Syllabus Spring 2022

American Routes

Spring 2022. HIST 359-001.  AMST 321-001.
Monday/Wednesday 2:30-3:45. Rich Building 108.
This course satisfies Emory GER: for Area VII HAP (Humanities, Arts, Performance) with Race & Ethnicity Requirement.

Until January 31 when in-person learning resumes, the zoom link for our class meetings is
During our zoom sessions, please keep your video turned on. 

Professor Allen Tullos
allen [dot] tullos [at] emory [dot] edu
Office hours: Thursdays  1:00-2:00, zoom by appointment.

American Routes explores the roots and routes of selected musical genres and styles in the U.S., their historical-geographical beginnings, and their cultural meanings.

This course considers major vernacular genres, emblematic performers, song content, audiences, circulation, and preservation. Where, when, and why do musical genres and styles emerge and spread? How does popular music express social history, cultural identities, ranges of feeling, “authenticity,” displacement and mobility, and political critique? Race, ethnicity, class, gender, and spatiality? Genres include: African American spirituals and gospel, the beginnings and early routes of jazz and blues, Appalachian secular and sacred styles, Louisiana Cajun and Zydeco, ‘old time’ and country music, the origins of rock and roll, soul, episodes of protest music, as well as the social contexts of klezmer, conjunto, salsa, rap, and recent ‘singer-songwriter’ styles.

Listening and reading assignments are linked from the course syllabus and/or will be made available on Emory course reserves. Grading is based on attendance and participation, assignment summaries and reflections, occasional quizzes, and a midterm and final exam.

Check the syllabus regularly (refresh your browser page) for updates and changes.

January 12  Introduction

Introducing several key words for the semester.  “Roots” and “routes,” song genres, styles, historical cultural geography;  social justice; “folk,” working class, vernacular, and popular musics.  Discussion of syllabus and assignments.

Online Resources:

Alabama Shakes
Alabama Shakes—  “Hold On” (2012)  LYRICS

Brittany Howard, “You’ll Never Walk Alone” (2020)
History of this song.    Other versions.

Versions of “Death Letter”  Blues:

Ida Cox,  “Death Letter Blues” (1939)  LYRICS

Huddie Ledbetter (Lead Belly), “Death Letter” (1948)

Son House“Death Letter” (1967)   LYRICS

Cassandra Wilson,“Death Letter”(1996)   LYRICS

White Stripes,   “Death Letter”  (2000)

“Captain Tom Moore becomes oldest artist to claim UK No. 1 single” (2020)
“You’ll Never Walk Alone” performed by Capt. Tom Moore, Michael Ball, and the National Health Services Voices of Care Choir (2020).

January 17  MLK, Jr. Holiday — No Class Today

January 19   Routes and Routes

A well-travelled song. Listen to and read about versions of  In the Pines

Writing Assignment: For class discussion, write 250 -300 words (no more than one page)  succinctly contrasting the five versions of “In the Pines.”  Be sure to mention each version. Consider, for instance, the singers’ biographical and geographical situations,  styles of singing, the emotions they evoke, how they adapt the song, the instrumentation, and your personal response.  By noon on January 19, e-mail  your assignment as a Word document to allen.tullos     (subject line: PINES)

Read more about the history of the song:  “In the Pines.” (Wikipedia)

In class, discussion of “In the Pines” to illustrate themes that the American Routes course raises about  genre and performance style in relation to history, regional geography, social class, race, and gender. Discussion of terms such as “authenticity” and “popular” applied to songs and performers.

In class, roots and routes: versions of “Poor Boy Blues”:
“Poor Boy, Long Ways from Home”    Gus Cannon, (vocals, banjo) with Blind Blake (guitar). (Recorded in Chicago 1927) LYRICS
“Poor Boy Long Ways From Home”    Buell Kazee, (vocals, banjo). (Recorded in New York, 1928).  LYRICS
“Poor Boy A Long Way From Home”     R. L. Burnside. (Independence, Mississippi, 1978) LYRICS
“Poor Boy a Long Way From Home”    The Black Keys     (2021)

Versions of “Last Kind Words”:
Geeshie Wiley  and Elvie Thomas   “Last Kind Words” (1930) Recorded in Grafton, Wisconsin. LYRICS
Rhiannon Giddens    “Last Kind Words”   (2015) Minnesota Public Radio.
Kronos Quartet,   “Last Kind Words” (2014) The Greene Space, New York City.
Robert Plant and  Alison Krauss,    “Last Kind Words” (2021)

January 24  Routes and Roots, continued

Read Stephen Wade’s chapter on Vera Hall from The Beautiful Music All Around Us (2012). Located in e-Reserves for the American Routes course.

Write a 250-300 word summary of Wade’s chapter and email to Prof. Tullos prior to today’s class.  allen.tullos      Subject Line: HALL

Vera Hall, “Another Man Done Gone,”(1940)
LYRICS and commentary about the 1940 recording

Willie Turner, “Now Your Man Done Gone” (1940)
Odetta,   “Another Man Done Gone”  (live audience performance, 1964)

For further listening (not required): Spirituals with Dock Reed and Vera Hall (recorded in Livingston, AL.  Released by Folkways Records, 1953)
Read about: Folkways Records, founded in 1948 by Moses Asch.
Map of enslaved population 1860.
Black Belt region of Alabama   (Wikipedia)

January 26    Folksong Style and Culture: African American Spirituals and the Carolina Low Country Region

View: Maps of  The Transatlantic Slave Trade.

