Posts Tagged ‘Tom Dorsey’

In the late 1920’s Georgia Tommy Dorsey started recording in Chicago & in 1928 got a hit with “Tight Like That” (recorded w/ Tampa Red), which was later covered by Louis Armstrong as “Tight Like This.”  “Tight Like That” was one of the first “City Blues” by virtue of it’s beat.  Released in 1928, much of the song sounds country; the rhymes are already “old,” and the guitar has a hint of ragtime banjo. It’s neither urban or rural, but both.

The same holds true for Scrapper Blackwell & Leroy Carr’s “How Long, How Long Blues.”  Carr was an urbanite and grew up in Nashville and moved to Indianapolis by the time he recorded & sang in a manner that was “nostalgic-for-the-country.”  It was because of this pair’s success that record companies started sending their people out to record musicians in the cities.

The 2 duets, Dorsey & Tampa Red, and Blackwell & Carr, moved the blues into more of a band sound rather than a solo performance.  For many performers recording was a lucrative sideline.  For these 2 duets, the record buyers were the main audience, not a live audience, party, bar, or street corner.

He founded a group called the Hokum Boys & created “Hokum music.”  He made a lot of money but lost it all when his bank crashed in the Depression.  The music was called “Hokum” because they didn’t want to call themselves blues or pop singers, and no one knew what “hokum” really meant.

Lines between urban and rural blues began to blur around or after 1928 with the proliferation of Victrolas & jukeboxes.  Already in Robert Johnson’s recordings you can hear bits of Peetie Wheatstraw and Lonnie Johnson (though Robert Johnson probably saw them live as well).  It really started only 2 years or so after Blind Lemon Jefferson, and less than 10 after “Crazy Blues.”  An exception this was Sleepy John Estes who seemed to come from an earlier time and clung to his country roots….

Tom Dorsey then merged the blues with a message of salvation and the traditional gospel hymn.  It became black gospel music.  He also founded the National Gospel Choir.  Then he started to travel and spread this music.  He is noted for being the writer of “Peace in the Valley” and “Precious Lord Take My Hand”

More songs and videos