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Can't you imagine how I feel now, I done told my real milk cow bye-bye - Freddie Spruell, Milk Cow Blues

Author Topic: Funding blues research - the hard way  (Read 1343 times)

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Offline Bunker Hill

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Funding blues research - the hard way
« on: February 13, 2006, 12:16:18 PM »
Don't know if this is the correct forum for this type of thing but if inappropriate moderators please feel free to censure. The following is scanned from Derrick Stewart-Baxter?s Blues On Record column, Jazz Journal, April 1960.
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At this point I must digress and bring to your notice a worthy project to be undertaken by those two blues authorities Paul Oliver and Jacques Demetre. They are determined to make a trip to the States this summer in order to interview blues singers and, if there is enough money available, to record what they hear for issue both here and in America. Paul and Jacques are devoting their savings to this project but, very naturally if the task is to be done properly. more cash will be needed. Blues collector Bob Dixon has, with the help of various other collectors, devised a scheme to raise some money for the purpose of recording. A pamphlet which has already been sent out to interested parties states:

In view of the expense that this trip will incur it will not be possible for Paul and Jacques to afford additional costs. Clearly these opportunities should not be wasted, and after careful examination of the position it was agreed that the following schemes be put in motion to enable Paul and Jacques to do the recordings that would benefit blues collectors and singers alike.

SCHEME A: LOANS TO A BLUES RECORDING FUND
It is suggested that sufficient interested persons may be prepared to loan ?3 or multiples thereof (or the equivalent in foreign currency) for the purpose of establishing a Blues Recording Fund to provide a working capital from which singers could be paid, premises and equipment hired and other expenses covered in connection with the recordings. After analysing the economics involved it is considered that it would be possible for sufficient moneys to be recouped from the sale of the recordings to interested companies to pay back the initial subscriptions. Every reasonable attempt will be made to ensure that contributions will be ultimately returned to subscribers. If only a proportion of the tapes can be sold, proportional repayment will be made, and the balance when the necessary sum has accrued. It must be appreciated, however, that an absolute guarantee of total return cannot be given but in any event a fully audited statement of accounts will be available.

SCHEME B: DONATIONS TO ASSIST BLUES RESEARCH
Any donations, however small, towards the considerable expenses of conducting the field research which will be made with a view to the eventual publication of the material gained, would be deeply appreciated. Every attempt will be made to expedite specific researches requested by donors.

SCHEME C: PERSONAL ASSISTANCE AND SUGGESTIONS
The active participation of a11 who can give assistance in helping Paul and Jacques establish contact with blues singers and instrumentalists (active or retired), race record companies, talent scouts and agents etc., plus any advice and help on such matters as accommodation, travel and research is especially requested.

In addition it is proposed that any other ideas for raising money should be put into operation, and on this point a regular reader, who has seen the pamphlet, has some useful suggestions to make. Geoff Coleman of Stevenage writes: "This is something which is very dear to my heart, and I have already approached a local jazz club who are willing to do something for the fund. I also suggest that while it is not always possible to give a lump sum, it might be reasonable to suppose that any of us who are interested could put by say 2s. 6d. or 5s. a week. In this way in a few months a reasonable sum could be accumulated."

Space does not permit me to go any further into this subject, but if any reader feels like contributing either a lump sum or perhaps a little each week, it should be sent to the Hon. Treasurer, Robert M. W. Dixon, 5 Wollaton Vale, Beeston, Nottingham, Notts. I can assure everyone that this is a most worthy cause, and one that could bring us many fine recordings. It is hoped that the jazz clubs and other organisations (N.J.F. ?) will be willing to co-operate.
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Four months later it was just Oliver who was in the Mississippi, Louisiana, Texas and Chicago putting to good use the "working capital" raised by this project, as acknowledged in his introduction to Conversation With The Blues.

I wonder how good the overall response was. I guess back then there weren't any academic bursaries available in Britain or Europe to fund such enterprises.

 


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