Week beginning: ... Friday 19th April 2024

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Back to where it all began ... It all started in a small town bar in Louisiana; it was like travelling back in time, dusty, rickety tables, chairs, and a bare wooden floor. Sat on a little platform was a lady and a guy with a guitar, and then the lady began to sing the blues. I could have closed my eyes, although I didn’t realise it at the time, I could have been listening to Ma Rainey or Bessie Smith. Quietly listening, and with encouragement from others we joined with the ‘Tell us your story’...

We knew and felt the songs were telling us of a deep sadness, borne of a deprivation beyond our comprehension. I was listening to the 'Blues' long before that, but never really understood, until then, what was meant by 'Feeling the Blues' ... Each time I produce ‘Backtracking’ I try to show my love and respect for the people and the lives these songs are about, this deprivation, sadness and misery. We are honouring them by keeping their presence and their simple music alive and well.

Each time, we are taking a journey back in time to the abomination of slavery, the depth of the spirituals and of course the expressive blues from all those years ago. Our research and journey since that day has been a discovery of the ‘Blues’ that never ends, of a culture and history that has faded in the mists of time, but remains for us to find. We're honoured and privileged to share with you this great music and its history, back a hundred years and beyond, a genre so rich, so vast so diverse and so real.

Now based in Somerset (UK) What started all those years ago with a handful of blues tracks, a few faded photographs and books has grown exponentially with the help of our good friends, Alan, Terry and Graham, the ‘Doc’ even my dear late cousin Len (Houston) the never ending patience of Pam and so many people from around the world, far too many to mention, Backtracking has become a library of music and resources so vast it’s often difficult to keep track of it all, as it continues to grow.

Thank you for listening to ‘Backtracking’ from here in the UK. At PD Productions, we extend our best wishes to you all.
David – PD Productions (UK)

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Backtracking, to where it all began ... At PD Productions, our research and journey of discovery never ends, simply because the culture of the blues never ends. We're honoured and privileged to share the music within the genre of the Blues back in time a hundred years and beyond, a genre so vast and so diverse.

So many people from around the world have contributed to our research, and indeed, our library of music, far too many to mention by name. Released every Friday, we invite you to join Backtracking, the blue time machine as we go back to the Roots of the Blues, back, to where it all began.
Featured on Backtracking ..
  • The lady sings the blues.
  • Blues on the Bayou.
  • Gospel blues train.
  • Featured artist of the week.
  • Spirituals – The blues connection.
  • Prison work songs.
  • Myths and Legends of the blues.
1   Download current Backtracking
1   Backtracking archive (Download)
1   Blues Research resources (Links / articles)
Featured artist of the week .... Georgia Tom Dorsey

Georgia Tom Dorsey later known as the Rev Thomas A. Dorsey was documented as the ‘Father of Gospel Music,’ earlier in his career he was ‘Georgia Tom,’ a Chicago blues pianist, Ma Rainey accompanist, partner of Tampa Red, and composer of the some of the most humorous and risqué songs of the 1920s and early ’30s.

Thomas was born in1899; he developed his piano-playing skills as a teenager in Atlanta, where he was known as Barrelhouse Tom. He moved to Chicago in 1916 and began playing with local groups,  in 1920 he began travelling with Ma Rainey’s troupe, during that period he learned to write, arrange, and publish songs, He collaborated with Tampa Red from 1928 to 1932, their recording of ‘It’s tight like that’ became one of the biggest hits of the era. In need of a name that could be paired with Tampa Red’s, Tom became Georgia Tom. Using that name he had a number of releases of his own, in addition to recording with Ma Rainey, Memphis Minnie, Jim Jackson, the Hokum Boys, and others

Thomas was also writing gospel songs at the same time, and eventually left the blues to devote himself to gospel. He did not record much as a gospel singer, but launched a lucrative career as a music publisher and wrote two famous gospel songs, ‘Precious Lord,’ inspired by the tragic deaths of his wife and day-old child, and ‘Peace in the Valley.’ recorded by amongst others one Elvis Presley. Thomas is quoted as saying his music was an infusion of the feeling, the pathos and the moans of the blues.

He died on January 23, 1993, he never condemned the blues, and told Living Blues magazine in 1975: There’s just as great a message in the blues as it is in gospel. It depends on the position in which the individual is in.

    Georgia Tom Dorsey - Grieving me blues
    Download featured artist track of the week
    Next time - ... Ma Rainey
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