Protobilly: The Minstrel AND Tin Pan Alley DNA of Country Music 1892-2017
“The itinerary in ‘Protobilly’ is exhilarating, the history is enlightening — and for some fancying or working in roots music — it will prove downright inspiring.”
Barry Mazor, The Wall Street Journal, December 16, 2019
This critically-acclaimed three-CD reissue anthology is the first to track twentieth-century American vernacular music of old-time country, bluegrass, jazz, and blues by tracing their beginnings in 19th-century blackface minstrelsy and early Tin Pan Alley.
"This engrossing, thoroughly researched, and well-produced collection will take a place alongside such classic sets as the 'Anthology of American Folk Music' and 'That Devilin’ Tune.'"
Hoyle Osborne, The Syncopated Times October 24, 2019
By aligning performances from the earliest cylinder recordings with later 78rpm, LP and CD versions, Protobilly brings to life 81 historic performances – more than half never before reissued – all brilliantly remastered by award-winning engineer Doug Benson to vividly demonstrate the checkered and enormously powerful elasticity of American music.
“The various pairings are all striking and often quite surprising, and this set is highly recommended to anyone interested in setting aside romantic notions of the isolated rural bard in order to explore the wonderful complexity and creolized nature of American music traditions.”
Scott Barretta, Living Blues Magazine, December 2019
Produced by renowned recording music historians Henry H. Sapoznik, Dick Spottswood, and David Giovannoni, the set comes with 76 pages of song annotations, extended essays, sheet music covers, photographs and period graphics, biographies and discographies by Sapoznik, Spottswood and “The American Songster,” Dom Flemons. The box set is also being supported with additional extensive research materials on this website.
"...meticulously produced by three highly regarded sound recording historians..."Protobilly" claims to capture 'some of the greatest performances of American music,' and that's not hyperbole."
Brenda Nelson-Straus Black Grooves October 1, 2019
“Protobilly succeeds in reopening the songbooks of the 19th century and the turn of the century for comparison and new considerations. The transfers are excellent; many of the earliest cylinder recordings are extraordinarily vivid. Protobilly is a fine primer anthology for academic libraries and it is not to be missed by fans of Americana music past and present.”
Ed Komara, Journal of the Association for Recorded Sound Collections April, 2020