Thanks to the New England Folk Music Archives, the Cambridge Historical Society is happily housing more than 2,300 individual Rounder titles on site. The collection is believed to be the entire run that the label released on CD.
What is Rounder Records?
A trio of university students founded Rounder in Cambridge, Massachusetts in 1970. It quickly became the major independent label for bluegrass and folk, and recorded a lot of blues, reggae, and world music.
This historically significant musical catalog deserves archival sleeving and a research-friendly shelving system to allow scholars and enthusiasts to explore the decades of music that it contains. The Society is prepared to take that step, but it needs your help.
What Does the Cambridge Historical Society Want to Do?
Here's the plan:
The Goal: The Rounder Records collection at the Cambridge Historical Society is being archived and cataloged with the assistance of James O'Brien, Ph.D. Our goal is to raise $3,800 to create a long-term archive at the Cambridge Historical Society building on Brattle Street.
How to Get It Done: Staff and volunteers will add nearly 30 linear feet of archival shelving and then transfer the more than 2,300 individual CDs — and all of their liner notes — from space-hungry jewel cases into slim archival sleeves. These will then be shelved in archival-quality binders and processed as an archival collection under the supervision of the CHS Archivist (this will probably involve ordering according to subsidiary labels, such as Bullseye Blues, Flying Fish, Heartbeat, and Zöe, artist, and release date).
When It Will Happen: Fall 2012 and onward, with new research scheduled to start on the collection immediately following its proper cataloging.
Why Do This: The collection is important. From field recordings by Alan Lomax, to numerous series of world and regional folk music from the Library of Congress, the Rounder Records CD catalog represents a deep well of work that is valuable to musicologists, folklorists, and musical researchers of all kinds. But the records in this collection are also moving, authentic, fun, and representative of the full spectrum of artists and genres that Rounder celebrated throughout the years.
Some examples of what the Cambridge Historical Society has already identified within the holding:
— There are the albums of well-recognized and important singer/songwriters of the 1980s, 1990s, and 2000s, players such as Bill Morrissey and Ellis Paul.
— There are recordings by Folk Revival luminaries such as Mimi Farina and Mike Seeger.
— The blues: from Mississippi field recordings to important transitional artists such as Jelly Roll Morton to important mid-20th Century performers such as Otis Clay and Charles Brown.
— The Rounder albums take us into the near present, too, featuring the 2002 landmark debut by Kathleen Edwards, Alison Krauss and Robert Plant's groundbreaking duo release, and albums by indie icons such as They Might Be Giants and Juliana Hatfield.
There's so much more to be discovered. The collection spans decades of original recordings, more than a half-century of music in the genres of blues, bluegrass, old time, folk, world, and singer-songwriter. This is only the start. We hope you'll agree it's an important step!
Support this project
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