Discuss the “products” of any two (2) of the “INDIES” (independent recording companies).

MUS 304 Down in the Boondocks Roots of Contemporary Popular Music Final Exam Directions: (do four of the six) Choosing from the six (6) questions below, write four (4) essays of extraordinary clarity (well written) and brevity (about a page or more each). Use citations when necessary. Refer to your text (The Sound of the City- Gillett). Outside sources can also be of help as long as you document them. There are great websites for many of the artists and recording companies we talked about in the course. Another great book is Honkers and Shouters by Arnold Shaw (Macmillan 1978), if you can find it in your library. QUESTION 1: Where did Rhythm and Blues come from? How was it different from the music that preceded it (Tin Pan Alley, swing bands, blues, etc.)? Would you call the music “evolutionary” or “revolutionary” or both? Why? What was so special and unique about it? What, in your opinion, caused the tremendous rise in its popularity among young white listeners during the mid-fifties? QUESTION 2: Discuss the “products” of any two (2) of the “INDIES” (independent recording companies). By “products” I mean the artists who recorded and made money for these companies. Also discuss how these companies looked for talent. What was their “philosophy” about making records? How did their geographical location help or hinder their success? What was the unique “sound” of their recordings, if any? QUESTION 3: In the additional reading (Chapter 7 from “Hole in Your Soul” by Martha Bayles), Charlie Gillett (author of Sound of the City) gets “dissed” for saying that “rock ‘n’ roll” was “the dynamite that blew apart the structure of an industry.” Do you agree with Bayles’ point of view or Gillett’s? Support your argument with ideas from both texts. Be concise. QUESTION 4: A seemingly insignificant event, the recording in 1954 of Rock Around the Clock by Bill Haley literally shocked white middle-class Americans. Most were totally unprepared for what was to follow: the advent of rock and roll. Discuss the distillation from several musical streams (R&B, C&W, White pop) into rock ‘n’ roll. Who helped it come about and why? What technological advances influenced this transition? Discuss briefly the 1) social, 2) racial, and 3) artistic significance of this “irreverent” music once it became available to young white teenagers. You might consult your Typology sheets from 1953-56 (under additional readings) as a source. QUESTION 5: Trace the history of country music (hillbilly) back to the days when it was a regional music. Discuss the various styles of the music, and how it came to eventually play such a large national role in the development of rock ‘n’ roll. What was the role of Nashville? Memphis? The South? Were Black music styles influential in shaping innovation in country styles? QUESTION 6: In an attempt to understand the many musical threads involved in the creation of popular music (rock ‘n’ roll) from 1954-58, choose several of the following opposites to explore OR come up with your own. If you can, keep in mind the wonderful paradoxes (opposites working together) during this time period. I’ll list a few: Black/White sacred/secular mind/body north/south status quo/rebellion proper language/slang Memphis/Nashville

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