Before the Blues, Vol. 1: The Early American Black Music Scene

Before the Blues, Vol. 1: The Early American Black Music Scene


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Although the blues is the most renowned form of early 20th century African-American music (other than jazz), it didn't dominate rural Black music to the extent that many listeners often assume. Black and White folk musics mingled extensively before the advent of recorded technology, and Black musicians often performed gospel, religious hymns, folk ballads, and fiddle tunes as well as what we now recognize as the blues. This compilation does a good job of illustrating the diverse ancestry of African-American music with 23 rare sides from the 1920s and 1930s, when records and mass media had yet to fully introduce elements that would standardize musical genres and approaches to some degree. Some of these performers would indeed become classified as blues artists (Mississippi John Hurt, Robert Wilkins, Henry Thomas). But most of these tracks are not explicitly rooted in blues forms, examples being B.F. Shelton's banjo ballad interpretation of "Pretty Polly," Taylor's Kentucky Boys' fiddle breakdown version of "Forked Deer," or the Seventh Day Adventist Choir's "On Jordan's Stormy Banks We Stand." Remastered from old 78s, this may be of more educational than entertainment value to most modern listeners, but it's well done, with extensive liner notes explaining the various forms of Black music preserved on the disc.

Product Details

Release Date: 03/19/1996
Label: Yazoo
UPC: 0016351201522
catalogNumber: 2015
Rank: 43158

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Sam Collins   Vocals,Track Performer
Mississippi John Hurt   Guitar,Vocals,Track Performer
Henry Thomas   Guitar,Track Performer
Sylvester Weaver   Guitar,Track Performer
Walter Beasley   Vocals,Track Performer,Bottleneck Guitar
James Booker   Fiddle
Buell Kazee   Banjo,Track Performer
Joe Evans   Track Performer
Robert Wilkins   Guitar,Vocals,Track Performer
Little Hat Jones   Guitar,Track Performer
Sam Brooks   Vocals
Papa Harvey Hull   Guitar,Track Performer
Lottie Kimbrough   Vocals,Track Performer
Arthur McClain   Track Performer
Charlie McCoy   Mandolin
Bayless Rose   Guitar,Track Performer
Willie Walker   Guitar,Track Performer
Reverend Rubin Lacy   Vocals,Track Performer
Blind Teddy Darby   Guitar,Track Performer
Andrew Baxter   Fiddle,Guitar,Track Performer
Dick Devall   Track Performer
Taylor's Kentucky Boys   Track Performer
Walter Coleman   Guitar
B.F. Shelton   Banjo,Track Performer
Weaver & Beasley   Track Performer
Andrew & Jim Baxter   Track Performer
Marion Underwood   Banjo

Technical Credits

Bo Carter   Contributor
Joe Evans   Contributor
A.P. Carter   Composer
Huddie Ledbetter   Composer
Arthur McClain   Contributor
Bayless Rose   Composer
Georgia White   Composer
Don Kent   Producer,Liner Notes,Annotation
Richard Nevins   Producer,Liner Notes
Reverend Rubin Lacy   Composer
Joan Pelosi   Art Direction
Blind Teddy Darby   Composer
Dick Devall   Contributor
Taylor's Kentucky Boys   Contributor
B.F. Shelton   Composer
Weaver & Beasley   Contributor
Cincinnati Jug Band   Contributor
Mississippi Mud Steppers   Contributor
Traditional   Composer
Bob Coleman   Composer
Denson Quartet   Contributor

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