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Stomp and Shout: R&B and the Origins of Northwest Rock and Roll

Author: Blecha, Peter

Publication Date: 02/16/2023

Format: Hardcover

Parking lot rumbles, teen dance riots, and the rise of the Northwest Sound

Long before the world discovered grunge, the Pacific Northwest was already home to a singular music culture. In the late 1950s, locals had codified a distinct offshoot of rockin' R&B, and a surprising number of them would skyrocket to success, including Little Bill and the Bluenotes, the Wailers, Ron Holden, Paul Revere and the Raiders, the Kingsmen, Merrilee Rush, and the Sonics.

With entertaining accounts gleaned from hundreds of interviews, Peter Blecha tells the story of music in the Pacific Northwest from the 1940s to the 1960s, a golden era that shaped generations of musicians to come. The local R&B scene evolved from the area’s vibrant jazz scene, and Blecha illuminates the musical continuum between Ray Charles (who cut his first record in Seattle) and Quincy Jones to the rock 'n' rollers who forged the classic jazz-tinged "Northwest Sound." DJs built a teen dance circuit that the authorities didn’t like but whose popularity pushed bands to develop crowd-friendly beats. Do-it-yourself enthusiasts launched groundbreaking record companies that scored a surprising number of hit songs.

Highlighting key but overlooked figures and offering a new look at well-known musicians (such as an obscure guitarist then known as Jimmy Hendrix), Blecha shows how an isolated region launched influential new sounds upon an unsuspecting world.