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Author Topic: Black Recording Artists, 1877-1926: An Annotated Discography  (Read 840 times)

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Offline TenBrook

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Black Recording Artists, 1877-1926: An Annotated Discography
« on: August 19, 2016, 08:31:09 AM »
I was wondering if anyone here had a copy of this and if it's worth having as an additional reference along with 'Blues and Gospel Records: 1890-1943' or if the latter is pretty much sufficient...

http://www.mcfarlandbooks.com/book-2.php?id=978-0-7864-7238-3

Offline Stuart

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Re: Black Recording Artists, 1877-1926: An Annotated Discography
« Reply #1 on: August 19, 2016, 09:29:27 AM »
I don't have a copy, but I can get  it from the UW library and take a look. One of the Amazon sellers has it for $78, but that's still pricey.

BTW, are you familiar with Bookfinder? Its search function covers most of the usual suspects:

www.bookfinder.com/


Offline TenBrook

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Re: Black Recording Artists, 1877-1926: An Annotated Discography
« Reply #2 on: August 19, 2016, 09:45:30 AM »
Thanks Stuart, it would be great to get an informed opinion. I've been tracking down the history of the gospel song 'Hold to God's Unchanging Hand' and noticed they have a listing for it, but I'm assuming it's the same listing that's in B&GR as the song was written after 1900. Anyway, that's what led me to stumble on the book and begin wondering about what it has to offer.

And thanks for the bookfinder.com call out, I had not used it before. Looks like a definite time (and hopefully money) saver.

Thanks again.
Lew

Offline TenBrook

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Re: Black Recording Artists, 1877-1926: An Annotated Discography
« Reply #3 on: August 19, 2016, 01:14:33 PM »
And...once again proving the old adage: "check the library first," it looks like they've got this available as an ebook at my local library. So, Stuart, it seems I can 'check it out' myself and let everyone else know how it is. That will be amongst my first tasks Monday morning.

I would have checked there sooner but didn't expect an ebook version or the hope that my library would have it. Lesson learned.


Offline Stuart

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Re: Black Recording Artists, 1877-1926: An Annotated Discography
« Reply #4 on: August 19, 2016, 02:59:47 PM »
Hi Lew:

Glad you found it. As Open Access gains momentum, I'm sure more and more books will be available on-line through libraries, so it's wise to check first.

Open Access is definitely a topic worthy of discussion and perhaps we can take it up on the Jam Session" board at some point. (It brings back memories of those discussions about "Who controls The Enlightenment?" during my college days many decades ago.

Stuart

Offline oddenda

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Re: Black Recording Artists, 1877-1926: An Annotated Discography
« Reply #5 on: August 20, 2016, 12:48:30 AM »
It's a cromulent book that deals with ONLY acoustic recordings, ergo the time-span. Nicely done and I reviewed it somewhere, but I cannot find the reference now. The result of too many moves! My copy fell apart rather quickly if memory serves me correctly. The content is what it says on the cover.

pbl

Offline oddenda

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Re: Black Recording Artists, 1877-1926: An Annotated Discography
« Reply #6 on: August 20, 2016, 02:53:58 AM »
Found it!

GIBBS, Craig Martin (compiler)
Black Recording Artists, 1877 ? 1926: An Annotated Discography
McFarland & Co (2013)
Jefferson, NC/London.
490 pp./US$95 list


           Another ?book of lists? that might interest some of the members! What Gibbs has done is to winkle out of his sources the usual discographical information on African American performers who recorded acoustically for (mainly) commercial enterprises. Certainly he goes before the sainted 1920 of Mamie Smith, or the 1902 date for The Dinwiddie Colored Quartet! Organized chronologically, he gives the usual info (mx#, release #, artist name, label name, personnel [when possible]) within each numbered entry ? you get the picture. The compiler then lists information for his source material and available CD re-issue(s), plus his sources for this information. There is a good Preface and Introduction, followed by a table of abbreviations used, a list of recording locations in the US and abroad, followed by an example of how an entry in the text is organized. After said voluminous text from ?Go? to ?Whoa?, there are a number of appendices of sources beyond the obvious commercial recordings: (I) Field Recordings in the US; (II) Piano Rolls; (III) Recordings from Mexico, South America and the Caribbean: 1905 ? 1926; (IV) Films (w. or without sound); (V) CD Audio Sources. He takes the ?Recording Artists? idea beyond merely discs or cylinders! These five appendices are followed by a tidy bibliography. Gibbs then includes a number of indices: Individual Artists and Group Names; Recording Titles; Commercial Labels and Field Recordings. And there you are ? a yeoman-like job of organizing the known information in a different fashion to previously.

