BLACK ROCKERS UNITED

WE ROCK TOGETHER. BLACK ROCK MATTERS.

       

BLUES 

☆#BRU Spotlight ☆

Sister Rosetta Tharpe pioneered Black blues and rock:

a great multi-instrumentalist who played with her family,

and came to Chicago from the Deep South.

Her performances were sensational, controversial!

Rosetta Tharpe was the first gospel act on Decca Records

and unprecedented in her crossover impact.

"Strange Things Happening Everyday" was recorded

with partner-pianist Marie Knight, a famous

gospel blues hit on the Billboard charts.

Rock would not exist without Rosetta Tharpe.

Chuck Berry, "The Father of Rock 'n Roll" was

musical revolution (official website)!

☆ #BRU Spotlight ☆

He played blues for his first stage

performance as a Saint Louis, MO

high school musician. The song?

Jay McShann's "Confessin' the Blues".

Berry performed songs from a lifelong hero,

Nat King Cole and Muddy Waters with pride.

In fact, Muddy Waters introduced him to Chess Records

and Chuck Berry signed a contract then!

Songs "Maybellene" and "Wee Wee Hours"

still rock jukeboxes across the WORLD.

Berry fostered a new style with tried 'n true foundation.

☆ #BRU Spotlight ☆

Big Mama's story started in Montgomery, Alabama:

a city known for proud Black heritage in every form we exist.

Willie Mae was a minister's daughter, so she

spent her childhood as a performing youth

with five other siblings (B-L-U-E-S.com)

A brassy and lovely voice like Big Mama's

had a future beyond Alabama church walls.

Though those pre-travelling years

formatively influenced what she knew.

Harmonica and percussion, musicality were Big Mama's natural talents.

Big Mama Thornton, only 14 years and prepared to rock the globe.

She gained rhythm-and-blues tour experience for the next eight years.

Sammy Green's Hot Harlem Revue Band stopped in Houston,

then moved on while Big Mama's career rooted there.

Fate and hard work linked her with Don Robey, a local and

Peacock Records label owner! (B-L-U-E-S.com)

Robey was a fellow Black entrepreneur in 1948.

They spotted Thornton's great performance at the

Houston El Dorado Ballroom, much like Tamar-kali's

recognition of Honeychild Coleman, or Son House's

endearing supervision over younger blues players.

"The 'rado" became safe for all Black Texans, as a dance hall

sanctuary amidst a 1940's Jim Crow landscape (The Houston Review).

Yes, Black-owned record companies and successful musicians

critically determined blues', metal and rock's potential. We thank them.

Big Mama signed with Peacock's company in 1951.

'Hound Dog' is undeniably hers, and originally released by Black industry.

Elvis', white America's racism via appropriation and improper licensure

side-stepped Big Mama Thornton. How do you erase impact?

Monetary status doesn't measure our worth.

But theft is theft. $500 is unfair in comparison to $4.3 billion

('Big Mama' Thornton and Reparations, Workers.org).

Big Mama performed like every day could be the last.

She KILLED it with Buddy Guy, Muddy Waters' Blues Band,

and so much more.

Each lovable aspect of blues can be tied to her.

Elias Bates-McDaniels' Mississippi/Louisiana

childhood was hard, bursting with sound.

He moved to Chicago ca. 1935

and learned violin for 12 years from

knowledgeable Baptist Professor O.W. Frederick.

Bo Diddley transposed his bow movements

to finger-picking guitar.

Lucille was his first one, a Harmony acoustic guitar

named after the sister who bought it for Diddley.

Elvis Presley learned from Bo, Big Mama, everyone before him.

Peggy Jones lit metaphorical flame alongside Diddley,

countless and unforgettable performances:

"Lady Bo" and a GREAT artist herself.

Where would blues or rock be without Bo Diddley?

Who's next? The shock rock champion Screamin' Jay Hawkins.

☆BRU Spotlight ☆

He  was an R&B/blues-soul star!

They were born in Cleveland, OH.

He performed "I Put A Spell On You"

(which was banned in the 1950's),

and Hawkins totally meant it!

"I am the beginning. I am the originator." (WSJ)

"Little Richard" (Richard Wayne Penniman) grew up in

Macon, Georgia in a religious family.

He founded plus sang with the Tiny Tots Quartet,

then left home by 13.

He played with vaudeville artists

like B. Brown And His Orchestra,

who gave Little Richard that stage name.

"Tutti Frutti" debuted in 1955:

"the song that started it all".

Piano made blues in its percussion-string composition.

Little Richard rocked in every way:

as a musician, as themselves and

a Black person being free!

They were an irreplaceable musician.

Tina Turner was born Anna Mae Bullock to

Richard and Zelma, two sharecroppers

who lived north of Memphis.

Anna Mae's journey through blues, R&B, rock

mirrored the changing times.

She wanted freedom beyond working for "the man".

The future Tina Turner was so in-demand

that they frequently joined Bootsie

 Whitelaw and His String Band.

☆ #BRU Spotlight ☆

And this headstrong path led her to Ike Turner.

Buddy Miles truly took artistic development and

performance to great heights.

He was immersed in professional music by 10 years old.

Miles went on his travelling way with a drum kit and bigger dreams,

skilled like no other and ready to rock everyone who heard him!

☆ #BRU Spotlight ☆

Jimi Hendrix and Buddy Miles were blues enthusiasts from the

beginning to end of their lives.

Blues created this scene, everything you jam to today.

BRU plans a podcast about blues' roots: a rich history

from Central-West Africa to Barbara Lynn,

Howlin' Wolf and us in 2020.

Lord Bishop Rocks' #BRUTalk championed his pride

in being a Black blues-rock artist today.

"Everything comes from the blues.

Why am I running away from my music ancestors?

Playing a sound that is the reason I'm playing rock and roll now."

Please visit BlackPast.org and more links below this for more resources.

Respect the roots!

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HISTORY & MEDIA

African-American Song

Before Hendrix, Elvis and Chuck Berry, There Was Sister Rosetta Tharpe (Guitar World, 4-22-19)

BlackPast: Blues

Dockery Farms: Blues

Gnawa with N. Kali

I Am The Blues - a film about the last living blues legends

The Mississippi Blues Trail

Music of the Bolewa (Hausa, Nigeria) People