inkwell.vue.496 : History of Rock and Roll - Volume 1
permalink #151 of 177: Darrell Jonsson (jonsson) Fri 27 Jan 17 03:30
    

Was there a name for this dance specific song trend?

How long did it last?
  
inkwell.vue.496 : History of Rock and Roll - Volume 1
permalink #152 of 177: Jon Lebkowsky (jonl) Fri 27 Jan 17 06:02
    
We saw Chubby Checker perform years ago. You can see him, too - he's
still twisting! http://www.chubbychecker.com/schedule.asp
  
inkwell.vue.496 : History of Rock and Roll - Volume 1
permalink #153 of 177: Ted Newcomb (tcn) Fri 27 Jan 17 07:31
    
At least thru the Mashed Potato and Watusi
  
inkwell.vue.496 : History of Rock and Roll - Volume 1
permalink #154 of 177: Mark McDonough (mcdee) Fri 27 Jan 17 07:58
    
Until people started taking acid. ;-)
  
inkwell.vue.496 : History of Rock and Roll - Volume 1
permalink #155 of 177: Ed Ward (captward) Fri 27 Jan 17 08:38
    
#150 is absolutely untrue. James Brown saw the whole audience doing
the mashed potato at a gig in suburban Washington and asked one of
the kids what it was. The kid told him it was the mashed potatoes,
and all the kids around there were doing it. James, ever alert to a
new dance, wanted to write a song for it and record it immediately,
but Syd Nathan, with the same wisdom that had refused to pay for the
Live at the Appolo album, refused. James had been courted by
Mercury, so he paid for the session and released it with them under
his drummer's name as "Nat Kendrick and the Swans." It took off
right away: you see 300 teenagers doing a dance, you'd best pay
attention!

And of course the twist was bigger: not many middle aged white folk
can dance like black teenagers. Of course the real heyday for all of
this comes later than the era I covered. In this book, though, you
get the stroll, the twist (again, Hank Ballard saw teens at one of
is gigs doing it, and Nathan slapped it on a b-side), the birdland,
and others (I'm away from my books by the shore in Galveston, so I
can't look 'em up). 
  
inkwell.vue.496 : History of Rock and Roll - Volume 1
permalink #156 of 177: Mark McDonough (mcdee) Fri 27 Jan 17 09:01
    
I'm cheating here because this question actually comes *before*
volume 1, but do you have any sense of how the Twist compared to
earlier dance crazes - say, the Charleston or the Cakewalk?  

The latter, at least was connected to a specific type of music.  Not
so sure about the Charleston other than hot jazz in general.
  
inkwell.vue.496 : History of Rock and Roll - Volume 1
permalink #157 of 177: Ted Newcomb (tcn) Sat 28 Jan 17 06:17
    
LOL, I was learning the Charleston for a high school talent show at
the same time I was learning the twist...

We all had to go to Cotillion to learn all the ballroom dances,
foxtrot, cha cha, etc. in order to attend all the deb parties in
D.C. So totally boring, and then the twist and jitterbug came along
and changed our whole social scene. 

And I remember at summer camp, where we could only do square dancing
with the girls camps, we staged a 'revolution' and demanded to dance
to rock and roll...what a great night that was!
  
inkwell.vue.496 : History of Rock and Roll - Volume 1
permalink #158 of 177: Mark McDonough (mcdee) Sat 28 Jan 17 08:08
    
Oh jeez.  I was forced to go to cotillion too, at what must have
been the peak era of dance class weirdness.  We spent half of our
time dancing to CCR and Steppenwolf and the other half of the time
on the cha cha and the foxtrot.

Somehow it worked, and was actually kinda fun.  I always seemed to
end up with one girl I fancied for the slow dances, but being a boy
was far too obtuse to realize that this probably indicated that she
fancied me as well.

No Charleston, though.
  
inkwell.vue.496 : History of Rock and Roll - Volume 1
permalink #159 of 177: Scott Underwood (esau) Sat 28 Jan 17 10:50
    
For some reason, in the Bay Area of my elementary school years, we
all learned square dancing, which culminated in an event with a live
caller. 
  
inkwell.vue.496 : History of Rock and Roll - Volume 1
permalink #160 of 177: Ted Newcomb (tcn) Sat 28 Jan 17 10:59
    
yup, same here, and it was actually fun...can't imagine kids doing
it today...

When I was a Baptist Youth Minister there was no dancing allowed.
You could not even have a square dance, but, you could have a
hoedown, go figure...so we had plenty of those, with live callers.
  
inkwell.vue.496 : History of Rock and Roll - Volume 1
permalink #161 of 177: Mark McDonough (mcdee) Sat 28 Jan 17 16:07
    
A brief, but positive review of the book in the WaPo - and it only
took me about 10 minutes to find it on the website!

https://www.washingtonpost.com/entertainment/books/once-upon-a-time-rock-and-r
oll-was-strange-wild-and-dangerous/2016/12/12/c1230f96-bd52-11e6-91ee-1adddfe3
6cbe_story.html
  
inkwell.vue.496 : History of Rock and Roll - Volume 1
permalink #162 of 177: Ed Ward (captward) Sun 29 Jan 17 06:47
    
But it's in the dead-tree edition today!
  
inkwell.vue.496 : History of Rock and Roll - Volume 1
permalink #163 of 177: Mark McDonough (mcdee) Sun 29 Jan 17 06:52
    
Indeed it is!

