Document Records - Vintage Blues and Jazz

Document Records Special Offers

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Blues, Blues Christmas Bundle

3 DOUBLE CDs of Festive Cheer

DOCD-32-20-09.Blues, Blues Christmas 1925 - 1955.
DOCD-32-20-15.Blues, Blues Christmas Volume 2.
DOCD-32-20-18.Blues Blues Christmas Volume 3 1927 - 1962.

Informative booklet notes for all volumes by Jeff Harris. Detailed discography


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Elder Curry & Elder Beck 1930 - 1939

Elder Curry and Elder Beck both were singing evangelists, solid instrumentalists (Curry on guitar, Beck on piano and trumpet), and with their fervent, stomping approach to a sort of blues-tinged gospel, they inadvertently prefigured rock & roll. Many have sited Curry’s 1930 recording of Memphis Flu (which features Elder Beck on piano) as the first glimmer of rock & roll, and with its relentless 4/4 drive and the energy of Curry’s clapping and foot-stomping congregation added in, it certainly rocks, although the message is a little sobering, as Curry tells his listeners in a fire-and-brimstone style that influenza is a manifestation of God’s wrath at sinners. Given that some 700,000 Americans died during the influenza outbreak of 1918/1919, the tone of Memphis Flu seems to lack any degree of compassion, but it is a fascinating song, full of an odd, contrary joy that seems to belie its intent, and it definitely gets your feet moving. This release from Document Records contains Memphis Flu as well as the rest of Curry’s recorded work, done for Okeh Records in 1930. Continued...


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The Unissued 1951 Yancey Wire Recordings

Jimmy Yancey, piano vocal.
Mama Yancey, vocal.
Includes Dick Mushlitz, piano (1 track)

 Genres: Blues piano, boogie-woogie piano.

Informative, 24 page, illustrated booklet, with booklet notes written by Dick Mushlitz.
Detailed discography.

We arrived at Yanceys sometime before midnight. It was still June 16. The party had probably been in progress for some time. Jimmy had been feeling ill for the past few weeks, and when we got there he was resting in the small bedroom just off of the living room where the piano was located, but he soon joined the rest of us. After being introduced to those whom we didn't know, Phil set up the wire recorder and, after asking for and getting an extension cord for the machine from Estelle, began recording. This CD contains all of what was captured on the wires that night.


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Mighty Day - 25 Gospel Greats (1928 - 1958)
Various Artists
Genres: Gospel
16 Page colour, illustrated booklet by Gillian George.
Detailed discography.
Includes "Mighty Day" by The Bessemer Sunset Four, featured in the film "Fun With Dick and Jane"
 
The Document catalogue can truly boast that it covers the birth and ensuing development of recorded gospel music. It is a fascinating musical journey. Yet despite the music's unwavering popularity for the last hundred years, it has not spawned the same magnitude of analytical literature, articles and papers, so beloved of the Blues and Jazz fans, that one can turn to for musical guidance in discussing its development as a definative musical genre. So, perhaps it is true to say that the Document Catalogue spans the earliest recorded religious black music with a formal feel of "Spirituals" to the later urban religious recordings that we would now call "Gospel". Continued...

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The Earliest Negro Vocal Quartets 1894 - 1928

Various artists.

Genre; Vocal quartets, spirituals and secular. Acapella, or with guitar or banjo accompaniment.

Informative booklet notes by Ray Funk.
Includes detailed discography.

Before blues, before jazz, the tradition of black male quartets, four-part harmony singing by African Americans was an established tradition of richness and complexity. Little recognised, almost all of the earliest aural artefacts of music by African Americans were quartet selections. All known examples of these extremely rare recordings are presented on this collection. Several of these are the only copies of a particular artefact and the listener must appreciate that these recordings stem from the dawn of recording technology and many are in poor shape such as the only known surviving cylinder by the Standard Quintette, Keep Movin. The Standard Quintette who recorded several cylinders for Columbia in 1894 were active on the concert stage at the time. This is the first Nineteenth Century recording of African American music that has been recovered and is an event despite the fact that what music remains is buried under a great deal of surface noise. Continued...


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Guitar Evangelists 1928 - 1951

Various artists.

Genres; Guitar Evangelists, Gospel, Religious, Bottleneck Slide Guitar.

Informative booklet notes by Ken Romanowski.

Includes detailed discography.

