The History of Rhythm & Blues Volumes 1, 2, 3 & 4 – Four DVD size long box sets+poster 16CDs

The History of Rhythm & Blues Volumes 1, 2, 3 & 4 – Four DVD size long box sets+poster 16CDs


Out of stock

Reviews Volume One

A cross-label 4CD set, which not only tells the story better than anything before, but offers insights into song origins and provides fascinating musical connections across decades…offers a wealth of insights into the cross-pollination of blues, jazz, country, gospel, pop and rock. – Johnny Black, Mojo

One of the finest box-sets of recent years…finely chosen set of tracks… the reissue of the year by a country mile…Anyone who’s heard Volume One will be counting down the days (to the release of Volume Two)… the sets will become the standard work on the genre – Jeremy Searle, RocknReel

It’s difficult to imagine any set doing a better job of tracing the roots of R&B – Steve Leggett, All Music Guide

Volume Two

There’s so little on this box set that I wouldn’t be overjoyed to play you… an absolutely essential purchase – Mark Lamarr BBC Radio Two

Fellow addicts will already have many of the tracks, but purchasing them again to have them put in the context of blues development should be a joy rather than a hardship.… As a whole package, it is irresistible and should be an essential on the shopping list of all self respecting r’n’b junkies – David Innes R2

The History of Rhythm and Blues 1942-52 is just splendid, it’s a labour of love and a work of supreme scholarship, put together by people who obviously care. From boogie men to boppers, hillbilly’s to honkers it is beautifully programmed and has polished some dusty old gems into a relevant and modern work of art. Compilations of the music of any genre from history are ten a penny these days, thrown together with little thought for anything bar profit. This is something else, something very special indeed. It realises that recorded music has a place in social history, its own mythology, a narrative and in its four discs and lovingly annotated 68 page book, it tells that story. So as well as the fabulous and joyful music, we get thoughts on the development of radio, the race laws of early 20th century America and the migration of workers, the jukebox phenomenon and even technical information about patterns in the 12 bar blues form. The compilers of this set have created a desirable object every bit as a precious as a memory, as valuable as a necklace, they are heroes of the gramophone, the record player, the cd machine. Just buy it, you won’t go far wrong. – Ian Clayton

Among a plethora of such comps…frankly, it’s probably the best of its kind. Whether you want to learn more about the genre or have been listening for years, this collection leaves others eating its dust. – Laith Al-Kaisy Record Collector

Volume Three

Well what a set this one is… it is not JUST the music that makes it so valuable (I nearly wrote important)…The 68 page booklet (fully illustrated with labels, photos and billboards) is an exemplar of how these things should be done. Each individual track comes with a textual analysis and full recording details…The wealth of information presented is both impressive and delightful. Impressive because of the volume of research that must have been undertaken to produce the text and delightful because of the fascinating information delivered to the reader, particularly in the context of the sequencing of the tracks…there is more information here than will often be found in some books purporting to discuss the genre. – Ian McKenzie Blues & Rhythm

Breathtaking collection of vintage greats…brilliantly packaged with a detailed 68-page booklet, it’s hard to think of a music fan who wouldn’t want this in their collection. – Terry Staunton Record Collector

Hugely entertaining…ease back and luxuriate in the warm flow of mostly black sounds – Geoff Brown Mojo

Volume Four

Seriously well-presented, this four CD, DVD-sized collection with its thirty page bound-in booklet presents just about as wide a variance of sounds and styles as you could imagine in the years covered and gives full concise background notes to each and every one of the 124 tracks. The cover itself is of durable hard-back material. A hugely enjoyable trawl through the late 50s & early 60s. It would make a very tasty Christmas present for your offspring, which might set them out on a voyage of discovery. I wish I’d have had something like this bought for me when I was just setting out on mine – Tony Watson – Blues & Rhythm

A multi-genre, colour-blind, cross-label and highly inclusive collection… delivers a history lesson with a helluva backbeat… Essential music by any measure, in a box set which does it justice and best of all, it rocks like a mother –

UK postage £4

Produced as CD-R (professionally manufactured recordable CD printed for short run) as opposed to CD-P (professionally manufactured pressed CDs made in quantities of 500+).

All CDs whether CD-R or CD-P are 100% guaranteed error free. Discs will always be replaced if any problems are encountered.

Out of stock

SKU: R018 Categories: ,


Rhythm and Blues has become one of the most identifiable art-forms of the C20th, with an enormous influence on the development of both the sound and attitude of modern music. We have defined Rhythm and Blues as the accidental synthesis of jazz, gospel, blues, ragtime, country, pop and Latin into a definable form of black music, influencing all popular music from the 1950s to the present day. Other useful definitions include Robert Palmer’s in Rock & Roll: An Unruly History, as ‘a catchall rubric used to refer to any music that was made by and for black Americans’, or Chip Deffaa’s in Blue Rhythms as ‘popular music that arose in black communities after the swing era and before the arrival of the Beatles.’

New forms of music arose in the early C20th: spirituals, ragtime, barrelhouse, jazz, black ballad form. Over the years, these distinctive sounds would come to merge into a recognisably “new” musical style. It was the move to the city, which brought the increase in popularity for the blues, and it was the technology of sound recording, which helped to define its structure. Wider dissemination came with the development of radio and the jukebox, but also through touring bands playing the new network of dance halls and ballrooms that were springing up throughout the States in the 1930s. It was in these ‘territory’ bands that the first major fusion of jazz, blues and boogie-woogie is to be found.

The History of Rhythm and Blues comes in three (now four) box sets, each comprising four CDs, with every track and artist annotated in detail in the richly informative, splendidly illustrated booklets that come with each set. This is a labour of love, and a work of genuine scholarship, but it is also hugely entertaining. I have been listening to almost nothing else for the past fortnight but still feel I am only scratching the surface of a wonderfully rich treasure trove. Throughout, famous names and familiar songs are mixed with the rare and unexpected, but what makes these sets so special is that they aren’t a dry and dusty exercise in musical archaeology. – Charles Spencer – The Spectator

The History of Rhythm and Blues Volume One takes the story up to the eve of the American entry into the Second World War. Volume Two investigates the transition from race music through sepia to Rhythm & Blues; the growing importance of radio; the rise of the independent record labels, the 45rpm record and the jukebox and looks at the rhythms behind the blues from shuffle and jump through rumba to rock’n’roll and beyond. Volume Three highlights the growing urbanisation of the music; the impact on white teenagers; the prominence of the vocal groups; the gradual transition towards a more soulful expression of the blues. There is a detailed examination of the various rhythms that lie behind the music from Rumba Shuffle through New Orleans Second Line to Twist Beat.

Volume Four, the fourth and final part of our forty year retrospective takes the story up to the end of 1962. A case could be made for finishing the series later but a decision was taken to go with the prevailing industry opinions of the time. There were so many white pop records in the R&B charts and so much black music in the pop charts towards the end of 1963 that Billboard temporarily abandoned their R&B charts substituting in their place the Hot 100. Billboard magazine did not publish an R&B singles chart from December 1963 to January 1965.

Also includes copy of HISTORY OF R&B poster

Tracklisting see RANDB001 + RANDB003 + RANDB011 + R010