Talking Hart Island

Lloyd “The Whistler” Threlkeld with Douglass Fraser

May 17, 2020

Episode 38 “Lloyd “The Whistler” Threlkeld”: with Douglass Fraser,

Professor and Musicologist.

Lloyd Buford Threlkeld, also known as “The Whistler” for his ability to make sweet melodious sounds emerge from his practiced nose flute, also played the guitar and sang. “Whistler and his Band” was one of the most famous jug bands of its time.

Threlkeld was born in Kentucky and in 1932 moved to Harlem in New York City. He continued performing, but had stopped recording. In May of 1935 he was admitted to Bellevue Hospital with tuberculosis where he died, later that year. He was without family or friends and, like thousands before and since in similar circumstances, was buried on Hart Island.

Listen to Professor Douglass Fraser as he takes us on a musical tour of not only jug band music, but also jazz and rock in-roll, which incredibly owed their very origins to this pioneering music.

Michael T. Keene is the author of Folklore and Legends of Rochester, Murder, Mayhem and Madness, Mad~House, Question of Sanity, and now his new book, 

NEW YORK CITY’S HART ISLAND: A CEMETERY OF STRANGERS

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