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Rhythm and Blues Revue

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Back in 1955, R&B was already rock and roll. Little Richard, Chuck Berry and other artists were pioneering a new form that was highly theatric, distantly integrated in appeal, and loaded with sexual overtones. What isn't well documented is the battle brewing within R&B. As rock and roll expanded, the form not only began crowding out jazz but also shoved aside the older, more formal 78-era R&B styles.

In the following full video of the Rhythm and Blues Review (sent along by record-promoter legend Dick LaPalm), you can see that the 1955 film was an attempt to revive the music's form prior to the invasion by brasher and more outrageous artists of the 45-rpm era.

Oddly, while the small type on the bottom of the movie introduction states that the date of the film is 1955, one wonders whether this wasn't filmed earlier—in 1950 perhaps—since the artists, their dress and their performances don't seem to be mid-50s at all. [Pictured above: Big Joe Turner]

Here is the film...


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This story appears courtesy of JazzWax by Marc Myers.
Copyright © 2014. All rights reserved.
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