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

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Richie Unterberger
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 ...
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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Richie Unterberger
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.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 3/19/1996
  • Label: Yazoo
  • UPC: 016351201522
  • Catalog Number: 2015
  • Sales rank: 128,756

Tracks

Disc 1
  1. 1 Bamalong Blues - Andrew & Jim Baxter (3:10)
  2. 2 Run, Mollie, Run - Henry Thomas (2:53)
  3. 3 Lonesome Road Blues - Sam Collins (3:05)
  4. 4 Jackson Stomp - Mississippi Mud Steppers (3:10)
  5. 5 On Jordan's Stormy Banks We Stand - Seventh Day Adventists Choir (2:37)
  6. 6 Mississippi Jail House Groan - Reverend Rubin Lacy (3:22)
  7. 7 Forked Deer - Taylor's Kentucky Boys (2:45)
  8. 8 Bye Bye Baby Blues - Little Hat Jones (3:08)
  9. 9 Pretty Polly - B.F. Shelton (4:26)
  10. 10 Soft Steel Piston - Weaver & Beasley (3:04)
  11. 11 Two White Horses In A Line - Evans & McClain (2:51)
  12. 12 Jamestown Exhibition - Bayless Rose (2:47)
  13. 13 Dupree Blues - Willie Walker (3:30)
  14. 14 France Blues - Papa Harvey Hull (3:01)
  15. 15 Dying Mother and Her Child - Reverend J.M. Gates (3:42)
  16. 16 John Hardy - Buell Kazee (3:04)
  17. 17 Wayward Girl Blues - Lottie Kimbrough (2:53)
  18. 18 Newport Blues - Cincinnati Jug Band (2:56)
  19. 19 Tom Sherman's Barroom - Dick Devall (2:40)
  20. 20 Stack O' Lee Blues - Mississippi John Hurt (2:57)
  21. 21 Lawdy Lawdy Worried Blues - Blind Teddy Darby (3:07)
  22. 22 I'll Go With Her Blues - Robert Wilkins (3:06)
  23. 23 Christian Soldier - The Denson Quartet (2:47)
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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
Big Bill Broonzy Composer
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, Remastering
Reverend Rubin Lacy Composer
Joan Pelosi Art Direction
Blind Teddy Darby Composer
M. Christian 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
The Denson Quartet Contributor
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