Bill Spoon was born in Alabama in 1942 and came to Cleveland in 1960, becoming involved in the city's music scene. He is the founder of The Soul Notes singing group. This 2009 interview discusses his childhood in Alabama and his life in Cleveland, focusing on the community of African-American musicians in Cleveland in the 1960s and 1970s that he was a part of. He ties in his discussion of these artists and their music with the broader issue of racism, which African-Americans in the city faced at this time, also commenting on the nature of race relations during his childhood in Alabama in the 1940s and 1950s. At various points throughout the interview, he compares the artistic and business aspects of African-American music of his era to the rap and R & B of more recent times, impressed by the business acumen of the newer generations of musicians but disappointed by the often negative messages of their songs.
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This collection of interviews covers topics of race relations and rock and roll music in Cleveland between 1952 and 1966. The interviews were conducted by Dana Aritonovich as she researched her thesis – The Only Common Thread: Race, Youth, and the Everyday Rebellion of Rock and Roll, Cleveland, Ohio, 1952-1966 – in pursuit of a Master of Arts in History at Cleveland State University, which was successfully completed in 2010. Interview subjects are music fans, musicians, and disc jockeys from…