Read essay by Lawrence Levine, “Slave Songs and Slave Consciousness.” (1977) (PDF available on Emory Course Reserves)
Read Guy Carawan and Candie Carawan, “Singing and Shouting in Moving Star Hall.” (1995) (PDF available on Emory Course Reserves)

Read/listen to the materials on the Low Country web page.  Read about Gullah (Wikipedia).

Drawing upon the Levine and the Carawan readings and the Low Country materials, write 250-300 words about the importance of the African American spiritual. Email your comments to Prof. Tullos prior to today’s class.  allen.tullos      Subject Line: SPIRITUALS

In class:Down on Me” sung by Janis Joplin; versions of “Motherless Children,” “Michael Row the Boat,” other examples of well-travelled songs with roots in nineteenth century African American spirituals.
Ritchie Havens sings “Freedom (Motherless Child)” at Woodstock (1969).

Moving Star Hall Singers and Benjamin Bligen, “Let That Liar Alone.”—Compare with Ray Charles, “Leave My Woman Alone.”

Excerpt from documentary “The Language You Cry In” (1999)

Referenced: Slave Songs of the United States(1867).  Read about this song collection.
W.E.B. DuBois,  “Of the Sorrow Songs,” Section IX of The Souls of Black Folk  (1909 edition via Hathi Trust Digital Library)

Examples of spirituals repurposed for the 1960s civil rights movement:
“We Shall Overcome.”  History of the song.
“We Shall Overcome”  March on Washington 1963.  Joan Baez.
“We Shall Not Be Moved”  March on Washington 1963.  Freedom Singers.
Nina Simone,   “Sinnerman” (1965). Read about the song.

January 31   The “Folk,” Cultural Mediators, and Ballad Mongers

Resume in-person classes.  Rich Building 108.
Read for class discussion: Benjamin Filene, “Setting the Stage” (Chap 1 of Romancing the Folk available at Emory Course e-Reserves.
Write 250-300 words (one page only) summarizing the key points presented by Filene. Print your summary and turn it in at the end of class today.

Listen: Example of an Anglo-Celtic (or British) ballad:  “Dowie Dens of Yarrow” sung by Davie Stewart (1962?).  LYRICS and history of song.  Read about Davie Stewart.

Pastoral romance and British classical music’s use of “folksong”: Ralph Vaughn Williams,   “Folk Songs of the Four Seasons Suite: The Sprig of Thyme”.

Example of cowboy song:“Chisholm Trail”sung by Woody Guthrie. 1944. LYRICS|
John A. Lomax, Cowboy Songs and Other Frontier Ballads (1911)

Fisk Jubilee Singers recording of   “I Couldn’t Hear Nobody Pray” (1909).

Recent ballad variations: 

“The River,” Bruce Springsteen.  (1980 performance)    LYRICS    Read about.

“The Auld Triangle” performed by the Pogues (1984) LYRICS.  History of the song.

“Wayfaring Stranger,” Rhiannon Giddens  (2017).   Nineteenth century American ballad.

“An Acre of Land” written and performed by PJ Harvey and Harry Escott.  (2017). Contemporary British ballad.

“The Last Living Rose” written and sung by P J Harvey (2010).  LYRICS.  Contemporary British Ballad.

“Thrill”   Future Islands (2020). Samuel T. Herring, vocals. LYRICS and comments on the song’s origins.

As you read the Filene assignment, begin listening  to fiddle tunes and ballads on the  Southern Appalachians webpage.  Find an example of a “Child” ballad.  An “American” ballad.

For reference: Anglo Celtic (Wikipedia)
English and Scottish Popular Ballads (1904 abridged edition of the “Child Ballads”)
What is a Broadside ballad?

February 2   Song Style and Culture: The Southern Appalachian Region

Continue reading and listening to the materials on the Southern Appalachians webpage.

Read carefully the essay by Joseph Wilson and Wayne Martin, “A Brief History of Blue Ridge Music,” and listen to the examples.

Browse: Olive Dame Campbell and Cecil J. Sharp, English Folk Songs from the Southern Appalachians (1917).

In class discussion of Southern Appalachian music, the murder ballad.
For reference: Harry Smith’s   Anthology of American Folk Music.  (1952 and 1997)

February 7   Southern Appalachians, continued

Continue  listening to the materials on the Southern Appalachians webpage.

View John Cohen‘s documentary film, “The End of an Old Song” (1969).  Be sure to turn on closed captioning to understand Appalachian speech and song lyrics. Read about the singer Dillard Chandler.

In class: Discussion of Southern Appalachians historical background and musical genres.
For reference: Barbara Ellen Smith, “The Dispossessions of Appalachia” (2018).

Carter Family,    “No Depression in Heaven” (1936).  LYRICS

Bluegrass —a post WWII-era musical genre that builds upon the earlier string band (“old time”) music.  (Wikipedia).

February 9      Affrilachia: African American history and musical influences in Appalachia.

