Civil Rights

Al Bell was in the Stax recording studio in Memphis at the very moment Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was shot and killed just a few blocks away. Ironically, the recording Al was producing at that time was a song he wrote encouraging Dr. King, whom he had known for years, to be cautious carrying...
Willie Chambers and his brothers fell in love with gospel music while growing up singing in church. Even though they received some strong criticism, they expanded the places where church music was heard, including night clubs and bars in the late 1950s and early 1960s. With the support of Pete...
Joe Chambers was inspired by his older brother George to play guitar and write songs. The brothers, Joe, George, Willie and Lester, formed The Chambers Brothers and began singing gospel music. They went on to perform in clubs, folk festivals and large concert venues after adding songs with rock,...
Buddy Collette changed music in more than one way. As a noted reed man, he played jazz along some of the greatest players in history including his boyhood friend, Charlie Mingus. Buddy was instrumental in the birth of the Los Angeles jazz scene. Beginning in the late 1940s, Buddy set out to break...
Fat Dog is the founder of Subway Guitars in Berkeley, California.  Since the 1960s, the store has become a hub for musicians to gather to discuss everything from politics and human rights concerns as well as music and poetry. The level of social awareness that Subway had was in Fat Dog's...
Preston Epps was the percussionist who had a top 20 hit recording in 1959 entitled "Bongo Rock."  The success of the song led to additional recordings and concert tours that forever tied his name with the bongos!  His fascinating career in music included gigs with Count Basie, Ben Pollack and even...
Walter Fuller played trumpet for Earl “Fatha” Hines when Earl, a pianist, formed his first big band in 1936. Walter gained fame as trumpet player and singer on several of the band’s hit recordings. During our interview, Walter spoke of working in clubs owned by mobsters, bringing the Chicago style...
This audio only interview was conducted for a radio program by Dan Del Fiorentino and donated to the NAMM Oral History program: Lena Horne was a popular singer and actress who was dedicated to the Civil Rights movement beginning in the 1950s. She began her career singing in the chorus line at the...
Ketty Lester sang several ballads while in a recording studio in Los Angeles in 1963, under the assumption that the point of the session was an audition to explore her musical range and style. In fact, that session was recorded to tape and at the very end when the producer asked for one more song...
Tom Paxton spoke eloquently about the role folk music played during critical events in American history, such as the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s for which he was involved with. Tom marched, wrote songs, and played the songs of others, such as Pete Seeger, in order to bring about...

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