Blues singer Otis Taylor and Retired Lt. Col. Bradley Biggs on this edition of Fresh Air. Otis Taylor brings his banjo to the studio for a concert and conversation. He plays tracks from his new CD, White African. Taylor plays the guitar and ukulele in addition to the banjo. His music is often described as minimalist, and his lyrics are often stories of race and racism. He's been compared to John Lee Hooker.
Retired Lt. Col. Bradley Biggs was part of America's first all-black paratroop unit called the Triple Nickles - the 555th Battalion of the 82d Airborne. The troop was trained to go to war, but instead was sent to the West Coast to fight forest fires started by Japanese balloon bombs. They were the first parachuters to fight fires and developed many of the techniques used today. Later they became the first army unit to be integrated into the "regular" army during World War II. Biggs has written a new memoir, The Triple Nickles. (Broadcast Date: August 16, 2001)
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