Monday, February 23, 2009

The Story of Josh White's Guitar

Ron Olesko's blog alerted me to a PBS TV program that might interest folk music fans. It's about Josh White's guitar. Unfortunately, I haven't been able to determine when it will be on in my area. Here's the description:
JOSH WHITE GUITAR
AIRING: Season 6, Episode 11
THE DETECTIVE: Elyse Luray
THE PLACE: New York City and New Jersey
THE CASE: A Michigan man owns a Guild brand acoustic guitar that he says once belonged to legendary African-American folksinger Josh White, who is credited with introducing black folk, gospel and blues music to a world audience in the 1940s.

Our contributor met White after a concert when he was a kid, and the guitar reminds him of a confidence White had shared with him: the Guild Company was talking to White about making a signature guitar built to his specifications and to be marketed under his name.

If this is the guitar White had spoken of, it would be the first signature guitar ever created for an African American musician in the United States.

History Detectives explores the crossover appeal of Josh White’s music and his ability to win over a racially polarized music industry.
And actually, there's more. It looks like this episode of the show also has some other interesting folk music-related stories:
Special Edition: Slave Songbook; Josh White Guitar; Birthplace of Hip Hop

An 1867 book titled "Slave Songs of the United States" that may be the first published collection of black spirituals; a possible prototype for a Josh White signature guitar made by the Guild Company in the 1940s; the birthplace of hip-hop.
Now if I could just figure out when to turn my TV on...

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