But I will also need to win the lottery to get it. TMR needs to stop with the releases until I can get a job and catch up. I haven't bought anything from them for MONTHS. It hurts me.
Jump to content
Posted 30 September 2013 - 04:21 PM
But I will also need to win the lottery to get it. TMR needs to stop with the releases until I can get a job and catch up. I haven't bought anything from them for MONTHS. It hurts me.
Posted 30 September 2013 - 04:33 PM
^ That is such an excellent meme. Needs to go in the Awwww &/or Otter threads, too
Posted 30 September 2013 - 06:44 PM
This looks awesome, and it is partnered with the label John Fahey started, so double cool. Just out of curiosity, where are people getting the $400 pricetag?
Posted 30 September 2013 - 06:54 PM
Just out of curiosity, where are people getting the $400 pricetag?
More details-- http://www.nashville...e-coming-nov-19
Posted 01 October 2013 - 10:26 AM
Ah, thanks for the info. Getting 800 songs for that price isn't a bad deal by any means...however I almost wish they broke the set up a little more as $400 in one chunk is still kind of steep :/
Posted 01 October 2013 - 06:14 PM
I find when people try to replicate a style of furniture (or in this case, box) the same care and detail is not quite given. I wonder what the quality of these will be like?
yes. tmr's flying by the seat of their pants production values makes this project dauntingly suspect. the great northern lights box set was (sorry jack!) abysmally shoddy. everything fell apart but the music. tmr needs to think outsource. like some of that excellent chinese production. those fresh from the farm children and their overseers know how to deliver. see apple.
Posted 02 October 2013 - 09:51 AM
i will be honest. i have a difficult time reconciling tmr pulling the little room from their website. i find it difficult to support them financially when they have, potentially, left us without their support.
yes, i'm petty. but we ARE the grass roots. albeit the numbers are very low but my heart never wanes. i don't cast the white stripes aside because they are single in number now. it troubles me to have to say this as much as it troubles me to be discarded. without word or thought because, perhaps, my numbers aren't significant enough to warrant their glance. more troubling is that idea that the numbers aren't economically viable enough to garner their time and effort.
what happened to you jack? where have you misplaced your heart?
Edited by lindapoirier, 02 October 2013 - 09:52 AM.
Posted 10 October 2013 - 06:08 PM
Love Music in Glasgow posted this earlier:
Anyone fancy a 6xLP 'wonder cabinet' trunk case box set collaboration between Jack White's Third Man and John Fahey's Revenant documenting the rise & fall of Paramount Records ? Yes, please! The only sticking point... £500! And this is only Volume 1.
Trying to find out for sure if that means these are being sold in UK stores. 500 quid though, jesus. Just under $800. Guess that would cover the cost of getting the damned things over here.
Edit: Apparently, they are going to be available! Love Music said they can order them if anyone wants one. Now....where the hell do I find £500?
Edited by goodmorningspider, 11 October 2013 - 08:23 AM.
Posted 24 October 2013 - 12:37 PM
Wonderful interview with Jack about the making of the Cabinet of Wonders-- http://www.rollingst...ection-20131024
"It's not about making money on this one," Jack White says, laughing but proud, of his most ambitious project to date as a label boss: The Rise and Fall of Paramount Records, Volume One (1917-1927). Here's why: The anthology comes in a period-perfect oak cabinet resembling that of a portable Victrola and includes two, large boutique-quality books packed with annotation and original memorabilia; a birch-wood folio with six colored-vinyl LPs featuring almost 100 classic Paramount releases; and, in a felt-lined pocket at the bottom of the box, a USB jammed with 800 tracks from Paramount's first ten years.
And that music is essential, American history. Established by a Wisconsin chair manufacturer, Paramount issued thousands of 78-RPM sides by pioneers and stars of early-20th Century blues, jazz and country, including Blind Blake, Ma Rainey, Jelly Roll Morton, Blind Lemon Jefferson, the virtuoso fiddler Osey Helton and, as a sideman, the young Louis Armstrong. "It's a remarkable pantheon of greats," says Dean Blackwood, co-founder with the late guitarist John Fahey of the Revenant label, which is co-releasing the set with White's Third Man Records. "It was an absurd embarrassment of riches, especially for a company that really wanted to sell expensive bits of furniture."
