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70 minutes | Aug 2, 2022
Electric Walls of Sound: Jazz Fusion Part 2
In today's podcast episode, we pick up our exploration of jazz fusion by looking at the amazing careers and music produced by a number of genius musicians who came out of Miles Davis' bands. We'll visit with Herbie Hancock, John McLaughlin and his band, the Mahavishnu Orchestra, Joe Zawinul, Jaco Pastorious and the band Weather Report, Chick Corea and his bands Return to Forever and the Elektrik Band. The forces that Miles pioneered and set in motion continued to evolve in multiple directions. You'll discover in today's episode, and you'll be able to hear from the musicians themselves about what it was like to play in these bands and create this adventurous, beautiful new music!IN TODAY'S EPISODE:Interview; Herbie Hancock from a lecture given at Harvard UniversityHerbie Hancock Chameleon Watermelon ManInterview: John McLaughlin talks about what it was like to play with Miles Davis.Graham Bond Organisation: Train TimeThe Mahavishnu Orchestra Inner Mounting Flame One Word Eternity's Breath Pt. 1Weather Report Birdland Nubian Sundance Tears HerandnuInterview: Jaco Pastorious talks about his collaboration with Joe ZawinulJaco Pastorious/ Weather Report Teen TownInterview: Pat MathenyInterview: Chick Corea talks about joining Miles Davis' band.Return to Forever Return to ForeverInterview: Chick Corea talks about forming his band, Return to Forever SpainThe Elektrik Band: RumbleSteely Dan: Aja
53 minutes | Aug 2, 2022
Electric Walls of Sound: Jazz Fusion Part 1
As jazz musicians started realizing that rock and electric bands were stealing their audiences, Miles Davis, who’s alternately been called most important musician in the history of jazz, the man who transformed jazz, and even the man who changed music itself, took the music in a new direction when he invented jazz fusion. In fact, during his lifetime, Miles didn’t change music just once, he did it five times. Fusion started happening in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Like trad jazz, it uses acoustic instruments like trumpet, trombone, saxophone, piano, guitar, bass, and drums, but to all that, fusion also adds heavy use of synthesizers, electric piano, drum machines, and effects-saturated electric guitars. IN THIS EPISODE:Santana: WelcomeInterview: Teo Macero; Miles Davis' legendary record producer.The Free Spirits (featuring Larry Coryell) - Girl of the MountainGary Burton Norwegian Wood I Want YouSteve Marcus Tomorrow Never KnowsInterview: Larry Coryell talks about his early days in '60s New York CityMiles Davis So What Stuff Tout de Suite Mademoiselle Mabry In a Silent WayInterview: John McLaughlin talks about playing with Miles DavisInterview: Teo MaceroJimi Hendrix Little Miss LoverMiles Davis John McLaughlin Miles Runs the Voodoo Down Time After TimeInterview: Miles Davis talks about Prince
83 minutes | Jul 4, 2022
Action: Reaction - American Bands and American Society Respond to the English Invasion
First of all, Happy Independence Day everybody! I'm so pleased to publish another episode of American Song on America's birthday!Back in America, ever since the plane crash in the winter of 1959 that ended the lives of Buddy Holly, Richie Valens, the Big Bopper, American rock and roll had been sort of losing steam. By 1964, it very easily could have just petered out. Certainly, the likes of Frankie Avalon, and post-army Elvis were not going anywhere exciting. It was a new day, what was needed was music for a new generation. The British Invasion shot a whole new attitude, excitement and energy right into the veins of American culture. Just like American culture changed England, the Brits changed American music. You can see that play out in the competition between the Beach Boys’ Brian Wilson and the Beatles. The English band's changed American culture, too. Sex was prolific. Drugs were everywhere. On the Merv Griffin show, Timothy Leary told his audience he'd used LSD 311 times and predicted a coming age when kids would be educated through the use of psychedelic drugs, unlocking their internal Smithsonian Institutes or Libraries of Congress. The British Invasion also caused a chain reaction all across America when local musicians formed new bands, for instance Roger McGuinn and David Crosby who formed the Byrds. It was a powerful response to the excitement, new sounds, perspectives, and inspiration that bands like the Beatles, the Stones, and the Who injected back into our rock scene.All this, and lots more, in this month's episode of American Song!IN THIS