Amoeblog

Saluting Women Artists of the Classic Blues Era

Posted by Billyjam, March 28, 2012 06:39pm | Post a Comment
In observance of the ongoing Amoeblog series honoring Women's History Month, this blog salutes women blues singers from the classic blues era. I will also post a second part celebrating women blues artists from later decades. But for now, I am focusing on the classic blues era of a century ago. It was a time when these women artists were pioneers by being both among the very first black singers and  blues artists to be recorded.

This first wave of recorded female blues was spearheaded by such American music legends as Bessie Smith, Ethel Waters, Mamie Smith (no relation to Bessie), and of course Ma Rainey.  Born in 1886, Ma Rainey earned the title “Mother of the Blues” for being instrumental in bringing the music to the public first. She is credited with both influencing all other female blues singers that came after her and with being the first to perform the blues on stage as popular entertainment. This she did when, at the turn of the century, she first incorporated blues into her broader vaudeville act that was built around comedy bits and show songs of the time. As legend has it Rainey would close every show with a song about a woman losing her man that she called “The Blues." Rainey, along with her husband Pa Rainey, is credited with discovering Bessie Smith on one of her early tours.

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Welcome to the New 78 Blog

Posted by Sherwin Dunner, October 17, 2011 06:05pm | Post a Comment
We'll be keeping you up to date here with news related to our expanding activity with those breakable pre-vinyl artifacts sometimes referred to as “shellac” records.

Asian Lac BugAs a point of interest, shellac is not just an arbitrary tag pinned on 78s. Just like shellac's well-known use as a furniture finish, the secretion of the Asian Lac bug was also the primary ingredient for 78s from the beginning of the industry in the early 1900s up 'til around 1950, when vinyl began to replace it. It takes approximately 100,000 Lac bugs to produce one pound of shellac, so this species is owed a special debt of gratitude among fans of the 78 rpm record. 

Upcoming entries might offer tales of amazing 78 finds or "fish that got away" stories dredged from ancient 78 lore. We'll highlight overlooked 78s or artists you should hear. We'll invite contributions from guest collectors. As the next advance in digital technology hypes storing music collections in the cloud, we'll delve into the lingering appeal these arcane fetish objects still have for some of us.

We recently added a batch of 78s to the Buy Stuff section of Amoeba.com, which now allows 78 surfers to select “78” from the drop down menu to view all the 78s together by date added. Items can also be selected by specific category of interest. We will continue to add 78s to the site and encourage you to check back regularly. As with other items purchased on Amoeba.com, shipping is free on 78s (USA only), saving 78 buyers at least $4.00 or $5.00 on shipping charges they would normally have to foot on an eBay or private mail order purchase. We grade 78s conservatively. Find out more about our 78 grading codes

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