Thursday, July 28, 2011

Boomer Music!

Posted to OGR 01/09/2011

Last Friday, I had the chance to interview Theodis Ealey, the blues and soul artist, whose career spans most of what we fondly call the music of the boomer generation. During that interview, I asked him if he considered himself more of a blues or a soul artist. He responded that he was a really both. A few months ago, I was speaking with Maurice Williams, the legendary front man of Maurice Williams and the Zodiacs about Doo Wop, Soul and Beach Music and how his music transcends all of those genres. Many artists resist being labeled by genre because they believe their music appeals to a wider audience. That got me thinking of what we call music genres today. I don’t think I remember hearing the term “genre” back further than maybe 20 years. Could it be that we have coined the phrase genre as part of some sort of mad effort to categorize everything and put labels on them?

Back in the late 50s and early 60s, there was a decided country twinge to rock and roll, what we call “rockabilly” today. We didn’t have that label back then. Where did the term “beatnick” come from? Yes, there was a musical sound called “beat” that was laced with “folk music” pouring out onto the sidewalks in front of the coffee houses in the early and mid 60s. First, psychedelic music in the late 60s and then classic rock in the 70s came and went. It was the same with “metal” and “hard rock!” Of course, blues and soul mixed into our collective memories over time. Would you consider The Rolling Stones a rock and roll or a blues band? How about Dusty Springfield, or in modern times, Joss Stone or Duffy?

When you take a spin across the radio dial today, you hear stations proclaiming themselves to be “Classic Rock”, “Oldies”, “Adult Contemporary”, “Urban” or one of the many tightly defined genres in an effort to differentiate themselves from each other and grab their niche of the audience pool out there. Let me ask you a question: If you could listen to only one genre, which one would it be? If you are like me, you would not be satisfied with that restriction. That is why I don’t understand why most broadcasters restrict themselves to one genre of music. Our Generation Radio recognizes that baby boomers like all kinds of music, and that is why we broadcast all kinds. Viva, la difference!

Copyright 2011 Rick Wrigley

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