Episode 149. Music Black and Queer

Episode 149. Music Black and Queer (Pride 2022)



Mabel Mercer and Bobby Short

Over the course of history, for Persons of Color who also happen to be queer, the interface between these two populations is sometimes an enormously challenging one, but one which also frequently produces path-breaking musical artists of enormous courage and originality. In celebration of Juneteenth this coming weekend, and as a follow-up to my Queer Blues episode published last year, I once again pay tribute to an extraordinary array of Black and Queer musical artists across a wide spectrum of popular musical styles, be it Blues, jazz. middle-of-the-road pop, musicals, rock ‘n’ roll, disco, and folk. Artists represented include Billy Strayhorn, Billie Holiday, Johnny Mathis, Tracy Chapman, Mabel Mercer, Joan Armatrading, Nona Hendryx, Sylvester, Joséphine Baker, Jackie Shane, Carmen McRae, Billy Preston, Esquerita, and Carolyn Franklin, Michael R. Jackson, the 2022 Tony Award winner for A Strange Loop, is introduced by my dear friend the theater scholar David Savran, who describes what makes this piece and its creator so daring and original.


Bessie Smith: Foolish Man Blues [1927]

Bob Fuller: Red Beans and Rice. Gladys Bentley [1929]

Frankie Jaxon: Chocolate to the Bone. Frankie “Half-Pint” Jaxon, Charlie Johnson [1930]

Duke Ellington, Eddie DeLange, Irving Mills: Solitude. Billie Holiday, Charlie Shavers, Oscar Peterson, Barney Kessel, Alvin Stoller, Ray Brown [1956]

Billy Strayhorn: Something to Live For. Carmen McRae, Billy Strayhorn, Wendell Marshall [1956]

Billy Strayhorn: Lush Life [live 1964]

Irving Berlin: They Say It’s Wonderful (Annie Get Your Gun). Joséphine Baker, Jo Bouillon and His Orchestra [1948]

Joseph Kosma, Jacques Prévert: Les feuilles mortes. Mabel Mercer, Sam Hamilton [1952]

Cole Porter: Dream Dancing. Bobby Short [1970]

Agustín Lara: Granada. Johnny Mathis, Orchestra conducted by Jack Feierman [1964]

Eskew Reeder, Jr. [Esquerita]: You Can’t Pull Me Down. Esquerita [1958]

Bobby Scott, Arthur Resnick: In My Tenement. Jackie Shane [1963]

Carolyn Franklin, Jimmy Radcliffe: Ain’t That Groovy. Carolyn Franklin [1969]

Billy Preston, Bruce Carleton Fisher: Will It Go Round In Circles. Billy Preston [1972]

Eddie Martinez: Tout de suite Mam’selle. Nona Hendryx [1977]

James Wirrick, Sylvester James: You Make Me Feel (Mighty Real). Sylvester [1978]

Joan Armatrading: Friends. [1980]

Tracy Chapman: The Rape of the World [1995]

Michael R. Jackson: Memory Song (A Strange Loop). Larry Owens, Ensemble conducted by Rona Siddiqui [2019]

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