Excellent financial reporting and analysis skills. These venues, including the saloon in or near Leigh, Texas, could have easily had pianos, and thus Lead Belly might have heard Boogie Woogie at these locations in Harrison County, even if these venues did not include the site where Lead Belly first heard Boogie Woogie in
La Quinta Inn & Suites
Nonetheless, some of the same sensibilities, especially in the right-hand parts, informed both Boogie Woogie and Ragtime. Although his exact place of his birth is uncertain, evidence indicates that Scott Joplin, the Father of Ragtime, was born in Northeast Texas, somewhere between Texarkana and Marshall Texas, possibly near Linden, where his family was known to be living not long after Scott's birth.
Scott Joplin took his first piano lessons in Texarkana. Joplin was known to have had a classically-trained German piano teacher, Julius Weiss, who was born in Saxony, circa Weiss might very well have brought a Polka "oompah" rhythmic sensibility from the old country to Texarkana, Texas, where Joplin was his pupil. The syncopated right-hand melodic parts of Ragtime are very similar to right-hand parts and motifs frequently heard in Boogie Woogie. If it were not for Boogie Woogie having developed left-handed ostinatos distinctive from the harmonically-constrained, straight, 2-beat oom-pah pulse of Ragtime, and if it were not for the polyrhythmic interplay between right and left hands in Boogie Woogie, it might have never come to be regarded as a style distinguishable from Ragtime.
That fact there is a high degree of similarity between Joplin's syncopated, percussive right-handed parts and the syncopated, percussive right-handed parts of Boogie Woogie suggests that both Ragtime and Boogie Woogie were being influenced by the same stylistic sensibilities and tendencies present in African Americans in Northeast Texas from at least the s onward. Scott Joplin's most distinctive compositional attribute was that of combining syncopated and percussive right-handed motifs with a European Polka harmonic structure.
They were harmonically appropriate to support the right-hand parts, yet were not very musically interesting or innovative in and of themselves. As compared to Boogie Woogie, Ragtime mainly because of its left-hand parts almost always feels rigid, unvarying, and march like. Indeed, in "The Smithsonian Collection of Classic Jazz" , Smithsonian Institution Press 38 , Martin Williams states page 13 , "Ragtime was basically a piano keyboard music and, one might say, an Afro-American version of the polka, or its analog, the Sousa-style march.
Although some Ragtime had intricate right-hand parts, because of the unvarying, non-syncopated left-hand bass lines, Ragtime never realized the polyrhythmic heights achieved by Boogie Woogie. Indeed, in Music in a New Found Land: In the same book 14 , Wilfrid Mellers also writes pages The essence of the rag is its unremittent rhythmic pattern which, though habitually syncopated, is never violent.
The melancholy, the frenzy, the ecstasy of the blues are all banished. Instead of lament or orgy, we have a dead-pan manner that shuts out personal sensation. The music is hard, bright, obstinately eupeptic and incorrigibly cheerful; in its machine-made way it is even elegant, like the Negro dandy wearing his straw boater at a raffish angle.
In this sense, rags are an alternative to the blues; and their use of the discipline of military music becomes equated with the disciplined non-humanity of a machine. This is literally true: Perhaps it is better to be a merry machine, the music says, than to be human but blue: Although this poetry may be inherent in the situation rather than in the music itself, the later rags of the master of the convention, Scott Joplin, unobtrusively readmit those elements of tension which the rag had tried to deny.
Euphonic Sounds 43 , for instance, written in , has some oddly elliptical modulations in its second strain, wandering from tonic B flat to B minor, to E flat, and then from G minor to D flat major, changing to the relative B flat minor, and so back to tonic major; in the first strain it also indulges in syncopations in which the beat is merely implied. In the later Magnetic Rag 44 such elements of relative complexity are structural as well as incidental, for Joplin modifies the third and fourth strains so that they acquire some of the features of a sonata development.
There is a long history of snobbery and resentment from some Ragtime players towards Boogie Woogie players. Interestingly, there does not seem to have been as much resentment from Boogie Woogie players towards Ragtime players. Specifically, the most resentment seems to have come from Ragtime players who tended to play with 2-to-the-bar, oom-pah, "striding" left hand bass figures.
Ragtime and Boogie Woogie players still sometimes get into arguments over whether Ragtime or Boogie Woogie is more difficult to play. For example, one dimension of variability in broken-octaves of Boogie Woogie and the oom-pah bass of Ragtime is the size of the stride between one broken octave couplet to the next in Boogie Woogie, or between the "oom" and the "pah" in Ragtime.
Quite often, the arguments over difficulty arise over claims from Ragtime players who say the wide strides in their oom-pah left had parts are harder to play than the closer intervals in some Boogie Woogie bass lines.
Yet, size of stride is a dimension of variability that can be made wider in Boogie Woogie or Ragtime, resulting in either style becoming very difficult to play. Consequently, a simple Ragtime piece with small strides would be easier to play that a complex Boogie Woogie piece with large strides. On the other hand, a complex Ragtime piece with large strides and frequently-changing chords would be harder to play than a rudimentary Boogie Woogie with a simple, shuffled-chord bass in a typical blues progression involving only I, IV, and V chords.
Boogie Woogie players will often argue that improvisation, and the independence of left and right hand required to create the complex polyrhythms of Boogie Woogie requires more skill than that typically required to play the striding bass of Ragtime. Yet, a Ragtime piece with a wide stride with ever-changing chords between each oom-pah requires a high degree of skill. Therefore, since there is potentially infinite variability of difficulty in the genres of both Boogie Woogie and Ragtime, to globally label and stereotype one genre as harder or easier to play than the other makes no sense.
Instead, it makes more sense to say that different although somewhat overlapping skill sets are required for each style of music. Influenced Jimmy Yancey, Albert Ammons,. In his early teens he joined the bugle and drum corps. They had fourteen buglers and fourteen drummers; Albert was one of the drummers. Both his parents played piano. Not long after the war, he sta rted to learn the blues and soon knew two or three good pieces.
He listened to the Yancey brothers and to other Chicago pianists, including Hersal Thomas, another remarkable musician who never gained more than local fame.
