Album: Various artists

The Black and White Roots of Rock'n'Roll, Indigo
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It has been an tenet of rock'n'roll history that white musicians plundered the work of black artists in order to reach a white audience reluctant to buy black music. Apart from the obvious examples - who would defend Pat Boone's "Tutti Frutti" against Little Richard's? - the implied racism in thisisn't borne out by the facts - which are that white audiences had eagerly supported black jazz, R&B and swing acts for decades prior to the emergence of rock, and continued to do so. Indeed, popular music was the main arena in which racial barriers were dismantled. What's more, as this fascinating two-disc set demonstrates, the traffic was two-way, with many jazz and R&B acts borrowing from hillbilly and western swing originals - the pedal steel and boogie piano of Hardrock Gunter's "Birmingham Bounce", for instance, replaced by the honking saxes of Amos Milburn's later version. Presented in pairs of the same songs, these 50 tracks offer the opportunity to compare and contrast Big Mama Thornton's "Hound Dog" with Tommy Duncan's; Jackie Brenston's "Rocket 88" with Bill Haley's; The Clovers' "One Mint Julep" with Louis Prima's; Tennessee Ernie Ford's "Shotgun Boogie" with Eddie Mack's; and, most unexpected, Hank Williams' "My Bucket's Got a Hole in It" with the Fat Man Robinson Quintet's. Entertaining and educational.

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