Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Selma Kurz, Soprano 1874-1933


Selma Kurz was born in Biala, the poorer of two adjoining Austrian towns (the other was Bielitz), to a very humble Jewish family of eleven children. She grew up in Bielitz. (Today they are a single city known as Bielsko-Biała, in the Polish province of Silesia. While still a girl she was taken to a convent of nuns, with the hope that she might learn to be a seamstress; the nuns quickly discovered the beauty of her voice, however, and she also often sang in the local synagogue. These circumstances led local people to raise some money so that she could go to Vienna and audition for professor Gänsbacher, a prominent vocal teacher. Gänsbacher did not teach women, but wrote some important letters of recommendation. Little Selma was thus enabled to visit the imposing Schloss Totis, the Viennese residence, en villéggiature, of the famous patron of the arts, count Nicholas [Miklós]Esterházy de Galántha, who agreed to pay for her lessons with another prominent vocal pedagogue, Johannes Ress.

Once her career was established, Selma Kurz consulted such world-renowned voice teachers as Jean de Reszke in Nice and Mathilde Marchesi in Paris, as well as the soprano Felicie Kaschowska, well-known in Vienna; but she always called herself, above all, a pupil of Ress.

Selma Kurz Soprano 1874-1933 mp3 zip file 107 mb

Thursday, March 31, 2011

An Introduction to Ma Rainey


Credited with recording the first blues song "Crazy Blues" in 1923, Ma Rainey was a Huge influence on performers like Bessy Smith.

She began performing at the age of 12 or 14, and recorded under the name Ma Rainey after she and Will Rainey were married in 1904. They toured with F.S. Wolcott’s Rabbit Foot Minstrels and later formed their own group called Rainey and Rainey, Assassinators of the Blues. From the time of her first recording in 1923 to five years later, Ma Rainey made over 100 recordings. Some of them include, Bo-weevil Blues (1923), Moonshine Blues (1923),See See Rider (1924), Black Bottom (1927), and Soon This Morning (1927).

Ma Rainey was known for her very powerful vocal abilities, energetic disposition, majestic phrasing, and a ‘moaning’ style of singing similar to folk tradition. Though her powerful voice and disposition are not captured on her recordings, the other characteristics are present, and most evident on her early recordings, Bo-weevil Blues and Moonshine Blues. Ma Rainey also recorded with Louis Armstrong in addition to touring and recording with the Georgia Jazz Band. Ma Rainey continued to tour until 1935 when she retired to her hometown.

An Introduction to Ma Rainey Mp3 zip

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Early Harmonica Blues Recordings zip


The first recordings of harmonicas were made in the U.S. in the 1920s.These recordings included “race” music, intended for the African-American market of the southern states with solo recordings by DeFord Bailey (who appeared on the first episode of the WSM Barn Dance after it had changed its name to the Grand Ole Opry), duo recordings with a guitarist Hammie Nixon,Walter Horton, Sonny Terry, jug band performers such as Jaybird Coleman, as well as hillbilly styles recorded for white audiences, byFrank Hutchison, Gwen Foster and several other musicians. There are also recordings featuring the harmonica in jug bands, of which the Memphis Jug Band is the most famous. But the harmonica still represented a toy instrument in those years and was associated with the poor. It is also during those years that musicians started experimenting with new techniques such as tongue-blocking, hand effects and the most important innovation of all, the 2nd position, or cross-harp.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Free Mp3 Pre War Blues Collection as Zip File


Fifty great pre war era blues performances in MP3 format. Classic stuff from well-knowns like Charley Patton and Blind lemon Jefferson, as well as lots of cool music from lesser-knowns too like Geeshie Wiley and Dick Justice.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

The Skillet Lickers


The Skillet Lickers, one of the most exciting early bands to record, were from North Georgia, an extremely fertile area for old time music in the 1920's. The first line-up was Gid Tanner,Riley PuckettClayton McMichen and Fate Norris. Between 1926 and 1931 they recorded 88 sides for Columbia.