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Article

Darlene Graves and Michael Graves

[William J. ]

(b Alexandria, IN, March 28, 1936). American gospel songwriter, performer, producer, and publisher. He grew up on a small farm in Indiana and graduated from Anderson College with a major in English and a minor in music. He went on to receive a master’s degree in guidance and counseling and met his future wife and song-producing partner, Gloria Sickal, while both were teaching high school. Gaither started singing gospel music as a child and in 1956 formed the Bill Gaither Trio with his brother Danny and his sister Mary Ann. He started his own publishing company in 1959. He continued to perform and compose while a teacher at Alexandria High School and in 1961 formed the Gaither Music Company to publish his works. After their marriage in 1962, Gaither and his wife wrote their first major song, “He touched me,” which was a significant hit by 1963. He re-formed the Bill Gaither Trio with Gloria and Danny, and in ...

Article

Roben Jones

[John Henderson ]

(b Whitehaven, TN, April 8, 1931). American singer-songwriter, producer, publisher, and entrepreneur. He began playing bluegrass while in the military and after his discharge in 1952, played at radio stations in Wheeling, West Virginia, and Boston. While enrolled in Memphis State University (from 1954), he worked nights and weekends at the Eagle’s Nest club. After working briefly for Fernwood Records, he was hired by Sun Records, where he recorded Roy Orbison, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Johnny Cash, among others. He wrote hits for several of Sun’s artists, including Johnny Cash’s singles “Ballad of a Teenage Queen” and “Guess things happen that way” (both Sun, 1958).

Clement left Sun in 1960 to became a staff producer for RCA in Nashville. In 1963 he moved to Texas, started a publishing company, and produced Dickey Lee’s hit “Patches” (Smash, 1963). After returning to Nashville in 1965, he discovered and produced Charlie Pride and wrote songs for a variety of country artists, including Pride (“Just between you and me,” RCA Victor, ...

Article

Charles K. Wolfe

(b nr West Monroe, LA, Aug 8, 1921; d Nashville, TN, Feb 24, 1991). American country-music singer, guitarist, songwriter, and publisher. He performed as a guitarist on radio station KMLB (Monroe, LA) before 1950, when he joined the “Louisiana hayride ” on KWKH (Shreveport, LA). Recording contracts with the local Pacemaker label (c1950), Four-Star, and Decca (1951) allowed him to resign his part-time job as a clerk at Sears, Roebuck and concentrate on music. After his initial hit, “Wondering” (1952), he gained national attention with “Back Street Affair” (1952), one of the first country songs to deal forthrightly with adultery. An equally important landmark was “There stands the glass” (1953), a classic drinking song and the first country hit to use the pedal steel guitar, played by Bud Isaacs. It became the favorite backup instrument in country music for the next two decades, and Pierce was the first of many country singers whose slurs, octave jumps, and use of dynamics complemented its sound. During his peak years (...

Article

Don Cusic

[Ragsdale, Harold Ray ]

(b Clarkdale, GA, Jan 24, 1939). American singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, producer, arranger, music publisher, television star, and entrepreneur. Harold Ragsdale began his musical career with a high school band that played R&B songs by the Coasters, Drifters, and other R&B groups. In 1955 the family moved to Atlanta, where publisher Bill Lowery signed him as a songwriter and secured his first recording contract with Capitol Records; Capitol’s Head of A&R, Ken Nelson changed Ragsdale’s name to Ray Stevens. After attending Georgia State University, where he studied music, Stevens had his first success with his recording of “Jeremiah Peabody’s Poly Unsaturated Quick Dissolving Fast Acting Pleasant Tasting Green and Purple Pills” (Mercury, 1961). In 1962 he moved to Nashville, supplementing his own recording career with work as a session musician, arranger, and background vocalist. He garnered a number-one pop hit and his first Grammy with his recording of “Everything is beautiful” (Barnaby, ...

Article

Mark Berresford

(Coleman )

(b Brunswick, MO, Feb 7, 1882; d New York, NY, March 9, 1961). American clarinetist, bandleader, composer, and music publisher. His first professional engagement (c1897–8) was with a “pickaninny” band led by Nathaniel Clark Smith. In 1902 he was assistant leader of P.G. Lowery’s band with Forepaugh and Sells Circus and later that year joined Mahara’s Minstrels band under the leadership of W.C. Handy. In 1903 he formed his own band in Minneapolis, where he made the first recordings by an African American band. Sweatman moved to Chicago in 1908, where he led trios at the Grand and Monogram theaters. In 1911 he made his first vaudeville appearance, and in late 1916 made the first records recognizable as jazz performances. In 1918 Sweatman’s band was signed to an exclusive recording contract with Columbia, their records rivalling those by the Original Dixieland Jazz Band. He continued to work through the 1920s and early 1930s in vaudeville, and in ...

