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The History of Bounce

Will Coviello talks to 10th Ward Buck about his new book exploring the history of New Orleans bounce music

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The Definition of Bounce CD release and book signing

Noon-2 p.m. Saturday

Peaches Records, 408 N. Peters St., 282-3322; www.peachesrecordsneworleans.com

3 p.m. Saturday

Nuthin But Fire Records, 1840 N. Claiborne Ave., 940-5680

9 p.m. Saturday

Behind the 8 Ball Club, 3715 Tchoupitoulas St., 897-3415

Rapper 10th Ward Buck (center) at a block party with Sissy Nobby (on ladder) and Big Freedia. - PHOTO BY JORDAN BLANTON
  • Photo by Jordan Blanton
  • Rapper 10th Ward Buck (center) at a block party with Sissy Nobby (on ladder) and Big Freedia.

With more than 200 pictures of block parties, concerts and recording sessions, The Definition of Bounce: Between Ups and Downs in New Orleans looks like the slickest scrapbook produced about New Orleans music culture. It is an account of bounce music narrated by 10th Ward Buck, aka Marlon Horton, and his business partner Lucky Johnson. Buck is scheduled to release his fifth album on July 4, also titled The Definition of Bounce.

  Buck grew up listening to bounce at block parties in the St. Thomas housing project, but he got the idea for a book when he was displaced to Houston following the levee failures in 2005.

  "We were playing to New Orleans people" he says. "But there were people from Houston saying 'What is this music?'"

  Subsequent touring took him to other Southern cities where there were displaced New Orleanians and new audiences. Coincidentally, G.K. Darby of Garrett County Press (www.cgpress.com) had been interested in a book project about bounce prior to Hurricane Katrina, when he saw a video for Buck's song "Faster Faster." After returning to New Orleans, Buck eventually met with Darby and started working on the project.

  Though slickly designed by Kevin Stone, the book maintains a raw, vibrant feel from a brash collage of group shots at parties, candid closeups, blurred dancing and alternate waves and middle-finger salutes to the camera. Many of the photos are at events in front of Buck's Jackson Avenue restaurant, Finger Lick'n Wings.

  In extended narrative sections transcribed from interviews (as told to former Gambit columnist Alison Fensterstock) Buck and Johnson relate their experiences growing up with the music and becoming producers and performers. The tone is relaxed but the text is very loose and sometimes lacks specificity for a book striving to define bounce's birth and context. But the book does contain a detailed timeline of recordings and events in New Orleans bounce from the late 1980s through 2010.

  Buck was first encouraged to record a song by DJ Jubilee, whom he did background work for, but performing wasn't totally new to him. He had appeared in the film Dead Man Walking. He became better known for rapping and the song "Drop and Gimme 50," which he later sold to Mike Jones, who re-released it. Radio play and TV exposure for the song convinced Buck that there was a wider market for bounce music. Bounce rapper Big Freedia (who appears often in the book, along with rapper Sissy Nobby) has gotten wider exposure, both in print in the New York Times and in booking shows. As bounce has gained wider attention, Buck is releasing his new album and preparing both a stage and film version of the book, all sharing the same title.

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