The Reverend has had a Blues Images calendar on his office wall for a few years now, and I'm happy as a clam to be able to say that publisher John Tefteller has beat the odds by announcing that the 2013 calendar of "Classic Blues Artwork from the 1920's" is now available from Blues Images. If you've recently visited a chain bookstore or discount retailer you'll find a glut of date-keepers, but Tefteller has managed to crank out this cool, classy wall-hanger for a decade now.
What sets the Blues Images calendar apart from the lesser competition is each year's selection of twelve gorgeous, one-of-a-kind pieces of historical art that were rescued from obscurity (and the dumpster) by blues aficionado and well-known record collector and seller John Tefteller. The unique black and white artwork that accompanies each month's page dates back to the 1920s, and was originally used to advertise the blues songs and artists portrayed. The 2013 calendar features rare, previously unpublished photos of the great Memphis Minnie and obscure South Carolina blues and gospel singer Lil McClintock.
Giving you more "bang for your buck," each Blues Images calendar is also accompanied by a free CD that features songs by each month's artist and extra bonus songs, vintage tracks dating to the roots of the blues. The 2013 calendar is perhaps their best yet, focusing on religious themes with a fine selection of material from artists like Blind Willie Johnson ("Dark Was The Night, Cold Was The Ground"); Blind Blake ("Diddie Wa Diddie"); Charley Patton ("Frankie and Albert"); Memphis Minnie and Kansas Joe McCoy ("What's The Matter With The Mill?"); and Blind Lemon Jefferson ("Peach Orchard Mama") as well as super-rare tracks from Lil McClintock, Hi Henry Brown, Blind Willie Davis, and Freddie Spruell, among others.
The twenty-one songs on this annual Blues Images CD have been re-mastered from the best, or only surviving original 78rpm records, many of them from Tefteller's personal collection. In many instances, the records represent one of only a handful of known existing copies, or even the only known copy, and the sound quality can be kind of rough by contemporary standards. If you're an old-school blues fan, though, these rare and obscure tracks will amaze, and Tefteller raises the bar with each year's set by including some phenomenal, one-of-a-kind recordings.
Check out our interview with John Tefteller to read the amazing Blues Images story, and then get over to the Blues Images website and get a 2013 calendar for your wall! They also sell a bunch of other cool stuff, like CDs and t-shirts and posters featuring vintage blues images. The Reverend says "check it out!"
Photo courtesy John Tefteller and Blues Images