THE NUTSHELL IS THIS: Rock & roll has had two golden eras, both times when the artists took control of the music and its direction and led the way. But that's not the norm for popular music: the norm is for businessmen in the form of owners, Artists & Repertoire (A&R) men, and other "bean-counters" to say what's so. In the beginning, a bunch of old white men in the A&R departments of the major record companies dictated what was recorded and what was played on the radio based on their idea of what middle-aged white women wanted to hear. The major companies (Columbia and RCA Victor were the… Continue Reading the history of rock & roll in a nutshell (300 words or less)
WHAT EXACTLY IS A 'ROCK & ROLL ALBUM'? To answer that question, we need to answer another: What is rock & roll music? After sixty years, we still don't have a definition that everyone agrees with! Arguments about its definition and its origin in the early '50s—no wait, was it the late '40s?—have been around since at least the mid '60s! I am not going to resolve any disputes here. Suffice to say, that most of us believe we know it when we hear it. For the most part, we're usually correct. Older fans (septuagenarian plus) who became teenagers in the… Continue Reading what exactly was a "rock & roll album" in those days?
I AM WORKING ON A PIECE here on Rather Rare Records that inspired this brief piece below. It's titled "what was the first rock & roll LP album of the '50s?" and at one point I turned to Wikipedia for information. Specifically, I was interested in determining the release date of Fats Domino's first album, Rock And Rollin' With Fats Domino. Hooboy, but I wasn't prepared for what I found (although I should have been). But first, some background: recently, I published another article on my A Touch Of Gold website. It addressed the error-ridden Wikipedia entry for ELVIS' GOLD RECORDS VOLUME 2, including the album's sub-title 50,000,000 Elvis… Continue Reading rock and rollin' with fats domino at wikipedia
I KNOW, IT'S ONLY ROCK & ROLL, but I like it—and so do you and tens of millions of others. But is it only rock & roll or is it only rock and roll? The phrase "rock and roll" as a dance and music reference has been with us for at least sixty years. It appears to have originally been a black American euphemism for sex that goes back even further. And just the word roll has been used as a sexual metaphor since the Middle Ages ("a roll in the hay"). 1 As a musical reference, it appears… Continue Reading I know, it's only rock & roll (or is it only rock and roll?)
THIS BRIEF PIECE ON THE DUKE OF EARL was inspired by an equally brief article on my other site titled “earl earl earl, earl of grey.” That piece is not about a duke duke duke of anything, but about my enjoyment of Tazo's Earl of Grey tea, a beverage I have loathed for decades but—for some inexplicable change in my aging, testosterone-deprived taste buds—I currently crave the stuff! Gene Chandler's Duke Of Earl is a rhythm and blues-based pop record recorded in 1961. This wonderful, goofy record came out of nowhere and, despite being a throwback to the recently departed doo-wop sound… Continue Reading duke duke duke, duke of of earl (yes, I'm the duke of earl)