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

July 29, 2014

Blues and Rhythm Show 140 on 93.3 CFMU (Hamilton, Ontario)

Swear to Tell the Truth for Tuesday, July 29th (1:00-2:30 pm)

Considering his place in blues history, we’ve played relatively little B.B. King over 139 shows. A listener suggested we put a B.B. King feature or special on the air and we thought it was high time that we did that. Whenever we concentrate our attention on a particular artist or theme we find ourselves going back to music we’ve overlooked, forgotten or misremembered and our research turns up information we’d forgotten or never knew about in the first place. In the case of B.B. King, we read the man’s autobiography for the first time, a book co-authored with David Ritz. In the book, King recalls the criticism he and Bobby Bland encountered from new white blues fans during the so-called blues revival. His music and Bland’s was condemned as commercial and a sell-out by people whose point of entry to blues was the folk movement. In time, the folk purism dissipated and British commentators, as well as some British musicians, had a lot to do with the inevitable reassessment of B.’s music and his place in the blues tradition. Still, King recalled the period before that happened as a time when his music was being rejected by both its traditional audience, now engaged by soul music, and the new audience who saw it as a betrayal of a tradition they barely knew about. Today, B.B. King enjoys almost universal and largely uncritical celebration. His dedication to studying his craft and improving his technique appear to have been lifelong commitments, as attested to by former members of his bands. As a DJ and a student of his own tradition he has developed a broad awareness of blues before and after B.B. King and not just blues. B’s musical interest is pretty wide-ranging.

Our feature deals with the period of greatness when B.B. King and his audience were in the same place and B. was extending the horizon and taking the audience with him.

On the Show:

B.B. King – Blind Lemon Jefferson – Roy Brown – Doctor Clayton – and others

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 August 24th.

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 (August 5th)

No feature has been planned as yet but we may present some kind of mid-summer down-home blues special

cmc

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