Read John Jeremiah Sullivan, “Folk Like Us: Rhiannon Giddens and the evolving legacy of black string-band music” (2019)  (Emory e-Reserves)

Read and listen to the the following materials on the  Southern Appalachians  webpage:  “African American Banjo Styles” and “John Henry” sections.

Writing assignment: 300 words on some aspect of Appalachian music that you find compelling. Include references to particular songs. Turn in your paper after class.

In class: Presentation and discussion of scenes from Terry Zwigoff’s 1985 documentary film “Louie Bluie”  about the life of African American musician Howard “Louie Bluie” Armstrong, a native of LaFollette, Tennessee.  Featuring discussion of African American string band music.

February 14   Written and Oral Transmission of Vernacular Religious Song

Read: Beth Barton Schweiger, “Songs” (2019). ( Emory e-Reserves)
Write 250-300 words (one page only) summarizing Schweiger’s article. Turn in after class.

Listen to and read about the examples posted at the “Some Varieties of Religious Song in Appalachia” section of the  Southern Appalachians   webpage.

People to know from Schweiger’s chapter:   Isaac Watts,   Richard Allen,   William Walker, Jesse Mercer,     B. F. White

February 16 The Emergence of Gospel Music

Read: Robert Darden, “The Foundations of Gospel,” People Get Ready! (2004).  (e-Reserves)

Jacob LawrenceMigration Series  (1940-41)
More about the Migration Series

Listen to examples  discussed by Darden:

Fisk University Jubilee Singers,     “My Soul Is a Witness for My Lord”  (1920) LYRICS

Arizona Dranes,        “My Soul Is a Witness”  (ca. 1928)

Arizona Dranes,   “Lamb’s Blood Has Washed Me Clean”   (ca. 1928)

Blind Willie Johnson“Dark Was the Night,”   (1927)

“Dark Was the Night,”  Kronos Quartet.   (2008)

Blind Willie Johnson and Willie B. Harris, “John the Revelator”       (Recorded in Atlanta in 1930)  LYRICS 

Blind Willie Johnson and Willie B. Harris, “Nobody’s Fault but Mine,”    (1927)   LYRICS

Rev. Pearly Brown, Georgia street singer.  “It’s a Mean Old World To Try To Live In,”   

William and Versey Smith,   “When That Great Ship Went Down”               (1927)

LYRICS  to “When That Great Ship Went Down”

Rev. J. C. Burnett,     “The Downfall of Nebuchadnezzer”   sermon (1938)

Pace Jubilee Singers,   “Old Time Religion”    (1928)

Famous Blue Jay Singers of Birmingham,   “Clanka A Lanka”  (1929?)
For reference: Jefferson County [Alabama] Gospel Quartets    radio documentary (1992).

Mitchell’s Christian Singers,      “My Poor Mother Died a’ Shouting”      (1938) From the Spirituals to Swing Concert organized by John Hammond in New York City.

Sam Cooke,   “Good News”     (1964)

Mitchell’s Christian Singers,   “Traveling Shoes,”       LYRICS

Golden Gate Jubilee Quartet,   “Gospel Train”       (1937)

Sister Rosetta Tharpe “Rock Me” (1938).   Written by Thomas Dorsey, one of the “fathers’ of gospel.

Mills Brothers,        “Glow Worm”    (1952)

Mahalia Jackson,    “Move On Up a Little Higher”    (1948)

More recently:

Pastor T. L. Barrett & Youth For Christ Choir, “Like A Ship” (1971)

Aretha Franklin, “Climbing Higher Mountains” (1972)

“Take Me to the River” (1974).  Written and recorded by Al Green in Memphis (1974).  Gospel inflected soul music.

Tom Waits,   “Jesus Gonna Be Here”  (1992)   LYRICS 

For reference: Claudrena N. Harold, “When Sunday Comes: Gospel Music in the Soul and Hip-Hop Eras” (2020)

February 21   Segregating Sound: Race Records and “Old-Time” Music

Lecture building upon Miller, “Race Records and Old-Time Music” (2010)  (Available on Emory Course e-Reserves)
Write 250-300 words (one page only) summarizing Miller’s article. Turn in after class.

Read about: Minstrel Show  (wikipedia)
Rabbit Foot Minstrels
“Minstrel Potpourri”   Edison Minstrels (1899).

Read: “Lynching in the US — World War I to II”     (wikipedia)

Recordings discussed in class and in Miller’s article:

Mamie Smith —- Crazy Blues  LYRICS.  This 1920 record is the first commercial recording of blues music by an African-American singer: “Crazy Blues” was composed by Perry Bradford and sold a million copies in its first year.

“Arkansas Blues” sung by Mary Stafford (1921).  LYRICS

“Dinah”       sung by Ethel Waters (1925).

“Dinah”  performed by Louis Armstrong  (1933).

“Mammy” performed by Al Jolson in the film The Jazz Singer (1927)
For reference: Blackface (Wikipedia)

“Down South Blues”  sung by Clara Smith (1924).   Read discussion of lyrics in Miller article, pp. 196-197.

“Mississippi Delta Blues” –  Jimmie Rodgers  (1933).    LYRICS.
“T.B. Blues”   Jimmie Rodgers (1933?)

