Generally Eclectic Review

Reviews of book on music - all sorts. Feel free to share your comments, criticisms, and replies with my readers!

Location: Fredonia, New York, United States

Feel free to contact me at mason2042 at gmail dot com

Thursday, March 15, 2012

“The Definition of Bounce: Between Ups and Downs In New Orleans” by 10th Ward Buck (New Mouth From the Dirty South)

Let me state right from the outset that I’m not really the right person to make comments on this book. The demographic is totally skewed - I’m a senior-citizen college prof from Western New York, and bounce music is made for a much younger resident of New Orleans. But, as someone who teaches a course in the History of American Popular Music, I like to learn as much as I can about new musical styles, regardless of what audience they’re intended for, particularly when they come from such a wellspring of important American genres as New Orleans.

Having said that, I can’t really say my knowledge of bounce music is now complete. Indeed, it still feels very limited after perusing this volume. Author 10th Ward Buck, himself a prominent bounce performer responsible for the original “Drop and Gimme 50”, is not a musicologist, and therefore doesn’t really “define” bounce, regardless of the book’s title. But he does tell us a lot about the music, if sometimes rather indirectly. It is not a branch of hip-hop; it has however been subjected to alteration by artists who incorporate rap with bounce; it should be performed rapidly, and so on. Thus, we have descriptive phrases and critiques (as well as titles one can look up on Youtube, which I have) rather than detailed analysis. There is, though, an invaluable timeline of “significant occurrences” in the development and disemination of bounce music, from the 1980’s to 2010, which historians will find quite useful.

Most of all, Buck gives us a solid feel for the CONTEXT of the music, which in years to come will be invaluable for researchers who will be able to hear the music as preserved on disc and videos, but will welcome the opportunity to place it within a particular scene in a particular time in a particular place. The context is supplied partially by Buck’s informal text (which has all the earmarks of being transcribed from taped interviews or reminiscences), but even more so by the photographs, to which considerably more space is devoted overall than to words. We see page after page of Buck and his friends, fans, and neighbors, dancing, partying, hanging out, etc. While this does get somewhat repetitious after a while, one is left with the impression that this visual document of the “bounce scene” is where the REAL story of the music lies.

So, while I may not be part of the target market for the book, I’m entirely positive that such a market is out there. I’m sure the right audience will get considerably more out of this book than I did. If it sounds like something that would be just right for you, it most likely is!

New Mouth From The Dirty South is an imprint of the New Orleans indie Garrett County Press,

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