Traditional music still has many followers. And for some of these is not just a passion or a job. It’s something that looks like a cult, a process of veneration in which aesthetic and symbolic elements converge. Without imagining this empathic relationship with the traditional world, it would be even more difficult to understand the reasons which prompted John Tefteller, an Oregon-based records dealer, to pay $ 37,100 for the 78’s “Alcohol and Jake Blues” of Delta bluesman Tommy Johnson. As explained by Jason Newman in an article in fuse.tv, some original recordings of Paramount not only have acquired the status of myth – as mentioned before – but they have an unparalleled historical value. In fact, there are no masters or reprints of these discs. For this reason certain artists, or some sessions can be heard only on commercial (original) copies. Copies, of course, be counted on one or two hands.
Tommy Johnson is considered a “premier vocalist “, with a very powerful voice, and a good guitarist, whose style has influenced most famous blues singers, as Robert Nighthawk and Howlin ‘ Wolf. As for Robert Johnson, also Tommy Johnson is said to have sold his soul to the devil in exchange for his guitar technique. He recorded “Alcohol and Jake Blues” in 1929. After the session for Paramount, which followed those carried out the year before for Victor Recordings of Memphis, the bluesman native of Terry, Mississippi, did not record another. John Tefteller already had a copy of the disc, but it was kept in bad conditions. This however, that he went to pick up in person in North Carolina, is perfect and, he says, “even if they offered me $ 400,000, not sell it. It is for my collection, “the largest collection of blues recordings in the world”.
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