, or some other more complex popular music. In the history of these  other types of music, blues is viewed as one of the ''roots''.

Blues introduced a number of new elements into American musical consciousness. The most novel in  its initial impact, and now one of the most pervasive elements in American popular music, is the ''blue  note''. Blue notes generally occur at the third and seventh degrees of the scale, though sometimes at other  points as well, and can be either flatted notes, neutral pitches, waverings, or sliding tones occurring in the  range between the major and minor of these points on the scale. Another primary musical characteristics is  the role of the accompanying instrument as a second voice. The musical accompaniment in blues is not  simply a rhythmic and harmonic background to the singing. It constantly interacts with, punctuates, and  answers the vocal line. Finally, the blues introduced a new realism combined with greater individualism into  American popular song. During the 1890s most popular songs were either humorous, sentimental, or  tragic, dramatizing unusual or exotic situations. The ''coon songs'' that depicted black life generally portrayed  either nostalgic scenes of the old plantation, romantic love, or absurd humor. Blues, on the other hand, dealt  with everyday life and met its subjects head-on in an open-ended celebration of life's ups and downs.  Although blues focused on relationships between men and women, it did not avoid commenting on such  subjects as working conditions, migration, current events, natural disasters, sickness and death, crime and punishment, alcohol and drugs, sorcery, and racial discrimination. As a secular music, blues generally avoided making religious statements, although it could ridicule preachers and discuss the temptations and powers of the devil, and as a highly individualistic statement it seldom mentioned family and organized community life other than the immediate context of the dance or party where the music was performed.  Blues developed an extraordinary compactness of form and startling poetic imagery in order to make its  points on such a broad range of subjects.

The basic vocal material for early folk blues came from hollers that were sung by workers in the fields and  in other occupations requiring manual labor. Hollers were sung solo in freely embellished descending  lines employing blue notes and a great variety of vocal timbres. The words tended to be traditional  commonplace phrases on the man-woman relationship or the work situation, with successive lines linked to  one another through loose the-masc associations and contrasts. Hollers appeared to be a direct reflection of  the singer's state of mind and feelings poured out in a stream of consciousness. This type of singing had  existed long before the 1890s. It was noted by observers during the slavery period and has clear parallels  in some singing traditions in Africa and other Afro-American cultures, but it was in the American South that  these free, almost formless, vocal expressions were set to instrumental accompaniment and given a musical  structure, an expanded range of subject matter, and a new social context.

The accompaniment was most often played on instruments that had been rarely used in older forms of  black folk music-the piano, the harmonica, and especially the guitar. For the guitar unorthodox tunings were  often used to obtain drone effects. The technique of bending strings helped to achieve blue notes, and  sometimes the player would slide a knife, bottleneck, or other hard object along the strings to produce a  whining tone, a technique adapted from African stringed instruments. At times the performer established a  simple rhythmic pattern behind the singing and then answered the vocal lines with short repeated  melodic/rhythmic figures on the guitar. Blues of this sort is basically instrumentally accompanied hollers,  and they allow much of the vocal freedom of the older type of song to be preserved. A few rural blues singers  still compose and perform blues in this manner. Other performers, however, saw the need for greater  structure in their blues and began to fit the vocal lines taken from hollers to existing harmonic patterns.  Usually these patterns accommodated stanzas of 8, 12, or 16 measures, but the blues singers left space at  the ends of their lines for the instrument to answer the vocal.

The pattern that proved to be predominant by the early 20th century contained three lines of four  measures each. The second line repeated the first, and the third line was different but rhymed with the first  two. The lines began, respectively, with harmonies in the tonic, subdominant, and dominant chords but  always resolved to the tonic. This now-familiar 12-bar AAB pattern derived from 3-line patterns found in  such folk ragtime tunes as ''Bully Of The Town'' and blues ballads like ''Stagolee'' and ''Boll Weevil''. Blues  singers slowed the tempos of these tunes and left room at the ends of the lines for their instrumental  response.

As the blues spread in the early 20th century, local and regional performance traditions developed in  different parts of the South. At the local level, performers would share a repertoire of traditional verses and  melodic and instrumental phrases, recombining these endlessly and often adding further musical and lyrical  elements of their own creation to form blues that sounded original yet familiar at the same time. Within  broader geographic regions the performers generally shared an overall musical stylistic approach and  sometimes variants of certain songs in their repertoire. For instance, in the Mississippi Valley and adjacent  areas the folk blues was the most intense rhythmically and emotionally, more modal and less harmonic in  conception, often structured upon short repeated melodic/rhythmic phrases, and tending to extract the  maximum expression from each note. Variants of tunes like ''Catfish Blues'' and ''Rolling And Tumblin'' are  familiar to many blues singers throughout this region.

In Texas the guitarists often set up a constant thumping rhythm in the bass, while treble figures were  played in a rather free rhythmic style in response to vocal lines that tended more to float over the constant  bass rhythm. From Texas guitarists like Aaron''T-Bone'' Walker came the contemporary style of lead  guitar playing, in which the guitar lines often seem to float over a steady rhythm supplied by the other  instruments in the band. In Virginia and the Carolinas, as well as some parts of Georgia and Florida, another  style developed featuring lighter, bouncier rhythms, virtuoso playing, a harmonic rather than modal  conception, and a pervasive influence of ragtime music on the blues. In whatever region the early folk blues  was performed, the contexts were usually the same. Generally this music was played at house parties,  roadhouses called juke joints, outdoor picnics for dancing, and for tips from onlookers on sidewalks,  railroad stations, store porches, and wherever else a crowd might gather.

In the first decade of the 20th century professional singers in traveling shows began to incorporate blues  into their stage repertoires as they worked in the towns and cities of the southern states. W.C. Handy, at that  time the leader of a band sponsored by a black fraternal organization in Clarksdale, Mississippi,  encountered folk blues and was so impressed by the music's appeal to both black and white audiences that  he began to arrange these tunes for his own group of trained musicians. His success led him to Memphis,  and there he published his first blues in sheet music form in 1912. Other blues was published that same  year, and soon s flood of new blues compositions appeared from southern songwriters, both black and  white, drawing on the resources of folk blues. The songwriters considered folk blues raw material to be  extensively reworked and exploited.

At first the general public perceived blues as a novel type of ragtime tune with the unusual features of  blue notes and three-line stanzas. The professional singers were generally women accompanied by a pianist  or a small jazz combo. They performed in both the North and South in urban cabarets and vaudeville  theaters and sometimes in traveling shows that visited small southern towns. This professionalized type of  blues first appeared on phonograph records by black singers like Ma Rainey, Bessie Smith, Clara Smith,  and Ida Cox, beginning in 1920. By 1926 the record companies began to record folk blues artists, mostly  male singers playing their own guitar accompaniments, like Blind Lemon Jefferson from Texas, Charley  Patton and Tommy Johnson from Mississippi, and Peg Leg Howell and Blind Willie McTell from Georgia.  By the end of the 1920s the companies were also recording many boogie-woogie and barrelhouse pianists  such as Pinetop Smith and Roosevelt Sykes.

String bands, brass bands, and vocal quartets had incorporated blues into their repertoires by the first  decade of the 20th century, but by the late 1920s there had arisen new types of ensembles created mainly to  perform blues. Perhaps the closest to folk blues were the jug bands, which generally consisted of a guitar  and harmonica supplemented by other novelty or homemade instruments such as a jug, kazoo, washboard,  or one-stringed bass. Jug bands were recorded in Louisville, Cincinnati, Memphis, Birmingham, and  Dallas, and similar kinds of ''skiffle'' bands existed in many other cities and town in the South and North.

The combination of a full chorded rhythmic piano and guitar playing melodic lead lines also became  popular at this time. The chief exponents of this style of blues were pianist Leroy Carr and guitarist  Francis ''Scrapper'' Blackwell, who were based in Indianapolis. Pianist Georgia Tom (Thomas A. Dorsey)  and guitarist Tampa Red (Hudson Whitaker) also made many popular recordings at this time, often  performing ''hokum'' blues that contained humorous verses and double entendre refrains. Various  combinations of stringed instruments as well as jug bands also performed hokum blues. By the mid-1930s  blues bands not uncommonly consisted of a string section made up of blues musicians and a horn-and-rhythm  section made up of artists with a jazz background. One of the most popular of such groups, the  Harlem Hamfats, featured trumpet, clarinet, piano, guitar, second guitar or mandolin, string bass, and  drums.

The continuing influence of jazz and the rise to prominence of the electric guitar served to reshape the  sound of the blues in the years following World War II. Small ''jump'' bands of jazz-influenced musicians  became popular in the late 1940s and 1950s, often performing a mixture of blues and sentimental popular  songs. Folk blues guitarists in the rural South converted to the new electric guitar, and a new type of blues  combo appeared consisting usually of one or two electric guitars, bass, piano or electric organ, drums,  and sometimes an amplified harmonica. This type of blues reached its peak of development in Chicago in  the 1950s with the bands of artists such as Muddy Waters (McKinley Morganfield) and Howlin' Wolf  (Chester Burnett), both originally from Mississippi.

A synthesis of the hard down-home style of blues and the sophisticated jump blues was achieved by  Aaron ''T-Bone'' Walker from Texas and B.B. King, a Mississippian who had moved to Memphis. Both men  had strong roots in the folk blues tradition and had learned to play electric lead guitar fronting a large band  of trained musicians. Their vocals were delivered in an impassioned shouting style showing the influence  of gospel singing. This type of blues, developed by Walker in the 1940s and brought to its peak of  development by King in the 1950s, remains the most popular blues style.

While blues has had a history of its own, it has also had a profound influence upon other types of  popular music in the 20th century. When popular blues began to be published in 1912 and performed by  trained musicians, it was perceived as a new type of ragtime tune with a novel three-line verse form and the  exotic element of blue notes. The use of blue notes not only helped to loosen up the formalism of ragtime  but also soon paved the way for improvisatory jazz performance. The bulk of the repertoire of the early jazz  bands consisted of blues tunes and ragtime tunes incorporating blue notes. The blues form has continued to  be a staple for jazz compositions, and whenever jazz has seemed to become overly sophisticated, one  usually hears calls for a return to the blues.

In the years before World War 1, southern Anglo-American folk musicians began performing blues  learned from black musicians. By the 1920s ''hillbilly'' artists from all parts of the South were recording the  blues. Beginning in 1927 the Mississippi singer and guitarist Jimmie Rodgers popularized a distinct type of  blues by combining folk blues learned from black artists with a yodeling refrain derived from both black  field hollers and German/Swiss yodeling that had been popularized on the vaudeville stage. Over the years  blues has given to varieties of country music, such as western swing and honky-tonk, not only the blues  form but the qualities of improvisation and greater realism as well.

In the 1950s blues-influenced country music combined with black rhythm and blues to produce a new  form of music that came to be known as rockabilly and rock and roll. The blues form and blues  instrumental techniques were very prominent in most rock-and-roll styles through the 1960s and have  continued to be important factors in this music's development up to the present. Blues gave rock and roll  not only an important verse form but also its basic instrumentation and instrumental technique as well as a  frankness in dealing with themes of love and sex that proved attractive to an adolescent audience.

Finally, blues could even be said to have influenced gospel music. Thomas A. Dorsey, generally  considered the ''father of gospel music'', was a former blues pianist and songwriter. By the early 1930s he  was composing gospel songs using blue notes and showing a greater individualism and worldliness in the  themes. While gospel has seldom utilized the blues verse form, it has shown blues influence through its use  of blues tonality and emphasis on the individual.

