The History of Rock and Soul:
with Terri Hemmert

Spring 2016

Program Notes

Program list for The History for Rock and Soul (April 2016)

    All arrangements by Patrick Sinozich
Take the A Train Duke Ellington and His Famous Orchestra (1941) Billy Strayhorn
GOSPEL    
Shout Sister Shout Sister Rosetta Tharpe (1941) Clarence Williams
O Happy Day Edwin Hawkins Singers (1969) Edwin R. Hawkins
COUNTRY    
Crazy Patsy Cline (1962) Willie Nelson
Hey Good Lookin’ Hank Williams (1951) Hank Williams
Ring of Fire Johnny Cash (1963) June Carter and Merle Kilgore
Will the Circle Be Unbroken Carter Family (1935) Charles Gabriel, words by Ada Halverson and revised by A.P. Carter
FOLK    
Blowin' in the Wind Peter, Paul & Mary (1963) Bob Dylan
If I Had a Hammer The Weavers (1950) and Peter, Paul & Mary (1962) Lee Hays and Pete Seeger
This Land is Your Land Woody Guthrie (1944) Woody Guthrie
BLUES    
Sweet Home Chicago Robert Johnson (1936) Robert Johnson
Got My Mojo Working Muddy Waters (1957) Preston Foster
EARLY ROCK AND SOUL  
Ain’t Nobody Here But Us Chickens Louis Jordan (1946) Joan Whitney and Alex Kramer
Is You Is or Is You Ain't My Baby Louis Jordan (1944) Billy Austin and Louis Jordan
Paper Doll The Mills Brothers (1943) Johnny S. Black
In the Still of the Night The Five Satins (1956) Fred Parris
Why Do Fools Fall in Love Frankie Lymon and The Teenagers (1956) Frankie Lymon and Morris Levy
Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow The Shirelles (1960) Gerry Goffin and Carole King
He’s So Fine The Chiffons (1962) Ronald Mack
ROCKABILLY    
Chantilly Lace Big Bopper (1958) J.P. Richardson
Wake Up Little Susie The Everly Brothers (1957) Felice Bryant and Boudleaux Bryant
Great Balls of Fire Jerry Lee Lewis (1957) Otis Blackwell and Jack Hammer
Blue Suede Shoes Elvis Presley (1956) Carl Lee Perkins
MUSIC CITIES (NEW ORLEANS TRIBUTE)
Ain’t That a Shame Fats Domino (1955) Antoine Domino and David Bartholomew
Working in the Coal Mine Lee Dorsey (1966) Allen Toussaint
Chapel of Love The Dixie Cups (1964) Phil Spector, Ellie Greenwich and Jeff Barry
INDEPENDENT RECORD LABELS (MOTOWN TRIBUTE)
Please Mr. Postman The Marvelettes (1961) Robert Bateman, Georgia Dobbins, William Garrett, Freddie Gorman and Brian Holland
Baby Love The Supremes (1964) Brian Holland, Edward Holland and Lamont Dozier
I Heard It Through the Grapevine Marvin Gaye (1968) Norman J. Whitfield and Barrett Strong
Dancing in the Street Martha and the Vandellas (1964) Marvin Gaye, William "Mickey" Stevenson and Ivy Jo Hunter
BEACH BOYS    
Good Vibrations The Beach Boys (1966) Brian Wilson and Mike Love
BRITISH INVASION    
If I Fell The Beatles (1964) John Lennon and Paul McCartney
You Really Got Me The Kinks (1964) Ray Davies
Paint It Black The Rolling Stones (1966) Mick Jagger and Keith Richards
My Generation The Who (1965) Peter Townsend
SLY AND THE FAMILY STONE  
Stand Sly and the Family Stone (1969) Sylvester Stewart
Everyday People Sly and the Family Stone (1968) Sylvester Stewart
Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin) Slly and the Family Stone (1969) Sylvester Stewart
encore:  All My Loving The Beatles (1963) Lennon/McCartney

 

