One of the earliest great stylists of R&B, CHARLES BROWN, smooth and elegant, raised by grandparents, studied classical music as a child. Received a B.A. in chemistry, taught high school, had a civil service job as a chemist. First haunting...
SHAG: Just the mention of the word shag stirs the blood of old time lindy hoppers, jitterbugs, shufflers and fast dancers. Truth is the word’s been around for a long while. Meant to shake or wiggle in the 1800s. In England it’s the F-word. Lewis Hall swears he introduced the Shag in 1932 at the Pirates Festival in Wilmington. Ask great old time shaggers like Billy Jeffers, Bubber Snow, Jo Jo Putnam and you’ll get other juicy versions of its origin, all of em darn good. But truth is it’s been around in one form or nother.
• 1932 Wilmington Star: “A Shag dance contest will be held at Wrightsville Beach”
• 1937 Arthur Murray film clip with the caption. “Princess Brinda went to learn the big Apple and stayed to do the Shag.” The beat is essentially the same. He even does a version of the belly roll.
• 1938 Dance instruction magazine demos the shag step.
• 1939 Amos Milburn song “Doug the Jitterbug” refers to the Shag on his 12th line. “But boy he can shag.”