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November 6, 2008 (REVISED November 14, 2008)

The Library's National Recording Registry To Be Featured in a Five-Part Series On NPR

Classic Recording by T-Bone Walker Launches Series on Nov. 9

Historic recordings named by the Library of Congress to the National Recording Registry will be featured in a five-part series on NPR’s "All Things Considered," beginning Sunday, Nov. 9, at 5 p.m. (EST). This is the third consecutive year that the national radio network has broadcast a series showcasing selections to the registry that were targeted for preservation because they were "culturally, historically or aesthetically significant."

For the past three years producer Ben Manilla’s Media Mechanics has worked with NPR and the Library of Congress to produce the groundbreaking series, "The Sounds of American Culture," using the medium of radio to tell the tales of important recordings preserved in the National Recording Registry. "Unlike many radio features that are driven by a narrator, these programs are constructed solely around the recordings and the expert guests," said Manilla. The series was recognized by the International Radio Festival of New York with a Silver Award in 2007 and with the prestigious Gold Award for Culture and the Arts in 2008.

This year’s series focuses on five recordings that span a cross-section of American culture: jazz's first platinum album, country music’s first female superstar, a legendary radio broadcast, and format-defining blues and rock records.

Sunday, Nov. 9 – "Call It Stormy Monday but Tuesday Is Just as Bad," T-Bone Walker (1947)

T-Bone Walker’s song has been reinterpreted numerous times with great success by a wide range of blues, rock and jazz recording artists. Blues musician Duke Robillard examines Walker's influence as the originator of blues and rock guitar techniques. The "King of the Blues," B. B. King, describes the way T-Bone held the guitar and says, "I never heard anybody play like that." T- Bone's daughter Bernita Walker remembers her dad's stage presence and background as a dancer.

Sunday, Nov. 23 -- Fiorello LaGuardia reading the comics (1945)

Long before presidential candidates issued infomercials, New York City Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia used the airways to both spread his political doctrine and connect with his constituents. During a 1945 newspaper strike, LaGuardia read the comics on the radio to give the city's children some joy during World War II. New York’s only other three-time mayor, Ed Koch, remembers hearing LaGuardia on the radio and WNYC archivist Andy Lanset outlines the technical challenges facing radio broadcasting in the 1940s. Biographer Thomas Kessner, author of "Fiorello H. LaGuardia and the Making of Modern New York," describes the death of LaGuardia's daughter and the mayor’s dedication to the youth of New York City.

Sunday, Nov. 30 -- "It Wasn't God Who Made Honky Tonk Angels," Kitty Wells (recorded May 30, 1952)

Kitty Wells’s breakthrough hit established her as a major star and, more importantly, markedly broadened the range of subject matter considered appropriate for female country singers. The segment includes Wells, musician Emmylou Harris and Mary Bufwack, a contributor to the Encyclopedia of Country Music.

Sunday, Dec. 7 -- "Oh, Pretty Woman," Roy Orbison (1964)

The last of Roy Orbison’s string of hits for Monument records, "Oh, Pretty Woman" was his most enduring recording. Orbison and co-writer Bill Dees tapped out the initial rhythm of the song while sitting at Orbison’s kitchen table. Dees and Roy’s widow, Barbara Orbison, are featured on the segment.

Sunday, Dec. 21 -- "Headhunters," Herbie Hancock (1973)

"Headhunters" was Herbie Hancock’s first true fusion recording. Possessing all the sensibilities of jazz, but with R&B and funk soul rhythms, "Headhunters" had a mass appeal that made it the greatest-selling jazz album in history at the time of its release. Hancock talks about this groundbreaking album along with the disc’s producer David Rubinson, and Steven Pond, author of "Head Hunters: The Making of Jazz's First Platinum Album."

Episodes from the five-part series will be archived at www.npr.org. Audio of each segment will be available later that same evening. Programs from the previous two years are also available.

Since Congress established the National Recording Registry with the passage of the 2000 National Recording Preservation Act, 250 titles have been selected. Along with mandating the development of a comprehensive national program to ensure the survival, conservation, and increased public availability of America's sound-recording heritage, this law authorizes the Librarian of Congress James H. Billington, after reviewing public suggestions and consulting with the National Recording Preservation Board, to select 25 recordings each year for inclusion in the registry. The recordings must be at least 10 years old. For more information, visit www.loc.gov/rr/record/nrpb/.

The Library of Congress, the nation’s oldest federal cultural institution, is the world’s preeminent reservoir of knowledge, providing unparalleled integrated resources to Congress and the American people. Founded in 1800, the Library seeks to further human understanding and wisdom by providing access to knowledge through its magnificent collections, which bring to bear the world’s knowledge in almost all of the world’s languages and America’s private-sector intellectual and cultural creativity in almost all formats. Many of the Library’s rich resources and treasures may also be accessed through the Library’s award-winning Web site at www.loc.gov and via interactive exhibitions on a new, personalized Web site at www.myLOC.gov.

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PR 08-206
11/06/08
ISSN 0731-3527

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