The first volume of this contemporary telling of the Paramount story costs $400 and is available in a limited edition of 5000 copies. (It can be ordered from Third Man starting on October 29th and will be available worldwide on November 19th. Volume Two will come in 2014.) White and Blackwood admit they have to sell as many as 4000 sets of Volume One just to break even on the production costs. "But everything we do, it's never to make a dollar," White says of Third Man, which has recently released vinyl compilations of Blind Willie McTell and the Mississippi Shieks and started a reissue line of seminal Sun Records 45s. "It's always to make something exist. And we end up paying the bills that way, because other people want to experience those things too."
The following excerpt is from an interview with White about the Paramount project and delves into his passion for the company's peculiar history -- White had his own furniture restoration firm before starting his band, the White Stripes. "We were scared from the get-go," White confessed when asked if Rise and Fall's price tag would be prohibitive to some, even intensely curious folks. "But somebody sent me that recent Beatles box set of their vinyl albums, and that was $350. We were like, 'Fuck it. Those are just records. Think of what we're trying to do.'"
This is not a boxed set. It's furniture.
Little Jack Lawrence from Dead Weather and the Raconteurs had a portable Victrola at his house. I wanted to make the box like that, with quarter-sawn oak, because that's what that furniture company was using for their cabinets. And the USB is designed and antique-crafted to resemble the diaphragm of an old, portable phonograph.
You were designing the set based on something no one had manufactured in almost an entire century.
You get involved in every component. You just can't do it over the phone: "We want this to be black." They'd send it back, and it would look like something you bought at Home Depot. When it comes to this, God is in the details. You can't just draw it on a napkin and walk away. It's not about perfection or control. It's about searching for beauty – until you get something beautiful.
We would have these happy accidents. The laser-etched birch covers [for the vinyl-LP folio] were done by an artist in Nashville. He has a shop across the street from Third Man. He ended up doing our deluxe edition of the Great Gatsby soundtrack.
Did you consider trying to do the rise and fall of Paramount as one set? This is only the first ten years, and Charley Patton, arguably the label's greatest bluesman, hasn't shown up yet.
If you wanted to do the complete Paramount, it would probably take four of these things. That's what's so beautiful about them – they didn't give a damn. Their idea was volume, quantity over quality. They only used 20 percent shellac in their records, when they should have used 30. They were just whipping them out, hurrying up to get to the next artist, see what would sell 20 copies, then move to the next thing – with the end goal of selling furniture. But they captured a snapshot of American culture that would end up influencing the planet for the next 100 years.
Paramount was also documenting the music of America's black and white underclasses – jazz bands, blues singers, country fiddlers and novelty acts.
With all of the racism of that time period, this was an equal playing ground for everybody. If you had a story to tell, they didn't care. You could be poor, in a minority, and tell your story on a record – that you wrote. And it would be sold to people? Think about how unbelievable that was.
What Paramount records or artists were important to you as a young musician, on your way to and in the White Stripes?
I had to be careful of not being too much a collector of records. I had to keep one foot in that water, one foot out. It's dangerous for me, as a creative person, as a songwriter. When I came up, a lot of people who worked in record stores were in bands, and they couldn't seem to write a song that wasn't a reference point to something else. I tried to push myself to do something else, that was coming from inside my own brain. Of course, it will sound like something. But I didn't want to write a song like Big Bill Broonzy. I wanted to write a song that sounds like I wrote it.
Yet at Town Hall in September, at the concert for the Coen Brothers film, "Inside Llewyn Davis," you covered a Paramount recording, "Mama's Angel Son" by Sweet Papa Stovepipe.
That's the song that got me involved in this project. It encompassed everything that is beautiful about Paramount Records. He only made one record. Who is this guy? He was there for ten minutes. They put it out, and moved on to the next person. Dean Blackwell [of Revenant] sent it over to me. We were talking about the possibilites of this set. And that was the first song that caught me. I thought, "I have to play this song." Then, "We have to do this box set."
The zenith of Paramount – recording Charley Patton – is going to be explored in the second volume. They recorded the grandfather of the blues, of modern music. He didn't seem like a real person. He seemed like he wasn't from earth. Charley Patton's presence led us to this idea. But as we got into more obscure songs, we realized this is just too good a story. You have so many pieces of America involved in this one thing: a company that's going out of business, looking to stay afloat, so they decide to go into the record business.
Basically the reverse of what's happening in the record industry now.
Exactly! [Laughs] The whole story of American culture – you can discover it in this one set. That's what's appealing to me. It's every idea you can imagine – a forgotten artist no one cares about, mixed with a failing business, then the Great Depression, the materials people used to build things. Paramount was struggling to break even, cranking out tons of product.
