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June 27 - July 3, 2001

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Black Light

A revival presentation of our first on-line program, featuring music by black composers and songwriters from the early decades of the 20th century, including Eubie Blake, “Fats” Waller, Scott Joplin and James P. Johnson.

Selection Source Performer(s) Comments
Charleston Nippers Greatest Hits (1990) Paul Whiteman and his Orchestra Recorded May 7th, 1924. The music is by the great black composer and stride pianist James P. Johnson, from his 1923 all-black musical Running Wild, which also produced the hit “Old Fashioned Love”. Johnson wrote over 200 songs and twelve musicals in addition to his many piano pieces.
Under the Bamboo Tree After the Ball (1974) Joan Morris, Bill Bolcom (piano) From the 1901 musical Toloso, which satirized the imperialistic ambitions of Uncle Sam. Music and lyrics are by black songwriting team of Bob Cole, J. Roasmond Johnson and James Weldon Johnson. As the Spanish-American war had just ended, they were never able to have the show produced but this song and the next one were interpolated into numerous other shows.
My Castle on the Nile Vaudeville (1976) Joan Morris, Bill Bolcom (piano) Also written for Toloso, this was a hit for Anna Held and Marie Cahill, among others.
In the Baggage Coach Ahead Vaudeville (1976) Joan Morris, Bill Bolcom (piano) By Gussie L Davis, this song was inspired by Davis’ years as a railroad porter. Davis was self-taught, picking up his basic musical training while sweeping halls at the Cincinnatti Conservatory of Music. The song dates from 1896.
The Rag Time Dance The Red Back Book (1985) New England Conservatory Ragtime Ensemble cond. by Gunther Schuller Scott Joplin completed The Ragtime Dance, a stage work for dancers and singing narrator, in 1899. His first stage work, it’s a folk-ballet of sorts, illustrating the type of dancing that was done in the Black 400 and Maple Leaf clubs in Sedalia, MO. Joplin’s publisher John Stark announced its publication in September 1899, but then delayed issuing it until1902. However, the work was staged at Wood's Opera House in Sedalia on November 24, 1899, performed by a group of talented, young Sedalians from the Black 400 Club. The complete stage version has been lost.
Overture Silks and Rags (1991) Great American Main St. Band cond. by Daniel Paget From Gems from Treemonisha,a suite of music from Joplin's 1911 opera arranged by Paget.
Aunt Dinah Has Blowed de Horn Silks and Rags (1991) Great American Main St. Band cond. by Daniel Paget Joplin never saw a professional production in his lifetime and an original cast recording had to wait until 1976 when the Houston Grand Opera gave Treemonisha it’s first full professional staging.
A Real Slow Drag Silks and Rags (1991) Great American Main St. Band cond. by Daniel Paget Opera Theatre of St. Louis produced Treemonisha last season to great acclaim
Charleston Rag - Shuffle Along Eubie! (OC 1978) Company A musical revue based on songs by Eubie Blake and (mostly) Noble Sissle, Eubie! opened September 20, 1978 at the Ambassador Theatre (New York) and ran for 439 performances.
If You’ve Never Been Vamped by a Brownskin, You’ve Never Been Vamped at All Wild About Eubie (1977) Marion Ramsey, Company This song, along with “Shuffle Along” and “I’m Just Wild About Harry”, are from Blake and Sissle’s groundbreaking 1921 show Shuffle Along. It was he first successful Broadway musical written, directed, and acted by African-Americans. Paul Robeson joined the cast briefly as a member of a vocal quartet and Josephine Baker was in the chorus of a touring version.
I’m Just Wild About Harry Eubie! (OC 1978) Joan Morris, Bill Bolcom (piano) Originally written as a waltz, this song was changed to a one-step at the insistence of Sissle and the show’s leading lady, Lottie Gee. This arrangement presents both versions.
Eubie’s Classical Rag Eubie! (OC 1978) Eubie Blake A relatively recent (1970s) composition by Blake, who died just after his 100th birthday in 1983.
Honeysuckle Rose Ain’t Misbehavin’ (OC 1978) Ken Page, Nell Carter Ain't Misbehavin' is a revue based on songs written and/or popularized by Thomas “Fats” Waller. The lyrics here are by Andy Razaf, who also provided lyrics for some of Eubie Blake’s hits (such as “Weary” and “Memories of You”). Ken Page is a native St. Louisian and has often appeared on local stages.
The Joint is Jumpin’ Ain’t Misbehavin’ (OC 1978) Company Lyrics by Razaf and J.C. Johnson

Acronyms and other mysteries defined:

OC: Unless otherwise indicated, the Original Cast recording of a Broadway show, along with the date.

OS: Unless otherwise indicated, the Original Soundtrack recording of a film, TV show, etc.

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