Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Civil Rights Era Songs at the White House

Jon Pareles has a nice write-up of the In Performance at the White House: A Celebration of Music from the Civil Rights Movement program that took place this week at the White House. (The series is organized by Michelle Obama.)

I love the opening image of Bob Dylan:
Half a dozen legislators sat a few feet away, under the crystal chandeliers of the East Room of the White House, as Bob Dylan sang “The Times They Are A-Changin’,” poker-faced.

“Come senators, congressman, please heed the call,” he rasped. “Don’t stand in the doorway, don’t block up the hall.” His tone was rough but almost wistful; he had turned his old exhortation into an autumnal waltz. Afterward, he stepped offstage and shook President Obama’s hand.
Also featured on the program were Joan Baez, Bernice Johnson Reagon with the Freedom Singers, Smokey Robinson, Jennifer Hudson, John Mellencamp, Yolanda Adams, Natalie Cole, the Blind Boys of Alabama and the Howard University Choir.

The recording will air tomorrow night on PBS.

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