On November 18th, Jack White’s Third Man Records, in partnership with John Fahey’s Revenant Records, will unlock the second and final chapter chronicling the curious tale of America’s most important record label with The Rise and Fall of Paramount Records, Volume 2 (1928-1932).
A stunning omnibus of words, music, art and design, Volume 2 picks up where the “spectacular” (New York Times) and “unprecedented” (Rolling Stone) Volume 1 left off. It documents the label’s final five year period between 1928-32, a stunning second act in which Paramount birthed the entire genre of Mississippi Delta blues and issued some of the most coveted recordings in the history of the medium: Skip James, Charley Patton, Son House, Tommy Johnson, Geeshie Wiley, The Mississippi Sheiks, Willie Brown, King Solomon Hill, and hundreds of others.
Volume 2 contains six LPs, a sculpted metal USB drive with 800 songs and 90+ original hand-drawn ads from the Chicago Defender, a large-format hardcover book telling the label’s story via new writing and original images, and an illustrated Field Guide with biographies and recording information for each artist represented in the set. It is all housed in a streamline case of polished aluminum modeled after a portable phonograph in 1930s American “Machine Age” Art Deco style.
Like Volume 1, the collection was co-produced by leading Paramount authority Alex van der Tuuk.
Paramount Records’ open-door recording policy led it to the very bedrock of America’s untamed blues, jazz, gospel and folk sounds. In the process the label provided the earliest and most representative snapshot of America’s sonic landscape.
Volume 2 offers a magnificent conclusion to this story of how a Wisconsin chair company, despite producing records on the cheap, changed how America thought of itself by allowing this young country to hear what it really sounded like, in all its stripes, for the very first time.
- 800 newly-remastered digital tracks, representing 175 artists
- 90+ fully-restored original 1920s-30s Paramount ads from Chicago Defender
- 6 x 180g LPs pressed on alabaster-white label-less vinyl, each side with its own hand-etched numeral and holographic image
- 250 pg. large-format clothbound hardcover book featuring original Paramount art and the label’s curious tale
- 400 pg. encyclopedia-style softcover field guide containing artist bios & portraits and full Paramount discography
- Polished aluminum and stainless steel cabinet, evoking 1930s high art deco stylings and America’s own Machine Age modernism
- First-of-its-kind music and image player app containing all tracks and ads, housed on sculpted metal USB drive
Author: Buddy Iahn
Buddy Iahn founded The Music Universe when he decided to juxtapose his love of web design and music. As a lifelong drummer, he decided to take a hiatus from playing music to report it. The website began as a fun project in 2013 to one of the top independent news sites.