Most Americans today are probably more familiar with blues-influenced music than they are with  blues itself. Nevertheless, blues is still a thriving form of music, existing in a variety of styles. In the South  there are still excellent solo performers of folk blues, while small combos featuring electric lead guitar  perform regularly in black communities in the region as well as in northern and West Coast cities. Blues can  be heard today in forms close to the earliest folk blues, showing that it is still in touch with its roots, and  within modern jazz and rock and roll, showing the enormous impact it has had over the last century.



CAJUN MUSIC – Cajun music blends elements of American Indian, Scotch-Irish, Spanish, German, Anglo- American, and Afro-Caribbean musics with a rich stock of western French folk traditions. The music traces  back to the Acadians, the French colonists who began settling at Port Royal, Acadia, in 1604. The Acadians  were eventually deported from their homeland in 1755 by local British authorities after years of political and  religious tension.

Iry Lejune and his band


In 1765, after 10 years of wandering, many Acadians began to arrive in Louisiana,  determined to re-create their society. Within a generation these exiles had so firmly re-established themselves  as a people that they became the dominant culture in south Louisiana, absorbing other ethnic groups around  them. 

Most of the French Creoles (descendants of earlier French settlers), Spanish, Germans, and Anglo- Americans in the region eventually adopted the traditions and language of this new society, thus creating the south Louisiana mainstream. The Acadians, in turn, borrowed many traits from these other cultures, and this  cross-cultural exchange produced a new Louisiana-based community – the Cajuns.

The Acadians' contact with these various cultures contributed to the development of new musical styles and  repertoire. From Indians, they learned wailing styles and new dance rhythms, from blacks, they learned the  blues, percussion techniques, and improvisational singing; from Anglo-Americans, they learned new fiddle  tunes to accompany Virginia reels, square dances, and hoedowns. The Spanish contributed the guitar and  even a few tunes. Refugees and their slaves who arrived from Santo Domingo at the turn of the 19th century  brought with them a syncopated West Indian beat. Jewish-German immigrants began importing diatonic  accordions (invented in Vienna in 1828) toward the end of the 19th century when Acadians and black Creoles  began to show an interest in the instruments. They blended these elements to create a new music just as they  were synthesizing the same cultures to create Cajun society.

The turn of the 20th century was a formative period in the development of Louisiana French music. Some of  its most influential musicians were the black Creoles who brought a strong, rural blues element into Cajun  music. Simultaneously, blacks influenced the parallel development of zydeco music, later refined by Clifton  Chenier. Although fiddlers such as Dennis McGee and Sady Courville still composed tunes, the accordion  was rapidly becoming the mainstay of traditional dance bands. Limited in the number of notes and keys it  could play in, it simplified Cajun music; songs that could not be played on the accordion faded from the  active repertoire. Meanwhile, fiddlers were often relegated to playing a duet accompaniment or a simple  percussive second line below the accordion's melodic lead.

By the mid-1930s, Cajuns were reluctantly, though inevitably, becoming Americanized. Their French  language was banned from schools throughout south Louisiana as America, caught in the melting pot  ideology, tried to homogenize its diverse ethic and cultural elements. In south Louisiana, speaking French  was not only against the rules, it became increasingly unpopular as Cajuns attempted to escape the stigma  attached to their culture. New highways and improved transportation opened this previously isolated area to  the rest of the country, and the Cajuns began to imitate their Anglo-American neighbors in earnest.

The social and cultural changes of the 1930s and 1940s were clearly reflected in the music recorded in this  period. The slick programming on radio (and later on television) inadvertently forced the comparatively  unpolished traditional sounds underground. The accordion faded from the scene, partly because the old-style  music had lost popularity and partly because the instruments were unavailable from Germany during the war.  As western swing and bluegrass sounds from Texas and Tennessee swept the country, string bands that  imitated the music of Bob Wills and the Texas Playboys and copies Bill Monroe's ''high lonesome sound''  sprouted across south Louisiana. Freed from the limitations imposed by the accordion, string bands readily  absorbed various outside influences. Dancers across south Louisiana were shocked in the mid-1930s to hear  music that came not only from the bandstand, but also from the opposite end of the dance hall through  speakers powered by a Model-T behind the building. The electric steel guitar was added to the standard  instrumentation and drums replaced the triangle as Cajuns continued to experiment with new sounds  borrowed from their Anglo-American neighbors. As amplification made it unnecessary for fiddlers to bear  down with the bow to be audible, they developed a lighter, lilting touch. Moving away from the soulful  styles of earlier days.

By the late 1940s, the music recorded by commercial producers signaled an unmistakable tendency toward  Americanization. Yet an under current of traditional music persisted. It resurfaced with the music of Iry  Lejune, who accompanied the Oklahoma Tornadoes in 1948 to record ''La Valse du Pont d'Amour'' in the turn  of the century Louisiana style and in French. The recording was an unexpected success, presaging a revival  of the earlier style, and Iry Lejune became a pivotal figure in a Cajun music revival. Dance halls providing  traditional music flourished, and musicians such as Lawrence Walker, Austin Pitre, and Nathan Abshire  brought their accordions out of the closet and once again performed oldstyle Cajun music, while local  companies began recording them. Cajun music, though bearing the marks of Americanization, was making a  dramatic comeback, just as interest in the culture and language quickened before the 1955 bicentennial  celebration of the Acadian exile.

Alan Lomax, a member of the Newport Folk Festival Foundation who had become interested in Louisiana  French folk music during a field trip with his father (John Lomax) in the 1930s, encouraged the  documentation and preservation of Cajun music. In the late 1950s, Harry Oster began recording a spectrum  of Cajun music ranging from unaccompanied ballads to contemporary dance tunes. His collection, which  stressed the evolution of the music, attracted the attention of local activists, such as Paul Tate and Revon  Reed. The work of Oster and Lomax was noticed by the Newport Foundation, which sent fieldworkers Ralph  Rinzler and Mike Seeger to south Louisiana. Cajun dance bands had played at the National Folk Festival as  early as 1935, but little echo of these performances reached Louisiana. Rinzler and Seeger, seeking the  unadorned roots of Cajun music, chose Gladius Thibodeaux, Louis ''Vinesse'' LeJune, and Dewey Balfa to  represent Louisiana at the 1964 Newport Folk Festival. Their ''gutsy'', unamplified folk music made the  Louisiana cultural establishment uneasy, for such ''unrefined'' sounds embarrassed the upwardly mobile  Cajuns who considered the music chosen for the Newport festival crude – ''nothing but chanky-chank'.

The instincts of the Newport festival organizers proved well-founded, as huge crowds gave the old-time  music standing ovations. Dewey Balfa was so moved that he returned to Louisiana determined to bring the  message home. He began working on a small scale among his friends and family in Mamou, Basile, and  Eunice. The Newport Folk Foundation, under the guidance of Lomax, provided money and fieldworkers to  the new Louisiana Folk Foundation ''to water the roots''. With financial support and outside approval, local  activists became involved in preserving the music, language, and culture. Traditional music contests and  concerts were organized at events such as the Abbeville Dairy Festival, the Opelousas Yambilee, and the  Crowwley Rice Festival.

In 1968 the state of Louisiana officially recognized the Cajun cultural revival, which had been brewing under  the leadership of the music community and political leaders, such as Dudley LeBlanc and Roy Theriot. In  that year, it created the Council for the Development of French in Louisiana (CODOFIL), which, under the  chairmanship of James Domengeaux, began its efforts on political, psychological, and educational fronts to  erase the stigma Louisianans had long attached to the French language and culture. The creation of French  classes in elementary schools dramatically reversed the policy that had formerly barred the language from  the school-grounds.

Domengeaux's efforts were not limited to the classroom. Influenced by Rinzler and Balfa, CODOFIL  organized a first Tribute to Cajun Music festival in 1974 with a concert designed to present a historical  overview of Cajun music from its origins to modern styles. The echo had finally come home. Dewey Balfa's  message of cultural self-esteem was enthusiastically received by an audience of over 12,000.

Because of its success, the festival became an annual celebration of Cajun music and culture, not only  providing exposure for the musicians but presenting them as culture heroes. Young performers were attracted  to the re validated Cajun music scene, while local French government officials, realizing the impact of the  grass-roots, began to stress the native Louisiana French culture. Balfa's dogged pursuit of cultural  recognition carried him father than he had ever expected. In 1977 he received a Folk Artist in the Schools  grant from the National Endowment for the Arts to bring his message into elementary school classrooms.  Young Cajuns, discovering local models besides country and rock stars, began to perform the music of their  heritage. Yet they did not reject modern sounds totally. Performers such as Michael Doucet and Beausoleil  are gradually making their presence known in Cajun music, replacing older musicians on the regular  weekend dance hall circuit and representing traditional Cajun music at local and national festivals.



COUNTRY MUSIC - Although country music is a powerful cultural presence in the United States and an  international export of growing magnitude, it is difficult to define. It has been a creation and organic  reflection of southern working-class culture, changing as that society has changed, but it has been  simultaneously a dynamic element of American popular culture.  In the 60 years or so since Texas fiddler  Eck Robertson made the first documented phonograph recording by a white rural entertainer, the music has  become a massive industry with an appeal that cuts across social, generational, and geographic lines.

Country music had its origins in the folk culture of the South – a diverse culture that drew upon  the interrelating resources of Europe and Africa. It was British at its core but eclectic in its borrowing.  Long before the decade of the 1920s, when the radio and recording industries made their first exploitations  of southern folk talent, fiddlers, banjoists, string bands, balladeers, and gospel singers proliferated  throughout the South. Most of their performances were given at house parties, fish fries, or corn shucking,  but many were able to function on a broader basis, and in a quasi-professional manner, at fiddle contests or  in medicine or vaudeville shows. Musicians drew upon their inherited folk resources for songs and  performing styles, but they also picked up any compatible material that was adaptable to their styles and that  fit their community aesthetic standards from black entertainers or from the vast panoply of 19th-century  popular music. The establishment of radio stations in the South after 1920 (including WSB in Atlanta, WSM  in Nashville, WBAP in Fort Worth) and the recording of rural performers after 1922 encouraged  further professionalization as well as the development of an ''industry''.

The early entertainers were rural, for the most part, but not exclusively agricultural. Country music  has always been a working-class music (although not self-consciously so until the 1960s). The performers of  the early period, who were usually part-time musicians, worked as railroad men, coal miners, textile  workers, carpenters, wagoners, sawmill workers, cowboys, and even occasionally as country lawyers,  doctors, and preachers. Whatever their occupation, their dialects, speech patterns, and performing styles  reflected the rural South. Given the social context of the 1920s, when the rural and socially conservative  South seemed greatly out of step with a dynamic nation, and when its rural inhabitants seemed given over to  strange oddities and eccentricities, such as snake handling, tenantry, and night-riding, it is not surprising that a  term such as ''hillbilly'' should be affixed to the rural music of the region.

The commercialization of southern rural music had both positive and negative consequences. On one  hand, folk styles and folksongs received a wider hearing and, presumably, longer leases on life than they  otherwise would have had; on the other hand, folk styles were homogenized and diluted, and traditional  songs were gradually replaced with newly composed ones. But too much has been made of this change.  Folk styles were never pure; folksongs were drawn from a multitude of sources, and folk musicians were  never reluctant to accept or seek some kind of reward for their talents.

The string bands of country music's first decade, including such colorful examples of self-parody as  the Skillet Lickers, the Fruit Jar Drinkers, the Possum Hunters, and Dr. Smith's Champion Hoss Hair Pullers,  as well as the more conventionally named groups such as the North Carolina Ramblers and the East  Texas Serenaders, played hoedown tunes and British dance tunes, but they were also receptive to current  popular dance tunes and especially to ragtime, which remained a national passion in the World War I period.  Songs originally designed for the parlor piano, such as ''Chicken Reel'', ''Redwing'', or ''Over The Waves'' or  for marching bands, such as ''Under The Double Eagle'' made their way into the repertoires of stringband  musicians and have become permanently ensconced in the country music repertoire. Singers also  ranged far and wide for their songs.

