From the blog

Website Improvement Means Quicker Research

We are moving rapidly through our daily reveal of the tracks included on Before the Big Bang, and response has been very encouraging not only to the selections but also to the informative tidbits used to gloss the items. You may have seen these on Facebook or in their proper[…]

Hail to the Record Collectors

A major undertaking such as Before the Big Bang is only possible through the generosity of some of the most discerning record collectors. We’re not talking about the good folks who pursue the ultra rare electric blues and country (Paramount, etc.) and pay top dollar for the privilege of owning the discs.

It’s the handful of people who collect the world’s oldest recordings, many of them one of a kind. There’s an art to finding, understanding, and caring for those brown wax cylinders from the 1890s, the black moulded cylinders from the 1900s, and the earliest acoustically recorded discs such as Berliners and others. Some things are easy to find, but condition is key.

Census and Distribution of Tracks

OK, you numbers people. Get your pencils sharpened, because we’re going to draw some stats from our Before the Big Bang tracks.

We have now announced 50 of the 167 tracks appearing on the set; that’s nearly one-third of the total. Those 50 actually give a pretty good sampling of the types of people, material, and decades represented on the CDs. Let’s zoom in more closely.

Don Richardson: The First Country Recording Artist?

Despite our admonition on this blog to “beware of firsts,” I couldn’t help myself.

For those skeptics who doubt that country music began with the 1927 Bristol Sessions, Eck Robertson and Henry Gilliland are usually, hands down, their favored candidates for the artists who made the first commercial recordings of the genre.

The Six-CD Scheme

Each of the 6 CDs on Before the Big Bang has its own theme. Here’s a first look at what we’ll be presenting on the upcoming reissue.

Two Key Questions

Before the Big Bang does not assert—or attempt to persuade—that the genre of country music as we know it now can be found on the various discs and cylinders produced in the four decades prior to the 1927 Bristol Sessions, if only we examine the right recordings. Instead the box set answers two main questions.

A Mitigation Plan—Against Boredom

Everyone is stir- crazy right now. Archeophone is chomping at the bit to begin sharing details about Before the Big Bang even though its release has been pushed back to the end of the year. We wondered: Is there anything we can do to relieve the boredom and give us all a little fun and excitement to look forward to? Here’s what we’re going to do.

Best Laid Plans

We’re sheltering in place like all of you out there, watching covid-19 devastate so many lives and communities. Interruptions are inevitable, and we are no different.

That means that our plan to have Before the Big Bang: Country Music Origins in the Acoustic Era, 1890-1926 out in the summer of 2020 has changed.

Research Notes: Hard-Working “Elites”

There’s a big misconception about the recording artists of the earliest days. Because the industry was centered in the Northeast, particularly around New York City, Philadelphia, and parts of New Jersey, the idea has persisted that it was a lot of “elite” artists and musicians making records to suit the tastes of sophisticated urbanites. Only when the industry began scouring the country for “authentic” musical traditions did they find the real America—or so the thinking has been.

Meet the Team

What is the company and who are the people behind this production, Before the Big Bang?

If you are not familiar with the name Archeophone Records, then you might not know it is the only reissue label that deals almost exclusively with the “acoustic era” of sound recording (see our blog post of 10-17-2019 for an explanation of what that means). Archeophone Records was founded in 1998 to preserve, restore, and contextualize the world’s oldest recordings.

All of our releases feature top-notch audio restorations and are packaged with new scholarship and research, discographical information, and extensive photos and illustrations.