“Raise a Ruckus Tonight”  from the 1938 film Jezebel  

Carolina Chocolate Drops   “Cornbread and Butterbeans”     (2008).      LYRICS.

Fiddlin John Carson (1923)  “The Little Old Log Cabin in the Lane”

Fiddlin John Carson (1923)    “Old Hen Cackled and the Rooster’s Going To Crow”

Fiddlin John Carson’s composition  “Ballad of Little Mary Phagan”  recorded by his daughter Rosa Lee Carson (“Moonshine Kate”) in 1925.  LYRICS.
Read about Leo Frank and his lynching .

“Soldier’s Joy”   Fiddle band dance tune recorded by Gid Tanner and His Skillet Lickers. Atlanta: 1929. Columbia Records. Tanner, fiddle; Clayton McMichen, fiddle, spoken interjections; Riley Pucket, vocal, guitar; Fate Norris, banjo. “Soldier’s Joy” is a well known fiddle piece with origins in eighteenth-century Britain. This popular north Georgia band, whose name typified the self-parody often favored by early rural fiddle bands, played with a tangy, wild abandon. The two fiddlers featured here represented strongly contrasting musical impulses: Tanner was a rural, undisciplined hoedown fiddler, while McMichen was a more controlled and eclectic player with a liking for pop music and jazz. They were backed by Riley Puckett, the blind musician from Alpharetta, whose rapid multiple guitar runs were a distinguishing feature of Skillet Lickers recordings.

Charlie Poole,    “Don’t Let Your Deal Go Down”  (1925). Old time Piedmont string band version.

Lester Flatt and Earl Scruggs and the Foggy Mountain Boys     “Don’t Let Your Deal Go Down”     Bluegrass version.  (1957).   LYRICS.

Bluegrass —a post WWII-era musical genre that builds upon the earlier string band (“old time”) music.  (Wikipedia).

February 23     The Mississippi Delta and the Birth of the Blues

Read: David Evans,  pages 20–bottom 33 of “The Development of the Blues.” (Course e-Reserves)
Begin listening to songs on the Mississippi Delta webpage.
Map of the Delta
Read:  Mikko Saikku, “Bioregional Approach to Southern History: The Yazoo-Mississippi Delta

For reference:  Charles Reagan Wilson “Mississippi Delta.”
US Census map of  black population in 1890.
Illinois Central Railroad map.
Map of Racial Terror Lynchings    (Equal Justice Initiative)

In class: scenes from two documentary films  Gravel Springs Fife and Drum (1972)  and  The Land Where the Blues Began (1979).

February 28    “Authenticity” 

Read: Dockery Plantation.
Read: Filene, “Creating the Cult of Authenticity,” (Course Reserves).
Write 250-300 words (one page only) summarizing Filene’s’s article. Turn in after class.

Lead Belly:     “Mr. Tom Hughes Town” (1934. Second version, after leaving prison).  Read Filene, pp. 66-69.

Lead Belly’s Last Sessions  (1948)      Play Track  58:  “Tom Hughes Town” or “Fannin Street”  LYRICS
Track 77: “Rock Island Line”
“Rock Island Line”   Lonnie Dongan (1961)
Track 80:  “Goodnight Irene”

The Weavers:   “Goodnight Irene” (1950)

Continue listening to songs on the Mississippi Delta webpage.

For Reference: Poor Monkey’s, one of the last Delta juke joints.
“Sharecropping in the United States”     “Convict Lease System”
Alan Lomax: Recording the World (9:24 min).
Afro-American Work Songs in a Texas Prison” (1966)

March 2   The Black Voices of Zora Neale Hurston

Read for class discussion: Daphne A. Brooks, “Sister, Can You Line It Out” (Course Reserves). No writing assignment.

Listen and view examples of Hurston’s field work and her oral performances as discussed by Brooks:
1928 Florida (silent) film of Black subjects,  with Hurston singing worksongs she learned in her fieldwork. (6:44 minutes)
1935 “John Henry” guitar and singing by Gabriel Brown, recorded by Hurston in Florida.

1939 Library of Congress, Florida audio recordings featuring Hurston’s versions of songs, including
“Mule on the Mount” 
“Let the Deal Go Down,” (work song)
“Mama Don’t Want No Peas, No Rice”

Rhiannon Giddens talks about the passing of blackface and sings “Underneath the Harlem Moon” (2020). LYRICS
Ethel Waters,    “Underneath the Harlem Moon” (1933)

March 7 – 11 Spring Break  

 March 14   Regional Styles and Blues Routes

Read: Filene,  “Mastering the Cult of Authenticity,” (Course Reserves).
Write 250-300 words summarizing Filene’s’s article. Turn in after class.

The Great Migration. Map of the Blues Migration.
US Highway 61

Continue listening to songs on the Mississippi Delta webpage.
Listen to songs on the following webpages: “Texas Blues and Gospel Blues,”    “Piedmont Blues,”       “Chicago Blues.” Can you distinguish differences between Delta, Piedmont, and Chicago styles?

