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The cruel irony is that the majority of "The People" can't stand the noise that comes out for more than a few seconds unless it's in the hands of a competent operator. This, combined with the common belief that anyone can play it right away (cue up "Oh Susanna") has created a nearly unbearable tension between the harmonica, its enthusiasts and the rest of humanity. I believe that this tension can be relieved and that the harmonica can take its rightful honored place in the post-apocalyptic world to come - Mark Graham, harmonica ace

Author Topic: Unissued Testament recordings  (Read 859 times)

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Offline jpeters609

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Unissued Testament recordings
« on: July 31, 2013, 07:19:09 AM »
Throughout the 1960s and into the early 70s, the late Pete Welding issued a number of outstanding albums on his Testament label, including perhaps the best documents of Chicago's Maxwell Street music scene, as well as a number of otherwise unrecorded country blues musicians (Arthur Weston, John Lee Granderson, etc.).

Stefan's discography here: http://www.wirz.de/music/testafrm.htm

While looking at the Blues World website yesterday, I found a link to a number of pages concerning Pete Welding, including an essay he had written summarizing the history of the Testament label. At that time, the Hightone label was re-issuing the Testament catalog (a process which I believe is largely complete), and Pete had the following to say about the wealth of unissued recordings that he still had in the can:

There remain, I am happy to say, large numbers of additional recordings yet to be released. The current plans are, once all the previous Testament albums have been issued on CD by HighTone, to embark on a program of further releases that will finally make available all the recordings that remain unreleased. So, look forward to selections by Big Boy Spires, Honeyboy Edwards, John Lee Henley, George, Ethel and Ruby McCoy, Doug Quattlebaum, Charles Copeland, Jimmy Brewer, Carl Martin and Ted Bogan, Blind Blues Darby, Jake and Frank Gilmore, Yank Rachell, John Henry Barbee, Willie Hatcher, Leroy Dallas and a host of others known and unknown. You'll not be disappointed.

Entire essay here: http://bluesworld.com/PWTestessay.html

I believe that the Honeyboy Edwards material was indeed issued, but the rest of these recordings were not. I suppose my post is simply to say, "Gosh, I wish these recordings would see the light of day!" as I recognize that in today's depressed record-label world, folks aren't exactly clambering to release old, unissued country blues recordings. But if an executive at Hightone happens to be reading these weenie campbell posts, maybe I can encourage him or her...
Jeff

Offline Stuart

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Re: Unissued Testament recordings
« Reply #1 on: July 31, 2013, 08:30:25 AM »
Thanks for the post and the link, Jeff. I agree--not only would the recordings be great to listen to, but the medium they are recorded on isn't going to last forever, so in the interest of preserving this important part of American musical history the tapes should be transferred to new tapes and/or digitized.

Last night I was watching the news and saw that the LoC had uncovered a 1977 documentary from Mississippi Public Television, "Good Mornin' Blues" with BB King, as well as a 1970 program, "Hollywood Barrelhouse." Here's the info copied from another site:

"UNSEEN SINCE THE 70s: LEGENDARY BLUES MUSICIANS ON TELEVISION

GOOD MORNIN' BLUES (Mississippi Public Broadcasting, 1977)

B.B. King is the host of this 1977 television program produced by Mississippi Public Broadcasting with performances by Delta Blues musicians Johnny Shines, Walter E. "Furry" Lewis and David "Honeyboy" Edwards. The original negative and production elements were used for this recent digital restoration by the Library of Congress Film and Audio Laboratories. Color. 60 minutes.

HOMEWOOD BARRELHOUSE (KCET, 1970)

Produced for Los Angeles public television station KCET by renowned columnist and film critic Charles Champlin, this program re-assembled the Johnny Otis Review, including performances by Charles Brown, T-Bone Walker, & Big Joe Turner. The digital remaster was archived from the 2" Video Master. Color. 60 minutes."

Sorry for the hijack, but I thought the above close enough--albeit tangentially--to include here.
 

Offline JohnLeePimp

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Re: Unissued Testament recordings
« Reply #2 on: July 31, 2013, 11:13:52 AM »
I don't understand why not, is it that expensive to digitise some recordings?
...it's certainly not hard for a record company to release them commercially - all you really need is an internet connection
...so blue I shade a part of this town.

