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Posted by motoman 04/03/2009 @ 09:14

Tags : blues, artists, music, entertainment

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Rhythm and blues

Rhythm and blues (also known as R&B, R'n'B or RnB) is the name given to a wide-ranging genre of popular music first created by African Americans in the late 1940s and early 1950s. The term was originally used by record companies to refer to recordings bought predominantly by African Americans, at a time when "urbane, rocking, jazz based music with a heavy, insistent beat" was becoming more popular.

The term has subsequently had a number of shifts in meaning. Starting in the 1960s, after this style of music contributed to the development of rock and roll, the term R&B became used - particularly by white groups — to refer to music styles that developed from and incorporated electric blues, as well as gospel and soul music. By the 1970s, the term rhythm and blues was being used as a blanket term to describe soul and funk. Since the 1990s, the term Contemporary R&B is now mainly used to refer to a modern version of soul and funk-influenced pop music.

Jerry Wexler of Billboard magazine coined the term rhythm and blues in 1948 as a musical marketing term in the United States. It replaced the term "race music", which originally came from within the black community, but was deemed offensive in the postwar world. Writer/producer Robert Palmer defined rhythm & blues as "a catchall term referring to any music that was made by and for black Americans". He has used the term R&B as a synonym for jump blues. Lawrence Cohn, author of Nothing but the Blues, writes that rhythm and blues was an umbrella term invented for industry convenience. According to him, the term embraced all black music except classical music and religious music, unless a gospel song sold enough to break into the charts.

In 1948, RCA Victor was marketing black music under the name Blues and Rhythm. In that year, Louis Jordan dominated the top five listings of the R&B charts with three songs, and two of the top five songs were based on the boogie-woogie rhythms that had come to prominence during the 1940s. Jordan's band, the Tympany Five (formed in 1938), consisted of him on saxophone and vocals, along with musicians on trumpet, tenor saxophone, piano, bass and drums. Lawrence Cohn described the music as "grittier than his boogie-era jazz-tinged blues". Robert Palmer described it as "urbane, rocking, jazz based music with a heavy, insistent beat". Jordan's cool music, along with that of Big Joe Turner, Roy Brown, Billy Wright, and Wynonie Harris, is now also referred to as jump blues. Also in 1948, Wynonie Harris' remake of Roy Brown's 1947 recording "Good Rockin' Tonight" hit the charts in the #2 spot, following band leader Sonny Thompson's "Long Gone" at #1.

In 1949, the term rhythm and blues replaced the Billboard category Harlem Hit Parade. Also in that year, "The Huckle-Buck", recorded by band leader and saxophonist Paul Williams, was the #1 R&B tune, remaining on top of the charts for nearly the entire year. Written by musician and arranger Andy Gibson, the song was described as a "dirty boogie" because it was risque and raunchy. Paul Williams and His Hucklebuckers' concerts were sweaty riotous affairs that got shut down on more than one occasion. Their lyrics, by Roy Alfred (who later co-wrote the 1955 hit "(The) Rock and Roll Waltz"), were mildly sexually suggestive, and one teenager from Philadelphia said "That Hucklebuck was a very nasty dance." Also in 1949, a new version of a 1920s blues song, "Ain't Nobody's Business" was a #4 hit for Jimmy Witherspoon, and Louis Jordan and the Tympany Five once again made the top 5 with "Saturday Night Fish Fry".

Working with African American musicians, Greek American Johnny Otis, who had signed with the Newark, New Jersey-based Savoy Records, produced many R&B hits in 1951, including: "Double Crossing Blues", "Mistrustin' Blues" and "Cupid's Boogie", all of which hit number one that year. Otis scored ten top ten hits that year. Other hits include: "Gee Baby", "Mambo Boogie" and "All Nite Long". The Clovers, a vocal trio who sang a distinctive sounding combination of blues and gospel, had the #5 hit of the year with "Don't You Know I Love You" on Atlantic Records. Also in July 1951, Cleveland, Ohio DJ Alan Freed started a late-night radio show called "The Moondog Rock Roll House Party" on WJW-AM (850). Freed's show was sponsored by Fred Mintz, whose R&B record store had a primarily African American clientele. Freed began referring to the rhythm and blues music he played as rock and roll.

In 1951, Little Richard Penniman began recording for RCA Records in the jump blues style of late 1940s Joe Brown and Billy Wright. However, it wasn't until he prepared a demo in 1954, that caught the attention of Specialty Records, that the world would start to hear his new, uptempo, funky rhythm and blues that would catapult him to fame in 1955 and help define the sound of rock 'n' roll. A rapid succession of rhythm and blues hits followed, beginning with "Tutti Frutti" and "Long Tall Sally", which would influence performers such as James Brown, Elvis Presley, and Otis Redding.

