February is Black History Month...or is it African American History Month? I dunno which is politically correct and since the Nostalgic Rambler is as white as a sheet, we probably just don't get it. Maybe we should? My record collection is filled with the likes of famed black artists such as Ella Fitzgerald, Nat King Cole, Mahalia Jackson, and Harry Belafonte. Over the years I have heard about and winced at the terrible things these people had to endure during their lifetimes due to their skin color. I'm hoping that's all over with now but it did happen.
I've been on another calypso kick lately and have been enjoying some Harry Belafonte. This is one of his great albums which sold hundreds of thousands of copies. It's listed as one of the 1950s top selling records and includes The Banana Boat Song and Jamaica Farewell.People sure are strange though. Despite his music being adored by blacks and whites, some people got in an unroar when Harry and Petula Clark sang on tv together and touched each other !
Nat King Cole was one of the first blacks to have his own tv show and many stations in the south of the US wouldn't carry his show because of his race.
The Nostalgic Rambler grew up in the 1960s and didn't realize all of this was going on until much later. It's a good thing to educate kids on what went on back then. A documentary I found called "Harry Belafonte Sing Your Song" is a good way to do this.
To me though shows like this just leave me wanting more music. Harry turned into quite a political activist. A few clips of his music and tv shows are shown on the documentary, but that wasn't enough for me. Apparently Revlon sponsored two award winning television shows he starred in.... I want to see them but alas there were only a few clips shown. He didn't do any more as people got in an uproar that blacks were appearing with whites and vice versa. Hard to believe.
Oh well, back to those old Calypso albums.