FROM THE ARTISTIC DIRECTOR

As the years have gone by with Chicago a cappella, the more I continue to marvel at the teamwork that goes into this enterprise, and the more fortunate I feel at being able to work with amazing artists who are also superb human beings and team players. In the case of this specific show, the lead creative team of Terri Hemmert and Patrick Sinozich has created a spectacular event in which our singers can shine, and the singers get to really strut the stylistic versatility that qualified them to get into the group in the first place. For Terri’s part, the project stems from her decades of teaching on this very topic at Columbia College Chicago, her encyclopedic knowledge of and enthusiasm for the subject matter, and her ability to distill down to the essence of what makes a musical style what it is. Patrick’s musical gifts are too many to number here—for starters, he is a phenomenal pianist, which you won’t experience in this show—but the ones he has brought to this production include his incredible talent for choral and especially a cappella arranging, his ability to capture the nature of a song quickly and precisely, his talent at tailoring his arrangements for the voices at hand, and the way he can talk to singers in rehearsal, to make any genre immediately sound true.

I’ll let Patrick tell you more about this creative journey, and I’ll close with simple thanks for your being here to witness an explosion of joy and celebration—The History of Rock and Soul.

—Jonathan Miller
Founder and Artistic Director
 

FROM THE MUSIC DIRECTOR/ARRANGER

Welcome to “The History of Rock and Soul,” a varied program of jazz, gospel, country, folk, blues, rockabilly and other genres that helped create what we call Rock and Soul—a popular music form that continues to recreate itself constantly. This cross-pollination of rhythms, harmonies, instrumental groupings and unique individual voices created something that seems simple on the surface, yet reveals itself as complex, multi-layered, and rich.  Oral traditions, religious fervor, homespun harmonies, racial unrest and social turmoil, the recording industry—all these influences over the course of the 20th century allowed popular music to become the voice of millions.

We are fortunate to have another voice, that of Terri Hemmert, leading us on this journey. Terri’s college course on this very subject became our musical “syllabus,” and her input served as our guide as the program was created. 

The vast majority of these songs were originally performed in some combination of lead singer, back-up singers, bass, drums and guitar. Often a keyboard would be added, and sometimes a group of singers (trio or quartet) would replace the lead/back-up arrangement. Less frequently there were additional instruments, including harmonica, saxophone, various brass instruments, steel guitar, and most exotically, the sitar (Paint It Black) and the Theremin (Good Vibrations).

As I began the process of arranging all of this material, translating the vocals and instrumentals for a 9-voice a cappella troupe, I had to decide which singers would sing the text – whether as lead or back-up singer – and which would imitate the various instruments. Secondly, I had to figure out how to make a voice sound like a guitar, a keyboard, a trumpet, and so on. Since most of the songs included a bass guitar, the lowest-voiced singer ended up with the valuable but potentially wearisome task of providing what is at times a less-than-glamorous role. Similarly, most of the songs use some form of percussion, so one singer was going to have to “thomp” and “kih” and “ts” (can you guess which percussion instruments these sounds represent?) throughout much of the program. I spent many late nights experimenting with a wide array of syllables, searching for just the right one to recreate the “chung chuck” of Elvis’s Blue Suede Shoes, or the “dn dk a dn” for the guitar in Peter, Paul and Mary’s rendition of If I Had A Hammer.

In almost every arrangement I have tried to remain true to the original intention of the piece.  I didn’t want to write a vocal jazz version, for example, of what was originally a country music hit. I did this so that we could best tell the story of how these different types of music informed and influenced what we would later call “rock” and “soul.”

Most importantly, I realized that all of these songs required the voice of a particular singer (or vocal group) for their power and appeal. What would Crazy be without Patsy Cline? Or Great Balls of Fire without Jerry Lee Lewis? And on and on, with Mick Jagger, the Beatles, Marvin Gaye and the Supremes. Not only is this program an abbreviated catalogue of some of the most memorable tunes of the mid-20th century, but it also represents the unique voices that have cried to us, made us happy, sung our discontent and our longing.

My regard and my respect for these songwriters and performers have grown by leaps and bounds throughout this process. After spending countless hours listening to multiple performances by the original artists (where would we be without YouTube?) I began to sense that many of these performers started with an intuitive expressive ability.  Through repetition, those expressions became actual song forms, which led them to break the very rules that regulated the structure of their songs in the first place. In other words, they borrowed, developed, and refashioned existing forms into Rock and Soul, and these new styles – and their brilliant creators – became our vinyl companions and the heartbeat of an era. 

– Patrick Sinozich