Deep Ellum: The Other Side of Dallas

Deep Ellum: The Other Side of Dallas

Deep Ellum: The Other Side of Dallas

Deep Ellum: The Other Side of Dallas

Synopsis

Deep Ellum, on the eastern edge of downtown Dallas, retains its character as an alternative to the city's staid image with loft apartments, art galleries, nightclubs, and tattoo shops. It first sprang up as a ramshackle business district with saloons and variety theatres and evolved, during the early decades of the twentieth century, into a place where the black and white worlds of Dallas converged.

This book strips away layers of myth to illuminate the cultural milieu that spawned such seminal blues and jazz musicians as Blind Lemon Jefferson, Buster Smith, and T-Bone Walker and that was also an incubator for the growth of western swing.

Expanding upon the original 1998 publication, this Texas A&M University Press edition offers new research on Deep Ellum's vital cross-fertilization of white and black musical styles, many additional rare historical photographs, and an updated account of the area in the early years of the twenty-first century.

Excerpt

By the time we met at the funeral of blues pianist Alex Moore in 1989, Moore had finally received the recognition he deserved for his contributions to the Deep Ellum of his youth. Alan delivered a eulogy, and Jay was covering the event for the Dallas Morning News. That initial encounter led to a personal and professional relationship that has endured to the present day. As we talked and explored our common interests in folklore and music, particularly Texas blues, we returned again and again to Deep Ellum, the fabled Dallas district that lay between the offices of the Morning News and the East Dallas neighborhood where Alan had established his nonprofit Documentary Arts.

Alan had been researching Deep Ellum since he moved to Dallas in 1980. in 1981 he organized the Downtown Dallas Traditional Music Festival, and for that event he featured Moore, then eighty years old, and country blues guitarist and singer Bill Neely, as well as a group he assembled and called Dallas Jazz Greats, which included Buster Smith, Herbie Cowens, Boston Smith, Benny “Chops” Arredondo, and James Clay. the success of this festival led to others, and in 1983 Alan launched the Dallas Folk Festival on City Hall Plaza and wrote articles for the Dallas Times Herald and Parkway magazine on the musicians he presented. in addition, Alan began the development of Traditional Music in Texas, a thirty-nine-part radio series that he produced for broadcast on kera 90.1 in Dallas. in 1984 he received a commission from the Dallas Museum of Art for Living Texas Blues, a project that involved writing a short book, producing an anthology cassette, and directing three short films, Deep Ellum Blues, Battle of the Guitars, and Cigarette Blues. in 1986 Alan released through Documentary Arts another anthology cassette, called Deep Ellum Blues, which contained many of his field and festival recordings of musicians who had started their careers during the heyday of Deep Ellum in the 1920s and 1930s and were . . .

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