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Re: West Coast Jazz

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  • Martin
    My two-cents about Lu Watters and the Yerba Buena... There is no doubt this band was at the vanguard of the revivalist movement. By recreating (or imitating)
    Message 1 of 29 , Oct 4, 2006
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      My two-cents about Lu Watters and the Yerba Buena...

      There is no doubt this band was at the vanguard of the revivalist
      movement. By recreating (or imitating) Oliver's CJB, this group made way
      for the numerous bands and festivals that still dot the landscapes of
      the U.S., the U.K. and Europe.

      This was a separate though parallel movement to the reserection and
      diafication of Kid Rena, Bunk Johnson, George Lewis, Kid Ory, Sidney
      Bechet, et al.

      I collected YBJB recordings from the early 1950's when GTJ issued a
      three-lp YBJB Story, and a 2-record Turk Murphy Story. They also issued
      an extended 45 rpm recording (air check) of the YBJB from 1942 after Lu
      and Scobey were in the armed forces and a young, soon-to-die trumpet
      player held down that chair. His name was Benny Strickler, and he was
      really fine. His melodic sense and behind-the-beat delivery were unusual
      and much different from Lu or Bob Scobey. The tunes were Fidgety Feet,
      Dippermouth, Jazzin Babies and Kansas City Stomps. I don't know if GTJ
      included these sides in the YBJB boxed set, or if they have ever been
      reissued, but they deserve to be.
    • bernard mills
      RE Turk Murphy/Lu Watters..Many thanks for all the interest and Gen. I am a Brit coming to Trad Jazz in the early 50 s Cut my teeth on Humph Lyttleton and
      Message 2 of 29 , Oct 5, 2006
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        RE Turk Murphy/Lu Watters..Many thanks for all the interest and Gen. I am a Brit coming to Trad Jazz in the early 50's Cut my teeth on Humph Lyttleton and progressed onwards. I remember Turk Murphy and his Jazz with great affection..Once again Cheers..Thanks a lot !!

        "David N. Lewis" <udtv@...> wrote: I must confess, like Dave, I am completely mystified by this thread.
        Lu Watters and the Yerba Buena are absolutely legendary - among the
        VERY best of the revival groups, if not THE best.

        I probably play their Mercury 78 of their recording of "Strut That
        Thing" as often as any traditional jazz record I own. It kicks. If
        you want to experience the spirit of the city of San Francisco before
        its landscape became dominated by corporate monoliths, then the Yerba
        Buena is a must.

        I also have the four volumes of reissues on Good Time Jazz of Lu
        Watters on single disc - not the box. I really like Volume 4, "On the
        Air" which is taken from transcription service recordings averaging 2-
        3 minutes in length. You can put that thing on auto repeat and play
        it for days...

        They may not belong to the time period proscribed by redhotjazz.com,
        but boy could the Yerba Buena rock the house.

        Uncle Dave Lewis

        --- In RedHotJazz@yahoogroups.com, David Richoux <tubaman@...> wrote:
        >
        > Are you ALL suffering from irony deficiency?
        >
        > that was maybe a somewhat lame attempt at humor - I have been
        playing
        > in jazz bands in the Bay Area for 30+ years and hosted a jazz
        radio
        > show for 23 years. I have played Earthquake McGoon's and worked
        with
        > many of the members of Turk's band (and even a few survivors of
        YBJB!)
        >
        > anyway,
        >
        > Dave Richoux
        > On Oct 3, 2006, at 12:41 PM, Gary wrote:
        >
        > > --- In RedHotJazz@yahoogroups.com, David Richoux <tubaman@> wrote:
        > >>
        > >> Weren't they the ones who tried to recreate the music of Lewis
        > >> Harmstrong and the the Kansas City Hot 8?
        > >>
        > >> Dave Richoux
        > >> On Oct 3, 2006, at 9:09 AM, millsbernard wrote:
        > >>
        > >>> Anybody know anything of Turk Murphy Yerba Bueno Jazz Band..and
        > > Lou
        > >>> Watters?
        > >
        > > Turk Murphy and his Yerba Buena Jazz Band played in San Francisco.
        > > Recording under the name of Lu Watters. I have 2 10" Lp records
        > > in my collection recorded in the early 1950s
        > >
        > > Gary
        > >>>
        > >>>
        > >>>
        >






