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Spreadin’ Rhythm Around: Black Popular Songwriters, 1880-1930 by David A. Jansen and Gene Jones

The achievements of white songwriters active during the heyday of Tin Pan Alley-Berlin, Kern, Gershwin, Porter Rodgers, et al.-have received lavish attention over the years. Less well known is the story of how their accomplished African-American contemporaries carved out a place for them selves in the popular music inustry, succeeding both as creative artists and saavy entrepreneurs. Spreadin’ Rhythm Around aims to redress this imbalance, offering biographical profiles of over two dozen black songwriters ranging from the famous (W.C. Handy, Sissle and Blake, Fats Waller) to the familiar (Spencer Williams, Perry Bradford) to the obscure (Shep Edmonds, Jo Trent).

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