Paramount Records: Beyond the Blues

November 23rd, 2015
Tom Caw delivering The Other Sides of Paramount Records: Beyond the Blues, at Wisconsin Historical Museum, April 24, 2015

Tom Caw, delivering “The Other Sides of Paramount Records: Beyond the Blues,” at Wisconsin Historical Museum, April 24, 2015

On April 24, 2015, Mills Music Library Music Public Services Librarian Tom Caw gave a talk at the Wisconsin Historical Museum titled “The Other Sides of Paramount Records: Beyond the Blues.” It was part of The Rise and Fall and Rise of Paramount Records, a three-day program exploring the music, history, and artists of Wisconsin’s own Paramount Records, presented by the UW-Madison Center for the Humanities. The Wisconsin Historical Museum included it as part of their History Sandwiched In lunchtime lecture series, Wisconsin Public Television filmed it for broadcast on their University Place series, and now it is available to view on the Wisconsin Public Television website.

Caw was joined by Dean Blackwood, Owner of Revenant Records, and Executive Producer of The Rise and Fall of Paramount Records, Volume 1, 1917-1927, and Volume 2, 1928-1932, who spoke briefly about how Paramount came to be, and how the recordings of blues, gospel, and jazz they released came to be what the label is most famous for around the world. Though best known for its blues recordings, Paramount released hundreds of records in dozens of genres, including work by Wisconsin artists performing Old Time (or Hillbilly) music, polka, and dance orchestra tunes. Caw told stories about some of these musicians–Wisconsin U Skyrockets, Paul Gosz’s Orchestra, Sig Heller and his Orchestra, and Jack Penewell–and played recordings by them held at Mills Music Library.

For more information about about Paramount Records and the three other record labels–Broadway, Famous, and Puritan–produced by the New York Recording Laboratories (NYRL) of Port Washington, Wisconsin, consult the Paramount Records Discography. All records included in this discography are in the Wisconsin Music Archives of Mills Music Library.

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