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      • Robert Greenwood
        Not that I really want to promote the music of this rather leaden ensemble, but subscribers in the UK who live anywhere near a branch of Fopp may like to know
        Message 3 of 29 , Oct 5, 2006
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          Not that I really want to promote the music of this rather leaden
          ensemble, but subscribers in the UK who live anywhere near a branch of
          Fopp may like to know that I have glimpsed in the Tottenham Court Road
          branch of that outlet copies of the GTJ boxed set of the Lu Watters
          YBJB for a mere fifteen quid. I personally wasn't tempted. They also
          have the GTJ issue of the recordings made by Watters with Bunk Johnson
          for three pounds. Now that I would recommend, although the issue on
          Document is preferable.
          Robert Greenwood
        • Howard Rye
          ... Mike Meddings says: BTW, on the Red Hot discussion board, the piano roll of Soap Suds for Capitol is definitely played by JRM. This has been confirmed by
          Message 4 of 29 , Oct 5, 2006
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            on 4/10/06 16:57, Mordechai Litzman at folke613@... wrote:

            > After Turk Murphy's death a foundation was set up to preserve his legacy. I
            > have a couple of CDs from the San Fransisco Traditional Jazz Foundation with
            > early Turk material from 1937-1947 which are very enjoyable.
            > At the end of vol 2 ((SFTJF 106) is a bonus: four piano recordings with Jelly
            > Roll Morton. Two are from 1938, a third is a hitherto unknown piano roll of
            > the Pearls from 1924, but the fourth recording is what puzzles me. This is a
            > piano roll that was discovered in 1999 which came without a label. The song is
            > "Soap Suds" (Fickle Fay Creep). Several experts identify this recording as
            > being played by Jelly himself. After listening to it I don't believe it is
            > Jelly at all, especially since the left hand playing is poor and unlike Jelly.
            > Would be interested to know if somebody concurs or has information or
            > knowledge of this piano roll.

            Mike Meddings says:

            BTW, on the Red Hot discussion board, the piano roll of "Soap Suds" for
            Capitol is definitely played by JRM.

            This has been confirmed by Jim Dapogny, Larry Gushee, Mike Montgomery and
            Frank Himpsl. See:

            http://www.doctorjazz.co.uk/page7.html#capitol

            Haven't yet looked at it myself but I can't see how any of those named can
            possibly come nearer to proof than to say that they believe it is JRM!



            Howard Rye, 20 Coppermill Lane, London, England, E17 7HB
            howard@...
            Tel/FAX: +44 20 8521 1098
          • Howard Rye
            ... It d be interesting to know whether there is any literature on the point, but I suspect that many of the pioneers of revivalism in France and Britain would
            Message 5 of 29 , Oct 5, 2006
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              on 4/10/06 23:29, Martin at martin@... wrote:

              > There is no doubt this band was at the vanguard of the revivalist
              > movement. By recreating (or imitating) Oliver's CJB, this group made way
              > for the numerous bands and festivals that still dot the landscapes of
              > the U.S., the U.K. and Europe.

              It'd be interesting to know whether there is any literature on the point,
              but I suspect that many of the pioneers of revivalism in France and Britain
              would indignantly repudiate any suggestion that they needed or used Lu
              Watters as an intermediary between the creators and their own recreations,
              or that he was in their vanguard.

              It is possible (just) that George Webb's band had somewhow contrived to hear
              Yerba Buena records, though I doubt much space was available for records
              from Californian private labels on the convoys, but Claude Luter and his
              mates across the Manche certainly cannot have known Lu Watters existed.

              In short, whatever Watters's pioneering role in the States, I think the
              Europeans did their own pioneering here.

              Following this line of thought at another tangent, many on this list will
              have heard Delmark's recent issue of the 'lost' Frank Melrose session of
              1939 or 1940. For my part I was disappointed at how "revivalist" it was.
              This was really Pete Daley's band and it owes much more to the inspiraions
              of Daley's later work that Kansas City Frank's earlier work. Daley, like
              Watters, was a graduate of minor-league dance bands in the very latest 20s
              (which brings him on topic here?) and there is a trend here.

              Passing thought: Daley was clearly unable to make up his mind how to spell
              his own name. If you prefer Dailey, fine. He used that too, also Daily.
              Let's not discuss it.