A large percentage of the early hillbilly songs came from 19th-century popular music, the ''parlor  songs'', which had originally been written by professional composers and disseminated on lavishly  illustrated sheet music among the nation's urban middle class. Such songs as ''The Letter Edged In Black'',  ''Little Rosewood Casket'', ''Little Old Log Cabin In The Lane'', ''Listen To The Mockingbird'', and ''Molly  Darling'' found a home among rural southerners long after ceasing to be fashionable with their original  audience. Many of these sentimental favorites are still performed regularly by bluegrass and old-time  country entertainers.

Country entertainers, therefore, were torn between tradition and modernity. They were loyal to their  own communities but were eager to build a wider audience. Neither they nor promoters (radio and recording  men, booking agents, advertisers) were quite sure whether the most feasible promotional method would  involve a rustic or an urbane approach. Country performers might have preferred conventional suits or even  formal attire, but they were encouraged to clothe themselves in rustic or cowboy costumes. The conflict  between rusticity and urbanity has been a factor in country music development, in sound as well as in image.

Although string bands and homespun acts predominated on early hillbilly recordings and on radio shows,  the star system soon asserted itself and individual talents rose to the top. Vernon Dalhart (born Marion  T. Slaughter in Jefferson, Texas) contributed to the music's commercial acceptance by recording, in 1924,  such nationally popular songs as ''The Prisoner's Song'' and ''Wreck Of The Old 97''. Uncle Dave Macon,  a comedian, singer, and five-string banjoist from Tennessee, was one of the first stars of the Grand Ole  Opry and a repository of 19th-century folk and popular songs. Although there were a host of pioneer  performers, the most seminal, the one whose impacts are still felt in the music today, were the Carter Family,  from Virginia, and Jimmie Rodgers, from Mississippi, both from whom were first recorded in early August  1927 in Bristol, Tennessee. No group better embodied the mood and style of the family parlor and country  church than the Carters; their three-part harmony, Maybelle's unique guitar style, and their large collection  of vintage songs (such as ''Wildwood Flower'' and ''Will The Circle Be Unbroken'') still influenced  country singers today. In Jimmie Rogers, the former railroad brakeman from Meridian, Mississippi, the  music found its first superstar. Rodgers personified the rambling man, an image in sharp juxtaposition to  that which the Carter Family projected. His ''blue yodel'', his appealing personal style and tragic early death,  plus his eclectic repertoire of blues, hobo, train, rounder, and love songs, made him, posthumously, the  ''father of country music''.

Country music not only survived the Great Depression but also solidified its position in American  popular culture and greatly broadened its market. The 1930s were the heyday of live radio programming,  and cowboy singers, duets, string bands, yodelers, and balladeers could be heard everywhere, even in New  York City. Radio barn dances – Saturday night variety shows with a rural or folk flavor – prevailed in many  cities, but none was more important than WLS's National Barn Dance (Chicago) or WSM's Grand Ole Opry  in Nashville. The Grand Ole Opry, which first went on the air in 1925, really affirmed its status as a  national institution when it gained network affiliation on NBC in 1939. The 50,000-watt, clear-channel  stations, such as WSM and KWKH in Shreveport, Louisiana, played crucial roles in circulating country  music, but no stations had a more profound impact in the national dissemination of country and gospel  music than the Mexican-border stations – popular called X-stations because of their call letters (XERF,  XEG, and the like). Their powerful transmission, sometimes surpassing 100,000 watts, blanketed North  America with rural music (from the Carter Family to the Stamps Quartet), evangelism, and incessant  advertising, which have become part of our national folklore. Radio exposure led to broadened public  appearances and the emergence of booking agents and the complex framework of music business promotion.

As the professionalism and commercialization of country music proceeded, the nature of the music  also changed. Traditional songs continued to appear with great frequency in the repertoires of such groups as  the Blue Sky Boys and Mainer's Mountaineers. Nevertheless, newly composed songs gradually edged the  older ones aside, and fledgling performers increasingly sought to find a commercial formula as successful as  that of Jimmie Rodgers. Stylistically, the southeastern hoedown-oriented string bands and the ''brother  duets'' (acts such as the Monroe Brothers who usually featured mandolin and guitar accompaniment) relied  heavily on old-time songs and ballads and remained conservative in performance and material. On the other  hand, musicians from the southwestern part of the South (Texas, Louisiana and Oklahoma) were more  innovative, producing dynamic styles that would revolutionize country music. Very few observes recognized  distinctions within country music before World War II, and performers with widely varying styles and  repertoires often appeared together on radio shows or on radio barn dances. Whether cowboy singer,  mandolin-and-guitar duet, or hot string band, they all conveyed a homespun or down-home feeling, and  hillbilly was the rubric that covered them all. Nevertheless, a modern perspective suggests the great  difference among them. In 1934 Gene Autry, a radio hillbilly singer from Texas, went to Hollywood, where  he became the first great singing cowboy in film. The romance of the cowboy would have been appealing to  country singers in any case, but Autry's Saturday afternoon horse operas, his syndicated Melody Ranch  radio show, and his very popular recordings magnified the appeal while providing country musicians with an  identity much more respectable than that of the hillbilly. The romantic movie-cowboy songs declined  significantly after World War II, but singers wearing cowboy costumes endured long after that.

More strongly reflective of evolving southwestern culture than the movie cowboy songs was western  swing, the jazz-influenced string-band music popularized by Milton Brown and his Musical Brownies, the  Light Crust Doughboys, and Bob Wills and the Texas .Playboys. The western swing bands were electric  in repertories and were receptive to new stylistic ideas, including the use of drums, horns, and  electrified instruments. Developing alongside western swing, and drawing its inspiration even more directly  from the bars and dance halls of the Southwest, was honky-tonk music. Country music's entrance into  white roadhouses, which were called generically ''honky-tonks'', divested the music of much of its  pastoral innocence and tone. The result was a realistic musical sound that documented the movement of  country people into an urban industrial environment.

World War II was both the major catalyst for change in country music and the chief agent in  its nationalization. The country music industry itself languished under wartime restrains: shellac  rationing (which limited personal appearances). On the other hand, jukeboxes became ubiquitous  accoutrements in bars, cafes, and penny arcades, and country records began appearing on them in cities like  Detroit, Chicago, and Los Angeles (in part, a reflection of the movement of southerners to northern and  western industrial centers). The Grand Ole Opry gained its reputation as a mecca for country fans during the  1940s, and Tennessean Roy Acuff, who joined the show in 1938, became the unquestioned king of country  music during those years, taking his roadshows to all parts of the United States and holding down the most  important time slots on the Saturday night Opry. His versions of ''Wabash Cannon Ball'' and ''The Great  Speckled Bird'' made both his name and that of the Opry famous throughout America. Above all, in the  wartime crucible of economic and demographic change and heightened migration, the mood, style, and  appeal of country music were destined to change significantly.

Country music's first great commercial boom came in the years immediately following the war, continuing  to about 1955. Postwar prosperity and the ending of wartime restraints generated an unprecedented demand  for amusement. Record labels proliferated; new barn dances, such as the Louisiana Hayride, competed with  the Grand Ole Opry; and thousands of jukeboxes reverberated with the songs of such country entertainers  as Eddy Arnold, Kitty Wells, Lefty Frizzell, and Hank Williams. By the time Williams died on January 1,  1953, pop singers were ''covering'' his songs, and country music was winning commercial acceptance and  respectability that had earlier been scarcely dreamed of. Just a few short years later, country music's  ''permanent plateau of prosperity'' had been shattered by the revolution wrought by Elvis Presley and the  rockabillies. All forms of traditional country music suffered temporarily as promoters and recording men  began heir urgent searches for young and vigorous stylists who could re-create what Elvis had done and who  could hold that youthful audience that now dominated American music. One consequence of this quest was  the creation of a pop style of country music, known generally as ''country pop'' or ''the Nashville Sound''.  This form of music was considered to be a compromise that would appeal to both old-time country fans and  the newly sought pop audience. By using vocal choruses and a sedate form of instrumentation (vibes,  violins, piano, a muted bass), country-pop singers would avoid the extremes of both rockabilly and hillbilly.

Commercially, country music's development since the late 1950s has been one of the great success stories  of American popular culture. Country performers now enjoy patronage around the world, and country  concerts are regularly presented in the White House and on the Mall of the Smithsonian Institution. Country  music's spectacular ascent and expansion have been accompanied by self-doubts and contradictions, and  by anguished debates among performers and fans concerning the music's alleged dilution or loss of  identity. Many adherents fear that the music may lose its soul as it gains the world. Although the quest for  crossover records remains of older country forms have periodically taken place since the rock-and-roll era.  Honky-tonk music lives in the performances of men like George Jones, Merle Haggard, Moe Bandy, and the  father of the style, Ernest Tubb. Bill Monroe and his fellow bluegrass practitioners have preserved the  acoustic style of instrumentation and the ''high lonesome'' style of singing, bluegrass festivals are held  somewhere almost every weekend from May until November. Doc Watson, Grandpa Jones, and Wilma Lee  Cooper periodically revive the older country songs, even dipping occasionally into the songbag of ancient  British material.

One of the most remarkable manifestations of interest in older songs and styles has through the  performances of youthful entertainers, or through older musicians who have catered to youth. Emmylou  Harris, who was raised in Virginia, came to ''hard country'' through the influence of her friend and mentor,  the country-rock singer Gram Parsons. Her fresh, uncluttered style of singing and her choice of material are  considerably more traditional then most of the women singers who grew up in the country music world.  Willie Nelson, a veteran honky-tonk singer from Texas and one of country music's greatest writers, has  probably done most to bridge the gap between the rock-oriented youth audience and country music. He has  done so by being receptive to their music and their heroes and by affecting a lifestyle and mode of dress  (beard, earring, jogging shoes) that put them at ease. In the process, he has introduced his young fans to the  best of older country and gospel songs. The 1980s has seen the emergence of young performers such as  Ricky Scaggs, Dwight Yoakum, Randy Travis, Steve earl, and George Strait, who consciously revive and  update traditional forms of country music.

Country music, then, endures in many manifestations. Yet it remains as resistant to definition as it did  over 60 years ago when it was first assuming an organized commercial identity. It has become a  phenomenon with worldwide appeal, but it maintains its southern identification. Nashville remains its  financial hub, the center of a multimillion-dollar music business. Country singers still come from southern  working-class backgrounds in surprising numbers, and both they and the lyrics of their songs convey the  ambivalent impulses that have always lain at the center of country music and southern culture: uritanism and  hedonism, a reverence for home and a fascination with rambling, the sense of being uniquely different and  at the same time more American than anyone else. Country songs convey a down-home approach to life and  a element view of love, home, and patriotism that are absent from other forms of American music. In an age  of computerized complexity, country music owes its appeal to the yearning for simplicity and rootedness  that permeates modern American society.


GOSPEL MUSIC (BLACK) -  Despite its immense popularity, widespread appeal, and influence on American popular music, Afro- American gospel music is a comparably recent music phenomenon. Rooted in the religious songs of the late  19th century urban revival, in shape-note songs, spirituals, blues, and ragtime, gospel emerged early in the  20th century.  The term ''gospel music'' suggests many things to different people. In its most general application, the word  simply refers to any religious music, regardless of the music's age or origin. Congregational songs, ring  shouts, quartets, sacred harp choirs, sanctified groups, and even some work songs would all qualify.

