Art&Seek presents This Week in Texas Music History. Every week, we’ll spotlight a different moment and the musician who made it. This week, Texas music scholar Gary Hartman remembers a man who helped build a gospel music empire.
You can also hear This Week in Texas Music History on Sunday at precisely 6:04 p.m. on KERA radio. But subscribe to the podcast so you won’t miss an episode. And our thanks to KUT public radio in Austin for helping us bring this segment to you. And if you’re a music lover, be sure to check out Track by Track, the bi-weekly podcast from Paul Slavens, host of KXT’s The Paul Slavens Show, heard Sunday night’s at 8.
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This week in Texas music history, we’ll learn about a man who helped build a gospel music empire. Jesse Randall Baxter was born in Lebanon, Ala., on Dec. 8, 1887. He took an early interest in gospel music and began writing hymns while still a teenager. In 1926, Baxter joined the already successful Stamps Publishing Co., founded by Texas businessman Virgil Oliver Stamps. The two quickly built the Stamps-Baxter Music Co. into the nation’s largest gospel music publisher. As a prolific composer himself, J.R. Baxter published hundreds of his own songs and managed dozens of gospel singing groups, including the popular Stamps-Baxter Quartet. After V.O. Stamps died in 1940, J.R. Baxter became president and general manager and continued to run the Stamps-Baxter Music company from its Dallas offices until his death on Jan. 21, 1960.
Next time on This Week in Texas Music History, we’ll meet a woman who used music to break down the barriers of racial segregation.