Today’s show features a talk the brilliant English folk-punk activist Billy Bragg gave on skiffle music at NYC’s Strand Bookstore last year upon the release of his book Roots, Radicals and Rockers: How Skiffle Changed the World.
Bragg traces the little-known genre from its distinctly American roots to its British chart-topping success, and consequent all-conquering return to America repackaged as the British Invasion. He describes how the short-lived “hillbilly” sound forever changed the course of Western music via its teenaged adherents, who included Van Morrison and, crucially, the Beatles.
This utterly fascinating tale also touches on questions of cultural appropriation (and appropriation of appropriation), how young women wanting to jive created a new gig infrastructure, calypso hitting the U.K. charts due to a cricket match, and how the spread of skiffle — and, for that matter, rap — mimics the fidget spinner. Check it out, and subscribe now
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—Elia Einhorn, Talkhouse Podcast
host and producer @eliaeinhorn
This week’s episode is a collaboration with the Strand. It was recorded by Charles Mueller and co-produced by Mark Yoshizumi.
(Image Credit: Pete Dunwell)