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African American singers

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Cabaret Singer Bobby Short

He's been playing piano and singing at the Carlyle Hotel in New York City since 1968. He's considered one of the great cabaret singers of our time. The 79-year-old song stylist was slated to retire from the Cafe Carlyle this coming New Year's Eve, but he's extended his schedule, and he's not going anywhere for the time being. Short has been named a "living landmark" by New York's Landmark Conservancy and a "national living legend" by the Library of Congress.


From the Archives: Jazz Singer Jimmy Scott Is Back in the Public Eye.

Singer Jimmy Scott. He sang with Lionel Hampton's band in the late 1940s early 50s and influenced such singers as Nancy Wilson, Marvin Gaye, and Stevie Wonder. Quincy Jones who played with Hampton's band then said of Scott's singing, "It's a very emotional, soul-penetrating style. Jimmy used to tear my heart out every night." He became best known for his ballads. Despite his talent, SCOTT has had a sporadic singing career marked by long periods of obscurity. He returned to performing and recording in the early 1990s. (REBROADCAST from 7/23/92)


From the Archives: 'Fresh Air's 10th Anniversary Concert: Father and Son Rufus and Marvell Thomas Take the Stage.

INT. 2: An on stage performance with Rufus Thomas, the self-proclaimed “world’s oldest teenager.” He was recorded at the 1997 Chicago Blues Festival. He played an integral role in the success of major record labels in the nineteen-fifties, Sun Records and Stax Records. Rebroadcast from 7/3/97. Musicians Dan Penn, Spooner Oldham, and Marvell Thomas also play.


Temptations Singer Otis Williams

Wiliams was the founder of The Temptations, whose smooth five-part harmonies and synchronized dance steps made them one of the hottest of Motown's super groups. Their hits included "My Girl," "Just My Imagination," and "Papa Was a Rolling Stone." He is the only surviving member. A new made for TV movies has been made about the group and will be shown on NBC this Sunday night. (REBROADCAST from 9/15/88)


Soul Singer Ray Charles' Country Side

Singer and pianist Ray Charles has a new four CD box-set out that captures his contribution to country music. "Ray Charles: The Complete Country and Western Recordings 1959-1986. (Rhino) Charles may be best known for his blues, R&B and soul music. He has won 12 Grammy Awards.


Legendary Singer Teddy Pendergrass

The soul musician has written his autobiography "Truly Blessed" (Putnam). Pendergrass was a popular soul singer in the group "Harold Melvin and The Blue Notes". He went solo in 1976. In 1982, he was paralyzed after a near fatal car accident in Philadelphia, his hometown. Since then he has returned to the studio and produced several albums.


Ben E. King: The Fresh Air Interview

The rhythm and blues singer turns 60 years old this week. He was a member of the Drifters in the late 50s. His smooth vocals graced such popular hits as "There Goes My Baby" and "Save The Last Dance for Me." His solo career has produced hits like "I (Who Have Nothing)," "Spanish Harlem" and, his best-known song, which enjoyed a revival three years ago, "Stand By Me." (REBROADCAST FROM 9/2/88)

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