Ruth Brown, on the Atlantic label, placed hits in the top 5 every year from 1951 through 1954: "Teardrops from My Eyes", "Five, Ten, Fifteen Hours", "(Mama) He Treats Your Daughter Mean" and "What a Dream". Faye Adams's "Shake a Hand" made it to #2 in 1952. In 1953, the R&B record-buying public made Willie Mae Thornton's original recording of Leiber and Stoller's Hound Dog the #3 hit that year. That same year The Orioles, a doo-wop group, had the #4 hit of the year with Crying in the Chapel.

In 1954 The Chords' "Sh-Boom" became the first hit to cross over from the R&B chart to hit the top 10 early in the year. Late in the year, and into 1955, "Hearts of Stone" by The Charms made the top 20.

At Chess Records in the spring of 1955, Bo Diddley's debut record "Bo Diddley"/"I'm A Man" climbed to #2 on the R&B charts and popularized Bo Diddley's own original rhythm and blues beat that would become a mainstay in rock and roll.

At the urging of Leonard Chess at Chess Records, Chuck Berry had reworked a country fiddle tune with a long history, entitled "Ida Red". The resulting "Maybellene" was not only a #3 hit on the R&B charts in 1955, but also reached into the top 30 on the pop charts. Alan Freed, who had moved to the much larger market of New York City, helped the record become popular with white teenagers. Freed had been given part of the writers' credit by Chess in return for his promotional activities; a common practice at the time.

In 1956, an R&B "Top Stars of '56" tour took place, with headliners Al Hibbler, Frankie Lymon and the Teenagers, and Carl Perkins, whose "Blue Suede Shoes" was very popular with R&B music buyers. Some of the performers completing the bill were Chuck Berry, Cathy Carr, Shirley & Lee, Della Reese, the Cleftones, and the Spaniels with Illinois Jacquet's Big Rockin' Rhythm Band. Cities visited by the tour included Columbia, SC, Annapolis, MD, Pittsburgh, PA, Syracuse, Rochester and Buffalo, NY, into Canada, and through the mid Western US ending in Texas. In Columbia the concert ended with a near riot as Perkins began his first song as the closing act. Perkins is quoted as saying, "It was dangerous. Lot of kids got hurt. There was a lot of rioting going on, just crazy, man! The music drove 'em insane." In Annapolis 70,000 to 50,000 people tried to attend a sold out performance with 8,000 seats. Roads were clogged for seven hours.

Film makers took advantage of the popularity of "rhythm and blues" musicians as "rock n roll" musicians beginning in 1956. Little Richard, Chuck Berry, Fats Domino, Big Joe Turner, The Treniers, The Platters, The Flamingos, all made it onto the big screen.

Two Elvis Presley records made the R&B top five in 1957: "Jailhouse Rock"/"Treat Me Nice" at #1, and "All Shook Up" at #5, an unprecedented acceptance of a non-African American artist into a music category known for being created by blacks. Nat King Cole, a former jazz pianist who had had #1 and #2 hits on the pop charts in the early 1950s ("Mona Lisa" at #2 in 1950 and "Too Young" at #1 in 1951), had a record in the top 5 in the R&B charts in 1958, "Looking Back"/"Do I Like It".

In 1959, two black-owned record labels, one of which would become hugely successful, made their debut: Sam Cooke's Sar, and Berry Gordy's Motown Records. Brook Benton was at the top of the R&B charts in 1959 and 1960 with one #1 and two #2 hits. Benton had a certain warmth in his voice that attracted a wide variety of listeners, and his ballads led to comparisons with performers such as Cole, Sinatra and Tony Bennett. Lloyd Price, who in 1952 had a #1 hit with "Lawdy Miss Clawdy" regained predominance with a version of "Stagger Lee" at #1 and "Personality" at #5 for in 1959.

The white bandleader of the Bill Black Combo, Bill Black , who had helped start Elvis Presley's career, was popular with black listeners. Ninety percent of his record sales were from black people, and his "Smokey, Part 2" (1959) rose to the #1 position on black music charts. He was once told that "a lot of those stations still think you're a black group because the sound feels funky and black." Hi Records did not feature pictures of the Combo on early records.

Sam Cooke‘s #5 hit "Chain Gang" is indicative of R&B in 1960, as is Chubby Checker's #5 hit "The Twist". By the early 1960s, the music industry category previously known as rhythm and blues was being called soul music, and similar music by white artists was labeled blue eyed soul. Motown Records had its first million-selling single in 1960 with The Miracles' "Shop Around", and in 1961, Stax Records had its first hit with Carla Thomas' "Gee Whiz! (Look at His Eyes)". Stax's next major hit, the Mar-Keys' instrumental "Last Night" (also released in 1961) introduced the rawer Memphis soul sound that Stax became known for. In the 1960s, R&B and soul influenced British bands such as The Animals, The Rolling Stones, The Who, The Creation, The Action and The Beatles. In Jamaica, R&B influenced the development of ska.

