The trouble with music is the trouble with most everything else these days. There are as many material ways to describe the problem as there are people and things that suffer from it. But if you follow the trail diligently […]
One of pop music’s most beloved myths is the one about how the Beatles brought rock ‘n’ roll back from the dead. It goes something like this… Rock ‘n’ roll passed away on or about February 2, 1959, when Buddy […]
On the one hand, Jeffrey Lange, a history professor at the University of St. Francis in Joliet, Illinois, has written “a very good summation of country music’s history during the crucial years from 1939 to 1954” (as scholar Bill C. […]
Singers celebrate the human voice. Their lyrics are words. But animated by voice those words are subsumed into sounds….In most songs the drama or tension results from the fact that the singer moves between word (sense) and note (song). At […]
It’s often said that Ray Charles’ great innovation was to sing the blues with the fevered rhythms and fervent vocals of black gospel music. His fusion of juke joint and church on “Hallelujah, I Love Her So”, “What’d I Say” […]
You know, down in Mississippi where we came from…we’d have a good old revival meeting…the old people’d be singing the familiar hymns…And some old sister way over in the Amen Corner would begin to moan. I didn’t understand that language! […]
Jake Hess may have been the greatest little-known singer in the history of American popular music. He was inarguably among its most influential, serving as Elvis Presley’s primary and most enduring vocal model. A one-time lead singer for southern gospel […]
In Boogaloo: The Quintessence of American Popular Music, Arthur Kempton attempts an ambitious and stylish history of what he terms “Aframerican” music — from gospel to soul and rap, from Thomas Dorsey to Curtis Mayfield and Tupac Shakur. The results […]
Walter Clevenger is to Nick Lowe what Dale Watson is to Merle Haggard, or what the music on Al Green’s latest album is to the music on Al Green’s old albums: a contemporary exemplar of a beloved but mostly long-gone […]
I am fortunate beyond belief that practically every one of the best barbecue restaurants in the world is located in my hometown, Kansas City, Missouri. Now, I’m aware there are people in Memphis, and in North Carolina and Texas, who […]
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