Songsters and Saints: Vocal Traditions on Race Records

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Cambridge University Press, Sep 27, 1984 - Music - 346 pages
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In this innovatory book the celebrated writer on the blues, Paul Oliver, rediscovers the wealth of neglected vocal traditions presented on Race records. When blues first reached a large audience it was through the 'Race records' issued specifically for black purchasers in the 1920s. Blues South have been extensively discussed by many writers. Paul Oliver shows that this emphasis has drawn attention away from the other important vocal traditions also available on Race records: the songs of Southern rural dances, the comic and social songs and ballads of the medicine shows and travelling entertainments, and, even more neglected, the sacred vocal traditions, from the song-sermons of the Baptist and Sanctified preachers to the gospel songs of the church congregations and of the 'jack-leg' preachers and street evangelists. Over 500 artists and 700 song titles are indexed and there is a guide to reissued recordings.

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About the author (1984)

Paul Hereford Oliver was born in Nottingham, England on May 25, 1927. He trained as a painter and sculptor at the Harrow School of Art, but switched to graphic design because most art materials aggravated his asthma and various allergies. After receiving a diploma from Goldsmith's College in London in 1948, he returned to the Harrow County School to teach art. In 1955, he received an art-history degree from the University of London. He wrote numerous books on blues music including Bessie Smith, Blues Fell This Morning, The Story of the Blues, Screening the Blues: Aspects of the Blues Tradition, Savannah Syncopators: African Retentions in the Blues, Songsters and Saints: Vocal Traditions on Race Records, Broadcasting the Blues: Black Blues in the Segregation Era, and Barrelhouse Blues: Location Recordings and the Early Traditions of the Blues. He was also as an architectural historian. His books on architecture included Shelter and Society, English Cottages and Small Farmhouses: A Study of Vernacular Shelter, Dwellings: The House Across the World, and Built to Meet Needs: Cultural Issues in Vernacular Architecture. He died on August 15, 2017 at the age of 90.

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