MONTH'S EPISODE:The Who - My GenerationBob Dylan - 4th Time AroundThe Beatles - Norwegian WoodThe Beatles - You've Got to Hide Your Love AwayBob Dylan - Got to Serve SomeoneJohn Lennon - Serve YourselfThe Rolling Stones - Crackin' UpThe Beatles - RainThe Beach Boys - Wouldn't It Be NiceThe Beatles - Sargeant Pepper's Lonely Heart's Club BandThe Beach Boys - Good VibrationsBrian Wilson - Our Prayer/ GeeJohn Lennon - Promo for Tower RecordsElton John - Texan Love SongLed Zepellin - Whole Lotta LoveJohn Lennon - Cold TurkeyPaul McCartney - Interview 1967The Beatles - Lucy in the Sky With DiamondsThe Rolling Stones - 2000 Light Years from HomeDr. Timothy Leary - Interview 1967Blind Faith - In the Presence of the LordJohn Lennon - GodJohn Lennon - Interview 1966The Byrds - Eight Miles HighThe Standells - Dirty WaterThe Monkees - The Last Train to ClarksvilleJimi Hendrix - Purple HazeBob Dylan - Mr. Tambourine ManPaul Revere and the Raiders - Indian ReservationThe Turtles - Happy TogetherThe Lovin' Spoonful - Do You Believe in MagicSimon & Garfunkel - Mrs. RobinsonThe Young Rascals - Good Lovin'The Mama's and the Papa's - California DreamingTommy James and the Shondells - Hanky PankyThe Beatles - Revolution 9The Doors - The EndVedder/ Tierney/ Krieger/ Manzarek - Doors Induction to Rock and Roll Hall of FameThe Velvet Underground - HeroinThe Strokes - Walk on the Wild SideSonic Youth - European SonU2 - Satellite of LoveREM - Femme FataleDavid Byrne - Candy SaysBowie/ Reed - Waiting for the ManQueen - God Save the Queen
68 minutes | May 31, 2022
When the Blues Came to Britain, the British Came to America Part 2
With the big English interest in blues music, suddenly, America’s original bluesmen started hearing about the chance to reignite their careers with English, French and German audiences. Unbelievably, they found themselves welcomed, even celebrated. American Bluesmen like Big Bill Broonzy, after living years in poverty, discovered they could actually have careers in Europe. The Cunard Yanks, and the American Folk Blues Festival were the catalysts behind cultural and musical changes that revolutionized Britain in the years after World War 2.The impact on young English musicians was epic. The bands and musical brilliance of the period has been an inspiration for several generations that followed. You know the names: The Beatles, the Rolling Stones, the Who, The Kinks and many more. Now, hear the music, and learn the history!In this episode, you'll hear the stories, the music, and the artists who lived and created this formidable library of music that millions around the world are still listening to!Inspired by American music, sculpted, painted, and built by the English, the music is in many ways, still with us today. Enjoy this second installment in the story of the British Invasion!
30 minutes | May 31, 2022
When the Blues Came to Britain, the British Came to America Part 1
England was caught between two cultures: the old order and whatever came after it. The rigid class distinctions between upper and middle classes were disappearing, and government reforms had a lot to do with it. The Conservative Party with their slogan, “Set the People Free,” won the 1951 election, and popular culture began to replace stuffy, upper crust stuff like classical music, opera, theatre, and fine art with mass-market media like radio, movies, and television. The BBC believed they had a responsibility to the nation to uphold the pre-war idea of ‘respectability’, or, at least, not broadcast music that could threaten the morality of England’s youth. It was a lot like the U.S. stations refused to broadcast black music in the U.S. in the ‘20s and ‘30s. More than that, they believed they claimed a responsibility to inform and educate the public in what it perceived as ‘good music’. English kids were being seduced by the rhythm and forward thrust of American entertainment with movies like Blackboard Jungle (where Rock Around the Clock was heard for the first time), Elvis, and Bill Haley & the Comets. Both these bands were MAJOR influences on those four guys from Liverpool, England. The other musical influencers from America were the living legends of American Blues. The timing was perfect for a musical revolution that would impact two continents! Welcome to Episode Eight, Season Two in the American Song series: American Song Ushers in a Changing of the British Guard. Thanks to Mark Davis, for the new bumper music included in this episode. You can learn more about Mark and his music at www.towakeyou.com!
63 minutes | Apr 25, 2022
American Song and the Fight for Hispanic Equality.
