Monday, August 3, 2009

No, Rockabilly, really!

Hey? If you'd approach the topic in the first place with the respect it deserves, you wouldn't have to go back and write things over.

Yeah, Billy Lee passed. There aren't many of the original Rockabilly cats left. It's an acceptable time to examine how Rockabilly is today perceived.

Pointy sideburns. Pompadour hairstyles. Kitschy. White hicks playing their version of Rock & Roll.

And how was it perceived 55 years ago? All those white Protestant churches all over the country back then, having Elvis record burning parties? Well it wasn't just Elvis' dancing. To them it was "niggra" music and it was dangerous. Had that unmistakable jumpy beat. Stirred primal yearnings in teenage caucasian crotches is what it did.

Yeah. Some cultural fixtures of your childhood who you always understood as establishment, they were once bad boys. And a genre of music now universally understood as glaringly white? Well it really is black music ain't it?

I'd put the caucasian contribution to the musical form at something under 10 percent. Cab Calloway and many others were performing the basic Rockabilly structure in some tunes, before Elvis was born.

Well OK Dave? What is the most caucasian musical instrument? Tuba? Naw, that's the least cool musical instrument. What musical instrument is universally associated with whiteness? Oh yeah! The banjo!

The only musical instrument native to America was invented by slaves. Its closest relative is the West African mbanza.

So African influences have added much to American culture, in places we no longer attribute authorship. What'd they get out of it Dave? Think about that and get back to me.

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