this is a fascinating area for discussion-I think some rigorous research
I remember little of the TIME LINE of the blues revival - certain
critical events stand out in my mind: Sam Charters
"The Country Blues" book, the by subscription release of Charly Patton
on Origin, and certainly the Robert Johnson first LP
on Columbia. These were late events in the sequence. Foggy
recollections of what was available early in
the game (to non-"race records" audiences) -i.e. the late forties/early
fifties: Library of Congress African-American 78's & LP's, Folkways
Harry Smith Anthology, Stinson LP's (from 1940's Asch & Disc 78's) of
Josh White and Leadbelly.
Some Big Bill Broonzy on Columbia 78's, and the Mercury LP (was that
50's????). Riverside, primarily interested
in early jazz issued some blues performances from Paramount 78's (Blind
Lemon, Ma Rainey). There were also other primarily jazz labels which
had some blues representation (Jax, Jolly Roger) Historical had a jazz
series of compilation LP's, and also a country series. Iirc, the
reissues of the 78's spurred the search for
those performers, culminating with the "rediscovery" of Mississippi
John Hurt, Son House, et.al. Arhoolie was releasing
important blues performers who were not rediscoveries, demonstrating the
vitality of the tradition. Arhoolie LP's were
sold primarily by mail order, through a blues record club before the
'revival' got them into stores (repackaged, slicker
jackets and no mimeographed notes) .
When did Bob Koester's blues recordings become available (Sleepy John
Estes, Big Joe Williams...)
In the UK (via Dobell's, they had another trading name for export) there
were interesting ep's on Swedish Blues Society,
Collector, and even RCA (a series of 3 ep's, available singly of
Leadbelly, Jug Bands, maybe Furry Lewis), a wonderful
German Brunswick LP of rural blues singers - don't remember if that
pre-dated Folkways The Country Blues.
There must be interviews with many of the british blues artists which
indicate what their sources were - what they
were listening to in the 50's????
What was the relative importance of 20-30's 'country/rural' blues
compared to electirc 'Chicago" blues on the British,
and American performers?
There was a series of 3 Rolling Stones lp's issued in Japan which
collected the recordings they did in Chicago in homage
to the Chess blues performers. JoAnn Kelly must have heard either
originals or reissues, drawing heavily on Memphis Minnie.
Another issue worthy of some discussion - how did information about
these recordings get disseminated (Sing Out,
Little Sandy Review covered these, as did the little jazz
publications.....what uk publications?.)
I hope someone can put these things into their proper time frame.
Best wishes, Thomas.
steven c wrote:
>----- Original Message -----
>From: "Roger and Allison Kulp" <[log in to unmask]>
>>Oh jeez,where to begin here ? Are you completely brushing aside,labels
>like Folkways,Takoma,and Delmark ? Takoma,you recall,also gave us the a
>cappella gem "Ever Since I Have Been a Man Full Grown"
>http://www.wirz.de/music/takomfrm.htm (I own an original of this.) These
>labels introduced many of us buying records in the 60s,to the likes of
>Reverend Gary Davis,Sleepy John Estes,Mississippi Fred MacDowell(Paving the
>way for his landmark 1969 Lp "I Do Not Play No Rock and Roll",one of the
>greatest acoustic blues records ever cut !),Furry Lewis,Blind Boy Fuller,and
>Brownie McGhee, amoung others.Now,I will grant you,most of the covers of
>such songs,from the period that immediately pop into my head,are by American
>bands,from the second wave of blues-rock(1966-72),but I'm sure there were
>earlier ones.I'm not at home now,so i can't spend an hour or two poring over
>Not brushing them aside...but those were for the most part specialty
>LP labels, and I know I never saw any of them where I shopped (in the
>Eastland Mall in Bloomington, Illinois)! When I first went looking
>for "blues albums," all they had was the RJ and a couple of Sonny
>Terry/Brownie McGhee albums! (the selection of jazz reissue albums
>and "dixieland jazz" was, IIRC, even worse!). As well, remember that
>it was called the "*British* Blues Invasion," so it referred to
>British musicians...and I would guess that their blues-album selection
>of the late fifties/early sixties was, if anything, worse. Of course,
>the most interested of the US musicians could, and did, collect the
>original 78's (notably the brothers Hite)...but the only evidence I
>have that blues could be had "across the pond" is one Muddy Waters
>78 I own on the UK Vogue label (originally on Chess).
>Steven C. Barr
>(the sad part was that I was listening to WLAC, and COULD have had
>all the blues singles I wanted by mail order...and could have gone
>the 150 miles to Chicago [a trip I made often!] and heard/seen
>LIVE blues...but what did I know then?!)