JOSH WHITE (1914 - 1969) was the artist most responsible for introducing
black folk, blues and spiritual music to white America and the rest of
He left his home in Greenville, South Carolina at the age of seven to
support his family of six, and begin his career in show business (after
witnessing white authorities beating his father nearly to death for the
late payment of a bill---and sending him to an institution, where he later
died from the beatings).
FROM THE AGES 7 - 16, young Joshua's career was spent malnourished, dressed
in rags and shoeless, sleeping in fields hiding from the Ku Klux Klan,
while witnessing lynching and a black man burned at the stake, as he led
(walked) 66 different old, blind, black street singers across America
(among them, Blind Lemon Jefferson, Blind Blake, Blind Joe Taggert)---where
during the 'day' he would dance, sing, play the tambourine and collect
the coins for the old men, and where 'at night', while hiding in the field,
he would practice the guitar, and develop his own unique guitar stylings
and vast song repertoire-and eventually, while still as a child, would
begin recording landmark vocal/guitar duets with Joe Taggert in Chicago
(1928)....and a solo record career in New York (1932).
AND THEN, as an adult star, JOSH WHITE would be honored as the first black
artist to give a White House Command Performance (1941), the first to
perform in previously segregated hotels (1942) the first to earn a million
selling record "One Meatball" (1944), the first to make a solo
concert tour of America (1945),....AND ON, to become a star of film and
Broadway, friends to Kings and Queens, and one of the closest black confidants
and advisors to President Roosevelt for black social reforms....ONLY TO
BECOME 'BLACKLISTED' (1950), AND HAVE HIS CAREER DESTROYED DURING America's
long period of paranoid hysteria with the McCarthy Communist Trials...DURING
THE 1950's, though chronically ill, he was able to resurrect his career
in America, where he resumed recording, and where in concert he was commonly
billed "JOSH WHITE" 'The Father of American Folk Music'...HE
DIED in 1969,of heart disease and other complications at 54.
RECORDINGS INCLUDE: "House of The Rising Sun,""St. James
Infirmary," "Strange Fruit," "Waltzing Matilda,"
"Nobody Knows You When You're Down & Out," "John Henry,"
"Frankie & Johnnie," "Free & Equal Blues," "Jelly,
Jelly," "House I Live In," "Evil Hearted Man,"
"Lass With A Delicate Air," "Riddle Song," "Mean
Mistreater," "Miss Otis Regrets," "Joshua Fit The
Battle of Jericho," "Careless Love," ""Gonna
Live The Life," "In My Time of Dying," "I Believe
I'll Make A Change," "In The Evening When The Sun Goes Down,"
"Red River," "Freedom Road,"
"Betty & Dupree,"
"Fare Thee Well,".
on June 26, 1998, the U.S. Postal Service issued a JOSH WHITE 32c Stamp,
followed by a Smithsonian Institution's Tribute Concert on the National
Mall (starring JOSH WHITE, JR...)
Since 1976, Josh, Jr. (and the Estate of Josh White, Sr.)
have been represented by
Douglas A. Yeager Productions, Ltd.
300 West 55th Street
New York, NY 10019
TEL: (212) 245-0240
FAX: (212) 245-6576.
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About Josh White Jr.
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