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So I picked up the mandolin, I started to play. He was sittin' there on the edge of the bed. He said 'You know, that sounds really good'. I said, 'Well Yank, all I'm doin' is just imitating you note for note'. And he said, 'That's what I'm telling you. It sounds really good!' - Yank Rachell, remembered by Steve James, Port Townsend 97

Author Topic: Harry Oster Recordings  (Read 784 times)

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Offline Bunker Hill

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Harry Oster Recordings
« on: February 11, 2014, 06:07:36 AM »
I stumbled upon this which was originally compiled for a Blues & Rhythm feature but in the event not used. Despite it being a decade out of date thought I'd park it here for posterity.

Might be of interest to some but there again might not.  ;D

Offline Prof Scratchy

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Re: Harry Oster Recordings
« Reply #1 on: February 11, 2014, 09:13:39 AM »
Hi Alan
You refer to a BBC Three (presumably Radio 3) series entitled "Oster's Blues". Was this ever broadcast? If so, is the broadcast accessible?

Offline Bunker Hill

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Re: Harry Oster Recordings
« Reply #2 on: February 11, 2014, 09:45:13 AM »
Yes it was and I may well have it on cassette in one of the umpteen boxes containing such dinosaur modes of recording. I'll root around for it.

Oster died in 2001 and I recall that Tony Russell managed to get an obit into the Guardian.

Offline Johnm

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Re: Harry Oster Recordings
« Reply #3 on: February 11, 2014, 06:24:24 PM »
Thanks very much for making that document available, Alan.  Interesting to compare unissued titles for different players.  Snooks Eaglin-none!  Robert Pete Williams, more than I would have thought.  A good number of titles from Son House in his immediate post-rediscovery period, could really be interesting.  An entire CD's worth of unissued material from Clyde Causey, a really fine harmonica player.  It's sort of like looking at Scott Dunbar's unissued titles, very tantalizing.
All best,
Johnm
« Last Edit: February 11, 2014, 10:29:41 PM by Johnm »

Offline uncle bud

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Re: Harry Oster Recordings
« Reply #4 on: February 11, 2014, 06:47:03 PM »
Yes, thanks for that, Alan, great to browse that list. Though it's torture to see all those unissued titles from Butch Cage and Willie Thomas, and Smoky Babe!

There should be a Harry Oster set of all those unissued titles to go alongside the George Mitchell Recordings.

Online jpeters609

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Re: Harry Oster Recordings
« Reply #5 on: February 11, 2014, 07:39:34 PM »
It's amazing how much great recorded field music from the 1960s and 70s can be traced back to a handful of individuals like Harry Oster, George Mitchell, Pete Lowry...

I started a similar post a while back regarding the unissued recordings Harry Oster made of Clarence Edwards. It can be found here, if interested:

http://weeniecampbell.com/yabbse/index.php?topic=5135.0
Jeff

Offline Mr.OMuck

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Re: Harry Oster Recordings
« Reply #6 on: February 11, 2014, 08:19:35 PM »
Great to see this, thanks!
My loathings are simple: stupidity, oppression, crime, cruelty, soft music.
Vladimir Nabokov (1899 - 1977)

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Offline Bunker Hill

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Re: Harry Oster Recordings
« Reply #7 on: February 11, 2014, 10:08:11 PM »
Remember that the listing was in 2001. Very possible that some (if not many) of the unreleased songs may have turned up on Arhoolie CDs, especially if making additions to what were originally LPs to provide more generous playing time. Just a thought.

Offline Bunker Hill

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Re: Harry Oster Recordings
« Reply #8 on: February 12, 2014, 04:22:36 AM »
Located cassettes. Harry Oster's Blues, 5 programs, BBC Radio 3, 4.30pm. Oster talks to Francis Wilford-Smith 30.1.95 to 27. 2. 95 (inc).

1=Oster background, travels and recordings
2=La. State Penn. Robert Pete Williams, Otis Webster and Roosevelt Charles
3=Bluesmen he discovered in New Orleans 1960
4=Herman Johnson and Smokey Babe
5=Clyde Causey ands Emmanuel Dunn

They are C90 cassettes but from memory were only half hour programs.

Offline dj

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Re: Harry Oster Recordings
« Reply #9 on: February 12, 2014, 04:38:32 AM »
Does anyone know where Oster's tapes are now?  Someplace safe, I hope.

Offline Bunker Hill

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Re: Harry Oster Recordings
« Reply #10 on: February 12, 2014, 05:47:02 AM »
Hopefully still with the person who purchased them from him in 1970 - Chris Strachwitz. Somewhere on Weenie there's a feature concerning the sale.

Offline CF

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Re: Harry Oster Recordings
« Reply #11 on: February 12, 2014, 06:50:08 AM »
Someone at the RBF made some Harry Oster Radio programs available in the last year or so. My index says 'Harry Oster's Blues Pt 1 & 2'. I can check the contents later.

I'm interested in hearing Son House's earliest rediscovery recordings. He was apparently recorded the day they found him in Rochester, NY
Stand By If You Wanna Hear It Again . . .

Offline Parlor Picker

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Re: Harry Oster Recordings
« Reply #12 on: February 12, 2014, 06:53:12 AM »
Someone at the RBF made some Harry Oster Radio programs available in the last year or so. My index says 'Harry Oster's Blues Pt 1 & 2'. I can check the contents later.

I'm interested in hearing Son House's earliest rediscovery recordings. He was apparently recorded the day they found him in Rochester, NY

I thought Son House couldn't play when they found him and they got Al Wilson to teach him his own material again - or maybe that's an urban myth.

I also have cassettes of various Radio 3 programmes, including Francis Smith's Piano Blues series. Will have to dig in the drawer full of cassettes to find out what I've got. Don't think I've got the Oster stuff though. Would love to hear more Smoky Babe.
"I ain't good looking, teeth don't shine like pearls,
So glad good looks don't take you through this world."
Barbecue Bob

Offline CF

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Re: Harry Oster Recordings
« Reply #13 on: February 18, 2014, 05:13:20 AM »
PP, I assume Son could play a bit when they found him.

Someone at the RBF also supplied the tracks from the radio programmes, which is great, & listed the songs that are unissued: (I have these & would be happy to share it with Weenies . . . if I knew how!)


Complete list of unissued recordings played on Oster's Blues broadcasts. If anyone knows better, I'd be delighted to hear from them. Titles marked "details not located" do not appear to have been reported by Oster to discographers:

Clyde Causey
Drag Time Boogie unissued OB5
Black Mink unissued OB5
Hambone unissued OB5
Roosevelt Charles
Walkin? With The Blues unissued OB1
I Hoed Too Long details not located OB1
Hold My Hand, Lord details not located OB2
Arthur Davis and Group
Shallow Water, Mama details not located OB3
Emanuel Dunn
When Emanuel Plowed unissued OB5
(Escape From) Death Valley unissued OB5
Smoky Black unissued OB5
Herman E. Johnson
Esso Refinery Blues unissued OB4
Depression Blues or Depression In 61 unissued OB4
Lemon Nash
Way In The He-Hi-Hoo details not located OB3
Leon Strickland
Train Blues unissued OB3
Otis Webster
I Know How To Do Time unissued OB2
Guitar Welch
Out In West Texas unissued OB1
Robert Pete Williams
Walking Blues details not located OB1
Goodtime Lonesome Blues unissued OB2
Yassuh An? Nosuh Blues unissued OB2
Freeman Blues unissued OB
2
Stand By If You Wanna Hear It Again . . .

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