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John Peel OBE, 1939 - 2004

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Meaning In The Blues
a new JSP 4-CD set celebrating the 50th anniversary
of Blues Fell This Morning by Paul Oliver
Compiled and annotated by Max Haymes


Resume by Max Haymes ......

The reason I am writing this short resume on the forthcoming 4-CD set, on JSP Records, Meaning In The Blues, is because this was the sub-title of the very first book published in the UK concentrating solely on the Blues and for the most part the early or Ďpre-warí blues (1890-1943) at that.  2010 marks the 50th. anniversary of this truly seminal publication.  Of course Paulís output has continued right up to the present day and includes equally essential titles such as Conversation With The Blues, Screening The Blues, Songsters & Saints, Blues Off The Record,-to mention just a few.   

As well as countless essays, dissertations, L.P. & CD sleeve notes, Paul Oliver has given a vast series of lectures and talks on the Blues, worldwide.  Indeed, I had the great honour of sharing the podium with him at Oxford University taking part in a day-long symposium on the Blues.  This was about 8 years ago and I count that day as one of the highlights in my life. I have subsequently visited his fascinating home (parts going back to the 17th. century) and I am proud to call my literary mentor also as a friend. 

Paul has interviewed and recorded scores of Blues singers from the early 1960s onwards, and he is basically an essential corner stone in the understanding of the Blues; certainly from an outsiderís  viewpoint. 

Paul Oliverís iconic Blues Fell This Morning (Meaning in the Blues) changed my life forever.  This JSP  release (in early 2011) is my way of paying tribute not only to this book but also to the great man who wrote it. I have chosen a few selected themes from it and only a handful of the recorded examples used by Paul. The unprecedented and burgeoning Blues scene across the planet in the early 21st. century owes much to Paul Oliverís awesome dedication and contributions to Blues writings and knowledge. 

Before going on to a short Ďtrailerí from JSPís Meaning In The Blues, Iíd like to dwell briefly on the booklet which accompanies this CD set.  Containing some 21,000 words (!) it is greatly enhanced by the many illustrations provided by the record companyís graphic designer, Andrew Aitken (as well as a few of my own).  On receiving the proofs for these notes  I was totally overwhelmed by the 100-page layout, and I have to say that JSP has pulled all the stops out in response to my initial suggestion for this project.  Thank you John Steadman (bossman at JSP). 

Now, Alan has asked me to include a short excerpt from this booklet, or as we called it in the world of movies, a Ďtrailerí.  So without further ado here it is...

Many thanks to Max for the resume.
Alan White,  Earlyblues.com

"Meaning In The Blues - The 50th Anniversary of Blues Fell This Morning by Paul Oliver"
JSP Records 4-Cd Set JSP77141 - available now
Otis Harris, Rambliní Thomas, Bukka White, Gene Campbell, Kokomo Arnold, Tommy Settles,
Ida Cox, Tom Dickson, Nellie Florence, Rube Lacey, Henry Williams, Alice Moore, Bo Carter
and many more ...

"Remember 1960 when you went out and bought that copy of Phillips BBL7369 - Paul Oliverís compilation of pre-war gems Blues Fell This Morning? What a revelation it was, virtually no blues was available here in the UK at that time, the blues boom of the sixties hadnít started yet and it was thanks to enthusiasts like Oliver that it did. The album was a companion to his book of the same name and young blues loonies like yours truly devoured any word the great man wrote. Hereís a great idea by blues writer Max Haymes: dedicate a 102 track anthology (and 80 page book!) to Paul Oliver to celebrate both the wonderful music and the career of our greatest blues writer.
Thatís exactly what he's done. Big one of the year from JSP?"

Tony Chilcott, Red Lick Records



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