“Records are the lifeblood of singers, and bands—of everything. Those… those are the documents—you see—that people have.”
— Benny Goodman
On Old Time Blues, the ghosts of music’s past spring to life anew out of the scratchy grooves of old shellac records. Old Time Blues is a weblog founded in 2015 by writer and 78 RPM record collector R.C. Montgomery with a mission to chronicle and preserve the music contained within the grooves of his records and bring their sounds to a new generation of listeners in this postmodern age, as a sort of digital archive of historic 78 RPM phonograph records. On Old Time Blues, you will find musical marvels of all sorts dating back to the first half of the twentieth-century; primarily American “roots” music: blues, jazz, hillbilly, folk music, and more (with an admitted bias toward music from Texas)—some unheard-of and others renowned, with a particular penchant for the peculiar—presented straight off the original record, many of which were not previously available for listening online.
If you have any questions, comments, corrections, complaints, or requests, please leave a comment on this page or any of the posts herein! I can’t promise I’ll respond, but I can promise I’ll read it and appreciate it (unless it’s hate mail).
About the Author…
My name is R. Connor Montgomery (sometimes R.C. Montgomery, or Connor if we’re on friendly terms). The R. stands for Robert, but I go by my middle name to avoid confusion with the movie star. I am a writer, an amateur historian, folklorist and song collector, and an in-general enthusiast of times past. All of my life—as far back as I can remember—I have been captivated by times long before my own, and I’ve taken it upon myself to preserve the relics and traditions left behind from those days gone by as best I can. Since I was just a little child, I was much more interested in old times than new, and as I moved forward in time, so did I drift backwards. Those decades surrounding the two World Wars have always struck me as an absolutely fascinating time in history.
With a passion for writing and a couple thousand old records, I created Old Time Blues to share the music and my ramblings and ruminations thereof, and to spread the good word about these old tunes. I just felt selfish keeping all that wonderful music to myself (and it seemed more justifiable to spend all that money if I did more than just stick them on a shelf). It is my goal herein to provide accurate, comprehensive, and organized information about the records presented here and the people responsible for making them, to help promote awareness of these often forgotten artists, and hopefully to attract new devotees to the marvelous sounds of yesteryear. It is my intention to preach the gospel of the music your great-grandparents used to love. In many cases, I spend hours burning that midnight oil, carefully researching long gone artists whose lives and careers have previously been left mostly unexplored—digitally rifling through piles and piles of old census records, birth and death certificates, draft cards and other such records, and scouring through articles in old trade magazines—to bring you the most accurate and thorough information feasible (still, mistakes can happen, so if you see one please let me know). Before Old Time Blues, scarcely any information had been published—on the internet or in many cases in print—on the lives of some obscure artists like “Buddy” Baker, Slim Lamar, or Roy Shaffer.
Why Old Time Blues?
Old Time Blues draws its name from the eponymous 1921 jazz composition by famed trumpeter Johnny Dunn. Here, the name “Old Time Blues” represents not the genre of music—though plenty of that may be found here—but the feeling called the “blues,” representative of a yearning to return; the blues for old times. After much time spent brainstorming for an appropriate name the project, I came across the record pictured to the right and, as the saying goes, the name seemed to “click.” Thus, Old Time Blues was born.
“Why does the logo say ‘Electrically Recorded’?” you may ask. Well, first of all, it looks pretty darn cool if you ask me, but more than that, just think about it, everything posted on the internet is “electrically recorded” so to speak, so it’s just as valid applied to a website as it was on record labels in the 1920s. More than anything else though, it is a rather iconic relic of the recording industry’s adolescent years, and intended to pay homage to the records of the 1920s and ’30s that comprise this website’s subject matter.
About the Media Posted Here…
All media featured on this website—audio and visual—is digitized from physical artifacts (records, photographs, ephemera, etc.) within the Old Time Blues Collection and Archive (as I’ve dubbed my personal collection to lend it a certain air of importance).
Music featured here is transferred directly from the original 78 RPM records in the Old Time Blues Collection. They are recorded via Audacity from a Rek-O-Kut Rondine Jr. equipped with a Grado F3+ cartridge with appropriate 78 stylus, utilizing hardware equalization. Older transfers (made prior to June, 2016) were recorded using a Sanyo CN1000 MKII cartridge with 3.0 mil elliptical stylus. The audio files presented here are unaltered, excepting varying degrees of restoration (typically limited to minimal pop and click deletion).
Unless explicitly noted, all historical photographs are scanned from hard copies in my own possession, with credit given to the source. All modern photographs were taken by R.C. Montgomery or close acquaintance unless noted otherwise.
This site uses WordPress’s built-in audio playback, no third party applications. If the system does not work for you, please report the issue in one of the comment sections, including the name of your browser, so I can try to figure out what’s going on.
About the Website…
Old Time Blues was created In the wee hours of May 27, 2015, by R. Connor Montgomery, previously the founder and administrator of Fett1138.net, home of the Star Wars fan group, the Followers of Mandalore since 2009.
This website uses WordPress with the Twenty Eleven theme; the background image is a circa 1920s photograph of Hamilton, Texas. Logo typeface is an older (2011) version of “Crystal Deco” font by Pixel Sagas, licensed free for personal use; “Electrically Recorded” branding from 1927 Herwin record label created by Herwin Record Company of St. Louis, Missouri, believed to be in the public domain.
This site is optimized for desktop viewing and may not display properly on mobile devices, though it should still be usable.
All material presented on this website is intended for the purposes of commentary, criticism, and education in a strictly not-for-profit and non-commercial manner, thus all the content here does not generate any monetary gain for any entity. All media presented on this website are digitized from hard copies held in the possession of this site’s owner unless explicitly noted otherwise. All media in the form of audio, imagery, and reproduced text is credited to the proper source. All sound recordings are digitally transferred from original 78 RPM format and presented in unaltered form. The majority of audio recordings presented herein are at least seventy-five years old, and many have not been commercially available in any format for decades. Additionally, none of the audio files presented here are made publicly available for download or distribution.
The majority of media herein is believed to be in the public domain; any and all that should not be is intended to conform to the policies of Fair Use set forth within Title 17, Section 107 of the United States Code, for the express purposes of criticism, comment, scholarship, and research, and strictly for nonprofit educational purposes.
Should any complaint from copyright holders arise, the offending content will be removed immediately upon notification by the holder of the copyright without need for further discourse. There is no ill will of any sort intended.