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  • Born in rural Louisiana, at age 16 he was heading across the Deep South picking up blues, spirituals, reels, cowboy songs, folk ballads and prison hollers. He was eking out a bare existence playing guitar when he could and working as a cotton picker when he had to. While picking cotton Leadbelly would have heard […]

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  • Old Slave Songs

    Slaves attempted to preserve the culture that they had brought with them from Africa. A Southern woman recalled: “During my childhood my observations were centered upon a few very old Negroes who came directly from Africa, and upon many others whose parents were African born, and I early came to the conclusion, based upon Negro […]

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  • For years Ron Smolen has been successfully touring and doing what he does best – making beautiful music and entertaining thousands. Throughout the Midwest, his name brings back memories of the big-band era. Since age six, Ron has been perfecting his musical ability. Starting on the accordion, and in High School moving on to the […]

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  • The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Nov 6, 1999  Jerry Blake, whose big-band sounds set Milwaukeeans’ feet to dancing for decades, has died in Las Vegas at age 80. Blake was leader of the house band at George Devine’s Million Dollar Ballroom at the Eagles Club from 1950 to ’68. He arranged a quantity of music for Wayne King […]

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  • A short history of one of Milwaukee’s most popular ‘garage rock’ bands. First Set: Party Time Bands have to start somewhere and so it was in 1964 with Milwaukee art school students Paul and John who would show up at get togethers, Paul with his conga drum and John with his folk-acoustic guitar and pound […]

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