In Elisabeth Welch: Soft Lights and Sweet Music, author Stephen Bourne celebrates the stage, screen, and radio career of this sophisticated African American actress and singer, who always defied categorization. Spanning almost a century of popular music, Welch did not fit the definition of jazz, torch, pop, or ballad singer but defined her art quite simply as "telling a story in song." Whenever she sang, she demonstrated that she had no peer in the art of interpreting songs by the likes of Cole Porter, Noel Coward, Irving Berlin, and Jerome Kern. Her story is a fascinating one that brings readers insight about the life and times of this musical legend.
Stephen Bourne, one of Britain's leading authorities on Black history, is a regular contributor to Black Filmmaker magazine and has been interviewed in several documentaries, including Black Divas (1996) and Paul Robeson: Here I Stand (1999). He is the author of Black in the British Frame: The Black Experience in British Film and Television (2001).
Part 1 Foreword Part 2 Acknowledgments Part 3 Introduction Chapter 4 1 Girlie Chapter 5 2 The Jazz Age Chapter 6 3 Paris Chapter 7 4 Cole Porter, Ivor Novello, and Noel Coward Chapter 8 5 Soft Lights and Sweet Music Chapter 9 6 Paul Robeson Chapter 10 7 Keep the Home Fires Burning Chapter 11 8 A Marvellous Party Chapter 12 9 Derek Jarman and The Tempest Chapter 13 10 Renaissance Chapter 14 11 Finale Chapter 15 12 Invisible Women: A Survey of Black Women in British Films Part 16 Appendix A: Elisabeth Welch's Credits Part 17 Appendix B: Cast List Part 18 Bibliography Part 19 Index Part 20 About the Author