Several areas of the Popular Culture Excavation Site provide access to mp3 music files, mpeg-1 movie clips, or both. As these files are quite large, the question arises as to how well (or even whether) your computer will play them. Those with high-speed connections will have the best experience. Those using dial-up modems will encounter the usual delay in downloading a large file.
To improve your chances, a Windows Media Player is provided on this page. You should be able to hear a music file or view a movie clip simply by clicking the little black right-pointing arrowhead in the media player. If this doesn't work, click the highlighted title of the song or video to open the viewer that is associated with your computer. If this fails, it's time to consult your browser or computer help files.
Big Joe Turner, Live!
Here's the imposing Joe Turner, in front of a live audience, singing of portion of his smash hit "Shake, Rattle, and Roll." "I believe to my soul, she's the devil in nylon hose." Somewhat sanitized versions were later popularized by both Bill Haley and Elvis Presley, not to mention a version by Pat B ..., well, it's not to mention.
This performance was filmed about 1955, reportedly at the Apollo Theater in Harlem. I regret that limitations on the server space available to me prevent my bringing it to you in its entirety. Consequently, this film clip has been edited to keep it (and your download time) as short as possible. Still, here he is, the man himself in living breathing motion.
Recordings of live performances from rhythm and blues revues are few and far between. As my best attempt to transport you to that time, here are two songs in mp3 format that should give you a taste of what it was like:
Hey Now, Miss Fannie
This is the Clovers performing live at the Apollo Theatre, probably in 1955. Here, the fellows race through "Miss Fannie" in some 20 seconds less time than on the 45rpm release. Live performances at rhythm and blues shows were commonly quite short, what with the promoters trotting out up to a dozen performers, each singing anywhere from 2 to 5 numbers, no one could be allowed to stay on stage very long. That's a picture from this performance at the top of this page. Can't see them very well? Here's a really nice promotional photo of the group.
The original 1959 recording of Roadrunner was a minor hit for Bo Diddley. This version, recorded live at the Beach Club in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, over the Fourth of July holiday in 1963, is one of the most exciting live performances ever to be preserved for the listening pleasure of future generations.