Sanctified Church of God in Christ, Clarksdale, Mississippi, 1968

Less  broadly, the term ''gospel'' refers to an innovative, popular style of music combining secular forms,  particularly ragtime and blues, with religious texts.  Composed, modern black gospel music became an important style during the 1930s. Thomas A. Dorsey is  generally regarded as its ''father'', although it could be argued that C.A. Tindley should wear that mantle.  Tindley was actively composing during the first decade of the 20th century, but his songs did not gain  widespread popularity among blacks until the 1920s and 1930s. Dorsey himself was inspired by Tindley's  reworkings of older revival songs, blues, and spirituals. Dorsey's own songs, however, made up the first  wave of modern gospel music during the Depression.

Thomas A. Dorsey began his career as a blues and gospel singer. He enjoyed an immensely successful stint  as a professional blues musician during the 1920s. By the early 1930s he had turned his attention entirely to  religious music. During the 1930s and 1940s Dorsey worked with two influential figures, Mahalia Jackson  and Sallie Martin. In addition he toured the country as a performer and lecturer and wrote some 500 gospel  songs including ''There Will Be Peace In The Valley'' and ''Precious Lord, Take My Hand''.

Reverend Herbert W. Brewster, another important composer from this period, was pastor of the East Trigg  Baptist Church in Memphis, Tennessee. A contemporary of Dorsey, Brewster composed scores of gospel  songs beginning in the early 1930s. Many of his compositions were written specifically for his choir of the  Brewster Singers, but two of his songs, ''Move On Up A Little Higher'' and ''Surely, God Is Able'' gained  wider popularity.

The music and language of these early gospel songwriters helped to promote an interest in their  compositions. Although the compositions of Dorsey and others are formally notated and printed, they almost  always undergo a transformation during performances. One of the strong appeals of this music, in fact, is that  it encourages participation and improvisation on the part of an audience that feels comfortable with the use  of primary chords, standardized chord progression, metaphorical language, and frequent biblical illusions.

By the mid-1930s, the appeal of gospel music within black culture was quite evident, and it was soon  embraced by commercial record companies wishing to capitalize on its popularity. Radio stations and the  major radio networks featured its music on their live broadcasts. These attempts at mass marketing quickly  let to a sense of professionalism among the performers. By the onset of World War II a small but growing  cadre of people made their living singing, writing, or promoting black gospel music.

In the decade following 1945 the popularity of groups such as the Spirit of Memphis, Alex Bradford, the  Soul Stirrers, Queen C. Anderson, Sallie Martin, and the Famous Blue Jay Singers grew. Dozens of  professional and semiprofessional groups appeared on programs throughout the country and recorded for an  expanding network of local and regional companies. The interest is well illustrated by Mahalia Jackson's  recording of ''Move On Up A Little Higher'' and the Carla Ward Singers's version of ''Surely, God Is Able'',  which both sold a million copies in 1950.

Interest in black gospel music gripped the country and every city and small town in the South staged gospel  music programs in churches and auditoriums. New artists such as the Dixie Hummingbirds and Shirley  Caesar emerged, initially as second line acts, then as headliners. Soloists such as Ira Tucker of the Dixie  Hummingbirds and Claude Jeter of the Swan Silvertones became well known among devotees. Lavish gospel  programs were staged by Joe Bostic in New York City and Erskine Fausch of New Orleans. With widespread  appeal, groups could afford extravagant costumes and could travel in comfort. Local nonprofessional black  gospel groups emulated the dress and singing styles of more popular musicians and even adopted their  names. Nearly a half dozen local or semiprofessional groups exploited the ''Soul Sisters'' name, for instance.

This increasing popularity and professionalism ultimately turned some of the more conservative church  members away from contemporary gospel music. By the mid to late 1950s there was something of a  backlash against ''secularization'', most clearly manifested in the opulent manner in which some singers  lived.

Black gospel music has changed greatly since the middle 1950s. It has become more sophisticated,  particularly in terms of marketing and musical diversity. Popular singers such as William Gaither and Andrae  Crouch have had formal musical training and education, which have led to more complicated arrangements.

These changes are part of a natural musical and cultural evolution. Black gospel music changed as the  demands of popular culture increased and as Afro-Americans strove toward middle-class status. Black gospel  music remains however, essentially conservative, and its principal mission remains constant – to lift the  spirits of its participants and to help them express their religion.


Musical Million Memorialized Aldine S. Kieffer.

The periodical, Musical Million, was founded in 1870 by Aldine Silliman Kieffer (1840–1904). Kieffer was  the grandson of Joseph Funk (1777–1862), a publisher of "shape-note" music. The shape-note notation gave  different shapes to notes of different pitch, making it possible for untrained singers to read music. After he  served in the Confederate Army, Kieffer and other family members re-established his grandfather's business,  which had been disrupted by the war. At the height of its popularity, Musical Million had as many as ten  thousand subscribers.

Keiffer also offered singing schools and helped found the Virginia Normal Music  School, which later became a part of Shenandoah University.


GOSPEL MUSIC (WHITE) For most people, the term ''white gospel music'' connotes a type of music characterized not so much by style  as by content. Although the sound of different types of white southern gospel can range from that of a sedate  vocal quartet to an amplified country band, or from a singing convention assembly of 300 voices to the  simple brother duet harmony framed by mandolin and guitar, the message of the music is usually a direct and  often optimistic reflection of a working-class Protestant ethos. Since white gospel music emerged as a  recognized form in the 1870s and 1880s, it has tended to graft this message onto a rich variety of vernacular  musics, both folk and pop, this has given white gospel an ambiguous and confusing stylistic identity. To  any southerners, though, white gospel is associated with vocal quarters of family groups, singing in three or  four-part harmony, accompaniment by a piano, guitar, or other stringed instruments. Also, for many of  them, gospel is not a formal church music to be used in regular Sunday service, but a brand of Christian  entertainment to be enjoyed at special church singings, at concerts, on television and radio, and on records.

The roots of gospel music lie in pre – Civil War southern hymnody traditions such as camp-meeting songs,  sacred harp singings, and revival music, but the real beginnings of modern southern gospel can be traced to  two events occurring in the 1870s – the emergence of the Ruebush-Kieffer publishing business in the  Shenandoah Valley of Virginia and the publication and popularity of a series of books of ''general hymns'' by  two northern-based song leaders, Ira D. Sankey and Phillips P. Bliss. Aldine S. Kieffer, the main force behind  the Shenandoah Valley traditions, was a Confederate veteran who happened to be the grandson of Joseph  Funk, whose 1851 song book ''Harmonia Sacra'' (or ''Hominy Soaker'', as it was fondly called in the South)  as published in a format using seven shapes for different notes – as opposed to the four shapes in the sacred  harp tradition. After the war, as the older four-shape systems lost favor, Kieffer began his company in 1866  with an old friend, Ephraim Ruebush, whom he helped free from a Union prison camp, and began a 50-year  campaign to popularize the seven-shape note system. He did this by founding the South's first Normal  Singing School at New Market, Virginia, in 1874, by starting a periodical called ''The Musical Million'', to  help develop singing conventions and spread news of backwoods singing schools, in 1870; by training and  sending across the South singing-school teachers; and by publishing a series of songbooks, such as ''The  Christian Harp'' (1877), a collection of lively, ''singable'' songs designed for ''special singing'' rather than for  use in regular church service. Not only did the seven-shape notation system of the Ruebush-Kieffer  Company take root in the South, but the company provided a training ground for hundreds of later writers  and singers; and the company itself, with its multifaceted operation, became a model for dozens of other  gospel publishing companies in the South from 1875 to 1955.

The type of song that filled these new books had its prototype in Sankey's and Bliss's 1875 collection  ''Gospel Hymns and Sacred Tunes''. Published in New York and Cincinnati. Although the term ''gospel  music'' had been used in print as far back as 1644 in London, the intense popularity of the Sankey-Bliss c ollection, as well as its use by the popular evangelist Dwight L. Moody from 1875 to 1899, was the real  source of the term ''gospel music'' in American culture. The songs in this collection and in others that  followed in the 1880s and 1890s derived from the rise of Sunday schools songs in the 1890s, songs that were  deliberately designed for younger singers; they were more rhythmical than the older hymns, more  sentimental, more optimistic, and often patterned on popular secular songs. Though popular nationwide, the  new gospel hymns were especially successful in the South, where many of them even entered folk tradition: ''Bringing In The Sheaves'', ''What A Friends We Have In Jesus'', Sweeping Through The Gates'', and ''Let The Lower Lights Be Burning''. The rise of southern shape-note publishers in the late 19th century provided outlets for hundreds of amateur songwriters to follow in the gospel song tradition. By the turn of the century graduates of the Ruebush-Kieffer Company had started publishing companies in Georgia (A.J. Showalter, J.B. Vaughan), Texas (Trio Music, Showalter-Patton), Arkansas (Eureka Music Company), and Tennessee (E. T. Hildebrand).

The most successful and influential of these publishers, though, was to be a Giles County, Tennessee, native  named James D. Vaughan (1864-1941). Early in life Vaughan studied with Ruebush-Kieffer graduate E.T.  Hildebrand and later worked with B.C. Unseld, who had been the first teacher in the Ruebush-Kieffer normal  schools. Vaughan became a singing-school teacher and composer and by 1903 had settled in Lawrenceburg,  Tennessee, where he began publishing songbooks using the seven-shape system. By 1909 he was selling  30,000 books a year; by 1912, 85,000 books a year. One or two new books were published each year, often  in paperback form and often containing as much as 75 percent new material and 25 percent old standards or  favorites. Some rural churches used Vaughan's books in regular service, but most of the books were used in  country or statewide singing conventions and specialty singing.

Vaughan's business sense, talent, and personality allowed him to build his company into the South's largest  and to establish his own singing schools at Lawrenceburg, making it the citadel of modern gospel music. He  also, however, used a number of important innovations to publicize his work. Like Ruebush-Kieffer, he  started a magazine, ''Vaughan's Family Visitor'' (1912-present), to announce singing schools, news, and  songbooks; in 1922 he began his own record company, Vaughan Records, to help popularize new songs and  aw it become the south's first home-based record company. He bought his own radio station, WOAN, and  encouraged his singers to perform on other commercial stations. Most important of all, though, he used  quartets made up of his singing teachers to tour the South, giving free concerts of Vaughan's music. The  Vaughan quartets were spectacular success wherever they went, and soon the company had 16 different  quartets on the payroll; some of these quartets became popular in their own right and soon eclipsed the  company they were rep[resenting. By the late 1920s groups like the McDonald Quartet, from southern  Missouri, were able to travel independently and make a living with their music. The classic southern gospel  quartet – four men and a piano – comes from Vaughan's innovations.

The Vaughan Company continued to publish until 1964, but its alumni set up important rival companies that  were even more innovative and aggressive. One of Vaughan's editors, V.O. Stamps, joined forces with J.R.  Baxter, Jr., to form the Stamps-Baxter Music and Printing Company in 1926. Using as their theme song,  ''Give The World A Smile Each Day'', Stamps-Baxter sought out the best of the new, younger songwriters,  helped get their quartets record contracts with major labels like RCA Victor, Columbia, and Brunswick, and  used radio shows to sell their songbooks. With its effective base of operations in Dallas, the company soon  shared the dominance of the market with Vaughan; they made an important move toward taking gospel  music out of the church and into the realm of pure entertainment when they staged an ''all-night sing'' in the  Cotton Bowl in 1940 – thus creating a format that would characterize southern gospel for years.

