Monday, August 19, 2013

"Walk Right In," "The Rooftop Singers," Bill Svanoe, and the Freedom Riders

This is a 1960s video (of a television performance), featuring one of the songs I enjoyed most in childhood. It remains a favorite song, today.

The song, "Walk Right In," was recorded in 1962 by The Rooftop Singers, and was a number one hit in early 1963. The song had originally been written in 1929 by the blues musician Gus Cannon (who released a recording the same year, with a jug band he led). The Rooftop Singers was formed in 1962, in order to record a new version of the song.

The performers in the video (left to right) are Bill Svanoe, Lynne Taylor, and Erik Darling. 

And here is the Wikipedia page about the group: 

Here, too, are pictures of Bill Svanoe, from 1961 (before the forming of The Rooftop Singers), as well as a more recent picture.  He was part of the very brave and heroic 1960s Freedom Riders movement and he was arrested and jailed as a result.  The pictures appeared on Oprah Winfrey's website in 2011, as part of a "Then and Now" feature about the Freedom Riders; Ms. Winfrey also honored the Freedom Riders in a 2011 broadcast. (Please scroll down, after clicking on the link, to see the pictures of Mr. Svanoe.)

The feature on Ms. Winfrey's website was derived from a 2008 book about the Freedom Riders, Breach of Peace.  The book is by photographer and author Eric Etheridge:

Lastly, this is the link for the Wikipedia page about the Freedom Riders: