Sandra Lieb discusses the book "Mother of the Blues: A Study of Ma Rainey." Includes songs sung by Ma Rainey such as "Runaway Blues," "See See Rider," "Moonshine Blues," and "Oh, Papa Blues." Includes poem "Ma Rainey" by Sterling Brown. Includes "Oh, Daddy," by Ethel Waters. Includes "Young Woman's Blues" by Bessie Smith.
Discussing the book "Manchild in the Promised Land" with Claude Brown. Brown also discusses growing up in Harlem, New York as an African American man. Includes a clip of a man speaking from the county jail. Includes a song sung by Mahalia Jackson. Includes a clip of children singing.
Studs interviews Willie Dixon and Koko Taylor about the blues. They discuss their song "Insane Asylum" and their work together. Dixon uses his song "Little Red Rooster" to help explain how the blues are created from life experiences. Taylor reflects on singers like Willie Dixon, Memphis Minnie, and others who influenced her desire to sing the blues. Taylor also discusses European audiences and blues influence there. The musical numbers are removed from this edited version of the original recording.
Recorded live on Chicago's South Side. Robeson is ill at the time of recording. Speakers: Earl Dickerson, Etta Moten Barnett, Judge Sidney Jones, J. Mayo "Ink" Williams, Joan Brown (possibly Abena Joan Brown), Charles Hamilton, Margaret Burroughs, [John Gray's sister], [Stevens?]
Angelou discusses: her early life; her international travels; dancing; blues and jazz music; and the book "Youngblood" by John Oliver Killens. Musical selections have been removed due to copyright.
Studs interviews Phyl Garland about her book "Sound of Soul." They discuss the history of music and how black music influenced white music. Studs reads a quote from her book where she quoted Lerone Bennett. Garland also reads from her book a few times. They discuss how music changed over time for blacks from spirituals to slave songs to the blues because it was a reflection of their lives. Garland explains how blacks used music to help them through their trials and frustrations.
Studs interviews Phyl Garland about her book "Sound of Soul." They discuss various musicians that she mentions in her book and their influence on black music. Garland explains the music of young black artists and how commercialization of music gave blacks an opportunity that they would not have had otherwise. Garland talks about how Fannie Lou Hamer used music to express her message in the Civil Rights Movement and as a women's rights activist. Studs and Garland discuss various black female artists and their music.
Langston Hughes, John Sellers, James Cotton, and Otis Spann discuss their origins and blues music. The interview focuses heavily on Langston Hughes and how deeply he is influenced by the blues. Hughes also discusses his upcoming book "An African Treasury" at length. Hughes, Sellers, Spann, and Cotton perform a number of songs during the interview, they have been removed due to copyright.
Studs Terkel listens in on Evanston Township High Schools', soul choral group, "The Spirit of Soul" as they rehearse for an upcoming concert. Musical director, Avon Gillespie, describes how the vocal improvisation of "The Spirit of Soul" singers brings an on the spot sense of joy. This reflection of African Heritage through song closes the gap between Africa and American shores and teaches Black people that their heritage is real, alive, and strong!
Presenting music by the "Shanghai Quartet,"- Weigang Li, Honggang Li, Zhengh Wang, Käthe Jarka, w/ Elizabeth Buccheri- with blues singer and mandolinist Yank Rachell.
Singer Harry Belafonte discusses Black music including spirituals and jazz and how it has contributed to American culture.