Image of a blue covered paramount record of the song Created by the management of the Wisconsin Chair Company, a furniture making business based in Port Washington, Wisconsin, Paramount Records was initially incorporated to help sell phonograph cabinets in the late 1910s. Relying on resourceful talent recruiters and a relatively cheap production process, Paramount Records became one of the leading blues music record producers in the 1920s, and is today recognized by historians of music for their recordings of Ma Rainy, Louis Armstrong, and Blind Lemon Jefferson.

Take a listen:

Ma Rainy, “Explainin’ the Blues,” (1925)

Ma Rainy and Lovie Austin and her Blues Serenaders, “Last Minute Blues,” (1923)

Listen to the Paramount Records 78’s segment on Wisconsin Public Radio’s Wisconsin Life:

Written by Sergio González, February 2014.

Object and sound recordings courtesy of the Mills Music Library, University of Wisconsin-Madison Libraries.


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