Searching For The First Rock And Roll Song

Series produced by Jamie Dell'Apa

Caption: PRX default Series image
PRX default Series image 

Music from that time when rhythm and blues and rock and roll were emerging but hadn't yet become a predictable formula. A time when musicians were listening to and incorporating these exciting emergences into their own style of music. We focus on music that is difficult to categorize. C&W that sounds like rockabilly and rockabilly that sounds like R&B which sounds an awful lot like rock. That's the sweet spot for the music on the show and, sure enough, that's where the New Orleans sound is centered.

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What does music sound like when it is taken out of context?

When John Coltrane quits walking the bar for dance patrons or some English kids leave gentle pop music for the blues of the American south, they're following their muse. Breaking out of the formula. The result can be a disaster or miraculous. Dr. Demento plays the disasters. We play the miraculous.

Music from that time when rhythm and blues and rock and roll were emerging but hadn't yet become a predictable formula. A time when musicians were listening to and incorporating these music's exciting emergence into their own style of music. We focus on music that is difficult to categorize. C&W that sounds like rockabilly and rockabilly that sounds like R&B which sounds an awful lot like rock. That's the sweet spot for the music on the show and, sure enough, that's where the New Orleans sound is centered.

Songs are arranged in sets originating from an overall theme and between songs are short interstitial sound clips that sometimes tell a parallel story or a contrasting story or are simply audio cultural artifacts used that frame the music. Hide full description

What does music sound like when it is taken out of context? When John Coltrane quits walking the bar for dance patrons or some English kids leave gentle pop music for the blues of the American south, they're following their muse. Breaking out of the formula. The result can be a disaster or miraculous. Dr. Demento plays the disasters. We play the miraculous. Music from that time when rhythm and blues and rock and roll were emerging but hadn't yet become a predictable formula. A time when musicians were listening to and incorporating these music's exciting emergence into their own style of music. We focus on music that is difficult to categorize. C&W that sounds like rockabilly and rockabilly that sounds like R&B which sounds an awful lot like rock. That's the sweet spot for... Show full description


648 Pieces

Order by: Newest First | Oldest First
Caption: Wild Jimmy Spruill, Credit: 3dgorillabob
You've loved his unique guitar sound. A sound that made many records into hits but never knew his name because he was "just a session musician." ...

  • Added: Dec 31, 2010
  • Length: 01:18:56
Caption: Little Richard and the Upsetters with Charles Conner on Drums
You've heard him so many times yet never knew it was Charles Conner who created that unique Little Richard sound. He's the Upsetters' drummer. Ye...

Bought by KPIP-LP


  • Added: Nov 29, 2010
  • Length: 02:34:26
  • Purchases: 1
Caption: Mardi Gras festival on another planet
The 40 year old Star Trek episode, The Return of the Archons, features a society that celebrates a Mardi Gras festival and is lead by a guy named ...

Bought by KPIP-LP


  • Added: Jan 19, 2011
  • Length: 03:00:16
  • Purchases: 1
Caption: Miss Atomic Bomb of 1957, Credit: Las Vegas Review Journal
Adding atomic bomb lyrics to any instrumental song makes that song so much better.

Bought by KPIP-LP


  • Added: Dec 10, 2010
  • Length: 01:13:09
  • Purchases: 1
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Thanksgiving is a glutton of taste. Christmas a gluttony of taste and touch. New Years a gluttony of taste and, well getting drunk enough to forg...

Bought by KPIP-LP


  • Added: Dec 27, 2010
  • Length: 03:01:49
  • Purchases: 1
Caption: PRX default Piece image
Why does the music of Doc Pomus and New Orleans sound so good together?

Bought by Prairie Public, KPIP-LP, and Prairie Public


  • Added: Jan 17, 2011
  • Length: 02:52:35
  • Purchases: 3
Caption: The late Danny Gatton, a regular performer at the Twist
Marc Gretchel, the owner of the Twist and Shout music club drops in to recall the music and magic of his club.

Bought by KPIP-LP


  • Added: Aug 23, 2011
  • Length: 02:57:33
  • Purchases: 1
Caption: De-friend!  De-friend!
Before the internet's social media, there was the front door. A piece of wood where a knock substituted for a mouse and you were friended or defri...

Bought by KPIP-LP


  • Added: Sep 03, 2011
  • Length: 02:57:45
  • Purchases: 1
Caption: New Orleans, where drunks swim home.
The physical and human debris of America wash down the Mississippi to New Orleans. We accept being at the end of the country's sewage line. At th...

Bought by KPIP-LP


  • Added: Aug 29, 2012
  • Length: 29:25
  • Purchases: 1
Caption: Me on Mardi Gras Day 2009, Credit: Storkleg
Also the night that started the "He lurks..." intro to Sam's show.

  • Added: Dec 03, 2012
  • Length: 02:17:00
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You can hear echos of Guitar Slim's eight-second riff in hundreds of songs (but we'll only hear a few of them). Also music about the 99 versus 1 p...

  • Added: Jan 01, 2013
  • Length: 03:08:21
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Robert Moulton the singing cab driver drops in with ... oh it's too goofy to write about but he had me laughing at his audacity. Also songs with d...

  • Added: Feb 04, 2013
  • Length: 03:03:04
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Music you've never heard by musicians you've never heard of. Presented in goofy themes for reasons that I've forgotten.

  • Added: Feb 10, 2013
  • Length: 02:55:29
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Three hours of music you've never heard by musicians you've never heard of. Collector's music so that you don't need to spend your adulthood in yo...

  • Added: Apr 04, 2013
  • Length: 02:55:29
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A culling of the over-heard. There are about 150 songs that repeatedly assault your ears in public places. The over-heard. Tonight, we cull them...

  • Added: Dec 02, 2012
  • Length: 02:58:37
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Mountain Oysters and New Orleans music. It's just won't work in text so as the philosopher-king Bullwinkle says, "Just listen..."

  • Added: Dec 03, 2012
  • Length: 02:58:15
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Songs about the hot dog and for some reason the interstitial sound clips were working well tonight.

  • Added: Jan 07, 2013
  • Length: 02:54:26
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The countdown, "10, 9, 8, 7, ... Blastoff" is embedded in everyone's brainstem and it shows up in plenty of songs from the 50's to the 70s. An hou...

  • Added: Nov 13, 2012
  • Length: 59:58
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A long game of "before they were..." A game for tracking a musician's output from before they found their sound (or were branded with a sound). O...

  • Added: Jan 06, 2013
  • Length: 03:10:23
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Ferrato's Later On Decatur and a round of "before they were."

  • Added: May 19, 2013
  • Length: 02:38:09