The Invention and Reinvention of Big Bill Broonzy

The Invention and Reinvention of Big Bill Broonzy

Kevin D. Greene argues that Broonzy's popular success testifies to his ability to navigate the cultural expectations of his different audiences. However, this constant reinvention came at a personal and professional cost.

Author: Kevin D. Greene

Publisher: UNC Press Books

ISBN: 9781469646503

Category: Social Science

Page: 242

View: 140

Over the course of his long career, legendary bluesman William "Big Bill" Broonzy (1893–1958) helped shape the trajectory of the genre, from its roots in the rural Mississippi River Delta, through its rise as a popular genre in the North, to its eventual international acclaim. Along the way, Broonzy adopted an evolving personal and professional identity, tailoring his self-presentation to the demands of the place and time. His remarkable professional fluidity mirrored the range of expectations from his audiences, whose ideas about race, national belonging, identity, and the blues were refracted through Broonzy as if through a prism. Kevin D. Greene argues that Broonzy's popular success testifies to his ability to navigate the cultural expectations of his different audiences. However, this constant reinvention came at a personal and professional cost. Using Broonzy's multifaceted career, Greene situates blues performance at the center of understanding African American self-presentation and racial identity in the first half of the twentieth century. Through Broonzy's life and times, Greene assesses major themes and events in African American history, including the Great Migration, urbanization, and black expatriate encounters with European culture consumers. Drawing on a range of historical source materials as well as oral histories and personal archives held by Broonzy's son, Greene perceptively interrogates how notions of race, gender, and audience reception continue to shape concepts of folk culture and musical authenticity.
Categories: Social Science

Black Veterans Politics and Civil Rights in Twentieth Century America

Black Veterans  Politics  and Civil Rights in Twentieth Century America

Greene, Kevin D. The Invention and Reinvention of Big Bill Broonzy. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2018. Harold, Ellen, and Peter Stone.

Author: Robert F. Jefferson, Jr.

Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield

ISBN: 9781498586320

Category: History

Page: 170

View: 621

This collection examines the lives of African American soldiers and the sociopolitical world they constructed upon returning to the United States. The experiences analyzed in this volume provide a useful backdrop for understanding the complex relationship between race, war, and politics in the United States throughout the twentieth century.
Categories: History

A New History of American and Canadian Folk Music

A New History of American and Canadian Folk Music

The Invention and Reinvention of Big Bill Broonzy. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press. Greenaway, John. 1953. American Folksongs of Protest.

Author: Dick Weissman

Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing USA

ISBN: 9781501344169

Category: Music

Page: 344

View: 872

Building on his 2006 book, Which Side Are You On?, Dick Weissman's A New History of American and Canadian Folk Music presents a provocative discussion of the history, evolution, and current status of folk music in the United States and Canada. North American folk music achieved a high level of popular acceptance in the late 1950s. When it was replaced by various forms of rock music, it became a more specialized musical niche, fragmenting into a proliferation of musical styles. In the pop-folk revival of the 1960s, artists were celebrated or rejected for popularizing the music to a mass audience. In particular the music seemed to embrace a quest for authenticity, which has led to endless explorations of what is or is not faithful to the original concept of traditional music. This book examines the history of folk music into the 21st century and how it evolved from an agrarian style as it became increasingly urbanized. Scholar-performer Dick Weissman, himself a veteran of the popularization wars, is uniquely qualified to examine the many controversies and musical evolutions of the music, including a detailed discussion of the quest for authenticity, and how various musicians, critics, and fans have defined that pursuit.
Categories: Music

A Nation of Outsiders

A Nation of Outsiders

If your emotions demanded reinvention, who was to say that this change was not ... to Jimmie Rodgers, Robert Johnson, Bessie Smith, and Big Bill Broonzy.

Author: Grace Elizabeth Hale

Publisher: Oxford University Press

ISBN: 9780199314584

Category: History

Page: 386

View: 516

At mid-century, Americans increasingly fell in love with characters like Holden Caulfield in Catcher in the Rye and Marlon Brando's Johnny in The Wild One, musicians like Elvis Presley and Bob Dylan, and activists like the members of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee. These emotions enabled some middle-class whites to cut free of their own histories and identify with those who, while lacking economic, political, or social privilege, seemed to possess instead vital cultural resources and a depth of feeling not found in "grey flannel" America. In this wide-ranging and vividly written cultural history, Grace Elizabeth Hale sheds light on why so many white middle-class Americans chose to re-imagine themselves as outsiders in the second half of the twentieth century and explains how this unprecedented shift changed American culture and society. Love for outsiders launched the politics of both the New Left and the New Right. From the mid-sixties through the eighties, it flourished in the hippie counterculture, the back-to-the-land movement, the Jesus People movement, and among fundamentalist and Pentecostal Christians working to position their traditional isolation and separatism as strengths. It changed the very meaning of "authenticity" and "community." Ultimately, the romance of the outsider provided a creative resolution to an intractable mid-century cultural and political conflict-the struggle between the desire for self-determination and autonomy and the desire for a morally meaningful and authentic life.
Categories: History