Date: Sun, 22 Sep 1996 00:16:27 -0400

From: "Barry A. Popik" Bapopik[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]AOL.COM

Subject: "SALTY," "SWING," and "TRUCKING": Harlem words and phrases.

Roi Ottley wrote the column "Hectic Harlem" for the Amsterdam News in

the 1930s. I urge everyone to check out the "Webster Abridged" column of 8

February 1936 in which many terms are defined, such as "hip," "gum shoe,"

"pitch a boogie woogie," "pull a bootsie," "chick," "pig meat," et al.

For our recent discussion of "Salty," he defines this as "Sarcastic,

supercilious, highbrow, as 'Don't jump salty.'" "Prissy" and "Hincty" were

listed as the same.

"The Macarena" might be the fad of this year, but his discussions on

"swing" and "trucking" are instructive and well worth recording for

dictionary usage. Here they are.

SWING: Amsterdam News, 4 April 1936, pg. 13, col. 7.

"Hot" Music Revived as "Swing"

THE SWING MUSIC craze and its origin which has struck the ofay brethren

and which has been the hot rhythms of the Harlem dance citizenry for many

seasons, has Charles A. Lindbergh to thank for its return to

popularity...Notthat the flyer is a dancer or musician, but his amazing

exploits as an airman had profound effect upon the local inhabitants--and so

goes dance or music in Harlem, so goes the ofay's interpretation.

Great feats always cause the poets of a nation to sing praises...But no

great poetry or prose came from America's throat to commemorate Lindbergh's

spanning the Atlantic...White America merely rested in its rockin' chair and

beamed with pride at the exploits of one of its sons.

Black America, therefore, became poet-laureate and wrote across the

Harlem dance floors, with a terpsichorean tap, a record of the flyer...That

lifting dance, the Lindy Hop, was consciously originated by the Savoy

Ballroom dancers, to commemorate the Lindbergh flight.

The new dance, of course, needed a special type of rhythm which would

best enable the lindy-hoppers to express the various figures of the

dance...Some genius, therefore, obliged with "Ol' Nagi," which probably

started the cycle of "swing" music...This number is the theme song of the

lindy-hoppers...Dance music is more often geared to the dance.

Considerable discussion has been going the rounds about the origination

of the so-called "swing" music...The Savoy Ballroom was probably the first

dance hall to feature this type of music in recent years...However, despite

all the various viewpoints expressed, "swing" music remains merely "hot"

music revived.

Some ofay will surely come along and claim its origination.

TRUCKING: Amsterdam News, 31 August 1935, pg. 11, col. 1.

Who Originated the "Truck"?

NOBLE SISSLE claims credit for originating the "Truck," the latest dance

craze, that is rivalling the Charleston and the Lindy Hop in popularity...Ed

Sullivan gives credit to the Cotton Club...Cora La Redd emphatically states

she is the originator...Pigmeat Markham, the comedian, is among those who

carries the torch of having first done the truck...This observer first saw

the dance done down in Dickie Wells' Theatrical Grill by Rubberlegs Williams

to the accompaniment of a Shim Sham Band...This was at least three years

ago...But the dance was really first done in Philadelphia by Red and Struggle

and Rubberlegs Williams and originated as a finale for a show...Its name is

derived merely from the fact that Red of the Red and Struggle team emitted

the cry of elation "truck" when he had seen the first steps done...It is an

outgrowth of the "shuffle" which old-time waiters used to do when they

carried heavy trays of food...Noble Sissle's claim is based on the fact that

he titled a show at the Harlem Opera House in the winter "Trucking on Down"

and wrote a song with the same title...The Cotton Club is trying to cash in

as originators of this dance to fill the already depleted coffers...Ted

Kohler, author of "Stormy Weather," has penned a truck number for the Cotton

Club show with some familiar strains from the Noble Sissle number inserted in

his work..However, when all the scramble is over W. C. Handy appears on the

scene as the only man who will cash in on this number, as he recently

published and has copyrighted a "Trucking on Down" number...On the reverse

side of the music copy are illustrated instructions of the truck...If you

journey down to the Old Colony (Lenox avenue, on 128th street) you can hear

Fats Waller play some mellow "truck" music...We hope this concludes the

"trucking on down" debate.