Hersal played all the favorite blues and was known especially for his own Suitcase Blues. Whenever Hersal Thomas, who made a deep impression on young Ammons, came to a party, the other pianists were afraid to play; so he became unusually popular and got all the girls.
During the twenties, many pianists featured this number as a 'get off' tune and in the variations played what is now considered Boogie Woogie. Indeed, all modern Boogie Woogie bass figures can be found in "The Fives," including swinging, walking broken-octave bass, shuffled swinging chord bass of the sort later used extensively by Ammons, Lewis, and Clarence "Pine Top" Smith , and the ubiquitous "oom-pah" ragtime stride bass.
In the liner notes to the Sippie Wallace album, "Sippie Wallace Sings the Blues," released by Storyville Records, historian Paul Oliver wrote the following about the influence of and untimely death of Hersal Thomas: Above is the cover of the "The Five's" usually referred to as "The Fives" without an apostrophe , copyright registered in by Hersal and George, and published in If anyone has a full copy of this sheet music, I would love to hear from them at nonjohn yahoo. Although he provides some valuable historical information in "Jazzmen" 1 , William Russell mistakenly wrote that Jim Yancey had written, "The Fives.
In "Jazzmen" 1 , Russell erroneously writes,. In "Jazzmen" 1 , Russell also erroneously writes,. Although Russell was mistaken to credit Yancey with having written "The Fives," Russell was correct when he wrote that "The Fives" is "probably the germ from which most of the piano blues of the Boogie Woogie type grew Ammons, who was a pupil who admired Yancey, would have had no obvious motivation to credit Hersal Thomas while discrediting Jim Yancey.
Thus, Ammons' claim should be taken seriously. Specifically, Ammons' refutation of Russell's claim can be found on page 21 of Ernest Borneman's chapter on "Boogie Woogie," in chapter 2 of "Just Jazz" Some critics have said that the Fives are short for 'Five O'clock Blues', a title under which Jim Yancey recorded them.
But it seems much more likely that they take their name from that rudimentary boogie bass, fingered by first and fifth finger alone, which takes the tonic, adds the fifth and alternates back and forth between it and the sixth. Thus, since Yancey was born in , Yancey did not start to play the piano until , which is 2 years after George W.
Thus, this lends still more evidence that Boogie Woogie had undergone significant development before Yancey ever started playing the piano. On page 17 of the February 19, issue of Down Beat, Meade Lux Lewis speaks about the pianist who caused him to shift his allegiance from violin to piano:. It was something new and it got Ammons and me all excited. Sure wish I could remember his name.
The best way to describe his way of playin' is to say that the right hand played The Fives while the left hand didn't matter. You could play any kind of left hand -- a rumble bass, a walkin' bass, and so on.
Given the most probable railroad route from Texas to Chicago, Hersal Thomas would have almost certainly come "from" St. Louis to arrive in Chicago. Moreover, Meade Lux Lewis' account of a man "from St. Louis" who "emerged on the Chicago scene" playing "The Fives" indicates that this person was not Yancey who was from Chicago , and moreover, that Yancey had not been what inspired Lewis to switch his instrument from violin to piano.
This interview was transcribed on pages of Cadence Magazine, Volume 13, Number 10, October, Starting on page 17 of this issue of Cadence Magazine, the following statements are made by Lewis: When my father died I left there and had to go to work. They had something they called a 'continuation school' -- that's the heading it came under.
A lot of kids were leaving school ahead of time and the education was so bad until they made it a ruling that they had to go into a 'continuation school' for a certain length of time. I never did finish that. But music seemed to take hold of me because some fellow came up from St.
Louis and he started playing this tune they call, 'The Fives. And he was playing this tune. Well, it seemed that all of the youngsters got a kick out of it and some of the older people did too -- the tune caught on like wildfire.
It seems like every time some guy would start playing "The Fives' all the gals would crowd all around him like mad. So I told Al, I said, 'We gotta learn how to play this stuff; let's get together.
Lewis's comments from Down Beat and his comments quoted in Cadence Magazine, taken together with Ammons' claim that Hersal Thomas had brought "The Fives" to Chicago 35 , indicate that Hersal Thomas was almost certainly the person that Meade Lux Lewis was talking about when he was discussing the person who " came up from St. Louis " to bring "The Fives" to Chicago. It is interesting to note that Lewis never says that the person who brought "The Fives" to Chicago had been born in St.
Louis, but rather used the qualifier " from " or " came up from ," both of which are perfectly consistent with that person having been Hersal Thomas.
Another source that is consistent with Lewis's comment about noticing the attention of women given to the person who played "The Fives," and therefore wanting to collaborate with Ammons to " learn how to play this stuff " comes from Sippie Wallace, who told Axel Zwingenberger that Albert Ammons "would drop by their house every day in order to learn from Hersal.
Sippie is a very important part of blues history. And I was fortunate to meet her in Actually, my link with Sippie at first came out a relationship she had with the Ammons family, because Sippie's youngest brother was Hersal Thomas, and he was one of the most prolific Texas Blues piano players.
And they had moved to Chicago. And Albert Ammons as a teenager became very interested in that style. And Sippie told me that Albert would drop by their house every day in order to learn from Hersal. And Sippie called him actually "Little Albert," which means that she knew him really from almost childhood days. Recall that William Russell stated the following in Jazzmen: In those days if a pianist didn't know the Fives and the Rocks he'd better not sit down at the piano at all.
Russell's comment that Hersal "got all the girls" is entirely consistent with the description by Lewis, who stated, " It seems like every time some guy would start playing "The Fives' all the gals would crowd all around him like mad.
He has just passed his fifteenth birthday The outstanding song written by this young songwriter is entitled, "The Fives" This was his first commercial recording and has been followed by others which are meeting with a good sale among the dealers. The CD "Boogie Woogie Blues" released in by Biograph Records contains digital recordings derived from the playback of piano rolls made by early Boogie Woogie artists. These recordings on the Solo Art label were Yancey's first recordings.
Of these recordings, Peter Silvester states page Thus, Silvester indicates that titles used by Yancey in these recordings had NOT been the titles used to refer to Yancey's musical material prior to , but had simply been a re-titling of Yancey's music. Indeed, if Jimmy Yancey had been playing "The Fives" or similar material in the s, it is hard to believe that he would not have had opportunities to record at that time, as nothing inhibited his communication with the talent scouts from the early record companies that were recording Yancey's associates.
