Just Walkin' in the Rain: The True Story of the Prisonaires: the Convict Pioneers of R & B and Rock & Roll

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9781580631402: Just Walkin' in the Rain: The True Story of the Prisonaires: the Convict Pioneers of R & B and Rock & Roll
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The cold steel slam of a cell door. The soul-crushing fate of a life in prison with no possibility of parole for a crime you didn't commit. Such were the prospects facing Johnny Bragg, a humble musician from rural Tennessee who led a life that reads like a novel. Johnny and his fellow inmates in the 1950's-era R&B music group the Prisonaires had four strikes against them. They were poor, uneducated, imprisoned, and Black. They were also largely innocent of their crimes. Their gut-wrenching story is one of courage in the face of impossible odds, and salvation amidst the harsh realities of racial injustice and prison brutality.

Championed by then Tennessee governor Frank Clement as an example of the possibility of prison reform, and asked to sing at the Governor's Mansion, the Prisonaires were more than just pioneers who built the foundation of modern R&B. Behind the soulful tenor of their leader, Johnny Bragg, the group was living proof that anyone can survive and overcome nightmarish adversity.

Just Walkin' in the Rain is a book for all audiences who want to delve into one of the most inspiring chapters in musical history. You'll read how Elvis was influenced by the group's amazing sound. You may be stunned to discover that Johnny Bragg wrote the legendary song "Just Walkin' in the Rain" and the Hank Williams classic, "Your Cheatin' Heart."

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About the Author:

Jay Warner is a six-time Grammy Award winning music publisher and writer. A devoted musical historian, he is the author of Billboard's Book of American Singing Groups and How to Have Your Hit Song Published. He resides in Los Angeles.

From Library Journal:

In 1943, 16-year-old Johnny Bragg was sentenced to six consecutive life terms in the Tennessee State Prison for raping his girlfriend. Rather than wither in anger, the teenager joined the prison's gospel group, the Prisonaires, and wrote the hits "Just Walkin' in the Rain" and "Rolling Stone." (None other than Elvis Presley was a fan of the group's vocal style.) Warner, a Grammy Award-winning music publisher and author of The Billboard Book of American Singing Groups, 1940-1990, relates Bragg's tale with sensitivity. Most intriguing is his coverage of Bragg's relationship with progressive white prison warden James Edwards and former Governor of Tennessee Frank Clement, who pardoned Bragg in 1959. The two officials unabashedly believed that rehabilitation was in everyone's best interest, and Bragg's story demonstrates why. Recommended for music libraries, especially those in the South, as well as social science collections.DWilliam G. Kenz, Minnesota State Univ., Moorhead
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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