Apart from a small handful of people today whose activities during an earlier musical era had catapulted them into the status of international celebrities—say, Dr John, Fats Domino, Allen Toussaint or Irma Thomas—no one playing rhythm and blues (R&B) music in New Orleans these days entertains reasonable expectations about achieving fame and fortune by spearheading a revival of this music. Too many things have changed since the halcyon days of the city’s R&B explosion in the two decades following the Second World War—mass musical tastes, the appearance of multiple niche-music cultures, the demographics of the city itself—to seriously allow for the supposition that history is somehow poised to repeat itself. To be sure, there are R&B musicians in the Crescent City who have an international audience that they reach by touring, over the radio waves and with their recordings. Many of them appear in this book. But while they are able to pursue successful careers in music, that pursuit is most unlikely to result in stardom. Nonetheless, they remain “in that number”, performing the music first created by their legendary forebears, doing more than any other collection of individuals on the planet to keep alive a storied and profoundly influential musical tradition, introducing it to at least some members of a younger generation.
KeywordsMigration Explosive Assimilation Metaphor Shoe
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