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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.

A Composer for All Seasons: Benjamin Britten

This blog is a brief look at some of Benjamin Britten’s compositions and relevant materials from the NLS Music Section.

New BARD Additions: August 2018

The hot and hazy dog days of summer are here, but the NLS Music Section has been working diligently to provide digital music books and scores for our patrons to access instantly. Take a look at the audiobooks and braille scores we have made available on NLS Braille and Audio Reading Download (BARD) during the […]

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 […]

Nashville Sound: Hargus “Pig” Robbins

Hargus “Pig” Robbins might be the most famous piano player you’ve never heard of, though you’ve likely heard his work. The National Conference of Librarians Serving Blind and Physically Handicapped Individuals will begin in a matter of days in Nashville, Tennessee, so today I want to tell you about a musician who is blind and […]

American Composers and Musicians from A to Z: E (Part 1 – Ellington, Duke)

Continuing our series of American composers from A to Z, we come to the letter E. Personally, I can think of no better example than Duke Ellington. I consider him to be one of the first great quintessential “American” composers of his time, who wrote music in a true American idiom, rather than copying Western […]

Carnegie Hall of the South: Nashville’s Musical Legacy, Part 2

This is the second half of a two-part post on Nashville’s musical history and related books in the NLS Music Collection. Read the first part here: Athens of the South: Nashville’s Musical Legacy, Part 1. Nashville’s most famous music venue, the Ryman Auditorium, was completed in 1892 and was originally a church called the Union […]

Athens of the South: Nashville’s Musical Legacy, Part 1

Here in the Music Section of the National Library Service we are counting down the days until the National Conference of Librarians Serving Blind and Physically Handicapped Individuals begins next month in Music City, Nashville, Tennessee! As I mentioned in my last article, I’ve been taking the opportunity to learn about the musical history of […]

American Composers and Musicians from A to Z: D (Part 2 – Davis, “Blind” John and Dranes, Arizona)

Blind John Davis Blind John Davis was born in Mississippi in 1913, but moved to Chicago with his family at a young age.  He lost his sight shortly thereafter at age 9. He began to learn the piano as a teen, and later became a regular session musician for famous blues record producer Lester Melrose […]

Music City 101: NLS Heads to Nashville!

Last month country music legend Dolly Parton joined Librarian of Congress Dr. Carla Hayden in a presentation to celebrate the achievements of Parton’s book-gifting organization (video of the event available here). They announced that the Library of Congress Young Readers Center is partnering with Parton’s charity to provide a special series of story time events. […]