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Lecture 9

MUSI 1530 Lecture 9: Nov. 15th Lecture

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Department
Music
Course Code
MUSI 1530
Professor
Ed Wilson

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MUSI 1530 Lecture Nov. 15th, 2017
Urban Folk Music
- Showed up on the pop charts in the early 1950s
- Combined a number of seemingly contradictory tendencies
- Inspired by rural folk music yet performed by urban intellectuals
- Drew inspiration from the populist protest songs of Woody Guthrie yet was used by the
record industry to generate millions of dollars in profits
The Weavers
- The first urban folk group to achieve commercial success
- A quartet led by the singer, banjo player, and political activist Pete Seeger (1919)
- Formed in 1948, they grew out of an earlier group called the Almanac Singers, which had
included Seeger and Guthrie
- With a repertoire based on American and international folk songs, the Weavers
performed at union rallies, college concerts and urban coffeehouses
- The group was “discovered” at a New York City nightclub by Gordon Jenkins, managing
director of Decca Records
- Between 1950 and 1954, they placed eleven records in the top 40
- Three members of the group, including Seeger, were accused of being communists during
the early 1950s (Their main accuser later admitted that he had fabricated the charges and
went to prison for perjury)
- Decca Records, unwilling to withstand the heat, dropped their contract, and the Weavers
never again appeared on the pop music charts
“Goodnight Irene”
- Singalong version of a song composed by Huddie Ledbetter (A.k.a. Leadbelly, 1889-
1949)
- The most successful of their recordings
o Number one on the pop charts in 1950
- The strophic form of the song is clearly related to the folk ballad tradition, with a series
of verses and a recurring chorus
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- Despite the folksy informality of much of the Weavers’ later work, this song is a pop
record
Weavers
- Helped define a niche in the popular market for folk-based popular music, including the
later work of the Kingston Trio; Peter, Paul, and Mary; and Bob Dylan
- The Weavers’ use of international materials, including Israeli, Cuban, and South African
songs, make them the first world beat artists
Southern Music in the Postwar Era
- “Race music” and “hillbilly music” underwent a series of name changes
- In 1949, Billboard began using the terms “rhythm & blues” and “country and Western”
- During the late 1930s and 40s millions of people had migrated from the rural South in
search of employment in defense-related industries
- This migrant population greatly expanded the target audience for southern-derived music
Radio
- Radio played a crucial role in the popularization of this music
- During the war, a number of white disc jockeys began to mix in black popular music with
pop records
- In 1949, WDIA in Memphis, Tennessee, became the first radio station dedicated to
playing music for a black audience
The AFM Recording Ban and the Rise of BMI
- The AFM recording ban of 1942-44, along with the rise of BMI, provided many
southern-born musicians with new opportunities for recording
- The success of country and western and R&B music was indebted to the re-emergence of
dozens of small, independent record labels
Rhythm & Blues
- Described music performed almost exclusively by black artists for sale to African
American audiences
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find more resources at oneclass.com

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Description
MUSI 1530 Lecture Nov. 15 , 2017 th Urban Folk Music - Showed up on the pop charts in the early 1950s - Combined a number of seemingly contradictory tendencies - Inspired by rural folk music yet performed by urban intellectuals - Drew inspiration from the populist protest songs of Woody Guthrie yet was used by the record industry to generate millions of dollars in profits The Weavers - The first urban folk group to achieve commercial success - A quartet led by the singer, banjo player, and political activist Pete Seeger (1919) - Formed in 1948, they grew out of an earlier group called the Almanac Singers, which had included Seeger and Guthrie - With a repertoire based on American and international folk songs, the Weavers performed at union rallies, college concerts and urban coffeehouses - The group was discovered at a New York City nightclub by Gordon Jenkins, managing director of Decca Records - Between 1950 and 1954, they placed eleven records in the top 40 - Three members of the group, including Seeger, were accused of being communists during the early 1950s (Their main accuser later admitted that he had fabricated the charges and went to prison for perjury) - Decca Records, unwilling to withstand the heat, dropped their contract, and the Weavers never again appeared on the pop music charts Goodnight Irene - Singalong version of a song composed by Huddie Ledbetter (A.k.a. Leadbelly, 1889- 1949) - The most successful of their recordings o Number one on the pop charts in 1950 - The strophic form of the song is clearly related to the folk ballad tradition, with a series of verses and a recurring chorus- Despite the folksy informality of much of the Weavers later work, this song is a pop record Weavers - Helped define a niche in the popular market for folk-based popular music, including the later work of the Kingston Trio; Peter, Paul, and Mary; and Bob Dylan - The Weavers use of international materials, including Israeli, Cuban, and South African songs, make them the first world beat artists Southern Music in the Postwar Era - Race music and hillbilly music underwent a series of name changes - In 1949, Billboard began using the terms rhythm & blues and country and Western - During the late 1930s and 40s millions of people had migrated from the rural South in search of employment in defense-related industries - This migrant population greatly expanded th
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