The History Of Rhythm And Blues 1925-1942
4 CD box set with 32 page booklet and comprehensive track by track analysis
©Rhythm And Blues Records 2009
Disc One – The Blues From The Delta To The City
Disc Two – The Rhythm
Disc Three – Up River To Chicago
Disc Four – Jazzin’ The Blues
Country Blues And Spirituals, Jug Bands And Hokum, Piano Boogie-Woogie, Ragtime And Jazz,
Urban Blues And Gospel, After Hours, Swing Boogie And Jive
A paperback-sized 4CD box set complete with 32 page booklet including comprehensive track by track analysis of all 97 songs.
Rhythm & Blues has become one of the most identifiable art-forms of the C20th, with an enormous influence on the development of both the sound and attitude of modern music. But it wasn't always that way. The History of Rhythm and Blues investigates the accidental synthesis of jazz, gospel, blues, ragtime, country and pop into a definable form of black music, which in turn would influence pretty well all popular music from the 1950s to the present.
The end of the 19th century was a period of major social upheaval for the black population in America. Musicians who had previously been maintained on plantations were no longer required, and took to the road begging, as the abolition of slavery led to huge numbers of itinerant workers. The hardships of segregation caused by the ensuing Jim Crow laws caused a cultural revolution within Afro-American society. New forms of music arose: spirituals, ragtime, barrelhouse, jazz, black ballad form. Over the years, these distinctive sounds would come to merge into a recognisably “new” musical style.
From its humble rural beginnings in the early 1900s as a method of self-expression in the southern states, the blues gradually became a form of public entertainment, initially for workers and drinkers, in lumber camps, barbeques and juke joints, picking up dance rhythms along the way. The blues, originally a slow dance, only evolved into the form we know today after the introduction of sound recording - the first blues record, Mamie Smith’s Crazy Blues, was released in 1921.
Between 1910 and 1970, nearly five million African Americans left the South, looking for higher wages, better homes and political rights. The route they took was determined largely by the price of the cheapest rail ticket. Chicago was the favoured destination from Mississippi, while those from the Eastern Seaboard left for New York. Attracted by the expansion of industrial production during and after World War II, they moved to California from states like Louisiana, Texas, Arkansas, and Oklahoma.
It was the move to the city, which brought the increase in popularity for the blues, and it was the technology of sound recording, which helped to define its structure. Wider dissemination came with the development of radio and the jukebox, but also through touring bands playing the new network of dance halls and ballrooms that were springing up throughout the States in the 1930s. It was in these ‘territory’ bands that the first major fusion of jazz, blues and boogie-woogie is to be found.
Over the course of 4 thematically arranged CDs, The History of Rhythm and Blues illustrates how these dramatic social and economic upheavals were reflected in the congruence of different musical styles into a form that became recognisable both in terms of sound and marketing. Old songs were turned into new. Cow Cow Blues mutated into Ray Charles’ Mess Around. Little Richard appropriated Keep a Knockin’ from an old hillbilly tune via Louis Jordan. A new form of commercial dance music was born from these many disparate sources, few of which survived in its original form.
The History of Rhythm and Blues will appeal to anyone interested in the evolution of the blues, or simply curious as to how the sounds of today continue to be shaped and forged by the aural fusions and experiments of the early decades of the C20th.
A cross-label 4CD set, which not only tells the story better than anything before, but offers insights into song origins and provides fascinating musical connections across decades….this 97-song set offers a wealth of insights into the cross-pollination of blues, jazz, country, gospel, pop and rock.
Johnny Black, Mojo
One of the finest box-sets of recent years…finely chosen set of tracks… the reissue of the year by a country mile…Anyone who’s heard Volume One will be counting down the days (to the release of Volume Two)… the three sets will become the standard work on the genre
Jeremy Searle, RocknReel
Wow, what a wondrous thing this is# - what a work, what a commitment, and what a blast! This is quite possibly the best put-together assemblage of 'roots' music - ever…An everyman's guide to the development and growth of modern, popular music.
Peter J Brown
The most important and fascinating collection of rhythm and blues music compiled in recent years…. comprehensive and musically-savvy sleeve notes
Its difficult to imagine any set doing a better job of tracing the roots of R&B –
Steve Leggett, All Music Guide