Ragged but Right: Black Traveling Shows, "Coon Songs," and the Dark Pathway to Blues and Jazz (American Made Music Series)

Ragged but Right: Black Traveling Shows, "Coon Songs," and the Dark Pathway to Blues and Jazz (American Made Music Series)

Lynn Abbott


The advertisement explosion of ragtime within the early 20th century created formerly unimagined possibilities for black performers. besides the fact that, each prospect was once mitigated through systemic racism. the most important hits of the ragtime period weren’t Scott Joplin’s stately piano rags. “Coon songs,” with their gruesome identify, outlined ragtime for the loads, and performed a transitional function within the advertisement ascendancy of blues and jazz.

In Ragged yet Right, now in paperback, Lynn Abbott and Doug Seroff examine black musical comedy productions, sideshow bands, and itinerant tented minstrel exhibits. Ragtime historical past is topped via the “big shows,” the beautiful musical comedy successes of Williams and Walker, Bob Cole, and Ernest Hogan. below the massive tent of Tolliver’s shrewdpermanent Set, Ma Rainey, Clara Smith, and others have been switched over from “coon shouters” to “blues singers.”

Throughout the ragtime period and into the period of blues and jazz, circuses and Wild West indicates exploited the preferred call for for black song and tradition, but segregated and subordinated black performers to the sideshow tent. to not be harassed with their nineteenth-century white predecessors, black, tented minstrel exhibits similar to the Rabbit’s Foot and Silas eco-friendly from New Orleans supplied blues and jazz-heavy vernacular leisure that black southern audiences pointed out with and took satisfaction in.

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