Find the connections between the literary landscape and soundscape. We talk with Columbia University jazz scholar Robert O’Meally about the music writings of Ralph Ellison, the Harlem Renaissance author best known for the novel Invisible Man. And visit with songsmith and wordsmith James Talley.
What’s in a name? Listen in and you’ll find out why Emmett Ellis Jr. became the bluesman Bobby Rush; how folks get names like Topsy (Chapman), and Sherman & Wendell (Holmes); and how country singer George Jones became known as “the possum.” Also, we talk to Yale anthropologist David Watts about names of non-human primates.
Tune in and turn on to our nation’s fringe heritage. Along with their spiritual forefathers, the beatniks and folkies, our hippie generation latched on to great music before them—from old-time country and bluegrass, bebop, blues and more—and created their own versions. We’re joined by Maria Muldaur, who recalls making jug-band music in the West Village in the ’60s. Also, we speak with bass player Jack Casady, a founding member of the Jefferson Airplane and Hot Tuna.
Join us for the sounds and stories of estranged country singer and songwriter Robbie Fulks. And R&B vixen Bettye LaVette takes us from the Motor City to Muscle Shoals, and Beale Street to Bourbon Street, as she recounts nearly 50 years of singing R&B.