So getting back to the book...

Another theme that runs through the book is that country music was
right there interacting with all this other stuff – at least in many
cases.

I won’t even comment on what passes for Country these days, but the
idea that there was this huge wall between country and rock and roll
seems wrong. 
  
inkwell.vue.496 : History of Rock and Roll - Volume 1
permalink #164 of 177: Scott Underwood (esau) Sun 29 Jan 17 07:40
    
I remember reading that when Elvis started hitting it big as a
cultural phenomenon, many of his country fans who'd heard him on
their radio stations did not at first know it was the same person,
as if the two worlds were mutually exclusive.
  
inkwell.vue.496 : History of Rock and Roll - Volume 1
permalink #165 of 177: Mark McDonough (mcdee) Sun 29 Jan 17 07:48
    
I can believe it.  Those two worlds remained quite separate (at
least in the minds of the audience) until well into the 1970s, at
which point country suddenly became "cool," as one song put it.

I always liked country, but I'm not sure why I came to it.  None of
my friends listened to it.  In fact nobody I knew listened to it. 
My mother once commented that I was listening to the music that she
left Moline, Illinois to get away from.
  
inkwell.vue.496 : History of Rock and Roll - Volume 1
permalink #166 of 177: Ted Newcomb (tcn) Sun 29 Jan 17 08:23
    
http://www.ranker.com/list/best-50s-country-songs/ranker-music

http://www.ranker.com/list/best-60s-country-songs/ranker-music

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bluegrass_music

Bluegrass, which is more roots music, stayed mostly true to its form
throughout the 50's and early 60's when it 'electrified' and morphed
into progressive and lately "neo", adding jazz elements, but rarely
anything near rock and roll...it bleeds into all the variations of
country music tho.

Country seems to change with the advent of Elvis and Buddy Holly and
others who 'cross over' into pop and rock...tho I'm not sure if that
was intentional due to marketing and radio play or simply what the
kids picked up on and the musicians followed. 

As I recall, from the early TV shows of Buck Owens, and Beverly
Hillbillies (Flatt and Scruggs themesong), the Ed Sullivan Show, The
Smothers Brothers show - showcasing a lot of cross-over music, and
Hee-Haw, country was popularized, all paralleling American
Bandstand, etc. You could turn on the TV in the early 60's and see
just about all your music heroes.

But the Ed Sullivan show was pretty much it for new rock and roll
acts, along with the radio stations you could get in my neck of the
woods WGN, WJW, WINS, WABC and Wolfman Jack, which you could get
anywhere!!!:

In 1963, Smith took his act to the border when the Inter-American
Radio Advertising's Ramon Bosquez hired him and sent him to the
studio and transmitter site of XERF-AM at Ciudad Acuña in Mexico, a
station whose high-powered border blaster signal could be picked up
across much of the United States. In an interview with writer Tom
Miller, Smith described the reach of the XERF signal: "We had the
most powerful signal in North America. Birds dropped dead when they
flew too close to the tower. A car driving from New York to L.A.
would never lose the station."[5] Most of the border stations
broadcast at 250,000 watts, five times the U.S. limit, meaning that
their signals were picked up all over North America, and at night as
far away as Europe and the Soviet Union. It was at XERF that Smith
developed his signature style (with phrases like "Who's this on the
Wolfman telephone?") and widespread fame.  (from Wikipedia article
on Wolfman
  
inkwell.vue.496 : History of Rock and Roll - Volume 1
permalink #167 of 177: Virtual Sea Monkey (karish) Sun 29 Jan 17 12:45
    
It used to be common wisdom and liner-note wisdom that labels that
specialized in country music were not friendly to their artists who
also performed rockabilly songs, to the extent that many were
recorded on other labels under other names. Did this divide also
affect radio?
  
inkwell.vue.496 : History of Rock and Roll - Volume 1
permalink #168 of 177: those Andropovian bongs (rik) Sun 29 Jan 17 14:00
    
How much of the disapproval was at fanbsase level, and how much of it was 
label fear of the fanbase?
  
inkwell.vue.496 : History of Rock and Roll - Volume 1
permalink #169 of 177: Ed Ward (captward) Sun 29 Jan 17 16:15
    
I think the country problem was more an age thing than anything. Odd
as it might seem to us now, country music was never really intended
as a youth music, what with the emphasis, increasing during the
'60s, of songs about cheating (on one's spouse), drinking and bars
and honky-tonks (where kids weren't allowed in most states, although
not Texas, where you were allowed to bring kids if you acted in loco
parentis), and more adult themes of heartbrake, murder, and so on.
Thing is, up to the early '70s, you could chart a country album with
sales of 25,000, and it didn't take more than 100,000 singles to top
the charts. What the rockabillies and rockabilly-influenced acts saw
was a chance to sell more records and maybe get on the pop charts,
ie, teenage sales. Nashville was dominated by older executives, and
as always, they were conservative in a conservative part of the
industry: no need to change things, we like 'em just as they're
evolving. And they also had the power to put the kibosh on a record
or a whole career. Only hard-headed individualists who were
tremendously popular -- Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings -- kept on
doing what they were doing. Even Jerry Lee capitulated when he found
a liberal-ish producer in Jerry Kennedy and knuckled under to do
hard country. 