Moreover, besides the thriving 'race' recording industry in Chicago at the time, Yancey's having toured on the T. Lastly, unlike Lead Belly, Yancey to my knowledge was not incarcerated, which would have made it more difficult to record, as when Lomax had to bring the recording equipment into the prison to record Lead Belly. Peter Silvester's analysis page 9 of Yancey also raises doubts about Yancey recording so late relative to the other Boogie Woogie players: This influence is chronologically consistent with the fact that Yancey did not make his first recordings until , many years after George and Hersal Thomas, and others made their first Boogie Woogie recordings.
Five Meanings of "The Fives". On page 17 of the February 19, issue of Down Beat, Meade Lux Lewis described "The Fives" as something that was done with the right hand, rather than the left.
Moreover, in , Lewis has trouble remembering the name of the piano player who played "The Fives" for him and Ammons. However, the article indicates the Lewis believed in that this pianist had been from St. Thus, to imagine that Lewis would have been unable to recall Yancey's name is hard to believe.
Hersal Thomas' death by poisoning back in would have been consistent with Hersal's later obscurity and thus the difficulty that Lewis had in remembering Hersal's name. Still, the fact that Lewis though the pianist who played "The Fives" was from St. There are several possible explanations. First, Lewis might have mistakenly thought that Hersal was "from" St. Hersal almost certainly travelled through St.
Louis on his way to Chicago, thus, in this sense, would have indeed been "from" St. This line of thought, taken along with Ammons' claim that Hersal had brought "The Fives" to Chicago is consistent with Lewis having misattributed Hersal's town of origin. Lastly, the article also indicates that Lewis had weighed as much as " pounds" and was "a short, round tub of a man Lewis also indicates the following on page 17 in this Down Beat article about the man who played "The Fives": Since Ammons has said that Hersal Thomas was the first person to bring "The Fives" to Chicago, it is reasonable to infer that Lewis was talking about Hersal.
This explanation for the origin of the name, "The Fives," contradicts the account given by Russell of being derived from a 5 O'clock performance time by Yancey or of a 5 O'clock departure time for a Chicago steam locomotive as claimed by some historians. Although the line above clearly refers to a 5 a.
Although the lyrics do not explicitly mention "Chicago," Thomas writes: Thus, it is clear that Thomas meant to refer to a departure town with a location east of San Francisco. He might have intentionally been non-specific about the departure location so as to give the lyrics broader appeal. However, since George Thomas was living in Chicago when he wrote these lyrics, many have assumed that the "town" from which he is leaving is Chicago.
However, I have not confirmed if there was actually a Frisco-bound train s with a "5" identification number, or whether there was a train s from Chicago that arrived in San Francisco at either 5 p. Still, Chicago seems to be the best working assumption. The number 5 on the cover of the sheet music, and the fact that the train is with 5 axels see above is consistent with George Thomas' lyrics specifically referring to the locomotive as "Old Five" and "number 5" in the lyrics to "The Fives.
Moreover, in addition to the system of notation that classifies steam locomotives by the number of wheels, classifying steam locomotives is by their number of Axels is common. That is, the steam locomotive on the cover of "The Five's" sheet music is a by number of wheels and a "5" by number of axels. The system of classifying steam locomotives by their number of axels is still commonly used in Europe.
Specifically, the lyrics state: Moreover, in Europe, 5-axel steam locomotives are still referred to as "the fives. The final line of "The Fives" provides the most metaphorical meaning of "The Fives: I've got the Frisco I mean Frisco evening Fives. At first glance, this line might appear to be referring to an evening arrival time. However, the expression " Instead, given the exuberant imagery of Thomas' lyrics, having the "Frisco evening Fives" sounds like he is ready to have an exciting night out in San Francisco.
Since George Thomas previously changed the title of his "Hop Scop Blues" to "New Orleans Hop Scop Blues," and since he added lyrics referring to New Orleans to his purely-instrumental "Hop Scop Blues" that he had previously performed in Houston, a similar process probably took place when he wrote lyrics to "The Fives. By writing lyrics for "The Fives" while living in Chicago, Thomas could appeal to the desire of African Americans to travel from the hardships of Chicago or other cities to places that they imagined to be better, such as California.
The hands themselves -- Cassell's Dictionary of Slang, , page , mentions several meanings of " fives ," including " the hand usually when clinched in a fist ," which is attributed to the late 18th century. It also gives a 17th century usage of " fives " as meaning " a foot. The association with fists and fighting suggests the expression, " two-fisted piano " and " dueling pianos. In the s, " fives " came to mean masturbation.
Something that the left or right hand does. Statistics or numbers associated with locomotives - A quantity of locomotives; identification numbers; number of axels on a a. Times on the clock - both 5 p. They realize, as do I, that the Negro playing this peculiar style has achieved something actually creative. Many see in the simple harmonic structure of boogie woogie, with its unlimited possibilities of variations, the starting point of a much needed trend toward individualized, contrapuntal music, a conclusion to which I also subscribe.
Dance bands throughout the land are featuring it. Dozens of phonograph records are being issued, featuring boogie woogie artists. I have found it a most interesting style myself, and must confess I derive unusual enjoyment playing it. Conlon Nancarrow is another classical musician who has appreciated and composed in a complex Boogie Woogie style. See section on Nancarrow below.
However, other sections of Jazzmen besides Russell's chapter also discuss Boogie Woogie. If anyone knows of any earlier book chapters on the history of Boogie Woogie, or other references, please email me at nonjohn nonjohn.
George Washington Thomas, Jr. Since George Washington Thomas, Jr. Sippie Wallace was born in Houston in , it is possible to trace what would have been the most likely migratory pathway used by the Thomas Family as they migrated from Little Rock, AR to Houston, TX.
Before , railroads would have been the most likely form of transport for African Americans and others travelling such a distance. Coming into contact with steam locomotives is consistent with their chugging sound, felt by many to sound like Boogie Woogie.
