Everybody's Doin' It: Sex, Music, and Dance in New York, 1840-1917

Everybody's Doin' It: Sex, Music, and Dance in New York, 1840-1917

by Dale Cockrell

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"Racy scholarship does the Grizzly Bear here with theoretical rigor." —William Lhamon, author of Raising Cain

Everybody’s Doin’ It is the eye-opening story of popular music’s seventy-year rise in the brothels, dance halls, and dives of New York City. It traces the birth of popular music, including ragtime and jazz, to convivial meeting places for sex, drink, music, and dance. Whether coming from a single piano player or a small band, live music was a nightly feature in New York’s spirited dives, where men and women, often black and white, mingled freely—to the horror of the elite.

This rollicking demimonde drove the development of an energetic dance music that would soon span the world. The Virginia Minstrels, Juba, Stephen Foster, Irving Berlin and his hit “Alexander’s Ragtime Band,” and the Original Dixieland Jass Band all played a part in popularizing startling new sounds.

Musicologist Dale Cockrell recreates this ephemeral underground world by mining tabloids, newspapers, court records of police busts, lurid exposés, journals, and the reports of undercover detectives working for social-reform organizations, who were sent in to gather evidence against such low-life places. Everybody’s Doin’ It illuminates the how, why, and where of America’s popular music and its buoyant journey from the dangerous Five Points of downtown to the interracial black and tans of Harlem.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780393608953
Publisher: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
Publication date: 08/13/2019
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 384
File size: 32 MB
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About the Author

Dale Cockrell is professor emeritus of musicology at Vanderbilt University and a research associate of the University of the Free State (South Africa). His Demons of Disorder won the C. Hugh Holman Award. He lives in Vermont and New York City.

Table of Contents

Preface xi

Introduction 1

Chapter 1 Libertines, Blackface Minstrels, and the Small-Potatoe Humbug 7

Chapter 2 Asmodeus, Juba, and Blood on Fire 27

Chapter 3 The Wickedest Man, the Pugilist, and Pretty Waiter Girls 45

Chapter 4 The Bishop, Comstock, and Juvenile Delinquents 65

Chapter 5 Dives, Cornets, and the Cancan Out-Paris-ed in New York 85

Chapter 6 Ragtime, Spieling, and Leapfrogging for the Reverend 105

Chapter 7 Tough Dancing, White Slavery, and "Just Tell Them That You Saw Me" 129

Chapter 8 C XIV, Alleged Music, and Superlatively Rotten Dances 155

Epilogue: Reflections 199

Acknowledgments 207

Appendix 1 Songs Identified by Committee of Fourteen Agents, 1913-1917 213

Appendix 2 "Cock Eyed Reilly" 215

Appendix 3 The People &c. Against Wallace W. Sweeney 217

Notes 223

Bibliography 247

Index 261

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