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Langston Hughes recites "The Weary Blues"
January 22, 2014 10:53 AM   Subscribe

American poet, novelist, playwright and activist Langston Hughes recites his poem “The Weary Blues” to jazz accompaniment by the Doug Parker Band on the CBUT (CBC Vancouver) 7 O’Clock Show in 1958.
posted by hapax_legomenon (9 comments total) 19 users marked this as a favorite

 
That's some Ur hip-hop there. He did the same thing at Lenox Lounge in New York, but I don't think I can find footage of it. Thanks for posting.
posted by angrycat at 11:12 AM on January 22 [1 favorite]


I should also note that while the Langston Hughes bit was the impetus for the post, that CBUT clip is a gem (if you like and get all nostalgic for old tv footage, as I do.)
posted by hapax_legomenon at 11:29 AM on January 22


I've known poems:

and this is a good one.
posted by GuyZero at 11:41 AM on January 22 [2 favorites]


Hughes is my favorite modern poet. Everything it took to make the Internet happen — and not all of it was good — was worth it since it lead to this being available to everyone.
posted by ob1quixote at 12:15 PM on January 22 [1 favorite]


Need more recordings of Hughes now, please.

I wish poets with jazz accompaniment were more prevalent. Shit, I wish live poetry was more prevalent (I live in a city with barely 300,000 people). I've seen Pinsky do some readings in this vein, but they don't come close to matching this musicality. I know that live jazz-poetry is something the man who runs Brilliant Corners advocates as well.

Mitch Hedberg's "Strategic Grill Locations" comes to mind, but that's only tangentially related.
posted by GrapeApiary at 12:26 PM on January 22 [1 favorite]


Thanks for the post; I've always loved Hughes, and it's great to see him in this clip. For those wondering about the Doug Parker Band (my first reaction was "good god in heaven those are the whitest whitebread musicians I've seen in all my born days," but when they started playing I thought "hey, they're not bad"), I found this page; for Harry James to say "He's the best piano player I ever had" is quite a feather in his cap.
posted by languagehat at 2:37 PM on January 22 [3 favorites]


my first reaction was "good god in heaven those are the whitest whitebread musicians I've seen in all my born days," but when they started playing I thought "hey, they're not bad"

I thought the same! But then I: a) like you, listened, and b) thought about Bill Evans, who I love. He was pretty square looking as well.

I'm glad you all liked it. I thought it was pretty special.
posted by hapax_legomenon at 7:59 PM on January 22


To be fair to those musicians, Langston Hughes himself was, looks-wise, the nebbishest nebbish that ever nebbished, until you hear his poetry.
posted by Kattullus at 5:15 AM on January 23 [1 favorite]


Hughes is like both the nebbishiest ever and the ultimate cool cool cool guy.
posted by angrycat at 5:20 AM on January 23 [1 favorite]


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