Will Batts’ starts his “Cadillac Baby” with the last line from Blind Lemon Jefferson’s “Booger Rooger Blues” — “Somebody learned my baby how to shift gears on a Cadillac Eight!” This classic acoustic blues was recorded during the height of American car culture, when gas was cheap and car radios were new. With gems like this, Will Batts helped lay the groundwork for the rock ‘n roll music which would pump through millions of car speakers in later decades.
Louis Armstrong & His All-Stars recorded “Struttin’ With Some Barbecue” in Chicago, Illinois on December 9, 1927. The moment was captured in a crisp recording that is as impressive as it is pure fun. Armstrong’s inspired composition and tight arrangement are brought to life by one of the hottest big bands of all time. Ripped to mp3 from a well preserved 78 RPM vinyl side, this ebullient instrumental classic is free to enjoy and share, hosted by the good folks at archive.org.
You can trace much of American popular music back to the blues. This is most obviously evident in Rock n’ Roll. But in tracks like Gus Cannon’s “Madison Street Rag,” you can also hear the roots of Rap and Hip-Hop. Released on the Paramount label in 1927, Gus Cannon’s gravelly voice sounds like he’s freestlying on the street corner as a passerby looks on in amazement. The banjo pickin’ is brilliant too. Ragtime folk blues goodness with a great lyric. Enjoy!