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Soundings: Recordings of African-Americans

America’s rural South has changed profoundly since it served as the birthplace of blues, and in the intervening years, many of the traditional forms so vital to American musical history have disappeared. It’s lucky then, that the record industry (not to mention some intrepid folklorists) got there before everything changed. This program celebrates the deep and essential sounds they captured on tape, vinyl, acetate, Edison cylinder, and piano roll. You’ll hear historic early recordings by black American performers from 1893 forward. The show also includes the first hit blues record, Mamie Smith’s “Crazy Blues,” along with a sampling of Alan Lomax field recordings from the 1930s.

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  • Brasscheck TV

    What is this music here: 45:19? You used it as a segment break but did not name it. Thanks! Great show.

  • tyler

    also what is the first piece you hear before the intro?

  • marimbadearco

    Great show. What a position the black singers with the white banjo pharmacist (around 8 min.s): forced to sing a pro-slavery song, and on tours, to make money.