This is the latest from The Bluesmobile’s C.C. Rider, who spends her life venerating the founding fathers of the blues. She’s walked the crooked highways of this singing country to resurrect the voices of the past. With the dirt of the Delta on her hands, she sleeps in the shadow of the giants on whose shoulders popular music now stands.
(August 24, 1915 – June 14, 1969)
It’s 1954, and an ambitious white boy has just released his second single for Sun Records. It’s called “Good Rockin’ Tonight,” a song Elvis learned from a man he watched carefully—a man whose onstage persona taught Elvis everything about beguiling and outraging the American public.
Wynonie Harris. The original lip-curler, the number one hip-thruster. Professional dancer and a consummate shouter. In the words of his longtime producer “When you saw Elvis, you were seeing a mild version of Wynonie.” People who knew him say Wynonie was more than a man. He was a concept. A loud, vulgar, talented, rock n’ roll ideal. He respected nobody, even challenged prizefighters to fisticuffs. In his own words, he “shook down the devil for every dime.” And his particular brand of “rockin’ blues” signaled a dramatic shift in American music. Bye bye big bands—hello Rock n’ Roll.
Now—all of y’all know what Rock n’ Roll really means right? Yes? No? Let’s see if you can figure it out with a little help from Wynonie Harris. “All She Wants to Do is Rock.”