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Texas Originals: Julius Bledsoe

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The singer who first performed the song "Ol' Man River" is an obscure figure today. Baritone Julius Bledsoe was among the first African Americans to appear on Broadway, but he made few recordings and his fame was soon eclipsed by the great Paul Robeson, who succeeded him in the role of Joe in the classic musical Show Boat. A critic from the New York Morning Telegraph described him as "a singer who can pick the heart right out of your body—if you don't look out."
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