Old recordings, where everyone involved is long dead, don’t just appeal to the ears—they’re springboards for the imagination. Here’s one made in Memphis nearly 90 years ago.
Close your eyes.
Open your imagination.
They’re just about ready to record.
What’s the room look like?
What’s the last thing said before they start?
Tommy Johnson (1896-1956), “Cool Drink of Water Blues” (1928)
Robert Frank (1924-), Funeral—St. Helena, South Carolina, 1955/56