[Dixielandjazz] Dixieland song-styles

Dan Augustine ds.augustine at mail.utexas.edu
Tue Jul 13 15:35:26 PDT 2004

     A couple of months ago, driving back from the Sacramento Jazz 
Jubilee, i was talking with a highschool classmate and his wife 
(Feryl and Ruth) in Carson City, Nevada, about dixieland (OKOM, 
traditional jazz, etc.).  They already liked 1930's (and after)-style 
swing-music, but apparently had never heard much dixieland.  All i 
had with me was my car's CD-case of about 20 dixieland-CD's, and i 
was trying to play for them samples of dixieland.
     I had two (probably unrealistic) aims in mind: 1) sketching the 
history of dixieland from about 1900 to today via song-styles; and 2) 
illustrating the incredible diversity of types of song-styles in 
dixieland (_not_ band-styles like Condon-style, West Coast, New 
Orleans, but styles like marches, gospel, dances, etc.).
     Obviously i didn't have enough samples to accomplish either aim, 
but here's something close to what i played for them:

Gettysburg March 		(Turk Murphy)
Bugle Boy March 		(Michael White)
Original Dixieland One-Step 	(Yerba Buena Stompers)
Weatherbird			(Great Pacific Jazz Band)
Bozo 				(Caoba Jazz Band)
Just a Closer Walk with Thee 	(Michael White)
Gimme a Pigfoot 		(Queen City Jazz Band, with Wende Harston)
Willie the Weeper 		(Titan Hot 7)
Russian Lullaby 		(Reynolds Brothers)
Big Bear Stomp 			(Lu Watters Yerba Buena Jazz Band
March of the Uncle Bubbys 	(Tim Laughlin)
Jubilee Stomp 			(Gully Low Jazz Band)

     Those of course are probably not the same songs or the same order 
i played them in, but you get the idea.  They liked the songs i 
played (only 30-60 seconds per tune), and Ruth said she thought 
"Jubilee Stomp" was just 'frantic' (i would have said 'energetic', 
but you gotta remember that this was Carson City, not New York City).
     However, since then i've been thinking more about the range of 
dixieland song-types, or styles of subject-matter in songs. We never 
talk about this feature of dixieland and seem to take it for granted, 
but i don't think any other kind of jazz incorporates as many 
different styles in it as dixieland.
     Here are some more examples of song-styles/subjects.  You can 
think of lots more, and can (and will) quibble with my categories.

spiritual/gospel: Old Man River (Wild Bill Davison)
folk song (?): Green Leaves of Summer (Kenny Ball)
march: South Rampart Street Parade
blues (?): St. James Infirmary (Jack Teagarden)
barbershop: Down by the Old Mill Stream (Kings of Dixieland)
children's song: Red Wing (High Sierra)
folk/country-western: Red River Valley
dance: Charleston
Civil War march: Gettysburg March
broadway: Mame
rag: 1919 Rag; 12th Street Rag; Maple Leaf Rag
bunny hop: Jinken (Golden Gate Rhythm Machine)
patriotic: American Patrol; Battle Hymn of the Republic
state songs: Back Home in Indiana; Maryland, My Maryland
city songs: Dallas Blues, St. Louis Blues, Bay City
New Orleans: Iko Iko (St. Gabriel's Celestial Brass Band)
circus: Thunder and Blazes
ethnic: Irish Black Bottom; Hava Nagila; Mexican Hat Dance
popular songs: When I'm 64; Midnight in Moscow
novelty: Sheik of Araby; In a Persian Market
early American: Lassus Trombone
Australian: Noalimba Breakout (Steve Waddell's Creole Bells)
French: C'est Pas Ma Faute (Sac a pulses)

     You see what i'm trying to get at?  I'm not concerned with the 
labels per se for the song-styles, but the different kinds of mood 
(major/minor), rhythm (Latin, march, dirge, dance), subject-matter, 
associations that the audience has with them.  Playing such differing 
styles creates a lot of enjoyable listening for an audience, and 
perhaps in our set-lists we don't think enough about using different 
song-styles to add more interest to our music.

**  Dan Augustine     Austin, Texas     ds.augustine at mail.utexas.edu  **
**   "If I owned Hell and Texas I'd rent out Texas and live in Hell." **
**                    -- General Phillip H. Sheridan                  **

More information about the Dixielandjazz mailing list