In a country based on freedom, equal opportunity, and democracy, you’d think that lessons related to social justice would not need to be re-hashed so often. But that does seem to be our fate. And so, in every generation, we’ve witnessed one group after another struggle to claim their own share of the American dream.Music has had a huge role in raising awareness, unifying people, inspiring empathy, and challenging the status quo in every major social wave of change. Today, we’re looking at how American music was used, like the trumpets at Jericho, to knock down the walls that separated Hispanic Americans from the promises made to all Americans, beginning in 1776. In many ways, this is a fight that continues today, and its as true about the Hispanic struggle for justice as it's been for every group in our history. Hispanics have had a wide range of musical inspirations, including familiar faces such as Bob Dylan, Pete Seeger, and Woody Guthrie, and musical heroes from their own communities. Music from the black civil rights struggle was also borrowed, early on. But the most important parts of the cultural foundations that the Chicano community drew from came from their own Mexican heritage – especially the corrido, which we talked about last month in the Roots of Latin American music episode. As the revolutionary tide of the 1960s began to swell in American culture, Chicanos started by resurrecting the corrido, and added to it a new, political consciousness, giving air to their grievances and struggles. Soon, out of the streets, and in the rising youth movement, Chicano rock and roll bands from both sides of the border were filling the radio waves, and encouraging their own people to advance towards a better future. Welcome to Episode 22, American Song and the Fight for Hispanic Equality.In This Episode:Agustin LiraAztecaCannibal and the Head HuntersChan RomeroEl ChicanoCarlos SantanaChuy NegreteClarence Sonny HenryThe Village CallersEl JarochoThee MidnightersFreddy FenderTrini LopezJose SuarezLos ShakersLos LobosLos Teen TopsOzomatliRichie ValensRobert DeNiroSon Jarocho Master Musicians
36 minutes | Apr 25, 2022
Puerto Ricans Sing Out for Justice.
Before the arrival of Colombus and the Spanish, Puerto Rico was peopled by the Taino tribe. They’d called it home – and paradise – for over 1,000 years, having come either from the Amazon river basin, or maybe from the Colombian Andes before they arrived on the island. In our March episode, we talked about the Jones Act – a law made during the Wilson presidency. The chief goal of that act was to help the U.S. shipping industry recover after World War I. It also annexed Puerto Rico, and gave citizenship to everyone living there. U.S. citizenship started major migration to the U.S. mainland. At first, Puerto Ricans settled into East Coast cities like New York and later Miami where mostly they were stuck in the bottom end of the labor market, working as domestic workers, in manufacturing jobs (back in the old days when we still had those in America, and maintenance industries. Puerto Rican Americans, on both sides of the US coast, have contributed beautiful music to the American Song jukebox. These songs echo the rich cultures that became Puerto Rico, their love for their island home, their struggles in the United States and their determination to succeed, despite the hardships. Today's episode builds on what I began in March, adding more current sounds to the mix. I think you'll find it equal parts fascinating, and entertaining!In This Episode:Bomba street musicians in Old San Juan Puerto RicoFiel a La VegaField Recording of La Tierruca (old Puerto Rican woman)Haciendo Punto en Otro SonHector Carrasquillo Sr.Original Cast from West Side StoryPablo Milanés Piri ThomasRicky MartinRoy BrownSteven ColbertTaina Asli
68 minutes | Mar 14, 2022
Land of A Thousand Dances - Latin American Music
Latin music and 'American' music were once considered to be separate and unique. They had distinctly different properties and music labels managed them differently. But not anymore. Danny Ocean is a singer-songwriter and native of Caracas, Venezuela, and has said “Music is something that transcends beyond any language or nationality…it’s all about being a global artist.” Latin music has become mainstream - it's no longer a 'crossover' genre. Today, Latin culture is American culture. Latins are now the largest minority in the United States, and the second largest ethnic group after whites. All across Latin America, the cultures that we talked about in episode 4 have combined to create distinct, regional music and dances that have each entertained and inspired the people in their home nations, while also making their way to our homes in the United States and entertaining people across the entire world! Salsa, mambo, rumba, calpyso, bomba, latin jazz, samba, batucada, samba de enredo, bossa nova, tango, festejo and lando. These are the names of the inspired music that came out of the New World once the Spanish, Portuguese, Native Americans, and Africans blended their music and rhythm. In this episode, we'll hear examples and learn about the artists, and cultures that devoted their lives to this fabulous art!You're in for a treat! Enjoy!In Today's EpisodeTango - La CumparsitaIgnacio Pineiro - Echale SalsitaEl Orquesta Belisario Lopez - El CimarronOrquesta Arcano y sus Maravillas - MamboPerez Prado - Cherry Pink and Apple Blossom WhiteJulian Whiterose - Iron Duke in the Land Hubert "Roaring Lion" Charles - Mary AnneHary Belafonte - Jump in the LineBP Renegades Steel Orchestra - Like Ah BossWinston "Mighty Shadow" Bailey - Bass ManBomba ExampleIsmael Rivera - VolarePlena De Puerto RicoTito PuenteMachito _ Ni Chi, Ni ChaWilly Colon y Ruben Blades - Buscando GuayabaRumba Examples:1. Yambu2. Guaguanco3. ColumbiaStan Getz / Luiz Bonfa - So Danco SambaCandomble Example - Orixa OssaimErnesto "Donga" Dos Santos - Pelo TelefoneOs Oito Batutas - Meu PassarinhoNoel Rossa- Com Que Roupa?Batucada BradileiraRatos e Urubus - Larguem Minha FantasiaFrank Sinatra / Antonio Carlos Jobim - The Girl from ImpanemaJorge Ben - Mais Que NadaBola Sete - BaccaraLuis Correa - Siete MujeresLibertad Lamarque - Yo Soy La MorochaCarlos Gardel - Mi Noche TristeAnibal Troilo - Te Aconsejo Que Me OlvidesPepe Vasquez - Ritmo de NegrosOscar Aviles/ Arturo Cavero - El AlcatrazCharango example - Sebastián Pérez Cajon Example - Maestros del Cajon PeruanoCharagua Example - Son de los Diablos
