Archive for the ‘Technology and Market’ Category

Author: Justin Guidry
Source: A Thesis Submitted to the Graduate Faculty of the Louisiana State University – The Department of History

University of Louisiana at Lafayette, April 2007

______________________________________________________________

Abstract:
“The advertisements that appeared in black newspapers for race records in the  1920s were employed to interest the buying public in a new mode of music: the rural blues. Although blues music is characterized by its sadness and despair, these advertisements employed humor and cartoon illustrations in the advertisements. While at first thought, this method of advertising seems inappropriate, further examination of advertisers’ and the public’s perceptions of blues music, as well as some of the qualities of the genre itself illuminate these elaborately drawn advertisements.

While older modes of plantation stereotyping informed the advertisers and illustrators producing the ads, many of the more racially offensive qualities associated with previous, antebellum depictions of American-Americans were eliminated because of the black public’s emergence as a consumer group. The fact that humor was still used reflects not only the stereotypes that advertisers were working with. It also demonstrates popular perceptions of the blues, which itself frequently incorporated humor and sexual imagery.”

CONTINUE READING HERE

Advertisements

Author: Joel Slotnikoff
Source: http://www.bluesworld.com/PeteWhelanInterview.html
Interview of Pete Whelan

__________________________________________________
Reproduction of an interview by Blues World publisher Joel Slotnikoff of Pete Whelan, legendary 78rpm collector, founder of the OJL-label and publisher of the famous 78Quarterly

To read the interview, click HERE

Author: David Suisman
Source: http://www.journalofamericanhistory.org/teaching/2004_03/article.html

_________________________________________________________

“In London in 1923, W. E. B. Du Bois addressed the third Pan-African Congress on the topic of “The American Negro.” In his talk he jumped from familiar themes such as voting rights and lynching to one topic that stood out: attempts by a large American phonograph record corporation to bankrupt Black Swan Records, a small, black-owned company that produced records for African American consumers. Why would a large phonograph corporation launch such a campaign? And why would it merit Du Bois’s attention in that heady forum?

By way of answering those questions, this article investigates the rise and fall of the small record company and explores the complex political economy in which it operated. Black Swan was established by a former protégé of Du Bois, Harry H. Pace, who saw the company as a powerful means to respond to the hostile conditions African Americans faced, both in the entertainment business and in American society at large. At stake was not merely entertainment but access to, and control of, material resources that could cultivate and boost African Americans’ creative spirits, support and encourage African American business development and economic self-sufficiency, and, it was believed, help shape popular opinion to produce tangible social, political, and economic benefits for African Americans.”

CONTINUE READING HERE

_________________________________________________________

From: Duke University

Source/author: http://lcweb2.loc.gov/diglib/ihas/loc.natlib.ihas.200038862/default.html

________________________________________________________

A short historical overview of the first recordings of African-Americans.

Read it HERE

________________________________________________________

Author: Raymond E. Dessy

Source: scholar.lib.vt.edu/faculty_archives/blues_mount/index.html

______________________________________________________

“Preface: This essay, Mapping the Blues Genes, explores the first three decades of the printed history of early blues music. All life, and all music, can be analyzed by an examination of its genomic structure. With earthly animal life forms, the chromosomes that help determine shape, character, colors, mind and emotion contain segments that are called genes. Variations in a specific gene are called alleles. In plants and animals some alleles are dominant, and others are recessive—and the individual’s development is determined by the genomic mixture and the dominant/recessive struggle. Musical styles provide many parallel features. In the late 1800’s musical evolution started a dendritic evolution which led, by the early 1900’s, to ragtime, jazz and the blues. The melodic, harmonic and lyric features of these styles are usually attributed to human adoption and adaptation. Fiscal, technical and societal factors can also affect musical styles. The evolution from harpsichord to piano, the change of performance venues from cathedral to chamber-room to music hall, cyclic monetary conditions, and shifts in leisure-time all altered other musical styles. This essay will examine how technical developments, the fiscally dynamic early 1920’s and the subsequent plunge into Depression in 1929, and many other complex societal factors determined the fabric of the blues.”

 

CONTINUE READING HERE

____________________________________________________

Author : Sarah Filzen

Source : State Historical Society of Wisconsin, 1998 – Wisconsin Magazine of History, winter 1998-1999

________________________________________________________

“The blues were born on Southern plantations, and especially in the black communities of the Mississippi Delta during the course of the nineteenth century. The lyrics of field songs conveyed stories steeped in oral tradition; they communicated social commentaries on race relations; the joys and tragedies of fellow workers; and those ever-popular human topics, love and sex.”

CONTINUE READING HERE

_________________________________________________________

Authors : David Davis, Ivo De Loo

Source : Copyright © 2002 The Open Polytechnic of New Zealand.

_______________________________________________________

“In 1921, Harry Herbert Pace founded a highly influential record company, the Pace Phonograph Corporation, in Harlem, New York. Pace both initiated and operated the famous Black Swan label, which was one of the first to enable black musicians to record music in their own style. Many famous black artists, such as Ethel Waters, Fletcher Henderson, the Harmony Five and Alberta Hunter made their early appearances on the Black Swan label. In its heydays of
1921-1922, the company was the most successful Afro-American owned business of its time. Several factors that led to the company’s demise after its initial success and rapid growth can be identified. In addition to economic and technological factors, it is likely that poor management accounting, underestimation of overheads, under capitalization and ‘ad hoc’ decision making all led to financial distress. Racial prejudice and discrimination also played a crucial role. By today’s standards, the company’s fall in 1924 would have been easily foreseen, but in the business climate of the 1920s, better
management may have been no more successful in keeping the company afloat. Nevertheless, today’s recording industry, particularly in the field of jazz, owes much to the pioneering work of Harry Pace and the Black Swan label.”

CONTINUE READING HERE

________________________________________________________