              Howard Rye, 20 Coppermill Lane, London, England, E17 7HB
              howard@...
              Tel/FAX: +44 20 8521 1098
            • bernard mills
              Hi Rob! Don t agree with the Leaden ensemble bit ...but is the boxed set 78s? Or what? And where in Tottenham Court Road is the outlet and...Whats the name?
              Message 6 of 29 , Oct 5, 2006
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                Hi Rob! Don't agree with the 'Leaden ensemble' bit ...but is the boxed set 78s? Or what? And where in Tottenham Court Road is the outlet and...Whats the name? I'm a Brit in the Midlands Cheers.. Sorryjust re-read its Fopps....Ta a lot...Regards

                Robert Greenwood <robertgreenwood_54uk@...> wrote: Not that I really want to promote the music of this rather leaden
                ensemble, but subscribers in the UK who live anywhere near a branch of
                Fopp may like to know that I have glimpsed in the Tottenham Court Road
                branch of that outlet copies of the GTJ boxed set of the Lu Watters
                YBJB for a mere fifteen quid. I personally wasn't tempted. They also
                have the GTJ issue of the recordings made by Watters with Bunk Johnson
                for three pounds. Now that I would recommend, although the issue on
                Document is preferable.
                Robert Greenwood






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              • David W. Littlefield
                ... The 2-beat nature of the West Coast style makes it seem leaden to folks who prefer/respond more to the 4=beat swing style of the Condonites. It s
                Message 7 of 29 , Oct 5, 2006
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                  At 05:04 PM 10/05/06 +0100, you wrote:
                  >Hi Rob! Don't agree with the 'Leaden ensemble' bit
                  >
                  >Robert Greenwood <robertgreenwood_54uk@...> wrote:
                  > this rather leaden ensemble
                  >Robert Greenwood
                  >

                  The 2-beat nature of the West Coast style makes it seem "leaden" to folks
                  who prefer/respond more to the 4=beat swing style of the Condonites. It's
                  brighter, happier feel makes the body move very differently than the
                  driving 4-beat, and the banjo and raggy piano appeal to a broader, and, I
                  suspect, less sophisticated, audience than 4-beat jazz, as does the body of
                  20s pop and novelty tunes in the repertoire.

                  My basic reservation is the all-too-frequent 2-trumpet/cornet line--I much
                  prefer the cleaner sound of a single cornet, especially since they usually
                  seem play together rather than following the Oliver-Armstrong model...




                  --Sheik
                  David W. Littlefield, Piano, Guitar, Banjo, Washboard
                  http://americanmusiccaravan.com DixFB VOL.2 (C, Bb) available
                  "BOOK NEWS: click on "Books" click on "Book News"
                  eMail: dwlit@...
                • silverleafjb
                  snip ... way for the numerous bands and festivals that still dot the landscapes of the U.S., the U.K. and Europe. I m always surprised to read or hear
                  Message 8 of 29 , Oct 5, 2006
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                    snip
                    > There is no doubt this band was at the vanguard of the revivalist
                    > movement. By recreating (or imitating) Oliver's CJB, this group made
                    way > for the numerous bands and festivals that still dot the
                    landscapes of > the U.S., the U.K. and Europe.

                    I'm always surprised to read or hear references that the Watters and
                    Murphy bands "recreated" or "imitated" Oliver. Watters very
                    emphatically stated in print (and to me personally) that was not the
                    point of the band. There is an interview where he clearly states "How
                    can you copy the King Oliver band?" Watters concept was to use two
                    trumpets (or cornets) partly because he liked the sound, and he wanted
                    to play the tunes from the 1920s, some of which had been recorded by
                    Oliver. But the band played and recorded a lot of numbers that weren't
                    recorded by Oliver. BTW, the Oliver tunes the band played were all
                    originally available as stock arrangements from Melrose Publishing. In
                    addition, not very many people at that time had copies of the original
                    recordings. None had been reissued and the originals were not easy to
                    come by.