28 minutes | Mar 14, 2022
The Roots of Latin Music in the New World
In this episode, we shift focus to consider another important cultural vein, brought here by the Spanish, and rising out of the American west and Southwest as well as New York City – and obviously all of Central and South America, Cuba and Puerto Rico. A few things have struck me as I’ve been putting my thoughts together for these next few episodes. Of course, the first thing is that – just like in earlier genres that we’ve talked about – the music we hear today has gone through a long journey of changes. Second, like jazz and the blues, the music often gives voice to the frustrations and struggles Latin Americans have experienced while hacking and carving out their own rightful place in America. In this episodes, we’ll explore the origins of Latin music, – not just in the United States, but on a wider level, across most of the New World. When the Spanish and Portuguese came to the New World, they brought European music traditions with them, including the influences from several hundred years of Moorish occupation of Southern Spain. They were coming to a land that had already been hope to millions of Native Americans - stretching from the Bering Strait to the southern tip of Argentina - and the people that lived here had their own musical traditions that made their way into Latin music. African slaves also brought their rhythms. Like we've seen in American music, African traditions would have an enormous impact on music that would develop over centuries.This is a fascinating musical journey - I’m so excited to share it with you!In Today's Episode:Gypsy Kings - Una AmorAncient Consort Singers - Serenisima Una NocheSpanish-Arabic Music of AndaluciaFlor De Un DiaDjembe tribal drummingNative American Flute with Tribal DrumJorge Reyes - Native American (Mexico) MusicTraditional Inca Music Being Played in CuzcoLos Monjes del Monasterio de Silos - Gregorian ChantGloria Missa de Los Angeles - JUan Bautista Sancho - 18th Century California Mission MusicZephyr -El Cantico del Alba - A Choir of Angels II: Mission MusicCharles Lummis Wax Cylinder - Corrido de Leandro RiveraLydia Mendoza - Mal HombreEl Vez - Rock and Roll Suicide/ If I Can Dream
20 minutes | Feb 7, 2022
Folk Music Played the Changes in American Society.
In our July, 2021 episode on the first generation of folk music, “Folk Music Stood for America”, we talked about how the music was swept up in the major social movements of the day, especially the socialist/ American Communist party movements which gathered speed because of events like the Great Depression and the Dustbowl. The second revival of the 1960’s also had its own causes; the war in Vietnam, Civil Rights, and the Women’s movement primarily. The ‘60s was the era when all the WWII war babies grew up. Highly idealistic, they wanted to seize the moment in history and change the world for the better. Raised in the suburbs of the concensus-driven fifties, and living under the palatable fear of the Cold War, with Eishenhower’s warning about the military industrial complex ringing in their ears, seeing their classmates ship off to Vietnam, and shipped back home in body bags, they’d grown cynical about their parent’s generation and demanded change NOW. Folk music was the soundtrack to their rebellion; you could hear it played on college campuses all over America. Many of the musicians matched that idealism note for note. That’s the theme of today’s episode, Folk Music Played the Changes in American Society. Artists Featured in This EpisodeTom PaxtonRichie HavensPeter, Paul & MaryRev. Martin Luther King, Jr.Bob DylanPhil OchsCrosby, Stills & Nash
56 minutes | Feb 7, 2022
1960’s Folk Music: How the Fire Spread
The 1960’s were a period of massive social change and tension all over the country – all over North America in fact - because we have to include Canada, too. The conditions were just right for a whole group of passionate, inspired, and gifted young singers and songwriters to lift their voices. They came from many different American communities; Jewish immigrants, First Nations people, Americans, Canadians, African Americans, Hispanics, Caucasians, from the cities and from the heartland. All of them had a message to share with their generation, and a desire to build a better world. This episode is about a number of these artists, and the legacies they’ve left behind. Many of them are still with us today, and a few of them still create new music. Welcome to today’s episode, 1960’s Folk Music: How the Fire Spread. Artists Featured in this EpisodeFred NeilDave Van RonkKarem DaltonBuffy Sainte-MarieLeonard CohenRamblin' Jack ElliottBrothers & CurryBob DylanSimon & GarfunkelPaul SimonJoni Mitchell
38 minutes | Feb 7, 2022
The Second Folk Revival – A Passing of the Torch.
