Skip, Duck, and the Grammy Awards: The Rise of the Bentonia Blues

Bentonia, Mississippi is a small town of just over 400 residents, about the same number it had in 1931. That year, the town’s most famous son went north to record for the Paramount Record Company. The railroad Nehemiah “Skip” James left on still runs through Bentonia, but the station is long gone. Still, not far … Continue reading “Skip, Duck, and the Grammy Awards: The Rise of the Bentonia Blues”

Ball And Chain Blues: 10 Prison Songs From The Document Catalogue

by D’Arcy Rix-Hayes The United States has the highest rate of incarceration in the world, with one in every 15 people in the country expected to go behind bars. According to Michelle Alexander’s The New Jim Crow “more African American adults are under correctional control today…than were enslaved in 1850.” In many ways, slavery was … Continue reading “Ball And Chain Blues: 10 Prison Songs From The Document Catalogue”

Everybody Loves Them Dead Presidents

From the Mississippi Delta to the streets of Chicago; from Mamie Smith at the Howard Theatre to Kingfish at Red’s, the blues has always been a fundamentally American genre of music. Although it sounds silly to say so, no other country could have given us “61 Highway Blues” or “Sweet Home Chicago”. In honor of … Continue reading “Everybody Loves Them Dead Presidents”

Blind Willie Johnson

Blind Willie Johnson (1897–1945) By Bill Berry “Probably the finest slide guitar playing you’ll ever hear” – Eric Clapton, commenting on Blind Willie Johnson’s Nobody’s Fault But Mine “The greatest example of slide guitar ever recorded” – Jack White, on Dark Was The Night, Cold Was The Ground “I’ve tried all my life – worked … Continue reading "Blind Willie Johnson"

Blues Musicians Who Died in 2019

Honouring Those Musicians We Lost In 2019 By Paul T Forrest A number of music artists passed away in 2019. Here, we pay tribute to some of those who were associated with the Blues. Ginger Baker 19 August 1939 – 6 October 2019 Ginger Baker rose to prominence with Eric Clapton and Jack Bruce in … Continue reading “Blues Musicians Who Died in 2019”

10 Famous Blues Musicians

(Written by Leonardo Pereira) 1. BIG BILL BROONZY (Lee Conley Bradley; 1903 – 1958) The city of Chicago is constantly associated with the blues and its electric reinvention, but one of its pioneers actually started as an acoustic country blues performer. According to some sources, William Lee Conley Broonzy was born in Arkansas in 1903. … Continue reading “10 Famous Blues Musicians”

Fiddlin John Carson

“I can get to Hell just as quick as you can.” The Profanity of John Carson’s Fiddle  Over the course of the seven volumes of Document Records Fiddlin’ John Carson’s “Complete Recorded Works in Chronological Order” the first-time listener will hear old-time, hillbilly music played with self-awareness and mastery by one of the nineteenth century’s … Continue reading “Fiddlin John Carson”

Confessions of a Vinyl Addict – Part 4

From Hull to Nashville By Gary Atkinson   Given the critical slamming I gave those first Document CDs when writing for the blues magazine, I was more than a little surprised when the reviews editor rang to say that Johnny Parth had recommended me for a job. They wanted me to write some booklet notes, … Continue reading “Confessions of a Vinyl Addict – Part 4”

Confessions of a Vinyl Addict – Part 3

England, Vienna, Scotland. By Gary Atkinson Whilst working, as an Office Junior at the City Engineers department of Hull City Council, I was approached by two close work friends. ‘Do you like Rory Gallagher?’ Dave asked. ‘No,’ I gave as a reply to a question, which, in my music-elitist view, needed no consideration. ‘Why not!?’ … Continue reading “Confessions of a Vinyl Addict – Part 3”

Confessions Of A Vinyl Addict – Part 2

By Gary Atkinson “…Do you know what you’re getting yourself into?” The first albums that I bought were cheap, ‘budget range’ ones. The Marble Arch label was owned by Pye Nixa, which had licensed material from Chess records in the early 1960s. As a schoolboy in the late 1960s, I could just about afford these, … Continue reading “Confessions Of A Vinyl Addict – Part 2”