Barrelhouse Blues – Location Recordings & The Early Traditions In The Blues
Triple CD with 68 newly re-mastered tracks.
informative 12 page booklet written by Paul Oliver.
The beginnings of the blues are uncertain, shaded by myth and legend. To some this American musical idiom now seems to have emerged fully formed from the genius of a few pioneering innovators in the Mississippi Delta. But the truth is that without the quick and wise intervention of record companies during the 1920s throughout the South, the earliest iterations of the blues would be lost to us. Fired by the runaway success of the first blues records, emissaries from Okeh and Columbia Records lugged primitive recording equipment into makeshift studios in cities like Dallas, Atlanta and New Orleans. To preserve the music they brought in street singers, medicine show performers, pianists from the juke joints and barrelhouses. The music that circulated through the Southern work camps, prison farms and vaudeville shows would have vanished if it hadn’t been captured on location by these performers and their recorders.
Blues historian Paul Oliver uncovers these folk traditions and the circumstances under which they were recorded, unpacking the blues writings of Harlem scholar Alain Locke and the earliest recordings themselves to rescue the forebears of the blues who were lost before they even had a chance to be heard. A careful examination of the earliest recordings of the blues by one of its foremost experts, Barrelhouse Blues expands our definition of that most American style of music.