Cut Straight to Record | Recording technology & the sound of early Blues

Written by Dr Anders Ingram

My recent release, The Trouble EP, was recorded and cut direct to vinyl by The Lathe Revival in Newcastle in 2016 using 1930s equipment. You can listen to it here.

I’d be willing to bet that if I had told you that these recordings were made in the late 1930s or early 40s you would have believed me. It just has that sound … but what is that sound exactly?

Anyone who has ever put a second hand record on a deck can tell you that dust, static, and a worn stylus, etc. can cause hiss, crackle, and pops, while wear and scratches to the record can cause many other sound issues. However, this is something more. The fundamental sound itself is shaped by the format and the recording process.

So what was that process?
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Classic Blues Albums

Written by Ross Woods


Choosing a set of classic albums is a very personal thing, something where there’s no right and wrong. I chose these albums with a few different things in mind. Some of them are personal favourites, some are representative of an important style, some of them have heavily influenced popular music, and some are all three!

Almost all the music was recorded before 1970 – there’s plenty of great blues recorded since, but I can’t cover everything! I’ve chosen albums that feature individual artists, and a few compilations.

It’s worth bearing in mind that the LP only became popular in the 1950s, and before then almost all music was released as singles on 78rpm. Albums of pre-1950s music are virtually all compilations; the ones I suggest below are just examples, and others can be just as good.

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Blues Musicians | Rufus Herbertson

Rufus

Rufus at Octoblues 2015

If you’ve ever danced blues in Southern Germany, chances are you’ll have been lucky enough to have danced to music played by the incredibly talented Rufus Herbertson, a blues musician from Mannheim.

My first encounter with Rufus was when I travelled to France for Blues in Paris, November 2014. He was playing alongside Annette Kuhnle who was teaching classes on styles of dancing to Piedmont Blues music.

Taking classes with a musician playing live is something quite special and his musicianship was very special too. Rufus also played an intimate acoustic set at the Sunday night party. We loved his music so much he had to perform two encores before we’d let him go.

More recently I was lucky enough to renew our acquaintance when Rufus came to play at Octoblues (Heidelberg, Germany). He played a late Saturday night set for us that was just beautiful. He coaxed a roomful of very tired dancers back onto the floor, and kept us long after we hoped to be asleep in our beds. His instinct for when to liven things up and keep us awake, and when to play quieter, dream-like music was just amazing.

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