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Swing Shift: All-Girl Bands of the 1940s

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Swing Shift: All-Girl Bands of the 1940s Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

The forgotten history of the “all-girl” big bands of the World War II era takes center stage in Sherrie Tucker’s Swing Shift. American demand for swing skyrocketed with the onslaught of war as millions—isolated from loved ones—sought diversion, comfort, and social contact through music and dance. Although all-female jazz and dance bands had existed since the 1920s, now hundreds of such groups, both African American and white, barnstormed ballrooms, theaters, dance halls, military installations, and makeshift USO stages on the home front and abroad.

Filled with firsthand accounts of more than a hundred women who performed during this era and complemented by thorough—and eye-opening—archival research, Swing Shift not only offers a history of this significant aspect of American society and culture but also examines how and why whole bands of dedicated and talented women musicians were dropped from—or never inducted into—our national memory. Tucker’s nuanced presentation reveals who these remarkable women were, where and when they began to play music, and how they navigated a sometimes wild and bumpy road—including their experiences with gas and rubber rationing, travel restrictions designed to prioritize transportation for military needs, and Jim Crow laws and other prejudices. She explains how the expanded opportunities brought by the war, along with sudden increased publicity, created the illusion that all female musicians—no matter how experienced or talented—were “Swing Shift Maisies,” 1940s slang for the substitutes for the “real” workers (or musicians) who were away in combat. Comparing the working conditions and public representations of women musicians with figures such as Rosie the Riveter, WACs, USO hostesses, pin-ups, and movie stars, Tucker chronicles the careers of such bands as the International Sweethearts of Rhythm, Phil Spitalny’s Hours of Charm, The Darlings of Rhythm, and the Sharon Rogers All-Girl Band.

Synopsis:

Filled with firsthand accounts of more than 100 women who performed during the World War II era, "Swing Shift" offers a history of this significant aspect of American society and culture and also examines how and why bands of dedicated and talented women musicians were dropped from the nation's memory. 45 photos.

Synopsis:

The story, based on extensive individual interviews, of the women’s swing bands that toured extensively during World War II and after — a kind of “League of their Own” for jazz.

Synopsis:

Tucker's nuanced presentation reveals who these remarkable women were, where and when they began to play music, and how they navigated a sometimes wild and bumpy road - including their experiences with gas and rubber rationing, travel restrictions designed to prioritise transportation for military needs, and Jim Crow laws and other prejudices. She explains how the expanded opportunities brought by the war, along with sudden increased publicity, created the illusion that all female musicians - no matter how experienced or talented - were. "Swing Shift Maisies," 1940s slang for the substitutes for the "real" workers (or musicians) who were away in combat. Comparing the working conditions and public representations of women musicians with figures such as Rosie the Riveter, WACs, USO hostesses, pin-ups, and movie stars, Tucker chronicles the careers of such bands as the International Sweethearts of Rhythm, Phil Spitalny's Hours of Charm, The Darlings of Rhythm, and the Sharon Rogers All-Girl Band.

Description:

Includes bibliographical references (p. [371]-397) and index.

About the Author

Swing Shift is a long-overdue historical corrective and a compelling read—a thoroughly remarkable achievement.”—David Hajdu, author of Lush Life: A Biography of Billy Strayhorn
Swing Shift is the most original, thought-provoking jazz book written in the last thirty years. Sherrie Tucker’s virtuoso performance not only tears down the bars of silence that have kept women musicians invisible, but she reveals how this silence works to uphold the race and gender mythologies that we know as the history of the ‘swing era.’ After prying open our eyes and ears, Tucker takes us on a funky, surprising, inspiring musical journey that will drive all jazzheads back to the woodshed. And if that’s not enough, as a writer this ‘girl’ can swing off the page!”—Robin D. G. Kelley, author of Yo' Mama's Disfunktional! Fighting the Culture Wars in Urban America
“Sherrie Tucker’s beautifully written and meticulously researched book on women jazz bands introduces us to a generation of awesome musicians, whose stories raise provocative questions about the impact of race, class, gender, and sexuality on dominant conceptions of jazz history. In suggesting new ways of thinking about the place of women jazz musicians in recent U.S. history, Swing Shift boldly challenges our contemporary understandings of the unruly politics of culture. ”—Angela Davis

Product Details

ISBN:
9780822324850
Author:
Tucker, Sherrie
Publisher:
Duke University Press
Location:
Durham N.C. :
Subject:
History & Criticism *
Subject:
Jazz
Subject:
Musical instruments
Subject:
Women's Studies - History
Subject:
Women jazz musicians
Subject:
History & Criticism - General
Subject:
Genres & Styles - Jazz
Subject:
Jazz -- 1941-1950 -- History and criticism.
Subject:
Women jazz musicians -- United States.
Subject:
Music - Jazz
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Trade Cloth
Series Volume:
14
Publication Date:
20000631
Binding:
HARDCOVER
Language:
English
Illustrations:
45 bandw photographs
Pages:
424
Dimensions:
9.60x6.52x1.55 in. 1.80 lbs.

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Related Subjects

Arts and Entertainment » Music » General History
Arts and Entertainment » Music » Genres and Styles » Jazz
Arts and Entertainment » Music » Genres and Styles » Jazz » General
Arts and Entertainment » Music » History and Criticism
History and Social Science » Gender Studies » Womens Studies

Swing Shift: All-Girl Bands of the 1940s Used Hardcover
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$10.95 In Stock
Product details 424 pages Duke University Press - English 9780822324850 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by , Filled with firsthand accounts of more than 100 women who performed during the World War II era, "Swing Shift" offers a history of this significant aspect of American society and culture and also examines how and why bands of dedicated and talented women musicians were dropped from the nation's memory. 45 photos.
"Synopsis" by ,
The story, based on extensive individual interviews, of the women’s swing bands that toured extensively during World War II and after — a kind of “League of their Own” for jazz.
"Synopsis" by , Tucker's nuanced presentation reveals who these remarkable women were, where and when they began to play music, and how they navigated a sometimes wild and bumpy road - including their experiences with gas and rubber rationing, travel restrictions designed to prioritise transportation for military needs, and Jim Crow laws and other prejudices. She explains how the expanded opportunities brought by the war, along with sudden increased publicity, created the illusion that all female musicians - no matter how experienced or talented - were. "Swing Shift Maisies," 1940s slang for the substitutes for the "real" workers (or musicians) who were away in combat. Comparing the working conditions and public representations of women musicians with figures such as Rosie the Riveter, WACs, USO hostesses, pin-ups, and movie stars, Tucker chronicles the careers of such bands as the International Sweethearts of Rhythm, Phil Spitalny's Hours of Charm, The Darlings of Rhythm, and the Sharon Rogers All-Girl Band.
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