Copyright by John "Nonjohn" Tennison, M. This article is a draft that contains only a fraction of the material that I will eventually publish as a book. Some sections and references in this article are incomplete and will be expanded in the book, including never-before-published material from field research on Boogie Woogie by me and others. Africa is a rich continent that has for centuries provided the world with art, culture, labor, wealth, and natural resources. Bond, Ph.
This crossroads Pepto facial important to the development of blues music in Texas. He got it. The fact that these piano performances were occurring in a context of singing, dancing, and prostitution is consistent with kinds of behaviors that have had a strong historical association with Boogie Woogie performance. While recovering at home, Baltimoe was a fire and he fell while trying to make it down the stairs and died in the hospital. Indeed, if not for the geographical discontinuity of Blake's account of B,ack Boogie Woogie with that of other early accounts of Boogie Woogie performances, there might have never been a reason Baltimore boogey woogey black bottom be suspicious of Blake's claims.
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Harlem stride piano , stride piano , commonly abbreviated to stride , is a jazz piano style that was developed in the large cities of the East Coast of the United States , mainly New York City , during the s and s.
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Scrapper's Blues CB rec. Scrapper Blackwell - Trouble Blues - Pt. Leroy Carr, p Vocalion unissued. Scrapper Blackwell - Mr. February 21, in St. Louis, Mo. George H. April 8, rec. Boogie Woogie Music Vol. Jazz Vol. Charters "The Material is in part from unissued material in the author's collection, in part from material on the author's Folkways releases, and in part from early blues recordings.
Charters' collection 2 LP boxed set notes 8-page booklet by Samuel B. October 3, , previously unissued, Wolf Scrapper Blackwell: Mr. Bluesville Records discography Brooks Berry discography. Country Blues Classics Vol. Yazoo Records discography. September ; Shirley Griffith, voc, g; J. Adams, g  rec. June 1, ; J. September ; J. June Bluesville Vol.
Too Late, Too Late Vol. Georgia Tom Vol. Scrapper Blackwell Vol. The Bluesville Years, Vol. Edward W. Art Of Field Recording Vol. Will be completed and expanded with further details!!!
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Copyright by John "Nonjohn" Tennison, M. This article is a draft that contains only a fraction of the material that I will eventually publish as a book. Some sections and references in this article are incomplete and will be expanded in the book, including never-before-published material from field research on Boogie Woogie by me and others. Africa is a rich continent that has for centuries provided the world with art, culture, labor, wealth, and natural resources.
Bond, Ph. Thus, as I consider Boogie Woogie, I intend to remain ever mindful that we are all of African descent. If so, what are the elements of this common aesthetic? Does Boogie Woogie share any of these elements? To the extent that these questions can be answered in the affirmative, Boogie Woogie can be seen in a much larger context than merely being a popular music and dance form originating in the United States.
However, before considering Boogie Woogie in such a broad historical context, I want to first examine its evolution within the United States. Barrelhouse Pianist.
T he photo above was taken in Minglewood, TN in A fast, rolling bass—giving the piece an undercurrent of tremendous power—power piano playing. This style was often referred to as a 'fast western' or 'fast blues' as differentiated from the 'slow blues' of New Orleans and St.
At these gatherings the ragtime and blues boys could easily tell from what section of the country a man came, even going so far as to name the town, by his interpretation of a piece. Consistent with the findings of E.
And all the Old-time Texans, black or white, are agreed that boogie piano players were first heard in the lumber and turpentine camps, where nobody was at home at all. The style dates from the early s.
Simms Campbell and Elliot Paul mention " turpentine camps ," there is good reason to conclude that Boogie Woogie did not originate in turpentine camps. On page 2 of his "Boogie Woogie and Blues Folio," 63 in his annotation to the reprint of the sheet music of George W. Thomas, Jr. Thomas Clarence Williams states:.
It wasn't called the 'Boogie Woogie' then. George Thomas was the fellow who used this style and first wrote it down. George W. This image of George Washington Thomas, Jr. Click here to go to the website of the East Texas Research Center.
