January 6, 2015

Blues and Rhythm Show 163 on 93.3 CFMU (Hamilton, Ontario)

Swear to Tell the Truth for Tuesday, January 6th, (1:00-2:30 pm)

Not so long ago we read a book by Amanda Petrusich called Do Not Sell at Any Price, about the culture of 78 collecting and small and weird world of serious collectors. That book shed light on the history of 78 collectors, especially collectors of race and country 78s,  but probably didn’t go far enough back in time, since collecting appears to have begun almost with the appearance of the first commercial records.

There was another story embedded in Petrusich’s narrative and that was the story of reissues of vintage race and country music beginning with Harry Smith’s Anthology of American Folk Music (1952) and that part of the book caused us to reflect again on the nature of vintage music reissues in the 21st century, after Europe’s Document Records had pretty well completed the reissue of blues and gospel records from the pre-World War 2 era and Old Time country has been systematically reissued by different labels. Once everything has been made available compilers or producers of reissues have to find new criteria for selection and presentation.

There are still less thoroughly exposed and researched areas of vintage music to discover and repackage–78s from Africa, South East Asia and Central Europe have been the subject of recent reissue projects, as well as ethnic musics of the U.S, but we still see new compilations of blues, gospel and Old Time country, such as a recent set repackaging field recordings from Parchman Farm Penitentiary, with an accompanying hard bound book. Some collections have been organized thematically, such as People Take Warning from Tompkins Square, presenting songs of disaster or Baby, How Can it Be: Songs of Love Lust and Contempt from Dust to Digital. With everything more or less available, these collections seek to provide music with context. Sometimes they are said to be “curated” rather than simply edited, compiled or produced.

On this week’s program, we take a look at the first Dust to Digital release–the collection of old time spiritual and gospel music, called Goodbye Babylon, issued in 2003. This segment of pre- and post-war traditional music was a perfect slice of Americana for a reissue project of 6 CDs and this set is satisfactory in almost every way, with a generous booklet that contextualizes the music very well without being over-ambitious.

On the Show:

Willie Lofton – Dave Van Ronk – Midnighters – Dinwiddie Colored Quartet – A.A. Gray and Seven Foot Dilly – Elder Curry – Alfred G. Karnes – Maddox Brothers & Rose – Jimmy Hughes – Frazey Ford – and others

Listen to the program at FM 93.3 in Hamilton or on CFMU online at cfmu.msu.mcmaster.ca. The program will be available to stream or as a podcast until February 4th

Contact Us

To reach us with comments or queries, write us at sweartotellthetruth@gmail.com.

You can also follow the program at sweartotellthetruth@nosignifying on Twitter.

Next week (January 13th)

We have some different material lined up for broadcast. Next week will likely be a magazine-survey kind of show. We haven’t planned in detail.


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