A week or so back I promised to introduce you to some of the music that predated what we call rock n roll but which was clearly an influence. But before we go there we’ll enjoy a slight digression. The world has changed fundamentally in so many ways, and whereas change has always been just about the first rule of human history, the pace of change has undoubtedly accelerated. When I talk about obscure music I am thinking back to my younger days. Mainstream popular radio in Britain played a pretty narrow range of music be it the BBC or even the pirate stations that challenged it and which generally played contemporary pop and rock without much thought to the earlier music that had helped create the new sounds.
Britain was cocooned in its own world, and popular culture, both film and music, was ahistorical in the sense that it was regarded as disposable; there would always be new sounds and they would make old music redundant. Only the likes of Bach and Mozart were of long-lasting importance. The BBC certainly viewed popular culture in this way and was guilty of wiping all sorts of taped output (the tape itself being regarded as more valuable than its contents) so that many individual dramas as well as series and sitcoms have been lost to us. A school friend of mine though had an older brother who subscribed to a postal record library and at any one time had any manner of old blues and country music. I realised there was more to life than the current Top Twenty.
But it was not easy. Once I got to London I occasionally found recherche shops and market stalls interested in that older material and the odd gem of a local radio programme. But now we have the internet and in particular YouTube and Amazon where so much of that once obscure music can be found. It’s wonderful in its way but new generations will never know the thrill of finally tracking down some old cajun or swamp rock record in a flea market off the Charing Cross Road.
Digression over. Musically today we’ll concentrate on boogie woogie the piano music my better half loves as well; she suggested I started off with a couple of tracks of that. They demonstrate that the beat, the rhythm, certainly didn’t start with the white rock n roll legends of the mid to late 1950s. The first track is from one of the classic boogie pianists and dates right back to 1939!
The second is much closer to more familiar music:
But both are really hard driving but perfectly balanced pieces of good rocking music.
By Ian Craine