Are there any performers that have forced you to become a completist?

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Are there any performers that have forced you to become a completist?

Post  pinhedz on Wed Apr 13, 2011 10:32 am

Does this ever happen to you? Which performers have made you go the “completist” route?

I think the average record buyer, upon hearing that some legendary performer is essential, will first ask “which recordings are the really essential ones?” hoping to get off easy by buying just 3 or 4 records, instead of 30 or 40.

But, sometimes he reaches a tipping point, after which he has to have everything--at a minimum, every track commercially released. In extreme cases, all the outtakes as well, bootlegs and live recordings if available, and unreleased session material, if any.

In some cases, I’ve had an easy time. The discographies are so small that if you get anything, you just get it all:

Geechie Wiley (southern blues singer) -- Only 4 songs recorded.
Armand Piron (New Orleans band leader) -- Recorded 20 numbers in 1923-1924.
Sam Morgan (New Orleans band leader) -- Recorded 8 numbers in 1928
Robert Johnson (Mississippi blues) -- Everything fits on 2 discs
Bix Beiderbecke (jazz cornet) -- Recorded over 100 numbers with both small groups and large orchestras between Feb 1924 and May 1930. It takes a little research to make sure you’ve got it all, but it’s all in print.

But, after 1930, being a completist gets to be harder work:

Jelly Roll Morton (jazz piano and band leader) -- He recorded about 100 numbers with his “Red Hot Chili Peppers” and “Jelly Roll Morton and His Orchestra” between September 1926 and October 1930. But the boxed sets that include that do not include:
-- 20 piano solos recorded in 1923-1924,
-- 25 other recordings with various small groups, including the all-white “New Orleans Rhythm Kings” in 1924, and two duets with king Oliver.
-- An uncredited recording session with Wingy Magnone in 1934 (4 years after he had stopped recording),
-- 13 Piano solos and 12 numbers with his “Hot Seven” in 1939-1940 (this would have been his comeback, had he lived),
-- 2 numbers recorded during his live radio performance a few months later.
And to be really complete, you’d have to have his 12 piano rolls made in 1924-1925 and 13 hours of tapes recorded with Alan Lomax for the Library of Congress in 1938 (there are 4 CDs of the music from these tapes in print).

Helen Carr (vocalist) -- Looks easy at first glance; she recorded two albums in the 1950s that were rereleased on CD in 1993, but:
-- She also recorded one single with an early Charlie Mingus group in 1949,
-- She made a video short with Charlie Barnett’s Orchestra in 1945,
-- She recorded one song with Stan Kenton’s Orchestra in 1951,
-- She recorded one song on Paul Nero’s shortlived “Rhythm Records” label in 1952,
-- She sang back-up vocals on a King Curtis single in 1958.

Paul Nero (jazz fiddler) -- Here’s where it gets really hard. Nero only recorded about 50 numbers between 1940 and 1956, but all of it is out of print and only 2 numbers ever even appeared on compilation CDs.
-- 2 numbers were recorded on a radio show in 1940,
-- 6 numbers were released on an album of three 10-inch 78s released in 1940,
-- He recorded 2 numbers for a WWII V-disc in 1944,
-- 4 numbers were released on an album of two 10-inch 78s in 1949,
-- 2 13-minute live jams were released on a 10-inch EP in 1951,
-- 12 numbers were released on his only 12-inch LP in 1956,
All the other recordings were singles, some on Capitol records, but some on other labels also, including some Moses Ashe recordings that later fell into the hands of Stinson Records, and two record labels that Nero himself created.

John Fahey (acoustic guitar) -- Doesn’t look too hard because Fantasy records rereleased 90 percent of the out-of-print LPs on CD, and the later out-of-print CDs can usually be found on eBay. But:
-- Fantasy omitted or switched tracks on some of the albums,
-- There’s one CD from just a few years ago “John Fahey Trio, Vol 2” that you can’t find to save your life,
-- Fahey made a 12-inch 78 recording (grooves on one side only), that takes some searching to find,
-- He also made a double 7-inch 78 with 4 songs, that is almost impossible to find.

Leo Kottke (acoustic guitar) -- Recorded in Major labels from 1971 up to the present. But completists need two additional vinyl LPs, that have never been rereleased:
-- One LP recorded live at the Scholar Coffeehouse in 1968,
-- A studio rerecording of much of the same material released a year later.

Jo Ann Kelly (England’s greatest blues singer) -- Recorded singles in the 1960s and a few albums up until 1988. But she never made it big, so what’s in print is hit and miss.
-- She recorded with several bands, so their records weren’t released under her name.
-- Three of her albums were never rereleased on CD, including one recorded live in Vienna that was pressed in only 60 copies.

I’ve also gone the completist route with a few other artists that are not quite so scarce:
Captain Beefheart -- I think he’s all back in print now, along with session material that was never released before.
The Shaggs -- They only made 2 albums (the 2nd one is getting hard to find, however).

There’s also the very special Minneapolis coffeehouse and bar-band category, which includes Koerner, Ray and Gover, Papa John Kolstad and the Sorry Muthas, and Willie and the Bumblebees. I’ll probably post their discographies on the “Koerner, Ray and Glover” thread sometime before I wrap up my business here.
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Re: Are there any performers that have forced you to become a completist?

Post  pinhedz on Fri Mar 27, 2015 3:36 am

The pinhed has decided that in the future he will post only in response to unanswered posts. bounce

But the pinhed might not always stick with this new practice.
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