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21594Re: [Tenor Guitar Registry] Re: Mills Brothers Dinah Four string

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  • Andrew Vogt
    Jun 16, 2017
      Novelty is the unusual. What inspires more in the creative realms?

      On Jun 16, 2017, at 10:34 AM, "spyott@... [tenorguitarregistry]" <tenorguitarregistry@yahoogroups.com> wrote:


      I was also thinking of the legacy of the Hoosier Hotshots who were unashamedly regarded as a novelty act with their particular unusual instrumentation and choice of repertoire but they were still tagged as the inventors of rural mid-western jazz. The real historical recognition of these pioneer artists comes in their ability to inspire others to follow in the paths they have established and both the Mills Brothers and the Hoosier Hotshots, as well as the Delmore Brothers, another tenor guitar featuring harmony act, were significant inspirations for other important artists and musical movements, who followed in their footsteps, further developing the particular musical styles. The history of popular music surely demonstrates that one person's novelty act is another person's fundamental musical inspiration. I really love the fact that a musical genius and jazz pioneer like Clarence Williams actually preferred the washboard, the epitome of a novelty instrument, as the percussion instrument of choice in his historic small group jazz recordings with musical giants like Louis Armstrong and Sidney Bechet. Even in modern day traditional jazz circles, it is sometimes difficult to get musicians to take the washboard seriously as a musical instrument even in an appropriate context. The number of jazz drummers I have seen who sneered at the use of the washboard in small group classic jazz. The tenor guitar has suffered from similar image problems and struggled to be taken seriously as the six string guitar became more prominent in popular music. I've rambled enough already! Cheers, Steve. 

      ---In tenorguitarregistry@yahoogroups.com, <gzboat@...> wrote :

      Steve, it's interesting that you made the jazz connection. I never thought of the Mills Brothers as a novelty act (though they surely were regarded as that during their vaudeville and early Hollywood years). That was all long before my time. By the time I became aware of them as a kid (late 1950's, 1960's), on shows like Ed Sullivan, Hollywood Palace, Dean Martin, etc., they were being treated as a high-quality vocal harmony group that had been around a long time. I'm sure that shaped my perception of their place in pop music history. I've thought for awhile that their vocal instrument emulation was neither more nor less than a form of scat singing (a pretty damn slick and effective form of scat singing). Of course, scat singing itself was regarded as a novelty for a long time..................

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