That sounds familiar.
We're doing the same thing at Third Man. But I realized, beautiful is not a desperate scenario. They thought it was, where they could close shop at any day. You get to learn from their experience, but look at it from a positive viewpoint – which they wouldn't have been able to do. I doubt they cared that they were documenting anything about culture at all.
Posted 28 October 2013 - 09:16 AM
And another excellent article about this-- http://www.nytimes.c...cords.html?_r=0
In the annals of American music in the 20th century, no record label had a more unlikely origin or trajectory than Paramount Records. Founded in 1917 as a subsidiary of the Wisconsin Chair Company, which was eager to supply content for the phonographs it had begun to manufacture, Paramount took a scattershot approach to its business, recording more than 10,000 tracks of blues, gospel, hot jazz, treacly pop, and hillbilly and ethnic music before going bust during the Depression.
So it seems appropriate that a new Paramount boxed set, due out on Tuesday, is literally that: an oak box, stamped with the Wisconsin Chair Company’s logo, that mimics one of the “talking machines” Paramount’s parent produced. The cabinet of curiosities even comes with what initially seems to be a key for a vintage phonograph — but which, in a distinctly 21st-century touch, turns out to be a flash drive stocked with, among other things, 800 tracks of music in MP3 format.
“We wanted to highlight a whole menagerie of things,” said Jack White, formerly of the White Stripes and now the leader of Dead Weather, who played a role in both the design of the set and the selection of the tracks. “This Paramount music, I wanted to make it as appealing as possible to somebody in a physical, tactile way, all of that, the smell, everything, so as to lead you into the incredible stories that are contained in the music.”
The set, “The Rise and Fall of Paramount Records,” is a joint project of Mr. White’s Third Man label and Revenant Records, founded by the guitarist John Fahey and run since his death in 2001 by Dean Blackwood. It draws from Paramount’s first decade and includes recordings by major figures like Jelly Roll Morton, King Oliver, Fletcher Henderson, Alberta Hunter, Ma Rainey and Blind Lemon Jefferson, as well as oddities from first-time performers who faded into history.
Spectacular though it may be, “The Rise and Fall of Paramount” is only the latest example of a trend that has been gaining ground in American music over the last decade. As pop drifts further and further from its roots in blues and country, some contrarian listeners are moving in the opposite direction, seeking out artists from the earliest years of the recording era.
One result has been a conspicuous increase in reissue projects on labels that exist specifically for that purpose or, like Smithsonian Folkways, have partially embraced it. Some of those labels, like Yazoo and Origin Jazz Library, as well as Ace and Document in Britain, have been around since the vinyl era, but others, most notably the Atlanta-based Dust to Digital label, are purely products of the CD era.
“What we are always trying to do is fill in gaps,” said Lance Ledbetter of Dust to Digital, whose first project, a six-CD compilation of early 20th-century religious music called “Goodbye Babylon,” was released 10 years ago Sunday. “The younger generation wants to be transported. It’s easy for them to be jaded because everything is one search away. But they go into a shop and see one of our sets of never-before-reissued music, and they say, ‘This isn’t like something I downloaded or saw on YouTube.’ It’s opening up their world to a whole new music.”
Reflecting that awareness, a National Recording Preservation Foundation, authorized by Congress, recently began operating, aided by a $200,000 donation from Mr. White, who also sits on its board. Gerald Seligman, the executive director of the nonprofit foundation, suggested that digitized vintage reissues not only sound infinitely better than they used to back in the era of turntables, when every scratch and hiss was magnified, but retain an appealing authenticity that can be enhanced with the proper packaging.
“Before the multitrack era, performances were done live in the studio,” he noted. “So there is a kind of immediacy and honesty to those recordings that makes them feel like a person in a room.”
“Music has been cheapened to the point that many people expect it to be free,” he continued. “When your competition is free, you’ve got to think about who wants this material and what they want with it. Deluxe packaging means it will be expensive,” but some people have “a certain nostalgia for the physical object.”
The Paramount set, limited to 5,000 copies and carrying a list price of $400, takes that concept to a new level. In addition to the 800 digital tracks, the package includes a six-LP vinyl sampler, encased in a wood album with laser-etched titling.
The set also comes with two books. One, in large paperback format and called a “field manual,” is a kind of encyclopedia, offering 360 pages of biographies of Paramount artists as well as a list of all the tracks they recorded for the label, along with the date and place of recording and the names, when known, of the musicians who played on the track.