Robert Pete Williams,    “This Wild Old Life”      (1994)

Elmore James        “Dust My Broom  (1951)

March 16  Revising the Blues Narrative

Read: Susan McClary,”Thinking Blues” (2000).  (Course e-Reserves)
Write 300 words identifying the most important points in McClary’s essay.

Bessie Smith‘s recording of  “St. Louis Blues” (Written by W. C. Handy). Smith (voc); Louis Armstrong (cornet); Fred Longshaw (reed organ). Recorded 1925.  LYRICS

Bessie Smith,  “Nobody Knows You When You’re Down and Out” (1928).

Bessie Smith, “Thinking Blues,” (1928). Read the discussion of this song in McClary’s essay.

Ma Rainey
— “Deep Moaning Blues” (1928). LYRICS

Memphis MinnieBlack Rat Swing (1942) LYRICS
Memphis Minnie — “Me and My Chauffeur Blues”   (1941) LYRICS

Robert Johnson — “Cross Road Blues”  LYRICS     and  “Hellhound on My Trail”    LYRICS    Robert Johnson, vocal and guitar. 1936. Read the discussion of “Cross Road Blues” in McClary’s essay.

“Crossroads”    Cream featuring Eric Clapton. 1968.

Skip James —  “Hard Time Killin’ Floor Blues”     (originally recorded 1931).

Lucinda Williams — “Hard Time Killin’ Floor Blues

Janis Joplin     “Little Girl Blue”  (1969?)

Bettye LaVette,    “Things Have Changed”   (2018).  Written by Bob Dylan.  LYRICS
Dylan video version from Wonder Boys (2000)

For further exploration: documentary “Wild Women Don’t Have the Blues” (1989).

March 21   Midterm Exam  

Material to be covered includes all the reading and listening assignments (selected from a list of possible songs ), as well as the class lectures.    The midterm will consist of three parts. Part 1: a take-home short essay.  Part 2: in-class song listening identifications (give title, artist, approx year, and a sentence or two about the song/singer’s significance).  Part 3: short-answer and fill-in-the-blank questions. Songs to identify for the listening portion of the midterm are in bold green typeface on the syllabus.


March 23   Ethnic Roots and Routes: Klezmer,  Tin Pan Alley, Broadway 

“Goodbye Odessa”  Yiddish song.
Klezmer musicians at a wedding in Ukraine, 1925.

Read:  Klezmer   and   Tin Pan Alley
In class: excerpts from“Broadway Musicals: A Jewish Legacy” (PBS 2013)

 Read and listen to the “Klezmer” materials at Ethnic Roots and Routes page. No writing assignment for today.

Examples of klezmer and its influences to be discussed in class:
Excerpts from documentary about the klezmer revival:  “Jumpin’ Night in the Garden of Eden

“Sher (A minor)”    Steven Greenman, first violin; Alicia Svigals, second violin; Walter Zev Feldman, cimbal or hammer dulcimer. This old dance tune was published in Brooklyn in 1916 in Hebrew Wedding Melodies.

Dobriden (G minor) Steven Greenman, first violin; Alicia Svigals, second violin; Walter Zev Feldman, cimbal or hammer dulcimer. This piece, which dates from the mid nineteenth century, was used either on the morning of a wedding or after the wedding to honor the members of the bride’s family or the bride and groom themselves. Dobridens were display pieces created by talented klezmorim that used a 3/4 rhythmic structure with a peculiar rhythmic formula at the close of phrases.

Budapest Klezmer Band   (2013)

View: “Taraf de Haidouks,” scene from Latcho Drom (1993).

The Roma

Excerpts from“Broadway Musicals: A Jewish Legacy”(PBS 2013):

Yiddish Theatre.  12:39

Black Music and Jewish Music.  1:25

Gershwin “Swanee” (1919)

Gershwin Rhapsody in Blue 1924

Rhapsody in Blue.  George Gershwin (1924)
Playing the klezmer glissando

Irving Berlin.  2:31

Cole Porter.  3:01


East European influences:

“A Sunday Smile” performed by Beirut   (2007)

Gogol Bordello,    “Start Wearing Purple”  (2006)  Written by Ukranian-born political refugee Eugene Hütz

Frankie Yankovic           “Beer Barrel Polka”

“Polka Power” by Weird Al Yankovic.  (2006)

Lebanon and surf music:

“Miserlou” (1927)

“Miserlou”   by Dick Dale (1963)   Read about “Miserlou”

“Wipeout”  the Sufaris (1963).

March 28   Rumble: Native Americans and Popular Music

View– “Rumble: The Indians Who Rocked the World”
Write a 250-300 word response to the “Rumble” documentary. Consider the search for Native influences in popular music. Why did this history go largely unremarked for so long? What do you find most interesting about this documentary film?   

Link Wray, “Rumble” (1958)
Indigenous Music of North America
Native Americans in the United States

March 30  New Orleans,  Louis Armstrong, and the Beginnings of Jazz 

Read a short diatribe against jazz from the 1921 Ladies Home Journal. Anne Shaw, “Does Jazz Put the Sin in Syncopation?” (Course e-Reserves)

Read the following three (short) chapters from Lawrence Bergreen’s biography Louis Armstrong.  (All available on Course e-Reserves):
Chapter 4, “Coal Cart Blues”; Chapter 5, “Hotter than That”; and Chapter 6, “Lazy River.”  As you read, listen to Louis Armstrong Centennial Show on American Routes Radio devoted to Armstrong and his influences. Follow the show on the Playlist.
No writing assignment today.

