Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Black, White and Blue.

Although I was alive and sentient during the fifties I don’t remember much about it. I find out what was really going on from TV programmes like ‘Can Blue Men Sing The Whites?’.

The newsreels and photos show 50s Britain in greyscale - it‘s all they could do back then. Even Keef tells us that it was drab and miserable and ‘there weren’t no sweets‘.


But the fifties were really colourful. OK it was mostly in the States - but we saw it in all in glorious Technicolor in the 1/9s at Chorley Odeon. Those starlets all had ruby red lips and ‘The sky was as Blue as an Elephant’s Eye’.

Look at the wallpaper and ‘atomic style’ fashion and design of the period.
We all want it now.

I certainly do remember the Blues in Britain (mainly in the early sixties) when those black guys came over here to play for pasty faced middle class lads in suits. I’ve talked about my passion for the music of Muddy Waters and co. before.

However anger rose in my inadequate breast as the narrator claimed that ‘The Thames delta was Britain’s distant echo of the American South‘.

Never heard of Liverpool?


But I warmed to Keef as he talked about his passion for the music, his struggles to get the authentic sound and his delight when ’Little Red Rooster’ became the only pure blues record ever to reach no1.


I loved it.

So - could white men sing the blues?
Probably not - but it doesn't really matter does it?
KAZ

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32 Comments:

Blogger Dave said...

I thought the corn was as high as an elephant's eye.

I think the 50's were the happiest days of my life. No responsibility.

7:47 am  
Blogger tony said...

I remember "77 Sunset Strip"!Funny about Black&White TV....I Remember it all in Colour!(Apart from Ena Sharples who remained in B&W Forever!)
p.s. wasnt Ken Barlow daft last night!

7:58 am  
Blogger Vicus Scurra said...

I thought it was
The corn is as high as a cheerleaders thigh
And you can find the next line on the internet somewhere, probably.

9:14 am  
Blogger Scarlet-Blue said...

Blimey, you needed sunglasses in the fifties just to sit in your living room...
Yep, Ken Barlow was very daft last night.
Sx

9:41 am  
Blogger xl said...

I vividly recall the 1950s. It's the 1960s I'm a little hazy on.

10:02 am  
Blogger KAZ said...

Dave:
I tweaked it.
I'm sure Oscar Hammerstein II wouldn't mind.

Tony:
By coincidence I only mentioned "77 Sunset Strip" the other day.
Our budgie was called Cookie.

Vicus:
I'm sure the next line will end in 'pie'.
Which will not be good for said thigh.

Scarlet:
Perhaps it was a reaction to all that black and white telly.
A room with a blue wall and a red wall would be very unusual today.
re Ken - remind me to catch the repeat.

xl
ha ha
As the saying goes - if you remember them you weren't there. These documentaries rejuvenate the memory cells.

10:50 am  
Blogger Jane P said...

*Thinks about redecorating flat blue and red*

11:43 am  
Blogger Lulu LaBonne said...

I'm a fiend for buying 50's fabrics whenever I see them, I love that groove

12:43 pm  
Blogger BEAST said...

I wasnt even a twinkle in the 50's , was it all George formby , Gracie Fields and Muffin the Mule ???

1:01 pm  
Blogger Emerson Marks said...

I bloody well missed that programme. It was on BBC 3 though wasn't it? I'll dig out the BBC i-player later on.

1:22 pm  
Blogger Geoff said...

I see you need the subtitles for Keef. You northerners don't understand us Thames Delta cats.

I am sick to the back teeth of tv programmes painting the past unfavourably compared with today. Last night there was a programme about sitcoms of the 70s. If you believed everything that was said most people lived in dwellings that contained three generations as there weren't enough houses and flats to go round back then. As compared to today of course when everybody's able to afford their own home presumably thanks to Thatcher allowing people to buy council homes.

White men can't play or sing the blues but they did make some bloody good pop and rock by using and abusing the blues. That's where Eric Clapton's got it all wrong.

1:31 pm  
Anonymous NiC said...

I just missed the 50s.

I also missed this TV programme...a shame as it sounds like it was good. I shall look it up on watch again.

AND, though I haven't seen Corrie for years, surely Ken B is always daft...why else is he there?

1:37 pm  
Blogger MJ said...

I see that Vicus is STILL in black and white.

1:53 pm  
Blogger Rog said...

I woke up this morning
To the sound of the Dew water
Went down to the crossroads
Turned off at the Bluewater


Our Keef looks a bit like this doesn't he?

1:55 pm  
Blogger KAZ said...

Jane:
I accept no liability for the outcome.

Lulu:
I love it.
I hadn't heard of Lucienne Day until a few years ago - and now I love the stuff.
I spend ages on the web looking for the 50s sites.

Beast:
You are a babe.
I don't remember much about the GFs, but Muffin and me were great pals. I even had my photo taken with him.
Perhaps I'll post it if someone can tell me a Muffin the Mule joke that I haven't heard.

Emerson:
It's well worth the effort - just ignore Jack Bruce - twat!

3:45 pm  
Blogger KAZ said...