The other book, a hardcover, contains 100 pages of essays about individual artists and the history of the company, the phonograph, minstrelsy and the migration of blacks from the rural South northward. Perhaps even more interesting to collectors are an additional 150 pages of illustrations: copies of original Paramount advertisements from the 1920s, which were done in a hand-drawn style that the cartoonist Robert Crumb has acknowledged as an influence, and the labels and sleeves of 78-r.p.m. recordings.
Since their introduction at the beginning of the CD era, boxed sets have come to adopt a standardized format: multiple discs in a cardboard box, accompanied by an explanatory essay with photographs. “The Rise and Fall of Paramount” aims to break with that practice by providing what Mr. Blackwood describes as “a deluxe integrated package not to be taken piecemeal.”
“This can represent a definitive take on the Paramount story, which has a narrative that has not been written about a lot,” he said. “It’s not an attempt at completism, but a fairly disciplined culling, something representative of the character and variety of this label.”
A second, equally imposing box is to be released next year. It will cover the label’s final years and focus on blues artists, like Blind Lemon Jefferson, Charley Patton, Son House and Skip James, whose music was crucial to the 1960s blues-rock revival and lives on today in recordings by artists as diverse as Bob Dylan and Gov’t Mule.
For decades, many Paramount recordings have been nearly impossible to find in their original 78-r.p.m. format, and therefore were highly sought by record collectors willing to pay hundreds of dollars for a single disc. Only a few hundred copies of many titles were pressed initially, and when the company went out of business, just before Christmas in 1933, employees were allowed to help themselves to the remaining stock in lieu of pay.
“A lot of people took metal master recordings and the 78s home, where they were sometimes used for target practice or even to cover up holes in the wall,” said Alex van der Tuuk, the author of the book “Paramount’s Rise and Fall” and research director and co-producer of the boxed set. “Other employees were angry and went upstairs and sailed them right off the roof into the Milwaukee River.”
Paramount is notable also because it employed Mayo Williams, regarded as the first African-American record producer. Based in Chicago, Williams, an outstanding athlete during his college days at Brown University, played in the fledgling National Football League at the same time he was scouting, signing and recording performers for Paramount’s division for “race records,” the somewhat dismissive term used in the pre-World War II era to describe music marketed to blacks.
Along with affiliated labels like Famous, Puritan and Broadway, Paramount acquired its vast archive not by design but largely by accident. Because the label’s executives had little knowledge of or interest in music, they adopted an open-door recording policy, which led them to stumble onto artists and entire genres that other record labels viewed as either beneath their dignity or commercially inviable.
“They weren’t thinking about this in musical terms or a musical legacy, especially the race stuff,” said Matt Appleby, a curator at the University of Wisconsin library, which runs a Paramount discography. “Their business model was just ‘If we think we can make some money off this, then let’s record.’ It was ephemera to them, with new songs out every month. That was the extent of their interest.”
Mr. White said he listened to thousands of Paramount tracks multiple times, trying to apply an approach like that of Harry Smith when he compiled the influential “Anthology of American Folk Music” in the 1950s, “picking things that he thought were weird or an anomaly in the culture.” He continued, “I like that philosophy, because it brings you to history, a strange and uniquely American history.”
The Paramount set is an outgrowth of an earlier Revenant seven-CD set, “Charley Patton: Screamin’ and Hollerin’ the Blues,” which won three Grammy Awards in 2003. Mr. White was one of the fans of that package, which contained songs he had been searching for since he was a teenage crate-digger prowling the record shops of Detroit. He said he hoped that the new box would encourage a younger generation of curious listeners to “go deeper and see where it all came from.”
“Hearing that music changed my life, it was a whole new direction for me,” he said. “I’m committed to making sure these records are available in one form or another, so that we can make people’s imagination blow up and try to get them involved in the beauty of it all. It’s not about trying to make money off the music, it’s witchcraft to lure you down the path to get you to the story.”
Posted 29 October 2013 - 06:12 PM
Cross-posting what I wrote over at Swirl because it's been a damned long journey to get this thing and I'm too tired and hungry and giddy to think of new words--
It. Is. So. Gorgeous.
