Yes today we begin to take a look at America’s Music Legends HERE! See if you can identify them and share this with others!
Yes it finally happened this weekend in Jacksonville at Bolles School where Gram and I were classmates!
Shep and Bill College, who played in Gram’s Bolles band were there to honor him along with Ellis Zahra, who was one of the original members of the Bolles Centurions that Gram organized at Bolles!
I was honoured to have Gene Owen and his wife from Winter Haven who along with others in Winter Haven have started the Deery Down Project which is where Gram played in his first band. We all learned so much from Gene about Gram.
Are you aware that Gram was close friends of Peter Fonda, Jack Nicholson and Dennis Hopper? Are you also aware that Peter had wanted Gram to play the lead role at one time in Easy Rider?
Gene also told us that Mick Jagger was intensely jealous of Gram when especially beautiful young ladies were around because Gram became the center of attention not Mick!
Also THANK YOUs to the Bolles staff especially KC and Jan who were so gracious to Ron and myself!
The Bolles staff videoed the ceremony which hopefully will be up next!
Well after both Bob Kealing, best selling biographer of Gram, and Bolles grad Michael Rothschild were unable to emcee it has fallen to ME to step in!
I knew Gram fairly well as he and I both served on the Bolles Bugle, the school paper. Gram fittingly was Literary Editor and if memory serves me at all I was either News Editor or Ad Director.
Gram was one heck of a poet! Fortunately Bolles has found one of his poems!
I distinctly remember Gram inviting several of us to a secluded area in the main building where he would have guitar in hand. He wanted to test a new song he wrote on us. If only we had today’s modern technology we could have recorded the song as it was being played and even videoed Gram!
Please consider coming to the Induction Ceremony at Bolles on Saturday October 10, 2015 at 4PM. Several Gram groups are making presentations: Winter Haven and Waycross. Both of these cities played a major role in Gram’s life.
Here is the Facebook Event Page. It is FREE and open to the public.
In the previous post we learned about SPIRITUALS and how RAPP originated from these SPIRITUALS .
One of the aspects of these spirituals was “call and response” which even influenced white camp meetings which many slaves were actually encouraged to attend.
CALL and HOLLERS became the origin of primitive BLUES and were intensely personal. Where spirituals were associated with slavery, BLUES was associated with emancipation.
BLUES referred to leisure time, small individual farms with solitude, need for money, chain gangs, love gone wrong, liquor, prostitution, gambling, work or lack of it and murder.
The BLUES used more of American language and many of the performers were able to be more mobile as opposed to times of slavery. However they were still considered by the majority of whites as “outcasts” and even among other blacks playing the Devil’s music.
The GUITAR used in the BLUES had a deep tone and the strings greatly resonated. It was used to provide harmony, rhythm and melody. Robert Johnson perfected the “bottleneck” style as seen here.
Other instruments used in the BLUES were the HARMONICA which was cheap and portable. Sonny Terry was an innovator of the HARMONICA. The JUG was the BLUES version of the tuba. WASHBOARDS were used in the rhythm section and when you inverted it and added a broomstick you had a passable BASS.
The songs associated with BLUES were mostly about fields, moving cotton bales, prison and railroads like “John Henry”.
Yes everything is confirmed for Gram Parson’s Induction Ceremony at Bolles School at 4pm on SATURDAY October 10, 2015!
I have asked several Gram Parson groups to prepare slideshows of their events honoring Gram at both Waycross, GA with Billy Ray Herrin and Winter Haven with Anita Strang. Hopefully they will have a representative from each group come to do this in person.
Still do not have confirmation Bob can emcee the Induction. If not him then possible our Board of Advisor Michael Rothschild who is also a Bolles graduate.
Stay tuned as more details develop!
As I mentioned in previous post most African American spirituals were code for escaping slavery.
Yes RAPP did not originate in the 20th century and not in LA. Instead was in the 1840s and it was lower Mississippi.
The slaves would sing their African American spirituals as they worked the cotton fields. What they were really doing was sending code across the fields for when the Underground Railroad was going to meet that night!
Here is another interesting historical event concerning these spirituals. In 1862 a group of slaves in South Carolina were jailed for singing We’ll Soon Be Free.
These spirituals were hard to put into print because they really relied on vocal delivery; communal singing, which needed closely knit group with lots of interaction; a choral leader and were greatly improvised with each performance. Also they relied on NO musical instruments!
Next post how BLUES developed from the spirituals.
Today’s post looks at the influence the slaves had on creating GOSPEL music in America.
As we know most of the slaves came into the South through either Charleston, SC or New Orleans, LA through its famous Congo Square.
The first collection of African American spirituals in book form occurred in 1867.
Contrary to what you might have heard or learned African American spirituals were not always about the “hereafter”. In fact, many of the songs you are probably acquainted with referred to slavery and the road to freedom.
Are you aware that CANAAN was really CANADA? The word HEADEN referred to the North? STEAL AWAY referred to ESCAPE? DE LORD to the YANKEES? ISRAELITES were SLAVES? PHARAOH the SLAVE OWNER? EGYPT was the SOUTH?
Finally GO DOWN TO DE LONESOME VALLEY was really a SECRET MEETING?
Next post I will share with you where RAPP really originated!
In addition to BALLADS and FOLK songs we must not forget the NATIVE AMERICAN music that the pioneers found already in America.
If you have listen to their music you might find it strange to your ears like the pioneers did. They predominantly used the FIVE NOTE system. They also were mostly vocal using DRUMS, RATTLES, WHISTLES and FLUTES. The vocal sounds were simple.
Their songs were concrete, used to accomplish a definite purpose and very personal. They would never have considered selling them but did give them as gifts.
The themes of their songs varied but included: healing, war, work, honoring warriors, hunting and contests. They were imbued with magical power. Native Americans believed that all things had spirits.
Next we look at another group of pioneers who explored further west – the Spaniards.
Of course the SCOTCH-IRISH were not the only source of BALLADS. In the Southwest the SPANISH and MEXICANS influenced these BALLADS leading to TEX-MEX. The French with their influence in Louisiana bayous gave us ZYDECO and CAJUN music.
The slaves brought from Africa gave us BLACK GOSPEL after their conversion to Christianity and also the BLUES. They also gave us the BANJAR which became the BANJO used in BLUEGRASS and COUNTRY and later VAUDEVILLE.
With America becoming a “melting pot” every nationality that came here brought their BALLADS, FOLK SONGS and favorite musical instruments.
Yes BALLADS and FOLK songs that began ORALLY eventually came into print in Colonial America during our American Revolution and continued with the expansion to the West according to Daniel Kingman’s American Music.
One of the primary sources of BALLADS came from the SCOTCH-IRISH tradition and made its way into the Appalachian mountains where I live. Appalachian music in addition to voice featured the FIDDLE for dancing and the GUITAR, BANJO and DULCIMER for BALLADS and FOLK songs.
The FIDDLE also made its way west where white boatmen on the Mississippi River used it for dancing. Most famous was ZYDECO and CAJUN.
The FIDDLE made its way North too; as Kingman points out these TUNES were more likely to follow the PRINTED words than the ORAL tradition of the South.