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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."

Various Artists, 1916: "The Country Found Them Ready" (2005)

With tracks from John McCormack, Anna Chandler, and Billy Murray, this collection of hits from 1916 provides a terrific aural landscape to contemplate the events leading up to America's entrance into World War I, a moment that marked the beginning of the end of the Progressive era.

Various Artists, 1915: "They'd Sooner Sleep on Thistles" (2007)

This collection from the Archeophone series features sweet love tunes like Cambell and Burr's "Close to My Heart," as well as songs such as "I Didn't Raise My Boy to Be a Soldier" and "Sister Susie's Sewing Shirts for Soldiers" that hint at growing concern over America's role in the war escalating in Europe. Be sure to check out the accompanying booklet, which is filled with interesting historical tidbits and photographs from the time.

Various Artists, 1908: "Take Me Out with the Crowd" (2004)

Another fabulous selection from the Archeophone series, "Take Me Out with the Crowd" offers a light-hearted cross-section of tunes in honor of a time when the Chicago Cubs won the World Series, the London Olympics captivated the nation, and Henry Ford introduced the Model T. As with any of the Archeophone discs, the liner notes are not to be missed; each CD's booklet is filled with interesting historical tidbits and photographs from the time.

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