Welcome to Orientation
and Blues University
“Rock Music Is Rhythm and Blues”
The Real Rhythm and Blues Story
part of R&B history has been written under an Alan Freed surrogate name
for rhythm and blues: rock and roll.
Rhythm and blues (R&B) music grew out of blues and jazz beginning in the 1930s. In the prior decade
(1920s) Ralph Peer gave blues music, recorded by negroes, the promotional name Race Music; and began advertising it widely
as such in entertainment publications. Advertisements for "Race Music” openly identified authentic negro
recording artists; allowing "mail-order" buyers to choose between white minstrel show style imitators. Soon the
name Race Music engulfed nearly all negro music advertising. Internally among negroes,
the names blues, gospel, jazz, swing, rhythm, etc were used as music descriptors. In the 1930s Jimmy Lunceford's great jazz band used the mantra, "Rhythm
Is Our Business." By the 1940s popular negro music developed
a mixture of blues and uptempo backbeat-jazz. Lionel Hampton, The Ink Spots, Arthur Crudup, Sister Rosetta Tharpe, Roy Brown
and Louis Jordan were among its leaders. Collectively, rhythmic blues music magnetized and attracted many more fans from other races and cultures.
The music industry's promotional name of "Race Music" began to appear
obsolete. Following WWII the art form advertised as "Race Music"
acquired a new promotional name. At first, RCA Records informally began using the term, "blues and rhythm"
to describe popular negro music. Billboard magazine eventually reversed the term to "rhythm and blues" and the name
stuck. Negro culture and the music industry's promotion campaign began traveling a new concourse.
By the early 1950’s,
Alan Freed, a northern American white radio disc jockey, joined the already powerful national radio movement that was helping
to popularize rhythm and blues music. Some disc jockeys that preceded Freed included Ralph Cooper and Al Benson in Chicago;
Gene Nobles and John Richbourg in Nashville; Nat D. Williams in Memphis; Dick Hugg and Art Laboe in Los Angeles; Tommy Smalls
in New York City; and Hal Jackson in Washington, DC. Alan Freed continued to call negro music "blues and rhythm,"
however he creatively added a surrogate identity to the music. Freed called blues and rhythm, "rock and roll.” Freed’s show business skills and
passion helped him to become America's most famous rhythm and blues broadcaster. He combined radio with Hollywood films to
successfully build a national rhythm and blues following among negroes and whites, especially large numbers of white teenagers.
Rock and Roll is Rhythm and Blues
The Magnificent Gift of Rhythm and
people (negro in Latin) had created rhythm and blues music
while they struggled valiantly for survival under repressive political, economic and social conditions. Rhythm and blues
hit records and a new generation of 1950s artists such as Ruth Brown, Fats Domino, Bill Haley, Chuck Berry, Pat Boone, Elvis
Presley, and others, served as priceless negro cultural representatives. Yet, almost immediately, the legacy of American white
supremacy separated from black people a major portion of their own cultural creation; rhythm and blues music, that had crossed
racial lines among whites. In the 1950s
African Americans did not hold equal rights in America and were treated less than human; and often those who identified with
At the height of Alan Freed’s rhythm and blues popularity (late 1950s),
he was politically, economically and socially destroyed in public by white supremacy forces. Freed died in 1965! The "origin”
of Freed’s popular rhythm and blues surrogate name, “rock and roll,” that he appropriated from R&B songwriters
and records was re-written by powerful music industry forces. In the rewrite of rhythm and blues history, rock and roll music
was given a false birth-story; independent of both rhythm and blues and negroes. Overtime both names survived but as separate
genres: rhythm and blues and rock and roll.
of the name that was used, rhythm and blues or rock music, the performance art form itself
continued to be adopted by people around the world. Over the course of time, many diverse executives, songwriters, artists,
musicians, producers and related entrepreneurs have made invaluable contributions to all humanity through the rhythm
and blues musical expression; a magnificent African American cultural gift to the world. In recognition and celebration,
rock and roll music is rhythm and blues.
Rock Music is Rhythm and Blues
Stills - Rock Music Legend
"Well, what I’m appreciative
of is that somehow...that tape [of my young guitar style] managed to survive...The second thing I’m grateful for is
the records that I got to listen to. I
mean, I hadn’t developed a blues style yet. It was just finger-picking at first, but I played some R&B guitar ...
and I’m grateful to Sun House and Blind Willie McTell, and...you know, Elmore James. I couldn't wait to get an
electrified guitar so I could get that thing where you incorporate the amplifier into the music that you are making. Couldn't
wait. And so I mean, you know, we all
come from the same tree, all of us, and the three English boys, you know, Jeff Beck and Jimmy Paige and Eric Clapton, the
Surrey boys, I call them. We were all listening to the same records at the same point in life. So that’s where all this
stuff comes from.
The Tavis Smiley Show, April 5, 2013
http://www.pbs.org/wnet/tavissmiley/interviews/musician-stephen-stills/ “@10:00 - 11:58”
Keith Richards, Rock
Music Legend (The Rolling Stones)
The blues is the basic backbone of just about every form of popular
music there is in this [20th] century. Chicago has produced, I mean, everybody that turned me on; I must say those guys, Howlin
Wolf, Muddy and John Lee, the greats of gents. I always got the feeling that they looked upon [The Rolling Stones] us as the
little seeds they planted...that come home.
Record Row (documentary of major Chicago independent record labels) @10:14
Culture Masters: Blues to Rhythm and Blues
A Rhythm and Blues Learning Tool in Each Home
Learn Rhythm and Blues at Your Own Pace
Rhythm and Blues
in the 1940s and 1950s
Whites Embrace Rhythm and Blues - 1950s
Rhythm and Blues Today
About RBU - click
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