Charles Leon Arthello Bibb, singer, actor, guitarist (born 7 February 1922 in Louisville, Kentucky; died 23 October 2015 in Vancouver, BC).
Charles Leon Arthello Bibb, singer, actor, guitarist (born 7 February 1922 in Louisville, Kentucky; died 23 October 2015 in Vancouver, BC). Inspired by Paul Robeson, he was classically trained as a baritone in New York, began his career on Broadway, then turned to folk music. He made several LPs for the Vanguard, Columbia, Washington, and Liberty labels, performed in 1959 at the inaugural Newport Folk Festival, and toured in 1964 in the USSR. After further work on the Broadway stage, in film, and in TV, Bibb moved in 1971 to Vancouver. He appeared 1972-3 there with Ann Mortifee and others in Jacques Brel is Alive and Well and Living in Paris at the Arts Club Revue Theatre and toured 1976-8 in Canada with the singer Gail Nelson and the pianist Stan Keen in the revue We Three. Also in this period he gave the first of several pop concerts with Vancouver Symphony Orchestra.
Bibb's first solo show in Vancouver, presented in 1977 at the Orpheum Theatre, was adapted as 'The Candyman' for a CBC TV 'Superspecial' in 1978 and featured Bibb in a history of the blues. A second 'Superspecial' - 'Gospel and Mister Candyman' - followed in 1979. His One More Stop on the Freedom Train, a gospel musical about the underground railroad by which US blacks escaped from slavery to Canada, was premiered in Toronto in 1984 by Black Theatre Canada and toured Ontario in 1985. It was later mounted in Vancouver at Expo 86 and at the Firehall Theatre. Bibb was seen in Jacques Brel again 1986-7, toured Canada in the play I'm Not Rappaport in 1987, sang at the Vancouver Folk Music Festival in 1988, and directed a production of the musical drama Lady Day at Emerson's Bar and Grill at the Arts Club Revue Theatre in 1989.
Boyd, Denny. '...and how a real star came to light here,' Vancouver Sun, 23 Jun 1972
Grescoe, Paul. 'The candyman cometh,' TV Guide, 29 Apr 1978
Richardson, Bill. 'Leon Bibb and the Lady Day,' Vancouver Georgia Straight, 10-17 Nov 1989
Dykk, Lloyd. 'The Leon King,' Vancouver Sun, 8 Dec 1994
Doruyter, Renee. 'Jacques Brel revived: Original cast members go back on stage 25 years later,' Vancouver Province, 12 Jun 1997