Not that this has anything to do with my book. 

Oh, and <mcdee> asked above about cakewalks and such, and I didn't
go that far back because that line led to black Broadway and jazz,
an entirely different strain of American music that had some
encounters with rock and roll, particularly early on, when jazzbos
like Johnny Hodges and Cozy Cole had R&B hits and Ben Webster played
the solos on some Ravens sessions. But those are footnotes. 
  
inkwell.vue.496 : History of Rock and Roll - Volume 1
permalink #170 of 177: Mark McDonough (mcdee) Sun 29 Jan 17 18:06
    
Ah right - that makes sense about country.  And I guess one of the
ways I was curious (perhaps in both sense of the word) is that I was
always willing to listen to stuff that wasn't necessarily aimed at
my age peer group.  I was a big rock fan, but especially as a
younger kid I was even willing to listen to MOR and likde big band
music the very first time I heard it.

I guess the intersection between country and rock was strong in some
ways, but also indirect.

For example, Chuck Berry’s “Maybellene” was really just an old
brother band song called “Ida Red” played at a faster tempo with new
lyrics and moving into volume 2 territory, the Beatles recorded a
Buck Owens song, and the Rolling Stones recorded a Hank Snow song,
both well before Gram Parsons came along and more officially brought
rock & country together.
  
inkwell.vue.496 : History of Rock and Roll - Volume 1
permalink #171 of 177: Ed Ward (captward) Sun 29 Jan 17 18:17
    
And -- I'm not sure which volume this falls into -- Patsy Cline and
Don Gibson were also represented on the pop charts. I remember when
my interest in country revived in the '70s I was surprised to see
Gibson in the country section of the record stores. Of course, these
were recordings with no fiddles or steel guitars. 

It was nice growing up back when radio discriminated (mostly)
between bad and good, not between genres. Of course, there was no
Muddy Waters or Otis Rush played in New York, either. 
  
inkwell.vue.496 : History of Rock and Roll - Volume 1
permalink #172 of 177: Ted Newcomb (tcn) Mon 30 Jan 17 04:07
    
Saving Rock and Roll history: this one goes in the next volume:

http://www.marinij.com/arts-and-entertainment/20170128/fleetwood-mac-producer-
sparks-effort-to-buy-sausalitos-historic-record-plant-studio

But it makes me wonder...have the old classics been digitized, are
the Masters organized and saved somewhere? What's being lost and
what efforts are being made to save the recordings, studios, major
festival sites, etc.???
  
inkwell.vue.496 : History of Rock and Roll - Volume 1
permalink #173 of 177: Ted Newcomb (tcn) Mon 30 Jan 17 05:13
    
This is our last "official" day for this conversation...we will
continue with Ed and Mark as long as their is interest. Our next
Inkwell.vue conversation will be Feb. 14th about the upcoming SXSW.

Ed, I cannot thank you enough for your time, graciousness and
encyclopedic knowledge of Rock and Roll. This has been great!

Mark, thank you for taking this on, wonderful job, great flow to the
conversation and marvelous questions and insights.

For all of you who have actively participated, thank you for your
questions and comments. You have made this a rich conversation and
one for the books.

And to all those who have followed along, in and outside of the
WELL, I trust you have enjoyed our time together....

To all, ROCK ON!!
  
inkwell.vue.496 : History of Rock and Roll - Volume 1
permalink #174 of 177: Mark McDonough (mcdee) Mon 30 Jan 17 05:46
    
And I'd just like to add that reading the book has been a great
experience.  It is a lot of fun, and full of fantastic anecdotes and
odd connections between people and songs.  

At first I was a little skeptical that I'd really learn a whole lot
from it - but I turned out to be wrong on that score.  

While you're having fun reading all those stories and absorbing the
descriptions of which producers and songwriters and artists were
involved in which scenes, your perception of the development of rock
music is getting sharper and sharper.

This will be no surprise to those who've read any of Ed's past
books, buy you also unlearn a lot of BS and phony lore.

The term "rock and roll historian" kinda gets thrown around pretty
casually at times, but this is real history (and real fun history)
and stands with the best writing ever done on the subject.
  
inkwell.vue.496 : History of Rock and Roll - Volume 1
permalink #175 of 177: David Gans (tnf) Tue 31 Jan 17 10:54
    

Tangentially, yesterday my phone coughed up a performance of Don Gibson's "Oh
Lonesome Me" - by the Beau Brummels! Circa 1965.
  

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