HARDHOUND

Charley Patton – Screamin’ and Hollerin’ the Blues

Author: Colin | Published: 25/4/09

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Artist Charley Patton
Title Screamin’ and Hollerin’ the Blues
Label Revenant
Year 2001
Designer Susan Archie: art direction and design, additional design and layout: Henry H. Owings, illustration: Potsy Duncan
Music The Blues
Notes Screamin’ and Hollerin’ the Blues is such a playful, generous, imaginative design that it’s difficult to know where to start. It is an over-sized object that consists of box, binder, paperback treatise by John Fahey on Patton attached to the inside sleeve, lengthy and informative essays, pages of stickers reproducing the original record labels, numerous illustrations and photographs as well as the CDs themselves attached to 78-sized card mounts contained in facsimiles of the original sleeves. The whole package is based upon the original album format that collected 78s together in a single binder.

There’s perhaps a deliberate and certainly pleasing irony, that Patton (whose legacy survived on poor quality recordings and was eclipsed by Robert Johnson’s tragic story/mythos) should be afforded such luxurious treatment. A similar tension exists around the likes of Goodbye, Babylon and Albert Ayler’s Holy Ghost box.

Archie has spoken of the challenge to produce a design for an artist of whom there is but a single remaining photograph. She riffs on this through a variety of treatments and period illustrations. Note particularly the use of the ‘masked marvel’ illustration on the outer box (one of Patton’s songs was marketed thus by the record company) which is revealed unmasked in the same roundel on the binder.

There’s something monumental about this examination of a historical figure who might otherwise have slipped into obscurity. The crackle of the recordings actualises the time and distance spied in the imagery, design and informed consideration of Patton’s art. In a related vein, Screamin’ and Hollerin’ the Blues exists as an admirable bulwark against the increasing virtualisation of the medium.


Comments

  1. This wonderfully creative package design not only tastefully captures the visual texture of the era, it comes as close as ever possible to do justice to this blues legend’s body of work.

    Comment by hugo — August 9, 2009 @ 6:42 pm
  2. It is a strange and wonderful object.

    Comment by Colin — August 11, 2009 @ 9:33 am
  3. I’m very proud to own this. It really is a wonderful collection.

    I actually only found out the other day that if the CDs are put on re-wind as soon as they are inserted, there is a wealth of outtakes and other recordings BEFORE the first track. A nice little “easter egg” if you will.

    Comment by David — October 16, 2009 @ 1:32 pm
  4. Wow! I didn’t know that at all – will have to check it out when I get a chance (just moved house – chaos!) Thanks.

    Comment by me — October 18, 2009 @ 11:32 am
  5. First, this Charlie Patton package is a treasure of a collection, a real masterpiece. Second, the easter egg comment is really interesting. Do you have a example of a cd that has information before the first track? I tried a few cd’s and my Denon player did find a track called “CC” but they were all empty. I think this requires more research. Thanks for the information.

    Comment by Robert — October 9, 2010 @ 3:00 pm
  6. FYI: A quick search revealed this:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hidden_track and other information about Easter Eggs on CD’s and other media.

    Comment by Robert — October 9, 2010 @ 3:08 pm
  7. Thanks for that Robert, will have a read.

    Comment by Colin — October 10, 2010 @ 12:26 am
  8. I’ve a nice read here, thanks your articles!!
    I see that the site has spam filther in it, so I decide to type another few words, hello I’m not a spam bot. hahaha.
    Deperately wanting love.
    Do you have a example of a cd that has information before the first track? I tried a few cd’s and my Denon player did find a track called “CC” but they were all empty.

    Comment by Ace — February 27, 2011 @ 5:14 am
  9. Wow, Ace, that’s a really strange mixture of what reads like pure comment spam and human being. I’m going to guess the latter and respond – I’ve never been able to access tracks like this, but I know that one or two Autechre CDs (LP5 or EP7 I think) also have these ‘pre-tracks’.

    Comment by Colin — February 28, 2011 @ 6:28 pm
  10. I saw this in a shop window in Italy beautifully displayed several years ago.I should have bought it then but I didn’t. Luckily my daughter and her fiancée were kind enough to get this for me last year as a present.A unique and without doubt the best presented box set I have seen.Thank you Revenant Records!

    Comment by Andrew Clare — November 6, 2011 @ 5:10 pm
  11. Hello,

    I contact you today, beacause I am really interesting to buy the – Charley Patton – Screamin’ And Hollerin’ The Blues: The Worlds Of Charley Patton (7xCD, Comp + Box) -

    Could you please contact me by e-mail.

    Thank you – I look forward to hearing from you.

    Christophe

    Comment by christophe LOCHU — November 22, 2012 @ 6:31 pm
  12. Hello Christophe, I’d recommend you look on discogs.com or similar. I’m afraid I can’t help you other than that.

    Comment by Colin — November 25, 2012 @ 7:22 pm
  13. Hi Christophe, if you didn’t find one yet, I’m putting one for sale on eBay later today. Just search for the set name or Charley Patton.

    Comment by debbie — May 9, 2013 @ 2:33 pm

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