However, the style became a fixture in "Deep Ellum" after the turn of the century. These comments on the origin of Boogie Woogie by Barlow is consistent with the witnessing by Leadbelly, as well as with the account given by Lee Ree Sullivan of Texarkana. Jefferson might have also derived his "Booga Rooga" bass line from Lead Belly, after Leadbelly witnessed Boogie Woogie bass lines played by pianists in the Arklatex.
The quotations above from E. Simms Campbell and Clarence Williams are among the earliest accounts that attribute an origin of Boogie Woogie music to a specific geographical region, namely Texas. Their comments above are also noteworthy in that neither E. Simms Campbell nor Clarence Williams were from Texas. Campbell was from St. Louis and spent time living and conducting research in both Chicago and New York. Williams was from Louisiana, and also spent considerable time living in Chicago and New York.
Thus, neither man had a conflict of interest or a Texas bias that might have contributed to a distortion in their thinking about the geographical origin of Boogie Woogie. Consequently, part of my current analysis will focus on looking at evidence and at the music and migratory patterns of early Texas Boogie Woogie players. At the same time, I want to see if it is possible to account for other early reports of the performance of Boogie Woogie that seem to be geographically discontinuous with the preponderance of early reports.
In summary, I hope to engage in a sort of "meta-analysis" that will yield a coherent theory for development of Boogie Woogie that takes into account all known evidence. I will describe the musical features that distinguish Boogie Woogie. Ultimately, I want to consider Boogie Woogie in a much broader context of human evolution and universal aesthetic sensibilities. Part of this broader consideration will examine how the formal elements of Boogie Woogie have strong correlates and associations with ancient spiritual, religious, and sexual practices.
Moos wrote [when referring to the developers of the Boogie Woogie] :. The sounds of barrelhouse Boogie Woogie spread out in all directions following the path of the newly emerging railroad lines. In this way the music got around -- all through Texas -- and eventually, of course, out of Texas. Now when this new form of piano music came from Texas, it moved out towards Louisiana.
It was brought by people like George Thomas, an early pianist who was already living in New Orleans by about and writing "New Orleans Hop Scop Blues," which really has some of the characteristics of the music that we came to know as Boogie. They are credited with discovering the Boogie Woogie style. What is a "Barrelhouse? Above is a barrelhouse of the sort where Boogie Woogie was born. When discussing the "barrelhouse" style of Boogie Woogie pianist, Robert Shaw, the Texas Handbook of History gives the following description of a "barrelhouse:".
The back of the barrelhouse was also used as a bawdy house. Definitions of Boogie Woogie. The New Harvard Dictionary of Music 2 , , defines "Boogie Woogie" as "a piano blues style featuring percussive ostinato accompaniments" that involve "steadily repeated bass patterns, one or two bars long" that "delineate the bar blues progression, sometimes with IV in measure 2 or In , Smithsonian music historian Martin Williams wrote page 50 38 :.
Like all succinct attempts to define Boogie Woogie, these are, by necessity, limited in detail. Yet, they provide a starting place to approach Boogie Woogie, and from which to consider instances that defy these definitions. How Old is Boogie Woogie? In , Martin Williams noted that "no one knows how old" Boogie Woogie is page They are, however, quick to point out that the elements Smith used had been common for decades.
This account is consistent with Sammy Price's account 40 , which indicates that Blind Lemon Jefferson was playing Boogie Woogie bass figures on his guitar which Jefferson called "booga rooga" before Pine Top Smith made his piano recordings.
However, despite Mack McCormick's learning that Robert Shaw was not familiar with the term, "Fast Western," 66 Lee Ree Sullivan of Texarkana told me in that he was familiar with " Fast Western " and " Fast Texas " as terms to refer to Boogie Woogie in general, but not to denote the use of any specific bass figure used in Boogie Woogie.
Sullivan said that "Fast Western" and "Fast Texas" were terms that derived from the "Texas Western" Railroad Company of Harrison County, formed on February 16, , but which did not build track until after later changing its name to " Southern Pacific " on August 16, Although the "Texas Western" Railroad Company changed its name to "Southern Pacific," Sullivan said the name "Texas Western" stuck among the slaves who were used to construct the first railway hub in northeast Texas.
