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Texas Jailhouse Music: A Prison Band History Book (Signed by the Author)

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  • Inside the Texas State Prison is a surprising story of ingenuity, optimism and musical creativity.
  • During the mid-twentieth century, inmates at the Huntsville unit and neighboring Goree State Farm for Women captured hearts all over Texas during weekly radio broadcasts and live stage performances.
  • WBAPs Thirty Minutes Behind the Walls took listeners inside the penitentiary to hear not only the prisoners? songs but also the stories of those who sang them.
  • Captivating and charismatic, banjo player Reable Childs received thousands of fan letters with the Goree All-Girl String Band during World War II.
  • Hattie Ellis, a young black inmate with a voice that rivaled Billie Holidays, was immortalized by notable folklorist John Avery Lomax.
  • Cowboys, songsters and champion fiddlers all played a part in one of the most unique prison histories in the nation.
  • Caroline Gnagy presents the decades-long story of the Texas convict bands, informed by prison records, radio show transcripts and the words and music of the inmates themselves.

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