                    As was mentioned in another post, Watters and Turk came out of the
                    dance band scene of the 1920s and 30s, as did most of their
                    colleagues, playing with bands that often had tuba rather than string
                    bass, or a bassist that doubled. I believe Watters was attempting to
                    grab a slightly different audience than most swing bands of the time
                    simply by playing two beat with a tuba in the rhythm section. There
                    were lots of people around in the 1940s who would have preferred
                    dancing to Watters' music rather than, for example, Benny Goodman's
                    band blasting away on a fast-tempo killer-diller. By having two
                    trumpets, Watters could attempt to get some of the volume of a big
                    band with a smaller combination, making it more financially viable. As
                    it was, he had played in a conventional big band at Sweets Ballroom in
                    Oakland a couple of years prior to his forming the Yerba Buena group
                    (in 1937, and those recordings are available from the San Francisco
                    Trad Jazz Foundation). And that band played quite a few 1920s numbers,
                    in addition to playing popular tunes.

                    Regarding Strickler, he was a favorite of Watters, and he was one of
                    Turk's favorite trumpet players. On the boxed GTJ set, there are
                    versions of "Muskrat Ramble" and "Trombone Rag" with Strickler that
                    were previously unissued (that I helped supply for that set), and I
                    believe one of the San Francisco Trad Jazz Foundation CDs has a
                    previously unreleased "Ace in the Hole."

                    Regarding the Watters band being "at the vanguard," this is not
                    strictly the case. They were part of an ongoing interest in early
                    jazz. Just some of the media attention at that time were articles on
                    record collecting in Esquire magazine; publication of the book
                    Jazzmen; recordings by Bob Crosby's band (especially the Bobcats)and
                    by Eddie Condon's groups on Commodore; and a number of reissues of
                    1920s recordings. I belive the only reason Watters gets a good deal of
                    attention is simply due to the fact he was able to make a number of
                    recordings, first for the Jazz Man label (based in LA) before WWII,
                    then after WWII on his own labels (first West Coast, then Down Home).
                    Other groups didn't have this opportunity until after WWII (with the
                    exception of the Castle Jazz Band in Portland, with two 78 issues from
                    recording sessions in 1944).

                    BTW, regarding the Castle Jazz Band, that band was originally oriented
                    more towards the Chicago style until the band's session from December
                    1947, when leader Monte Ballou switched to banjo and cornetist/valve
                    trombonist Bob Short switched to tuba.

                    Cheers,
                    Chris Tyle
                  • john schott
                    Chris, Excellent contribution, thanks. ... From: silverleafjb To: Sent: Thursday, October 05, 2006
                    Message 9 of 29 , Oct 6, 2006
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                      Chris, Excellent contribution, thanks.


                      ----- Original Message -----
                      From: "silverleafjb" <silverleafjb@...>
                      To: <RedHotJazz@yahoogroups.com>
                      Sent: Thursday, October 05, 2006 11:13 PM
                      Subject: [RedHotJazz] Re: West Coast Jazz
                      [...]
                      > I'm always surprised to read or hear references that the Watters and
                      > Murphy bands "recreated" or "imitated" Oliver. Watters very
                      > emphatically stated in print (and to me personally) that was not the
                      > point of the band. There is an interview where he clearly states "How
                      > can you copy the King Oliver band?" Watters concept was to use two
                      > trumpets (or cornets) partly because he liked the sound, and he wanted
                      >
                      [...]
                      >
                      > Regarding the Watters band being "at the vanguard," this is not
                      > strictly the case. They were part of an ongoing interest in early
                      > jazz. Just some of the media attention at that time were articles on
                      > record collecting in Esquire magazine; publication of the book

                      [...]

                      > Cheers,
                      > Chris Tyle
                    • Howard Rye
                      ... Hear, hear. I can t think of any way of not making this sound a bit pompous but it is an enormous relief to learn that what my ears tell me Watters was
                      Message 10 of 29 , Oct 6, 2006
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                        on 6/10/06 8:41, john schott at john@... wrote:

                        > Chris, Excellent contribution, thanks.
                        >
                        >
                        Hear, hear.

                        I can't think of any way of not making this sound a bit pompous but it is an
                        enormous relief to learn that what my ears tell me Watters was doing is what
                        Watters thought he was doing.

                        By contrast I think the early European revivalists were consciously engaged
                        in "re-creating" what they heard on their records, and of course the Oliver
                        Creole Band Gennetts were freely available in Britain (and pre-Nazi Europe),
                        albeit in diabolical dubs whose deficiencies sometimes seem to be reflected
                        in the music of the revivalist bands. Everyone remotely interested in jazz
                        had heard them.

