In this episode, Robert and Nate discuss the birth and rapid rise of Stax Records, the early hits of Booker T & the MGs, Otis Redding, and Carla Thomas, as well as the political, social and racial context of Memphis, Tennessee in the 1960s.
Come back next week for part two of Nate’s conversation with Robert Gordon chronicling the history of Stax records.
This week Nate is joined by Author, Joe Bonomo, to discuss his book, “Jerry Lee Lewis: Lost and Found.”
In this episode, Joe and Nate discuss the rise, fall and comeback of rockabilly icon Jerry Lee Lewis with a particular focus on his album “Live at the Star-Club.” They’ll cover Jerry’s amazing early hits, his fall from grace, long years in the wilderness, how he came to record a live album at the German club the Beatles made famous, and the current debate about re-evaluating artists in light of the #metoo movement.
Come back next week for the first of two discussions with Robert Gordon chronicling the history of Stax records.
This week, Nate is joined by Author, Robert Gordon, to discuss his book "Can't Be Satisfied: The Life and Times of Muddy Waters."
In this episode, Robert and Nate discuss the epic life story of perhaps the most iconic American bluesman of all, from Muddy's beginnings at the Stovall Plantation in the Mississippi Delta, his first recordings for the Library of Congress, his move to Chicago and role in pioneering electric blues, all the way to his influence on the British blues revival and later years as an elder statesman of American music.
Thanks for listening. Nate will be taking a break for a few weeks and will return with more music history and analysis in the spring.
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"Can't Be Satisfied: The Life and Times of Muddy Waters" by Robert Gordon, is available from Back Bay Books and can be found wherever fine books are sold.
This week, Nate is joined by Author, David Wondrich, to discuss his overlooked classic: "Stomp and Swerve: How American Music Got Hot 1843-1924"
In this episode, David takes Nate way way back into the history of American music, long before the invention of recording, to discuss how African-derived music in North America differs from its sister music in South America and the Caribbean, as well as America's primordial pop phenomenon -- the Minstrel Show, and all the racist baggage that comes with it; country music's surprising roots in African-American music and the black performers and songwriters who seized the opportunities presented to break the color barriers which had kept black performers off professional stages until nearly the turn of the 20th century.
Song List for This Episode:
1. St. Louis Blues - Bessie Smith
2. Trombone Sneeze - Arthur Pryor
3. Monaghan - Michael Coleman
4. Yaw Donkor -Kumasi Trio
5. Old Dan Tucker - Fiddling John Carson
Next week, author Robert Gordon returns to discuss “Can’t Be Satisfied” his biography of Muddy Waters.
“Electric Shock: Recorded Music from the Gramophone to the iPhone.”: An Interview With Author Peter Doggett (Part 2 of 2)
In this episode, Electric Shock author Peter Doggett continues the tale of the first format wars with radio’s sudden mass market emergence in the 1920s and discusses three of the early superstars of recorded music: Enrico Caruso, Bert Williams and Al Jolson.
Next week, author David Wondrich is Nate’s guest to discuss his overlooked classic: “Stomp and Swerve: How American Music Got Hot 1843-1924."
“Electric Shock: Recorded Music from the Gramophone to the iPhone”: An Interview With Author Peter Doggett (Part 1 of 2)
In this episode, Peter explains how he came to take on such an ambitious project, why he started with the advent of recorded music rather than the advent of sheet music, the first format wars between Thomas Edison’s phonograph and Emile Berliner’s gramophone, the first recorded music superstars, and one unfortunate early hitmaker who found himself having to do a new recording every time a copy of his hit record was made.
Next week, author Peter Doggett returns for the second episode, featuring his book “Electric Shock: Recorded Music from the Gramophone to the iPhone.”
How the Music Biz Used the Death of Nirvana's Kurt Cobain to Revise Music History and Cash in on Grunge
This week Nate is joined by Author, Adam Caress, to discuss his book, “The Day Alternative Music Died: the Struggle between Art and Money for the Soul of Rock”.
In this episode, Adam makes the case that the death of Kurt Cobain led to an instant revision of music history, and attempts to remind us of what the actual state of “alternative” music was in the halcyon days of the early 1990s before “grunge” was codified as a simple to copy formula that was relentlessly promoted by the music industry.
Next week, Author, Peter Doggett, joins Nate for the first of two episodes discussing his book “Electric Shock: Recorded Music from the Gramophone to the iPhone”.
In this episode, Elijah elaborates on the claim of his title "How the Beatles Destroyed Rock and Roll" and makes his best case for the role of the Beatles (and other leading musicians of their generation like Bob Dylan and the Beach Boys) inadvertently ending the process of synthesis and cross-pollination that led to the evolution of rock and roll.
Next week, author Adam Caress joins Nate to discuss his book “The Day Alternative Music Died: the Struggle between Art and Money for the Soul of Rock.”
This week, Nate is joined by author Elijah Wald for a discussion of his book “Escaping the Delta: Robert Johnson and the Invention of the Blues”
In this episode, Elijah explains his ground-breaking revisionist history of the blues, why Robert Johnson was virtually ignored by blues fans of his own era and how he emerged as a legend in the 1960's and beyond.
Next week, Elijah Wald will return to discuss his book, “How the Beatles Destroyed Rock 'N' Roll” with Nate.
In this episode, Robert Gorden, author of "Memphis Rent Party" tells Nate some of his favorite stories about the under-sung musical legends of his home town of Memphis, including chewing tobacco with rockabilly legend Charlie Feathers, soul legend James Carr’s tragic tale of mental transubstantiation, the singer more frightening than Jerry Lee Lewis, the Lead Belly album that changed his life, and Jeff Buckley’s final days.
Thanks for listening. Next time, Nate will be back with author Elijah Wald to discuss his book "Escaping the Delta" which tells the real story of Robert Johnston, the blues legend in his proper context.
Hosted by longtime rock and roll fan and sportswriter Nate Wilcox, "Let It Roll" is a series of in-depth interviews with Ed Ward about his book, The History of Rock and Roll, Volume 1: 1920-1963. Ward was the official rock and roll historian for NPR’s Fresh Air for 30 years, and is a former editor of Rolling Stone, writer for Crawdaddy, and Cream.