Faculty Publication -
"The Songs of Sam Lucas"
Sam Lucas (c. 1840-1916) was one of the most celebrated entertainers of his generation. He entered the business in 1873 through blackface minstrelsy, which at the time was the largest employer of black musicians, comedians, comics, dancers, and novelty acts. Although almost none of these performers are remembered today, Lucas created a significant body of black popular song that serves as an important window into the post-Civil War era and deserves to be understood and remembered.
At a time when most performers, white and black, retired once new trends in performance displaced the old, Sam Lucas was an extraordinary exception: his career traversed minstrelsy, musical theater, variety and vaudeville, and film.
Sandra Graham, Arts and Humanities, has published
12 recordings with background essay and liner notes, with vocalist Chad Runyon, streaming for free at Center for Popular Music
, Middle Tennessee State University. This project was supported, in part, by the BFRF.