Blues and Gospel Records: 1890-1943 - A Comprehensive Guide to Pre-War African American Music
If you are a collector or a fan of pre-war African American music, you may have heard of Blues and Gospel Records: 1890-1943, a book that has been dubbed \"the bible\" for its exhaustive listing of all recordings made in a distinctively African American style up to the end of 1943. This book, compiled by Robert M. W. Dixon, the late John Godrich, and Howard W. Rye, covers recordings made for the commercial market as well as recordings made for the Library of Congress Archive of Folk Song and similar bodies. It provides full details of artist credit, accompaniment, place and date of recording, titles, issuing company and catalogue numbers, matrix numbers, and alternative takes for about 20,000 titles by more than 3,000 artists.
In this article, we will give you an overview of the book's contents, scope, and significance, as well as some tips on how to find and download it online.
What's Inside the Book
The book is divided into two main parts: Part I covers blues recordings from 1890 to 1943, and Part II covers gospel recordings from 1890 to 1943. Each part is further subdivided into sections according to the type of artist (solo singers, duets, trios, quartets, etc.), the type of accompaniment (guitar, piano, etc.), and the geographical origin (Mississippi Delta, Texas, etc.). Within each section, the artists are listed alphabetically by name or pseudonym, followed by their recordings in chronological order.
The book also includes short accounts of the major \"race labels\" that recorded blues and gospel material, such as Paramount, Okeh, Vocalion, Decca, and Bluebird. These accounts give some background information on the history and development of each label, as well as their recording practices and policies. The book also provides a complete list of field trips to the south by travelling recording units from various companies, such as Columbia, Victor, Brunswick, and ARC. These field trips were crucial for capturing the authentic sounds and styles of rural blues and gospel artists who were not accessible in urban studios.
One of the most valuable features of the book is its extensive cross-referencing system. The book uses symbols and abbreviations to indicate when an artist recorded under different names or with different accompanists or labels. It also uses footnotes and appendices to provide additional information on alternative takes, reissues, unissued recordings, pseudonyms, spelling variations, recording dates and locations, matrix numbers, catalogue numbers, and other details that may be of interest to collectors and researchers.
Why Is This Book Important
Blues and Gospel Records: 1890-1943 is more than just a discography. It is a historical document that preserves and celebrates the rich and diverse musical heritage of African Americans in the first half of the twentieth century. It showcases the creativity and innovation of blues and gospel artists who expressed their emotions, experiences, beliefs, and aspirations through their songs. It also reveals the social and cultural contexts that shaped their music and influenced their audiences.
The book is also a testament to the dedication and passion of its compilers who spent decades researching and compiling this information from various sources. They consulted record labels' files and catalogues, aa16f39245