          One of the great truths of discography, though, is that it can never be ?compleat? in all ways. Information keeps being stumbled upon and re-issues keep being compiled! When this tome was ?put to bed?, I am not sure; certain obvious (to me) sources are not mentioned [e.g. - Archeophone?s two-disc set of the King Oliver Creole Band sides, for one. That was released in 2006 and reviewed by me in these pages the following year.] Gibbs tends to fall back mainly on the massive catalog of Document re-issues that Johnny Parth assembled over the decades [see Appendix V]? not that there?s anything wrong with that! But there are other sources ignored/omitted ? again, probably due to when the ms was finalized as opposed to when published.

          Each entry has an ID number ? a useful format ? and they are listed in numerical order. Then things go slightly sequentially awry, at least to my way of thinking. When there are multiple entries for a label (say, Paramount) for a generalized time period (no specific recording dates known), they are done alphabetically by artist. This destroys the chronologicality of it all: logically (to me) such entries ought to be listed numerically by matrix number. The same thing is done when there are multiple listings for the same label on the same date: alphabetically rather than by matrix sequence. It took me about half the book to figure that out and is my sole main quibble about the organization of the book!

          Craig Gibbs has put a lot of effort into this publication and it is not without usefulness, once one gets used to its quirks! While some acoustic recordings took place after 1926, the compiler stops there as electrical recording had basically taken over most of the industry (save Edison!) by then. It?s a convenience/convention, similar to the 1942 pre-war/post-war cut-off point with jazz or blues discographies due to the AFM recording bans/strikes. As such, it is a cromulent decision if not a perfect one! So here?s another weighty tome to place on your shelves besides your many Rusts, your Godrich & Dixons, and other label or genre discographies you may have. It?s different enough to be useful.


PETER B. LOWRY

p.s. ? my copy?s binding is slightly shonky, as there are already some pages that have come loose.


Pub: THE IAJRC JOURNAL, Vol 47, No 1 ? March 2014, p. 56.

Offline TenBrook

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Re: Black Recording Artists, 1877-1926: An Annotated Discography
« Reply #7 on: August 22, 2016, 07:14:48 AM »
Oddenda,
Thanks so much for all of that. It's a big help. I just started reading the ebook and am so far enjoying the introduction but after that's done I'll likely just look for what I'm trying to find in the contents and pass on buying it, especially knowing that the binding doesn't hold up. There's nothing worse than an expensive book that falls apart.

Thanks also for improving my vocabularly with 'cromulent', that's a good one I don't remember stumbling on before.

Lew

Offline oddenda

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Re: Black Recording Artists, 1877-1926: An Annotated Discography
« Reply #8 on: August 22, 2016, 11:08:51 PM »
Lew -

          From "The Simpsons" show. More useful than "embiggin"!

pbl

Offline Stuart

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Re: Black Recording Artists, 1877-1926: An Annotated Discography
« Reply #9 on: August 23, 2016, 09:02:59 PM »
Content aside, the physical book consists of single pages glued into the binding, so it's no wonder the pages fall out once the glue fails. It's what one would expect of a $10-$20 trade paperback, not one with a $95 price tag. But there's more than the cost of the physical book when it comes to the cost of publishing a book and then earning enough to make it worth while. 

I can't comment on the content because I haven't done anything more than thumb through it. However, Peter has done a more than adequate job in his post.

Offline oddenda

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Re: Black Recording Artists, 1877-1926: An Annotated Discography
« Reply #10 on: August 23, 2016, 10:40:45 PM »
Thank you, Stuart!

pbl

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