Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History

Interview with Mike Allen, July 24, 1986

Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries
Toggle Index/Transcript View Switch.
Search this Index
00:00:45 - Family history

Play segment

Partial Transcript: I'm here visiting with Mike Allen in his home in Lexington. Mike can you tell me where you were born and what year you were born in?

Segment Synopsis: Allen discusses some of his parents' background, including their education and occupations. He also mentions how many children he has shares a little about them.

Keywords: Children; Constitution Elementary School (Lexington, Ky.); Dunbar High School (Lexington, Ky.); Family history; Family life

Subjects: African Americans--Education--Kentucky--Lexington; Family--history; Kentucky State University

00:04:33 - Education related experiences

Play segment

Partial Transcript: Can you tell me about your early education in Lexington? Where did you start out in your schooling? What was the process there?

Segment Synopsis: Allen discusses his experiences at the two schools he attended for elementary and junior high. He mentions some of the teachers he remembers from Constitution Elementary. Allen goes on to talk about the disciplinary styles and attitudes of teachers and students at Constitution.

Keywords: Community school; Constitution Elementary School(Lexington, Ky.); Disciplinary styles; Integrated school; Lexington Junior School (Lexington, Ky.); Race relations

Subjects: African Americans--Education--Kentucky--Lexington; School integration--Kentucky--Fayette County

00:10:39 - Remembering Dunbar High School

Play segment

Partial Transcript: So you spent 3 years away from the people so to speak?

Segment Synopsis: Allen reminisces about his time as a student on Dunbar, including mentioning some of the teachers he had. He goes on to talk about his feelings about the closing of Dunbar and the impact it had on the black community.

Keywords: All black schools; Black heritage; Community school; Douglass School (Lexington, Ky.); Dunbar High School (Lexington, Ky.); Dunbar athletics; Mr.Guthry

Subjects: African Americans--Education--Kentucky--Lexington

00:14:49 - Musical experiences at Dunbar / becoming a musician

Play segment

Partial Transcript: Were you a musician at Dunbar?

Segment Synopsis: Allen talks about being some of his musical experiences at Dunbar. He also talks about getting started in the music business.

Keywords: Black National Anthem; Musicians; Professional musician; The music business

Subjects: African Americans--Education--Kentucky--Lexington; Kentucky State University

00:18:48 - Family musical background / personal music ability / experiences in the military

Play segment

Partial Transcript: Were both of your parents musicians?

Segment Synopsis: Allen talks about his families musical background, including his mother's musical abilities and his siblings musical background. He also talks about his own musical ability, including reading music. Allen goes on to discuss his experiences in the Navy Reserves.

Keywords: Boot Camp; Family history; Musical abilities; Navy Reserves; Reading music; Siblings

Subjects: African American families; United States. Navy.

00:23:22 - Experiences in College / becoming a professional musician / staying in Lexington

Play segment

Partial Transcript: I came back home and father said "you got to do something, why don't you go to college"...

Segment Synopsis: Allen talks about going to college and not being focused on his education. He goes on to discuss starting a trio and becoming a professional musician. He also talks about his decision to stay in Lexington instead of going elsewhere to pursue his musical career. He also mentions how happy he is in Lexington.

Keywords: Childhood house; Edwood Hall; Hometown; Musical trio; Professional musicians

Subjects: African Americans--Education (Higher)--Kentucky--Frankfort; Kentucky State University

00:29:17 - Lifestyle / working as a muscian

Play segment

Partial Transcript: You know you have a unique lifestyle. You are a man who primarily works evenings and nights.

Segment Synopsis: Allen talks about what he does during the day. He mentions doing housework and the business side of being a professional musician. He also discusses what his work situation is, including when he leaves for work and the type of events he plays at.

Keywords: Business related work; Gardening; Housework; Professional musicians

Subjects: African American business enterprises

00:36:20 - Treatment as a black musician / types of music

Play segment

Partial Transcript: We were talking about your experiences playing in culturally some different settings from you know those which you knew growing up as a child. What's that been like in Lexington?

Segment Synopsis: Allen discusses how he was treated by both black and white guests and musicians. He also talks about playing different types of music for different age groups.

Keywords: Black musicians; Motown; White musicians

Subjects: African Americans--Kentucky--Lexington--Social conditions

00:42:52 - Musical taste

Play segment

Partial Transcript: Mike do you have favorite tunes or songs that you enjoy playing? You know just kind of across the board?

Segment Synopsis: Allen talks about his favorite musicians and type of music. He also mentions his favorite song titles I Remember April. He plays a little bit of two songs on the piano.

Keywords: Classical music; Jazz; Music; Musicians; Pretty music

Subjects: Jazz Musicians.

00:47:50 - Businesses on Deweese Street / various stage shows

Play segment

Partial Transcript: You grew up right here on Chestnut Street. Right here at this house.

Segment Synopsis: Allen talks about the various businesses that were on Deweese Street. He mentions some of the groups that he listened to when he was younger. He also discusses the various big name black musicians who visited the local clubs in Lexington when he was young, including Ella Fitzgerald and Ray Charles. Allen goes on to talk about other stage shows in Lexington.

Keywords: Deweese Street; Drug Narco; Federal prison; Record store; Stage shows; The Dixieland Gardens; The Lyric Theater

Subjects: Musicians

00:55:03 - Black music situation

Play segment

Partial Transcript: What kinds of things would you say about the state of music among black people in Lexington now?

Segment Synopsis: Allen talks about the negative aspects of the popular music within the black music scene. He mentions the technological changes in music which makes the industry different from when he was getting started in the business. He also mentions the need to expose children to more music genres than just gospel or rock.

Keywords: Conservatory; Contemporary music; Gospel; Hard rock; James Brown Band; Rock and Roll; Young black artists

Subjects: African Americans--Education--Kentucky--Lexington; Musicians

00:59:47 - Public school music programs / importance of music

Play segment

Partial Transcript: Do you think public schools, the music curriculum, if you can say the public schools have one, do you think public schools have failed our children?

Segment Synopsis: Allen discusses the need for more youth education in regard to music within the public school system. He also talks about the overall importance of music, mentioning that it is a basic part of life.

Keywords: Music; Music curriculum; Music programs; Public schools; Understanding music

Subjects: African Americans--Education--Kentucky--Lexington