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You know, I want to write a book about my life... I don't want to tell you too much until I've got a chance to have it printed. Apart from my music, my main interests are fishing and making bicycle rides - Tampa Red's excuse to Jacques Demetre and Marcel Chauvard for not wanting to talk to them in any great detail, October 1959

Author Topic: New book on the rise & fall of Paramount Records  (Read 1656 times)

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Offline outfidel

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New book on the rise & fall of Paramount Records
« on: April 28, 2005, 07:24:04 AM »
just saw this notice in the latest Document Records newsletter

Paramount`s Rise and Fall: A History of the Wisconsin Chair Company and its Recording Activities
by Alex van der Tuuk

The Wisconsin Chair Company started its first shift with thirty-five men in 1888. How this small Midwestern chair company evolved to become a leader in the "race record" market through its recording subsidiary, the New York Recording Laboratories, is the stuff of legend.

The descision to launch Paramount Records in 1917 was almost an after-thought, little more than a gimmick to increase sales of Wisconsin Chair`s various phonograph lines.

When Paramount failed to thrive with its middle-of-the road fare in early 1920`s, a bold decision was made to plunge into what was then a new and untested market: records made by black performers for black audiences. For the next decade, Paramount would be a leader in discovering and recording pioneering blues artists - among them, Blind Lemon Jefferson, Ma Rainey, Blind Blake, Skip James, and Charley Patton - despite the notoriously poor sound quality of tis records.

Never able to compete with the larger companies, Paramount was subsidized largely by Wisconsin Chair`s more profitable furniture business. The label died in 1932, but the parent company carried on for another 22 years.

Alex van der Tuuk`s new work examines not only Paramount, but the parent company and the people who worked there. Nine years in the making, this important new work is based on the author`s extensive research of primary sourse material and interviews with surviving artists and employees.

Well known as a Paramount collector and researcher, Alex van der Tuuk has contributed to such magazines as Doctor Jazz, Blues and Rhythm, Vintage Jazz Mart, and 78 Quarterly, as well as to Jazz Oracle and Catfish Records CDs. A native of the Netherlands, he graduated from Atheneum at the Jan van Scorel College in 1983. He became a registered nurse in 1987 and works at the Medisch Centrum Alkmaar.

Document Records have the good fortune to be able to offer bluesheads an oppurtunity to purchase the Paramount book. The book is priced at ?30.00 plus postage and can be ordered from Document by clicking the e-mail link below:
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