                        The Graeme Bell band down under were engaged in an enterprise much more
                        analagous to what Watters was doing, and there is a lot of testimony to how
                        startled homegrown revivalists were when this freewheeling ensemble playing
                        for dancers fetched up in London. Inadvertently, the Bells are the true
                        fathers of British Trad are they not? Their records are also some of the
                        most rewarding and enduring of the revivalist output.

                        Howard Rye, 20 Coppermill Lane, London, England, E17 7HB
                        howard@...
                        Tel/FAX: +44 20 8521 1098
                      • Robert Greenwood
                        David Littlefield has admirably articulated what I cannot get along with in the Lu Watters YBJB (described once by Max Harrison as the Yerba Buena Yobs).
                        Message 11 of 29 , Oct 6, 2006
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                          David Littlefield has admirably articulated what I cannot get along
                          with in the Lu Watters' YBJB (described once by Max Harrison as the
                          Yerba Buena Yobs). Thanks, David. It's good to see mention on here of
                          Doc Evans – a fine player. And the Bell Band were excellent. Lazy Ade
                          Monsbourgh died very recently; a fact which went unreported (as far as
                          I know) anywhere in the UK press who eagerly report in their obituary
                          pages the demise of any jazz musician. The boxed set of LW I saw in
                          Fopp consists, I think, of the various Yerba Buena JB GTJ albums/CDs.
                          Fopp is a vaguely trendy-looking outlet selling mostly bargain priced
                          CDs, DVDs, and paperback books for those who seek constantly to be
                          entertained somewhere down the shallow end; although they do sell a
                          fair number of jazz, blues, and classical music CDs.
                          Robert Greenwood.
                        • Michael Rader
                          I sometimes read the archive of the dixieland jazz mailing list. Bill Haesler (it s a pity he doesn t post here as well) recently pointed out an article by
                          Message 12 of 29 , Oct 6, 2006
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                            I sometimes read the archive of the dixieland jazz mailing list. Bill Haesler (it's a pity he doesn't post here as well) recently pointed out an article by Eddie Condon, of all people, on San Francisco trad , mainly Turk Murphy. It's on Jim Cullum's Riverwalk website: www.riverwalkjazz.org/site/News2?JServSessionIdr006=18wmbbgcn4.app14a&page=NewsArticle&id=5434&am
                            Incidentally, Condon put together a tune called "Duff Campbell's Revenge", named after one of the SF scenes's characters. It was recorded both by Condon and Murphy.

                            Wouldn't the earliest influence on British trad be George Webb? The earliest recordings, which I have on a George Buck issued LP predate the Bells' visits to the UK and were probably not influenced by Watters, due to lack of awareness of their existence. The tuba's also not exactly flexible - a legacy of the British brass band tradition, at a guess.

                            At this distance, it's difficult to do any of these early revivalist bands justice, since we tend to hear their flaws more than any of the contemporary listeners. But hidden in the recordings are redeeming features, such as Bob Helm's solos - the late Frank Powers really opened my ears to Helm, who sounds off-tune to many critics, like Pee Wee Russell - an acquired taste.

                            Cheers,
                            Michael Rader
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                          • Howard Rye
                            ... What I had in mind was that it was the Bells who introduced music for dancing. See p.150 of Humphrey Lyttelton s I Play As I Please. Lyttelton agrees that
                            Message 13 of 29 , Oct 6, 2006
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                              on 6/10/06 17:23, Michael Rader at Rader.Michael@... wrote:

                              > Wouldn't the earliest influence on British trad be George Webb? The earliest
                              > recordings, which I have on a George Buck issued LP predate the Bells' visits
                              > to the UK and were probably not influenced by Watters, due to lack of
                              > awareness of their existence. The tuba's also not exactly flexible - a legacy
                              > of the British brass band tradition, at a guess.

                              What I had in mind was that it was the Bells who introduced music for
                              dancing. See p.150 of Humphrey Lyttelton's I Play As I Please. Lyttelton
                              agrees that the Bell band was in the Yerba Buena mould though he
                              characterizes the results rather differently from the way anyone has done
                              here. Which brings us round in a circle.

