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Season of the Witch: How the Occult Saved Rock and Roll

Reviewed by Trevor Pyne

[Snip] Rock and roll derives from that modern subset of music that was born from African-American slave beginnings, merging gradually with mainstream popular music via vaudeville then going on to shape the dominant genres of music consumed by the majority of the listening public. Therefore jazz, coupled with the timely invention and spread of radio, record players and talking pictures, exported the fledgling art form worldwide in the period between the two world wars. Consequently, musicians everywhere picked up and recorded their own take on this new phenomenon. After the Second World War, aspects of jazz and other popular music, combined with the still novel electric guitar, fused to bring rock and roll as we know it to the world stage.

It is mainly from this period onward that Season of the Witch looks at rock and roll, and how otherworldly forces may have shaped it. Time is spent looking right back at both the African and African American origins of the music that was the grandmother of the rock we know today. The relevance of religion, again from the paganism originating from Africa and American Christianity of the time, is examined for the effects that it had on the chrysalis of slave music. There is then quite a leap to what we can start to see as the beginnings of rock and roll proper, as it were. From then on music is examined so as to note the effects of the liminal upon it.

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