It's on display in the Novelties Lounge, so
I had a chance to check it out in detail. I didn't want to totally
screw up their display, so I asked Jenna (the girl working the shop) how
heavy it was. She brought one from the back and at first I thought
there was no way I was going to be able to haul it home on the plane
with me because it's packed in a huge cardboard box. Way too big to
carry on. They won't ship from the physical store, so I figured, ok,
I'll go back to where I'm staying, order it from the on-line store, and
it'd probably be waiting for me when I get home on Sunday. Then I went
back to the display and looked at the components a bit more. Then I went
out front and had a smoke and thought about it. Went back inside and
told Jenna I was still debating, thinking that if I took it out of the
packing box that I might be able to carry it on the plane after all. She
told me to go ahead and put all the pieces inside the display box and
give it a lift to see how heavy it was. It weighs a freaking ton, that
box is SOLID. But the hardbound book is probably a third of the weight
of the whole set (glory, that thing's beautiful), so I figure if I put
that and the softcover book in my suitcase and carry only the box with
the records in it, then it won't be so bad.
The box is so
gorgeous, with terrific attention to detail, but the thing that I think
might impress me the most (aside from that hardbound book) is the folio
that holds the records. It was apparently created by the guy who did the
Gatsby sleeves and the mechanics of it are just beautiful. After
looking at this thing up close, I seriously think they could have
charged well over $500 for it.
And I'm glad I decided to deal
with the complication of getting it on the plane, because the place
where I'm staying has a turntable. So I don't even have to wait till I
get home on Sunday to listen to the records
Posted 29 October 2013 - 11:34 PM
Posted 30 October 2013 - 05:31 AM
Giddy with happiness (and a little envy, i admit) for you!! Looking forward to hearing what you think of the music too
Posted 30 October 2013 - 06:07 AM
Thank you mac & gms I wish I could share this thing with everyone, it is so beautiful. It really sums up everything that getting into Jack's music means to me. His own music has been a tremendous gift, but on top of that he's opened so many doors to a whole world of music that, if not for him, I would've gone to my grave being aware of but not appreciating. He's really created something wonderful here, and I'm so grateful to him and everyone who was involved with it (and there were a LOT of people involved, there are 2 1/2 pages of credits at the end of the book!)
mac, I'm staying in a duplex near Grimey's that I found via AirBnB. Unfortunately, the turntable is wonky, the record bounces like it's hitting against something, not gonna damage these beauties by trying to play them. So I've been playing with the usb instead and, oh my, it's amazing. It's called a "Jobber-Luxe" and it's presented as a tool for the old Paramount record salesmen to use with their customers, like a catalog of their wares. Combined with the field manual that contains the record tracklists (no tracks on the record labels, but I can understand why), the usb song list, and bios of all 172 musicians, there are HOURS of listening and learning in this set. You can explore the folders via your hard drive, or there's an index.html file that opens a website with slideshows of the old Paramount advertisements, and a music section where you can create your own playlists (a daunting task, I think), listen to pre-set playlists, or turn on "Paramount Radio", which just brings up random tracks. Oh, and you can also play the Paramount Radio while perusing the ad section. I found the coolest video on the usb last night, no idea yet where it might be on the website. Two artists who jumped out at me while listening last night are Flo Bert and Frankie Jaxon, but it's going to take some time to really get familiar with who's who on this thing via the field manual. Just noticed this while looking at the artist list at the website-- the page title is "You are not limited to any one type of record but can play them ALL, changing from one to the other instantly." Little touches like that keep blowing me away.
The binding of the hardbound book, with yet more detailed information about the company and beautiful prints of the old Paramount ads, took my breath away. The back cover is a mirror image of the front! I would post photos, but left the camera cable at home so can't upload anything.
And one of my favorite parts of the whole set is the folio that holds the records-- It's cut from a single sheet of birch, and the center of the sheet has been beautifully scored to make it flexible and allow it to wrap around like a book. It was apparently created by the same guy who did the wood sleeves for the Gatsby limited edition set.
jeejet, they're making 5.000. Mine's number 1,120. As expensive as this thing is, when you take in the construction of it and everything that it contains, it's clear that they could have charged a whole heckuva lot more for it. So while it's a damned shame it's not obtainable for more people, it's completely worth every penny. I can't wait until people who've ordered it receive theirs so that they can share their impressions of it, too.
Posted 30 October 2013 - 06:31 AM
Posted 30 October 2013 - 09:55 AM
I am so glad to read that you 1) got one 2) love it and 3) found 'your money's worth' value in the entire product- something I think was seriously lacking in the Gatsby. And it has music you may actually enjoy listening to! Fantastic
0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users