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date: 02 April 2020


  • Thane Tierney


Record company. It was originally established in Los Gatos, California, in 1960 by record collector Chris Strachwitz. The label’s first release was bluesman Mance Lipscomb’s Texas Sharecropper and Songster, of which 250 copies were originally produced. Strachwitz held down a day job as a high school teacher for the first two years of the label’s existence, supplementing his income with sales of collectible 78s. In exchange for engineering the recording session at which Country Joe McDonald first recorded “I feel like I’m fixin’ to die rag,” Strachwitz was awarded the publishing rights to the song, which was featured in the Woodstock concert documentary film and album, and which brought Arhoolie its “first real money.”

While Arhoolie is best known as a blues label, with a roster that includes Big Mama Thornton, Bukka White, Mississippi Fred McDowell, and others, Arhoolie maintains an extensive catalogue of Cajun and Zydeco music, featuring artists such as Clifton Chenier, Beausoleil, and Canray Fontenot. The label also has released a wide-ranging collection of Mexican regional and Tejano music from artists such as Freddy Fender, Flaco Jimenez, and others. Arhoolie is the sole American importer of the Dutch world music label Pan and the Austrian blues and gospel label Document, and retains ownership of a retail outlet, Down Home Music Store, located in El Cerrito, California....

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