Social constructions of ‘authenticity’ and the sounds of the Kid Thomas Valentine Band

The case of ‘Basin Street Blues’—an approach from sociological musicology and cultural studies


  • Richard Ekins University of Ulster



Kid Thomas Valentine, New Orleans jazz revivalism, Popular Musicology, The Grain of the Voice


The Kid Thomas Band (1926–1987) may lay legitimate claim to be the most significant of all the old-style New Orleans jazz bands, in terms of ‘authenticity’, longevity and contemporary significance. This article seeks to illuminate social constructions of authenticity in New Orleans revivalist jazz through an analysis of major aspects of the musical detail of selected recordings of ‘Basin Street Blues’ by the Kid Thomas Band. It compares and contrasts the Kid Thomas Band New Orleans ‘dance hall’ sound of 1957 with the ‘concert hall’ sound of 1971, with particular reference to social constructions of authenticity embedded within second-wave New Orleans jazz revivalism of the 1960s and 1970s, as supplemented by the current views of selected New Orleans revivalist jazz enthusiasts, musicians, writers, promoters and record producers with over half a century’s participation within worldwide New Orleans revivalist jazz social worlds.

Author Biography

  • Richard Ekins, University of Ulster

    Richard Ekins is a jazz record producer for 504/La Croix Records and Emeritus Professor of Sociology and Cultural Studies at Ulster University, UK. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and a Member of the British Psychoanalytical Society and Institute of Psychoanalysis, London. His current research is focused on authenticity in early jazz and New Orleans jazz revivalism, and on the life and work of Dorothy Richardson.


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How to Cite

Ekins, R. (2016). Social constructions of ‘authenticity’ and the sounds of the Kid Thomas Valentine Band: The case of ‘Basin Street Blues’—an approach from sociological musicology and cultural studies. Jazz Research Journal, 9(2), 107-144.