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Jim Crow Music

Robert Johnson, The Complete Recordings (1990)

Robert Johnson was born and raised in Mississippi Delta during the height of the Jim Crow era, when legal segregation and the threat of violence controlled the lives of all southern blacks. His haunting lyrics and eerie guitar riffs, recorded in the 1930s, reflect these experiences and offer listeners a rare window into the soul of a man who both suffered and endured. This collection includes all known songs written and recorded by Johnson.

Various Artists, Lost Sounds: Blacks and the Birth of the Recording Industry, 1891-1922 (2005)

This collection, featuring pioneering African-American recording artists and musicians (as well as Booker T. Washington's Atlanta Exposition Speech), showcases the distinctive styles of post-Civil War music and offers a powerful perspective on the early recording industry.

Various Artists, Stomp and Swerve: American Music Gets Hot (2003)

This compilation offers both entertaining ditties and sobering reminders of the harsh racism that characterized early twentieth century America, such as white comic Arthur Collins's performance of "All Coons Look Alike to Me" and Polk Miller's "Watermelon Party."

Bessie Smith, Empress of the Blues, Vol. 2: 1926-1933 (2008)

This four-disc box offers a rich sampling of the catalog of a woman considered by many to have been the greatest blues songstress of all time. Listen to over eighty tracks originally recorded during one of the most turbulent decades of the Jim Crow era.

Various Artists, Desperate Man Blues: Discovering the Roots of American Music (2006)

Record collector Joe Bussard, in an effort to tell the tale of early American blues music, has compiled this collection featuring rare records by lesser known recording artists, such as Papa Harvey Hull and Long "Cleve" Reed, as well as tracks by iconic singer-songwriters, including Robert Johnson, Charley Patton, and Blind Willie Johnson.

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