According to Sullivan, slaves had access to pianos on Sundays in some churches after the earlier morning services of white church-goers were completed.
Sullivan said that, as far as he knew, prior to the Civil War, Sunday was the only day of the week on which slaves formally congregated at churches to play piano music in northeast Texas. However, some slave narratives indicate informal access to pianos in non-scheduled contexts, such as in the homes of slaves owners. The historical account of Clarence Williams indicates that George W.
George Thomas, Jr. So when Clarence Williams claims that " George Thomas was the fellow who used this style and first wrote it down," 63 it appears that having "wrote it down" does not refer to publishing, but rather having transcribed a Boogie Woogie broken-octave bass line.
However, analysis of Boone's original sheet music, and analysis of Boone's piano roll performance of his "Southern Rag Medley 2," reveals that Boone's Alabama-bound bass line does not rise to the level of being a "Boogie Woogie" bass line.
Specifically, Boone maintains a "duple-meter," "oom-pah" feel with his Alabama-bound broken-octave, bass line. Despite being "broken octaves" that "walk," Boone's broken octaves do not create a sense of ostinato, and his broken-octave bass notes remain harmonically subservient to the harmonic demands of the right hand, rather than achieve Boogie Woogie's sense of melodic and contrapuntal independence from the right hand part. Still, Boone's "Southern Rag Medley 2" is important in that this piece represents one of the earliest transcriptions of a transitional form suggestive of both Ragtime and Boogie Woogie.
Also, Matthews "broken-octaves" in "Pastime Rag No. Not until Jimmy Blythe's "Chicago Stomp" is there an example of with the exception of the 4-measure introduction a piece of music containing a Boogie Woogie bass line from beginning to end. When Francis Davis says that "barrelhouse forked into boogie-woogie," 7 the word "forked" implies that some stylistic change might have occurred at the time of the "fork. Even though the preponderance of evidence is consistent with an East Texas geographical origin for Boogie Woogie, historians do not have enough evidence to pin down the date of the very first occurrence of what could be called Boogie Woogie.
Pease on page 8 of the October 15, issue of Down Beat Magazine 83 noted the following in an article about Pinetop Smith:. Other than noting that they were the "oldest" residents, Sharon Pease was not specific about how many or which residents had been surveyed to determine that Boogie Woogie had been " Pease would have come to the same conclusion whether or not his survey was limited to African Americans. Certainly, African musical sensibilities were present prior to However, prior to , it is not clear whether they were being expressed on piano as influenced by the sounds associated with steam locomotives.
That is, if these musical sensibilities were being expressed solely on drums, such expression would not mark the formal beginning of "Boogie Woogie. Nonetheless, the African musical elements that informed Boogie Woogie were surely present prior to the Civil War. Consequently, the earliest Boogie Woogie performances would have had the purest relationship to African musical elements of ostinato, polyrhythm, and improvisation.
It would not be surprising if there was as yet undiscovered evidence of the earliest Boogie Woogie performances buried metaphorically or literally in Northeast Texas.
My inquiry into the "origin" of Boogie Woogie within the United States will focus mainly on evidence of when West African percussive ostinato styles and improvised percussive lead parts came to be applied to pianos in the United States. I make several assumptions that I hope are true.
First, I assume that slaves had limited access to pianos prior to the end of the Civil War. In general, musical activities of slaves were limited, as these activities were believed by plantation owners to be capable of inciting riots and rebellions. Indeed, in these exceptions could lie the origins of Boogie Woogie.
Thus, the sounds of steam locomotives could have served as musical inspiration even before African Americans had easy access to pianos. Since a preponderance of evidence points towards a Texas origin for Boogie Woogie, I will focus largely on events following June 19, This date is known as "Juneteenth" in Texas because it is the date that "Union soldiers, led by Major General Gordon Granger, landed at Galveston, Texas with news that the war had ended and that the enslaved were now free.
Expressing Freedom of travel. Engaging in musical expression and experimentation.