February is ‘Black History Month’ – in previous years I’ve done features on pivotal, and legendary African-American and African-Canadian artists as well as civil rights anthems. This year, I took inspiration from a fascinating article I recently read in Billboard magazine titled: ‘Racism on the Road – The Oral History of Black Artists Touring in the Segregated US South.’ The first-hand accounts of what stars like Smokey Robinson and Martha Reeves experienced while touring the old south were gripping and unforgettable.
Even as they enjoyed million-selling hits, sold-out concerts and world tours – when it came to touring in the southern states during the 1960s, they were threatened and abused – prevented from using restaurants, washrooms and hotel rooms. I’ll quote extensively from the article as I relate the stories of members of The Temptations, O’Jays, Four Tops, Supremes and others. I’ll also play their classic songs.
A ‘companion piece’ follows featuring six iconic songs that were milestones on ‘the road to civil rights’. Plus birthday spotlights on Larry Evoy of Edward Bear, and on Buffy Ste.Marie as she turns 80. I’ll play several of her powerful and poignant civil rights songs as well.
And in the first hour of the show, our usual spotlight on the people and events that made news ‘This Week in Zoomer Music‘ including birthday salutes to George Harrison, Fats Domino and Johnny Cash; remembering when President Obama honoured Stevie Wonder with the Gershwin Prize, and Frank Sinatra’s last performance. That’s all on the next Vintage Favourites this Sunday (Feb.21) on Zoomer Radio.