musicology #288


twolegendsclash #11

(Sidney Bechet & His New Orleans Feetwarmers – Preachin’ Blues)

“What  a weeping and a waling, when the two legends clash….”

Final cut from Sidney Bechet and what a treat…Recorded in New York during January or Febuary 1940. A precursor to the Rhythm & Blues that was to follow and in turn be reclassified as Rock & Roll. All the hallmarks are there, small line-up, Electric Guitar, Boogie Woogie Piano, honking Sax…

Before signing Bechet off, according to a piece of information on Wikipedia;

“In the 1940s, (Louis), Jordan released dozens of hit songs, including the swinging ‘Saturday Night Fish Fry’ (one of the earliest and most powerful contenders for the title of First rock and roll record),”

I’m a BIG fan of Louis Jordan and his music certainly deserves all the accolades and he was certainly at the forefront in the development of Rhythm & Blues but  the above mentioned cut was released in 1949. Whereas this one from Bechet is almost a decade earlier !!…which, as far as I can hear is as close to ‘Rock & Roll’ as it gets, Especially Brother Bechet’s playing.

As it’s the end of the Bechet road it just leaves me to thank the inspirational Cat for leaving us a recorded legacy of the HIGHEST quality…I’m sure he’s up there standing at the gate cutting the angel Gabriel to ribbons.

Blow Bechet…Blow.

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3 thoughts on “musicology #288

  1. TREAT INDEED……that was fantastic and as far as I’m concerned seals it for Sidney Bechet in the ‘clash’…..it had me up and doin the ‘twist’, a big
    thanks for introducing me to his fabulous music.

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    1. as always thank you for the dedicated and unswerving support..just like to add that although it’s a ‘clash’ the intention was never to compare the two competitively. Obviously both of thelegends have their qualities and in life were as different as chalk and cheese. Bechet was a hellraiser and, (according to popular opinion), very difficult to work with. Armstrong on the other hand was a pleasure. Also Bechet couldn’t read a note !! whereas Armstrong learnt how to. Bechet was as stubborn as a mule and Armstrong as flexible as flowing water. Bechet was steadfast in his refusal to learn how to read music as his opinion was that it would water down his improvisational skills. Not only that but Bechet didn’t really endure the same level of discrimination as Armstrong due to his Creole ancestry and his lighter skin tone making it a touch easier to navigate the path he chose without the need to adapt. ‘Gate’ was of a different complexion and that was significent for most, (if not all), of his life. Louis was certainly as proud of his ancestory, (even though he was portrayed in the media as a ‘sell out’), as Bechet but wanted to open the door for all who followed. I get the impression that Bechet was not at all commited to making it easier for anyone to follow in his footsteps.

      Of the two, I would say that, for me, Bechet’s playing is more to my taste but that said I love Armstrong’s vocals which he seemed to make more of as the years went on. Also It doesn’t seem to me that ‘Satchel’ was as fiercely competitive as Bechet, even though he could ‘cut’ most who challenged him. Finally almost everybody has heard of Louis Armstrong whereas Bechet is nowhere near as well known, (outside the confines of ‘Jazz’). As I’m sure you will agree BOTH without doubt deseve the titles, Virtuoso and Genius.

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  2. I certainly agree both these artists deserve the above titles…and reading your description of their
    very different personalities has enhanced my enjoyment of their music…

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