Article

Jerome Roche

(b ?Pavia; fl 1609–29). Italian music editor and singer. Since he was known as ‘magister et reverendo’ he must have taken orders. He was a bass singer in the choir of Pavia Cathedral from 1609 to 1626. He is of greatest interest as the collector of four noteworthy anthologies of north Italian church music published in Venice (RISM 16214, 1624², 1626³ and 16295); all contain motets except the third, which consists of litanies. The volumes include eight works by Monteverdi, seven of which are found in no other printed sources, and ten unica by Alessandro Grandi (i) and four by Rovetta (his earliest published works). Other prominent north Italians represented are Stefano Bernardi, Banchieri – who dedicated his Gemelli armonici (1622) to Calvi – Ignazio Donati, Ghizzolo, Merula, Orazio Tarditi and Turini. Calvi himself contributed motets to the first two and included pieces by his ...

Article

Samuel F. Pogue

revised by Frank Dobbins

(fl Lyons, 1550–84). French music printer, bookseller, composer and instrumentalist. In 1551 he prepared the third in a series of four books of music for guitar printed in Paris by Robert Granjon and Michel Fezandat (RISM 1551²²). In the dedication Gorlier wrote apologetically of the four-course guitar and his reasons for composing for an inferior instrument, saying that he wanted to show that it was as capable as larger instruments of reproducing music in two or three parts. Besides being an ‘excellent joueur’ on the guitar, as cited on the title-page, he evidently played the spinet; in a pamphlet (now lost) concerning Loys Bourgeois’ Droict chemin de musique (1550) Bourgeois called him ‘trougnon d’épinette’ (‘garbage of the spinet’) and complained that he had not been educated in classical languages and mathematics like the singer-composers in Lyons, Layolle Roussel and Jambe de Fer.

Gorlier was granted a privilege for printing music on ...

Article

Stefano Ajani

revised by Bianca Maria Antolini

(b Florence, Oct 12, 1817; d Florence, Jan 17, 1883). Italian music publisher and double bass player. He played the double bass at the Teatro della Pergola, Florence (1849–53), and in 1844 opened his publishing firm under the name G.G. Guidi, Stabilimento Calcografico Musicale. He both founded the Società del Quartetto di Firenze and published the music performed at its concerts and competitions in the society’s journal, Boccherini (1862–82); he was also the publisher of the winning compositions at the Duea di S Clemente competition. His catalogue included a number of chamber works and overtures by Beethoven, Mozart and Mendelssohn, and compositions by contemporary musicians, including Bottesini and Francesco Anichini. He published many full scores of operas, including Rossini’s Guillaume Tell and Il barbiere di Siviglia, Meyerbeer’s Les Huguenots and Robert le diable, and Peri’s Euridice (1863), transcribed directly from the 17th-century edition. The catalogue also contained operas by Morlacchi and Mancinelli, polyphonic music, including madrigals by Tromboncino and Arcadelt (...

Article

John W. Wagner

(b ?Dartmoor, June 4, 1770; d Boston, Aug 2, 1827). American conductor, composer and publisher of English birth, father of John Hill Hewitt. Apart from family records giving his place and date of birth, the first documented information about him is that he occupied 12 Hyde Street, Bloomsbury, London, during 1791–2. He arrived in New York on 5 September 1792. Although he advertised himself there as having had concert experience in London under ‘Haydn, Pleyel, etc.’, no evidence of this has been found. He lived in New York until 1811, his longest period of residence at one address being from 1801 to 1810 at 59 Maiden Lane. From 1792 until the end of March 1808, he was conductor of the orchestra at the Park Street Theatre, where his duties included arranging and composing music for many ballad operas and other musical productions. He also operated his own ‘musical repository’, where he gave lessons and sold musical instruments and music composed by himself and others....

Article

Rita Benton

(b Paris, March 9, 1753; d Paris, April 15, 1832). French violinist and music publisher. As a boy he studied with Pierre Gaviniès; at the age of 17 he made his début in a concerto in which he showed great promise, according to the Mercure de France of 1 April 1770. A performance 11 years later elicited only mild enthusiasm, and the soloist’s ‘noticeable shyness’ was commented on (Mercure de France, April 1781). His later musical activity was for the most part confined to teaching and to participation in the orchestras of various societies (including the Concert Spirituel, the Concert d’Emulation, the Société Académique des Enfants d’Appollon, the Concert Olympique and, in 1810, the imperial chapel), although in these he sometimes performed as leader, and occasionally as soloist.

The music publishing house that Imbault founded operated during its first year in connection with the already established firm of Jean-Georges Sieber (their first joint announcement, in the ...