Thursday, August 14, 2008


Boogie-Woogie is also one of my favorite forms of the blues. According to Wikipedia;

Boogie-woogie is a style of piano-based blues that became very popular in the late 1930s and early 1940s, but originated much earlier, and was extended from piano, to three pianos at once, guitar, big band, and country and western music, and even gospel. Whilst the blues traditionally depicts sadness and sorrow, boogie-woogie is associated with dancing. The lyrics of one of the very earliest, "Pinetop's Boogie Woogie", consist entirely of instructions to dancers:
Now, when I tell you to hold it, I don't want you to move a thing. And when I tell you to get it, I want you to Boogie Woogie!
It is characterized by a regular bass figure, an ostinato and the most familiar example of shifts of level, in the left hand which elaborates on each chord, and trills and decorations from the right hand.

The origin of the term boogie-woogie is unknown, according to Webster's Third New International Dictionary. The Oxford English Dictionary states that the word is a redoubling of boogie, which was used for rent parties as early as 1913. The term is often hyphenated. Blues historian Robert Palmer wrote that the boogie-woogie style bass pattern may have been created in the logging and turpentine camps and oil boomtowns of Texas, Louisiana, and the Mississippi Delta circa 1900. Palmer also reports that Willie Dixon told Karl Gert zur Heide, author of "Deep South Piano" that in Mississippi before the term boogie was used, the eight to the bar piano patterns were called "Dudlow Joes".

In an interview with NPR blues singer and pianist Marcia Ball stated that "Boogie woogie started out with a bunch of different names, depending on where you were. Apparently there was a song by a guy named Dudlow, Joe Dudlow. He’s the first guy that a lot of them heard that was playing that kind of um… [playing]. And so they called it that for a while, Dudlow Joe." The precise origin of boogie-woogie piano is, however, uncertain; it was no doubt influenced by early rough music played in honky tonks in the Southern United States. W.C. Handy and Jelly Roll Morton both mentioned hearing pianists playing this style before 1910. According to Clarence Williams, the style was started by Texas pianist George W. Thomas. Thomas published one of the earliest pieces of sheet music with the boogie-woogie bassline, "New Orleans Hop Scop Blues" in 1916, although Williams recalled hearing him play the number before 1911. The term "boogie" itself was in use very early, as in Wilbur Sweatman's "Boogie Rag" recorded in April, 1917. link

For more info click blues piano @ SqueezeMyLemon.

List of Boogie Woogie Musicians @ Wikipedia.

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