Blues Images calendar for quite a few years, and each new edition never disappoints. For 15 years now, noted record collector and dealer Tefteller has been publishing what is essentially a labor of love in the Blues Images calendar. Featuring vintage 1920s-era Paramount Records advertising art – some with photos, but usually just gorgeous B&W artwork – that Tefteller literally rescued from a dumpster, each new year further preserves an immensely-valuable visual history of the early years of the blues.
The 2018 calendar includes imaginative pen-and-ink artwork that promoted Paramount Records’ releases like Tampa Red’s “Strewing Your Mess” (February), Blind Lemon Jefferson’s “Hot Dogs” (March), Blind Blake’s “Hard Road Blues” (June), and the Beale Street Sheiks’ “Wasn’t That Doggin’ Me?” (September) as well as pages featuring rare photos of little-known blues artists like Johnnie “Geechie” Temple, Isaiah Nettles, and the popular duo of Kansas Joe and Memphis Minnie. Each calendar page is annotated with historical information about the featured artist and each month also includes the birth and death dates of classic blues artists.
You’ll pay more for the Blues Images 2018 calendar than you would for some cheap wall-hanger from a mall kiosk, but for the hardcore blues fan, Tefteller packs a lot of value for the $24.95 (plus shipping) it will cost to put this on your wall. Each Blues Images calendar includes a full-length CD that features rare, impossible-to-find (and many one-of-a-kind) tracks, many of them sourced from Tefteller’s extensive personal collection. The performances, which include the songs from the original advertising as well as related releases, have been remastered from the original 78rpm records using the revolutionary new ‘American Epic’ digital process that makes the sound on these antique shellac flapjacks really shine.
The Blues Images 2018 CD includes a wealth of early blues music, including releases by haunted Delta legend Tommy Johnson (“Slidin’ Delta” and “I Wonder To Myself”), Mississippi Delta legend Charley Patton (“Screamin’ and Hollerin’ the Blues,” “Mississippi Boweavil Blues”), Texas blues great Blind Lemon Jefferson (“Hot Dogs,” “Weary Dogs Blues”), and the duo of Kansas Joe and Memphis Minnie (“Frisco Town”). You’ll also find rare tracks by lesser-known artists like “Hi” Henry Brown (“Brown Skin Angel, “Hospital Blues”), the Mississippi Moaner (“It’s Cold In China Blues”), and Johnnie “Geechie” Temple (“Jacksonville Blues,” “The Evil Devil Blues”) as well as two recently-discovered songs by Jab Jones and the Memphis Jug Band.
The calendar is a bone fide collectors’ item as well as a fine addition to the wall of any blues fan, while the accompanying CD, with two-dozen tracks total, is akin to those expensive import discs you’ve bought in the past, but with tracks that are scarcer than hen’s teeth. Blues Images also sells other blues-related stuff like posters (I bought a cool Blind Willie Johnson poster from them a few years back), t-shirts, CDs from previous years, and past years’ calendars. You’ll find it all on the Blues Images website.