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VINTAGRAPH • WPA • WWII • ABOUT PARIS, 1895

Our Man in Maynardville: 1935

Our Man in Maynardville: 1935

Another view of the Tennessee Troubadour as captured by painter-photographer Ben Shahn in October 1935. View full size. More here. 35mm nitrate negative.

 

Buddy, you can sure play that tune!

I love this picture, yes, the young guy on the left watching his two talented friends. The guy in the middle is wonderfully full of himself, just what you need in a band.

Hard to see Western Swing as "black music"

Katey,

I understand that black music of the early 20th Century had influences in American music including Western Swing. However, I don't think that Bob Will's stuff (which is even more a reflection of Scotch Irish folk music and Western ballads) can be considered a introduction of black music to white audiences. Elvis pretty much sang contemporary black music in a black style but being white was able sweep white audiences.

I would think the primary black influence on Western Swing would be the fast beat and you can find this on earlier music such as the Charleston style records of the 1920s.

Bob Wills introducing black music?

Katey,

I understand that black music of the early 20th Century had influences in American music including Western Swing. However, I don't think that Bob Will's stuff (which is even more a reflection of Scotch Irish folk music and Western ballads) can be considered a introduction of black music to white audiences. Elvis pretty much sang contemporary black music in a black style but being white was able sweep white audiences.

I would think the primary black influence on Western Swing would be the fast beat and you can find this on earlier music such as the Charleston style records of the 1920s.

They're both playing G

They're both playing G major.

Robert Johnson???

In Texas, it's well documented that Bob Wills, the guy who made Western Swing famous, was deeply influenced by black music and musicians during the thirties. He grew up working in the cotton fields and the first music he learned (apart from his family) was from the black field hands that he worked alongside. It's also been suggested that he had help in learning to play the fiddle from a black.

Wills has gone on record to state that he also listened to black jazz and other black musicians and frequently added what he heard to the Western Swing mix.

Elvis came along much later ~ and one of his first big hits was the Monroe tune "Blue Moon of Kentucky." It certainly wasn't Elvis who led the way in introducing black music into the mainstream.

Blue Yodel #9

One of the more interesting collaborations ever had to be the recording of "Blue Yodel #9" in July 1930 which featured Jimmy Rodgers and a trumpet player named Louis Armstrong, and his wife Lillian on piano. Most of these guys - the really really good ones - weren't that worried about skin colour, at least when it came to the music.

Robert Johnson ?

If you dig a little deeper you'll find your assumptions are incorrect. Bill Monroe was heavily influenced by Arnold Schwartz, a black musician.

A.P.Carter traveled with Leslie Riddle on many of his song collecting trips and indeed had problems finding places for him to eat and sleep. A black person and a white person traveling together was probably no picnic back then.

Famed NC fiddler Tommy Jarrell said (on his Sail Away Ladies record) that his brother learned Raleigh and Spencer from a black man.

There are countless other examples.

Bill Monroe had a some black influences

http://www.roughstock.com/history/bgrass.html

I'm sure he's not the only one.

Those pickers, God Bless 'em

Well, some of us like Jimmie Rodgers and Robert Johnson as well as all the Hanks: Williams, Snow, Thompson, even Hank III. Keep on pickin' boys (especially those train songs)

Black influence

Hank Sr., Charlie Rich, Jerry Lee Lewis, Mickey Gilly and many others all visited (snuck in) to black performances to learn blues riffs/licks.
I'm sure Robert Johnson had a few emulators even if they wouldn't admit to it.

My lobtstedekl

My personal tzitzit is embroidered with the name of the Crimson Club. I have no idea where I've left them.

Robert Johnson?

He's hiding under your bed, holding a knife.

Robert Johnson??

Whites in Tennessee in the thirties wouldn't dream of seeking out blacks for musical (or any other kind) of tip. (Although, the aforementioned Jimmie Rodgers certainly did learn a few licks and tricks from black musicians while working on the railroad) It would be another twenty years until some guy named Elvis exposed whites to what had previously been marketed as "Race Music". But for now, it's Jimmie Rodgers. I'm guessing those guys are jamming one of his "Blues Yodels". Maybe.....
"T for Texas...T for Tennessee, T for Thelma, that little gal that made a fool outa me....."

Hurry up! He'll be dead in 3 years.

Stop screwing around with that Jimmie Rodgers crap and go find Robert Johnson!

G chord

Looks like he is using a thumb pick

Maynardville Musicians

Look at the incredible sign of respect and admiration of the left young guy, and the genuine dedication to the song of the players. What a picture.

 
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