December 4, 2007

"The Birth of the Blues"

"The Birth of the Blues" was written by Ray Henderson, with lyrics by Buddy G. DeSylva and Lew Brown. The song was published in 1926, and recorded by Cab Calloway. The song was later a moderate, late-Columbia records period (1952) hit for Frank Sinatra and was often performed by Bing Crosby, Sammy Davis, Jr., Keely Smith, and Jack Teagarden.

This is Sinatra and Louie Armstrong performing it on an episode of Sinatra's TV show, around 1957:

Here are Frank, Dean, Sammy, and........Johnny Carson (he was a last minute replacement for Joey Bishop who was unable to attend) at a 1965 benefit for the St. Louis Dismas House. "The Birth of the Blues" was the closing number. Carson was given the difficult bridge section to sing. Makes sense.

So "they" pushed this through a horn til it was born into a new note??

a whippoorwill's song

And all this time, here I am thinking it emerged in African-American communities of the southern U.S. from spirituals, work songs, field hollers, shouts and chants, and rhymed English and Scots-Irish narrative ballads.

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