Various – The Paramount Masters – 4 CD
The Paramount label came into being about 1916 as a division of the United Phonograph Corp, which itself was a part of a diversified business empire owned by one Fred Dennett. Initially the label issued 78s for the US white mainstream and for the Irish community and by 1922 its losses exceeded $100,000.
In desperation it turned its attention to the 'race' market, bringing in a young black chancer named J. Mayo Williams to find artists and supervise the recordings. Williams created his own little empire by selling bootleg liquour and nickelodeons to brothels and speakeasies and by claiming co-composer credits on many of the recordings. But he also built Paramount into the most important pre-war 'indie' blues label.
This amazing 4CD set presents 100 incredibly rare examples of lesser known but equally entertaining artists, reflecting the enormous scope of country and urban blues on Paramount.
Bob Grant: 1. Nappy Head Blues - 2:45 Lottie Beaman: 2. Red River Blues - 2:58 Meade "Lux" Lewis: 3. Honky Tonk Train Blues - 3:15 Bo Weavil Jackson: 4. You Can't Keep No Brown - 3:11 Blind Teddy Darby: 5. Lawdy Lawdy Worried Blues - 3:06 Wesley Wallace: 6. No. 29 - 3:14 Blind Joe Reynolds: 7. Outside Woman Blues - 2:55 William Moore: 8. Old Country Rock - 3:03 James Wiggins: 9. Keep a Knockin' - 3:09 George "Bullet" Williams: 10. Touch Me Light Mama - 2:47 Bernice Edwards: 11. Jack of All Trades - 2:44 Harum Scarums: 12. Come on In (Ain't Nobody Here But Me) - 2:45 Sweet Papa Stovepipe: 13. All Birds Look Like Chicken to Me - 3:08 Charlie "Dad" Nelson: 14. Cotton Field Blues - 2:41 Ma Rainey: 15. Traveling Blues - 2:55 Charlie Spand: 16. Soon This Morning Blues - 2:59 Papa Charlie Jackson: 17. Gay Cattin' - 2:54 King Solomon: 18. Whoopee Blues - 3:09 Geeshie Wiley: 19. Eagles on a Half - 3:00 Washboard Hannah: 20. Wasn't It Sad About Lemon - 3:01 George Hannah: 21. Freakish Man Blues - 2:49 Bumble Bee Slim: 22. Rough Rugged Road Blues - 3:30 Reverend Rubin Lacy: 23. Mississippi Jail House Groan - 3:22 Marshall Owens: 24. Try Me One More Time - 3:11 Mary Johnson: 25. Barrel House Flat Blues - 3:03
Charley Patton: 1. I Shall Not Be Moved - 2:43 Raymond Barrow: 2. Walking Blues - 3:07 Blind Roosevelt Graves: 3. Guitar Boogie - 2:56 Alice Moore: 4. Black and Evil Blues - 3:21 Ben Curry: 5. The New Dirty Dozen - 3:08 Freddie Spruell: 6. Low-Down Mississippi Bottom Man - 3:25 Little Brother Montgomery: 7. Vicksburg Blue - 2:58 Henry Townsend: 8. Jack of Diamonds Georgia Rub - 3:18 John Byrd: 9. Billy Goat Blues - 3:28 Side Wheel Sallie Duffie: 10. Bunker Hill Blues - 2:38 Buddy Boy Hawkins: 11. Number Three Blues - 2:39 Ed Bell: 12. Mamlish Blues - 2:36 Henry Brown: 13. Eastern Chimes Blues - 3:28 Charlie Spand: 14. Fetch Your Water - 2:30 J.D. Short: 15. Lonesome Swamp Rattlesnake - 2:49 Alice Pearson: 16. Water Bound Blues - 2:55 Lonnie Clark: 17. Broke Down Engine - 2:57 Barrel House Welch: 18. Dying Pickpocket Blues - 2:50 Edward Thompson: 19. Seven Sister Blues - 2:52 John Byrd: 20. Old Timbrook Blues - 3:18 Bob Robinson: 21. The Preacher Must Get Some Sometime - 2:44 Elvie Thomas: 22. Motherless Child Blues - 3:19 Jack O' Diamonds: 23. The Ducks Yas Yas - 2:55 Ben Curry: 24. Boodle de Bum Bum - 3:09 James Wiggins: 25. Gotta Shave 'Em Dry - 3:05