Given these reasonable assumptions, the Thomas family probably relied on three railroads in the Jay Gould system to transport them from Little Rock to Houston as early as the year of George Thomas, Jr.
Blue Highlighting indicates the probable migratory pathway of the Thomas family after the birth of George W. See Jay Gould section. With the exception of the northern portions of Harris County and the southern portion of Montgomery County just north of Harris County , this north-south railroad corridor established in from Texarkana to Houston was completely contained within the Piney Woods of East Texas.
From north to south, this corridor contained the following towns: The map above is adapted from Charles Zlatkovich's excellent book, " Texas Railroads. The dates in parentheses by some town names indicate the year when a railroad arrived in that particular town. This railroad company was formed in Travel through Marshall would have taken the Thomases through the pounding sound of the town am I some kind of poet?
Thus, it is "The Boogie Woogie Railroad. Of all the railroad tycoons of nineteenth century, Jay Gould was perhaps the most notorious and hated. In three years prior to the birth of George W. As a result of Gould's control of these three railroads, and his ruthless desire to maximize his own profits, Gould had advertisements published that emphasized travel on these railroads as a single system, one that came to be known as the "Gould System of Railroads.
It was easier to travel on a route that had already been programmed for travelers, as compared to switching to a competitor's line for which porters and others might be less motivated to provide assistance. Thus, not only does the migratory route from Little Rock to Houston that I have proposed for the Thomas family seem most likely from a standpoint of geographical efficiency, such a migratory route also seems most probable because all three railroads were part of the Jay Gould System.
Ultimately, all three of these railroads merged into the Missouri Pacific Company , which later merged into today's Union Pacific Railroad Company: On May 12, , the St.
The repetitive, ostinato, departing-acceleratory, chugging, thumping, rattling sound; as well as the bluesy Doppler-effected, pitch-shifted wail of steam whistles on steam locomotives inspired musical elements heard in Boogie Woogie and Blues music.
Moreover, it is interesting to note that the maturation of Boogie Woogie paralleled the sound, power, and speed of maturing steam locomotive technology. Also of significance is that the s maturation of Boogie Woogie occurred in Chicago the nation's largest railroad hub , and not in New York City.
The development of Boogie Woogie in Chicago and not in New York might not be a coincidence in that Chicago's laws allowed steam locomotives to come chugging into the heart of downtown past dwellings and businesses.
However, New York City's laws did not allow steam locomotives within the city limits. Thus, Boogie Woogie players who had moved to Chicago from the south had the continued opportunity to regularly hear and be inspired by the ever faster, ever louder, ever more powerful sound of maturing steam locomotive technology. People living in New York City, however, had fewer opportunities to hear and thus be inspired by these characteristics of the sound of steam locomotives. The Texas Type s were among the increasingly faster and more powerful steam locomotives to be designed and produced in the s.
The ever-increasing tempo of performed and recorded Boogie Woogies correlated with the increasing speed and power of steam locomotives. The National Spread of Boogie Woogie. The above map was created by Krystyna Parafinczuk and is used with her permission.
Moreover, Clarence Williams credits Thomas with being the first man to write down a Boogie Woogie bass figure. However, "the cows," which appears in a classic bar form in "The Weary Blues" is a classic, undisputed Boogie Woogie bass figure, and one that is reported to have originated in Texas.
Interestingly, "The Weary Blues" has been recognized since at least 94 as being an example of published sheet music with a Boogie Woogie bass figure. This beat was given, against a syncopated treble, by a constantly repeated bass figure, or a 'walking bass' as had been used as early as in Artie Matthews' Weary Blues.
Despite this recognition by Abbe Niles, subsequent publications and declarations by "experts," even after the year , continue to mistakenly cite other pieces, such as "New Orleans Hop Scop Blues," as the earliest published sheet music containing a Boogie Woogie bass figure.
The bass figure used by Matthews in "The Weary Blues" is what has been clearly identified as "the cows," one of the oldest Boogie Woogie bass figures that is said by Lee Ree Sullivan to have originated in Texas, and was also known as the "Texas and Pacific Bass" figure. Sullivan told me that "the cows" originally referred to the grace-noted right-handed figure that was meant to suggest the sound of cows being pushed away by the cow catcher grill at the front of steam locomotives.
According to one account, George Thomas, Jr. I don't know the place of his burial. The Thomas siblings often sang in the choir and played at the Shiloh Baptist Church. Hociel Thomas was the daughter of George W. Thus, the Thomas family had arrived in Houston no later than Consequently, George Thomas, Jr. Thus, the ostinato, musical sound of the steam locomotives would have been prominent in Texarkana and Marshall. However, Houston was also developing as the other early railroad hub in Texas.
What are the necessary and sufficient elements to constitute a broken-octave Boogie Woogie bass line? Some historians have erroneously referred to ANY broken octave bass line as a Boogie Woogie bass line.
Yet, there are specific reasons why a broken octave bass is NOT sufficient in and of itself to create a Boogie Woogie feel. For example, broken octaves have been used in the keyboard music of Bach and other classical composers, and at least as early as in the Ragtime music of Scott Joplin.
Although it only occurs for two measures, a broken-octave bass line can be seen on page 6 of Joplin's "Pine Apple Rag," first published in These broken octaves were played with Ragtime's typical oom-pah pulse, and are not swung.
Thus, the mere fact of playing in broken octaves was not a breakthrough for Boogie Woogie, nor does the usage of broken-octaves necessarily yield a Boogie Woogie bass line. In Bach's music and in Ragtime, the broken octaves were not played with an inherent swing pulse. In contrast, the bass chords in Ragtime frequently changed with each oop-pah. Such regular chord changes prevented an ostinato effect to be felt as strongly, if at all, and typically, Ragtime players were "striding," not "walking," as is more often heard in Boogie Woogie.
Even without what I call "Intrinsic Swing Pulse" in the left-hand bass line, a swing pulse can be created in Ragtime by the combination of a non-swinging right hand part playing the syncopated notes that do not occur on the downbeat with a non-swinging left hand part playing the notes that occur on downbeats. To produce the strongest swing feel, the straight oom-pah pulse must be minimized, if not eliminated all together. Whether or not notes or rests occur at the various temporal divisions, the net effect of all notes and rests will define where the temporal divisions are located, and will determine whether or not a Swing Pulse is created.
