Get The Christmas Blues

Desirable calendar reveals unseen blues ad splendour from the '20s!

Get The Christmas Blues

SINCE 2004, THE CLASSIC Blues Artwork From The 1920s calendar has been a must-have for fans of the earliest recorded blues, presenting fabulous original and unseen-for-aeons adverts for 78s by the likes of Blind Willie McTell, Ma Rainey and Skip James. The calendar’s now onto its 11th volume, and for 2014 the series’ high standards are maintained. As well as evocative, fascinating ads for discs by Blind Lemon Jefferson, Blind Blake, Papa Charlie Jackson and Washboard Walter, there are unseen portraits of Furry Lewis and Henry ‘Ragtime Texas’ Thomas, whose songs were covered by Dylan, the Grateful Dead and Canned Heat, who based Going Up The Country on Thomas’ Bull Doze Blues. Artist Robert Crumb, who knows what he’s talking about, describes the artwork as “Some of the most imaginative commercial graphics ever produced! Lurid! Sensationalistic! Low brow!”

The stash of ads – amassed by record distributors the F.W. Boerner Company – was discovered in a dumpster in Wisconsin in the ’80s, and was acquired by rare record dealer John Tefteller in 2002. The calendar also comes with a disc of the advertised songs, sourced from best surviving copies, plus 12 more super-rare cuts, and a day-by-day reckoning of blues artist birthdays and departure dates. Enquiries to here.

Meanwhile, because it’s Christmas, feast your minces on this ad for the 1929 corker Christmas In Jail (Ain’t That A Pain) by influential Nashville-born singer and pianist Leroy Carr with guitar assistance from Scrapper Blackwell.

Christmas In Jail by Leroy Carr: It’s a low down blues.

And, continued from the image at the top of the page, here's Elzadie Robinson’s The Santa Claus Crave from 1927. Did Santa ever bring her that lovin' man, down the chimney?

The Santa Claus Crave by Elzadie Robinson. Who <em>doesn’t</em> need a