Happy New Year and welcome to season two in the American Song podcast series! It's been a bit since we last got together. I hope you all are doing well. In both the first and second folks waves, many of the musicians were heavily influenced by the times and events that lived in. During the first folk revival, the most important social issues included the Great Depression, and the Oklahoma Dust Bowl. In different ways, both of these catastrophes laid waste to the dreams and scrapped together fortunes of the hard-working American people. Overseas, political revolutions had overthrown ancient monarchies, the latest one being Russia’s Romanov dynasty where powerful winds of change had driven the half starved and long-neglected Russian peasants to revolt, and whose actions were spurred on by ideologues like Marx and Lenin. The second folk revival that started in the late 1950’s and early 1960’s was, again, another social movement bent on change, but this time, the causes were different. The 1960’s have been romanticized in a lot of ways. It’s difficult today to still feel the thrill, and electric charge of what Beatlemania must have been like, or to experience the ‘Us’ versus ‘Them’ pitched emotions that led to student riots and slain college students at Kent State, but they were very real. Folk music was at the heart of it all. Just like Pete Seeger and Woody Guthrie had demanded better treatment for workers, and economic assistance to America’s poor, the second folk revival rallied people behind Civil Rights, Equal Rights for women, and an end to the war in Vietnam war. A chorus of new musicians, were inspired by, and in turn inspired social change. Brave young kids, like Bob Dylan, Phil Ochs, Barry McGuire, and Joan Baez – as well as a few old-timers from the first wave - gave voice to a new generation of Americans who dreamed of better things and better days.Welcome to season two in the American Song Podcast series; today’s episode, “The Second Folk Revival – A Passing of the Torch.”Featured Artists in this EpisodeBob DylanWoody Guthriethe Kingston TrioBill & Belle ReedJoan BaezSteve Allen and Jack KerouacBonnie DobsonSimon & GarfunkelMax Yasgur
35 minutes | Dec 6, 2021
The Celestial Pulse of Minimalism.
In the world of American art music, Minimalism is another push away from traditional music. It’s earliest beginnings are found in the 1950’s again, with two American composers; Steve Reich (b.1936) and Philip Glass (b.1937). Reich, Glass, and another minimalist, John Adams, were all heavily influenced by mid-century popular music. Together, they’re known as the ‘big three’ in minimalist music. The founders of minimalist music absorbed a wide range of sonic influences – African rhythms, Indian ragas, bebop, rock and roll to create something startlingly original. It abounds in film scores, pop albums, jazz riffs, and other forms of more experimental music. Jazz and rock were influenced by minimalism, too. Miles Davis, John Coltrane, and Pat Matheny all wrote music that show minimalism's influences. So does the music of Peter Gabriel, Brian Eno, David Bowie, Kraftwerk, Tangerine Dream, and Radiohead - just to name a few! In This Episode:Steve Reich Phillip Glass John Adams Miles Davis John Cage Pat Matheny and Lyle Mays Brian Eno David Bowie Peter Gabriel Kraftwerk Tangerine Dream Radiohead
38 minutes | Dec 6, 2021
Musique Concrete: A Radical Re-Thinking of Sound and Performance
If there’s an over-riding theme across the last several episodes, it is that music can be whatever we say it is. In this third and last episode on this theme, we’re talking about Musique Concrete. It’s the name applied to a one of the most radical descriptions of music ever imagined. Think of this music like you do when you think of abstract, visual art. For instance, Picasso’s Guernica. There aren’t too many people that think of that painting as traditionally beautiful, but there is a shocking, provocative, stirring power to it. The same holds true with this challenging music.With musique concrète, (French: “concrete music”), natural and mechanical sounds were captured or created using new inventions, the tape recorder, and later the computer and the synthesizer. Sounds can either be used in their natural forms, or they could be processed and changed and then combined with other sounds to create a montage. Other traits that define musique concrete include randomness, and the discard of the traditional composer-performer roles. Sounds can be looped, played backward, sped up, slowed down, cut short or extended. Their natural pitches could be varied, echoes could be added and so on. As I did with episodes 14 and 15, I'm also going to show you how these really bizarre ideas eventually made their way into our current popular music scene. Musique Concrete has made an impact in jazz and rock, too. This is fun stuff!In This Episode:Pierre SchaefferPierre HenryJohn CageHarry PartchKarlheinz StockhausenThe BeatlesPink FloydIndustrial bandsPlunderphonics
