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Accordion Revolution: A People's History of the Accordion in North America from the Industrial Revolution to Rock and Roll

Accordion Revolution: A People's History of the Accordion in North America from the Industrial Revolution to Rock and Roll

by Bruce Triggs


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Before the dawn of rock 'n' roll, the accordion ranked among North America's most popular instruments. Nearly every ethnicity on the continent played the squeezebox- Irish, Scottish, French, German, Eastern European, Jewish, and Latino. The instrument packed barn dances, jazz clubs, and recital halls. It was heard in cantinas on the Mexican frontier, Creole string bands in New Orleans, and Inuit square dances above the Arctic Circle. Portable, cheap, and loud, accordions became the soundtrack for modernity as the growing music industry exploited them on records, radio, film, and television.

Millions of people played accordions until a disastrous combination of economics, demographics, and electronic instruments nearly erased them from mainstream culture. Emerging from exile for a new generation, this book invites beginners or seasoned accordionists, and music fans in general to rediscover a forgotten legion of little-known artists. With an eye for colorful characters and a sharp sense of humor, accordion historian Bruce Triggs uncovers the hidden backstory of the squeezebox in everyone's closet. Accordion Revolution is about more than an instrument: it's a living, breathing restoration of the squeezebox to its rightful place at the roots of North America's popular music.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781999067700
Publisher: Demian & Sons Publications
Publication date: 06/28/2019
Pages: 432
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.96(d)

About the Author

Based in Vancouver, British Columbia, Bruce Triggs hosts the Accordion Noir radio program and co-founded the annual Accordion Noir Festival (now in its eleventh year). He plays a Giuliette chromatic button accordion, built to last in the 1960s.

Table of Contents

Part I: The Dawn of the Accordion Revolution

1: The Accordion Conquers the World

2: The Accordion's Family Tree

Part II: The Golden Age

3: Blackface Minstrelsy

4: Vaudeville Stars and the Dawn of the Golden Age

5: Polka and "Ethnic" Music

6: Jazzing the Accordion

7: The Closing Acts of the Golden Age

Part III: Roots Music, An Outsiders’ Canon

8: Acordeón: Mexican and American Roots

9: Creoles, Cajuns, and Zydeco: French Music in the American South

10: Irish and Scottish Accordion: Immigration, Transition and Tradition

11: Canadian Accordion: Northern Traditions (Squeezebox North)

12: Klezmer: A Restoration with Accordion

Part IV: American Wheeze

13: African Americans Played Accordion Before They Played the Blues

14: Country and Western: Cowboys and Squeezeboxes

15: The Folk Revival: The Accordion Betrayed

Part V: The Accordion Exile in the Age of Rock

16: Rockin' the Accordion

17: The Accordion Exodus

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