University of Wisconsin–Madison

Paramount Records 78

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 phonographic 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 musical historians 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:

Object history written by Sergio González

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


Object history created February 2014.