                              If I express the view that the commercial phenomenon that became British
                              Trad (and the tired mainstream in which its practitioners took refuge when
                              the bubble burst) owes much more to Joe Daniels and Freddie Randall than to
                              George Webb, I will need a triple thickness tin hat, so forget I said it.

                              Howard Rye, 20 Coppermill Lane, London, England, E17 7HB
                              howard@...
                              Tel/FAX: +44 20 8521 1098
                            • Bob Eagle
                              I ll be at the risk of causing great offence to some here. I came up during the Oz version of Britain s Trad Jazz craze, and I heard the Bell band
                              Message 14 of 29 , Oct 6, 2006
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                                I'll be at the risk of causing great offence to some here. I came up during the Oz version of Britain's Trad Jazz craze, and I heard the Bell band (particularly on record but occasionally live when they visited Melbourne), and a number of worthwhile Melbourne bands.

                                It has struck me forcibly in later years how much the approach and "feel" of the Aussie bands resembled that of the best Western Swing bands, despite the obvious differences in instrumentation. Australian popular music has had the pervasive influence of hillbilly music, from Jimmie Rodgers through Hank Snow and beyond. Of course both sets (Bell etc and Light Crust Doughboys et al) were geared towards dancers, but I think it again demonstrates the interconnectedness of all good American music, even when filtered through players from Down Under.

                                Bob

                                Howard Rye <howard@...> wrote:
                                on 6/10/06 8:41, john schott at john@... wrote:

                                > Chris, Excellent contribution, thanks.
                                >
                                >
                                Hear, hear.

                                I can't think of any way of not making this sound a bit pompous but it is an
                                enormous relief to learn that what my ears tell me Watters was doing is what
                                Watters thought he was doing.

                                By contrast I think the early European revivalists were consciously engaged
                                in "re-creating" what they heard on their records, and of course the Oliver
                                Creole Band Gennetts were freely available in Britain (and pre-Nazi Europe),
                                albeit in diabolical dubs whose deficiencies sometimes seem to be reflected
                                in the music of the revivalist bands. Everyone remotely interested in jazz
                                had heard them.

                                The Graeme Bell band down under were engaged in an enterprise much more
                                analagous to what Watters was doing, and there is a lot of testimony to how
                                startled homegrown revivalists were when this freewheeling ensemble playing
                                for dancers fetched up in London. Inadvertently, the Bells are the true
                                fathers of British Trad are they not? Their records are also some of the
                                most rewarding and enduring of the revivalist output.

                                Howard Rye, 20 Coppermill Lane, London, England, E17 7HB
                                howard@...
                                Tel/FAX: +44 20 8521 1098





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                              • David Richoux
                                Going the same way in a slightly different direction - when a major FM Rock station in San Francisco presented a 3 day History of Rock in SF show - the very
                                Message 15 of 29 , Oct 6, 2006
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                                  Going the same way in a slightly different direction - when a major
                                  FM Rock station in San Francisco presented a 3 day "History of Rock
                                  in SF" show - the very first song they played was YBJB's "Annie
                                  Street Rock" - to my ears it fit right in with the late 1940's R&B
                                  and other "pre-rock." Again, YBJB was geared to teen age and young
                                  adult dancers as much as the slightly older "listeners" of the
                                  previous generation.

                                  Dave Richoux


                                  On Oct 6, 2006, at 5:09 PM, Bob Eagle wrote:

                                  > I'll be at the risk of causing great offence to some here. I came
                                  > up during the Oz version of Britain's Trad Jazz craze, and I heard
                                  > the Bell band (particularly on record but occasionally live when
                                  > they visited Melbourne), and a number of worthwhile Melbourne bands.
                                  >
                                  > It has struck me forcibly in later years how much the approach
                                  > and "feel" of the Aussie bands resembled that of the best Western
                                  > Swing bands, despite the obvious differences in instrumentation.
                                  > Australian popular music has had the pervasive influence of
                                  > hillbilly music, from Jimmie Rodgers through Hank Snow and beyond.
                                  > Of course both sets (Bell etc and Light Crust Doughboys et al) were
                                  > geared towards dancers, but I think it again demonstrates the
                                  > interconnectedness of all good American music, even when filtered
                                  > through players from Down Under.
                                  >
                                  > Bob
                                  >
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