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American Composers and Musicians from A to Z: H (Part 2 – Hibbler, Albert George “Al”)

A Portrait of Al Hibbler

Today we celebrate the career of Al Hibbler. Al Hibbler was an American baritone vocalist famous for singing rhythm and blues and traditional pop music. Born in Mississippi in 1915, Hibbler attended the Arkansas School for the Blind, where he sang in the choir and became interested in jazz.

By the 1940s he had joined the Duke Ellington Orchestra, and was its only male vocalist. Hibbler also performed with the Count Basie Orchestra, as well as other ensembles, which did not please Ellington. So Hibbler eventually went out on his own, and in the 1950s had several million-selling hits: “Unchained Melody,” “He,” and “After the Lights Go Down Low.”

But the mid-1950s were marked by the start of the Rock ‘n’ Roll era, and the Civil Rights movement. Hibbler took part in the latter, and was arrested several times. Because of this, most record companies dropped him, the one exception being Reprise, Frank Sinatra’s new label.

Some other singers adapted to the changing times by using acting or comedic talents, but Hibbler lacked these gifts. He died in Chicago on April 24, 2001.

Unchained Melody may be found in “I Can Play That!” Pop Hits compiled by Nick Crispin, BRM35076.

If you want to hear about Duke Ellington and other big bands, try

Digging Music, DBM00190
Duke Ellington, DBM00533
From Jump Street: A Story of Black Music, DBM00715
Jazz. Vol. 4, Jazz Singers,  DBM03755

These are just a few of the books that you may borrow from the Music Section, and many others may be downloaded from BARD.

If you need help or have questions, call us at 800-424-8567, and press option 2 for the Music Section.

New BARD Additions: September 2018

It’s the last week of September, and time to list some recent braille music acquisitions. You may call to request hard copies, or you may download them from the BARD site. Sorry, no recordings this week, but we hope there will be some very soon. Cello  Brahms, Johannes. Sonata No. 1, Op. 38 (BRM07814) Choral […]

American Composers and Musicians from A to Z: G (Part 1 – Gershwin, George)

This week, we will take a look at American composer George Gershwin. George Gershwin was one of the first American composers to use both popular and classical idioms. Years before his most famous compositions were penned, he worked on Tin Pan Alley as a song plugger—that is, someone who was hired to play and promote […]

Happy Birthday Samuel Coleridge-Taylor!

British composer Samuel Coleridge-Taylor was born on August 15th in 1875. One of the more popular composers in England and the United States during the turn of the 20th century, he composed many works for choir, piano, and larger instrumental ensembles; however, his works are seldom performed today. Samuel Coleridge-Taylor was born in London to […]

New BARD Additions: July 2018

Read this blog and discover new materials, recorded and braille, now available from the NLS Music Section. Audio Materials All of the following are productions of Bill Brown. Banjo American Pie.  Teaches this Don McLean song without the use of music notation.  (DBM03915) Piano Bless the Broken Road. Teaches how to play “Bless the Broken […]

A Blast of Brass!

Last year we discussed method books available from the NLS Music collection for most band and orchestra instruments. We’ve even done some posts on specific instruments, like saxophone and violin. Today, though, I decided to focus a post specifically on brass instruments. “Why brass?” you ask. Well for one, brass instruments are near and dear […]

American Composers and Musicians from A to Z: E (Part 2 – Eyck, Jacob van)

This week we’ll break with our series a bit to discuss the life of a blind musician from outside of the United States. Had someone mentioned a composer named van Eyck to me when I was a child, I might have guessed that he was born before or during World War II. When I heard […]

Bernstein at 100

When I was in grade school, our chorus teacher let us hear a record called What Is Jazz (DBM00704), where tone color, blue notes, syncopation, and other aspects of jazz were described by a man named Leonard Bernstein (I assumed that he was a jazz piano player). By sixth grade I was listening to classical music […]

Veterans Day and Armistice Day – Composers in World War I

This blog takes a look at composers who were affected by World War I and the music that they composed.