Tag Archives: Arhoolie

Arhoolie movie Down Home Music

“Without collector Chris Strachwitz, there’d be no record of some of America’s greatest folk music, from zydeco to the Delta blues.”

— San Francisco Chronicle headline

Chris Strachwitz Arhoolie Records

Arhoolie records played a major roll in the development of Folk, Blues, Zydeco, Cajun and Tex-Mex music. Founder Chris Stachwitz always had a lot of love for roots music. So when he started recording his heroes in 1960s the start of one of the best label around was a fact. Stachwitz is a hero for recording the artist he, and we too, like so much. He travelled around the country to find his heroes and in many cases the adventure to finding these musicians is very intersting, danger and funny.

DVD Down Home Music

On the DVD Down Home Music – A Journey Through the Heartland 1963 you will see how in 1963 German filmmaker Dietrich Wawzyn set out to shoot a series of films for German television that took him through the southern US in search of American jazz and roots music. He contacted Arhoolie Records founder Chris Strachwitz, who jumped at the chance to join him and share his enthusiasm for regional musical traditions. (source Arhoolie)

Gospel, Blues and Hillbilly music


Wawzyn made three films, dealing with blues, gospel, and hillbilly music. The negatives to those films were lost. This film re-creates the journey from the best elements still available and includes much previously unreleased footage.

This film documentary is absolutely worth watching with a pencil in your hand, because every artist in it, is worth looking up. Musicians such as Clifton Chenier, Lightnin’ Hopkins, Mance Lipscomb, George Lewis, Los Pinguinos, Big Joe Williams, Jesse Fuller, Country Joe McDonald and many more would not have otherwise been heard — or would have been less heard — if it weren’t for Strachwitz’s determination and love for the art.

More from Arhoolie Records…

Visit the Arhoolie Website to find more musicians and also check Chris Strachwitz blog-site. You will find it here.

A World of Down Home Music from Megan R. Orr on Vimeo.

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The bay area Blues of one man band Jesse Fuller

The Blues of one man band inventor Jesse Fuller

Jesse Fuller was much more than a magnificent one man band folk blues musician. He was a movie star inter alia in ´the Thief Of Bagdad (1924), he ran a concession stand in front of the Hollywood studios, he was a factory worker in Oakland and an inventor. His influence is huge, everyone in the Bay Area knew Jesse Fuller.

Fuller Born in Georgia, never knew his parents and was raised by a couple who treated him ‘worse than a dog’. At age nine he was able to leave the situation and worked as a cow gazer near Atlanta. He crossed around the country until he moved to Oakland in 1929. In Oakland he developed himself as a musician who could play the 12-string guitar, the harmonica, kazoo, percussion and a foot-operated string bass he had made out of a piano case called the “Fotdella”. In 1954 Arhoolie founder Chris Strachwitz recorded Jesse Fuller with an easy second hand tape machine at Fuller’s house. (The American Book of the Dead, p.126)

Bass instrument the `Fotdella’

For his one man band act Fuller needed a bass instrument. He already used the hi-hat and bass drum pedal and needed an accompaniment instrument. While lying in bed Fuller dreamed about constructing a foot-operated bass instrument. It ended up as a large upright box with a rounded top, Six bass strings were attached to the neck and stretched over the body.

Continue reading The bay area Blues of one man band Jesse Fuller

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