Earlier this year, Smithsonian Folkways acquired Arhoolie Records, a label that released more than 350 albums in various formats starting in 1960. The incredible Arhoolie catalog is available again, now from Smithsonian Folkways, streaming and on CD. Arhoolie is known for "down home" blues, folk, jazz, country, gospel, Cajun, zydeco, Mexican American, and world music. Founder Chris Strachwitz moved to the United States from Germany in 1947 and fell in love with American roots music. His first love was, of course, the purely American artform-- New Orleans jazz. American radio expanded his horizons and Arhoolie 1001 was released-- Texan Mance Lipscomb. In the decades that followed, Strachwitz and his business partner Tom Diamant released hundreds more songs from roots artists.
Since the Smithsonian's acquisition, you can now hear many of these tracks, or samples of, on the Folkways website. Check out the releases that propelled Big Mama Thornton, Clifton Chenier, Treme Brass Band, and many other artists onto the national scene at Smithsonian Folkways Arhoolie Collection.