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Re: New Orleans history

PostPosted: Thu Sep 25, 2008 6:29 am
by kas
richardh wrote:Kas and Judith, I can commend to you Ned Sublette's new book, The World That Made New Orleans, subtitled "From Spanish Silver to Congo Square", published earlier this year. It covers the period from the 1670s, when La Salle christened La Louisiane, up to the 1820s. In the words of one of the jacket blurb contributors, "the fascinating story of the people who created New Orleans: imperial schemers and enslaved Africans, merchants and pirates, revolutionaries and refugees from revolution, Acadians and Kongos, singing French nuns and Senegambian fiddlers..."


Thanks for the recommendation, Richard. I will have to get that book and do some more reading on the subject. That sounds like a demographical gumbo that could create a certain heady local spirit...
And it certainly sounds more like an unruly caribbean island community than a ruly, organised US town.

Re: New Orleans history

PostPosted: Thu Sep 25, 2008 8:16 am
by Jonathan E.
kas wrote:
richardh wrote: . . . Ned Sublette's new book, The World That Made New Orleans, subtitled "From Spanish Silver to Congo Square", published earlier this year. It covers the period from the 1670s, when La Salle christened La Louisiane, up to the 1820s. . . .

. . . a demographical gumbo that could create a certain heady local spirit...
And it certainly sounds more like an unruly caribbean island community than a ruly, organised US town.

Oh, it was just the fountainhead of all Afro-American music, that's all, no big deal!

It is truly an ironic, ecological and musical tragedy that New Orleans is fundamentally such an unsustainable town. Its historical importance to African-American music cannot be overstated. Its future impossibility is hard to comprehend or accept.

Thanks to richardh for the recommendation. The book is on its way from the library.

Re: New Orleans history

PostPosted: Thu Sep 25, 2008 9:46 am
by Adam Blake
Jonathan E. wrote:Oh, it was just the fountainhead of all Afro-American music, that's all, no big deal! .


Not all, just some. Don't forget the Mississippi Delta.

Re: New Orleans history

PostPosted: Thu Sep 25, 2008 5:18 pm
by judith
kas wrote:That sounds like a demographical gumbo that could create a certain heady local spirit... And it certainly sounds more like an unruly caribbean island community than a ruly, organised US town..


Astute observation, Kas. I haven't been in a Caribbean community but New Orleans certainly lived (still does?) by its own set of rules unlike any other US town.

And thank you, Richard, for the book recommendation.

"Little Star" by the Elegants - 1958. A sock-hop standard well into the 60's.
http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=unxttYrdy-w

Re: New Orleans history

PostPosted: Thu Sep 25, 2008 5:41 pm
by Jonathan E.
Adam Blake wrote:
Jonathan E. wrote:Oh, it was just the fountainhead of all Afro-American music, that's all, no big deal! .

Not all, just some. Don't forget the Mississippi Delta.

Not to be overly geographical about, Adam, but just where do you think New Orleans is?
Image
That's a rough map of the Mississippi valley. New Orleans is at the southern end where the river becomes a delta and flows into the Gulf of Mexico.

The slaves came through New Orleans. The slaves were first allowed a modicum of freedom, Sundays in Congo Square, to associate and play music. True enough, there were probably a few situations in the rural areas further up the river where slaves must have sung or played an instrument, for themselves as opposed to their masters, in the wider Delta area — but basically New Orleans is the capital of the Delta. I don't think it's an exaggeration to call it the "fountainhead" in historical terms.

That's not quite the same as saying that there was no music from anywhere else or no styles that originated later from other areas. From what I know, which is admittedly a little hazy, Delta blues was not recognized as a distinct style until after the jazz and drumming of New Orleans was well established. Of course, part of our problem is that the word Delta is misused when applied to the geographical area that the style of blues comes from because it refers to an area further up the river on the eastern side.

