Written by
Bob Stumpel

December 7

Ray Charles At The Showboat On Voice Of America (1958)

'58 RS Showboat NM

The Showboat was a famous “musical bar” or jazz club in the basement of the Douglas Hotel in Philadelphia. Jazz fans and jazz musicians hung at The Showboat nightly. Ray had a gig there as early as 1951, but possibly performed or hang out there more often during the 1950s and early 1960s. Dizzy Gillespie, Miles Davis, or John Coltrane – they all performed on the small stage.
Sheldon Harris, in Blues Who’s Who made a note on hearing Ray playing at The Showboat in 1958, when he was listening to Willis Connover’s Voice of America radio show Music USA.
If any tape of the radio program has survived, it’d be in the VoA collection at the Library of Congress (The LoC online catalog doesn’t have an entry on it, but I’m not certain if the VoA collection is fully cataloged by now).


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