During the 1930s – when the paperback gospel songbook publishers were at their height – Vaughan claimed  cumulative sales of over 5 million books, and some 40 to 50 independent publishers issued such books. In  addition to Vaughan and Stamps-Baxter, leaders included Hartford (Arkansas), R.E. Winsett (Tennessee),  J.M. Henson (Atlanta), and the Stamps Quartet Company (Texas, formed by Frank Stamps, V.O.'s brother).  During this decade, too, independent singing groups arose, and, although not formally associated with the  companies, they used their songs for their repertoire. The most successful of these was the Texas family known as ''The Chuck Wagon Gang'', who recorded and broadcasted widely, featuring such tunes as ''After The Sunrise'', ''Jesus Hold My Hand'', and ''A Beautiful Life''.

By the end of World War II the balance of power had shifted away from the song-publishing companies to  the quartets and gospel groups, major country radio shows like the Grand Ole Opry had gospel groups as  regular members, and in 1946 the Homeland Harmony Quartet of Atlanta saw its ''Gospel Boogie''  ''Everybody's Gonna Have A Wonderful Time Up There'') become a nationwide pop hit. In the late 1940s  Georgian Wally Fowler left his country band, formed the Oak Ridge Quartet, and began promoting package  tours of new gospel stars, often renting an auditorium for a commercialized version of the ''all-night sings''. A  nationwide fad for pop-gospel music in the early 1950s attracted huge audiences for young groups like the  Blackwood Brothers (all-night singing at Ellis Auditorium, Memphis, Tennessee), the Statesmen, the  Jordanaires, and the Happy Goodman Family. Country artists like the Bailes Brothers, James and Martha  Carson, Molly O'Day, and the Louvin' Brothers made gospel a major part of their repertoire, while the newly  emerging bluegrass bands often borrowed gospel repertoire and quartet singing styles.

By the end of the 1950s the quartet style no longer dominated southern gospel. Family groups such as the  Speer Family and the Rambos injected country and even pop music into their performances, and groups like  the Inspirations and the Kingsmen sometimes used five or six singers and a battery of back-up instruments.  The 1970s saw the rise of smooth, sophisticated ''praise music'' by singers like Dallas Holm and  ''contemporary Christian music'' by singers like Amy Grant and Texan Cynthia Clawson, who had more in  mmon with Broadway music and even rock than southern gospel. The southern gospel style was by the  mid-1970s being referred to as ''traditional gospel'' and, although no longer on the cutting edge of American  religious music, was still the most popular form of nonprofessional music across the South, still heard in  homes, in churches, and at gatherings from Virginia to Texas.



HONKY-TONK MUSIC – Honky-tonk, also called ''hard country'' or ''beer-dinking music'', projects the  mood and ambiance of its birthplace, the beer joint.

Born in the 1930s, honky-tonk became virtually the  sound of mainstream country music from the late 1940s to about 1955, when rock and roll forced changes in  all forms of American popular music. Since then it has endured as a vigorous subbgenre of country music,  with such important musicians as Ray Price, George Jones, and Moe Bandy making crucial contributions to  its development.

Although conditions that contributed to its development prevailed throughout the South and on the West  Coast, honky-tonk music experienced its most significant development in the states of Texas, Louisiana, and  Oklahoma. 

There, in the oil-boom atmosphere of the mid-1930s, the combined forces of prohibition repeal  and increased professionalization in the stil-new hillbilly music field led to the movement of musicians into  the taverns and beer joints where their music was welcomed. When country music entered the honky-tonks,  its performing styles and thematic content changed significantly. Musicians sought a beat that could be felt  even if it could not be heard above the din and merriment of weekend revelers, and they effected  instrumental changes that would enhance and diversify their sounds; hence the adoption of electric  instruments. Above all, much of the tone of country music changed in this atmosphere of wine, women, and  song, where potential danger lurked behind the gay facade and where ''honky-tonk angels'' lured their men.  No force has proved more important in diminishing the pastoral impulse of country music, nor in  documenting the transition made by rural southerners to urban industrial culture.

If the 1930s were important as years of nourishment, the war years were absolutely indispensable in both the  maturation and popularization of honky-tonk music. As never before in southern history, people fled  agriculture and made their way by the thousands to the towns and industrial centers of the South, as well as  to cities in the Midwest and on the West Coast. While civilians changed their locales and occupations, their  military sons and daughters moved to training camps both in and out of the South and to combat theaters  around the world. For a people in transition, who were urban in residence, yet rural in style and outlook, the  adjustment was often fraught with frustration and pain. Adjustments were made in diverse ways and with  varying degrees of success, but many men sought to reaffirm their identities in a sympathetic setting, over a  bottle of beer in a honky-tonk. Servicemen fought the loneliness of enforced separation from loved ones and  friends, while their civilian relatives sought relief from the pressures of work and family responsibilities. The  music of the honky-tonks, whether performed by live bands or jukeboxes, reflected increasingly the  preoccupations of socially and geographically displaced people. Never before had a form of music so  effectively mirrored the concerns of the southern working class.

Rustic sounds still thrived in country music during the 1940s; the decade, after all, marked the heyday of  Roy Acuff as well as the beginning of the acoustic-based bluegrass style. But sounds introduced and  nourished in the honky-tonks of Texas predominated, and names like Bob Wills, Ted Daffan, Cliff Bruner,  Moon Mullican, Al Dexter, and Ernest Tubb dominated the jukeboxes. Many of their songs described the  world of the honky-tonk itself, detailing the pleasures to be found ''Down at the Roadside Inn'', or confessing  the sorrows that might come from overindulgence (''Driving Nails in My Coffin'', ''Headin' Down the Wrong  Highway''). Al Dexter's ''Pistol Packin' Mama'', the giant country hit of 1943 and a ''crossover'' of the first  magnitude, grew out of its singer-composer's experiences in the oil-town-honky-tonk atmosphere of east  Texas in the 1930s. More often, though, the songs concentrated on matters that had little or nothing to do  with the honky-tonk. Instead, they commented on the private concerns of listeners. Voicing the cry-in-yourbeer  side of honky-tonk, almost to the point of suicidal impulse, were such songs as Rex Griffin's ''The Last  Letter'', Ted Daffan's ''Born To Lose'', and Floyd Tillman's ''It Makes No Different Now'', which poured forth  from a thousand jukeboxes and were carried around the world by lonely homesick southern servicemen.  When Ernest Tubb moved to the Grand Ole Opry in 1943, his Texas-born, beer-joint-shaped style gained a  national forum. As he won disciples, his style influenced the music of country entertainers from West  Virginia to California.

In the prosperous years that followed World War II, as country music enjoyed its first great period of national  expansion, the Texas sounds and styles continued to attract the patronage of country fans everywhere. The  honky-tonk style never exercised a complete monopoly during the period, but, for all practical purposes, it  had become the all-pervasive sound of mainstream country music. The typical band was small and featured a  fiddle, a steel guitar, a ''takeoff'' guitar (one that could take lead, solo passages), a rhythm guitar whose  chords were played in closed, percussive fashion, a string bass, and often a piano. The musicians were  capable of performing the hot instrumental licks pioneered by the western swing bands of the 1930s, but  instrumentation, while crucial and distinctive, was generally subordinated to the needs of a vocalist. A new  generation of honky-tonk singers had emerged, men like Hank Thompson, Webb Pierce, and Lefty Frizzell,  who were among the most distinctive stylists that the country music field has seen. Surpassing them all,  however, was the young singer from Alabama, Hank Williams, whose career marked the greatest commercial  flowering of the honky-tonk style.

When Williams died in 1953, few could have anticipated that very soon the honky-tonk style would be  driven from recordings and that country music as a whole would be in shambles. As the rock-and-roll wave  inundated American music, traditional country music was driven underground to small record labels and  back to the bars as promoters and recording men began their frantic search for young, vigorous performers  who could imitate Elvis Presley. The rock-and-roll invasion proved temporary, but it left in its wake a  continuing consciousness of the youth market and a decision by the Nashville music industry to produce a of  all country styles honky-tonk has most closely reflected southern working-class culture and has best marked  the evolution of the southernmiddle-of-the-road product that would be appealing to both country and pop  audiences. Honky-tonk music, of course, did not die, but it could not remain dominant in such a social  context. In an industry obsessed with ''crossovers'', the hard honky-tonk sound was unwelcome and even  embarrassing. Furthermore, the temptation among performers to cross over to the more lucrative and  respectable country-pop field was irresistible.

Honky-tonk music remains a vigorous subgenre of country music, but few entertainers are consistently  faithful to it. In the late 1950s and early 1960s Ray Price with his band the Cherokee Cowboys, made crucial  contributions to the modern honky-tonk sound, featuring duet harmonies on vocal choruses and a thoroughly  electrified sound built around a pedal steel guitar, a heavely bowed fiddle, and walking electric bass patterns.  But after popularizing the sound among a host of disciples, Price abandoned the style for the country-pop  field he had earlier resisted. George Jones, the Texas singer whose supple style resembled the moaning, bent  notes of the pedal steel guitar (first introduced on Webb Pierce records), remains faithful to the honky-tonk  sound, but his producers often smother him under a barrage of string instruments and vocal choruses. Buck  Owens, who claims both Texas and California, became country music's leading vocalist in the early 1960s  with an exciting sound that reflected both the honky-tonks of California and the energy of rockabilly music.  He too has since abandoned the style.

At the beginning of the 1980s only Moe Bandy (born in Meridian, Mississippi, and reared in San Antonio,  Texas) seemed able to prosper in the honky-tonk genre. His clean, crisp articulation of lyrics dealing with  those staples of honky-tonk music, drinking, cheating, and heartbreak, are complemented perfectly by a  fiddle, pedal steel guitar, and walking bass. The mid-1980s witnessed a revival of honky-tonk music with  young entertainers such as Randy Travis and George Strait.

Of all country styles honky-tonk has most closely reflected southern working-class culture and has best  marked the evolution of the southern folk from rural to urban industrial life. Although intimately associated  with the urban adjustment of southern plain folk, honky-tonk music has been ignored by folklorists because  it is not pastoral and because it does not protest. It is dismissed by many, perhaps, because it is too real.  Honky-tonk instrumentation both attracts and repels: to many, the whine of the pedal steel guitar and bounce  of the shuffle beat evoke elemental impulses and emotions. Honky-tonk music conjures up distasteful, seedy  images. The lyrics and instrumentation of honky-tonk music evoke emotional pain, isolation, and human  weakness that everyone has shared. The songs can be so full of trite self-pity that they drown listeners in  their sentimentality. But at its best, honky-tonk music speaks to loneliness and the need for human empathy  felt by each person.



JAZZ – ''Jazz started in New Orleans'', Ferdinand La Menthe ''Jelly Roll'' Morton pronounced confidently to  Alan Lomax in 1938. Morton's magisterial oral autobiography-history resounds with invaluable insights into  the story of jazz, New Orleans in the 1890s, and southern life and culture.

But like many great insights, this  is a mythic truth. Jazz was an agglomeration of black and white folk music, a rich synthesis that occurred in southern,  southwestern, midwestern, and eastern urban centers in the last decade of the 19th century. 

Jazz began in New  Orleans as well – but ragtime and blues musicians wandered the Gulf Coast, the Mississippi Delta, the  redlight districts of Washington, Baltimore, Kansas City, New York City, and St. Louis.  Early black folk  music became widely identified as southern in its associations with vaudeville, theater, circuses, as part of a  vast cultural myth of the Old south plantation days, building on Stephen Foster's songs, on the spirituals of  the Fisk Jubilee Singers, and on the tradition of blackface minstrelsy.