With these ideas in mind, broken-octave bass figures can be classified into the following five categories. Category 5 is unequivocally a Boogie Woogie bass figure. Category 2 and 4 will be experienced as Boogie Woogie bass figures IF the bass figures have an interactional relationship to the right-hand part, such that a swing feel emerges.
This type of bass is the oldest of the broken octave bass lines, having been used by Bach, and on occasion by Ragtime composers, such as Scott Joplin.
However, when Joplin used them, they were still written with a "" oom-pah pulse. That is, if one simply changes the chord of the "pah" note to a single note an octave above the "oom" note, then you have a "broken-octave" bass line.
Yet, such a simple variation is not sufficient to convert an oom-pah pulse into a swinging pulse. However, given the competing, incessant oom-pah pulse of the left hand, the magnitude of most Interactional Swing Pulses heard in early Ragtime music was not strong enough to reach a threshold of a Boogie Woogie feel.
In Matthews piece, the graced-noted broken octaves occur for 8 measures in the final "Grandioso" section of his piece. Later, in , Eubie Blake used a similar grace-noted broke octave in his "Charleston Rag" piano-roll performance, and then much later in his "Eubie's Boogie," first recorded in the late s. Blake's broken octave bass lines have virtually no inherent swing feel, although he does produce a very slight interactional swing pulse at times.
Instead of sounding like two separate notes, the broken octave couplets in Blake's basses tend to perceptually fuse together and sound like one musical event that was temporally widened, but with the accents still falling on the downbeats, and lacking an inherent swing feel. Although I can appreciate what listeners mean when they say "Reverse Boogie Woogie Bass," I feel that this term could confuse some into thinking without having listened to Blake's recordings that his bass lines had simply inverted the accents of swinging bass line.
Specifically, rather than being located at position the non-downbeat note in swinging broken-octave bass lines, the grace notes of Blake's broken octaves are much closer to the downbeat note that comes immediately after the grace note. Grace-Noted Broken Octave Bass with "Interactional Swing Pulse" - As in category 2 , a swing pulse can be generated form the interaction between left and right hand parts.
The fact that the left-hand part is grace-noted results in it not competing as much with the Interactional Swing Pulse as in the case of the regularly-spaced oom-pahs of category 2. Swinging Broken Octave Bass A. Eubie Blake's "Charleston Rag: One of the earliest Ragtime piano rolls recorded that had a non-oom-pah, broken-octave walking bass line was Eubie Blake's piano roll of "Charleston Rag," copyright August 8, , and recorded as a piano roll in late in New York, NY on Ampico roll E.
However, Blake's walking bass line is not typically regarded as a Boogie Woogie bass line, but rather as a "Reverse-Boogie Bass" 58 figure. That is, Blake plays the lower note of each octave couplet as a grace note , with the 2nd note of each octave pair falling on the down beat, which sounds almost like a progression of unison octaves, rather than being a progression of note pairs in which one note in each pair is in the "swung" syncopated position off of the downbeat that allows for the poly-rhythmic feel, and interplay between left and right hands as heard in Boogie Woogie.
Memories of You " CDs. Interestingly, in the piano roll of "Charleston Rag," Blake plays his " grace-note " broken-octave walking bass line with accents as if they could have been derived from a literal reading George Thomas's " New Orleans Hop Scop Blues ", published in That is, in Thomas's original publication of "New Orleans Hop Scop Blues," the lower note in each octave pair of the swinging broken-octave walking bass was notated as a grace note , suggesting to the uninformed reader that the lower note in each octave couplet was not supposed to be given the same accent as the higher note an octave up that immediately followed.
Thus, anyone who was giving Thomas' sheet music a literal reading, and who had not heard "New Orleans Hop Scop Blues" played the way George Thomas intended could have mistakenly thought that the piece was supposed to be performed in the literal "grace-note" fashion as we hear in Eubie Blake's piano roll of "Charleston Rag," and thus would also lack the swing feel so important to Boogie Woogie and Jazz in general. Since Blake's grace-noted, non-swinging, broken-octave walking bass line would result from a literal reading of the broken-octave bass line in the sheet music of George Thomas's "New Orleans Hop Scop Blues," the possibility that Blake was influenced by the sheet music of "New Orleans Hop Scop Blues" seems plausible.
That is, if east-coast musicians made a literal reading of the grace notes printed in Thomas's sheet music, the rhythm would be consistent with the rhythm heard the following year in Blake's piano roll performance of his "Charleston Rag.
Given the relatively greater technological sophistication of the east coast United States at the time as compared to locations in the west, it is perplexing that it would have taken Blake over 17 years to find a way to document a walking bass line that just happens to sound like a literal rhythmic reading of George Thomas's "New Orleans Hop Scop Blues" sheet music that was published in the prior year of For a further discussion on unbelievable claims made by Eubie Blake, see the section on him below.
Because Blake's grace-noted bass line in Charleston Rag is not a Boogie Woogie bass line, it was instead referred to as a "Reverse Boogie Bass" 58 in by Robert Kimball and William Bolcom in their book, ""Reminiscing with Noble Sissle and Eubie Blake," in which the authors state the following on page And I know it's little Hubie, Em, because of that wobble-wobble in the left hand.
The "trouble" to which the authors refer is the fact that this story conveys how Eubie Blake's mother is said to have discovered that he had been playing at Aggie Shelton's brothel. The feel of the original solo-piano version stands in contrast to the orchestrated version as recorded by Bessie Smith in Like many Boogie Woogie bass figures in orchestrations that came after the s, the Bessie Smith version loses some of its raw power in the urbanized, orchestrated form.
For example, the swinging, broken-octave walking bass loses its percussive distinctiveness because it is more buried in the mix of the Bessie Smith version as compared to instances when this and other Boogie Woogie pieces are performed in their original solo-piano form or on any instrument s that maintains a sense of percussive distinctiveness.
The earliest reported eyewitness account of hearing Boogie Woogie prior to in or near Texas is Lead Belly's account of hearing Boogie Woogie in In reality, there is no Caddo " County.
