like rock ‘n’ roll. In fact, “Rock ‘n’ Roll was not a new type of music at all but a newaudience for a type of music that had existed for some years.”
Blues in the 40s and early 50s
There were two main branches of blues in the 40sand early 50s - the earthier country blues style of southern musicians such as Muddy Waters andHowlin’ Wolf who had converged on northerncities and the City Blues from Kansas City and StLouis characterised by its greater emphasis onentertainment and dancing and. This City Blues, orRhythm and Blues as it came to be known, wasarguably the most important influence on rock ‘n’roll. R‘n’B performers such as Big Joe Turner, Louis Jordan and Fats Domino played music with a strong backbeat, bass riffs and tenor saxsolos which had much more energy than the mainstream pop of tin pan alley and thusappealed greatly to white teenagers.A key recording is
Jackie Brenston’s “Rocket ‘88”
an R&B hit from
. Thegood time feel and celebration of the motor car became the stuff of
songs, while the up-tempo swing rhythm bass riff (on a 12-bar pattern) and poundingpiano exemplify the stylistic link between this R&B and what was soon to becomerock’n’roll.
KEY R’n’B (also called jump blues) ARTISTS & RECORDINGS
ARTIST KEY RECORDINGS RECORDINGDATE
Jackie Brenston Rocket 88 1951Louis Jordan Choo-Choo Ch Boogie 1946Big Joe Turner Shake Rattle & Roll 1954
R ‘n’ B and Country
Bill Haley, a country singer incorporated these ingredientsinto his style arriving at the sound heard on his hits “Shake,Rattle and Roll” and “Rock Around the Clock”. The latterwas a seminal record in the history of rock and roll and itsuse in the film “Blackboard Jungle” did much to establishthe association between R’n’R and teenage rebellion.This R’n’B/Country combination can also be heard on theearly records of Elvis Presley – check out “That’s Alright”from 1954.So, really, Black R’n’R was, in essence Rhythm and Blues with a new white audience(Little Richard, Chuck Berry) and White R’n’R was a fusion of blues and country typifiedby the ‘Rockabilly” sound of Elvis, Carl Perkins and Jerry Lee Lewis.
Louis Jordan and bandBill Hailey & The Comets