The Music

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Rockabilly was one of the earliest forms of rock and roll music. It originated during the 1950s in the south of the United States and combined American folk music, such as country and bluegrass, with rhythm and blues. Rockabilly is well thought of as classic rock and roll. The term rockabilly is a combination.

Western swing music is a sub-genre of American country music that originated in the late 1920s in the West and South among the region’s Western string bands. It is dance music, often with an up-tempo beat.

Country music (frequently referred to as just country and historically country and western) is a musical genre that originated in the southern United States in the early 1920s. It takes its roots from genres such as folk music (especially Appalachian folk music) and blues.

Bluegrass music is a form of American roots music, and a related genre of country music. Influenced by the music of Appalachia, bluegrass has mixed roots in Irish, Scottish and English traditional music, and was also later influenced by the music of African-Americans through incorporation of jazz elements.

Jump blues is an up-tempo style of blues, usually played by small groups and featuring saxophone or brass instruments. It was popular in the 1940s and was a precursor of rhythm and blues and rock and roll. Appreciation of jump blues was renewed in the 1990s as part of the swing revival.

Doo-wop is a genre of music that was developed in African-American communities of New York City, Philadelphia, Chicago, Baltimore, Newark, Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, Detroit, Washington, D.C. and Los Angeles in the 1940s, achieving mainstream popularity in the 1950s and early 1960s. Built upon vocal harmony, doo-wop was one of the most mainstream, pop-oriented R&B styles of the time.

Hillbilly music was at one time considered an acceptable label for what is now known as country music. The “hillbilly music” categorisation covers a wide variety of musical genres including bluegrass, country western, and gospel. During the years leading up to the Great Depression, the record industry was just getting on its feet, and it wasn’t long before many rural people had acquired phonographs, and a vast market for what was then called “hillbilly music” was born.

One of the industry’s pioneers who recognised the potential of the largely untapped market was Ralph Peer. In 1927 he set up a portable recording studio in Bristol, Tennessee and advertised for singers and players from that mountain region to come and audition.

Among those who showed up was Jimmie Rodgers the then unknown Carter Family. Jimmie recorded two of his tunes, and later that year Rodgers traveled to Victor headquarters in New Jersey and cut several other numbers, including one titled “Blue Yodel” (which has come to be called “T for Texas”). That first recording of Jimmie’s distinctive blue yodel style sold over a million copies. Jimmie Rodgers became country music’s first true superstar and inspired hundreds of other performers, including such greats as Hank Snow and Ernest Tubb, to emulate him. He established the association between “western” and “country” music, and for set in motion America’s long love affair with such country-western “singing cowboys” as Gene Autry, Tex Ritter, Tex Owens, and Roy Rogers.

Another major force, a person who created a new style of popular music known as Western swing, was Bob Wills. Western swing was gradually overshadowed by a genre it had helped to foster, rock and roll. In 1953, a western swing group called Bill Haley’s Saddle Pals changed its name to Bill Haley and the Comets and recorded “Crazy, Man, Crazy”, and in the following year cut “Rock Around the Clock.” Also, among Elvis Presley’s earliest recordings is “Milk Cow Blues,”a western swing standard. It’s only natural that, as rock and roll evolved over the past several decades, many people have come full circle to rediscover western swing and the music that preceded it.

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