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History of the Blues Calendar (Cont. from part 2)

As the Great Depression took its toll, Paramount stopped advertising in the Defender (though they continued to produce artwork and promotional materials they sent directly to record stores) and eventually folded in 1933. The Boerner company continued to limp along until the 1940’s when it finally succumbed.

The photos and promotional artwork remained in the files of the newspaper until that day when the newspaper was sold and the artwork was placed on the loading dock.

In the 1960’s, Dutch Blues researcher and Paramount label collector Max Vreede first discovered some of the advertisements while doing research for his Paramount Records Discography. He found, on microfilm, some ancient issues of the Chicago Defender, which contained some of the artwork. His book (long out of print) reproduced a few of the images for the first time but, coming from old microfilm, they were grainy and blurry. The only way to see them as the original artists intended would be to locate the original artwork, yet no one had any idea how or where to find it — until the two Wisconsin reporters unknowingly did just that.

These newly discovered images are of supreme quality. They have been touched up a bit and even slightly altered for this calendar to make them even more striking. The overall beauty and charm of the original artwork has not been compromised, only strengthened.

The cover photograph of Charley Patton on our 2004 Classic Blues Artwork Calendar was shown here for the very first time anywhere. Everything in the history of Blues music revolves around, or was inspired in part by, Patton. Robert Johnson may be more well-known due to the legends surrounding him, but even Johnson had to be inspired by someone and that someone was Patton.

In the 1960’s, a small, grainy photo of only Patton’s head was found in Georgia by Blues collector Max Tarpley. It was, until now, the only existing photograph of Patton. That photograph has been reproduced worldwide on CD’s, magazine covers and artsy Blues books for the past 40 years. Record collectors and Blues enthusiasts have had reoccurring dreams that somewhere out there a complete, crisp and clear photo existed.

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