I’ve just come across an amazing discovery. Researching my new book, ‘150 Years of Rock ‘n’ Roll’, I’ve found what I think just might be the very first prototype rock ‘n’ roll record. If you ignore the first nine seconds, that is. Composed by Charles ‘Cow Cow’ Davenport, it’s called “Cow Cow Blues” and sung… Continue reading Rock ‘n’ roll, from 1925.
‘Boogie Woogie Stomp’ bumped as America’s Gift’s earliest rock ‘n’ roll record. Below is a page from my blues history book, America’s Gift, showing the rocking blues I consider the six earliest prototype rock ‘n’ roll records. (The book features 20 in all.) I’d decided against putting Clarence ‘Pinetop’ Smith’s 1929 hit, ‘Pinetop’s Boogie Woogie’… Continue reading Boogie woogies don’t come earlier
And why we prefer blues to pop music. Because the title of this blog is Paul Merry Blues, it’s easy to assume blues is the only music I’m interested in. Nothing could be further from the truth. People have referred to me as Mr Bluesman, something I’m definitely not, though I did buy my first… Continue reading When blues stars were pop stars.
W.C. Handy and Jelly Roll Morton clash on paper as Joe Louis puts Nazis’ champ on canvas. The following is an excerpt from America’s Gift, my book featuring over 200 years of blues history. In March 1938, the famous African-American composer, publisher and blues pioneer, W. C. Handy, was introduced on Robert Ripley’s national U.S.… Continue reading 1938’s HEAVYWEIGHT BLUES CLASH.
REMEMBERING LESTER MELROSE: 1891 – 1968. THE FIRST FATHER OF CHICAGO BLUES. Move over Sam Phillips. Not only is Chicago’s Lester Melrose a serious contender for the title ‘Father of Rock ‘n’ Roll’ but he’s the only one I’ve heard of who links the birth of blues in the 19th century with the true birth of rock &… Continue reading ROCK ‘N’ ROLL’S FORGOTTEN FATHER.
AMERICA’S GIFT: THE UNTOLD STORY OF HOW BLUES EVOLVED. EXCERPT FROM CHAPTER TWO. The genesis of the blues as a style of music began with one of the biggest crimes against humanity, the evil that is slavery. The African slave trade, in particular, had been operating for thousands of years, with black slaves a common… Continue reading WHEN PIRATES SHIPPED IN AMERICA’S FIRST SLAVES.
AMERICA’S GIFT: THE UNTOLD STORY OF HOW BLUES EVOLVED – CHAPTER ONE. Long before the blues became a genre of American music, it was an expression used to describe an English frame of mind. The word blues almost certainly derives from what people, many centuries ago, called ‘the blue devils’ – those imaginary evil… Continue reading FIRST EVER MENTIONS OF THE BLUES
Is former Rage Against the Machine Guitarist, Tom Morello, today’s version of Jimi Hendrix? You’ll have to listen to Tom’s new album, ‘The Atlas Underground’, released tomorrow (October 12), to find out. It’s an ambitious statement regarding an ambitious solo album, but that’s what Morello’s aiming for – to be classified as “the Hendrix of… Continue reading TOM MORELLO. TOMORROW’S JIMI HENDRIX?
It’s indisputable, I’d guess, that most top lead guitarists are people who are good with their hands, whose fingers exude dexterity. They excel at fixing and making things, DIY, working with wood, constructing models, tinkering with car engines, that sort of thing. That was never me. As a kid in the 1950s, when model airplanes… Continue reading Realising I’d never be a top guitarist.