Louis Armstrong,    “West End Blues”    (1928)

Armstrong, “Mack the Knife”  (1959)  Read about this song, written by Kurt Weill and Bertolt Brecht.

Kara Walker   New Orleans sculpture and calliope         (2018)
Kara Walker, “Fons Americanus”

In class: excerpts from several episodes from the film documentary series Jazz (2000) that follow Armstrong’s emergence as one of the most original, influential, and widely known American musicians of the twentieth century.

April 4   South by Southwest: Cajun,  Zydeco, and Tex-Mex

Read: Patrick B. Mullen, pages 170-192 of chapter “Come Back to Texas: From ‘Bogalusa Boogie’ to ‘Soy Chicano’ (Course e-reserves) .
No writing assignment today.
Cajun and Zydeco.   (Wikipedia)

In class: scenes from documentary film  J’ai été au bal (1989) available at
and Chulas Fronteras (1976)

Listen to songs on  “South Louisiana”   webpage:

“Acadian One Step.”    Early Cajun recording. Joe Falcon, accordian; Cleoma Breaux Falcon, guitar; Ophy Breaux, fiddle; unknown, triangle. Recorded in Atlanta, 1929.  Joe Falcon (1900-1965) and his wife Cleoma Breaux (d. 1941) made the first Cajun music record (“Allons a Lafayette”) for Columbia in 1928. Falcon and Breaux’s recordings were extremely popular in Louisiana and opened up the Cajun record market. Cleoma was the vocalist on their recordings. Falcon played accordion for dances and cajun fais do-dos in his home area.

Jolie Blonde.” Hackberry Ramblers, recorded in New Orleans, 1936. Luderin Darbone, fiddle; Lennis Sonnier, guitar and vocal; Wayne Perry, fiddle; Julius “Papa Cairo” Lamperez, guitar. The most popular Cajun band of the mid-1930s, the Hackberry Ramblers, led by fiddler Luderin Darbone from Evangeline, were a progressive group that incorporated influences from mainstream country music, western swing, and blues. “Jolie Blonde,” often referred to as the Cajun national anthem was the Ramblers most popular recording. In 1946, Harry Choates  became the first Cajun performer to have an impact on commercial country music with his hit recording of the song as “Jole Blon.” Source: Le Gran Mamou, Vol. I. (Country Music Foundation, 1990).

“Zydeco Sont Pas Salé”    Clifton Chenier, piano accordion and vocal.  (ca 1992)  Chenier did not invent zydeco, but he defined it with every performance. Source: Cajun Music and Zydeco, Rounder Records, 1992.

“La Danse De Mardi Gras.” Steve Riley and the Mamou Playboys. Since the late 1980s, Riley and his group have earned a reputation as one of the premier bands playing the traditional Cajun repertoire, bringing the old songs to enthusiastic audiences in dancehalls and on stages around the world, and more recently writing original material that carries the tradition forward. Their interpretation of the minor-key “La Danse de Mardi Gras,” one of the oldest Cajun songs, shows how powerful and plaintive this music can be. Source: Louisiana Spice: 25 Years of Louisiana Music on Rounder Records, 1995.

“Reuben’s Train”  and “Alberta,”  performed by Bonsoir Caitin   (2010)

Read: Tejano

Lydia Mendoza, queen of Tejano. YouTube: “Mal Hombre” (1934)

Flaco Jimenez, San Antonio native and king of the conjunto accordion.

Los Lobos.  “One Time, One Night.” Lyrics.
Calxico.  “Quattro.” Lyrics.

Ando Buscando Un Amor”   Texmaniacs (2012)  LYRICS translation

April 6  Making Country Music

Read: Richard Peterson, Chap. 10 only: “Honky Tonk Firmament” (1997) (Course Reserves) and Bob Dylan’s 2015 MusiCares speech.

Write 300 word summary of Peterson’s chapter.

For reference:   Hillbilly Highway 


Stanley Brothers“Rank Stranger”  (196?)  LYRICS
Read about the song.

Bob Wills — “Steel Guitar Rag” (1936)

Ernest Tubb — “Walking the Floor Over You” (originally recorded 1941).  LYRICS

Hank Williams — “Honky Tonkin’”  (1948),   “Lost Highway”  (1949) written by Leon Payne.   LYRICS

 “I’ll Never Get Out of This World Alive”   (1952)   LYRICS

Floyd Tillman   “Slippin’ Around”   (1949)

Jimmy Wakely and Margaret Whiting — “Slipping Around” (1949) A pop cover version.