By the 1970s, the term rhythm and blues was being used as a blanket term to describe soul, funk, and disco.

In the 2000s, the initialism R&B is almost always used instead of the full rhythm and blues, and mainstream use of the term usually refers to contemporary R&B, which is a modern version of soul and funk-influenced pop music that originated as disco faded from popularity.

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Chicago blues

Guitarist Buddy Guy performing at the Bonnaroo Music Festival in 2006.

The Chicago blues is a form of blues music that developed in Chicago, Illinois by taking the basic acoustic guitar and harmonica-based Delta blues and adding electrically amplified guitar, amplified bass guitar, drums, piano, and sometimes saxophone, and making the harmonica louder with a microphone and an instrument amplifier. The music developed in the first half of the twentieth century due to the Great Migration (African American) when poor Black workers moved from the South into the industrial cities of the North such as Chicago.

Chicago Blues has a more extended palette of notes than the standard six-note blues scale; often, notes from the major scale and dominant 9th chords are added, which gives the music a more of a "jazz feel" while remaining in the confines of the blues genre. Chicago blues is also known for its heavy rolling bass. Like Delta Blues, Chicago Blues always uses a harmonica and occasionally an alto saxophone.

Well-known Chicago blues players include singer/songwriters such as Muddy Waters, Howlin' Wolf, and Willie Dixon; guitar players such as Freddie King, Sly Johnson, Buddy Guy, McKinley Mitchell, Bo Diddley, Mike Bloomfield and Elmore James ("The King of Slide Guitar"); and "harp" (blues slang for harmonica) players such as Big Walter Horton, Little Walter, Sonny Boy Williamson I, John Zachary ("Guitar Johnny Hi-Five"), Charlie Musselwhite, Paul Butterfield and Junior Wells. Also Jimmy Reed.

Chess Records, run by brothers Leonard and Phil Chess, was probably the most famous of the Chicago record labels to feature or promote blues. Musician and critic Cub Koda even described Chess Records as "America's greatest blues label." It was active from 1956—1969 when the brothers sold the company. Most solo artists also did double duty as session musicians on the records of others.

Checker Records was a subsidiary of Chess that recorded Chicago blues greats such as Bo Diddley, J.B. Lenoir and Sonny Boy Williamson II.

Delmark was formed when Bob Koester moved his Delmar label from St. Louis to Chicago in 1958 and remains active today. They are still known for Jazz and Blues. Artist recorded by the label includes Roscoe Mitchell, Junior Wells and Sonny Boy Williamson II.

Alligator Records was formed in 1971 by Bruce Iglauer, a former employee of Delmark and remains a premier blues label to this day. They have recorded Chicago blues greats such as Koko Taylor, Buddy Guy, Otis Rush, Hound Dog Taylor and Eddy "The Chief" Clearwater.

Twinight Records was a minor American recording label, founded in Chicago 1967 by Howard Bedno and Peter Wright, who later added E. Rodney Jones as a partner. Specializing in R&B and soul music, for a few months the label was called Twilight Records until it was discovered that another company already owned the Twilight name. Over five years, the label released (or at least recorded) 55 singles and charted seven times. The label’s star was Syl Johnson, an established R&B performer who had had a number of hits for King Records and who would have his biggest hits for Hi Records in the 1970s. Johnson’s hits at Twinight included "Come on Sock it to Me" (1967), "Sorry ‘Bout Dat", "Different Strokes", "Is It Because I'm Black" (1969), and "Concrete Reservation".

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Soul Blues

Soul blues is a style of blues music developed in the late 1960s and early 1970s that combines elements of soul music and urban contemporary music. Singers and musicians who grew up listening to the traditional electric blues of Muddy Waters, Bo Diddley, Jimmy Reed, Elmore James etc., soul singers such as Sam Cooke, Ray Charles and Otis Redding, and gospel music wanted to bridge their favorite music together. Bobby Bland was one of the pioneers of this style. The song "The Thrill Is Gone" by BB King was a hint for future trends in this subgenre. Additional musicians in this style include Z. Z. Hill, Otis Clay, Latimore, Little Milton, Johnny Adams, Solomon Burke, Wilson Pickett, Bobby Rush and Johnnie Taylor. Soul blues saw its popularity rise in 1980s. Soul Blues Lives With Artists old and new, such as Latimore, Shirley Brown, Marvin Sease, Karen Wolfe, Bobby "Blue" Bland, Kenne Wayne, Stacy Mitchhart, Denise LaSalle, O.B. Buchana, Betty Padegett, Leon McMullen, Ms. Jody, The Mystery Man, Reggie Sears, Ricky White, T.K. Soul, Sir Charles Jones, Little Phil, Roni McCullum, Jerome Towers, Fred Bolton, Lola, William Bell,Crystal Tucker and more. This is a sub-genre of blues that is very popular with African American audiences but less known by white audiences.

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Source : Wikipedia