The United States Library of Congress is the de facto national library of America.  Its National Recording Preservation Board annually selects musical and spoken recordings of importance to add to its National Recording Registry.  This year they’ve chosen recordings as diverse of Clarence Williams, Mahler, Julie London, and John Coltrane.  Among them is the wonderful 1976 Clifton Chenier release, Bogalusa Boogie.  This year is the 40th anniversary of this amazing session, recorded in a single day in Bogalusa, Louisiana.  Clifton left us many years ago, but his recordings live on!


The Library of Congress (U.S. default national library) has announced that they have made available to the public the 1934 Louisiana recordings made by John and Alan Lomax.  The song index page lists title and performer by parish of origin; parish is what we call counties in Louisiana.  Within each parish are the performer’s name and the song.  These are not downloads; there is an embedded player for listening. There’s also am image of the index card used to record and track the recording.  And there are way more recordings here than what we’ve heard in the two commercial releases, so this is very exciting news for fans and musicians. Go and be inspired! 

The U.S. Library of Congress has made a remarkable service available to the public.  It’s a jukebox of audio recordings, many from the first few decades of recorded sound.  The National Jukebox is a web page with player and playlist of such items as the Temptation rag and If you talk in your sleep, don’t mention my name.   It’s a big rough around the edges.  The player didn’t automatically advance to the next item in the playlist.  And there are search and browse functions.  The feature to limit by language didn’t work on on page but did on another.  Currently there are 262 French-language recordings, out of a total 1525 recordings.  Most include images of the label.  No Cajun recordings in my scan through the first six pages, but feel free to prove me wrong in the comments!  Enrico Caruso, Nellie Melba, Alma Gluck and many other prominent classical singers do show up. “Coming Soon” says that recordings from Columbia and Okeh are coming, so that means some Cajun music will be appearing!  That includes Joe Falcon, Cleoma Breaux, the Segura Brothers, and Amede Ardoin.  Give it a try!

The U.S. Library of Congress (the de facto national library of the United States) has begun receiving an archival collection of approximately 200,000 metal, glass, and lacquer master disks from the Universal Music Group.  Universal is currently part of the French corporation Vivendi.  These recordings will be cataloged and some will be available for online listening. Universal still holds the copyright to these recordings, so this isn’t a mass transfer to the public domain.  New York Times story on the donationHollywood Reporter story.

Universal doesn’t put out much Cajun, Louisiana Creole or zydeco music.  Buckwheat Zydeco has recorded for its Island subsidiary.  However, the Decca label did release some Cajun recordings on 78s, like Decca 17050. Cleoma Falcon. Je suis laissee seule. n.d. and Decca 28676. Doc Guidry. Little fat man. n.d.   However, the process may take as long as five years to complete.  Look for it on the Library’s Performing Arts Encyclopedia.

The U.S. Library of Congress in Washington, D.C., is the unofficial national library of the United States.  Officially, it’s just the library of the U.S. Congress, but they do far more than that.  The National Recording Preservation Act of 2000, a U.S. law, mandated the creation of the National Recording Preservation Board.  That august-sounding body is responsible for “ensur[ing] the survival, conservation, and increased public availability of America’s sound recording heritage.”  They are responsible for the National Recording Registry, an annual list of recordings worthy of preservation.  The 2009 list just came out (yeah, they’re a little behind).  Iry LeJeune’s 1948 recordings of Evangeline Special and the Love Bridge Waltz are on the list (LeJeune’s Definitive Collection from the Louisiana Music Factory).  This honor is shared with such wonderful American recordings as “Tutti Frutti,” Little Richard; “Smokestack Lightning,” Howlin’ Wolf; “When You Wish Upon a Star,” Cliff Edwards; and “Coal Miner’s Daughter,” Loretta Lynn.   The Hollywood Reporter has an article on the new list, as does the UPI.