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First Rock ‘n’ Roll Track Recorded in Hattiesburg?

Blind Roosevelt Graves was a blues musician born in Meridian, Mississippi, in 1909.  He and his brother, Uaroy Graves, recorded music together in the twenties and thirties under various names including “Blind Roosevelt Graves and Brother” and “The Mississippi Jook Band.” 

In 1936, Paramount Records talent scout and Jackson, Mississippi furniture store owner H.C. Speir located the Graves Brothers, whom he had recorded in Indiana in 1929, performing in a church in McComb and arranged for them to do a second recording session in Hattiesburg, Mississippi.

To play piano in the Hattiesburg session, Speir chose Cooney Vaughn, described by Ed Komara, former archivist in the Blues Archives at the University of Mississippi as an influential live performer in Hattiesburg.  The combination of Vaughn's uninhibited piano style with the religious feeling and musical versatility of the Graves Brothers resulted in the beginnings of a new type of music – rock and roll.  Blues researcher Gayle Dean Wardlow has suggested that their 1929 recording "Crazy About My Baby" could be considered the first rock 'n' roll recording.
In 1996, Special Collections acquired a cd re-release of the complete recorded works of Blind Roosevelt Graves, including "Barbecue Bust," "Dangerous Woman," and 19 other songs. The cd was produced by Document Records, an Austrian company engaged in documenting the history of American blues, gospel, bluegrass, and ragtime music.

The cd includes songs from both of the Graves Brothers' 1929 and 1936 recording sessions.  This CD is located in the Special Collections located in McCain Library & Archives.

To listen to this cd, visit Special Collections on the 3rd floor of McCain Library. For more information on this item, contact Andrew Rhodes or at 601.266.6765.