W. C. Handy's blues“Memphis Blues," "Beale Street Blues," "St. Louis Blues"changed America's music forever. In Father of the Blues, Handy presents his own story: a vivid picture of American life now vanished. W. C. Handy (18731958) was a sensitive child who loved nature and music; but not until he had won a reputation did his father, a preacher of stern Calvinist faith, forgive him for following the "devilish" calling of black music and theater. Here Handy tells of this and other struggles: the lot of a black musician with entertainment groups in the turn-of-the-century South; his days in minstrel shows, and then in his own band; how he made his first 100 from "Memphis Blues"; how his orchestra came to grief with the First World War; his successful career in New York as publisher and song writer; his association with the literati of the Harlem Renaissance.Handy's remarkable talepervaded with his unique personality and humorreveals not only the career of the man who brought the blues to the world's attention, but the whole scope of American music, from the days of the old popular songs of the South, through ragtime to the great era of jazz.
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WC Handy's (1873-1958) Father of the Blues (1941) is a handbook for success in life no matter what your vocation, and especially if you want to make it in the entertainment industry. First generation free American slave, WC Handy embraced his freedom and his life with gusto and funneled all of that energy and talent into a global career with classic songs such as St. Louis Blues, Memphis Blues, Beale Street Blues, Yellow Dog Blues and hundreds of other popular tunes and Spirituals. Father of the Blues explores the entrepreneurial skills WC used to build Handy Brothers Music Company founded in NY on Broadway in 1918 and is now the oldest American entertainment company still family owned and operated, his company pre-dates Disney by 5 years. The book also details his life as a blind musician and the founding of his nonprofit, the WC Handy Foundation. WC discusses his two movies, the 1930 version of St. Louis Blues with Bessie Smith produced by RKO and the 1958 version of St. Louis Blues with Nat King Cole playing WC Handy produced by Paramount Pictures. Ultimately, the reader gets to experience post slavery America through the eyes of a musical genius who faced down his biggest challenges, such as a near lynching in Texas due to a train car fight, his 1900 travels to Havana Cuba where he witnessed the Buffalo Soldiers after the Spanish American War learn about human dignity and true spiritual freedoms, and where WC learned the Afro-Cuban beats that he would later fuse into his true American music, Blues. I highly recommend the book for schools and music programs. WC was a true American Icon, and that is why he is celebrated in multiple states with music festivals, museums, Historical Markers, Street namings, and in concert halls around the world.