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African American singers

8 results




Doo-Wop's History of Racial Integration

Rock historian Ed Ward looks at some of the early integrated doo-wop groups. He says unlike today's white acts which appropriate black styles, those early groups truly mixed black and white performers and black and white musical styles.


The Songwriting of Percy Mayfield

Rock historian Ed Ward profiles the influential musician, who had a string of hits in the early 1950s. An automobile accident scarred his face, and he stayed out of the public eye for several years. But Mayfield still made a living from music, with song for other artists -- like the Ray Charles hit, "Hit the Road, Jack."


A Curtis Mayfield Retrospective

Rock historian Ed Ward begins a two-part profile of the influential singer, songwriter, and guitar player. Mayfield was recently injured during a performance, and is now paralyzed.


A Great Blues Talent Among the Imitators

Shortly after Ray Charles endured a family tragedy, he started to go blind. His mother feared for his future, but Charles was able to make a career in music. Rock historian Ed Ward describes how Charles, who was steeped in the tradition of Nat King Cole, developed his own unique voice.


A Career of Near-Masterpieces

Rock historian Ed Ward profiles the rise and fall of soul singer Etta James, whose heroin habit curtailed her career after a string of fantastic albums.


Mr. Blues is Coming to Town

Rock historian Ed Ward remembers the brash and powerful blues "shouter" Wynonie Harris, whose raucous songs had a strong influence on early rock and roll.

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