From The Pen Of Joshua Lawrence Breslin-Before Bo Diddley Put The Rock In Rock And Roll- A CD Review (Kind Of)
Click on the headline to link to a YouTube film clip of Ruth Brown holding forth in the be-bop 1950s R&B night.
The Blues Masters: The Essential Blues Collection: Volume 11-More Jump Blues, various artists including Ruth Brown, Rhino Records, 1993
Recently in reviewing (sort of, this kind of review is not my forte) a Norman Blake CD, Whiskey Before Breakfast, I noted that as a kid I was very averse to listening to that mountain music stuff since it was my father’s hillbilly Appalachia home of hills and hollows music (after all I was growing up in “big time” city boy Olde Saco up in Maine). The other kind of music around my 1950s growing up absurd house was “their” music, my parents coming through the great depression of the1930s and surviving (and she waiting, waiting on pins and needles for his safe return) music, jump, jitterbug, R&B,call it what you may.
Not exactly the rock and roll that I was enthralled with. No Bo Diddley, Chuck Berry, Elvis, Jerry Lee and the like to stir the blood. But every once in a while I would catch some riff that sounded like it might get to rock, but then faded just short. And the album under review, The Blues Masters: More Jump Blues, is filled with just such work. Of course, a little later when I caught the blues bug in the early 1960s all this music, this quintessential R&B, made great sense in in combination with rockabilly as the genesis of rock and roll. But back then it was just my parents’ music. You know, square.
So when somebody, anybody, asks you the question-“Who put the rock in rock and roll?”- you can automatically answer Bo Diddley (or your favorite choice). But if asked who put the bug in old Bo’s ear then just tell them that the likes of Louis Jordan, Ruth Brown, Big Joe Turner, LaVern Baker, Big Maybell (who I actually first heard in the early 1960s late at night listening to “The Big Bopper Blues Blast” out of some dark of mega-watt radio station in Chicago), Lloyd Price and Wynonie Harris and the others compiled on this CD and you can be smart, very smart.
Labels: Ruth Brown