New Orleans, the most cosmopolitan and urbane center in the South before and after the Civil War, provided  a hospitable climate for local and itinerant musicians and had a long tradition of musical culture, high and  low. In the second half of the 19th century New Orleans mixed a vivid combination of musics – brass band  marches, parlor music, Creole and Cajun folksongs, Caribbean musics, church music – and produced a style  known as ''ragtime'', after the spicy, syncopated piano music of the Mississippi River Valley. By about 1915,  this new music was often called ''jass'' or ''jazz''. Other musical centers flourished at the same time: Memphis,  with its bawdy Beale Street district featuring W.C. Handy's dance orchestra; Kansas City, with legions of  ragtime writers and publishers; St. Louis, a repository for even more intense ragtime playing, composing,  and publishing.

Jazz drew on local scenes and traditions, indigenous southern sensibilities and languages. Handy captured  blues songs from the Delta, with resonant lines like ''I'm going where the Southern cross the Dog'', a nearmystical  reference to a Mississippi railroad junction of the Southern and the Yazoo-Delta lines (''Yellow Dog  Blues''). Or Jelly Roll Morton could sing, ''Michigan water tastes like sherry wine, Mississippi water tastes  like turpentine'' (''Michigan Water Blues''). Local customs and scenes were paid homage by southern  musicians, as Morton hailed the lake Pontchartrain resort area in ''Milenberg Joys'' or Louis Armstrong  recalled a Basin Street brothel in ''Mahogany Hall Stomp''.

Jazz in the South was created and exported by blacks and whites, by musicians of every ethnic background –  Irish, Italian, French-Spanish-Creole, Jamaican, German, Greek, Protestant, Catholic, and Jewish. This  diversity of backgrounds guaranteed variety within the music. Place-name blues celebrated the region:  ''Atlanta Blues'', ''Vicksburg Blues'', ''Memphis Blues'', New Orleans Blues''. Other kinds of jazz registered  local color: ''Beale Street Blues'', ''South Rampart Street Parade'', ''Bogalusa Strut'', ''Chattanooga Stomp'',  ''Ole Miss'', ''Chef Menteur Joys''. Jazz drew from church music – ''Sing On'', ''When The Saints Come  Marching In'', ''Down By The Riverside'' – and from popular exotica – ''Big Chief Battle-Ax'', ''Hindustan'',  ''Lena From Palesteena'', ''The Sheik Of Araby'', ''Chinatown''. The music consciously echoed opera, military  bands, call-and-response church singing, ethnic dance music, country blues singing, genteel parlor songs,  light classic, and Tin Pan Alley productions.

Southern music absorbed cosmopolitan influences easily and converged with a wide world of vaudeville and  minstrel shows, road companies of musicals and operettas, and the long-established French Opera in New  Orleans's ''Vieux Carre''. The most local and original of New Orleans traditions, Mardi Gras, adopted as its  musical theme ''If Ever I Cease To Love'', a ditty from a New York musical. And another ''jazz standard'' was  created from a New York publisher's arrangement of a novelty march by Yale student Porter Steele, ''High  Society''.

The turn of the century witnessed an explosion of popular music creation and dissemination. Phonograph  records, piano rolls, and sheet music made possible a nationwide popular musical culture on a large scale.  Scott Joplin's ''Maple Leaf Rag'' (1899) probably sold a million copies in sheet music form, published first in  Sedalia, Missouri. Local publishers and artists sprang up everywhere, with important centers in southern and  midwestern cities: St. Louis, New Orleans, Kansas City, Indianapolis, and Chicago. Southern music was  exported on a grand scale, and local fairs and exhibitions held in Atlanta and New Orleans, the Chicago  Columbian Exposition of 1893, and the St. Louis World's Fair of 1904 brought Americans into direct contact  with the new southern music.

In New Orleans instrumental music was in constant demand for parties, formal dances, in neighborhood  dance halls, cabarets, and social clubs. Popular social dances like the waltz, mazurka, schottische, quadrilles,  and reels along with black vernacular dances created a need for a wide rage of highly rhythmic  accompaniment. By the 1890s strongly syncopated dance music of the sort echoed in piano ragtime was  provided by various instrumental combinations. In the regulated redlight district (sardonically nicknamed  ''Storyville'' after the alderman who proposed its legislation), ragtime and blues piano players worked in  bordellos. In the rest of the city, bandmen played for dances and parties.

Charles ''Buddy'' Bolden, a black cornetist, was the best-known leader of a rough-and-ready early jazz band  of the 1890s. ''Papa'' Jack Laine, a white drummer-entrepreneur, organized many dance and marching bands  around 1900. John Robichaux formed a long-lived 'society'' orchestra that read popular music scores. Freddie  Keppard, another cornet virtuoso, led a group called That Creole Band on extensive vaudeville tours from  New Orleans after 1910. But the New Orleans band that created a nationwide (ultimately worldwide)  consciousness for a new popular music was the Original Dixieland Jazz Band – five white New Orleanians  from Jack Laine's stable who went to Chicago, New York, then London, making in 1917 and 1918 the first  New Orleans jazz records and achieving a monumental success in vaudeville and cabaret appearance.

The repertoire of the Original Dixieland Jazz Band was that of New Orleans jazz as it had developed for  some 20 years: ''Tiger Rag'', ''Livery Stable Blues'', ''Clarinet Marmalade'', ''Ostrich Walk'', ''Bluin The  Blues'', and others became jazz staples and were drawn from the shared traditions of black and white  musicians. The Original Dixieland Jazz Band Americanized jazz and jazzified America. Imitations of their  music were heard everywhere, and ''jazz'' passed from the argot of the ''demimonde'' (where it meant either  sexual intercourse or sexual fluids) into the vocabulary of middle America as the name of this new physical,  sensual music. The Original Dixieland Jazz Band was followed by a continuous out-migration of southern  musicians to Chicago, New York, the West Coast, and Europe. What had been a provincial oddity, a local  delicacy like hog's maw, grits, or pralines, a purely regional music, became a significant force in world  culture.

A ''second generation'' of musicians who grew up in the earliest days of New Orleans jazz disseminated it as  a complex and sophisticated musical forms, a form based on individual improvisational styles blended into  an intuitive whole: Jelly Roll Morton (piano-composer); Joseph ''King'' Oliver (cornet), who took young  Louis Armstrong to Chicago in 1922; Sidney Bechet (clarinet, soprano sax), who took jazz genius to Europe  in 1919 with the Southern Syncopated Orchestra; Johnny Dodds (clarinet); Edward ''Kid'' Ory (trombone);  Warren ''Baby'' Dodds (drums). The New Orleans Rhythm Kings, Clarence Williams's bands, and many other  New Orleans bands recorded and brought live jazz to the speakeasies of 1920s America.

The impact of the new jazz recordings was catalytic. Jazz was absorbed and imitated by society dance bands  everywhere by 1920s, with great financial success realized by white bandleaders like Art Hickman, Paul  Specht, and Paul Whiteman. ''Jazz'' to most Americans of the mid-1920s was simply synonymous with ''pop  music'' of any description, and novelist F. Scott Fitzgerald could create the idea of a ''Jazz Age''. Jazz was  identified with youth, excess, exuberance, sin, and license, with gin mills and crime, and with some of the  old relight-district stigma.

In the 1920s and 1930s jazz was established in Chicago and New York, with luminaries like Fletcher  Henderson (from Birmingham), Edward ''Duke'' Ellington (from Washington, D.C.), Jack Teagarden (from  Texas), and others rising to the top of the jazz world. Jazz also flourished in the South, especially in so-called  ''territory'' bands that succeeded regionally. Top-flight big bands created their own versions of jazz (now  known more frequently as ''swing'') in Kansas City (Bennie Moten, Harlan Leonard, Walter Page), Missouri  (Charlie Creatch, Jesse Stone, the Missourians), Memphis (Jimmie Lunceford), Texas (Don Albert, Alphonso  Trent), and New Orleans (Sam Morgan, Fate Marable, Armand J. Piron). Some of these groups made the  national scene: Bennie Moten's band became the great Count Basie orchestra of the 1930s; the Missourians  became Cab Calloway's band; and Jimmie Lunceford created one of the most innovative bands of the era.

Other southern jazz stars became nationally known: blues singers like Gertrude ''Ma'' Rainey, Bessie Smith,  and Ethel Waters rose from backgrounds in minstrelsy and vaudeville to great fame. Jazz virtuoso like Louis  Armstrong, Jimmie Noone, Sidney Bechet, and others established exalted standards for playing. Intinerant  blues pianists like Pinetop Smith, Jimmy Yancey, Eurreal ''Little Brother'' Montgomery, Crippled Clarence  Lofton, Albert Ammons, Meade Lux Lewis, and Pete Johnson popularized a form of Deep South keyboard  style most commonly called ''barrelhouse'' or ''boogie-woogie'' piano, which enjoyed a wild vogue in the late  1930s. A rough, powerful form of piano blues, the music was familiar in turpentine camps and rural juke  joints a generation before it reached the nation's radios and phonographs.

The South supplied vernacular dances to America after jazz became a national phenomenon in 1918. The  brisk one-step ''animal dances'' of 1910 – the Grizzly Bear, Bunny Hug, Turkey Trot, Cubanola Glide – were  superseded by the Charleston, The Black Bottom, Varsity Drag, tangos, the Lindy Hop, Suzie-Q, and dozens  of variants based on old black social dance patterns. Formalized versions of such dances could be seen at big  dance halls, in revues like the famous Cotton Club extravaganzas in Harlem, and in vaudeville routines by  such stars as Bill ''Bojangles'' Robinson, Florence Mills, Snakehips Tucker, and John Bubbles. Jazz was  music for dancing, and long before aficionados made it intellectually respectable, America voted with its feet  for the new music.

By the 1930s radio had joined with the phonograph to popularize jazz. Radio promotion helped establish  bands like those of Duke Ellington and Bennie Goodman, while jazz-oriented dance bands like the Coon- Sanders Orchestra, the Casa Loma Orchestra, Paul Whiteman's band, and others brought jazz into the  nation's parlors nearly every day over network radio. What started as a provincial cultural phenomenon in  one generation became the best-known trademark of America, a symbol for the nation's youthful vitality and  melting-pot variety. In Europe, jazz was studied, imitated, and admired to the point of worship by young  students and musicians.

The movements of modern jazz after the 1930s have been nationwide, with important centers of activity on  East and West coasts. The South, however, has continued to contribute major jazz artists, such as pianistcomposer  Thelonious Monk, the Adderly brothers, Nat and Julian (''Cannonball''), and young trumpet  virtuoso Wymton Marsalis. Jazz of every variety flourishes in southern cities, from ''revivalist'' centers like  New Orleans’s French Quarter, Memphis's Beale Street area, and St. Louis's Gaslight Square to cabarets and  concert-hall performances in every major city. Since the 1950s, jazz has moved from the center of popular  musical culture to become a kind of ''alternative culture'' of great vigor and variety.

Jazz was woven into the fabric of southern life. An urban synthesis of rural musics, it reflected the  development of the modern South after the turn of the century. Created by black musicians from a  multi-ethnic culture, jazz unified the nation's sensibility. Jazz radically altered its listeners through its feelings  about freedom, equality imagination, joy, and physical vitality.



ROCK AND ROLL -  Rock and Roll is the generic term used to describe the dominant strain of   American popular music from 1955 to 1965. In general, rock and roll was teenage-oriented dance   music that synthesized elements of black and white folk and popular music styles, specifically and   most conspicuously, rhythm and blues and country (or hillbilly) music, is superseded by Elvis Presley,   born in Tupelo, Mississippi, and reared in Memphis, Tennessee.  All of the other subsequent rock and   roll innovators, with the arguable exception of Chuck Berry (born, San Jose, California, 1926), were  native southerners:

Carl Perkins (born, Bermis, Tennessee, 1932), Jerry Lee Lewis (born, Ferriday,   Louisiana, 1935), Buddy Holly (born, Lubbock, Texas, 1936), Fats Domino (born, New Orleans,   Louisiana, 1928), Little Richard (born, Macon, Georgia, 1932).  From 1955 to 1958 rock and roll remained largely a southern phenomenon. Two principal regional   recording centers were Memphis and New Orleans, each of which produced a distinctive idiom of its   own.