Geoff:
The 70s were housing heaven. You don't want to know what my first semi cost me. You couldn't buy a designer handbag for that now.
Spot on about using the blues to make good pop and rock - it's been done from Elvis right through to Elbow.
(You didn't think I knew any recent bands did you?)

NiC:
The fifties didn't start until 1957.
I think you'll like the programme. But perhaps it was the nostalgia that did it for me - the blues singers that is - not the damp cobbled streets.

MJ:
Ha Ha
We should be grateful.
He has black and white opinions as well.

Rog:
Were you talking about an early morning trip to the bathroom? You missed the 'r' out of Drew.
I think that's Keef after the botox.

3:53 pm  
Blogger Betty said...

Yeah, the producers were obviously trying to paint a view of the '50s as miserable, drab, post war, no food in the shops, no entertainment for young people, etc., etc.

Wonder how it was for the original bluesmen in the 1920's, eh? I bet they were rolling in clover compared to the poor old middle class sons of the (hem hem) Thames Delta!

4:11 pm  
Blogger Old Wom Tigley said...

Great images here Kaz... I was born in 58.. so have no proper recall of them... I grew up 'having' to listen to the Beatles and it left me hating them ha!... Little Red Rooster is one that I really liked... but then again I tapped my tiny toes to Perry Como.. ha! and still do.

6:45 pm  
Blogger Istvanski said...

This reminds me of Jello Biafra's song "Nostalgia for an age that never existed".
Very Kitsch.
Documentary was interesting - Tony TS McPhee has lost it stagewise. He's crap.

7:27 pm  
Blogger dh said...

Good stuff Kaz. The Marquee was full of white niggers on R&B night.

7:59 pm  
Blogger Steve said...

All pop music is essentially black and re-appropriated (nicked to you and me). But if any white guy should have been born black it was Mick Jagger.

Keef looks like a claymation puppet of himself. Scary.

8:16 pm  
Blogger dh said...

I think Keef is probably closer to the Blues essence than Jagger...who is basically a poseur. Of course they are both wannabes and they more or less admit it.

8:49 pm  
Blogger KAZ said...

Betty:
I think it was Champion Jack Dupree who stayed in Britain and married a girl from Halifax.
He said he could never go back to the States and get 'spat on' again.

Wom:
1958?
Still wet behind the ears eh?
Little Red Rooster was my big favourite when I was about 18.
(forgives Wom for Perry Como foot tapping)

Istvanski:
Don't know the song - but the title sounds promising.
Mc Phee's hair as well - what was he thinking??

Hi dh:
Ah the Marquee.
In Manchester we had the Twisted Wheel and the Hacienda.
But in the local pub every night was R&B night.

Steve:
I think Eric Burden is as good a white man as ever sang the blues.
Keef is about 65 - he's allowed to be scary.

dh:
Yes - in the programme Keef came over as a sincere blues addict who tried to get it right rather that seek easy fame and success.
I was quite impressed (don't tell anyone).

9:11 pm  
Blogger Kevin Musgrove said...

This is well before my time. Something I have to remind myself every so often when I laugh at the children of the world for not knowing the Goons, Take It From Here, Shirley Abercair, Salad Days and The Moustrap.

I love the magazine advertising design of the fifties and early sixties.

And don't get me started on painted ties...

10:13 pm  
Blogger Donn Coppens said...

Look at his gnarled fingers..the product of fretting for fifty years...what a guy.

I was born in '57 so I can't say that I remember much. I realised early on that things were done the same way that they've always been done "BECAUSE" that's why!

When the 60s finally kicked in we were already for a dose of reality because having BECAUSE as an answer to everything sucked!

It still took 50 years for the Americans to elect a black person as President..why? BECAUSE!

6:15 am  
Blogger Ponita in Real Life said...

I was born just two months after Donn (which makes me 1958) so I have to echo his sentiments... although I was even further insulated from most of the world because I grew up on little Air Force bases usually situated in the middle of freakin' nowhere!

6:46 am  
Blogger KAZ said...

Kevin:
I must be the first person to see the Tellygoons before I knew about the real thing - HRH didn't tell me about them.
I spend hours on Google images looking at those retro ads. Expect another post on the topic soon
I just can't help myself.

Donn:
Yes - I noticed Keef's poor finger - it's a wonder he can play guitar let alone roll a spliff.
'57 was a good year - it all started then.

Ponita:
'Middle of freakin' nowhere!' is not a good place to be - especially before the internet!
Did you 'make yer own fun'?

10:38 am  
Blogger savannah said...

nicely done, sugar! xoxo

7:04 pm  
Blogger xl said...

[as appropriate ?]

Happy Mother's Day, Kaz! :)

6:01 pm  
Blogger KAZ said...

Savannah:
Thanks babe.
I'll be visiting soon.

xl:
Thanks so much daahling but motherhood was not for me.
No regrets. Read about it here.

7:25 pm  
Blogger The Poet Laura-eate said...

What, you don't remember Joe Brown's 'I got 'em ration book exclusion butter ball blues' skiffle remix?

5:27 pm  
Blogger KAZ said...

Laura:
er - No, but I just googled it and I was sent here ...to your comment!

8:38 pm  

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