Reading group chaps 21-22

Reading group chaps 21-22 - Chapter 21-Langston Hughes...

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Chapter 21-Langston Hughes responds - The following article addresses the issue of “cover” songs from a quite different perspective from that found in the trade publications of the time - It considers not whether cover versions of R&B are perverting mainstream popular music but rather how such practice perpetuates the term “ black roots/white fruits” - A lawsuit by Lavern Baker contends that Georgia Gibbs’s cover version of “tweedle dee” has duplicated the arrangement used on her recording - This suit raises questions about what constitutes a “composition” - The copyright act of 1909 defines a composition it according to what can be notated, thereby reproducing the standards of originality developed for classical music, which favored the production model by tin pan alley songwriters - However these standards did not protect R&B and country musicians who depended on a “unique” sound and the nuances of performance more than on a unique melody and harmonic progression Highway robbery across the color line in rhythm and blues Langston Hughes - Young people nowadays seem to think that all white popular singers who copied the singing styles of Billie Holliday, Sara Vaughan, Dinah Washington, ethel waters (etc .... see 105 for more artists) are doing something new- not true at all - White singers have been coping Negro singing styles for over 100 years - Almost as fast as the negro originates something new in the word of music, the whites take it and go, sometimes even claiming it as their own creation o A white band in Chicago in the early 19020s claimed to be the creators of jazz since they beat king Oliver and Louis Armstrong in the north by a few months o Paul Whiteman took unto himself the title of “the king of jazz” and gave the first jazz concert in Aeolian Hall o George Gershwin wrote the first concerto, also the first blues opera and made himself not only famous but rich o Some of the poor guys who originated jazz are still living, on relief - It is the same with dancing o Back in the 1830 the first of the white ministrels, Dan Rice, copied the jig of a negro stable boy in Louisville, called it the jump jim corw and made himself famous o When the Charleston first came to fame in harlem in the 1920s some whites quickly and jerkily learned it and claimed-unsuccessfully for once- to have originated it - That hundreds of white performers are copying note for note, and slur for slur the rythyms and blues styles of negro performers is a compliment to negro artists
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- However the white perfomers can carry their copies of negro material into
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