Matchbox Bluesmaster Series Set 2: Country Blues & Great Harp Players 1927-32
Volume 2 of the CD release of the iconic Matchbox Bluesmaster LP series from the 1980s with extensive notes from world authority on the blues, Paul Oliver.
The 42 LP albums that make up the iconic Matchbox Bluesmaster Series were released by Saydisc Records between Nov 1982 and June 1988. Most of the albums were subtitled “Complete Recordings in Chronological Order” with a few under the subtitle “The Remaining Titles” or “New to LP”. The originating 78 rpm records (many of them extremely rare) were provided by several collectors under the editorship of well known Austrian collector, Johnny Parth and were re-mastered by Hans Klement of Austrophon Studios in Vienna. Johnny Parth had already created his extensive Roots Records label which Saydisc distributed in the UK and the Matchbox Bluesmaster Series was a carefully sculpted edition of black blues roots music giving a broad spectrum of the genre. Saydisc has in its vaults many more pre-Bluesmaster blues albums which may be issued on CD in due course.
“All in all, great sets, which give a nice insight into early blues… the opportunity to get a peephole into a magical time” Jefferson Blues Magazine, Sweden
“Between the years 1982-1988, Matchbox Records released 42 LP albums… Now they are brought to life again… I think these two sets of albums provide us with an interesting mix from a bygone era.” Ingemar Karlsson, Jefferson Blues Magazine (Sweden)
“These fantastic albums suggest those following during the year will be well worth waiting for. For any follower of country blues guitar these are an absolute must. Even allowing for the background noise because of their age, the blues here is timeless.” Pete Clack, Blues In Britain
“Both of the present volumes focus on the country blues of the deeply segregated South, with Vol. 1 extending into ragtime blues, and Vol. 2 shining a spotlight on harp players. With over 80 tracks in each volume, I found incredible diversity and richness, especially in the unique approach each artist had to playing the guitar or wailing on a harmonica, and the sheer rawness of the emotion in each voice. Many of the innovations made by these artists would ultimately feed directly into rhythm and blues, and then rock and roll, and you can already hear intimations of Chuck Berry’s chug in Stephen Tarter and Harry Gay’s ‘Brownie Blues”. I eagerly look forward to future volumes in the Bluesmaster series.” Head of Jazz, Preston Jazz
Highly recommended to Blues Enthusiasts and to aspiring musicians wishing to brush up their guitar technique.
All in all the Matchbox Bluesmaster Series is quite fascinating, really bringing to life the richness of the blues genre which would go on to fuel the best of our popular music. In the 1920s and early 1930s *RACE record companies such as OKEH in America, went in search of the South’s most talented African-American blues artists. Musicians and singers were brought off the streets, where they had been performing for nickels at a time, and signed up for one-off recordings, some with the promise of more. Records might be produced in the space of an afternoon and then the resulting 78 records, marketed to the black community who couldn’t get enough of a music that had been in their families for several generations. For the full review of Tracing The Blues visit ArtMuseLondon
*Race Record Companies produced recordings exclusively by and for African Americans. The term is sometimes said to have been coined by Ralph s. Peer, who was then working for OKeh Records.
A rare insight into the world of black musicians of the day…. what you have in these sets is an absolute goldmine of early blues…..These fantastic albums suggest those following during the year will be well worth waiting for….these are an absolute must. …. the blues here is timeless. Released on CD and digital for the first time ever, the Matchbox Bluesmaster series is the most comprehensive survey tracing the origins of Black American Blues Music offering a rare insight into the world of black musicians of the day. The first two 6CD sets (1926-32) are out now, with further sets released later in 2021 and spring 2022. All the releases are tied together by the erudite notes of Paul Oliver, a leading authority and researcher on jazz and blues music. Fascinating for blues enthusiasts and collectors, this series will bring to the attention of younger people, the power and importance of this music. It is clear that 'black music matters' and that it has been the back-bone of almost all popular music forms, from rhythm and blues, to reggae, rock and roll, Motown and gospel. - Blues In Britain Apr 21
The vitality, spirit and freshness infusing performances nearly a hundred years ago of what is, ostensibly, a relatively limited musical form still delight; the resourcefulness and sheer resilience of these singers and musicians still astonish; the authenticity of the emotion – even in its disturbingly violent manifestations – still resonates. In short, a vivid portrait of a long-vanished society – its relentless labour, its fleeting snatched joys, its escape routes provided by trains and liquor, its circumscription by arbitrary law – is painted by these uniquely valuable recordings. Full review here- Chris Parker, London Jazz News