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The Nine O'clock Blues Is Going To Boogie

Lil' Ed & The Blues Imperials

Boogie is an interesting word. Webster’s Third Collegiate Dictionary says the origin of the word boogie-woogie is unknown.

Meanwhile, the Oxford New World Dictionary says the first known use of the word boogie goes back to 1913 and it meant a rent party.

This makes a lot of sense as rent parties were the epicenter of the Blues development in the cities of that era. At the time African-Americans had a hard time financially and few could own a night club, so “rent parties” in the organizer’s apartment became the ‘juke joints” of the cities.

While sheet music from circa-1900 has at least three uses of the word “Bogie”, the first known boogie-woogie song recorded was “That Synchopated Boogie Boo” recorded in 1913 by The American Quartet.

By the 1930s most of the popular swing bands including Benny Goodman, Louis Jordan, and Tommy Dorsey had at least one boogie hit.

Then there was “The Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy”, a big hit for The Andrews Sisters in 1941. And, of course, boogie-woogie piano has a long history that can be traced to at least 1916.


I could go on and on: hitting on Country-Boogie, Shuffle-Boogie, low down Boogie and a whole lot more. I will just jump to the fact that Boogie ties together a whole world of music that has been heavily influenced by the Blues.

And I’m going to concentrate on a set of Rock-n-Boogie this week on the Nine O’clock Blues. We’ll hear Ronnie Earl and the Broadcasters, Lee Rocker’s Big Blues, Lil’ Ed and the Blues Imperials and others.

Also this week we’ll hear from Furry Lewis. Lewis once completely cracked up Johnny Carson. Appearing on The Tonight Show when he was in his 80s, Furry responded to Carson’s question as to why Lewis had never been married with, “What I need a wife fo’ when the guy next door got a perfectly good one he ain’t usin’?”


Joining Rock—n-Boogie and Furry Lewis will be some vintage Canned Heat, long associated with several types of boogie, Chicago harmonica great Walter Horton and a very interesting new group, Heritage Blues Orchestra, who Taj Mahal calls, “…one of the new and exciting faces of the Blues! Elegant, fabulous and refreshing!”

I agree.

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