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Here she comes! The Black Diamond Express to Hell with Sin the Engineer holding the throttle wide open; Pleasure is the headlight, and the devil is the conductor. You can feel the roaring of the express and the moanin' of the drunkards, liars, gamblers and other folk who have got aboard. They are hell-bound and they don't want to go. The train makes eleven stops but nobody can get off - Vocalion advertisement for Rev. A.W. Nix's 1927 recording Black Diamond Express to Hell

Author Topic: Frank Stokes, Jimmie Rodgers & the medicine shows?  (Read 11341 times)

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Don Santina

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Re: Frank Stokes, Jimmie Rodgers & the medicine shows?
« Reply #30 on: May 27, 2005, 08:42:57 PM »
In all these post, no one has shown me any credible evidence that Rodgers didn't use any of Stokes' material.
Mike, the Rembrandt argument does not serve your cause well.  We're talking about the cultural consequences of several centuries of slavery and segregation, not Can all the Dutch claim Rembrandt.   
Regarding Muddy Waters, with whom I had several conversations, I'm sure you're aware that Muddy would often tell people whatever they wanted to hear, depending on the audience. I think you should read something about growing up black in the Jim Crow South, 1890-1965..

Offline Johnm

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Re: Frank Stokes, Jimmie Rodgers & the medicine shows?
« Reply #31 on: May 28, 2005, 12:09:08 AM »
Hi Don,
Considering that there is zero overlap in the recorded repertoires of Frank Stokes and Jimmie Rodgers and no discernible musical affinity between their respective playing/singing styles it would seem that the burden of proof would lie on those claiming that Frank Stokes influenced Jimmie Rodgers.  There is no evidence of it in the music. 
All best,
Johnm

Offline outfidel

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Re: Frank Stokes, Jimmie Rodgers & the medicine shows?
« Reply #32 on: May 28, 2005, 06:15:09 AM »
In all these post, no one has shown me any credible evidence that Rodgers didn't use any of Stokes' material.
I would that think that, for this sort of discussion, the burden of proof falls on the side of someone to prove that Rodgers did use Stokes material.
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Offline Prof Scratchy

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Re: Frank Stokes, Jimmie Rodgers & the medicine shows?
« Reply #33 on: May 28, 2005, 07:02:28 AM »
Just had to summarise the preceding three pages of erudite discussion with the following important press release:
"Stokes and Rodgers - Prof Scratchy denies absolutely no link between them"!!

Offline Mike Billo

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Re: Frank Stokes, Jimmie Rodgers & the medicine shows?
« Reply #34 on: May 28, 2005, 09:13:07 AM »
In all these post, no one has shown me any credible evidence that Rodgers didn't use any of Stokes' material

? ? ? As we all know, it's impossible to prove a negative. From reading the links that this thread has generated , I see that Buster Keaton was prominent in the Medicine Shows.
? ? ? Prove Frank Stokes didn't learn all of his repertoire from Buster Keaton.
? ? ? You can't. Why? Because you can't prove a negative.
? ? ? .
We're talking about the cultural consequences of several centuries of slavery and segregation

? ? ?No we're not. We're talking about the artistic, creative output of a very smal group of individuals

I think you should read something about growing up black in the Jim Crow South, 1890-1965..

? ?Thank you for suggesting that I "read something".
« Last Edit: May 28, 2005, 09:38:15 AM by waxwing »

Offline Mike Billo

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Re: Frank Stokes, Jimmie Rodgers & the medicine shows?
« Reply #35 on: May 28, 2005, 09:16:21 AM »
    Oops! I messed up while using the  "Quotes" feature.
    I did not intend to have that look like the whole thing was Don's quote.
   Sorry.

    I'm sure that if you read it though, you can tell which sentences are Don's quotes and which are my rebuttals.

Offline Prof Scratchy

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Re: Frank Stokes, Jimmie Rodgers & the medicine shows?
« Reply #36 on: May 28, 2005, 09:46:12 AM »
Fortunately I can put an end to all this distasteful conflict once and for all, having unearthed a rare and scratchy 78 from my granny's attic which provides defrinitive proof!

Offline Slack

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Re: Frank Stokes, Jimmie Rodgers & the medicine shows?
« Reply #37 on: May 28, 2005, 10:39:10 AM »
:P

Somehow I knew the Yodel was coming PF!  ;D

In any case, this has been an interesting  discussion... Don, I think the burden of proof is on you.   This reminds me a bit of the old email list thread on the origins of the blues... maybe I'll resurrect that Weenie Classic thread for fun. ;)

cheers,
slack

Offline waxwing

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Re: Frank Stokes, Jimmie Rodgers & the medicine shows?
« Reply #38 on: May 28, 2005, 10:55:39 AM »
Is that better, Mike?

You can click on the "Modify" button in the upper right of any of your posts and edit them. For instance, you can delete your last post, now that it's obsolete, and you can also go into you're next to last post and see how the quote function works.

All for now.
John C.
« Last Edit: May 30, 2005, 08:38:45 PM by waxwing »
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Offline Cambio

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Re: Frank Stokes, Jimmie Rodgers & the medicine shows?
« Reply #39 on: May 28, 2005, 12:22:18 PM »
Well, It's been stated here that Frank Stokes and Garfield Akers worked as blackface musicians with Doc Watts Medicine Show sometime during WW1 and that Stokes settled down in Memphis to work as a blacksmith sometime in the early 20's.  During this time, Rodgers was working for the railroad, where he did work with several black men, some of whom showed him how to play guitar and banjo.  Rodgers didn't start playing music professionally until he was diagnosed with tuberculosis in 1925.  He initially started playing in a small combo around Meridian and later worked as a blackface entertainer with a medicine show that toured the south.
Unless Stokes worked as a blacksmith for the railroad, or unless he continued working with medicine shows after Doc Watts and settled in Memphis later than has been reported, it seems  unlikely that the two worked together. 
For further proof, I suggest going to a quiet place and listen to a Frank Stokes record, followed by a Jimmie Rodgers record.  You'll find two musicians with distinct styles who have no overlap in their repetoire.

