"blooz(e)" (was Re: shock rock, cock rock)

Benjamin Zimmer bgzimmer at RCI.RUTGERS.EDU
Thu Dec 9 19:44:06 UTC 2004

On Thu, 9 Dec 2004 09:34:42 -0500, Jesse Sheidlower <jester at PANIX.COM> wrote:

>That same Creem article, by Mike Saunders, also has what is apparently
>the first use of _heavy metal_, and _blooze_ (I had thought this was
>a Lester Bangs-ism, but haven't found anything earlier in Bangs, but
>no doubt Ben will soon correct me)

According to the _Rolling Stone_ online archive, Bangs used it a year
earlier in a Feb. 1970 review of the Allman Brothers:

For all the white blooze bands proliferating today, it's still inspiring
when the real article comes along, a white group who've transcended their
schooling to produce a volatile blues-rock sound of pure energy,
inspiration and love.
(Review of "The Allman Brothers Band" in _Rolling Stone_ 52, Feb 19, 1970

This might require checking the original, because a book on the Allman
Brothers gives the quote with the spelling "blooz", not "blooze":


Bangs used both "blooz" and "bluz" in a 1971 article (the same one that
provides the first cite for "grungy" in the musical sense):

You can leave out the South pretty much, 'cause all them dumb saltines can
play is blues and bluz and blooz and a little soul when the weather lets
them far enough out of their torpor to get ambitious.
("James Taylor Marked for Death", _Who Put the Bomp_ Winter-Spring 1971,
reprinted in _Psychotic Reactions and Carburetor Dung_, p. 68)

Bangs might have gotten the "blooz" spelling from the jazz saxophonist Art
Pepper, who composed a song called "Tenor Blooz" in 1956 (released on the
1957 album _The Joe Morello Sextet_).  Cannonball Adderley also performed
a song called "The Blooz" on his album _Paris Jazz Concert 1969_.

Even earlier was "Bloozy Woozy", a Charlie Shavers composition on the Gene
Krupa Sextet's 1954 album _The Driving_.  This was no doubt the
inspiration for Bangs' use of "bloozy woozies" in 1974:

The first decision I had to make was whether to treat it as a total joke
and just peck at the thing desultorily, or really get into the funky
bloozy woozies and try to peck along in rhythm.
("My Night of Ecstasy with the J. Geils Band", _Creem_ August 1974,
reprinted in _Psychotic Reactions and Carburetor Dung_, p. 145)

-- Ben Zimmer

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