Memphis, long a cultural crossroads where various southern musical traditions flourished,   especially Mississippi Delta blues and hillbilly music, produced a dynamic hybrid known as   rockabilly.  Rockabilly was firmly rooted in country music but drew heavily from black sources, most notably   gospel and rhythm and blues. It was characterized by small ensembles (often a trio), stringed   instrumentation, and a persistent yet light beat layered over frenzied vocalizing and an echo   produced in the recording studio. The classic rockabilly sound, engineered by Sam Phillips and  performed by Elvis Presley (vocal and acoustic rhythm guitar), Scotty Moore (electric lead guitar),   and Bill Black (acoustic upright bass) was first recorded at Phillips' Sun Records studio in Memphis   in July 5-6, 1954. Sun soon attracted dozens of aspiring young musicians from across the South who  performed in a style similar to Presley's. Important Sun artists after Elvis Presley were Carl   Perkins, Jerry Lee Lewis, Johnny Cash, Billy Riley, Sonny Burgess, Roy Orbison, Charlie Rich and   Conway Twitty. A definitive rockabilly group from Memphis, which recorded for the New Yorkbased   Coral label, was the Rock And Roll Trio (Johnny Burnette, Dorsey Burnette, and Paul   Burlison).

After 1955 the basic Memphis rockabilly sound underwent a gradual modification. Elvis Presley   moved toward a mainstream rock and roll sound after signing with RCA Victor in November 1955.   Jerry Lee Lewis introduced his own boogie-woogie-based piano style into rockabilly with his first   Sun releases in 1955. Beginning in 1957 Buddy Holly created an original pop-influenced variant of   rockabilly, exemplified by such recordings as "That'll Be The Day" (1957), "Peggy Sue" (1957), and   "Rave On" (1958). In Louisiana, Dale Hawkins recorded in a strong blues-influenced style, which   gained its greatest expression in the hit recording "Suzie Q" (1957). Numerous influential rockabilly   artists lived and recorded in Los Angeles after 1955, including Gene Vincent (originally from   Virginia), whose best-known song was "Be Bop A Lula" (1956), Wanda Jackson (originally from   Oklahoma), the most talented female rockabilly performer; Eddie Cochran, next to Carl Perkins,   the finest rockabilly songwriter, who recorded such definitive items as "Summertime Blues" (1958)   and "Something Else" (1959), and Ricky Nelson (born in New Jersey), who sold more rockabilly   recordings than anyone other than Elvis Presley. Nelson and the Nashville-based Everly Brothers   followed Presley and Holly in moving rockabilly in the direction of pop music by removing much of  the rawness and dynamism from the idiom. The Everly Brothers were especially significant for   introducing the traditional hillbilly duet style into rock and roll. Their best recordings such as   "Wake Up Little Susie" (1957), and "Bye, Bye Love" (1957), retained much of the potency of early   rockabilly. A few mainstream country performers also recorded in a rockabilly mode, most notably   Marty Robbins and Johnny Horton.

The New Orleans sound, which formed the second major component of southern rock and roll, was   infused with the blues. It was characterized by small ensembles (usually five or six pieces) whose   central instrument was the piano. Accompaniment usually consisted of saxophones, drums, electric   bass, and horns. It was noted for a heavy, rolling beat and Carribean-derived polyrhythms. New   Orleans vocalists, most of whom were black, sang with the thick inflections indigenous to the city.   Most of the songs identified with New Orleans rock and roll were exuberant, joyous, and urgent, yet   less frenzied than those from rockabilly music. Lyrics were seldom teen oriented.

Though no record label of comparable importance to Sun Records existed in New Orleans - most of   the city's recordings were released by West Coast companies such as Imperial and Specialty -   virtually every recording made in the city came from the studio of engineer and producer Cosimo   Matassa. Matassa and Dave Bartholomew, a musician, writer, and producer, were key figures in the   evolution of a distinctive New Orleans rock and roll style.  The quintessential New Orleans rock and roll performer was Fats Domino, a musical heir of the   great rhythm and blues pianist Professor Longhair (Henry Roeland Byrd). Domino was a popular   rhythm and blues recording artist in the early 1950s, and he made his entry onto the national pop   charts in 1955 with "Ain't That A Shame". In the 1955-60 period, Domino produced a remarkable  series of hit recordings, including "Blueberry Hill" (1956) and "I'm walking" (1957).

Other important contributors to the New Orleans sound included Lloyd Price, Smiley Lewis, Huey   Smith, Clarence "Frogman" Henry, Frankie Ford, Bobby Charles, and Jimmy Clanton. Clanton, a   white performer, accomplished the closest approximation of the New Orleans style to a mainstream   rock and roll sound with recordings like "Just A Dream" (1958). The only non-Louisiana artist to   play a significant role in the popularization of the New Orleans style was Little Richard (Penniman)   of Macon, Georgia. Little Richard became one of the most dynamic and controversial rock and roll   performers of the 1950s with such hits as "Tutti Frutti" (1955) and "Rip It Up" (1956).

By the early 1960s rockabilly music had largely been subsumed by the rock and roll mainstream.   The New Orleans sound remained a vital and distinctive regional rock and roll form, though it too   declined in popularity and experienced a certain degree of accommodation with the mainstream  approach. Both Memphis and New Orleans ceased to be important recording centers. Most southern   musicians left to work in Los Angeles, New York, or Nashville where, if successful, they tended to   produce recordings of minimal regional identity. Southern rock and roll, which, in the forms of   rockabilly and New Orleans music, had exerted a formative influence on the creation of a national   rock and roll style, now merely existed as one element within the broad form as evinced by such   representative recordings of the period as Johnny Tillotson's "Poetry In Motion" (1960), Johnny   Burnette's "You're Sixteen" (1960), and Elvis Presley's "Return To Sender" (1962).

After 1963 American rock and roll began to succumb to the so-called British Invasion, spearheaded   by the Beatles, who were soon followed by such groups as the Rolling Stones, the Animals, and   Gerry and the Pacemakers. Ironically, the British invaders were themselves extremely indebted to   the southern-derived forms of early rock and roll and thus revived much of the southern character   and identity of the music. The most successful American rock and roll recording artist of the mid-  1960s was Johnny Rivers, a native of Baton Rouge, Louisiana (born 1940), who had begun his   musical career as a rockabilly stylist. Rivers's music combined many varied styles, from urban folk   music to rockabilly, but retained its essential southern character.

By 1966 the Beatles and Bob Dylan (another musician devoted to southern musical forms) led the   way toward "rock" as contrasted to rock and roll. Rock had a general, national (and even   international) identity. It was a form oriented more toward concerts than dance and was   linguistically and thematically sophisticated and complex. Only in the early 1970s, with the  emergence of the Allman Brothers Band and the attendant success of Capricorn records of Maco,   Georgia, did a specific, self conscious, and identifiable southern rock style evolve.


SPIRITUALS – Spirituals are Afro-American sacred folksongs, sometimes also called anthems, hymns,  spiritual songs, jubilees, or gospel songs. Distinctions between these terms have not been precise, different  terms being used in different communities at different times. The term spiritual song was widely used in  English and American hymnals and tunebooks during and after the 18th century, but spiritual was not found  in print before the Civil war. Descriptions of the songs that came to be known by that name appeared at least  20 years earlier, and Afro-American religious singing recognized as distinct from white psalms and hymns  was described as early as 1819.

The musical elements that distinguished Afro-American songs from European folksong were described by  travelers and traders in Africa in the early 17th century. The elements that appeared exotic and unfamiliar to  these Europeans included strong rhythms, accompanied by bodily movement, stamping, hand-clapping, and  other percussive devices to accent rhythm, gapped scales, general group participation, improvised texts  (frequently derisive or satiric in natural), and the call-and-response form in which leader and responding  chorus overlapped. To the European observers the music seemed wholly strange, although later analysts  would find elements common to European music. The performance style of African music was one of its  unique aspects, one that has survived in many forms of Afro-American music.

In Africa, song played a prominent role in religion, public ceremonies, and work, in which song was used to  regulate the pace. Though scholars do not agree about whether harmony was present, the simultaneous  sounding of more than one pitch was common. Vocal embellishments were widely used, and a strong,  rasping voice quality was admired. These musical elements continued among the Africans transported to the  New World and were reported by numerous witnesses of slave singing throughout the West Indies and the  North American mainland during the mid-17th century. Songs to accompany dancing were most frequently  reported, with work songs a close second. Not much is yet known about the transmission of African religious  to North America, so the relation of the spirituals to African religious song is still largely a matter of  conjecture.

The conversation of African to Christianity, considered a prerequisite to the development of the spiritual,  proceeded slowly. In the 17th century individual slaves were often converted by the families with whom they  lived on low country plantations; although in the southern colonies some planters opposed the baptism of  their slaves in the belief that baptism might disrupt the master-slave relationship. Where planters permitted  religious instruction, the African responded with enthusiasm; but the few missionaries sent from England  were kept too busy ministering to the widely separated white population to permit much attention to the  blacks or the Indians. By the mid-18th century a few Presbyterian ministers, led by Samuel Davies of  Hanover, Virginia, made special efforts to convert blacks within their neighborhoods, using Isaac Watts's  hymnbooks shipped from England. The style of singing European hymns may have been influenced by  African musical patterns, but scholars have no concrete information about the singing of African songs  during this period.

Toward the end of the 18th century Methodist itinerants, such as Bishop Francis Avery, assisted by the black  exhorter Harry Hosier, began to hold meetings lasting several days. Large crowds overflowed the meeting  rooms, and blacks and whites attended these meetings together. On the frontier, where the population was  very widely scattered and organized churches were few, the camp meeting developed, beginning with the  Cane Ridge, Kentucky, meeting in August 1801. Black worshipers attended this meeting, and they  participated in white camp meetings throughout the antebellum period. As blacks and whites worshiped and  sang together in an atmosphere highly charged with emotion mutual influences were inescapable. The calland- response style of singing was ideally suited to this kind of participatory service, where vast numbers of  people required musical responses they could learn on the spot. The practice of ''lining out'' in which a leader  sang or read two lines of a hymn to the congregation who then repeated them, was widely used in churches  with illiterate members or with too few books to go around. The camp meeting provided an introduction for  both groups to the sound and style of each others singing.

The first documented reports of distinctive black religious singing date from the early 19th century, somewhat  earlier than the first organized missions to plantation slaves. Spirituals were not transcribed in musical  notation until the Civil War, and, when they were, conventional musical notation was inadequate to convey  the distinctive features of the music as it was performed. Whatever degree of acculturation may have existed,  certain elements in the music could not be represented in a notation developed for European music. The  more sensitive transcribers explicitly stated that their transcriptions could not capture all they heard, notes  outside the scale system, ''blue'' notes, swoops, glissando's, growls, rhythmic complexities, and the  overlapping of leader and chorus in the call-and-response style.

In the South during the antebellum period spirituals were sung widely and were discussed in letters, diaries,  and the periodical press, but they were largely unknown in the North. When wartime conditions brought  plantation slaves into contact with northern whites, the songs became known to a wider public. Individual  songs were published as sheet music or in magazine articles, and a comprehensive collection was published  in 1867, ''Slave Songs Of The United States'', edited by Williams Francis Allen, Charles Pickard Ware, and  Lucy McKim Garrison. Although the transcriptions had to omit many of the characteristic and distinctive  features of the music because of the notational system, the collection was an attempt to preserve songs that  otherwise might have been lost. The collection set a pattern for transcribing the songs in conventional  musical notation (despite its shortcoming) that was followed in more influential collections of songs as sung  by the Fisk Jubilee Singers, the Hampton Singers, and other touring groups from predominantly black  schools in the South. The college groups had been trained in European music and were conscious of their  mission to herald the emerging black population. After northern and European audiences heard spirituals,  their popularity was firmly established. Songs were modified in their arrangement for concert performance,  although the extent of this modification has not been determined.

