1pm - 2pm
Fascinatin' Rhythm explores the history and themes of American popular music from Stephen Foster to Stephen Sondheim. These weekly "radio essays," illustrated by recordings, won the 1994 George Foster Peabody Award for letting "our treasury of popular tunes speak (and sing) for itself with sparkling commentary tracing the contributions of the composers and performers to American society." The Peabody citation called Fascinatin' Rhythm "a celebration of American culture." The program originates from WXXI-Classical 91.5.
About the host:
Michael Lasser, a theater critic and writer, is host and producer, and Andrew Croucher is the technical director for the hour-long, nationally-syndicated program.
December 7, 2013
Racist depictions of African-Americans took different forms in the 20th century; among the most important were the jungle and its denizens.
December 14, 2013
George & Ira in 1937
Irving Berlin said that nobody ever wrote better songs in a single year than the Gershwins in 1937.
December 21, 2013
Bill Bailey and More
More “Bill Bailey” songs than you can imagine, and most of linked to ragtime and marching bands.
December 28, 2013
Resolution and Promises
What you intend, promise, and wish for to help the annual new year’s self-deception.
January 4, 2014
Lead Up to Oklahoma!
Oklahoma! was the start of something new, but it was also the culmination of many things that preceded it.
January 11, 2014
Spirituals and Minstrel Songs
African-American music in the 19th century, from the sacred to the profane, the exalted to the demeaning.
January 18, 2014
Love with an Edge
Love songs that trade in limits, irony, hard-eyed clarity – and unquenchable romanticism.
January 25, 2014
Maceo Pinkard and His Lyricists
Maceo Pinkard was the first African-American composer to work mainly with white lyricists.
February 1, 2014
The Songs of William Jerome
An important lyricist from Tin Pan Alley when sheet music decided the fate of a song.
February 8, 2014
Irving Berlin coined the term so here are the great “sob songs,” music and words by the master.
February 15, 2015
Good Times and Bad
it’s always a time for hope, but preferably with your eyes wide open.
February 22, 2014
Life Is Like a Train
Even if it isn’t, follow along for a century of songs about riding the rails, from the suburbs to the other end of the continent.
March 1, 2014
Satch and Bing
Friends at a time when blacks and whites were rarely friends, Armstrong and Crosby had a rare chemistry when they performed together.
March 8, 2014
If It Wasn’t for the Irish and the Jews
From the Irish to the Jews in Tin Pan Alley, a musical history about discrimination and acceptance.
March 15, 2014
The Sentimental Ballad
Romantic, elevated, impassioned, melodramatic, pure, and repressed—the major song form of the 19th century.
March 22, 2014
Hard to define, Charm Songs fill the middle ground between ballads and comic songs. Their name reflects the fact that they’re irresistible.
March 29, 2014
Real People, Real Talk
How song lyrics changed early in the 20th century from stylized to realistic, formal to slangy, ornate to conversational.