42 minutes | Dec 6, 2021
When the World Was In Chaos, Music Became Atonal
The 20th century scientific explosion had been in the works since the Enlightenment, but the rate of change, which had been slow, and adaptable, now came in flashes – like a supernova - and repeatedly, one major wave after another and in ways that dramatically changed our society; instead of having time to gradually adapt and fold these changes into our ordered lives, our lives were forced to conform instead.I hope you’re ready for an adventure, because this episode, and actually the next two after this, are going to challenge you. You see, the music we’ll discover together was written in complete rejection of the basic assumptions about western music. What’s equally fascinating is what the rest of the music world did with these musical ideas! To understand what was happening in America, we have to start away from home, in Europe, in the late 1930’s. There were a number of European musicians and composers who developed completely new ways of creating, performing, and sharing music that had an equally transformative influence on the music being made in America. In This EpisodeArnold Schoenberg Milton BabbittCharles Wuorinen Jerrald Goldsmith Gerard Schurman Wendy Carlos and Rachel Elkind The BeatlesPrimusDave BrubeckBill EvansJohn ColtraneOrnette Coleman
104 minutes | Oct 24, 2021
Hail Hail Rock and Roll
By the 1950’s, American Music had been on a fascinating journey. Rolling out of the Appalachian Mountains and into southern cities; drifting out of the cotton plantations of the south, winding its way up from New Orleans, along the Mississippi Delta, carried along many musical creeks, tributaries, and rivers, rolling its way along mysterious trails past the crossroads, and chugging its way across railroad lines. American Music had evolved, and grown, and changed, just like the culture that produced it. We’ve seen the rise of jazz in its different forms, and heard the echoes of slavery in the blues – as it evolved from the country blues of Robert Johnson and Huddie Ledbedder to the electric blues of Muddy Waters and BB King – and the evolution of Country music as it grew out of English, Scottish, and Welsh ballads into the slick, urbanized sound of Nashville or the honky tonks and juke joints - the urban sounds of Hank Williams. In the few decades that led up to the mid-1950’s, there were just a few more cobblestones that needed to be laid into the roadbed that ended with the birth of rock music. Among these were Western Swing and Rockabilly. The rock and roll attitude – rebellion, sexuality, and freedom – is a rockabilly hand-me-down sweatshirt from rock’s big brother. However, the true rockers that came later were true, dyed in the wool non-conformists and rebels. There’s a world of difference between someone like, say, Jim Morrison, and Kung-Fu Elvis. Morrison’s disgust for authority was the real thing. Elvis, on the other hand, had his picture taken at the White House next to Richard "Tricky Dick" Nixon. Compare that to many, very public apologies that aging rockabilly artists made later for their antics in younger years. Good Golly, Miss Molly…. Welcome to the latest edition of American Song; episode 13. Hail Hail Rock and Roll!IN THIS EPISODETex WilliamsMoon MullicanArthur Smith's Hot QuintetTennessee Ernie FordThe Maddox Bros. and RoseElvis PresleyJerry Lee LewisBuddy HollyJohn LennonPaul McCartneyRingo StarrJackie BrentsonRoy BrownBig Mama ThorntonSister Rosetta TharpeChuck BerryFat's DominoLittle RichardEddie Cochranthe Teen QueensBobby FreemanWanda JacksonPat BooneAllen FreedThe PlattersThe DominoesThomas Hardin/ MoondogThe Who
27 minutes | Oct 24, 2021
Special Feature: 1950's American Culture; the Seedbed of Rock and Roll
Newton’s Third Law of Motion; For every action, there’s an equal and opposite reaction. I mentioned that rock and music was equal parts music and social movement. This was a totally new event for music. In earlier episodes, we’ve seen how jazz was borrowed by the US Government for global PR purposes, and of course, music has always given a voice to the hopes, dreams, hurts, and fears of people everywhere. But this was something totally different. Ever since the ‘50s, we’ve never been sure whether art imitates life, or life imitates art. The most dramatic examples were still in the future, but it started in the 1950’s, and I’ve wondered why then, and not some other time. Let’s look at the 1950’s together for a few minutes and see if we can’t figure out why that might be.IN THIS SPECIAL FEATURE Bobby DarinMalvina ReynoldsThe Crew CutsCharlie Ryan and the Timberline RidersChuck BerryThe SilhouettesBobby "Boris" PickettSheb WooleyDanny and the JuniorsTodd Rhodes and His Orchestra, Featuring Connie AllenThe Del Vikings
110 minutes | Sep 6, 2021
R&B Was Born on the American Song River
