September 10, 2012 Memphis has been a music town since anyone can remember, and it's had places to record that music since there have been records. Some of its studios — Sun, Stax and Hi — are well-known, but American Studios produced its share of hits, and yet remains obscure.
June 13, 2012 Charles was one of those rock 'n' roll figures whose work you're almost certainly familiar with, even if you've probably heard of him. He lived in isolation, recorded very little, didn't perform live and died in 2010. Rock historian Ed Ward looks at his memorable body of work.
May 25, 2012 You've heard guitarist James Burton even if you don't know it. Ever since he was 15, he's been recording behind a bewildering number of artists, from Ricky Nelson to Ray Charles. He also managed to put out some records on his own. Rock historian Ed Ward shares his story.
April 26, 2012 Sam Phillips once referred to Howlin' Wolf's voice as "where the soul of man never dies." Phillips, who worked with dozens of great Memphis musicians, never changed his mind. Rock historian Ed Ward examines the evolution of Wolf's singular talent.
April 6, 2012 Mike McGonigal runs the literary magazine Yeti. In his spare time, he's been collecting gospel 45s on vanity and tiny independent labels for years. He's now released a pair of three-CD sets featuring amazing, long-forgotten African-American gospel tracks from his collection.
January 9, 2012 It's hard to believe today, but in the mid-1950s, Los Angeles didn't mean much in terms of popular music. But the coming of rock 'n' roll meant an infusion of tiny record labels — and one was Doré, run by a happy-go-lucky guy named Lew Bedell. Ed Ward tells its short, crazy story here.
December 20, 2011 Before the Civil Rights movement, segregated American cities helped give birth to the Chitlin' Circuit, a touring revue that provided employment for hundreds of black musicians. Rock historian Ed Ward profiles two recent books which illuminate the conditions these musicians endured.