Hosted by the Archives of African American Music & Culture at Indiana University, Black Grooves is a review site that aims to promote black music by providing monthly updates on interesting new releases and quality reissues in all genres—gospel, blues, jazz, funk, soul, and hip hop, as well as classical music composed or performed by black artists.
Reviews of selected new discs and DVDs are featured, with occasional attention to books and news items. An extra effort is made to track down releases by indie, underground, foreign, and other labels that are not covered in the mainstream media. While the primary focus is on African American music, related areas such as Afropop and reggae are also covered.
This post is part of our series celebrating Black History Month. Throughout February we will be posting about resources and landmark writings in black studies. Click here for a continuously updated page of links to all of our posts in this category.
An installment in the Library of Congress’s American memory series, “Now what a time”: Blues, gospel, and the Fort Valley Music Festivals, 1938–1943 presents approximately 100 sound recordings—primarily African American blues and gospel songs—and related documentation from the folk festival at Fort Valley State College (now Fort Valley State University), Fort Valley, Georgia, in 1941 and 1943.
Song lists made by the collectors, correspondence with the Archive about the trips, and a special issue of the Fort Valley State College student newsletter, The Peachite: Festival number, are also included. Notable in this collection is the topical rewording of several standard gospel songs to address the wartime concerns of the performers.
Also included are recordings made in Tennessee and Alabama (including six Sacred Harp songs) by John Work between September 1938 and 1941. These recording projects were supported by the Library of Congress’s Archive of American Folk Song (now the Archive of Folk Culture at the American Folklife Center).
War song, performed by Buster Brown in March 1943, can be heard here.
This post is part of our series celebrating Black History Month. Throughout February we will be posting about resources and landmark writings in black studies. Click here or on the Black studies category on the right to see a continuously updated page of links to all of our posts in this category.
Launched by Frog Records in 2010, The Frog blues & jazz annual is a book series that presents original research and articles on early jazz and blues. The inaugural issue, The musicians, the records & the music of the 78 era, includes articles about the Mississippi Jook Band’s Graves brothers, the pianist Arnold Wiley, and the vocalist Ida Cox.
Established in 1997, Signal to noise is a quarterly magazine devoted to improvised and experimental music, focusing on “the confluence of avant-garde jazz, electro-acoustic improvisation, and left-of-center modern rock, with an emphasis on independent production and promotion.” Recent issues have featured the saxophonist Marshall Allen, the groups Sonic Youth and Cheer-Accident, and the duo Mary Halvorson and Jessica Pavone.
Blues magazines like Living blues, Real blues, and Blues revue attest to the continuing vitality of a genre that dates at least back to the 1910s, when the first blues songs were published. Unlike the recording companies that capitalized on the “blues craze” of the Roaring Twenties, these magazines are interested in all forms of African American roots music—including sacred and other secular traditions—and their modern counterparts, including zydeco, gospel, and so on, fostering a thriving community of enthusiasts.