Offline Slack

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Re: Frank Stokes, Jimmie Rodgers & the medicine shows?
« Reply #40 on: May 28, 2005, 12:35:27 PM »
Quote
Of course, any topic which touches on implied racial injustices is going to bring up strong emotions for many. It cannot be denied that the black race in America has been greatly dominated by the white race throughout this country's history.

Yes, of course and I think we are all aware of this.  We can include Native Amercians and probably a host of other folks in that great social injustice list too.  But I think, and my main objection to your piece Don, that these past social injustices and/or exploitations are somehow carried forward to "The beat goes on with continuing CD sales, blues festivals, blues documentaries, t-shirts, posters and even a sizeable internet market of instruction videos like "How To Play Guitar Like Blind Blake." ... to me is absurd.  These were Americans, it is American music and to a large degree it is reflective of the great melting pot that America is --- it is all our music.  The race talk reminds me of an old link of an article (1997) that, in my opinion, paints a much more balanced view the part race plays in the blues... entitiled "Whose Job Is It To Nuture The Blues?"

http://www.sacbee.com/static/archive/news/projects/blues/blues03.html

Cheers,
slack

Offline Slack

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Re: Frank Stokes, Jimmie Rodgers & the medicine shows?
« Reply #41 on: May 28, 2005, 12:36:30 PM »
Quote
Of course, any topic which touches on implied racial injustices is going to bring up strong emotions for many. It cannot be denied that the black race in America has been greatly dominated by the white race throughout this country's history.

Yes, of course and I think we are all aware of this.  We can include Native Amercians and probably a host of other folks in that great social injustice list too.  But I think, and my main objection to your piece Don, that these past social injustices and/or exploitations are somehow carried forward to "The beat goes on with continuing CD sales, blues festivals, blues documentaries, t-shirts, posters and even a sizeable internet market of instruction videos like "How To Play Guitar Like Blind Blake." ... to me is absurd.  These were Americans, it is American music and to a large degree it is reflective of the great melting pot that America is --- it is all our music.  The race talk reminds me of an old link of an article (1997) that, in my opinion, paints a much more balanced view of the part race plays in the blues... entitiled "Whose Job Is It To Nuture The Blues?"

http://www.sacbee.com/static/archive/news/projects/blues/blues03.html

Cheers,
slack

Offline uncle bud

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Re: Frank Stokes, Jimmie Rodgers & the medicine shows?
« Reply #42 on: May 28, 2005, 04:21:52 PM »
It just occurred to me that there's one lyric snippet Stokes and Rodgers share in common, found in Blue Yodel No. 1 - the infamous "T for Texas, T for Tennessee" line. Rodgers recorded this in November 1927. Stokes recorded Nehi Mamma Blues in August 1928 and sang:

Ah now T for Texas, T for Tenessee
If it's a mighty bad letter boys she stole away from me

or possibly "S is a mighty bad letter boys she stole away from me".

This T for Texas line is fairly common though, and I don't know if it really points to any direct influence one way or the other. One could claim equally that by doing He's In the Jailhouse Now, Rodgers was influenced extensively by Pink Anderson, definitely a medicine show veteran as well. Or Blind Blake. I think the general influences of blues and medicine show music are obviously there in Rodgers, but they don't point to one person in particular, at least not Stokes.

(Nice job, Scratchy!)
« Last Edit: May 28, 2005, 04:25:16 PM by uncle bud »

Don Santina

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Re: Frank Stokes, Jimmie Rodgers & the medicine shows?
« Reply #43 on: May 29, 2005, 10:21:53 AM »
This is my last post as I have looming deadlines for an article and a book and since I work full in construction, I must return to these priorities.

I've enjoyed this discussion and am very impressed with the amount of information you guys have.  I realize that it's difficult for most white Americans to accept the idea of reparations for African-Americans, but there is much legal precendent for this concept.  Reparations have been paid to Native Americans for treaties broken over 100 years ago, to Jews for the Holocaust, to Japanese Americans for WWII internment.  Sooner or later it will happen.

As the great civil rights leader Stokeley Carmichael once said, we are either "part of the solution or part of the problem."

Happy camping!

Offline Cambio

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Re: Frank Stokes, Jimmie Rodgers & the medicine shows?
« Reply #44 on: May 29, 2005, 11:41:59 AM »
While I agree that the idea of reparations for African Americans deserve some discussion, due to the great injustices that were done to them, the argument that you present is full of holes, half truths and bias as is often the case when people present a history of the blues.? It's not as cut and dry as you present it.? The blues is not solely the creation of African Americans nor is it solely the property of African Americans.? It's a tradition that has many contributors and many beneficiaries.?
I have had the good fortune of knowing, playing with and learning from, several great blues musicians.? ?The older ones were black, but many of the younger ones were white.? After an initial awkward period of them checking me out, every one of them was eager to share and teach because there was someone there who was eager to learn and carry on that tradition.? It didn't matter to them that I was a white.? ?It reminds me of something another great civil rights leader said,"...I dream of a day when my children will be judged by the content of their hearts and not the color of their skin." That goes both ways Sir.? I care more about what the musicians than I do cultural critics.
If you want to come here, call us racists, and retreat behind deadlines, go ahead.? That doesn't really make for a fair discussion or debate.? You have still failed to prove a connection between Rodgers and Stokes.
« Last Edit: May 29, 2005, 12:15:59 PM by Cambio »

 


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