Blues Exhibit at Central Library

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26th Annual Blues Festival Flyer 


 Edison Cylinder Player

cylinder rolls
Two examples of cylinder rolls

“Beautiful Beckoning Hands” – Edison Mixed Quartet

“Pickaninny Blues” 1888 – The Crescent Trio

 Victor Record Player

Victor Record Player. circa 1912

Victor Talking Machine 78 rpm table model with shellac record


 Guitar Slim Display

 Guitar SlimJames “Guitar Slim” Stephens (d.1989) was born on March 10, 1915, near Spartanburg, South Carolina. He began playing pump organ when he was only five years old, singing spirituals he learned from his parents and reels he heard his older brother pick on the banjo. Slim was so small that his feet would not reach the organ pedals, so he had one of his brothers do the pumping while he practiced the keys.

Within a few years, Slim was playing piano. When he was 13, he began picking guitar, playing songs he heard at local "fling-dings," house parties, and churches. A few years later, he joined the John Henry Davis Medicine Show, playing music to draw crowds to hear the show master's pitch; this took him throughout the southeastern Piedmont. It seems as if traveling was in Slim’s blood from that point on; in the next 20 or so years, he moved throughout the eastern United States, living in such cities as Richmond, Durham, Louisville, Nashville, and Waterbury, Connecticut.

In 1953 he arrived in Greensboro, where he lived for the remainder of his life playing both guitar and piano -- singing the blues at house parties and spirituals at church. His first LP, "Greensboro Rounder," (seen here) was issued in 1979 by the British Flyright label.


Okeh (4169) 78 rpm. Recorded Tuesday, August 10, 1920

Okeh label advertising promo for some of Mamie Smith’s earlier recordings.

Original sheet music for Crazy Blues by Mamie Smith and Her Jazzhounds

This #4169 Okeh 78 rpm record is generally acknowledged as the first commercial blues recording. Mamie Smith and Her Jazzhounds With The Crazy Blues, recorded on Tuesday, August 10, 1920 in New York City. The flip side is "It’s Right Here For You (If You Don’t Get It ‘Taint No Fault O’ Mine"

Also displayed is the original Okeh advertising and sheet music.


 Crazy Blues