Formed in 1976 at Texas Southern University by Howard Harris, then the primary professor of music composition, The Peoples' Workshop began as a space for students to compose, perform and experiment outside the strictures of Western classical musical education, in an effort to accommodate students who showed enthusiasm to create music relative to their own realities. It arose to fill the needs of the young composers in the Houston area to find performers, artists and technicians to realize their works, for them to gain practical insight into performance, studio recording, stage presence and various production techniques, and to grant them meaningful exposure to the public and business side of the music world.
Originally referred to as the “Pop Music Lab,” the early output was performed on the TSU campus at the end of each semester from the years 1976 to 1980, and the first amateur recording came as early as the end of the 1976 school year. Work at the Pop Music Lab was highly collaborative and supportive between the participants, and the name “The Peoples' Workshop” was chosen to reflect the workshop as a model for coexistence and cooperation between all people and peoples. The Workshop quickly grew beyond only music to encompass a wide range to artistic and technical disciplines, and it began to draw artists and performers from outside TSU, from the Third Ward and Greater Houston area. By 1980 the organization was granted tax-exempt status as a non-profit organization officially as The Peoples' Workshop for the Visual and Performing Arts. In 1983, it moved off the TSU campus.
The Peoples' Workshop has since grown in size and scope, becoming the first Black-founded organization to present from the major performance venues in the Greater Houston area, and over the years has featured numerous world-renowned artists as teachers, judges and past participants. The project remained dormant due to a lack of funding between the years 1997 and 2013, but is returning in 2014. Houston Talent Expo '82 features all original compositions by members of The Peoples' Workshop, performed by musicians from Houston. Naturally, the songs vary in style, but they retain a sensibility centered around gospel, funk and soul. The lyrics deliver positive messages gleaned from struggle but true to the philosophy of togetherness that underpins The Peoples' Workshop. Many of the artists featured remain active today around the world, working with such acts as Alice Coltrane (John Henderson) and The Charles Mingus Band (Frank Lacy).A1 Let's Get High 5:23 A2 Love,Love 4:35 A3 Chocolate Coated People Song 4:47 A4 Funkathone 3:59 B1 Why Do I Need An Education 3:25 B2 This Song 3:32 B3 Save Your Money 3:03 B4 Stand Up For Jesus 3:53 B5 A Song For The Children 6:58