We continue our rebroadcast of our series on American Popular Song with a tribute to ragtime composer and performer Eubie Blake. He was born on Feb. 7, 1883, in Baltimore, Md. He wrote the songs for the Broadway hit Shuffle Along. African American ragtime musicians of the day sought out Eubie to write their songs. Two of Eubie Blake's best known songs are "I'm Just Wild About Harry" and "Love Will Find A Way." Just over 100 years after his life began, on Feb. 12, 1983, Eubie Blake died in Brooklyn, New York.
We continue our American Popular song series, with a program about composer Will Marion Cook. He was born in 1869 and was part of the first generation born after slavery. Cook was one of the innovators of ragtime song, and helped introduce ragtime to Broadway. Cook wrote In Dahomey the first full-length broadway musical written and performed by African Americans. It opened on Broadway in 1903. Some of Cook's songs reflect the racial stereotypes and dialect of the time.
In this program we hear selections of his music performed by singers Vernel Bagneris and Terry Burrell, and pianist Dick Hyman. We also hear from Marva Carter who is writing a biography of Cook. She is the director of Graduate Studies at the School of Music at Georgia State University.