Hank Thompson      “The Wild Side of Life”  (1952)

Kitty Wells — “It Wasn’t God Who Made Honky Tonk Angels”  (originally recorded 1952)

Webb Pierce, “There Stands the Glass” (1953). LYRICS

Wanda Jackson,   “Pick Me Up on Your Way Down” (1958) LYRICS

Wanda Jackson and Justin Townes Earle, “Am I Even a Memory?” (2012)

Johnny Cash —  “Big River,” (1958)    —   “Ring of Fire” (1963)

George Jones“She Thinks I Still Care” (1958)  LYRICS

Carl and Pearl Butler,   “Don’t Let Me Cross Over”  (1962)

Patsy Cline“Crazy”    (1962)

George Jones and Melba Montgomery, “We Must Have Been Out of Our Minds” (1963)

Loretta Lynn,  “Don’t Come Home a’ Drinkin’”  (1967)  LYRICS,  “Coal Miner’s Daughter” (1969) LYRICS
“The Pill,” (1975) LYRICS,

Merle Haggard, “Hungry Eyes” (1969)  LYRICS

Dolly Parton,   “9 to 5”  (1980).

Steve Earle, “Hillbilly Highway” (1986)

The Highwaymen, “Sunday Morning Coming Down” (1990 performance)

Dixie Chicks, “Goodbye Earl” (2000)

Johnny Cash, “Hurt” (2002)  LYRICS   Written by Trent Reznor

The Chicks, “Mississippi” (2018 performance). Written by Bob Dylan.  LYRICS
Dylan’s version (2001)

April 11     Memphis, Cleveland, and the Emergence of Rock ‘n Roll

“When the mode of the music changes, the walls of the city shake.” –Plato

Read: George Lipsitz, “Ain’t Nobody Here But Us Chickens: The Class Origins of Rock and Roll.” (Course e-Reserves).
On YouTube, sample the songs Lipsitz discusses.

Write 300 word summary of Lipsitz chapter.  

 Listen to songs on “Memphis” website.

Arthur “Big Boy” Crudup“That’s All Right”   (1946)

Elvis Presley,   “That’s All Right”   (1954)

Louis Jordan,   “Ain’t Nobody Here but Us Chickens”   (1947)

Roy Brown, “Good Rockin Tonight” (1947)

Wynonie Harris, “Good Rockin Tonight” (1948)

Jackie Brenston with His Delta Cats,  “Rocket 88”  (1951). Read about the song.

Ruth Brown,   “Mama, He Treats Your Daughter Mean”  (1955)

Elvis Presley,    “Heartbreak Hotel” (1956)

Jerry Lee Lewis ,   “Whole Lot of Shakin’ Going On”    (1957)

April 13    Seasons of Protest 

Read: “Protest Songs in the United States”
Draw upon the assigned reading and the songs posted below to write a 300 word, historically informed, commentary on some aspect of US protest music. Be prepared to discuss. 

Woody Guthrie       “Dust Bowl Blues” (1930s)
Woody Guthrie,  “This Land Is Your Land”  (written 1940) LYRICS.  Read about.

Billie Holiday    “Strange Fruit” (1939).  Written by Lewis Allan (Abel Meeropole) Read about  “Strange Fruit”     Read about Cafe Society.

Recommended for reference: “Lynching in America” interactive map. Jacey Fortin, “Congress Moves to Make Lynching a Federal Crime After 120 Years of Failure,” NY Times, Feb. 28, 2020.  Documentary film: “Strange Fruit: The Biography of a Song,”   (2002)

“Tennessee”  written and performed by Atlanta’s Arrested Development (1992).   LYRICS.

“Pirate Jenny”     Performed by Nina Simone.    (1992)    LYRICS.    From The Threepenny Opera by Kurt Weill, with lyrics by Bertolt Brecht.  Read more about the song.
Influence on Bob Dylan.

Sarah Ogan Gunning  sings her composition “Come All You Coal Miners.” LYRICS.

“Clay County Miner”  written and sung by Hazel Dickens.  (1974?)  LYRICS

“Black Lung”    American ballad written by Hazel Dickens.  Sung by Kathy Mattea (2007). LYRICS.   What is  black lung disease?

“Cotton Mill Man”    Jim and Jesse (1976 performance)  LYRICS

John Coltrane    “Alabama”   (1963)  Written in response to the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing on September 15, 1963, an attack by the Ku Klux Klan in Birmingham, Alabama, that killed four African-American girls.

Another song in reaction to the Birmingham church bombing: Nina Simone performs “Mississippi Goddamn.”    (1964).  LYRICS.   Read about the song.

“Blowin’ in the Wind”  (1963)      Bob DylanLYRICS

Bob Dylan“Masters of War”  (1963).    LYRICS

“Eyes on the Prize,”   Mavis Staples.   LYRICS

Bettye Lavette and Jon Bon Jovi    “A Change Gonna Come”  (Obama Inaugural, 2009).  Written by Sam Cooke.   LYRICS.

John Prine
John Prine, “Paradise,” (1971)  Read about.    LYRICS
Brandy Carlisle sings John Prine’s “Hello in There” for the Tonight Show with Stephen Colbert (April 9, 2020).
John Prine, “Sam Stone” (1971)  LYRICS

Dixie Chicks, “Goodbye Earl” (2009).

Kendrick Lamar,   “Alright”   (2015)  LYRICS
Gary Clark Jr. ,   “This Land,” (2019)  LYRICS

April 18   Quiescence and Resistance in the 1960s and ’70s

Read: George Lipsitz, “Who’ll Stop the Rain” (1994). (Course Reserves).
On YouTube, listen to songs mentioned by Lipsitz.

