Sunday, April 5, 2009

Just what is American Roots Music ?

I think we can all agree it is the vast and under-appreciated history of American music that lives on in a good part of our music today. Perhaps in anticipation of some future posts, here is a very, very abbreviated list of some of the contributors to this great tradition. You know roots music will never die when you hear......

The silky smooth and oh so sublime sound of Johnny Hodges soloing with the Duke, reminding us that "Things ain't what they used to be" - so true in music!

Hank Garland effortlessly ripping through his own Sugarfoot Rag

Art Tatum redefining the parameters of jazz piano with Tiger Rag

Gene Vincent Cruisin with Cliff Gallup riding shotgun.

Memphis Minnie warning the HooDoo Lady

Merle Travis bouncing out the Cannonball Rag

Roosevelt Sykes barrel-housing through Gulfport Boogie

Johnny Burnette with (Burlison or Grady Martin?) absolutely tearing it up

Big Walter Horton playing La Cucaracha on a Marine Band Harmonica

Eddie Lang and Carl Kress teaming up and smokin

Big Joe Turner Feelin Happy

Joe Maphis rippin it up on several instruments

Skip James' haunting Devil Got My Woman

Texas rockabilly ace Lew Williams rippin out Centipede

Tiny Grimes swingin at a dance party

The Hawk literally soaring through Indian Summer

These cats from Perth, Australia stay true from afar
Any other suggestions?


  1. Wow! This is really some great stuff! I don't know if I've ever heard as talented a piano player as Art Tatum.

    One thing that seems to be missing, however, is traditional Appalachian folk music. Check out some Bascom Lamar Lunsford and let me know what you think.

  2. Thanks for the comment, and yes, absolutely, that dimension of the blog more certainly needs some work.