Re: New Orleans history

PostPosted: Thu Sep 25, 2008 6:11 pm
by Adam Blake
Jonathan E. wrote:Not to be overly geographical about, Adam, but just where do you think New Orleans is?


I think New Orleans is in Louisiana. From what I recall of the days when I used to research this stuff Dockery's plantation - from whence Charley Patton emerged (and goodness knows who else who never got recorded) - was in Mississippi. I may be due a hairwash but I'm not ready to pick nits just yet. Have it your way, New Orleans was where it all began...

PostPosted: Thu Sep 25, 2008 6:19 pm
by Adam Blake
Old joke: what's got four eyes and still can't see? Mississippi.

Jessie Mae Hemphill's (daughter of Sid Hemphill - nepotism fans) fife and drum band as featured in the very wonderful film "Deep Blues" were possibly the closest thing we have on film to what went on in Congo Square.

PostPosted: Fri Sep 26, 2008 7:06 am
by Jonathan E.
Adam, I'm sorry, I didn't mean to add to the muddle. New Orleans is indeed in Louisiana, not Mississippi — and it's not even the capital of the state of Louisiana.

I was referring to the Mississippi River rather than the state. When I said "basically New Orleans is the capital of the Delta," I meant it as a cultural and bioregional concept rather than as a legislative capital.

I've been thinking further about what life must have been like back then in the late 1800s when Congo Square and jazz were coming into some sort of cultural existence. And then how words, thoughts, music, might have gone up and down between Dockery's Plantation and New Orleans.

And, basically, I failed miserably.

So, while it is my sense that New Orleans was/is the fountainhead of all African-American music, I can also see that Dockery's Plantation, and other places upriver, might well have fostered another musical tradition that came about in parallel to what came from Congo Square. Some (all?) roots the same, but local expression particular to the place and time.

Perhaps that's the ongoing dance between blues and jazz.

nit wit

PostPosted: Fri Sep 26, 2008 8:16 am
by Gordon Neill
It really needs someone smarter and more knowledgeable than me to comment (ie just about anyone) but it strikes me that saying that New Orleans was the fountainhead of all Afro-American music is a bit like saying that Brunel built the Clifton Suspension Bridge (all by himself? he must have been a fast worker). 17th, 18th and even 19th Century society was profoundly rural. I would have thought that, to a large exetent, what happened in New Orleans was simply the visible part. The bulk of the blues iceberg was sweltering out in the Delta, forming small rivulets that inexorably formed... er.... a stream of consciousness that.... um ..... flowed south and... you know ..... flooded over the established musical Levis and... er .... caused something of a sea change.

PostPosted: Fri Sep 26, 2008 9:22 am
by NormanD
Mr Moderator - Charlie - time to move the NO discussion to a separately-named thread where it won't get lost. Nu?

PostPosted: Fri Sep 26, 2008 9:31 am
by kas
I agree with NormanD. This is beginning to build up into a long and fertile flow of discussion around the NO/Delta subject.
Let's keep rolling on the river, please.

PostPosted: Mon Oct 13, 2008 11:25 pm
by Dayna
I Had Too Much To Dream(last Night) by Electric Prunes.

PostPosted: Tue Nov 11, 2008 11:52 pm
by r.allibone
rongould wrote:
kevin wrote:
kas wrote:Thin and crispy of course, preferably served in a quality place in Italy and enjoyed in the right sort of company.


Which is what I will be doing from next Wednesday, Sitting al fresco in the Piazza Garibaldi in Parma with a pizza topped with proscuitto crudo and porcini, sipping on a local red. Can't wait.


The only place to get real pizza is Napoli. Until you've done that you have no idea what gastronomic heights pizza can reach.

My favourite one hit wonder (to get back to the point of this thread) is...

Bad Penny Blues Humph. and the band. Johnny Parker's piano on this track is just magnificent.
when a man has a 60plus year careabeing called a one hit wonder dosn,t,seem right .bad penny blues i feel was not hl,s best recording a good record of it,s time and a great title but the man made many more fine recordings