Friday, April 4, 2014

Delmark: 60 Years of Blues, Various Artists

The fact that Delmark and Bob Koester celebrated their 60th anniversary as a label last year tells you something. Indies that contribute so much to our music do so for a number of reasons. It's as true of the original Atlantic, Sun, or Vanguard records as it is of Delmark. Only Delmark is still doing it. The secret is that the owners know and love a burgeoning local music scene. They know about certain emerging genres and have the ears to hear what is good out there on a local, street level. And they don't put undue pressure on the talent they discover and acquire (see my note below on this term) to compromise the music for success. They know that short-term sellouts self-destruct the importance of the indie stance. There is an organic growth that takes place between artists and their potential audiences that makes for long-term impact. That's what it is about.

So here we are with 60 years of Delmark and tons of seminal recordings of blues and jazz, covering what Chicago is all about both years ago and right now!

Delmark celebrates their anniversary with a couple of anthologies. The one we are concerned with today is Delmark, 60 Years of Blues (Delmark 917). There are 16 choice cuts. They wisely do not try to cover everything, because there has be room for old and new. So no Buddy Guy here. That's fine because their Buddy Guy albums need to be experienced whole.

There are some previously unreleased gems by Junior Wells, Magic Sam, Little Walter, Giles Corey, Big Joe Williams, Detroit Jr., and Sleepy John Estes. There's representation of the early blues, classic chicago blues, soul blues and there is a good amount of space devoted to recently emerging blues artists or revived career artists making the scene important today, so Toronzo Cannon, Studebaker John, Tail Dragger and others get some worthy attention.

Once you realize that what's on this anthology gives you the yesterday AND the today you can sit back and groove on it. That's what I've been doing. It rings true because it's the real truth. Thank you Bob for all these years! And the artists.

1 comment:

  1. By "acquire" I only use it of course to connote "contract to record over a period of time". The indies generally don't view their artists as commodities, the good indies. And that's what allows a symbiotic artist-label partnership that can be lacking in the high-stakes world of big-bucks music biz practices. But that's probably obvious. Just clarifying....