Blues Images calendar for around a decade now, and every autumn I look forward to receiving that record-shaped box that includes the next year’s calendar. The 2019 edition is now available and, as usual, Mr. Tefteller has outdone himself once again.
The Blues Images calendar features vintage 1920s-era advertising artwork from long-gone blues label Paramount Records. Some of each month’s art includes artist photos – this year more than in the past – but typically each page offers gorgeous B&W artwork from label advertisements that noted record collector and dealer Tefteller literally rescued from a dumpster almost 20 years ago. Each year’s calendar preserves an immensely-valuable visual history of the early years of the blues; I donate my copies at the end of each year to the Bill Schurk Sound Archives at Bowling Green State University in Ohio.
The 2019 calendar offers the imaginative pen-and-ink art promoting Paramount releases of plastic fantastic sides like Blind Lemon Jefferson’s “Piney Woods Money Mama” (February), Blind Blake’s “Too Tight Blues No. 2” (May), “Dad” Nelson’s “Coon Can Blues” (August), “Papa Charlie” Jackson’s “Ash Tray Blues” (September), and Charley Patton’s “Oh Death” (October). Several pages feature rare B&W photos of blues artists like Papa George Lightfoot, Memphis Minnie, the Beale Street Sheiks, and Joe Williams instead of the drawings. Each calendar page is annotated with historical and biographical information about the featured artist, and each month also includes the birth and death dates of classic blues artists.
The Blues Images 2019 calendar cost more than some cheap wall-hanger you’d buy from the mall or local bookstore, but for the hardcore blues fan, Tefteller packs a lot of value for the $24.95 (plus shipping) it will cost you. Each Blues Images catalog also includes a full-length CD that features rare, impossible-to-find, and often 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 recently-developed ‘American Epic’ digital process that makes the sound on these antique shellac marvels really pop out of your speakers.
Throw in newly-discovered songs by William Harris (“I’m A Roamin’ Gambler” and “I Was Born In the Country – Raised In Town”) and Papa George Lightfoot (“Winding Ball Mama” and “Snake Hipping Daddy”) from Tefteller’s ever-evolving collection, and between the calendar and 23-track CD, you have a bona fide collector’s item. Blues Images sells other cool blues-related stuff like posters, t-shirts, CDs from previous years, and past years’ calendars. You can find it all on the Blues Images website. Tell John that “the Rev sent ya!”