Sun 28 Oct 2007
|Sunnyland Slim||Baby How Long||Slim's Shout|
|Roosevelt Sykes||Jailbait||The Honeydripper|
|Jimmy Witherspoon||Money's Gettin' Cheaper||Evenin' Blues|
|Al Smith||I've Got the Right Kind of Lovin'||Hear My Blues|
|Otis Spann||The Blues Never Die||The Blues Never Die|
|James Cotton||One More Mile To Go||The Blues Never Die|
|Billy Boy Arnold||Two Drinks of Wine||More Blues on the South Side|
|Homesick James||Homesick's Blues||Blues on the South Side|
|Mercy Dee||Have You Ever Been Out...||Pity And A Shame|
|Little Brother Montgomery||Santa Fe||Tasty Blues|
|Curtis Jones||Lonesome Bedroom Blues||Trouble Blues|
|Pink Anderson||That's No Way To Do||Medicine Show Man|
|Baby Tate||See What You Done Done||See What You Done Done|
|Larry Johnson||Take These Blues Off My Mind||The Bluesville Years, Vol. 6|
|Alberta Hunter||Chirpin' The Blues||Songs We Taught Your Mother|
|V. Spivey & L. Johnson||Let's Ride Tonight||Woman Blues!|
|Lonnie Johnson||Big Leg Woman||Blues By Lonnie Johnson|
|J.T. Adams & Shirley Griffith||Match Box blues||The Bluesville Years Volume 9|
|Robert Curtis Smith||Get A Real Young Woman||The Bluesville Years Volume 9|
|Smokey Babe||Hottest Brand Goin'||The Bluesville Years Volume 9|
|Robert Pete Williams||Free Again||The Bluesville Years Volume 9|
|Pete Franklin||I've Got To Find My Baby||Guitar Pete's Blues|
|Lightnin’ Hopkins||I'm Going To Build Me...||Soul Blues|
|Scrapper Blackwell||Blues Before Sunrise||Mr. Scrapper's Blues|
|K.C. Douglas||Big Road Blues||Big Road Blues|
|Arbee Stidham||I'm Tired of Wandering||I'm Tired of Wandering|
From 1949 through 1971, Prestige Records, owned and run by Bob Weinstock, was among the most famous and successful of the independent jazz labels. Perhaps only Blue Note, which had its reign during roughly the same period, provided Prestige with significant competition. By the late 50's the company was looking to branch out and new categories were created within the Prestige catalog. There was the Folklore series, there was Moodsville, Swingsville and then there was Bluesville. The birth of Bluesville came at a time when when a young white audience turned their attention away from folk music to acoustic blues.
An important factor was the release in 1959 of Samuel Charter's ground breaking book The Country Blues. In 1961 Charter's hooked up with the label and played a important role getting talent for the label and did much of the producing. In addition to Charters there were a number of others whose dedication helped the label grow including Mack McCormick of Houston who provided a slew of Lightnin' Hopkins records,Chris Strachwitz who would form Arhoolie Records, Art Rosenbaum who recorded Indianapolis artists Scrapper Blackwell, Shirley Griffith and J.T. Adams and Chris Albertson who was instrumental in getting Lonnie Johnson back in the studio.
Bluesville's roster grew quickly including artists such as Reverend Gary Davis, Sonny Terry & Brownie McGhee, Roosevelt Sykes, Big Joe Williams, Jimmy Witherspoon and Memphis Slim among numerous others. A number of older artists such as Tampa Red and particularly Lonnie Johnson found a new home at Bluesville in which to revitalize their careers. In addition the label also caught some important artists on record for the first time or who recorded very little including Pink Anderson (except for two sides cut in the 20's), Baby Tate, Wade Walton and Doug Quattlebaum to name a few. The Bluesville label tended to take a mainly folkloric approach to blues recording primarily acoustic artists. In line with this the label also cut records by folk singers such as Tracy Nelson, Dave Van Ronk, Geoff Muldaur and Tom Rush among others. There were some notable exceptions including LP's by urban artists such as Otis Spann, Billy Boy Arnold and Homesick James.
The Bluesville series produced many releases in a short amount of time. Lightnin' Hopkins was the label's best selling artists but many of the lesser known artists sold only a couple of hundred copies. Because of this many of these original records are extremely rare and go for high fees on the collectibles market. Luckily Fantasy records now owns the Prestige catalog and has been reissuing many treasures from the vaults.
Samuel Charters was quoted as saying that the "Prestige/Bluesville catalog was one of the last great sweeps of the blues as social document and as the years pass this becomes increasingly meaningful as a measure of Bluesville's achievement." Listening to The Bluesville Years (an ongoing reissue series now at 12 volumes) make these words resonate all the more strongly. The recordings on the Bluesville label provide a vivid and entertaining snapshot of the 1960's blues scene.