sweartotellthetruth

November 11, 2014

Blues and Rhythm Show 155 on 93.3 CFMU (Hamilton, Ontario)

Swear to Tell the Truth for Tuesday, November 11th, (1:00-2:30 pm)

As we began working on this weeks show, it dawned on us that we were broadcasting on Remembrance Day and we decided that we should pursue a theme that links to November 11th, especially as the date is so much in the news this year after the recent murder of the soldier in Quebec and the shooting of a reserve soldier at the Cenotaph in Ottawa. What we decided to do this week is to look at some blues and gospel recordings made before, during, and immediately after World War 2 on the conflicts in Europe and Asia and the American experience. It seems incomprehensible now but it is a fact that the American Federation of Musicians were waging a strike for the better part of the war years in the U.S., a ban on recording with instruments that began August 1st, 1942 and lasted until, at various times around 1944, the different record labels settled with the A.F.M. This meant that no blues records were made in the first two years of the U.S. engagement in World War 2. It also happened that shellac was largely unavailable because of the needs of the war industries, so far fewer records would have been pressed in any case. Still, there were records made with wartime themes and we’re looking at those recordings that we do have from the era of the second world war. Not many of the available records deal with the soldier’s experience of war but they do shed light on attitudes towards the war and armed service.

Anyone who is interested in this subject should check out a book by Guido van Rijn called Roosevelt’s Blues: African-American Blues and Gospel Songs on FDR, which reminded us of some songs we might have missed from our survey. As with many topics in blues song, there are several clusters of song to do with the war in which the themes and lyrics of songs are very similar, even versions of the same song. We’ve tried to avoid a lot of repetition of ideas and lyrics, so far as we were able.

On the Show:

Nat King Cole Trio – Jessie Mae Hemphill – The Florida Kid – Doctor Clayton – Southern Sons – Golden Gate Quartet – Joe Turner – Cousin Joe – Quincette Singers – Chuck Berry

Listen to the program at FM 93.3 in Hamilton or on CFMU online at cfmu.mcmaster.ca. The program will be available to stream or as a podcast until December 10th.

Contact Us

To reach us with comments or queries, write us at sweartotellthetruth@gmail.com.

You can also follow the program at sweartotellthetruth@nosignifying on Twitter.

Next week (November 18th)

Yet to be determined.

cmc

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