Bo Weavil Jackson: 1. Some Scream High Yellow - 3:09 Jabo Williams: 2. Jab Blues - 3:19 Freddie Brown: 3. Raised in the Alley Blues - 3:18 George "Bullet" Williams: 4. Frisco Leaving Birmingham - 2:45 Blind Joe Reynolds: 5. Ninety Nine Blues - 2:39 Roosevelt Sykes: 6. Conjur Man Blues - 3:08 Sweet Papa Stovepipe: 7. Mama's Angel Child - 2:59 Lottie Beaman: 8. Honey Blues - 2:52 Bob Grant: 9. Lonesome Atlanta Blues - 3:00 Robert Peeples: 10. Fat Greasy Baby - 3:12 Little Brother Montgomery: 11. No Special Rider Blues - 2:54 Blind Roosevelt Graves: 12. New York Blues - 3:17 Henry Townsend: 13. Doctor, Oh Doctor - 2:45 Ben Covington: 14. I Heard the Voice of a Pork Chop - 3:12 Ruby Paul: 15. Red Letter Blues - 2:42 Piano Kid Edwards: 16. Piano Kid Special - 2:44 The Famous Hokum Boys: 17. Where Did You Stay Last Night - 2:57 King Solomon: 18. The Gone Dead Train - 3:18 Wesley Wallace: 19. Fanny Lee Blues - 3:15 Washboard Walter: 20. Narrow Face Blues - 3:16 Geeshie Wiley: 21. Pick Poor Robin Clean - 3:14 George Hannah: 22. The Boy in the Boat - 2:40 Marshall Owens: 23. Texas Blues - 3:19 James Wiggins: 24. Evil Woman Blues - 3:10 Roosevelt Sykes: 25. Three, Six and Nine - 2:57
Freddie Spruell: 1. Tom Cat Blues - 3:07 Jack O' Diamonds: 2. Smiling Blues - 3:02 Papa Charlie Jackson: 3. Mama, Don't You Think I Know - 2:36 Charlie Spand: 4. Back to the Woods (Blues) - 3:23 Alice Moore: 5. Prison Blues - 3:18 Henry Brown: 6. Deep Morgan Blues - 3:23 Blind Teddy Darby: 7. My Laona Blues - 2:42 Bo Weavil Jackson: 8. Pistol Blues - 3:01 Jabo Williams: 9. Pratt City Blues - 3:15 J.D. Short: 10. Telephone Arguin' Blues - 3:13 Elvie Thomas: 11. Over to My House - 3:29 Ed Bell: 12. Hambone Blues - 2:47 Lonnie Clark: 13. Down in Tennessee - 2:37 Reverend Rubin Lacy: 14. Ham Hound Crave - 2:54 Roosevelt Sykes: 15. Fire Detective Blues - 3:05 Edward Thompson: 16. Up on the Hill Blues - 3:01 Mary Johnson: 17. Key to the Mountain Blues - 2:56 King Solomon Hill: 18. Down on My Bended Knee - 2:56 Charlie "Dad" Nelson: 19. Red River Blues - 2:49 Piano Kid Edwards: 20. Give Us Another Jug - 2:47 Blind Joe Reynolds: 21. Nehi Blues - 3:14 Ruby Paul: 22. Last Farewell Blues - 2:58 Barrel House Welch: 23. Larceny Woman Blues - 2:52 Robert Peeples: 24. Wicked Devil's Blues - 3:12 William Moore: 25. Raggin' the Blues - 2:59
1. AllMusic - Stewart Mason
Paramount Records didn't know it at the time, but they created one of the most valuable catalogs of early American blues and jazz music ever assembled. Formed by a furniture company called the Wisconsin Chair Company in the mid-teens to facilitate sales for their new phonograph cabinets, Paramount Records (along with its subsidiary labels Broadway, Famous, and Puritan) sent a young man named Art Satherley on the road in the South to explore and exploit the growing "race records" market beginning in 1917. Over the next 15 years, Satherley and the other Paramount Records' representatives recorded well over 100 sides featuring blues and jazz artists as well-known as Charley Patton, Ma Rainey, and Meade Lux Lewis, and an otherwise unknown as Side Wheel Sally Duffie, whose "Bunker Hill Blues" is a piano blues showcase for a high-register, vibrato-heavy vocal of uncertain pitch which sounds almost like a 1920s equivalent to Björk. These 100 sides are presented in chronological order, with as much information is as known about each recording. Sound quality varies widely, and of course is at times atrocious, but the historical import and entertainment value for students of early jazz and blues is immense.
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