Legendary Blues Label Bluesville Records is Up and Running Again

A major part of the blues revival in NYC

Bluesville Records, the label that originally released some key blues albums by artists like John Lee Hooker and Skip James, among others, is up and running again.

According to reports, The Concord Music Group relaunched the long-dormant Bluesville Records label this month with its inaugural release, a reissue of blues legend John Lee Hooker’s 1964 acoustic album, Burning Hell.

As Rock and Roll Globe notes, this album was originally released only in the U.K. by Riverside Records, this is the first time this often-overlooked entry in the massive Hooker catalog has been released stateside on vinyl. The label plans on following up with the July reissue of the classic Skip James’ Today!, originally released in 1966 by Vanguard Records, the album firmly placing the Mississippi guitarist at the center of the decade’s folk-blues revival.

The Bluesville label was founded as a division of the New York-based jazz label Prestige Records. New York City was a key location for the “blues revival” that accompanied the resurgence of interest in folk music in the late 1950s and early 1960s. This revival allowed regional artists like Lightnin’ Hopkins, a guitarist and singer from Houston, to perform for new audiences. Nearby venues such as the Newport Folk Festival also began booking older blues artists.

Many Bluesville albums had the added asset of having been recorded at engineer Rudy Van Gelder’s New Jersey studio, during the years that artists such as John Coltrane and Sonny Rollins were making records there that have come to be regarded as a standard for recording quality.

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