“Piney Woods Money Mama” / “Low Down Mojo Blues”
This so-called “birthday record” of notable blues singer and guitarist Blind Lemon Jefferson was one of three releases by Paramount Records to feature a portrait label. (The other two were of the blues singer Gertrude “Ma” Rainey and the evangelist Reverend J.O. Hanes.) Featuring the only authenticated photograph of Jefferson and a lemon-yellow color theme in tribute to his name, this promotional release was an attempt to increase Jefferson’s sales, which had dropped precipitously since 1927. The recording demonstrates his vocal range (the opening phrases of both “Piney Woods Money Mama” and “Low Down Mojo Blues” span an octave), virtuosic guitar technique, and the complex rhythmic and melodic counterpoint between the vocal line and guitar accompaniment. The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts is the only known library to own this disc; while some are held in private collections, ours is singular in its pristine condition.
: Rodgers and Hammerstein Archives of Recorded Sound, The New York Public Library…
Currently on View at Stephen A. Schwarzman Building
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