Monday, January 17, 2011

Birthplace of Boogie Woogie? Title has been taken by Marshall, Tx; hear NPR's online All Things Considered

"Marshall, Texas, The Birthplace of Boogie Woogie, will be featured on National Public Radio’s “All Things Considered" says Nancy Barr Canson. "The program will be broadcast on NPR stations across the nation, and locally on 89.9 FM, Red River Radio."

And here it is online.

Shreveport Blog's response to the news:
We congratulate the numerous people in Marshall - the Cansons and John Tennison have won public plaudits - who have developed this media signature for a charming East Texas town. It takes a lot of work to produce an institutionalized brand like The Birthplace of Boogie Woogie and to keep it rolling.

Shreveporters should take note of this success in Marshall and do our best to imitate it. At the least, Shreveport should emphasize links to the landmark events in Marshall. Since both towns are on I-20, there would be a natural connection for visitors who love Americana and music.

In the book A Left Hand Like God, A History of Boogie Woogie Piano, readers will see several references to Shreveport. The connections revolve around the lumber camps developed in this region in the 1890's. In the timber camps black piano-pounders would entertain the mostly-black work force with a bit of melody and a heavy rhythm. Leadbelly often said he developed his guitar technique by listening to boogie-woogie pianists on Fannin St.

One way for Shreveport to exploit the connection would be to develop a Boogie Woogie Piano Place. I envision a downtown storefront with an animated display offering a lively, musical 5-minute history session.
I believe the display could be automated, too.

Such a center would connect with 3 important Shreveport-Bossier tourism themes: African-American culture, America's Musical Roots and the - yet to developed - Timber Rush.

If you like the idea, send your thoughts and encouragements to

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