Polk Miller and his Old South Quartet (2 Albums, 2 Tracks)
Polk Miller (1844-October 20, 1913) was a pharmacist and musician from Richmond and Bon Air, Virginia.
In 1892, he began performing music professionally. Polk Miller and his "Old South Quartette" had a variety show of "Stories, Sketches and Songs" depicting African American life before the Civil War. Miller was white, and the four members of the quartet were black. They gained national prominence, and toured between 1900 and 1912.
At one performance, Mark Twain introduced Polk Miller at Madison Square Garden. Although he did not perform in blackface, Polk sometimes billed himself as "The Old Virginia Plantation Negro" and performed Negro spirituals and pop and folk tunes such as James A. Bland's Carry Me Back to Old Virginny. Miller and his quartet played colleges and military schools, as well as the "most exclusive social clubs" in New York, Boston, Baltimore, Washington, Pittsburgh, and Cleveland. Polk Miller and the Old South Quartette also performed at African American churches.
Polk Miller's and the Old South Quartette were featured on some of Thomas Edison's earlier phonograph recordings.
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