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Josh White

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Josh White (born Joshua Daniel White in Greenville, South Carolina, 11 February 1914 or 1915; died Manhasset, New York, 5 September 1969) was an American folk, blues, and gospel singer and guitarist.

White was amongst the first blues performers to attract a large white and middle-class African American following, transcending the typical barriers at the time associating blues with a rural and working-class African American audience, and performed in prestigious night clubs and theatres during the 1930s and 1940s. His best known song at the time was probably “Jelly, Jelly”, He recorded in a wide variety of contexts, from recordings in which he was accompanied only by his own guitar playing to others in which he was backed by jazz groups and gospel vocal groups. He was prominently associated with the civil rights movement in the 1940s.

Some of his involvement in political causes in the 1940s resulted in him being blacklisted.Controversially, to escape the blacklist, he testified to the House Un-American Activities Committee regarding Communist influence in the entertainment industry and African-American community. He defended his testimony as a friendly witness to HUAC by claiming that the scope of his testimony was limited, that he did not state anything that was not already known, and that he was sincerely opposed to Communism. However, his testimony affected his posthumous reputation, which has only begun to recover in recent years.

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  • Hunter_Zombie

    Yeah, he was a great musician, and fighter for social justice. Unfortunately condemned by the American folk movement because of his appearance (under great pressure by the FBI) before the HUAC, despite not denouncing anyone.

    21 Nov 2013 Reply
  • Akayz7

    amazing.

    22 May 2013 Reply
  • Rolyath321

    Such a great voice!

    4 Nov 2010 Reply
  • Maarten541

    @ConradPoohs19 Yeah! I just discovered him, and can't believe nobody give me a tip earlier!

    28 Oct 2010 Reply
  • ConradPoohs19

    I can't believe there's only 89,000 plays... I mean I realize lots of blues singers are way under-scrobbled, but you'd think one of the caliber of Josh White would get a 100,000 at least by now...

    11 Oct 2010 Reply
  • wppss

    jesus gonna make up my dying bed

    25 Mar 2010 Reply
  • Yamber

    my god, I love last.fm.

    29 Aug 2009 Reply
  • xmo96

    if you like Josh Whire please join http://www.last.fm/group/Revolutionary+music

    25 Aug 2009 Reply
  • LondonLouis

    Was featured quite prominently in a BBC documentary on American Folk. Included a throwaway story of him as a kid leading a blind blues singer around, and seeing a lynching at close quarters. There's a biography out there by Elijah Wald (http://www.elijahwald.com/josh.html) which seems to do an excellent job. During the 1930s, White was a bigger force than Robert Johnson; for at least part of the 1960s, he was a bigger star than Dylan. Clearly this is a guy who needs some reassessment.

    31 Jan 2009 Reply
  • AuroreMB

    One of the best singer ever! Sa musique est tellement touchante!

    29 Sep 2008 Reply

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