Friday, August 14, 2015

The History of Rock & Roll in One Paragraph

From Preston Lauterbach's terrific, absorbing Beale Street Dynasty:
Five years after [W.C.] Handy had played “Mr. Crump” to a crowd at the corner of Main and Madison, and two years since he published the tune as “Memphis Blues,” the song was completing a remarkable evolution. The idea for it had begun deep in the black experience, from the clinking forty links on Joe Turney’s chain. It had gone on to become a folk phenomenon through fiddler Jim Turner’s pig path repertoire, then crossed into polite society as Mr. Crump’s campaign theme. Now a white man had conned a Negro out of its ownership. “Memphis Blues” was a microcosm of American music. 
W.C. Handy

Image of W.C. Handy via ICollector 
"Memphis Blues" sheet music via Emory University

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