The Long Blue Moan by L. M. Ross is about 4 African-American men who meet at Performing Arts High. They are thrown together as part of a class assignment. They form a musical group and the result of that group is a hit song. The group, successful as it is, does not stay together, but the 4 men within the group continue a relationship with each other that spans more than 20 years. The time period during which these men go from teenagers just starting to explore what they'll do with their lives on through their adulthood is the late 1970's through the 1990's. It covers the time period when talented young men got sick and died from what at first was some nameless insidious disease. It addresses the devastation and the senseless loss of so much promise that resulted from what is essentially a basic need. It is also an intensely close and personal look at what it's like from a Black urban perspective to pursue dreams, expectations, and careers, squander them, or simply watch them die.
There is Ty who has a gift for writing and a strong sense of doing the right thing, but at what cost do we all do the right thing? David is a dancer with a flair and style all his own. His friends understand that's what makes him special. Others don't always see David in that light. Browny has an amazing ability to sing and wants to perform opera. While his voice soars to great heights, his life plummets to disturbing lows. And then there's Pascal, who wants to be an actor. He's got the looks for it, but is that facade just a Dorian Gray illusion behind which is a more sinister face?