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Saturday, 21 February 2015

Jive Talk in Early Rock 'n' Roll: Bill Haley and Ella Mae Morse; Dig This!

Maude Haley (nee Green) -mother of Bill Haley (born 1925)- emigrated to the USA from Ulverston, Lancashire (now Cumbria), England, when she was fifteen years old, before WWI. Her father was a baker in Ulverston. Bill was born in Michigan. Trained as a classical pianist, Maude Haley gave piano lessons at home in the USA. She also gave Bill singing lessons. I wonder what she made of her son's jive slang and rock 'n' roll.

Rock the Joint

See You Later Alligator

Crazy, Man, Crazy

Ella Mae Morse, Hey Daddy-O...I have to dig life with father

Ella Mae was born in Texas in 1924. Her father, George Morse, was a sailor from England. He was also a drummer, and Ella Mae sang in nightclubs with his small jazz dance band or combo at a very young age, from the age of 9, according to the New York Times. Her parents split up. I wonder what happened to George Morse, and what he thought of her hit records and her jive talk with pianist Freddie Slack, who asks "What's your pleasure, treasure?". Listen to the intro of House of Blue Lights.

House of Blue Lights

Pig Foot Pete

Cow Cow Boogie

Both Bill and Ella Mae recorded Razzle Dazzle ("the hipster's dance and the square cat's too"), and Forty Cups of Coffee

Bill Haley and the Comets

Ella Mae Morse

Forty Cups of Coffee, Ella Mae

Bill Haley version

Ampol Radio Show, Australia, January 11, 1957

Filmed in Essen, Germany, 1958

From Glossary of Jive Talk (Wikipedia):

Alligator  A devotee of jazz or swing music. Perhaps alludes to sharp-dressing with alligator leather

Hep  In the know. Later, hip.

Hep cat  Knowledgeable person. Later, hipster.

I'm Not a Juvenile Delinquent

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