This episode is dedicated to the memory of Rolling Stones drummer, Charlie Watts,. Charlie passed away while I was preparing this episode. In a career that spanned more than sixty years, he left us all a massive library of songs and memories that we all will treasure forever. Thanks for everything, Charlie. It was only Rock and Roll, but I liked it!Episode DescriptionIt was a new day in America. The middle class was big and growing. Businesses were flush with cash it had come by, which meant people were working and saving and getting ahead. Those returning war-heroes had gotten to work making money, and making babies and America was a young country, too. So this young, expressive, exuberant, happy music was ideal for a nation that was feeling the same way. The fact that this new, young music became THE music of the day represented a sea change in what America was all about. Even more, Rhythm’n Blues set the stage for the next big arrival – rock and roll….. like the great R&B singer, Ruth Brown said, “when the white kids started dancing to it, R&B turned into Rock and Roll.” Hold that thought for a future episode! Welcome to American Song, Episode 12: R&B Was Born on the Great American Music River.Tracks Ike and Tina Turner - River Deep, Mountain High Barrett Strong - Money, That’s What I Want Nina Simone - Mississippi Goddam Erskine Hawkins - After Hours Ahmet Ertegün and Charlie Rose Interview Excerpt Bib Mama Thornton - Hound Dog James Jamerson (isolated bass) - What’s Goin’ On Louis Jordan - Is You Is, Or Is You Ain’t My Baby? Louis Jordan - Saturday Night Fish Fry Erskine Hawkins - Tuxedo Junction Harlem Hamfats - Weed Smokers Dream Cab Calloway - Minnie the Moocher Count Basie - One O’CLock Jump Bullmoose Jackson - Big Ten Inch King Curtis - Instant Groove Lionel Hampton - Flying Home Lionel Hampton - Hey! Bop a Re Bop T Bone Walker - Stormy Monday BB King - Live at Sing Sing Prison Elvis Presley - That’s Alright Mama Hoss Allen Interview Ike & Tina Turner - Proud Mary Booker T and the MGs - Green Onions Martha and the Vandella’s - Dancing in the Street Stevie Wonder - Heaven Help Us All Funk Bros. - Aint No Mountain High Enough Funk Bros. - You Keep My Hangin’ On Funk Bros. - I Was Made to Love Her Marvin Gaye - What’s Goin’ On The New Moonglows - Twelve Months of the Year Marvin Gaye - How Sweet it Is Berry Gordy Talks about Marvin Gaye Ray Charles - Hit the Road Jack Ray Charles Interview on Dick Cavett Maxin Trio - Blues Before Sunrise Ray Charles - I Got a Woman Ray Charles - What’d I Say Ray Charles - Georgia on My Mind Ruth Brown - 5-10-15 Hours Ruth Brown - I’ll Wait For You Ruth Brown Interview with Terri Gross (NPR) Aretha Franklin - Do Right Woman, Do Right Man Aretha Franklin Interview with Terri Gross (NPR) Aretha Franklin - (You Make Me Feel Like A) Natural Woman Aretha Franklin - Respect Aretha Franklin - I Say a Little Prayer For You Aretha Franklin - Chain of Fools Sam & Dave - Soul Man
100 minutes | Jul 27, 2021
Folk Music Stood For America
Today’s episode is all about the first of the two 20th century waves in the folk music movement and how that movement rallied people behind some big themes to help them fight for social justice. As a people, Americans are inclined towards optimism and a belief that if things aren’t working, they can be fixed. How improvement is defined, which issues get the focus, and how those improvements are managed comes down to party philosophy. Practically speaking, America has been a two-party system with a number of other minor parties that represent the people that don’t line up with everyone else. On the ‘left’, we’ve had three parties, progressives, socialists and communists. Woody Guthrie, and a number of ‘folkie’ musicians like Pete Seeger, Josh White, Burl Ives and others, did something that hadn’t been done before in American music; they used it as a weapon against the things they thought were wrong in the world. For instance, Woody Guthrie’s guitar had the words “This machine kills fascists” on it.They taught a nation to sing powerful songs about hope – Woody Guthrie did that – and when you do, you may sow the seeds of change in future generations, like the way Guthrie stood as Bob Dylan’s musical mentor. But music is just the drum beat that the rest of us have to march to. If we don’t like how things are going, we’re still Americans. We can still change it. We need to act on it. Ghandi said “Be the change you want to see in the world.” When we do, we’ll see that just like things improved in working conditions, and minimum wage laws, and many other ways, the world can become a better place. Our country belongs to the people, not the tiny fraction on top. And this is a country that promises equality, but that equality is something we have to continuously protect Tracks Woody Guthrie: This Land Is Your Land Pete Seeger - Talking Union Blues Burl Ives: Wayfaring Stranger Josh White - Trouble This Train is