In Depression-Era America, two religious performing groups - one Black, one White - found their way into the fledgling American "roots" music recording industry. Both entities considered themselves "spiritual entertainers" and both had designs on professional careers. Their backgrounds and styles could not have contrasted more. One group succeeded, one did not. This paper offers an account of the Dixie Hummingbirds and the Buffalo Ragged Five with a focus on how time, place, economic need, and cultural context - including racism - shaped the sound and career path of each. The Dixie Hummingbirds would go on to become Grammy-winning icons in the genre of African American gospel. The Buffalo Ragged Five would leave a legacy that lived on primarily within family and community.
|Keywords:||American “Roots” Music, Media as Cultural Disseminator, African American Gospel, American Southern Gospel, Cultural Shaping of American Musical Styles, American Folk Music History|
Associate Professor of Communication Arts & Sciences and American Studies, Arts and Humanities, Penn State University - Altoona College, Altoona, Pennsylvania, USA
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