What kind of music were you playing on the jobs?
Blues. I’d play the blues all night long, just playing the blues.
You were playing for adults, then?
Yes. These were blues clubs, little holes in the wall-
Is that what they wanted?
Oh, yes. That’s all they would listen to.
The reason I’m questioning you so closely is I think that in many places during the fifties popular songs were more common than the blues.
Well, all these places wanted was the blues. A lot of the popular songs were blues, however.
Do you think that perhaps a different kind of music was more common in St. Louis among blacks than in other places? I mean, would this demand for the blues have come about because St. Louis was southern and somewhat “country” and, therefore, closer to genuine folk music?
I don’t know. But I do know that all you would hear in those clubs was the blues.
Eileen Southern interviewing composer Olly Wilson in 1977.
I don’t remember exactly how, but I recently discovered Wilson’s music and have been trying to learn more about him. The more of his music I hear, the more I wish it had been covered in my education. Oh well, no time like the present.
Southern, Eileen, and Olly Wilson. “Olly Wilson: The Education of a Composer.” The Black Perspective in Music 5, no. 1 (1977): 90-103. doi:10.2307/1214361. JSTOR permalink