All of my life I have been enamoured by the Boogie Woogie. Even before I attempted to take piano lessons, at my mom's insistance, I had fingered picked out a simple Boogie Woogie by ear on the piano and had big dreams of being a famous Boogie Woogie player.(That did not happen)! I love the sound of Boogie Woogie and that bass underchord. I also love the dance that goes with it. My mom could really dance it. I never saw my dad really dance it, although I did see him dragged into the middle of the living room a time or to and just stand there while my mom danced circles around him. But I have seen my mom, my aunt Shirley, and several other people tear up a dance floor doing the Boogie Woogie. It is an amazing dance. It is an amazing sound. But when and where did it come from? I always thought it came from the likes of Beal Street, or the French Quarter in New Orleans, or even Chicago....but after looking it up was surprised to find that it actually originated in Texas. n 1939, African American historian E. Simms Campbell wrote, “Boogie Woogie piano playing originated in the lumber and turpentine camps of Texas and in the sporting houses of that state.” Campbell called Boogie Woogie power piano playing “a fast, rolling bass, giving the piece an undercurrent of tremendous power." Before and after 1900, East Texas was blanketed by vast virgin stands of longleaf pines dotted with camps of men who spent most of their working hours harvesting resin for the distillation of turpentine.But at night and on weekends, the camps were infamous for drunken brawls, card cheating, and murderous knife fights. And, somehow, in the midst of this turbulence, a distinctly American form of music, the Boogie Woogie, was developing. In the camps, there were always barrelhouses, where barrels were made and filled with resin. On Saturday nights, planks of lumber were placed across the barrels and became makeshift bars. Consequently, before Boogie Woogie began to make its way into music history, the style of piano was also known as “barrelhouse piano.” Whereever it came from....I just know that when Boogie Woogie music came on....my mom would start tapping her feet and before you knew it...she had some unsuspecting person up on the living room floor dancing circles around them. She was so graceful. Even when she was in the nursing home....before she became bed ridden she would grab one of the CNA's and dance her around for a bit if the music struck her fancy. My daughter Kat got that dancing gene. I don't have a rhythmic dancing bone in my body. Even when I took ballroom dancing lessons....my friends wanted to dance with Frank....he is fabulous....and they left me their husbands to dance with. Sigh!
I had to leave you with one of the best Boogie Woogie videos ever. The couple dancing is amazing and the piano player is wonderful. Enjoy my Saturday musical offering. Have a great day! I know I will.
I am a woman who wears many hats and loves them all. I am a singer - I sing with the group Still Magnolias. I was part of the original First United Methodist Church Arbor Praise Team until we moved. After 24+ years of teaching English 11 and Spanish I - II at Benjamin Russell High School I decided to take a job closer to home. I now teach Spanish I & 2 at Randolph Co. High School and Wadley. I thought I was getting close to retirement and looking forward to it, but decided to move my cheese and try something different. I am a preacher's wife and a preacher myself. My husband Frank is the pastor at Rock Mills United Methodist Church and I am the pastor at Midway (Wedowee). It has made our conversations interesting, to say the least.