Country Blues => Weenie Campbell Main Forum => Books and Articles => Topic started by: Bunker Hill on March 04, 2017, 12:44:01 AM

Title: Blues Publications Paul Oliver (Jazz Monthly, May 1966 p.29)
Post by: Bunker Hill on March 04, 2017, 12:44:01 AM
During a "clear up" of my computer I stumbled upon this. Thought I'd better put this in the Weenie Archive for posterity...but by all means do as you see fit - bin it if so moved.

Blues Publications
Paul Oliver
(Jazz Monthly, May 1966 p.29)

IN THE issue for September 1965 The Editor and I commented on some of the publications specialising in blues. The high cost of publication, the cost of postage, the time-consuming process of gathering and typing up material and the continual problem of maintaining a regular readership and circulation present the specialist magazine of this type with a number of problems which militate against its chances of survival. During the past nine months some changes have taken place which should be noted; a few new publications have become available and others have ceased circulation.

Though they were not mentioned in the previous summary two magazines have ceased publication which should at least be noted. One of these, Rhythm and Blues, a Charlton publication, had been flourishing for many years in the States and was singular in being the only blues magazine that sold regularly to Negro readers on a large scale. However its contents leaned very much to the more commercial and "pop" aspects of the music with a very marginal interest for the average blues enthusiast. Under the editorship of Jim Delehant however, it featured in its final year articles by Bob Koester, Chris Strachwitz, Sam Charters and from Great Britain, Chris Roby. This increased interest in the more "pure" forms of blues seems to have limited its readership and the magazine, which was published quarterly, finally folded. Blues Scene  (sic, actually R&B Scene) which was a glossy publication also dealing with the more sophisticated and commercial aspects of rhythm and blues was edited by Roger Eagle' and though it enjoyed a fairly good circulation I understand, this English magazine also ceased publication last year.

The most firmly established of British blues magazines, Blues Unlimited, was affected by the increased postage rates and editor Simon Napier changed the form of printing, increased the number of illustrations, used a smaller type and with issue 24, July-August 1965, commenced a demi-foolscap format. The initial copies were extremely grey and at times illegible but printing troubles seem to have been overcome and Blues Unlimited continues to publish an incredible wealth of material which makes it impossible for a blues collector to be without it.

By far the most regrettable event in the blues publications field has been the demise of R&B Monthly. Published by Mike Vernon and Neil Slaven it was mainly concerned with post-war blues trends. Though initial issues had certain fan-club tendencies with regard to British blues bands the magazine continued to progress and improve and before long was indispensable for any collector interested in the modern forms of blues. In R&B Monthly appeared discographies and particularly label listings which were very valuable the latter unduplicated in any form elsewhere. The tireless interviewing of the two editors ensured that there was a continual stream of new information while the autobiography of Curtis Jones, written by himself with no "ghosting", was of great interest. Unfortunately the strain of interviewing, writing and compiling fell on the editors almost exclusively and in spite of appeals from the editorial column there was insufficient support. In fact, there were probably few writers who could match the editors on the subject and those there were wrote for Blues Unlimited. After two years, with the twenty fourth issue, ? a double number that included an excellent, long interview with Eddie Boyd and discography ? R&B Monthly ceased publication. This has at least allowed the editors time to concentrate on their record releases, the 45 rpm's of Woodrow Adams, Snooky and Moody, J. B. Lenoir and others maintaining their high standard. They have also commenced Outa-Site (not, they assure me. "beyond the Blue Horizon") a label which commenced with a two-part Christmas Time Blues by Jimmy McCracklin which is one of his best records. The first LP on Blue Horizon, Doctor Isaiah Ross "The Flying Eagle", is reviewed in this issue. Records on these labels are obtainable from the old R & B Monthly address of 3b Godstone Road, Kenley, Surrey. But though these are excellent issues the magazine will be sorely missed.