So this area of Texas could be correctly called Caddo " Country. Therefore, the exact location of Lead Belly's eyewitness account in remains uncertain. However, taken collectively, the Borneman and Harrison quotes place more emphasis on the Texas side of the border. Although he admitted that he based his "Hop Scop Blues" on piano music he heard being performed in East Texas, George Thomas did not specify the date or year when he heard the piano music on which he based his "Hop Scop Blues.
Yet, by considering where the migratory pathway of Lead Belly overlapped with the most probable migratory path of the Thomas family, a geographical area can be derived which I would consider the most probable area where both Lead Belly and George Thomas both could have heard Boogie Woogie prior to Moreover, the Thomas family migration occurred no later than , as George Thomas's sister, Beulah Thomas later known as Sippie Wallace was born in Houston in Also, besides having spent considerable time in Harrison County, Lead Belly was also known to have lived in Bowie County, and spent time in the Texarkana area.
Such travels would have included the section of Texas and Pacific tracks between Marshall and Texarkana. This same section of track is part of the most probable migratory route used by the Thomas family when migrating from the Little Rock, AR area to Houston, TX.
The section of Texas and Pacific track between Marshall and Longview. The section of Texas and Pacific track between Marshall and Texarkana. However, given that Boogie Woogie was being played in Texas in the early s, it is entirely plausible that itinerant musicians could have brought Boogie Woogie to Baltimore prior to Based on census records, biographers Charles Wolfe and Kip Lornell place Lead Belly's birth year as 25 not in , as is printed on Lead Belly's gravestone.
Moreover, as far as I know, the earliest time in his life in which Lead Belly describes being exposed to piano performances that could have been Boogie Woogie was while he was still "a little boy" who "wasn't much knee high to a duck. Lead Belly's statements were made during "Lead Belly's Last Sessions" 87 when he described his experiences with his father on Fannin Street.
He'd lead me all around in Fannin Street, and that's what I like, you know You know I love to see women dance anyhow. And so my father carried me down there. I was a little boy, and I wasn't much knee high to a duck at that time, but I was watching. Sure, your children don't forget nothing. My father'd lead me around by the hand in the daytime, and when he'd put the wagon in the wagon yard When I'd wake up and he'd be gone, it'd run around in my mind.
I was a little boy, too. He's going right back down there where he carried me that day. I say, well, when I get to be a man, I'm going down there, too. 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.
Lead Belly's Development as a Musician. Charles Wolfe and Kip Lornell have written, " By the time he was fourteen, Huddie had won a reputation for his guitar playing and singing, and was much in demand for the sukey jumps and house parties. The fact that Lead Belly had " won a reputation " 25 for musicianship by the time he was 14 indicates that he was likely performing publicly prior to age 14, meaning prior to , based on a birth year of Location of Leigh, Texas.
The teardrop-shaped, red "A" pointer above shows the location of Leigh, Texas. This map was generated by www. Since the Ledbetter family lived in Harrison County when Lead Belly was growing up, the majority of Lead Belly's earliest gigs would have probably been in Harrison County, Texas, such as his regular documented gig in Leigh, Texas.
These venues, including the saloon in or near Leigh, Texas, could have easily had pianos, and thus Lead Belly might have heard Boogie Woogie at these locations in Harrison County, even if these venues did not include the site where Lead Belly first heard Boogie Woogie in Moreover, Lead Belly might very well have heard Boogie Woogie after at one of the venues where he performed, but still prior to the time that he learned to play Boogie Woogie bass figures on his guitar by observing Boogie Woogie players at Fannin Street venues after having moved to Shreveport.
One thing is for certain: The Arklatex region was culturally unified and the state boundary was defined only by a line of longitude, not by a barrier such as a river.
Regardless of where Lead Belly first heard Boogie Woogie in , Boogie Woogie was almost certainly being played on both sides of the Texas-Louisiana state border at that time. Moreover, since there would have been multiple Boogie Woogie players in the Arklatex at the time, the specific site and specific musician from whom Lead Belly first heard Boogie Woogie in was not likely to have been the same musician or specific site where Lead Belly later stood by the piano to learn Boogie Woogie bass figures, which he then emulated on his 6-string guitar.
Leadbelly was among the first to adapt the rolling bass of Boogie Woogie to a guitar. According to census records reviewed by Charles Wolfe and Kip Lornell, Lead Belly was born in 2 5 not as is printed on Lead Belly's gravestone and died in According to "The Story of Boogie Woogie: Silvester, with a special contribution from Denis Harbinson,. In this general area, or in Caddo County, or in Shreveport itself, is where the blues singer and guitarist, Huddie 'Leadbelly' Ledbetter, first heard barrelhouse pianists playing boogie-woogie walking basses in 35 or , depending on source.
That's what I wanted to play on guitar -- that piano bass. I always wanted to play piano tunes. I got it out of the barrelhouses on Fannin Street. Clarence "Pine Top" Smith was not born until June 11, The overall effect was a rolling, rollicking sound that was of great formative influence on Leadbelly, the legendary folk musician from the Shreveport area.
Burks was a member of the so-called Santa Fe Group of itinerant Texas pianists who played Boogie Woogie, and other styles as well. Burks was born until August 7, 89 , so it is virtually certain that Burks was not the first "Pine Top" who Lead Belly observed playing Boogie Woogie bass figures.
For an uncertain period of time, they played together in Dallas. This crossroads was important to the development of blues music in Texas. That Black Snake Moan: Leadbelly could be responsible for having taught Blind Lemon Jefferson to play a walking bass line on Jefferson's guitar. According to Sammy Price, Jefferson called his walking bass line his "booga-rooga.
Leadbelly has indicated that he heard early Boogie Woogie being played on Fannin Street in Shreveport. However, the track road bed is still easily visible as of January of Map of Shreveport's Red Light District. Yellow highlighting indicates the borders of Shreveport's officially recognized Red Light District.
Although not labeled on the map above, Fannin Street is the street on the southeast border of the highlighted triangle above. Common Street forms the northeast border of the highlighted triangle. Map Copyright by John Tennison. Moreover, lumber baron Arthur Temple who controlled Diboll lived in Texarkana and traveled back and forth between Texarkana and Diboll. Stafford is historically important because it was an initial west terminus of the very first railroad in Texas, The Buffalo Bayou, Brazos and Colorado Railroad.
