Bob’s comment, or the implication I drew from it, set me thinking about how musical genres seem to have become more ridged.
If you look back 50 years rock ‘n’ roll had Little Richard and Chuck Berry as well as Elvis and Jerry Lee Lewis. Not only singing the same style but covering the same songs.
In the ’60s the debt to black music by white British bands was obvious and readily acknowledged. And if I look at almost any of the soul albums I’ve got from that decade there will be a cover (admittedly not usually a good one) of a Beatles or Bob Dylan song.
But it went further than that, for example Eric Clapton played guitar on Aretha Franklin’s Lady Soul. A significant number of the musicians that wrote and played on records produced by Stax were white, which may explain why songs like Dark End of the Street sound as good when done by James Carr or The Flying Burrito Brothers. And gospel played as big a part in Johnny Cash’s life as in Curtis Mayfield’s.
Even when you think of punk – at least British punk – the cross fertilization with reggae is critical to the sound, and although it’s less obvious that reggae drew much from punk there was/is an acknowledgment of a level of parallel development/fan base.
The 2 Tone period again saw bands with mixed backgrounds and a fusion of musical cultures.
But since then the interchange of musical cultures seems less obvious, baring Damian Albarn’s attempts at getting us to like world music. Unless you’re going to try to convince me that Dizzee Rascal’s use of Happy Talk fits the tradition…