Trumpet Records: Diamonds on Farish Street

Overview


Elmore James, Sonny Boy Williamson, Little Milton, and James Waller-all of these musical powerhouses furthered their recording careers at a little label on once-thriving Farish Street, the historic black district of Jackson, Mississippi.

These blues, gospel, and R&B all-stars are featured in Trumpet Records: Diamonds on Farish Street, the detailed story of this thriving recording label of the mid-1950s.

What caused it to spring to life in...

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Overview


Elmore James, Sonny Boy Williamson, Little Milton, and James Waller-all of these musical powerhouses furthered their recording careers at a little label on once-thriving Farish Street, the historic black district of Jackson, Mississippi.

These blues, gospel, and R&B all-stars are featured in Trumpet Records: Diamonds on Farish Street, the detailed story of this thriving recording label of the mid-1950s.

What caused it to spring to life in Jackson? It began in 1949, when a white woman named Lillian McMurry and her husband purchased a hardware store on Farish Street, then a location on the boundary between the city's white and black business and entertainment districts. While taking inventory of the original stock and renovating the building, she discovered a stack of unsold records, including Wynonie Harris's recording of "All She Wants to Do Is Rock." Curious, Mrs. McMurry played it on the store's record player and became so inspired that she decided to record more music like it. Thus was born Trumpet Records.

The life of the studio was brief, and this book, in careful detail, covers its short history (1951-1956) and includes accounts of recording sessions with its roster of gospel groups, blues musicians, and R&B singers, almost all of them African American. The book also documents McMurry's attempts to fuse country and African American popular music into what would become rock 'n' roll.

From interviews, archival recordings, company documents, reviews, photographs, and the assistance of the founder, Marc W. Ryan has compiled the fascinating history of this short-lived but influential company.

This new edition of a work recognized in 1993 by the Association for Recorded Sound Collections features an updated discography and bibliography, extensive new documentation, and additional insights into the operations of Trumpet Records.

Marc W. Ryan is an independent music scholar living in North San Juan, California. His work has been published in Rolling Stone, Discoveries, and Blues and Rhythm.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Providing a slightly revised edition of his 1993 original, Ryan again describes the history and impact of Trumpet Records. He begins with Lillian McMurry, the scrupulously honest music business pioneer who started the label after selling records in her husband's furniture store in Jackson, MS. Most of the book is devoted to the activities of the label, which lasted from 1950 to 1954 and recorded seminal gospel, country, blues, and nascent rock'n'roll artists. The author allots much space to blues artists such as Elmore James, Big Joe Williams, and Sonny Boy Williamson II, who ensured a legacy for Trumpet. He ends with McMurry's short-lived Globe Records and her subsequent disenchantment with the cut-throat record business. Well written, well researched, and illustrated with many interesting photos, this treasure trove of information will reacquaint scholars and blues enthusiasts with an often neglected label. For larger public and academic libraries that don't own the original edition.-Dave Szatmary, Univ. of Washington, Seattle Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781578066070
  • Publisher: University Press of Mississippi
  • Publication date: 2/13/2004
  • Series: American Made Music Series
  • Pages: 225
  • Product dimensions: 8.40 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix
Prologue xi
All She Wants to do is Rock 3
New Born Again 12
1951 Blues 23
Let me Ride in your Automobile 34
I Believe I'll Dust my Broom 47
Salvation at the Cedars of Lebanon 55
A Dark Night in Dark Town 64
Blue Jays, Black Cats, and the Return of Catfish Slim 71
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