Monday, June 26, 2006

I Love A Piano!

My Various Hobbies...

PianoI know y'all have been pining to know exactly what I mean in my profile when I state that I like "any piano boogie-woogie."

Here's a great example of a piano boogie-woogie. (If the ending is unsettling, remember that it's been sequenced that way so it can be repeated seamlessly as background music.) And I could listen to the background boogie on this all-piano midi site all day long.

I also enjoy ragtime piano and bluesy piano and gospel piano -- really, any piano music with swing, rhythm, and feeling to it.

Why do my thoughts wander to the Blackwood Brothers? Because, dear hearts, many of the piano accompaniments on the old Blackwood Brothers albums were played as if a boogie-woogie could break out at any moment. I enjoy the sound of the piano as much as the harmonies of the Brothers.

I suppose the great pianist, Wally Varner, who played with the Blackwood Brothers in the 1950's and 60's came out of the same sorts of Southern influences that produced the piano-playing cousins: Jerry Lee Lewis, Mickey Gilley, and Jimmy Swaggart. (Jimmy Swaggart fell into disgrace as a TV evangelist, but he could play the piano -- no one can deny that!)

The 50's and early 60's were great years for the Blackwood Brothers with Wally Varner at the keyboard and J.D. Sumner singing bass. If you ever get a chance, listen to the stereophonic sound of their early 60's recordings with headphones so you can experience J.D. singing deep, deep bass into your ear. He usually seemed to be on a separate channel from the other quartet members.

I'm wandering from the topic, so it must be time to quit.

Piano keyboard

Related posts:
Piano Tuning -- My piano.
Playing the Piano -- Why I admire people who can play the piano.

Related websites:
I Love A Piano
The Piano Bar
Piano Roll Midi's
Elvis and the Blackwood Brothers -- Only vaguely related, but an interesting short read if you're not already aware of the relationship.

And of course you already know that J.D. Sumner and the Stamps were back-up singers for Elvis during the 1970's and that James Blackwood and J.D. Sumners sang at Elvis's funeral (as did Jake Hess also.)

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Trixie said...

When I finish my morning work I intend to spend some quality time with the links. Ohhhh I admire the same kind of piano music with a passion! To quote Arnold: "I'll Be Back!"

Wrkinprogress said...

Funny you should mention this today -- RunawayImagination and I just got back from Chattanooga, where we spent Saturday night listening to some amazing musicians, one of whom was Ann Rabson, the founding member of Saffire: The Uppity Blues Women. She plays a MEAN boogie woogie, and some gut wrenching blues, too. She was Runaway's instructor at a Blues Week camp for musicians, and she told me Saturday, again, that she couldn't believe he thought he should be a student -- he ended up helping her teach the class. ;) If you haven't become familiar with Ann, I highly recommend you do so. Her website is

Have a mahvelous day, dahling!


Runawayimagination said...

Boogie-woogie is pretty much my stylistic center of gravity. Over the past 45 years I've played just about every type of popular music in many bands, but boogie and the larger blues genre have been the well from which I continue to draw inspiration.

I still have my first boogie lesson book, which is creased because I used to fold it up to carry in my bicycle basket on the way to weekly piano lessons.

I still play Pinetop Smith's original "Boogie Woogie," from which the term was coined. Years ago I recorded a scratchy version off the radio of Pinetop playing it in 1928, just two weeks before he was killed in a barroom fight. So far I've been luckier than him.

Genevieve said...

Trixie, I think I read on your blog that you have a baby grand. Do you play? I know you are very much musically inclined.

WIP & Runaway, thanks for your interesting comments. I will definitely do some research about Ann Rabson.

Runaway, I'm not too surprised to hear that you're talented performer of boogie-woogies and blues. I think those genres are very appealing to a wide audience for various reasons. Blues probably has a little more international appeal and dignity, but really, what American doesn't enjoy hearing an occasional piano boogie-woogie? (I suppose a few may be so pinched and soul-less, poor things.)

Trixie said...

Yes, I play -- it's the thing that can calm my soul down immediately. Hard for me to find a genre I don't love. When I was 4, my parents bought me my first piano -- an 1890s era player piano with rolls. Poor thing came to a sad end, but that is a story for another day.
I love boogie woogie, ragtime, old gospel -- just about anything that gets the innards warmed up and moving!
Of course I also love classical, new age and contemporary Christian. LOL, like I said, I can't find a type of music that doesn't appeal to me in some way.
For a while I played piano for a local big band. Our practice piano was a travel piano that once belonged to Bing Crosby and the Fascinating Rhythm Boys.

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CONTENTMENT: Keep your heart free from hate, your mind from worry, live simply, expect little, give much, sing often, pray always, forget self, think of others and their feelings, fill your heart with love, scatter sunshine. These are the tried links in the golden chain of contentment.
(Author unknown)

IT IS STILL BEST to be honest and truthful; to make the most of what we have; to be happy with simple pleasure; and to be cheerful and have courage when things go wrong.
(Laura Ingalls Wilder, 1867-1957)

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