Cross the Water Blues: African American Music in Europe

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Overview

This unique collection of essays examines the flow of African American music and musicians across the Atlantic to Europe from the time of slavery to the twentieth century. In a sweeping examination of different musical forms--spirituals, blues, jazz, skiffle, and orchestral music--the contributors consider the reception and influence of black music on a number of different European audiences, particularly in Britain, but also France, Germany, and the Netherlands.

The essayists approach the subject through diverse historical, musicological, and philosophical perspectives. A number of essays document little-known performances and recordings of African American musicians in Europe. Several pieces, including one by Paul Oliver, focus on the appeal of the blues to British listeners. At the same time, these considerations often reveal the ambiguous nature of European responses to black music and in so doing add to our knowledge of transatlantic race relations.

Contributions from Christopher G. Bakriges, Sean Creighton, Jeffrey Green, Leighton Grist, Bob Groom, Rainer E. Lotz, Paul Oliver, Catherine Parsonage, Iris Schmeisser, Roberta Freund Schwartz, Robert Springer, Rupert Till, Guido van Rijn, David Webster, Jen Wilson, and Neil A. Wynn

Neil A. Wynn is professor of twentieth-century American history at the University of Gloucestershire. He is the author of Historical Dictionary from Great War to Great Depression, From Progressivism to Prosperity: American Society and the First World War, and The Afro-American and the Second World War.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781578069606
  • Publisher: University Press of Mississippi
  • Publication date: 7/25/2007
  • Series: American Made Music Series
  • Pages: 289
  • Product dimensions: 6.20 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Table of Contents


Preface     IX
"Why I Sing the Blues": African American Culture in the Transatlantic World   Neil A. Wynn     3
Taking the Measure of the Blues   Paul Oliver     23
Even Philosophers Get the Blues: Feeling Bad for No Reason   David Webster     39
Spirituals to (Nearly) Swing, 1873-1938   Jeffrey Green     51
Black Music Prior to the First World War: American Origins and German Perspectives   Rainer E. Lotz     66
Fascination and Fear: Responses to Early Jazz in Britain   Catherine Parsonage     89
"Un Saxophone en Mouvement"?: Josephine Baker and the Primitivist Reception of Jazz in Paris in the 1920s   Iris Schmeisser     106
Paul Robeson's British Journey   Sean Creighton     125
Preaching the Gospel at the Blues: Blues Evangelists in Britain   Roberta Freund Schwartz     145
Whose "Rock Island Line"?: Originality in the Composition of Blues and British Skiffle   Bob Groom     167
The Blues Blueprint: The Blues in the Music of the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, and Led Zeppelin   Rupert Till     183
"The Blues Is the Truth": The Blues, Modernity, and the British Blues Boom   Leighton Grist     202
Lowland Blues: The Reception of African American Bluesand Gospel Music in the Netherlands   Guido Van Rijn     218
The Blues in France   Robert Springer     235
Cultural Displacement, Cultural Creation: African American Jazz Musicians in Europe from Bechet to Braxton   Christopher G. Bakriges     250
Contributors     266
Index     271
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