Lost Sounds: Blacks and the Birth of the Recording Industry, 1890-1919

Front Cover
University of Illinois Press, 2004 - Music - 634 pages
1 Review
Biographies of the first African-American recording stars, and how they succeeded against tremendous odds. The first in-depth history of the involvement of African-Americans in the early recording industry, this book examines the first three decades of sound recording in the United States, charting the vigorous and varied roles black artists played in the period leading up to the Jazz Age. black artists who recorded commercially in a wide range of genres and provides in-depth biographies of some forty of these audio pioneers. Brooks assesses the careers and impacts, as well as analyzing the recordings, of figures including George W. Johnson, Bert Williams, George Walker, Noble Sissle, Eubie Blake, the Fisk Jubilee Singers, W. C. Handy, James Reese Europe, Wilbur Sweatman, Harry T. Burleigh, Roland Hayes, Booker T. Washington, and boxing champion Jack Johnson, as well as a host of lesser-known voices. Because they were viewed as novelty or folk artists, nearly all of these African Americans were allowed to record commercially in their own distinctive styles, and in practically every genre: popular music, ragtime, jazz, cabaret, classical, spoken word, politics, poetry, and more. The sounds they preserved reflect the actual emerging black culture of that tumultuous and creative period. T history of the recording industry, as well as the racially complex landscape of post-Civil War society at large. Lost Sounds also includes Brooks's selected discography of CD reissues, and an appendix from Richard K. Spottswood describing early recordings by black artists in the Caribbean and South America.

What people are saying - Write a review

Lost sounds: Blacks and the birth of the recording industry, 1890-1919

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

In this chronological narrative, Brooks (executive vice president of research, Lifetime Television) presents a wealth of information about the first African American recording artists. Starting in ... Read full review

Other editions - View all

References to this book

About the author (2004)

Tim Brooks is Executive Vice President of Research at Lifetime Television.

Bibliographic information