Today is the birthday of Star of Vaudeville #376, the great African American songwriter James A. Bland. In honor of the day, here’s Ray Charles performing one of Bland’s best known tunes, “Carry Me Back to Old Virginny”
To find out more about the variety arts past and present, consult No Applause, Just Throw Money: The Book That Made Vaudeville Famous, available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and wherever nutty books are sold. And don’t miss Chain of Fools: Silent Comedy and Its Legacies from Nickelodeons to Youtube, to be released by Bear Manor Media in 2013.