You have so many memories, if you were old enough and lived close enough and knew enough to get to the Newport Folk Festival in its great days in the 1960s….And, just as certainly, you remember the blues, which was one of the richest strands in the rich weave of music and culture that was the Festival….Part of the emotional response to the blues singers was that most of them had been forgotten in the years since they’d made their handfuls of recordings for the old ‘race’ labels of the 1920s….It’s true that memories can sometimes be insubstantial, or that time can change what you heard or saw, and maybe you’ve romanticized the playing you remember or the singers you shouted for — but here on this collection of live recordings from the Newport Festival blues concerts you can hear that the music was as great as you remember it was. And if you’re hearing it for the first time — this is what it was like to be there. — Sam Charters
Blues at Newport is a compilation of blues performances recorded live at the Newport Folk Festivals, 1959-1964, produced by Samuel Charters for the Vanguard Records label. This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Newport Folk Festival, founded in 1959 by Theodore Bikel, Oscar Brand, Pete Seeger and George Wein. Check out Sonny Terry & Brownie McGhee at the 1963 Newport Folk Festival, performing Big Bill Broonzy’s standard Key to the Highway, available on the live recording.
Blues at Newport is part of the Samuel and Ann Charters Archives of Blues and Vernacular African American Musical Culture, donated in 2000 to Archives & Special Collections at the Thomas J. Dodd Research Center. For a detailed listing of the contents of the Charters Archives, visit http://doddcenter.uconn.edu/findaids/charters/MSS20000105.html .