[Dixielandjazz] Libby Holman May 23

Bill Haesler bhaesler at bigpond.net.au
Wed May 26 17:46:25 PDT 2010

Dear Nancie,
The sad and tragic Libby Holman biography posted in your 'birthday' listing (apparently sourced from Wikipedia) is interesting in that no reference is made at all to her impressive recording career.
This week, by coincidence, I have been playing the Take Two CD of her recordings 1927 to 1934.
They are excellent (with some interesting accompaniments) as she had a unique voice for a so-called torch singer.
Although there is a reference to her white/black friendship (not spelt out) with blues singer Josh White, no mention is made of their duet recordings recorded for Decca in March 1942.
The six selections are quite a contrast to her early work.
Particularly "The House Of The Rising Sun".
However, Wikipedia covers the musical relationship at length in its biography of Josh White.
"The second Nicholas Ray duo production for White was with the infamous Libby Holman, white `torch singer' of the 1920s who was branded an immoral woman for allegedly killing her millionaire husband. This duo pairing created even more publicity and immense controversy for Josh, as they also became the first mixed-race male and female artists to ever perform together, record together and tour together in previously segregated venues across the United States. They would continue performing off and on for the next six years, while making an album and a film together. Josh and Libby frequently requested the War Department to send them overseas during World War II to give USO concert performances for the troops. However, despite a Letter of Recommendation from Eleanor Roosevelt, they were constantly rejected as "too controversial", considering that the U.S. Armed Forces were still segregated throughout World War II."

See Nancie, I do read your daily TradJazz birthday posts.
My very kind regards,

PS: I've posted this to the Dixieland Jazz Mailing List as it may be of interest to some of its subscribers.

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