God Didn't Like It: Electric Hillbillies, Singing Preachers, and the Beginning of Rock and Roll, 1950-1970

An examination of the early days of rock and roll, it’s pre-history and development thought theperiod of the 1960s; with a close look at the early development of country music.  Unlike most rock writers Allen Lowe settles on a picture of the music as essentially a white expression, a “white meditation on black forms.’

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American Pop - From Minstrel to Mojo On Record 1893-1956

An early and pioneering look at the big picture of American popular music from the period of early pop and jazz to Elvis. Unorthodox in its characterization both minstrelsy and the interaction of white and black musicians, it deals with a plethora of styles from gospel to blues to rock and roll, jazz, white and black pop, and country/hillbilly music. 

What makes this nine-CD set essential is its broad context.  By placing Jazz together with the other genres of music alongside which it evolved, the music’s character is thrown more sharply into focus than it is in collections that segregate it from its larger environment.  Virtually every nook and cranny of American vernacular music is represented here, from hillbilly to minstrel to military bands to rhythm and blues.  Equally impressive is the quality of the transfers from the original recordings and the accompanying text, both done by the set’s producer, Allen Lowe.  This is a must-have for any serious student who wants to understand Jazz’s true significance.
— The NPR Curious Listener's Guide to Jazz - 50 Essential Jazz CDs (from the book by Loren Schoenberg)
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That Devlin' Tune: A Jazz History 1900-1950

A comprehensive history of jazz from 1900-1950 that moves away from the clichés of most jazz works, looks at both the famous and the obscure,  and presents the most detailed look available on the pre-history of jazz as well as its relationship to both country music and the blues. It also has perceptive discussions of minstrelsy and the post-Sudhalter issue of white and black influences on the development of jazz and improvised music. Click here to read an excerpt from That Devlin' Tune.

Anyone serious about understanding the history of American music has no choice but to engage Allen Lowe’s “That Devilin’ Tune: A Jazz History, 1900-1950.”  I use the word “engage” quite deliberately, for Lowe has gifted us with a text and a body of music whose breadth, depth, scope, and sophistication is unsurpassed.  His narrative takes us on a journey that even jazz aficionados will find surprising, daring and original, and his experience as a leading performer/composer of creative music gives his discussions of music an astounding level of clarity.  What jazz is or isn’t is still highly contested, the source of much acrimonious debate.  I suggest you bypass the acrimony and dive right into That Devilin’ Tune.  The blues will set you free.
— Robin D. G. Kelley, author of Thelonious Monk: The Life and Times of an 
American Original
These nine CDs represent just one-quarter of a monumental four-volume compilation curated by music historian Allen Lowe, which seeks to recontextualize early jazz history, and with it the history of American pop music. (And, come to think of it, the history of America, period.) Lowe’s bumptious, delightful, danceable mix of early pop, ragtime, jug band, and blues recordings presents a vastly expanded and more complicated picture of American musical roots, discovering hot rhythm and jazz-style improvisation in some unlikely places, like 19th-century marching bands and the “coon song” performances of vaudevillians like Stella Mayhew and Len Spencer. An essential historical document; also, a party-starter.
— Jody Rosen, SLATE
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Really the Blues? A Horizontal Chronicle of the Vertical Blues, 1893-1959

A look at the blues and its close relations from 1900-1960; covers nearly all blue styles of the American vernacular, from gospel quartets to show music, minstrelsy, country and hillbilly music, and jazz.

I am truly astonished. When I first heard Lowe’s previous collection, American Pop from Minstrel to Mojo, I thought that it was the finest body of American pop music that I’d ever heard – both in terms of sound quality and choice of music. But now he’s exceeded himself. This new collection is even richer and sounds even better. Allen Lowe has “forced us to rethink everything we ‘know’ about jazz” - but I’ll add that he’s also forced us to question what we know about pop, country, and the blues as well. He has historicized pop music brilliantly…and the fact that he did it, and not
one of the “big” recording companies who are sitting on treasures of American music, is all the more astonishing. This collection should be in every household, or at the least in every library and school. Bravo! Encore!
— John Szwed, Yale University Dept. Anthropology, and The Center for Jazz Studies at Columbia University
It’s a stunning and focused, almost comprehensive, collection of music. As a value for the money and as an introduction for the uninitiated, there is no competition...even in a field crowded with high-quality collections. I found the notes to be entertaining and very informative, and the sound quality of the remastering is admirable.
— Amazon Review
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