As the spirituals grew more popular, elaborate arrangements that departed still more widely from the folk  originals were made, for both solo singers and for choirs. Beginning in 1892 a theory was developed that  spirituals were based on European folk hymns and other forms of white popular music, a theory based solely  on the examination of the published transcriptions. The elements of improvisation and the performance style  were not considered. Only with the advent of sound recording has it been possible to study the performance  itself. Current performances cannot fully replicate antebellum ones, but they can capture much of the  excitement described by 19th-century listeners. Ethnomusicologists may be able to reconstructs the music as  it was performed in earlier eras by utilizing field recordings and contemporary descriptions.



ZYDECO MUSIC – Zydeco is a fast, syncopated dance music of Louisiana's black Creole population.  Played in urban and rural dance halls from St. Martinville and Lafayette to Houston's black French Fifth  Ward, it has evolved in Louisiana over the last 150 years, influenced by Cajun, Afro-American, and Afro- Caribbean cultures.

Some zydeco musicians may prefer a more Cajun sound, while other musicians,  especially in urban settings, mix blues and soul into the music, reflecting the increasing impact of Afro- American mainstream culture. 

But nearly all zydeco groups maintain a rhythmic complexity in their music  that harkens to their Afro-Caribbean inheritance, an in-heritance also found in the early spasm bands of New  Orleans jazz and the great ''second-line'' rhythm-and-blues pianists like Huey ''Piano'' Smith, Professor  Longhair, and Fats Domino.

Zydeco reflects the multicultural and multiracial background of the Creole population on the French Gulf  Coast from southern Louisiana and the French Caribbean, the term ''Creole'' originally referred both to  descendants of the French and Spanish colonists from the Old World and to African slaves born in the New  World. This original meaning of ''Creole'', which refers to the planter class as well as to people from New  Orleans and southeastern Louisiana, still persists. The other meaning of ''Creole'' (the one used here)  developed later. It refers to the French-speaking people whose mixed ancestry may include black slaves from  the Caribbean and American South, ''gens libres de couleur'' (free people of color), and Spanish, French, and  German planters and merchants, local Indian tribes, Anglo-Americans, and Cajuns.

Many persons in southwestern French Louisiana who identify themselves as Creole or noir have some  parentage from the Cajuns or Arcadians – the peasant farming, fishing, and trapping people who entered the  area over a 30-year period(1760s to 1800), following their expulsion from what is now called Nova Scotia.  The cultural ties between Creoles and Cajuns are more significant than the genetic ties: the two cultures  share, in part, essential features of life, including religion, festivals, foods, language, and music.

The largest numbers of black and mulatre (''mulatto'') French-speakings people came to Louisiana either as  slaves for French planters in the second half of the 18th century or as ''gens libres de couleur'' both before and  after the Haitian revolution of 1791-1803. In general, to be of ''mixed'' blood or ''mulatre'' carried greater  social status. The shift in the use of the term ''Creole'' may have come from its use by such persons of  ''mixed'' blood claiming their European ancestry, and from an attempt to distinguish the descendants of  French culture from the English-speaking ''Americain'' (Americans), who acquired the territory in 1803.

The word ''zydeco'' is thought to be a creolized form of the French ''Ies haricots'' (snapbeans). Zydeco music  is said to take its name from a dance tune in both the Cajun and Creole traditions called ''Les Haricots Sont  Pas Sales'' (The Snapbeans Are Not Salted). The spelling of zydeco used here is one found on posters  advertising dances and promoting bands in south Louisiana and southeast Texas. Alternate spellings are  ''zodico'', ''zordico'', and ''zologo''. All of these are English spellings used to represent the Creole  pronunciation. A closer phonetic spelling would be ''zarico'' (stress on the last syllable), which preserves the  French a and r.

Zydeco refers not only to the fast, syncopated dance numbers in a Creole band's repertoire, but also to the  dance event itself. Old-time musicians Bebe Carriere of the Louisiana prairie town of Lawtell says that in the  old days word of a dance would be left at the general store or someone would ride around the countryside on  horseback yelling, ''Zydeco au soir... chez Carriere''! (Zydeco tonight at the Carriere's place)! Similarly, in  urban Houston, the lyrics of ''Bon Ton Roulet'' by Clarence Garlow describe people going ''way out in the
country to the zydeco''.

Because of the cultural interchange between Cajuns and Creoles in southwest Louisiana, there has been a  tendency to overlook the differences between Cajun music and zydeco. Cajun music places more emphasis  on developing the melodic line, while zydeco melodies are played much faster and consist of Acadian or  Afro-American blues tunes placed in an Afro-Caribbean rhythmic framework. The rhythms are highly  syncopated, with accents often shifting to various beats.

Whether the original Cajun tunes is a one-step – a ''la la'' – or a two-step dance, it can be transformed into a  zydeco by the Creole musician, with faster tempo, melodic simplification, and increased syncopated. The  rhythm may also change when a Cajun two-step, melodic simplification, and increased syncopation. The  rhythm may also change when a Cajun two-step – which accents the first and third beats – is played with the  accents on the second and fourth beats. The melody, although simplified to a repeated figure, remains  unrecognizable.

Even genres from outside the Afro-Caribbean and Acadian cultural sources, such as Afro-American blues  and the Central European polka and mazurka, may be performed in a zydeco style. This is also true of the  waltz, which the Creoles probably inherited from the Cajun and other traditions.

The repertoire and style of individual zydeco musicians may be either more Cajun, more Afro-American, or  more Afro-Caribbean. For example, Creole musicians such as Fremont Fontenot of Basile and the Carriere  brothers of Lawtell often play in a Cajun style because of their strong European cultural affiliations (though  these performers do play zydeco and blues). On the other hand, the Lawtell Playboys of Frilot Cove and  Swampy and the Bad Habits of Carencro show more Afro-Caribbean and Afro-American inclinations  (though they also play waltzes and enjoy ''French music''). As young accordionist Clinton Broussard says,  ''Zydeco bands, they all plays the same tunes, but everybody got their own style to do it''.

Although West Indian influences on Louisiana culture can be traced in language, foods, folk beliefs, and in  music, a musical form called zydeco or sounding like zydeco did not exist in the French West Indies. This  suggests the importance of contact between Cajuns and black Creoles in generating a music form unique to  Louisiana.

One item that does survive more directly from the Afro-French West Indian inheritance (although in  modified form) is the dance ''Calinda''. A dance called ''Calinda, Kolenda, Kolinda'', and other names is  mentioned in travelers' accounts as appearing in the French West Indies – Martinique, Guadeloupe, and  Santo Domingo – as well as Trinidad from the late 18th century onward. Recent anthropological studies also  note the presence of the dance in contemporary French West Indies in the contexts of ''vodoun'' (voodoo)  worship and social dancing, Mardi Gras, and Rara festivities. The ''kalinda'' may involve such diverse  activities as mock stick fighting and erotic courtship gesture.

Slaves gathering in New Orleans’s Congo Square in the early 19th century were said to have danced the West  Indian style ''Calinda''. In rural French Louisiana, ''Calinda'' was transformed by Cajuns into a two-step and  by Creoles into a zydeco. It has become part of the dance band repertoire, and hints of eroticism or  extraordinary behavior have been submerged in the lyrics, which refer to dancing the old dances in a way  that will make old women mad. Thus, ''Calinda'' becomes the name of a young woman enticed by her beau to  dance too close while her mother is not looking. That ''Calinda'' may still have Afro-Caribbean influences is  indicated by its heavily syncopated beat and by accordionist Delton Broussard's comment that ''back toward  New Iberia (in the area with more French West Indies influence), they want ''Calinda'' to dance wild to. You  get to Lake Charles, and they want that French waltz''. Removed from its West Indies source, ''Calinda'' is  now a part of most Cajun and zydeco bands' repertoires.

At dances in the Creole community today, zydeco musicians usually choose fewer waltzes and more blues  and fast two-steps than do Cajun musicians. While Cajun bands make wide use of the violin (an Acadian  inheritance), they rarely play the vest ''frottoir'' (a metal rubbing board worn as a vest and played with  spoons, can openers, or thimbles). Played by old-time and rural zydeco groups, the vest ''frottoir'' has its  antecedents in Africa and the Caribbean as a scraped animal jaw, notched stick, and later, a washboard. The  current model, made in Louisiana by tinsmiths, became popular in the 1930s when sheet metal was  introduced to the area for roofing and barn siding. Also popular is the Cajun ''bas trang'' or ''tite fer''  (triangle).

The accordion, used in both zydeco and Cajun music, was probably introduced to the area by German  immigrants in the 1870s. The traditional model, and the one made by a number of local accordion makers, is  the ''une ragee'' (one row) diatonic push-pull instrument. It is used by Cajuns and most rural and old-time
zydeco musicians. Urban performers have also experimented with the two- and three-row button accordion,  and the chromatic piano accordion.

Cajun music and zydeco are meant for dancing. Indeed, the choice of dance halls and preferred musical style  often mark the boundaries of Cajun and Creole communities. Performance of both of these types of  Louisiana French music in a club setting is usually highly amplified for dancing, and the lyrics are difficult  to hear above the music or noise of the club. In general, lyrics to the dance tunes are not as elaborate as those  of the home singing traditions. They are often fragmentary and tend to convey a ''feeling'' rather than a story.

While Cajun music has been influenced by country and western music in style and instrumentation (the steel  guitar), zydeco has been affected more by rhythm and blues and soul music. Urban bands, such as Sampy  and the Bad Habits and Mike and the Soul Accordion Band, have dropped the ''frottoir'' and ''violin'',  switching to two- and three-row accordions and sometimes adding a lead guitar. Though these bands play  relatively slower zydeco numbers at a dance, the continued impact of the Creole and Cajun repertoire in  urban areas is retained, as both bands still play waltzes and highly syncopated numbers.

Afro-American traditions have long existed side by side with the Afro-Caribbean and Cajun traditions in  south Louisiana's Creole community. But since World War II they have become heavily integrated with  Creole traditions and lifestyles. These changes in zydeco music reflect the acculturation of the Creole  population into English-speaking Afro-American culture.

Creole culture remains strongest in the countryside, and here the dance hall is an essential social institution.  Men and women come to dance well-dressed in sport coats and ties, pantsuits, carefully set hair, and jewelry.  At a rural dance hall like the Ardoins' Club Morris in Duralde, entire families, from children to grandparents,  come to dance. Zydeco is also performed at church dances, barbecue picnics, occasional ''fais-do-do'' (house  dances), and in a variety of urban clubs that alternate bookings with disc jockeys and soul bands. The new  popularity of such bands as Terrence Semiens and the Mallet Playboys, Buckwheat Ils Sont Partis Band, and  Fernest Arceneaux and Thunder reflect this change. On the other hand, more traditional groups such as  Delton Broussard and the Lawtell Playboys, the Lawrence Ardoin Band, and John Delafose and the Eunice  Playboys perform in a more French-influenced style. The new broader range of zydeco styles as projected in  films, television programs, records, radio and at the newly formed (1983) Zydeco Festival in Opelousas  suggests that Creole music is increasingly a symbol for cultural emergence of the Afro-French people of  rural and urban south Louisiana.




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