Ed Ward

Ed Ward is the rock-and-roll historian on NPR's Fresh Air with Terry Gross.

A co-author of Rock of Ages: The Rolling Stone History of Rock & Roll, Ward has also contributed to The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and countless music magazines.

Ward lives in Montpellier, France. He blogs at Ward in France.

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11:26am

Wed March 13, 2013
Music Reviews

The Moving Sidewalks: Where The British Invasion Met Texas Blues

Originally published on Wed March 13, 2013 1:22 pm

Before ZZ Top, Billy Gibbons (second from right) was in the more psychedelic Moving Sidewalks.
Rancho Deluxe Productions

There must be something in the water — or the beer — in Texas that caused the huge eruption of garage bands and psychedelic bands in the mid-1960s, because there sure were a lot of them, and their records on obscure labels have kept collectors busy for decades. Most of them were amateurs, but the Coachmen, who came together around 1964, were different.

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12:28pm

Wed February 27, 2013
Music Reviews

Aretha Franklin Before Atlantic: The Columbia Years

Originally published on Wed February 27, 2013 5:01 pm

Aretha Franklin became a star on the Atlantic record label after leaving Columbia.
Express Newspapers Getty Images

Aretha Franklin made her first record when she was 14, singing some gospel standards in the church of her father, Rev. C.L. Franklin, an easygoing Detroit pastor who was friends with Martin Luther King and just about every gospel singer you could name. One of the stars who visited a lot was Sam Cooke, who convinced Aretha that she could be a hit singing popular music.

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11:47am

Tue January 8, 2013
Music Reviews

The Unsung Pioneer Of Louisiana Swamp-Pop

Originally published on Tue January 8, 2013 12:50 pm

Joe Barry was a pioneer of "swamp-pop" in the early 1960s.
Johnny Vallis

Southern Louisiana in the early 1960s was a hotbed of musical creativity among youngsters who'd been raised listening to French-language country music and Fats Domino. They combined those — and other — influences to make what's now called "swamp pop." Joe Barry was a pioneer in this area who should have been much bigger.

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2:21pm

Thu November 29, 2012
Music Reviews

Turning Up The Volume On The Electric Blues

Originally published on Fri November 30, 2012 6:12 am

Joe Hill Louis, B.B. King and Rufus Thomas appear on a new multi-disc compilation of electric blues, Plug It In! Turn It Up!
Bear Family Records

Blues is so much a part of the fabric of American music and American culture — not only as a defined musical form, but also as a springboard for all kinds of creativity — that it seems crazy to try to encapsulate it in any way. Bear Family Records, though, has just released a 12-disc survey of electric blues called Plug It In! Turn It Up! that does a great job of illuminating one particular aspect of the blues.

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11:52am

Tue November 20, 2012
Music Reviews

The Insect Trust: An American Band Deconstructed

Originally published on Mon November 26, 2012 10:40 am

The Insect Trust.
Courtesy of the artist

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