Willie Mae Williams accompanies herself with adept and precise slide guitar on Don't Want To Go There and Where The Sun Never Goes Down, in the meantime cleaving to older principles. As does Brother Willie Eason, his gruff voice lending emotion to There'll Be No Grumblers There and I Want To Live (So God Can Use Me), his slide completing some of the vocal lines. Sister Elizabeth Phillips is impressively accompanied by Estis King's acoustic guitar, her music indeed 'A Little Old-Fashioned' but, a quarter century later, keeping faith with Benny Paris. Benny and Pauline Parrish were two blind religious singers originally from Woodcliff. It is likely that Blind Willie McTell was responsible for their session as he also recorded for Victor at that time and was somewhat of a pivotal figure in the area. Continued...


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Sinners & Saints 1926 - 1931

Various artsts.

Informative booklet notes by Paul Oliver.
Detailed discography.

Review by Burgin Mathews:

Document’s Sinners and Saints (1926-1931) presents the complete recorded works of nine artists and groups, whose combined repertoires and performance styles serve as a brief but fascinating lesson in the history of black music, expanding common conceptions of the musical continuum that created the blues. The CD presents minstrel and medicine show material, religious songs, two work songs, a few so-called “blues,” and a bad man blues ballad, exhibiting a wide scope of black musical traditions dating back to the 19th century and still in circulation during the 1920s and ’30s. The performers not only represent a variety of genres, but demonstrate highly individualized styles that reflect their own personal aesthetics as much as any traditional form. The tones of their offerings range from the bizarre and the mirthful to the plaintive and deeply spiritual; the total effect of the album is hilarious, dark, and genuinely moving. Continued...


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Big Bill Broonzy Vol 8 1938 - 1939

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Blind Joe Taggart Vol 2 1929 - 1934
Blind Joe Taggart CDs

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Rev Edward W Clayborn 1926 - 1928
DOCD-5155 Rev. Edward W. Clayborn (The Guitar Evangelist) 1926 – 1928 Rev. Edward W. Clayborn (The Guitar Evangelist), vocal, guitar. Genres: Gospel, Guitar Evangelist, Bottleneck-slide guitar. Informative booklet notes by Ken Romanowski. Detailed discography. The Rev. Edward W. Clayborn played an open tuned guitar, a simple and insistent alternating bass line, a melody confidently stated on the treble strings with a bottleneck and homespun, homiletic, lyrics which were the ingredients that combined to produce the success of Vocalion 1082, "Your Enemy Cannot Harm You (But Watch Your Best Friend)". Continued...

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Alabama Black Secular & Religious Music 1927 - 1934
DOCD-5165 Alabama Black Secular & Religious Music (1927-1934) Wiley Barner, vocal; accompanied by Jimmy allen, piano; Will Jennings, guitar. Moses Mason (Red Hot ole Man Mose, Rev. Moses Mason), vocal, guitar, banjo. Edward Thompson (Tenderfoot Edwards), vocal guitar. Slim Duckett and Pig Norwood, vocal guitar duet. Marshall Owens, vocal, guitar. Tom Bradford, vocal, guitar. Genres; Pre-warCountry Blues, Country Blues Guitar. Guitar Evangelists. Informative booklet Notes by Ken Romanowsky Detailed discography. Alabama’s significance as a region supporting a fertile blues tradition has been somewhat overshadowed by the surrounding states of Mississippi, Georgia, the Carolinas, and even Tennessee. This is partly the result of the bias of latter-day historians and record collectors who have favoured the Mississippi guitarists and partly due to the strength of other aspects of the black vernacular tradition in Alabama. Birmingham, the state’s largest city was famous for its pianists - from the mysterious “Lost John” (who was credited by Perry Bradford with introducing the bass patterns associated with boogie woogie to Chicago) through Cow Cow Davenport and Pine Top Smith to Walter Roland. Another dominant musical force in Alabama in the period between the World Wars was a vocal quartet tradition, with groups like the Birmingham Jubilee Quartet recording far more frequently than any of the area’s blues artists. Still, with its pioneering pianists, two major rural harmonica stylists (Jaybird Coleman and George “Bullet” Williams), a guitarist as recognizable as Ed Bell/Barefoot Bill, and the distinction of having some of the earliest recorded blues performers hail from the vicinity (Lucille Bogan/Bessie Jackson, and Daddy Stovepipe), it is hard to fathom why Alabama is not better known for the blues. Continued...

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Gospel Classics 1927 - 1931
Gospel Classics CDs

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