Offline Bunker Hill

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Re: Unissued Testament recordings
« Reply #3 on: July 31, 2013, 11:51:23 PM »
There remain, I am happy to say, large numbers of additional recordings yet to be released. The current plans are, once all the previous Testament albums have been issued on CD by HighTone, to embark on a program of further releases that will finally make available all the recordings that remain unreleased. So, look forward to selections by Big Boy Spires, Honeyboy Edwards, John Lee Henley, George, Ethel and Ruby McCoy, Doug Quattlebaum, Charles Copeland, Jimmy Brewer, Carl Martin and Ted Bogan, Blind Blues Darby, Jake and Frank Gilmore, Yank Rachell, John Henry Barbee, Willie Hatcher, Leroy Dallas and a host of others known and unknown. You'll not be disappointed.
Pete died in 1995 during the start of his TCD 6000 series of "unissued" sessions. There was a "hiatus" but the following year Frank Scott carried the "torch" for as long as Hightone were willing to do so. 

At the foot of Stefan's table it can be seen that only 6007 had been previously available with additions. All these CDs are gems but the  Otis Spann and deserve special attention. Whether or not Hightone would be willing to do a "mopping up job" on what remains remains to be seen. 

Quattlebaum has been a Weenie topic of discussion on several occasions.

Offline RB

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Re: Unissued Testament recordings
« Reply #4 on: August 02, 2013, 05:04:33 PM »
I'd just add that I really like and often listen to TCD 5030 'Clay and Scott: Standing on the Highway,' recorded June, 1961, Philadelphia.

Offline oddenda

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Re: Unissued Testament recordings
« Reply #5 on: August 06, 2013, 10:28:23 PM »
JLP -

          Actually, it must be expensive. I placed copies of my field tapes w. the LofC Folklife Archive (as it is known now) when I was working there with Alan Lomax. I was told that free copying would be available. Cut to the present: my original tapes are in a storage facility in NJ and I am here in Australia. I have been told that to copy and convert my total collection would cost me $30K. Some 1500 selections that could make up to 80 albums of good material. Between a rock and a hard place and gettin' no younger!

Peter B.

Offline Stuart

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Re: Unissued Testament recordings
« Reply #6 on: August 07, 2013, 08:51:28 AM »
Actually, it must be expensive. I placed copies of my field tapes w. the LofC Folklife Archive (as it is known now) when I was working there with Alan Lomax. I was told that free copying would be available. Cut to the present: my original tapes are in a storage facility in NJ and I am here in Australia. I have been told that to copy and convert my total collection would cost me $30K. Some 1500 selections that could make up to 80 albums of good material. Between a rock and a hard place and gettin' no younger!

Peter B.

It might be a potential Kickstarter project. Obviously there's a lot to think about re: the logistics and details, but it is certainly feasible. You should also consider just having someone make tape to digital copies, either using a computer or CD recorder. Even if the quality is that of a home hobbyist using consumer quality equipment as opposed to that of a audio tech professional, at least the performances would be converted and backed up in digital form outside of the LofC. Some of us have done it with our LPs and tapes. It would be a shame if the artists' legacies in the form of their performances and all of your efforts and hard work were to fall through the cracks at the LofC or were lost. Even if one did ten songs a day in one's spare time, the whole thing would be completed in six months or so. If I was still in NJ, I would be more than willing to help out.

Offline Rivers

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Re: Unissued Testament recordings
« Reply #7 on: August 07, 2013, 06:27:07 PM »
I'm in.

Offline oddenda

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Re: Unissued Testament recordings
« Reply #8 on: August 08, 2013, 07:15:31 AM »
The "problem" still exists that I am in Australia and my tapes are not (NJ storage space, in unknown condition. along with a lot of other stuff).

pbl

Offline Stuart

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Re: Unissued Testament recordings
« Reply #9 on: August 08, 2013, 08:33:14 AM »
The "problem" still exists that I am in Australia and my tapes are not (NJ storage space, in unknown condition. along with a lot of other stuff).

pbl

I understand that, Peter. What you need to do is find someone that you have a very high level of confidence and trust in, both in terms of technical competence and personal integrity, who can get the job done. It's not that people like this don't exist, it's just that with no personal history with the individual, you will be dealing with a degree of uncertainty. And it's not like you can jump in the car and drive over to check to see how things are going. It's all about finding the right person.

Offline Rivers

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Re: Unissued Testament recordings
« Reply #10 on: August 09, 2013, 07:16:24 PM »
Well I could certainly drive up there from TX to uplift (with suitable letter of introduction), and deliver to a yet-to-be-identified mastering facility.

But we have trusted weenies who live much closer than I do who could do the same with much less expenditure on gas.

That would be the lowest-dollar item on the project balance sheet, unless we would need to shoot our way in there, in which case we'd need to cost-in a few stun grenades, etc

 


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