Werner's article on "Railroads": The initial twenty-mile segment from Harrisburg now a part of Houston and Stafford's Point now Stafford opened by September 7, The Buffalo Bayou, Brazos and Colorado was not only the first railroad to operate in Texas, it was the second railroad west of the Mississippi River and the oldest component of the present Southern Pacific.
Since slavery had not been abolished at the time the Buffalo Bayou, Brazos and Colorado Railroad was built, this earliest stretch of Texas railroad was built largely by slave labor. Moreover, prior to the end of the Civil War, slaves' access to pianos was limited.
Consequently, piano music at slave-populated railroad camps associated with the construction of this track would have been limited, if present at all. However, the sound of the early steam locomotives on this line no doubt served as auditory inspiration for music that followed. For example, Lee Ree Sullivan of Texarkana reported to me in a interview that his Boogie Woogie mentors had told him that Boogie Woogie was being played at logging and construction camps along the Texarkana and Northern Railroad later known as the Kansas City Southern Railroad The first 10 miles of the Texarkana and Northern were constructed in , and run northward from Texarkana to the Red River along present-day Highway However, in general, one can visualize a "Boogie Woogie and Blues Gradient" that becomes more intense as one travels from West to East Texas.
The fact that parts of U. Highway 59 are going to become the new Interstate Highway 69 is a fitting metaphor for the libidinal energy associated with Boogie Woogie. The earliest audio recording of which I know that contained an unequivocal Boogie Woogie bass figure is the recording of the " Weary Blues " by Artie Matthews , as performed by the " Louisiana Five " in December of in New York City.
I presume these recordings were made on the same day, but obviously, one of the recordings was made first. Consequently, if the recording with the ID ending in "1" was made first, then technically, it would be the "first" recording with a Boogie Woogie bass figure of which I am aware. The piano in these recordings is presumably being played by Joe Cawley , who was the pianist for The Louisiana Five.
These recordings can be heard online at the Red Hot Jazz Archive. Thus, the February recordings of "The Rocks" and "The Fives" should be regarded as a chronological tie for their use of a Boogie Woogie bass figure. The first sound recording of which I know of George W. While this person is commonly regarded as having been George Thomas, Jr.
According to one website http: However, according to historical accounts, Black Swan Records did not make its first recordings until April, Moreover, these historical accounts indicate that the first recordings of Black Swan Records did not include Fletcher Henderson's "Chime Blues. Allen indicates that he recorded "Chime Blues" in "early Chime Blues features a walking bass, and although Henderson was never known as a boogie-woogie pianist, this must be one of the earliest such solos on record with the possible exception of the mysterious Clay Custer's [A.
It would be interesting to know where Henderson picked up this style! Moreover, on page , Hendersonia states, " Of course, the word, "circa," allows for wiggle room, in that it represents an approximation. Regardless of the dates of audio recordings, an indisputable fact is that Henderson's circa March recording of "Chime Blues" occurred about 8 years after Artie Matthews' sheet-music publication of "The Weary Blues, " and about 7 years after the sheet-music publication of George W.
Regardless of exact recording dates, both "The Rocks" and "Chime Blues" deserve recognition as being among the first audio recordings to use Boogie Woogie broken-octave walking bass lines containing an intrinsic swing-pulse in the left hand part. Moreover, these broken-octave, swung bass lines are qualitatively distinct from the duple-meter feel of the broken-octave bass lines in Joplin's "Pine Apple Rag" and in Boone's "Southern Rag Medley 2. However, since George Thomas notated the swing pulse of his music with grace notes rather than with eighth-note triplets or doted eighth-notes, it seems more likely that Henderson would have modeled a witnessed performance by someone who was playing with an swing-pulse intrinsic to the left hand.
Else Henderson could have ended up with an interpretation that sounded more like Eubie Blake's grace-noted AKA "reverse Boogie Woogie" broken octave bassline as Blake used in his piano roll recording of Blake's "Charleston Rag. Also, both "The Rocks" and "Chime Blues" have rudimentary polyrhythmic interplay between the right and left hands.
If you are curious to hear "Chime Blues," go to http: I cannot guarantee that this link will always be active.
Black Swan Records was the first back-owned record label. The label was founded by Harry Pace, who was from Georgia. Before moving to New York to start his record label, Pace had run a music publishing company in Memphis with W. Fletcher Henderson had worked as a pianist and demonstrator for Handy and Pace's publishing company.
Thus, Henderson's exposure to the published African American music of the day would have almost certainly brought Henderson into contact with Artie Matthews' sheet music for "The Weary Blues" and with George W. Thus, the distribution of sheet music to Memphis, Chicago, and New York is a plausible explanation for how Fletcher Henderson came to use such a bass figure in his "Chime Blues. Jimmy Blythe's "Chicago Stomp: Jones played his "Daddy Blues" and his "Doggone Blues" with a distinctive swing pulse that could have influenced Blythe to impart more of a swing to Blythe's own music.
In addition to using Boogie-Woogie bass figures with some degree of inherent swing, George W. Historian Peter Hanley See Hanley's excellent web article discovered in that Eubie Blake had been untruthful about his age. Despite the early contributions of George W.
Although it is theoretically possible that a Ragtime pianist in Baltimore could have developed Boogie Woogie independently of the barrelhouse origin in East Texas corroborated by multiple sources, Eubie Blake's claim flies in the face of the preponderance of evidence, and thus, deserves our skepticism. The relative geographic discontinuity of Baltimore, MD with the other accounts of the location of early performances of Boogie Woogie is reason to be suspicious.
In particular, Blake's claim is geographically inconsistent with the preponderance of evidence that points towards an East Texas origin for Boogie Woogie. Moreover, and perhaps most suspicious, is that there appears to be no witness other than Eubie Blake who recalls having known or heard of a man named "William Turk.
Based on Peter Hanley's evidence, Blake would have been 63 years old at this time. This book is known to have other questionable claims, such as claiming that Scott Joplin was born in Texarkana, when in fact, the exact birthplace of Scott Joplin is unknown. The earliest reference to a "William Turk" that I have found point back to this book by Blesh and Janis. If anyone knows of any other primary references to or information about William Turk, I would love to hear from them at nonjohn nonjohn.
