History Through Music

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Mark your calendars for Thursday, August 29! That evening the Oklahoma History Center will host Dr. Harold Aldridge and Miss Blues for an educational and entertaining performance on the development of Blues music. This edition of the Oklahoma Historical Society’s “History through Music” program will examine the development and appreciation of the Blues music genre from its roots in nineteenth century slavery to its popularity in the twentieth century. Doors will open at 6:00 p.m. and the program will start at 7:00 p.m. Oklahoma Historical Society members can RSVP and receive free seats. Non-members may purchase an OHS family membership at half price, $25.00, or any of our other membership levels at regular price, and RSVP for up to two seats.

Dr. Aldridge and Dorothy Ellis, aka “Miss Blues,” will lecture and perform on the roots of different Blues styles. This will include regional differences and the migration of these styles into Oklahoma. During the program scholars will also discuss how the unique settlement of the Sooner state mixed different cultures and music, creating its own distinctive sounds and musicians. During the presentation both musicians will explain the roles that secular and gospel music had in these communities.

Born and raised in the all-black town of Taft, Oklahoma, Dr. Harold Aldridge learned to play the guitar from the town’s older musicians. He will perform and give the history of the differing styles of Blues, including how regional sounds emerged. Aldridge is a regular act at the Dusk ‘til Dawn Blues Festival that occurs in Rentiesville, Oklahoma, August 31 through September 2, 2013.

Dorothy Ellis, also known as Miss Blues, began “shouting” the Blues in the 1940s. She came to Oklahoma City from Texas, alone, at the age of thirteen. She has sung at some of the historic venues of Oklahoma City’s Deep Deuce district. Miss Blues will share some of her story, as well as her “Texas Shout” style of Blues. Miss Blues will also appear at the Dusk ‘til Dawn Blues Festival.

Prior to the informative concert, there will be a presentation on several other notable blues musicians who have ties to Oklahoma. These include “Funny Papa” Smith, Jimmy Rushing, Jay McShann, Jimmy Liggins, Joe Liggins, Lowell Fulson, Roy Milton, Ernie Fields, DC Minner, Elvin Bishop, Jimmy Nolen, and more. The role that Oklahoma’s all-black towns and their “Juke Joints” had in the tapestry of the regions music will be another topic examined. This program is a partnership between the Oklahoma Humanities Council and the Oklahoma Historical Society.

To make a reservation, email Nicole Harvey, nharvey@okhistory.org or call (405) 522-5202.

This program is funded in part by the Oklahoma Humanities Council (OHC) and the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH). Any views, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed in this program do not necessarily represent those of OHC or NEH.