Write 300 word summary of Lipsitz chapter.

Allen Ginsberg’s “Howl” (1954-56) and first edition image.
MC5      “Kick Out the Jams” (1970)

Percy Faith,   “Theme from A Summer Place”  (1960). Read about.

Four Freshmen,   “Their Hearts Were Full of Spring” (1960)

Beach Boys,  “Their Hearts Were Full of Spring”  (1962?)

 Ronettes,   “Be My Baby” (1963)

Beach Boys,  “Don’t Worry Baby”  (1964)

Martha and the Vandellas,     “Dancing in the Streets”  (1964)

Phil Ochs,    “I Ain’t Marching Anymore” (1965)

Sgt. Barry Sadler, “The Ballad of the Green Berets”  (1966) LYRICS

Aretha Franklin,   “Respect”  (1967), “Do Right Woman, Do Right Man” (1968)

Creedence Clearwater Revival,   “Fortunate Son”  (1969)  LYRICS

Merle Haggard,   “Okie from Muskogee”  (1969)   Read about.

Neil Young,    “Ohio” (1970)  Read about.

Janis Joplin     “Little Girl Blue”  (1969?)

Carly Simon,   “That’s the Way I Always Heard It Should Be”   (1971) LYRICS

Rock & Roll: Episode 8 (1995?).  “Make It Funky”

James Brown“The Big Payback”  (1973)

Joni Mitchell,   “Woodstock” (1970 performance) LYRICS       “Hejira”  (1976)  LYRICS

April 20  Origins of Hip Hop

Read:  Tricia Rose,   “All Aboard the Night Train,” (1994).  (Course reserves)
Cross Bronx Expressway

Draw upon Rose’s chapter to write a commentary (300 words) about the social and cultural context out of which the musical form “rap” emerged.  

Recommended: Historical background in African American oral tradition of the “toast.” Excerpt from the documentary “The Land Where the Blues Began”  begin at 52:00 with two short narrative toasts: “December 1941” and The Signifying Monkey.”
For reference: Kelefa Sanneh, “Hip Hop” (2021) (course reserves).

Hip Hop history. VH1. Part 1 (“And You Don’t Stop)

Part 2

“Rapper’s Delight,”  Sugar Hill Gang, (1979)

The Message” — Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five, 1982. — LYRICS.

Roxanne’s Revenge” — Roxanne Shante, 1984.– LYRICS
“Roxanne Finally Gets Her Revenge”  New York Times, March 20, 2018.

“Who Protects Us from You?”   1989.  Boogie Down Productions, KRS-One.     LYRICS.

“Ladies First”   — Queen Latifah, 1989.  LYRICS.

“Illegal Search”    LL Cool J  1990  LYRICS

“911 is a Joke”   Public Enemy,  1990.  LYRICS

Fight the Power”   Public Enemy, 1990.  LYRICS

Recommended: Art Crimes: City Walls: United States
Matt Miller, “Dirty Decade: Rap Music and the US South, 1997-2007” (2008)

April 25  Uneasy Listening: Badlands and Dirty Boulevards

Read: David P. Szatmary, “The Generation X Blues.” (2010).  (Course Reserves)
No writing assignment today.

Songs referenced by Szatmary or mentioned in lecture:

Patti Smith,  “Gloria”   (1975)   LYRICS

Bruce Springsteen,   “Badlands” (1978)   LYRICS

Ramones,   “I Wanna Be Sedated”  (1978)  LYRICS

X,   “We’re Desperate”  (1981)  LYRICS

Black Flag“Rise Above”   (1981)  LYRICS

Talking Heads, “Life During Wartime”  (1983)  LYRICS

Bruce Springsteen,  “Born in the USA,”  (1984)
Acoustic Version        LYRICS

The Replacements,     “Bastards of Young”     (1985)  LYRICS

R.E.M.,  “Driver 8”   (1985)  LYRICS

R.E.M.  “Fall on Me”  (1986)  LYRICS

Peter Gabriel,  “Big Time,”  (1986)  LYRICS

Tracy Chapman“Fast Car”    (1988)  LYRICS

Lou Reed,    “Busload of Faith”       (1989)  LYRICS

Lou Reed,  “Dirty Boulevard”    (1989)      LYRICS

Metallica,       “One”    (1989)  Read About    LYRICS

My Bloody Valentine, “Shallow” (1992).   Irish band, “Shoegaze” landmark.
Nirvana,   “Heart-Shaped Box”  (1993)  LYRICS

“Dirty South”       Goodie Mob (1995)  LYRICS
For reference.  Matt Miller,   “Dirty Decade: Rap Music and the US South”     (2008)

Everclear,  “Father of Mine”  (1997)  LYRICS

Read: Riot Girl scene
Sleater-Kinney,   “Jumpers”   (2005)  LYRICS

Missy Elliott,  “The Rain (Supa Dupa Fly)” (1997). Read about.

Jay-Z,   “Hard Knock Life”   (1999)
Jay-Z interviewed by Terri Gross  and discussion of Decoded.

Black Eyed Peas ,   “Street Livin'”    (2018)     LYRICS
Kendrick Lamar“Alright”  (2015)   Read about.    LYRICS