Bound for Glory Woody Guthrie - Do Re Mi Woody Guthrie - 1913 Massacre The Almanac Singers - Which Side Are You On? Woody Guthrie - All You Fascists Bound to Lose The Almanac Singers - The Sinking of the Good Reuben James Pete Seeger - Deliver the Goods 60 Minutes with Charles Kuralt - Interview with Alan Lomax CBS Radio Network - Hootenany Alan Lomax Interviews Muddy Waters Muddy Waters - My Home is in the Delta Máire Ní Shúilleabháin, Ballylicky, Co. Cor - An Cailín Aerach (The Airy [Light-Hearted] Girl) Burl Ives - John Henry HUAC Hearings - The Hollywood 10 In Court Casablanca (Warner Bros.) - Play It Sam Victims of Hollywood Blacklist Earl Robinson - Keeping Score in ’44 Rudy Giuliani - Trial By Combat Burl Ives/ Paul Newman - Mendacity Scene (From Cat On a Hot Tin Roof) Burl Ives - Funny Way of Laughing Josh White - House of the Rising Sun Josh White - In My Time of Dying Josh White - There’s a Man Going ‘Round Taking Names Josh White - The House I Live In Josh White - Free and Equal Blues HUAC Hearings - Paul Robeson’s Testimony (Excerpt) Pete Seeger - Goodnight Irene Pete Seeger Interview - The Power of Music Pete Seeger - Way Over There Pete Seeger with the Almanac Singers - The Strange Death of John Doe Henry Wallace 1948 Campaign Song The Weavers - If I Had a Hammer The Weavers - So Long It’s Been Good to Know Yuh’ Pete Seeger Interviewed about HUAC Hearings James Taylor - You’ve Got to Be Carefully Taught Henry Fonda - Grapes of Wrath Monologue Bruce Springsteen - The Ghost of Tom Joad
143 minutes | Jun 13, 2021
Jazz in Defense of Equality and Justice For All
America’s music, at least through 1955, was jazz. In this episode, we’ll take a deep dive into the predominant forms jazz took on from 1930 through the 1950’s and into the 1960’s, including swing, bebop, hard bop and cool jazz. In many ways during these years, Jazz gave voice to the difficult tensions and struggles confronting Americans in those years, and which tested our belief in our own convictions. Welcome to American Song, episode ten; Jazz In Defense of Equality and Justice For AllThrough its history, Jazz has played a very important social role in America and abroad. It is the voice of democracy and freedom. It represents our continuing desire for social justice and equality in America and has supported that role abroad. In this episode, we see how jazz evolved through Swing to Bebop and how members of the same group who have been most historically oppressed have risen – both in the music world and out of it – to be the ones to defend the country, and inspire the effort needed to face our own demons. Because they did, America has begun to live up to its promises of equality and justice for all. I am certain that America’s music will continue to inspire us, encourage us, and unite us. Just as it always has.In This Episode: In the Mood - Glenn Miller King Porter Stomp - Fletcher Henderson Fly Me to The Moon - Sinatra/ Basie Straighten Up and Fly Right - Nat King Cole Northwest Passage - Woody Herman and His Thundering Herd Let’s Call the Whole Thing Off - Astaire/ Rogers Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy - The Andrews Sisters Stomp Your Feet - Fred Elizalde and His Cambridge Undergraduates Minor Swing - Django Reinhart Adolf Hitler at Essen Praise the Lord and Pass the Ammunition - Kay Kiser GI Jive - Kay Kiser Making Whoopie - Charlie and His Orchestra The Man With the Big Cigar - Charlie and His Orchestra I Sustain the Wings/ Jam Don’t Shake Like That - Glenn Miller and the Army Airforce Band The Secret Broadcast - Music Fur Die Wermacht - Glenn Miller and “Ilse” Perfidia - Benny Goodman and Helen Forrest (V-Records) Koko - John Coltrane Mussolini’s Letter to Hitler - Carson Robison Der Fuehrer’s Face - Spike Jones and His City Slickers Body and Soul - Coleman Hawkins Straight No Chaser - Miles Davis (What Did I Do To Be So) Black and Blue - Louis Armstrong WE INSIST! Freedom Now Suite! - Max Roach with Abbey Lincoln, Coleman Hawkins and Olatunji Fables of Faubus - Charles Mingus Alabama Governor George Wallace (1964 Campaign) Acknowledgement (From a Love Supreme) - John Coltrane Alabama - John Coltrane Klactovesedstene - Charlie Parker Just Friends - Charlie Parker Night in Tunisia - Dizzy Gillespie Round Midnight - Thelonious Monk Fifty-Second Street Theme - Thelonious Monk Nikita Kruschev at UN 1960 Manteca - Dizzy Gillespie Duke Ellington on American Music Reprise: (What Did I Do To Be So) Black and Blue - Louis Armstrong President Dwight D Eisenhower Addresses Little Rock Crisis The Real Ambassador - Dave Brubeck/ Louis Armstrong Sing Sing Sing! - Benny Goodman in USSR Moaning’ - Charles Mingus U.S. Attorney General Derrick Garland on Voter Suppression Crisis As always, thanks for listening and downloading! If you'd like to support American Song, consider a donation at Patreon!Visit our Facebook page!
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