Utopian Turtletop. Monsieur Croche's Bête Noire. Contact: turtletop [at] hotmail [dot] com

Wednesday, January 19, 2005


Asked last night (in the wee hours of today, if you believe clocks) the source of rock and roll handclaps. Speculated: I bet the Jordanaires had clapped their hands on record before Elvis hired them. They were a gospel quartet.

Tonight, driving home from work late, 7:40 or so, listening to the “where the music matters” local college station, hearing a gospel group from the ‘30s or ‘20s, or, heck, I’m not sure -- it sounded OLD: guitar, blown jug for a bass, squeaky harmonica, a group of caterwaulish women singing rough unisons, and, for percussion -- handclaps! On the backbeats, the 2 and the 4, like Sinatra with his finger snaps. Only hot -- not cool.

Looking at the station’s playlist, I’m pretty sure it was Holy Ghost Sanctified Singers that I heard. Recorded between 1928 and 1930.

Gospel being a naturally social music, the handclap percussion section makes sense to me.

Gotta love the handclaps.

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