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

Benjamin Zimmer bgzimmer at RCI.RUTGERS.EDU
Thu Dec 9 21:09:01 UTC 2004

On Thu, 9 Dec 2004 14:44:06 -0500, Benjamin Zimmer
<bgzimmer at RCI.RUTGERS.EDU> wrote:

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

Looks like Walter Winchell has Bangs beat by a couple of decades:

 Zanesville (Ohio) Signal, Jan 21, 1947, p. 4
 ["Walter Winchell On Broadway" from the Daily Mirror]
 Wynonie Harris' blooze chants on the Appollo recording, "Young and Wild".

>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_.

Among the bands performing at an April 1967 "Human Be In" in Griffith
Park, Los Angeles was "Alexander's Timeless Blooz Band" ("A Groovy Time at
'Human Be In'", Los Angeles Times, Mar 1, 1967. p. E8).  This suggests
that the "blooz(e)" spelling might have entered countercultural circles
via the West Coast jug bands of the mid-'60s.

I should note that there are earlier non-musical examples of the jocular
spelling "blooz" for "blues", referring to baseball teams:

 Lincoln (Nebraska) Evening News, May 31, 1910, p. 6
 The Kansas City Blooz have temporarily climbed out of the cellar by
 winning two games in rapid succession from the Milwaukee Brewers.

 Lincoln (Nebraska) Star, April 24, 1922, p. 9
 The Beatrice Sun is predicting a 5,000 mob on May 12, when George
 Segrist's Fairbury clan invades the Gage county metropolis to clash
 with Toots Kirchner's Blooz in the inaugural battle. ... Manager
 Kirchner and his Beatrice Blooz made the drive to Tecumseh Sunday and
 massacred the Tecumseh Indians, 11 to 0, in a practice workout for
 both teams.

>Even earlier was "Bloozy Woozy", a Charlie Shavers composition on the Gene
>Krupa Sextet's 1954 album _The Driving_.

I found a reference to an earlier composition with the same name (though
not in the blues or jazz genres, apparently):

 New York Times, Oct 5, 1948, p. 29
 The musical inspiration was Dr. Clarence Chambers' satirical medley,
 "All American Suite" ... with names of individual sections such as
 "Bloozy-Woozy," "Parade of the Visiting Firemen," "Chicken in the Hay"
 and "Lush."

-- Ben Zimmer

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