I have never changed my style of playing in my life, see. You know people say, "Today, you take. You can't tell because they all play alike. From the main entrance, two rows of 14 magnificent oak trees now years old line the walk to the Mississippi River, a quarter mile away, hence the name "Oak Alley".
Joseph Plantation is one of the few fully intact sugar cane plantations in the River Parishes. In addition to the Manor Home, we have numerous outbuildings for you to explore. Several buildings have been moved to their present location from another part of the property, but most remain exactly where they were built.
Take a walk through time as you enjoy a fascinating glimpse into the lives of the many interesting people who have called this plantation "Home. It was second in size and grandeur only to Belle Grove Plantation Home, which suffered a series of disasters, and finally succumbed to fire.
Nottoway was built in by John Hampden Randolph, of Virginia, who amassed a great fortune in sugar. The house has 50 rooms, which were certainly needed, as John Randolph had 11 children. It is said that Nottoway was the first Plantation Home to have a bathroom on the second floo. Opened daily for tours with period dressed guides sharing the French and German heritage of the family, slaves and civil war.
Tours begin daily at 9: Laura is a little different than most of the Louisiana antebellum plantations, in that it is built in the French "Creole" style, rather than in the style of the English or American antebellum homes common throughout the area. While it has the wide veranda that most plantation homes had, the ceilings were not quite as high, and the architectural style is noticeably different.
Norman Marmillion, owner and manager of Laura, "Twenty five years ago, before we knew anything about Laura or her Memoirs, we wanted to save this small place. It was because of those last houses you can see in the back. We have four of the old slave cabins standing. There were once 69 cabins and people lived in those houses until Chalmette Battlefield River Cruise by day View the French Quarter and the Port of New Orleans from the river as the Captain entertains you with a detailed narration of New Orleans landmarks, history, vessel information, and river lore.
The sounds of a lively jazz band fill the air as you enjoy a lavish Creole buffet in elegantly appointed dining rooms. Enjoy a trip into one of the least-altered river swamps in the country. Nearly 70, acres of the Honey Island Swamp is a permanently protected wildlife area. The beauty of nature surrounds you and wildlife abounds Take a tour operated by New Orleans natives, and experience the Honey Island Swamp with an authentic, safe, personal, and hands-on tour.
Journey with us by boat, Cajun-style, for a 1 hour 45 minute tour through the heart of Southern Louisiana's swamplands. Experience real-life adventure for the whole family from the comfort of our swamp boats. Tour back into our privately owned meandering bayous and take a look into the past.
View moss draped cypress trees, fascinating plant life and the creatures who make their homes here. Tours By Isabelle is the oldest locally owned and family run New Orleans tour company, providing first class, small scale, personalized service since ! View in amazement the winding Mississippi as you proceed to the beautiful bayous landing for a closer look at the abundant wildlife.
Did you know about all the civil war fortifications located in southern Louisiana? Take this exclusive tour and see civil war forts and other fortifications that protected the city during the s and s. This exciting package combines all the sites of the New Orleans Bayou Tour with the addition for a swamp tour in the authentic Cajun village of Kraemer, Louisiana.
After the flight you'll hop on a boat for a quiet ride into the heart of Louisiana swampland. Get close to wildlife common to this are while learning the intricacies of Cajun life in the swamp. Flying over Louisiana's wetlands for over fifty years, we have witnessed the devastating loss of one of our greatest resources.
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Here visitors can find a quiet place in a beautiful park setting away from the hustle and bustle of the city. Dogs are welcome to take part in the fun, but please remember to keep them on a leash. The Park features numerous live oak trees, lagoons, expansive green space and a 1. The Museum's holdings include Southern artworks from Washington, D.
Collections include The Roger H. Make plans now to spend an unforgettable Christmas in New Orleans. Exquisite sights, wonderful Creole food, attractive hotel rates, and jazz concerts abound. It's all here during Christmas New Orleans Style, a month-long celebration that offers long-treasured Creole traditions spiced with 21st-century fun.
New Orleans celebrates the holiday season like no other place. Many of New Orleans' finest restaurants feature special, elegant Reveillon dinners, consisting of four and five course prix fixe menus. Start the season off right by finding the perfect gifts for family and friends — you might even find a little something for yourself too.
Christmas Shopping in New Orleans is an absolute treat —especially since New Orleans was recently voted the best place for antique and vintage shopping! Tour the magnificent Celebration in the Oaks at City Park, a festive display of nearly two million lights decorating one-hundred-year-old oak trees. Ride a horse-drawn carriage through the park or travel by foot or car. Literally hundreds of special events, free music concerts, culinary and cultural happenings, and so much more.
Featuring an endless amount of music, succulent local and regional delicacies, one-of-a-kind handmade arts and crafts, second line parades and so much more — there is something for everyone at Jazz Fest!
The event has showcased most of the great artists of New Orleans and Louisiana of the last half century and has always blended in a wide mix of internationally renowned guests. When Essence magazine searched for a home for an annual music festival to sponsor, they naturally fell on New Orleans. Many of the top-sellers in the African American — and crossover — music scene have been drawn to the fest like moths to a flame.
EssenceFest also gives African American artists, writers, craftsmen, culinary artists, businesspeople and others a chance to show and sell their wares. Streets in the Central Business District temporarily become outdoor markets, with booths featuring art, books, food, business, educational information and more. Also, at the Ernest N. Morial New Orleans Convention Center, the Essence Marketplace features a distinctive exhibit of quality fine art and fine crafts reflective of the rich cultural heritage developed throughout the African Diaspora.
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Satchmo SummerFest started out to be a one-time salute in to commemorate Louis Armstrong's th anniversary and reaffirm his vital role in the development of American musical culture. Nearly all of the participating musicians are New Orleans-based. The award-winning festival is a favorite of locals and tourists alike and is the largest free music festival in the South. The Allstate Sugar Bowl, born in the depths of the Great Depression, has survived many difficulties, including a World War and a devastating hurricane, and still ranks as one of the most uniquely successful amateur athletic achievements in the history of American sports.
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