On the credit side the appearance of the magazine Blues World, (the review of which being somehow dropped in last September's issue) has been a valuable addition to available blues literature. This magazine, in quarto format now, celebrates its first birthday. It was originally billed as "The Journal of the Country Blues Correspondence Club" but the Club element has been dropped. It now gets to a wider public and in fact, is not too scrupulous about the "Country Blues" tag either. Though it takes a fairly purist line, for the dedicated collector this is, if anything, an advantage. Recent articles have been on various aspects of the Georgia Blues, by the editor, Bob Groom; on Jesse Fuller by Geoffrey Basil Smith; Blind Lemon Jefferson by Ian Hughes, and on the modern side, Big Mama Thornton by Eddie Harding. Bernard Holland contributes a regular Round and Around column of comment, and Tony Russell's reviews are honest and stringent. Trevor Huyton has been doing some useful discographical comment and in fact, the magazine is of concentrated specialist material which makes it essential for the collector. Blues World is published bi-monthly by Bob Groom at 22 Manor Crescent, Knutsford, Cheshire and the subscription rate is 12/- for six issues both Inland and Overseas.

Collectors Classics are the title under which appear a series of discographies and special booklets published by Blues Unlimited from 38a Sackville Road, Bexhill-on-Sea, Sussex. Recent "C.C.'s" have included "Touch Me Lord Jesus" (C.C. 11), Price 2/- by Willie Leiser. This is one of the few studies of Gospel music available and though it is in the form of a diary of a trip in the States it has much material of great interest and gives a rather rare insight into the operation of the Gospel groups, through the help of Sister Franklin. Another excellent Classic is Texas Blues, comprising discographies of Lowell Fulson, Smokey Hogg and Lil Son Jackson originally compiled by Chris Strachwitz for Paul Affeldt's Jazz Report and now reprinted.

Texas singers are receiving more attention now than in the past and John Holt and Frank Scott's Texas Blues Society have published their first booklet ? over forty pages of articles and full discography of Lightnin' Hopkins with eight photographs. Well printed, this can be obtained at 4/- from 7 Searle House, Ocean Street, London E.l. Holt and Scott have also started their own record label, Advent, the initial issue being a collection of John Lee Hooker recordings from Sensation, Gotham and other rare sources. Including some of his finest items the LP can be obtained from the same address.

Though the problems of publishing and the ever increasing costs are not conducive to starting new magazines the fact that there are as many ventures as these in the blues field is a firm indication of the great increase of interest in the subject, and if, like R & B Monthly, some of these are forced to cease publication it will not be for lack of enthusiasm on the part of the initiators. With a blues scene as healthy as it is at present the current publications have a good chance of long life.

Title: Re: Blues Publications Paul Oliver (Jazz Monthly, May 1966 p.29)
Post by: Rivers on March 04, 2017, 05:41:04 PM
I tip my hat to all of the above, and to the blues societies, musicians and clubs across this blue orb that spring forth, rise and eventually, like all things, fade away, to be replaced at another place and time by more unrelated and equally enthusiastic energy. It's a lot of work, and sometimes may feel like a thankless task. So, a big THANKS! from me.
Title: Re: Blues Publications Paul Oliver (Jazz Monthly, May 1966 p.29)
Post by: Bunker Hill on March 04, 2017, 10:50:40 PM
Paul will be 90 in May and working hard on his autobiography.
Title: Re: Blues Publications Paul Oliver (Jazz Monthly, May 1966 p.29)
Post by: oddenda on March 05, 2017, 06:27:50 PM
Hi all -

          My question is... why has nobody put these valuable references up on the 'net? I had my copies of BU bound, but most would not be able to do that. The Folklife Center at the LofC has many issues available, but are missing issues. Even LIVING BLUES lacks complete back issues - THERE would be a worthy project. Mary Katherine Aldin has indexed much of this past material on line, but whole issues would be wonderful. Any thoughts on this??


Damn - Paul turning 90... we are the elders now, a sobering thought/position
Title: Re: Blues Publications Paul Oliver (Jazz Monthly, May 1966 p.29)
Post by: jpeters609 on March 06, 2017, 05:36:25 AM
Pete, I believe the Real Blues Forum on facebook has digitally housed a nearly complete run of Blues Unlimited (and several other publications) in their magazine area. No Living Blues, unfortunately, but there is a wealth of other periodicals.
Title: Re: Blues Publications Paul Oliver (Jazz Monthly, May 1966 p.29)
Post by: oddenda on March 06, 2017, 06:24:48 PM
jp -

Thanks for that info... there are so many journals that have vanished into the mists, it's good to hear. I was working at a university back in the day and was able to coat-tail "my" stuff on their annual binding - I paid my share - which would be probably impossible today. I also have LB bound  up to a point as well. The number of blues/R'n'B and jazz publications is "yuge"!! and deserves stabilization and preservation for the use of the littlies coming along.

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