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66 The presence of African American entertainers in Europe and the impact of African American music in Europe around the end of the nineteenth century , as well as aspects of cross-fertilization, remain largely unresearched. Most of the early authors of scholarly books and discographies on blues and jazz were Europeans, who had little or no first-hand impressions of Sedalia, or New Orleans, or Clarksdale, or Chicago. Their only contact with the music was through recordings available to them in Europe from the 1920s up to the 1960s. And they did not have access to recording ledgers, black papers, and other such research materials, that have only recently been discovered, or re-discovered. Today we take it for granted that for all practical purposes just about any jazz or blues recording is readily available on CD.2 During the 1920s up to the 1940s, however, very little authentic jazz and even less blues was made available by British record companies, and hardly any in the rest of Europe. Prior to 1942 some seven thousand double-sided blues and gospel records were released in the United States by commercial companies, involving some 5 Black Music Prior to the First World War AMERICAN ORIGINS AND GERMAN PERSPECTIVES1 —RAINER E. LOTZ 67 BLACK MUSIC PRIOR TO THE FIRST WORLD WAR twelve hundred artists,3 and an estimated total of twenty-two thousand titles when including archival recordings for the Library of Congress. Of this total only about fifty were available to record buyers in Europe, almost all of them released in Britain.4 Lizzie Miles’s “You’re Always Messin’ Round with My Man” (1923) from Victor 19083 was probably the first blues issue in Europe on HMV B1703 (coupling Sissle and Blake for the reverse side). Her Brunswick 2462 (also 1923) was likewise issued in Britain. Other 1920s issues were Clara Smith’s Columbia 14183-D (1926) on English Columbia 8938, as were the various issues in the Guardsman Negro Race Dance Record series of 1926 (Lena Wilson, Viola McCoy, Edna Hicks), as well as the various issues in the English Oriole Race Series of 1927 (Viola McCoy, Edmonia Henderson, Rosa Henderson), and The Memphis Jug Band coupling on Regal-Zonophone MR2331.5 Several items by the Louisville jug groups were issued in Britain, though most of the foreign 78s listed in Blues and Gospel Records 1890–1943, are postwar reissues . HMV B5398 by Dixieland Jug Blowers is contemporary, so is Brunswick 01265 by Philips’ Louisville Jug Band. Among the few continental European contemporary issues are the Fisk University Jubilee Singers issues in the French Columbia 14000 series—these are only listed in the amendment service, but two of the couplings involved were also on English Regal. Douglas Williams’s “Thrill Me” was issued in both Spain and Italy with a reverse by the Washboard Rhythm Kings. There are a lot of Eva Taylor’s on English labels. Mamie Smith’s “Jenny’s Ball” was issued by Parlophone in Britain and Italy and on Odeon in Germany. Reverses are by Lonnie Johnson, whose records with Ed Lang were also widely issued across Europe.6 A remarkable freak issue is a coupling of “Long Gone”/“I’m Looking for a Woman” by Papa Charlie Jackson on a German flexible Biberphon B.536, and labeled Manhattan Roof Orchestra (“Farewell Blues”/“Memphis Blues”). Apparently the wrong stampers were shipped from the United States by the Paramount company, and the error was only realized after a couple of test pressings.7 The situation is not quite as striking with regard to jazz releases in Europe. In Germany, American “jazz” was represented almost exclusively by performers such as Ed Kirkeby, Vincent Lopez, Mike Markel, Harry Reser, Ben Selvin, and Paul Whiteman. Authentic hot performances by black bands are as rare as hens’ teeth and could not have had a wide distribution. A German Beka featuring Thomas Morris 68 RAINER E. LOTZ only surfaced in the Czech Republic some seventy-five years after its original “publication” and to-date is not listed in any discography.8 After the world war, technologies such as the phonograph cylinders, player pianos, or musical boxes were at best vaguely remembered by a past generation in Europe. The pre-history of jazz and blues has tended to disappear . Record collectors are guilty of neglecting of areas of musical tradition which are under-represented or unrepresented on record.9 But is it really true that no early tangible, factual evidence exists to discuss...


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